The Love that is Life …

I wonder what beauty life holds for us. I have so much in me to write but still the words keep failing me. There is so much more than ever can be in this very moment of our existence that it is only the infinite time that separates our souls. I f you had a spirit just like us, my Love, then would you be like I always imagined you – pure and void of any imperfections.  There is so much, so much we have missed in our journey together but I guess that’s the way life is and by its own virtue – being mysterious, cloaked by its own veil of emotions, shows us the path to newer lands and adventurous journeys. The road that we tread upon, my Love, is long and weary too. I have always found you in my mother, in my father, in my sister, in my brother and in my friends. You were my best critic when you came to me as my foe but that was not for long. Few of us believe, my Love, that your kindness is your strength, not your weakness. I am sad that it took me such a long time in such a short span of my eternity, that I understood why you are and why you will be, my Love.  I believe that love can happen in a quantum of sempiternity or not have touched the core at all, ever. You are so many but you come to me as one. As it is my inconsistencies and inability, perhaps bounded by the very physical structure that I possess, which most rationalist call the mind, to comprehend and realize the magnitude of your presence as well as the little place that you dwell in me, which most sentimentalist call the ‘Heart’.

Can we take a stroll by the lake, O my Love? We can share an ice cream while the soft breeze plays with your tresses and with the glitterati of the waters too, only the former being the center of my jealousy. I am nervous too. You have come a long way, coming to see me, hiding away from your relatives, concealing your identity, which has become a part of your nature. You pretend to be afraid. But that is a momentary lapse of grace that you adorn. I don’t blame you for this. Men have destroyed so much of you. But I really admire you for believing so much in me. It gives me faith, faith which provides man to achieve the impossible, happiness and the strength to stay right and strong in life’s toughest highways. Of course, unlike highways, men here don’t have rules to guide them. They make their own. I know that you got bruised along the way. I can see the pain behind your soft smile. I feel guilty. So sure, you always had been, about time and what we will be, what we will mean to you and what you will transcend into. You keep silent, as you have been since the beginning of time. I know that you are as divine as any god that I have ever imagined to man, any angel that the weak and the weary wish upon and any goodness that this earth holds forth to her children. I am so lucky to find you, my Love.

Love that is Life ...
Love that is Life ...

But as you look into my eyes with the innocence of the unborn, I feel that I too have not respected you all my life. I was not there for those who were there for me when I was blue. I did not care for the weak and the distressed when they came and begged for their survival nor did I look after the old who wanted to be free from their loneliness. I, the modern man, have forgotten you. Today as this day ends, so does the ignorance about the superficial arcade of my pride, broken by time. As you draw nearer to me, the velvet satin bedizening you pulls you away from me. Even the non-existent entity like the fabric knows what you will become, when you come in touch with my inconsiderate psyche and hard-hearted organic presence. Please go away my Love, as you will get hurt in your duties—“ To love me”. I cannot accept you as a part of my being. Go back. Your smile fades into tender tears, which can even overwhelm the dark corners of a butcher’s guts with munificence. “What have I done? I care so much about you. I am afraid. I may hurt you. I may lose you again forever. Please forgive me. I did not mean anything wrong.” These are the words that I say. As I did always.

You take me by your hand and lead me to a park, nearby. The sun is setting down, slowly after doing his daily chores of provision to the millions. You point your delicate finger to a distant sight of young laughter. Children playing. I see my childhood in them and a feeling of nostalgia arrests me. “We live through them”, said you standing beside me, just like a queen whose rule extends only to a man’s heart. Me. Yet she is satisfied. Men have never been.

I can still remember you say, thirty years since then, those words clear to my ears even now.  ” I live through you. You through me. Life lives through death but Love lives only through love. Everybody is born, few live and some die. You just have to choose how do you want to end all of this. In this never-ending story of time, we were always together and we will always be. You just have to hold on tight”.

The pain

BlueEyeTearsThe pain of a broken heart…

It aches
when you say his name,
It aches
when you tell me of all the moments you’ve spent together,
and you say those were the best times ever;
It aches
when i look for you and you look for him,
It aches,even more
when you tell me how much you love him
It aches the most
when i see you standing alone there
and waiting for him and he is nowhere….

If he is the one, all in your mind
and he be the one inside your eyes
if he is the one all in your heart
and he be the one, you want to spend your life with
I don’t fear to loose me
the only thing i would wish
is to be “he” ……

Are we Dying?

eggAre we dying?

its been so long since

we loved…so very long since

we meant.

Are we dying? the tug of wars

winning. odds  against us.

Have we lost ourselves?

I’m not in love anymore

I’m just holding on

holding to words of ur‘s

that are ringing hollow in my ears.

I built dreams in respite

I watch them break in your eyes

There is no pain, You can’t hurt

anyone, You just play.

You are not in love anymore

Holding dead words, you just walk along

Expecting me to follow, never turning back

Once to make sure.

You are no Orpheus, nor there is a Pluto awaiting me

Beneath . You could have just called.

You list your fears, you seldom talk

But they are here

Clogging between us like thick smoke

I can’t see you, you for sure is not there

and yet I grope. I list my fears

I let you know, You laugh..thats all you can.

Perhaps, I don’t care anymore. I’m just holding on, until

I could let go. I’m sure you are walking away. I see

Your retreating form. and I feel nothing

But the calm before dying.

The Hero…

little gilr3Yesterday, As I walked into the canteen in my office to get me my cup of hot brew, I noticed a plump, sweet, doll like little girl quietly sitting in one corner on a chair, with a colourful book in her hand.
I was quite surprised to see her there as in our corporate office, I have always noticed either boring serious and mundane looking people or snobbish” the world is a dustbin” attitude people. That little girl looked like a welcome change in our office like a wiff of fresh air.
She was wearing a frock which was nice but slightly oversized. Her hair was neatly done in two ponytails by the side of her ears and she quietly sat there looking here and there with eyes full of wonder.

On enquiring about her to the peons, I found out that she was the daughter of Ghosh babu, the middle aged clerk who worked in our office.
Ghosh babu was a middle aged person working for many years in our office. He earns very humble and works really hard to make both ends meet. Ghosh babu lived in a small village called Haridaspur, in the outskirts of Kolkata.
to office Every day he took the 5.30 am local train and then a bus to reach office sharp at 9am. I was very fond of Ghosh babu as he was sincere in his work and extremely soft spoken.

Madam, My daughter.”, said, Ghosh babu with a proud smile in his face. He had come to the canteen then to see if his daughter was behaving properly or not. He had given her a colour book with a strict instruction that she should sit quietly there without moving anywhere.

She is very sweet. what’s her name? How come you got her in office today Ghosh Babu?“, I asked.

Her name is Mou.”, Ghosh babu said this with a proud fatherly smile, Mou quietly walked up to us and stood behind her father, hiding herself behind her fathers’ back and glancing at me quietly from there with an astonished look.

ghosh babu5Madam, what could I have done without getting her here. For the last one year she’s been eating up my ears that she wants to see my office. She wants to see where I spend so many hours, the people I work with. We live in a small village so it’s her desire to see the city and the people here in this office. I had told her that if she studies properly then someday I will take her to my office. This time she’s come first in her school in second standard and eversince then she was adamant that I must keep my promise now. Since the puja is arriving and work is little low these days, I got her here today.”, Ghosh babu said and looked at me, while Mou constantly kept glancing at me.

I sat down with my cup of coffee beside Mou and kept chatting with her while Ghosh babu went back to his desk. Mou told me that it was her first visit to Kolkata and on the way she saw tall buildings and many cars. She proudly told me that the dress that she was wearing was her best dress which her father had got for her from Kolkata during last year durga Puja. She was very excited and said she always wanted to see where her father works.

But all this while she never removed her glance at me. Her eyes had a look of surprise while she was talking to me and once she became easy with me by talking this and that she asked,

Didi, why do you wear dress like my father?”

