Monday, December 24, 2007

Humor of the day!!

It is Christmas tomorrow. Half the floor at office is empty, Christmas being a Tuesday, many of them have taken off today, which makes this a long weekend for them. Now first of all we ourselves are excited about Christmas, and on top of that this kind of atmosphere in office has laid a foundation of laziness at work. Nobody is in the work groove, its holiday mood all around.

In order to do something different and say that yes we are also in the holiday spirit I and Kapil went to office coffee day for a late lunch. We were sitting there lazily sipping our coffee and whiling some time when Kapil said, "Anu I have a headache". To have some fun I, with a poker face, replied, "Kapil see how strange things are in life, sometimes you start getting what you actually are". I paused and then smiled. It took him a moment to understand this. His expressions gave an indication that he understood when suddenly the lines that had formed on his forehead when I passed this comment eased away in a flash. We both started smiling. And then he continued, "I am glad I didn’t say I have a pain in my ass today".

:)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Grace

This is not a biography, but just one episode from her life, which perhaps left an impact on her. Life doesn't stop so it didn't, but it still made memories. And I am a sucker for moments that make memories. So presenting an episode from life of a good friend of mine, Grace.



Mr. Reiser was a man of few words. Business brought him to a small countryside of an old looking Britain. This place was called Whitby, in the north of Yorkshire. In summers, this place drew lot of tourist attention, because of the festivals, carnivals, beach and an old Abbey. But this time of the year, Halloween over some ten days back, the last tourist too perhaps would have left at least ten days back. Not wanting an extended travel time, Mr. Reiser checked into a small Bed and Breakfast lodge, which was five minutes walk from his office. For him, it was never a 5 minutes walk, but always a two minutes drive.
Grace was the only housekeeper of this lodge and Mr. Reiser, the only guest. Apart from Grace, there was just one more face that could be seen among the staff. This was of the night attendant who was never seen because he came at unruly hours of the night and left at unearthly hours before the crack of dawn. Grace always liked guests like Mr. Reiser, who did not expect her to drop his luggage and grocery to his room, talked less, and didn’t throw whims. Mr. Reiser was topping her favorite guest list because apart from the set criteria for liking a guest, he said thanks for everything, didn’t leave his wet towel on the bathroom floor, and kept his kitchen clean.
On this day, Mr. Reiser came back early from work. He looked a little pale. He straightaway headed for his room. Grace noticed that he didn’t look too well. Usually she waited for her guests to give her a shout if they needed something, but she knew that Mr. Reiser would not utter a word. He was different. So she approached his room and gently knocked at his door. She didn’t want to wake him up if he was asleep. She knocked again, equally gently this time again. Convinced that Mr. Reiser was asleep she turned back and took a step when the door opened behind her. She turned around immediately and apologized for having disturbed him.
“No Grace, its fine, I was not sleeping. Tell me is there something I can help you with.”
“Mr. Reiser, you looked pale when you walked in. I was wondering if everything was ok with you.”
“O yes! I am alright, thanks. Grocery store was closed, so just picked up some cold on the way. Nothing to worry about, I will be fine.” He smiled.
Grace smiled back briefly and asked, “Are you sure Mr. Reiser you want nothing?”
“Yes Grace, thanks for asking but! I appreciate.”
Grace asked him to call her for anything and turned to return back to her cabin when she heard Mr. Reiser’s voice again.
“Grace!”
She turned around.
“Grace I was wondering if you could get me some herbal tea, that is if you have it here with you in the kitchen. Please don’t bother too much, I just..”
“Certainly Mr. Reiser”, she interrupted him. “I have some herbal tea in the kitchen. I’ll get some for you. I will be back in a minute.”
Grace came back with a pack of herbal tea bags. She entered Mr. Reiser’s room seeing the door ajar. Mr. Reiser was lying on the couch with his eyes closed. She went to his kitchen and prepared tea for him. She was about to wake him up when she looked at his face and thought that it looked so tranquil and pleasant. He, indeed, had a very pleasant face. She realized that he couldn’t be sleeping on the couch if he wanted to sleep. So it was better to wake him up and serve him tea so that he can sleep comfortably on his bed afterwards. She woke him up. He thanked her for the tea. He had not realized when he slept off, when she came, and when she made tea for him. He offered her to sit. She obliged but added “only till your tea lasts. After its over you will sleep and I will go back.” He smiled and nodded. He took a sip and thanked her again. Tea was perfect. She smiled in acknowledgement. He asked her about her folks at home.
“I live here in Whitby all alone. That is how I chose it to be as I love Whitby. My parents live in Gloucestershire. They moved out of here seven years ago, after Dad retired. They loved Whitby too, but we were staying in his company’s accommodation. After his retirement we were expected to move out to another place here. They thought it was better to move back to the roots. We have a farm in Gloucester, and a home too. I decided to stay back because I love this place, and the people. I love summers here, the festivity, the happiness, when tourists flow in. Whitby looks beautiful then, decorated with colors…” and she went on and on and on. The usually quiet Grace talked with enthusiasm of a child, and the passion of a lover, when she talked about this place. 45 minutes (easily) would have passed by when Grace realized that the tea was long over. She felt sheepish and apologized for not realizing sooner.
“Grace, I was listening! First time in these twenty-five days of my stay in this town someone is talking to me, about something other than work. I loved listening to you. And your tea made me feel better too. So don’t apologize for anything. I thank you Grace. Thanks!”
She responded with an awkward smile. The kind of smile that a person delivers when he doesn’t know how to react to a compliment. “Ok Mr. Reiser, I think you must take some rest now, I will bore you with my stories some other time.”
“I will look forward Grace”. His pleasant face smiled too.

Next day was better for Mr. Reiser. He came back at his usual time. Grace greeted him and offered to make tea for him. Mr. Reiser replied saying, “only on a condition Grace! You will sit with me while I have my tea, but you will sit only till the time I have my tea.” They both looked at each other and broke into laughter. Grace prepared tea for both of them this time, and again started her non-stop talks. This time the topic was not Whitby. It was Sheffield this time. The place where she went for her middle school education. Everything about Sheffield! How it gets flooded in monsoons, what is it famous for, the famous kitchen store from where she picked up her jacket of chef-knives – a set of 12 shining knives, different shapes and sizes, and how each is used for a different purpose, and what the purpose can be.
This evening her story lasted an hour and a half. She found the best listener in Mr. Reiser. She looked at her watch, and this time didn’t apologize at all.
“Mr. Reiser I think you should rest now. I’ll see you again in the morning, breakfast time. Night Mr. Reiser.”
“Grace, I like your name, you have a beautiful name.” He paused, and then greeted her back, “Night Grace.”
She smiled once again, awkwardly again, not being able to handle a compliment again, and walked back.

Grace used to phone her parents every Sunday, after coming back from Church. Today, she called them in the middle of the week. They got worried and asked if everything was ok. Ofcourse everything was alright! This phone call was just to express her gratitude to them for naming her ‘Grace’. It was a beautiful name. Ofcourse she didn’t say this! “Just felt like talking to you”, she said. They felt very pleased by this small surprise. She felt pleased in their happiness.

This sequence of sitting with Mr. Reiser continued for some more days. She knew that she was getting drawn to him. She also knew that it wasn’t the best of things that could happen as he would leave in a week or two. They can never have a future together. Moreover what did she know about him?
The next evening when they sat with their tea together Grace started the conversation as usual, but this time to allow Mr. Reiser to speak.
“Everyday I talk endlessly, Mr. Reiser, and I am sure you are tired by now. Today is your turn to speak and I am the listener.”
“Grace, it’s a pleasure listening to you. But now that you have asked, all I can say is there isn’t much about me. I am a Professor by profession, love teaching and understanding Sciences. Currently I am whiling away my time researching on Plasma, the fourth state of matter. I am carrying out a research on something called ‘Ultracold Plasma’. While browsing the internet, I learnt that there is a unit of youngsters who are also trying to study something similar. Since I have already advanced a little on this topic, I thought I will help them out with their initial synopsis, and in the bargain, learn something from these fresh minds. I got in touch with them, and this is what brings me here. Grace, the nature of my work, and my love for it, expects me to spend longer hours at work. But I have started cutting my work at a fixed time every evening because I love listening to the enthusiastic stories of a young English girl who knows so much about her country and its people. It is a pleasure as much as it is insight sitting with her and listening to her every evening.”
He paused. No, he stopped. He was smiling now. Grace felt elated once again, but.. but this wasn’t all that she wanted to know.
“Thanks Mr. Reiser”, she said, “I like your company too. Tell me more. Tell me about your likes and dislikes.. and .. and your family.”
Reiser raised his face when his eyes met Grace’s. She was looking at him searching for something, waiting for something. He paused, and looked away. He looked at her again. There still was a question in her eyes. She was intently looking at him with bated breath. He looked away again and posing a very casual demeanor, answered her question.
“Well there is nobody in the family yet. Boring person that I am, I couldn’t find a girl also for myself. But as the age old adage goes – don’t go for someone whom you love, go for someone who loves you. Grace, I couldn’t find someone I felt something for, but I surely know that Sophie loves me a lot. She trusts me, tolerates my odd hours and busy weekends, she understands me completely. And this belief of hers makes me believe that I love her too, very much. So am not asking many questions, not confusing myself here at all, and planning to resign myself soon to her. So that will be the family then, that is whenever it happens.”
“And about likes and dislikes”, he continued, “well I dislike rains washing even day out of the summers. Summers are scarce, they are to enjoy.”
“And I like..mm..mm.. yes! I like ice-creams in winters. You feel the season better. Yes I love ice-creams in winters.”
Grace was looking at him, watery eyes and smiling face. It was like Mona Lisa minus the peace on the face. No, the face wasn’t restless either.
“Are you ok Grace?”
“Yes Mr. Reiser, why do you ask?”
Grace was upset for a few hours after which she talked to herself. This was not something that she didn’t expect. And this certainly should not keep her from admiring a person like Mr. Reiser, the best person perhaps she ever met. This also wont keep her from keeping a secret small corner in her heart, beating for Mr. Reiser. After all he is the best! As soon as she thought about this, she felt stupid about herself as this sounded like a clich├ęd dialogue from the weekly plays in the town hall theatre.

