Thursday, December 28, 2006

Should I or should I not?

Life is about change. But I sometimes wonder what drives us within to will the change? There are so many things different about each person, so how does one decide what part of them needs to change ? How do you know that a certain change will definitely do you good? How do you decide the line upto which you can allow yourself to change?

They say an answer to these questions is a test to your integrity as an individual. Sometimes it is about being socially acceptable, sometimes about making things more feasible, sometimes just being adventurous, sometimes trying to make a prettier picture of your individuality, sometimes it is about standing out. Do we change for any other reason? And how far can you or must you go to achieve the purpose of your change?

I agree that life is monotonous when there is no change. The entire mystery of life revolves around the timing, content and effect of a change. But just how far is one ready to go to add that zing to life?

Monday, December 04, 2006


There were many firsts between us.
The first acknowledgemnet of each other's existence.
The first time we had a coffee, sharing parts of our lives, as friends.
The first walk, the first phone call, the first time we lingered longer at the bus stop, the first night long chat we had...
The first time the air between us got heavy and we sensed the change in the perspective of our relationship.
The first dinner we had celeberating our commitment to each other.
The first recognition of our inability to live without each other.
The first kiss.
The first fight we had.
The first time we dressed as the bride and groom.
The first meal I cooked.
The first weekend we enjoyed,wrapped in each other's arms, staring at the window, rain drops hitting hard.
The first party we had.
Our first child and all her firsts..
The first time we stood as proud parents, watching her hands loosen from our grasp and clasp tightly the hands of the young man she had found herself.
The first time we glanced into the eyes of our grandchild.

There are countless such firsts...each one equally significant as the ones mentioned. Each one associated with an, despair, restlessness, excitement, anxiety and some inexplicable.

This was the first milestone that left me emotionless....numb.

This was the first time, I couldn't hear him breathe.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

in the realm of words..

A sentence ran across, in front of her. She had read it a hundred times before. But everytime she looked away from it, shehad longed to read it again. They soothed her, gave her courage, a reason to her existence, an excuse to keep her heart beating. . . That sentence summed up her life.

They were just words....put carefully in order....but... meant so much more than just what they conveyed. She could weave her entire future, with just the thread of those words. They calmed her when she was restless. She looked at them, as she relived the little moments that they had spent. Those mere words, were her lifeline.

Yet, today, as she reads the sentence teary eyed, they are just a string of words, that probably don't even make a meaningful sentence. It once reflected promise, now it just reflects a shattered future. Looking at it, used to fill her with courage once, today, it breaks her more n more.

She had never known that the meaning of a sentence can change with subtle bends in the journey of life. She learnt it the hard way.

No, he did not give her up. She gave him up. Rather, she gave in to a certain 'me' in place of a certain 'us'. She hadn't flinched even the slightest while making the replacement, for she had died within, much before doing so.

She had once upon a time, gifted him a string of words, thoughtfuly arranged, conveying a meaning that carried more weight than the words themselves .....
.......and in reply he had gifted her this sentence ... a sentence that had only two words on it.... " Me too."

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Over a cup of tea....

Sitting by his own office and gaping at the window, working up startegies to get past the latest business problem at hand, he probably was the most content man around. He was rich...monitarily, educationally and morally. He had the world at his feet.

It was 10.30 am and it was time for tea. It was his office and tea was served to him at his desk. There was a small tea stall next to the office and a small boy working there as a cleaner would bring it up to his desk. Everyday the boy would knock on the door, carry the hot cup filled to the brim, gingerly, trying his best not to spill and carefully place it on the table. He would then walk away without so much as lift his head. This was routine. Being a busy man, he could hardly bother about a 9 year old cleaner!

Today, something changed. The boy came as always and placed the cup and started to walk away. But he recieved a 'thank you', said matter of factly, in a tone that comes when said without deliberate intent and as a habit. The boy swirled, his eyes lit up and a smile appeared across his face. Turning away from the window, surprised at the sudden movement in the lateral vision, he looked at the little boy and reciprocated the smile.

This was the beginning of a series of smile exchanges which over a period of time led to small talks. Through these talks, he learnt that the boy's parents stayed in the village at the outskirts , that his father is a farmer, he being the eldest of four children works by day adding to the family's income and goes to school by night, that he wants to become a big, rich man when he grows up. The small talks stirred a spirit of charity and he would give petty amounts as 'tip' to the little boy.

The boy looked forward to these one-minute-word-exchanges and would run to the front of the tea stall evey morning and evening to see his new friend arrive and leave office. He once got lucky and actually got a ride in the car. His friend had told him that to be a big rich man, he has to study very hard and be sincere in whatever he chooses to do. And he was determined to do just that!

One fine day, as the boy smilingly placed the cup of tea, he told his friend that his father had asked him to return to the village and help out in the fields, as he could no more afford to keep the boy in the city. His night school would stop, but he would try to find one, close to his village. He still wants to be a big ,rich man. Sadenned by the news, he told the boy, that he was also leaving the city as he was opening a new branch of the office in another place and would have to be there for the next whole year. He then wrote his number on a piece of paper and asked the boy to call him in a month's time and he would arrange for his schooling at his own cost. That was last in the series of one-minute-word-exchanges.

He left the city and his new office was established, but that one phone call he was waiting for never came.

Today as he sits by the window of his new office, the office attendent brings the usual cup of tea. But his tea has stopped tasting ever since that 9 yr old cleaner of the neighbouring tea stall left the city, coz that tea was accompanied by smiles, innocence and dreams....

Saturday, November 11, 2006

bestest mommy...

One of the many things that intrigues me about God's creation, is the creation of a mother! What is it that He adds in her being that makes her omnipresent and omnipotent with respect to her offspring? As a daughter, I may never understand, but only wonder!!

It was one of those cold winter mornings, when I felt as grey as the sky was.(Sometimes, it is the weather that determines your mood...the environmental effect!!) It was a regular day when nobody cares what you are feeling, you just need to go about doing your job. There was a feeling of restlessness, despair, an unreasonable worry and it bothered me every minute. I took a deep breath and thought about the status of all perspectives of my life and realised that all was well. There was not one facet that seemed to be weathering the rains, but I still couldn't reason out the worry! When such a thing happens, I usually classify it as ' feeling homesick' ! Well, having come to the conclusion, I decided to call home once I get liberated from the more practical things in life!

