Badka Babooji – My Uncle

Badka Babooji –  My UncleBadka Babooji was a regal figure in our family There was and there has been only one Badka Babooji in our family. Many tried yet they can never measure up to him. My Badka Babooji was someone who all of us aspired to be like someday. Mr RS Pandey or depty saaheb was a dynamic young man the eldest son of a high school headmaster in the  district of Chapra, Bihar. I am so proud of him he took the onus of improving the lot of the entire family irrespective of their status rich or poor. We all looked up to him for inspiration.Badka Babooji was the eldest son of Mahatma Pandey, a high school headmaster in Gopalganj, Bihar. Educated in VMHE high school of Gopalganj Babooji was extremely proud of his primary education and rightly so. He used to speak flawless English. Although Babooji was only 5’4’’, he had a captivating personality. The moment he entered any room heads would turn and there was his electric presence held an audience in awe. Often we would be envious of my cousins because they were Baboojis sons.
I was a child and had just learnt the art of writing letters on a postcard. My letters would addressed to Mr. RS Pandey , MD TISCO ,JSR sure that it would reach him. Of course it always did and he would reply beginning My Dear Baby (my nickname). We were all special to him but my sister was his favourite. In fact he chose an IAS officer as a husband for her. Jokingly he would tell her ‘Jab SDO banogi main Salute karoonga’.

The special trait that he had was his affection for his mother daadi passed away while he was on tour. It was like she waited for him to come and he did. Babooji was very affectionate towards us kids. Whenever he visited Patna on any official assignment he made sure he had tea and dinner with us. We used to love his visits because he would bring chocolates and take us to The Bankipur club or some other dos . I distinctly remember we went over to Jamshedpur in the company’s BEECH CRAFT Bonanza 7 seater aircraft. We went there and he made sure we had a fun stay with visit to theatres clubs etc. Poor Ma would be left behind. To make it up Dad would come and pick after the holidays ended and he would bring Ma along.

Babooji was always there for anyone in need. My father specially attached to him when my brother wanted to study medicine. It was he who financed his education. As it happened he turned to be the only MD in the family. Babooji taught me how to be an achiever the spirit of giving has to be there. In part I have tried to follow him in his footsteps by helping others but we can never reach his stature or make such an impact to bring in social change.

My uncle ended up leading Tata Steel and making it a name to reckon with internationally and in India as well. It became a monolithic corporate giant and beacon of hope to many from the backward districts of Bihar and UP.

Although he enjoyed immense power money and influence he was always there for his family. For his brothers he was everything. Not much has been highlighted about his role in Tata Steel yet he made some bold changes in labor and management relations. He brought an end to trade unionism and restored investor confidence after the infamous lockout in 1958. Since then it may be recalled Tata Steel never witnessed a lockout or unrest again.

RS Pandey during his service was awarded the title of Rai Bahadur of pre independent India for exemplary service. He belonged to the first batch of IAS of Independent India. He represented India a number of times in ILO at Geneva. His labor management skills were put to test during the infamous 1958 Lockout at TISCO. He was successful in establishing trust and bonhomie between the management and the labor. Gita Piramal wrote a book on legends of India but skipped his contribution to the corporate world completely. RS Pande set the highest standards in corporate governance in his time. Not only that the Tatas also encouraged him to work on so many projects in the social sector in and around Jamshedpur  and other parts of Bihar.

My Badka Babooji was foresighted enough to see the setting up of XLRI a premiere management institute of India. ‘ The Xavier Labor Relations Institute (XLRI), one of the oldest business schools in the country and among the best in Asia, close relationship with the Tatas ever since it was established in 1949. A number of people from the top brass of the Tatas have served as chairmen of XLRI’s board of governors. The list includes: Jehangir Gandhy, chairman and managing director (CMD) of Telco (Tata Motors); R.S. Pandey, managing director, Tisco (Tata Steel); Sarosh  Gandhy, MD, Telco; and J.J. Irani, MD, Tisco.’ Hindu. My father was briefly the Head of Department of Community Forestry and Rural Development in XLRI.

He did serve the Tatas without any bias. He was and will be always the pride of our family. He suffered tremendously post retirement yet was strong and a guiding light for all of us.

In remembrance Badka Babooji aka R.S.Pande 1910 – 1990.

 

The farce elements of Indian elections

 The election dynamics in India works in a very strange way.  Do you know a one percent swing of the electorate towards a particular political party could earn  them up to  ten  seats? Here is another down to earth example:  in the recent Assembly election in Tamil Nadu, India, the AIADMK party polled 39 % of the total votes and the DMK just 26%.  A difference of 13 % vote resulted in a stock  of 127 seats between the two giants?      

 So, every vote counts. The  election commission says that only 75% of the electorate cast their votes. Wouldn’t that absentee  25% mean a swing of over a hundred seats?

The Commission prepares a list called “Voters list” for every constituency.  This is considered a very sacred document  like it is equivalent to  the Holy Bible ! If your name is not in the list, you are a  nobody.  To be more blunt, you are not an Indian at all ! So sacrosanct the darned list is.

How accurate the voters list is? Very inaccurate. Dead persons’ names,  names of people who have  changed their residence, of people who have gone on transfer to another constituency,  appear there.  When you leave your rented house, you think in terms of changing your gas connection electricity connection, ration card, telephone connection and so many other things but no one  ever thinks of informing the election commission about the change of address. So, where is the accuracy of this so called sacred list? And changes take place routinely almost daily.

Less than 50% of the Indian population have  permanent houses/addresses  in the land. The remaining are floating population who may change residence every year or  after a couple  of years. If you are   not physically present in a particular house, the election commission  will ruthlessly remove your name from the list for the next election as if you are dead.  You are expected to get yourself enrolled, as it were, in your new location. You need all the time in the world to do this, which may include submitting an application form along with your photograph, proof of  residence and so on. You get so fed up running after the various steps that you feel it would be better to remain a vote less character in your own country.

With so many  imperfections in our electoral list, we boast to the world that we are the greatest democracy in the world and we had carried out a monumental  election so successfully.

On a casual exchange of notes with an Election official, he stressed that the Commission needs to know how many voters are available in a constituency, hence a list is a must.  Great. “Including dead persons and transferred persons?” I remarked  for which the gentleman  had no rejoinder.

It is sad that one thinks and talks in ancient ways in a modern computer world.

I would personally recommend that we go in for an all  purpose electronic  smart card which may  contain all your personal information other than your residential address and which records details of your participation in various elections and you should be permitted to vote from any place in India and in any constituency. [As of now, if you happen to be on outstation duty on the election day, you lose your right of franchise.  Why?]

The central government said in 2010  that they are preparing an unique identity card for every individual.  Where is it?  Will it take twenty years to complete and provide it to every individual?

In a democracy, it is vital that every adult votes in every election.  Abstaining   from voting,  should be considered a democratic sin.  100% voting is ideal but we need to have some slip  margin, which should not be more than 2 %. Accordingly,  98% participation should be the minimum.  We should work towards this figure. Only then we could claim that the elected candidates have the  popular support.

What will you do with your nuclear technology?

Probably you would do the same and the third person over there would also do the same.  But I won’t..

The question is directed on the countries who have developed the nuclear technology, reactors and so on. They have sunk in so much money on its development and they have a wonderful infrastructure to go ahead with setting up nuclear power plants in any part of the world. Can they afford to keep these  information unused? If they can’t use these in their own country, they would like to pass them on to other nations. It’s natural, I agree but is it moral?

One needs to remember that  nuclear  power plants have become death traps.  You never know when it may collapse and  pollute the atmosphere there and displace the  people. If you want to learn more on this topic, please consult Japan and they would tell you what happened  in Fukushima when an earthquake shook the area a few months back..

