Tag Archives: friends

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.

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Angel departed…

22 Sep
It was a time when life meant simple joys and fun. Introduced newly to the big bad world, it was a time when I had just joined college. Ever wary to make new freinds, i was always on my guard to give anybody an access to my private life. It had always been a strict: ‘Trespassers will be shot’ for anyone who dared coming anywhere close to my private den.
She must have been something, if I had decided to take her for my friend. It was Salma, a gawky looking, average IQed girl, with hairy arms, which was hard to miss. She  was not a girl who welcomed strangers with a warm hug either. What was unmissable was the fact that, even she was just as or more wary about unknown people as I was. This- I liked.
We bonded quickly, unusually quickly. I am still kind of surprised about how soon we became best friends. We enjoyed our times together at college. We had our share of misunderstandings, weird times together and other stuffs that normal college goers are supposed to experience. She used to come over to my place and we used to experiment with our culinary skills. Somehow, she used to like the noodles I prepared. It still surprises me now, cos I can never get my husband to say the same. Be it about my noodles or any other dish for that matter. Anyways, let’s cut to flash back again, when things are supposed to be visualised in either black & white or sepia.  I have always belonged to the technicolor era, so i suppose that makes me eligible for flash backs to be in the same color too. This choice, i leave it to you.
It was during one of those careless & carefree walks back from college (which was always half or quarter attended), when we stumbled upon an ill and a feeble looking pup. Being an animal lover from the time I can recollect, i knew i could not afford to ignore it. I looked around, making sure that we weren’t in for any surprise attack from its mother.I petted the little one on its head, as Salma looked on, unaffected by the whole scene. The tiny one was so taken in to me, that it decided it was best to follow me. I tried to lure it away, so it would remain in the place where it belonged. But it was as determined as ever. Since we weren’t far from my home either, i decided not to send the pup away too. This pup, Dinky, as christened by another ‘dog lover’ aunty in our gully (I wasn’t very happy over the choice of name, ‘cos i felt it could have been something better, more funkier), decided to make our street, it’s abode. Not that anyone complained about it. She, in fact, was everybody’s darling, a sweetheart with the kids especially. She was like this foster mother to all the kids in our street. Her warmth actually made the temperature in our street go up a few degrees. Jokes aside, but that was how she was. A real treat to be around with.