Just as that thought occured, my phone was Ma...! She said she was missing me and wanted to hear my voice. And I was searching for anything that looked like a string jutting out of my body and running into oblivion....the only reasonable way..she could have read my thoughts!! obvious..I am still looking for that string!!

All mothers have this string and as many strings as the number of children. But I always wondered if this string ran both ways... There are so many instances of a child being able to hear the mother's thought. How come I have never been able to do that? or is it that I did hear and react but never realised my action!

Human beings are selfish....and if there is one facet of human that is is definitely a mother!! and like everyone mommy is the best!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

retrospection...or..... introspection?

It feels like an era has gone by. An era I had enjoyed living in. A chance to revisit the time, was something I was looking forward to, something that brought a smile across my face.
Today as my visit ends, there is a feeling of peace, satisfaction, happiness and fulfillment. There is fear and sadness of having to let go of the era and live only with it's memories. Memories...some good, some bad, some happy, some sad, some of places, some of people, some of mere objects, some of incidents and some of thoughts!

At the start of my visit, I expected it to be one to refresh images and take back smiles of people I love. It was about giving back smiles, happiness and memories to them. It was a trip looking forward to meeting a new friend and establishing a new thread of belonging. But as unexpected as life can sometimes be, I lost...lost a whole box of memories and more. With mixed feelings, I look back at my visit, as I got myself something new but in the process lost something old..

As I left the location of the era and flew higher into the skies of the future, I felt a certain strength and confidence to pass through any dark cloud that comes by me, with conviction.

I lived a dream. I was blessed to be able to do so. As I fly into the future, I want people associated with me to know, how much, they have contributed to make me the person I am.

Tears flow out, in celeberation of refreshed memories and in pain of having to convert a living moment into a memory.

I lived my dream...and the dream came to an end....

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Standing by the window, staring at the vastness of the sky, I felt a hand touch me. As I turned back, I saw a pair of eyes that instilled faith in me. A smile that drove away the wrinkles on my forehead. It was these things about him that ensured me.... he was mine. Ever since, the path of our lives have crossed, I have always felt complete.

I found him on the beach, 2 years back. He was wading into deeper waters and was too small to fight the waves. I was taking a leisurely stroll along the waters. He was alone. Nobody seemed to be having an eye on a boy as young as him. He barely looked like 6yr old. As I wondered what a child like him was doing in such deep waters and how could the parents be so careless, his bobbing head suddenly disappeared. Racing against the waves, I frantically searched for that tiny form of life. By the time I reached him, his head bobbed up again. Smiling, he said, he knew how to swim.

I found him every single evening after that day. First a few smiles, then a little ruffling of hair, then an enthusiastic wave from far off and then to waiting for each other to turn up, we had become friends. I bought him something small everyday, may be a choclate or an ice gola. He never questioned me when I din't buy him anything.

He came alone everyday. Intrigued by the observation, I asked him the big 'why'.
" I stay in that house there. That aunty lets us go to play every evening, but she doesn't take us out. So, I jumped the gate to see what it is like outside." "Who stays with you at home?" I asked. "Oh! there a lot of friends and aunty." As I looked in the direction of his house, I could read just one word 'orphanage'. The whole world seemed to spin. The sound of the waves seemed to get louder. How could He do this to a child as adorable as this 6 yr old?

I had called him 'kiddo' from the very start and was surprised that I had never bothered to ask him his name.

"Kiddo! would you like to stay with me?"
" you your house?"

I named kiddo, Aryan. He became my son officially this day, 2 years back. He is in class III, in the school nearby. We are celeberating his b'day today. Mom n Dad were upset that I had taken such a huge step without consulting them.... after all there was a society to answer to. A single mom was still not a very comfortable situation. It took them time to come to terms with their daughter's bold step. But they are here too.

I have given Aryan a family. But what Aryan has given me is inexplicable.

This is purely a work of imagination. So please don't ask me, if I actually have an Aryan!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bird's view..

It is a pleasant afternoon. The sun is right overhead and shining bright and hard. But there are clouds to cover up, making the weather much more bearable. My search for some form of food in the morning was of no avail. Not a single fish jumped out of the water, not a single rat was slow for me to land my claws on it, not a snake, not a chick, not even worms... It was another of my sloppy days, when I reach the wrong place at the wrong time..or rather don't reach the right place at the right time. My mom always said there would be such days,only she din't tell me they would be so often!

My stomach is growling. I don't even remember the last meal I had. I have to find something to eat. There is no point perching up on such a high branch and wondering what to do. Just flying and hoping against hope, that my luck shines like the sun this afternoon, will be the best thing to do.

Ahh...this earth looks so beautiful from up here. It's a pity that those men down can't have a bird's view........ except when they fly in those bird-like machines that cuts birds as big as me into pieces. Well, even if they had wings of their own, they would have to be long ones to balance their bodies in air. Also, with such a size, and so many of them, the sky would not be enough to fly in!

Oh..there is my prey! After all the wait, I, finally, am going to have a delicious meal. Yummy little snake. Haven't had one for a while now. I knew my luck would shine today..nice n bright!! Ok..little I come!!

I love tearing down the sky in speed, to catch my prey. When I waqs small and mom took me on training, she always told me that it was this part of catching the prey that determined whether I would be succesful or not. She always told me to tear down, fast enough to surprise the prey but not so fast as to catch the attention of the prey. I love doing feel the breeze blowing across me as I fly down!

Oops!! What is this? It looks like a stone. Oh! these young ones of these men..... keep pelting stones at me. One day, I will have to pick one of them....just to teach them a lesson. Actually, I wonder what they would taste like! Well, I shall wonder later, let me avoid the stone. Uggghhhhhh....I am going to miss my little snake!

Hey, it hit me. And no, it isn't a stone. It doesn't look like one. And stones don't make me bleed so much. What is this? And what is that man holding in his claws? I remember seeing a similar one when mom swiveled down, the last day I ever saw her. Is it the same thing that hit mom?
Why am I falling? I can't flap anymore. My left wing hurts and I am bleeding. May be I should perch on one of these branches and take some rest. Where is the nearest branch? I can't see one. I can't see the man either. What is happening? The sun is appearing too bright. Where did the clouds go?