Would the Japanese people welcome setting up more plants in their land?Japan has already 16 nuclear power stations  of their own . They would cry out a big NO for increasing the present   number.  On the contrary they may demand shutting off of a few existing ones to save the country from a possible  holocaust . They would not want to see another Fukushima in these places.

The Japanese engineers and nuclear scientists understand this dilemma.   Could they let this investment lie idle and let the workers be paid for doing no work !

So, Japan is trying  to woo  some smaller nations into going in for nuclear power.  “It’s so cheap, you know?” The real purpose of this export magnanimity is to rehabilitate its own nuclear based persons and not to benefit the receiving countries.

Through this article I wish to warn such nations who consider nuclear power a modern  novelty, not to fall for such sales talk. Keep away.  Go in for hydel or thermal power plants but never  the nuclear variety.

Talking about our own land,India has 19 nuclear stations already  and four more   are on the pipe line including the one at Kudankulam in Southern India.  These are live volcanoes.  You never know when a volcano will erupt.  No amount of assurances will keep a volcano from erupting some time  and  at the time of its own choosing.

Personally I would suggest   replacing the nuclear power plants  with  Thermal power plants. We have a large quantum of coal deposit which can feed dozens of power stations   for decades.

Next, we have fifteen major  and perennial rivers in India.  Which country in the world can boast of so many rivers?  Why aren’t we making use of these rivers?

There is so much hesitation  even  for linking up all the rivers. Why?  Link them at the earliest. Once done, start an  internal water way system from Kanyakumari  to Kashmir.  Build  hydel power plants wherever technically possible along these rivers.

Shall we have a safer India?  And please don’t buy any more nuclear reactors nor set up any more nuclear power plants.

Crossroads… !

Jiya felt out of the world; finally, everything was moving in the way she always wanted. She forever liked Krish – loved him to be precise, but perhaps the power that is known as almighty had some other plans. They became voyagers of two different streams, diverging from each other. Her destined path kept her at bay, until one day when he was back in her life.

7 years elapsed before he was back – however, things were different as he was married by then. One fine day Jiya surprisingly received a friend request from Krish on a social network site, which she accepted gleefully. He remained like any other friend in Jiya’s friend-list mostly benign, until one day he made his first move when both of them were online at the same time, and from then it all started to roll back. Both lived in two different cities, so they decided to meet when Krish was supposed to visit Delhi for the next time, which was the hometown for both of them and where Jiya was settled.

The time came soon and they met. After the meeting however, Jiya realised that he was a changed man. He was not the same crazy guy whom she loved even though they spent ample intimate moments. She found him to be more matured yet somewhere deep in her heart Jiya still felt that the crazy guy she loved was still alive, buried somewhere beneath the debris of his mellowness.

Two years elapsed like that, by then chatting was notably replaced by calls that they made to each other. They again came closer to each other by each passing day. Jiya however still missed the passion that made her fall for Krish, 7 years back. Soon however everything changed.

One day when Jiya was online and he suddenly pinged her, they resumed their chatting and it almost became a routine to be online at a particular time. Jiya felt happy this time, everything was falling into place, everything was happening in the way she always wanted. Krish started showing his feelings; all his craziness and passion was back. They got very much involved when one day he asked her to send him some of the videos that she recorded on self, where she spoke intimately about him. The file size was huge and she was not being able to send through mail despite persistent effort. That was when all of a sudden Krish called her. She took the call and said, “Sweetie tell me how to minimize these clips?” Krish however to her surprise replied, “What videos?” Jiya replied, “I am asking you about the video you asked me to send. The size of the clip is big and I am not being able to compress it”. Krish replied, “I have no clue about what you are talking! I am calling you almost after a month!” Jiya was surprised on hearing that. She said, “Hey, stop joking na! We have been chatting regularly over a month now for hours everyday and you asked some of my video that I had recorded for you!” Krish however almost gave an impression that he knew nothing about what she was talking. He then asked about the chat id of the person whom Jiya was talking to. Jiya replied, “It is kriish4u and spelt it K – R – double I, S, H”. To her astonishment Krish promptly said, “No, that’s not my id. My id is krish4u. I don’t have that extra I in my id; you must have been chatting to someone else”. Jiya became numb; she disconnected the call and was dumbstruck unable to move or react.

After couple of days when she cooled down, she started to think over the whole episode. Something bothered her from within; she kept on asking herself that how come some other guy with a similar id knew so much about their relation. Suddenly in a flash, she recalled that the guy on chat said her a few things which happened when she met Krish in Delhi and those were such incidents which were impossible for a third person even to guess! Her head started to spin and within seconds the world around her became dark as she fainted.

She regained her consciousness almost after 10 min.  She then knew what was wrong; she stood up on her trembling legs, walked slowly to her bedroom, booted her laptop, and started mailing Krish.

Krish, I am shattered after all that has happened. I guess now it is tougher for me to start from scratch yet again, as you will always remind me of my mistakes. I am sure that I know who that other guy is. Who could know about all those secrets and intimate hours we shared last time when we met in Delhi? It cannot be such a big coincident that you both share such similar ids. I frankly do not know why you came back into my life and why you did all this to me! I am just ruined. This relationship is over now; perhaps that will not even bother you but it is for sure that never in my life I can trust anyone as deeply as I had trusted you. Because you have taught me the biggest lesson of my life – trust is meant to be broken!

The art of parrot prediction is dying down

A man  carrying a small portable  cage with a parrot inside, is a common sight at all temples, parks and such places where there is a daily gathering of thousands of people, in India. He is a fortuneteller of sorts and tells your future  prompted by the parrot.  “Parrot astrologer,” is his popular title.

Those who  visit a temple for paying obeisance to  their favourite god or goddess would not be  satisfied with the worship alone.  They would like to know what other fortunes their god has for them for that day and  for the days till their next visit. Consulting a  Palmist or a parrot astrologer is their normal preference.

A palmist doesn’t tell you what will happen to you on the following day;  he would have already apprised you of your whole future such as,   when you will get married or when your first child will be born, how long you would live on this Earth and so on. And you may not like to hear the same old story again and again.  You want something different.  After all, each day has its own destiny.       

        If you want to know your luck for that day or the  whole week, the parrot astrologer is the right fellow to be  approached.  He would have a set of cards which carry some message and the parrot will pick one of the cards and the astrologer would read out the contents for your benefit.

Some  customers may feel happy at the prediction especially the village folk or slum dwellers. Whereas, the   city types won’t be impressed with the  forecast at all. They know that what the  parrot has brought out is nothing but a lucky dip.  Many college students phoo, phoo the very idea. In fact, people in general have started losing faith in parrot astrology. They would rather go  in for computer based horoscope though very expensive.  The parrot astrologers have become somewhat jittery at this trend.

“What am I going to do?” wails one soothsayer  in  Chennai city. That has been his livelihood  for some 20 years and he has been earning between Rs 100 and 120  per day.  He knows no other profession.

“Why don’t you modernize the art?” I told him.  He scratched his head at the word.

“Can’t you train your parrot to hop on the shoulder of your customer, give a kiss on his/her cheek, then come down and collect a card? Customers would love it, you know, especially young maidens?”    The man thought over the suggestion.  “It’s a good idea ,Sir.  My parrot knows   a few   tricks.  I’ll try it from  tomorrow and hope that more customers will come to me….”

To another “Kili josier”  I suggested, “Make your parrot do a kind of  dance to some music before you direct it to choose a card.  OK? People of the current generation  want some thing novel and entertaining. If they do not believe in your prediction, at least let them enjoy the  stunts performed by  your  parrot.”

The suggestions  were  made off the cuff.    I hope  the parrot astrologers treat my recommendation  for what they are worth  and enhance their chances of earning some money instead of giving up their age old profession.

 

Are we a good listener?

