Thursday, August 24, 2017

Monki+Masala Chai= Monki Masala Chai

Some days things just go wrong. Your sparkling coach might turn into a pumpkin and your prince charming into a toad. It is not always possible to have a magical wand and reverse it all. A bad day at office or a fight with your close ones, it all pulls you down.  Well don’t worry, don’t cry, drink vodka and fly.  :P  ahan, well I would rather say grab a masala chai and fly to a world that is entirely yours. Sometimes you just feel like escaping or maybe you need a beach therapy. But you never know a masala chai can also be a saviour.

It was in the year 2010 that I first stepped into Oxford Cha Bar at Bhubaneswar. It was a lively Sunday evening. The place was pretty much crowded. After all it was Friendship Day. They say that the first impression is the last, though I don’t firmly believe in this statement.  But definitely Oxford Cha Bar did cast a spell on me right on my first visit that later resulted in innumerable visits and memories. A place where you get both Chai and books has to be heaven.

Coming back to my first evening at the Cha bar, I really didn’t get a chance to go through the books. But I discovered a gem that evening, the Masala Chai. The Chai is normally served in small glasses attached to monkey holders. And hence the Chai became Monki Masala Chai for me. This is the place where I was actually introduced to the world of good Chai. The aroma of the Masala Chai is strong and heavenly, the kind of aroma that creates a peaceful sensation in your nerves. I could actually feel the flavours of ginger, cloves, cardamom in every sip. Now as I type down these words I realize Chai is a feeling. Later I tried the Bollywood Masala Chai and the Truck drivers Chai and I could not really find any difference between any of these except for the fancy names, they all tasted the same. So I preferred sticking to my good old Masala Chai. And this Masala Chai is something I would recommend everyone to taste at least once. They have an exotic tea collection on their menu from cutting chai, Nilgiri and Darjeeling tea to ayurvedic and herbal teas. I am not a fan of iced tea. Still I did try Ice tea twice here and I didn’t really like it. The Sandwiches, Pakoras, cookies, muffins and apple pie are something you can have with your tea or coffee while you indulge in a book. I would never suggest the hot chocolate but yes you can try coffee including spiced cappuccino.

This is one place I have been going to all these years. This is one perfect place to spend some “me” time alone amidst books in an afternoon. I always opt for the table that overlooks the road. It’s a beautiful feeling to simply sit there on a rainy afternoon with a book, chai and pakoras. If you are someone who likes to spend some time alone reading, writing or simply looking at the busy road while you sip a good tea then this is the place for you. Now that I am away from Bhubaneswar I know the next time I go there I will definitely visit this place for my favourite Monki Masala Chai. In fact this is somewhere we friends go to at least once when we all meet. The ambience is calm and soothing as well. Oxford Cha Bar is one place where you can find people belonging to almost every age group, school kids, uncles, aunties, love sick couples and people like me who just love the tea, the books and the place. Sometimes you might find writers typing hard on their laptops or scribbling down something, or readers with books piled up on their tables. And then you might also find stupid people you could observe smile and laugh at silently.  They always play slow music, slow good music.

 The book collection is not that great. And now you find loads of fancy gift items being sold. The service is not that good. At times you might have to knock at the kitchen door hoping that the waiter would listen to you. And there might even be times when they might say no to every dish you order, like everything on the menu will be unavailable. But Monki Masala Chai is always available :D   Life can’t be always perfect but there can be perfect moments. One such perfect moment is inhaling the vapours coming out of the monki masala chai, the feel of it when the hot liquid rushes down your throat. And for these perfect moments I visit this place again and again.

Ambience: 4.5
Food: 3.5
Tea: 5
Service: 3

Thursday, February 2, 2017

And I Melted In His Mouth Like Never Before...

“What if I don’t find you here tomorrow morning? What if they hide you?” He said sadly.

“Sir, I sincerely believe I am not the right one for you. I see the hunger you have for me. I forbid you to touch me.” I replied sternly.

He seemed hurt. His eyes that were so full of lust few seconds back now looked sad.

He closed the door. Five minutes later, the door opened again. It was him.

I felt his warm finger on my cold dark skin. I was a bit scared. How could I let him have me? This was not right. I screamed out loud “leave me.”

Quietly he removed his hand and let go off me. He was disheartened. I could see it. He sat there holding the door and looking at me with longing. I ignored his gaze.

“You don’t want me to have you only because I am old? You are just meant for young people? You think only these young people deserve you? That is unfair.” He shouted at me.

“Sir, it’s for your own good. Your body doesn’t permit this.” I replied softly. No matter what, I was determined not to let him have me. Even if he cries or begs saying it is for the last time (like he did last night) I would not allow him.

He closed the door. I sat thinking about the old man. It was not just lust; I knew he loved me more than anybody else. 

The door opened again. He smiled and said “You know what? If I happen to die tonight my only last wish would be you. And I am serious.”

I had already started melting a bit (what could have I done? If he kept opening the door and tried wooing me? Poor me!!)

Before I could even respond, I felt his wet tongue on me and I melted peacefully in his mouth. This was the befitting end to my life. Nobody loved and wanted the last piece of chocolate more than this eighty year old diabetic patient. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Three Musketeers

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow sat together one night. It was one of those rare nights, as they couldn’t be together at the same place and time. It was against their law. But almost every day somewhere at some point of time the three were forced to meet. Sometimes they liked it and sometimes they didn’t. It wasn’t really in their hands.  

This time they were connected by her. That night as she slept the three of them sat looking at her.

Yesterday raised a toast and boasted “She again came back to me..I affect her so much. I have the power to pull her back towards me any time any day!”

Today spoke sadly “One day she will stop visiting you. She would start seeing me; she would realize I exist only for her.”

Tomorrow sat silently looking at her. Finally it broke its silence and asked “why is she so scared of me?”

Yesterday laughed and said “It’s because I haven’t been kind to her.”

“But what about me? I am kind to her. But she ignores me. “ Today was disturbed.

Yesterday mocked and said “it’s a power game my friend. I own her. She lives in the past not in the present. I am more powerful than you.”

“I don’t know about power game. I simply wish she wasn’t this scared of me” Tomorrow sighed.

