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If only farewells could talk…

19 Nov

Over the past few days, I’ve been and still am wondering if our lives would have been any different from the way it is now, if only farewells could talk… confused? So am I!

In the course of my life, I’ve met many people and hoped that they’d stay in it forever. Hoped they’d never leave. When I had met my grandmother last year, to whom I was most attached to as a granddaughter, and had spent many a tender moments with her before bidding a casual farewell, hoping I’d meet her soon… I wish that farewell had told me- ‘hey, this would be the last time you’re going to bid her a farewell…’, I would have done everything possible by me to stay by her longer, would have cancelled my holiday trip & held on to her, would have told her how much I loved her… but this isn’t how things work & no one warned me that it would be the last time I’d be seeing her… and I never got my chance to express my love to her.

On the last day of our college, I was literally inconsolable from the thought that I’d  be missing my friends forever. I wished I could do college forever & I was heartbroken when I had bade my friends a teary farewell, despite mutual promises of staying in touch… if only that farewell told me ‘hey chill, this is not the end, you’re all gona soon stay connected like never before & in only a matter of few years…’, i wouldn’t have spent several months trying hard to fight of my separation blues. A million thanks to technology, Facebook, Whatsapp, etc, I now have almost all my dear friends back, including some from my kindergarten… well, almost all, ‘cos I still miss one of them very dearly. I’m sure we would have gotten back in touch too, if only… if only he continued to exist…

A casual meet one fine day and an equally casual farewell we exchanged, before he left in his car but not before turning and looking at me, till i was out of his sight. If only this farewell had warned me that this was the last time I was ever going to see him… if only… i would have done everything in strength to stop him that day, to ensure he did not go ahead with his disastrous plan, would have stopped him from taking his life… if only, if only…

Some farewells that we think are really casual & temporary ones could be of a permanent nature even before you realize and those that you think are permanent may not really be one… if only… if only these farewells spoke, would our lives have been any different? Think about it…

Since no one can predict the nature of a farewell, let us ensure we express ourselves fully to the ones we love, tell them how much we care for & love them, tell them how much they mean to us, for we never know when we might lose them forever and sometimes without even getting a chance to bid them a farewell.

Image

farewell…

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A little ‘hiss’tory

15 Nov

It appears like I had requested God before he put me on earth, that no matter what happens in my life, it shall not happen without a great deal of drama, twists & turns or adventure (with a choice of picking any one or all of these)….

…to which he consented!

And thus began all the trouble for my near & dear ones…

One (not so) fine day, when I had to go to college to collect my hall ticket, I realized I had no friends for company and as a last resort, I asked my mom to join me. My mom is always wary to involve herself in anything that involves me! She at first tried to politely excuse herself, but soon realized that she wasn’t given any choice. Not happy at all and with a grumpy look, she joined me but not before giving me her customary warnings. Happy that I now had a company, we hailed a rickshaw to our college.

I joined the queue as fast as I could (‘cos I wanted to be done with this task as early as it ever could). My mom stood beside me. I could see that she was trying hard to avoid the many professors who were walking up and down the corridor like caged lions and equally menacing.

Just then, there was a commotion outside, on the campus. I was very, VERY curious to go see what it was all about, but couldn’t risk losing my turn in the queue and in turn prolong the entire ordeal. That would amount to too much of a torture. Unable to contain my curiosity any more, I got my junior to go see what was happening and then let me know (yeah, I occasionally used to show my ‘seniority’ around 😉 ).

She came back saying that a snake had slithered on to the campus and there were attempts being made to rescue it.

‘Rescue’? Did I hear her right?

Now, this was quite hard for me to believe. Many animals, among which snakes top the chart, are revered in my country. But this does not guarantee their safety or well being. The irony is, the stone idols of snakes are worshiped & respected, but when people come across a real one, it is almost instantly clubbed to death without even giving the poor creature a chance to escape….

Maybe the times have changed and the people have evolved I thought. However, I wanted to be sure about this thought of mine. I was only 6 persons away from getting my hall ticket, when I decided to bolt across to the campus outside, lest it becomes too late. My mother was flabbergasted. Not able to figure out what she should do, she decided to come after me. I reached outside to find a 25 something group of men surrounding a small Indian cobra. I joined them eagerly, to see how they’d rescue the little fellow and was scanning the group for anyone who looked like a professional snake catcher, especially since a potentially dangerous snake was involved. To my disappointment, there was no one in that group who looked professional nor a snake catcher, forget ‘professional snake catcher’ with snake catching forceps in hand. I was still trying to figure out what exactly was happening when one of the persons from that crowd, threw a massive stone at the little one, narrowly missing crushing its head. This made the little snake extremely furious and it starting hissing menacingly & delivered several bites to that stone & the ground. That was when I was horrified and realized that there was no ‘rescue’ operation going on there. No wonder I had my doubts about it! I decided to give that junior of mine, a piece of my mind the next time I meet her. This group was actually discussing amongst themselves, if it was fine to kill a cobra and if not, what would be price for committing such a grave sin. One ‘wise’ man from the crowd said it was okay to kill it as long as its head is instantaneously crushed, failing which the killer shall be damned for many births (I think its 12 number of births) & rebirths with immense misfortune, childlessness & other stuffs that would guarantee a miserable life.

I freaked out! So, the poor snake had managed to stay alive all this while, only because of the many superstitions that surrounded it. The ‘to kill or not to kill such a revered snake’ discussion by the insane crowd had kept it alive for that long. That little snake should really be thankful that it was born a cobra and not some other, like a rattle snake or something, as that crowd wouldn’t have spared even a wink’s time before bludgeoning it to its death. The reason being, there isn’t any special provision for rattle snakes in the ‘Indian Superstitious Beliefs’, unlike the cobra. I was now pitted alone against these 25 or so ruffians like hostile men (hostile to the snake). The snake had only me in its favour.

My mom was equally worried too, worried for the snake and worried for the only person who sought its welfare- ‘me’! How was I ever going to save this little reptile? It then occurred to me that even new born baby cobras are equipped with enough venom to kill an adult human being (thanks to channels like NGC, Discovery & Animal planet). These dreadful things are sadistically reminded to you by the brain when you least what them. I don’t even know how to go near a snake without getting bitten by it, let alone attempting something as foolhardy as trying to catch one and that too a cobra! I wished I had taken some training in the same and mentally topped it on my bucket list.

