Wednesday, December 24, 2008

An Eve in Retrospection

My love for Christmas has been crafted by a mélange of memories. Having done my schooling in a Catholic School , spending a precious teenage year in a church hostel amongst grey habits and growing up with a multi-ethnic group of friends has made this day as much special for me as Diwali or Dushhera.
I can’t think of any other better time for Christmas to arrive - right at the end of the year to make you merry, no matter how the year behind had been. On this chilly winter night, the world drapes itself in beautiful red and green, dotted with the silver and shimmer.
This Christmas Eve, As I sit down to scribble some words , I couldn’t help but wonder about the 20 odd Eves that I have witnessed. Each phase has been different from the other. Each centered around a different set of people and places and around a different me. But if I had to choose the special Xmas Eves – they are the forgotten ones, tucked away in ancient times.
I must have been 8 years old . The school holidays used to start on 23rd Dec and it was ( the one and only ) day on which I never had a stomach/tooth/tongue ache or any such innovative anomaly , and I looked forward to get to the school.
Throughout our lectures , we waited for the Santa’s arrival .Especially after the recess , we grew more and more restless . Finally when we heard the Jingle bells approaching our classroom , each one got ready to run and grab the maximum number of goodies from the Santa. Now these were not expensive gifts – but just any other candies we already had an enormous stock of. But the joy of climbing up the wooden benches , screaming the jingles at top of our voices and seizing the maximum amount of those candies was a big big deal, then..
The real thrill, however started towards the evening, when I used to rush home and s and join my friends – on the terrace to make the wish-list. It was a task which involved a lot of consultation and racking of our little cerebrums.As a principle , we used to write only 3 wishes and reserve the rest for the next year . So after much calculations , I used to neatly write those essentials that I required to continue living – like say , a black pilot pen , a squeezee water bottle , complicated 15-door compass box ,sometimes evil spells for my teachers :P n pink lip sticks. The last one almost always featured on my list. These chits , were then inserted under our pillows.
My mom used to ask me over dinner, what I have jotted down and I proudly declared the list. She pretended to not listen to it very carefully, though.
I used to force myself to sleep off early on the Eve - worried what if Santa missed my home this year !But he was efficient - never missed a thing .Every Christmas morning gave me a reason to cheer . More than the fact that I have received my “pink” lipsticks – the fact that he had remembered to drop by , was my achievement.
As years passed, I realized who Santa was. My mom , who pretended not to hear my precious list used to fill the Christmas stockings with those gifts, every yr. Now that I look back , it feels such a stupid and such a wonderful gesture . Beautiful enough, that I shall remember it for the years to come.
Those were the years ,Xmas was simply beautiful and beautifully simple .Merry Christmas !

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Volatile Spirits

To keep myself going, I visit aamchi Mumbai every month , squeezing some time out of my not-so-busy schedule, which obviously is not very difficult. Being unemployed as of now and given the frequency of my travel, I certainly can’t ask for kingfishers to fly me home and so I often settle for the bhartiya rail. 26/11 , 9 p.m. – I boarded the train from Hyderabad Deccan , and even at an average of 2visit/per month – my excitement remained intact .

Being a single-lady traveler, I always get a separate “women-only ” cell and though this ensures some comfort, the continuous yapping makes my journey troublesome. As a remedy, I was quick to put on my earphones and engross myself into the oshotimes ,I had just bought from the station .
It was hardly 10:15 p.m.; My inbox started overflowing with “where are u “, “are u ok” messages. I guess that the network had just sprung back to life. I wondered what they were for….only to know after sometime about some terror strike at Mumbai ! I felt uneasy but dint bother much, and was back to my business. To be frank after living through the 1992 riots, 1993 blasts and years of travel in those explosive-laden local trains - this wasn’t something new. Inevitable almost .
The next morning, things sounded worse .Usually I don’t encourage anyone to specially come and pick me up from the station, but this time my protests stood in vain. I reached my city. This city with millions looked strangely deserted. I was not used to this Mumbai .I am used to that Mumbai - where you can’t walk without hurting someone or getting yourself hurt , where getting in and getting off a train is a everyday battle - preceded by small rituals like tying a knot with the duppata around the waist or rolling up the sleeves of the shirt, and yes - taking that one deep deep breath before the plunge . Today I missed all of that.

