Wandering With Words

Random musings of a reckless soul.


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Small things; infinite happiness

All this time and nowhere to go gave me the opportunity to relive some old school memories. I was going through my treasured stuff from school when I saw the slam books from then. Along with all the nostalgia came a lot of surprise, embarrassment and self realization. You see, the first page of every slam book was filled by me and my own answers made me cringe. Boy, was I a silly girl back then? You betcha! 

Throughout my school-life I had wanted to be extraordinary. Who doesn’t? Wouldn’t we be all lying if we said that we didn’t desire to have that glory?

The road to nostalgia was filled with chagrin at every turn and it reminded me of all the things I had wanted to change about myself back then, beginning with my name. Yes, that bad. 

I mean, what kind of a name is Irfana (it means wisdom, meh!) anyway? The fact that Irfan Pathan gained fame during my adolescent years wasn’t helpful either. People who mispronounced my name went as far as calling me Irfan Pathan. 

I wasn’t happy with my nose either. It felt too big for my face. Could I be anymore Asian? The two slightly crooked teeth in my mouth bothered me too and how nice would it be if I could get rid of all that baby fat? My feet seemed too big to me and I was invariably desperately in need of a wardrobe makeover. 

And then there was all that stupid acne! Young chocolate lovers would know what I mean. 

Besides these physical changes, I wanted the freedom an Indian teenager never gets- to see the world and rule it. I wanted answers for my philosophical self. I lacked confidence and knowledge but there was no worrying about it because I lived in my own bubble of ignorance. 

I had dreams but no plans. And to top it all, I was hopeless romantic ! 

Years passed, ups and downs and bumps later, I made mistakes and gained experiences. A lot in me changed. Not at once of course, but I know I’m not the same girl I was in school. 

With time, confidence filled my mind and optimism filled my heart. I learnt to be content with things I have while striving towards the things I want. 

While I pursued my passion, I found my calling in teaching. When I started working as a teacher, I became a student of life. I fell in and out of love and realised that it’s fine. I learnt how to nurse a broken heart. I hated the world and fell in love with it all over again. I found peace at libraries and orphanages. I found solace in poetry, stories, prayer and friends. Different things worked for me at different times. 

And one day, I just woke up with the wisdom that happiness resides in the little things in life. 

I love people who just don’t talk about their big achievements but more about how much they love life, how they see beauty in others, how they appreciate every little thing and how they have the hunger and enthusiasm to serve this world. 

Striving for an extraordinary life is foolishness. Putting all your efforts for that one entitlement is foolishness because it makes your happiness conditional. Don’t you wonder if you are anything more than mere titles? 

Rather what’s extraordinary is to discover the joy and marvel of an ordinary life. 

Waking up to the sun bursting through the clouds, seeing an old friend after a long time, a child’s innocent laugh, a blooming flower, biting into freshly plucked fruits, an old tattered book, a text from someone you love, a cup of coffee on a rainy day, random gifts, finding money in your old jacket, the glint in the eyes of your lover when they look at you, a kiss on the forehead, smell of freshly baked bread, being barefoot on grass or beach sand between your toes, the first hug from your child(well, that’s huge!), stories told by grandparents, silence… All these and much more!

Little things are far truer, far more genuine and difficult to falsify. 

I’m not condoning a lack of ambition here. A life without goals becomes boring but try focusing on the ordinary things that feel special too. My pursuit of happiness has lead me to become a teacher, a designer, a wife and a mother. It made me read, write, teach, paint, love and nurture. 

Not everything has changed though. I still laugh out loud like an idiot without a hint of feminity, I refuse to diet, I still experiment with my hair, I still do wear my heart on my sleeve and embarrass myself quite often.

I was a git, I still am a git. But a better one now. 

So from wanting to change my name, my nose and my family, the only thing I changed was my attitude and it has been one of my finest decisions in life. 


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To the real superheroes!

Identity loss is something almost every first-time mom goes through. Some have it easy, some have it worse. 

Sleep deprivation, feelings of ineptitude, guilt trapping yourself, mood swings, leaky boobs- all of these seem to have a limited shelf life.But Identity crisis has a lifespan of its own. 