THUD!! I've hit something hard. Now my right wing and my whole body hurts. What is this squeezing my body so hard? Get off me! Leave me..I am in pain. Why isn't someone listening to me? is a man's claw. It is coming towards me. What does it want from me? Why is the man looking at me? Mom said men hit birds. She din'yt say, they eat birds. R they going to eat me? Ahhh...I am feeling tired. I want to sleep. Mom, where are you? I am hungry and tired. I need some rest.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Hum Tum?

It was after college hours, sitting lazily on the benches in the canteen with a bunch of friends, over a cup of coffee and some savories. He was a friend's friend and she was just introduced to him.She had had a bad day. There was constant chatter n laughter in the air, but she was oblivious to it. Suddenly he pushed a piece of paper towards her. It was an artist's version of a withered leaf in the form of a lady. She was surprised and looked up at him. He signed under his work and smiled.

A few days later, the group was planning on going to a nearby waterfall and a farm house owned by one of them. He was the only 'indirect' friend invited. During the trip, he found all sorts of excuses to come and talk to her and she was trying hard to be polite. By the end of the day the battle was won by perseverance. He finally got a five minute one-to-one conversation with her. Well, it wasn't much of a conversation... for most of the time they sat quietly next to each other...until she asked him when his next exams were!

She was seeing him everyday after that, she din't realize until it was almost a week. Someday he would come down coz he needed the mutual friend's bike, the next day, he would come to pick his friend up, the third he would come as a he was passing by the college, another day, there was some function in the college… so on n so forth. She was slowly getting familiar with him and he noticed that she was less guarded after each of their meeting. By the end of 2 weeks of numerous ‘by chance’ meetings, he finally mustered up the guts to ask for her number. Phone number was always a delicate issue, but this time she gave it without thinking twice.

That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship between him n her. She hardly had time to do anything other than her course work, but whenever he called up and asked to meet, she would make the time for it. For him, she came before everything else. They spoke for hours. They sat next to each other...quiet...staring into the open, but felt refreshed at the end of it. She could bare her heart in front of him without the fear of being judged and her support was all he needed to realize his interests and accomplish them. He listened to her girlie talks and gossip and she checked out gals for him! They were friends…the best there could be.

Everyone was doubtful of the true intention of their relationship. They questioned him. They questioned her. His friends constantly teased him. Her friends teased her. But they were all ignored.

Years passed by. The bond had grown stronger.

He was her backbone and thought she was the same to him. But, with time, she had become his every breath. She was now the center of his being. He wanted a sort of permanency in the relationship. The friendship was permanent she said.

He smiled, looked at her for a long time, trying to sink her face into the depth of his memory…. and walked away…..

That was the last she saw or heard of him.

Monday, August 28, 2006


There is a music competition on television that I watch very often. I love the songs, the competitors, the host, the judges and the atmosphere created by the program. The recent series was on children.In the episode I am talking about, these kids had to sing their parents' favourite song. A small trivia on the parent-child bondage, then a clipping of the child and his/her parents, the parent says the choice of song, the child is questioned on what he/she dreams of giving his/her parents and the song begins.

Every time a new contestant came up, the ambience was getting more n more emotional. Parents wet eyes gleaming in the light, host teary, judges in tears, contestants, somehow holding the lump in the throat yet singing very much in tune and of course..your's truly with a whole box of tissues...streaming with tears!

Each child's dream was about buying a car, a house, of winning the national award for singing, of doing playback singing and getting rich, etc. One of the contestants, the most loved one and more on the mature side of his age, was blind. He sang like a canary and somehow, no matter what he sang, there was an extraordinary soul added to the song. It touched you, beckoned you to understand the lyrics and appreciate it, conveyed the meaning of the song in each word and in it's entirety. Even if you have seen the picturisation of the song, he could take you to a different world with your own imagination. His voice came from his heart and touched yours straight. This isn't out of a soft corner for he being blind, that I felt all this. But as they say, when God takes something from you, He gives you more in some other way. And God gifted this child with a powerful soul.

His dream for his parents was what touched me. He had two of them. One was to drive a car with his parents as his passengers from home to a restaurant where he would have dinner with them with his first earning and the other was to earn enough to be able to take his mother to all the seven wonders of the world.

Everybody on the sets was stunned by the simplicity of his dreams yet seemingly difficult. It made most of them realise what resources they have and how they are wasting it.With tears rolling down and blurred vision, I stared at this 11 year old boy,dressed in funky clothes provided by the sponsor, jet black eyes rolled up looking directly into the lights of the studio and not flinching, head postioned as if to look up, straining his ears to catch any sound at all. He patiently waited, rolling his eyes all over as if pleading for someone to see for him and tell him what is going on, until his patience ran out. He finally, addressed the host and asked what was happening. The host gave him a hug and said everyone was waiting for him to sing. And with a "oh"..there came another marvellous rendition.

Who ever said these human beings were handicapped? It is we, the so-called normal ones who are handicapped....coz we don't appreciate the simple gifts of life or derive happiness out of things that appear routine for us......until it is taken away from us one day!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

luck shining...

The travel from college to home was an hour and a half long involving two bus terminals.
Everyday this travel brought in a new experience. Everyday I met a new daughter, a new mother, a new sister, a new daughter-in-law , a new mother-in-law,a new friend. For the whole hour, I would share, directly or indirectly ( read overhearing) their emotions on one or more events of their lives. I witnessed friends preparing for exams, daughter taking her mother shopping, the mutual cursing club of the mother n daughter in law,a marriage proposal being accepted n rejected.. just plain interactions..etc.

During one such travel, as I stood comfortably and wore my ear phones listening to the radio,a group of air force cadets got in. Why do I say airforce..well, their headquarters was en route.The HQ stop always had my head turning and eyes wandering. I would know even in sleep when the bus zeroed in to that stop!I always had a fascination for these cadets, not army, not navy..purely the air force!! Please don't ask a why!! was their day out and they were just getting back after all the fun. Inspite of the radio, I could hear them. From their conversation, it appeared as though they were late or had taken time beyond their norms.As the journey progressed, the conversations got shorter and were quieter. One of them was standing right behind me.He was tall, seemed well built and goodlooking. Not that I had turned around and checked him out, but got an obscure glimpse of him from the corner of my eye.