On the TV I watched at the symbols of this city being murdered one by one. The Taj was a place where I had spent evenings- sometimes as a guest and sometimes working in its back areas wearing chef-coats and cravats as part of my HM curriculum. I remembered those nights with friends which were spent, after college at the marine drive looking at the expanse of the dark Arabian Sea bejeweled with the lights of this city. Night-outs with friends on the stairway of the British library - sipping tea , chatting and cherishing every moment …a time when Mumbai was Bombay , and it was as Bindaas as we were.

I spent much time at home , too beleaguered to venture out. But things moved on and they did because there wasn’t an option. I travelled to CST to shop for some junk jewellery from the colaba market . The stations and trains were again overflowing with people. Some may have lost their lives..but it was hard to notice the few missing amongst the thousands. The same rituals were repeated -people pushed , they fought for the “fourth” seat and the little kids who have been begging since years were again on duty with the all time favourite “pardesi-pardesi” on their lips , and their little fingers expertly manufacturing music from two lifeless pieces of flat stones.

But If I say Mumbai was back..I would be dishonest. As the train picked up speed , I felt something was amiss. It wasn’t the Mumbai I have lived in, which even after mishaps, limped back to being itself. People looked at burkha-clad women and any man with a beard with distrust . Any black bag on the steel rack above was looked with suspicion –and some exchanged glances over it .The fruit baskets covered with old sarees by the local bhaji wali (who were always trusted) – now were asked to be exposed by some passengers. People feared each other .Any rumour could have led to an stampede at that moment . I have never felt suffocated even in most packed compartments - it was an expertise built over the years. But this time , I felt my heart pounding so loud that I thought the girl standing next to me would hear it but as I looked around I saw and heard many such hearts. The undercurrent was obvious – though on the exterior we all stood there composed, busy with our mobiles and indifferent towards everything.
In spite of many cancellations on my things to do list, the dinner date with my friends was still on- in a place not so far from my home. We finished late, as always, (almost 1 pm) and my friends dropped me a little distance away from my house. As I walked back, at this hour - the city was alive and kicking . The aroma of fresh butter sliding and melting on the hot tava from the pav bhaji stalls stilled filled the air ,serving customers of all ages, religions and classes . Men and women took a stroll , in their night clothes . People slept peacefully on the cold foothpaths ...

I walked back …confident and casual. In a single day, my outlook in the same city was volatile , just as lives of millions around me.
The irony was I felt safe on the street at this dark hour , perhaps I wasn’t so only in its broad daylight…

Monday, November 17, 2008

SEASON'ed Contemplation

These days, I unlock my day a little late than usual, and keep bargaining for “just two more mins” with myself. An hour up - still under the duvet, I have to trade-off: either attend the classes or stay back and appreciate the lovely weather outside. I, obviously, pick the latter.
Though I believe every season has its own charisma, winters are special. It manages to create an “elusive calm” in my mind, like none other. There is no harshness of the summers or the melancholy of the rains… and spring though beautiful; you miss it before you know it has set in! Winter comes right at the end of the year (at least in my part of the globe) defeating all the other seasons – to give life a much needed stillness.

After idling around in my bed for another 20 mins, I step onto the terrace, wrapped in my woolens, and it starts drizzling. I drag in as much fragrance of the wet earth as I can- and I wish I had a magic box in which this smell could be kept captured forever. The fog, though not very dense, makes everything appear vague. The only thing clearly visible is a small road speckled with the rain water, on which a brown colored stray dog (lazier than me) is curled up like a ball.
The droplets of water and the chilled air try to pleasantly pierce through the pores of my skin. My palms look pale and the finger nails -light blue. But it’s too mesmerizing a place to leave. I enjoy holding the small stainless steel glass of piping hot tea in my palms, trying to absorb the heat -as I sip it miserly, so that it lasts longer.

