Sep 29, 2008

A Leaf From The Book of Fates

They say that just before you die your whole life flashes past by you in a moment. I wonder if that’s what happened to Santosh, the 9 year old boy who ran with the ill fated bag that ended his short life and caused mayhem yet again in this city that is already scarred with wounds that are scarcely two weeks old. I can’t imagine how it is to be actually to be affected by these blasts except that when I read about this child running behind the misdoers with the very weapon of his own death it was heartbreaking. Is this how God had decided his end would be like? Or did he choose it for himself some other lifetime? Last evening while walking through Green Park Market Batty Woman and I decided that in his next lifetime this little boy will get all the happiness and riches of the world to make up for the life he has been deprived of in the most cruel manner. I couldn’t find any other way to justify the killing of this innocent little boy and the innocent victims of these blasts. We tried reasoning about the greater cause the so called messengers keep talking about. Apparently this punishment for being non believers, for living the unholy life we live.

And no we are not more civilised or humane and that I see disparity everywhere and that members of my community have given a cold shoulder to the Muslims and we cannot deny that but then who is to be blamed for it? I read this article in the newspaper about a professor who had to shift her house from Gulmohur Park to Jamia Nagar cos she taught in Jamia Islamia University. A torturous 10 month old house hunt proved to be futile as no land lord was willing to rent out the house to her and those who agreed to it would get out of the deal on the pretext of some excuse or the other the most ridiculous of them being that they only wanted vegetarian tenants. She was a muslim and there was precious little she could say to an explanation of such kind. Finally she had to move into Jamia Nagar that has a population of 98 % muslims and even then the basic amenities in the area are below average and there is a marked difference between the state of the roads and administration there and its neighbouring localities. The Muslim locality is shabbier, crowded, has this forlorn look while New Friends Colony relatively newer and bigger.

Now tell me if this is what one is subjected to after having being a loyal and proud citizen of the country after having spent 5 decades in the country then what would come about in a child who has been born and brought in such an environment and seen the difference in treatment since he attained consciousness. I don’t believe that this is a recent happening, these feelings haven’t cropped up all of a sudden after 9/11. I feel they have always co existed and we choose to be blind to it living in happy oblivion in our own almost make believe worlds. We can’t ever pin point exactly what went wrong but clearly we have gone wrong, all of us belonging to different religions and communities, all these teachings are erroneous somewhere cos all of us are bleeding. Wonder where such hatred came into us that we don’t think twice about killing our own kith and kin.

I read about the lynching about the CEO by the factory workers of his own company, I hear about Khairlanji killings where a whole family is wiped out because they belonged to the Backward Castes and dared to dream about a better life. I read about incidents in Pakistan where women are stoned to death cos they dared to commit adultery, or women being sentenced to rape cos their younger brother stole apples from the village headman’s house. I see reports on TV about couples in Israel and Palestine being murdered by their families cos they dared to fall in love with each other belonging to different religions. I wonder what is this world I am born in. I wonder about the Book of Fates and what it has written in it. They say we make our own destiny but now I am increasingly believing that no maybe we don’t, its all in the stars, in the cursed or blessed Book of Fates. How else could one be having the happiest moment of their lives while others are being shredded into bits not very far away. Here someone is planning their lavish wedding while there a young bride to be is blown away, never to be seen again, the henna in her hands still dark orange from the festivities of the evening before. A husband goes out to buy vegetables from the vendor in the neighbourhood market and never returns home. Your daughter is going out with your grandchildren for a walk down the road and you don’t even know that when she hugs you before leaving is the last time you’ll ever see her alive.

It is fate, isn’t it? It was their fate. They never wrote it themselves and I am not writing my own fate either , nor is God. Its is one of us who is writing my fate and I am terrified cos I am not infallible, how can he be so? I am at his mercy and there is nothing I can do. One of these days someone will decide to play god with my life just like he did with the others and this time it’ll be you or me that’ll be the victim. What then?

Sep 25, 2008

Of first impressions and friendships

Did I ever tell you about the first time I met She? She was in a lime yellow salwar kameez and her long hair tied in a plait along with Motu Boy as they came to greet the First Yearites or rather just to get a feeler on how the Freshers were. They came and asked us questions like “ so how many people from Delhi in this class?” and a couple of hands went up and when Motu very loudly asked in Bengali “ And many people from Kolkata?” the majority put up their hands. Sigh! That first day in college the places where one came from and the schools one studied in were so significant. When I look around and note the number of friends I am surrounded with and still close to after having gone through our very own ups and downs as friends over the years it hits me that darn we have come such a long long way. My first impression of She was darn this senior is really friendly and sounds righteous too, the kinds who'd disapprove of the likes of me. Besides she seemed to carry the “ I am from Delhi” tag and I couldn’t ever relate to the city centric identity until I came to know her from very close quarters and now I know exactly from where it came from.

