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.”