Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Story of her life

She was nervous. Her friend stood by her side, looking at her face, that had, by now, broken into pearls of sweat. She wiped her brow, looked intently at the cars, bikes and buses whirring past her, taking one step forward, and retracing her way back. “You ok,” the friend asked, but she didn’t bother replying. She squeezed her hands and trudged along nervously, rushing to the safer side of the road.

“What happened to you,” her friend asked again, rubbing her cold palms. “I’m a bit nervous while crossing roads. I saw one of my friends get hit by a car while crossing. It’s just paranoia, I guess,” she replied, shrugging her shoulders and disappeared into the building after a hasty goodbye.

About a month-and-a-half later, they’d made plans of meeting at an uptown restaurant; her friend was treating her. There they were on the opposite ends of the roads; she on one side, with her husband by her side; and her friend, with her boyfriend. The roads were twinkling with lights of the peak office hour traffic. The roads epitomised madness. In between the fleeting traffic, they exchanged enthusiastic waves. And then, in a swish, there she was, with her friend, on the other side of the roads, chattering away.

Her friend clutched her palms, surprised to feel them in perfect body temperature. “Hey! You aren’t a tad bit nervous. And look at you, all crossing the road like a pro. You didn’t even glance at the traffic when he whisked you here,” she exclaimed. “Didn’t you feel scared? I mean, tu dekh bhi nahi rahi thi, left, right,” she added.

She smiled, glanced at him, and said, “I trust him,” and said no more. Three words, story of her life.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Growing Up...

She was walking around, looking at the world through her pink shades. Everything seemed rosy. She had Dido crooning White Flag, a song about change into her eardrums. She trudged on, without glancing at anything, walking straight, gazing at the dusty horizon.

Suddenly, she tripped, fell off balance and landed with a thud. Her knees were bruised and bleeding, her palms were scraped. She got up, dug into her XL sized handbag, ruffled for a few minutes and grabbed her water bottle. Took a few sips and sighed. Suddenly, she removed her shades and realised that the sun had disappeared and the clouds had taken over. It began raining and before she realised, she was dripping wet. She placed her bag over her head and rushed to a nearby petrol pump, seeking shelter and answers.

Oh how the weather had changed without intimation, she thought. But then, isn’t that how life happens? She thought about all the people she knew. The once smooth faces of her parents now were lined with fine wrinkles. She drifted back to old times when hanging out with friends would mean simple harmless gossip over a five-rupee stick icecream. Now, her timeline was filled with wedding pictures and her friends with their babies. Yes, married and parents. Wow! Discussions had shifted planes from who’s seeing whom, to who’s cooking what. They’d grown up.

And then, the final strand of her meaningless time travel brought back her reflection in the mirror. Did anything change there? Not much, The height, sadly still the same. The face -- the same old boring one. Her eyes however, that used to twinkle with the advent of seeing the world, now shone with wisdom of having seen it. Yes, she’d seen it. Changes.

It stopped raining. The sun was tired playing hide and seek, so much, that it openly challenged the clouds, that had, by now, retreated like a cornered animal. She placed her shades back and it was rosy again.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A house then, home now

The house was nice. The tiles, they were neat. The furniture wasn’t over-the-top, but was compactly adequate. The bedsheets were decent, not too well-picked. She walked in, not looking at swishing her magic wand and turning everything around. The barren kitchen was being taken care of, little by little. Plastic jars, a kitchen queen, dinner sets of all forms -- melamine, plastic, china. Beautiful cane lamps splashed a new lease of life to the otherwise boring walls. Terracotta artwork displayed on intrinsically handwoven cane discs. Beautiful lamps on tiles that now wore a more polished look. Carefully hand-picked bedsheets and matching pillow cases replaced the old one. Soon, new curtains came in. Mats and carpets added blobs of colour to the floor. Everything had a designated place. Everything was chosen carefully. Everything was bought and gifted with oodles of love. Well-planned, every penny spent to its worth.

Bit by bit, they transformed their apartment into home. Their nest, their paradise. A house then, a home now. Homes aren't built overnight. You need to invest love and care. Only then can the beautiful transformation begin...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

No kid-ding!

His bum rested on the soft, grey carpet that was spread out royally, covering every inch of the room. The TV was blaring away with some obnoxious-looking woman gyrating to a stolen tune. His big, green, inquisitive eyes were glued to the colourful plastic blocks that his mother had scattered over the carpet.

One by one, the 10-month-old meticulously picked up block after block, and began stacking them. There were obvious distractions -- the crooning woman on the TV was one for sure. He raised his tiny, wobbly head and looked at the TV for a while, but eventually, he got back to business, stacking ‘em away. When the block building was almost as tall as him, he took a second, admired his work of art and let out a squeal of delight, clapping his hands.

