Saturday, September 29, 2012

Do we live?

We breathe, we eat, we walk, we laugh, we cry, we feel euphoric, we go through despair, we want people, we want to be alone, we win, we lose, we love, we hate and yes sometimes choose be in between. And thus we survive. But do we live?

This question has been hovering around with me for so many years. At the age of 6 I asked my mother, “Why was I born”?

“To be my daughter and give me company” was my mother’s reply. I was in total disagreement with her as I thought I was born to become Miss Universe. (You can read about it here). I was living to become Miss Universe.

Few years later I again asked myself the same question and left it unanswered. The woes of having an inquisitive mind is that once it goes on seeking an answer, it will rest only after finding. You can try to subjugate it, try to ignore it, try to crumple it but it will not stop bothering without meeting its goal. And when it does find its goal, life becomes more blissful and beautiful.

Few days back while coming back from office, I was feeling unusually intrigued about my future prospects. So much that I began talking to myself, going to and forth on every nuances and facets. I was completely unaware of the world around me. Two children walked past me. One was around 3 and the other 6. The younger one was in a bad mood with tears welled up in his eyes, face turned red and steps refusing to go ahead. I took few steps back and turned to them. The elder one kept his gaze fixed on the ground and whispering to the little one to move quickly. The younger one looked straight into my eyes and suddenly my whole being smiled.

The eyes gave u tears and acquired a tinkle, face left the redness and lit up while the kid gave away the smile I had not seen and felt earlier. I kissed the kids and went away. The kids unknowingly taught me something which my books could not. I truly lived in that moment, the moment of pure happiness, happiness that is not conditional and dependent. It stems out from your own being, your being which is devoid of any kind of materialistic values. It gives away the notions of worldly love and tells us to not just survive but live.

And yes, we do live.  

Sunday, September 23, 2012


There are so many emotions that dwell in me, some come and go, some have a permanent base and some just like to amble around a bit. They make me feel complete and close to being a human being who is flowing and not monotonous. But I dread the coming of one, “Helplessness”. Though it doesn’t come often but when it does, it leaves so many unanswered questions, unfilled voids and a dreadful silence.

Last night I went to the living room to find some magazines needed for reference for an article. I was taken aback to find my family teary eyed in front of the television. The show “India’s got talent” was being aired. A girl of no more than 5 was balancing herself on the rope without giving much attention to the audience or the judges. She was determined and gritty, much oblivious to whatever was happening around her. After completing her act, she stood silently without any change of expression. Her face was cold and devoid of the child like free spirit. The whole audience burst into applaud but it did nothing to bring even a faint smile on her face. She was just there to do her work like she has been doing it since she began to crawl or speak in every nook and corner of the country.

My heart was silently weeping watching the little girl lose her childhood. If you ask any person that which period of their life is most memorable to them, a lot of people will definitely point out childhood. The time when we are carefree and have the liberty to believe and dream anything without planning about the money that would go into it. We can live without worry yesterday and tomorrow and just be in present.

Every day we see thousands of children on the streets living a life which even animals don’t deserve. We ignore it and become naive about the reality until one day when it comes face to face, leaving behind nothing but Helplessness. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sailing Over Lives- Absence

Iti didn’t remember when she met Neil for the first time. She thought she knew him from the day she was born. And it might be true too since they were just two days apart. He was her family. She vividly remembers the time when both of them were about 6, they had gone to a nearby church to get married when nobody was in their. And they did get married. Only their wedding vows were different. Till the time Iti was 15, her life revolved around Neil and cooking up stories about their possible future together. But the possibilities came crashing down when she saw him kissing a girl of her class.

Soon the whole school was talking about Neil and his girlfriend. He was not the most handsome boy around but definitely the most charming one. The one who would make a puppy face and get away with a murder. Iti began to see less of Neil and drowned herself into her world of books. For several weeks she cried herself to sleep imagining Neil with the other girl and Neil completely forgot about her existence until one day when he came running down her room.

“We are moving to turkey within a fortnight. Dad has been transferred” Neil exclaimed. He sounded excited.

“When are you leaving?” Iti asked trying hard to control her tears.

“After few days may be.”

Iti stood up and left for her lawn tennis practice without asking anything else further. Down the road she again tried hard to stop the tears rolling down her cheeks but nothing would stop them. She skipped her lawn tennis practice, went to a nearby park and cried for more than an hour.

When she came back, the house was quiet and the only sounds were of cutting of vegetables. She went into her room to find Neil still waiting for her. He stood up and handed her a envelope and left without saying another word. Iti tore the envelope within seconds and sat on the floor with it. It contained several of their photographs. The ones she always wanted to have but Neil would never give them to her. She now had them all but happiness of acquiring them eluded her.

Madam Airport”, Auto driver said loudly.
Iti was woken up from her thoughts. She paid the driver and made her way to the airport.

