Between the Two – Part 2/2

Dear Diary

I have always been told but had brushed it off until I saw it her eyes today. And I’m pretty sure on that. Maybe it is true that a girl and a boy can never be friends, one does falter.

In afternoon, picked up our trophy for debate and Ana after her performance, we headed to finally eat in the grueling day. Our glutton Sam was gobbling down burgers like anything. Haha! ūüėÄ
It was then I realized, that we were good one hour past the leaving time. Immediately dialed Mrs. Chaudari’s number, our activity supervisor. Well, probably today I was the chosen one to bear the brunt of her frustration for the tiring day outside that comforting AC room. She bashed me mercilessly – in and out, up and about. On punctuality, discipline, regularity, being a good citizen of the country – anything to everything. But finally did manage to convince her to wait for us. There was no way we could travel about 200 kms into the city without our college bus.

I literally pushed Sam off her chair to get her going to catch the bus. She had to leave her beloved burger because of me, bet she had cursed me thousand times over. And then we began our chase, race against time to catch the bus. It was maddening, especially to run in formal suits feels very stiff. I was conscious of not tearing up into a malfunction. Wonder how Ana managed, with all that heavy jewellery and shiny clothes.
I remember, we were cutting through the traffic, when a bicycle dashed in front of us. We barely managed not to topple him over. Just then don’t what got into Sam, she turned around, and grabbed my hand, probably to start our sprint again. Or so I thought.

But she stopped there, in the middle of the road and stood there, solid as a rock. She had a perplexed look as if deriving some complex formulas. Perplexed, we were too. Ana tapped on my shoulder and sighed. “The bus left. Look.” Of course, Mrs. Chaudari had made her choices. And then, rage took better of me. I must have shouted for good fifteen minutes on Sam, but she seemed unaffected. When she did turn back (or actually look up), I saw the glint I feared the most. I think she had the slightest of smile on her face too. What was she smiling at?

There we were, three stranded. 200 kms away from city. Hopefully got a auto, whose driver agreed to help us when I cooked up some story of how the city was embodied with my mother’s childhood. ¬†Ana slept through the journey and Sam was acting too weird to talk to. Nonetheless, I was too irritated for the day to talk to anyone.

But now when I think of it, I know Samriddhi isn’t coming to me and confessing anything. Good! Because I wouldn’t know how to handle the awkwardness. I cannot ruin this friendship of ours. We have been together since alphabets¬†came into our lives. We have together won hundreds of debates at school. And we are still together while in college.
I know I’m not in love with her. Not that I love Anamika either. Or I love anyone for that matter, at the moment. What is troubling, that since love has made its way into the equation, it will ruffle up everything good we three had. Ana will be left unknown and Sam will act different or try avoiding me altogether. There’s no way I can get out.

Kunal

Haven’t read Part 1 of the story? Catch up here –>¬†In the Middle of the Road ‚Äď Part 1/2

In the Middle of the Road – Part 1/2

Dear Diary

It is unusual that I write this. I have doubted myself thousand times before penning it down. But maybe it is true that a girl and boy can never be friends, one does falter.

Today, when we picked up Anamika after her solo dance competition and binged up on burgers, especially me and Kunal, did we realize we were late by an hour! (BTW we bagged the second position for debate)
Before I could go for my third burger, he pushed me off the chair.¬†“Sam! Look at the time. We’ll miss the bus. Hurry up. I have asked them to wait for us”

And then we ran like crazy. Crazy was real, because with Kunal and me in formal suits and Ana in her Bharatnatyam costume and respective footwear in our hands. But crazier was the driver of our bus. He was waiting for us, sure but in the middle of the freaking road! And Goddamn the traffic.
There, a bicycle cut through our running track and jarred whole momentum. I knew, I couldn’t give up on the chase because I had already lost on my burger. So I swung around, grabbed Kunal by his hand, in thought of propelling him faster.

But something made me stop right there, in the middle of the road. The timing was at its worst. I had held him before, in fact even closer. Why now did I feel the need to never let go of his hand, never ever? The feeling was unknown. There was longing to be with him and suddenly I was stuck with the fear of him not aware of this at all. When I turned back to him, he was glowering down on me and shouting something from his 6 ft  towering head. His nose, shone against the sun. I had never noticed that his nose bent, pointing to the ground. Never in 16 years with this man had I noticed such intricacies. Love makes you do such stupid things!