Soon enough, their cat, taking exceptional interest in the colourful screen of the TV, made a beeline for the idiot box. In a second, the masterpiece was gone; the beauty was lost; the blocks, shattered; all the efforts wasted. It hurt him, his eyes gave it away.

He looked down at the scattered blocks and without a hint of tears in his eyes, he picked them up, one by one, and began creating the masterpiece, again.

Second chance. It worked, hopefully.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Dolls’ House

It’s surprising how life comes a full circle.

She plonked herself on the couch, that sunk under her weight, with a doll in her hands. She ran her wrinkled, trembling fingers through its tangled, plastic golden hair, her eyes lost in the depths of time. She saw a young girl, squealing, the giggles echoing in her ears. The dimples on her chin welcomed the wide grin. The wind caressed the curly locks away from her chubby cheeks. She giggled again, clutching her doll close to her bosom. She was her best friend, her companion. She’d check on her the moment she opened her eyes, bathe her, brush her hair and dress her up. She called her ‘Mia’. You’d never find her without her Mia. They’d eat together, bathe together and fade away in dreamland tucked in the comfort of her soft bed, together.

Time took wings and Mia was lost in oblivion, in some corner, with rodents feasting on bits of her face, and dust resting in peace in the dark circles of her eyes. Her old friend had moved on, in the company of ‘real’ dolls.

The phone rang, waking her up from her reverie. She hung up without a word, clutched Mia close to her bosom. She had become Mia, a doll adored until 'real’ companions took her place. And with time, she too, like Mia, was pushed into the darkness of oblivion, muted by life, with melancholy feasting on her soul. She looked at Mia, seeing glimpses of her life in the lifeless doll, uniting with her long lost best friend, bathing her, brushing her hair and dressing her up. You’d never find her without her Mia. They’d eat together, bathe together and fade away in dreamland tucked in the comfort of her soft bed, together. And one fine day, she became Mia's mirror image -- lying on her couch, a life-sized lifeless doll.

Life came a full circle.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


She lay on her bed, the mattress sinking under her weight. She lay, gazing at the ceiling. The fan looked like a white disk, slicing the thin air around it. The bedsheet was moist and warm. She tossed and turned, wiping the sweat with the back of her palm. She gazed at the ceiling again, fixing her gaze on the white disk, creaking with every slice it accomplished. She was fascinated by it, except for her belief that it was useless; pointlessly slicing around. “The heat will kill me,” she thought, silently cursing the disc, its creaking noise and its uselessness.

Suddenly, everything around fell silent, creepily silent. She opened her eyes in a flash and it was pitch dark. She fumbled around, her nimble fingers trying to figure things around her. She felt like her insides were melting. Pearls of sweat were dripping down her spine, drenching the bedsheet and making it uncomfortably wet and warm. The silence was pricking her ears. The ceiling was out of her sight. She could feel the heat that her back was emitting. She sat up, the heat killing her. “I won’t wake up alive tomorrow,” she thought.

The disc whirred, startling her awake. She opened her eyes and saw the corridor lights peeking through the curtains. The light was back. She gazed at the ceiling, fascinated by the white disc that was now slicing away with all its might. She fell in love with it. She fell in love with the disc, it’s creaking noise and everything about it.

Give a person something in abundance and watch him curse it. Take it away from him, and watch him fall in love with it. Time. Teaches lessons everyday, every minute.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Nail-ed it!

She stepped on the escalator, scanning her grocery list in her mind, trying to figure out if she’d missed listing anything important. Lost in a wave of thoughts, her eyes fell on the woman behind her. She was dressed in a crisp blue suit, her hair prepped and beautifully set, her curls falling softly on her shoulders. She looked at her slender hand, holding the sides artistically. Her nails looked stunning, nicely shaped, manicured and neat. Suddenly, she looked at her own. Unevenly chipped nails, with stains of green peeking from underneath. The veggies’ sap must have seeped in, she thought. She quickly slid them under her dupatta. She was embarrassed; she could feel her cheeks flush hot, she could feel them turning into a shade of crimson.

She never grew nails, for she wouldn’t be able to knead the dough for rotis. She couldn’t pamper herself to manicures; not because she couldn’t afford one, but because she couldn’t maintain them. Everytime she chopped veggies, the knife would come threateningly close to ruining it.