I was desperately browsing my phone for numbers of some of my animal activist friends, when another person from the crowd, a uniformed cabbie- who was carrying himself like Tom Cruise trying to the save the only living planet, walked in front of the snake with a huge wooden club in his hand. How the hell did he find such an effective snake killing equipment so quickly? He was about to do what he wanted to do with a big club in hand and a venomous snake on the ground… when I yelled at him. Words came out my mouth like reflex action, even before it reached my brain for any editing. I glared & yelled at him to get back and leave the snake alone. The startled crowd only then took notice of me and that was when I noticed that mom & me were the only two from the opposite gender. From the corner of my eye, I could see that the little cobra was exhausted from all the ferocious hissings & the fake bites (or maybe real) that it gave as an act of self defense.

The crowd was not happy at all with my interference. One of them menacingly asked me if the snake should be allowed to remain on the college premises, to which the other tightened his grip around the club. This was starting to appear like a losing battle to me. Not knowing what to do & how to do, I told them that I would take the snake away from there and ensure our mutual safety. That was when I think I distantly heard several laughter emit from within the crowd. The ‘wise’ man of that crowd spoke again- ‘this girl is going to get herself killed, so before she does anything suicidal, let us kill that snake & be done with it!’. My mother was beginning to get paranoid and started calling out to me.

Frustration & desperation got the better of me, when I confidently told, rather lied to the crowd that I was trained in catching snakes and that I knew exactly what I was doing. My mother’s jaw dropped and she was dumbstruck. What on earth was her irrational daughter planning to do now? She looked like she was about to have a nervous breakdown.

To me, the fear of having to see this beautiful snake’s head crushed was far greater than my own fear of getting bitten by it. I couldn’t imagine having this precious little one brutally killed right before my eyes. My mom didn’t know what to do and was very, very worried about what I had gotten myself into. As the crowd suspiciously watched me, I looked around for anything that would help me get this little reptile out of trouble. Not finding any, apart from an arm long twig, I said a small prayer & gently slid it under the little one and picked it up (I hoped the little angry snake wouldn’t strike me, esp. not after I told the crowd that I was a trained snake catcher. That would amount to too much of an embarrassment to die with on your head).

Anyways, that act of mine was enough to unnerve the crowd and many hurriedly left the place. Thank God, I thought, lesser idiots to deal with! I now had to find something to put the snake into. A close to fifteen minute search of the entire campus went in vain, for I could find nothing to put the snake into (all the while I was hoping & praying the snake wouldn’t either voluntarily or involuntarily fall off the twig that I held it on).  Suddenly, a young boy who seemed concerned both for the snake and me offered help by offering me a white color translucent plastic bag. I was immensely grateful. He held the bag open, while I quickly managed to slide the angry little creature inside & tied a knot to it. I thanked the young boy and ran to my mom who was as worried as anybody could ever be. We quickly made our way out of the college, as I did not want any more confrontations with any more idiots- be it the old or new ones.

We boarded a rickshaw and hurriedly left the place. My mom sat at a distance, maintaining a healthy distance from me & the plastic bag that I held, as she felt that the little snake inside was so furious that it could actually strike her from within the plastic bag, by puncturing the plastic cover with its venomous fangs. As the sunlight passed through the cover, it was easy for us to see the shadow of snake, sitting inside the cover with its hood raised, alert &  hissing. This only freaked my mother more and she scolded me to hold the bag away from both her and me. Since it was a hot summer afternoon, I felt the temperature inside the plastic bag could soon rise to fatal levels; I loosened the knot of the plastic cover a little bit, in order to facilitate some ventilation for the creature that was inside it. Seeing this, my mom was so horror struck that she looked like she would fall out of the rickshaw we were travelling in and this attracted the driver’s attention, much to my embarrassment.

We stopped near a densely wooded, deserted ground where we had decided to free the snake. I paid the driver and ensured he was off with it. Mom & me then found a suitable place amidst dense shrubs to let go of our little reptilian friend. But then I realised there was another problem. How was I going get the snake out of the bag? What if it decided to bite me on its way out, as it was very mad with our kind…? Thank god, this same though did not occur to mom too, else she would have raised an alarm herself! So, pretending to be very confident about what I was doing (again), I asked her to maintain good distance between us. My mom, with bated breath, was looking at me, like as if she was watching a bomb that would soon blow off. My mind was continually chanting all the little prayers it knew in the background, hoping that I’d live to see the next day and to tell the tale. I cautiously held the plastic bag away from me, untied the knot first & held it. Then with my other hand below the bag, I quickly turned the bag upside down, so the snake inside would fall off from within. It worked!

The little cobra fell on to the soft grass below. I tried to get the mobile phone out from the pocket of my jeans, as fast as I could so I could capture its picture in memory of this day, like an autograph from it or something. To my greatest surprise, the little cobra, stopped in its tracks, turned back to look at me for one last time, before it disappeared into the woods like lightening on a typical rainy day. I did manage to click its picture just in time & before it left, rather vanished.

Excited, I ran back to my mom & showed her the picture that I managed to take of the snake’s on my phone’s camera & hugged her. She had tears of joy in eyes, happy to have both her daughter and the little snake alive & doing well.

Whoever would have thought that a simple task of collecting my hall ticket would manifest itself into an adventure this fatal and that we’d return from my college with a snake in a plastic bag, instead of a duly stamped hall ticket! phew!

As for the hall ticket, I collected it the following day (with my friends for company of course, ‘cos I couldn’t dare to ask my mom to join me again, not after what I had put her through the previous day!).

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When I turn back and look at this incident, I’m always left baffled, for I know for certain that this deadly little snake could have bitten me more than twice throughout the entire ordeal, if it wanted to (first, when I tried picking it on a twig; next- when I was scouring the campus ground with ‘the snake atop a twig’ in hand, for anything that I could put it in & lastly, when it was finally released), but it chose not to! I wonder why? Could it say the difference between my intentions from those of the crowd? Could it really understand? Did it actually co-operate with me, for it knew I wasn’t going to harm it, but instead would take it to safety? Any harassed creature would flee at its first opportunity to freedom. Why then did this little snake stop and turned to look at me for one last time before it left? Anyways, there shall always remain some questions, the answers to which shall never be known…

Today, although I still haven’t managed to train myself at snake catching, I do keep the phone numbers of professional snake catchers handy at all times.