Shit Happens

You are not a saint. You have told this yourself over and over again. after months of drooling over her, fantasizing, always turning up in the middle of her perfectly planned date, plotting to get the chance of dropping her home, taking advantage of every trivial argument to lead it to a break up, you are now gearing up to admit that you are in love with your best friends girlfriend.

Shit has happened!

Bur now what? You cannot possible tell your best friend. He will either kill you or leave the girl right away to make you feel terribly meagre. You cannot go and confess to the girl. You stand the chance of losing both your friend and the girl. Also you might not want to get into the melodrama and become a character straight out of a Hindi daily soaps.

There is nothing you can do. Trying to date your best friend’s girlfriend is like evading another tiger’s territory. You will either win or lose but both the catastrophes will come your way with loss and guilt. Do it only if you want to enduringly acquire the territory otherwise the effort will turn out to be worthless. Save this effort for something more prolific than this mere upsurge of adrenalin.

But wait; there are still things which you can do without harming the cat.

  1. Continue to drool over her and keep dropping hints that you completely adore her. She will not leave your friend for you but you might get lucky for a coffee.
  2. Plan a double date. You can ask your most entertaining friend to join you and keep your friend busy while you keep his girlfriend.
  3. You can also make your friend a little more drunk than usual while you become the responsible guy next door who ends up driving her home.
  4. On days when you have nothing better to do, you show up at her workplace and get your share of moments with her.

You may get several chances of being lucky while you try your hand with these tips. But you should never give in as no girl would be worth cheating your best friend.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Girlfriend versus Best friend

We all remember how valiantly Julia Roberts fought to stop her best friend from marrying because she realised she is in love with him or is it so that she has always been. If it was a Hindi flick, the guy would have easily left his bride to be just a second before uttering, “I do” but it was not. Julia is left behind to find the second perfect for herself. Sigh.

I know a lot of people believe in the notion, “a boy and a girl can never be best friends, sparks will definitely fly’. But I don’t. They can be and they forge bonds which are beyond the sibling or the lover phenomenon. But are these bonds life long?

There is no definite answer to this question but they definitely are much tenderer and become vulnerable with the presence of the Miss Right who suddenly takes up all the attention in a man’s life which was previously enjoyed by our now quietly sidelined best friend.  This obviously doesn’t go down too well with her. She begins to feel cynical and lonely. Her days will start and end with the fickle hope of his call and after two days he does call, but only to ask where should he take her for date? The girl would want to scream ‘Hell’ but ends up uttering several options. He picks up one and keeps the phone down.

End of the world.

She may or may not cry. She may or may not sleep. She may or may not eat. But she will definitely fall in love.

But is she really in love? Not really. She is just too lonely to feel any other emotion. And she would not feel anything else until she manages to get the new toy out of his life.

Relax girl. Just because you always completed his assignments and got him his favourite jersey, he will be enslaved to serve you. It will hurt in the beginning and you too will succumb to the gloom but you will end up fine. Don’t take refuge watching dumb Hindi movies in the hope that your might turn into one. It will not. Instead go guy hunting.

And the boys even though you have got a sexy new thing to flaunt the whole day, you will need the old pillow to hug and fall asleep.

Monday, September 17, 2012

What Not to Think About Women

  1. Women feel safe with men who smoke
Though I have seen this statement being used extensively by Cigarettes companies to promote their brand, safety and smoking are completely oblivious to each other. For some it may turns out to be a turn off. So from now onwards don’t make women another excuse for your habit. We may like you but certainly not because you smoke.

  1. Women have no sense of humour 
Just because we didn’t laugh at a third rated joke you just cracked about your teacher it doesn’t mean we are deprived of humour. We like to laugh and have fun but are not heartless and shameless creatures on a hunt to rip and mock almost anybody out there.
Men out their have to take it easy, get out of the hangover of impressing the girl in 5 minutes and be himself.

  1. Just because she is out with you, she is available 
You asked her out for a coffee and she said yes without giving you a run for your money. Life is bliss and you start rolling the film a step ahead. But wait a minute. There can be a thousand other reason for that one yes, why anticipates anything further? Take it easy.

  1. Only you have to pay the bill 
We are living in recession hit times and money is hard earned so don’t think and dread about the bill you have to pay when out on a date. You can ask her the woman to contribute something too. And if still your male ego doesn’t allow you as her, don’t take her to a brutally expensive place. Places don’t make a date, people do.

5. Women are not good listeners

I know most of you will not agree to this but yes women can be good listeners provided some intelligent talk. But if you think that they will listen to the endless ramming about the ongoing EPL or the new Ferrari on the block, take a break. Tell me will you listen to a woman sighing about the limited edition Jimmy Cho she was not able to buy?  No you will not. So put down the judgemental hat and initiate on the grounds of common interests.

