Sunday, October 14, 2007

Leap High Above

With the occasional breeze brushing across my face, I kept looking at the entrance of the station. Sweat was trickling from one corner of my face with the hot autumn sun. I kept looking at every person who passed by me. One lady pushed me with her rear side without even realizing that she did that. I noticed that she did not know what her rear side had just done while bending and I pardoned her. After all she was not making me wait for ages.

I looked at the chattering lady police and she was not doing what she needs to do. After the bomb blast in Mumbai, I thought they would be frisking anyone with huge luggage. She glanced at me once when she saw my gaze for than a minute on her. I quickly prayed that, he should now come sooner.

Though my prayer was not completely answered, God has his own way of doing that. He did not come yet but he called. I answered without saying hello,
“Where are you?”
“I am right outside, Priye”
He had the habit of annoying me more by calling me ‘Priye’ when I am at the peak of my frustration.
“Then why aren’t you coming in?”
“Darling, just step outside and we will go.”
“But aren’t we going in train, I don’t want to go in auto or taxi for that matter.”
“Will you ever listen to me.” he sighed, “please come out priya, I am serious.”
I hung up and walked out of the station. I could not see him anywhere. I would kill him if this was a prank I thought to myself. I saw a hand waving at me from one crowded corner; the person was inside a car. At closer look I realized it’s him. I hurried down the path with my mouth wide open, as the car looked brand new.
“Whose car is it?” I asked him suspiciously.
He grinned and opened the door for me.
“Priye let me be your chauffeur today.”
I took seat knowing he was being romantic and constant questions about the car would simply spoil the fun.
There was no doubt in my mind that the car was brand new because I could smell the new plastic in the car. We drove to the nearest beach. On the way he would look at me and give me a sheepish smile.
I smiled back at him with all the love I always felt for him.
“Jaan, do you want to tell me something?”
“Not now, wait for some more time.”
He parked the car carefully and we walked towards the salty breezy air. The sound of crashing waves on the shore and the illimitable blue sky wavered above our heads. It was a wonderful beginning of an evening. He held my hand firmly as we moved towards the sea.
“Priya, I bought that car today. Did you like it?”
I was astounded by the news, which he gently delivered. Not once did he mention anything about buying the car during their conversation. The deal may not have been settled for a week. He did it for us, I was not sure yet but this definitely is an indication.
“You dint say anything about this before.” She said beaming, “I love the car, and it’s simply perfect.”
“I hoped you would like it, I wanted to surprise you.” He smiled.
“That you certainly did, darling.” She giggled.
They walked the shore hands in hand and enjoying the breeze. Splashing water on each other once in a while and giggling like school children. We came across a patch, nobody was around. As we sat down cuddling to each other, he said quietly, “Priya do you see the sun going down?”
I was baffled with his question and answered simply, “Yes.”
“I would like to see the sun rise, with you right beside me.”
Today was a day of surprises; I quiet did not understand what he meant. I looked into his eyes for an answer. They were clear and honestly determined, with no malice lacing them. When my eyes held a question, he answered it in whisper.
He produced a ring out of nowhere and waited for me to say something. My mouth seemed to cease working to any instructions my head gave.
“Yes I would love that.” I managed to finally say.

There after we just talked about our future and all the lovely things we would do together. We left the beach and sat in the quiet of the car.
“I can’t wait to tell this to didi. She would be overjoyed.”
He smiled and we drove out of that place.
“Let me accompany you when you do that. After all we have to ask her permission.” He said.
I looked at him, “I love u." as he bent towards me to kiss I said, "let’s get married soon.” He kissed me while he was taking a turn and an impending truck banged into our new small car. Flying high in the sky taking away all our plans into one single moment of death.

We leap into the world with all our joyous rightfulness hoping to fly through it. But when we start to fall like a rock from sky we wonder, why at all did we jump? Then we realize we did jump for a reason and if we dint fly the reason has stopped to exist.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Say Cheese !!!

If the title brings thought of real yummy cheese and then need to diet in your mind, then this article is not meant for you. But if like me, you are the kind who is camera shy and run to the closest hiding place, read on. Almost all of us fear that we look different in our pictures, even weirder perhaps. For me the experience has in front of the lens and behind it has been similar.

It all began when I was a toddler. Of course I was voted the cutest baby around, but what they have got on the film doesn’t make me proud. For example the photo of me chewing on the newspaper, scared of the first birthday candle, showing of my non-existent teeth lost in a classic bawl etc. Then there are the good old school photos. Me almost unrecognizable with two oiled ponytails, pinned hanky to my neatly ironed uniform I ever wore for my entire life and in the least two inches of face powder.