We continue to hear one complaint either it is our home, school, college or office that no one listens to anyone. We grudge that we say something and the other fellow does not listen properly and understands something else.  Why does there occur a big gap between speaking and listening?  This may be due to the fact that each one of us is taught how to speak, however, we are not guided how to be good listeners in our life. Listening is more important than speaking and if we do not listen properly, everything which is spoken targeting us becomes worthless.

We speak so that there could be a dialogue, there could be a conversation and communication. When our heart listens, it evaluates whether what we are listening is right or wrong. If we start applying our mind, we come out with counter argument to the statement heard by us. It means only heart is ready to listen. When there is something in the heart, our heart opens its doors and accepts others. The energy enters through these open doors in us. If we remain calm and listen to others with intent, flowers will bloom and it will be like spring. If you want to experience it, first we should see what others are up to and how they are speaking and narrating and how one is listening. We may feel that those we call sound relations are actually not so. We keep expecting from each other and we sub-consciously all are using each other. Therefore, we see many well wishers around us but they are not actually connected with us, it is like searching for a glass of drinking water, when there is sea around us.

After examining others, we shall do self examination and introspect, how we ourselves listen to others.  The introspection will enlighten us. We may start listening with more alertness and calmness and with deep concentration. When you prove to be a good listener, others will surely appreciate it. If people feel that we are listening to them with due concentration, they will feel happy inside and our presence will work as a medicine for them. We need to share our ‘self’ with others to make them feel that we are there well wishers.


It can’t be bye bye to iddli, vadai and sambhar !

This morning’s newspaper carried a horrible new item – Iddli and Sambhar  are the worst enemies for the heart  and also the major cause for diabetes.  The medicos claim that  Tamil Nadu  has the second  largest  number of diabetics in the country.

 

Iddli, vadai  and  sambhar are the most  favourite breakfast items for any South Indian, not Tamilians alone. You can get iddlis right from Kanya kumari to Nagpur.  This covers all the four Southern states.

 

An NRI shouts from across the seas that iddlis are available in New York streets as well.  Also in England, conveys another Indian from London.

 

So, if the medicos and diabetes foundations want the South Indians to give up iddlis, they are asking for the Sun to shed its sheen ! The Sangam literature has a reference  to  iddlis.  The southerners started consuming iddlis  from  around the year 920 CE.  How can a food item of some 1100 years’ standing could suddenly vanish from the breakfast table? As of now, it is the main dish for breakfast and dinner in most of the homes.  Some wouldn’t mind it for lunch also.  In fact, majority  of the office and factory workers eat iddlis for lunch as well.  Wives would find it easier to pack up four or six iddlis with sambhar in a tiffin box than stuffing  it with rice, samhar and  a few vegetable side dishes for lunch of their men folk. Iddli is a popular  item for the evening snack too.  Thus it is a staple food for the entire day. A Southerner could live on iddlis alone!

 

That being so, is it correct on the part of the medical scientists and Diet researchers asking us to give it up because it has the potential to  give you heart attack and diabetes?? This revelation was made  at a conference on  “Nutrition in Metabolic  Disorders” at Women’s Christian college, Chennai a couple of days back.  I am sure when these gentlemen went home after the seminar, they would have been served a liberal plate of iddlis and steaming sambhar by their wives.  Do you think they would have rejected the snack as being dangerous material?  No, brother, they would have walloped the  iddlis with great relish

 

We have devoted much time for iddli and sambhar.  Vadai is an essential partner to iddlis.  Iddli and vadai constitute a pair and could  never be separated.

 

The NRIs in America and England could have got accustomed to eggs and toast for breakfast.  But did they  kick out iddli and vadai and sambhar from their menu.?  Never. A South Indian may give up smoking and hard liquor but never iddli, vadi and sambhar.

 

Iddli is always served in pairs and never singly. The  presentation part is very important.  Each piece should be well shaped without any frills dangling here and there along its perimeter or its contour  dented in any way.  Your appetite will shoot up when you see a well shaped and  fat looking iddli in front of your eyes..

 

And yet I find some eateries  manufacturing them in odd shapes and sizes  and serving them with tasteless chutneys  or sambhar which is most watery without the flavour of sambhar  in it.  Wrong.  Don’t ruin the sanctity  of the fragrance  and aroma of sambhar.

 

Washing dirty linen in public

I like the Election time, you know?  And we get plenty of it in a democracy.  Currently the elections  for  various types  of local bodies in different cities, towns  and villages of my State Tamil Nadu  are in progress.

 

Wherever I go I hear speeches and the loudspeakers blaring away varieties  of information., palatable and non palatable. Walls are plastered with slogans.  Right in front of my house, I see auto rickshaws  plying and a man reading  his election speech through a loud speaker fitted on the hood of the auto. The funny part is no body could make out  what the man  is trying to say; one can’t even grasp  the name of the candidate  because the auto  whizzes past your house   within 15 seconds.

 

But you get much more and  exhaustive information about the candidates and parties from the newspapers. It is only then we  come to know that  how bad   some leaders  or political parties have been  conducting themselves. They grab land belonging to  innocent people and even that of  the Government’s. The  leaders cheat the people   by false promises of jobs, transfers and promotions etc. The impeachers are blunt to the point and mince no words  in exposing the other’s  misdeeds. I wish one was a little diplomatic about these revelations. But no. They insist on calling a spade a spade !   Is this correct, you tell me? But then  this is legally allowed in a democracy.

 

Next, there is a saying that “All is fair in love and war and Elections”.  I am not sure if the third option I have quoted  is correct but someone did say, “It is all right…”

 

“But don’t such accusations tarnish the image of  the concerned candidate(s)?”  The answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’ because the affected candidate will deny all the aberrations and turn the  gun on the accuser with more charges.   Two bullets facing each other, eh?  So, I should think it is a kind of tit for tat !

 

“In which case, who do they vote for?  Aren’t the voters influenced by a candidate’s bad history?

“No.”

“Did I hear a  ‘NO’?”

“Yes friend, indeed. The  accuser has as many skeletons in his cupboard as the accused ! Both are awful and unfit to be in the ruling clan. So, how do the voters decide who to vote for?  We will come to this point a little later.

 

Now about the election speeches.  Being local elections, you don’t see huge public meetings  but only roadside shows. The great advantage of these small sized meetings is that you can cross examine the candidate and  he has to answer your questions.  If he doesn’t, he loses marks.

 

In one case, a listener  asked, “Your  party has  not kept so many promises made in the past.  Why?  Some of them are over ten years old. The speaker candidate scratched his head.  This was a Waterloo test for him.  Then clicking his fingers he answered  like this:  You see the  election promise  you are referring to is only ten  years old;  we are still working on the three year and  four years brands.  So you have to wait your turn.  Be reasonable.  Things take time to implement, you know?  The crowd appreciated the answer and greeted him with applause.  And he won the elections too.

In another case, [this happened to be a General elections case], a questioner pointed out ,”You party has not nominated your  Prime ministerial candidate (because there was really no consensus and there were infighting for the post) and they got away  saying, “We will select a PM through a democratic process after the elections  and not force one on the people now.”  The  public lauded this response. ”That’s true democracy, isn’t it?” the voters hailed and the great  party won the General elections as well.

Lately, the parties have started announcing  a  number of freebies. [Even the Supreme court has permitted this !] There is  a competition in this regard. If one party offers one grinder mixer per family, another would offer one for each voter. Accordingly in some homes you may  find anything up to five mixers.

So, all this is good fun,  good rhetoric and empty words too. Nobody means what they say but say they have to. Having listened to many speeches  the voters indeed  would get confused about who to cast their vote.  One wag advises:  Toss a coin, brother.

 

 

 

On snoring

 It is agreed that snoring is an awful habit.  One doesn’t acquire  it like a disease of a kind.  It comes naturally due to obstructions in your breathing system. Well, the habit could be rectified by surgeons , the ENT surgeons, to be more precise.  We are not going to discuss the medical aspect of snoring in this article  but about its side effects on the co-sleepers.