Written for Dateiitians

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Purple Colour: Book Review

I generally don’t read books after watching the movies based on them but here I made an exception which I don’t regret. I picked up the DVD of the movie just by its title,” The Colour Purple”. Purple always fascinates me. Also the back of the DVD cover said. “Directed by Steven Spielberg’. And I could not resist.

I laughed and cried through the movie and bought the book the next day. The Colour Purple is the story of Celie, a black woman in America. She lives with her mother, her stepfather and her sister Nettie in shacks of poverty. Her stepfather repeatedly rapes her and fathered her two children whom he takes away. He furthers marry her off to Albert who treats her worse than a beast, let alone love or respect her. Albert then forbids her to meet her sister, only love of her life. One fine day Albert brings Shug Avery home, his love of past so many years. Shug initially shuns Celie but slowly a bond is formed between the two. A bond made in heaven. She finds her lost spirit back and courage back through the charm and magic of Shug.

What makes this Pulitzer Prize awarded creation by Author Alice Walker being hailed as one of the greats is its narration. Celie writes to God her story in her own broken English which is some times heartbreaking and sometimes relishing. The characters bring in every nuance of human behaviour. The book brings out the greyscale of all the character so seamlessly that they entwines with the shambles of good and bad perfectly. At the end you just leave the book with a smile, sigh, and utter astonishment at the ordinary characters and their extraordinary struggle with life.

P.S It doesn’t matter what you have read or not in the past, this book is definitely worth a read. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Love in the time of Facebook.

50 years ago it was easier to define Love without tagging the “it’s complicated” status. Love meant secret courtships, clandestine meetings, long letters, even longer melancholic periods, and of course every reason to be together. Phrases like “breakup” and move on” would not have found any takers. It was love, it was true, and it was forever.

Fast forward the time and here we are. In words of Megan Fox, “we live in the times where losing our phone is more dramatic than losing our virginity”. No raising the eyebrows please. It is certainly true. We meet, we sleep and we forget. What happens to Love in this vicious circle of sleeping and forgetting? Well, it happens but it has happened before, and before and before. And we let it go. But believe me it will haunt you back. And it doesn’t matter how many times you have laughed and shrugged the mills and boons romance, called Danielle Steel boring, mocked Yash Chopra for making yet another romantic tale, the whole world will croon to violins when you will fall in love. It’s just that you have to keep the earphones off.

But what after the violins? We date, we romance, it gets complicated, careers take over love and we decide to move on. We will unfriend each other on Facebook, delete each other’s phone numbers unfollow on Twitter and will vow never to meet again. Has it become that simple?

No it hasn’t. Love and cannot be unloved. We all know but never admit it. We take refuge under the neon lights of Pubs, Bloody Mary and a reloaded Ipod full of old classic melancholic numbers. But do we have to it?

Not really. 50 years later when we will be too old for sex and too old to update our Facebook status. All we would require is someone you have loved all your life and want to live more to love that person more and more and more.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Letter to Yourself

So you turned 21 this year. Though I know you don’t feel a day older than 12. you still imagine yourself dancing with Tom Cruise in some Mission Impossible x, you still want to take every stranded puppy home, you still dream of wearing the Miss Universe crown, you are still Blossom of the Power Puff Girls, you still make notes and keeps journals and of course you are simply awesome.

But I know you don’t feel the awesomeness in you all the time. You get bogged down; feel defeated, purposeless and useless. The 21 years weigh on your shoulders like they were 40. You feel sad that you still don’t have written a book, people are not running into you to get autographed, there are countries left to travelled, books left to be read and written, coffees to be smelled and life to be lived.

Relax girl! You were good, you did well and you will do better.

Think about the time when you first stood on the stage, cried and ran back. You were three at that time. Did you think about it again? Did the thoughts of quitting flood your mind? No. you just went on it again only to capture it for the rest of your years. How proud it was for your parents to see you command the attention of everyone in the opening sentence itself.

Think about the time you fumbled in maths and algebra refused to form a way with your understanding. You hated mathematics for five years of your school life. Still you managed o score a 93 in your board examination and fought the phobia making maths a dear subject too.

Think about the days when you were going to start a new life away from the safe cocoon of home. You spent days and nights crying yourself to sleep. But that did not let you sway away. You worked hard and proved everyone of your worth within a few days.

Think about the time when you won your first national prize and followed the legacy with two more within a year. Remember you and your friend were up against the whole world and you guys won. You guys even started your publication “Skyline”. Though I agree it died a silent death. But you tried and created!

Think about the time when you edited a national magazine and unveiled it in front of more than 3000 students from all over the country. Aren’t you proud of it?

Think about the time when you handed your grandmother her first flight ticket from your own salary.

Think about the time when your father proudly tells his friends, “my daughter has my genes. She will never give up. She is a tigress.