After a while, I heard " what are you observing ma'm?". It got me thinking on how could there be a lady amongst them, when all I saw entering were guys. I waited patiently to hear the "ma'm" answer, so I could try and locate her position. Instead the question was repeated and this time with an additional " I know you can hear me, inspite of the ear phones". My heart skipped a beat! Was he talking to ME? yeeeeaaahhh!! I was thrilled. Blood rushed to my cheeks and I turned around startled. He was charming just as I thought. He had that factor that could send a girl dizzy with his thoughts for the next four days. A factor I can't describe or name, but I am sure all girls are aware of.

Hoping against hope that my hair was just right, my face not too oily or sweaty and I was not looking as tired as I was feeling, I managed a feeble smile. He smiled back flirtatiously." nothing much... just people and their reactions". " What do you get out of observing them?" " Well..just speculate on what their thoughts are and be a part of this very moment of their life!". By now, he was peering into my eyes and I wasn't very comfortable with that, though was elated! " what do you do?" " I am doing my dentistry"" how about you?" " I fly planes........................" I frankly din't hear a word he said. I kept staring at him and noticed that his eyes were constantly into mine all the while. Confidence oozed out of him. His mouth crinkled into another of those flirtatious half smiles " You haven't registered a single word I said! I am sure!" I blinkedand steered my eyes away. My heart was now pounding. I swallowed helplessly.Oops!! How did he know that? He wasn't supposed to make out!! I cursed myself for losing my senses and control.

" stop is here. It was nice talking to you. You have a beautiful pair of eyes. Hope to get another chance to look into them!" Another killing smile and off the bus he was. Our eyes locked one last time as the bus moved. He waved and I smiled back.

Well, the next half hour of the journey whizzed by. I was not in this world. Nothing around me seemed to catch my attention.I was mesmerised by the recent events and was thanking God profusely for making my day. My face seemed to have a permanat smile stuck to it.It must have been that one rupee coin I gave the beggar or may be that biscuit I fed the dog with, that I was rewarded for.

I got down at my stop and walked towards home with a spring in my step.After a long, tiring day..what a refreshing encounter it was! Did I say I was tired? May be I was..who remembers!All I remember is that face, those eyes and those parting words. That was one day I remember having slept peacefully.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Another of those ' why 's..

"What do I wear today?" sing song tune of my roommate uttered every morning for the past 5 years we stayed together!She then would just grab the dirtiest and most wrinkled pair of jeans lying around, randomly pick out a top out of her closet,run the 'darn comb' (as she called it) along her hair,stand in front of the mirror for the next fifteen minutes and see herself in all angles and out she goes! And here I am busy for the past one hour, fresh after a bath,picking out a comfortable crisp shirt, a crisp pair of jeans, hair neatly in place, looking at the mirror and wondering what else to do to make the pathetic sight in front of me more presentable! After pondering on the possible methods and finally deciding on one, I realise I am running out of time and chuck the idea.

As we walk to college together, a few friends join us and there comes the first comment " hey Priya, you are looking so pretty this morning!!"Then they look at me and give me a smile which reads a "Hi"! They don't even lie to me or say something similar to just make me feel better! I look at my roomie,scan her from top to bottom and decide that she actually is looking pretty!

They say hardwork is a sure way of success. Whaaaaaaatttt? The person who said this definitely din't think of the above situation! Yes, I is the inner beauty that matters at the end of the day. But it is the obvious beauty that attracts someone to actually assess the inner beauty!
So there...

Why are some people made such that anything they wear looks good on them and then why are there the other kind of people who no matter what they do, end up looking ordinary!! And if this dividion has been made, then why am I part of the latter kind?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

...beyond time and words

Very apprehensive I entered into his present. I din’t know what to expect. I din’t know what he expects from me. Yet here was a knot that tied our lives together. With my hands in his, as I looked at his face, there were hopes of a future that was lively, colorful, peaceful. It was a new beginning for both of us. As he looked back at me I felt waves of similar thoughts touch me. His eyes filled me with a feel of acceptance. There was a readiness to share himself with me. I wasn’t sure, if I was ready. I guess it would take me time. But the warmth in his eyes was very reassuring. MY life had now begun.

I never had imagined that things done in routine would ever amuse me. But surprisingly they did. I found myself standing still and smiling while I watched him button up his shirt or sip his coffee while struggling to reach the sports page of the newspaper. What was so amusing…I still don’t know! Watching his eyes follow me as I went about doing my household chores, his shifting his place while reading the newspaper, so he is always around me, a comment on the happenings of the world thrown in the air, inviting me to share my opinion, all just to start a conversation…showed me what he felt for me. When he stopped following me, I would look back with my eyes searching for him and he knew I felt the same.

Life went on. We had children. His business underwent ups and downs. We shifted houses and places. We saw our son almost dying in front of us and heaved a sigh of relief as he recovered. We have celebrated festivals, seen big buildings come up and spoil the serenity of our house, seen prime ministers and presidents come and go. Still, every morning I watch myself smile as I see him buttoning up his shirt or sip his coffee while struggling to reach the sports page of the newspaper.

Today, as I go for a walk in the park with him, I feel his pace slowing. His walks are getting shorter each day. His breathing is strenuous, but his grasp over my hand is as tight as always. The brightness in his eyes as he sets them on me is still the same. He still shifts his place to be constantly around me, still throws a comment in the air to start a conversation. Yes. MY life has been lively, colorful and peaceful as I hoped it would be. I have shared my soul with him. I have been part of his soul.

As our days come to an end, I hope to die with my hand still in his grasp.

.......My granma’s reply to me, when I expressed my fears on getting married to someone I don't know at all!!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

7 pm phone call...

It's 7.00 pm. The phone rings. My mother calls out for me saying my friend A has called up. I hold the reciever for 20 seconds against my ear, put it on hold, fetch my timetable book, read out the next day's schedule and keep the phone down.

This run of events like today,occurred yesterday, last week,last month, last year n the year before that too. It began occuring from 1990 and continued till 1996. A was my classmate,neighbour and ahhh.. best friend. Before the 7 pm phone call, we were in the sandpit playing ice pice (I Spy),catch n co n stuff of the kind. A wrote the timetable along with me when 'teacher' dictated it. But the 7 pm phone would still come. A lost the paper..every year.

The turn of events that stopped this was when I had to leave town and change my school. A was no more my classmate, no more my neighbour...... still my friend but not in touch. I missed the 7 pm calls.