For me, it lasted 1.5 years into motherhood. When I was pregnant, my mom continuously told me to be prepared – that life wouldn’t be the same. I nodded dismissively, reminding myself that she was from an older generation and that nothing would be lost and the only change would be that I would have a tiny, beautiful baby soon. Well, never doubt the wisdom of a mother! 

With my son’s grand entrance (How? That’s another story) my world flipped overnight. I did a lot of preparation-mental and otherwise – but everything seemed so less. To say that I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. To say that I still continue to be overwhelmed on a daily basis would be truer than truth. 

For some women- loneliness, exhaustion, raging hormones, self doubt, being self critical, sleep deprivation, cluster feeding, mood swings, body aches, hair loss, weight gain, loss of sexual drive, uncontrollable food cravings- are all small inconveniences that they won’t notice with a tiny baby in hand. For others, these are insurmountable challenges that need to be battled daily. 

I missed my friends. I missed exercise. I missed eating on time. I missed being presentable all the time. I missed looking beautiful. I missed sleep. I missed going out. I missed my hobbies. I missed writing. I missed reading poems. I missed the sunrise. I missed being free. I missed everything a lot. 

I forgot what it felt to be alone with your own thoughts because even when my husband took care of the baby to give me my own time, all I could think of was how to make things better for my son. 

The first few months of me being a mom passed in a blur. Yet every minute seemed so long. The days are long but the years are short. 

But soon as I got accustomed to being a mom and fell into a routine with a lot of love and support from my spouse, I began searching for my former self. I began with my hobbies- I read, I painted. I lost weight. I ate healthy, (well, healthier than before) I changed my entire wardrobe. I was still sleep deprived but now I was happier. 

One midnight, as I pondered and rated myself as a mother, I realised I haven’t lost my identity. Instead, I had gained a new one. One where I am more patient and generous,with a new perspective and understanding of life. I see the big picture. I forgive people easily now. I began to appreciate the littlest of the little things even more- a quiet cup of tea, an uninterrupted chat with a friend, a slow meal and a full shower are all simple pleasures. 

I realised that while I may be many things other than a mom, my son is, as of now, just my son-he has no other identity. He needs me and my undivided attention. Now I knew firsthand the intricate pain of parenthood, the beauty of loving a completely dependent being with all one’s strength. He’s my responsibility and it’s gonna remain that way for a long time now. 

I have made new mommy friends,learnt three new skills, started reading motivational books. I now have an idea for a novel and a business. And all this is baby inclusive. 

Motherhood is beautiful. It isn’t easy though. A new role. A new challenge. A new identity. And no matter what people say, it takes time. It took one and a half years for me. Could be more for you, could be less too. 

Being a mother has changed me greatly. I have made choices for my future solely because I am a mother now.

And then, as I lay there, realisation hit me like a bolt of lightning. My mom had gone through all these “challenges” and much, much more for me and my four siblings as well. When she asked me to be prepared she wasn’t being someone from an older generation, she was just being an experienced, successful mom. I realised how much my mom poured herself out for us. As mothers, women become extremely selfless. 

The tears, pain, sacrifices, heartache and work parents go through all their lives is unbelievable. The fact that I had only seen the infant and the toddler phase hit me hard. I still had to nurture a toddler, a preschooler, an adolescent, a young teen and a teenager. So then, I stopped rating myself (because it was too early) and instead gave a full 10 on 10 and more, to my parents and made a mental note to tell my mom I love her even more than ever. 

To all the mommies out there- thank you! May we honour your sacrifices in all the ways we grow and may we always become your reason to smile! 


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Book falls open. I fall in.

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A book and a cup of tea. Isn’t that a delectable combination?  A book and a cup of tea, or coffee, or hot chocolate …On a sunny day or a sulky one, a windy day or a wintry one, a book never says goodbye.

It’s raining today and I am ensconced in that warm chair-swing in the balcony. I watch the sky celebrate, extend my hand and feel it on my palm and smile as a few raindrops caress my face.Opening my eyes, I watch the steam from the cup of tea, rising with eagerness, forming shapes, trying to reach for the sky but then slowly it gives up and accepts its fate.

Finally, as if following a sacred ritual, I turn my attention towards the book in my lap and run a hand over the cover. It wasn’t a new book. Rather, a very old one. Borrowed from the British Library.