Motu and I come from the same city but I wouldn’t have been too friendly with a senior because he was still from La Martiniere and in the school circle they were considered to be the biggest snobs more so cos we also considered ourselves to be snoots of the highest order and I was pleasantly surprised to meet a guy who was so down to earth and who did not have Martinian written all over him. Though yes he’d still tease me incessantly declaring how his school is the best one and make fun of mine even today.

I wouldn’t have been friends with Fino and Red Head too if I hadn’t shed my initial inhibitions about only sticking with those first week pals in college. And they always seemed to be way cooler, you know the “these girls are different” feeling that one gets. ;-) Red Head and Fido Dido carried the “Doon” and “ Sanawar” placards respectively besides having “We are from BOARDING SCHOOL and so we have seen more of the world and so we are way cooler than you ” written all over them heheheh! Fino never had any of these tags, or did she? Miss Balanced maybe. Later when I became firm friends with Red Head and Fino we’d laugh on what we thought the other was and how it turned out to be eventually.

I was “Miss I am lost little girl” and on my forehead in big bold letters was written “I am so much in love with Fido Dido” or after a couple of months it changed to “People I am heartbroken” . Bloody rubbish. I so revelled in self pity. Nobody would have wanted to hang around with me then considering the fact that half my time was spent moping around and shedding buckets and buckets of tears.

I never speak about Miss Touch Me Not . I remember her sitting on the railing of her terrace as the rest of the clan practiced for the Adam and Eve dance. She seemed untouchable, distant. The kinds who’d freeze in an instance if rubbed the wrong way. I use to be terrified of even carrying on a conversation with her lest I angered her. How times change. Now I am always one of the first people she confides in.

I think of Akku and I remember how appealing and vivacious she was when she came to Red Head’s place and giggled over everything and anything. She’d gotten me the prettiest bouquet of pink flowers on my birthday. On our second meeting we were dancing on the Boom soundtrack all day and by evening we were head banging at Thousand Oaks. We sealed the deal that day way back then and somehow have always kept in touch constantly without fail.

Fido Dido as I mentioned before was the public school types and everytime you passed by him or he crossed you one would hear DOSCO DOSCO DOSCO! Heheh! I remember the first day of class and how each one of us had gotten up introducing ourselves and when his turn came he gets up and says in the haughtiest manner that he is from Doon School. I thought well I really don’t like snooty guys from Doon who act as if the rest of us from day schools are inferior, only to fall for him and to start seeing him a week later. Almost a decade down the line Fido Dido and I are friends, true friends and it does seem unbelievable sometimes.

I met Batty Woman for the first time the last day of exams in our First Year of Law School. Everyone was elated and relieved that it was over Law of Contracts being the last paper. I hadn’t bothered studying for it cos I hated the very sight of that book. I knew I was gonna flunk this paper and had to give it again. I was grumpy and down in the dumps. Red Head followed me to my house cos she knew I’d been crying and compelled me to come out partying with her and Fino and a couple of Fino’s friends from her hostel. Batty Woman was one of them. I was so disgruntled that evening and the sight of happy people who gave their Contracts exam properly wasn’t helping my cause. Batty Woman was excited and giggly and on hind sight sweetly jumpy and danced moving her head and her long black hair in a rhythmic pace just as she does now. I sat and made faces at all of them all evening as they got tipsy turvy. Hahahah!A year later we bonded over one silly movie after the other and have always managed to find each other despite having shifted courses, jobs and cities.

This post would be incomplete without mentioning SMM. I have known her since we were 12 years old. We use to travel by the same school bus and lived in the same defence colony. She was a gangly specy pre teenager and I was the plump specy pre teenager. I thought she was the outspoken kinds and I was the quiet types. Yes but we did ogle at the cute guys in the colony together.;-) However we were acquaintances more than friends. We’d play together in the evenings once in a while but we lead different lives with different sets of friends. We weren’t in touch for a couple of years which is so predictable both of us coming from Defence backgrounds but landed up in the same college. 5 years spent there in the same city in vicinity of each other and we must have exchanged a couple of sentences until we bumped into each other in Delhi rather we bumped into each other’s blogs and here we are. I can smugly say that without our blogging we wouldn’t have been thick friends. Don’t you think so Sup? :D

First impressions aren’t necessarily the last ones and I have ended up befriending or being befriended by the last people I ever thought I People whom I have stumbled upon just by chance and struck close ties with and it never ceases to amaze me that the lengths we’d go to keep these ties secure, time and distance barriers are bypassed with ease, misunderstandings and fights pale in comparison to the wondrous times shared with these friends of mine. By the end of it none of this made any difference as we learnt how to look beyond the superficialities and as you scratch the surface you realise we are way more similar than different. Similar things make us happy, we go through the same trials and tribulations in different ways and hell we can relate to each other even after all these years of having chosen different paths and we'd still be this one bunch of shiny happy people like we were and still are.