Love- in its purest form

Both Salma & myself became very close to Dinky. Salma who always very intimidated and wary around dogs, soon found herself shedding all her inhibitions. She learnt how to pet her, call her and treat her. Salma, I knew, had now taken her first step towards understanding bliss.
Dinky used follow us around, no matter where we went. She was like the little lamb that Mary had. Only, here, there were two Marys. Time flew past, like lightening on a typical rainy day. Dinky grew from a tiny, helpless pup to a good looking teenager, i mean, whatever that age is, according to ‘Dog age’. Many dogs from our neighboring streets found themselves hopelessly in love with our little miss sunshine. She paid no attention to all her longing suitors as she followed us around, much to their disappointment of course!
Dinky was there by us no matter what time in the day it was. She patiently waited by us as we waited for our bus to drop us off at our college. We never paused to acknowledge her for keeping us company, as we were too engrossed in chatting with each other on all the silly stuffs about college and the rumors that do round in it. There were times when we were at an all time low in our personal lives, and we found solace in Dinky. She was there to listen, to understand, to comfort.
Salma was heart broken when her boyfriend cheated on her. She narrated how she felt bout it to me, and Dinky who sitting with us then, seemed to understand all that Salma was telling. Dinky, who used to constantly & sometimes forcibly, make us play around with her, by letting out short ‘fun yelps’ and performing some kind of ceremonial ‘let’s play’ dance in front us; that day preferred to keep calm, as if in pain ‘cos her loved ones were in too. Fun was surely the last thing on her mind, or rather did not even feature in her mind that day. Salma subconsciously decided to sit on the floor in order to make herself more comfortable, while going on bout her painful experience in love. Dinky who was on the floor feigning slumber as she heard us, walked up from her place to Salma, and licked her hand. She looked at her for one long moment as if to say ‘ I understand how you’re feeling honey’ and then put her head into Salma’s lap and let it remain there. Salma did indeed feel comforted by Dinky’s loving gesture. She quoted again, what was already quoted by I don’t know who- ‘ the more i understand men, the more i love my dogs’  One look from her chocolate brown eyes, and it was enough to make things appear better. Her eyes used to communicate stuffs that were beyond our comprehension then. She was our pillar of strength. She was our best friend. She understood, loved and cared for us like nobody ever could. Under her love & care, Salma’s broken heart was nursed back to the best of its health. There were no scars of any breakage or damage anywhere to her heart.
All the three of us shared a very warm bond. Dinky saw us grow from happy -go- lucky teenagers to marriable women. It was Salma to get married first. No sooner did she get married, she flew away to UAE. Her visits to India were very minimal. She now has a family of her own and a kid about who’s welfare she’s always engrossed & pre occupied about. We exchange occasional pleasantries online. Our phone calls over which our dads once used to fret & worry over, thinking they might have to sell off their assets to pay the telephone bills, are now limited to a call per few months or half yearly. It was my turn next to get married. And my marriage meant moving out of my street, to make my husband’s home my new abode. And moving out from my parent’s home meant, moving away from my beloveds and in this list featured Dinky too. Moving away from my parents & sis dint hurt me much, as they knew & understood that this was the way of the world. They knew I’d be far, in terms of distance, but not really ‘far’ from them…
But Dinky wouldn’t know where I’d gone, why she got to see so little of me suddenly or sometimes even very occasionally. Her troubled mind began troubling her body too. She was not a young adult that she was anymore, she was nearing the call of the dust. It pained me that I was not there for her, by her, when she needed me the most. When her health was not as good as it used be, when she was down on her energy levels, when she found it difficult to stand up on her age-worn legs. I could see the depression & sadness in her eyes, the pain in her eyes caused by this sudden separation, distance between us.
But, life had to go on and it went on for all three of us.
Whenever, I visited my mom’s place, I could easily see her health in deterioration. I could see her ears and eyes were failing her. There was a time when she’d know I was close to home, even though I was many streets away from home. But now, it took her several minutes to realise I had come visiting, that i was only a few footsteps away from her. It pained me when i would call out to her & she would not hear me. I could see her continue to gaze into nothing even as i called out to her, I could see that her hearing was now failing her, her senses were now gradually deserting her… Still, after she’d realise it was me, her reception would be as warm as it always used to be. It only used to be a little more passionate than before, for she would vent out all the unshown love for me, that was suppressed inside her for a long time.
That day, ranks in the list of my top most saddening days. I had visited my mom’s place. We chatted for a long time and it was a happy ‘chat together’ time that we had. I was about to leave from there when I received a call from that dog loving aunty who had christened Dinky. As I was about to leave, I decided to take that call later. My mom, curious as ever, wanted to know who’s call I had just avoided. When she learnt who the caller was, it reminded her to inform me about something. Something that would tremble the ground beneath my feet, something that would send my head reeling at an unknown/unheard of  speed. She told me that Dinky had passed away a fortninght ago… Now I knew, why my street had felt colder than usual. It was because, the warmth in it was gone. Gone forever.
After hearing to that news, I didn’t know how I reached my hubby’s car that was waiting by the corner of my street. I had difficulty in seeing clearly. I realised my eyes were filled with tears. I could not think of anything but for Dinky, her adorable face, her eyes that spoke ten thousand words & all of them decipherable! her unending happy tail wags on seeing me; her warm, wet licks that made you feel so wanted, so loved, so cared for; her angry, protective growls & snarls when she noticed any stranger approach me (i.e stranger to her)… These now, were only memories. Memories, that charred your heart, memories that stabbed your charred heart… She was gone. She was alone, when she left for her heavenly journey. Her friends who were the center of her universe, were not with her when she died. She died a lonely death. An irony. The one who never made us feel lonely even for a second, died all alone, with no one to comfort her troubled thoughts. I’d bet my heart & soul, that I would have been the last thought in her mind before her heart froze… I turned around to look at the street I was walking away from, the memories I was walking away from. I could see Dinky in my mind, in her hey days, galloping her way to reach me as fast as she could, as if she was participating in an Olympic sprint that would fetch her multiple golds if she won… She did win. She won the race, the race to my heart, she won my heart. She’d be in there forever, her memories locked up and its keys thrown off into outer space. She had made me feel special, made my life worth living, she was my confidential diary. Now she had left us all, to find peace. I can never repay in this life, for all that she was to me. My heart ached as I boarded my husband’s waiting car. He looked at me, concerned, for my face had clearly given away what my heart felt… I told him the reason for my sadness. After much failed attempts at comforting me, he said I was being too emotional & sentimental, that I was tooo attached to one dog. I did not feel bad for what he said, because I knew nobody could understand a dog’s love, unless they experienced it first hand. If not, then, to them, a dog is just an animal that bares its canine teeth at the drop of a hat or an animal that has no control over its wagging tail!
That night, I dreamt of Dinky. In my dream, it was a starry night & she sat besides me. She was that young, bubbly Dinky, nudging me with her nose to play with her, she pushed me down to the ground with her weight & licked my face warm…When I quickly woke up from my dream, I actually felt my cheeks wet and warm!! I don’t know if was the hot & humid Asian weather or Dinky. You know what I’d prefer to believe. If you don’t, then go get yourself a dog, or preferably adopt one of those tiny, button eyed pups that you easily find on the streets. You’d not only be saving their lives from prospective road accidents but, you’d also be saving your own soul too…
‘If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went…’
Keep a secret: Salma doesn’t know that Dinky passed away. I’ve saved her a heart ache, I’ve kept this to myself. She’d find it hard to digest this fact, as she already owes her one big one for repairing her broken heart once before…
(Dinky, Jimmy, Drumpy, Kolanji & other darlings: This one was for you all…)