Turning the book over in my hands I wondered how many people must have handled it. To the unseeing eye, it was only an old, tattered book, unworthy of any praise. But a lover would know its worth. I wondered how many stories it held, apart from the printed one.

How many moments it treasured?

I loved reading for all those well known reasons- for visiting unknown places, for the new eyes, new adventures, new friends, the knowledge, the wisdom. I loved the musty smell, the sound of a flipping a page, the feel of a book in your hands. I love it all!

But I love reading a borrowed book most. I love reading the tales hidden in them. Faded covers curling at the edges, browned papers. Finding a dried petal or flower in between the page reminds you of some stranger-friend. Words scribbled on the edges and careless doodling. Favorite passages marked and dog eared pages!

A stain here and a stain there, telling stories within a story. Chocolate marks, candy wrappers, names of lovers scribbled in tiny hearts drawn at the corner of a page. How many stories could a book tell? And how many could you read?

And then as my gaze wander, so do my thoughts. I look up at the clouds and start giving wings to their shapes. Then, I wonder about you.

Do you love the rain as much as I do? Do you too like saunte
ring empty roads? Does the sunset leaves you awed too, every single time? Do you love making castles in the sand? Do you enjoy talking to the birds? Do you find humor where most people don’t? Are you as crazy as I am? Do you too hate the world at times? And then learn to love it again? Do you like to eavesdrop on the wind whispering to the trees or pen speaking to the paper?  Do you sit alone and relive memories? Do you get goose-flesh when you see the rainbow? Do you ever feel lonely in the crowd? Can you too sea the fire in the sea? Do you feel the evening breeze caress your hand? Does spending time with people below seven and above seventy mean anything to you? Do you look at the stars and wonder…?

Poetry? Long walks in the rain? Dancing? Calvin and Hobbes? Kishore Kumar? Clapton? Dcfc? Star wars? Beaches? F.R.I.E.N.D.S.? Duck tales? Fox’s wedding? 

The rain has stopped and the scent of earth pulls me out of my thoughts. Petrichor! Sighing deeply, I look at my book and smile. It had waited patiently for my return. My companion amidst lonely crowd. 

So would you still ask me why I find in it my solace?


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Happy Women’s Day!

cake.

 

“Beti” means daughter in Hindi. My uncle and aunt got this beautiful cake for us a few weeks ago.

Letting the daughters of the family feel special and loved without any occasion is such a beautiful idea. 

I believe we do not need a particular day to make our loved ones feel special… but still, a very happy women’s day to all the women out there! 

#betisareindeedbeautiful


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P̶̷̲̅ᴜ̶̷̲̅s̶̷̲̅ʜ̶̷̲̅ᴏ̶̷̲̅ᴠ̶̷̲̅ᴇ̶̷̲̅ʀ̶̷̲̅

Majority of us like to be liked. It feels great to be a nice person and to do our best to help other people out where we can.  But is it possible to care too much? To care so much about other people that they walk all over us?

While I am very much in favor of ‘To be happy, make others happy’, sometimes, it has to be the other way round.

It’s one thing to make others happy by making little sacrifices. That’s perfectly fine. But to make someone the centre of your life and push away everything else that mattered to you is perfectly NoT fine. Why? Because it will eventually make you unhappy. Because you will eventually lose the point of life. And the person you did it for, will not even appreciate it. And when they fail to appreciate your efforts, they take you for granted.

So, how do you manage empathy and selfishness? Because no matter what one would like to believe, selfishness is a virtue. Well, sometimes. Loving someone with all your heart is great, but being submissive all the time isn’t. Don’t be their doormat. Let them love you too.

Here’s something I have learnt over the years.

  • Grow a back bone.
  • Grow a back bone
  • Grow a back bone (Because “growing” a backbone takes time, courage and effort and a LOT of self control.
  • Get back to your hobbies and the things you stopped doing.
  • Make friends.
  • Do something meaningful.
  • Smile more frequently.
  • Get a life. Rebuild it.

Do it Don Draper’s way  –  “I have a life and it goes only in one direction. Forward”


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The smile of dawn!

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There was a time when I never used to let the sun catch me asleep.

The morning sunshine, the koel’s song or even the rooster’s crowing had a calming effect.

Just let the sun’s first rays adorn your face and brighten your day!