Reiser’s mission got over and the day finally arrived when he had to leave Whitby, for good. Reiser finished his packing, and booked an Airport taxi. Airport was far away, three and a half hours away, in a bigger city called Manchester. Taxi arrived in twenty minutes. He could see the taxi approaching the porch from his window. He had paying his bills to Grace last evening itself. Grace offered him some discount, but he declined. After all she wasn’t the owner of this lodge. She might have ended up paying the deficit from her pocket as she was not entitled to make such decisions, or so he thought. They had their last tea together last evening. There was no exchange of words. And then Reiser broke the silence. He told her she must write to him whenever she felt like, and gave her his business card. Grace took the card and nodded. There was silence for another 15 minutes after which Grace got up and said, “Mr. Reiser, you have to travel tomorrow. You must take rest now. Night.”
“Night Grace.”
And she left.
Now the taxi was here, he started strolling his luggage to the front door. He looked for Grace. She wasn’t to be seen anywhere. He looked inside her cabin. She wasn’t there. Instead the night attendant was sitting there. He asked the night attendant, “Hi! Do you know where Grace is?”
“Yes Mister. Grace is outside, waiting for you near your taxi.”
Reiser looked outside. There she was. She was standing near the taxi, in her overcoat, scarf, gloves and cap. She was perhaps going somewhere. He kept looking at her through the glass door for a while. She looked pretty, and upset. He came out with his bags. She smiled in greeting and helped him put his bags in the cab.
“Grace! You have been wonderful.” He slid his hand inside his inner coat pocket and took out some 20 pound bills. “Please don’t take it otherwise, just a friendly gesture of appreciation.”
“Mr. Reiser, please allow me to come with you till the airport.”
“Manchester is 3 hours and a half from here Grace. Don’t be stupid. Come on take this now and..”
“Mr. Reiser please!” She looked at him. And he couldn’t say no.
“But how’ll you come back.”
“Don’t you worry, I have grown in these lands. I will find my way back easily.”
He took her hand in his and pressed it softly, “you are crazy Grace, come along.” He opened the door for her. There was no exchange of words between them till the Manchester Airport. But he held her hand all through the journey. And he felt a soft grip reciprocated too.
At the Airport he went to collect his boarding pass at the counter. Grace also stood with him in the queue. There was no exchange of words still. He collected his boarding pass, and held her hand again. Her eyes watered. His nose turned red. Grace wondered if Mr. Reiser caught cold again. She remembered his pleasant face when he was sleeping on the couch down with cold. His face looked pale, and his nose looked white, but not pink. Was Mr. Reiser feeling a little overwhelmed too? She would never know, because she would never ask.
Security check was announced for his flight. He turned to Grace about to tell her to leave when suddenly Grace got alerted, as if she just woke up from a deep slumber. Her expression said she had forgotten something, something really major.
“Mr. Reiser, please be here. I will be back in a moment.”
“Ok but what’s the matter?”
She wasn’t there to answer the question. He saw her scampering towards the far end of the hall, towards the food court. He knew what it was. He saw her at the ice-cream counter, struggling to get past the queue. He kept looking at her. She looked back every ten seconds to ensure he was still there. Security check was announced again. Grace was still the third person from the third counter in this snail-paced queue. Reiser didn’t move.
Boarding was announced. He had no time. Terminals were some distance away from the security check area. She heard the boarding call too. Her heart was pounding. She ordered for an ice-cream, gave the money, collected the ice-cream plate, didn’t wait for the change, and ran back to him. “Ice-cream in winters”, she managed to smile while tears rolled down. He took the plate from her hand, and gave her a one hand warm embrace. Both of them knew he was late. He rushed towards security check. She stood there till he was in sight.

That was the last time they saw each other. Reiser gave her a call after reaching. Grace had his business card on her desk, but she never wrote to him. Reiser sent cards on occasions, none her personal, just festivals. She felt pleased but never replied. This didn’t stop the cards from flowing in.
She could never forget Reiser’s favour of waiting for the ice-cream despite boarding call, knowing how important it was for her. The secret corner in her heart, without letting her know also, still beats for Mr. Reiser.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Festivities and grandeur..!!

Friday, 07 December 2007, Bangalore. I had to make a presentation to the customer. While I fortunately have never faced the brunt of his temper, and more importantly sarcasm, he is quite famous for having these weapons, scintillating and dazzling, in abundance, in his armory. Many have been his targets and there are lot of personal experiences stated everytime his name comes up. Hence I usually am cautious in my dealings with him. Having said all that, he also appreciates good work whole-heartedly and that is the reason why I quite like working with him.

For those few of you who are wandering here and don’t know me at all, I work for a software company, in the delivery stream. On this particular occasion, this presentation was basically a demo of a new application that we are currently developing. Development is half way through, and we are some four months away from its first release. Everyone who would have seen fresh developments before will agree with me that it is an anxious time for both you and your customer. While we still have a grip of things, the customer is left with no choice but to take our word on the health and timeliness of the project. And when he is unable to contain his anxiety any further, he asks you to demo all that has been developed and is ready. This is a health-check on the project to ensure things are under control. And also that it is in accordance with the progress that is highlighted to him every week.

So, as I said, I usually am cautious in my dealings with him, on this particular occasion there were lots and lots of other things that needed immediate and good amount of attention. Because of this I could not check all the areas that I needed to show as part of this demo. Not great! There wasn’t a confident nod from development team also for the demo. Quality Assurance team had its own doubts. Major doubts. All of us wanted it to be postponed by a day at least but it was not possible. I started testing the application three hours before the designated time. Some features were working, some were not working, and some features were sometimes-working-sometimes-not-working. I sent the agenda listing only those features that were working for sure. There was a disclaimer to the agenda which said these were some features selected at random for demo, and that I was open to barter some of those with some others if asked. I have never seen him changing my agenda earlier and was not expecting on this occasion either. I was right, he confirmed his consent and we got started with the presentation.

The presentation was building up well, I was five minutes into the presentation already and things were good so far. But as soon as I got comfortable, the law of serendipity took over the demo. It looked like the trailing list of features that I had picked from “that-definitely-worked” category were actually from “that-sometimes-work-sometimes-does-not-work” category. And these features chose ‘definitely not to work’ this time. Every time I said “on clicking this button, you will see..” .. was followed by “..umm I guess there is a problem here. I was getting nervous, Mr Customer also started asking questions like “did you see this working before”, and I went on with explanations like “this is an open issue (meaning we are aware of this), it has been fixed already, but the fix will go in only in the next build.” My discomfort was perhaps obvious, or so I thought, and suddenly he said – “Anu, whatever you may do today is not going to upset me because its Christmas time”. The second half of this sentence was very cheerful and upbeat. I knew he wasn’t upset, he wasn’t upset at all. I mean after this complete demo fiasco also he was not upset. Because it is Christmas time!! 18 days before 'The Day', the festivities had set in so well that nothing could upset him. Everything took a backseat. I staggered somehow to completion and he did not complain at all, and after the demo, he himself started with some facts about Christmas. I had not heard of them before, and quite enjoyed hearing those. More than anything else I was relieved. I thanked Christmas to be around for my/our rescue.

I am deeply impressed by this fact that festivities can engulf you and influence your mood so much. Takes me back to my days at home when all festivals, primarily holi and diwali brought in so much of enthusiasm that carried on for days. In the hustle-bustle of this life, like all other important things, these also have sadly taken a back seat. Their festivals are so bright and cheerful, and mine (all singles like me, away from home) are just holidays. I am left with this thought and still pondering over it as to how things can be back on track, when I get a forward from a team-mate – “list of holidays for the year 2008.” I scan the list quickly – can’t spot holi in this list. I scan the list once again, this time very slowly – still can’t spot holi in this list.
:(

Sunday, November 18, 2007

aur duniya na dikhe

Dard hai phir bhi nainon mein pyaar umde pyaar bahe
bandhanon mein preet jakdi kya zamaane se kahe
man thame phir bhi kahe tum maun hi rahna sakhe
band kar lo dono aankhein aur duniya na dikhe

Associations lead to Disassociations!


Impractical as it may sound, it is quite a common phenomenon. People give up some of their dearest of things because they associate these things with some people in their lives. Subsequently like and dislike towards these things becomes commensurate with friendship or relationship with the person it is associated with. For instance, some people start avoiding their favourite fragrances after the person who wore it walks out of their lives. Some associate some songs with people or with some moments spent with them. These songs, which were beautiful always, suddenly start sounding painful after things do not remain the same between them.
Why should you give up something that you like for someone who doesn't care?

