Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New year, new hope

               IT had never felt so cold in Mumbai. The winters in Mumbai were a joke, she had always thought. There were only two kinds of weather in Mumbai, hot and very hot. She had to dig out her entire wardrobe to search for the woolen scarf that she now had about her. She put on her jacket and stepped on to the streets. She had no idea where she was headed. Most evenings she kept on walking till she could no longer take a step and then hail an auto and  get back home. Today the streets were too crowded to give her any solace. The constant honking, chatter of ladies and shrieking children  made her irritated. The entire neighborhood was dressed up and colorful. It was, after all, the last day of the year. Everyone was in a mood to party all night.

              She made her way to the cafe in one of the lanes. It was usually full of college students but it wore a deserted look that day. Of course! The cafe served no booze and had been ditched by the regular patrons. She occupied a table and ordered a cup of coffee. The manager of the cafe smiled at her from a distance. It was a sad smile.

            The winter was never as cold as her heart. The winds were never as tormenting as the memories. It had been 3 months.. She was not used to being a widow yet.
            She woke up on a cold bed every morning, missing the warmth of him beside her. She sipped her tea alone, missing his banters. She dressed in dull shades to work, knowing how much he hated such colors on her. She mechanically went on with her work, panic stricken at the slightest human interaction. She walked like crazy and came home exhausted. Often she slept on the couch without having food. Over the days, she had lost inches and her face was as pale as a ghost.

            Every night she woke up many times, disturbed by the nightmares. She cursed the man who had caused the accident. Her David was always careful behind the wheels. It was the other man who had sped and led to the accident. David was dead on the spot.. as to the other man, she did not want to know.


                           
            The manager himself brought the coffee. Her eyes were red with grief already. It had been a bad idea to come to the cafe. The manager knew David well. Now his sympathy was weakening her. She had steeled herself and made a pact to not break down in public. Her resolve was about to break.

           David had promised to take her out to a beach house to celebrate the new year. Last year they had not got a booking and spent the day cooped up at home. She had been very cross with him. That day, watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S back to back, feasting on the tandoori chicken ordered from a modest restaurant and drinking up on wine, snuggling close to each other and waking up late the next day, everything now seemed priceless. She would trade all the beach house parties of this world for that simple celebration with David. She was in tears remembering those moments..

         "May I join you?"
         She looked up. It was a woman dressed in a pale tshirt and jeans. She was smiling at her.
         "If you like."
         " I m Maya," the woman introduced herself.
         " Natasha."

         She did not feel like chatting but Maya kept making small talks. She fiddled with the coffee cup, avoiding Maya's gaze. What did this woman want from her?
         " I m sorry if I disturbed you. I was feeling very lonely. Its like the whole world is mocking me by being so happy about the year ending."
          This caught her unaware. How easily Maya put forth her feelings!

         "Its ok. I was all alone anyway." She stunned herself by saying this.
         " Where's your family?" Maya asked.

          Her family! Her family was in a coffin, a few feet below the ground. David was her family, since she went against her Hindu family and married David. He was a Catholic and her Brahmin family had broken all ties. They had gone as far as to consider her dead for them. Her mother had secretly come to the funeral. David's family on the other hand had kept their relation with her only because of  David. Now that he was no more, they had nothing to do with her.

                         

          "Do you get nightmares too?" Maya asked her.
          " What do you know about nightmares?" she asked.
          "I can't sleep at all some nights. The pain is too much to bear. I want to reach out to him, hold him once more, curl up with him and never let him go, I want to feel the warmth of him, get drunk in his smell, I want to look into his eyes and summon up all the love that I feel for him and tell him how much I love him. All I feel now is cold and the nightmares of him slipping away from me, his hands pulling out of mine.." Maya was choked up with emotions. 
         "Who are you?" She asked Maya. 
         "The wife of the man who died the same night as your husband." 

          " Your husband killed my husband and me." She suddenly felt a strong surge of hatred. Those nights of cursing that man, the anger she felt towards him, was all coming out. 
           Maya broke down. The waiters at the cafe were watching the drama unfold. She would have been shy and walked away but today she was possessed. How dare this woman come to her and talk of pain! What did she know of pain? Her rash husband had claimed the life of her innocent David. 