The sky is grey and gloomy, the winds disturbingly cold - and then the most beautiful thing I have ever known appears - the winter sunshine. In a moment, everything lights up. The leaves of the trees shine as though an artist has just colored them - and the paint is still wet. The droplets on my black woolen act as small mirrors, reflecting the sunshine and looking like tiny stars. I open my palms, to soak up as much warmth as I can. As I close my eyes and stare at the sky, a golden-yellow warmth seeps into the soul taking me to a place where I have never ventured before –nirvana-(ish) ;) indeed !!
I sit there wondering, about the contrast – of cold and warmth. Each is incomplete without the other, and each derives its meaning from the other-half. Just like I realize the value of home – after being a migrant for 4 years, or , say, we term someone beautiful, only because we know what is “ugly”. Without the ugliness, beauty loses its significance. At a more macro level, I thought, we value happiness only after life gets interspersed with bouts of grief and sorrow.
I thought as I came back to my room…this little contemplation was worthwhile – much more than the classes I bunked this winter morning.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

This Corner Of The World...

Nothing to lose and nothing to gain,
There is no love ,nor disdain.
There is no present , and there is no past ,
The moments are illusions and they hardly last....
A place to forgive , a place to forget,
A place to let go of every regret...
I let go of every thought and
Of every dream I have ever sought.
It’s a corner where I cease to think,
It’s an ocean in which I love to sink…
The numbness is angelic, the intoxication more so,
At this corner of the world my soul lay aglow.
I drop the veil, and I come alive.
At this corner of the world…the world itself futile!

Friday, October 17, 2008

With all due respect....

If it’s a holiday, I prefer waking up to a “good afternoon” rather than to a “good morning “and tune in to some non-sense on the television for at least an hour, lying there like a lazy lizard on the couch. Relieved to be placed early, this October, I came down to my (now Bangali :)) sister’s house at Bangalore. My plans to fully “utilize” my vacations were all set.

But the very next day of my visit – was the day of “Asthami” of the Durga Puja festival, and the house was abuzz since early morning with a lot of activity. My sis (who is a brave woman, I must say) woke me up at 7, asking me to get dressed up in a costume that looked 5 kgs and actually weighed half a kilo over my estimate. Everyone in the house was decked up in flashy attires and jewellery.

It was futile to argue, at this moment with my family, that such religious events do not appeal to me --and I just gave in to their wishes. As a symbol of my rebel, I put on my 3/4ths and oshos, looking more like a hippie-and set out for the pujas in the car with everyone else.

We started by visiting the pandhals at one of the most plush areas of Bangalore. I must say, the sight was impressive- fleets of flashy SUVs were lined up outside the pandhal looking for parking space. High security and cams all around made it look more like a high risk zone.

Women were decked up in sarees looking more western than Indian and flaunting chic jewellery with faces caked under layers of foundation. To me, it looked more of a fashion parade than a “puja”.

Everyone was in high spirits to have met their friends after a long time. Chats over business, gosspis over somebody’s daughter were on. There were groups all around, with aunties talking and showing-off their “High NetWorth” marriageable sons from IIMs – in search of the perfect ‘bahus”, teenage girls sharing their secrets and “out fashioning” each other, while the young guys obliquely trying to catch a glimpse of the pretty girls , in presence of their momma – dada--it looked like a good platform for unpaid matrimonial service.

The pandhal was beautifully made, with every colour possible finding a place there . In the middle of it all stood the master-piece of durga. It was a beautiful piece of art, with eyes so lively that it could speak. It wore a red saree with mirror-work which reflected the lights around and managed to shine like diamonds . Hats off to the artist who crafted the piece! To my surprise however -this place was not the centre of attraction. It lied somewhere else...

The more popular corner was a separate canopy- where the loudspeakers shouted “ Rock On “ songs and food stalls laid out the bangali delicacies. The entire place smelt of delicious luchi allu , illish bhaja and kosha mansho.The prices were 3 times higher than market rate but nobody seemed to have noticed that -as men are happy to have a break from their wives cuisines and women happy to get a break from their chores.

Suddenly something and Something Spanish or latino ( I don’t know what ) started. Amusing it may sound but -“Kingfisher” had organized “salsa” dance show over here!!! Men hooted as the troupe (esp. when the troupe girls did cha cha) danced to the Spanish tunes. Some of our family friends, I guess, even missed noticing the actual puja area, in all this exciting commotion…

It was quite funny to hear people confirming – if pujo bhog was served free , before proceeding to the next pandhal. The durga idol waited alone in a corner while everyone enjoyed the food spiced up even more with the gossips.