Then I grew out of the habit. Because, life.

After many months, I felt the magic of sunrise again.

The beauty of nature, the tranquility of mornings, is inexpressibly blissful.


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Love yourself.

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Loving yourself is about enjoying your life, trusting your own feelings, taking chances, losing and finding happiness, cherishing the memories, and learning from the past.

Sometimes you have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting. Have faith that things will work out, maybe not exactly how you planned, but just how it’s meant to be.


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Life doesn’t rhyme.

compassion

Be kind, for everyone is fighting their battle too.

A phrase so simple and poignant.

Everyone has their own story. Everyone has their own struggles. Everyone has made mistakes and everyone has been brought down by life sometime or the other. Everyone has their demons. And dreams.

I once read somewhere that, “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.”

Then why do we struggle with our insecurities? Perhaps because we always compare our behind-the-scenes with everybody else’s highlight reel. Steve Furtick said that.

Did you ever wonder that maybe the little boy in the park is actually worried about his test result?

-Or maybe the teacher who inspires you every day has been fighting loneliness every single day.

-Or the pretty lady at work constantly struggles with acne?

-Or that the woman on the bus is fighting an eating disorder, and the man next to her just lost his fiancee?

So yea, everybody has their own problems-no matter how big or small. Life is all about how you deal with it. Experience can make one bitter or better.

For those who get bitter with time, life is a bitch. But for those who get better, life is a beauty.

If you’re having a shitty day, chances are someone else is too. No need to compound it.
Be kind.

So I watch what I think. I watch what I say. And I watch how I treat other people. We all should. 🙂


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Remember.

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Do you ever feel like erasing certain memories from your mind? Like in the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Joel and Clementine do.

People are often advised to let the tears flow when you’re hurt. But what if, you are so hurt that you are even unable to cry?

For sometimes the heart cries
Much more than the eyes
And it’s hard to be refined
‘Coz memories are caged in your mind.

Could you, perhaps, fall so deeply in love with someone that you need a drug to erase their memories?
In the movie, Joel cries in a scene, “Look at it! It’s  falling apart! By morning, you will be gone!

I have no idea about others but I would not want any memories erased, not even the ones that hurt.

Remembering is what helps you avoid making the same mistakes.

Remembering is what helps you grow as a person.

Remembering is what lets you realise how much some people meant to you and how little you meant to them.

Remembering helps you appreciate those who actually love you.

Remembering helps you hope.

And remembering, somehow, in some strange way, makes you happy.

So no, never wish to erase, wipe or forget the slate clean.


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Souls on ice.

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I’m a loquacious person by nature. My mouth rarely takes a holiday. But I often fall into the arms of silence when I travel or commute.
Silent, because I’m quieted by that which meets my eyes.

The smile on the face of the child that fell asleep in its mother’s arms.

The couple walking hand in hand in the cold winter night.

The two friends laughing over coffee in the café.

The family of five on a single bike.

The young kid crying for the biggest balloon.

The smell of freshly fried samosas.

Children playing hopscotch in one lane and galli cricket in the other.

The man on the cycle selling cotton candy and kulfi.

Cows and buffaloes crossing the road slowly, very slowly.

Hymns from the temples.

People eating Golgappas.

The crowd that had formed outside the T.V store to watch the cricket match for free.

Rangoli outside houses.

Men pissing on the street. (In my country,kissing on the road is punishable but pissing on the road is allowed!)

Street side salons.

And then, as I stop at the red light, the march of the destitute begin.

The old lady bent double with age.

The man with the crutches.

The little boy with charred hands.

The little girl, selling flowers cheaper than ever.

The old man who says he hadn’t eaten anything since three days.

The light goes green and I move on.
The world changes.
The dark truth meets the eyes. The smile slowly fades.

People sleeping on the pavements, in the cold night. They sleep there season after season, never properly covered.
I wonder how many of them had slept without food.

The drunkard walking home. What problems might he have?

The children making street corners their beds. Would they ever know the comfort of a bed?

The woman scouting the garbage bin for something that she could use. What would she give her children in breakfast?

The old man parking his vegetable wagon at the corner of the road. Did he earn enough to feed his family?

The little huts, which had plastic sheets for roofing. What do those people do during cold nights?

