Tag Archives: Love

Travelling

“I have this habit of scrolling through my Facebook wall on a regular basis, I am pretty sure I could find many like me. I halt at all the travel pics that come by, showing the diverse range of places people are travelling all across the globe. It’s fascinating to be honest especially for a guy like me, who has been in constant company with the city Delhi for over four years now.

Apart from my daily hassles to achieve my much needed break from joblessness and achieving that distant dream, I travel. My next statement might be at odds with my previous one, bear with me and continue; apologies in advance. The maximum I have traveled in recent times would be the 45 minute metro ride which I nowadays do often. I know it’s silly to call that a travel but I find that journey interesting and worthwhile to be called so. Before moving further I have to introduce another thing that I love doing, I observe. When I travel with people all around, I find my stories to observe from.
Every person has their own beautifully crystallised universe. Like the young couple leaning on the wall have that passion in their eyes which blurs everything that stands around them. The old lady seated with her son has her eyes stuck at the gate while clutching on to her son’s arm as she rests. And how could I forget that mystery girl who kept smiling as she looked at me, she was beautiful to be honest but she disappeared in the crowd at the metro station. I mean there are so many stories all around that it makes me feel like I am actually travelling. Isn’t travelling about meeting new faces, making new stories? Though I do admit it’s also about remembering the old ones while looking at the sunset from a deserted beach. Crushes alert!

The point I wanted to convey is that you travel when you meet new people, when they share their experiences while you narrate them one from your own. Writing helps here, it helped me. I spoke to many writers from different parts of the country, different parts of the world, as well as different age groups while even going ahead & collaborating with a few. Certain things aren’t different though, be it Lisbon or Delhi. The emotion remains the same, I have realised, while experiences could totally differ. It wouldn’t be strange now if I told you that traveling in time was possible. It happened with me when I befriended writers who were way older than me. Their experiences were something which I could never relate to but I listened, because I felt somewhere that I might be in that position one day. I thought I might prepare in advance.

You might be thinking that I am trying to justify my limitations, you are not wrong if you think so. In my defence though, I would say that I did travel solo one time, but I didn’t get that kick which I thought would happen. May be it was because of the ache my hand suffered due to the selfies I tried to click, or because there were no faces that I met which could have made that trip memorable. It’s always been people for me, it always will be; after all we are social animals, aren’t we? So when I halt at the travel pics, I smile. I do wish I was there to experience that but I am nevertheless happy because I am moving too.”

#TravelingDiary

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The Missing Son

The ball crashed into Mrs. Jadhav’s house, shattering the window glass into pieces. It was stuck with immense power by Sunil, a thirteen year old kid from the neighbouring colony. He was touted to be the next cricketing sensation from the neighbourhood which had seen over ten representations in the Indian cricket team in past five decades. His father, Raghav, a former Mumbai Ranji team member, was a close friend of Daksh, Mrs. Jadhav’s only son. Sunil rang the bell twice before Sunitha answered. She placed the ball in his hand with a gentle smile on her face. “Next time, hit it towards Mrs. Dsouza’s house. She was laughing when you broke mine. It’s time for payback!”

“Dadi, I am sorry.” Sunil replied.

“It’s okay, kiddo. Smash as many glasses as you want but do get yourself selected for the Indian team.”

He nodded, as he handed over an envelope which was lying on the floor of her main door and rushed back towards his friends. Mrs. Jadhav placed the envelope on her study table as she continued to broom away the broken pieces. It took over 15 minutes for her to finally get her hands over the envelope. Her frailing health wasn’t helping either but it was of no match when compared to the grievous pain she had felt since Daksh ran away from home.

He was only thirteen then, he had an argument previous night where his parents wanted him to concentrate on studies than cricket. But like most of the kids from the neighbourhood, even he dreamed to wear the blue jersey. The banter wasn’t new; it had been going on for over a year then, his falling grades and poor performances in local cricket tournaments weren’t supporting his case either. That night, the argument got more louder and finally ended when Mr. Jadhav slapped Daksh and asked him to do exactly what he says. The next morning, when Sunitha entered her son’s room, she found only a letter to settle for. The cricket kit bag, a few crisp notes from Mr. Jadhav’s purse and, most importantly, her son Daksh were missing. All that was left was that letter; a letter which asked his parents not to look for him with a promise that he will return only when he makes it into the Indian Cricket Team. It’s been over twenty five years now, Daksh never came back.