Mou was referring to my western formal attire in office with black shoes. I didnt know what to answer and fell off laughing.

I took her by her hand, with me showing her places in the office. It was all so new and different in her little eyes. Quietly she walked by my side watching and observing even the little things like Alice in Wonderland.

Baba WORKS IN A COMPUTER? WOW!!!! I always knew he is a very big man. Hence he is my Hero!!!”, Mou told me excitedly.

You know didi, in our village, Baba is one of the most respected man. Even old people come to our house to seek his advise. During Durga Puja, Baba organizes everything. You know why? Because Baba does a very big job in Kolkata. None of my friends’ father works in such a big office in Kolkata, sitting infront of a computer. “, Mou went on in her enthusiasm. To her, everything was new and exciting. Her eyes went big and bright as she was speaking to me about her Hero, her father.

I knew Ghosh babu was just a third grade clerk in our office and extremely humble in means, yet I loved the admiration that he had in the eyes of his little daughter Mou.

I took Mou upstairs where I sat, beside the Branch manager and the Regional Manager’s cabin.
Soumen Sengupta, The Branch Manager, sloppily sat looking at his laptop with the usual stern expression in his face which we are now sure in office that ‘ he’s born with it’. I brought Mou and made her sit in a chair beside my desk. Soumen Sengupta quickly passed a nasty glance at me and at Mou, possibly because he thought bringing Mou to my desk was irresponsible and Mou he must have found very low in his taste because of her humble dress and get up.

Mou was feeling very consious by then and she was looking here and there trying to decipher a way to adjust into this unknown world. To make her comfortable, I gave her candies from the candy bowl kept in my desk.

Who is the uncle sitting in that open door glass cabin? He also works with Baba?”, Mou asked pointing at Sengupta.

“hmmmm”, I replied.

Look didi Baba is entering his glass cabin. Now my Baba will give him some work and he will have to do it because My Baba is a very big man in this office, right na?“, as Mou said this, I saw Ghosh babu slightly tensed walking into Sengupta’s cabin.

We were sitting just beside the cabin so could hear everything.

mean-bossGhosh Babu, YOU ARE REALLY A GOOD FOR NOTHING FELLOW!!! What the nonsense have you drafted in this file. Its all wrong. The figures you have quoted for May and june are mismatches. I mean, you think everything is very easy, eh? With this quality of work do you think You even justify your salary? The bank is ready to give VRS to people like you. Old bones… its better you sit at home and work in some paddy field. Now will you stop standing infront of me with your sorry looking face and go to your seat and correct the data?”, Sengupta just finished shouting at Ghosh babu with his harsh loud voice.

I noticed Ghosh babu looking helplessly once at Sengupta and once at me as he walked out of the cabin and went downstairs. I looked at Mou. She had her head bend low. Like a house of cards, the image of her hero which she built with love and affection had just collapsed infront of her eyes and she suddenly caught a glimpse of a brutal reality which even the little one didn’t fail to understand. I knew she was feeling miserable and tried giving her sweets and telling her stories to cheer her up, but the little girl went mute as if gone into a shell.

As Mou was leaving for the day, I went to her to say a good bye and she asked me with a heavy voice…” Didi, The uncle who sits in the glass cabin… what has he studied to be so big?”

Mou, He is an MBA from a school called IIM in Ahmedabad.”, I tried to sound simple yet accurate while answering her query.

Ghosh Babu had come by then to take his daughter home.

Baba, I really liked your office. It so nice and didi showed me all around the place. I met so many people. Now I will go home and tell all this to everyone. People like you so much at your office. Didi told me that she respects you a lot. I am so happy Baba. THANKYOU”, as she said this she hugged Ghosh babu and I noticed the twinkle in his eyes to get such appreciation and admiration from his little daughter.

Baba, I want one more thing from you. Thereafter I will never ask anything ever. Promise.”, said Mou to Ghosh babu.

You had told me you want to see my office, I kept that promise. Now what else?”, said Ghosh babu fearing that his daughter might have spotted something in the office which she would now throw tantrum for him to buy her on the way back.

hand on handBaba, when I grow up, I want to be a big manager…. so BIG that you don’t have to work so hard anymore. I will study very hard for that from today. I want to be an MBA from a school called IIM in Ahmedabad. Promise me Baba, you will fulfill this wish of mine?”, said Mou as she gave me a quick glance and Ghosh Babu took her in his arms.

:) me,myself and my dog

I picked him up…the first of the litter – black, plump & soft…he trotted around our feet & then he was given to me..just to hold & feel. I still don’t know what made me say “dad..I want him”. Perhaps it was the warmth or that wink…yes, my puppy winked at me the moment I held him.Maybe it was God Himself who winked, coz later I don’t know what i would have done without my friend. So it seems we sealed a pact & hence I told dad I want him.

That first night has gone down my memory lane as the most restless one of all..at least it began like that.I was the baby-sitter & he  trotted about,every other hour sniffing & doing baby business all around my once pretty room. By the 5th or 100th time I had lost my patience&while he was sniffing at a particular corner of my room,ignoring my desperate calls to come back…I yelled. He turned around to face me,unafraid. Since then I could never intimidate him but he learnt how to melt my heart.

All he needed was that look…I can’t define it..dogwell…he gave me one anyway&came running to me&cuddled at my feet.I lost. I lost my heart..my sleep&the next morning,,this guy woke me up at 5.A day went in sogginess&then  &there i decided to shift him to our work-area. After all once he grows up he can’t be with me.& so relived,i made his bed.Put 2 warm bottles for him to cuddle&reluctantly he went to bed.Just as I was about to switch off the lights,he gave me that look.I was losing..but i held on desperately. Sleep remained distant, as if cursing me for being  cruel.

At last I lost & around 2, I went down. Opened the door & the little guy was all ready to be picked up.Even today,4 years hence, I wonder whether he was waiting for me..as if he knew I’ll come.He has grown so much now…but he can melt my heart with a look even today.He was my baby, & now he is my teacher & friend.

Today,it is me who needs the cuddling & he is never hesitant. There are so many things that i could learn from him.He is been here just for 4 years & its as if he has already learned what most of us take years to learn. He preaches unconditional love, patience, tolerance, fun and savouring life. And, now i realize why i picked him up…

More in Life than Misery

mother daughterShe sat alone on her favorite light blue couch wondering what to do. Earlier, whenever she used to sit here, George would be doing his work at the study table. His presence gave her a secure feeling even if they did not talk much. Today, as she sat on that very couch, she felt lonely for the first time in her life. She brooded and sighed after streams of tears had moistened her soft cheeks. Her long hair piled atop her head into a bun, her trim silhouette made a tragic figure against the backdrop of the gloomy atmosphere.

It was a year since George had passed away. The sudden demise of her young bespectacled husband seemed to rock her very soul. She had never known until now that she had felt so very much for a person she had not really loved. A popular professor at the University, George had cared for Anita as any loving husband would. Those delightful evening strolls amidst the cool breeze, those enlightening discussions on literary figures, it all had been so nice. Anita and George merged blissfully with their common tastes and dislikes. It all made life less of a challenge and more of a harmonious journey.

However, Anita’s love was once the tall, curly haired Ajith who she had met in college, back in India. They used to be happy then – bunking classes, having tea in the canteen and the long unending telephone conversations. They almost got caught once when Anita’s brother lunged unexpectedly at the telephone receiver one day only to hear a male voice at the other end. It had enraged Anita a lot and a huge furore was raised in the conservative Indian Protestant home. Mercifully, she had escaped that day as guests had come home and the matter was pushed under the carpet.

Reading the Bible every morning and evening, Anita clung onto the words of the Bible for comfort.

“Let not your heart be troubled: Ye believe in God…”

Of course, she did believe in God but she seemed to have lost faith in herself.

Her heart bled and cried for her stranger husband and remained empty for a love once known and felt.

‘Why was it so?’ she was baffled.