And do remember what your grandfather once told your father when they were going through bad times.
“ Falak ko chaah jahaan bijliyan girane ki,
Humein bhi zidd wahin hai aashiyan banane ki.”
There is so much more to you girl that you yourself can measure let alone fill this letter with it. All I have to say in the end is

Embrace life with open arms, live every moment, love every soul, believe in your worth. Be you. Because you know what?
You are Bhawna Jaimini;-).

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sailing Over Lives: This is How It Is

The sun was shining hard on her head. The partly cloudy sky did nothing to sieve the heat. Iti laughed at her judgemental self after recognizing the events of the morning. The moment she met Shiv, she was clear and she knew what lay ahead of her. But here she was; walking back astonished and amazed and shamed at her outlook towards the less privileged people than her. Lost in her thoughts she continued to walk. Walking without knowing the destination was something new. A part of her was enjoying it and another part was sceptical.

And she was listening to none.

Iti spotted a Costa Coffee outlet and made it her momentary destination. Although she often complained about it being brutally expensive, she loved their outlets, the pristine white cutlery, the cappuccino mug kept at off centre in the saucer served with a cookie, and their policy of employing deaf and dumb people. She somehow felt as if she herself is contributing to their well being after paying for a highly over priced coffee.

The café was sparsely crowded. Iti was seated on the table next to the window. She always preferred to sit and watch the world go by. And she suddenly realised she was doing this after a long time. Whenever she needed a coffee outside her home, her laptop accompanied her and she too was smitten by his loyalty that she never deprived him of her attention. But today she had ditched him.

And she was not guilty.

The coffee arrived precisely after 15 minutes. The rich aroma was soothing to her senses. She poured half the packed of brown sugar into the cup and sipped the coffee and her phone rang. “It might be from the office”, Iti thought. She fumbled for few minutes in her larger than life bag before getting stuck to its screen.

“Neil calling”
The screen flashed the name. Iti gazed at the screen in excitement and horror and despair. Her last few years of life ran in her mind in mere seconds.

She pressed the ‘Accept’ button without even knowing.

“Hello? Am I speaking to Iti?
“Yes Neil you are”
“So you have not deleted my phone number?”
“What do you want?”
“I want you to meet me?”
“I need you here.”
“Where are you?”
“In Gangtok.
“What the hell are you doing there? Are you alright?”
“Yes I am all fine here. Can you come here?”
“When do you want me there?”
“Are you nuts?”
“Yes I am! I want you to take the next possible flight and come here.”
“Fine I am coming.”
“Call me after you have booked your tickets. Bye”

Call disconnected.

The last time they have met, she had vowed never to see his face again. And now was she was ready to fly miles just because he needs her. Perhaps he was the only one who ever needed her.

Iti took an auto and headed to the airport. Her morning became hazy and melted into the physical form of Neil. Perhaps this is what life is. She just was living it.
P.S those who are new to the series find  the earlier parts  here
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"A Fine Balance" By Rohinton Mistry

Its past one o clock at night and I should have been in the bed two hours ago in order to be prepared to reach office on time tomorrow but here I am trembling and shaking, unable to move with the baggage of having read a saga of great misfortunes in the book “A Fine Balance” by Rohinton Mistry. I toiled with last 100 pages for more than week with a meek hope that somehow the author will contradict the statement made over and over again in the book, “everything ends badly”.

“A Fine Balance” is a story of four people and how their lives get intertwined with each other, yet their fate remains solely theirs.  Dina Dalal is woman in her forties, a widow and is trying hard to lead a dignified life without taking help from her snobbish elder brother Nusswan. She had always been the tough nut to crack for her brother with her indomitable spirits. She married a man of her own choice much against his will. Her husband died after 3 years of their marriage and she never married again.  She gets into a contract with a garment company and hires two tailors, Ishvar and Om. Om is Ishvar’s nephew and they belong to the Chamaar community. Ishvar and Om had come to city to ward off their past which stinks of ill-treatment, sufferings, burnt bodies and with them a whole generation of hope, love and happiness. For a steadier income, Dina decides to accommodate a paying guest into her flat. Maneck, Dina’s ex-classmate’s son enters the scenario.

Set in the emergency era, the story impeccably handles the details of the world the government creates for the poor and the world that is ultimately created. For person born in the nineties like me who had known nothing about those turbulent times, the book indeed drafts out the era with precision. And the precision comes out boldly with the characters the author has painted in bright colours even though their lives are painted in stale chalk powder.

This is not the book you would want to open and re read again as once you have read it, it will remain with you and direct your understanding of life. You will feel sad and will remain in despair for a long time, accusing the author of stealing you a happy ending. You will curse him for over exaggeration and will produce a catastrophe at the end of every misfortune. But you will surely thank the author for writing such brilliant novel which has greatly changed your perception of life.