Suddenly, she felt something. No, she didn’t feel sorry. She felt good. Her half-chipped nails, her flour stained t-shirts, her hair tied into an unkempt bun -- they were all worth the smiles and the burps that her culinary experiments resulted in. She didn’t need manicures to pamper herself; the empty plates and satisfied smiles nailed it for her!

Friday, March 21, 2014

It’s a scary world out there...

It’s funny how people change in a split second. It’s like, they’re all sweet and stuff and whoa! Gone. It’s like a magic trick, where the magician puts a rabbit on display, in front of the packed auditorium. And suddenly, pooof! It vanishes into thin air. Sweetness and goodness vanish these days too. People snub you, keep stern faces and look perpetually irritated. It’s shocking, you know, annoying too. It’s just like walking blindfolded on a bustling street -- what you think is a safe zone for walking isn’t really like that. You never know when a speeding truck is about to ram into you, kill you and then speed off like nothing happened. I worry. Unpredictability scares me. Unexpected reactions scare me even more. It’s a scary world out there, alright, but what makes the world scary, is the scariest part.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Holy Cow!

***The street is abuzz, with thousand glimmering lights dotting the skyline. Incessant honking, curses flying freely and tempers soaring mark the night. Amidst this chaos, I notice a cow, trying it’s best to carry a sack full of stuff on its back, dragging its legs as fast as it can. The honking intensifies, with people rolling down their car windows and yelling at the poor animal. Its owner makes a sheepish face, as he becomes the magnet of curses, doing everything he can to drag the cow faster, while dodging the scorning eyes that are burning him with their gazes. The cow struts on, at its own leisurely pace, the owner bows his head and shields himself on its side. The people on the streets are irritated and rightly so; the cow has unknowingly caused a major traffic snarl, leading to a lot of inconvenience. However, there is not much that the cow itself can do; the burden on its back is slowing it down. Meanwhile, the owner is torn between the angry people, who are right in their own way, and his cow, whose plight he can understand, but can do very little to help...***

Cut to our own lives. There are times when we dwell in the past, carrying it’s baggage on our backs like the cow. The baggage pulls us down, refusing to let go from its clutches. We hunch, slow down and at times stop, without realising the menace we are being to people around; people who watch the show and hurl abuses. Our near and dear ones, meanwhile, dangle between sensibility and sensitivity, unable to make a rational decision. Yes, in keeping pace with us, they slow down too, they stop too, answering the thousand prying eyes that have questions aplenty.

They know what we are doing is illogical and the spectators are on their money, but seeing us suffer and die a slow death kills them too. In the battle between protecting us from the reprimanding and unapproving ‘others’ and pushing us to shed the baggage, it is our close ones who are bruised the most.

Unlike the cow on the road that had no way of helping itself, we can make an effort. Like my friend explained, there are four categories of thoughts -- positive, negative, waste and common. While the positives ones are good and oh-so-welcome, the negative ones aren’t that bad either; they help us be prepared for the worst. However, as soon as we start indulging in negative thoughts from our past, they qualify for the third category which is waste. As long as our negative thoughts concern our future, there is something that can be done. But, as soon as they board the time machine to the past, they will ruin us, harming people around us with their diabolic sting.

It’s best to move on; shed the baggage and feel light...outside and within. Let our hearts and minds be a clean slate, imbibing the positive scribblings and rubbing off the negatives. It’s only then that we can live life, breathe easy and not create snarls anywhere.

Yes, a ‘holy’ cow taught me this. All of this! :)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bye 'Bai'!

***I hear something buzzing. I slap my ears thinking it’s a fly. The buzzing continues, in an irritating pattern. I flutter my eyes open, revolting against the harsh sunlight piercing through the cotton curtains. I hear the buzzing again and look around for the damned fly...I can’t find it, because there’s no fly in the room...it is my alarm that’s going off. A glance at the time and I spring up on my feet, ready for the morning rush. By the time it’s 10, everything is done. Breakfast, lunch and dinner-- all cooked. Dishes done and neatly arranged. Floors swept. Bed made. Every little thing sitting prettily where it’s supposed to be.***

No, I don’t have a domestic help to clean the mess we create. It’s just me and him. No, we don’t have a bai, not because we can’t afford to have one, but because we don’t want to have one.

Before my wedding, I never really had the chance to handle household work. When I got married, I had thrown myself a challenge -- to try and manage every little thing without external help. I wanted to test myself, whether I would be able to pull it off. Plus, I really didn’t want to get used to any luxury. Life comes with no warranty card -- what we can afford today, isn’t necessarily something that we could afford in the future too. I wanted to prepare myself to lead a life with no luxury and prepare myself, I have. Tomorrow, when I get busy, I can hire a help. But even without one, I will be able to handle the work and that is perhaps because I have acclimatised myself to it.

