Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Love and Waiting

Mrinalini didn't want to come out of his memories. She thought he was the one: The prince with whom she would happily ever after. But it was not.

Her friend hadn't uttered a word for the last 15 min. He was watching the waves that lashed out against the dilapidated fort walls.

"Tell me is love and waiting interlinked ?"  She asked.

No reply. He was still staring at the natures fury unleashed on to the walls.

"Ok, you also don't answer. Fine! Don't talk to me." Her eyes started to brim with tears. Again.

He looked at her, suggesting to repeat what she asked. He was back.

"Adi what do you think of love and waiting." She repeated.

"You don't wait when you are in love.
But if you don't wait then probably you are not in love.
That is the irony of love.
The love I believe in"

He continued to stare at the waves.

"That is really stupid. You would end up waiting all through your life. No? ". She taunted him.

He continued to stare at the waves. Slowly tide was coming down. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Night in the Train

He was late. Not unusual for him.
Chennai station was crowded. As usual.

With such an eloquent ease, he made his way through the confusion and heat.  He was not in a hurry even though he didn't know the platform on which he would find his train home. 
On the dilapidated notice board, he found the platform number of his train. It was written with a smudgy red marker that S6 would be at position 12. He walked towards it. He thanked his stars for not taking the crossing bridge. He hated climbing those steps!

She was already there. Safely seated inside and waving at him. She was showing him signs to speed up as the train had already started to move. But he didn't care. He was thinking about the sweet box he used to buy whenever he left for home. He didn't have one this time. He missed the yellow packing of the box with Adyar Anand Bhavan written in dark blue. It had the smell of pure ghee which they used to make the sweets. He missed the Yellow box and the smell of ghee.

He normally doesn't take this train. It had a unusual timing. It leaves Chennai at 4 in the evening and reaches home at 3 in the morning.  But then she called and asked him to accompany her. And he agreed because it was a long time since he went home. 

Before the train picked up speed, he got hold on to the yellow bar near the door. Behind him Chennai station's watch tower slowly moved into horizon. 
He walked towards her coup. Unfamiliar faces, some lost and some already settled. He was looking around for some interesting character. Suddenly she came from her coup and called him. 

She was her classmate from yesteryears. Once she was very close to him and then she had to change the school as her dad got transferred to another city. They had lost touch until years later  they accidentally met here in Chennai.  And one day, out of the blue, she came with this request.

She had changed. Her eyes were more wider. Eyelashes neatly blackened. She wore a brown cotton salwar. She had a bangle like watch which had an odd symbol. She smiled at him. That hadn't changed. 

And they talked - about school days, about home works, about their best friend, about college, about lovers, about sex, about future.

Train was nearly reaching home. Around 10 ours had passed and both of them did not notice. Everybody else had departed on the stations before theirs. And when they stopped talking there was silence. Synchronous sound of rotating wheels  played a music to that silence.

The cold breeze from the window ruffled her hair and she was was having trouble adjusting her hair.  He got up and closed the rustic iron window.

It was then their eyes met each other. They hadn't met for a long time. Both didn't avert their gaze.

He never took the first move. Not now and not then. So she said in calm voice "Didn't you have a crush on me? "

He would have refuted it but then it was around 3:00 AM and he didn't want to tell a lie. "How did you know ? ".

"I always knew" She told.

"How?" He persisted.

"Because I had a crush on you." She blushed.

"Why didn't you tell me ?" He queered.
"I thought you would tell me first." He could see the disappointment in those eyes.  "I waited for long but then you never said anything." She looked down.

The signboard for Palakkad junction zipped past them and train started to slow down.He silently got and picked up her bag from upper rack and gave it to her. Their eyes met again.

He averted those questioning eyes.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Playing to Win

Come to the front Bhai. He moved forward.

In the centre of that green lush ground, a tall Afghan  was getting ready to bat. The bowler had just finished giving field setting instruction to his men.

He was playing cricket after 19 years. All these years he was just a mere spectator watching this game on his couch with a can of soda and fries. However, he felt he was more fit than people around.  But he did not show that on field. Instead he watched them.

