Saturday, September 13, 2014


From a curious little child, to a young girl- years have slipped away,swift and smooth like sand slips off the hand..
As dates change in the calendar, I grow older each day- to realize how time has flown, changing everything- not just in the world around, but within me.
I look at the old photo albums to see myself evolving- day after day, year after year!
The changes which gradually shaped me into who I am today- the years that gave me the experiences to grow into a mature adult, with my own understanding of the world, with my own opinion of things, and with a certain mindset.
Yet, sometimes when I see a group of young kids playing in the evenings, or enjoying in the school buses as the day gets over, nostalgia sweeps in.
A deja- vu happens!I end up remembering my golden days .
I look back at the old me, and then I see the present me -From a chubby infant, to a working professional- a long journey through school and college, through the innocent childhood and youthful teenage.
I look at myself, clad in the professional attire- heading to office with a natural code of conduct , and a big To-do list in mind, fighting with the world to make my point.
And , then I look at the kids- arguing whose turn it was to bat.
I stare at the little doll with curly hair, sipping Frooti, eyeing the packet of Uncle chips and getting happy with small pleasures like winning a game of Ludo.
That girl reminds me of someone-The child in me !
I think of myself in all the childhood photos, living a life quite similar to her.A pool of memories temporarily sweeps in my mind- taking me to an altogether different world!
Memories flash back every now and then- whenever I see a replica of myself in someone else.
A memory, that reminds me how I used to be- a carefree chatterbox, pleased with small joys, worried about trivial concerns, fighting for small matters, getting possesive of my beloved things, feeling jealous for things out of my reach..
That was me- a person who was not just living, but was alive!
Alive to be able to feel a multitude of emotions- alive to know what it felt to be appreciated ,to be protective, to be pampered, to be loved, to be sincere, to be hardworking, to be intelligent, to be smart, to be ambitious, to be hopeful and to be angry or frustrated.
Those were the days, when life was simpler, because small things held big values.
Those were the days, when being praised by teachers for good handwriting was considered appreciation.
When taking side of your siblings in a quarrel with the neighbors was being protective.
When being given a extra chocolate without a reason was pampering.
When getting to sleep on mothers lap decided which kid was more loved by her and the other was teased for being an "adopted child."
When completing the homework by myself was an effort towards sincerity.
When reading all the chapters and solving the questions of NCERT and reference books was the only idea of hardwork.
When securing first rank in exam was a proof of intelligence.
When having many friends, and knowing about the latest stationary set, and toys marked smartness.
When ambition was to be a teacher, or a doctor, or maybe even a millionaire!
When we confidently wrote "Friends forever!" , or Cut creamy chocolate cut, etc msgs on the handmade greeting cards given to friends on birthdays or friendship day.
Those were the days...
The days, when every small thing related to us had to happen exactly in our ways, or we had the liberty to cry over it.
When everything was so simple, yet seemed complicated!
When parents meant the enemies, who made us do homework and study.
When friends meant the people to share lunch with, and to play games.
When future meant the very next day.
When mothers were the genius, who provided solution to every problem- ranging from lost pencil, to a forgotten craft assignment.
Those days, opinions were simplified by our own definitions, and promises were easily made and believed.
I recall saying -"Mein tjhse kabhi baat nahi karungi" to my best friend,because she had not given me an extra sweet on her birthday.She cried at my promise, obviously we made up soon.And shook hands to promise "Friends forver " .
I recall saying-"Wo didi bohot badi hai, unki shaadi honey vaali hai", before shying away to talk to an elder relative who visited us.
I recall saying,"Badi hokar mein teacher banugi", when my favorite teacher asked me about my ambition.Afterall teachers were the knowledgeable people who knew everything under the sky. They were powerful and respectable!