Talk about human behaviour


16 grown-ups sitting in a circle. One game of Chinese whisper. Being played as part of corporate training. Trainer whispers something in the first person’s ear. I am third in the sequence. I hear one word whispered to me, and that is what I pass on. People are taking longer suddenly in the middle in passing the word. It is whispered into the last person’s ear. She has to now say out aloud. She says, “When you ask for a pencil, you get a pair of scissors.” Coming reverse in the same circle, you see some –
a. smiling faces – expression reads – yeah that’s right!
b. confused faces – expression reads – oh! This is not what I said.
c. stunned faces (includes mine, and the trainer’s too) – expression reads – what!!!!

Word to be passed on was “Serendipity”.

Can someone explain please.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Let it free!


I know it smiled often
But I had seen it restless too a couple of times
I was trying to read its mind
And I could see, well not exactly see but may be faintly make out
It was perhaps planning to leave
Did I really read this?
I am not too sure, but I thought I did
I needed to act upon fast
So very soon I caught it unaware
When it was in deep slumber
I held it firmly, gripped it tight
Pushed it into a can and closed the lid.
I locked the can, tied it with a rope
And fastened it to one of the solid iron bars of the store room window
I checked on it every couple of hours
But could not believe the fact
That it still escaped.

Relationships and friendships flourish when let free. As someone rightly said:

“If you love someone, set him free
If he comes back, he is yours
If he doesn’t, he never was.”

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Neighbour's envy owner's pride..!



A thing of beauty is a joy forever! :)

grow up!

If you qualify as an adult by age, and you behave like a kid, who needs to be pampered, whose tantrums need to be borne by one and by all (almost), and you don’t care if others like it this way or not, you like it this way, then know for a fact that you are a cause of irritation for most. They may not say it but look beyond and you will see the truth.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I say a little prayer for you..!

Another one of my favourites..

The moment I wake up
Before I put on my makeup
I say a little prayer for you

While combing my hair, now
And wondering what dress to wear now
I say a little prayer for you
Forever, forever, you'll stay in my heart
And I will love you
Forever, forever, we never will part
Oh, how I'll love you
Together, together, that's how it must be
To live without youWould only be heartbreak for me

I run for the bus, dear
While riding I think of us, dear
I say a little prayer for you
At work, I just take time
And all through my coffee break-time
I say a little prayer for you
Forever, forever, you'll stay in my heart
And I will love you
Forever, forever we never will part
Oh, how I'll love you
Together, together, that's how it must be
To live without you
Would only be heartbreak for me

I say a little prayer for you
I say a little prayer for you
Forever, forever, you'll stay in my heart
And I will love you
Forever, forever we never will part
Oh, how I'll love you
Together, together, that's how it must be
To live without you
Would only be heartbreak for me

My darling, believe me
For me there is no one
But you ....

Friday, October 12, 2007

i can talk english i can walk english..!

Do you know your English? Excellent if you do, but sometimes all mortals, children of lesser God, whose first language is not English, get cornered by much more worthy, immortal fellow countrymen who don’t just speak English, but speak with an akhcent (oops!).. I mean accent! If they beat you in their prowess with the language, they feel more proud of a capability they were always proud of. You also don’t feel much as this apparently has always been their forte and never yours. But sometimes if an apparent equal (well almost) counterpart comes up with some strange sounding word that you have not heard of before, you doubt if it also exists, but something in your head says it does just that you don’t have a clue of what it means, there starts a turbulence in the head and it starts getting embarrassing. It is still okay if it was used in just a passing sentence, you can ignore and later on consult your dictionary. But if it is used in a question to you with seemingly this word carrying 75% of the question, the only prayer of the moment becomes ‘earth beneath you open that very moment and hide you inside’. In this kind of dead-end situation also, when there is a question thrown at you that you don’t understand, the last thing you want to do is to ask what it means. This would mean succumbing to the pressure and bloating the ego of someone who must have used that unfamiliar word to show you down, after all had it been a common word, you would have heard about it.
It takes me back to the time when I was in VII. It was Rajiv Gandhi’s birth anniversary and to commemorate the occasion there was a cross country organized in which some 20 odd schools were participating. There were 15 students from our school also to participate. This run was planned early morning. We went for it and ran the distance of 4 kms in a decent time, felt very good about ourselves and then went to school. We reached in time for the morning assembly, rather a little before that. In the assembly ground I met a senior who happened to be a friend also. She asked me, so anu how was the run! I was in josh anyway and told her it was a great experience. So her next question – wasn’t it drizzling?
Pardon me, I said.
Wasn’t it drizzling? She repeated her question. Drizzling? Was there any word like that? I had no idea what it meant. It sounded like what it means, but since I wasn’t sure, I didn’t want to take a chance and end up making a fool of myself. But otherwise also, I couldn’t just escape this question, what in the world was one supposed to do in a situation like this? Today, I know I would ask if I don’t know, but in those years it was an embarrassment to ask such things. It would be a clear proof that your language is not good enough, and this was impossible to be revealed. She was usually a sweet senior but today I could see her distorted side. She would have deliberately asked the question to prove a point..huh! I went through so many emotions in a fraction! Getting nowhere to go, and her eyes still fixed on my face waiting for answer, I answered – Drizzling? Oh drizzling! Drizzling..drizzling..drizzling..drizzling…! I started crooning this word, as if it was the latest number one in Cibaca sangeet mala! And then I chickened saying see you later, we are getting late for the assembly, I will join my line.
I think I didn’t give away, but still I was feeling stupid about myself. I mean crooning drizzling..drizzling.. I could have done something better, like changed the topic, or pretended to have spotted a bug on her head. Something else, anything else!
The day was saved. It has been almost 15 years since; the day is still fresh as a cucumber in my memory.
Now when we are on this topic I can not end this post without a mention of a school friend of mine who faced a similar, if not worse, situation. Since we are still in touch, and there are chances of some common friends reading this who don’t know of this incidence, I will change his name and save him from another round of embarrassment on the same incident. So his name for this post is changed to Jack. Mr Jack in his school days was a hit in his boy gang but was quite reserved when it came to girls. This story is of a time when he was in an all boys’ school and was happy being so. The only problem was there was a common bus from his colony to two schools, one was an all boys and the other an all girls. The first half of the bus was reserved for girls and the rear half for boys. One day these colony friends, who shared the same bus, happened to sit together in a park. In the middle of this conversation, one of the girls said you guys behave like hooligans in the bus. And then started a series of boys are best, girls are best. One of the girls sitting next to Jack, who he incidentally had a keen eye on without being able to tell her so, said with a blank face, Jack you were decent in the bus today. Mr Jack did not acknowledge it at all. He did not react to it. He didn’t know if this was a compliment or not. He did not know what “Decent” meant!!!!! He didn’t expect anyone to comment on him, and that to something of this nature. (Which nature Jack? :) ) But since there was a soft corner somewhere for this girl, and her expression didn’t seem to suggest something bad, he not knowing what to do, asked her with an equally blank face, tell me what was I doing that you said so (Smart move.. ‘decent’ guy..haha). She said ‘nothing, you were quiet’ and then he realized that probably this was a compliment. Didn’t say thanks because he could still go wrong! First thing after the park event, came back home and peeped into the dictionary and then finally heaved a sigh!
See, I told you it can get tough sometimes.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A battle..overwhelming, sweet and satisfying!

"Aye shaheed-e-mulk-o-millat main tere upar nisaar ab teri himmat ka charcha gair ki mehfil mein hai..."

The incredible sight of Tirangaa covering the stands of Wanderers in Johannesberg in South Africa, it looked no different from the atmosphere we have back home in Mohali, and tricolour flying in the middle of the ground, wrapped across the bodies of some jubiliant Men in Blue.. yes it has happened! Yes, India has won the T20 World championship..! A nailbiting finish against our arch rivals Pakistan.. victory becomes a little more sweeter when it comes against them. It looked like a tug-of-war, one moment here, the second moment there. And it had almost slipped away from our hands, when Misbah tried to play it cheeky and it was straight in the hands of Sreesanth. That moment was one of the moments that goes through hundreds of emotions in one fraction.. i found myself screaming with joy, tears rolling down the cheek, clapping fists with friends, head completely numb for a second, it was all happening together.
One look at the celebrations in the Wanderers ground, and everything else took a backseat!
A win well-deserved.. for the cricketers.. for the nation!
Cheers! Jai Hind!

Monday, August 20, 2007

If Only..

He got up in sweat, his tee clinging on to his body
and droplets settled on his forehead
he wanted water, and a hand to comfort him.
He could not believe this hand was hers,
his most loved one
who had died in front of his eyes just a couple of minutes back..
Yes she had died in front of his eyes
without him being able to tell her that he loved her
without she being told that he cared for her
without having him express his true feelings for her
because she probably should have known it
she should have read his mind which always had Work written on it
She knew he was the greatest kisser
but did she know if he was a great lover too..
She died before he could know she was a marvelous singer
who also wrote music and lyrics sometimes
and all she wrote was for him.
He was uneasy as hell for not being able to let her know
that he loved her like no one ever loved anyone
Apologetic and broken, guilty and shattered
He cried at the thought of she not knowing that he loved her so
and suddenly she was gone..
And in the morning when he felt her hand on his shoulders
he freaked, shrieked, and thanked life for being able to see her again
beautiful and lovely
he needed to tell her that she was beautiful and lovely
And before a usual day could start
he got signs that his nightmare wasn’t over, that this day was just a lease
and he had only this day to tell her how he felt for her
last day of togetherness, last day on earth
he filled her day with love
pure and sacred, blissful and passionate
Love..
He made her feel she was the most beautiful person on the earth
and also told her so
he reassured her that she was still as adorable as she was on their first day together
and also told her that she was a great musician
who composed the most melodious tune
brought life to that composition with most memorable words
and sung so very captivatingly in the most soul-stirring voice..
He took her out for dinner, to a place she loved and he was not particularly fond of
and did not forget to hold her hand
and did not forget to get her a surprise gift
and the gift was a bracelet which held reminisces of all the good times they shared..
And before the lease was over, he traded her life with his own...
..not before letting her understand that love is not bound by life and death
..it is beyond that!