Then fate had more in store for me. I returned back to my old school. A was again my classmate n my friend(not my nieghbour though!). But the 7 pm phone calls din't come. A now had learnt to keep the timetable sheet carefully.

One evening, we finally spoke about the contorversial 7pm phone call.

A : My mom said I used to call you up everyday for the time table. Did I?
Me: yes!
A: I don't remember doing any such thing!
Me : * smile*

Alas.. I miss the 7 pm phone call...

Friday, August 04, 2006

Lost traditions..

Mom is bengalee and Dad is telugu-kannadiga. So, I get to celeberate a lot of festivals and some festivals twice!!

As a child I remember the hustle and bustle that would start two-three days before 'the puja'.... the shopping for fruits and sweets and flowers, taking out the silver vessels from the safe and washing them, the careful cleaning of the sanctum sanctorum of the diety, every nook n corner of the house being swept of dirt, the crefully prepared sweets and other delicacies.The morning of the Puja, everybody is woken up early and made to have a bath( despise early morning bath!!), wear fresh new clothes ( my favourite part!) and then as a kid I was allowed to do anything that 1. would not get me or my clothes dirty 2. would not hamper the arrangements made.

I always waited for the chanting and sanskrit slokaas, the elaborate procedure of the Puja to finish, so I could just get back to playing, after of course the 'prasaddam'. Not being a food fad much, I disliked the forceful eating of the numerous delicacies made. ( I could eat one or two..but not all) I loved the evenings when all the ladies in the 'pattu' saris would come home and I was made to wear a sari too and serve them. I would end up serving just one lady and either the sari would fall off or I would trip over it!!

It's been ages since I have been to such a Puja, smelt the burning oil and incense, worn those traditional clothes, walked on the wet front porch, the mango leaves brushing past my head, heard my granma humming while making the arrangements, felt the excitement in the air, seen the beauty of the idols, tasted the sweets dipped in home made ghee.

Yes, I miss the festival food. I miss the chants and slokaas. I miss the early morning hustle and bustle and yes the early morning refreshing bath! I miss the look of my home all dressed up. I miss the tradition.

Life suddenly seems to be confined to a whole lot of smart tactics to get somewhere....acts that slowly are leaving me hollow!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Sometimes as I look out of the window, I see myself walking by....smiling and radiant. There is a fullness in me, an all encompassing happiness, a certain peace and feeling of fulfillment. Then I lose myself.
What remains is me.... a restless,dissatisfied mind and an empty heart.
'I am happy'... I say to myself. But my eyes betray my words. What is gnawing at me? What is it that I am looking for? I have everything in life that people pray for...yet there is something missing. Looking for that missing piece in the puzzle of life is the goal of life they say. But can someone tell me what does that missing piece look like?

People say I love drowning in the negatives of life. I say, I voice only the negatives of life. It helps thinking loud and clears my thoughts. This is just one of those phases and a voicing of that phase!!

Sunday, July 30, 2006


I was out with a "friend" whom I had never met until a week back! We were out one fine sunday morning with no plan on mind. As we drove about and finally landed at a coffee place, we got into a 'tell-me-about-u' chat. Not knowing anything apart from his name and that he was an alumnus of my school, there was a lot to know.

As we got into the 'know-me' session, we were judging each other. I was assessing if his principles and philosophies of life are the same as mine, ( If they are, it essentially means that they are right!!) and he was checking out if I was 'kewl' (cool)!! (I found that out by asking him.) That aroused a thought. Who defines what is 'cool'? What is 'cool'? Things that are'cool' to me may not be so for someone else. In that case, is it that I am 'uncool' or is he?

Ultimately, we just let the judgement be and realised that we were actually comfortable in each other's company, so we should just go ahead and have some fun! And that was what we did. I thought that was 'kewl'!

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Mel as I call her, was my desk partner in school. I was new to the school and she had been recently shifted to this section. We were thus both new to the class. She had a few good friends in the class,but they already had partners. So it was evident that she had to take the only place empty, which was, beside me.

The period (as we referred to lecture hours then) began as soon as she settled herself into the desk which definitely was small for her. So we just exchanged smiles. Throughout the period, she kept turning back to appraise her good friend on why the change, how it happened and what each official in the process told her..the usual lengthy girlie description of anything small that happens!! Finally it was break time, she smiled and said " I am going to the canteen. Would you like to join?" and I politely declined. (There were too many boys there and I was scared!!) When she came back, she asked me the ususal set of questions that gave an identity to kids in school....parents' occupation,where I stay and which bus do I come by,who in that bus does she know?

For the next two years we were partners and had become friends..good friends.

Then she broke a news that changed the course of our friendship. She had recently shifted to the same campus as mine. Now, every evening was spent with Mel. I hooked her onto sports, we would play badminton in the local club,something she never dreamed she would get herself to do. We would take long walks in the dry, hot desert weather even in the peak of summer!A lot of heart to heart talks, exchange of positive energy and all those inspirational things between friends happened seated on the floor of the front steps of my place under the moon and stars, until either of our mom's high pitched call was heard!!Weekends were spent at each other's place.. studies,fun and all. Between us, I was the moral police and she was the adventurous teenager. For every small thing I was her biggest advisor.

Years have passed by.... we were seperated and reunited.... thanks to "further studies"! She has matured with time and so have I.

Today as we meet, is the two school friends who share their secrets and two adults who do the friend, philosopher, guide act.

This post is to celeberate you Mel!


The phone rings. I pick up and say " No.Yes.yes.No." The questions asked "have you had your breakfast?" "Are you doing your course work?" " Do you plan to have your breakfast in a while?" "have you had your bath yet?" the person on the other siode of the dad!! expression on my face..bored!! I have had this conversation with my dad every time he calls up, ever since I left home to become independent!!

Staying away from him I realised that behind these fixed questions was a heart that missed the child in me and behind those bored monosyllable answers was a daughter who missed her dad. I missed him. Missed all the times I slept off on the couch and he would gently place my head back on a pillow,the smile and a pat that I always got when I lost a badminton match at the local club, the drives he would take me out for when he wanted me to open up with my bottled feelings, the long quiet walks, the philosophical chats, the laughter watching the Tom& Jerry show together, the hiking and adventures we took together, the times we pulled mom's leg and stole a smile from each other, the times I argued with mom and he would just wink at me while verbally supporting her..unforgettable and exquisetly warm memories.