          A plump woman, with a baby in her arms, came rushing to their table. The baby was asleep. 
          Maya took the baby into her arms. 
          " Ashish was rushing to come to the hospital. I was in labor when he was speeding. I saw him in the hospital a day after our baby was born. He was badly injured but still he managed to tell me that the accident killed an innocent man and I must see the family to ask forgivance. I m sorry Natasha. My husband's mistake destroyed your life. Ashish expired a week after the accident. If possible, please forgive him." 
          
          Maya planted a gentle kiss on the forehead of her baby who had woken up.

                                    
       She felt bad for the child. He would never know father's presence in his life. She felt sad for Maya too. She even felt sorry for cursing Ashish so much. He had remembered David and his family in his last hours.

      "Where's your family?"
      "Ashish was my family. We both grew up in an orphanage." Maya had a sad smile.

       She did not say any further and walked away from them. She paid at the counter and was about to walk out when her phone rang.
       "Madam, we are calling from Esca beach houses, you have a booking at our beach house today. We are calling to confirm."
       " Who made the booking?" she asked, surprised.
       "Mam, your husband David S had made the booking in September. We tried calling but his phone is switched off."

       Maya was still at the table. She was looking at her intently.
       "Maya, do you have any plans for tonight?"
       "No, why do you ask?"
       "Will you come with me to Esca beach house? I feel very lonely and I have no family."
       " Of course I will. Remember there is someone else who has no family.." Maya smiled at her.

      She knew it was David. David was watching over her. He had kept his promise. She finally forgave the man who had taken David away from her. She walked into a new year with a new family, a new hope..
     
      David was not pulling his hand away from hers. He was pulling her back into life. He was showing her the way..

                               
             
       

         

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Chase

                                                 

                 "Indus hospital" I told my driver as I hurriedly got into the car. It was a cold December morning and clouds formed from my breath as I sighed repeatedly.
                 I had woken up on a Christmas morning to the phone call from my boss. It was 3 in the morning and I had already given leave for the week. I picked up his call reluctantly.
                 "The girl is very critical. She is going to die. I want you to do a story before she dies so that we can be the first to air it." It was his crisp instruction with no mention of my holiday. This was a very important assignment. Of course I could not ruin my chances by reminding him that I was on leave. I was the youngest and the newest member on the team and this was an opportunity that I had to grab with both hands.

                 The name of the victim had been kept under the wraps as with all rape victims. I had to find out all about her and make a story that would make the nation weep. Her plight had taken the country by storm and there were nation wide candle marches demanding justice for her. The gruesome violence on her had given goosebumps even to the most hardened crime journalists on the team. Senior reporters had been handed the responsibility of handling this news but now it was all coming to an end and I had to make sure that she was remembered by the story we did.

                 I climbed out of the car and was happy that there no other vans outside the hospital. So boss had been given the inside information. The parking space was a little away from the hospital and I walked to the hospital with a camera and my recorder. I did not want to draw attention by taking along a cameraman. I just planned to snoop around and find information about her house and schooling so that I can do a detailed story there. I was walking to the entrance when I saw the blue swift. I checked the number plate. Damn! He was here before me.

                If he had dropped in before me, he was already leading. How I hated him! Rajnish was the reason that made me leave the previous job. We  had joined as interns and had become very close in the 3 years that we worked there. The erratic hours and long journeys had eventually made us more than just friends. I even thought he was falling for me. I too had started depending on him and trusting him with all my assignments. So much that I handed him my report to submit when he was going to submit his. I was busy with a story and out of town. When I came back, he was promoted for his excellent story. I was happy for him but disappointed that I didn't make it. I was in for a rude shock when I saw my story featuring under his name! It was more than I could take. He tried to explain that there had been a mistake while sticking the labels and gave improbable excuses for not backing out of the promotion. It was too much to see him as my boss and I resigned..

              I did not want him to steal this too from me. I would have to change my strategy. I knew he would think the same as me. He would too go on to trace her early life. I had to do something more dramatic. I took the stairs and raced to the top floor. I thought more clearly when I was exercising physically. I reached close to her ward when I thought of unethical though dramatic move. I would take her picture! What could be more moving that her image itself! I would then go on to search for her previous photographs and present a story of how a beautiful girl was damaged..

             The guards were stationed heavily around the floor but the ICU was at the far end. No one was present there. They perhaps expected everyone to take the lift to the top floor. I stealthily walked close to the ICU. I sneaked into the room. The nurse was fast asleep with heavy books by her side. I knew I had no more than a few minutes. I quickly took out my camera and took a few snaps. I was out within a minute but hung around to see if I could find anyone I could interview. There was a buzz within a few minutes and a staff of doctors and nurses were rushing to the ICU. Surely someone from the family would be among those who followed.