It’s easy when you don’t try
Going on first impressions
You’ve seen me at my worst
And it won’t be the last time I’m down there
Read me like a book
That’s fallen down between your knees
I want you to know I feel completely at ease.

Sep 20, 2008

And I get lost every now and then ...

We got lost the other night. Batty Woman and I, we were on our way back from Mr. Eccentric’s engagement from the Airforce Station at Dhaula Kuan. I had thought I wouldn’t go for it cos it was gonna be a close family affair and I was surprised that he insisted I come just when I made up my mind that maybe I should give it a rain check what with the rain gods deciding to be overtly gracious and Dhaula Kuan seeming to be too far. But when he said “ No girl, this isn’t done. You have to come. You could get somebody along.” I changed my mind and who would possibly come with me but Batty Woman? We are almost inseparable and tis gonna be quite odd not having someone to do everything with you all the time. It was almost 6 in the evening when we realised we have an engagement to attend at 7:30 and we realised we don’t have suitable attire for it. I mean yeah I have some 30 pairs of salwar kameezes but thats all office wear and come to think of it in the recent years I haven’t been attending too many nuptials and I am not a Punjaabi whose wardrobe is perennially well equipped to handle weddings and the likes of it. I mean we do know how famous Punjabbi weddings are and the pomp and splendour that have come to be synonymous with it. After a lot of mixing and matching we settled down for pretty kurtas and jeans and I know it sounds so ill suited for the occasion but one has to realise that it was pouring buckets that evening and we had to drive down half the way across the city. We found our way to the Airforce Station all thanks to Funny Boy who directed us all the way from South Ex to Dhaula Kuan. We reached the venue only to be told by Mr. Eccentric hadn’t reached as yet and he had also specified that nobody I knew would be there. We smoked a cigarette in the car, spoke on the phone to Red Head for a bit until we decided to take the final plunge thinking how the hell does it matter, we are gonna go in and help ourselves to a drink and some food. Thats exactly what we did. We ate Veg Canapes, tikkas, chilly chicken and other delicious starters. Batty Woman couldn’t have enough of those tiny canapés filled with some stuffing made of baby corn and mushrooms. We gorged on the snacks and after the initial hesitation of not wanting to be the only women seen at the bar we shed all our inhibitions and asked for drinks from the bartender one after the other. There were so many of my clan around. I whispered to Batty Woman that if and when I do get married you’d find similar extended family for my wedding too. I could hear them talk in my mother tongue and I’d keep my mouth shut not wanting them to realise our origins are the same. Me thinks Batty Woman was secretly planning her own wedding to the Giant but she’d never agree to the same.

I did get a teeny meeny bit tipsy but it was evident only to Batty Woman cos we lost our way back home and had to call up Funny Boy again and she gave it off to me saying if not fro my drunkenness we would have been back home earlier cos I was supposed to know the way. So I come back home and as customary of me I don’t talk. When I am pissed I don’t talk. I am silent. Thats me. I can keep on being cordial as if everything is the way it should be yet be cold and people who know me well would figure there is something wrong with me. I know I probably shouldn’t have had as many drinks as I did but I’d thought the way back home wouldn’t be as much of a puzzle it turned out to be. We had a teeny meeny tiff when Batty Woman tried to talk to me and I said we’ll be fine tomorrow in the morning but then I so love her for wanting to talk this out cos I am not too good at sorting things out verbally. I always hope that things fall into place and many a times they don’t, they just don’t. Sometimes I do question if I gave up too easily with certain people in my life, if I should have been persuasive and spoken things out aloud. It is not that I don’t voice my concerns at all. I do try to talk it straight but sometimes I think it is so useless. Anyways we had a tearful reunion in her loo and next day in the morning we were so embarrassed at ourselves, to have reacted as melodramatically as we did. Sigh! I am embarrassed even writing about it right now. Think we just need an excuse to shed some tears.