The leper still begging on the street. Did his family abandon him because of the disease?

The young boy, was he a runaway? 

The single tear that ran out was not of sympathy or of pain. It was in gratitude.
Gratitude for everything I have been blessed with.

Isn’t it a blessing? Properly functioning body parts, a presentable face, no fatal disease, three times food, a house to live in and clothes to wear.

If this doesn’t make you feel blessed, and you do not feel a responsibility for the less blessed ones, then, somewhere in you humanity has died.


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Dear me.

Dear twenty-years-ago me,

I am sorry. I have lost everything you had. I was helpless.

You lived the life of a queen, I do not.

I have to look after myself. No one takes care of me anymore. I do my own chores. Nobody changes my clothes anymore. I have to be neat and clean and make sure nothings messy anymore! You may not believe me but I even have to eat by myself! I even cook for myself by myself!

Back then, when I was you, people were of two kind – good and crazy. The kind who gave us chocolates and the other who made faces and pinched our face and stopped us from having fun.

Now, people have become complicated. They say Santa isn’t real. Love hurts. You would not believe how hard it is to survive, without losing most of the innocence we possess as a child. That’s a part of growing up.

But have I grown up? I still do, secretly, enjoy melting chocolate on my fingers and licking it. I still play in rain puddles, sleep sometimes with my shoes on, and try to count stars, eat maggie masala, fight for swings and get scolded for having fun.

They say I need to be responsible. And more civil. They tell me that when I go to parks, I can’t play in the mud. And guess what, school has finally ended! Anndd I miss it!

Well, life has changed. A lot. I can’t tell you how and in how many ways. Dad isn’t around anymore. His princess is no longer a princess. But life isn’t so bad. There’s family, there are friends. Real ones. There are memories and there are adventures waiting ahead. There are aims, there’s hope. There are sunrises and sunsets, there is beach and sand.

But you wouldn’t understand all this. Your world was very different from mine. You loved yours, I love mine. Sometimes I hate it, but then I learn to love it again.

So yeah, when someone tells you that you have a lot to learn, believe them. But when they tell you that it’s a dark world out there, don’t believe them! Remember, you could always be the rainbow in somebody else’s life.

Love,

Me. 🙂


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Happy endings.

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When friends tell me that I’ve a pathological need for closure. I strongly disagree. Of course I don’t! All I have is a pathological need for a proper closure.

Are you also the same? You also have ‘The pathological need for a proper closure‘ if :-

* You do not like endings.
* It always leaves you in a melancholic, pensive mood.
* But that’s not the issue. You have learnt that with every end comes a new start.
* You just need the end to be “happy”.
* Be it a season, a course, a good movie or a book ( or a friendship or life )… you would like to have a proper goodbye.
* This condition, many a times, makes you go beyond yourself and attach more importance to things and people than they deserve and even risk self respect at times.

If you have answered all the above ‘yes’ and you make sure that endings are “happy”, then well done, you’re living life the right way! 😀 😛


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Born to Live.

She woke up, rubbed her eyes, realized what day it was and smiled. She hurried up to the terrace and watched the stars fade away and the sun pierce the darkness. The sky was filled with light, and she felt confidence and unbridled joy bubbling in her. As the sun conquered the sky, a smile spread across her face. Would the sunrise ever fail to awe her?

She turned around, feeling special and noticed that the earthen pots of water for the birds were now dry and empty. She filled them up, watered the plants and traipsed back to her room. Her phone lay by the side of her pillow, silent. She had switched it off last night. Leaving it on charging she went to freshen up.

While she made breakfast, she thought about what she would do that day. Mother was happy to see the breakfast ready and blessed her profusely. There was still time to pass before she stepped out of the house, so she went about doing daily chores and reading passages from one of her favourite books.

Finally she left the house. The first place she drove to was the café that served her favourite fudge. She ate it alone and knew that her friends would be so pissed off. But she had to do it- she needed this day to herself. She stayed in the café for another half an hour- watching the traffic outside steadily increase.
There was only one other customer in the café. A young man who sat at the other end, with his back towards her. He had a canvas bag with him – probably a college student. When she went to pay her bill, she paid also for whatever the young man had ordered.