            I sat on the lone bench on that floor, thinking of the next action. The situation was sinking on me. She was probably going to die today. She looked too frail to live. I turned towards the ward. I caught him looking at me. His expression was stone faced. He did not let out any emotion. He had deep hollows surrounding his eyes. How many nights had he been here? I did not look away from him. A fresh stream of tears flowed from his eyes.

           "She is my sister..." he said between sobs and hugged me. I was holding on to a man I once had almost loved, who was now  too broken and was acting strong.

          "Delete it.." He pleaded with me, his eyes boring deep into mine. He saw me!

           I never felt more ashamed of myself.

           I was taking photographs of a 16 yr old school girl who was brutally raped and was on verge of her death just to chase Rajnish in this competition.. How could I not see the pain? When did I stop being human? I deleted those pictures which were too disturbing. How did I just click them without any emotion?

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.
                              

This time your entry must contain, ‘I caught him/her looking at me.’

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Dreams

               Dreams, Dreams, Dreams.. I wouldn't know what I would be if not for my dreams. For those who have known me from my early blogging years, it wouldn't come as a surprise if I tell you that this blog is majorly about my dreams. My first story (not on the blog) started taking shape from a dream. I think this sounds a little ambiguous because we are used to classifying dreams as the ones we see with our eyes open and the ones we see when we close our  eyes. The one, I m talking about, is the latter one.
             
              It was a dream where I was in a dilapidated house which had a terrace. I could see two people on the terrace. A guy wearing an orange t-shirt and a girl in a salwar kameez. There were pigeons all about. Suddenly, I was the girl who was standing awkwardly next to the guy. Next thing that happens is that some people are taking him away and I see the girl crying and I feel the pain as if I was the girl. I was just 11 then and I do not know where the inspiration for this dream must have come from. IT was one dream that I thought about for the longest time and was the first dream that was not connected to the people I know or  have seen in my life. I kept thinking about what the story could be, modifying it, amplifying the low voices, making my own interpretations until it finally looked like I knew everything about the story. IT was a story I never put to words. I had no blog then.

            I have had many such dreams that are unrelated to my life or people I know. I think it is an inspiration that is at the back of my mind and which comes to me only when I shut off my real world. My dream world is colorful and dramatic. I see more than one dream sometimes and they are not always about random people. Sometimes they are about memories that  affect me a lot and sometimes they are about people I wish I hadn't lost. Sometimes they are just my family telling me something in dreams. They are so life like that I sometimes get confused if that happened in a dream or in real. Everytime that happens, I wake up and tell my mom so that she knows at least what was my dream and I don't forget that it happened in a dream. It sounds little crazy to other people and so I never disclose my dreams to others.

          I once had a dream  of one of my close friends A  complaining about another L. She was telling me how L's friends thought that A was responsible for the changes in L. Apparently A and L had a fight over it. A few days passed and I met A. I told her about the dream in a light manner. She was amazed. She told me that it was exactly what had happened and she was thinking of telling me that but since we were on a holiday, she thought of telling me when we met.

                                             

          On the flip side, my nightmares are also disturbingly clear. It becomes so tormenting that I often wake up crying if I have a nightmare. I think anyone would, if they saw the gruesome torture of poor farmers by British in life like quality. I avoid watching such movies or violent videos because they are converted into my dreams sometimes. 
         I have had a phobia of snakes. When I was very young, I used to dream about snakes all the time and cry. I do not know where I saw my first snake but I couldn't bare to look at one even on television. I used to be terrified of holding water pipes because they would appear like snake to me. I couldn't eat noodles. The phobia was making my dreams frightening. In the later years, my dreams seemed to stop being so fearsome. 
         Again, when I was 18 I began to experience such dreams. I would sometimes slip between my Mom and dad on their bed and hold them after a bad dream. I had kept myself away from any images of snake and yet these dreams... 
        Mom made some inquiries in our community. Snake worship is a very important part of our culture and apparently we had a worship on hold. She made the offering on our side. The dreams haven't been coming since then. Mom told me that when I was small they had done the same thing and that's when it had stopped. I believe in spirits and I believe  a lot in the power of prayers. But I also believe a lot in the power of subconcious. Maybe it was just my subconcious thoughts which had eased. Believe whichever you want! 