As I am getting older and realise that my days at home are numbered, I can't help but think how much this man means to me. His constant concern,thoughtfulness, warmth, unconditioned love, pride in me and the feeling of peace wrapped in his arms...are some of the few things I will miss.

We are not very vocal when it comes to exchanging these emotions. But I know, he knows and he knows that I know!!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Refreshing old times!

The last thing I ever thought was getting close to my schoolmates. Surprised? well,that's how my school was. Schooldays forced a divide between the two genders due to the system of the institution I studied in. It was sinful to look,talk or even walk the corridor of the boys and vice versa. Who exactly determined these rules is not known, just that nobody seemed to defy them.

Years have passed by now. I made a lot of boys my friends on the way,some of them very close. Yet, something about school friends intrigues me. Something about them, inspite of the lack of familiarity, doesn't give me a feeling of strangeness. There is a trust that seems to come easily and naturally.

I met up with one such friend yesterday. We clicked from the time we set eyes on each other. It din't take a minute for both of us to have excited animated discussions, catching up with each other's life,pulling each other's leg, relating to the ups and downs of life, just feeling comfortable in each other's company. This is not restricted to just this friend of mine..but all my schoolmates. A certain warmth and comfort is exuded between us.

In a new place, these friendships have made me feel at home. I guess , there is magic in the friendship!

Friday, July 14, 2006

My ' white' world...

I can never stay still,even in silence. I to the sound of silence,the rythm of my heart beat,the rythm of the clock ticking, the rythm of that music that constantly runs at the back of one's head,unconsiously. can't see my hands in the air or my body swaying. But I dance.

Once on a rainy day,standing by the window,watching the leaves dance as the droplets fall on them,the blades of grass swaying vigorously and the branches of trees swinging wildly, I descended on my dance floor. An instrumental piece played on the santoor,running inthe background, dressed in white against a backdop of white... I began my creation.

Working with simple flow movements of my hands, I began depicting the 'moments' of water....

A drop growing into a trickle,flowing into a healthy stream,collecting more volume,flowing more forcefully...... now a river..slashing against rocks,forming waterfalls,flowing rapidly to join the calmness of the sea.

I saw a pattern of life that converges into the concept of these moments.

The drop- genesis of life,Birth ;
Trickle-childhood ;
stream- the brink of youth ;
river- adulthood brimming with zeal and energy, moving steadily ahead to conquer the world ;
calmness of the sea - The peace of mind at the later stage of the life cycle that comes with an understanding of the magnanimity of life and it's various colours.

I dance. No, you can't see my dance floor. You can't hear my music. You can't see my movements. But I dance.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

wise words!!

A poster put up in a coffee shop that read:

'The difference between a failure and a success is someone who does a thing NEARLY right and a someone who does it EXACTLY right'

..loved it..thought would share it..

Saturday, July 01, 2006

I've lost it... completely!!

I am just days away from travelling to a whole new place, a place people dream of going once in their lifetime (most people I know, do). And I am nervous as hell!! Not because of the elation I might feel setting my eyes on the country or travelling to the place..(wish it was that way!!) but, coz I am going there to give the biggest exam of my career so far.The stakes are high , the chances pretty grim and the preparation waaaaayyy below satisfaction!

What a way to visit a new place.. that too on a tourist visa! I really don't know what I am touring, but I do know, at the end of this trip I would be getting out of a roller coaster ride!! Call it paradox of life!!

If that's how I am positioned.. then what am I doing here typing away to glory!! That's a question I asked myself a little while ago and my conscience beckons me to get back to books, so off I go!

Did anyone mention "Have a nice trip!!" ????

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Well, I have been preparing for an examination for about 2 years now (from the day of deciding to take it up till date)! I am supposed to know all the rules and all the loopholes to get through this harrowing process (read applying, required documents,procuring the papers,and the details of the exam itself..a multiple choice type). But guess what..I actually don't!! I am just 2 weeks away from the d-day and I have no clue of what is going on!!

There is a syllabus.There are boundaries of how much I am supposed to know. But as I got started working on the subjects,I realised that the borders are undermined. So there is more depth than it appears from the top! That leaves me clueless on how much I know or how much I don't!

There are many skills other than just knowing the subject that should help in the exam, like the analytical power and the eternally helpful, power of elimination! But solving more n more questions got me at my wit's end to eliminate and the analytical power, I cannot always trust. The choices are just too close!! So, I'm back to square one....clueless!

The other preparation involved,less stressed on, but equally important, is the physical preparation and setting the frame of mind for long hours involved in the examination! My God on earth (mother) takes care of that, feeding me with sumptous food,so I am never at a derth of energy to 'think' (duh!) and those eats that 'enhance' memory and intelligence and what not. The result of this is that everytime she fills me, I end up snoring for the next 2 hours... studies, exams and all tricks neatly forgotten!! The moment I wake up, a glass with the most obnoxious drink and an equally scary colour is brought in front of of the 'enhancing drinks'. I look at it with a question mark...will it help/won't it help... I am clueless!

The examination center is another important factor. An acquainted place is obviously easier to deal with. My center is not only in a new place but incidently on the other side of the globe. I have visited the place once or twice in my geography class though! So, examination center...clueless!

Then there are people who whenever I pick up the phone ask me "so, how is it goin'?"

Excuse me...if you know exactly what's going on.. I think you'll already know the answer to that one! But the very fact that you are asking means you don't!

Well..welcome to the gang...I don't know either!!

Friday, June 23, 2006


If you are an atheist, don't read this!

This is a story of a little boy who was sitting on the floor resting his head on his mother's lap. Everytime he looked up at her, he saw, threads in all colours going in all possible directions, crisscrossing and overlapping, creating a big mess.

He could no more watch the threads running in such asymmetric fashion and finally asked his mother, why she was so painstakingly working to only create a mess? She smiled at him and said "Son, you are looking at this embroidery from the wrong side." She turned the frame and showed him the beautiful bouquet of flowers she was embroidering.

When you feel messed up in life and don't seem to have anymore patience, just hang in there.... He is creating a beautiful picture of your life!

Thursday, June 22, 2006


This is an article by Shobha DE that I came across. For all those medica students and wannabe this what we wanted when we joined?