He was playing with Afghans for the first time. Infact before this day, he had never met an Afghan. He  They were in their mid 20s and 30s. Some were students and some working. All of them had a story to tell about how they left Afghanistan. War had brought them to knees.

But, they had over come that, or so he thought. What he saw there was immense energy and spirit to win.

Everybody was giving instruction to each other. Everybody thought they were right in their decision.

It was fascinating for him to see the spirit of humanity to fight and move forward. Everybody wanted to win and they knew or they thought they were right.

Bhai!!! Suddenly his adrenaline shot up, bringing him back to reality and he ran forward to catch hold of the ball.

With hands in front like, spread out,  to catch a chicken on run. The ball slipped through his hands and in between his legs.

There was unanimous shout of disbelief from other 10 players.

The tall guy came to him and told him how to field. He also showed how to do it. Then he went back. He thanked with courteous node.

To them it was not just a game. It was game they wanted to win.

He smiled.  For a change he thought he will play along. To win.

PC: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CB77KGnVIAECRg1.jpg

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Far far in the future

Let me tell you a story,
of a conversation,
between bemused minds
over cup of coffee.

Of times past,
they talked,
entwined in laughter
a world lost long ago.

 Yesteryear memories,
of love, laughter and innocence
under a roof,
behind the hillocks.

Winding path,
for the chosen life
bid an adieu
in smile and a tear

Let me tell you a story,
of a conversation,
between bemused minds
over cup of coffee.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

When you listen with a smile

Some conversations you enjoy. Sometimes, these are not conversations, these are the ones that you simply listen.

Sid had a smile while listening about her day at work.

"And you know what? Seema calls me from the other class telling there is an emergency. I tell you these kids even though they are just 4 they can make an army general go crazy in half an hour! I am half insane managing my own flock. Thats when I have to manage other's! I follow her to the class. There I see a pandemonium.  Markus is standing in the center and making some noise and everybody is running around. I catch couple of projectiles on the way. I ask Markus why he is not behaving? He says......"

"After that......" She continue to the next incident.

The same smile is still stuck on Sid's face. He tries to picture how she would be telling this.
With wide pretty eyes running around along the actions of her arms. Making those twerks on the face with lips overlapping in an odd manner. Sitting on the bed with her legs folded, wearing those favorite blue shorts.

"Meanwhile, Ms lee calls me to my class. Apparently Alex has made Roxane cry. You know there are 8 girls in my class and two boys. Alex is the naughtiest. Poking here and there all the time. Earlier all my girls were, well girly. Now every girl behaves like Alex. But he is a nice chap..........."

Sid's smile is even more wider.

"Now you tell me, how was your day"  She asks.

"My day was fine. It just got perfect listening to you." Sid replies with the same smile

Some conversations, they make your day worth getting up.

PC: http://mistiblue.deviantart.com/art/waiting-on-your-phone-call-31174491

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Today I got a dream.

And unlike my other dreams, I want it to happen for sure. And not be just another dream.

I have taken my first step towards it.  

Fingers crossed.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Cross connections

 The number was in Sid's head, a surprising fact in this world. He never forgets what needs to be forgotten. Before he could think, he had finished dialing.

Meanwhile, around 11000Km away from Istanbul, at around 10,000 ft above sea level,  Phobjikha valley had turned purple, reminding the monks of Gangteng monastery to close the doors of the outer wall lest the summer wind from the south usher in. Yandin Wangchuk was in dilemma, even though his faith forbid him, he still wanted to call her. From the rustic corner of the monastery, he mustered courage to dial those numbers, penned long time in his red pocket book.

Meanwhile, around 3000 Km away from Phobjikha valley,  Anitha was preparing her morning coffee. She hated this ritual but she needed one before she went to hospital. Aravind, her husband was still sleeping after his tiring night shift. His duty was not supposed start before 3:00 PM, so she allowed him to enjoy his dreams. However, while looking at him sleeping, she felt something amiss. Perhaps things would not have been the same with ...She didn't complete her thoughts. Coffee was finally kicking in. Suddenly, her mobile started to ring.