       I used to feel like a freak when I would believe spirits. It was after I got in touch with a fellow blogger MSM, I began to feel normal. It was okay to experience such things. Some people are just more receptive to such signals that others no more feel. 
     I went to visit my grandparents to native and we would hit the bed by 8.30. Not accustomed to falling asleep before 11, I would simply close my eyes and lie awake. The rest of the family would be blissfully sleeping and sometimes I would feel a woman calling me down in my dreams. She would tell me to come down. Once again, I confided in Mom. She is used to my weird dreams and she has grown up in the land where spirits are worshipped. She just smiled and told me that the Goddess we worship is in the house that is down. Ofcourse! How could  I miss that? We used to stay there on our visits when grandparents hadn't shifted and the Goddess of our family is in that house. Now we were staying a little away from there. Next day we went there to offer our prayers and my 4 year old cousin asked me, " Why don't you stay here anymore? Come down." I could tell that it was probably his words or the years of prayers that we have been doing that resonated in my dreams. 

    One of my uncles had once told me that I m sensitive to such things. He had also told me that it is no superpower. It is just a power of the subconcious. He also told me that there are a few chants in our culture that empower the subconcious so much that the person can actually see the future. I believe  my dreams and try to decipher the meaning since then. 

                                           

      Of course I dream with open eyes too. In fact I have a million little dreams. I efficiently switch off from my surroundings and slip into my dream world, making a perfect world of situations in them. These days I m just dreaming of shedding a few kilos and buying the perfect farewell dress. :P

                                               

         I dream to get  published some day. 
         I dream to just write,write, write all day.
         I dream to see more of India first before thinking of other countries.
         I dream to be called as a chief guest in my alma mater
         I dream to have a yellow house
         I dream to have time and money to pamper  myself :P 
         I dream a little more happiness..
         
I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 8th - 14th December 2013. Today's prompt is travel. 


P.S: Today is the last day of the Write Tribe Festival. I cannot believe I wrote on all 7 days. IT has been therapeutic to talk about the things that are an integral part of my life and I ones which I never talked about. Memories and Dreams will be the most personal details of my life which I wouldn't talk otherwise on  my blog. Taking up this challenge was a great choice I  made. Not only did I become regular with my writing but I also came across some beautiful writings. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

People

             People. They never cease to amaze me. I have been an observer. I take my time to adapt to my surrounding. I need to stand in a corner and take in a crowd and feel comfortable to mix up with the people. I never found it easy to open conversation with random people. It is usually the people who come up to me.  I m an introvert until you start talking to me. Once you break the ice, you will forget associating that word with me.

           Although I m good at deciphering body language of people or understanding what they want to convey, I seldom made friends after observing them. Coming to think of it, my friends are hardly those people that I liked at first sight.

           For example- my sweetest friend who I actually thought looked very rude at the first day of college.
           Another of my friend, with whom I can talk without an end, was perceived by me as being fake and someone who considered herself very superior.
           
           Thinking on this pattern, I realised something. People are never truly themselves, unless they are hiding behind a mask.

                                        
           This explains a lot of things. We all show more of ourselves when we are someone else. Take us, bloggers, for example. Do we not write the embarrassingly plain truths of our life while we write fiction? Don't  the best actors hide behind the shield of their characters? Don't the most explicit chats happen under an assumed name?

            I had read in some textbook about mob mentality. It seemed to make me ponder. It was about a man asking his friend about  how  he found a hawker, selling batteries, sitting outside his house. The friend had found the hawker to be a very good man and very friendly as he had agreed to give his batteries at a low price as he had no change. The man then told his friend that the hawker was the same man who was running with a mob of people with flames in their hand during riots. They had killed a child of another religion. This story emphasized  the effect that other people have on our individual personalities.
                                

           We might say that we are unaffected by other people in our life but the truth is that we are all interconnected. People have more influence in our lives than we give them credit for.

          Sometimes having people is comforting. Have you ever been thrown out of the class and felt ashamed and humiliated and then cheered up on finding other people having met the same fate? Isn't it strange how we want to stand out and be special on our way up but want company during our downfall? Ever wished that everyone in your class come first? I m sure no one has!

         I m usually tolerant towards a lot of people. The kind of people I keep away from are the ones who lie when they could have told the truth. I also don't gel well with people who comment on other people's weaknesses in a mocking way. Included in the list are people who turn to you only when they want some favor and are boastful the other times.