He was helped, he got premonitions, not everyone gets. Express yourself, say it.. I pray it lasts forever but God forbid what if life doesn't..!

Ting tong.. wake up!


Life is getting busier. In this hustle-bustle of life we are forgetting just one thing - Self. Perhaps married ones are slightly better off than the singletons. One, they have someone to go home to, someone to share the entire day's happenings with. And two, attitude at the work place is slightly different (read easy-going) with the married ones. If there is endless work to finish and need extra hours attention, married people with definite other responsibilities are more likely to get away. But that does not mean that I cannot stand up for my right. I will be listened to when I will speak up, not before that.
This work culture amazes me. And I am sure I too amaze many out there. People sacrifice everything for work to take home some peanuts, some insult from the immediate seniors you do not look up to, and pride of completion of yet another challenge applauded by no one except self. Youth is long over when people realize an important phase of life, supposedly the most exciting to most, is over without getting noticed. But what was the trade? What did you trade your youth with? Hope you are happy with the deal. Hope you can call yourself successful at least. I am thinking about it, you think about it too. Or just wake up!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Cool Water!


Vishal sent a bottle of Cool Water for me. That’s my favorite perfume. This is supposed to be my birthday gift. Thanks a ton Vishal! I will cherish this gift till it lasts. Then buy another one for me :)

Before coming back from Scarborough I decided to buy two bottles of Cool Water, one for mummy and one for myself. I bought one for mummy but since it was a little over my budget, I decided not to buy for myself, may be some other time. I was almost out of that store when I thought about it once again. I have loved this perfume for a couple of years now. It was time now to own one. I stepped back into the store, but was caught in a dilemma again. Finally I ended up buying its deodorant and not the perfume. It has the same fragrance, didn’t have to spend all that much, I was almost happy.

Now I am very happy, I have both the perfume and deodorant of Cool Water! :)

Life’s like that!

After three months stay in UK it was my first day in office. I forgot to carry my I-card which I realized after reaching office. I went to the security desk, identified myself, and asked for a temporary identity card. The lady at the desk matched my face with the snap of mine she held in her database, and then she issued me a temporary card. But there was no access card tagged along which is usually given to an employee with a temporary id card. It is to give you easy accessibility to your workplace which is so important. I asked for it. She said No Madam we can not give you one. I thought may be things had changed in these three months. But yeh kya baat hui, so i asked her why was that? And the reason was hilarious. She was looking at my data which showed I was on an onsite assignment. So she said madam we can not issue you an access card as you are still onsite. I managed to smile, and after a pause just gave it a little try. I said I am standing in front of you in flesh and blood. Isn’t that enough!
No madam. My computer doesn’t say so.
Ok, I smiled and proceeded without an access card and kept bugging people the entire day whenever I wanted to go out, and whenever I wanted to come in.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

humor of the day!

It was Bhaiya, Roshni, Iya and I in the mail loop this morning. Bhaiya and Rosh, just back from Anurag Bhaiya's wedding, shared some snaps. It was Bhaiya who was sending these snaps actually. After some 3-4 set of snaps also when Shweta Bhabhi could not be spotted in any of the snaps, Iya asked Bhaiya for Bhabhi's pics.

Iya: Kamse kam dulhan ki ek photo bhej dijiye!!!!

Bhaiya: Main doosron ki biwiyon ki taraf nahi dekh raha tha.


:)

Is it true?

Is it true that you can live without what you thought you can't live without? World is full of such examples. Then why do people think they can't live without some xyz. Is there a force bigger than the zest to live.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Phoenix.. rose again from ashes!

After India's sad debacle and fall out from the world cup, when the world was busy ridiculing the Indian cricket team, and more than anyone else Sachin Tendulkar, my brother, who was an ardent fan of Sachin, posted "Death of a Devotee" in his blog. He blamed Sachin for not giving him a world cup, and removed his name from the list of Sachin's greatest fans.

It was most unexpected. I left a note there:
"Jadeja came on NDTV and said couple of things, thought i might share one of those here. ".. you give your best player the slot he wants, and he does the job for you. Sachin was never performing in middle order when he was as you say PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY THERE, you gave him the opening slot and rest was history. he still dislikes middle order and enjoys opening, but just to accomodate all other players you want in the team, you ask your best players to change their batting position.. this is unfair..." he sure didnt perform, but i still appreciate him for all the good years he has given to indian cricket and feel that in place of giving us the much desired world cup, he deserved to win one for himself..too bad that could not happen. i still love Sachin!! "

He immediately realized this perspective and said perhaps Jadeja had a point. This was said in his next post.

After this 2-1 win against South Africa, my brother is back in the Sachin fan club. And there is again a new post in his blog to put a seal on this.

I am happy!

And all the ungrateful people out there, know a fact of life - Sachin is the Best!

:)

Saturday, June 30, 2007

I have a dream..!!

Whenever I listen to this one, I get a peculiar feeling that I have written this.




I have a dream, a song to sing


To help me cope with anything


If you see the wonder of a fairy tale

You can take the future even if you fail

I believe in angels, something good in everything I see

I believe in angels, when I know the time is right for me

I'll cross the stream - I have a dream

I have a dream, a fantasy

To help me through reality

And my destination makes it worth the while

Pushing through the darkness still another mile

I believe in angels, something good in everything I see

I believe in angels, when I know the time is right for me

I'll cross the stream - I have a dream

I'll cross the stream - I have a dream

I have a dream, a song to sing

To help me cope with anything

If you see the wonder of a fairy tale

You can take the future even if you fail

I believe in angels, something good in everything I see

I believe in angels, when I know the time is right for me

I'll cross the stream - I have a dream

I'll cross the stream - I have a dream



ABBA - Thank you for the music!!

?

I am left perplexed by my own behaviour. I like to believe I am an uncomplicated person but today’s episode left me thinking about why exactly I reacted so much over such a small thing. No, I didn’t fight, yell or shout. Just firmly declined. But this was big enough a decision.

The only answer that was seemingly possible till an hour back and is the certain one now is – my subconscious does not like my self-respect being remotely compromised. But on this occasion my behavior looked astonishing to me myself, but I think I have found atleast an explanation now.

Tadaa!

Some songs get glued to your mouth. this time it is - because i get high.

cuz i got high, cuz i got high, becuz i get a high..!!

:)

mmmmm am luvin it!!!!!! :)

know why.. cuz a get high cuz a get high cuz a get high..!!

:)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Some strange sweet surprises!!

Life is full of them, strange sweet surprises. Don’t look for reasons, don’t look for logic, because there isn’t any! And if it’s a sweet surprise, truly you are not complaining either. But this leaves you thrilled, and leaves a smile on your face, and you know that you are perhaps being watched by the positive energy that built the world. This sounds simple but believe me this is so exciting.

Just five days back I was sitting at office, was having rather a busy day at work when I knew that it was just a little music that could keep me going without feeling tired. This is what I am use to doing back in Bangalore as well, and it is proven on me that music helps me work. But there was just one problem, there aren’t too many songs on my laptop right now, and I wanted to listen to some really nice English songs that I have admired over years. There are songs that you associate, or they get associated, with a particular time of your life and when those songs play you are taken back to memories of the past. On this day, I was longing to listen to “Falling in love..” by UB40, searching for some memories of past. I started searching the net for this one, but to no avail. I could not find sites which offered good English music online. I didn’t even want to download music, just wanted to listen but what a pity, there was nothing worthwhile available. Then I got reminded of the radio stations that windows media player links you to. Alright, now that I could not find what I was looking for, I could settle for some otherwise nice music too. I selected soft rock, a few stations got listed. I clicked on 181.fm Love Songs (Hearts). It was playing “Right there..” by Bryan Adams. Wow! So I could finally find some nice station. I finally got back to my work. Next song was “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole. Aha! I was having a nice time. And guess what the third song was! It was – “Falling in love..”!! This was incredible! I was looking for this song like a few minutes back, and could not really get good results. And here was this song playing in a random selection of songs at a randomly selected radio station. This was Elvis Presley version. I heard Elvis’ version for the first time and instantaneously fell in love with it. This was indeed a surprise, a very sweet one. I was excited as I was thrilled. Not so big to phone home about, but I wanted to tell this to someone. Better sense prevailed and I did not call anyone as usually under such circumstances, the other person doesn’t really understand the thrill part, and tries to be nice to you with some “O really, that was great!” but you know by the crests and troughs in their voice that they missed it. And then the effect catches on and gets diluted on you as well. I didn’t want it to get diluted. This station played many adorable songs. Just set me in a great mood, and this helped me stretch this day, which was required. Human mind is never satisfied, is it! Before leaving this day, when I knew I would be shutting off the machine in may be ten minutes time, I felt this queer desire from within. Could Elvis sing this song just once more today for me! And the outcome was unbelievable, believe me it happened, and it was so unbelievable. I was still hooked to the same radio station, and they played it again.