I was sulking for the silliest of reasons last week sometime and I heard just what I needed to hear when someone said “ You are gonna be sitting around, looking for answers even when you are 55 years old cos you’ll never hear what you wanna hear. It has been one whole year now P, face it ___ neva loved you and that is the truth. Nobody will live up to his picture in your mind and you’ll keep comparing every man to him. There isn’t gonna be someone identical like him but there will be somebody different.” That was so true. I am merry and chirpy for days altogether until one hint of S in a conversation or some friend will bump into him somewhere and call me up and relate the conversation to me and there I am back again, down in the dumps. Wish I wasn’t a love sick looney hehehe! We had this “what if” conversation last evening while gallivanting through M Block market and Batty Woman and I tried to imagine what life would have been if we hadn’t taken the decisions we chose to take. We would have been in different places leading different lives and it struck us that damn no we love where we are today and wouldn’t want it any other way.Besides right now I like the way my life is shaping out, I like the bend in the road though I have no idea what is it gonna be right around the corner. It is gonna be a lot of fun, yup I am sure it is.

Sep 16, 2008

We'll meet someday far away...

Just so you know, there's a space that only you can fill.
Just so you know that I loved you then, I guess I always will.

Sep 15, 2008

To be or not to be

She had been planning it for months now. The exact moment when it would all end. The play would have an ending never seen or heard before. The last scene when the female protagonist consumes the vial of poison, well that would be the last time they saw her on this stage called life. The plan was executed like clockwork .The curtains fell and arose a minute later for the credits. A tiny little hitch in the plan. As the audience arose floored by her brilliant performance she chose to be alive to hear the thunderous roar of clapping. You have the choice to be or not to be. She chose to be.

Sep 9, 2008

A Mish Mash of Thoughts

I woke up with the mother of all headaches this morning because in my sleep induced state I had banged my head on the bathroom door. I have been a little cranky and have been worrying myself to bits wondering how am I gonna managing in the new city with just one month’s salary in my kitty as of now. Sigh! I wish I had a huge bank balance and did not have to borrow from my folks for the deposit. Every now and then I realise that I have this huge credit card bill to be paid and a million other expenses to be borne and after the initial euphoria of a new job has faded away all I am left with is a list of expenses that shall be looming larger than life very soon. But I also tell myself that no there are lessons to be learnt from these and that I won’t ever be in such a situation again and I am gonna pay all the bills off and be debt free in the near future. I have a vague idea on how I am gonna be going about this but I wonder how this no drinking and no socialising plan will eventually be implemented. Also cos it has to and there is no way out of this unless I take sabbatical from socialising for a couple of months. 

Friday night I went over to Supriya and Arjun’s place and what a lovely evening it was complete with good company, delicious food and drama too in the form of a storm that lashed out in the middle of the night and resulted in a power cut for the rest of the night. Sup and I had happily gone off to sleep in her bedroom while poor Arjun ( after spending almost half an hour in the rain trying to clean up the terrace so that it wouldn’t leak) had been sent down cos he insisted on reading. We came down like two lost kids an hour later whining about the electricity and that we wanna sleep in the living room too cos the bedroom was a furnace hehehe!

I was alone this weekend at Batty Woman’s place cos she left for her Happy Hunting Grounds leaving me as the caretaker of her house and it was bliss. I slept lots and lots. Think I am making up for over a year of sleep depravity. I saw a couple of movies which even a few of months back I wouldn’t have had the patience to sit through. I saw this Spanish movie called “ The Hidden” and it was supposedly a thriller but turned out to be more of a romantic drama and I wasn’t impressed at all. Not that I am an authority on European Cinema but I think we could definitely have done a better job of it considering the plot was quite intriguing. This other movie I quite liked was a French romantic comedy called “ Priceless” and it was such a charming take on gold diggers. I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a Hindi remake knowing Bollywood’s penchant of borrowing ideas a little too often.

I also read this delightful book called “ The Joy Luck Club”. It was a birthday gift, along with the Compulsive Confessor’s “ You Are Here” . I finished You Are Here in 2 hours. It wasn’t any different from the Chick Lit being dished out by the American and English authors except for the fact that it was based in Delhi and I would squeal when she mentioned TC or any other well known joint in the city. Am I being too harsh? Cos I have been a fan of her writing skills and she does have a way of making her life sound oh so exciting or in short she does have a way with words and I have to give her credit for that.

