Friday, September 21, 2007

Random Speak II...

21st September, 2007

It is time for a weekend again... not that the weekends are very exciting or happening for me... yet, I look forward to it... just to get away from the hectic office life...

Not that I don't like my office... all play and no work indeed does make Jack a dull boy... and I don't intend to be one dull woman... I do enjoy working, but something seems amiss at times...

What’s amiss? I dunno...

And I've not even tried to know...

What’s the point of cribbing about something when you already know that nothing can be done about it? Why not just accept things the way they are?

Acceptance seems so lacking in today's life... people know that cribbing wouldn't change the world, and yet they do nothing but crib... they know that the truth cannot be changed, no matter how much you manipulate it, nor can it be hidden for long, no matter how hard you try. And yet, truth is the last thing that people accept...

What am I writing this for? I dunno... Does this piece make any sense? I dunno... Is this what is called wastage of time and energy? I dunno...

But what the heck - it's my time, my website and my thoughts that I'm putting down here! Why should I even think about justifying it?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Random Speak...

20th September, 2007

My office has many attractions for me, and one of them is the view that I can catch out of the window opposite my work-station...

Lush green fields... two natural lakes shimmering side by side, some yards away... and most importantly, beautiful sunsets that can be seen only from deserted places like the one where our office is situated!

Sunset of Day 1
The sunsets are different every single day... no two sunsets are the same... the hues that fill the heavens range from red to orange to pink to purple to gray to teal.... you can actually see the skies changing colours... within a matter of two or three hours, it transforms into almost a dozen different colours!!

You can also see the sun disappearing into the horizon... a rare thing, because in a Metro like Kolkata, one doesnt usually get to see the horizon... for most of us, the sun disappears behind a jungle of concrete slabs that house our fellows...

Sunset of Day 2
Just felt like sharing these pictures with you all... I truly found these sunsets amazing, and their beauty cannot really be captured on the lenses... but I still tried! I daresay, these pictures do not portray even a quarter of the beauty of the real thing – but then, something is better than nothing!!

Sunset of Day 3
Someone commented in office, that sunsets shouldn't be pictured, or watched... sunrises should be. But I think to miss something so heavenly as this is simply a sin. And the new sunset that I watch each day tells me that I am right!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

How Those Funny Office Romances Start…!

21st August, 2007

The subject of this post will perhaps never read this, but I don’t see any reason why that should hamper the object of my writing this piece! So, here I go!

Some things happen in life which are least expected, and which hit you like a bolt from the blue… at times the resultant shock is unpleasant; at times, it is thrilling. And at yet other times, it is simply unexpected!

My tryst with this colleague of mine falls pretty much in the third category!

I took first notice of this guy when a couple of my other female colleagues were plotting his marriage with a girl somewhere, somehow known to them. The poor guy and the supposed bride were both blissfully unaware of these dark schemes, but that did not stop my colleagues from having a good laugh behind the poor guy’s back!

Soon enough, however, the “poor guy” noticed that he was being the butt of some unknown joke, and quite naturally, did some grave thinking on the matter! In doing so, he took a few facts into consideration:
a) the gang of females who laugh at him consists of only one girl who’s nearer to his age,
b) she’s supposedly single, and
c) she tries her best not to giggle so blatantly at him, and even looks a bit abashed when the others do so.

And hence, he deduced that the joke must have a better half, and that the better half must relate to this particular girl (who was quite oblivious to this reasoned decision of his)!

Poor, unlucky me… to be dragged into a matter where I had virtually no part to play!!!

The moment, however, this glorious conclusion had been reached, I found myself being given a bit of extra attention, and tentative smiles. For the first few days, I merely looked my confusion. What had happened all of a sudden, to make me worthy of such exclusive gestures? What did I do? And then, the realization of his glorious conclusion hit me!

I did not have a clue about how to convey the real situation to him. Confused and flabbergasted beyond all measures, I resorted to ignoring his tentative gestures. This time it was his turn to be confused. He had, apparently, confidently assumed his conclusions to be true. Hence my flat refusal to acknowledge his gestures confused him for a good measure – if I was interested, then why did I not show it even when he was encouraging me?!

In the mean time, I tried informing my female colleagues about the plan going all awry, and before I knew what had hit me, the joke had turned on me and him! The guy, unnaturally sharp that he is in such matters, noticed me blush and look extremely abashed more than once while my colleagues were having a gala time at our cost, and his assumptions turned to belief!

However, since there were no acknowledgements yet from my side, his gestures gradually reduced, and finally came to naught. But it seemed to me that our eyes were (and still are) invariably drawn to each other! On countless occasions have I spotted his eyes on me, and many a times I do take to returning the stare as well. I can’t deny that my eyes also do go looking for him, for no apparent reason! I also can’t deny the fact that I do enjoy those occasional run-in’s with him, or that I too flirt with him if I get the chance!!!

Quite obviously, such things don’t go unnoticed, do they?! Especially not when there is a good measure of jokes and talk already going on in this matter!

I know the two of us don’t mean a thing to each other. I’m sure we both know we aren’t right for each other. I can bet none of us are looking to start anything more than a fling. Truth is, we don’t even like each other. And the bigger truth is that at this age, we are still falling prey to “puppy loves”!

If you care to analyse the episode, the whole of it actually began because the good natured humour of my colleagues instigated it! Where there was nothing, a whole story was made out and a whole new sentiment was implicated. And that made all the difference! Because people talked about us, we took notice of each other, and because we started taking notice of each other, people got talking!

Now you know, my dear readers, how exactly do funny rumours start in the office, and end up becoming true stories! How ironical, ain’t it!!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Random Ramblings Again…

7th August, 2007

I have fallen into one of those bouts of depression again. And alarmingly, this has been the longest in the past few years… I behave normally with everyone, laugh and joke and do all that I’m supposed to do, and yet, a thick, dark cloud gathers in the corner of my mind… a cloud full of sparkling, shimmering tear drops…

But those tears are hidden from all… because if they spill, thousands of questions will besiege me. What are these tears for? What has upset me? Which dream of mine is shattered?

And I will have no answer…

How do I explain the hopelessness that shrouds my mind every now and then? How do I tell them about the aimless wanderings of my heart? How do I possibly make them imagine that happiness is what is missing in my life?

To the eyes of the commoner, I should be a very happy young woman!

But I am not… I do not have what my heart desires the most, I cannot do what my heart tells me to do, I fail to comprehend the melody of the songs sung by my heart… I am a slave of the mundane practicalities of life… I have everything, and yet, I have nothing.

And so, down my cheeks do the teardrops roll – silent, discreet, covert, afraid of bothering the world…

Sometimes I long for a companion, who’ll let me cry without question… who’ll take me in his arms, and instead of wiping my tears away, will let them flow… so that the tears can finally wash away the sadness that grips my heart…

Sometimes I long for a companion, who’ll not question my sadness… who’ll delve into the depths of my sadness and not into the supposed reason behind it… who’ll understand that the only way to slay the sadness in me is to make me truly happy and content…

Sometimes I long for a companion, who’ll not seek to kiss away my troubles, but will help me listen to my heart, so that the troubles go away on their own…

Sometimes I long for a companion who’ll give me the fulfillment of love…

But such a companion doesn’t exist in this mundane world of practicalities, does he? It is but a mere shadow and a thought that I am chasing… a wild dream…

Which really means that I am doomed to my sadness and tears forever… there is no escape, no ending, no silver lining to the dark clouds that gather in the corner of my mind, no bright light at the end of the dark tunnel, no first rays of the sun at dawn to look forward to after a long, lonely night…

The misery will go on till it consumes me, and the long, lonely night of sorrow will never give way to the pink dawn of happiness…

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: An Experience

27th July, 2007

[Spoiler Alert: Plot Details Follow! Please don’t read if you don’t want them revealed!]

When I first got my hands on the book, there seemed to be a magnetic personality inside it – I just could not take my eyes off it, and I was dying to start reading it!

Once I started reading it, I could not stop! I forgot hunger, thirst, rest… I even refused to answer nature’s call! At that moment, I was irresistibly reminded of a dialogue of Ron’s in the Chamber of Secrets – there are books which are jinxed, so that once you start reading them, you just can’t stop!!!

Stuck in pretty much a similar situation, I was wondering if JKR has a Magic Quill, or an Elder wand with which she jinxes her books!

I finished the book in ten hours flat. I just could not stop, I could not resist. Dark, dangerous and painful – the journey I undertook with Harry was definitely not easy. Each death made my eyes sting, every turn of events made me breathless, and the various revelations through the book made me gasp.