Here's the pic that I captured on my Nokia 3110

Here’s the pic that I captured on my Nokia 3110

All’s well that ends in love!

14 Feb

It was Valentine’s Day & the sight of bright red cardboard hearts, roses and other decorations at various places made Tia rather uneasy. She wanted to rush back home, so she could avoid seeing the various embellishments that celebrated love.

Tia wasn’t in the best of her moods as she going through a ‘not so smooth’ time with her fiancee- Rahul. A small misunderstanding was blown out of proportion & it was three days since she last spoke to Rahul. She was very upset with him & as a result, she expected an initiative for patch up from Rahul, but there hadn’t been a single call from him since morning & this, Tia really did not appreciate.

She was done with her classes for that day. Not the one to be excited about this day, she decided to head home to tend to her little pup that she had recently adopted. After spending some time with her best buddy Salma, Tia started for home. Just as she was about to board the auto rickshaw that would have taken her home, she heard her phone beep faintly from the abyss of her bag. Rahul! she thought, with a smile. No. It was her best friend- Akshay. Akshay invited Tia to join him at a cafe bar, so he could help her understand the basics of HTML coding. Considering the fact that it was a weekday afternoon, there wouldn’t be many at the cafe and the two of them could go about their business with little or no disturbance. This seemed like a great idea! Finally Akshay made time out of his ever busy schedule for her and she would by no way let this opportunity slip by.

Tia had always nagged Akshay, who also was her batch mate to help her understand HTML coding, which somehow she could never follow when it was being taught in the class, ‘cos due to unavoidable circumstances, she had to miss the first few important classes of this subject. However, with a degree in computer science already, HTML was child’s play for Akshay. And who better to teach her the subject than her best buddy?

The two caught up at the nearest Cafe Coffee Day and after some meaningless chat and a fight over who should order what, they finally decided to start with HTML. Tia hated the subject & also the fact that Akshay was its top scorer, which gave him an opportunity to pull Tia’s leg whenever there was a discussion on this subject. Since Akshay had a bachelor’s party to attend that evening, he had forewarned Tia that he’d only be able teach her the basics of HTML that day. After close to 45mins of HTML basics, Tia felt that she had studied enough for one day. Closing her books shut and thanking Akshay for helping her out, she was about to leave from there, when through the window of the cafe, her eyes fell on a familiar Hyundai car parked on the opposite side of the street and directly in front of where they sat. When she squinted a little to see who was behind the wheels of the car, she was in for a big surprise, though she wasn’t very sure if she had to term it a ‘pleasant’ or an ‘unpleasant’ one going by the situation. It was none other than Rahul and from his expression, Tia could easily say that he was heart-broken & fuming mad at her. She instantly realized why. Tia didn’t know how to react.

Rahul was always very protective of Tia & sometimes reasonably possessive of her, just as anybody in love would be. Being a little tom boyish and totally unlike any other girl, she always had many friends and admirers from both genders. Rahul, however, wasn’t very happy & appreciative of some her friends who shared their gender with him.

Tia knew what she had gotten into. Perplexed on reading Tia’s expression and mind, Akshay paid the bill and hurriedly left the place. Tia knew that Rahul wouldn’t have been this mad at her, had all been fine between them. Their current rough phase and a brief break up of three days would have made Rahul think that she has moved on & is currently dating some another guy on Valentine’s. How horrible! Tia rushed to Rahul in order to clear the air and avoid any further misunderstandings between the two. As she entered his car, her eyes couldn’t miss the huge bouquet of red roses and a gift box on the seat behind Rahul’s. He had come for a patch up, and what an irony, I’ve turned the situation into something that aided a break up, she thought. With her eyes welling up in tears, she struggled to talk. When she finally managed to, she found herself telling- ‘Rahul… look, please don’t jump into conclusions… Akshay is just a… ’ That’s when Rahul gestured her to stop whatever she was saying. Tia knew she was standing at the brink of a failed relationship. Her heart sank. She felt utterly stupid for having met up with Akshay especially on Valentine’s, without thinking of consequences. She knew she had to now prepare herself for an untimely & a very painful break up. Anything she’d now tell wouldn’t be convincing enough for a person blinded by rage.

Tia was wondering how to make Rahul see the truth & the innocence of the entire episode, when she felt his hand around hers. He kissed her on the forehead and said- ‘Tia, remember, you’ll never have to explain yourself to me & not even in my wildest dream would I imagine something like what you are trying to explain is not. The reason I was so mad at you, was because you did not call me, where I was actually hoping & praying for your call at least on Valentine’s, thinking here is my opportunity for a quick patch up. Moreover, you hadn’t picked a single call of mine since last two days… Tia, it’s you or no one for me & I can never live without you. I have always loved you unconditionally & will continue to do so. Explanations are for shallow relationships, and I‘d consider it as an insult to me & for my love towards you, if ever you try to explain yourself to me again.’

Tia dint know how to react, again. She was so relived & there were tears in her eyes, only this time, it was tears of joy & love. Rahul loved the Tia who was always bubbly, full of life & had a perennial twinkle of mischief in her eyes. Tears didn’t suit her too well & he couldn’t bear to see the tears, that had blurred his much loved twinkle in her eyes. Rahul hugged her tight in a reassuring way, so she’d feel fine again. Later that day, they set out for a quiet, open air, roof top, candle light dinner.

It was a very special day, not only because it was Valentine’s, but because it was on this day that Rahul had ‘first’ proposed to Tia. First, because Tia had taken a good 3 years to accept it & Rahul had to propose to her many times, before she finally accepted it. Tia however, was left with many questions unanswered, to start with, like- how did Rahul locate her? She decided to spare them for some other day, ‘cos that day was meant  for celebration alone. Celebration of trust, togetherness, friendship, companionship & of course ‘love’!

HaPpY Valentine's Day

HaPpY Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s day, dear friends. May love make its permanent abode in your lives.

At the gateway of justice

11 Jan

Okay, I shall not continue to pretend that this new year, I’m high on festive spirit, very happy & merry. I am NOT!