This makes for more responsible for everything in the house. Not just that, doing household chores myself has helped me be involved with our little paradise all the more. Moreover, when I take care of the house myself, I put extra efforts to ensure maximum results. This, no bai can do..

Today, the morning rush isn’t really something that I despise. Morning hours can be the most depressing, frustrating and challenging part of the day. There are things to be done, and done quickly at that. Time seems to have had its share of Red Bull and the hands of the clock seem to be in different time zones at different points in time. In short, you need to pack a lot in very less time.

I have been able to pull this off only because of the unimaginable support that I get from my best half. Harish and I, we try and engage in household chores together, whenever we can. We pat each other’s back for a chore well done. It boosts our confidence. It helps us bond better as a couple, at a totally different level altogether. And when I am feeling low and overworked, I always have a smiling Harish to say, “Go, take rest. The work will be done in a jiffy!”

Not having a help has benefitted me immensely. Not only have I picked up these life-saving skills, I have also saved us some money, which we put to better use. Today, with Harish’s support, I am confident that I’ll run the show, even if I am loaded with other work. For me, my home is my priority, and till the time I can, I will take care of every little task myself.

And the biggest advantage of not having a help is not having to hear, “Itna paisa mein, itnaich milenga!’

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friends in need...friends indeed!

***My phone rings. I tuck a lock of loose hair behind my ears, and take the call. His voice is broken… “Call me from the landline, please,” he says, sounding meek. I do as I am told. As I hear his phone ringing, I experience some sort of a forewarning. “Hey,” he says, disillusioned. “Hey, all ok?” I ask him instinctively. “Accident…” he says, his voice trailing away. “Rakesh car...I...bike...big scratch…” he adds.

My stomach is tying itself into several knots...the bile is steadily rising in my throat. I can hear my heart ramming against my insides. I feel like screaming, but my voice, fortunately, behaves itself. “Are you ok?” I ask him, calmly. “Yeah, I’m not hurt,” he clarifies, easing the knots in my tummy a bit. “Anyone else hurt?” I ask again, and he says, “I don’t really know.” I rush to the office, wanting to be by his side. On my way, I’m thinking about Rakesh, the brand new car’s owner. The knots tighten, the bile erupts like a volcano.***

It was a bad day, no doubt, but it could’ve been far worse; far worse at multiple levels. What if Harish wasn’t driving a car, what if he was on his bike? I think and feel numb. What if one of those guys had died? What if the car belonged to someone else, not Rakesh, who was more than supportive. Fortunately, none of these things happened.

We slept peacefully. Probably the best sleep we got in days. We slept with smiles on our faces, with the relief of having beautiful people around. When I was worried about Rakesh’s new car, people around me consoled, saying the insurance will take care of everything. We slept smiling, because Rakesh was more worried about Harish than his car. We slept smiling, because we had a wealth of having a wonderful extended family. People who care, people who love, people who will shield us from any crisis that befalls us. We slept smiling, because a dear friend came all the way from Warangal, four hours from Hyderabad, just to spend an hour with us, having to go back and take a class, early in the morning.

Financially, we might not have reached there. But we are wealthy...we have earned some of the sweetest, most genuine friends, who are there to stand by us, through thick and thin. And at the end of the day, our friends are all that matters. Today, tomorrow, and for life, it is only this wealth that we would want to earn. Everything else, is just too fickle; everything else is just temporary.

We slept smiling, because that day, God helped us count our blessings, far more than we deserve.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Celebrating Silliness.

There we were, sharing a cozy little table, with heart balloons fluttering all around. There we were looking deep into each other’s eyes, lost in a soulful flute rendition of ‘Tu Hi Re’. There we were, absorbing the candle-lit bliss, the flame flickering and illuminating our faces. There we were, among other love-struck couples, on a date. There we were, celebrating Valentines Day…

But what were we celebrating? A practice that we emulated from the West? No. We were not celebrating ‘just’ love. We were celebrating love, that exists despite the differences. We were celebrating patching up after hundreds of fights. When ego didn’t stand a chance against our emotions, when fights couldn’t scar our affection, when differences became an occasion to rejoice...that’s when we fell in love, in the truest sense.

We didn’t need a special day to celebrate our bond; all we needed, was an excuse to take comfort in each other’s presence. All we needed, was an excuse to hold hands and relish a lip-smacking platter delightfully spread out for us. All we needed, was to feel special, to dress up and celebrate the joy of being together. All we needed, was to celebrate the little acts of silliness, the contagious smiles, each other’s presence.