Hedwig. I never, ever thought Harry would have to lose her. The pretty snowy wise owl who’d been with him through thick and thin during all these years! She was so much a part of the journey that her absence pricked…

Remus and Tonks… right after the birth of their son… leaving only young Harry to look after the child as his Godfather. That brought tears to my eyes. But, when I think, perhaps Harry will indeed be the best Godfather for Teddy Lupin – being an orphan himself, I’m sure he’ll never let Teddy feel the same way.

I definitely did not think Fred Weasley would leave us all – how could the boy, the one who made all of laugh, leave us with tears in our eyes? I thought we’d seen the worst when George lost his ear…

Snape. I always knew he was not with Voldemort. And somehow, it felt so unfair that he never got to prove his true loyalties. And it felt even worse to know that he died, not while saving the world from the Dark Lord, but because Voldemort did not give a damn about his followers.

A small part of me was hoping Dobby would not die. It was so pathetic that no one could do a thing, and Harry just had to watch him die, in front of his eyes. So befitting that Bellatrix Lestrange got the death she deserved, after Sirius and Dobby.

I was also hoping that Harry would keep the Elder wand and the Resurrection Stone… master of the Deathly Hallows, master of Death… Though he already is immortal in our hearts, yet, the fact that he would be immortal in JKR’s world was so desired… of course, when I truly analyse Harry’s character, it was highly unlikely that he’d keep them for himself.

Kreacher’s transformation was so welcome! I could not believe my eyes when in the penultimate scenes, Kreacher was found to be leading the house-elves of Hogwarts in the war against the Dark Lord!

And R.A.B. – somehow I always knew it’d be Regulus Black. Figured it out when I finished the Sixth Book!

The Horcruxes – Slytherin’s locket, Hufflepuff’s cup, Ravenclaw’s diadem, Tom Riddle’s diary, Marvolo’s ring, Nagini and Harry – amazing, truly amazing! And the Dark Lord could not use anything of Griffindor’s, because, of course, what better thing to destroy those Horcruxes with than the sword of Godric Griffindor! How truly extraordinary, and how very JKR! She comes up with the unthinkable, and like a skilled worksman, entwines it with the unimaginative!

Harry’s journey was tougher than one can imagine… but we, the ones who’ve also undertaken the journey with him, felt no less pain. With each of the characters passing away, I felt tears gather in my eyes. It was like losing a family member. When they dueled with the enemy, I felt my stomach clench as though my own loved ones were risking their lives.

It was a breathtaking, painstaking seven year journey that we all undertook, JKR! Thanks for this amazing experience. Just like you, we also feel so relieved that it has ended at last, and yet, sorrow overcomes us when we contemplate a life sans Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley, Hermione Granger and the whole lot of them, not to mention the amazing life of rule-bending at Hogwarts!

Could you please give us another series about James Harry Potter, Albus Severus Potter, Lily Harry Potter, Rose Ronald Weasley, Hugo Ronald Weasley, Teddy Remus Lupin, Sinclair Draco Malfoy and of course, Professor Neville Longbottom at Hogwarts? Please??? Just to make us feel that “all was well” indeed?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Been Rambling Again...

15th July, 2007

I wonder – aloud at times, silently at others…

This place, this metropolitan city, which has been my home ever since I was born, seems to cage my spirit these days. It hurts. There was a time when this jungle of hard, concrete structures used to be home to me.

But now, I call that home. That city where I’ve just spent five years of my life.

Why is it that I feel stifled in Kolkata? Why do I feel as if something is amiss? What is this strong desire to break free? Which shackles do I want to break anyway?

Pune was beauty… it brought me close to Mother Nature. Pune was freedom… I could do what I felt like. Pune was simple joys… it allowed us to live for the day.

And Kolkata?

Nature is unavailable here… there are no hills to climb in the city, no sunsets to admire by the lakes, no greenery filled temples to go to…

Freedom is an alien word… every move is to be measured, every word is to be weighed, every action is expected to take into account the equal and opposite reaction…

Joys, if any, are no longer simple…

Sometimes aloud, silently at times – I wonder… What is it that I’ve lost? What is it that I am searching for? What is it that makes my heart ache?

I’m with my family, my loved ones. I’m working in one of India’s biggest, richest, most famous brands. I’ve good colleagues and a superb boss. I’m earning a handsome amount. I’m planning for my future – house, car and all the luxuries that one can think of… and yet, I am unhappy?!

When I sit and ponder, I feel I’ve lost the one thing that is the most important of all. The one thing, without which everything tastes bland – love.

Pune taught me how to love with unrestrained passion. Something which Kolkata never has, and never will allow me to do. There are so many things to think about – love simply does not find a place among them.

I wonder – silently at times, aloud at others…

In today’s life, true love is naught but a compromise. It is just a give-n-take relationship, where both lose something to gain something – a business deal. Marriages are not made in Heaven any longer. They’re made right here, for considerations like money, status, and so many other things. “The boy is well-settled, and he’s the only son – there’s no harm in going out once. If you don’t like him, we’ll search for someone else!” If that someone else doesn’t suit you, then there’ll be a second someone else, then a third and a fourth and a fifth… some will be well-settled in the US, some will have rich parents, some will have some other plus point… what they all will be lacking is “love”.

To put an end to the relationship with the man of my choice was my decision. I did so to make my family happy, and his too. But from where I’m standing today, I feel I had murdered my own happiness. I throttled my dreams and my hopes with my own hands.

And that’s what I miss today – that love, companionship, happiness… something that, I know, will never come back to me… As much as I cry, as much as I scream my lungs out to ask him, “Come back… Please come back…” I know he will not. And nor will all the things that, once upon a time, used to make my day.

I’ll continue to lead the rest of my life in this cage. I’ll never get what I’m searching for. Because true love happens only once in life, when you are not too busy counting your profits… And if you lose it once, it never comes back.

Such is the price we pay for not listening to our hearts…

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Letter… A Short Story

Dear Somesh,

For quite sometime now, I’ve been debating with myself. Should I bare my heart to you? Or should I keep it to myself, all that I want you to know? You always endorse following the heart, don’t you? So here you go – I’m following my heart, and writing to you.

You already know I want to talk about that night of passion we shared, don’t you? Good – I can skip the painful introductions…

I had so much to tell you that night. At every stage, at every point, I wanted to speak my mind out, but I bit those words back… Frankly, it is not at all clear to me too why I chose silence. Maybe I should actually have spoken.

Nevertheless, better late than never.

There is something that I’ve always wanted to ask you. What is it exactly that you feel for me? Your feelings for me have confused me for long. Would you term it as love? Or is it just a weakness, or maybe a soft corner? Or is it a mere physical desire? You mentioned that night, “its not just sex”. Then what is it really? You meant you feel something special for me. What is it that you feel?

I could sense you emanating a pulsing desire for me. I knew it was coming ever since you had started inching closer to me, and Heaven knows I was feeling as helpless as a kitten at that time. Possibly you’ve never realized, but at times like this, when you feel that “something special” for me, your body language, your way of speaking to me, your way of looking at me – everything changes. Your voice oozes love, and you talk to me as if you want to engulf me in your arms. If I can feel it from your voice, can you imagine how strong those vibes must be?!

You were right in a way – I couldn’t sleep because of you. Those strong vibes emanating from your persona were actually forcing me to keep awake. You were snuggling into my shoulder, wrapping your arm around my waist, entwining your legs with mine – I could not really have slept, could I? I was feeling the slow but certain progress, but I just could not understand how to dam it.

I did try to hold myself back. I stopped you once. But your dismayed, pained withdrawal pierced my heart. You will not understand why I feel bad whenever I rebuff you and your advances. You perhaps don’t even believe that I do feel bad while doing such things. But the truth is that I’m not made of stone.

I count very few people as my friends – and those whom I do count as friends, mean a lot to me. I love my friends a lot. As I’ve told you earlier, and I’m telling you again – I count you as a friend.

Nobody likes hurting or disappointing a person he/she loves. If your beloved best friend asks for something, and you can’t give it to him, you won’t be feeling too happy about it, will you? I too don’t feel like denying you what you want. It hurts me to hurt you again and again.

To add to my woes, you felt that sleeping on different beds would be the best solution. Was that your idea of tying to make me feel better? Honestly, I felt it was your way of striking an open wound. I was already feeling terrible about having pushed you away so mercilessly, and your actions suggested that you feel I don’t trust you!

I wondered, and I still do: why did you want to make love to me that night? “It’s not just about sex. It’s the way I am feeling about you right now.” I so wanted to ask you, “What is it that you feel for me?” For you have told me earlier that you don’t “love” me. Then what is it that you feel for me that makes you want to make love to me?

I have always felt that you never wanted a “one-night-stand” with me. You desired much, much more – and something much more lasting.

But you knew that we don’t have a future together. Was it because of this knowledge that you wanted this to be a one-night-stand? You did not answer that question. All you said was that at times, we should just listen to our hearts, and not seek answers to everything. And that “it’s not just about sex”.