In fact, I’m deeply disturbed, disgusted, disappointed, shattered, bitter, furious, helpless & utterly ashamed to belong a race of mankind that’s capable of unimaginable violence. Violence, whose victim was a helpless 23 year old girl from Delhi. I write to her parents…

To a mother & a father,

whose daughter had left home saying she’d be back soon, whose daughter had happily been to see the movie- ‘The life of Pi’ along with her friend; whose daughter, along with her friend boarded a bus to hell; whose daughter was butchered alive, whose daughter became the victim of the evilest of all evils, who’s daughter was brutally violated & raped by 6 lust filled monsters, whose daughter’s intestines’ were pulled out with bare hands while she was still conscious, whose daughter was barbarically assaulted with a rusted iron rod in some the worst unimaginable ways, whose daughter was thrown out of the moving bus, whose daughter lied naked, in her own pool of blood, on a busy street of Delhi for more than 2 hours battling for life in excruciating & agonizing pain; whose daughter was hushedly sent to Singapore in the false name of better treatment, whose daughter- teary eyed expressed to her mother,  her will to survive each time she gained conscious; whose daughter wanted to know if all her rapists had been caught even while slipping in & out of coma, whose daughter wanted her violators to be burnt alive, whose daughter struggled to speak because of all the pain that she was in but still managed to write down the names of her rapists & give her statement in gestures, just to ensure the butchers were bought to books; whose daughter was pursuing medicine and wanted to help the people of her home town on becoming a doctor, whose daughter’s dreams were cruelly cut short by the barbarians, whose daughter breathed her last 13 days after she was ripped apart & her insides were shredded & gutted by the cold blooded devils, whose daughter’s life was a reason for many a political conspiracies, whose daughter was hurriedly cremated in the middle of the night before the world woke, whose daughter never returned home, whose daughter is now only a memory for her loved ones, whose daughter now lies beneath the starry skies awaiting her justice…

I pray for you.

To,

a devastated father who sold his agricultural land to educate his daughter, who lost his most loved & pampered princess to a handful of butchers; a mother who collapsed during her daughter’s cremation & had to be hospitalized, a heart broken brother who lost his fond sister forever  & a friend who lost a best friend, confidante…  I pray for you all. I have been and I shall continue to do so.

I pray God to give you all, the strength needed to cope up with this trauma.

_________________

She wasn’t just your daughter; she was India’s daughter too, India’s brave heart. She was a dear sister to every Indian, a dearer one to every man & woman who protested against the injustice braving the wicked water cannons in -8 degree bone freezing cold weather of Delhi at the Gateway of India. Along with her, a part of India has died forever too, leaving behind a wound that runs deep, a wound whose scar shall never be gone, a shame that shall live on to haunt our country forever!

She was the reason that launched a thousand protests & woke the insanely slumbering system by jolting it to reality. Her brutal death shall not go in vain.

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Rest in peace, dear Nirbhaya, you’ve endured enough, endured beyond what one can imagine even in their worst nightmares. It’s time for peace now, child. Sleep in peace, nothing shall now torture or brutalize you, pain or hurt you. It’s all over, peace is finally here…

We assure you to fight your battle in the same courageous way that you intended to & we’ll stop not till justice is done, to you & to all of India’s daughters! We’ll continue your fight to cleanse our rotting system. With a broken heart, we mourn & pray for your salvation…

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Here’s hoping that with the dawn of this new year, a ‘new’ India shall emerge with ‘new’ laws and positive changes for it’s fast disappearing daughters. We assure you that this fight will go on & this time we will use our most powerful weapon to fight against this callous system- we’ll use our votes & use it wisely, so that we don’t elect ‘dented’ leaders again!

To Nirbhaya- the fearless one

To Nirbhaya- the fearless one

Here’s a shocker:  While Nirbhaya wanted all 6 of her rapists to be torched alive, her most brutal violator, the one who ripped her intestines apart with his bare hands, could get away with just 3 years of jail term, on the ground that he is still a juvenile. Juvenile means a person who has not yet achieved sexual maturity. If he can rape, isn’t he then already beyond this?

Juvenile or no juvenile, it is the crime/evil mind (mens rea) that needs to be punished, age is immaterial where crime is concerned, as these days juveniles are committing more horrifying crimes compared to their adult counterparts. It is precisely to this juvenile law, that we young Indians seek an amendment for!

‘Punishment is justice for the unjust’

More about the #DelhiGangRape here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Delhi_gang_rape_case#Incident

up from hibernation! :)

8 Jan

I’m finally up from my social hibernation and WOW! whatta beautiful world it is & I feel soo fresh to be back from my hiatus. Now, please allow me to stretch myself a bit. There! I’m so glad to be back!

I shall now set out to visit all my lovely friends at their blogs, whom I’ve missed for so long. Just can’t wait to see you all! ♥

up frm hibernation

Love & a bear hug,

Teju 🙂

On social hibernation…

25 Nov

On ‘hibernation’ from social networking!  Zzz…

My dear & wonderful friends,

It’s the dreaded exam time & I’m on social hibernation and as a result, I wouldn’t be very active on my blog, be it posting or responding to comments.

Have a great festive season ahead. I’ll be back soon, hopefully by the 1st or 2nd week of Jan. Till then take care, stay blessed; give me lots to read when I’m back & I promise you the same in return…

Teju

An impersonator, gift wrapped & sent from heaven!

24 Oct

-A tale of a God sent impersonator-

As ever, it was I who decided that we must be bunking* our Financial Accountancy class that day and Salma, as ever wasn’t very happy about my decision. Sitting in the class feigning interest in the subject that was being taught, was the last thing that I wanted to be doing that day. For some reason (I hope to investigate that reason soon), numbers have always scared me. They managed to give me nightmares that nothing else could ever give. I used to get recurring dreams of a math monster chasing me for several kilometers before finally getting me. I quickly manage to always wake up from the dream as soon as the monster grabbed me, cos it’s far too scary for me to continue to see the dream, in order to learn what happened to me next! I censor my dreams, when they get too gory, oh yes I do. Anyways, let’s keep math out of my blog. That’s one thing that would never get the privilege to feature in my blog! No, not now, not ever! For the nth time – I hate you, maths!