P.S Please share your reviews on the book if you have read it.  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sailing over lives: I Am No Mother Teresa

Walking into the lanes of the slum dwellers haven, Iti felt an unusual ache in her heart. Often she had thought about these people and sighed and pitied at their animal like existence. She was not sure what she was feeling today, the happy faces and cheerful demeanour contradicted her opinion. Kids playing on the dirty streets flanked by garbage, open gutters, shit and everything despicable evoked trivial guilt into her being. Why are they happy? The question hovered over.

Between her thoughts, Shiv interrupted her to show her his dwelling. Tot her surprise the dwelling was a lot cleaner and habitable than any other she had stumbled upon before. Bare brick walls covered with a tin roof. There were no doors and entrance was through opening covered by an old rug. She hesitated to enter, waiting for some to come out and give her the permission to invade someone’s private territory. But Shiv quietly led her inside. His mother was nowhere to be seen. The place was cleaner and organised to clichéd description of a slum dwelling. A 21” T.V in one corner, an old double bed, a rack neatly stacked with few clothes, one racking holding the utensils atop it a gas burner. Everything hinted towards a poor yet dignified existence.

Shiv took out a folding chair from beneath the bed and offered her to sit. Why was she here? What can she offer this family? What has dragged her to come here? She was no Mother Teresa. Neither can she pretend to be one. She began to rehearse how will she start a conversation with Shiv’s mother and before she could make up anything, his mother appeared.

"Namaste", mother gently greeted Iti.
Iti to her own amazement froze in her seat; the woman was partially covered with burn marks. Iti stood up and reciprocated. "Namaste"

“Your son was roaming on the roads in the morning. I though I should bring him back here”, Iti initiated.

“Oh, thank you but you need not have bothered he is doing this for many days now, thinks he can find his good for nothing father and bring him back but I don’t stop him. He will realise it himself one day and get back to his senses.”

“But he is just 5 and you should stop him. He needs to go to school; also he might get hurt while roaming around”

Shiv’s mother remained silent for a moment and began speaking again.

“I am running this house for 10 years. Shiv’s father used to work in a garment factory. He was paid well to feed the family but his desires of earning big money led to his demise. Now here I am running this house alone and taking care of three kids. You cannot meet them now. I sent them to the village to study just after their father died as it is difficult to raise children in this big city. We don’t have much in the village also but enough to make the ends meet and give them a good life.”

“Will you be sending him also?”
"I thought of sending him too but I need someone here with me. I will live in the city for one more year and then both of us will go back to our village. I have saved about one lakh in the past 5 years and I will use to start a new life."
Iti looked puzzled.

“Oh, you must be thinking how a poor woman like me can save so much money. But I am working as a house maid for so many years. Initially I used to spend everything on the house but one day I stopped. I took some help from my employer and got a bank account. Never told his father about this though. He would have grown suspicious. I stopped taking any diwali or holi gifts from madam and asked her to instead deposit money of the value in my account.”

“You should be an economist. You can run the country”

“I am illiterate. I can’t even read or write, but I know to read money.” She laughed.
Iti was speechless. And she thought she would help this poor kid and his family. She rose and asked to leave. She didn’t know what to talk more. Words refused to form a way with her and she willingly gave in. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

30 by 30

I will be turning 21 within few days (though I distinctly feel not a day older than 13) and realising the fact that I have not done anything worth bragging about in the last so many years has irked me to pen down this list which I believe will add some amount of farsightedness to my “always on the edge” outlook.

Here it goes

  1. Write a book or many
  2. Design and build my own house (It is perhaps the only thing I want to design)
  3. Take a foreign vacation alone.
  4. Attend a literary festival as a speaker
  5. Take my mother to Venice, her dream destination
  6. Build a personal library
  7. Live alone for a year in a different continent, preferable South America
  8. Wear a bikini
  9. Scuba diving in coral reefs
  10. Volunteer in rural parts of India
  11. Adopt more dogs (I believe in adopting, not buying)
  12. Buy a Armani Suit for my Father
  13. Visit all states in India
  14. Take a cross country road trip
  15.  Start and build a venture of my own (part of it has been startedJ)
  16. Learn a new dance form
  17. Trek in Himalayas
  18. Visit all seven continents
  19. Form a book club
  20. Visit a coffee estate
  21. Visit a vineyard
  22. Get photographed at all Seven Wonders of the World
  23. Get drunk
  24. learn to paint
  25. Meet any five of my favourite writers
  26. Watch a Nadal play in a Grand Slam
  27. Develop a habit of writing 1500 words everyday
  28. Plant 100 trees
  29. Be financially independent
  30. Take a course in filmmaking and make a documentary

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sailing Over Lives:journey shall begin

Iti started to feel the rush in her veins. Packing was something detestable for her but tonight she felt her life was changing and she should welcome it with change. It was the first time she had no idea of what was she going to do ahead. For the first time nothing was certain and this precarious state amused her. Vague thoughts of being an escapist crossed her mind but thoughts held no importance in her life at this moment. She was beginning to feel like Julia Roberts in “Eat Pray Love” but knew instinct alone was not enough. She needed money and that too not just in mere numbers.