When you asked my permission the second time to go ahead, I could only tell you not to have any further expectations. I could not stop you. I did not have the heart to deny that permission. For once, I really wanted to make you happy. Remember you asked if I was letting you have your way with me only because you wanted it? To a certain extent, it was actually because of your desires that I gave in, but to a certain extent it was for me too.

I am happily in love with someone else, and you know that. Of course, I wouldn’t want to have a relationship, or even a one-night-stand, with anyone else. But I gave in to you, and I allowed you to have me for the night, even though I knew I would never be able to enjoy it. And I don’t feel guilty about it. Do you know why?

Let’s go back to the example of your beloved best friend asking for something from you, which you can’t give him. What is the next best thing that you will do for him? You’ll try to make it up by doing something else, or giving something else to him, just to make him feel somewhat better.

That one night of passion was the next best thing that I could offer you.

It is after all a man’s love that makes a woman beautiful. And as much as it may hurt you, I’m beautiful because of Armaan. You know that.

Your friend,

Sunday, July 08, 2007

“Kid”- ish Blues!!!

08th July, 2007

“You look so kiddish!”, “You just don’t look your age!”, “I can’t believe you are that old!” – I am pretty used to hearing such comments from people around. (I refuse to take it as a compliment; you’ll understand why if you read any further) And quite obviously, I hate it! Try as I might, I just don’t seem to crack my “baby” image… so much so, that my office colleagues openly address me by pet names commonly given to babies, and my boss calls me her “bachcha” [which means “baby”]! What’s more, there are two more colleagues of mine who are of the same age as I am, and yet, it is only me who is subjected to this ignominy!

Let me relate a few recent events which have made me squirm and blush madly, and which have prompted me to write this, to my readers here!

Thanks to the non-stop rains that had submerged Kolkata in the past week, and the water-logged streets that I had to wade through on my way to office, I’d been wearing a short skirt to office. Once I reached, I’d change into my usual trousers. All this, I tried my best to accomplish without getting noticed by my colleagues! Unfortunately, I never quite achieved it!

The worst was the day a colleague of mine and I entered office together, but he didn’t acknowledge me. Later, he apologized by saying, “Oh, I was wondering who this little girl is! I really didn’t recognize you!”

A session at the beauty salon was long overdue, and the first chance I got was well utilized towards the same! The Salon that I usually visit is the most famous in our locality, and does a lot of Bridal make-up. And this is the season of marriages in Kolkata. Quite naturally, the “brides” get the first preference, while customers like yours truly have to wait patiently for their turn to come! Hence, what usually takes me three hours at the Salon, took five long hours that day!

Now, the quiet person that I am, I chose not to complain and patiently make do with the slow service that I was getting, with a smile. After about four hours, one beautician (the one who had ushered me in) suddenly realized that I was still at the Salon. She exclaimed, “Arre, yeh bachchi to subah ke dus baje se aayi huyi hai! Khaana bhi nahi khaaya hoga isne! Jaao, kuchh le aao is ke liye! ” [Arre, this little girl has been here since ten in the morning! She’s not even had lunch, I’m sure! Go, get something for her!]

Within seconds, the entire Salon was busy pampering me, getting me something to eat, something to drink, something to fill my supposedly hungry stomach! And soon, there was a plate of chocolate cream biscuits and a bottle of Pepsi in front of me! All the other customers, including the Brides and the other customers who were also waiting for their turns, turned to look at me, surely wondering whether I was the daughter of a premium customer or of a VIP (surely they could not be thinking that I was either, because I “don’t look my age”, remember?!)

I was squirming with embarrassment. It took me another hour to get out of there, and within that hour, I was nearly force-fed the biscuits (by repeated questions about why I was not eating, and if I wanted a different flavor!), had been urged to eat a few more biscuits at least five times, and was asked ten times whether my hunger’s been satisfied!!! And all because, I, according to them, was a “little girl” who should not (or cannot) stay hungry and thirsty!

What a sticky and awkward situation!!!

People spend so much time and money trying out the many tips on “how to look younger”. I wish someone would tell me “how to look older”!!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Some Anecdotes…

28th May, 2007

Myriad experiences await us in our daily life, be it in our school, college or office. Each of us come across some strange situations, some weird people during the course of our lives, and the strangest or the most arresting of such situations deserve to be shared…

So, I bring to you today some experiences from my real life! All these incidents occurred somewhere between April and May 2007, so they are mainly related to office life.

Anecdote 1:
In Kolkata, traveling to office during peak hours can be quite a headache – much like the locals of Mumbai and the buses of Delhi, public transportation vehicles become overcrowded, and passengers nearly hang on to the vehicles for dear lives. One very common mode of traveling here is the auto rickshaw. Legally, an auto rickshaw is supposed to transport only three passengers at one go. Typically, they transport at least four commuters, and at times the number rises to six! While three people sit in the backseat, the extras are accommodated in the front seat beside the driver. It can be imagined what the situation looks like!

However, this being the common story, no one really minds, and guys and gals sit in the front seat alike without being too fussy about it.

One day, when I was coming back from office, two guys and I were sitting in the back seat of an auto. Along came a “damsel in distress”… not getting an option of choosing a comfortable back seat, she promptly asked one of the guys to shift over to the front seat!!!

Now, I happen to have a very expressive face! If I’m not carefully guarding it, my face reflects exactly what I am thinking or feeling – and this woman’s behaviour shocked me! I must have gaped at her with as much disgust as I could muster, coz the guy, before obligingly shifting over to the front seat, gave me a half-smile – as if to say, “yes, lady, such women still do exist!”

I could not help but pierce the “damsel” with an extremely sarcastic look, silently telling her, “I’m so ashamed of you”. She too must have read my expression well enough, coz the look of indignation on her face could not have been triggered by anything else!

Once upon a time, such behaviour would be condonable and in fact be deemed a common occurrence. But no working woman does it today. I have seen women in sarees sit in the front sit without batting an eyelid, because that is the order of the day, the need of the hour.

In today’s world, when Kolkata is one of the leading metros to proclaim equality between men and women, such things are indeed shameful, esp. when it comes from a woman herself. If we women cannot stop asking for such special favours, we will never be able to achieve the goal we are looking at, and men will be quite justified in saying “And then they say they are our equals…!!!”

Anecdote 2:
I always thought motherhood brings the ultimate maturity to a woman. However, this incident showed me that it’s not always true!

On my way back from office yet another evening, we were stuck in a usual traffic jam near Ultadanga. Standing right beside our auto rickshaw was a Tata Sumo, which appeared to be working as a shuttle. One of the occupants of the car was a young woman aged about 30, with her kid (he’d be two year old, at max).

The woman was comfortably sitting near the window, and she’d sandwiched the kid in between her and another commuter beside her. Quite predictably, the kid was too bothered by the heat and humidity (the car did not have the AC running) and was howling pitifully… Sitting in the auto rickshaw, I, being a bystander with no particular experience of rearing kids, was wise enough to realize that the kid should be placed near the window, so that he’d get some fresh air… His mother, however, either could not understand that, or was too selfishly reluctant to give up her own comfortable window seat.

It was, however, her next action that totally dumbfounded me. In order to pacify her son, she took out a cell phone from her purse, dialed her husband’s number, and held the phone to the poor kid’s ears, asking him to speak to his “Papa”!!!

The fellow commuter sitting beside her commented upon the same thing as I was wondering – is luring the kid with a cell phone the answer to his discomfiture? Or would it have been much better to take his fancy clothes off, and take care of his woes by simply putting him next to the window?

Anecdote 3:
A colleague of mine recently related his own sad story of heartbreak and personal loss… He’d got an opportunity of studying in a premiere institution (the same as mine, actually – that’s why he related the story!) but for taking that up, he’d have to leave Kolkata and go stay in Pune for five years.

When his then girlfriend got to know about his plans, she told him not to go away because she’d be left alone here; and upon hearing this, my colleague cancelled his plans, tore off his tickets and changed all his plans!

I was used to such stories in films and fictions… When I heard about this real incident in the life of a real person, I just could not help blurting out, “how stupid can you get?”

People might think I’m against compromises of any kind, and many of you might tell me that adjustments are necessary in all relationships. But I beg to differ. I totally agree to the first part – every relationship is based on some compromise or the other. But where this compromise comes willingly, more often than not the compromising party does not mind or regret making such a compromise. But when one party asks the other to make a compromise, in my opinion it reveals pure selfishness. The party making the compromise in such a situation, more often than not, feels deprived and neglected. He/she feels that he/she is the only one making compromises in the relationship; and when such a feeling creeps into the mind, the relationship almost always fails.

As did my colleague’s. He is not with the girl any longer.

Today, as he looks back upon those days, I’m sure he stops awhile and thinks, “what did I gain by such a compromise?”