‘Lord! Give me a solution,’ she pleaded desperately and as if in response to her plea a three year old doll ran towards her crying, “Mummy. Mummy.”

It was her darling daughter, Marie who she adored and treasured greatly. Marie came to her mother and sat down comfortably on her lap. Almost immediately, Anita’s woes and worries vanished and she spontaneously smothered her child with huge hugs and kisses. Her baby girl was a joy to Anita. She even felt that if life was worth living then, it was because of her baby girl. Marie reminded her so much of George. She had his eyes and that same dimpled smile! Her thoughts of George made her happy and she wondered, ‘Was her heart deceiving her?’

‘What about those exciting adventurous encounters with Ajith in India? Ice creams and groundnuts on the beach? Those mushy sentiments that they professed for each other, the love and the tears? Were those just dreams? It couldn’t be’ Anita wondered.

She was a rich woman now. George had left her plenty of money. She was a young pretty widow with a little girl to take care of. In spite of it, life in Canada was proving to be very miserable. The financial security that George had left behind was more than sufficient for her baby and herself. Yet, after George’s death India seemed to beckon Anita. George had never been serious about going to India. He had always felt that a foreign country gave more scope for development of intellect with its facilities and the benefits. In fact, he had even told Anita one day,

“Oh! C’mon Anita! Why don’t you understand? What is left in India? Here, you are well off and happy. You have no problems, do you?”
“True,” Anita had said, “but something seems to be missing in our lives. Everything is so very perfect so much so that I feel more like a robot.”

“What do you mean? We are happy, aren’t we?” fumed George.

“Of course George!” Anita replied, patting George’s shoulder. “I am happy with you but we have a baby now and I want her to know something about her roots. And, just telling her will not do. She must grow up there in her native land like we did. Whatever we are today in terms of our ideals and beliefs is because we grew up in India George.”

Anita had seemed right so George had preferred not to argue with her.

‘But, what will she understand? How many people want to get here but just can’t? How difficult it was to get here,’ he thought ‘and she wants to give it all up for ideals, roots and what not.’

After that heated discussion, both George and Anita never spoke about this topic again. That was the end of Anita’s desire to get back to India.

Now, George was no longer there and the urge to go back to India was intense so, Anita settled matters, gathered her child and goods and headed straight for India. Her parents received her at the airport. It felt so good to walk on Indian soil! George’s mother had passed away some years back and his father much before that so Anita stayed with her parents for sometime. Later, after having surfed successfully for a job, Anita moved in to a new apartment much against the wishes of her parents.

It was here that Ajth began calling on her, wishing to renew his old association with Anita in spite of her ‘betrayal’ as he referred to her marriage to George. Anita did feel apprehensive in Ajith’s presence initially but later, got used to his unexpected visits. She got to know from him that he had married after Anita had left for Canada but was divorced now.

It was more than a year since George had died and Anita was at a crossroad, because she had genuine caring and loving feelings for her dead husband but Ajith was distracting her. Many a night she turned and tossed in bed as she remembered her husband and also recollected Ajith’s latest visit.

‘Should I spend the rest of my life in my past or begin a new life?’ she asked herself many a time.

‘What is it that gives me peace and contentment, sweet memories of my marital life or a long lost love life with a friend?’

It could have been an easy decision as George was already dead. But, what Anita wanted was self-satisfaction, not a compromise.

Things carried on with Anita going to work, visiting her parents and of course getting to see Ajith every other day. Not that she wanted it. But, he seemed to want it.

Ajith visited her one day and asked her how she was.

“Fine,” Anita had replied and then, lapsed into an embarrassing silence for want of words.

“What’s happened to you now-a-days?” Ajith demanded of her. “You don’t talk much. Say something!”
“Err.. How is your ex wife?”

“Couldn’t you get a better topic?” Ajith asked angrily.

“Why? What is wrong in talking about your wife?”

“Nothing.”

“So, how is she?”

“Fine.”

“Okay, now you tell me. Why don’t YOU marry again?”

“What?” Anita was startled.

“Yeah. I am there for you anyway” Ajith grinned.

Anita was at a loss for words. She gave a weak smile.

“Yes. Anita. After all, we have known each other for a very long time, longer than you knew your husband.”

Anita was shocked to say the least. She had begun to have ideas earlier but this attitude of Ajith disgusted her. He sounded as if he was doing her a favor.

“I don’t have to marry anyone. I am contented the way I am” Anita replied.

“Ha! Ha!” Ajith laughed loudly. “Don’t tell me that Anita. You need a man. This is India, not Canada. Without a man, you cannot do a thing. And, I am willing to marry you even though you are a widow now not to mention that kid of yours. Of course, you are still attractive too!”

Ajith’s narrow minded behavior silenced Anita. But, now, she was no longer in conflict. She knew what she had to do. She would go back to her parents and take care of them just as they did when she was young. And, even though destiny had forced her to marry someone she did not know, even though she had married to keep her ailing father happy years ago, she knew that destiny had done right. She had so much to look forward to in life – her parents, her daughter, her new job and no, not Ajith!

i’m in love

loveI looked……and  I looked,and I looked ,and I looked’

though staring is rude, I’m told.

But one look and and i was hooked,

‘cos it was a sight to behold.

The awesome style,the beauty immense,

the lovely shine,the wholesome presence.

wow! everything seemed just right and nice ,

lots of sweetness,lots of spice!

I’ve never felt this way before,

I’m in love,that’s for sure!

what would be my wife’s response?

she’d blow her top,by every chance!

But I’m gonna be bold and do as I like,

God!! I’m buying this MOTORBIKE.

motorbike

I Will Lie Down In Peace by Usha Jesudasan

Usha Jusudasan

I Will Lie Down In Peace by Usha Jesudasan

 

The book is about a family that bravely came to terms with terminal illness and is a personal account of the survivor of that family. The family was an ordinary family just like you and me.  

The action begins in the first chapter itself leaving no place for you to settle down comfortably and then slowly plunge into the story plot. What grips you is the book’s ability to help you identify with the characters namely, Dr. Kumar Jesudasan (the protagonist), his wife and author (Usha) and their three children. The book makes you feel as though you always knew this family. They could even be your neighbors! What adds to the charm of the book is Dr. Kumar’s dedicated devotion to the cause of leprosy. He takes his work towards leprosy patients in the lush green nature reserve of Karigiri, located somewhere between Chennai and Bangalore as a serious calling. His work is missionary in nature and his petite young wife who has lived all her life abroad gives him company.

 Since Usha herself has written the book you get close to her inner emotions – what she felt when she began her life afresh with Kumar in India. Never in her wildest dreams had she imagined that an educated, qualified, articulate and modern woman like herself would have to give up all that she desired in life to settle down to a marital life strewn with thorns that hurt her at every step.  Usha has been honest as she describes her disgust and dislike when she was introduced to the leprosy prone life in Karigiri. In and out, the book rocks you as you are pushed into flashback to understand how the family gets together and then, again into the present when you see the family struggling through ailment, unhappiness, loss of faith and love. Just when you thought that the book was taking you into the future you find yourself shoved into the past. Just when you thought that the pain that the family was undergoing was too much to bear Usha takes you back to a pleasant, happy and even enlightening memory.

 So, what is the book about? Dr. Kumar is a dedicated leprosy doctor and is known the world over for his specialized diagnosis and effective treatment. He is mentor to innumerable people who consider him as family after having being discarded by their own relatives and friends. Dr. Kumar’s family slowly but steadily realizes the importance of his work and make use of their religious faith to bail them out of crisis whenever the going gets tough. But then, destiny plays cruel games sometimes and Dr. Kumar is diagnosed with Hepatitis B after a suspected hepatitis contaminated needle was used on him during one of his several blood donation events. An occurrence of the cirrhosis of the liver is definite and that was to be the end for him. Just imagine! Knowing the way you were going to die and not being able to do anything about it!