On her way to her next destination, she stopped by a grocery store and bought a pack of toffees and two packs of cream biscuits. When she reached the Jamat khana, she paused. This was one of her favourite places on earth. It was a small building that housed orphans. She hesitated before entering. She hadn’t come there since her father had left. She hesitated because she knew she was now one of them. But she encouraged herself – if not today, then when?

The caretaker hugged her and spoke words of consolation. The kids were in Arabic class. It was a small orphanage cum school managed by an Islamic scholar. There were only fifteen children and each one’s story was unique.
When the class ended the children were just as happy to see her as she was to see them. Perhaps even more. They rarely had any visitors. Sure, the orphanage received generous donations – food, money, clothes – but seldom one’s time.

The caretaker brought tea for her and they all shared the toffees and biscuits. She listened to all their stories, ramblings and their wishes – some of which she would soon fulfill and some which she knew she may never be able to. Soon it was time for her to leave. They asked her to come again and she promised she would. And she meant it.

It was almost evening and she was to return home before it was dark. There was only one place left to go to. The Library.

She went around the aisles searching for a book. She had The Sheltering Sky in mind and was looking for it when something else caught her eye. It was ‘Five Go on a Hike Together’ of The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. She loved The Famous Five, having read those in school. It was perfect for reading that night. She got the book issued and left for home.

On her way she met a woman selling glow-in-the-dark-star stickers at the traffic signal. She bought two sets. After all, a gift was overdue. 🙂

On reaching home, she found her sisters waiting for her with a cake. They had done it in spite of her telling them not to. Family! She cut the cake, exchanged pieces of it and they handed her a list of people who had called on their numbers since her phone was switched off.
By seven in the evening she had retreated to her bedroom and changed into comfortable night clothes. She switched on her phone and started thanking everybody for their wishes.
Friends called up as soon as they saw her online on Whatsapp and told her how she was a mean bitch before wishing her lifelong happiness.

It pleased her most when she saw that among those who had wished her at the strike of 12 were some of her students. Their messages made her feel old but it also made her feel blessed.

After she had returned the wishes, she had a quick supper and sat down with her laptop to watch Rio 2. It made her day!

By the time the day came to an end she had snuggled into her bed with the book from the library while texting a new friend she had made.

She realized that this day – which came only once a year – was done. No celebration. No friends. No innumerable cake cuttings. No cream on the face. No long talks on the phone. No presents.
She did miss talking to those friends who called only once a year (which showed that they cared enough to remember her special day) and catching up with them. They must have called and given up.

But that day, in a unique way, in that quiet celebration, she had found peace and comfort which she hadn’t since a month. She slept feeling happy and contented. It had been a good day!

Until next year.


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Book falls open. I fall in.

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A book and a cup of tea. Isn’t that a delectable combination?  A book and a cup of tea, or coffee, or hot chocolate …On a sunny day or a sulky one, a windy day or a wintry one, a book never says goodbye.

It’s raining today and I am ensconced in that warm chair-swing in the balcony. I watch the sky celebrate, extend my hand and feel it on my palm and smile as a few raindrops caress my face.Opening my eyes, I watch the steam from the cup of tea, rising with eagerness, forming shapes, trying to reach for the sky but then slowly it gives up and accepts its fate.

Finally, as if following a sacred ritual, I turn my attention towards the book in my lap and run a hand over the cover. It wasn’t a new book. Rather, a very old one. Borrowed from the British Library.

Turning the book over in my hands I wondered how many people must have handled it. To the unseeing eye, it was only an old, tattered book, unworthy of any praise. But a lover would know its worth. I wondered how many stories it held, apart from the printed one.

How many moments it treasured?

I loved reading for all those well known reasons- for visiting unknown places, for the new eyes, new adventures, new friends, the knowledge, the wisdom. I loved the musty smell, the sound of a flipping a page, the feel of a book in your hands. I love it all!

But I love reading a borrowed book most. I love reading the tales hidden in them. Faded covers curling at the edges, browned papers. Finding a dried petal or flower in between the page reminds you of some stranger-friend. Words scribbled on the edges and careless doodling. Favorite passages marked and dog eared pages!

A stain here and a stain there, telling stories within a story. Chocolate marks, candy wrappers, names of lovers scribbled in tiny hearts drawn at the corner of a page. How many stories could a book tell? And how many could you read?