Salma, however, though not a great lover of anything that involves numbers either, wanted to attend that FA class, ‘cos she was beginning to suspect that we have a drought in our attendance record, esp. in that subject. Continuing to bunk those classes would prove suicidal, she knew. But I was never the one to give up, nor worry over petty issues like attendance and its shortage. Another reason why hated attending this particular class was because, by attending it, I’d horrifyingly realize how little i knew of the subject and realization would quickly dawn on me (usually within the first 5 minutes of commencement of the class) that chances of passing in this subject was very bleak-  as bleak as trying to find a hay colored needle well camouflaged in a haystack! That would be too much of a disappointment to be facing every day. I’d be better off without that. Moreover, when in my life time, would i ever need to practically be doing some financial accounting? Never!  I had already made up my mind about this one. Anything but Accounts for me!

Therefore, why insult the poor lecturer and his subject by not paying enough attention in his class, was how i defended my case. I had better things to do, better plans hatched rather than attend some class, where i’d only be physically present but my mind would have taken off. My plans usually were like this- browse and purchase some really interesting books, spend some ‘quality’ time at a cafe coffee joint with our seniors, do a bit of window shopping (‘cos mostly we’d be broke from injudicious spending of our pocket money & to get an idea for what I must be nagging my parents to get me for my upcoming birthday), stage or participate in protests against animal cruelty, launch a surprise visit & rescue exotic birds & animals from from an infamous pet market which was around 6kms from college, visit our local animal  shelter & donate our old clothes, which would help keep the pups warm during winter; run amok on a street in Gandhibazar, famous for eateries, not able to make up our minds on what we should begin feasting on first; sneak out to my roof terrace & perch ourselves atop the water tank, from where we used to get a grand view of our ‘then very green’ city and discuss some serious philosophy (I’m saying this with a straight face, promise) and trust me, my mom would not even have a clue that her daughter was right there on the terrace; visit the famous Jain temple near my place and enjoy its sheer beauty & tranquility in total silence, etc. Ah well, there is no end to that (maybe I’ll consider writing a new post exclusively on my creative ideas to spend time whilst on a college bunk! 😉 ). Anyways, it was our conscious effort to not make boyfriends, though many proposals came our way. We were in no hurry nor desperate for a boyfriend. There is always a time & a phase of our lives meant for that, we believed.  We had enough very dear friends who were ‘boys’ though.

Salma, no matter how much she’d hate me for saying this, never ever managed to win many arguments with me. That day was no special day for her either, ‘cos we bunked and bunked not just the FA class but the entire second half of our college session, thanks to me. We saw a movie that we knew was a disaster at the box office, but that was okay. It was better than our FA class and its torture, i figured. We both could have actually made for good movie critics, ‘cos each time we watched a movie that we had already seen before, our comments on the actors, their costumes, movie plot, direction and other things movie related, only got better and better and more professional. My parents would have taken me straight to psychiatrist had I expressed my desire to become a ‘movie critic’. That line of career wasn’t even recognized back then, let alone being accepted. That was one reason I decided to keep mum about my various career options and plans. I did not want my parents to either faint or rush me to a doctor specialized in psychiatry.

Our college lives went on this way. I guess it would be wrong to say ‘college lives’, cos we rarely were in it. Soon our first year in college, or rather out of it, came to an end. Our classmates, mostly nerds were busy preparing for the exams, which according to me was still a long way to go. Two ‘long’ months away! My father ensured i joined a college like that (with many nerds in it), hoping against the dimmest hope, that in the company of those nerds, his notoriously mischievous daughter would be forced to become one too. This unfortunately was never was the case. Instead a few nerds, threw away their nerdy glasses and begged to join our ‘fun’ gang. According to me, only the seriously psychos would commence studies that early. According to my other classmates, however, with barely two countable months to go, i was the seriously psycho, to have not even purchased the prescribed text books needed to study and subsequently pass in the exams that followed. Well, people always look crazier on the other side! (don’t ask me, ‘of what?’, it’s definitely not fence, ‘cos thank god my college compound had no fence, else it would have my task of escaping from there more difficult, though not impossible!). God has always been kind to me, for somehow, i always manage to pass the examinations & get some decently good results.  That year was no different either. Thank you God! Continue to bless me this way & I’ll continue to make you proud! 🙂

It was that time of the year again- ‘pay the exam fees, collect the hall ticket and suffer a panic attack at the end of it’, with me being an exception to the last one of course. Both Salma and I collected money from our parents to pay towards our exam fees. With a faked expression of a ‘serious nerd’ on my face (i told you that we watched a lot of movies), I collected money from my dad, who seemed to love that expression on my face, but only after adding a few hundreds extra to the prescribed exam fees in order to facilitate our fun escapades outside college. Poor dad would soon be disappointed, when once the results are declared, i thought. But then that would be long enough time for him to recollect the expression i wore on my face while i was ‘extracting’ money from him, so no problem.

We then went to college to pay our fees, when the office staff flatly refused to give us the examination forms, saying we were both pathetically low on our attendance and that we had to meet the principal along with our respective parents and take a written permission from him, before being allowed to sit for our exams. It did not come much as a surprise to me, for i had always expected it. But this was too much for Salma who hailed from a very conservative family. For that matter, i am from a super conservative family myself too, but my poor family forgot all about how to continue to be conservative, soon after my birth into its family tree. My sympathies to my parents (and i really mean it). Salma knew and feared that should her parents learn about her college escapades, she would be made to discontinue college and a hunt for a suitable groom for her would commence with immediate effect. These thoughts made tears well up in her eyes. Now, this was too much for me too, as this meant losing a friend and that too, too soon, barely after one year into college. I had to do something about it. This issue wasn’t much of a problem for me, as my parents had by now become immune to the various shocks that i was capable of giving them, only the voltages differed each time- sometimes less, sometimes fatally powerful. I knew my mother would surely bail me out of this situation, although it’s a different issue that she’d try her best to thoroughly make me regret for it, but that’s a small price you sometimes pay for fun, fun that comes once in a lifetime and and too only when you are young. So, that was completely fine by me.

Though not as dumb as the now extinct dodo, my principal wasn’t that much of a fool either, to not recognize my mother if she were to meet him again as Salma’s mother. So pleading for my mom’s help in this situation was ruled out. Who else could then rescue my friend, her education and her right to be single for a few more years… and most importantly, save our friendship from a potential ‘unnatural’ marriage to Salma!? Damn! I shouldn’t have made Salma bunk so much!