Today interrupted “But none of you are her present.  And none of us own her. She owns us. Yesterday is her past, I am her present and you will be her future. She owns each of us at some point of time. What makes me sad is she isn’t giving me a chance. She doesn’t realize I am there for her."

Yesterday laughed and said “I don’t let her give you a chance. She is haunted by me. She replaces Today with Yesterday. I enjoy that.”

Tomorrow sighed “I wish she would look forward to me. I am not that scary, am I? Yet she is scared of me. She never looks forward to her future, while I sit here waiting for her.”

Few days later the three of them sat together again. Today tried its best to make sure she noticed her present. Tomorrow was hopeful that one day she would look forward to her future. Yesterday sat mocking at them.

It was a fine summer morning. She got up and didn’t really feel anything, she was numb. The past didn’t haunt her. It didn’t matter or affect her. She decided to be the queen of her life and re arranged her tiara. She realized there was nothing she could do about her past. She had her present to live and a future to make. And she could do it without her past.

As she walked out of her room that day, she was a lady holding Today’s hand. Tomorrow stood outside the door smiling and opening it for her.

Tomorrow looked back at Yesterday’s disappointed face and said “She looks forward to me and maybe she would have remembered you if you had been kind to her.”

As she held Today’s hand firmly, he couldn’t help saying “She might have loved Yesterday the way she loves me now if Yesterday had not been this cruel to her.”

Yesterday faded into a corner as the three walked away.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Society Di Maa Di!

A Sunday morning walk is tiring. It shouldn’t be tiring, but for lazy people like me it indeed is. I was with a friend who was on a weight loss mission. I simply wanted to do something new hence for a change had accompanied her by sacrificing my beloved morning sleep. The only thing I wanted was a good breakfast and then run back home to make up for the lost sleep. But my friend was in no mood to get back home. Given an option she wouldn’t have returned back home that day. And the reason was pretty weird. She told me her Bua (aunty) had come for a few days and she cannot stand her. She gets on her nerves and drives her crazy. When I looked at her face I could know something was actually disturbing her.
“Dude, what happened?” I asked her. She nodded her head twice and then said “She is weird. Everytime she comes she makes my life hell. I am 25 and I am still unmarried and it is a crime according to her. She says there is something wrong with me hence I am not married. The other day she even told dad that he shouldn’t have let me do MBA after engineering, the more you educate a girl the more tough it is to find a guy. Can you believe that? She keeps finding faults in me and reasons why I am not yet married. She says something is definitely wrong with me.” “Well, something is definitely wrong with your Bua, not you,” I said.   

Something was seriously wrong with her thinking process. I wondered how she could even say that. My friend, who is well educated, works in a very good company, has a good sense of fashion, very much chilled out and a transparent person and most importantly was ready to get married. She was ready for a relationship but that doesn’t mean she would blindly rush and settle down for any tom dick and harry. I absolutely didn’t find anything wrong with her. She seemed way more normal than me. But she was termed defective only because she isn’t yet married. Hello she is just 25!! But then you cannot really have a control over your aunties and uncles. It’s like the sole objective of their lives to make your life hell. Is our society that sick? Are we supposed to judge someone on the basis of their relationship status? But apparently it is something very big and important. After a certain point of time it isn’t just the jobless relatives or your parents but your friends also start worrying about your relationship status. They might try to hook you up with someone or the other and mostly fail miserably. And you might be blamed for being choosy or setting really high standards. But then you don’t really settle down with anybody just for the sake of settling down, right? Just because someone desires you doesn’t mean they value you. It is totally okay not to rush into a relationship. But your friends are way better in dealing with your relationship status than your horrible relatives. They want you to be with someone for your sake unlike the stupid people you encounter at family gatherings mentally harassing you with “when will you get married?” This section of people has no idea about you or your life. They never have a positive contribution in your life, they are least interested in the real you but highly concerned about your marriage. These are the people who make you anti social in every family function. The next time you meet such a person tell them you are gay, and ask them to find you a partner. Watch their reaction, laugh and run away. I don’t think they will ask you to get married ever again.

Someone told me relationships are like a hit and trial process. You have to keep hitting and trying till you click with the right person. And I don’t give chance to guys. I am basically stupid or my standards are high. Chance? Is this CA exams? Chalo koi naa is time na sahi agli baar fir try karenge. I wonder how people have time and energy for a hit and trial process. I don’t believe in catching up a sunset with someone who wouldn’t be around to view the sunrise with me. It is a matter of personal choice. And sadly we never believe in respecting other people’s choices. We all have our right to choose the way we want to live, with whom we want to live and nobody has the right to judge us for being us. It is pretty reasonable, isn’t it?

Few months back a lady called my mom. Her nephew is really handsome. And her current job is to find a “nice girl” for him. Someone had mentioned to her that I am pretty, fair and slim. Hence she was hoping I would marry her handsome nephew. So this was the definition of nice girl? Someone who doesn’t even know me, has never seen me in her whole life believes me to be nice on the basis of the above factors that she heard from some other person. So basically she was searching a nice girl who would last till 30. I have been told and I have heard that our generation doesn’t understand relationships. But what about the generation, that defines a nice girl on the basis of her looks? We do understand that looks won’t last forever. Still why do people term a good looking girl and an educated guy as nice? Is it the criteria for finding a partner? Anyway my mother made some excuse and hung up the phone. But I found it really weird. The lady didn’t say anything bad, but she flaunted about the fact that the guy earns so much with an MBA from US and he is so good looking and he belongs to a rich family as well, and hence his family doesn’t care if the girl is doing anything in life or not so far as she is good looking. They just want a perfect match, a doll basically for their perfect son. This would be an insult to any normal woman. A woman is not just about the way she looks, she is so much more than that. I am not being a feminist over here. I do agree even a man isn’t all about his IIT, IIM degrees or a NRI status, he is so much more than that. I believe the most important criteria for finding a partner should be compatibility and understanding. There will be ups and downs in every marriage and you can only stick to each other if you have that compatibility and understanding. But again I belong to a generation who have no understanding about a relationship or marriage. Yes, I agree we are impatient, we don’t compromise much. We easily move out of a relationship and term it as being practical. We are scared of commitment mostly. Honestly, many of us don’t believe in the institution of marriage. But then it is a personal choice. My dad once told me that our generation doesn’t believe marriage to be a religious institution anymore. The reason was the alarmingly increased rate of divorce cases. I agree relationships don’t come with a guarantee to last forever. It is uncertain. But then if you really want to be with a person forever, it will work out or atleast you will give your 100% to make it work. But it would happen only if you want it to happen. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people marry because they want to be married and not because the society wants them to marry or just for the sake of getting married? And when someone isn’t happy in a relationship and wants to walk out of, it is their decision and they have every right to decide what is good for them. Maybe today’s generation isn’t much bothered about “log kya kahenge” or the so called judgemental society and they tend to do what they feel is right for them. I am not supporting divorce but this might be a reason why it’s easy for us and not for the previous generation.