I recall imagining daddy's office to be a bad , serious place,with all elderly people- staring at the huge bundles of files- doing some high level work- that made them tired for no reason.I thought it was good to be working in offices , as there was no uniform and no need to wake up at early morning. No homework and no exams were an added advantage.
Towards my teenage, I recall cribbing, "Itni si pocket money. Jab mein badi houngi, Khoob paise spend karungi".When I had to save money to buy an expensive Temptation chocolate for my best friend.
I recall the plannings done for a birthday party, and the weeks of good conduct before cajoling parents to get permission for movie outings.
As i recall these things, and many other such memories- I go into a state of trance!
I smile at those days of innocence.I smile at the irony of life!
I never realised when I grew up....and those days became just a part of my memory.
I never realised when that "best friend" became just an acquaintance.Many friends changed since then, and today i understand that friendship is a complicated relationship.Something i am still not able to define.But, I know for sure, that celebrating friendship day, or giving birthday presents isnt real friendship.Nor being connected 24*7 is a necessity for staying friends. Friendship is probably the feeling of having someone when you really need them!
I did not realize when i reached that age of being a "marriageable girl" myself. I do not know if being marriageable actually means growing up, or it is the sense of being responsible that defines maturity. I have seen elders who are more stubborn and childish than kids!
I did not realise when I came to think of teachers as Losers.( no offence, but college introduced me to the not so good side of teachers ) I have realised that all professions are good, but one needs to be passionate about his job. Satisfaction is my new ambition in life!
I now know what offices are for real! I would rather stay mum about my thoughts regarding offices now- because i am sure that years later, my opinion will change again. i am yet to explore them properly!
I now realise how those 60Rs that i needed to buy choclate was actualy earned and saved.I realise the dream of being a millionare was just a dream, and that each rupee costs 100 paise. Spending is easier than earning!
I now realise why it was difficult to get permissions for certain things and why certain other things were easily allowed.I was never allowed for late night outings, but there was hardly any class picnic that i missed. I realise the thin boundary between entertainment and extravagance. I realise that when my parents talked about safety- they did not just mean safety from phsyical injuries caused by falling or briuses during cat fights. They meant safety from the darker side of the world- the world which i had never seen under their guarded supervision. The world, which is not so pleasant.
Now, when i look back at those days of innocence- I am often blank.
I do not know whether to feel happy and smile that those lovely days were a part of my life!
Or whether I should feel sad, that those days can never be re- lived!
Amongst all these thoughts, a fleeting thought strikes me often- that my present life too shall be a memory some years later.
A memory that will bring back the same sense of nostalgia that childhood memories does!
When i was a child, i wanted to grow up.
Today, i want to be that child again!
Probably years later, i would want to live my present life....
Which simply means that it is natural to look back. Once in a while, we all cherish getting back to our roots.
To see what all has changed, to introspect and see our own evolution!
The knowledge of our past, the acceptance of our present and the excitement for our future is my idea of a happy life.
We can not turn blind to any of these , because that would mean shying away from one inevitable aspect of our life.
Time changes!
As time changes, we change too!
This is all about dynamicity!
We can not be sad about the changes.Because , despite the changes some part of me has managed to be stable- the part where I look forward, where I aspire, where I dream, where I find reasons to smile.
I hope to keep finding such joyous reasons to smile, the memories that make me think about the good times, and be glad that i was there to experience it all, to be shaped into what i am , to be able to decide what i want to be!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Independance Day Celebration......Or so it is?