We walked out of the campus pondering of ways to save the day. I made a quick call to my mom and asked her to come to my college, to do what she had been doing for several years now (from the time i was enrolled to school, to be precise)- meeting my principals and hearing to their complaints about me. She was furious as ever, but she had no choice but to come and meet my principal. It would take her half hour’s time to reach our college. I, at least, was assured of my hall ticket. But what about Salma? We were deeply lost in thoughts and ideas to save Salma, when suddenly to my own surprise and to Salma’s of course, i found myself halting a middle aged woman walking on the footpath, who looked old enough to have a daughter our age. This was my act of extreme desperation. I stopped the lady right on her tracks and requested with her (which sounded like a little more than request and a little less to begging) to come meet our genius of a principal, as Salma’s mother. The poor woman was totally taken aback, i could easily say that from her expression. Before she could think about what was happening and then react negatively, i got out all my acting skills that i had acquired from watching movies, many movies and sometimes the same movies again and again, to convince her and stop her thinking process dead. I told her with a very sad face, how the fate of my innocent, hapless friend’s education was entirely depended on her and that if she refused to help us out from this situation, my poor friend would be forced to quit college, marry, maybe someone twice her age and be packed off to some ‘god knows where’ land. If only she co-operated and agreed to meet our principal as Salma’s mother, all these prospective tragedies could be easily avoided, I told her. The lady’s expression changed from being taken aback to a more sympathetic one. Just try a little harder and you’ll win her over, my mind seemed to tell me in the chaotic background. The woman surely must have been so taken aback that i felt, her reasoning had deserted her, otherwise who would agree to something as insane as this. I just wanted to try my luck and it clicked! She acknowledged! WOW! Why isn’t everybody like her, so nice and agreeing?

Soon afterwards, we bolted back to the college and met our principal, who made us face the music, a very unpleasant one, i must add (my mom had joined us by now). He then looked victoriously at Salma and me, believing he had screwed our happiness for good. It would now be our parents turn to blast us & make us miserable once we got home, he thought with sadistic pleasure. This too i could tell from his expression.  Our new impersonator hung her head in shame as if she had borne Salma herself. Who would have thought that one day I’d make a complete stranger act? ‘Salma’s mother’ apologized to the principal & so did my mom (i guess it was easier for my mom, ‘cos she by now, had a list of apology templates ready on her tongue tip, acquired since many years of experience in using them; she now would just need to pick the one that best suited the occasion).

Our princi charged us a fine amount for each subject that we had shortage of attendance in (i see that as a small price for the big fun), issued the permission letter and let us off the hook. I profusely thanked the woman who saved us that day and then stopped continuing to thank her, as i felt thanking her too much would make her conscious & want to introspect the whole issue and when she does, she’d realize what silly thing she had gotten herself into. I did not give her that chance. She was very happy and carried herself like a social worker, with her smile suddenly turning very noble like, from a good deed done, deed of saving innocent students from a tyrannical principal.

God bless that lady. If today Salma and I are still friends, it’s only because of that god sent stranger or maybe it was god himself in disguise, i can never say for sure. Sometimes, God’s miracles work in the strangest ways and when you least expect them!

Once again, thank you dear stranger turned impersonator, I haven’t forgotten what you saved us from!

Saved by a stranger sent from heaven!

Disclaimer: This is a not a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely intentional. The names, however, have been changed to protect identity!  🙂

*‘Bunk’ (verb), basically means to skip a class or the whole day of college or school when you’re actually supposed to be there. It’s a regional slang.

Who’s laughing at Romeo & Juliet?

18 Oct

Of late I’ve come to notice a rather disturbing trend here. My cousin brother broke up with his 3rd girlfriend in a matter of just 2 months and how does he do that? By updating his relationship status on his Facebook profile, it’s just as simple as that! That really astounded me big time. Loyalty, chivalry, fidelity, passion, – all now seemed like virtues of people from a lost world, say like Atlantis for something. Where has all the world’s passion gone? Where have these virtues disappeared to?

The dawn of the digital age, is perhaps to be blamed for this. Back then, the very term ‘love’ used to make our hearts flutter, there was something magical about that very term. And hey, just because I said ‘back then’, please don’t date me back to the Jurassic era or something. I’m talking about only a few years ago, say around 4-5 years ago or so, when technology hadn’t yet taken over mankind the way it has now, by storm. Today every second person you stumble upon, comes with a smart phone that is ever connected to the internet & the social networking sites. With this being the case, our youngsters today are so prone to getting into relationships, even before understanding that term correctly. Relationships are happening very fast and are dying an even faster death. Youngsters today cannot tell the difference between lust & love, and often mistake one for another. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Whatsapp, etc are now connecting people like never before. Nobody from the past, is lost forever anymore. I recently stumbled upon my classmate from kindergarten on Facebook, how incredible is that!

Anyways, there used to be a time when relationships had to be carefully nurtured, in order for it to grow & thrive. The ones in love would long for just a glimpse of their loved ones. They’d wait endlessly to meet their loved ones, say, outside their college, at the bus station, by the roadside to get glimpse of their loved one who would peek out of her window stealthily. Their next meet would seem like years before it finally happened.  A love letter that ran into several pages or a photograph of a loved one, was treasured forever & stolen kisses were indeed the sweetest.

Today, a video chat is all it takes to establish a connection. Pings and instant messages that rarely communicate feelings, have today replaced letters of love. These pings & SMSs are all gone & are deleted before the next sunrise in order to make for some memory on the phone. Nothing lasts forever these days, not even love, for it comes with a very short validity time. With this being the case, where is the question of passion filled love letters or stolen kisses, when one night stands have become the order of the day?  Almost every college kid that I’ve come across today would have changed at least 3 partners before even completing just 2 years of college. You are looked at like an alien or some lunatic if you have stuck on to the same partner for more than 2 years. They term you a ‘Loser’,  a fancy word that a lot of youngsters like using these days. For them, even partners should be changed in accordance to the latest fashion & trends. If it is currently ‘in’ to have a ‘coy’ boyfriend or a girlfriend, then that’s what they have, but, when the trends change and if it is considered ‘cool’ to have a ‘wild’ partner, then that’s what they set out to hunt and get themselves for. They are now changing their partners as often as they would probably change their profile pictures on social networking sites. Guys and girls today want everything that is fashionable and that includes a trophy partner cum arm candy too. No wonder then, that Guys don’t passionately chase girls anymore ( I mean, in the good sense & in a romantic way), they are not even trying hard to woo the girls, ‘cos there are so many of them on a platter to choose from, waiting desperately to make them their boyfriends. Sensing this new trend, even these sites offer a wide number of relationship statuses to choose from like- it’s complicated, in an open relationship, separated, confused, in a love triangle, quadrangle, etc.