The worst part about our society is that they harass you with “how much did you score?” throughout your childhood and then when you grow up they kill you with “why aren’t you married?” The only people who get affected are our parents. We don’t bother about it but our parents do.” People ask, people talk, we are tired of answering, we live in a society, we have to answer them.” Age plays an important part. There is supposed to be an apt age for everything. Sorry? Sure we should draw timelines for everything. There is an age for education and there is an age for marriage. Who decided this age? There is an apt age, it is pre written. My maggi noodle hasn’t till date cooked in 2 minutes whereas it is written all over the packet that it cooks in 2 minutes. Then how do you expect me to get married as per your pre written apt age? And lastly do you have an apt age for death as well? No right? I mean yes, it is pre written indeed, but not by the society. Then who gave our society the right to define us by our relationship status? Age shouldn’t be criteria to estimate a person’s maturity. One should marry when one is ready for a relationship and marriage. One should marry when one wants to. It doesn’t matter if the person is 21, 25, 32 or 45. It is a personal choice. Then comes the problem of not finding a nice guy or girl, because all the good ones will be taken.  But what is the guarantee of finding the right man or woman if you marry early? The other day a friend of mine called me up and shouted over the phone “Men are dogs!!sorry dogs are loyal.. I didn’t mean to insult dogs..”  I thought maybe her boyfriend cheated on her. Then I remembered she was single.  And then she told me the whole story. A guy who was pretty senior to us was so called in love with her long time back. My friend never even talked to him. And the guy is now happily married and is blessed with a baby. As per every social networking site he has a happily married life. But our hero isn’t perhaps satisfied with his wife and baby. He has been calling up my friend all the time and sending cheesy messages. And once he ended up standing near her house the whole night.  My friend did remind him many times that he is married and is a father as well. But he replied “so what? I married for the sake of my parents and many other people who wanted me to. That doesn’t change the fact that I love you or that doesn’t change my feelings for you. I am always concerned about you.” My friend replied “keep your concern inside your pants, and F**K OFF!”  Apparently his concern is too deep.  We both were sad for his wife and his baby and wished he hadn’t married anyone at all. But like he said he had to, for the sake of people around him.

 Marriage happens to be the greatest responsibility of parents. The whole family and the extended family would sit and convince you the need of a marriage. I am sorry I don’t mean to offend or insult anyone but there are more important things that you need to talk and discuss with your children. Have you asked them if they are ready for a relationship? For a marriage? Do they believe in relationships? Do they actually want to settle down? Do they want to have kids? Have you ever asked them what they want to do with their life? Where they see themselves few years from now? No, I am not talking just about career objectives, but life objectives as well. Do you know how many times did they get their hearts broken? Were they ever abused? Are they straight? Did they ever see a counsellor? 

The most important thing in life is to be a decent human being. It doesn’t matter if someone is single, divorced or even gay so far as they are decent human beings.

 It is important to understand that a woman doesn’t need a man’s surname to validate her existence. She needs to be somebody in life, not somebody’s. It is high time to come out of the fairy tale world. A prince wouldn’t come to your door holding a shoe that you lost, nobody is ever going to love you the way you want them to, nobody is going to read your mind every moment and bring the moon or stars from the sky. You have to learn to love yourself first. We all need to understand it first. Maybe it is a greater responsibility, to give a woman the wings that she deserves, than just marrying her off.  Spend some time in making your son learn to respect women. He should know when he is marrying someone, he is marrying an equal. He isn’t getting himself a cook or a house maid; he is getting himself a wife. Sadly patriarchy tells men that women are inferior. 
So dear society there is so much more to do than just waiting to marry off people and increase India’s population. Live and let others live.

Someone asked me “aren’t you scared of ending up all alone?” I said “I am more scared that I would end up with someone out of the fear of dying alone. I would like to end up with someone because I want to live with him, not because I am scared of dying alone.” And even Cinderella just wanted a night out and a good dress and the prince just happened.  ;) 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Closed Chapter..,??

She still gets lost in an unknown world, burns her lips and drops down the cup. But she doesn’t miss him anymore.  All these years she had missed him, she had been in pain. But one fine morning she got up and realized it doesn’t hurt anymore. She didn’t feel anymore. She had moved on. She has moved on in a way that she remembers him, but doesn’t miss him. She remembers him everytime it rains, she wonders if it’s raining where he is. She wonders if he still smokes in the rain. Sometimes she thinks about him late at night while looking at the stars. She remembers him in a way that makes her smile. She still talks about him like he is the most prized treasure she ever had. But she knew she had moved on. Her heart doesn’t ache anymore. Maybe that is what moving on is all about, you never really forget the person, you simply stop getting affected by them. She thought she didn’t miss him, true she didn’t. You never miss someone who is always there within you. He was very much alive in every story she wrote. It has always been about him. But she knew she was just another of those cigarettes that he burnt daily. And he was a forest fire.
 “I shall stop missing you little by little.

His room still resembled a smoke house. The clock had stopped working years back and he never got it repaired.  He never tried to mend things, what was broken was supposed to remain broken. He remembered how she used to break down the cups. The broken cups could never be mended. He still smokes when it rains. The number of cigarettes he smoked daily had increased over the years.  He wonders if she still lets her hair loose and chases the passing clouds. He wonders if she thinks about him. He doesn’t miss her either. Everytime he thinks about her his ego stops him. He was okay with it. He didn’t like missing her or thinking about her. It confused him; it forced him to feel what he has been running away from. And his ego protected him from that feeling that made him weak. That feeling that reflected in all his paintings. All his paintings were about her. She was alive in his colours. But he knew he was just another cup that would be broken by her. She was a forest fire. 
I shall stop loving you little by little.”