"Almost everybody I know has a horror of hospitals. The worst thing you can do to an elderly person is to say, "Sorry, no more home care... you'll have to be moved to a hospital." The sound of that dreaded word (hospital), is enough to freeze the staunchest heart. It's a universal phobia, and yet, in India it see-ms more exaggerated. Senior citizens would rather spend their last few days at home than have their relatives book them into an impersonal hospital, even one in which their chances of survival are far higher. Why are Indians so hospital-phobic? The reason is as much cultural/emotional as practical/rational. Basically, hospital care in India is regarded with suspicion, even hostility. Though our physicians and surgeons are amongst the best in the world, virtually everything else is suspect. Doctors may do their job with honesty and integrity. But what about the others? The problem starts with money. A friend underwent such a traumatic experience recently, he's still fuming. A relative who'd suffered cardiac arrest over a weekend was refused admission in the hospital closest to his home. Reason: he couldn't produce Rs 50,000 in cash, on the spot. Hospital authorities left him gasping on a chair, while desperate relatives beseeched them to accept a cheque.

Their pleas that cash would be produced the minute banks opened on Monday, went unheeded. The patient would've died, had my friend not offered help (read: cash ) at that late hour.... Since the good Samaritan is essentially a New Yorker, he mentioned how such an inhuman approach during an emergency would never take place in America. Most hospitals in India adopt the opposite approach. They project such a ruthless attitude, one dares not fall ill. Countless parallel rackets flourish under the noses of doctors. Patients are not just short-changed but frequently cheated. Sub-standard and expensive medicines are demanded at all hours. From a strip of 10 or 20, only four or five capsules are actually administered. What happens to the rest? They are promptly pinched by ward boys/nurses and sold outside. Nearly every medical facility that ought to be included in the astronomical rates, comes at an extra. And even to avail of those on offer, one has to provide chai-pani paisa to lowly staff. It appears as if these semi-literate fellows are the ones who actually run the hospital, such is their clout. The gate keepers behave like bouncers at night-clubs, using their discretion to "allow" visitors after visiting hours.

Everything comes at a price, including getting the dearly departed to leave the premises with dignity. Procedural forms and bill settlements can take hours, while mourners are roughly herded out to make room for the next patient/victim. Over-worked surgeons behave like bar-girls with metered taxis waiting to take them to the next customer. Negligence suits? Forget it. Who has the patience or money to battle it out for 30 years? Ah, tipping! You tip when you check in. You tip, while there. And you tip again, when you leave — dead or alive. It's an intrinsic part of our hafta culture. Why should hospitals function any differently? If you know someone, who knows someone, chances are someone will look in your direction. If not, leave it to God. Healthcare is going to be India's next big story. We're talking about health tourism, too. This is an area of tremendous growth, provided we get our fundas right. It's not enough to have well-qualified doctors, or competent nurses. What we need is an altered mindset. A more humane approach to the management of sickness and disease. Till then, we shall have to put up or shut up. It's that or chanting Ram naam satya hai, before time. "


Recently my father decided to sell our car and buy a more sophisticted and sleeker version of the automobile. After weeks of looking at 'profiles' of various cars from various companies, the family finally decided on one called the Azeera (A Hyundai car,common in the middle eastern countries) . I termed it the upper middle-class' Mercedes. We were all excited about our latest and so far the most extarvagant buy.

We were to exchange our old Camry for the Azeera. The date for the exchange was set. Like little kids waiting for their new toy to come, Dad, Mom and me, hardly slept the previous night.
The salesman came and delivered the new car on the doorstep, beautifully wrapped in red ribbon. She was gorgeous. He then asked us for the old car keys. Dad handed them over and the Camry was slowly driven out of our lives. As it went past the last visible bend of road, my eyes were filled. The Camry had driven me to all my exams, all my parties, all my movies. I had discovered the city sitting in it's lap and now she no more would be ours.

With the lump in my throat, I confessed to my parents, that last night I had hugged the Camry and lay in it's lap for sometime. I had muttered a silent Thank you and bid a personal goodbye. Both Dad and Mom, then sheepishly confessed that they had done the same.

Months later, we parked our 'Merc' at a new shopping complex that had opened up. As I approached the entrance, my eyes fell on a silver Camry parked. It looked like my car. To take closer look, I walked towards it. It was all painted new and registration plate wasn't the same. There was no way to say it was mine. As I shrugged and was about to leave, suddenly I felt a tug. Looking back, I found my shirt entwined around the radio reciever antenna. Smiling I released myself and ran to mom n dad and said " OUR car...our camry!"

Are non living things really not living?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


We all search for a hero in our lives. As prejudiced as man sometimes is, it is often among the highly successful (I understand that is a relative term) people, or, to be clearer, the more public persona that we hunt our hero!

Let me tell you the story of a girl I know. She was the eldest of 5 children and lived with her parents who were daily wage workers in the smallest village I have ever seen in South India.
Her father was an alchoholic and drank away all that he earned in that day. Her mother having to fend for her children alone, sent away little Naima to a rich landlord's house as a house worker. Naima was all of 8years. In that house she not only learnt her work but also the basic activities of life and her employers were kind enough to make her literate. Staying away from her mother's house, Naima learnt from childhood how to look after herself and not let emotions take over her life. During her years there, she lost her father. For any daughter that is a painful loss ,no matter how the father is.

For the next 10 years, she toiled in the feilds and worked at home, to help her mother who was now getting old. She was eventually, single handedly raising her siblings. Time came for the prince charming to come Naima's way and sweep her away to a better place. She was married to the most good looking boy she had set her eyes on and was instantly in love! Two days after marriage, work resumed. The poor never seem to have the luxury of a holiday! This time she was working in the fields with her husband.That night her husband din't return and eventually turned up at 2 am...... drunk! Naima knew instantly she had fallen into a darker pit!

Clock ticks and Naima moved on. She grew deaf to all the shouting and insensitive to all the physical assault.She had 2 children , a son and a daughter. Her world was bliss when she lay her eyes on her kids but knew that she would have to toil all over again to create bliss for her kids. So, back she was,doubling up,handling two jobs at a time and looking after the house.

Her kids grew,the daughter was a nurse and son had become an electrician.Naima was getting old but din't stop working. It was time to get her children married. She made the right matches and the children moved to a better world. With time and progress, the children went abroad for work.Naima now retired, lives in that small village with her husband, who for her was dead the first night he came drunk.