Snoring  on your neighbour’s  part would bother you if you are in a dormitory and all the occupants sleep almost neck to neck like it happens in a hostel.

When I was a  boarder  some 75 years back, we had to sleep on the floor. We were ten boys in our house.  If any one of them happens to be a snorer, your hostel life, I mean the night life could be miserable.  The trouble is, the snorer would never admit that he is a snorer. “Never.  How can I snore ever?  You are blaming  me for nothing,” he would say in his defence. If two or three of his house mates tell him that he indeed snores and snores loudly disturbing everyone’s sleep in the hostel house, he may accept his crime.  “All right, what do you want me to do about it?” he would ask reversing the  gun back in your direction.  And the accusers wouldn’t know how to answer him.

I happened to be  one of the  accusers.  We scratched our head. One intelligent student said, “We shall report the matter to the Warden..”   “What will the warden do?” a more intelligent accuser asked. “Would he send him to the hospital for an operation of his neck or what?”  Then a sudden solution dawned on me.  ”I shall pinch you and wake you up and your snoring would indeed stop. OK?”  And indeed it did  too.

So two of us took turn to pinch Robert every night.  The snoring stopped all right but poor Robert couldn’t sleep for a long time after that.

Since there was no noise from his nose, we all slept nicely. We were not bothered to know how Robert managed his day in the class room with only half sleep.

In your later adult life, the only time you would admit to your snoring is when the   complainant is your own wife. “Listen, sweet, I had been certified as a non snorer during my school days.  How could I have acquired that addiction as an adult?”.

She told me that I was not snoring but made thundering noise as if I was fighting with someone in my sleep.  She had done some  research  on it as well.  I made the war like noise whenever I lay supine on the bed.  All she did was to turn me over to the side and the  aggressive sound stopped. She didn’t lose any sleep  herself by this curative action.

Incidentally no  young mother ever loses sleep.  Often I have seen my wife changing the nappy of  our little child, tossing the nappy accurately into the bucket kept closely and resume her sleep within two and a half minutes. This she used to do twice or thrice during the night. And she never complained of lack of sleep due to baby monitoring,  on the following day.

How I wish  hostel boys could do this feat.  Robert made us spend sleepless nights on many nights.

new girl in the city

Chennai had been a mere touch & go place for me all these years. Random visits seldom prolonged. A place etched in memory in vague imprints of dust, soot and heat. So then when I shifted to Chennai after marriage, I had no qualms about this city. May 2011 welcomed me to Chennai with the harshest of heat waves I could imagine. Sun simmered throughout the next two months and I cursed this city. By August I began my getting acquainted with the city tours. I would walk out with my wallet and my cell phone, purely depending on the people around to get me anywhere. Autos proved to be a rather expensive indulgence in my routine meanderings; hence I resorted to the domestic train service & buses. After sometime, when the dust and soot and heat seemed to settle down, I began to see this city and its people for what they really are. What astonished me was come rain or sunshine ( I mean intense sun stroking ones) one would never find an umbrella on the rise. Often I had stood out as the odd person out with an umbrella. Anywhere, everywhere garbage strewed and I would walk well into the middle of the road to avoid the stench and the dirt. But I also found plump stray dogs and cattle who fed on this left over. That might sound repulsing, but my point is the city takes care of every being.
I also had a fair share of tiny encounters with kind-heartedness. The people here are so down to earth and helpful .Often a lost me had been re-directed and helped by kind hearted souls. I also found the attitude towards women here to be impressive compared to where I come from. Kerala has always been notorious for how women are treated. Hence Chennai is a breath of fresh air. Simple acts of kindness that one seldom notices like a blind man feeding a stray puppy, a shopkeeper sitting and feeding a beggar, incentives that you get on purchases from the flower women or the small shops around your house….all these makes Chennai a place devoid of every negative adjective attached to a metro. There is always a festive mood with crowds rushing for purchases and people blaring music at some nook & corner of the road. Love for music and bright colors and flowers again make this city more endearing.
Or perhaps, Chennai is endearing because here is my home that I share with my husband. After all love makes everything beautiful ?

Thanks and gratefulness to God

Thanks and gratefulness to God Somewhere I read this morning about a little girl saying, ”I didn’t receive anything good from God today. Why should I thank Him and express my gratitude?” Many of us would agree with the little girl. Many of us too would say the same thing. God appears to be a silent person. You pray and pray and He never answers your prayer. During this morning ‘s mediation and Bible reading, I did think about this point – Should we say “Thank you” to him every day as a routine? Then the commentary from the daily reading guide book put me wise. Should we look for only the down-to-Earth side? God does not sleep. He watches over us every minute. He probably prevented something bad happening to you. You may not know it. But God is aware of it. The writer gave a nice example John lost his wallet. Instead of cursing God or demanding an explanation from Him, John thanked God saying, “Thank you Lord, only my purse is gone.. The thief did not physically harm me; he could have stabbed me or at least scratched me with a knife. He did not take away my college certificates. Thank you for protecting me Lord. I was shaken out of my ungrateful mind. God knows why John had lost his purse . By losing some money today, he had not become a pauper. He will make it good some time. He wants you to know that He had saved you from several possible road accidents through your walk or drive from place of work to home.. He has prevented you from tripping over a stone or someone in a crowded street. So, don’t be angry with God if you have not received any visible blessings today. Invisible blessings far exceed the visible. We should be all the time thankful to Him and praise Him too. You have been created on this Earth only for that purpose – to praise and glorify God. God expects this from all his creatures. Often we do not know what good things He has done for each of us today. Here is a small story. There was a power cut that evening around 8 p.m. Rosy, 18, was returning home after her music class. The road was dark, absolutely dark. In order to reach home, she had to pass through a dark alley which was lonely without any kind of human traffic. Rosy prayed earnestly to her Lord. “Lord protect me, help me reach home safely. “ As she walked cautiously, she saw the figure of a man leaning on an electric pole. Holding her heart in her hand, Rosy inched her way nervously and crossed the danger area safely. The man did no harm to her. Some 20 minutes later, another girl passed by the same alley and the evil man pounced upon her and raped her. Many people heard her cry and rushed out to help. But it was too late. He had done the job. The police nabbed him. For some reason Rosy went back to the site. She talked to the man. “Listen, I too walked alone and you let me go. Why did you molest this poor girl?” The devilish man replied, “No you were not alone; You were walking between two hefty men. So I couldn’t get at you. ..?” Who were these two hefty men? Angels, obviously. God had answered Rosy’s prayer and provided the security cover for her. She didn’t know it but the villainous fellow noticed the presence of the body guards. Shouldn’t Rosy thank the Lord for her safe arrival home?

 

Wives indeed deserve a day of honour, don’t they?

Wives indeed deserve a day of  honour , don’t they?

Yes, why not?

Don’t we observe as of now all kinds of days – Valentine’s day, Children’s day, Teachers’ day, Mother’s day, Father’s day.  Why is ‘wife’ missing from the  above list? What has she done  to  be deprived of this honour?  She is a mother all right but her primary role as wife should not be forgotten. It would appear that the world has indeed forgotten her.

Till recent time, one  officer  by the name  S. Narayanan, the  Administrative officer of a Marriage Hall in Chennai,India used to celebrate what could be called “Couples’ day”.  He hired a marriage hall and   invited all the married couple to gather there for some fun and frolic.   Men of different age groups and from all walks of life dressed like grooms along with their  proud spouse  came to this particular hall for the ceremony.  Some grooms were in their 70’s and their wives  appeared  as coy  as they were on their wedding day years ago. This was done on 30 August.  In the year 2008, nearly  1008  couples  attended the ceremony  and the practice seems to have died down in the last two years or so.  Why, I  wonder?