Meanwhile, somewhere on the US east coast, Minshi Wangdin was getting ready to sleep. She had put her 11 months old baby, Rinzc to sleep.  She had finally got adjusted to life in America. Leaving Bhutan was something she never dreamed of. But now, everything seemed to have happened a long time ago.  Slowly time had healed old wounds. Those were not wounds thought, those were just pangs of separation. Separation from him. Like colorful prayer flags that fluttered in mountains, carrying the prayers across levied by cold wind, for few months they carried that her pain too. But now everything was becoming distant memory. She looked at her Rinzc's face.

Suddenly her mobile started ringing. She picked up in panic because it would have woken up Rinzc.

"Hello" . Anitha at once recognized that voice. It was Sid.

Hello.  Minshi could not reply to it. She knew who she was talking to.

Suddenly the voices cracked

"Anitha before you cut the call let me tell you something." Sid said in quivering voice.

"Hello" ..."Minshi Hello" ..."hello Sid " ..."Anitha..."

"I met somebody and I am very happy in my life. I hope you too are happy. I know I could have been more happier with you.  But I messed it up. I am sorry. I want you to know that you are the best thing that has happened to me so far in my life. And I gave it up for something silly. I curse myself every day for that. But then it has been more than 7 years and I would like to move on. Wish me luck will you. It means a lot to me."

"Sid ...I always wanted you to move on. I know how you would have been all these years. But do you know what... I was even more cursed than you were. Every day being with somebody who loves me a lot without thinking that I was not completely in love with him. I was lying to myself every day. you see, I never told about you to him. But I think I would have to tell him. Good luck to you Sid. But can you wish me the same ...I too want a closure. "

"Good luck".. Yandin said it before he realized.

Minshi closed her eyes and hung the call. She waited for her husband.

Photocredit: http://pando.com/

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The butterfly effect

Top ten things that I have done so far because of very simple reasons (which if others heard would put me in mental asylum)

1. Going to Istanbul because I wanted to see Museum of Innocence based on the book by Orhan Pamuk which was given to me by friend to understand what love is all about. 

2. Going to cemetery at 12:00 in the night. They said dead came on back on the day they died to know who attended their funeral and who loved them. I wanted to tell that I loved even after death. 

3. Covering 800 Km in 17 hours through crowded roads of West Bengal to catch flight from Calcutta. The connection train was late. So we had to do it and we survived at least 4 accidents on the way. Just to reach back my hostel room because I had to process my photos

4. Walking alone in the Panther zone when Panther alert was still on. I was scared of Panthers. I wanted to shed those fears so I walked not just once but twice to see if there are any panthers. I did not find any.

5. Continuously swimming 10 laps in the Pool.  I learned swimming in the river, when I was learning how to swim I couldn't cross from one bank to another. To me reaching the other side of the river was a distant dream. 10 laps or 500 m was more or less the distance I had to swim to reach the other side of river. Next is to cross the river when flooded just like my grandfather used to do.

6. Jumping behind the old fellow while crossing the Chanderkhani pass in Himalayas to catch him. I thought I could not live peacefully if I did not try to save him. Both of us were saved by the Sherpas. :)

7.  Calling her on the eve of her marriage to wish her a happy married life.  I thought I should say it and I really wanted her to know that I meant that. 

8.  Going to Iceland to see northern lights. Ever since, Elsey teacher (may her soul rest in peace), described Aurora Borealis in 7th standard I wanted to see it.  I did not see it. I would go again. 

9.  Joining the  programme in Bombay instead joining the University of Pennsylvania. I fell in love with Bombay from the moment I set foot there.

10.  Burning the Medicine acceptance card. Else I would still be in the Med school, without graduating. 

 Some of them are really stupid and some really weird. But isn't that what makes this life worth living ?