She took out a crisp 100 rupee note to buy the national flag-soaked in the spirit of patriotism; she messaged Independence Day wishes to all her friends through the I phone she had recently bought. They decided for a reunion to celebrate the Independence Day, and were to meet at Starbucks Coffee house- with the “dress code” based on patriotism.
She opted for a white sleeveless Vero Moda shirt- matched it with a tri colored scarf, applied her L’Oreal makeup, sprayed her favorite UCB perfume and passionately got ready for the reunion.
She decided to travel by her Audi, since the route was long and congested. While crossing the slums- she rolled the window glass up, lest the noise would disturb while she heard her favorite Lady Gaga Playlist. Moreover, dust and pollution, especially at the traffic signal never suited her sensitive skin.
She entered the Phoenix mall, and while waiting for her friends to join- she noticed a tri color theme sandwich at the food court. She was tempted to buy it, and instantly shared its picture with #Independance #tricolour hashtags on instagram.

The friends were meeting after quite a long time, and thus had a lot to catch up.
Thank God it was an extended weekend , as the group could reunite and chill out till wee hours.
Booze, dance, shopping, movies, and gossips- that was their agenda for later that evening.
Thankfully, this time they remembered it was a dry day on 15th Aug, and so had already stocked enough liquor for the evening.

While updating each other of the latest hangout places in the city- they realized most of their group had now settled abroad, that is why their friend circle had narrowed down.Yet , they found newer topics to discuss- from chicks to flicks, from movies to the office gossips, from latest brands to upcoming trends. They covered everything.

Before leaving, they did a photo session around the national flag which she had bought, and headed for their home.
However, in the excitement of meeting old friends- she forgot to tie the seat belt, and was in for a shock when the traffic police stopped her and fined with a chaalan.

“These jerks pay special attention to these luxury cars. They know we can afford to pay whatever amount they ask! Bastards!” she thought to herself…before presenting a puppy face in front of the cop, and offered him to let go of the matter in lieu of a 500 rupee note.
When the cop discovered that she did not even have a permanent driving license, he had another reason to double the bribe amount.
After some bargaining- the matter closed, on a negotiated amount of 700/- .

The little incidence spoiled her mood, and she grumbled about the poor infrastructure in our country.

She had intended to get the permanent DL, but the RTO office was so unorganized that she dared not to go there alone, and her agent had been busy. So the matter had slipped off her mind completely.
Despite the election time, the lazy government had been good for nothing. She envied her friends who had been lucky to get rid of India and it’s problems.

However, the excitement of the evening plans elated her spirit again.
As she reached the home, she updated her facebook status . “Happy Independence Day folks! Proud to be an Indian. Let’s pledge for a better India”. And chose her best photographs to be uploaded.

Later that night, their party went well.
She was still in hangover of the celebrations, while the young boy who came daily to clean the car, picked up the national flag, which lay on the foot mat in the front seat. Accidentally, someone had stepped on the flag, and the stains of the footprint were quite evident.
He knew the car owner were rich people, and would not take the efforts to wash the “piece of cloth”. He wondered, if he could take that flag, and celebrate his Independence Day…..

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The "MAD" you...

Veronika decides to die- a book that I picked up half heartedly, more because I was in a state when I did not know what i really wanted to read , which genre of reading would soothe me…
There is a void in my life these days- a blankness, which I now discover is a baggage that everyone of my age carries at some stage in life…
When you are busy with work, your mind is totally engrossed- but whenever you are free, the thoughts pop up- and you think about the direction to which things are heading- only to discover that there is no direction at all- that each day is just the same as the past day, and the following day would be the same too.
We are often advisd to live in the moment, and that is so much well adapted , that we live only in the moment- focusing on the task in hand- ignoring the call of our mind, or the cry of our heart.
Whenener, there is a temporary shift of focus- we are in a state of dilemma- as to what to do next- to keep our mind busy.
At those moments, we calculate what all we gained in the gone years, and what all you could have lost in the process..
You miss certain things, regret others, and in this state of negativity- whatever we have in hand, we are hardly able to acknowledge it..
Earlier, I thought it was just me who had these mood swings- I felt weird about myself for feeling this way, and thought it was another of my mallices..

But, with great courage I talked about it to a friend, just to realize she too was in the same boat as me. This discovery made me feel less guilty about my own thoughts.
We talked about this to another friend, and there was a addition to our club..

And today, after discussing about this state with a lot of people, and reading about it a lot- I discover that we all are normal.
That every life is almost the same.
No one is completely satisfied with what we have, no one is happy all the time. We all have our regrets, our setbacks, unfulfilled dreams, unsaid words, unexpressed emotions- we all have another version of ourselves- which we hide- because of our own reasons.

This book- Veronika decides to die makes me dig deeper into this universal confusion.