Banter all around, it looked like a page 3 set-up. The day ended …we saw atleast 7 pandhals that day. One thing took my notice was – those pujas were most popular where food stalls and EQ ( entertainment quotient ) was high. In others , where these things were missing- the durga idols stood solemnly waiting for its bhakts.

The last day – Dashami arrived , pople wished each other Shubho Bijoya with a heavy heart and I saw all the glam-babes shedding tears as the idol was brought down from pedestal for Bisarjan (sorry to use lot of “o” as bongs pronounce it ).

While this was happening I wondered – were the tears being shed for the durga? or for the farewell of the fun and frolic that had spiced up the days? Whatever it be- I will look forward to the party next year.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Where Have i Displaced my key ??

Nobody seems to be in a good mood – Be it Lehman or me ! ;). These days, my mornings start with the daunting newspaper and “(heart) BREAKING” news on the television.
Today was no different, after a “messy” mess breakfast – my soul was craving some “bad” news- Cant blame it , you see its now habituated ! So there I was in the TV room of my hostel…
“Bloodbath at the sensex, job cuts across global cos, political drama over the new “softer” POTA , and so on…”
The turbulence in market has a direct impact on our futures.As the placements season starts - the anxiety here on campus is both visible and natural. The brighter ones can’t stop talk about the correct “strategies” and RCAs of the global crisis (SHOW OFF) , while the not so “bright” ones like me wait in apprehension , keeping our fingers crossed.
As I was watching the news this morning, something else caught my eye. Through the vertical blinds of the French window next to the TV , I could see skinny , mud-spattered children ( of the construction workers) – playing in a mini puddle of greenish stagnant water .

My first reaction was off course – how filthy! But a second look and I saw something we all here on campus were missing – Happiness and contentment. Unaware of the world, and immersed in ignorance , they seemed to be carefree birds .Tanned skin , torn shirts , uncombed hair ..but all with a priceless smile , they made me a little envious .

I am on the verge of becoming an “MBA” and can make some dazzling presentations, talk in a party with finesse and do know all the right etiquettes with fork and knives .BUT….
As I came back to my room , I wondered why do we have to go through all the complexities in life to gain contentment , which could have been achieved otherwise, simply , in that puddle .

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Imbalanced Theory of Balancing!

There’s no better way to put me off, for a man or a woman both, than to display a male chauvinistic attitude.
I usually do not get into arguments with MCPs (M=male , C=chauvinist ,P=pig) –the reason being – If I do , I end up giving them a flavor of my feminist thoughts – and most often than not , it hasn’t worked wonders to alter their shallow psyche.
However, the world seems to be so overcrowded with these species, that the probability of encountering them is unfortunately quite high!
In one such recent encounter, a so- called friend commented over the dinner table that why taking up Human Resources as a career choice is such a good decision for me. I was flattered initially - as I thought he is referring to how my KSA s (knowledge, skills and abilities) are apt for this career path ,only to realize later that it wasn’t what he meant. His theory states that women must land up in jobs where they can be home by 6 and thus establish
“ balance” ( perceptual error that HR jobs are “wella”) .Another Mr. Know it all had a even more radical theory – that to have a good “quality of life” … the woman of the house shouldn’t be working at all !!!!!!
I will not waste even a word on the second loser here, though the “balance” theory is not bad. As a person I believe in all the “balancing “stuff.
But the question remains -Why is it so ,that the measure for balance is permanently skewed and hence screwed in our society? Isn’t the art of balancing life meant to be practiced by both sexes equally? And if it is not an equal responsibility – why call it “BALANCE” at all!!!
I have grown up in a household where my dad loves cooking ,he beautifully manages all the household errands and my mom is still working !(dad opted for a early retirement ). I adore my dad for all the delicacies he cooks and my mom for the way she handles finances and investments…It was always like that and I haven’t seen any personal disasters and have grown up to be a “normal” person, just for the records! May be that’s the reason that my mind is not conditioned to accept what most people adopt either out of circumstances or otherwise.
Coming back to the dinner table, as I mentioned I choose not to react to my dear MCPs. However many thoughts were provoked in my mind…
The next day our professor asked us to crack a case-study in the class .Ironically , about “women at workplace”. It was based on gender discrimination at certain organizations. The same set of people now talked about thinking “out-of –the –box” , breaking paradigms and cracked the case, quoting Indira Nooyi and Kiran Majumdar Shaw .The most striking phrase used was “ the time has come to break the glass-ceiling” . I couldn’t help but laugh and pity them and their future “balancing partners”.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Healthy delusion