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Rantings at 1:00AM

I was always late for the class.  Not because I wanted to but because I just could not skip watching the last 5 minutes of the Hindi soap that used to be telecasted in the national television. But then, I was not the only person who was late. Sometimes, I used to be the only one. But that happened rarely. As I silently keep my cycle next to the brazened compound wall filled with wild bougainvillea, only conundrum that used to run in my head was whether Sreedevi teacher, as we fondly called her, had come or not.

But most often, it was relief when I wade through hordes of cycles parked in the portico and to see that her footwear not being present in the jungle of foot-wears in front of the veranda.  I never used to give second glance to her husband who used to sit in veranda pretending to read the newspaper. He always wore a polo t-shirt with white lungi. For some unknown reasons, he had this disgruntled look on his face. I would silently creep into the room where they would have started the alap. Nisha, teacher's daughter would be playing harmonica, directing me to my place with her eyes. She had beautiful eyes along with beautiful voice. I would lazily put taala before clearing my throat to join the chorus. Manju sitting on my left had excellent control over her voice. Ashwathy, on my right, on the other hand would mess up notes in random. She always managed to get some of the easy notes get flat. Then suddenly, my teacher would appear. She would give her handbag to Nisha and ask her to leave. She works in local school and teach us music after she is done with her work. I always used to think why she couldn't dedicate her whole time for us. But then I did not know then how difficult it is survive as a middle class family.

Because of running, she used to sweat, which she would wipe out with the end of her pallu. Most often it was a yellow cotton saree with black border. Then she would start taunting us - especially me,  for not practicing. She would make each one of us sing separately picking up our faults. The finale would be with me. Mocking me left, right and center for my rendition. Sometimes I would feel like running away from that closed room with one window. But I never did that. Instead I continued this for almost 5 years.

When time became scarce, I had to forsake music. So I stopped. But then I thought I was never good at it. But years later, my mother met Sreedevi teacher, she asked her why I stopped singing or rather stopped coming to her.  I never used to sing at home so she told her that I had lost interest. Teacher was sad to hear that. When my mother probed she told that I was the best student in that batch and she thought I could have had a career in music.

Generations of musicians have learned under her tutelage in that closed room. Some became famous and some are still famous. So when she said that I had a chance to be musician, I was not disappointed because she had inspired me to find what music was really to me. All her chiding and grueling sessions had moulded me to find patterns and perfect myself. Music was the inner perfection that I could see and sometime that which I could smell. Like the cadence of voices that danced in my head, I could relate all my surroundings to a tune. Something that is so profound, complete in all sense and perfection and yet, something, which my incapacious vocabulary  cannot define or convey.  Yet, it is there.

I still have her face clearly etched in my mind. Sweeping the sweat from her eye brows. Her tenacity to impart something so divine into 12 naughty brats who perhaps didn't know what they were learning then.

This is what teachers does. They inspire; sometimes in a very latent manner.

I was blessed to have so many teachers who inspired me. Planting a fire or two in me which never burned me but soothe me over the ages. Meandering memories from yesteryears; The stern voice of mathematics teacher who stood me out of the class because I did not score even half of what the average scored for two hours straight and then taking me for a walk telling me that I was expected to get cent percentage in Maths, which i rubbished off with a laugh. Eventually when I did score cent percent for my board, only thing she told me was - "didn't i say so? ".  The calm Biology teacher begging my mother to make me write biology entrance exam because she firmly believed I could clear it. And so did it happen.  Then there was dance teacher, art teacher, language teacher who found  things  which I overlooked or rather did not care to search. It was them, who without expecting anything in return, inspired me and shaped my life. A beautiful life.

I thank all of them.

So  it was a very nostalgic moment when my former advisor asked me to return to India to join the perhaps the best technical institute in the country.

But, with all humility, I must decline that offer. Because I can never be a teacher, with all those shadows of who had inspired me , I don't know how to inspire. And that one trait is the only trait required to be teacher. Alas I don't have that.

There are still things which I have to understand about myself. With tools that my teachers have imparted years ago, I continue my search for those.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

What if the life is a dream
And the death, the actual awakening ?

No wonder everybody is scared to die.