 

And then as my gaze wander, so do my thoughts. I look up at the clouds and start giving wings to their shapes. Then, I wonder about you.

Do you love the rain as much as I do? Do you too like saunte
ring empty roads? Does the sunset leaves you awed too, every single time? Do you love making castles in the sand? Do you enjoy talking to the birds? Do you find humor where most people don’t? Are you as crazy as I am? Do you too hate the world at times? And then learn to love it again? Do you like to eavesdrop on the wind whispering to the trees or pen speaking to the paper?  Do you sit alone and relive memories? Do you get goose-flesh when you see the rainbow? Do you ever feel lonely in the crowd? Can you too sea the fire in the sea? Do you feel the evening breeze caress your hand? Does spending time with people below seven and above seventy mean anything to you? Do you look at the stars and wonder…?

Poetry? Long walks in the rain? Dancing? Calvin and Hobbes? Kishore Kumar? Clapton? Dcfc? Star wars? Beaches? F.R.I.E.N.D.S.? Duck tales? Fox’s wedding? 

The rain has stopped and the scent of earth pulls me out of my thoughts. Petrichor! Sighing deeply, I look at my book and smile. It had waited patiently for my return. My companion amidst lonely crowd. 

So would you still ask me why I find in it my solace?


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Vote for yourself !

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I wrote this piece way before the elections. I truly believe that we – the people – are responsible for our country more than the elected politicians. When we can fight for our rights, we should also remember our duties. So now that we have all voted, let’s begin helping the sarkar we have voted for.


 

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A day ago, while I was on my way to class- enjoying the adrenaline rush from driving at 30 kmph- I was jerked out of my smooth driving by someone speeding the wrong way, missing crashing into me by only inches.

Shaky and out of my mind, I had to pull aside to get my heartbeat back to normal.

I sulked the rest of the way and on my way back home, I couldn’t ignore the many things that met my eyes: vehicles jumping signals, hasty pedestrians risking their lives while crossing the roads, policemen sitting idle at the junctions, vehicles moving on the wrong side of the road, ‘large’ families balancing themselves on small two wheelers, buses tilting to one side due to overload, people overtaking each other, unnecessary honking, bikers without helmets, idiots talking on the phone while driving, 8 out of 10 not turning off the engines at the red light, etc.

So, can anyone tell me why we so brutally criticize the government when we ourselves fail to do our part?

* We litter the country.
* We spit, anywhere. Everywhere!
* Roads and corners are wall-less open toilets for most ‘gentlemen‘.

And I could go on and on.

If you are one of those people who talks about or wants the country to change, then begin from yourself and stop saying “Yeh India hai, yahan sab chalta hai”.


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Hinc illae lacrimae

Drawing-Picture

 

It was nothing out of the blue. I was on my way back home from an education fair and the auto rickshaw I was in stopped behind a large swarm of vehicles at a traffic light.

 

Now, when you stop at the traffic lights what is the first thing that you notice? In India? The red light? Or the unnecessary smoke coming off your neighbours’ vehicles? Or the law-breachers flouting traffic rules? Or the people spitting? Or the wasting of finite resources?

 

Nope, what usually welcomes you first when you halt at the red light are the beggars-of-India! Mendicants. Vagrants. Whatever you call them, you will find them on the streets. As I said, nothing surprising about it.

 

So,there I am,fiddling with my bag when this little girl comes running. She must have been seven years or maybe eight, not more. Sun burned, her hair is full of filth and is wearing a dirt smeared yellow dress. Bareheaded, barefooted under the hot sun.

 

She looks at me imploringly, extends her palm and does what she has been taught to do: Beg.

 

So I give this little cherub a ten rupee note and she beams at me, turns to look at the lights and prances back under a tree and sits down. She starts doodling in the mud with her finger and I turn my attention back to my bag. The light goes green-the engine fails to start. The driver tells me to hire another auto. He is the boss, so I hop down and, move under the shade of the tree and start waving at the autos who pass by as if I was invisible. I look around in frustration and that is when I espied it.

 

The girl had finished her doodling and was getting ready for her next round as the light turned red again. She ran to do her chore and left me gaping at what she had drawn in the mud.

A house…A Home.

 

Hence those tears.