Saturday, May 26, 2007

“A Tribute to Koushambi Layek”?!

26th May, 2007

The murder of the young TCS engineer from Dumka, Ms. Koushambi Layek, is by now known to almost all who access the net in India. But going through certain sites and reading some people’s reactions about the incident has convinced me that a lot of people around really don’t know how exactly a close friend or family member of a such a victim feels after such a devastating incident.

I think we should get our facts right first, which evidently, loads of people don’t bother to do.
a) Koushambi met Manish on a train.
b) They used Orkut only as a means of keeping in touch, as do so many others for whom the internet is much more convenient than land phones / cellular devices / letters.
c) Though Koushambi developed a relationship with Manish, she did so without knowing that he was married.
d) Once she did get to know that, she tried to break off with him, but Manish threatened her and coerced her into continuing.
e) Distraught over the way things were going, Koushambi took her family into confidence, and they too tried to talk Manish out of the thing, but to no avail.

Why Koushambi had gone to that hotel in Mumbai with Manish was a question that was shrouded in mystery for long, but reading the above, I think it appears more likely that the reason was to try and talk a way out of the relationship.

Manish has now concurred with the above, and has also confessed to killing her in her sleep, by shooting her through a pillow.

From the numerous sites that are trying to sensationalize the news unnecessarily I grasped a few things:
a) some people have absolutely no clue about what they are talking about, and why
b) some people are really muddled (or addled) in their brains, and talk absolute crap
c) some people are just talking because they don’t know how and when to keep shut
d) some people are simply using the gruesome incident as their trump card to cheap publicity, and this is the worst of all.

For example, thousands of visitors have been sending their condolence messages through Koushambi’s Orkut profile. The regular “R. I. P.” and “God bless your poor soul” type of messages apart, there are plenty of visitors who are simply making fun of the ill-fated girl and her untimely death. Do take a look at this:
hello!! how r u.... hpe u r fine .... howzz u knw who is sleepin next to uu.... pls get me his adress,,,, reply is must”

Does the guy have any humanity left in him?

And then there is this strange character who writes:
u shudn have had a relationship with a married man who has kids.. doesn speak of ur innocence.. doesn matter if ur dead or alive.. u have commited a sin too..his child will suffer more than u two…”

And to which another strange character replies:
Maheshwar. u are true. How many girls will spend a night in a hotel room who is not married to her. She too is not all that innocent. And also had multiple affairs. Its murkier. I dont have sympathy for Manish but i am sure there must be a very strong reason behind taking such a drastic step.
also they both first met in a train (face to face). Orkut just happened to be a mode of staying in touch. Dunno why Orkut is so much in news when it ws not responsible for their meeting each other.”

Those were just a few out of hundreds of such comments on her scrapbook.

Let us for a moment assume that Koushambi was indeed a girl with loose morals (though I personally don’t subscribe to that view – as per the official reports, she did not know that the guy was married when she got into the relationship, and when she finally got to know of it she tried to break off. Doesn’t show much of loose morals, does it?) Let’s assume that she was indeed sleeping around with a man married to someone else. Does that mean that if a client murders a prostitute, or a man murders his mistress, it is no crime? Does that mean that a prostitute / concubine does not have the right to live?

It appears from such comments that we have lost all humane touch in us. We’ve forgotten that what matters is that a person lost her life, and whatever be her actions, she did not deserve to die. A man has no right whatsoever to murder his concubine/prostitute too. And Koushambi was, by his own admissions, Manish’s girlfriend – not a prostitute, not a mistress, not a concubine.

Koushambi is not known to me personally. But I feel for her. And her family and close friends. I remember being in a helpless situation years ago, when a friend of mine was raped, and my roommates went on to say very emphatically that the poor girl must have had some relations / set up with the rapist! I could not do much to stop them, apart from telling them that they were sick perverts.

I know how it feels when the character of a poor victim of circumstances is mercilessly assassinated, for no fault of hers. I know how it feels to hear things like that about a victim, who’s close to you. But evidently, a large sect of the human race does not realize that.

And so they go on to assassinate the character of the girl, sensationalize it and use it for their own selfish ends. Like this woman who’s the owner of a community on Orkut which supposedly pays tribute to Koushambi and seeks to keep the news of her merciless murder alive in the minds of the public till the killer is dealt with. By her own admission, she does it all for publicity:

“I even created a community for the deceased TCS staffer Koushambi Layek. I know that is wrong, but i wan to be famous.:)”

And then there are these weird people, who don’t have any clue what they are talking about. They just don’t know what to say and how, and when to keep their mouths shut. Murders, rapes, premarital and extramarital affairs, intoxicants… they blame it on “westernization”, whatever it is! Can somebody please tell such dunderheads that even our epics, like Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc. talk about these “vices”? Or was there “too much westernization” even at the time when these were written? Honestly, I didn’t know whether to laugh or be exasperated when I read this:

are we western-ising too much... i may seem totally dweebish but is having relationships wid the opposite sex b4 marriage even in our culture...the culture that’s been going strong for 3K years is getting westernised.....though im not against westernisation.....the vices of westernisation may bring us down....drinks, cigarettes, drugs an all...and its already taking a expectin, if any, negative replies for this...but is worth talking about”

If there is any small consolation, then the above was very aptly and smartly replied to by another Orkut user:

simi (voice:
@ sunil!!!!!!!the very fact dat u r talking in english.. isnt dat westernization???? wat on earth is dis concept of westernization and dat europe or the US teaches us to booze, have premarital sex and all the stuff that we 'culturally rich' indians don’t do?????? my maid's husband comes and beats her up and has an affair with another woman..... is he westernized, or has he watched too many hollywood movies?? mr sunil, grow up!!!!! its completely and totally a person's mentality to do whatever he / she does!!! premarital sex, extramarital sex, cocaine, ganja. murder, rape...blah blah blah blah!! it does not matter if he comes from texas or taiwan!! what is so difficult in understanding that????”

Koushambi is dead. Manish cold-bloodedly murdered her, that too in her sleep, only because she refused to continue the relationship with him any longer. He shot her mercilessly, first in the neck through a pillow, to muffle the sound of the gunshot, and then again through her temple. And here we are, publicizing and sensationalizing the news unnecessarily, and causing even more distress to the poor girl’s soul by assassinating her character.

What have we come to? Where have our humanity, our morals disappeared? And why on earth are we even for a moment trying to justify Manish’s heinous crime? He not only lied to the poor girl and lured her into a relationship, he also murdered her when she found out about the truth and tried to call it off… and we are trying to support that? On what grounds?

The answer definitely eludes me…

Life After College!!

It has been a long, long time since I’ve given time to my blogging passions… Not that I did not have anything to write about – quite the contrary, really… what I did not have was the time for it. Interpreted simply and truthfully, I don’t have the time to spend on myself any longer, quite like I’d expected while leaving my Pune days behind.

Life has taken its expected turn… it has made me “the busy corporate lady” that most of us aspire to become these days… but nothing comes without a price tag these days – and I’ve paid for it with my own personal time.

I have noticed something – ever since I got placed in December ’06, my ambition has been charting the course of my life, rather than me charting the course of my ambitions… Today, I have decided to break free for once.

Right now, I have two options… a) to sit and complete my office work that would urgently be needed tomorrow, or b) to sit and do what I feel like doing right now. After ages, I chose the latter path…

Now that the introductions are over, I don’t know where to start!!! Such a lot has happened since the last time I wrote here… I have of course joined my new office, met new people there, spent some great times at home and outside with my kid bro, had a few fabulous outings with my close family members, explored a whole new city as part of my first official trip, and more or less managed to sail through even the busiest stretches of office hours!

Phew… that’s quite a lot!!

Let me deal with one thing at a time. Starting with my office – since that is the newest thing in my life as of now!

Being with India’s No. 1 real estate company does feel good, I must say – and the credit especially goes to the kind of work I’m doing! I never imagined I could enjoy myself so much with Land Laws! Apart from the work (which leaves precious little scope for anything else anyway!) there are my colleagues. Nice people! My bumpy rides in office are pretty much smoothed out thanks to a fat lot of help from them! Honestly, had it not been for them, office might not have been half as enjoyable…

My first official trip… ah! This was something I was eagerly waiting for! When I was offered a position with this company, the prime attraction of the job for me had been the fact that it was not just a desk job – I would have to go on official tours in and around the state! And boy, the first such trip came my way sooner than expected!
The Lingaraja Temple - The only place of tourist interest
that I managed to visit!!
Admittedly, Bhubaneshwar is not a new place to me – but I’d only visited the place as a tourist before this. And I believe you can’t really know a city unless you stay there as a localite – tourist attractions will always be just that, an attraction that will hold you mesmerized! But to get the real feel of a city, you need to stay there for a while, among the local people, in the local atmosphere… which is exactly what this trip provided me with! Bhubaneshwar came across to me as quite a friendly, neat and clean, albeit small, city. Did not really find much of a specialty in the city, but somehow, ended up liking it!