They moved on but never got over each other...

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Monster Of Maladies

 “Her sad eyes tore my heart apart
I told her to be strong
Don’t give up, bounce back
Fight it back
She was broken and shattered
She cried like a baby
She cried “please help me.”
I saw her falling apart
But I could do nothing
I simply looked at the mirror.”
For a change let’s talk about things that we shouldn’t be talking about, conversations that we avoid at dinner tables. I want you to talk to me, about me. I am sure you wouldn’t want to. Nobody does. I don’t blame them because I am not that loveable. But I believe you should talk about me because I am important. Sadly you realize my importance after it is too late. I am depression and today I am going to tell you a story.  I am not something to be scared of or something to be ashamed of. I am a disease just like fever and flu. Though I am not an easy disease because you never really realize my presence at the beginning and by the time you do, you don’t realize your own presence. I destroy you in every possible way while you helplessly give up on yourself. Mostly I win because I am powerful and you fail to find a way to defeat me. Let me tell you about a prey of mine. This is her story and mine.

I first started stalking her. I was near her all the time but she never noticed me. I can happen to anyone. When I say anyone, I mean it. She had a mechanical life. Her days started with office and ended with classes. Everything was fine in her life till I entered. I can creep in through closed doors.  All of a sudden she felt something was wrong, maybe with her or her life. She became gloomy and sad. She didn’t realize what it was. She didn’t even try knowing. She ignored me and her sadness. She focussed on her office and studies. She thought it was just the pressure that’s taking a toll on her. But the girl didn’t even try to find a solution to that. How could she ignore me? Sometimes after her Saturday office meetings she went out with her office friends to watch the sunset. It was just another Saturday evening she was out sitting with her friend looking at the sky. She didn’t even realize she was crying. I was happy that I had succeeded in finally screwing her up. Her friend asked her “Are you okay? You are crying.” My poor prey looked helpless. She even didn’t know why she was crying. She just nodded and again tried ignoring me. She again thought it was just work and studies pressure and I was ignored. Few weeks later I made her feel helpless again. She reached her class late after a not so good day at work. The first two hours of the class went fine. And all of a sudden she broke down. I made her break down and she didn’t realize that either. She simply couldn’t control her tears and she packed up her bag and left. Back home she called up a friend and cried again. I saw the fear in her eyes and I loved it. She was scared that something was wrong with her. She even told her friend maybe she should see a doctor. The foolish friend consoled her that she was over thinking and that she is perfectly fine. She was just a bit stressed out. She didn’t have people to talk to about how she felt. And from my past experiences I knew nobody would even understand her plight. Unless I destroy you, you wouldn’t understand the other person’s destruction.  I am not to be blamed for everything.  You can blame the circumstances which made her become an easy prey.  Her work life had not been easy during those times or at least she felt so. She didn’t really have a social life. She was a bit hard on herself. She barely went out.  And to make things worse she herself hid a broken heart within her. No don’t get me wrong... she didn’t have a break up and nobody really broke her heart but she had a heart break. As I said earlier this girl seemed to be a bit harsh on her own self. She liked a guy and let him go. She never bothered confessing her feelings. Why? Well she has had priorities in her life and they were more important than this. Love can wait, career cannot. And if it is meant to happen it will happen. The guy vanished into thin air. She never bothered. So it wasn’t the kind of heartbreak where you sit and cry for days. Something was hurting her within but she had no clue that it was her heart. There were important things to focus on. She never talked about it with anybody. These events helped me to gradually destroy her. She struggled through the void that I had created in her life. Months passed and she started to shut herself down. As it is she never really had many friends to talk to. She lived in a room with books all around her. That was her world. They were not the easy books though. She was struggling and fighting and I enjoyed seeing her helplessness. I was eagerly waiting for the moment when I would break her down completely and possess her. But it wasn’t supposed to be this fast. She ignored me. She kept herself busy with her books. There were days she was tired and frustrated with her life and I enjoyed those moments dearly. And to make things worse for her she flunked her exams. It was a treat for me. She had nightmares and she could barely sleep. She was scared of sleeping. Every other night she would wake up and cry. Nobody knew what she was going through except for the two of us. I enjoyed every moment of it and she hated every moment of it. The sadness, the frustration and the emptiness got accumulated within her and gave me the power to enter her mind.

 I preferred staying away from everything and everyone. Despite trying hard I didn’t get through. When I saw my results I thought it was a mistake, either with the system or with my eyes. I was sort of stoned. I went inside the class took my seat; the faculty was busy consoling another girl who did not make it. You know that feeling when you don’t even need water to drown; yes that’s how I felt somewhere I was sinking, I was drowning. But I needed water I bent down to open my bag and seems I did not really need my water bottle; my eyes did the job.  “Mam are you okay? You okay?” Perhaps this was repeated some 3 times and finally I looked up and said yes but my tears also have a mind of their own they couldn’t control their flow. And the faculty asked “so you also didn’t make it?” I just nodded and said I am fine. He talked about some success failure theory that my ears or mind couldn’t receive. Somebody hugged me and whispered “it’s okay it’s always not your fault I did it in my 7th attempt I know how it feels.”  I just excused myself and walked out of the class. There were just few questions that haunted me “what went wrong? Is something wrong with me? Now what? How do I start all over again? Do I have it in me? Am I really dumb? What more can I do?” My confidence level had gone down by sixty percent. I sat, I cried and the questions haunted me even more. Now what? From where do I start again? I told myself “hold yourself together, you have to be strong.” Within an hour I was back in class after gulping down a pill for my headache. But the medicine couldn’t defeat the pain I was going through. I was drowning and sinking from within yet I spent a whole five hours laughing. The first thing I did the next day was applying for a rechecking of the answers sheets. My boss (my mentor) had asked me to get the answer sheets and find out what went wrong. I found it very difficult to study all over again. It’s easy for people to say that “It’s okay study and write.” Unless you yourself undergo the shit you never understand the pain. I didn’t have the exact words to express how exactly I felt, what exactly I was going through. One moment I was in an unknown world away from everything, the pain, the hopelessness and the helplessness and the next moment I was back with an empty soul and a heavy heart. I didn’t have control on my emotions and thoughts. An unknown fear had crumpled me. I was scared of every damn thing in the world, every damn person. I was constantly struggling with something invisible and indeed very much powerful. There was a constant urge to run away from everything and everyone.