Wise men say, only fools rush in
But I cant help falling in love with you.
Shall I stay, would it be a sin
If I cant help falling in love with you!

… and it played on. It gave me an intoxicating high.. for some inexplicable reason. I was loving it!
If you happen to be reading this, you may question this high, and this thrill.. but I can’t explain it, it was just so wonderful. The day got over, and had a hangover for the rest of the week. I found myself humming this song all the time. At work, at walk down the sea side, on the bridge on my way back from the town centre, in the kitchen, it was “falling in love” all the way!

Today is Sunday, which culminates the “falling in love” week. I look back at the week and just think well that was some coincidence, it was wonderful. I pick up my laptop to scribble few thoughts. I also switch on the TV to see if there is something interesting. There is some movie playing, I start watching it. It is Matthew Perry (not sure if I got the spelling correct, he is Chandler from Friends) and Salma Hayek in the lead roles. During the commercial break I learn the movie’s name to be – Fools rush in. Well! I have not heard of this movie before (I am not too much into movies) but this gives me a feeling that my “falling in love” week is presumably not yet over. I am not hundred percent sure, well I am not even 1 percent sure, but the title “Fools rush in” compelled me to think so. I laugh at myself and realize that may be I am just thinking too much, get completely engrossed in the movie. Turns out to be a sweet movie. And if you don’t know about the movie already, you will not believe what I am going to tell you now. The title track comes up when the movie gets over. And it is – “Can’t help falling in love with you”. I am amazed beyond words. I don’t know what’s happening, and truly do not mind it. This song seems to be chasing me.. and I love it!

..take my hand, take my whole life too
For I can't help falling in love with you!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Who is he?


"He is just an overpaid bloke who just kicks round things around."

In UK, where football is a religion no less than cricket in India, where players are icons, they are idolized, and battles are fought on football clubs. People refuse dinner invitations on the days when their clubs are playing, and some wear flashy, colored, numbered jerseys to workplace and everywhere else to show their dedication, extend support and contribute to morale. On this land when someone says Beckham is an overpaid bloke who just kicks round things around, it certainly was something comically strange.
The man in question is a security guard at my workplace. On the final day of dissertation, when I reached office at 3.30 in the morning, he was the only one other than me in the office. And after it got over, he came to my desk and asked me what business pulled me out at that hour of the night when it was so cold outside. I was excited with the thought of completing my 4 years of MS and I told him about the dissertation. Since then, whenever I leave for the day, and he is at duty, I have to spend five minutes at the gate talking to him. Not that he is boring, pretty talkative and doesn’t have anyone who would listen to him. Wife died 33 years back and that was all the family he had. So in these five minutes conversation everyday, he tells me as much as he can about his country, and the government and the history and the places to visit.
On this particular occasion, I was leaving office a little late, it was 9 in the evening, and I had just received a call from Akash (a friend who lives in Leeds) about him being able to manage tickets for the IIFA Bollywood vs. Yorkshire cricket match. I was thrilled, and while leaving, when I met him at the door, I told him that I was going for the cricket match the next day. Cricket! He exclaimed! God save you, you could not find anything better to watch in the whole of Britain. I asked why you don’t like cricket! Well it was anyway apparent that it was a stupid question. But the answer was good – I would rather paint this wall and watch it dry in place of having to watch that dreadful sport. Hmm.. ya I know everyone here likes football, I said. Oh that’s no better! He pointed at his desk and there was the current day’s newspaper sprawled over the desk, and said look at that news paper, David Beckham has been featured once again on the front page. For what!
Is this that’s irking you so much, I asked?
Now do you want to look at the second page also? He flipped the page and showed me a news report about a retired Gurkha soldier of the British Army, commemorated with Victoria Cross not once but twice. And at 84, when he needs medical assistance, NHS denies his rights of admission in any hospital because he is not a Brit. He wasn’t agitated while talking, was rather smiling while speaking and was beautifully sarcastic. “Somehow this country has got all its priorities wrong”. And David Beckham left country is a front page news, came back is a front page news, will go back again is a front page news, and people love it. He is so highly paid!! For what! He is just an overpaid bloke who just kicks round things around!
This one made me laugh. He laughed too but continued. He said the temperature dips to below zero in winters in Scarborough. But this being a sea coast, a life guard needs to be at the sea side at 5 in the morning on those freezing mornings. He gets paid at 5 pounds an hour. And this bloke gets more money in a week than that lifeguard can not see in his lifetime. You tell me who is a bigger hero.
I obviously said – lifeguard, who obviously is a bigger hero.
Somehow this country has got the priorities wrong...
I said good night and proceeded.
..suddenly Beckham doesn’t look appealing any more!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Put it right..!!

It is important to have an opinion of your own. Spineless are the people who don’t have their own opinions, and still worse, some of them take pride in saying they are guided by some one else’s thoughts. There is something between your two ears as well. Perhaps it is not a bad idea to use it and get some life enthused in it.

Some people put their opinion so beautifully that, your opinion might still hold good, but they incline you to listen to theirs, sometimes end up provoking your sub-conscious to vote for their opinion, which also leaves your conscious widely perplexed, little restless, but seldom unhappy! Good orators are scarce in number and high in demand. For someone like me, beautiful expressions are complete turn on. I remember how people longed to get trained by Avinash Gulrajani. Not because he was cute, that was an added bonus :-), but because he spoke so well. Listening to him in itself was a sheer joy which trainees looked forward to.

There is a category that has an opinion, voice it if you ask for it, don’t care if you agree or not, they still respect their opinion. They also listen to yours, and if it is not abusive of anything, respect it without having to agree with it. They are not rigid, they are not persnickety, but they really believe in what they believe and that’s driven by logic. It is not a baseless fantasy of a sprite which they are supporting for the fun of it.

The next category is of some people who can never agree with any opinion that does not tally with theirs. They often end up getting into debates on opinions but are absolutely closed to appreciate anyone else's. These people are perennially involved in fights, irk people no end.

And then there are people who have opinion alright, a sound one at that, but when the time comes to voice it, they voice it so abusively, so aggressively, that though you could have agreed with them earlier, never after hearing they voiced. Because finally it is not only “what” that matters, “how” is equally important if not more. Abrasive language impresses none, read it in caps and bold – NONE. You will always fail to make a point even if it is a very valid one.

So next time you want to make a point, if you want to get yourself heard, remember a golden rule – Mind your language!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Guilty? Raise your hand..!!

I missed the bus by a fraction. Could see this bus coming when I was ahead, and then it crossed me stopped at the bus stop, I was still a good 20 meters away, and off it went… without me..huh! The next bus was some 35 minutes away. To idle my time, I got into a store. This store is owned by a Bangladeshi. I went in without any intention of making any purchase. Somehow I had to keep myself entertained and occupied for the next half an hour. I started sauntering across the three aisles this shop had. Being a very small shop one can hear anyone from anywhere. And I could here a conversation, between the shopkeeper, and the other voice was of an elderly woman.
Calling it a conversation would not be correct, it was more of a controlled argument. There was some issue over the lady asking if she could pay by card, and was not agreeing to the shop’s rule (across most of the shops here) of paying £1.50 extra for a purchase of under 10£ if you pay by card. I moved to the section near the counter to hear the conversation more clearly. I saw the woman, old, wrinkled, quite short, chubby and very sweet. She was wearing pink gloves, and green woolen cap. Both looked old, and one finger of her glove needed repair. Her overcoat too was faded. When she insisted on paying by card and not paying anything extra, the shopkeeper started losing patience and started raising his voice. I could see her eyes welling up. She started slowly talking to herself, “in the morning, at the bank, this card did not work at all. I might have forgotten the number. Now I do not have enough cash, and I need to pay extra.” The shopkeeper finally asked her to get all the things she wanted, and then this matter could be settled. I, in some corner in me, felt for her. She reminded me of Naani. My Naani also is short, fair and chubby, and very sweet. I can imagine Naani also wearing some age old faded cardigans and shawls in winters. And at the season end, she would dry them up and put them back nicely to use it for next few more years. At this age also, my Naani does the entire household work herself. They live all by themselves, just nana and Naani, no one else. And they manage it all. Would my Naani also be worrying about money when she would be going to some small shop for grocery shopping? My heart cringed at this thought. I suddenly remembered all the old days when we used to visit them in our summer vacations, and Naani used to keep all the jars in her kitchen store filled with various things we liked. She used to shower all her love on us, this was the only time of the year, and sometimes two years when she got to meet us.
Months go by without talking to them, are they alright? I was almost ready to pay this lady’s bill when I saw her at the counter with some stuff she had picked. Her bill was a little over 11£. This delighted her no end. She flashed her card and paid. She kept smiling till the time shopkeeper processed the transaction and put her stuff in her bags. Since I was also looking at her, our eyes met, she smiled and said hello in my direction. I smiled too, and then she left. I saw her going. She took her penguin steps and disappeared at the end of the street. I needed to talk to Naani. It was 6.30 in the evening. It meant 11 in India! By the time I would get off the bus it will be close to 11.40 already.
I came to the bus stop 10 minutes early the next morning. There is a pay phone at my bus stop. I needed to talk to them. I tried their number a several times, but it kept saying the phone is switched off. Finally I could not talk, and called Mummy from the bus. She told me their number has changed and gave me her new number. I spoke to them the next day. Naani sounded so happy talking to me, I felt a wave settling finally inside, and another tide rising. I know they are not leading a comfortable life, I know they have to deal with so much, but they are happy just to hear us. And what are we giving them in return.
Hope over belief, a belief which is soaked in negativity, and a negative belief which is correctly inferred, but a hope which has myriad shades, but all of grey, but still is a ‘hope’, explains why their generation preferred blue over pink.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

To Ma’m ..with love!