One time I’d remember forever in that entire trip was my last evening in the city. A colleague of mine had invited me over to his place for dinner and drinks. It was a memorable evening with him, his adorable little daughter, Sania, all of two years, and his amazing wife!

Once I got back here from Bhubaneswar, there was a very important thing that I needed to do – something I’d been neglecting ever since I’d come back home from Pune… To spend time with my loved ones!

My sweet li’l cousin bro (I call him Bhaitu) had been eagerly awaiting my homecoming so that he could spend some time with me – and a treat was definitely due to him… so I’d promised to myself that at the first opportunity I got, he would get his dues. So, an amazing outing with him and another cousin sister of mine happened! The three of us caught up with Spiderman III at Inox, and had a ball of a time there!

Next in line were his parents, my Mamu (not to be interpreted in the same sense as the one mentioned in Munna Bhai…!) and Maima – my maternal Uncle and Aunt… so the next weekend was spent having a grand family outing with Mom, Mamu, Maima, Bhaitu and Monica!

A Pic of the Sunset We Watched

We went to the Millenium Park first… I was pretty excited since this was my first visit to the Park. Ever since it had been pressed into operations, I’d wanted to go there, but predictably enough, I had no time to do so! At the Park, we witnessed a lovely sundown… the kind that holds you rapt and mesmerized, and the kind that you generally don’t get to see in the hustly-bustly jungle of concrete sky scrapers in metros…

An Illuminated Ship Silhoutted against the Evening Sky

The Floatel - First Floating Hotel of India!

Then, we moved on to the Floatel. This was my first visit to this place too... It is India's first ever floating hotel, and I must say I was quite impressed with what I saw!! The place does live up to the promise it makes, and I felt very much at “sea” there!!! And of course, the Floatel renewed my belief in the old, old saying: "What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow!"

What with the feeling of being in a ship with Cabin Crew elegantly dressed in the typical white uniforms, and the shimmering waves of water beneath us, the Floatel definitely was a hit with us!

Well, that was precisely what I’d been upto for so long… and now that I’ve penned it down, it does feel great to get back into the groove of blogging!!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Fleeting Glimpses of the Few Last Memories – Part 3

7th April, 2007

Precious Simplicity…

Simple things seem so precious now… like tonight… when my roommates and I just spent the whole night chatting with each other… Not the “gossipy” chats that girls are alleged to hold when they are alone… Right from meaningful discussions about how Mansi should go about getting a student loan for going abroad for her higher studies, to serious analysis of behavioral discrepancies of some people I know, to sympathetic consolations for Muzammil’s distraught experiences as a journalist, to funny anecdotes of our school and college days, our conversation spanned just about everything…

The funny part was that, this was not the first time that we’d spent a night talking away to glory, jumping topics like crazy, even discussing nothing in particular at times! It was just that, it was the last time that I was doing this… I knew I’ll never get to do this again… we perhaps will chat at times, we’ll keep in touch and maybe even meet up occasionally – but I know that it’ll never be the same again…

As roommates, we at times just shared innocuous, unimportant, simple, everyday life details with each other… and that actually had a charm of its own! But once we do go our own separate ways, none of us would have the time to do so… and though the friendship would stay, the charm would not be the same…

I never knew a night of chatting with roommates could mean so much to me… but now I know this night’ll remain with me forever, one of those “few last memories” cherished beyond all measures… So truly is it said, one doesn’t really realize the importance of a thing, unless he/she has to abstain from it!

8th April, 2007

Packing blues…

I always have it, and this time it’s just spilt over… packing up all the stuff that I’ve acquired in five years, bang in five days – my worst nightmare come true…

Apart from that though, there is this air of finality again… I am doing this for the last time… the last journey ever, from Pune to Kolkata…

Honestly, there are too many emotions in my heart… and it gets more and more difficult by the day to put them all in words… perhaps, some things are indeed best expressed in unspoken words!

10th April, 2007

The final dates!

God’s been granting me wishes of late. He’s made me bump into very old & long lost friends, as if to tie up all loose ends before I leave the city finally… He’s let me spend time with people whom I’d have loved to get closer, as if to make up for the lost time… He’s helped me to wipe out bitter memories, and replace them all by newer, sweeter ones…

Today’s been a day of dates with such people… lunch with Abhijeet, a person with whom I got to spend much less time than what I’d have liked to, but has managed to impress me with his unparalleled sweetness in whatever little time he’s spent with me!

Coffee with Pratima, a friend who’s been in touch with me for the past year and a half solely through cell phones and the internet (bless the technologies!), despite being in the same city!

And dinner with a very dear friend, Aakaanksha, with whom I’d completely lost touch, but in whom I’d once found my twin soul! Almost three years isolated our last meeting with this one, and yet we could bare our souls to each other as if it were just yesterday!

If I were to mark out one particular day when I garnered the maximum of those “few last memories”, it’d be today, for sure…!

11th April, 2007

The Eleventh Hour…

Gati carried away all my belongings today… to be taken back to Kolkata, to my home… I am finally going home… Why then do I feel this way? Why then do I feel as if a part of my heart has been torn away? Why then do I have this excruciating pain of leaving behind all that is too precious to me?

I don’t know… All I know is that I don’t want to leave Pune… I want to stay on here, just a li’l bit longer…

12th April, 2007

Final Adieus on the Long Winding Road Back…

The last journey from Pune to Mumbai got over all too soon… The Mumbai-Pune Expressway has been a major attraction for me for long – with its endless tunnels and winding roads and hilly views… I’ve traversed this boulevard on countless occasions during the past five years – but still, today was different… today’s was the last journey…

The sensation of leaving a major chunk of my life behind heightened the most when the Innova that was to take me to the Mumbai Airport picked me up from home… I kept turning back to wave to my roommate, and to look at the roads and the places that I was leaving behind… I just couldn’t get enough… I kept looking back, until they disappeared completely from my view…

Soon enough, we hit the Expressway. I spent much of my time making a video of the Expressway – something that my co-passengers found to be pretty weird, but honestly, I couldn’t care less! Years from now, I’d love to recreate the sensation of this journey just by looking at these videos! Apart from, of course, showing it off to my friends and family there in Kolkata, the ones who haven’t had a chance to see it in person! Traveling down the Expressway is indeed quite an experience, at least to me, and I’d definitely recommend the same to all – and what better way to do it than through a live video!!

But the journey seemed shorter than ever… All too soon, I reached the airport, to be carried back to my home…

Sitting now in the Mumbai Airport, waiting for my flight and speaking to friends on phone in between jotting this piece down, that sensation of leaving everything behind has mellowed down a lot. Perhaps because this place hasn’t exactly been an inseparable part of my life during the past five years… or maybe, because this is the way of life!

Life doesn’t stop for anyone – not for the people you love the most, not for the times that you miss the most… I remember a familiar saying again: “time and tide wait for none”…!

So, now, I’m feeling different. The sensation of finally going home is sinking in… excitement about entering a new phase of life, a new way of life – the job life! I’ll be working, living a life which is very different from the one I’ve been used to… I’ll take small, uncertain steps in the beginning, but then I’ll grow confident and take surer steps towards success…

With a pang, I realize that now Pune has already become a part of my past – one that’ll always bring a smile on my lips – but all the same, a past. Maybe someday, I’ll reminisce about “those good ol’ days” to my children and grandchildren, the way our parents and grandparents do… but for now, I’m ready to leave my golden past behind, and move forward – to build for myself a new, sparkling future!!

And with that positive thought in mind, I finally board my flight back home…

Fleeting Glimpses of the Few Last Memories – Part 1
Fleeting Glimpses of the Few Last Memories – Part 2

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Fleeting Glimpses of the Few Last Memories - Part 2

3rd April, 2007

Revisiting places that have had special significance during my stay here in Pune has been one of my pursuits lately, and a dinner at Bashos ranked pretty high on that list – it is a place which had been the turning point of my life in myriad ways!

Tonight, when my friends and I reached Bashos, I could feel the mist of memories clouding my eyes… especially the memory of my first visit to Bashos, which will be etched in my heart forever – for that, was the day I realized that miracles do happen in real life!

My mind raced back to my second year… circumstances had been quite cruel to me just before my birthday, and I remember praying fervently for something to happen on my special day, that would lighten up my life and give me a reason to look forward to live…

We’d been to Bashos for my birthday party, and it was there that God answered my prayers, and gave me my birthday gift – a Darling Angel, who gave me a million reasons to be happy, who never broke my trust, who was an absolute gem of a person!