 If you had asked me how I felt I guess I wouldn’t have been able to answer because even I didn’t know how I felt. Maybe I would have simply looked down to hide my tears. I realized I couldn’t continue that way I had to fight it whatever it was. And I mustered the courage to dial an online counsellor’s number. I had mailed him two months back he had sent me a number to call and talk. And I never felt like giving it a try. I wouldn’t say it helped. There was an unknown person on the other side and I just told him whatever shit I was going through. I don’t know if he understood. But he told me a list of things I should try. The most important part was self motivation and fighting negative thoughts. Basically you have to keep trying. And I didn’t really have an option. Did I? I had to hold myself together and fight again. And I was back studying and fighting. To make things worse I got my answer sheets and I couldn’t understand where I went wrong. I read that one sentence “Institute can revise a student’s mark to maintain its standards”.  Sometimes you can just try because that is the only option you have. 

The sad part about online counsellors is that they mostly tell you what to do but they never tell you how to do it. Fight your negative thoughts.. How? It is not about fighting your negative thoughts anymore; it is about fighting with yourself. You become what I make you. And most of the time we become one and the same. You never realize I posses you and make you destroy yourself. I make sure you can never feel happy. You can never laugh. Initially you would be lost. Then an unknown fear would suffocate you and you will be plunged into darkness, and gradually you will give up on yourself and your life. And the world and the people around will just see you being the reason behind your own destruction. They can never see me. I hide inside you, within your soul. I become your mind; I control your every feeling and every thought.

I had heard from people that they become blank in exams; though they know all the answers they go blank. I never understood what they meant. How can someone possibly just go blank? Yes people can go blank like totally blank. I faced it. I saw the question paper and I was blank. I couldn’t understand what was happening. I had never felt so helpless before. Imagine you have studied and just at the right moment you are clueless. That day I lost whatever confidence I had. I didn’t know how to push myself, how to motivate myself. I wasn’t supposed to give up. But how?  I needed help. The two months after exams were nightmares. I had forgotten the meaning of “think positive.” Positivity seemed like an alien word to me. I have been told by many “if you think positive then positive things will happen.” But what if I am not capable of doing that? I couldn’t think of any possible good thing happening to me. My thoughts were beyond my control. And I was clueless how to get a hold of them. I didn’t know how to master them. A feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness crept in and possessed me no matter how much I tried to kick it away. My throat choked with words unuttered, my mind and heart had become constant aching things. A constant feeling of gloom and loneliness had engulfed me. There were just long sleepless nights and long hours of crying. Crying to sleep was a daily affair. Depression was a monster that had grown larger and my desire to live had become fainter. I felt unspeakably lonely and drained out. I often questioned myself who I was, what exactly was I doing. But I got no answers. Sometimes I would sit and imagine how I could simply end this pain, end my life. Giving up seemed an easier option, a less painful option. You would die just once and you are done. Living or rather existing and trying to fight it and battling with your own thoughts was a herculean task. I needed help. And there was none to help me. I was tired of crying and shouting under the shower. I didn’t want to get up in the morning. I was scared to get up. I was scared of that invisible monster that was killing me within. Everything was scary. I just wanted to leave everything and simply get away from everyone. I would just get up, sit on my bed and cry. I didn’t know what was happening. And people never really understood. The reality is it is tough for people to accept you at your worst. People prefer staying away from me. It’s not like they had a clue about what I was going through but the even the little bit of what I told them wasn’t taken in a good way. I didn’t even enjoy talking about it. Sometimes I would sit all alone late at night either on bed or on bathroom floor and cry, and sometimes I would even cry out for help. But I could see no light or hope.

I called up the online counsellor again. That day I realized I can any day make a better counsellor than him. Talking to him was wastage of time, energy and money. His suggestions were bookish not practical. Join dance classes and sit on a sea beach every evening. I said there’s no beach nearby. It’s a one and half hours drive to the beach and I can’t go that far. His reply was you need to find a beach. Really? Sure I would love to run away and discover a lonely beach and live there all alone. And what if I don’t want to dance? You have to dance. Go out and make new friends. Where? How? On facebook?  No you have to go out and make friends, like just go around in a mall or movie and force strangers to be my friends?  Finally for a change I went on a trip. Again there was a question “so ab toh you are no more frustrated? You were so frustrated and desperate for this trip. Ab khus?“ Well firstly I never cried or was desperate for a trip. I was desperate for a change. I was desperate to live and not merely exist. I just thought the trip could help maybe. But it was a bit too late in my case. The monster had already started living in me. It didn’t help much but maybe it did.

There are ways to fight me but it is not easy. When they asked her to dance or go out and make friends they didn’t realize I would not let her do that. I had shattered her. She was scared of people. She didn’t want to dance; she didn’t want to do anything. She didn’t even feel like getting up from bed. She had to struggle with me every moment. She went on a trip but sadly I accompanied her. It was late. I had already possessed her. She still had trouble sleeping at night. The nightmares were a common thing. But she wasn’t sure which was worse; the nightmare that she was living, or the one that haunted her when she was asleep. The trip didn’t defeat me but sadly it was a good change for her.