        However annoying the people are, there is something reassuring about the presence of another human being with you. No matter how dumb he/she is, human contact is what we all need!
       
         I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 8th - 14th December 2013. Today's prompt is people.

Travel..


  1.           We, in Mumbai, measure distance in units of time. Ask an average Mumbaikar, "How far is is point A from B?" and pat will come the reply," By bus it will take about an hour and by train just 10 minutes." Trains are our life line, they are the fastest means to travel in the city of dreams. We are all averse to travelling in packed trains and yet, given a choice, we would travel in 10 minutes rather than take an hour of bus ride. We measure distance in  units of time for the same reason. In Mumbai, time is one commodity that no one seems to have!

                                   
                                         
         Wondering how so many of them will get into the train? You have to see it to believe it!

          My day starts with catching a bus to the station. Luckily, I live close to the first stop and manage to get a seat and this journey isn't much taxing.
       
          I catch the early morning ladies special usually. Initially, they were just faces and then they became people you know just by their faces. You know them by their destinations, you know them by their choices, you know them by the books they read on train, you know them by the way they fight for little reasons, you know them by the music they listen to. It becomes a community. Slowly, you start getting chocolates on their birthdays, exchange recipes with them, talk about shopping, discuss your college or work problems! It becomes a bond that is just as simple as being a travel partner.
     
        I specially love the nine days of Navratri when the entire city follows the color code. In ladies special, it is a festival that is celebrated with must gusto. Almost everyone sticks to the color and you feel oddly included in a sense of unity, a comradeship..

       There are days when I give ladies special a miss or it gives me a miss and I have to catch another train. I travel at between 8 and 9 am and recognize many faces that travel at the same time.

Like the ridiculously dressed aunty ( seriously who wears all bright yellow clothes and 2 sunflowers in the hair?)
Like the aunty who matches every thing to perfectness. I wonder how she finds so much time to dress up!
Like the girl who waits with her man for the train. Every day they wait in silence and part with a slight hug.
Like the girl who just went to Hongkong for her honeymoon and came back with a bag full of footwear :P
Like the aunty who somehow misses watching Bade acche lagte hai and asks everyone "Kya hua kal" :D

     I love travelling in trains in the noon. It is that time when many vendors come to sell their goods, mostly accessories and painting books and toys. It is fun to search through the stuff and buy them cheap ( You can buy a pair or earring for 10 bucks which you would otherwise buy in malls for 10 fold the amount!)

    The evening trains are very hectic. The college and office crowd usually get into fights. The frustrations of all day are taken out of petty issues. It is like they deal with their stress by shouting at each other! For some, the physical activity drains the body of any irritation and you just go home and eat like a zombie and sleep.

    It has been more than an  hour that I m back and still I m flopped in front of my laptop, unwilling to move my muscles that are exhausted by hanging on to the handles of the train!
    For me travel is all about moving ahead, with your thoughts occupying you, a picturesque flipping in front of your eyes. That picture can be of beauty of just your fellow humans and their emotions.. It is the process of learning while you are passing..

    What is travel for you readers?

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 8th - 14th December 2013. Today's prompt is travel. 


   

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Music on my mind

            What do I know of music? I thought to myself when I read the topic. Of all the extra curricular things I was part of, music was never one! We had music period in primary school. Even though the music teacher always applauded my extra ordinary memory of lyrics and pronunciation of Marathi, she never did the same for my singing. I knew it then that I was not gifted with the voice I so wanted and I had no sense of sur and raag either!

            I grew up in a place where every morning I woke up to the loud filmy music played by young boys trying to woo the girl they had a crush on. Chehra hai ya chand khila hai, Bahut pyar karte hai tumko sanam were the favourites that I picked up from there.
            The first rains saw everyone coming out to get drenched and singing "Dhagala laagli kala" and "Ab ke saawan aise barse"
            Festivals were about collectively singing the Ganpati songs and 9 days of all night garba dance.

            14 years of my life I was completely isolated from English music. The only songs that I listened to where those that my school friends suggested. Sometimes they had to force me to listen, a habit that a few of them still have!

           From my early years, I have been more of a fan of lyrics. If the lyrics touch my heart, the song will remain with me. It is for this reason that I m a formidable competition in Antakshari. I remember all lyrics very well.. Being fond of dancing, music has been an essential part of my life. When I started training in classical dance, I realized how intricately a song is made. So many beats and little transitions that make a song so beautiful! It also started a new liking and appreciation for peppy beats and soon music became a stress buster for me.