After 3 hours all she could pack was some clothes, toiletries which to her amazement left the mere backpack feeling light too. She left her home after a quick bath. It was 6 in the morning. The morning sun was still rising. The last time she woke up into the early hours was six years back. The rays falling on her skin illuminated it. She almost felt angelic about her existence for the brief period of time until she was bought back to reality. A child of about 5 was begging on the road. “Begging at this hour?” Iti felt baffled. There were no cars on the road and only a section of the society was running its errands. She went closer to the child but he kept moving away. She realised he was too timid to talk. She took a chocolate out of her bag and showed it him. His nerves began to relax and he made way for Iti.

Iti began talking.
“What is your name?”
 “Where do you live?”
“What are you doing here?”
“Do you go to school?”

Iti thought the boy might be hungry. She took the boy with him to a nearby dhabha and ordered only for the boy. But when the aloo parantha came, buttery aroma tingled her nostrils and she ordered for herself too. She felt satiated watching the boy eat. She had been right. He was hungry, may be for ages or so.

Iti initiated the conversation again.
“Where is your school?”
“I don’t go to school anymore”
“What do you do then?”
“Find my father”

Iti was baffled at his answer. Before she could ask him about his father the waiter arrived at the table with a piece of paper passing off as bill. Waiter sighed at the boy and told Iti that his father had died in an accident last month.

“And the boy wanders around looking for his father everyday. His mother is pregnant with another child. She wants to go back o her village but has no money. His father was a painter but was out of work due to the off season, barely able to meet ends. And now he is gone leaving behind a pregnant wife and a child. God help them”

Iti looked at the boy and asked him to take her to his home.
She now began to know her journey. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sailing over Lives

Its over!
This was the thousandth time Iti was reiterating the words in the last two hours. She checked her watch. It was 2:30 AM. The coffee was cold now. She stood up and drained the cup in the sink of her tiny kitchen. She made herself another cup and sat with an old book her mother has given her. It was one of those books a teacher would gift a student after the latter has repeatedly failed. Iti knew she was not going to read it but she liked holding it. It reminded her of her mother. Mother she hasn’t met for two years now.

World was just more than perfect when Iti arrived in New Delhi leaving behind the big lanes of Chandigarh. This was the place she was born and she was happy to be back here. She was the senior graphic designer at a leading Ad agency. Staying over at couple of relatives for 4 months, Iti decided to finally have it on her own. She found a little less decent lodging as compared to her sprawling bungalow in her home town but the run with struggle was something she had yearned for years. And to her amazement, she loved it to the fullest.

The moment she began to know her reality of a dream struggle, things begin to change. The flat provided nothing more than shelter, independence was more of a baggage, and friends …forget it. She stopped talking to her parents, her old friends and completely subsided into her own nut shell. A shell that was too hard to be broken. At times the urge of calling some one and cry loudly would come so strong but Iti always shrugged it aside thinking how will she explain her unhappiness? How will she explain why her world was falling apart? How will she explain her perfect life is not perfect any more? How will she explain that she herself doesn’t know these answers?

So she kept quiet and moved on with the sleazy pace of her life until one day when she decided to call the struggle off. No she was not going to end her life. She was the last person on earth who would succumb to the temptation of dying. She gulped down the coffee quickly which burned her throat. But she was too busy to feel anything. For the first time in two years she felt full of beans and began packing.

Where was she going? And why?

…wait for the next post to find outJ

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Things I Want My Daughter To Know

Things I Want My Daughter To Know
by Elizabeth Noble

I bought this book few years back and left it after reading first few pages. I am not one of those who get hooked to a book just after laying hands on it. I take time to let the book grow on me till I get immersed in its world (not if it’s Dan Brown of course). But I didn’t give this book the privilege of grow on me. Last week when I had nothing left to read, I skimmed through my bookshelf and reluctantly took it out with the thought of scanning the pages till my next visit to the bookshop which was due on the following evening.

But against my due plans, the visit to the bookstore never happened as I found myself glued to the book within minutes of opening it. The book revolves around a mother, Barbara and her four daughters. The mother dies of cancer but she still feels there are things that she always wanted to tell, share and teach but will not be able to do so because of her illness. So she writes each daughter one letter and leaves her journals where she has penned down every phase of her life.

Lisa is 37 and still commitment phobic. Jennifer, 36 is dealing with an unhappy marriage and can’t share it with anyone. Amanda the traveller has been an escapist all her life until she finds herself in love and begins to confront things. And Hannah is the teenager who is just exploring her adulthood after going through her mother’s illness for two years. Amidst all the girls is Mark, Barbara’s husband and Hannah’s father. He too misses Barbara deeply and is confronted by his moral guards when he decides to date again. Barbara’s letters and journals give them the common thread to bind their lives together once again.