While some get into relationships just because its a ‘cool’ thing to do, some do it ‘cos they are desperate to prove a point to their friends and peers, some others do it just because they’ve got nothing better to do, it’s like – ‘i’m so bored! so why not get myself a boyfriend or a girlfriend’ types. And even before they realise, they are both headed to splits villa, in the shortest possible route that would take them there!

Weird parties that we had never heard of before, have now come into existence like ‘the break up party’, ‘the single again bash’, and ‘celebrate divorce’ parties etc., to celebrate a split from your partner or spouse!!! Good God, where are we heading, abandoning our ethics & morals? I’m not exaggerating when I say that these days, I haven’t seen a single, young relationship that has lived to celebrate its 2ndyear anniversary. People tell me that they split with their boyfriend or girlfriends, as casually as how they’d tell if they missed their bus, a bus that is available every 10 minutes.  This is something that I can never understand. Passion is nonexistent in relationships these days.

Shakespeare would have become a butt of these youngsters’ jokes & ridicules had he written his classic -‘Romeo & Juliet’ now & had he been around today. Thank God, he left the planet long before the rise of the digital hysteria. As if short term relationships are not enough, our youngsters these days want to try their hand at multi-tasking. And how do they do that? By two timing or sometimes three & even four timing their partners! Smart, aren’t they? At this rate I’m seriously beginning to suspect if the genes of our future generations would get altered forever. Altered to be unable to recognize or understand love, fidelity, loyalty & their meanings;  lines like ‘love you forever’ which they’d perhaps come across in some very old books. ‘Love’ and ‘forever’ according to them, just don’t go well together.

’til death do us part’

There used to be vows like- ‘till death do us part’. Today the same needs to edited to read or say ‘till a Tweet or an updated Facebook status do us part’! It is but a sad reality today. I wouldn’t be surprised if in future, people would look in awe, amazement and total surprise with their jaws dropped down to the ground, at the exhibit photographs of couples who lived together forever (till their deaths), like how we today look at the fossilized remains of a tyrannosaurus, mammoth or some other long perished species.

Meanwhile, I see- love, passion & romance; on their last legs, bidding us a sad adieu standing at the edge of our earth’s surface. But I am not reciprocating to them. No, not yet, for I don’t want to let them go. But at the same time I hope our youngsters don’t knock them all off the edge!

Long live the three! And please be around for as long the earth is…

A cryptic message from beyond…

6 Sep

Long ago, when I was a little girl, my grandfather had told me a story that left a lasting impression on my mind forever. Though I’ve forgotten most of it now, I still vaguely remember some bits of it. However, since I very clearly remember the message that the story had delivered in the end, I’ve tried to retell the story in my own way, making changes to the original story all along, but finally arriving at the same message. A sort of ‘old wine in a new bottle’, ‘cos I claim no originality whatsoever. My grandfather wouldn’t have been too happy, had be been around, because I’m pretty sure that my new story has little or no similarities to the one that he had narrated. But since the end message was so beautiful, I felt I had to retell & share this life transforming story, so many others could benefit out of it, just as I did. Here I go-

There once was a man- Manas, who was in his mid-thirties, when he was admitted to a city’s top hospital for treatment of his broken leg & multiple deep wounds to his leg. After a month’s treatment and much to Dr. Kanha’s disappointment (the doc who was treating him), he wasn’t responding to any treatment & despite repeated attempts and getting him to walk, he simply couldn’t for he complained of excruciating pain while trying to do so. His wounds weren’t completely healed either & the doctors treating him were at loss. Manas felt, he was ailing from a mysterious disease & that he would never recover. His family was very worried about him and would do just about anything to see him doing fine again.

It all started when, one day Manas, accidentally ran over an injured cat & killed it under his speeding wheels. Soon afterwards, there were misfortunes galore for him. There prevailed a local belief that, misfortune would quickly descend the head that kills a cat, be it knowingly or unknowingly. Manas, who was aware of this tale & who was a believer in both God & demons,  was so overcome with fear and guilt that he began to look forward to his doom, that was to be bought by his careless & callous deed.

As expected by Manas, he soon lost his job with one of the top companies that he was working with. Having lost his job, he was unable to repay the loans that he had taken towards the purchase of a duplex house. His failure to repay his loan, called for an auction of his house. It was when he was immersed in these troubling thoughts on how he invited his doom, with his own hands, rather with his own steering wheel, that he failed to notice a deep pit on the road & when he did, it was too late & no amount of expert maneuvering helped in avoiding his car crash land into the ‘naturally worn & torn’ pit in the road. The speed at which he was traveling only added more impact to his accident, resulting in a broken limb & excruciatingly painful deep cuts on his legs.

His refusal to recover & respond to medications, only made him weaker, sicker & bed ridden.  This made his family increasingly unhappy & depressed. He being sole bread winner of the family, they did not know what to do. They tried every possible ways of making him get back to normal. No amount prayers by the family, seemed to work.  Nothing seemed to help Manas. Manas, on the other hand, had given up all hopes of his recovery. He had got into an abyss of depression & lay crippled. He was just clinically alive.

Then one day, when no one was around & as Manas was in his ward, gazing into distant nothing, a soothsayer came visiting him. He looked like any other normal person on the surface, with no special powers or magic. Introducing himself to Manas, as a staunch devotee of Lord Krishna & as the lord’s messenger, he told him that he understood exactly why Manas was in such a plight. It was because of some grave sin that he had committed in the recent past. He seemed very concerned when he questioned Manas about what that sin was and Manas told him everything about how he happened to kill a cat under his wheels & how that act was famously known as a harbinger of misfortune & invoked ill luck.

The ‘Guru’, which is how Manas respectfully addressed the soothsayer, frowned. He wasn’t very happy on hearing what Manas had done. He nodded in head in utter disappointment, adding more turbulence to the already disturbed mind of Manas. He told Manas that there wasn’t much that could be done about it & that he would have to face the consequences of what he had done. He got up from his seat, walked towards the open french window in the room. There, amidst many other plants, he saw a potted plant, with just two leaves to it. This plant was an unhealthy one.