I can safely term myself as a “very” rational person…won all my arguments with life with logic and logic alone. Calculative….even “mechanical” as some friends call me.
But there are times when logic fails or we intentionally show it the door. Something similar happened to me lately. The last month wasn’t the best of the times. I believe someone up there planned to shower all the awful things on me at once. Nothing major though but the minor ones were enough to dismantle my life….
As I mentioned earlier -I am far from having any sorts of beliefs in words like “destiny”, and the sciences which forecast or determine them in any way. However , ironically I believe it was my "destiny" that I happened to meet a distant cousin of mine who is incidentally an expert in this numerology (or some astrology , I don’t remember) business.
Just for some free of charge entertainment I asked him to give me some gyaan on the subject …. He instead as a businessman would do….hit right on the nail!!! “As you must be experiencing, your stars are not in the best of their moods”! BINGO! I wanted more ..He went on…. It seemed as if the chap has read my personal diary and this was enough to let my logic and rationality go down the drain.
The option to survive was only one- actually two- expensive stones on my fingers. Each of them with specific weight, colour, clarity quotient..the list goes on.
I spent some few thousands and lots of time and energy searching for my precious life-savers as per the specifications laid down..and finally landed with awkward looking , big stones which effortlessly manage to spoil the look of my manicured, delicate fingers ..
But to tell you the truth …I guess they are doing their work just fine… .(Though I know it’s my figment of imagination which is working..but never mind!). My intellect reprimands me for being unreasonable and my mind wants to believe in this entire drama…I want to consider the latter as of now.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mumbai Local

Statutory warning: The piece of writing may not inspire non-mumbaities!!!

Accepted my blogs are becoming too Mumbai-centric now, but the fact that I had just been to aammchi Mumbai should make you guys excuse me for a while. The city has an intoxicating air and an effect so strong that it will take me a while before I start writing about the other roller-coaster rides of my life.
It’s hard to imagine Mumbai without one thing- the local trains. Those who are from Mumbai will agree more on this than anyone else. On an average -a typical Mumbaite travels one hour (at least) everyday in the locals and believe me this monotonous journeys can rarely ever bore you. I remember the time when I used to catch the fast local from Dadar , every day after college around 1800 hrs .
This time when I went to Mumbai, I couldn’t help get the taste of the local train- trek again. Things haven’t changed much. The fast local ( the ladies compartment) is packed with a hodgepodge of women – some have just finished their work-shift at the call centre and occupying the standing area near the door with their expensive i-pods and are decked up for another party .Then there are the gold-laden women wearing blank expressions and with at least 4 kids each doing gymnastics around their bodies , (I think they are returning from some wedding- the only theme around which their lives is crafted) .
The office-going middle-aged ones are who sit down on the floor, cutting bhindi with their knives with the expertise of a chef and they are in a group chatting about their bosses/husbands/neighbours etc.. .you name it and they have an opinion to share! Then there is the juvenile gang of girls who seem to have just joined college, with an awkward sense of dressing as they are now at the experimentation stage after shedding their grey and boring school uniforms. The spark in their eyes while they talk about their new-founded “love of life” is worth a look. There is one more species, the ladies selling bhel-puri , and wada pav – I call them the plucky of all. Their business sense, selling skills and customer service is something to learn from.
The crowd is mind-boggling, and the cat-fights for the seats even more so. Wish I was an artist to capture each colour on to the canvas….but all I can do is write about it.:).
As many stories as the people…To experience the city of Mumbai… travel in its local trains - get a glimpse of the mélange of people here and their lives…and believe me you will never get bored …Its The city that never sleeps and you miss out a lot if you sleep a wink!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Something Amiss @ Pop-tates