Today, Naima is exhausted with all that life has put her through. She has never taken a whole breath and felt the cool air fill fer lungs, never felt the warm sun rays caress her skin, inspite of working all her life in the fields.But everyday she wakes up, she does the Namaz five times and thanks God for all that He has blessed her with.

Ladies and hero..Naima!

Monday, June 19, 2006

who are we fooling?

While scanning the newspaper yesterday,I came across this article on Kofi Annan being honoured in Copenhagen. In the dinner he said " war on terrorism is undermining the civil rights and ruining the very essence of law." ..."it is giving a victory to the terror organisations that they cannot win on their own."

Sometimes I wonder, what exactly are these organisations fighting for? To me, it seems like their way of feeling the euphoria of having power in their hands, a feeling of being omnipotent. For, if they were fighting for a real concern, they would do so in a manner that would cause least suffering to their own people ,yet make the point to the world. Over all these years of terror, have they really achieved something? They have just added on to the number of orphans, amputees, childless parents, refugees, lawlessness, unemployment, poverty..the list can go on.

Combating such a force and such principle by it's own method is just going to cause more chaos and this time, widespread. It is like throwing stones in slush,the more you throw, the dirtier you get. Yes, remaining silent audience to their deeds is not the solution, but I am sure there are more peaceful methods of uprooting them.

If a child brings worms into the house, you don't try to kill the worms in the house and in the process bring the roof down, you reprimand the child,punish him and order him to refrain from doing so. Similarly, you cannot set out to kill every member of millions of such organisation, you need to cut of the nutrient supply. The nutrition comes from a complex network among which there may be organisations from upfront countries. When such secrets come out, the concerned organisatons must be taken to task and not hidden under the carpet.

Being honest to ourselves and honest to others is the only resolve to the issue.

millions are not enough...

Having finished my graduation recently and being jobless coz I was not qualified enough to work anywhere else other than apna India, I was forced into doing this 'observation' in a local hospital.

This is what I observed!!

The boss and all the staff in the department I joined are locals, except for one Indian who is in a pretty senior post. There are about 10 interns. These are fresh grauduates just like me, here for practical experience. There is no dental college in the entire country but surprisingly every primary health center in the remotest of the locations has a dentist. How? Well, students train themselves abroad in countries like UAE, Syria, UK, Ireland,Spain and India. They return with the degree to do a one year compulsory internship in the main dental hospital of the country. They are then posted to the various primary health centers. The system functions very well, coz, inspite of training all over the globe, the internship appraises them of the principles and practices followed in their country and streamlines the quality of treatment. The dental health and treatment options get standardised and unified through out the length and breadth of the country.

After working a little while here, these dentists go to the UK for further training and come back as specialists to work in their own country. It is part of the deal by the government. They pay totally for your education and you in turn work for your country. Nobody cribs coz the pay scale is very high.

Infrastructure is excellent and high quality materials flow like river no matter how costly they are. Sometimes, I feel like picking up even the wasted materials and shipping them back.Each day's waste I collect would suffice the treatment of atleast 10 poor people back home. To tell you some more..every patient that walks in to the government hospital here gets state of the art clinics with quality treatment using some of the world's best and widely used materials...all for free!! No minimal amount even for opening up a hospital file!!

This amount of standardisation of dental health, dental health workers (dentists and adjunct dental health workers),infrastructure and patient acceptance through out my country will take more than just money to establish.It needs foresight, planning, dedication, commitment and sincerity from a whole network of people that ranges from the level of the government to the mason who puts each brick in place to build the wall of the clinic.
Something that will take a whole generation and more to come into being.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


I am a product of the recent trend of nuclear families and the single child phenomenon. As a child I once asked my mother if I would be called an orphan once both of them die.Alarmed by the thought, she put in a concept that all my cousins were my sisters n brothers and that they would care for me as much as my parents do.I have grown up with this belief and hence have loved my siblings like they were my own. Some reciprocated,a smaller number and some ignored.

There is a brother of mine, I don't know which group to put in. As single kids and having mothers who were twins, we were almost fraternal twins. We would spend all the summer holidays together, he played dolls with me and I would climb trees with him,our school achievements were always compared, a healthy competition was created and prevailed between us and we cared for eachother immensely. There were no secrets between us, as it is with someone your own.

Time passed, we were growing, from kids to teenagers and still were sharing secrets.. galfriends,mischeifs, skipping classes n going for movies n lots of those beyond-the-rules gimmicks.Stepped in together into professional college,he a future engineer and your's truly the future dentist. Our worlds were far apart yet we managed to find things in life, friends, hostel nights, canteen, movies and whole lot of things. He definitely was in the smaller group of my siblings.

Out he came as an engineer and in he went into a management course. Somewhere in between the two, he met this girl. For the first time he kept this to himself. At the fag end of the management program, he decided to let me in on his little secret and arranged for a meeting of the two important women in his life. Both of us had mutually agreed to meet in the abscence of my brother and din't want him anywhere around. I was sure I would like the girl, after all my brother's choice!
We met. We talked.We left. My opinion was not totally positive. She was a nice girl but I was not sure if she would suit my brother's outlook. I was frank with him telling him exactly what I thought. He was obviously a little upset. I vowed to stand by him if he was convinced that he would be happy with this girl.

A few days later he called me and said.."It's been a long time since we have shared things. I have changed a lot over the past 2 years. SHE knows me better now and can easily manage me. I will not force you into supporting me through this. I can do this on my own. She will be a part of my life and how you come to terms with it, is upto you." From that day on, secrets remained secrets.

Don't know when and how my brother eventually jumped the fence to the larger group. Today, as I think back...I don't know which group to put him in.

He was always my 'twin' brother. Somewhere along the line, I died as his 'twin' sister.

the beginning!! is all I have been hearing for a long time now..seems to be the latest and most widespread mode of expression!! But that din't inspire me enough to start blogging. As with the human mind,anything new is not easily accepted!! There are reactions to all of the stimuli. reaction was ignore coz I was under the impression that one has to be dipped in literature n be dripping with literary skills to be able to blog...neither of which I am. So..the obvious thing to do was say 'not my cup of tea'!!

well..what finally made me get to blogging?....curiosity!! wanted to see what would happen if a not-so-skilled writer wants to try a hand at here i am!!

cheers to my new beginning!!