Potted plant with a hidden message

He gestured to Manas, asking him to take a closer look at that plant in the window. The Guru then  touched the plant & closed his eyes in a meditative way, like as if he was receiving some strange message from the plant. Walking back up to Manas, he told him that with the miraculous power that he possessed, he could sense a strange connection between Manas and this plant. That he had come to know that the plant in the window actually symbolized Manas, in his current plight. With just two remaining leaves on the unhealthy plant , the Guru told Manas, that whatever happens to the  plant, would be what would happen to Manas. If it lives, so would Manas & should it die, the same would be his fate too. Manas now lost every hope because he knew that the plant would definitely not live, because not only did it appear unhealthy, but even its two remaining leaves were lack lustre and worse, a tiny area of rot had already set in on one of the two leaves. Having said thus, the soothsayer asked Manas to await his fate that the plant would unfold for him very soon and asked him to keep faith in the supreme lord. He then left the room without looking back at Manas. Manas, now knew for sure, that in other words, his Guru had indirectly told him that his doom was very close.

Three days passed since the soothsayer had visited Manas. Manas did not discuss this incident with any one of his family members, because he did not want to cause them more distress. Manas observed the plant by the window keenly. The major part of the leaf was now being consumed by rot.  Manas could now feel himself getting weaker & weaker. On the fifth day, the rot infested leaf fell off the plant. That same night, Manas’s  threw up & it was stained with his blood. His health was, no doubt on a down slide. Manas continued to pray & observed the plant everyday, hoping it lives.  He requested his attender to water the plant & his wife to add some manure to plant. She was taken aback, but did not show it to her ailing husband. She did as she was told.  Nothing helped the plant & in turn nothing helped Manas either.

Two days later, Manas saw what he dreaded seeing the most, the lone leaf on the plant by the window sill, was now infested by rot. This time it did not take long for the rot to spread over the entire leaf. The very next day, the rot had covered the major part of the last remaining leaf on the poor plant.  Manas’s condition worsened. His body had become so weak that he was just a bundle of bones covered by skin. That night he collapsed out of extreme ill health. He was put on interveinous drips. Manas wondered how the plant could be such a powerful & an accurate messenger of his fate. He knew that his end was now very, very near. He was certain he would be dead and before the next sun rise.

When Manas woke up the next day, to his utter shock, he found a small, fresh budding leaf in the stem of the plant that he used to watch everyday. He was elated. So overjoyed, was he that he did not know what to do or how to react. He was beginning to feel better. He was starting to feel healthy, like he was blessed with a new lease of life. God had decided to forgive him for the sin that he had unknowingly committed! In the coming days the plant had given birth to three new leaves and all of them sparkling with good health.  Manas’s joy knew no bounds. He was now responding to medicines like never before. His physiotherapist was very happy with Manas, for he showed great signs of improvement. His family was overjoyed too. A month after, he was deemed fit to be discharged and was considered good to go. Manas was a changed man now. He vowed never to speed for one and to never again take any lives in future, even in the name of food. All lives are precious, he had come to realize.

Manas was at the hospital reception, fulfilling some last minute discharge formalities. Dr. Kishan was beaming at the sight of this patient of his, for this doctor had a little secret to keep, a secret that Manas was never destined to know about. Dr. Kishan was very confident of his medical skills and despite his best treatment, when Manas failed to respond to it, he knew then, that the ailment that Manas was suffering from was not in his limb, but in his mind. Dr. Kishan knew very well to never ever underestimate the power that our minds have over our bodies or our physical well being. He understood that Manas’s mind was diseased and that he had to treat it. He succeeded and how! He sent a close friend of his in the guise of a soothsayer to meet Manas. Everything that happened thereafter was what that was perfectly scripted by Dr. Manas. Each day, when Manas was asleep, Dr. Kishan would send his trusted housekeeping staff- Garud, to go spray an oil based insecticide on the plant’s leaf, so that the area on which the insecticide was sprayed, would rot. Later, when the spraying of insecticide stopped, the plant bounced back with life.  Manas, who had genuinely started to believe that he shared his fate with this plant, only played along. Thanks to Dr. Kishan’s well executed plan, Manas was now completely recovered, both physically & mentally. Lost in these thoughts, Dr. Kishan, carelessly scribbled something on a piece of paper , forgot about it and quietly left to attend to a new patient. Before leaving however, and smiling to himself, he took one last look at Manas , who was then walking out of the hospital door with his family, cheerful & laughing at something that seemed like a family’s private joke.

A restless little girl who was waiting with her parents in the reception to see a pediatrician, picked up the note that Dr. Kishan had left behind. Her face lit up on seeing a small image of her favorite Lord Kishna printed on it & on it’s reverse, there was something scribbled illegibly.  She ran back to where her parents were seated & gave the note to her father, who read it, smiled & left it on the reading table in front of him. The illegible scribble read- ‘If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, either way, you’re right’- a famous quote by Henry Ford.

Dear Blog mates,

6 Sep

I had to share this today, without which I don’t think i could have slept in ease tonight. Just a few weeks ago, I was not even aware of this little world called ‘WordPress’ and its ways. I was so skeptical to even start a blog here. With so many experienced bloggers here, it kind of intimidated a complete novice like me. I was not even sure if I should be penning down anything at all. My confidence was menacingly threatening to desert me. I felt like a hapless junior on the first day of my college, with a lot of seniors around and trust me, it was scary! But somehow, i managed to pick up bits of my shattered courage and did start a blog. I wrote a few articles on topics that were very close to my heart, on topics I felt I had to share with all the people i knew or otherwise. I did, and it took a lot of courage on my part to hit that dreadful ‘Publish’ button.

To my pleasant surprise, no sooner did I publish them, I received many kind words of appreciation and encouragement. I was so touched and overcome with emotions to learn that there are so many lovely, wonderful & encouraging people out here. There is so much warmth in here, that I did not feel like an alien anymore. Like how parents guide, encourage & motivate their children, i too was guided by my new wonderful blog mates who have now become my friends. I now feel so comfortable & at home here, thanks to all you lovely people out there.  I would like to sincerely thank all my blogger friends for taking & making me a part of your WordPress  family.

To my lovely blog mates turned friends turned family,

I owe you all this- Thank you so much for encouraging, motivating me and for ensuring that the fire of creativity inside me never extinguishes. I won’t let you down.

Love, hugs and best wishes to you all.

Teju  ♥ ♥

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