God not only answered my prayers, he also granted them in a way that I’d never expected in my wildest daydreams! He made me experience the miracle of loving someone without any restraint or expectations, the miracle of being completely swept off my feet, and most importantly, the miracle of self-realization!!!

Life since then has never been the same… My Darling Angel is no more my lover, but that one-year relationship has given me more happiness and joys than the 24 summers that I’ve seen so far put together! And I did get something to cherish all my life – his unwavering friendship, love and companionship… so what if we are no longer lovers, I still love him as much as I did on that day in Bashos! Nothing’s changed, because he taught me a lot of lessons in life – and to live life without any expectations was one of them…

Bashos, like always, did make my heart ache, but the flood of his sweet memories, like always, stemmed the flow of my tears…

4th April, 2007

Kuchh baatein sirf ehsaas mein hote hain – translated, it means “some things can only be felt”…

Shopping for some necessaries was the primary aim today, but my heart was not in it… don’t know what made me do it, but I made my way towards the Sarasbaug temple midway through… and thereby added one more treasure to my collection of amazing memories… one of the “few last” ones!

Sarasbaug to my eyes seemed all decked up today, as if to wish me and bid good bye… the round red moon shimmering between the trees, the leaves swaying to a gentle breeze, the flowers in full bloom, the pond full of beautiful water lilies and lotuses looking like spots of white and pink among the green, green leaves… all the things I just love about the place… it was as if Sarasbaug was also yearning to give me one of those “few last memories” that I’d cherish forever…

The primary reason why I went alone today was because I wanted to feel the silent beauty of the place… this is the place which taught me the power of silence and how to enjoy it… the place where I rediscovered what “dignified silence” can do… as I slowly walked through each part of the park, I remembered all the times I’ve been there and spent good times… all the times when a walk through the beauty of the place had soothed my soul, and made a lot of things much easier to bear…

Sarasbaug looked as beautiful to me as on any other day… don’t know if I was imagining it, but it did feel at times that there was a melancholy tone to it today… I did try a few times to capture the beauty of the place on the lenses, but could not – and that’s when I heard someone whisper to me: “Kuchh baatein sirf ehsaas mein hote hain”… this trip no doubt is one of those!

5th April, 2007

The days of the “few last memories” are coming to an end… over the last few days, I’d been getting numerous calls, messages, mails – bidding farewell and wishing luck for the future… entreaties to keep in touch… but today, it seemed more final than ever…

When two of the people I’ve been closest to in this year left for home today in the morning, it felt sore… my heart sobbed and wept… the inevitable was come at last!

As if to seal the final proclamation of the ending, my date of departure was also settled upon today… now I know exactly how much time I have to create a few more “few last memories” and trust me, I’m trying very, very hard to utilize every moment of it…

And all the time, I still have that yearning in my heart – why couldn’t it last just a li’l bit longer…?

Fleeting Glimpses of the Few Last Memories - Part 1
Fleeting Glimpses of the Few Last Memories - Part 3

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

My Travel Chronicles - A Trek up the Parvati Hill!

1st April, 2007

The plan to visit the famous Parvati Temple in Pune was made all of a sudden… of course, I’d had it in my mind for quite some time now, but had never managed to execute it – at times for the lack of time, at others for lack of companions! Then, just when I’d decided upon visiting the place alone, things clicked and this very memorable and wonderful trip happened!

Two juniors of mine and I set off early in the morning (much later than what we’d initially planned, but it was still early morning for us late risers!) and made our way towards the desired destination – Parvati Hill! It is quite centrally located – an auto rickshaw could take you there either from Deccan (a 4 km drive) or from Swargate (just 1 km). Since we stay near Deccan, we naturally found it easier to reach the Hill via Deccan.

The Parvati Hill happens to be the highest peak of the city of Pune (it’s situated at a towering height of 2100 ft above sea level), and predictably, it offers a beautiful panoramic view of the entire city spread around it. In fact, some people visit the Temple daily, both for religious and health purposes – climbing up the 108 steps leading to the Temple makes sure that you burn whatever extra calories you have!

The temples on the Parvati Hill are among the oldest heritage structures in Pune and are reminiscent of the Peshwa dynasty. There are five temples in all on the Hill, one each for the Lords Devdeveshwara (Vitthal), Karthikeya, Vishnu & Ganesh, and one for the Goddess Parvati.

(pic above) The Devdeveshwara Temple

That’s about all the history and geography of the place that I’m gonna include in here! As usual, I did my share of the research for you guys, and anyone interested in reading up more about the place can visit Virtual Pune or Pune Line.

Of course, the main attraction of the Parvati Hill for me was the famous bird’s eye view of the city all around. I’d only heard about the magnificent panoramic view that it offers, but once I went there I realized that words could not have described even a quarter of the real beauty of the scene! In fact, even the pictures uploaded here only depict half of the real beauty of the views!

(pic above) A view from the Parvati Hill! Pic taken by me...

Up on top of the Hill, it felt as if we indeed were on top of the world! We could see Pune at different angles from different parts of the Hill… and what a view it was! Multi-storied houses looked like small blocks that kids play with, the cars plying below resembled miniature toys, the roads and the river appeared to be sleek grey and green ribbons…!

Apart from the amazing panoramic view of Pune, exploring the Hill itself was a treat too… what with the ancient temples, the Peshwa Museum, the trees and the greenery, and most of all, the breath of fresh air, the two-n-half hours that we spent there seemed like an eternity in paradise!

(pic above) Can you make out the roads and the cars?
Pic taken by Anupam Prakash, my junior, and edited a bit by me!

Of course, we had to pay a price for this memorable trek - the scorching heat had depleted us of all our vital energies by the time we descended the 108 steps, even though we’d been smart enough to carry three litres of glucose water with us! We therefore thought it fitting to top the trip up by a sumptuous lunch at a wonderful place called Sukanta, near Deccan, which would wash away whatever fatigue we had… and it indeed served the purpose! The cool sugarcane juice and the yummy aamras soon revived us, and by the time we were home, we were already making plans of revisiting the place soon!

Though I’m not sure of that plan taking shape, you surely could whip up a plan to visit the Parvati Hill – trust me, you wouldn’t regret it!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Fleeting Glimpses of the Few Last Memories - Part 1

29th March, 2007

The appointed day has come at last… five long years become history today… a history that exists only in our memories… a history that is known only to us… a history that is at once beautiful and gruesome, wonderful yet terrible, inspires love but is still hated…!

The last day of college life… the last day of exams… the whole batch seemed to have gathered in front of the college – including the people who usually scamper off to the nearest hang-out places as soon as exams end, the people who usually flee the scene before the inevitable “re-evaluating” the paper begins (this category includes yours truly! I hate it when my batchmates start discussing what the right answers are/should have been – I mean, who wants to write the entire exam all over again?!)… even the ones who usually finish their two-hour papers in an hour’s time…! Given the fact that our exams ended at 6 pm, and that most of us hadn’t been sleeping well for the past few days, courtesy the exams, that’s saying quite something! Perhaps it just showed that in spite of everything, we still cared for the small things in life!

We were moving on… on to a new phase of our career… on with life…

We were leaving a lot behind… our friends… our carefree life… our favourite hang out places…

It was truly not sinking in yet… some of us are settled in life… some aren’t… some know where they would be in the next few months… some aren’t sure about the next few days! It still felt like the ending of any other year, when the reassuring feeling of coming back for yet another year at Symbi filled our hearts, and the only promises exchanged were the ones of meeting up and keeping in touch in the holidays!

But it was different this time, and the air of finality was everywhere… our eyes were filled with anticipation of the uncertain, sadness of leaving our identities behind, anxiety of creating a new one in the big, bad world… shouldering new responsibilities, not only of charting the growth of our career paths and making our families proud, but also of living up to the name and reputation of being a “Symbi-ite”!

The heart still refused to believe that its time to bid adieu… the mind stopped the many tears from rolling down the cheeks… we promised a lot – to ourselves, to our college, to our friends… and wondered silently, which of them would life let us keep?

As of now, though, we all had our own plans made – surprisingly enough, they all sounded quite similar… Plans to enjoy the last few days in the city of Pune… to take full advantage of our carefree student-life that can never be replicated… to eat, drink and be merry… to revisit all those favourite haunts which are etched in our memories forever… to create a “few last memories” to cherish forever… to exchange the last vows of keeping in touch!

30th March, 2007

Revisiting the past days… reliving the old times spent together… creating few last memories to be cherished lifelong… catching up on whatever we’ve missed… yes, that was the plan…

Words never stopped pouring… feelings rebelled… hearts refused to stay calm… we wanted to make up for lost time… we wished the night could last forever… and yet, all good things do come to an end…

Food and drinks couldn’t befuddle us, eyelids heavy with sleep couldn’t deter us, the uncertainties of the future lying ahead couldn’t dampen us – we wanted to enjoy every minute, every second, every moment… and we did.