Back home I had flunked again. Maybe it was the trip because of which my mind was a bit stable. I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I thought I would break down. Nothing of that sort happened. I had not fallen apart. I kept telling myself every time you hit the ground you need to bounce back with a greater force because that’s how you rise and you are not dead yet. It wasn’t easy. But I had to fight. I never thought I could try again. I don’t know how and from where I got that strength. I ordered motivational posters online and pasted them everywhere on my wall. I wasn’t sure if they would work. But I needed motivation, my lost confidence, support and hope. And most importantly I needed someone to tell me you can do it. I had to tell that to myself because I knew nobody else would. No matter how tough it was, I did all I could. If I was sleepy I would sit on the floor and study, I would keep drinking chilled water so that I would rush to the washroom every half an hour and I wouldn’t sleep off.  Just a week before exams I talked to a friend of mine. He was pretty upset. I found out he had applied for his answer sheets and even he couldn’t understand why he failed. There was random deduction of marks for no reason. And since he was in Delhi he directly went to our Board of studies with the guidance answers and his answer sheets. He was told not to waste his time and prepare for the next attempt. This is how it happens and he was shown a regulation that says they can revise our marks. There was another guy whose 82 had become 35. Even that kind of revision was possible. He was depressed. I remembered when I had told my friends about this regulation none of them believed me. I was sure people wouldn’t even believe him. That’s the thing about people. For them something is definitely wrong with you, you didn’t try hard, you did something wrong, you are dumb, it always has to be you. Depression makes sure you lose your confidence and your interest in life and the people around surely make it worse. After talking to him I never thought about results even once, I knew I did all I could. It’s always not in our hands.

She wasn’t ready to give up on herself no matter how much I tried. She was constantly struggling. That made things more difficult for her. Because she was fighting with herself, she was the monster. She was her own enemy. I was her. I had possessed her. For months she was in a state of denial. But finally she acknowledged me. She had accepted the fact that she was under my control. She was helpless. She would break down and cry out for help. Nothing was falling into place. She was beginning to give up on herself. Some days she didn’t care about anything. And other days she did and that made it worse. Some days she simply wished to sleep and never get up. She was scared of everything and everyone. Her emotional dependency decreased. Everything got accumulated and suddenly there would be an outburst of emotions; anger, frustration, irritation and sadness would all emerge together. She didn’t have a control on anything. Pain had consumed her and there was no escape. The only momentary saviour was novels. She would escape reality and ignore me. But gradually she lost interest in everything, even in things that made her happy. She even got panic and anxiety attacks. She would be breathless and nervous. Yes I can make that happen to you as well.

It all seemed like slow death. I was my own poison. Something inside me was gradually dying. I was giving up. I was tired of the constant fight. We don’t know how much strength someone has, how much pain one can bear. Sometimes giving up was an easier option.  Nobody really understood. Maybe in those weak moments we need help; we need someone to tell us our existence isn’t namesake. We need someone to appreciate us, accept us the way we are, to ignore our faults for some time, to hold us, to remind us that we are not unwanted, to make us feel loved, to tell us it is okay to fail, it is okay to fall down and to make mistakes, it is okay to be sad, it is okay to cry, but it is not okay to give up. We want somebody to tell us we can get up again, we can fight, and we can do it, someone who would support us, be the strength that we lack, someone who wouldn’t judge us but answer our call for help and most importantly understand us. People hear our stories and judge us but they never understand. Then who gave them the right to judge us? You don’t study, you are dumb hence you flunked, you are sad for no reason blah blah.. But who likes being sad and depressed? Who enjoys flunking exams? Who likes being grounded for like years? But we don’t really have a control on certain things, they just happen. I wasn’t enjoying whatever I was going through I was constantly struggling. I needed help. I couldn’t continue that way. I wanted to end the pain. I wanted to live. But the most difficult part is making your family understand your state, convincing them the need of a shrink or counsellor. Making them understand that you are not mad you are a bit sick and you will be fine someday because you want to recover and you just need their help. It is never easy making your family understand this. Even I didn’t know if these counsellors and shrinks actually work. But I needed a way out. I couldn’t focus on anything. Depression had taken a toll over me. I lived in a constant fear, a fear that was crumpling me.  It was the kind of fear that confined me to my shell, a fear that convinced me that I can never do it. I am a failure. It had shattered my self confidence. A fear that made me feel weak at my knees. I would get restless all of a sudden and restlessness would continue for days. Sometimes I went blank, I would study something remember it and next moment when I would sit and try writing it down I would be blank. I felt helpless. I was tired of faking a smile. I was tired of pretending that I was fine while my life had turned into a game of hide and seek. I wasn’t comfortable with my own feelings and thoughts. There was darkness and nothing else.

As I had mentioned earlier people don’t like me. She went and told her parents one day that she was depressed, she was in tears and asked them for help. As expected I am something people prefer to ssshhh away. They don’t like talking about me. If you are into depression and you ask for clinical help that means you have mental disability according to many. Then there is society, what will the society think? You are seeing a psychiatrist? Nothing really worked out the way she expected. But it worked out the way I had expected. She had an emotional outburst. She told how she exactly felt. She was asked not to behave or talk like abnormal people. The hot tears flew down her cheeks and she said “maybe I am abnormal; if that is the way you want to understand.” But she was told there was no reason for depression. She was faking the whole thing for no reason. It was just post exams syndrome. She does nothing and behaves weird absolutely out of boredom. Had I been some other disease they would have bothered. But the name depression isn’t liked by them. They let me win. They don’t bother to take me seriously. The poor victim is termed as miserable, pathetic, depressed, and lastly weak. This is what I can do to you. She was scared of seeing a counsellor alone. She needed someone to be with her, to tell her it is okay we will get you through this.

Why is it so difficult to love and understand people at their worst? Why is it so tough to stand by them when they need us the most? When we say “we will always support you, stand by you” do we talk only about the good times? I didn’t want sympathy. I simply wanted and needed help. I was tired of struggling alone. Nothing worked out. I read many online blogs on depression, I read about people who fought it. But the thing is depression doesn’t let you do anything. You don’t even feel like doing anything. No matter how much you try to push yourself to fight it; it still pulls you down. I read this somewhere “If you know someone who is depressed, please resolve to never ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather. Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and the loneliness they are going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It is hard to be a friend to someone who is depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest and best things you will ever do.”