It wouldn’t have mattered had we shared a table on a small roadside dhaba. It is the company that matters; the bond, the ease and the comfort that can turn any place as romantic as a candle-lit expensive dinner. But then, the ambience, the sweet melody of the flute strumming the strings of our hearts and being with our special someone….that probably made the difference.

I’d only seen it on the silver screen; the hero and the heroine whispering sweet nothings; the lady blushing at every pearl of praise coined at melting her heart; the hero, dressed to kill, trying every trick under the sun to steal his lady’s heart. I’d only seen it on the silver screen; couples madly in love; couples, who’s never put the wrong foot forward; couples, who’d been lovey-dovey all year round, singing songs and running around trees.

‘Perfect’ couples are a non-existent entity. Celebrating the little flaws, the imperfect features, the incorrect language, the embarrassing ordeals...that is what every single day is about. Celebrating loving each other for the flaws, that is what Valentines Day is about...

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A very happy birthday, indeed!

The kitchen lights were on. The sick feeling in my gut returned, sending my mind into a daze. I clearly remembered having checked everything before I left… “Paro, you forgot about the lights again, didn’t you,” Harish asked me, raising an eyebrow accusingly. I tried recollecting things that I did before leaving for work. Balcony door was closed, the gas was switched off, the switches were all off, the taps were closed, the computer had been shut down -- yes, I had checked everything before I left. My mind was whirring with questions. Who was in there? Who had switched the lights on? Robbers?

I unlocked the door, and walked in gingerly. The lights had been turned off. I could feel the chills traveling down my spine like a monorail. Who had turned the lights off? Who was in there? Robbers?

I fumbled for the switchboard and nervously turned the cane light on. I saw two pair of ‘big-foot’ chappals. Instead of breaking into a sweat, I broke into a seepish smile. “Get the buggers out,” I said. No robbers in the house, just friends, two lovely ones.

The floor was peppered with yellow and red petals. The table had a board that wished me, before time. “Surprise”, yelled the robbers holed inside the house. Badey and chotey, hiding inside, after having executed a carefully conspired birthday surprise for me. Harish had excused himself from work, telling me that he had an important assignment to finish. This, the beautiful carpet of decoration that welcomed me -- this was his important assignment. This, after having taken me for a surprise dinner party.

The biggest surprise of the night smelt good, really good. It emerged from the kitchen, attracting me like a magnet, towards its seductive aroma. There it was, in a yellow bowl, looking sinfully gorgeous -- double ka meetha, made with fried bread soaked in the goodness of milk, drizzled with sugar syrup and garnished with nuts fried in a sea of ghee. Chote and badey had made it for me, cleaning the kitchen and doing the dishes too!

The day started with yet another surprise -- loved ones taking time off their schedules to send in their wishes via videos. The birthday celebrations were closed with a beautiful surprise at work. Decorated classroom, beautiful, dark, moist cake and beautiful people to elevate the celebrations to a surreal level.

The celebrations had started a week back with a parcel full of love and goodies from home. I’m richer by three pairs of jhumkas, a necklace, a cloth hanger and tons of love. The baap of all surprises was a Jabong parcel delivered to me -- a parcel of love that came all the way from Pune. Vidya, you managed to bowl me over.

I love celebrating birthdays, particularly my own one...Yes, I like celebrating it, but what I love all the more is the fact that it tells me that people care for me, consider me important enough to spare some time, put in efforts, just to see me smile. All I want, for the rest of my birthdays to come, is for you, all of you, to make me feel wanted. All I want is the warmth. All I want, is for you all to walk by my side, and let me know that I’m not alone. That’s all I want.

PS: The gifts are welcome, too! :P

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My Beauty and Our Beast!

My IELTS batch was taking lessons on essay writing. I walked in and said, “Go to page number 64, question number three -- how do you define happiness?" The air was pregnant with unasked questions. I understood, cleared my throat and said, “Happiness lies in doing what you like. Just think about what you like, frame an essay and bring it back tomorrow, ok?” The class was dismissed. I took a long walk back home, thinking about what I said. “Happiness lies in doing what you like…”

My phone buzzed. It was him. I pressed the handset against my ears...I could feel him smiling. “Arrived,” he said, his tone laced with unmistakable happiness. “Cool,” I said, furiously hunting for better words. He hung up, but I clinged on to the phone, grinning, gulping a golf-ball-like lump down my throat. “Arrived,” I said. “Arrived,” I said, a little louder, repeating the word like a record, louder each time.

I insisted on tagging along to bring ‘him’ home. “Paro...” he said. “Please don’t make me say no again and again...there are practical constraints,” he added. “Fine, come to office by 8,” he said, trying to accommodate my whims.