Some things are best left unsaid… our feelings of the night fall into that bracket!! I just wish it could last longer…

31st March, 2007

For the first time, this new realization dawned on me – leaving college does not only mean bidding farewell to friends from my batch… it also means an imminent parting with all those people who are part of my precious memories at different points of time in these five years here… juniors, friends from different streams of life, people who’ve helped me in times of need and adversity…

It is difficult to say which incident in particular triggered this feeling… perhaps it was the whole of the evening… an evening in which a few of my juniors wanted to create those “few last memories” that we all are craving for at this moment!

At ordinary times, there would’ve been nothing remarkable about the outing – a normal movie-n-dinner plan… but this was different… because my juniors’ meant this to be a personal farewell to me! Different, because all throughout, that air of finality still hung about us… every moment we enjoyed together was precious, because we knew that these were parts of the “few last memories”…

Once again, reliving the past… revisiting the old times spent together… and lastly, promises of keeping in touch…

And once again, the helpless yearning for the night to last a little longer…

1st April, 2007

Yet another addition in my collection of the “few last memories”… this time, with another set of my juniors! You could call it an outing, a picnic, a religious trip – could’ve been anything, but who knows better than I that this trek up the Parvati hill to visit the Temples there, the royal lunch at Sukanta, the whole morning in fact, was also meant to be one of those “few last memories”!

Not that it diminished the enjoyment of the trip… no, not even one bit… in fact, it perhaps enhanced the flavor more… and most importantly, it threw up some very memorable moments…

The journey, the exploration, the laughter and the companionship, the enjoyment and the merry-making… in a few days, they’ll no more be a part of my life… they’ll just become memories… such a sore realization!

When the sumptuous lunch at Sukanta got over, I had the same pit-feeling in my stomach – couldn’t it last a bit longer…?

Fleeting Glimpses of the Few Last Memories - Part 2
Fleeting Glimpses of the Few Last Memories - Part 3

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Just One Last Memory…

25th March, 2007

The last few days… studies taking so much of the time… precious little time to do anything else at all… the urge to do so many things… so little time to do all that… got two weeks… plans worth two years… the excruciating realization of having to leave a piece of yourself behind…

Some things just happen in life… some memories just stay forever… some hours of togetherness can make up for lost time of years… some experiences relive the magic of yesterday… some just make you look forward to tomorrow…

A few wonderful hours of one night spent together… unplanned, unexpected… a night of revisiting favorite haunts… of discussions of future… of coming to terms with reality… much against the wishes, time flies… words pour from the heart… but a pregnant silence follows, poignant with unspoken words… so full of verve… yet tinged with the imminent parting… some feelings creep into the core of the heart… pure, innocent, true… far from the maddening crowd… untouched by the crazy practicalities of life… so removed from the world…

Something is in the thoughts… the mind says something else… disbelief writ large on the face… yet the heart says it’s true… why does it happen? No one knows…

A night of remembrances… perhaps the last ever… three golden hours stolen from among the various harsh practicalities of life called ‘work’, ‘studies’, ‘packing’, ‘sleeping’… precious few moments snatched out of busy schedules and an unapproving society… when the bonding of two hearts was witnessed only by the cold hands that warmed each other… when the gorgeous eyes of one searched the pretty eyes of the other for something called ‘hope’…

An unsaid, heartrending plea not to be forgotten… a silent promise to reminisce… beautiful moments that cannot be not-thought-of… things change with time… life moves on… but some things that “just happened” at one point of time still occupy the heart… the memory stays forever… the taste lingers on…

A beautiful night of togetherness… of remembrances… of fond memories… and of unexpressed feelings… that is what is called life!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A Chat with Sameer

Sunday, 24th Sept. '06

I had a strange experience today. After the discussion on my birthday with Mom n Dad about Prithvi, I was confused and lost. And you know me - I’m forever dependant on Sameer for all sorts of emotional advice! He’s the one whom I can completely trust and open myself up to… But Prithvi’s is one topic which I was quite hesitant about discussing with him… he’d always had a thing against Prithvi… But after all, Sameer is my best friend, and I know he’s the best person to talk to… he knows me inside out, and he’ll give me the best advice. So I decided to catch up with him today, and give it a shot… if he behaved normally, I thought, I’ll have a chat with him…!

So, we’d been to his favourite haunt, Indradhanush – sweets-freak that he is! After the usual exchange of “pleasantries” about how busy the other one is, and how we both ignore the other one (read, “Allegations”, “Choicest of abuses”, “Hurtful and sarcastic comments”!) we finally got talking about the thing that was eating into my peace of mind...

Sameer kinda had a hint already. He’d seen my parents conduct themselves with Prithvi, and he knew what was going on in their minds. When I confided in him about my confusion, to my great surprise, he asked me, “What’s the harm in getting married to Prithvi?”!

Honestly, I was a bit shaken up by his response. Sameer loves me. However much he tries to do deny it, I know he does. And he knows very, very well that I love him too. Sameer always had a thing against Prithvi, and despite his not-so-convincing attempts at hiding it from me, I could understand the reason behind it. Like Anu, Mallika and the rest of the gang, he also teased me about Prithvi at times, but whenever I gave a little more attention to Prithvi than to him, he’d get upset. He’d get jealous. And he’d take it out on me in small ways. And if, by any chance, I praised Prithvi for any reason, he’d go out of his way to point out all the negative points that Prithvi has!

The same guy, today, tells me to get married to Prithvi? Unbelievable! I guess I have a very good reason to be shaken!

Of course, not to let anything happen between Sameer and me was my decision. I wanted to make sure that I don’t do anything to upset Mom n Dad, and they never approved of our relationship. They had their reasons, and I’m inclined to think that they were right. Practical concerns are more pressing than immature romanticizing of life.

That however didn’t mean we’d stop loving each other. I still love him as deeply as ever. And he still loves me too; I can see it in his eyes. Sameer’s feelings for me still haven’t changed, and neither have mine. And I know that if our love has survived in our hearts for a decade, it will last us this lifetime… I know that in fact, our love has grown more beautiful than before, because our love doesn’t expect anything in return, it exists simply because we do…

But today, I realized that Sameer has indeed moved on in life! I don’t know whom to thank for this – does the credit go to Pari, for showing him that there’s more to life and that he should go on? Or should I simply thank God, for taking such good care of him, and leading him towards happiness again?

Sameer has come to terms with reality, but I perhaps still haven’t. I know nothing’s possible between the two of us, and I appreciate the fact that Sameer now has Pari to answer to… But the way he’s realized that we have to go our own different ways, in separate directions, makes me wonder...

Today, he was simply trying to tell me that it was time for me to move on too. That I too, should give myself another chance to live, may be with Prithvi… But I can’t deny that it sounded strange to my ears… I felt as if I’d lost something… When Sameer dropped me back home, I felt a strange sense of emptiness…

Sameer says Prithvi is indeed a good choice, and my parents would be happy too if it takes shape… He says I should take conscious steps towards making this work out… I understand what he says, but I can’t take it in… I can’t deny that perhaps it’s because I have not managed to move on yet that I’ve not had another relationship after Sameer. But how do I explain this to you? I just can’t find it in myself to get into something like this yet again, although there is complete acceptance of the situation…

I don’t know what name I can give to this feeling of mine… When Sameer today freed me from all romantic involvement with him, it hurt... I know it shouldn’t have, but it did… and that’s perhaps why people say, Love is Blind! And the heart does not follow logic…

Friday, March 23, 2007

Reality Bites…

23rd March, 2007

I met my best friend after so many years today - and I was so excited about it! Differences in our careers, cities, etc. had been keeping us apart for quite some time… For two people who used to talk almost every day for hours together, not being in touch for over four years is a big deal. And well, today I intended to tell him a lot of things! He told me he’d something special to share with me too, but as much as I kept pestering him, he’d not divulged a word about this ‘secret’! I was curious, and I was scared… I had my fingers crossed…

On my way to the appointed place, my thoughts flew back to my school days. The first time I met him, he was just another face in the crowd. In fact, I’d not even noticed him. My friends dared me to go up and speak to him! He was such a quiet and reserved guy that I was a bit hesitant – but then, it was my honor at stake! So, I went up to him and offered my hand in friendship – and he coolly accepted it! After that, we kept meeting through common friends, outside our school, near our homes, etc. Slowly, we became good friends…

We always had fun at each other’s expense, pulled each other’s legs and irritated each other! We never seemed to agree upon anything – be it some grave political issue or the flavor of ice-cream! We always ended up fighting, to the extent that normal conversations were deemed to be an aberration! The years flew by, but nothing changed. Our friends knew we were very close and teased us incessantly – all of them seemed to think that the two of us were dating each other, and we were just not admitting to it! We’d blush and brush these suggestions away, but still keep fighting! Things reached such an extent that my day would be incomplete without fighting with him. If I didn’t talk to him for even a day my heart would not be in whatever I did. I attributed it to the fact that I did not have my daily quota of fights, and staunchly rebutted the allegations of my friends that I’d grown fond of him.