A friend sent me a video and article of Deepika Padukone talking about depression. Then she said she was going through the same, every emotion, and every word that Deepika spoke she had felt it. She said she was in tears when she saw the video. I asked her if she was into depression. She said “I am not Deepika Padukone I can’t just tell people I am into depression; the society won’t accept it and I would lose friends and people won’t like me.”  Few months back I even met a friend after years and we started talking about how things have been in our lives. He is one of those people who have a perfect awesome life. But I was shocked to hear that he was under medication for few days. He was into depression and he saw a shrink. He told me that he was forced to take medication for a week and that the shrink told him to fight it out on a daily basis. Every morning he would drag himself out and push and motivate himself. He said it wasn’t easy. He is the coolest guy I have ever known. He didn’t like talking about it and hence I didn’t ask further. There are many who don’t want to talk about it because they are scared that they would be judged in a negative manner. They are not comfortable talking about it. Even the listeners whether friends or family are not comfortable talking about this. Is this something to be ashamed of? Is it really that bad that we are not supposed to talk about it? I believe it is very much important to talk about things that matter and yes this matters a lot. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. It is a disease, a monster that attacks you. It can attack anyone. And you have the power to fight it. Why should you be ashamed of feeling depressed or sad? It is an emotion and you are human. You are capable of feeling it. Is the rain ever ashamed of falling? Or is the sun ever ashamed of shining bright? Then why we as humans are ashamed of feeling something that is beyond our control?

The mind is a dangerous and powerful thing. You have to protect it from this beast called depression. Do not ignore the very first symptoms of depression. Take a break from whatever you are doing and travel, do something new. Don’t wait for it to screw you up completely and then take a break, because it would be travelling with you then. Even if people misunderstand you it is okay. Maybe if you hadn’t been through this you wouldn’t have understood it either. People will judge you. Let them judge you. But please don’t let this screw you up out of the fear of being judged or being misunderstood. At the end it is your life and nobody else’s, you have to fight for it. But I am sure there will be atleast one person who would just listen to you and trust me even that would help. Even if there is none to listen to you, still don’t let that poison get accumulated inside you. Write down whatever you are going through. People might come up with weird theories about your condition. Try not to get affected. You have to fight it and keep fighting. If you have written a suicide note to self, if you have cried yourself to sleep, if you have felt useless and worthless, if you have felt alone in a room full of people, if you have needed help; relax, you are human. You need not be ashamed of it. If after all this you are still breathing and reading this you have made it this far and you will be fine. Depression is a disease which can be fought. If you need counselling or clinical help go ahead. Never forget that your mind is the most dangerous and powerful part of your whole system.

I was once dining with two friends; one of them was going through a similar condition. The other one said “you people have simply lost the fire and passion to study and write exams hence you are depressed.”  We told him “well walk in our shoes and then we will talk about fire and passion. We haven’t given up yet and that matters to us.” Try not to give up on life or on yourself. It will be the toughest thing to do. Giving up will always is easy and less painful. Even if nothing works out, hold on with a hope that it will work out someday. But it might be tough to be hopeful about anything. Even if you stop hoping, try not to think about all the worse things that might happen. If you are a God believing person maybe just leave it to Him. And lastly the harsh truth is nobody would really bother about your journey or your struggle. They don’t walk in your shoes or live in your mind. Many times the suffocation within you would kill you and nobody will see that either. You have to be your own strength. You have to protect and love yourself.

She is tired of everything. And I am tired of her. She doesn’t stop fighting, even if it means fighting alone. She falls down and sometimes she gets up at once, other days she takes time but somehow she doesn’t give up fighting. She knows me well. She is aware of my presence. She knows what I have done to her. I made her a monster. She was her own enemy. I made her strip her own confidence. But she isn’t ashamed of me. She doesn’t mind talking about me. She realizes my importance. I asked her if isn’t scared of talking about me? Wouldn’t people judge her in a wrong way? She said “I would never ever want anybody to go through what I went through. People should know about the haunting beast called depression.”

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Break free..

My dear you make me proud when you look up into their eyes and say you are doing good, while your eyes speak a contradictory tale. You are an ocean of endless thoughts, emotions and dreams. You hold a universe within you. I know the suffocation and pain you go through. The wild wolf inside you struggles every moment, even in captivity beneath your skin your eyes speak of the wolf’s longing to get free, to run wild. The tempest in your mind rages every second, the volcano that keeps growing within you ready to erupt any moment; yet you try to chain it back till it oozes out in form of hot tears from your eyes and you look high up to the skies. The tears flow down your cheeks while the stars twinkle brightly up above in the sky. The wolf within you roars.

A star can shine as brightly as it wishes to, can you or I put a limit to its brightness? Does the sun feel sorry for shining so bright? Then why do you limit yourself? You are nothing less than a are infinite... Does the rain feel ashamed of falling? Get up dear it is okay to fall but pick up your pieces and fix yourself up. The only number that will ever count is the number of times you got up after falling. I know you are the phoenix that can emerge and rise high from its ashes. You fight a constant battle with yourself, your mind, your thoughts, and your life. But it is okay; you just said you are doing well. Don’t imprison the wolf inside you. Set it free. Don’t limit yourself to human constraints. Beautiful people do not just happen they become beautiful because they have known defeat, suffering and struggle and have found their way out.  Keep breathing..keep fighting..keep shining...

Be infinite... Be wild... Be limitless…Just be who you are!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Day Like No Other Or Just Another Day!!

The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes this morning was ofcourse my phone. But it said Bestie calling. The day started with talking over conference with bestie and kindergarten friend. I sat on the bed yawning, talking and finally listening to them. The phone got disconnected. I could hear mom shouting at me “atleast try waking up at 9”. So instead of calling them back I busied myself in arranging the bed and wondering why I am doing this, in a couple of hours it will be as messy as it is now. The books, the laptop, the kindle, the phone along with the charger and my spectacle all scattered on the bed. Most of the time I sleep off holding books (hoping for a knowledge transfer through osmosis) and I am too lazy to get up and put the laptop where it is supposed to be kept. So the best is to let them accompany me on bed. The phone rang again with both of them all freaked out “what the hell? When did you disconnect the call? You okay?” The conversation ended in a minute as one was about to sleep, another getting ready for work and I had to brush.