The first few pages of the book took over my mind- more so , because it was so relatable.
The protagonist in the story decides to commit suicide- not because something major happened to change her life, like it does in most suicide cases that come into limelight…. But she decides to die because nothing interesting was happening to her, or she could foresee no change from the routine in the coming days..
She wasn’t sad or upset about anything- yet she wasn’t happy either.
That monotony, that certainty and that mundane routine took away her desire to live- and thus the bold decision.She felt even God would not mind her efforts to end the life he had beautifully bestowed upon her.She logically stated that if God was the creator of all, he would know that she will end it in this manner- because he was the one to decide her fate. She even convinced herself, that God was the one responsible for giving her this strength to end this routine set of events called –“her life”!
She wasn’t mad at all, nor suffering from any psychological ailment- because she was well in her senses.
Small and big things mattered to her- she cared how her parents would feel on looking at her mutilated body, she carefully chose her way to commit suicide- taking sleeping pills, that too one by one, so that she still had time to stop midway , in case she changed her mind.
She popped the pills while reading a magazine, even at those last moments , she had an opinion about the article which she read- not just an opinion, but such a strong opinion that she wrote a letter to the columnist as well….
Such was her state of mind…..sane, yet unstable!
I call it unstable, because probably she wasn’t any unusual or rare kind of person who suffered from this dilemma, yet , her conclusion to change her life was unusual..her way to se things was unusual..
We all live her life , atleast for some span of time!
Many a times, it happens that we lose interest, there is a constant void that prevails in our life- an irreplacable blankness, that can hardly be explained or wiped off….

We try to run away from it, and keep running till we successfully push it away…
Sometimes a nightout with friends, sometimes shopping or a movie, sometimes a short trip, sometimes reading or listening to songs, sometimes sleeping , or fighting or maybe remaining silent are our ways to push away that lull.
We derive temporary solace, and then gradually forget about that pahse- till it resurfaces.

Those negative phases in life are like a wave- which keep hitting the bank, temporarily- taking away the inner peace, sometimes silently sweeping off the sand, or at times hitting both the cases, there is silence once the waves retreat…the silence which is not ever lasting…the silence which is actually enjoyable……

In the story, Veronica, the protagonist is somehow saved, and ends up being sent to an asylum- a place for the mentally unstable people, and that is where she rediscovers her life….She had never thought this was her fate- to be treated like a mad.
If we look rationally at the doctor’s viewpoint, she was indeed a mad- unfit for the real world- where people are bound to face challenges, and not give up , not be weak enough to succumble to these pressures. Only the mental patients could take a step as bold as suicide!
Yet, if you think from a wider perspective- was she really a mad?
I don’t think so…
She was infact a lot wiser than most of us- because she was sensitive- sensitive towards the direction her life was taking, sensitive to her own thoughts, and also daring enough to take lead in putting an end to it.
She was unhappy with life, and thus she did not want to live it anymore…as simple as that!
I related with her logics, and her thoughts.
Her suicide attempt seemed justified- though by intellect and common sense, I know this wasnot a normal human behavior.

But the story did not end there…

She is told that though she is alive, her life was about to end, her heart was weak, and she could die in next 4 days.
Suddenly she is gripped by a fear- a fear of uncertainity..which actually is quite surprising, because she was the person who never wanted to live in the first place…
The countdown for her death begins, and this time, each minute is a pain for her. Unlike the time when sleeping pills worked, this time, she was afraid…maybe because this time things were not as per her plan. Her original plan had failed, and she no longer held control on her life.

In those few hours, she is confused about her own self- was she really a mad, like the doctors had concluded, or was she a sane person, misfit in the world of mad..
Then a question comes to her mind- who basically are the mad people!
That very question changes her whole perspective of life, and she decides to take benefit of the situation she was forcefully put in…

Since she was already considered a mad- she was no more obligated to follow the rules laid by the world of sane people..
she could play piano whenever she wanted, she could follow no routine, and listen only to her heart, she could talk the way she wanted- she could think the way she felt was right- unaffected by what others would think of her.
She was entitled to do what she wanted, and to ignore how it would affect others.
She was taught that if anyone has a problem with her madness- they would tell her to behave, else, it was their problem, and she need not bother.
She gradually realized that all the people around her were busy in their own lives, and her presence hardly mattered to them.
Just like they did not matter to her.