          Music also has a vital role in memory building. It soothes the mind and makes it capable of retaining more information. That is the reason why we remember nursery rhymes so well!
         I used to listen to music every night before going to bed when I was in 10th grade. On some nights I tuned into radio and did my maths!
         I make some weird connection between a song and some disease state to remember my answers now :P
                                                       
         After I joined degree college, music became a routine. I catch 4 buses everyday and the bus ride time is dedicated to music.
                                                    
        My play list must haves are
       
        Pal Pal Pal Har Pal
        Naina Thag Lenge
        O saathi re from Omkara
        Ye hasi waadiya from Roja
        Lo shuru ab
     
        These are some of the songs that I listen to when it is cold outside and I have melted into the arms of my blanket.

       Monsoon favourites!
   Zara zara behekta hai
   Piya basanti re
   Ab ke saawan

      When I need energy to keep going !
       Chak de
     
      Some songs are such beautiful inspirations for my write up. I have written stories based on some lyrics..

      Of late there is a new variety of song that seems to get stuck on your mind with meaningless lyrics. These songs will stay for sometime but while they do, you keep repeating the same lines like crazy. Happens so many times with me these days!

     Gandi baat is top most on the list.
     Saadi ke fall sa
     Tera pyar hookah bar
     Pyar ki pungi baja ke

     The list is long and I breathe easy when there is a "Sawaar loon" or "Lahoo muh lag gaya" in midst of this chaos and ofcourse a good energetic, dance song like "Nagada"
   
     Hoping that the future sees less of Blue eyes songs and more of Piya re songs..

        I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 8th - 14th December 2013. Today's prompt is music. 



           

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A girl who reads

                              Photo: Thank you, Anubhav, for the adorable picture and the suggestion. You're right, this IS totally me! :D

            This is just me!

            I was 8 years old when my mother first handed me a copy of Tinkle. She opened the world of Supandi, Shikari Shambu and I was fascinated with my book. I took it to school one day and was reading it when our class teacher saw me. She took my book as carrying other books was not allowed. She kept it in her cupboard. She was herself a great fan of Tinkle. She might have intended to return it to me after she finished reading but she never found time to go back to it. I was scared that she might scold me if I asked her to give it back. I was at fault after all! My first copy of tinkle continued to remain with her..

         I was discovering my talent for writing poetry and I had proclaimed that I would become a writer
( How wise we are as kids!). I was 11 that time when I decided that studies are a waste of time. My mother dinned sense into me and made me see that there was a wide world that I had not yet seen. I had to study, become wiser and then write! She started with the story of Shantanu that day. The next day she bought me a copy of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Thus started my journey..

        I got a library card when I was 13 and since then there is no looking back. 8 years of membership, book shopping, book borrowing and days and nights of living someone else's life is what I have had!

       The thrill of Sindbad's voyages
       The mystery in Nancy's life
       The amusing life of the famous five
       The bitter sweetness of the secret garden
       The wisdom of Tenali Raman and Birbal
     
       The moral dilemma of the Indian epics
       The change in Anne Frank's life
       The emotions of Chicken soup
       The social setting of To kill a mocking bird

       The dreamy notions of Mills and Boons
       The adrenaline rush with Sidney Sheldon
       The living on edge with Dan Brown
       Discovering law with John Grisham
       The wit of Jeffery Archer

       The love hate relation in Gone with the Wind
       The slow and mature drift of The Hungry Tide
       The endless tips of self help books
       The turmoil of The God of small things..

       The challenges of The Hunger Games
       The epic series of Harry Potter
       The power lust of Game of Thrones
       The life of Shantaram..
     

      There are just the transitions I have had since I started reading. I do not read much of non fiction, especially autobiographies but I have been inspired by I Dare which is about Kiran Bedi and of course Wings of Fire by Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam.


                                           
                                                                 My humble collection..

     After a series of disappointing books from Indian authors that soon followed Chetan Bhagat, I had given up reading such books. In recent years however, the scenario has changed. Here are a few books that made me change my view.

      The Rozabal Line by Ashwin Sanghi
      Chanakya's Chant by Ashwin Sanghi
      Maximum City by Suketu Mehta
      Six suspects by Vikas Swaroop
      The Shiva Triology by Amish Tripathi
      Jaya Mahabharat Devadutt Patanaik

      Do give these books a try if you have given up reading Indian Books.