 Much as Usha and Kumar try to handle the limited painful time that they have in their hands sometimes, faith seems hard to come. Usha is unable to see Kumar suffering anymore especially when she knows that all that he has done in life is good for mankind. Innumerable quotations from the Bible and from several other inspirational books help the young couple. Usha explains how she and Kumar try to come to terms with their state, with Kumar’s sudden comas and with the children’s trauma. Usha reads the Psalm 34 time and again to stay strong for her dying husband and for her scared and confused children:

“The Lord is close to those whose courage is broken,

And He saves those whose spirit is crushed.”

 Unable to bear the suffering anymore and unwilling to die a painful death shackled to a cold deathly hospital bed Kumar decides after a spate of comas that enough is enough. He wants to die at home with his family beside him, not in an ICU ward. He is brought home and as per his wishes he is not revived when he goes into coma. Miracle descends upon the family when he gains consciousness again and again every time he goes into a coma. The society that was accusing Usha of not loving her husband has nothing more to say and Kumar leaves finally with the following lines of Joe Mannath in his heart:

“I believe

That you will call me

When it is best for me….

My loved ones cannot come with me,

You alone –

You will be there at my side,

As you have always been,

You will hold me,

Guide me,

Receive me,

And remake my broken frame.

In your name I surrender

The remaining hours of my life,

Knowing that the best is yet to come.”

They resolved it in Darkness…

manKamya just checked her image once more in the mirror as she entered the dinner hall of Veda resort. They were on a corporate weekend trip wherein she and few of her colleagues of the ad agency she worked
for had checked in just a few hours ago for a stress relieving outing. She was more glad because Adarsh, whom she was seeing for the last few months was also with her as they worked for the same organization. She knew she was looking good and that most of the girls would turn green in envy looking at her that night. She was wearing an olive green off shoulder dress, with half curled short hair that she had with a matching silver clutch bag and accessories.

There were 6 tables reserved for them and Adarsh made sure that in their table it was just two of them. The ambience was amazing with the candlelight and KennyG in the background, the view of the poolside on the front which seemed even more tempting for a swim in that starlit night. They went on discussing sweet nothings when she noticed him, sitting right away on a table to her left. She thought it couldn’t be him and was almost surpassing it as an abberation of her mind but just then he looked at her and she was sure as she could never forget those pair of eyes. It made her uncomfortable and for a moment her throat dried up. Its been six years that they last met. Six years when they decided to part ways and thereafter have kept no knowledge of each others’ whereabouts and today suddenly, here……

Adarsh was saying something but Kamya just couldnt concentrate. Her mind was rushing with all the memories of her past which she had bottled up in some dark corner of her heart which even she had forgotten.
“why did he have to be here, now, just when she thought that her life was stabilizing?”, Kamya was speaking in her mind.
She was knodding at what Adarsh was saying but was busy catching a glimpse of Tuhin from the corner of her eyes. He hasnt changed much in these six years. The same jet black eyes with a rugged look that he had, a strong built with a day old stubble. Tuhin remained unchanged in all these years and looked almost like the Tuhin she knew, the Tuhin with whom she was so hopelessly in love with, so much that she used to feel that she had also forgotten herself in his love.

Tuhin was there in a table of ten men and women and soon Kamya realised that it was an official trip of the company he worked for and as it was a saturday night, she knew that they would also be staying in the resort for the weekend.

Kamya was almost lost in her thoughts when she was suddenly shaken to reality by earblasting sounds which seemed to be of gun and hand grenades. Kamya was too shocked to react and before people in the dining hall could get over their first reaction to a crisis everyone saw people in masks entering from all places and firing aimlessly. A bullet just passed by a gentleman and the panicked people in the dining hall started running and shouting. Kamya didnt know what to do and she saw Adarsh cry “HELP!” closing his eyes tightly. The next thing she knew was someone had flung towards her as sharp as a sickle and pulled her by the arm and rushed. Kamya couldnt realise anything that was happening and all she did realise was Tuhin had jumped from the tables across towards her, in the flash of lightning, held her arms and taken her away with him. She was running at full might following him and he ran maintaining the tight grip on her wrist. The sound of the bullets were coming and the hooligans were firing continously aimlessly at the innocent people. The hand grenades had already lit fire. The resort was ablaze. The thatched cottages were flaming orange, Kamya noticed as they were running towards the garden and in a minute there was a short circuit and everything fell pitch dark.

Tuhin stopped running and pushed her inside a door and locked from inside. It was a washroom and now it was dark. Kamya was too taken aback at the sudden unexpected crisis and as soon as they entered the dark washroom, she fell down on the ground. Her feet and hands were shiverring.
“You okay?”, asked Tuhin…
“Why did you have to do this? I mean… who told you to pull me with…aaammmm?”, shouted back Kamya but she couldnt say the last words as Tuhin pressed his hands tightly on her mouth and whispered into her ears,” Keep shut. Don’t shout or else we would be traced to death. You realise that?”…
Kamya couldnt see Tuhin in the dark but could imagine his face twitched in anger.
There were sounds of the mob coming from outside and the two sat quietly beside each other in a small dark washroom.
“How have you been?”, whispered Tuhin to Kamya’s ears
“Great! i mean doing perfect. Life’s really very good for me”
” Ah! that’s good to know. At least you are happy.”, whispered Tuhin sarcastically.
“I never wished or thought that we would meet again forget about talking but see at my fate…. I am with you trapped inside a shitty washroom, sitting on the floor and whispering to your ears.”, Kamya murmured back.

Tuhin kept quiet and for the next may be an hour or so they sat so quiet that Kamya felt that she was alone in that dark room and then she heard Tuhin whisper again…

” I had always cared for you Kamya, more than myself and I was so glad to be seeing you suddenly, unexpectedly tonight, but for a moment I was taken aback at the sudden hooligan attack…… the first thing that struck me then was I needed to make sure that you are safe. I couldnt have had anything happen to you.”…..” I had lost you once, but I knew that you may not be there with me but you existed, living in some part of the world, but I couldnt had afford to have lost you in what is happening outside today.”

The words hit Kamya. She knew she hated Tuhin, in all these six years she hated him for ruining her life, she hated him because almost every night she still dreamt of him, she hated him because his thoughts never let her go into another serious relationship ever and now she hated him even more because all she knew was his words had had such an impact in her that she broke down. She sobbed and tears streamed down her face.
Tuhin held her and Kamya rested her head on his shoulders and wept. It must have been hours that she was in his arms. She knew it was embarrasing on her part to break down infront of him, to show Tuhin her wounds, to weep her heart out in his arms but she just couldnt hold her back.

She remembered how six years ago, she had walked in to Tuhin’s apartment one evening and told him that she was expecting his child. Tuhin’s face had flushed and for the next few minutes he slopped down on his chair and silently looked at the ground.
“Abort the baby!”, he had said not looking at her and Kamya had run out of his apartment, hiding her tears and heart break. She did abort the baby the next day but she could never forgive Tuhin for making her lose her first child even before the baby was born.

” Please forgive me for all the pain that I had given you,”, Tuhin’s lips were kissing her forehead now.

” How can I forgive you Tuhin? You, who made me lose my first unborn child? You… who turned my life into a living hell thereafter. Did u know what an emotional trauma I have been through? Is it all so easy to forget? It was you who told me to abort our Child.”, Kamya was sobbing as she whispered the words.

The room fell silent again. Tuhin held her but didnt utter a word. Then whispered back…

” But…. I thought you would never want to keep the child…. then when you had just got your dream job in the States. You were so ambitious about your carrer and I knew how passionate you were in those days to make it big in the world of advertising. I thought, You considered that as a mistake. I wanted to propose marriage so that we could settle down. I wanted to do it, Believe you me Kamya, If you have ever loved me for a day. But I kept quiet, because I thought, you considered it to be a mistake of ours. Because I thought you would never want to compromise your carrer and dreams to get married to me and mother our child so soon, so unprepared….I didnt realsie, Kamya…. I”, Tuhin couldnt complete his words as he had broken down and burried his head in her arms.