Long story short, we missed the bus. The driver couldn’t wait any longer and we didn’t run enough, thanks to me. Kunal is pissed with me. Anamika is annoyed. We did catch an auto, but to pay hefty to get back home from outskirts of city, with free dust and dirt on face, is nobody’s idea of road trip.
What worries me, is me. How do I handle this situation? I cannot possibly tell Kunal. I cannot wreck our almost lifelong friendship. We have been together since alphabets¬†came into our lives. We have together won hundreds of debates at school. And we are still together while in college. I cannot tell Ana too, because she will not keep anything to herself. And what if she too loves him. Oh no, I’m just complicating things myself.

This remains here, buried in your pages and never goes out. Our secret!

Samriddhi

 

Home to India – Sweet Incident

Last Friday, our maid applied for an official casual leave on occasion of her daughter’s birthday. The next day, we get to know her husband too, took an off for the day and arranged for the party. She had invited about 20 guests for dinner.

You ask, why am I sharing this no-use-to-me-piece-of-news?
Because there’s something about what touched me – that someone in India, especially lower middle class are happily celebrating girl child. ¬†That too, at a larger scale than their caliber.
This in a country, where the government has to dictate and plead and educate people to save female child.

Somewhere deep in my heart, I feel India is progressing. Maybe slowly but steadily. And that’s real happiness.

P.S. Well, India has progressed much, because she got a red rose from her husband on Valentine’s Day this year! ūüėČ

 

Blog Update: Changing frequency

Hello Guys!

I have not been able to post lately, especially last Sunday (as promised).
Later did I realize that the goal of post every week was too much of a creative pressure.

Hence, I’ll post every second Sunday, more under different categories.

The last post was two weeks back, so that means we must have one today!
A short, little one coming right away.

And have planned a two series, love triangle fiction for the coming weeks.

Stay tuned! 

How Life changes after You turn 25

Sitting with my girlfriends over lunch, two days before my birthday, I remarked, “I will turn 25 in less than forty-eight hours and I don’t feel anything that age.” One of them laughed, “You wouldn’t feel like one until the day you do turn 25.” And true to that, a month later, I realise ¬†how things have changed even when they seldom have. Maybe it is my perspective towards things, people, situations – everything has taken a different viewpoint.

Love for parents and family in particular.
Well, we always have loved our mom and dad. Said so too. Meant it even. But to notice their smallest of sacrifices, their littlest of contributions, their earnest of efforts for our happiness makes the word ‘love’ seem insubstantial.
* ¬†I’ll share an incident. My birthday this year fell on a weekday and my parents had taken an off from their respective workplaces. It didn’t feel as a big deal until one of friends made it sound like “Wow, they have taken a leave for YOU!”
Time and again, almost all my holidays are spent at home, with family. I am usually snubbed by people as anti-social, not enjoying life, missing out on experiences, etc etc. For a very long time, I thought I was actually all of that. But one day, a flash of second made me understand that these people don’t have their families by their side. If I had only friends to rely on, I would be outside too, always.

Talking about people, two and half decades makes you know the worth of your gut feeling. No, not the bloated stomach one. The inner voice, that is. Do you know when your inner voice constantly tells you against certain people like your mother did when you were a kid? But then your heart doesn’t want to listen. And the brain weighs out more pros than cons and tells you its all safe.
I say, maybe you should re-consider. ‘Cause I have learnt carrying baggage of certain things/people in life drains you mentally, emotionally and physically too (no dirty minds, please!)

With believing my inner voice, came two most important lessons – Learning to say No and Letting Go. I guess these are really important. There are (again) things/people which stick to your life like leeches sucking life out of you especially when you are AWARE of them. Ask them to leave or just say a No. However, it is easier said than done. Difficult in the beginning but feels empowering.

Seeing your school friends getting degrees from colleges you wanted to or your college mates getting into companies you had always dreamed of to be in, brings in sense of competition. And then, unknowingly creeps in envy. Oh man! How that burns you inside out. Because competition is great until you start comparing yourself. That of course you will, everything from the salary package they garner to the percentage of marks they scored in boards, and how ‘better’ I am or I was. Or if I wasn’t better, I ain’t good either now as well. All those hundreds you have added on social media, upload their glittering lives of exotic travel plans and exclusive day out with friends and shopping extravaganzas, rubs it on your face the monotony of your life. Sadness of you staring at their larger than life pictures through your 5″ mobile screen.

Slowly and steadily, one tends to drift towards depression. And trust me, it is such a beautiful place to be. Darkness with no noises, just you. Months, it will take you months to get out of that beautiful, comfortable zone. It gets just too addictive.
The game is all about selection of the positivity. Select the right the things to see, the right things hear, right things to eat, right stuff to wear and most importantly right people to keep close in life. 

I figured out (or rather consoled myself) that certain things aren’t made to happen to us at that moment. Maybe it wasn’t destined, maybe we didn’t try hard enough, maybe we didn’t want it bad enough.