I bet all of you have funny photos like you on your first bike (and then falling of it), near the monkey cage at the zoo (what a striking resemblance!!!), doing a koli dance and kicking your partner. And the snap you hide behind all the rest is you in the underwear pretending to be batman, naked in the washtub with a cheeky smile. But the father of all weird photos is the PASSPORT PHOTOS. The very thought of going into the dark room and fanning an expression that you think is smart, is scary. No matter how well you smile and try to maintain a serious face, something goes wrong. On the most seen and used photo of yours you end up looking like a) like you wanted to say something but were stopped in the midway b) in pain c) goofy d) constipated and certainly someone who must feature in ‘India’s Most Wanted’. I have just one good passport photo which I have treasured the negative and kept under lock and key. But since I have grown, I cant have my 6th standard photo on my ID.

The most treasured of all photos is the family photo. The whole family gathers in their best attire for this one. This image is really heart warming to see so many generations together.
Friends, family, wedding, criminal investigation, UFO or clicked with the lens cover on, Photos will always help us to capture that one moment and remember it for ages to come, to embarrass and to bring tear of joy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The 14Th Floor

“This traffic would kill me one day.” I thought to myself. On top of that, I feel like an office boy running errands. It’s been just a week he has joined ‘Trendz’. They have asked him to drop the data CD’s to his senior manager’s home. I have not even met that bugger and he is already a menace to me. When I asked my current close colleague why did I have to deliver this? He mentioned about Mr. Roy being on vacation for a week now and he has a very important conference tomorrow call for which he needs to go through the data. My super next question to him was, why can’t we mail him the data? As soon as I asked I knew the answer to it. “It’s too huge to send through mail, why are you getting upset? It’s on your way as it is.”
“Yeah right” I answered.

The address was so skimpy I wondered how to reach the place. At least the dumb of a secretary gave me the name of building and society. I looked at 20 something storey building and one wall full of names of the residents. I looked closely at it and I was dumbfounded when I saw that on 14th Floor there was a Mr. S Roy and on 15th floor another Mr. S.K. Roy. Which one is it I wondered? I quickly called the office, phone just kept ringing. I looked at my watch it was only seven thirty, does nobody work overtime? I cursed the secretary a couple of times loudly. I called my colleague, no answer from him either. Now he had no choice but to gamble and choose a flat. He got into the elevator with a woman. She pressed the button for 9th floor and I just kept standing there deciding which floor to go, she gave me disgusted look. She got off on 9th floor and I quickly pressed the 14th floor button. I looked at myself in the mirror, my hair was disheveled, and I combed them in place with my fingers. He tucked his shirt in properly. I did not consider myself handsome but I was definitely smart enough. It was not difficult to find his flat. There were just two on each floor. He practiced his apologies if it was the wrong Roy’s house. His fingers trembled when he pushed the bell.

The door opened after few seconds. As soon as it did, my breath got stuck somewhere. My eyes glued to the girl who opened the door. She was barefoot with shiny silver toes and anklet on one of her feet. She was wearing a flowery skirt and a black singlet. Her black curls fell like feather on her shoulder. She tilted her head questioning at me. I realized I was staring and recovered quickly. “I am… Ranjit” I stammered
“eshona” she said in a sweet Bengali accent.
I assumed she asked me in and walked in. The room was decorated in austere cluttering, I assumed from Bengal. What a stunning beauty Mr. Roy has, I wondered. I no more felt sorry for this trip. I sat down and asked her, “Mr. Roy?”
“Oh daddy? He just left with Mom.” She smiled, “Would you like something to drink? It must be really hot outside.”
I nodded my answer; I could not get myself to speak.
“Would you like coffee or chilled coke?”
“A chilled coke please.” I answered. She left me to fetch the drink. I realized that I had to find out whether it was the correct house. There was soft music playing behind she came back with two tall glasses of coke. She plopped herself opposite me and said, “I think he was expecting you. He mentioned something but I had my headphones on …” she smiled naughtily.
I sighed in relief I got myself in the right house.
“So Ranjit, what do you do?” she asked.
“I am currently working as business analyst. I just joined a week back.” I paused, “May I know your name?”
“Oh how silly, I assumed you would know. I am Riddima, but everybody calls me ‘Mishti’.”
“What would that mean?”
“Mishti? It means sweet.” She giggled and further explained, “We Bengali’s have a habit of keeping funny pet names.”
“But I must say though it may sound like a cliché to you. For a sweet person like you, the names appropriate.” She had the decency to blush. I quickly asked her, “So what kind of funny pet names do you guys have?”
“Oh you would hear some like, Hego, Teko, Bubun, chumki, Chuku, tuli and now if you have read the book ‘Namesake’ gogol seems like the favorite funny name.” she laughed and it was contagious as even I did.
“Then comparatively you have good pet name.” she beamed.
“Are you in a hurry Ranjit? I mean do you have anything planned ahead.”
Actually I dint and an opportunity like this should never be denied. “No do you have something in mind?”
“Wow,” she clapped hands like a small girl, “why don’t you stay for dinner, meanwhile we could play a game of scrabble, what do you say?”
“It sounds good, but you would have to teach me how to play I have forgotten, I have not played for years.”