” You could have asked me Tuhin. You could have asked me just once… given me just an opportunity…. and we wouldnt have been so unhappy, wouldnt have lost six years of our life.”, said Kamya trying to comfort Tuhin in her hands.

Tuhin steadied up, pulled Kamya to his side and said,”Do you still love me?”

“Yes…”, Kamya’s words were choking.

“Will you marry me? Please say a yes.”

“Yes, I will”, said Kamya as they both hugged each other as if the dark six years of their lives never existed. As if they were beginning just from where they had left.

The police arrived in early hours at the resort and rescued few guests. The hooligans had set many cottages in the resort to fire. The Dining hall, the poolside, the open air bar nearby was all burnt to ashes. There were people who breathed their last.
Kamya and Tuhin were rescued at dawn from the small staff washroom in the garden and escorted back home. In a small washroom, in pitch darkness where they couldnt see each other, on a crisis night these two lovers were united again….. United for life.

FORGET ME NOT!

I had boarded the bus and was getting impatient by now as the bus was already 5 minutes late of its scheduled time of departure. As it is the flight i took from Kolkata to Guwahati was uncomfortable due to bad weather conditions and now the delay. It was important that i make it by afternoon to Shillong.

As the bus started, I looked at the seat beside me and remembered how I had met Ayush in one such bus journey to Shillong. What struck me about him at once was his simplicity, an innocence which perhaps can only be associated with people who lived a simple life in some quiet hill station like Shillong.

Little did I realise then that those twenty days would become such an important chapter in my life. My aunt and uncle remained busy like usual working couples and Ayush seemed the only friend i had in Shillong.

The bus was moving fast now and I was trying to calculate mentally whether I would make it by afternoon. I have to meet Ayush in the evening at 5. How would it feel to be seeing him after six months? But this would definetely give a new meaning to our relationship and answer all our doubts and confusions.

I remember sitting beside Ayush for hours in Sericulture farm, my favourite in shillong. Yards and yards of greenery ahead with no other human in near vicinity. Such loneliness was unknown to me, being brought up in a Metro city. In one such ocassions, when I was blaberring continously about something or other, Ayush had looked to me and said, ” Can you please keep quiet….. Try sitting quiet in tranquil and connect yourself with the calmness and serenity of the place. The language of silence is sweetest.”
I had tried that and the feeling was awesome. We sat there hours beside each other without uttering a word but went back with a heart filled with contentment.

As i closed my eyes in the bus hoping to soothe myself with a nap, I saw the face of Ayush smiling at me, his dark dazzling eyes glistenning as ever and the red Chequed blazer that he wore. I remembered the picnic we made to Golf rink.
Just the two of us with a basket full of goodies, a Sony tape recorder, a big blue folding umbrella and my sketch book. On reaching there, Ayush, always a man of little words had become engrossed reading short stories of chekov and listening to the country music by carpenters. I kept loittering here and there looking at the amazing picturesque and finally retired back under the big umbrella and quietly sketched a picture of Ayush engrossed in reading. The guy never realised it.

Shillong-2192_2I had started liking him a little more than a friend, started enjoying his company, started to look forward meeting him everyday, started connecting to his language of silence but his aloofness hurt me. I remember, once we had taken a walk in a shady way to a quiet hilly spring in shillong. That was supposedly a reclusion of Ayush when he needed sometime by himself.

All through the walk he did not utter a word with his eyes fixed on the pebbles on the ground. I was observing him and managed to say a word or two trying to involve him in a conversation but in vain. He remained quiet and aloof as ever, as if I was just walking past him while he was somewhere in his own world. It hurt me, and when we sat beside the spring under the shady orange trees, I could not control my tears. I was leaving the next day. Twenty days had passed off in an eye blink and little did I know while coming to Shillong that I would be weeping to be leaving the sleepy town, or may be…. to be leaving back Ayush. I wept silently and closed my eyes despondently when i felt his hands hold mine. He didnt say a word to comfort me but just held my hands for long, till i calmed down. In the way back, he gave me his blazer as i was feeling cold even after wearing my skivy. I was waiting that he would say something but he didnt. As i reached home and was about to leave, he said,
458931962_7ac80d2d0a ” One moment please!”…. and then handed me a beautiful bunch of wild flowers. It was lovely and i cheered up.
” I am leaving tomorrow morning. Will you come to see me off?”
“Yes I will.”, said Ayush his eyes looking straight into mine.
” These flowers are called ‘FORGET ME NOT’…. they are my favourite and they are for you.”, he said as he left and i stood there looking at him disappearing amidst the fog. I had not noticed when he picked those flowers for me on the way back.

The next day, just as i was about to board the bus, a teary me looked at Ayush and said, “shall miss Shillong and …..shall miss u.”
I knew time was flying and I couldnt leave with a heavy heart.
” I wish you had asked me to stay back.”, As i said this to Ayush I saw his face lighten up.
” You are from the city, so life for you is very different from people here. We have simple uncompicated lives. Perhaps you have liked everything here because of the striking difference that you found from a metro city. Once you leave Shillong, you may not even think of this place and I may get lost somewhere in the lanes of your memory amidst the husstle busttle of the regemented city life. “,

Ayush paused to swallow hard as he said the last words of his and then looked at me again and continued,
” Are you very sure of what you are feeling. Lets give time to us. The next six months we would lead our indiviual lives as we were leading earlier, without any communication. If we feel what we are feeling now even in this six months then six months from now ie. 24th August, We shall meet again at around 5 in the evening, beside the hilly spring I took you to. If any one of us doesnt make it, then the other would know that it was never meant to be.”

He said this and handed me a bunch of forget me not. As my bus left shillong that morning, I remember how desperately I tried to catch a last glimpse of his face which I will bore back for the next six months and as he was about to be out of sight, I heard Ayush shout back, “FORGET ME NOT!! “.

The next six months was difficult for me. I missed his company, I missed talking to him. Everywhere amongst the busy roads of the city would I smell of his perfume and feel his aura. I felt as if i was still in Shillong and my heart never rested in peace. I wrote letters everyday to Ayush, which I never posted and listened to his favourite “Carpenters” and other country songs every night.

The bus came to a screeching halt and I was relieved to make it to Shillong by 3 in the afternoon. A quick shower and then I will set for the hilly spring. It was 10 minutes to 5 in the evening when I was walking under the shady canopy towards the spring. My heart beat fast in anticipation. The last six months was one of the most difficult periods of my life but I thanked Ayush mentally as he made me very sure of my decision in this period. I was talking in my mind thinking what all I would tell him when I meet. How would it be to see him again?
I sat there beside the spring waiting for him. An hour passed but he didnt arrive.
Had he forgotten the day? Had he not even hoped that I would be there making all the way back from the city again, just for him? Had he got caught up somewhere, something important may be…..but what’s so important than these moments?
It was 8pm and i felt hot tears running down my cold cheeks. He didnt make it and i couldnt question as we had decided to. The feelings were not mutual, May be i had got wiped somewhere in his memories in the past six months. The thought made me weep even more. I dont know till when i rested my head on my knees and wept, then slowly rose up and walked, slightly bent towards home. I felt heavy and I missed Ayush walking beside me like the last time we visited here.

The next day, I boarded the bus and as the bus left Shillong I looked outside at the depot hoping that suddenly I would see him standing there, that he would come and tell me how he couldn’t make it there yesterday and ask me to stay back. I imagined him smiling at me and handing me the bunch of wild forget me not. As the depot vanished from sight i wept at the pain of an unrequited love.

I knew I had lost and when my tears had dried, I picked up the Shillong Times Newspaper from the front of my seat to divert my mind from the grief but I went cold and numb when I read the article at the left hand corner of the first page,
” 24th August, Shillong: Local youth died in a road accident as a truck ran over him. The driver of the truck was found drunk and is now in police custody. The youth has been identified as Ayushman, living in Lai tumukhra Shillong. He was wearing Red chequed Blazer and black trousers. There was no belongings found with him apart from a bunch of Forget me not in his hands.”