Geeta Madam was my class teacher when I was in XI. Her subject was English. A strict disciplinarian, she used to rip people apart if someone even tried acting smart in front of her. Her command over language, diction, modulation, and accent, was just so impeccable, she had an aura that commanded respect. I looked up to her.

Apart from being an excellent teacher, she was an excellent human-being. If you are good, she was the best, if you are bad, she was the worst.

Geeta Madam used to talk to me a lot, more than anyone else in the class. She used to tell me stories, sometimes from her life, sometimes from her experience, and each story had carried a lesson. Lesson was subtle, and she never explained the lesson. There were some lessons which I realized months, years later. Since she talked to me a lot, I also started talking quite a bit with her. Soon she became a very good friend. The teacher-student relationship here was as established as anywhere.

She was the one who forced me to nominate myself for school captaincy, which I was reluctant about. I had nothing against captaincy, in fact like everyone else, I also dreamt of that position. But I was scared of stage, and more than that, the extempore, the deciding round for school captaincy. When she forced me nominate myself, I was scared to death. I had no courage to face an audience for something like an extempore. I knew I would be a nervous wreck, and was almost sure to make a fool of myself. She had confidence in me that she never stated in words, but I could feel it. The extempore happened, I won it. I enjoyed my stay as the school captain, a position that gave me respect and recognition, and not to forget confidence beyond words. This all was made possible because of her, who knew more than me, that I had it in me.

Geeta madam was diabetic. She used to take insulin injections regularly. Her health started deteriorating when we were almost at the end of our session. In the next session when we met after two months long summer vacations, she looked very weak, and pulled down. She used to say she was finding it difficult to walk around, and sit for long hours. Geeta Madam started walking around with a walking stick, and soon even a walking stick was not enough, she needed some one to support her to walk small distances also. But with Geeta madam, walking her around was an honour. People were more than willing to offer their support and services. They took turns and she enjoyed it. She once said it was a very satisfying feeling.

Within a month after the beginning of the new session, one day she did not come to school. One day was hardly something to be concerned about. But when she did not come the next day also, I went to the Principal office to enquire. Principal Sir told me that she had a paralytic attack, and that she will not be coming for some more time. I was shocked, and stood motionless there for some seconds. I didn’t know how to react to this. When I gathered my senses back, I immediately took permission and rushed to her home, where she stayed with her 75 year old mom. Her sister Reeta aunty was also in the same town fortunately and this was a big consolation. Geeta Madam and her mom only had Reeta Aunty and Gautam Uncle in the world to call their own, and to support them in situations like these.

Geeta Madam was sleeping when I reached. Reeta Aunty was there. I sat with her and she explained the situation to me. Obviously they too were in a state of shock, in fact much bigger, but they were fighting it bravely. I sat in Geeta Madam’s room for three hours before she gained consciousness. She was made to sleep with some tranquilizers. On seeing me she looked at me with expression of helpness, she could not speak, it was a very slurred speech when she tried speaking. Her eyes welled up, I wanted to cry. I had never seen this brave woman so helpless. But I needed to control my emotions at this stage, and support whichever way I could. I just held her hand, and she slept again.

It took her two months to recover. I kept meeting her these two months every few days, at least once a week. She started sounding better, she was able to control her body, but her speech was still very slurred, something she hated. Anyway, she was getting ready to start school again.

I started getting busy with the classes and tuitions, this was board year. Knowing that she would be back in routine I didn’t go to see her at home and waited for her to start coming back. She was back! She was back in the regular routine. We ensured extra precautions for her, and this time when I looked at my class, I saw respect in each pair of eyes. I knew Geeta madam would have noticed it too. Geeta Madam, though back in her usual routine, was still facing trouble with her speech. Her speech was still very slurred, was not going anywhere, and this was irritating her.

She had her second attack very soon. This attack ensured a no-movement deal. Geeta Madam was bed-ridden, well almost. She was in pain clearly, her mom was there by her side all the while, and so was her sister. Gautam Uncle (Reeta Aunty’s) husband was a big support too.

Madam obviously stopped coming to school. She had to give up her teaching, something that she took with lot of passion, something she was best at. I kept meeting Geeta Madam at regular intervals. And after we shifted a little far, though I couldn’t meet her that often, I used to call up regularly.

If there were not enough bad news already, there followed a hemorrhage! She was in CMPDI hospital. I rushed to the hospital on getting this news. How much more her destiny wanted to test her. She was anyway in a very bad condition, and now. She was in ICU for three days, and in hospital for seven more. This time when she came home, she knew all her wishes and wants of getting back to school ever were down the drain. She was very upset when I met her next.

I was getting busy with BIT, but was picking up time whenever I could, once in two months, three months, to see her. There was a particularly long gap, when I was in third year when I could not go to meet her for almost six months. When I went after six months, Geeta madam looked frail, very thin, and quite dark. Her eyes shone on seeing me. What had happened to her? I felt a lump building in my throat. I didn’t want to choke in front of her. I sat beside her for almost two hours. We talked about all possible things that came to our mind. She asked me about everyone at home, my new friends in college, my future plans, everything. This day when I came out, I came out with a sinking feeling. But the brave girl I am, I controlled it again. I came out with Reeta Aunty, she tried having conversation, but I knew I would end up in tears if I said too much, so I confined my answers to shortest possible ones, monosyllables mostly. We came out and when I was about to say good-bye and leave, Reeta Aunty said, “Anu, Geeta always says Anu is one of the best children she has grown.”

I could not hold it any longer… She really said that! It was the best praise I had heard about myself. And coming from her, it all came down in a stream. Reeta Aunty also started crying, I controlled myself and tried consoling her a little, and left from there. I cried the entire distance back home.

I went to meet her when I was about to leave Ranchi. I sat with her for an hour, I did most of the talking. Geeta Madam looked happy, but very tired. I never met her after that day. Didn’t know when it happened. Tapovrat told me two years back that Geeta madam was no more. In the excitement of meeting Tapovrat after some 6-7 years when I heard this, I felt like something stormed inside my head for a couple of seconds.

An era ended.. but not without leaving some memories behind.. not without making some lives worth living!

Friday, April 27, 2007

All for a cuppa..!!

It is spring time here in Scarborough. The country side is colorful, green.. it is beautiful. Every leaf, every wisp of grass has freshness stored in it. Summers are approaching and the tourist season is about to start.
But why do I feel we are rrreally away from summers. In the morning when I start for office, it is misty and windy, yes it is cold. During the lunch time when I step out of the office, a force of wind hits me, its bright but there is cold wind.. yes it is cold. In the evening when I step out of the bus, wind blows against me and tries to push me a step back. I fight and put all my energy and strength to walk till my hotel. As I enter the reception, it feels nice and cosy. Yes it is cold outside. When I cook in my kitchen, I am scared of blowing off the fire alarm, so I slide open my window just about a little, and then immediately switch on my heater. I sleep with a blanket under me and one over me. So by now I am sure I would have made a point here, yes it is cold.
Now in this cold, what does a person like me want, hot cup of tea to sip whenever possible. I somehow do not enjoy the tea in the office, so I am a total coffee (Clipper Arabian Coffee :-) ) person in the office. But I have somewhere started missing my tea. I used to have at least 3 cups in a day back home. So here I go hunting for loose tea. I want to prepare my kind of tea. I want to buy ginger as well but decide to buy it after buying tea first. Loose tea is not readily available here, all you get are tea bags. I go on searching everywhere. This is the fourth convenience store I am in hunting for a packet of loose tea. I scan the tea section and no luck here as well. This is the biggest store in town. I could not find what I wanted in Indian store, and if I don’t find it here in Tesco, it is unlikely I get it anywhere. I am about to leave from here when I decide to just ask and do a final check. I ask a store-help there about what I want. He knows they get one brand of loose tea here, and he remembers putting it on the tea shelf. We rush there again, he moves some tea packs in front, which buyers would have moved, and here is my sack of gold!!!! I see Twinings Assam tea here, the same that I drink back home. Yeyyyy!!! I thank that guy some ten times and then I rush to the grocery section to pick up some ginger. I can smell the aroma of my ginger tea back in my room. As I move to the billing counter I realize that I have only 2 sachets of sugar left at home, and now that I have this tea, it should be a good idea to buy some sugar as well. I go and get a bag of sugar as well. While picking the sugar bag, my eyes fall on the cracker biscuits. Oh! It looks like it is my day all the way. I pick up a pack of crackers, the best to go with tea, pay and march to my hotel. There is some excitement, I am looking forward to be in my room and prepare tea for myself.
I lock the door behind me, throw my laptop on the sofa, no hurry to change, I go to the kitchen and put the pan with a cup of water on the heater. Will it be more fun if I change into pyjamas, will put on some music, and savor my tea with biscuits! Yes, looks like! I rush to my room, quickly change in 20 seconds and get back to kitchen. I finish making tea, my cup and saucer are ready with a tea spoon in the saucer, and two crackers too on the side. Just have to pour it in, and get deployed in my sofa. It can not get better, it smells so divine. But how do I filter it. I look for a strainer in the cupboard. There is none. I look it on the overhead shelf, no it is not there too. Ok may be in the all plastics tub.. no! What!!!! I don’t have a strainer here!! I curse this place, they can not provide a strainer in the rooms, people can prepare tea. But my eye falls on the tea bags there. Who needs strainers here anyway! I am not willing to give up, but yes now some lines are etching up on my forehead. Can not give up after reaching till here! I scan through the entire kitchen, all the equipments big and small to see if I can get something that can be used as a workaround. There is a grater..may be not, it is too thick for tea grains. I am getting desperate now. I finally get a super idea!! I am proud of myself. There is a new pack of tissues in the kitchen. I take four of them together, fold them threefold and open up in a cone, a true chemistry student, I have not forgotten the filter paper experiments yet. :-) Almost there! I put it on the cup and hold it with one hand, and with the other I start pouring the tea in. It is working, yes it is working! I am excited, half cup, almost there, should be through any moment now. The excitement starts getting back, the frown line starts easing away! Its three-fourth full, now the conical part of my filter is a little inside the cup and hence a little inside the tea, I finish pouring the tea. When I lift my other hand to take the paper out, the conical part, with 50% of the 4 sheets, becomes soggy, and falls inside. Oops! I immediately pick up the teaspoon, and try to fish it out. But it has opened up inside and is divided into some 16 small pieces. I try taking out some but it is getting worse. And my tea is getting colder. Remember it is very cold here, hot things get cold in seconds. I am still struggling and my tea is getting colder. I am getting frustrated, but the damn paper bits refuse to come out. I think about a remedy and the only one that comes to my mind is I will sip it slowly, some of it will sediment down, and some will get filtered inside my mouth. I take the first sip……and it tastes like paper.
After throwing it and washing all the dishes involved in the process, putting back the kitchen in order, I go and sink in my sofa with a can of diet-coke and the two crackers. It has been four days now, I have looked for a strainer at all near-by stores. No luck so far! Will go to the town centre on Saturday and will look in all shops there.