Overall the story is simple but with an impeccable narration. I would like to quote the opening line on the book’s cover,” I laughed, I cried. I could not put it down.”

Friday, August 3, 2012

Jigsaw Puzzle

Three years old Iru woke up to a misty morning with a broad grin on his face. He was completely oblivious to the world around him. The world which was tattering away in pieces and innocent Iru was still trying to join the pieces together as he did with his animal puzzle set. For him life was just about making and breaking the puzzle. He spent hours juggling the pieces and joining them correctly. With each piece into its place, Iru would elate with happiness.

But that morning was different. He was not able to find his puzzle set and was petrified to see his house full of people. People he could not recognize. People who were sighing looking at Iru. Some embraced him, some began to sob and some handed him notes rupee 10 and 20. Iru felt perturbed. His eyes were restlessly moving through the crowd to find his father but he was nowhere to be found. He felt his heartbeats hard and feared not seeing his father again. A moment later he saw his father coming through the crowd towards him.

Iru said,”I thought you went away with mother”
His father gave him a smile and said,” I can’t. Not till you want me to go.”
“I would never want you to go.”
“Do you love me?”
“More than baba?”
Iru didn’t answer and Adil felt his heart in his mouth.

Adil was a man in his early 30s. Leaving his native village where he lived since he was born was more than just difficult. He had made a conscious decision of leaving the village after his wife passed away due to a prolonged illness. There was no hospital in the vicinity of the village and the dispensary doctors kept asking Adil to take his wife to the city. But he had no money. He never had. He worked for the village Sarpanch and was dependent on his charity which was just not enough to keep his wife alive.

Sarpanch was the richest man of the village and lived with his wife in the haveli which was big enough to accommodate more 30 people. But he had no children. He once asked Adil to give him his son but Adil refused vehemently and threatened to leave the job to which Sarpanch pacified him and said it was all in humour.

But it was not in humour.Whole of the village talked between the sheets of the Sarpanch’s desire to adopt Iru. He was always buying gifts for him asked Adil to get Iru along with him to work.

After Adil’s wife died, Sarpanch started visiting Iru more and more and the deep down desire was coming out loud and clear. Adil was always sceptical of his visits and tried to keep Iru away from him but the effort was futile. Iru developed a liking for Sarpanch and would ask for him on days he could not visit. Iru’s inclination towards the old man was becoming more and more profound which made Adil anxious and one day he decided to end it all.

He bid farewell to his village mates of 30 years and put Iru on his shoulders. It was 5 AM in the morning but he decided against waiting and set out. He had spent only an hour packing his home of 30 years and was taking only few meagre things with him. He started to walk towards the bus stop in a fast pace so that Iru would not notice sarpanch’s house. He had not allowed Iru to take any of the presents Sarpanch has given him including his favourite jigsaw puzzle. Iru spotted the house and pointed at the balcony where he and Sarpanch sat for hours and played.

“Can I play with Baba one last time? I promise I would not love him more than you”
A tear fell from Adil’s eyes and he continued to walk but not to the bus stop. He has now solved his own jigsaw puzzle. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Santa Story

Still months to go for Christmas Eve but I will share my Christmas story. I feel lucky to be the child who was told that of course there is a Santa Claus and he watches over secretly from his den (don’t know where he lives) all over the year, just to evaluate what you deserve at the end of it. Well, this was my mother’s version and I believed it without a doubt. My belief was so firm that it often led to long arguments with my friends or anyone who tried to stand against it. (Yes I was argumentative at 8 too)

   It all changed when I was 8 and was beginning to enter the “why” era. I would put a why, how to every sentence my parents said but Santa Claus was simply sacred. His existence was my centre of gravity as I felt him watching over my every deed. Few days before the Christmas Eve, I went over to my mother asking her if she knows what Santa will get me this year. She smiled and told me that I have grown up and I should know that Santa is just a figment of imagination. I slowly moved out of the room and did not speak to anyone that night. I felt betrayed and sagged. I felt as if a pillar of existence has been crumpled. I felt the world is too bad to live
   Ten years later when I am writing this, I can feel the pain and twinge of my 10 year old self. But I would like to ask her to still believe that Santa is real because your 20 year old self believes he is real and is watching over from somewhere, taking pride in my achievements, shedding tears on my sorrows, smiling on my ability make people smile, and also evaluating my performance to give something someday...someday when I will really need it and he would be the only capable of giving.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Flat Cocktail!

Watched cocktail and simply didn’t like it. I was left baffled thinking how Imtiaz Ali could have written a story sewn around weak characters and empty bonds?

Cocktail didn’t work for me. And the reasons are here

1.       A rich bitch finds a vulnerable Indian girl crying in a washroom and brings her home. Overnight they become not good but best friends. Why? How? I simply couldn’t figure out.

2.       The best parts about imitiaz’s earlier outings were the real characters and the real bonds they shared. Here it was all made up and fake. Meera says,”yeh ghar aur coffee main sirf gautam ke saath share kar sakti hun. Aur yeh use kabhi pata nahi chalna chaiye”. What kind of bond does this line suggests.