As we inched towards our first bike, his dream bike, my mind slipped into a flashback. I could see him, looking admiringly at Royal Enfields that cruised past us authoritatively. The sound, the sight, they would freeze him, his eyes tracing the beast till it disappeared from his sight. His face would brighten up and then drop in an instant. “Someday…” I would whisper every single time. Someday, indeed.

That someday was here. His moment was here. He looked at it lovingly, gliding his hands over its shimmery body. His dream was right in front of his eyes, and so was mine. His dream was the shining Thunderbird; mine, his twinkling happy eyes. “Arrived,” I said, this time calmer, with the lump gone. The Thunderbird was not my source of happiness; my source was him, his face that suddenly looked younger, sans the worry lines, his lips that broke into a warm curve. He was in his happy place, I was in mine too. The reasons were different, but the happiness, the same.

Our first bike was home. He was happy and so was I. He looked lovingly at his beast, I looked lovingly at mine. My mind went back to my IELTS class early that morning. “Happiness lies in doing what you like…” I corrected myself. Happiness does not always lie in doing what we like. Sometimes, a very big chunk of our happiness lies in seeing the ones we love doing what they like. His dream came true and made me happy. I was living his dream. There is one big dream tucked away safely in one little corner of my heart. Someday, I will tick that one off too. Yes, someday. For now, my beauty and our beast -- they keep me happy!

Of life and death, literally

He fluttered his tiny eyelids, looking here and there. He sprang up on his feet, confused, calling out to his mom and dad. He panicked, taking wobbly little steps, searching for them. He wobbled on, his shaky feet giving up every now and then. He was hungry, he was scared. He was angry, too. He looked on and on, but there were no traces of them. It was beginning to get dark, but mom and dad, they were still missing. Suddenly, from his corner of his eye, he spotted her. “Oh, there she is,” the little one thought, happy, very happy, that he finally found his mom. He inched closer, calling out to her, telling her oh-so-proudly that he’d won this game of hide and seek. “Look maa, I found you...tomorrow, I’ll win again,” he said. If only. He stumbled upon her, lying in a pool of blood. He was horrified. He began looking for his daddy, and he didn’t have to go too far. He was lying close to his wife, his neck, slid wide open.

The little one shut his eyes, unable to open them and see the gory sight that was laid in front of him. Then his button-like eyes sprang open; he was trembling. His parents were gone; killed, mercilessly. He was robbed of his life, his family. Who would take care of him now? What would he eat? Who would he snuggle up against? He was so tiny; he couldn’t even take steady steps. How would he fend for himself, in the big bad world?

He didn’t go to any school. Life, it taught him; it caned him; it took tests. He toiled for his meals, ate whatever he could, whenever he could. It taught him not to trust anyone, that danger is not too far away; it is, maybe, lurking somewhere right behind his back. Life taught him to be careful, never to venture out in treacherous waters. Someone, somewhere is watching him, ready to pounce and rob him of all the treasures he possesses. Afterall, it was for these treasures that his parents had to lose their lives; it was because these so-called treasures, that he had been orphaned. These treasures had cost him a happy life, a life that could have been scripted with a happy pen; a life, that might not have been stained with the blood of his parents; a life, that would have been lovely, his mother feeding him, his father, protecting him; a life, that would been a life, in the truest sense of the term.

Instead, he lived in fear. He died, every single moment, recalling the mercilessly mutilated bodies of his parents. He lived every moment, knowing his death could around the corner. He never fell in love. He was scared he’d lose her, too; he was scared that if he had little ones, maybe they would also end up living a life like his. And then one day, he fell prey too. He died, just like his parents. His skin was peeled off, decorating some filthily rich dude’s fancy living room. His eyes were scooped out, curing some guy, who had been diagnosed with malaria. His teeth were knocked off, because someone’s child, somewhere, was suffering from fever. His claws were clipped off with precision, because the fat lady couldn’t sleep at night.

When we claim to be a species that has a scientific solution to every bloody problem, they why snatch lives from a beautiful living thing to make sure that we live our lives to the fullest? Why chop a breathtaking creature into parts to use it as a status symbol? Isn’t there anything better for us to flaunt? Why are we so selfish? Are we prepared to let them all die?

Of life and death, literally. He died for them to live. And even in death, he served humanity, the selfish lot. But then, is this what this creature is destined for?