Oh and I have to mention our shopping escapade at Sarojini Nagar the other day. It was Batty Woman, Erin and I and Erin being a foreigner the shop keepers tend to quote higher prices but she is a smart one. She’d make Batty Woman and I pick up stuff for her instead of haggling with the shopkeepers herself. I don’t know why but both these women love rummaging through heaps and heaps of clothes and get a magical thrill when they find something pretty and buyable like the purple chequed shorts or the fuchsia top. They hopped, skipped and jumped from one pile to the other until they came across this one shopkeeper who was selling his wares for 20 bucks. I couldn’t believe my ears. I too started looking over cos 20 bucks is absurd right. Jokingly I said “ What if I bargain with the shopkeeper and ask him to sell it for 10 bucks instead?” Erin says “ P__please I’ll pay you 10 bucks extra. Don’t haggle with this poor man.”I was kidding as you would expect and burst into a fit a giggles.

A passing thought but sometimes when I am alone crossing the road at night, or listening to some inane punjabbi song on my phone in the rickshaw on the way to office, or just driving around with She in her car and listening to "Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh”,I can’t believe it that I am actually going away. That I won’t be around to see this city change its colours as October dances into November, that I actually shifted out of the home I shared with Raddy and we’ll never live together again, that I did not wish S today despite knowing tis his birthday and we would have been the bestest friends for a whole year today if he had still been in my life. Somehow I can’t get myself to believe that this is it, the end of this kaleidoscopic journey.

Sep 4, 2008

These are some of my much loved quotes

SMM tagged me and this time I look forward to doing this tag since I have to list out 5 of my favouritest quotes and for starters I am a very quote person and a sucker for quotes. I cannot confine myself to 5 only and I take the liberty of posting as many I like hehehe! So here it goes.

“ This too shall pass.”
The Bible

Originally from the Bible but I heard it on “ My Best Friend’s Wedding” when Julia Roberts is feeling dismal about the way she acted and the room service guy at the hotel tells her that his grandma always told him that “ This too shall pass.” I don’t know why this line stuck on in my head but it has and when life seems unbearable and I hit rock bottom I remind myself the same.

We wait all these years to find someone who understands us, I thought, someone who accepts us as we are, someone with a wizard's power to melt stone to sunlight, who can bring us happiness in spite of trials, who can face our dragons in the night, who can transform us into the soul we choose to be. Just yesterday I found that magical someone is the face we see in the mirror: It's us and our homemade masks .All these years and at last we met. Imagine that...."
Richard Bach
I could relate to it at 18 and can relate to it at 25. It made me feel that I should stop looking around for that elusive knight in shining armour and I need nobody but myself.

The thornbird pays its life for that one song
and the whole world stills to listen
and God, in His heaven~smiles.
As its best was bought only at the cost of great pain.
Driven to the thorn, with no knowledge of the dying to come.
But when we press the thorn to our breast,
We know........
We understand.....
And still......we do it.

Thorn Birds
Ahaan we all do it again and again and we know what the consequences can be but then do we ever learn? Naaaaa!

Sometimes you have to do what you don't like to get to where you want to be.
Tori Amos
I can swear by this and I have believed in this to get where I want to and I am still getting there.

“If they keep crashing stuff into the moon, the moon's gonna get pissed off, and the tides'll change, and all the women'll start PMS-ing together. Then you guys are going to fucking regret it.”
Tori Amos
Oh this was plain funny. I love to spout this quote every now and then to my guy friends and see their reaction. :D

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Mark Twain
I don’t ever wanna look back and have regrets about not living life to the fullest, and not taking the chances. I don’t wanna be stuck in that make believe plastic bubble or my comfort zone as I like to call it. When the need arises I wanna be able to get out and start afresh.

The ultimate inspiration is the deadline.
Nolan Bushnell
You bet it is heheh!

It was but yesterday we met in a dream. You have sung to me in my aloneness, and I of your longings have built a tower in the sky. But now our sleep has fled and our dream is over, and it is no longer dawn. The noontide is upon us and our half waking has turned to fuller day, and we must part. If in the twilight of memory we should meet once more, we shall speak again together and you shall sing to me a deeper song. And if our hands should meet in another dream, we shall build another tower in the sky.
Khalil Gibran
Reminds me of S. Though I’ll never get to build my tower in the sky with him.

How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd

Alexander Pope
Note spotless mind. Sigh! If only.

"My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods. Time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees - my love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath - a source of little visible delight, but necessary."
Emily Bronte’s epic. These lines could well summarise the underlying feelings in the book.

“ Tell me what you love and I shall tell you who you are.”

I don’t know who said this but I remember reading this in a blog whose owner detests me now. Hmphhhh! That would be GW btw!

So that’s that. I have a 50 page word document containing quotes I like so I could truly go on and on. Don’t let me bore you. What about telling me some of your quotes? I’d love to know the quotes that inspired you. So do drop in a line. Adios!