True, a wife’s day could be commemorated inside one’s own home also but a public show has its own charm. Several people get to see you.  You become a  cynosure of all eyes and a role model for youngsters.  Your own children will go ga ga adoring and blessing you with gifts and kisses.  Won’t that be a grand nostalgia?

Many Indians celebrate the sixtieth year  wedding day. On attaining the age of 60 by the father, the children would get their parents married  for the second time at a home ceremony.  In the Indian language it is called ‘Sashtiaboorthi’. This is a great occasion, isn’t it?  The children conducting  the wedding  ceremony and  making their parents recollect  their good old wedding day years back !  So, why not observe a “Wife’s day” to honour the mother?

An Indian  wife,  is a real Home maker in the literal sense.  She shoulders the entire burden of the family while letting her  husband  have a  life free of any worries.  She is truly a God given gift to a man and this annual function would reflect the men folk’s  gratitude for her.

90% of the Indian wives are absolute home makers.  Their sole  job is to administer the home, bear children and rear them up  and  also be a companion to her husband. They do accept  that the  husband is the head of the house and she is his assistant.

The other 10% happen to be working women – full working women bringing in a pay packet sometime  larger than the husband’s. The latest trend shows that the Divorce rate is high  in the homes of working women who seem to have developed an ego that they are no less in competence and status and could command a voice in the home running possibly not admitting that the husband is the head.  This is the starting point of domestic disharmony and invariably leads to the break up of the marriage.  I wonder if in such homes, the husband would  ever be willing to observe the Wife’s day and thank the lady for all her devotion to him !

I suggest 30 December   be celebrated as “Wife’s day” the world over henceforth.  I don’t think even the Western nations have reserved a day in  honour of the wife.  Isn’t it high time they did it? Accordingly, will everyone kindly gear up for 30 December this year?

While it may not be necessary to gather at a  particular place in large numbers, the day could be observed and rejoiced at  inside every home where the wife cum mother is honoured  profusely by the husband and treated with gifts and tributes.  It’s my wish that 30 December be accepted as the “Wife’s day” the world over and the Lady of the Home be showered  with  love and respect.

In some social clubs, they observe a day called “Husband’s night” whereof it is the wives who would be at the service of men including serving drinks and taking the hubby for a dance and so on ..  A very good notion of applauding the husbands.  But then, why don’t we have “Wives night” in these clubs. My friend rebukes me and tells , “Don’t be stupid, man.  Don’t we look after the ladies well and ensure they are comfortable during all  the club evenings?”  True.  Come to think of it, every club evening is a “Wife’s night”.

But, a “Wife’s day” is  much more significant.  It’s an annual  day of thanksgiving by the husband  and  by the husband alone unlike  “Mother’s day” when she is venerated by both the husband and children.

 

——-

 

Answer me, God!

One incident took away almost everything from my world. Aayush, my younger son was only 4 months old then; I could have never heard the word “mamma” from him  neither would I knew how well my elder son, Aryan could sing or how handsome he looks in his all white cricketing attire. It all happened little more than a year back but it is still so vivid in my mind as if it happened just a week before. I am writing this on the eve of my birthday, thanks to the saviour for he gave me an opportunity to celebrate my birthday this year with my family.

We met with a  road accident when we were coming back from Pondicherry to Chennai after spending a superb holiday. Our red car, as Aryan recalls, “Papa’s red car fell and broke into pieces so papa bought a big black car.” Our car was rammed by a xylo from behind and the world became darkness to me.

When I was back to my senses, a month had passed and I was still in the hospital with a severe head injury. The worst thing that happened during this accident was that I suffered from retrograde amnesia and lost my last one-year memory. Due to that, I even forgot my younger son, since he was only 4 months then. Still, I keep on urging everyone individually, not to disclose this to him when he grows up. He will be very hurt when he will know his mother did not remember him. Many more things happened in that one-month period when I was in the hospital, but I was simply clueless.

Finally, one day I was released from the hospital, still on a prescription to continue my high dose medicines for an indefinite time. One day I was just lying in my bed, and found my aunt’s digital camera. She came down from Kolkata during those wretched days to help us. I took the camera and started browsing the pics in it. I saw the first pic, and then the second and then as I pressed the next button, the third pic came up. I stared at the picture blankly. It was Aayush’s pic, with one of his leg wrapped with a white plaster. I immediately ran to my hubby to enquire further. He didn’t hide a bit and told me Aayush fractured his leg during the accident. If that was not all, the fracture got detected after a couple of days when the leg started to swell. Poor Aayush underwent a massive pain for those two days.  In addition, my elder son, Aryan who was only 3 and half years then, broke his left collarbone and was in trauma since he was the only one who saw the whole thing. I became numb and only my tears, which do not follow any rules, continued to roll down my cheek. He also said that every night both the kids kept on crying. The younger one tried to pronounce “mamma” and kept on crying and the elder one, kept on asking everyone when his mother will come back to him.

For better care, my hubby sent me to my mothers place to Kolkata after a few days post my return from the hospital. During that stay, I would ask my mother about all that happened when I was not in my senses. She would always start her narration with Anirban, my hubby, how he took care of me. He was badly injured too in the accident, 21 stitches in his head and with a broken shoulder, still he spent all the nights in the hospital sitting next to me. His routine was somewhat like this; he joined his office few days after the accident – he would go to his office in the morning, return by 5 pm, then feed and make Aryan sleep (He was not allowing anyone to feed him and making him sleep).  After Aryan slept, hubby would have his dinner and go to the hospital with my dinner. He would feed me and then used to sit the whole night awake next to my bed and the next day morning again the routine continued…. I always love my hubby a lot but after hearing all this from my mother, that love increased manifolds and the respect I had for him increased too. He too was badly injured and required proper rest after the accident, but due to his commitments then he did not get any rest and now he is suffering from the side effects. 6 months after the accident, he started getting tremendous back pain, for which he still have sleepless nights. After a check up from the doctor, we came to know during the accident, he badly hurt his back, if he would have taken proper rest then after the accident, now he would not suffer from the side affects. I am very lucky to have him as my best half; he showed me what life is and where happiness lies.

I had no clue what my parents went through as i am their only daughter. Few months back when I was visiting  my aunt, the topic reappeared. She disclosed that my mother kept fasting because I could not eat properly when I was in the hospital. She used to tell, “I will leave my fasting only when my daughter starts eating normal diet.” ‘Hat’s off to you maa, you have shown me what mothers are for and thanks baba for your support.I know you too went through a lot of pain !”

A year flew by but the stigma of the incidence is still crystal-clear in my mind. Very frequently, I get the memories flushing my mind and I always ask with moist eyes – ‘why it was me and my family, who had to experience such a horrible fate.’ This is the only question that I have for Him, the power known as God!

Togetherness, to sleep or not to…?

Nothing wrong with pre marital sex

No, it’s not my caption. I read an article with this title in this morning’s news paper. I was horrified and disagreed violently with the publication. It so happens that it has been written by one Sofia, a Britisher. I am sure no Indian woman would have dared make such a suggestion ever.

Sofia claims that if a woman has enjoyed the pre marital sex, then she will have a healthy relationship after marriage. Absolutely wrong. Will such a woman stop with one such experience? Won’t she have more and possibly with newer men? In which case she is not likely to opt for marriage at all; she would have become a confirmed single girl gallivantor of a first class order.

I think pre marital sex is a taboo, at least in our Indian context. No Indian maiden would think of it nor a courting young man. It is a forbidden fruit or a fruit to be tasted at a later date. The longer the wait the sweeter will be the taste !

“Why not?” you may ask. “After all they are engaged to be married. So What’s the harm?” Such thinking will end up in sorrow and self guilt and self condemnation, friend. Your fiancé, whom you considered the most beautiful woman in the world, would suddenly look ugly in your very own eyes. Next, you are bound to feel so guilty that you may not like to touch her again because your conscience will tell you that you have done something prohibited by our culture. And you are most likely to run away too from her leaving her to fend for herself. You would not want to look at her face once again at all. You would embarrassed too because guilt will be eating into you. You would have lost all interest in her as well.