She collected her reading glasses, and opened the peculiar looking blue envelope. And what happened next, was something which Sunitha had expected time and again to happen but remained unrealised until today. It was a letter from him, he was coming home finally.

Part1 Ends.
Picture Courtesy: Tom Shaw/Getty Images.

The Empty Envelope

“I lay there among many other envelopes at the corner of a dark room, the room which the just married couple had used for storing their glittery presents and beautiful bouquets that they had received at their reception. It was a fancy affair I must say which actually made me feel left out; I was a simple white envelope which didn’t have even a tiny glitter at its ends, so you surely can understand the inferiority I was going through.

I was cramped here in this room for both space and breath as Paisa Bhai, a healthy looking envelope, had landed over me in search for comfort. It had a smell of wealth all over it which made it harder for me to survive as I tried with all my might to retain the impressions of the tear drops and the smudges my owner had left over me. He was a sad man, who wouldn’t be, especially when he had found out that the girl he loved for the past ten years is going away from him forever. He didn’t have the courage to profess his love for her, to his best friend, but now when he had the letter ready, it was a little too late.

Still he stood adamant; he wanted her to know, at least understand what he had always felt. So when he took that teary eyed letter wrapped in me to the stage where she stood, I sensed his grip loosening while his hands started to tremble with fear. In midst of all this, I finally caught him with tears in his eyes when her eyes met his. I felt for him when he realised how happy she is, with her would-be who was standing next to her, flaunting a bright smile together. It broke my heart, my paper heart.

I could feel the tears over my body as my owner slowly removed the letter at the very last minute, and scribbled a saying over me for his best friend to read.
“Envelope is too small for me to put any gift into, after all it’s you Priya, it’s you. Only thing that would suffice would be to gift myself to you with a promise to be your side as a friend forever till my breathe would last. Keep that smile up princess, always!”

Suddenly the dark room door opened, and Priya walked in with her bridal dress still put on. She slowly searched in the flickering light, hugging me close as she found me and finally re-reading the lines with a silent tear and a smile as she ended.”

#Tara&Ryan

Apology

“I always felt that it was me who had to apologise first. The spontaneous anger, the emotional fallout and finally the apology, they all seemed to happen at quick pace for me. I didn’t wait a lifetime to apologise, I felt what could be corrected soon needs to be addressed first. So time and again I had a fallout with someone, I was the one to approach for a patch up. It did feel annoying after a point of time, especially when the mistake pointed to the other side. But a habit so organically inculcated wasn’t easy to forego, even if it meant to be taken for granted by many.

The first time I realised this was when Priya and I parted ways. It was her decision which I had to honour, but my heart wasn’t someone who forgot easily. I tried to patch things up, over and over again but it was of no avail. I kept calling, leaving messages, sending emails and what not, but there was no sign of reconciliation. The habit became the culprit for the progressional loss of my self-respect, which I realised it only then. It didn’t stop with that as I went through a series of falls, one deeper than the other, before I finally made a tryst with myself of never loosening myself to any other, whatsoever. There is a wise saying that goes like this that you only realise the value when you finally lose it. This time I cherished and held that self-respect tight, but I didn’t know then that it was too tight for anyone to enter, until that night with Tara.

It was the third month of our marriage when we had our first big fight. It started on some petty issue which I can’t remember now but it escalated to bigger and important things in our lives, and a fight was bound to happen. That night we slept, without our usual conversation, in sheer silence and before she woke up I left for my office. That’s how I trained myself to be, to move out before I succumbed to my habit. It was around noon when I got her message. I knew that she had an off that day and would be going to meet her parents who lived an hour away. So I basically thought that some away time would cool her off and we would hopefully move on from the issue. An apology was the last thing I expected. But her message took me by surprise as she came forward apologised, that too for a mistake I committed. I had pulled out her ex-boyfriend’s name during the fight which I had promised I would never use. It was disappointing from my side, knowing very well that the position he held for Tara and the point that he was no more. But still she came forward, she came for me.