Movie Review: Guide – a timeless classic

guide

Artists: Dev AnandWaheeda Rehman
Director:
Music Director:
Year: 1965

 Guide produced and acted by Devanand is an outstanding movie. It conveys an universal message valid for all time. Every time you look at it you feel emotional and a new message is felt. Devanand and Waheeda belong to a conservative, orthodox superstitious society.   Raju is a guide and is single. Rosy is emotional and looks for love.  Man or a woman is a love bird. Rosy looks for love, pines for a deep passion which is absent from Marco. Marco is unemotional and careless in expressing love. As a result Rosy is drawn towards anyone who reciprocates and is available. This is a great lesson. No matter how intellectual you are you must love. Without love man is dead. This message is conveyed various times in the movie.

Every time you look at the movie you are moved .the movie is 35 years old and still new when you look at it. Rosy is very emotional.  She pleads with her husband for love. Marcos is outrageous and slaps Rosy. He doesn’t care for her.  So she begins to love Raju, the guide.

When a woman is Spartan like thinker she still loves but she calls it Rakhee love.  Once she calls it safe love she begins loving.   Its all non sense. When there is true love with her husband she will never need a guide or a Rakhee brother. She loves her children with all her heart until they leave her and create a vacuum in her life.  Life is mysterious.

Music is wonderful in the movie. A bell rings when you hear the music. Love with music is eternal. However real bonds of nature – husband/wife, own brother and sister, your own children – are lasting. Any other love is fragile. It has to ultimately break. Woman is weak at heart.  No matter how many times Marcos disowned her she is willing to go back to him.

The ending is appropriate to the present drought conditions… You cannot ignore the movie. No matter what you are doing your heart is warmed up and the movie is breathtakingly beautiful. Ending of the movie is very touching. Swamiji and rain and fasting are very realistic.  It could be a coincidence yet they believed   Swamiji created the rain. The death of Swamiji gave a surprisingly magical effect to the movie.

A Journal

journalLife isn’t about emotions but about action, you said once, at a time when you were still allowed to make speeches in the streets. But you didn’t justify what you said by how you lived your life. And now when you are no longer around to argue your point, there is this dispute on why you behaved as you did!

Sure, I have your words in proof, but all these people who doubt your words don’t know what thoughts you had; and I, a helpless, young school teacher, am in no position to rescue you from the onslaught of criticism and hatred, by revealing what you told me.  Are you trying to make me believe that I can stand in and voice your feelings?

Who is going to believe that me, a mere wordsmith, has solid proof of what you really believed in? That you did what you did, with an agenda that none of them could foresee? If I throw open your words to the world then I am sure the discussions will turn to my part in the issue… why was I given the honour of listening to your intimate thoughts? And that too at a time when the whole world hung around your mouth in readiness for a morsel that fell? You never spoke, to any one at all; neither did you write a word of denial or acceptance of your accused crime…

Your oppressors tried to break you all these decades, they held you in the open prison of your house, with luxuries for chains, with honours for your thorn-crown…and you kept your feelings hidden to all but me…

And I, who received these crisp yellow sheets every week, breathed in the slight fragrance of your manhood (or was that your own brand of cigars). Your words crawled all over the slightly crumpled sheets with the ink spreading, as if you folded the paper in a hurry. I didn’t know this was your heart, and that you wrote this with your life blood. You never ever wanted a response… I, who cannot even wear mourning for you now, have held all those words in my heart…,

No one mourns you here, but everyone is curious to know what you thought, even as you lie cold in your grave… why did you make this gift a burden?

But tell me did you really write to me because you cared for me? Or was it an illusion that I made up to please myself? Perhaps you have been very clever, you wrote all this as a record? A journal you didn’t want the world to see just then?

Now what do I do, dear heart? Whom do I transfer my burden to? You once told me everyone should keep a journal! Here is mine…my first ever entry…just next to your yellow sheets that smell of tobacco…

The notebook found in the thick coat that covered her bullet-ridden body had just this entry.

The Grand Piano

It was ten o clock in the morning  and I sat waiting for the home delivery of my most expensive buy till date.  Infact I had spent almost 50% of my total savings of the last 2 years of hard work and toil in office for this buy,  but I feel its worth it. The bell rang and the delivery people walked in. They were holding my latest buy, a second hand grand Piano which dated back to old British days. It was huge,  a little in disproportion to the hall of my living room. I asked them to set it properly in the corner of the hall while,  I sat watching them do it.

piano1

 I remembered my childhood days in Shillong, a small hillstation in Northeast of India. We had a huge bungalow in Shillong which belonged to my great grandfather. In cold misty evenings when we couldnt go out because of the chilling wind outside, my grandma would open the hood of the Piano, which proudly stood beside the red bricked fire place and start playing.

 She was one of the most beautiful ladies I had ever seen. Later as i grew up and saw photographs of Maharani Gayatri Devi, I found a very near resemblance of her with my grandmother. The maid used to light up the fireplace and my grandma, wearing her crisp white cotton saree, with her grey hair tied in a neat bun behind, sat playing chords of the pieces of Beethoven and Mozart in her Grand Piano.

 I, a little child sat beside grandma in a small stool and listened her play.  I simply loved the moments of those evenings and to me, grandma seemed the most talented person existing on this earth who could play such a grand and magnificient instrument.  Sometimes, on returning home from the evening stroll with my mother,  I could hear the sound of the Piano being played by grandma,  from yards ahead our home. In the calm, quiet, evenings of the hill station any passer by would be awe struck bythe echoing sounds of the chords.  It was an experience to remember. 

 My initial music lessons were also from my grandma. She was an awesome singer but always lived with a repentence that none of her four sons could sing so when I was born, the only granddaughter after six grandsons, my grandma was determined to make me inherit her love for music.  She used to be so happy when my little fingers played simple chords with difficulty on her piano. 

Then sometimes she would play and we would both sing the Jamaica farewell song.

Down the Way, where the nights are Gay, and the sun shines daily on the mountain top.

    I took a trip on a sailing ship, and when I reached Jamaica, I made a stop..……….”

Those memories are still so afresh on my mind.  When my grandma was ill and was taken to bed, my frail grandma could no longer play the piano so often.  Her bedroom was near the fireplace and she used to lay in bed as I played chords and sang songs that she taught me. Then, one wintry evening, I remember, my mother taking me to the neighbours’  home and asking me to be there till she comes back to take me next morning. She told me that everyone in home was going to the temple, but I knew something was not okay as my mother was teary as she spoke to me. I slept in my neighbours’ house that night and when i returned home the next morning, I could no longer find grandma home. I searched for her everywhere till my mother told me that God had come the day before to take grandma with HIM. I was very upset with God then.

fluegel

I missed my grandma so much after that, and when I missed her too much, I used to ask an elder to open the hood of the Grand Piano, and I would sit, singing the Jamaica farewell song and played chords she taught me.  When I missed the warmth of her hug I used to brush my little palm on the piano, specially on the rightside of the Piano where there was engraved on wood, ” Belongs to S.B.” , the initials of my Grandma’s name. When I brushed my hand on the engraving, “S.B.”,  I felt as if I was caressing the soft wrinkled cheeks of grandma. 

A year thereafter we shifted to Kolkata with my Dad getting a promotion there.  The next year when we visited shillong in my summer vacation holidays,  I came home to discover to my grief that the Grand Piano no longer stood proudly in the corner  beside the fireplace. There lay a television there, a recent buy of my uncle. When I asked with a teary eye, about the whereabout of Grandma’s Paino,  I was told by my uncle that he sold it off to a Goan. I remember being heartbroken during that holiday in Shillong and wept bitterly as the Piano was the only association of mine with my grandma. I missed brushing my hand on the wooden engraved letters of  the Piano, ” Belongs to S.B.”.