The above is not an imagination. It’ a true life experience. A and K were terribly in love. They had been engaged just some three months back and the marriage, for various reasons, was due some six months later.
But A couldn’t wait; he lived some three hundred miles away from K. One day he travelled all the way down to K’s place where she was living alone, being a teacher in an outstation. When you find your woman alone without any one around, your passion jumps to a new height. And that’s exactly what had happened. It’s not known if K approved of it but perhaps she had no role to play in the game. ‘A’ hating himself for the act took off back to his home leaving behind a weeping K. And K became pregnant in course of time. Pregnancy had to be terminated in a crude way because it had to be done in total secrecy.

A and K got married all right in due time. But the marriage turned out to be sour and insipid. K could never conceive again. And their marriage was sliding down to near zero level. Within three years they broke up. True, they didn’t divorce. But A one day suddenly abandoned her and turned to another woman. K looked absolutely loathsome in A’s eyes.

If only they had refrained from that horrible pre marital adventure, they would have been a happy couple with a couple of children and A would have been adoring her day in and day out. She would have looked gorgeous and gorgeous with each child.

If you are having any clandestine plan to do such thing as what A and K did, please give up the idea immediately. Delay it, delay it till the D day. Remember Shakespeare’s words, “To delay is to increase the pleasure…” and indeed you would experience much greater pleasure on your W day.

The Story Writer

Shashi was a boy, who like all other boys went to school. But, unlike most boys, he was not allowed to decide for his own future. It was his father who decided what he will study, where he will study and how he will study. And also what he will not study, where he will not study and how he will not study. So, when the boy grew up to be a man, he found himself confronted with a world where he had to make his own decisions of which he had no experience. He tried to compensate for his lack by making such decisions that were not the obvious ones, decisions that created the greatest impact and gave him an enormous sense of responsibility in exercising them. Thus when friends invited him for picnics, he decided not to join. When an opportunity came for him to go abroad to study, he decided not to go. When he was offered a job, he decided not to take it. When there was talk of his marriage, he decided not to marry.

The one thing that Shashi loved doing was writing – writing stories. Fiction. In his stories he used to make his characters act rationally by making wise decisions for them. His characters went out to picnics with friends, went abroad to study, took up jobs and even married. He decided for them with as much responsibility as if they inhabited the real world and not the imaginary one that he has created.

Then one day Shashi fell in love – for the second time. His first love was writing stories but his second was a woman he met at a poetry reading session. She was a foreigner on a visit and they became friends. They kept their acquaintanceship over Orkut, Facebook and Twitter for a number of years. One day he expressed his love for her in a matter of fact way in a message to her. She confirmed love from her side too hoping for a consummation of their love and living their lives together. Some more time passed by soon. Then one day she asked Shashi exasperatedly,

“Don’t you want to marry me?”

He replied, “Yes. But I can’t. Long time back I decided not to marry.”

“Why?”

“Because then I did not love anyone.”

“But now you do.”

“I can’t reverse my decision. It is my responsibility to bear the consequences of the decision I have exercised.”

“But…”

“But I love you.”

The woman vanished from the virtual world from then on. The friendship froze.

Years later Shashi again saw the woman at a literary festival. She was now the companion of a famous writer known for his grumpiness. He stood at the end of the queue to get his copy signed. When he came forward the woman was surprised to see him. He in turn surprised the famous writer by inviting his companion for coffee. The famous writer accompanied them to the café. They had their introduction along with the coffee. It was then that Shashi made his pronouncement, “I want to marry you,” to the astonishment of both the listeners present. The famous writer coughed and the woman looked at him askance. So he added, “Because I still love you.”

She mumbled, “Why…”

He interrupted her, “I decided to override my earlier decision.”

He did not wait for her reply and left instantly. This time it was Shashi who disappeared from the virtual world – perhaps into his imaginary world, the world of his stories.

The evolution of Men’s trousers

In the Fifties, men wore loose and baggy trousers, the leg end measuring about 48 inches in circumference. No one looked down upon these loose outfits since everyone wore the same type. In the Sixties, Indian men switched over to the ‘Bell bottoms’, which nearly flapped noisily and swept the floor as you walked. True, everyone didn’t go in for bell bottoms but the younger generation were very fond of this brand. In the Seventies, majority of the men opted for tight legs almost resembling the Ladies’ churidars. Here again, the male older generation stuck to the 34-36 inch bottoms and is continuing even now.

And now comes the news that the 34-36 inch bottoms are too tight and insulate the part down the waist from free air circulation. A particular Store is trying to market absolutely baggy stuff. A customer who walked the isle of the men’s wear department wondered if he was in the ‘night wear’ section. “No, No Sir, this is very much the men’s day wear division,” clarified the salesman.

“But, but, they all look like pyjamas, don’t they?”

The sales man put the customer wise. “They are called ‘Willow pants’
or ‘harem pants’ Sir.”

“To me, they look like ‘night dress’,” the shopper insisted.

“No, Sir. These are our future dress material and we are introducing the loose and wobbly trousers with an equally floppy top in the market. This is the trend of the future. The material is quite light and airy…”.

If adopted, all of us would like grandma’s getting ready to hit the bed.

The loose fitting pyjamas come with matching dangling floral tops. And in course of time may replace the conventional men’s suite as well.

A daring young man walked into his office wearing the willow pants and loose tops and the office goer had sported a sleepy face as well. His boss suddenly looked up and demanded, “Hey, have you come to the office to sleep or what? Get out of it and get into your usual trousers and shirt. Understand?”

The Young man tried to convey, “This is the dress of the future, Sir, … er …. the future fashion, Sir… Am feeling absolutely relaxed, you know?”

Nothing doing. The officer would hear nothing of that sort. He felt that ordinary Veshtis and long open shirts, worn by the Southerners, looked far more decent and presentable comparatively. He summoned the office peon to throw him out of the office immediately!

Different moods, different reactions

Different moods, different reactions

People would do all sots of things when they get into any kind of abnormal moods. All of us do that. Sometimes we may not even realize why we do some crazy things. The scientists have a different outlook on various moods and have advised how to quell those nasty frames of mind.

Little Bunty, age 4, was very annoyed when his mummy didn’t allow him to go some six streets away to play cricket with his friends. There was no suitable play ground in his own area nor were there many boys with aptitude for cricket. So, what did he do? He went quietly over to the bed room where his small sister Bullu , 1 year, was sleeping and pinched her nicely until she howled. Oh was Bunty happy at the result? He charged out but the mother caught him and whacked him equally nicely. Bunty, being a boy, suffered it all and never cried. In his opinion only sissies cry !

Teen age is a junction point, especially for girls. They develop new body symptoms and their brain gives them ideas to do naughty things. Sheila had many girl friends in her colony. All of them would meet every day in the evening hours in someone’s house for some gossip session and while away their time. What did they talk? you ask. All sorts of things: about their teachers, about the extra curricular activities inside and outside school, about book worms in their class, movies, about what some boys did to some girls during lunch break in their school and so on..

One day Leela, 16 years, felt, “Why can’t I have some boy friends? These girls are a bore?” She knew one or two boys in her colony. She rang up Suman and asked, “What you doing, Suman?” “Nothing in particular, Leelu. Why, feeling fed up or what?”

My mummy scolded me today for getting low marks in the monthly progress test in Chemistry. I feel awful, you know?”

“Hey, come over to my house. I shall cheer you up ?” Suman, the first year undergraduate said..
“Really? How?” She didn’t want to waste much time on telephone and so walked over to Suman’s house. The moment she saw Suman in an attractive T shirt, her spirit soared up and she embraced him and held him tight in her arms. In those few glorious moments she forgot all about Chemistry. If Suman was surprised and also thrilled at the intimacy , he didn’t show his enthusiasm and didn’t stop her either. “Leelu, shall we walk around?”

