“Over the years, I had made it a point to write on my birthday no matter what. Anything about everything which criss-cross my mind during that very day while delicately garnished with impressions that have stayed with me from the incidents of the past. Pretty long line, you might think. Indeed, a long year I wish to believe.
Life at post quarter. It took me time to digest that, but all is fine now. Maybe I am still trying to digest. I don’t know. However, the year has been more than eventful to be honest. I had my share of ups and downs, like every other, which includes another failed attempt at the prestigious Civil Service Examination. But anyways, this post isn’t about that. It’s about a beautiful thing, called hope.
Hope. The bright light that seems to rise higher in intensity with every failure in my case, drove me towards an unexpected milestone, a moment which I would happily term as “Happyness”. Yes, it has a ‘Y’ in the middle and yes, I am referring to the movie with the same name. It happened a month ago, I got selected, finally. XLRI Jamshedpur offered a seat in its prestigious college for pursuing a MBA and I was taken aback, in a good way. I had this tune from this movie playing in my mind as I rushed home to inform my parents, my brother, my friends; all my pillars of support. There were tears of joy, there was an unknown smile that kept rushing inside, an experience that I will treasure for a lifetime. I don’t know how but sometimes the most unexpected things create the most happier memories for us. It did for me, it could surely happen for you too.
Thus, with the ink running dry over the successive failures at one end, a small door awakened into light with a long-promised dream coming to life. Yes, this year has been amazing, and I am more than happy to admit it.
Family, Friends and everyone involved, we surely did something good this year, we indeed did. Thank you. Thank you!
“Trouble finding framing engaging
Words that remain prudent to you
Me and them; words that keep the unruly
From uniting, from blabbering their way
Across with their nonsensical frame
Of reference that divide you and me
Into us and them through simmering discontent
Spread by exploiting the fragility in our mutual intent
To break the harmony by monopolizing the reality
Established over a land buried with the trampled voices of dissent,
The voices that fought for you, me and them,
The voices that were finally silenced through the barrel of a gun
Leaving ideas in the word without their needed halo
While keeping the oppressed divided and the oppressors united
By building a notion in our mind to make us ponder
And leave us troubled in finding framing engaging
Words that remain prudent to them and them alone.”
“Why do our movies and us try finding our answers in black or white while our life remains grey from start to the end. Isn’t exaggeration a ploy we tend to use to put our point across for wide unrelenting attention.
I find people mooted for an ideology, giving irrelevance to change while exaggerating the untrue to make their side of truth, the only reality for others to believe. The left think they are right, the right think they are no wrong, while I stand with many in the middle, watching the sheer Idiocracy both try to paint. I like many fail to understand, what does ideology have to do when you know humanity triumphs all. Why do you want to paint red or saffron when we are still unable to help the Gandhi’s Talisman.
Seventy years is a big number while poverty still remains an unforgotten cousin. When there is no food to eat or water to drink, there is no teaching or color better than food and water itself. Empty stomachs, malnourished children, trafficked women, landless labourer, construction worker, these Gandhi’s Talismen still search for a voice from us, the privileged. They ask for a helping hand, a voice to narrate their stories, a heart to accomdate one and all, isn’t that a lot to be asked? I don’t think so.
If you are still stuck in the black or white, red or saffron era, don’t worry I will simplify. There is no Antagonist in our story which might dishearten you all, but if you are still adamant then try finding a solution to the problem of poverty. Try all your colours in this effort, I like many won’t mind, but get me that rainbow when you finish, a rainbow of inclusivity and life.”
“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.”
“Sita!” He yelled at top of his voice. The voice resonated with doubled intensity from the mountain top upon which he stood. He screamed out her name again but the answer remained the same as before. He walked back dejected, like always. It felt more like a routine that he couldn’t escape. Every morning he would walk towards the narrow point and seat himself on the only bench present at the place. Most days, we would find him staring into the clouds, as if he is looking for answers from above. But the last month seemed a little rough on him than before. He wasn’t his normal calm self. There were many instances like today where he ran towards the point, only to stop himself by a moment while letting out her name in sheer despair. Helplessness seems to define him, and the pain instead of reducing with time, only grew.
The fifty five year old Ram Shankar Bisht had lost his Sita Mahalakshmi in an avalanche at that very spot, five years ago. Their love affair was nothing short of a folk tale. Both belonged to different regions, and shared no common language in between. Sita had met Ram when she had come over as a tourist to Kullu. It was Ram who had taught her the basics of Skiing. He was helping his father at his skiing business as he filled in the role of an instructor due to absence of the other. It was his first day at work, and Sita was the first person he attended to. And like it always happens, he fumbled while fixing the gear on her leg. He tried again but it didn’t work. He held out a nervous smile towards Sita, who smiled back with assurance that he could try again. This time it worked and she was all set for her first lesson. It was at this instance that Ram noticed Sita for the very first time. She had those big round eyes with neatly lined mascara around them. Her curly long hair was tied behind with perfection while the smile, the most beautiful one Ram ever saw apart from his daughters, flashed nervously at him. He held her hand and looked straight into her eyes and whispered, “Sita, it’s going to be all okay.” And she believed in him, straight away. It was strange though but his eyes seemed trustable to Sita unlike any stranger she had met before. It all began at that very moment, and they never looked back after that. The relationship, the opposition and finally their marriage; they saw through all by standing their ground, hand in hand with the other, without a word, without a thought of ever to let go. But fate, as we know it, is unpredictable. Not all things are in our hands; some we control, some control us.
Ram Shankar died a little, every day since that accident, but his twin daughters were the ones who kept him alive to see the light of another day. It was Isha, the elder one, who introduced me to Ramji. I was looking for a job as a guide, and Isha was my brother’s college mate, so I had asked her for help. It has been an year since I worked for him, and not a day had passed without him narrating a story or the other of his deceased wife, his Sita. And that day was my last at Kullu; I had a flight, early in the morning but the purpose of my stay, the answers to my questions, they all still remained in a blur. I settled down near the fireplace of Ramji’s house with a peg of whisky in hand while beginning a conversation with Ram Shankar Bisht that eventually changed the course of my life.