Monday, April 23, 2007

And was it embarrassing..!!

Saturdays at Wipro meant fun, especially in the initial few semesters. It was difficult to understand how and why we transformed ourselves into college students overnight when even the venue for classes was the same as office. Saturday was fun. But over the semesters it started getting irritating, frustrating and repulsive. Well this story is about a time when we were in the third semester, just the beginning of third actually.
Whenever we went to the loo, we used to play a very stupid, very funny game. Game(!).. Anyway..!! To understand it completely, you must know how the loos are built and then I would throw some insight into the game. Ok, so as you enter, there is a wash area with three basins and a mirror spanning across the three wash-basins. And on the other side, opposite to the mirror are four restrooms. From outside, if the doors are locked, the restroom is sealed from head to toe, but inside the walls separating the four are from maybe ear to toe. But still is high enough and more from a safety perspective. Behind the commodes is an elevated platform where you can keep your belongings when you are inside.
So now is the turn to understand our unique game (!). We were a group of four friends (all girls mind you). And whenever one of us was inside, the other would get in the next room if it was unoccupied, stand up on the elevated platform(behind the commode) somehow, the gap between the separator wall and ceiling was still too high, and the intention was definitely not too see the person on the other side. Ya, so stand on that platform, and throw out your hand from the gap to the other side and shout heyyyy!!! Heyy!!! The idea was to psyche the person in the next room, and the mission of psyching the other person was always accomplished. We didn’t do it all the time to avoid building monotony.
So here I was on one fateful Saturday, when shrestha went inside one of the doors, and I immediately went in the next, quickly climbed up the platform and started shouting heyyy!! Heyy!! Shrestha went on screaming, and I laughed. After 20 seconds when I wanted to get down, I turned, still standing on that platform, there was someone at the door. This was a junior of ours. Her eyes fixed on me, jaws dropped completely, she stood frozen. I froze too. Shucks!!! I forgot to lock it!!! And what the hell were the other two doing outside, couldn’t they save me from this embarrassment. Not knowing what to do, she finally came back to life and took a deep breath and said Sssorrrryy!!!, still very still and eyes still on me. I, equally dumbfounded if not more, managed an “its (breath) hhhOk”. Breathing was difficult at this time, where was my inhaler, I needed it right now! Well she took two more seconds and stepped backwards, and then went in one of the other two .. well now three unoccupied ones. I climbed down, never to climb up here ever again. I was embarrassed beyond words. And the other three monkeys were laughing hysterically when I came out. I hated them. I was wondering what she would be thinking about what I was doing! I didn’t know her too well, so there was no question of explaining. Oh! That was embarrassing!!
Shalvini is a friend now, and I have explained the entire story. I feel better after doing so.

Strength of a Woman..!!

I have kept a lot to myself, and shared a lot with my friends. May be there is always a lot happening around me, or may be in me as well. And may be that’s the reason why a talkative person like me, always surrounded by many, has not shared some of my thoughts that have always come back to me and made me sit back, and reflect on life, not everybody’s, just my own.
I know what impression everyone had of me before, and I am glad that is changing. It has been a slow reckoning for others, but somewhere that has begun. No I have not changed a great deal, I am still the same what I was. There were moments when I just hated to be, I knew I wasn’t bad, but I also knew that I was not good enough in other’s mind. It used to disturb me a lot. Doesn’t do any more. And this would not have been possible had it not been for my Mum. She never lectured me as such but in subtle words, innumerable times did she say, a woman needs to be patient and strong. Her action spoke louder than her words. Everyone, big and small, in the family vents out the volcano on her, she just takes it, she doesn’t complain too much, she supposedly doesn’t cry too, just that her nose goes red. And she gets back to normal life very soon, and always has nice things to say about life. I get my strength looking at her.
I was so pleasantly surprised, and happy beyond words when Bua called to say she was talking to Amma and they were talking about me, and she said they thought Raina is a very nice person, and thoughtful too. I have not heard too many praises about myself within the family, it satisfied some hope somewhere buried in me for years.
Mikku sent a message, something similar, in his words, very affectionate. It is a cherished memory too.
People have noticed everybody around, but one person that always got missed, always gets missed... I love you Mummy!!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Silence is Gold!!

There was a hot debate on. It was in the forum I have started frequenting recently, and which helps me keep connected. There were some interesting topics here, but the topic in context was something that has kind of initiated a battle of words and wits. I am not neutral in my thoughts about it, no non-alignment treaty, and actually was tempted to throw some of my thoughts in as well. But didn’t do so, and I am glad I didn’t. It would have made me explicable on my thoughts. If I am expressing my views, I could owe an explanation. I don’t want to be in a situation where the actual outcome is nothing but sparring becomes unmanageable, and may be a little rude as well. As mature adults we all know what is being talked about, and have right to our opinions. Two opinions can differ and still be correct. I respect opinions but rely on my judgment to form them, don’t expect everyone else to believe in them, and don’t want to be questioned a lot on that. Hence I would rather stay away from such topics, and not write into them.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

My first day in the foreign land..!!