“Sure. Why not?”
Some half an hour later, Leela’s father appeared near the park and detached her. He dragged her home. And as soon as they stepped into their home, the father slapped the 16 year old Leela all over her face. “How many times had I told you not to mix with boys, eh?”

“Suman is a nice young man, Dad,” she pleaded.
“That’s all the more reason you shouldn’t mix with him..”.
Suman was a Don Juan in the colony and many parents knew about him.

Young wives have a different method of reacting when they are off mood. Sunita had a big tiff with her servant maid, who was a chatter box and a kind of a fighter cock. In their two minute argument session, Sunita found herself losing and actually she had lost. “Losing in a verbal battle to a servant maid?” Sunita went off mood. She needed to do something to get her normal temperature and pressure back. She flung away some make up items including powder tins and lip sticks in her dressing room. The white walls became coloured with red lines and sine wave shapes savoured with the white powder. After some five minutes the young wife felt calmed.

Monica, another young wife, had a small tiff with hubby Dina nath. Hubby raised his voice at the wife when she demanded that he take her to a movie. They were a well to do couple and quite rich. “Nothing doing,” Dina said. “I have a bridge session in the club at 7 p.m. Go to hell, “ Naturally this was too great a blow for Monica. She just recalled the article she had read earlier in the day on the recommendation of a group of scientists about how to overcome depression – “to go shopping when you are depressed…”

Monica dashed to the garage , before Dina took out the car to go to the club, drove straight to a few shopping malls and purchased things left right and centre using her joint credit card.. After an hour or so, she felt at peace and started breathing normally. The damage, fifteen thousand rupees.

As a good wife she did tell Dinanath later that night that she had made purchases worth 15,000 before they dozed off to sleep. “Is it?” hubby echoed back and pulled her into his arms. He had won a couple of hundreds himself in the bridge game earlier in the club.

The Scientists’ recommendation is an expensive variety but you can try it next time if you are a credit card holder.

No good deed goes unpunished!

Sometimes however good we try to be, however good we try to do for others, we end up hurt and sad. Even with the best of intentions, we can have the worst of ordeals. This is something, we have no control over.

Last week, when a patient was counting money again and again for the diagnostic tests advised by the doctor, he looked broke and perplexed. He certainly looked shattered both from within and without. Long term illness has made him frail and the expense involved in his healthcare has made him lose his self esteem. This was not the first time that I met someone like him. I knew exactly what to do. I have the privilege of waiving off the consultation charges for my boss, a senior cardiologist in the country. I did exactly, what I was supposed to. I sent the patient to the billing counter asking him to do the minimal billing for the non-invasive tests at a reduced rate. The patient didn’t know what to do but his eyes glittered telling me a lot. It felt good.

I expedited the procedure and tried to wind up things for him since he had a train to catch. He is living in a remote suburbs that takes him nearly five hours to reach. The examinations went passed fast and even faster he got the reports. Even the ones that was supposed to be delivered the next day.

As I forwarded the reports to the doctor and guided the patient to the office, I was complacent. It feels good when you genuinely do something from your heart. The patient came out after a short while with a comprehensive prescription and guidelines. I explained to the patient the whole thing again. When and how to take the medications and what and what not to do for a better living. It was a long counseling, but I never felt bored. I never feel actually. As a matter of fact it gives me immense pleasure to have people understood me. The challenge still lies in their conviction to imbibe those in daily life though.

The patient smiled at me – his way of thanking me and went off only to return after half an hour. Now, he asked me something that took me by my feet. He told me that the doctor hadn’t seen him properly. When asked the reason, he told me that why else he didn’t charge him! I was taken aback by his question. did not know what to answer. Couldn’t even blame him since the healthcare industry everywhere has been so commercialized today. No one can imagine having complimentary visits to doctors’ offices.

That day, I realized something. Somethings in life never change. Who you are, some people with good values and ‘no good deed goes unpunished’.

Hiding tears in the rain !!

Jiya looked towards the lessening raindrops through the glass portico of the taxi. Rain was always her obsession; she could vividly associate her with it. Free flowing, charming and comforting; just like she was. She was completely lost witnessing the beauty of the shower when she suddenly saw the silver lining of distant thunder flashing at the horizon and the cracking sound followed soon, which evaporated her stupor. She looked towards the other corner of the backseat and found Amit too was looking towards the heavens through the portico. Jiya however was unable to deduce whether he too was absorbed in the beauty of the downpour or he was lost into someplace else within the dark distant sky.  Amit was the special one in her life; more prized than even whom everyone else thought to be the precious one. She shared a unique relationship, a special bond with him and the attraction of that bond was fatal. She always wanted to be alone with Amit for hours on such a rainy day. She had always canvassed a very sweet and colorful picture of such an occurrence and became happy every time she thought of it. May be God too nodded in approval as on that very day there was rain and she was all alone with Amit in a taxi zapping through the deserted highway towards the airport.

But was she happy? She looked towards the dribble on the wind screen and realized there was a nonstop deluge from her own drooling eyes. ‘The end is near,’ she thought – she was breaking up with Amit and she was into the last hour of their relationship and after that everything would be over. Jiya again looked towards Amit, expecting him to turn towards her and witness her dripping eyes. But not even for a second he took his eyes off the window. Jiya sighed and turned back towards the rain and recalled the rainy day when she first met Amit, exactly a year back.

That day Jiya came to airport to see off Akash, her fiancée, who was returning to the US for a year’s assignment. Their engagement happened a few days back, when Akash came down from Los Angeles, to attend the same. It was an arranged alliance; Akash’s family was a distant relative of Jiya’s father’s friend Mr. Gupta and in fact Gupta uncle was over joyous when the alliance matured claiming to be the chief patron and asking for a mega treat from both the parties. Jiya’s friends were not convinced though; not that Akash was a bad choice. He was an established management professional in one of the leading IT organizations of the world drawing such a hefty paycheck every month, which no one in India could ever imagine. He was good looking, sharp, trim and charming. But he only talked business; there was not even a hint of romanticism in his words as he already started planning for their honeymoon trip to make sure the cost was optimized! This is what bothered Jiya’s friends; they knew even if Jiya was apparently a timid girl but in her heart she was born romantic. Her bohemian mind was often wanderlust, travelling through the streets of the world of utopia. So it was an apparent risk of conflict when such a dreamer lands in the rough surfaces of reality, which is what Akash believed in. No wonder within that brief spell itself, Jiya understood that the chosen ‘prince charming’ was far from what she had expected; he did not believe in horse but horse power or never pondered if the streets of heaven were made of gold, rather he was more interested to get wrapped by gold. The color of his world was not passionate but strictly monitory. So when Akash was heading back to the US, Jiya wasn’t much bothered, she was worried that what will happen after he returns. She went to the airport alone to see off Akash, the way he wanted as he wanted to discuss important decisions to take post marriage, which no wonder were as stale as Akash’s priorities were.

Jiya did not even wait for a second after Akash passed through the security area. It was a late evening flight and the roads were deserted thanks to steady downpour. Jiya was stranded as there were no cabs and the handful ones that passed by had passengers already. She was desperate for a lift and tried to stop each and every cab that was passing by. It was all in vain and when the frustrated Jiya almost lost all hopes (cursing Akash in her mind), a taxi braked just in front of her. The backdoor opened and she saw a guy there waving towards her to step in. Jiya was skeptic and was not able to take a quick call on whether it would be safe to travel with a stranger alone in such a drenched state and that too that late in the evening. She stood there numb, when she heard, ‘Come in ma’am. Although I envy you for being so lucky to embrace these beautiful falling raindrops; but too much of it might be injurious to you considering the time and the space! And anyways I am not a carnivorous who can harm you, so don’t ponder, come in and be my guest.’ The words were enough for Jiya to finalize her mind. She chortled sweetly and got into the backseat. Within five more minutes she came to know that the person who impressed him on first sight was Amit Sharma.