I reread her message, this time a little loudly in my mind, “I am really sorry for yesterday, if it’s possible please make it early for dinner. I would be cooking something special for you :)”. It broke something deep in me as my eyes glittered with tears for having someone with whom I could finally be myself. She was the one for me, she remains to be the one.”

#Tara&Ryan

 

Thirtieth Anniversary

“She appeared from behind, slowly measuring her steps before she took them. The crowd stood agitated in front of her house while she stood before them, head down. Between her and the crowd stood her father and Ram. The noise grew louder with every dialogue her father and the crowd spoke, ultimately it was her father who had the last say. The villagers returned back to their humble huts but a decision was still not taken. Her father had to approve of Ram which was in no case easy. He belonged to a different region, a different caste, and most importantly even his parents weren’t in agreement with him in this. This made the matters more complicated but Sita was determined. She spoke to her father animatedly, spoke for the man she loved at par with her father. It wasn’t something easily digestible for the village headman, her father, but he heard her patiently while Ram stood at one corner. He glanced at him, but both men shared no words. It was Sita who did most of the talking, only to be stopped by her father to bring Ram in front. Sita looked at Ram with tense eyes, of not knowing what was to unfold now, whether her father would approve the match. It was their decision, together, to marry only if both their families agreed. Now there were thoughts in Sita’s mind questioning that decision, especially after what just happened a little while ago.

The sight of charging villagers with lathi in their hand, standing in unison with their Thakur Saab wasn’t a pleasant sight for both of them. Ram had tried initially to convince Sita’s father but Thakur was in no mood to listen. He shouted at Sita at peak of his voice while the crowd jingoistically held their lathis high to make a strike. Thakur was able to understand the mood of the mob better as one among the mob yelled out, “Thakur Saab, give us a chance we will beat this scoundrel to death.” While yet another screamed out, time and again, “Kill him!!!”. Thakur Saab with a loud and clear voice yelled at the mob to disperse. “It’s up to me to decide. You all go back home, right now.” They tried to resist his words initially but no one dared to go against Thakur. They silently turned back and walked towards their huts.

Finally Ram spoke again, unrestrained as he usually does, it sounded intimidating to even Sita. But Thakur wasn’t the one to be cowed down by Ram’s rhetoric. The discussion turned into a debate with no man relinquishing their ground, they toed each other on every issue. After almost half hour, the men sat down on their respective chairs. This time the talk went more subtle, and humble. It was Thakur who relented first, Ram only realised it late that it was his turn to mellow. By that time Thakur had asked for two large glasses of lassi for one another. They slowly gulped it down along with their over expressive ego. It was dusk when Thakur finally agreed about Ram; Sita was sitting along with her father, throughout the conversation, facing Ram. She hadn’t moved an inch, it was her future which was at stake. Now their dream of being together was finally coming through, Sita let out a big smile as her father ended his sentence with a ‘Yes’.

Sita kept smiling as her eyes remained transfixed at Ram while Ram had his eyes always on Sita, especially when he thought he was faltering in the conversation. Her eyebrows rose in fear every time she felt Ram crossed the line, and Ram toned down the conversation as he saw that expression on her. Those little unsaid things which the other understood by a mere expression became the defining factor of their relationship over the years. They weren’t the vocal kind who held long conversations with the other in the name of romance, it wasn’t their thing. They belonged to a different category all together, the ones who were willing to just sit idly in front of each other, without even speaking a word, and still not get bored. That special was their bond, something which words could never define, something which one could feel but fail time and again to describe. Today would have been their thirtieth wedding anniversary but things never pan out the way they should.

Ram settled down on his usual seat near Sita’s favourite place, the one facing Mount Shalimar. He reminisced those moments leading to their marriage as a tear rolled down his cheek. Five years is a long time, but his Sita Mahalaxmi was not someone he could forget so easily. Ram never tried to either; he lived with those memories, some brought about a smile and some like today, brought out an odd tear. Isha, his only daughter, walked towards him, “Shall we leave, Dad?”. He didn’t reply. She asked again,”Dad?”.