I have been born and brought up in the city of Mumbai.10 years of my school-life has certainly given me something to cherish- my gang of girls.
We five, come from different backgrounds, culture and value systems. I opine that it is this difference that makes us so special as a gang. Whenever I come back to my hometown, we make sure that we have a revelry at pop-tates .
Now – Pop tates is almost always a certain venue. The reason being its strategic location where all the girls can come after their work-shifts and more importantly – it’s a place where we can ask for our fav. Mojitos and cosmopolitans and be sure that any after-effects there of will not attract negative attention. So this time it was yet again “pop-tates”!
Our conversations are mostly as vibrant as we are…ranging from bitchy gossips to dawn of “new friendships” and extinction of “old friends”(u know what I mean, girls). Tête-à-tête about how we all think of marriage as a social trap with a dash of male bashing off course. However…the mood always has been light and refreshing.
This time however something was amiss. One of our girls arrived late, decked up in a ultra-traditional salwar kameez. This was not unusual. What followed definitely was! The shock::::of late, her parents had started the recruitment process ( pls note there s a difference between recruitment and selection here) for a prospective groom. She just had finished one of the interviews. The worst part: She is not even ready and doesn’t know what she wants in a life partner but has just given in to the entire drama. In her so-called interviews she is acting just as a “good girl” is supposed to act. (I mean the societal definition of good). To me her wickedness is her USP…and something I genuinely love.
Am very sure the poor guy is also equally unaware ! No excitement, no thrill. Its as simple as---A good family wanting a value-ridden girl who can take-care of things (yawn!). It seemed to me as a compromise for life…I could not speak much after that …nor show my happiness (as the suffocation had taken over).
The only thought in mind was….However modern we become, not many of us have the mettle to drive biggest decisions of life…and end up “just giving in”.
I wondered and ordered another mojito …and am still wondering.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Same Busy Road....

Memories of childhood seldom fade away. The early years of my childhood were spent at a baby-sitter .It was a period when the demand of baby-sitting services had clearly started exceeding the supply , due to more and more women becoming career-oriented. My mom was no exception! And truly speaking I am proud she is not…
After school, I used to drag myself to this jaded house where amma used to be busy forcing food down some poor kids throats as it was usually lunch time . She used to think I am a well-behaved kid and for this reason the noble gesture was not showered onto me anytime. I still remember rushing to the balcony of the house (which had a black paling so that no one of little devils jump out of frustration) and take my tiffin there which mom used to pack for me before leaving for office.
I have always been petite and used to fit perfectly on the wall of the balcony and hang my legs down on the side facing the busy road. I loved looking at people the entire afternoon, the cars and the stray dogs, the ice-cream vendors, the rickshaws standing on the sides of the road, rag-pickers, men and women always rushing to reach some other part of the globe. ….For me, the road was a world in itself. Childhood is a time when something as immaterial as a road can be the most exciting part of one’s life.
My naani was however a lady with a strong view that children must always be brought up by their mothers and no one else…(traditional inflexible mind). I am glad that my mom never budged and in the end..My stubborn naani shifted from bangalore to our town and adopted me from the baby-sitter. The apartment she took was right across the same road, just parallel to my ex-baby-sitter.
I wouldn’t complain, the days I spent with my naani were awesome. My obsession changed from looking at the road the entire afternoon to the new Colour TV she bought for me . Gradually, the busy road lost all its significance from my life .Naani is a small, fat cute lady with a typical Punjabi accent and is entertaining to the core. I spent 10 years – 12 hours every day of my life with her. I call her “badima” and aptly so.
However after those 10 years , my priorities started changing. Late-night parties and friends suddenly replaced badima. I started spending time after college-hours at the beach with my gang and seldom used to meet her. As I finished graduation, I got a job in Kolkata and being in the exceedingly busy hotel industry, badima’s calls on my cell phone went unanswered most times.
It’s been 3 years I have stayed away from her and the last time I went home …naani was no longer the same. She has grown old and has nothing much to pass her time. I asked her casually so what you do the entire day , she replied ..” I just sit by the balcony and look at the road most times ….its the only thing that keeps me busy”….
The road is still the same…just the spectators have changed and their priorities….i thought.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