Jiya was more than impressed with Amit during the first day itself; she discovered that Amit has an in and out romantic mind, he was creative, he was original and he valued relationship over wealth. By the time she got down at her place, they had already exchanged their phone numbers, email addresses and chat ids. Then started the saga, when Jiya’s day started by reading a sweet mail from Amit, followed by day long text messages which were beyond the cliché forward stuff but rather creative, innovative and romantic. Then there used to be quite a few phone calls that both of them made to each other, which slowly but steadily turned the wheel of fortune. They used to do late night chats, which started off normally but intensified multifold within the next couple of months. They used to share very personal stuff with each other and without knowing they crossed the classified boundaries. Jiya realized that Amit was the person he always dreamt about and not someone like Akash. She was astonished to spot the differences between the two even if they had near similar profession. She was lost in love with Amit and was searching desperately for a remote control which might rewind her life to the engagement date where she could refuse Akash and embrace Amit. However somehow she never mentioned about Akash or about her engagement to Amit; perhaps she was insecure!

Amit on the other hand was drenched deeply in love to Jiya. He too found a perfect companion in her; who would understand his passion and craze and also compliment him in each and everything he did. He proposed Jiya after ten months of courtship, in his own innovative way by gifting twenty three love jingles written for her on equal number of red rose petals on her twenty-third birthday. Jiya was overwhelmed; head over heels when she saw the gifts and was in no state to say anything. It was raining outside and sometimes there was the silver lining of distant thunder flashing at the horizon and the cracking sound followed. Amit took her silence as acceptance and sealed his proposal with a passionate smooch.The raindrops,the cracking sound and their closeness turned them on and what followed although was unexpectedly premature but neither of them had any powers to stop it happening. As the intensity of the rain got transformed into a storm, their passion also broke all barriers like a twister demolishing that comes in its way.

After that evening Jiya decided that Akash has to go from her life as she was completely lost into Amit. She decided to call off the engagement and although she knew by doing that her parents might face embarrassment (especially from the over enthusiastic Gupta uncle), yet she decided to execute the ultimate. Akash was nonexistent in her mind; who spoke  to her lesser than five times in ten months and every time they spoke it became a monologue as Akash tried to explain monitory benefits towards a few decisions he has taken and Jiya continued to dream about Amit. Jiya however decided to speak to Amit first before rejecting Akash as she felt it was then time to let Amit know about her alliance and engagement.

She revealed everything to Amit, holding his palm into her seated at their favorite lake front spot. Jiya noticed a complete desolated expression in Amit’s eyes; she was afraid perhaps witnessing to see the ruins of their dreams in Amit’s eyes. He left without saying a word and then did not contact her for almost a month. Meanwhile Jiya learnt that Akash was returning soon, so she asked Amit to meet her to arrive at a final decision. During the meeting Amit accused her for being completely dishonest to him and complained that she was playing with two lives. To him it was a sin from her end to have even encouraged Amit when she was already fiancée of Akash. He was shameful about the close moments they spent and guilty to have ruined Akash’s life by committing the eternal sin during her birthday. Jiya tried her best to make her case convincing but Amit was not in a mood to listen to anything. He broke the relation and left. After a few days he informed that he was relocating to a different city as Jiya’s memories all over the city was haunting him. Jiya requested him to take her as his companion for this one last trip on his way to airport. Amit was silent and finally granted the prayer.

Jiya came back to her senses as the cab driver honked at a careless guy running towards the airport gate with a luggage trolley. ‘So here we are; it’s all going to end now,’ she thought and watched Amit paying the driver his dues. They went out in the drizzle, walked towards the airport gate, side by side but without speaking even a word. ‘Amit, can’t we think it over again?’ Jiya whispered but there was no reaction from the man. He was about to pass the security cordon when suddenly Jiya clasped his palm and pleaded, ‘won’t you hug your sweety, for one last time?’ Amit released his hand and said, ‘It’s all over Jiya. Like a dead man a dead relationship never becomes alive again. Go home, my sweety is no more!’ He picked up his bag and took long strides towards the entrance. Jiya waited patiently anticipating Amit to turn back atleast once towards her. He passed the security gate but never looked back. He paused briefly before entering the security cordon. Jiya’s heart skipped a beat still hopeful that Amit to turn back finally. But it was not to happen; Amit took out the boarding pass from his pocket, displayed that to the guard and went in. Jiya looked on dejected; her heart was about to burst in pain as the last glimpse of Amit was gone. She stood there heads down, controlling her tears with a vicious effort. Suddenly she felt a tap on her shoulder. ‘I knew Amit will return,’ Jiya interpreted and turned back with a beam on her face. She was flabbergasted to see Akash, not Amit standing right in front of her. ‘What a pleasant surprise, honey. I never thought you will astonish me like this,’ Akash chortled. Jiya instantly remembered that indeed that was the day when Akash was supposed to return. She improvised promptly and said, ‘I was here for my life and I have found out where my real life is!’

Diaries of a dreamer – Part I

Hi All…

There is no particular objective of what I am writing today. I just thought I would share my story with you. At least the important parts. May be someone out there can help me clear the cobwebs that still haunt me, or just tell me that they too have been in the same boat…

So here I go.. I spent most of my childhood studying, participating in various contests and winning most of them. I was the best student in my school but that did not give me any particular thrill. The highlight of my teenage years was a boy who was head over heels in love with me. Everything was fine until I didnt know this. The day I came to know, it just changed my life. And am not too sure, till date, whether it was for good or bad.

I started enjoying all the attention – he was a very popular guy in school and my dear friend too. I still couldn’t think of any good reason why this handsome, most popular type person was in love with someone as ordinary as me. Slowly slowly the attention-liking thing grew to an extent where it started feeling like falling in love. I have still not figured the best way to describe that feeling. But whatever it was it was the best thing that I had ever experienced in my short life.. may be the first feeling of attraction, love or infatuation…

The whole school would only talk about what he said to me , or what he gave me, or even the fights that we kept having, which were quite frequent. Obviously they had no meaning, they were initiated only to attract the other person’s attention. And the attention seeker that i was, it usually used to be me who would start the fight – stop talking – start ignoring – get followed by him – and then just enjoy.. Actually there was no anger at all, just an act of being angry so that he would come to me saying sorry 🙂 And this silsila went on for I dont know how many years.. It must have started when I just entered secondary school and went on till class ten…

Half my friends thought I had no special feelings for him and half of them thought I didn’t give a damn. None of it was true. I was too confused to know what it was. The only thing I knew was that I always got goose bumps when he was around. And yes, there was another thing that I knew – that come what may, I can’t afford to let my parents (especially my dad) come to know of this second life of mine.

At home I was a silent kid, always studying, almost like I only had eyes and no tongue. My father was strict, in the superlative. He was Simran’s dad multiplied by 1000. Just the thought of him sent chills down my spine. I used to love school (thanks to my secret love affair). I never thought of it as an affair though, because I had yet not said yes (he used to ask me at least 10 times in a month), my answer was always “no”. Not because I didn’t like him, I loved the attention, but mostly because I didn’t want to let go of this feeling of “going to falling in love”…

My life had become a terrible roller coaster.. fun in school and then switch to my other personality at home. Then, he used to come cycling every evening, ring my bell.. send my bowels screaming with fear of my dad suspecting a ‘kaali daal’… and then ask for water… from the time the bell rang to the time he drank his glass and cycled back, my body temperature used to drop by 20 degrees.. Ever experienced extreme thrill and extreme fear at the same time? I went through it every day, every single day…

So it went on and on and there came our farewell party.. we were in class 10 and would soon part ways…

(more in my next post..)