And there are things that are just made to happen to us. Maybe we were destined, maybe we don’t see the good now and will so later, maybe we see the bad now and curse it. Whatever it is, everything happens for good. Mom says so, and I believe!

It took me one third of my life to understand we have used our lives to impress people temporary in life – relatives, teachers, friends, girlfriend, boss, lover. (I don’t include Parents, I consider them eternal). In the process, we forgot to impress the only permanent person in life – Ourself! ¬†When was the last time we worked on ourselves, thought of things we loved? Downloading favourite music and binge watching TV shows doesn’t count, neither does sleeping throughout the weekend. Though I did consider them, because it took me away from my wake-eat-work-eat-sleep routine, until late. I decided to get a hold of things. Penned down all things I wanted to do, I wanted to learn or read or listen, places I wanted to travel to. That moment you realise there’s so much to you than your name, your degree and designation. I intend to start working on them gradually. Infact, have initiated few good changes too. Hope to continue with them. * fingers crossed *

Little by little, I put together Life to understand it is ‘ME’ on focus and no one else can (should) take the center stage. Twenty five years are probably¬†too long, or I might have been lucky!

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Directorial finesse and Acting Prowess – Detective Byomkesh Bakshy

There are few actors in Bollywood whose work¬†I have followed ever since they embarked on their journey to glory. Deepika Padukone, Ranbir Kapoor, Ranvir Singh and a name that is newly added is Sushant Singh Rajput. Last I had seen the much hyped, ‘the’ legendary M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story. The story maybe different than our lives, but parts of it are too inspirational to not be included in our own.

Luckily, last week I came across an older, hard work of Mr. Rajput.
Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!

detective-byomkesh-bakshi-teaser-poster

A spectacular piece by Dibakar Banerjee. So well executed is the story telling, that even after it has ended you can’t pull yourself off it. Every minute detail has been very accurately dealt with.

I don’t know how Calcutta was in 1940s but the sets are convincingly true – trams, hand pulled riskshaws, British buildings, wooden houses (some still exist till date).
Costumes Рremember how class defined dressing, as we had read in our History books all through the national struggle (and beyond). Men in dhoti with visible calf length socks, simple women in cotton sari, while exotic women in classier georgette versions. Moustaches to beard to circular rimmed glasses Рall were given a thought.
And when you talk about Calcutta, and the Bengalis how can one forget the evergreen Paan (oh the pun!)

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The plot. Engaging is too little. Engulfing should be more appropriate. With a fine choice of actors to credit, acting was effortless. You have seen Anand Tiwari on comedy shows, Meiyang Chang on reality television and of course Sushant on the cricket pitch. But one mention that cannot be missed is for the negative role. (Not taking the name, in case you accuse me of spilling the beans). One, the actor cruises superbly throughout the film, unrecognized. You know why it is important to have such flawless character in a detective movie. Second, the role is very well written. Till date, I have not seen a strong negative character with such foothold in the story, especially till the last minute.

detectivebyomkeshbakshy

Sad part? I don’t understand what the Indian audience is looking out for. This movie was no where mentioned out by the masses. Why is it only a critique specialty to laud such good efforts. This movie got one nomination (for the negative role), and that’s it?

The good part? There are some good Samaritans who continue working for the love of it, despite lack of appreciation and recognition.

 

Images credits
1. Cinenewz.com
2. NDTV.com РMovies
3. Hindustan Times

 

Teenage and that one Celebrity Love!

S. Sreesanth

(I know you are judging me just about. Read on, there’s more to come)

So it started when he debuted for the National team in February 2006 (gosh it’s been a decade now!). I was smitten by his brash, attention seeking, fun loving brat attitude. I would be really happy when he did well, and sad when he couldn’t manage to get wickets or gave more runs. Infact, I remember when he had his first 6-wicket haul, I was ecstatic! I adored Dhoni for always believing in him. ‚̧

India was doing good. We had won the first T20 World Cup in 2007. And a big deal because of him. He took the massive Misbah catch. Oh god, I almost died of happiness! *tears of joy*

I was so immensely obsessed that I had cut out pictures of him from newspapers, magazines or wherever I could manage. I have over 200 pictures of him.

I was almost heartbroken when he announced his marriage to his childhood girlfriend. Do you know that ditchy feeling! Then, he opened his band S36 because he always wanted to sing. He danced on reality television shows too. He was all over the place. Multi talented boy, you see! ūüėÄ

For a very long time, I didn’t understand why people made fun of him. I felt sad when Harbhajan slapped him in IPL and he came up crying like a baby. My mom called him names to distract me from over doing my ‚Äėlove’.

Anyhow, it’s been a long time. He is happily doing many more things he wanted to try his hands on and I, well I matured.