There is chill in the air out here, it is my first day in Scarborough and I am on the streets already. All by myself, ready to explore the maximum and make the most of the Easter Monday which has gone thoroughly unnoticed so far in my life. I am walking aimlessly, following the road wherever it is going, and turn when it turns.
This place looks bright and cheerful, I see a dad racing with his two kids. The race is till the letter box as announced by the dad, and they run helter-skelter a distance which is less than 25 meters only to end in a scuffle as the kids were faster but still the dad claims he won. The reason for confusion, there was this “litter box” which was a meter ahead of the letter box, when he announced “letter box” they heard it as “litter box”. They are still fighting, I smile and move ahead.
I am at a junction where there is an “Orange” store and a “T-Mobile” store. This reminds me the wanderer that I have been the last an hour or so, I had some purpose in mind when I started. I need to buy some grocery, a mobile connection with some currency in my phone, and an adapter. My charger will not work in the English sockets. I get the phone connection, I buy a brand new nokia charger (10 £) over a brand new adapter (23 £), and somehow manage to call up Raj and Neeraja. I tried their number a number of times before realizing that it was Chennai’s code that I had prefixed in place of UK’s. Will be meeting them in sometime. I am browsing through the Brunswick mall when the aroma of freshly brewed coffee gets better of me. I follow the aroma and here’s the coffee shop at the heart of the mall. I realize I am hungry too. After all I am on the roads for almost 2 hours now without having anything since morning. I order for a plain croissant (vegetarians don’t have many choices, especially for breakfast when you don’t want to have a heavy sandwich loaded with cheese) with milky coffee and sugar.
I lunch at their hotel room where Neeraja has prepared some steaming hot food, which is spicy too..mmmm!! We eat and chat for sometime, about our bus timings, and the phone rate plans. Its soon going to be 4.30 and we have a movie to catch at Futurist Theatre at 5. We are watching Mr Bean’s holiday. We rush out of the house, Neeraja and Raj get themselves locked inside the phone-booth for next twenty minutes. Meanwhile I am standing at a point from where I can see the sea (you can see that from about anywhere in Scarborough except my room :( ). There are some kids on the skateboard doing stuff I have seen only on TV. There are some more kids playing football on artificial turf in an enclosure on the sea side. There is a group of young lads surfing, they are really good! And then there is this sweet romantic couple, the girl is smiling and giggling and playing in the water while the guy takes a minute to write SOI LOVES AMI, Soi writes the biggest he can. Ami is pleased with Soi’s herculean effort and gives him a biiiiig hug!!
Movie is ten minutes away and the counter is still closed. Raj try asking, she says it will open in a while. We come out, theatre is next to the sea. And that’s where all the stalls and the fun is. There are donkey rides for kids at the beach, bingos and roulettes at the play houses, ice-creams of the size of cones that can hold 2 bags of rice and in such varied sweet pastel colours. Everyone seems to be having the time of their lives. I also know this does not happen all the time, just that my first day here coincides with their best vacation time, that is the Easter, these all are tourists who are visiting the picturesque Scarborough!!
We watch Mr Bean’s holiday. A good movie but the lowest point of the day, now you can imagine my day so far.
By now my body is giving up, that’s perhaps what they call – jet lag. I want to sleep. Raj had convinced me I can buy grocery on my way back, the market is open till beyond 9. I take a leave and start my journey back. It indeed is a journey, I have to climb such steep slopes to reach where I stay, which is perhaps one of the highest points in this hilly area. I am panting on my way back but I need to go via the town centre. I need to pick up grocery remember! And here I reach town center huffing and puffing only to find deserted streets and closed shops. There are two three people at a vague distance. I start for my hotel from there. Wind is colder, and it is getting dark. Villa esplanade suddenly seems to be an eternity away. I walk endlessly, and finally I manage to reach my destination.
I am hungry, I am walking in the hotel with a surety that maggi is going to be my dinner. Aagh!! I don’t want to eat Maggie!! I infact don’t want to cook at all. As I unlock the reception door, I hear some music. It is coming from risker’s bar. I peep inside, alright! This is an open Mexican restaurant. I head straight for a table in the corner, which with everything else, also has a sea view. I get a lavish Mexican dinner, sumptuous and spicy. Umm I am loving it!! I walk up the stairs to my room, change my clothes and crash land..zzzz!!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Love Story..!!

She was in XI then. It was her second year in this school. A versatile genius, she excelled in all round activities, be it academics, sports, extra-curricular, she was right up there. If that was not all, she was quite a looker too. Big eyes, perfect figure, nice black long hair, a nice composed demeanor, and a thousand watt smile. Needless to say, after possessing so many virtues, it is hard not to be popular.

He was new in this school. Admitted in the XI Commerce, this was his third week in this school. Standing at 5'10'' those sweet chocolate looks, wind also wanted to stay away from him fearing it might soil his skin. He looked innocent as a lamb, and spoke only when he could not avoid. No that was not the usual him. Just the starting problem. Though he was anyway selective in people he spoke too. He also noticed her.

She noticed him too. Oh did i forget to tell you about the most important trait of her character. This girl was naughty beyond imagination. She was (in)famous for her pranks as well, a fact he was oblivious of.

Week three for our innocent gentleman in the school. Lunch break just got over, everyone was hurling back to the classrooms and in that two minutes of chaos after which dust settles down, she went to his desk, where he was sitting for the past ten minutes doing nothing. She looked him straight in his eyes, and told him they needed to talk about something. And they needed to talk the same day! His face was a shade of pink when she spoke to him. He found it difficult to concentrate in anything in class for the rest of the day before the last period. He kept thinking what could this be about, had he unknowingly, unintentionally done something. What could this be about? Her eyes definitely carried some emotion. He kept recalling her face in his mind, and kept recollecting the look in her eyes. They carried some vexed..mm… or perplexed.. confused…or may be some anxious looks. But her face was so calm, and serene, and tranquil... She thought she was pretty. Ok, but this was not the time to think about all that, what in the world was the common business in them! What the heck did she want to talk about.

Anyway, here we were in the last period. He was waiting for (read dreading) this moment till now. From the corner of his eye he saw her walking towards him. He tried to pretend he had forgotten about it completely. But when you have a complexion like that, you skin color does more talking than your eyes. He gave away, she knew he was pretending, but the matter at hand was serious and there was no time to get into such trivia. He got up and followed her to the back bench. Yes, this was where they sat. Obviously, you don’t expect to sit them right in front when all they wanted to do was talk.

They exchanged some pleasantries, some weather forecast, and how boring the day was, for half a minute. Both of them knew this was not what they wanted to talk about. There was a 20 seconds pause, after which she started with the real context. She said, “There is something I wanted to share with you. But words do not come easy when you want them to.”
He looked tensed.
She continued,” I will not waste lot of time. Those three little magical words. You would have heard those n times before, here and there.”
He was a shade of red.
“I did not do not know how to say, but I thought a lot over it, and it is getting increasingly difficult for me to stay without telling you about it.”
Crimson. Few drops of sweat on his forehead.
“So I have decided I must tell you irrespective of the probable consequences..”
Scarlet.
“… look at me.. into my eyes..”
Blood Red.
She looked more tense than him, and finally blurted out, “.. JAI MATA DI”. She smiled.. and laughed a controlled laughter. One in which you laugh uncontrollably without letting out any hint of sound.
Blood Red in sweat -> Pink in sweat -> Managed a smile between his huffs and puffs -> And finally composed himself and laughed along.

After eight years of courtship, they got married last month.
This is my favorite real life love story. You guys make a very cute pair, God bless!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Change is the only constant..!!

People say I have changed.
I don’t know if that’s a compliment or well..! But looks like people usually use this line only to express negative emotions. As Usha (Specialist, Line Behavior Skills) put it, if people say you have changed, say a big thank you, and tell them you always wanted to. I laughed when she said that. And I moved on.
But the little trouble now is I have started getting this feeling too, there may be n things about me which I wanted to change and may be would have been a success to some extent, but there were few which were my core assets, am I losing out on them. I remembered birthdays, I still do. I used to wish everybody earlier, I don’t do that now. You ask me why and I have no answer. I always caught up with friends, I rarely do that now. My reasons – I have no clue. They think I am always out of time. Believe me that is no true, but beyond this I don’t know.
After a realization hits you, the next thing you want to do, if the world has not crumbled in front of your eyes already, you want to work upon it before it starts crumbling. A feeling of guilt for no real sin of yours, but just the thought of letting some of your dear ones down, and not bothering about those who meant (ugh!).. mean to you. They tagged me a workaholic, and it pissed me no end. Today I am forced to think if they have a point. Coming out a winner does not come easy, especially when you are a woman in a man’s world, and that’s not all. You don’t speak their language, and you don’t always agree with their perception. Hmm.. now the frustration is coming out. Oh I can write a book on these but the point I am trying to drive here is something very different. Ofcourse I want to excel, but I don’t want to murder my personal life for that. Its anyway dying, the social angle to it is injured, and I am trying hard to resuscitate it all.
Reforms are slow and painful. They need to gather pace, gather that required momentum before that feeling of guilt goes off, which means that most importantly it has to start.
I had a bad toothache for almost half-an-hour at any random hour during the day for the past a week or so. To understand a toothache you have to feel it! Its killing nothing less. Popping proxyvons might not be the best of the things to do. So I decided to see a doc. I planned to see a doc on Thursday, and I planned this on Sunday. Now any bright brain would ask a question here, a painful toothache, and you go to a doc on Thursday? And why not on Monday itself, that too just in case Sunday is completely over. The simple answer is – we didn’t get tickets for any movie on Monday. Tuesday, I was busy and Wednesday Sumi di was busy. And I had to meet Sumi di. After all, she is my cousin, a close relation in Bangalore, who I hardly meet. I want to meet her more often.
So we got tickets for the 1905h show in PVR classic cinemas. I booked the tickets online. Well on someone else’s expense, and that someone else does not even know about it. Haha! She will get a shock when she comes to know of it. Yo, one of my best friends and bank. She as a good deed once gave me her card details as I had to book my air-tickets and she didn’t have access to net. And since then she has been cursing that moment, the planetary positions and the astral details of that dark moment in her life. The only thing going for her this moment is the expiration date of her credit card, its next month.
Ok, so I had to leave office early too. Six would have been too late, and the only other option was four. (Buses are at six after four from office). But wasn’t four too early, yes it was. So, we could adjust an appointment with the dentist here.
I met the dentist’s daughter at five. My dentist wasn’t at work just that chosen day. She said he had some urgent engagement today itself, otherwise he is always found at his clinic every day at this time. Wow! What luck Anumeha Ajay! So I have sometime to spare now. I go and sit in the Reliance webworld at the forum mall and get back to orkut after 7 long days. There is good number of scraps, and I am determined to reply to them all, and some more. I do my orkut, and my yahoo and leave.
I buy tickets for two sweet cheapsters from my office, meet Sumi di in a while and go for the movie – ‘Just Married’. Movie was a sweet surprise, as I didn’t expect anything from Fardeen Khan and Esha Deol. I was going there for the heck of watching a movie, Sumo had already seen all the nice ones playing there. The only element of hope was Meghna Gulzar, after all she would not have got her genes from nowhere. I think expectations play a crucial part in your liking and disliking for a movie. With zero expectations, this movie sure came out very good. Lead pair didn't disappoint too much. Nice, sweet and clean. We ate and drank through the movie and after that also.
Had a nice day, and marked the starting of the reform. Hope the good times continue!