“Sorry!” He brought out his handkerchief and wiped the silent tear gently. Then responded with a low voice, “You go ahead, I will join you for dinner.” Isha looked at her father for a brief moment, then asked Anwar Chacha to make sure that he doesn’t stay for long. And then she left while Ram Shankar sat back on the bench, losing himself all over again in the memories he had created with Sita. But sadly he was all alone to relive them over and over again.”

#JourneyCalledLife

#Series4/many

His friend, Anwar

Fiction

Anwar Chacha, one of the most respected persons of Kullu; known for his charming wit and flamboyant poetry. He ran his family business of textiles while reciting poetry as a pass time; a hobby that stayed with him for over three decades now. Despite being a fifty five year old, he never looked anywhere closer to his age. His daily walks and exercises have kept him hail and hearty, thus keeping the youth alive in his eyes. He was Ram’s best friend since childhood. It was he who helped Ram and Sita get married, that to against parental wishes. It was a scene of havoc then but Anwar had managed the situation quite well, allowing everyone to adjust and return to normalcy. He stood by Ram’s side, rock steady, during the past five years, never allowing him to drift away from his sight. It was a difficult phase for everyone, especially for Anwar who was seeing his friend fade into oblivion. And the worst thing was the sheer helplessness he felt to do anything about it. Anwar would visit Ram every alternate day; most of the time during their meet would be spent in silence with a few exceptions that catered to formal courtesies.

It was the month of September, Chacha had walked in his friend’s office with a glittery card in his hand. His eldest son was getting married this fall, and Chacha was in no mood to hide his excitement. The first card, as both had promised years ago, had the name of Ram Shankar Bisht on it. Bisht took a long look at the card, closely examining every detail and finally breaking into broad smile.

“Faizal has grownup so fast. I still remember his first day at school like it was yesterday. Even Sita was there…” He stopped in middle, to finally smile again as he looked upon his friend, Anwar Sheikh.
“Ram Bhai, it’s okay. We can’t change what has happened in the past but why curse the present and spoil the future for things we can’t do a damn about. You need to move ahead, my friend. You need to.”
Ram got up from his seat and walked towards Anwar, and sat on his knees, looking Anwar right in the eye.

“I know Anwar, I know. But some people get so etched in our lives that he don’t find our existence to be true without them. After they leave, it all feels like a blur, a constant painful blur. But let’s leave that for today. It’s a time for celebration. Our boy is getting married. What more can we wish for!” He tightly hugged his long time friend, while placing his hand over his shoulder as they made their way outside for their beloved walk. It was the first time in five years that Ram had looked so cheerful, he spoke at length about the past, about memories of their children and of course Sita.

A week before the wedding, Faizal was returning back to Kullu from Aligarh, his workplace. He was the youngest professor of the university and he taught Sociology to his students. He was one of the most beloved teachers of the university; there were hardly anyone who despised him, not even by mistake. The last day at work, his students had gifted him a Sherwani for his wedding. It was richly decorated with small red stones while the design was carefully hand stitched which broke into life in patches near the chest till the waist, in short a flamboyant cream coloured sherwani. He loved it so much that he made up his mind to wear that for his wedding.

His train was stationed for arrival at 11:00 P.M at Aligarh. He waited patiently at the station, holding the sherwani carefully in his right hand while carrying his lone suitcase with the other. He looked at his watch, there were another fifteen minutes for the train to arrive. The restlessness, the feeling of excitement was catching up on him. After all he was getting married to his college sweetheart, Noor. It was the time when he wished there was a teleporting machine that existed which could teleport him home in no time. But it wasn’t the case, so he stood his ground waiting. What happened in the next ten minutes looked like a haze for everyone at the station. A few people with religious head bands and swords in hand appeared at the station and what followed next was carnage. No one was spared. The cream coloured sherwani, the flamboyant one, laid at an extreme corner with red speckles all over it. Next to it, was Faizal.

#JourneyCalledLife
#Series 3/many

P.S. Sherwani means a type of clothing worn during marriage; Chacha means Uncle. Both words are from Hindi Language.