However, there is hope. Not every tiger has to die, not every tiger needs to suffer. There are scientists who care, who are developing alternatives. Let’s help them, cooperate to make sure that our future generations get to see this striped beauty.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

I Miss Her…

I miss her. Her vivacious energy, her-never-say-die attitude, her ever smiling face...I miss her. Her city never slept, never took it easy; neither did she. She ran behind buses, traveled to pockets tucked deep into the city, all on her own, without a twitch on her face. Sometimes, I felt she was stone-hearted, cold, indifferent...but that’s the way she was. That gave her strength, helped her move on, without clinging to things that would dissolve her from within. She was a strong woman. I miss her…

I sit here, with practically nothing productive to do. I sit here, with no deadlines pushing me to give it my best shot. I sit here, watching others work, the brows closing in together. I sit here, missing her.

She was me. I was her. She’s gone now, probably never to return. I left her when I left the city. I left a part of me. I miss her, I want to be her, I ache to be her. But she’s gone. And now, I can only miss her.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

It’s an idiot, indeed!

***It’s a warmly lit up room, nice and cozy, a couple’s paradise. If you are imagining fireworks and sparks flying all around, you bloody hit the nail on the head. Yes, there are fireworks, there are the sparks...but of a different kind altogether. The sparks are flying out from the wife’s head. She’s talking to her husband, who is pretty engrossed. Not in the conversation, mind you, but giving utterly romantic looks to the TV, that’s playing some crappy movie. She mutters a few curses under her breath, a few of the sparks fly out straight at the husband, but he’s too busy to notice. He’s under the seductive spell of the TV.***

They say technology brings us closer. I say, bullshit. There’s a gathering, a get-together, and all you get to see is people booking their corners and gazing into their phones and tablets like it’s a crystal ball. If the phones begin their protest and go on a hunger strike, we feed them with chargers and let the idiot box take charge of the situation.

Since when did conversations with people become interesting, huh? If the television bores you to your marrow, you always have the option of turning it off, but when people begin pouring out their heartfelt feelings, are you left with any other option but to cock your head awkwardly and listen? No, no! You HAVE to listen. It’s such a pain, isn’t it, when people close to you think you’re worthy enough to share their most intimate feelings with? Oh, isn’t the television so bloody attractive that you’d ditch a crowd that’s come to celebrate your birthday and dive into the beautiful world of mindless stories and garishly made-up women? Absolutely!

And when the climax of the same crappy movie that you’ve watched a gazillion times is just about to begin, wouldn’t you just wring the necks of people who are chattering endlessly? Oh only if murder wasn’t a crime! Yes, as predicted ages ago, technology has completely taken over human emotions. Conversations and addas over tea and piping hot pakodas are a thing of the past. We do chat, but only on WeChat. Dinner time is now monopolised by the oh-so-fake drama of the so-called reality shows, and we, well, we just gobble it up like it’s our staple food. Dinners and drinks are only complete in the presence of the ‘saas-bahus’.

It’s called an idiot box for a reason. Unfortunately, like it happens in the real world outside the four walls of our homes, it’s the idiots who rule, and the sane ones who work their asses off!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Playing Mommy!

Remember the times, when we girls, as kids, loved playing mommy to our barbie dolls, putting them to sleep, feeding them spoonfuls of imaginary edibles, bathing them, dressing them up and brushing their hair. Times have changed, and playing mommy has now shifted gears from being my favourite game, to becoming a duty. Hello all, I’m a 25-year-old with a kid.

Those who know me must have fainted by now. Those who don’t, will faint now! Hello all, once again. I’m a 25-year-old with a kid. A 29-year-old kid! :D

The other day, I was watching him. He was tapping away on his phone, wrapped in a blanket. As soon as I walked into the room, he dived into the blanket, just like a turtle effortlessly slips into its shell, trying his hand at fake coughing. As I began to get ready, brushing my hair and tying it up into a high pony, I could see him in the mirror, peeping out of the blanket, his eyes glued to me, coughing again. I ignored him on purpose. He began to moan, sounding as if he would die any minute. “What’s wrong,” I asked him, finally, trying to sound casual. “Oh, nothing,” he said, his voice gruff, “I think I have fever.” I felt his forehead, he indeed had fever, mild temperature, to be honest. “Pop a pill, and take some rest,” I said, “you’ll be just fine.” His face dropped. He pouted like a whiny kid and said, “Could you please place a wet kerchief on my forehead? I’m feeling horrible.” I got the hint and obliged. For the next couple of hours, I saw a fully grown bearded man wear the garbs of a two-year-old, not letting me go anywhere. “I want cream biscuits,” he said, waking me up as I fell asleep attending to this oversized kid. Off I went into the kitchen and got him a packet of orange cream biscuits. “Noo, not this, Bourbon,” he promptly said, making the best of his puppy faces.