Photo courtesy: Achala Paani

Networking with other bloggers- why is it important?

7 Sep

Networking with other bloggers also helps you to stay updated about the latest happenings in the world of blogging. Not just that, you can also make your online profile stronger, thereby helping you to monetize better. Having a well designed website or a well composed blog of your own and keeping it to yourself has never won viewers or clicks. What really matters is how this website or blog of yours is useful to others. Forming a mutually benefiting relationship is what successful blogging is all about.

Forming a mutually benefiting relationship is what successful blogging is all about.

With all that said, let us see how we can go about it, how can we network better and make new connections with other bloggers and authors.

Respond to links

This is one of the best ways to grab attention for yourself and redirect it to your blog. Whenever you stumble upon any referrals from a site, be sure to respond to them. You never know who might be looking into them and how important that person may be. However, the traffic scale of the blog also matters, therefore be sure to link a blog that it closest to your own. This way of responding, helps more people looking into your blog and thus benefit from it.

Guest Blog more often

Remember, guest blogging is an opportunity to prove your skills as an effective blogger. Effective blogger is someone with very good language and an ability to write effectively. A good blogger must be able to expresses their view better. You should attempt guest blogging only if you’re confident about your quality writing abilities, else a poor post could do more damage than not hav ing written any at all. Quality, witty, well written and helpful posts attract long term friendships in the blogger’s world. Should your post be of help to anybody, then the purpose of posting it is served. It’s a give and take policy and more often than not, be sure to get your help rewarded.

Get active on social networking sites

This is another sure shot way of getting noticed. Follow your favorite blogger on their networking sites, be it Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or any other for that matter, and be active! Merely following someone won’t get you the attention or the friendship that you seek. It needs patience and hard work. ‘Like’ or comment on their posts on Facebook and tweet and re tweet their tweets on Twitter. The more active you are the higher would be the chances of the blogger taking notice of you. Don’t let them forget you and with constant, continuous activity on these networking sites you can ensure just that.

Earn your blogger’s respect

The easiest way to earn the respect of your favorite blogger is by being of help to him. Help him get more attention and clicks to his/her blog. By working in an intelligent and a positive way, you can make sure their site or blog becomes noticed. By making constructive, useful comments and by helping to negate the destructive or harmful comments, chances are high, that the blogger will notice you and who knows might even view you as their savior! This blogger would never ignore an email from you, because he now recognizes you. This way you can very tactfully build a constructive and a mutually benefiting relationship with other bloggers you admire.

Be genuine

Lastly and most importantly, be genuine. Do not comment on blogs just for the heck of it. Make sure your posts have some meaning and quality to it. Avoid flattering which is the worst thing you could ever do a blogger. Bloggers are smart enough to see through your intentions when you flatter them and won’t ever take you seriously. Just like how all relationships work, be sincere, honest and respect the other person. Such people would be treasured forever. By being genuine, you’ll also earn the blogger’s respect in return.

With these tips you are now ready to start networking, socializing on the web and building relationships that last a life time. Happy networking!

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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