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!!