Meet my 29-year-old kid, my husband, who shrinks from the man sporting a six-pack, to a helpless baby as soon as the health-o-meter starts weakening. Every time his health dips, even by the slightest margin possible, I know I have to play ‘mommy’. It’s a pleasure, and a pain, too, to see him whine, act cranky and babble. But then, I do remember the promises I made with the sacred fire as the witness - I promised to stand by him, in sickness and in health, in sanity and insanity, without, of course, knowing that there will be a lot of the latter!

Who doesn’t like it?

All of us are attention seekers, let’s admit. We might not shout from the rooftops, wear loud attires or even come up with weird stuff. But, in the company of people we are close to, we like to be in the limelight. We like it when we are pampered, we like being surprised, and hell yes, we like it when we are praised. You’re lying if you disagree.

With his not-so-frequent bouts of man-flu, looks like my husband is ticking off stuff from his to-do list as far as giving me on-the job training goes. With this experience, I’m pretty sure I’ll play mommy pretty effectively, whenever the ‘realtime’ situation comes knocking!

Monday, January 13, 2014

It’s just a matter of time, hopefully

It’s been close to five years since a struggle began. A war between destiny and the destined; a war between God and his lesser creation; stars going berserk, paths criss-crossing with depression, dissatisfaction and learnings. Till about five years back, I was a pampered and protected child, unaware of how brutal the real world could be. All that glittered was gold, every person was sweet and deception was a concept that life taught me the hard way. If you are already yawning, I have spoilers. The rest of this blog post is a rant, a really long and to a certain extent a depressing rant.

There are a lot of emotions securely bottled inside me. With time, like wine, their flavours have started becoming bolder. So much, that I can hold them in any longer and I have decided to let them spill, in the form of words.

Moving out of Guwahati proved to be the biggest learning experience for me. The cane came down heavily, and every lesson I have learnt thus far in life, has left a bitter taste, every time. In Delhi, more often than not, I had the money, but I didn’t have food. I realised what hunger is. From someone who would get the first morsel of the magic ammai would whip up in the kitchen, I was reduced to someone who would go hungry almost everyday. Four square meals was too much of an asking. One shabby meal would look like a luxury. There were nights when I would feast on water, looking at pictures of food and snore away to glory, letting the rats inside my tummy have an annual sports extravaganza. But, I never cried. I would console myself by thinking that there are people who don’t even have a roof over their head to protect them from the ravages of nature. I told myself, “I’m better off. It’s just a matter of time.”

People bitched left, right and centre, questioning my intelligence, my capabilities and my talent. I let them bitch. It hurt, I admit. Thier actions spoke loud and their words spoke louder. This was life’s sadistic way of teaching me that there are different characters scattered all around us, and ignorance is bliss, perhaps. I told myself, “I have the education, and I will get the opportunities. I’ll make it large. It’s just a matter of time.”

Bombay opened a whole new window of opportunities for me, professionally. I had the best time ever, discovering little pockets of the city, the joys of local train rides, the pav bhajis and the vada pavs. I made friends, I bumped into people so talented, that I felt privileged. But then, life smirked at me again, saying well begun, but not done. I lost my wallet, my money, my job and I lost the support of people I considered friends. I stood on Marine Drive, alone, drenched in the rain that taught me yet another of its lessons. We bump into a lot of people in our lives, but not all of them walk us to our destinations. It’s our life and we need to walk alone, without holding hands with anyone else. We need to make choices, at times difficult ones, too. I was shattered, but then the city gave me enough strength to cope up. My spirit refused to die. I told myself, “Things will fall in place. It’s just a matter of time.”

But then, time seems to be enjoying playing games with me. Five years after this whole learning curve began, life still continues to teach me, in the oddest and saddest ways possible, at times testing my emotional strength, at times testing my health. There are people engrossed elsewhere when I talking to them, there are people who have claimed I am a hindrance for teamwork. There are people who’ve branded me as a motormouth, others who think I am far too arrogant. Some people believe that I’m good-for-nothing, others, well their bitch because they have nothing better to do.

All those people who have managed to prick me, thank you, for you have taught me the biggest and most useful lessons in my life. Others, who think I’m boring, I’d rather ignore you. You deserve more than that. People who’ve been riding on their wave of good luck pushing me down to drown and die, remember, every wave retreats back to where it belongs. It’s not too long before my day will come, and people who are forever busy now, will be the ones who will crave to have a slice of me. I will make it large. This I can promise. Till then, life, you can have the pleasure of testing me, you can’t crack my nerves. I’m still smiling, telling myself, “It’s just a matter of time.”