P.S. Mom still has that folder with those cut-out pictures safely tucked away somewhere. She says sasural le ke jaane isse!

P.P.S. Initially wrote this on Quora. Follow there for more!

The Interview Panel

I had an interview last year. Seated opposite the interview panel, I was dodging questions to the best of my wit. Well it was not exactly a panel, just a woman and a man. Let’s call them L and M.

I don’t remember from where it came or why I said so, but I did.
“I am what you call an anti-feminist. I don’t think feminism is required”.

L spiked her brows. “Well, why do you say so? Tell me what do you mean by feminism?”
M cupped his right hand against his lips and blew an anticipatory sigh. He pushed his slider chair back to watch the beginning of wars of words. It was a great recipe too – two females debating on FEMINISM!

Firstly, I don’t understand why do women think people who don’t support their idea of feminism aren’t aware of the definition of the concept.
I maintained my composure. Tried to. “Feminism is equality. Equality for women in all terms as it is for the men.” L nodded. “But that is not possible in India.” L who was almost calming down, pierced her eyes through me.

“Okay, tell me why?”
I inhaled. I had certainly called this upon myself. “Because to prove equality, the woman works on a¬†career, manages home, takes care of family and kids, lives with divided dreams and still has incessant pressure to look good throughout all this.
If equality is travelling together in metro and reserving seats, then reserve half the train. Equal. But that is practically impossible because numerically we aren’t Equal.
And what does the man give in return? Maybe, they are sharing this management but there are lot of things that cannot be shared or changed.”

She kept looking at me for good 30 seconds. And then put her hands up in the air to give an exasperated look, the one as if she doesn’t want to discuss this high profile topic with someone so lowly (me).

I let it go. I had already realised it was a mistake pulling this topic especially with women. Men are better accepting. Talk to them about things close to their heart, like being friendzoned and they’ll so sportingly discuss the ‘issue’. Just kidding!
But yes they are sporty, unlike.

The Black Ball Point Pen

“Damn! Not this time!” I was in the middle of my exam and my only pen had planned to cheat on me.
Let me tell you, I am never careless. I always meticulously plan things way ahead of time. I had read the exam booklet thrice before. I am 200% sure it had said – the answers were to be marked in HB pencil and name/other details were to be written in blue or black ball point pen. So I had packed three sharpened pencils, two sharpeners (incase one malfunctions) and one eraser – the big one, and pens – blue and black ball point pens each.
But now, instructions were completely changed. All answers were to be marked in pen and that too in either of the colours. Black, I had chosen. My favourite! And it had decided to fail me. How could it?

“Excuse me”, I called out to the invigilator, “please help me, I need a black ball point pen. Mine has stopped working.”
The aged, pot-bellied supervisor slowly moved down the aisle towards where I sat. He titled his head on his side, hiked his brow, and started an hour-or-so long lecture on how I should be more mindful when coming for national level exams, be better prepared and blah,and blah, and blah.

“Sir, pen?” I, interrupted, now impatient.
“Does anybody have a spare black ball point pen for the lady here?”
“Here! You can take mine.” A person, five seats diagonal behind, raised a sleek transparent pen body with black rubber wrapped around. Oh, my relief!
It came to me, passed through hands. I mouthed a Thank you.
“Return it after the exam.” I was instructed.
“Will do so”. I smiled, finally happy.

After the exam, I caught with my messiah in disguise and handed him back his pen.
“Hey! Thank you. You saved my life!”
He turned to grin at me. “Saved a life? That’s a big thing! Don’t you think I should be rewarded for that?”
“Well yes. But I don’t have anything to give you”
“You do. You could give me your number”. He stopped, and knelt down to put things in his bag.
Hold on, what?!
Did he just ask for my number?
Is he flirting in the middle of thousands of students stomping, gushing out of classrooms.
“Of course, I can. But the deal is, you can call only after you ace this exam”
“Ah! I knew I should have had studied harder” He faked a sad smile.
We exchanged names, and numbers. 


 

I now remember, 2 months and 13 days later. I was at my studio, when I received the call.

“Am I talking to Ish-an-vi?”
“Yes, may I know who is it?”
“Aadvik, at your service ma’am!”
He called, that can mean only one thing – he aced it.
“Congratulations man!”
“Thank you! Thought you would be happy to know, so called.”
“Of course! Where are we celebrating then?”
“You choose the place, and I’ll be there”


And that was 9 years 11 months and 29 days ago. We celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary tomorrow, with our little 4-yr old Kaira.

We sealed that phone call date onto our wedding to keep the memory alive, forever.

P.S. I aced that exam too. I guess that black pen was lucky for me! ūüėÄ