      There are some books which are like old friends. You just have to open a page and you get to know them in a all new way. To kill a Mocking bird is one of those books for me. Every time I read it, I find something new!
      Another book that makes me feel that I know the characters like my family members is The Hungry Tide. I cannot explain why I like to read it again and again. There is so much to know in that book.
   
      There are a few books that remain in my mind for a long, long time and you don't want to read it again for the sheer emotions that each page carried. The painted house by John Grisham is that book for me.

      Whenever someone asks me to suggest a book for reading, the first name I take is "Prisoner of birth" by Jeffery Archer. The plot is so far the most intelligent one that I have come across!

      I m the girl who reads every day. You would find a paper back in my bag any day. I read while travelling in trains everyday and the book I m reading has often sparked conversations with my co-passengers. That's the best part about books, they not only are good friends but also introduce you to like minded people. I also believe that book readers are the best kind of people to have around because you can always gift them a good book and they will remember you for a life time besides saving you the confusion of gift purchasing!


The last thing I want to share
              Photo
      Because they live multiple lives..
   
      I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 8th - 14th December 2013. Today's prompt is books. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Food is forever

             There are two kinds of people. Those who eat to live and those who are fat  live to eat. You know it is going to be a never ending post when your ask the latter category to talk about food. I m already hungry even thinking of food and this post is going to be a torture on my already salivating senses. Alright, I wouldn't torture you all with the endless list of delicacies that are floating in my mind. Pinky promise!

             For me food is not just about satiating the little pouch inside my body. I have been a comfort eater for long now. My romance with food is for eternity! The answer to every problem is - Food. If I m depressed, I overcome it with the ever uplifting double trouble from Mad over Donuts.
                                   
                                     
Trust me it is more alluring after a bad exam or a torturous lab day! 

            I associate a lot of memories with food. I never felt happy having an ice cream the way I am when it is the Ideal gadbad or dilkush in Mangalore. Every time we visit Mangalore I have to eat it. The whole purpose of going to Mangalore is defeated otherwise. Yes, I have tried other outlets that serve these icecreams but nothing beats Ideal! 

                              
Satiating, isn't it? 

            I love Sundays at home. Waking up with the aroma of steamed idlis and coconut chutney makes the day so special. Contrary to what others think, South Indians do not make idli and dosas every day. When we make it, it has to turn out perfect! 

                                                

            The sunday lunches become all the more fun with the mouth watering Kori rotti (Chicken gravey and rice flakes). You have to taste it once if you are a non vegetarian. Absolute heaven! 

                                                
drooling big time! 

            I almost never eat fish outside. The reason being that I m used to the spicy, marinated fish fries made at home. My dad is very passionate about his fish and it has kind of rubbed off on me. The fresh, juicy fishes marinated with the perfect paste and fried... You can't have enough of it! 

                                          


           I have a sweet tooth (which is obvious, isn't it?) and I love Bengali sweets. However I reserve this sweet for very special occasions. It my favourite sweet- Malai sandwich. 

                                                
No one can eat just one! 

           Food is not all about the rich, exotic or the delicacies. Sometimes, it just a warm bowl of Manchow soup that does wonders for that cold. Waiting for Mumbai to become slightly cold :P 

                                            

       Those days when you come home all hungry after struggling in the train and a plate of hot dal rice with a little pick seems the best meal you can ever have! 

                                                
                                               
      I purposely didn't get started on all the above foods in detail (trust me  you would have pages and pages to read) but I hope the images would make you crave for them! 
     All images are courtesy google. If I had known I would be doing this post, I would have clicked some of them myself, considering that I had most of them in the last week :D 

        I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 8th - 14th December 2013. Today's prompt is food. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Memories

                                       


         Memories are like the pack of gems I so prized when I was a kid. I picked out my favorite color gems and kept it aside, to savor it all alone. They are that amazing albums stored in the drives of the mind that are accessible at your call. You only need to close your eyes and think of those times..
        The thing with memories is, you cannot separate the sad from the happy ones. You cannot simply delete those memories that make you cry, that make you cringe or that make you hate yourself. It is a double edged sword.

        There are some memories that make you smile to yourself and feel happy about all those wonderful moments you shared with someone. Then there are some that make you question, "What went wrong?"