This rare discovery made her feel light- she was no longer obligated to please anyone, and that was when her natural behavior surfaced.
Gradually , her love for life resumes.She starts feeling a different kind of energy, that made her excited to live the life to its full course, and not just give up on it midway…
But , her countdown had already begun….

Whether she lives or she a question I cant answer yet, because I will have to read the book till its end..

Despite the interesting storyline involved, I can not bring myself to read this book further.
The book is too much of a thought process for me- it bares the appalling reality of human psyche…
Each page, each incidence unfolds a newer trait of humans in general…
This story isn’t about a single girl called Veronika- but is the life of every human with a heart and feelings..

It taps unexplained views about life…ones that are hard to digest for most of the sane people like you and me.Yet, the very concept of the book is that none of us is totally sane- we all are mad, and only have our own levels to curb that madness within.
Jumping in the rain could be madness for one person, idea of fun for another..
Singing despite being bad at it, dancing like a duck, crying like a baby, dedicating your life for something that you love – they all are madness … yet, those who do not hesistate in accepting that madness feel free- they live for themselves.
Those who fear the world, end up living the life others decide for them.

We all put efforts to suppress that madness, and to look normal among the other mad people- collectively, we all feel we are sane, well the fact is, how well we handle the balance between our mad desires and the social acceptance decides our personality, and the way we handle that pressure decides our mental peace.

What is needed for a peaceful living is to accept the madness in yourself, and to find ways to do the things that make you happy..Live like a mad- without caring how others may form an opinion about you, because the fact is – no one else really matters. Every one is busy in taking care of his own problems, and masking his own madness…
If you are in a good state of mind, then you radiate it, and the people around will benefit out of your madness…
If you are constantly under the pressure of living upto the expectations set by others- you will not have the space for your own personality to bloom- that pressure will not make you happy, and you will end up with the recurring feeling of void.
Each one of us has some calling- an interest which was never exploited, a passion that was often suppressed or went unnoticed.
For a moment, look within to discover that driving factor, which would fill the void - which would encourage the “Mad” within you to drive itself out of the shell of “social acceptance”…
Live life with no mental blockages--- freely! Passionately!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Of worship and Irony!

Rita lay on her bed- suffering from high fever.Barely able to stand up due to the weakness.
The negative aspect of living alone- you have to take care of yourself,in both thick and thin.
Somehow, she gathered the strength to reach for her handbag and take the prescribed dose of crocin.
"Never have paracetamol on an empty stomach", a voice from within reminded of her mothers' warning.
Without dilly dallying anymore, she got up from the bed, and headed straight to the kitchen- to have warm coffee and a toast.
There was leftover milk in the fridge- just one minute of wait, and coffee would soothe her paining throat.
As she clicked the lighter, no flame turned up- she calculated- 1 month since she had replaced the last cylinder. Gas cylinder needed to be changed.
Too much of an ask for a person whose body temperature touched 103.
She thought for a second, and halfheartedly, decided to ask her neighbors for help- they seemed to be good people, who always greeted her with a warm smile, especially in markets and public places.
Warming one cup of milk was no big favor, she convinced herself, before ringing their door bell.
After the second ring, the lady opened the wooden door, now looking at Rita through the mesh door.
"Yes, tell me?" she asked bluntly..the usual public smile was amiss.
"Aunty, i need a small favor from you." Rita informed, hoping the mesh door would be opened.
"Tell me?" the lady still did not bother to invite her inside.
"I am unwell, can you please warm this one cup of milk so that I can take medicine." Rita ignored the lack of respect showed to her, and informed the small favor she needed.
"I am doing worshipping right now. I will take atleast 1 more hour.I will contact you later." the lady replied, closing the door on Rita's face, to resume her bhajans- where she prayed to be made capable enough of being able to help the needy people...and praising Lord Krishna for the way he welcomed Sudaama to his palace.