As different as finger prints

I am not that old…To be precise I am Just 23 (lol)…but I must admit that I have been opportune enough to travel a lot and meet many people in life. Knowing people has been an adventure in itself.
Come to think about it, every person that I encountered was a product of complex permutation and combination of characteristics and traits, not to forget circumstances. It’s easy at this point of time to draw a metaphor between finger prints and people. Just as two fingerprints in the world are not similar, so are we! The creator sure is a mathematician and a strategist- and definitely a witty one!
I have been so tied up lately with myself that I forgot to enjoy meeting people - and I resolve to correct it immediately. It was a sleepy afternoon that I was roaming in my hostel corridor to fetch some water from the cooler when I overheard my hostel bai (the maid who cleans the rooms) crying in one of the balconies. She is the one who comes and cleans our rooms every Sunday and the corridors everyday. I never even had given her a look, forget about a smile or acknowledgement in these 2 months. Coming back to that afternoon, I went and asked her if she’s all right – she replied in her bungling hindi that she is pregnant and for the third time she is being taken for a foetus-sex determination. (Which I dint know how they managed as its illegal). The first two times, her in-laws had managed her to undergo an abortion since the unlucky life inside her was a girl.
She was worried and trembling with fear. A person who held no meaning in my life made me see the reality of life. We are so comfortable in our nests of life that sometimes we live in a mirage of happiness and content. I made her some glucose, the only thing that is always present in abundance in my hostel room. I was so stunned that I could not tell her any of my “nari atyachar” lecture which I always confidently share amongst my gang of friends. The reality is stanger than illusion.
I could not believe that I said to her “Best luck.I pray It to be a boy” and left. Someone like me , who should have been angry and asked her to complaint against her in-laws walked away without saying much.
The next day she came back, woke me up from my sleep at 0800 and gave me a e-clair . She was beaming and said “Ladka Hai”. I am happy for her.
It’s high time I get back to my favorite sport—appreciating fingerprints as they are!

Journey without destination

Sitting in my boring lecture today, a thought passed my mind : Is journey more important or is it the destination??
I dont know how this thought made my mind drift to Sealdah station 2 years was my journey to Darjeeling-the queen of hills..The train left at around 2100 hrs from the over-crowded station to start an overnight journey to New Jalpaiguri. I was not very excited as I dint hold any expectations about my trip to darj. I was so absorbed in the journey that the destination hardly mattered. Reading my favourite Paulo Coelho's masterpiece "Veronica Decides To die" , I was immensely inspired to try out "new" things and experiment in life . Non-conformist,I always was!!!
New-Jalpaiguri is a small-town , where one can find cycle rickshaws and dingy eateries. However , I dint waste time , my toy train was waiting on another platform.To be frank,I wasnt particularly impressed with the heritage train(which seemed to impress everyone else), it was one uncomfy place ( as initially i was in the general compartment).The first class was good enough and the chinki TC who arranged for me the ticket for it was even cuter...
Many hours passed in the toy train and finally there it was - First glimpse of Darj. . Some things that stilll starkly stands out in my memories even today were the school girls wearing red short skirts and waving to us.The households selling "momos" with the sichuan sauce , which are just a "perfect" welcome token for anyone coming to darj.And yes the clouds that I could touch with my fingers.
It was a rainy evening whwn I reached Darj. Being a choosy girl that I am, I had a tough time searching for the hotel and more so the view I wanted from my window. Lucky me ! got what i wanted. The window opened to a beautiful glimpse of the town and it seemed as the place where i could stand forever and never get bored.The window opened to happiness of the twinkling lights of the town-houses and also opened to a melancholy of a small light source tucked away from all the other fancy ones - perched at the top of a hill.It opened to the hustle-bustle and also to the silence.
The next day , I could have acted as a tourist jumping around to do some sight seeing--- but I for one, was not pepped up to do that at darj. Instead I treaded on the roads that I dint know will lead to where...However I think wherever they were leading to was surely the way to the heaven , or were heaven themselves...There was beauty in everyone and everything around ..The cosy English pubs , the roadside markets, the temples and the churches...
My journey was not searching for the destination,. but I have to admit that in life I would love to take up many more such journeys without destinations...

P.S. a special thanks to all people i met during the journey , without whom there wouldnt have been any journey nor destination.:)