Unknown to me, he crept into my heart and made a permanent den for himself there. I never realized what I felt for him… So when finally the time came for me to say goodbye to him, for I was to leave our native city to go for higher education, I did not even bother to take his contact details. I thought, what the heck, I can live without him…

When I settled down in the new city where I had joined my new college, I made a lot of new friends. But somehow, I sorely missed him in my life. His place could not be taken by anyone… I realized for the first time how much he meant to me. I wished I had his contact details… I wanted to say so much to him, I wanted to tell him that I’d fallen in love with him, but I didn’t know how to convey my feelings. Every night, I cried myself to sleep, because I missed fighting with him, I missed pulling his leg, I missed irritating him – I missed doing all those things which apparently were done only to irritate each other, but the real reason behind doing them was that it was the only way I knew to convey my feelings to him. He was my best friend, but I also realized that I had unknowingly, unconsciously fallen in love with him.

I wished he was there, in front of me so that I could tell him how I felt, but he was not. There wasn’t even a day, an hour when I didn’t think of him. My new friends realized that there was something eating me from inside, and kept pestering me. Once they found out about him, some suggested finding out his whereabouts, but I didn’t want to. I was happy to be in love, but I didn’t want to think that there were two possibilities – he might love me, but he might not, too. I was happy that I was in love… it was a beautiful feeling. There were times when I terribly missed the sharing, the companionship, the sweet nothings that people in love felt and enjoyed. But I thought I could do without them. He was always there in my thoughts, and what better companionship could I ask for?

Slowly, painfully, time passed, and finally I came back home. Through the years I had heard bits and pieces of news about him. But I wanted to see him again, to hear all about him in his own words… I wanted to hear that he’d missed me as much as I’d missed him… I wanted to hear that he loves me as much as I love him… So, I called at his home, and found out his whereabouts. I was delighted to find him at home, and he sounded delighted to hear from me too – and that was enough for me! This meeting was his suggestion, and I readily agreed to it…

When I finally reached the restaurant where we’d fixed our meeting up, I found him already waiting for me. The very sight of him sent my heart into a spin! God, I loved him so much… I had so much to tell him! His face lit up as he saw me, and very soon we got talking and fighting like old times!

And then, suddenly, he turned serious. He said there was something that he wanted to tell me… something in his face bade ill, but I tried my best to ignore the creeping chill in my heart. But fate seems to have different plans for me – for he told me that he’s in love…

My heart broke. The rational side of me knew that since I had never told him how I felt, I should accept what happened. But my heart cried. While he described exactly how he felt for her, and how much he loved her, I felt as if someone had sliced my heart up… As much as I tried, I couldn’t keep a straight face, and I think he noticed it too – for he faltered, and after some time, changed the topic.

When I got back home, after spending the whole day putting up a smiling face for people around me, who evidently failed to notice that my heart was heavy with unrequited love and unsaid words, I fell into my bed with tears streaming down my face.

I know I’ve to face reality. I’ve to face life. He’s my first love and will always be, but I realized that life has other things in store for me. In any case, he’s happy with the girl he loves, and he deserves to be loved by her. I cannot cause misery to the one I love by imposing myself upon him, or even by telling him how much I love him, or how I feel about him… My love may be one-sided, but it is true love – and true love values the happiness of the loved one more.

I know that mine is not a lost love; it will always be there in my heart. If it has survived for a decade, it will last forever, as long as I live. It’s just that I have to move ahead in life, in a different direction, away from him. Life has much more to offer. I do want to move on, be happy and maybe meet someone, someday, whom I would love and who’d love me too. It’s tough, it’s difficult, but I’m ready. I’m ready to face life, to face reality.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

My Birthday Party

Thursday, 14th Sept. '06

Hey! It’s here at last! My 24th birthday!!! Had a great, great day, with a very strange turmoil thrown into the plot… wanna tell you everything… umm, where do I start?

Let’s see… the first wish! Yeah, that’d be a nice place to start!

As usual, it was Prithvi’s! You know what he did? He called up sometime around 11-55 pm, and kept talking as if he didn’t remember a thing – and at 12-00 am, when I was getting really impatient with him, he surprised me by singing out in a loud voice: “Happy Birthday to You!” That was so, so cute of him!! Actually, he was only talking to me so that he’d be the first one to wish me! So, well, he once again outsmarted Dad and Mom… Heaven knows where he gets these new ideas every year to make sure that his wishes stand out!

Remember what he did last year?? Since he could not get through to me at night, he did not wish me all day, and wished me at 12-00 am on 15th, so that he’d be the last one to do so! He’s such a cute friend!!

Well, the second wish was that of Dad and Mom, of course! They gifted me a very, very cute gold and diamond pendant – they really know my choice!!

After that, the usual! There was a spate of calls – Anu, Mallika, Ritika, Shubhra, Pranati… and quite a few others… no surprise calls this year! Got a lot of birthday wishes through SMS too, but no surprises there as well!

Thereafter, things got a bit drab – of course, can’t exactly expect a birthday party at office, can I? Anyway, some of my colleagues and office staff did remember my special day, and made me cut a cake in the lunch-time! That was sweet…

In the evening, of course, was the much awaited dinner party! We went to my favourite place – Prateeksha! God, the poolside is so amazingly romantic! I love the ambiance… all my friends, surprisingly enough, turned up, including Sameer! He’s the busy bee of the lot, as you know, but today he’d also kept himself free! And for a change, he brought his girlfriend Pari along too! Good for him that he’s stopped denying his affair at last!

The cake was simply yummy, and so was the dinner – as usual! Got quite a few sweet and thoughtful gifts too, from my extremely impish but cute friends! Can you believe it, Anu actually gifted me a heart-shaped pendant, with place to put two pics in it – according to her, one of the pics will be of my “hubby” and the other of me! Anyway, we really enjoyed a lot!

But hey… now comes the real, juicy part! On the way back, the talk turned to how well all of us have established ourselves in our respective fields, touch-wood. Sameer and Pari in the legal profession; Anu in Interior Designing; Prithvi, Pranati and Ritika in engineering; Shubhra on her way to become an English professor very soon; Mallika in medicine… and well, I was established too, in my own field! But it was when we finally got home that Mom n Dad dropped the bombshell… they told me something that took me completely by surprise! Mom started the topic, by mentioning, yet again, how much she likes Prithvi! And then, out of the blue, she asked me, “beta, have you thought of a future with him?”

I was completely flabbergasted! Prithvi, my childhood friend? As a life-partner? I mean, yes, he’s a very good choice – he has everything I can ask for. He’s well-settled, has a great job, is cute and quite handsome, and makes sure that he takes good care of me… apart from the fact that he’s academically excellent, has a great voice, is an even better writer, can easily become the life and soul of any party… well, sorry, my Mom can go on and on and on with the list, but I have to admit that she’s right!

But all the same, Prithvi, my life-partner??? I really can’t imagine a married life with him… Mom n Dad told me to relax, because of course, Prithvi and I both had no plans to get married any time soon… so they told me to take my time and give a good thought to it, because he’s a good choice… I just could not think of giving them any answer…

I came to my room in a turmoil… Prithvi? If you ask me, I have no excuse to give for rejecting him – seeing as I’m still single, and so is he… in fact, come to think of it, why not? He’s the ideal husband, and we are great friends… Dad always says that the secret to a successful marriage lies in the compatibility quotient of the partners, and Prithvi and I gel very well…

On the other hand, I don’t, and indeed have never, thought of Prithvi in this way. I don’t ‘love’ him, and I’m pretty sure that he’s got no such feelings for me as well. Wouldn’t it be stupid to get married to a guy whom I know very well, but I don’t love?

But then, that’s what arranged marriages are all about – and they do succeed, don’t they? There are couples who get married as complete strangers, but fall in love after marriage… maybe even our relationship can work like that…

I don’t know… I’m confused, scared, anxious, and at the same time, thrilled! I’ve never experienced such an array of mixed emotions…!

At this moment, an amazing movie plot is invading my mind – Dil Chahta Hai! Remember the two diametrically opposite stories in that movie? That of Shalini’s, who did not get married to her childhood friend Rohit, because she fell in love with someone else, Akash… and that of Pooja’s, who, inspite of having a boyfriend, fell in love with Sameer, the guy whom her parents chose for her! I wonder which story will my life take after?!

Well, there’s nothing much to do except to wait and see… Will keep you posted!