” Madam, We are done setting your Piano. Any problem give me a call.” ,  I was a little taken aback by the words of the head  delivery guy because my mind was still in the cold misty days of Shillong. 

“Thanks”.   I replied courteously.

That evening,  I opened the hood of the piano, and sat watching proudly my latest and most expensive buy. My heart filled with pride owning a Grand Piano myself.  I brushed my hand on the right side of the piano to the engraving which made me decide to buy this Piano.

 On the right, engraved on wood was written,” Belongs to S.B.”

I remembered how I suddenly came across this Piano just two days back in an old Goanese Music shop in Freeschool street Kolkata and how I just stood silently weeping as i brushed my hand on the engraving that I  just discovered on the right side of the Piano.

 It was evening, and I sat on the Grand Piano in my living room playing the chords and sang the Jamaica farewell song,

 

  ” Down the Way, where the nights are Gay, and the sun shines daily on the mountain top.

      I took a trip on a sailing ship, and when I reached Jamaica, I made a stop

    But I am sad to say, I’m on my way, Won’t be back for many a day

   My heart is down, My head is turning around

   I had to leave a little girl in Kingston town……”.

As Long as You Love Me

love heart

As long as you love me
Life is beautiful.
Of deep joy sweet will be
The cup of life full.

As long as you love me
I am never alone.
You are ever with me:
Wherever you may roam.

As long as you love me
No day can unpleasing be.
All weathers delight me:
If by you I could be.

As long as you love me
Nothing else can matter.
Let the storm rage fiercely:
Your love is my anchor.

As long as you love me
I want nothing other.
What prize on earth could be
Dearer than my treasure?

As long as you love me
Let the world do what it will.
Your love will protect me
From disaster and evil.

As long as you love me
With your tenderness my love adorn,
Happiness bows to me:
I’m the luckiest girl ever born.

Welcome Sunshine!

sunshine

She disconnected the call and walked up to the huge veranda of her apartment.  In another twenty minutes he would be here. Would he like her? She knew that once he stepped into her life it would be a new beginning for her, a transformation from the dull, bleak period of her life to a period when she would welcome sunshine in her doorsteps everyday. To wake up everyday in the home to find him.  Yet she felt nervous. She stood up and walked up to the living room. She had this strange habit of brushing her voluminous hair every time she was in tension. Time had taken a toll in her looks.  Her eyes were bright but had dark circles encircling them.  As she kept looking at herself more closely at the mirror , she realised that she had lost a huge amount of weight in the last two years. In fact, she probably even never stood for such a long time observing herself in the mirror . But good days are once again knocking her life and everything will seem beautiful now once he enters her life, just twenty minutes from now. “Would he like the Welcome gift I bought for him? would he like being here with me? would he like me?”, she kept on repeating within herself.  The three bedroom hall apartment of hers seemed huge for her and she hated every moment of her loneliness there. She looked at the couch in the sitting area and recalled all the past dark nights in her life, when she crouched there  alone and wept till sleep embraced her. But now, he would be there with her.  She would have a reason to live, someone on whom she would bestow and shower all the love that she could offer. “Just wish, he likes the new life that we would begin together.”, she brushed her hair once more.

The bell rang and her heart thumped. She ran to open the door and there he was standing in front of her, looking at her innocently with his dark blue eyes.

“Welcome Home !” she said out aloud and pulled him in lovingly.

“Auntie you have a nice house.”, he said.

“No, Harsh. Call me Mumma, not auntie. …. And yes, this is our home from today and not my home. Come I will show you your room.”, she said and took him by the arms towards the bedroom beside her room.

“Mumma, where do I keep my stuff. Please come and show me.”, she heard him call her from his room and it felt only yesterday  when two years ago, on a saturday afternoon she got a call in office. It was her son Ayush.

“Mumma, There’s a new  Harry Potter movie in the multiplex which released yesterday. Papa says he will take us to watch it in the evening show. So be ready. Papa will come and pick you from office.”, Ayush said.

” Mumma is sorry Ayush. Mumma has a meeting in the office today evening . You and Papa watch the movie, Mumma will go home and prepare a lovely dinner for you. I will make your favourite biriyani and once you and papa are home we will all have dinner together.”, she had said.

She did prepare the dinner that night after returning from office and waited for them to return but they didn’t. She got a call at night that they had left her all alone and gone. Gone forever, never to return back.  The car met an accident on the way back home and in a minute she had lost her reason to be alive, she had lost her  two most precious possessions in this world, she had lost her husband and Ayush. They had left her alone forever to face this huge world all by herself. In the last two years, she considered death so many times but every time she thought so she remembered Ayush’s words, ” Mumma never leave me alone, I will not be able to manage without you ever.”

The last two years were the darkest period of her life. She seemed the world had doomed for her and she had lost all hope of  being able to smile again, till her colleague  who was associated with an NGO told her one day about Harsh.

” The boy is just 5 years old and so innocent and look what fate had in store for him. The little boy lost his parents in a train accident and now he has no one in this world to take care of him. We are trying to do something to help the child. Lets see…”

and today Happiness has walked in again in her life. Happiness brought in by little Harsh who has given a new meaning to her life. A reason to live.

“Come Harsh! I have prepared Biriyani for you. I hope you like it.”, She said looking at him in anticipation  as Harsh took a mouthful from his plate.

“Its Yummy Mumma!!”, said Harsh and tears flowed down her eyes, tears of happiness for a change.

That evening she took Harsh to a childrens’ Park nearby and both mother and son relished an icecream after ages.

I never had a girlfriend!

If not for the Indian cultural system where the parents start searching for a bride for the boy as soon as he starts earning and gets into the late twenties… I would have been still a bachelor. I touched 28 and my mom showed me 2 short listed photographs of typical Indian girls with good education and homely nature – and I had a short chat with both of them during the official girl-seeing ceremony. I selected one of them… and there I was – happily married!!!

When I was in school – I was a back bencher. No no – don’t get me wrong. I used to score good marks and I was not one of those typical ones that used to hoot out at the teachers or throw paper planes during lectures. But I was simply a back bencher. When I was in the lower classes – I got that privilege because I was one of the taller people in the class. But later on, it became a habit with me… and I stuck around there.

I don’t know what it is with girls. Do they believe that all the people in the front bench are smarter or more studious? Whatever it is – I have always seen these garticleirls fawn around the boys sitting in the front for whatever reason. There was this one day when my science project that we were all supposed to make was a hit with our science teacher. And she asked everyone in the class to have a look at it. I was flattered and I thought it was my chance to get close to the girls now. But alas – the girls did flock to me… just to borrow the project for a while and sit with the boys in the front row to peruse through the same.

I think I am over emphasizing the back bench. Because, in the college – most of the back bencher boys were quite in demand with the girls.

So now I have attributed it to my inability to carry on a proper conversation. Again – please don’t draw conclusions. What do you mean by “proper” in the “girlie” scenario? It could be something like this –

Boy – Did you see that movie “XYZ”

Girl – Yes – Shahrukh is soooooooo cute. I really love it when he comes up with those flowers suddenly and with a baby face – says “Lets be friends”

Boy – Yeah – and that scene is so nice na… when Deepika picks up the little puppy and takes it into her arms na…

Girl – Yeah …. I want to see it again… it is so niiiiceeeee

I don’t think I can go through this type of conversation in my life. I don’t say I am mature and inarticulative, but let’s just say that it is not my cup of tea. I would rather watch one or those Jackie Chan or Bond movies or even meaningful ones like “Sixth Sense” or “Jesus”… Not that I cant sit through these romance (especial Indian ones), but definitely talking about it to an endless extent would be asking too much!

So a result was that I remained a “no-girlfriend” guy much to my annoyance.

The only advantage to this whole thing I see is that I could tell my wife that she is the first girl I kissed!!!