        She was the only one who I could call BFF. It is another thing that when I knew her, I did not know that term.
        One day she walked behind me from the dance class. I was with my father and she did not speak to me. That day, as she told me much later, she decided she wanted to know me. I do not remember when exactly I became her friend. We were in primary school that time. She was two years my senior.

       Walking to the classes together was just the beginning of a friendship that lasted all through our growing years.
       Soon I began dropping at her home when I was bored. She visited my home as randomly. We gelled with each other's family. Birthdays, festivals, result days, every event included visiting each other.
     
       There were evenings when we went for walks or simply played carom at her house.
       There were afternoons when we talked for hours or watched a movie on TV.
       We talked about growing up, about parent problems, about crushes, about the raging hormones, about the insecurities of our changing bodies, of friends in our class.
       There were times when we explored R world on the reliance mobile she had at home. Yes, even searching the photographs of movie stars on phone was a thrill.
     
       Once we decided to cook at my house. I wasn't allowed to cook yet and she had mastered cooking already. We purchased potatoes, maggi and curd.
       I remember stealthily opening the door of my house while she was hiding the packets in the flower pot outside ( we did not want the neighbors to see).
       That day we fried the potatoes and had it with maggi noodles and washed it down with lassi made from the curd. Weird combination I know but we relished it.

      There were so many such crazy things we did. We never clicked pictures. We were just creating beautiful memories that did not need uploading on facebook (there was no facebook those days!)

     Her mother worked as a non teaching staff and could bring home the books from library. We weren't allowed to carry the books from library, we could just read it during the library period. Because of her mother I read a lot of books which we both discussed in depth.

     With time, the equation changed. She became occupied with her studies and responsibilities at home. I, on the other hand, had all the time in the world. I began to get bored. I could no longer meet her whenever I wanted. I had to call and ask if she could! I guess the tension started then. It was a time of change. For both of us. Both of us had our board exams and added to it, I shifted from that locality. The meetings became rare.

     I tried to bring that time back but it was not possible. The lack of communication from her side was eating me already. I think it was natural on my part to feel so. She was the only friend I could talk so freely about anything under the sun.
     One day she messaged me to call. I called back and I was excited to meet her. Instead she told me she was a bit busy. I was angry. I texted her, if she was so busy then why did she ask me to call? Next thing I knew, she was pissed about my behavior! Apparently her brother had read that text and had shown it to her mother and her mother had shouted at her.

     It wasn't my fault. She apologized later. I called her a few times after that. She had a few of my books with her.
   
     One day, she randomly came to my new home. I asked her to come inside but she kept the books on the sofa and told me that she could no longer keep the friendship. I tried to stop her but I did not know what had fallen over me!
     I went to her house that very day. She refused to talk to me. I asked her what the matter was but she simply told she cannot meet my expectations. She cannot meet or talk to me. I did not know what to answer to that!
     I kept on telling her that I would never ask her to call or meet. She could do as she wished but not to simply end it. She refused to budge from her stand.

    Many times I tried to talk to her but each time she was distant. I still don't know what prompted her to take such a decision.

    I have pressed myself enough times. Analysed the whole situation from every view possible. I cannot place a single incident that was responsible for this turn. My memories have been tested so much to point out one reason but I have failed to get it.

   After 2 years of this incident, she called me out of the blue. I convinced her to meet me.
   Things had changed drastically, for worse. I wish I could help her but I couldn't and I can't.
   She told me she had made the biggest mistake to break contact with me. She herself didn't know the reason. She told me she was just too stressed and her inability to keep up with my calls had made her upset.
Parting words she told  me were, " I wish I had you in my life. I wouldn't have made such a big mistake of my life."
Yes, she had done it all wrong. If only she had called me once before taking such a step, her life would have been different now. I promised her I would never tell what happened with her. I shall keep my promise.
Just as randomly as she had contacted me, she again cut off all contacts.

 There are some memories that paralyze a part of you. She is a memory that has made me incapable of having such close bond with anyone. Just the thought of being so close to someone and then being cut off makes me step back. I want to overcome the fear. I want to stop asking myself everytime, am I irritating the person I m talking to? I want to stop analyzing my words and altering it so that the other person does not feel I m demanding. I want to stop worrying about calling someone without sending a "can I call" text.

This post is just a beginning. At least I have brought myself to talk about this. A little step towards deleting the sad memories and smiling over the good ones..

Wherever you are, I miss you.

                                      


I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 8th - 14th December 2013. Today's prompt is memory/memories.