3.       Saif has got into a habit of playing roles 10 years younger to his actual age. But no matter how much you swear to yoga for keeping age away, it does show! Watching two beautiful ladies by his side, when they can be easily mistaken as his daughters is indeed painful.

4.       Boman Irani is such a talented actor that it hurts to see him wasted in non competent role.

Well these were the things that didn’t work for me but it would be unfair to highlight only the downside. Cocktail has its swings too. Dimple Kapadia playing the ultimate Punjabi mom brings in the refreshing break from the monotonous characters we see daily around ourselves, breathtaking locations, and of course Deepika’s style statement.

This was my side of story on cocktail. Would love to read your reviews too.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Tell Me If You Know The Answer...:-(

Internet, news channels, newspapers, everyone is debating over the safety of women in our country after the incident of molestation of a girl by around 20 people took place. It fills me with shame and anger, helplessness and tenacity towards the attitude of the people in this country. Who is to be blamed? The girl who stepped out of her house late at night in a wild country full beasts? The men who have been brought up with the notion that no matter whatever they do, they will always have the authority to turn the tide to themselves? Or the society which has succeeded incessantly in keeping the gap between the two genders? Or the authorities who could not care less?

This takes me to an incident which keeps giving me goose bumps even after 10 years.
I remember playing on the terrace with my sister on a sunny winter day. A friend of mine came upstairs in a hurry as if someone has stolen his new pencil box and whispered something into my ear which I did not understand. “Jules has been raked” were his words. Jules was 5 year old, a daughter of a worker in our locality. She was one of the most beautiful girls I have ever seen. Golden locks, deep brown eyes, rosy complexion and everything else you would never imagine on a poor worker’s child. After that day, I never saw her again.

I tried asking my mom about her but my inquisitiveness was always put to rest. A 10 year old will never be interested in what “being raked” means. So I let it pass as easily as it came to me.
Jules was raped by a man who was 27 years old. Her parents left the place after filing the police complaint and watching the bastard being freed in just a week of judicial custody. On what grounds you want to ask? I will tell you...The man was proved to be mentally retarded.

A five year old was raped, of her childhood, her innocence, her free spirit...

I was ten and my mind was fickle. But why did the world around me behave like 10 years old?

Why did not my parents do something?

Why was the man easily forgiven by the court and by the society when the poor girl had to be taken away by her family?

Tell me if you know the answer.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Being You!

You are practical, insensitive and emotionally drained!
I grew up hearing these compliments (I choose to take them that way) from every soul who was close to me and over a period of time I started believing in them too. Acting stronger than I was, being a loner when all I wanted was a long conversation over a cup of coffee, getting on without support when a little help would have actually made it better and being someone else when my inner self was dying to surface above.

  In short, I screwed up and I am happy to admit now. I took refuge in somebody else’s perception and let it take all control. I took the practicality as my perfection and thought that any kind of attachment will cause me nothing but pain. And I actually went through a lot of pain not because of attachment but because of lack of it. The shell of loneliness that I created has left a void in me which I find difficult to fill now.   

  I can no longer fill these voids as they have become big enough to engulf me but I hope to peacefully coexist with them. Living with them every moment will make me surer of who I am and who I was being.

This reminds me of these very beautiful lines by Janis Joplin
“Never compromise yourself; you are all you have got”

Sunday, July 1, 2012

DO aur DO...PANCH!!

I thank myself for the time when I started keeping journals or my spell in despair would have continued for many more days to come. It has been months that I have been whining about my precarious state of life in every possible way. Staying away from socialising, lashing out on siblings, trying to run away from home, cursing my parents for mistakes they don’t even know about and of course being unhappy to the core.
   Nothing helps but aggravates it in very possible way. But just when I decided to stop fighting it learn to live with it; a blessing clad in the most stupid attire came my way. I was going through my old journals and an entry dated 27th June 2003 caught my attention and gave me a sudden laughter attack. It actually had lines of song from an old Hindi movie with a 2 page description of how elated and confident I felt those days after hearing the song.
   Just after I came to my senses and was about to shrug the entry as a sign of mere childishness, a sense of guilt was all over me. Guilt of letting my fears and doubts take over my free spirit and receptivity, guilt of building a shell around me and guilt of getting into the cynical habit of finding reasons.
   This world is driven crazy by reasons where we don’t even smile without one. We continue to put ifs and buts and whys to the end of every sentence. So I guess it’s time to loosen up a bit, travel back to the times where knew nothing but to stay happy and dream and let the child in us stay alive forever. Whatever happens in the end, we will happy moments to cheer and celebrate for.
Heres the lines from the ultra funny song
“ jo soche jo chahein woh karke dikhade
Hum woh hai jo do aur do paanch bana de”