Waiting for you once again on 16th of July

Love_Hurts_26314

It was heavily raining outside and i knew i would get half drenched on the walk from the parking place to the gate of the art gallery. I considered sitting a while inside my car, waiting for the rain to turn into a drizzle, but then it was already 5pm and further delay meant lesser time  there with the gates closing for the day at 6. As i entered the gates of the Art Gallery,  I shoved off the lock of hair from my face which dripped trinklets of rain drops to my half wet kurti. The place has not changed much in the last 5 years.  The shimmering rose garden, the huge gate of the gallery dating back to the old English Era, the known smell of paint and oil which even after so many years made me nostalgic,  everything remained unchanged in the last 5 years just me… feeling slightly uncomfortable to enter a place which was one of the biggest comfort zones for me just few years back.

I went past each hung painting trying to decipher the meaning and the mood of the artist. I tried doing it for sometime , but in vain as  my eyes kept wandering inside the hall, looking at all the known, unknown faces I saw. It can’t be that he’s changed so much in the last 2 years that I will not be able to recognise him.  Is it that he hasnt come in this year? The very thought saddened me and I felt a discomforting lump form in my throat.  I had finished walking the entire hall and yet no signs of him. I should move on in life too, just like he has, or else he would have been here. I took out my cell phone and checked once more at the date.

Yes, its 16th  of July, the day we met 5 years ago, in this art gallery, suddenly bumping into each other, both admiring a Raja Ravi Varma Painting. What followed thereafter was 3 years wrapped in magic and ecstacy and when the magical dream of our association ended, it left me bruised  by the wounds of reality that havent healed in me even after years passing by. Or else, why did I come here today? When we were together, we spent hours here in this art gallery, every saturday afternoon admiring the creations of art. But 16th July was special. Eversince we met here on one 16th July, we had made it a ritual to visit this place every following year thereafter on this day as a thanksgiving to this place for us to have met here.

How could he have forgotten 16th of  July? Or is it that he wanted to forget that it is 16th today? I flipped the phone book of my cell phone and stopped at his name, Ve… , I considered calling him once but then gave up. May be he’s moved on in life, if I haven’t been able to move on then its an incompetency on my behalf.

It was 5 minutes to 6pm and i knew there lay no other probabilities that i thought of in my mind by didnt of which he might arrive. I slowly started walking to the exit.

” Ma’am, visitors book. Please put in your name and address with your comments for the exhibition.” said a voice to me.

I looked to my right and saw the elderly guard sitting at a table with a huge register in front of him. I borrowed his pen and just as i was about to write my name, something held me back. Why should I write in my name? Just to show that I have still not been able to move on in life?  that I still miss him in my life?  that i was waiting for the 16th of July for the last so many months, imagining meeting him again , this day here and waiting him to tell me that he missed me too? why do I write my name? Just to make me feel once more what a big loser am I?

Name:        Prateeksha

Address:     New Alipore, Kolkata

Comments:   It was wonderful, but I still miss you and you know what, it still hurts.

Time and Date:      16th Of July 2009,     5.50Pm

I had not written my  real name so that in no way would he come to know that I was here. But I dont know what in me made me write that embarrassing comment, even the guard looked blankly at me as i wrote the comment, finally giving a confused look. He probably dismissed me as one of the many art connoisseurs visiting this place, whose language and moods confused him always.

But as I finished my eyes glanced up on the pages of the register reading the different comments that visitors had written and I found this among them.

Name:             Sashwat

Address:         Juhu, Mumbai

Comments:     This place still has not lost its charm over the years. My

heart will always hold your memories and i will forever love you.

Time and Date:    16th Of July, 3.30pm

I couldn’t read the comments as my heart was pounding fast and my moist eyes blurred the vision. I ran out of the exit. He was here too.

That night on my way back home, i stopped the car midway, flipped the names of the phone book of my cell phone, stopped at VE….

” Hello! Its me.” I spoke to him after so many years once again.

A Time To Remember…

MILITARY SHOOTINGHe: Happy Birthday!

She: You remembered? I thought now you won’t remember my birthday.

He: Why wouldn’t I? Just because I am gone, it doesn’t mean that I have broken all ties with my family. I never did say sorry to you for going away. I know I promised never to leave, but I broke that promise.

She: You did what you had to do. If it was up to me, I would never have let you go. I still miss you. There isn’t a day when I wish that you would come back.

He: I know you miss me, and I miss you too. I wish we could go back in time and be together again.

Daughter: Mom, I heard voices from your room. Who are you talking to?

She: I was on the phone dear. You’re back from college? How was your day?

Daughter: It was ok. I am calling up the restaurant to reserve our table. I won’t let you cook today. We must celebrate your birthday.

She: Thank you sweetheart!

He: Is she gone?

She: Yes. But why don’t you come out when she’s with me? She misses her dad. She doesn’t show it, but I know she does.

He: I don’t want to scare her. She might not take it as calmly as you did on seeing the ghost of her dead father.

The Vacation

red and pink roses

She sat there silhouetted in the yellow and orange hue of the sun

set by the vast back waters when the tear dropped her eyes.

Quickly she glanced at the foreigner couple sitting a few yards

beside her to find out if they had noticed her weeping. The couple

was so much in awe with the beauty of the backwaters that they

had not noticed her. About a year back he brought her here in the

Water Scapes Resort in the back waters of Kerela…. their first

Vacation together…their honeymoon. It was magic everywhere,

Love in the air and life seemed too beautiful to be true. Who says

“life is not a bed of roses?” was what she had whispered to his

ears then. A year passed by and all she has is tears idle tears.

Tears of sentiments not understood, of arguments over silly issues

and the consequences of different other by products coming out

of the grinder called”life”. Yet she loved him so much and

somewhere in her heart she knew he still loved her too, possibly

why he had got her again on a vacation to Water Scapes resort, a

year later.

Moments so true, so beautiful but seems ages ago not a year… she

thought and another drop fell by her eyes. A year ago when they

checked into the cottage in the resort the first thing she knew

was she was in his arms both of them lost in the view of the

backwaters from the cottage veranda… How happy were they…

and today, soon after they checked in, all she can recollect is they

were shouting…. each firing words at each other…. yet another

argument. “FINE!” she said, ” ENJOY YOUR VACATION HERE,

WHILE SPARE ME YOUR WONDERFUL COMPANY. JUST

LEAVE ME ALONE!” , tears battling out of her  eyes while she

ran out of the cottage.

Now while she sat and watched the backwaters from the grassy

plot, she remembered all the promises he made to her. She

thought of something and took out her cell phone from her purse.

Her fingers moved fast in her cell phone’s message section till she

found what she was looking for. ” My queen, I am crazy about

you. Life will stand still wthout u. So never ever leave me alone.

Swear i’ll die. I will give you all the happiness i can in life and i

promise i will not let a single tear drop by your beautiful doe eyes.

Love u loads wife. Together we’ll rock! Yours…”, she found it

difficult to read the last lines of the sms as her vision was blurred

by tears, idle tears as she called them. The sms which she stored

like a precious gem in her inbox was sent to her by him while they

were vacationing here last year. She had woken up in the first

morning of their honey moon to find this sms in her cell phone

and on the bed side table, a beautiful bouquet of Red and pink

roses addressed “My Queen”. Startled she had looked beside only

to see him sleeping.

She was still weeping head resting on her knees when the cell

phone rang. It was Him. “Hh..ello”,

she said and what she heard made her weep even more…… just

that this time it was for happiness, for all the love that she felt for

him. In a clear voice he said,”My queen, I am crazy about you.

Life will stand still without you. so never leave me alone. Swear

i’ll die. I will give you all the happiness in life and i promise, i will

never let a single tear drop by your beautiful doe eyes. Love you

loads wife. Together we rock!” , the line got cut and she saw him

come and sit beside her from behind. Quietly he handed her a

bouquet of red and pink roses and pulled her close to him. “The

last one year hasnt been that bad altogether but we can definetely

go better…..but only being together” He said. She smiled and

looked at the backwaters.