Of course who does not know how to play scrabble? I played this game every school vacation of my schooldays. We played the game revealing bits and pieces of each others lives. She mentioned about her childhood and how they had stayed in much smaller home, she had so much fun that time. Now hardly her cousins came over. He narrated his migration from Allahbad to Mumbai in search of higher paying jobs.

Conversation spilled over the cozy Bengali dinner which the maid had cooked. They had maid from kolkatta. I was amazed. It was nearing 11 on the watch. He had outstayed his privilege. They exchanged their numbers when the bell rang. A half bald man in his fifties and a good-looking middle aged woman walked in. Oh, I thought, Mr. and Mrs. Roy. I stood up to greet them. I saw a frown crossing Mr. Roy’s face. Before I could say anything, he asked, “Who is he?” the question was directed towards his daughter.
I answered for her, “Mr. Roy, I am Ranjit Chowdhry from Trendz.” Then I remembered the package and I removed the CD’s. “I was here to deliver the data CD’s to you.”
“Whom are you talking about, I don’t know you and I don’t know anything about the Trendz and the CD’s.” his voice changed threateningly, “what have you been doing here?”
Mishti looked confused, “But daddy you said that somebody was coming home…”
“Yes but that was Debashish, my friends son. Not him. For once if you would just listen to me Mishti….”
Now was the time to say the apologies I had practiced earlier, somehow I could not remember them.
“I am sorry Mr. Roy, this is a terrible confusion, I think I had to deliver the parcel to Mr. Roy on 15th Floor.”
I took the cue and opened the door to go out. I once looked back and saw a glaring Mr. Roy, confused Mrs. Roy and the best part, smiling Mishti.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


A human being can live without food, water and even air, at least for few minutes. But there is one thing that he can not live without. What was that? That is hope. If a human being loses his hope, he could be called a dead man alive. The simplest of hope would be to be able to see the sun once you get up. A recent and really good example would be to movie “Pursuit of happyness”. The character never loses hope to have better tomorrow. Of course he did not expect the world to be better place to live in instantly, but mostly for himself and his beloved son. He just day by day keeps facing the crunch of not having enough to live through the day. But he does not give up. In this situation he needs a job; he does get one as a trainee in Stock broking organization. The irony being that he would not be paid for 6 months and after that he would have to prove his potential to be able to be a broker. In the meanwhile he never loses his cool and he is always polite and respectful. He completely understands the worth of other individual. A wonderful characterization of how he gets himself and his son through all the difficult phases only on a very fragile hope that he would get the job after his traineeship is over. The belief and faith on this hope he carries himself from one eventful day to another. So friends lets not lose hope to simply love and cherish and one more request do watch the movie, its simply touching.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Nivi's Day Out

Well to start with this happens to be the most relaxing weekend I have had in so many months. My mother happens to be away on pleasure trip. Sleep a rare commodity for me, has blessed me enough over these three days. I tell myself that I would have to go to return the books I had borrowed from the library and I drag myself out on a raging day. I tried for some one to come with me but I failed to convince anyone to join me. So it was Nivi's Day Out and I decided it had to be made fun.

I traveled by bus after a long time. I saw things which I usually would not have otherwise. I saw a small church just over some bridge towards the town side which I feel is not hundred years old but quiet antiquated. I saw a new construction near Haji Ali and thought to myself not another mall. It is just few days before the derby and the race course seemed beautiful. I would have missed all this if I had not travelled in bus.

I was not sure of the way to library as I had just been once there before. The music was humming in my ears and I had no plans. I reach the library and purposefully march towards the stacks of book. I suddenly feel dizzy with all the books around me. I closed my eyes and took deep breaths. It wasn't the books but I did not want to analyse my dizzy spell. I slowly kept moving and reading just the titles and finally picked up some books and moved out.

I kept wondering how should I go home and from where. But moving from library I had my glares on and I kept walking. In retrospect, I had too many memories flowing in and that is when I thought......

There comes a time in your life

When you look into your past

And see the footprints you left behind.

Those are the moments when

You cherish the memoriesOf time long gone by.

Of occasions that made you laugh,

And instances that made you cry.

These are the memories Stored in the footprints you have left behind.

And you remember,How a little smile lit up many lives,

And how you shared a life.Its then that you realize,

you too are important for some one,

you have played a part n someone’s life.

However small these might appear,

These too are significant,

Your footprints on the sands of time.

I could see the ocean from where I was walking. I could also see heads of people lined up as I walked closer to Marine Lines. While passing the Air India Building I saw two guinea fowls. I had to take their snaps. Walking ahead I saw three huge NAVY helicopters touring the Marine Lines sky. People stood up to see the amazing giants and the navy officers doing the stunts. All children started clapping and waving at them. I clicked few snaps from my cell just got one of them right. Then I just kept walking ....I walked and walked. Drank some world famous nimbu paani. Which gave me enough strength to keep walking till Victoria Terminus station now called CST. I took some hot coffee to keep me going, the famous cappuccino from CCD. I took it on the train and guess what I, the stmbler spill all my coffee on shirt and shoes. Thats the way Nivi ended her day but it was one amazing evening on her own.