The maids had not turned up and mom was at her ultra hyper mood. I realized I brushed daily twice but I had forgotten how my toothpaste tastes like. Those were the days when you first tasted the toothpaste ate it up and then brushed. Sigh! Maid 1 arrived and I felt like she was running a marathon. She informed mom that she won’t be coming for two days because she has guests to entertain at home. And the argument started about leaves for no reason :P and lastly she said we should be happy that she atleast informed us, she isn’t informing the other houses where she works. Maid 2 entered just at that moment. She was three hours late. She had an interesting story to share. Apparently she had to work extra at somebody’s place this morning. The old lady became a grandmother this morning. She wanted the house to be neat and clean before her son and daughter in law arrive home with the baby girl. But what she said next was shocking. “Didi I asked her for sweets. She said it’s a daughter not a son! Why should I give sweets for a daughter? I am not happy.” I shouted “what??!!Seriously??!!” Maid 1 had dropped a plate and said “daughters are way better than sons.” I was like how could that woman be so sick?! Maid 2 told me “that’s how it is..My husband left me because I gave him 4 daughters..”

I gulped down cornflakes complaining that cerelac could have been better. Then I busied myself dating my books. I was focussing on return filing and assessment when I got lost somewhere with my eyes closed and head over the books I went off to hibernation. I visited dreamland. There were bunch of weird people a robot, a pikkachoo, a monkey and so many more.. I was trying to study and they didn’t let me. Lastly I turned into a bunny. No idea how I got a bunny rabbit attire! I was in a classroom with so many unknown people and characters and I was asked to jump wearing that pink white bunny rabbit attire and I did. And when I asked the teacher for marks for my bunny jumping whoever that masked person was simply left. L And I woke up and saw partner in crime’s message “I am depressed..Let’s run away from studies no work no boys nothing..just alone..I can’t do anything..deleted instagram and whatsapp..everything is frustrating..” I replied “We need money for that..nothing comes free in this world..not even depression it costs a lot too.. like your happiness.. anyways study.. there is no other option..”

I got back to books. An hour later I was back in dreamland but this time I was flying and the aircraft flew downwards instead of upwards directly into a water body. I wished I had taken my swimming classes seriously. I kept telling myself don’t let this water enter your body just try and keep floating. I reached an island. Pretty beautiful it was! And I woke up shouting I hate my life. Few minutes later mom shouted lunch. Shit I had to take a shower!

I broke my nail. So I ended up wasting 20 minutes to cut and shape the rest of my nails :\ Since I had already wasted 20 minutes on my nails I thought of wasting few more minutes on my hair which I hadn’t combed since two days. I seriously forget to pamper them unless I am going out. I asked mom money for my haircut.
Mom: I gave you money on your birthday!
I protest back "that is called savings!!” I took money from her bag and simply informed her.
She shouted back “your top gets shorter with age!"
Me: Ofcourse it has to!!
Mom: wear a  long top..
 Me: don’t have any.. gimme money I need new clothes!!I need new shoes too!                                                                                                                                                                                
We need to wash your hair first.. And all of a sudden I remembered I have to study.. I replied “let it be I think I will come tomorrow or day after..” finally I got back home with two painful scratches made by a thread on my eyebrows. Nothing comes free of cost these days not even good eyebrows!! How difficult it is to be a woman! Sigh!

I switch off my phone and start romancing books. After few minutes mom came to my room with bournvita :D she asked me to accompany her to a neighbour’s birthday party.. some six year old kid.. My first reaction was “they have a kid?”
Mom: ofcourse they have..
Me: I have to study..Why did you even ask me?
Mom: Fine don’t go study.. if you have to study then don’t watch “Ramayan” utilize those 30 minutes too
Me: that reminds me what is the difference between daanav, maanav and asura?
Mom: Devlok with Devdutt Patnaik is better than my star plus soaps right??Then ask Mr Patnaik

Few minutes later dad asked me to get his medicines. I still don’t understand why these doctors didn’t practise handwriting in school. I asked dad to write it down on a paper because I didn’t have much hope from the chemist either. What if he fools me? Atleast I should be able to understand the names. The moment I got out of the house I saw books on the road. Yes books!! School books scattered on the road!! Who does that? My neighbours! And mom wanted me to visit their birthday party? People who throw books on roads are not worth anything. The only thing I perhaps like about my neighbours is their dog.  The guy at the medicine store gave me strepsils instead of change. I returned back the strepsils and he gave me vicks. I returned back the same and demanded money. He doesn’t have ten rupees change? Are you kidding me? Finally the poor guy had to take out the 10 rupees note and unwillingly handed it over to me.

I was back to my small little world of books when the kid from work pinged “What happened to your hot dps??I am tired of seeing your sarcastic dps :\
Me: I am no more hot! I speak sarcasm :P so bear with it!! How are preparations? All over? :P
He: Ghanta over! Yours?
Me: Ghanta not over :P

I did waste another 30 minutes watching Ramayan sorry modern Ramayan (Siya k Ram :P ) I wasted another 30 minutes eating dinner and stalking a hot guy on tv. And lastly I spent another 30 minutes writing this piece (not sure if I wasted) and you are wasting maybe 10 minutes of your day reading this.

Few minutes back I looked at the dark sky, felt the cold wind.. and got lost..Sometimes the universe inside me spills out a little; sometimes it’s heavy to carry but its okay...I believe this too shall pass..I tell myself just a few more days ...relax! I messaged partner in crime “Lets run away…I wana live in Ladakh in some monastery and become a monk..” Then I laughed and told myself my heart still beats and fights…even if the moment hurts I am not supposed to fall victim to its pain..I am just doing fine..meanwhile keep calm and love books… The adopted dog barked wagged its tail and licked my foot.. these four legged creatures are truly a therapy..

Enough of time wastage I need to get back wooing my love of life, my darling books! Have a good night unlike mine :\ 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Movie Date!!

The good thing about birthday is that it comes only once in a year and bad thing is again the same i.e. it shows up only once in a year. You realize you are one year closer to death, you are getting older. That’s Birthday realization. And none of us like being reminded of our age. Age is not just a number it is more than that, it is a three lettered word. It is that one day in the whole year when people on your facebook list realize you exist, unless you are very much active on facebook. It is that one day in the year you can term it as “your day!” That’s birthday pampering.

Anyways let’s get to the point now. This year I thought I would do something different on my birthday. I had not celebrated my birthday since two years because I was studying (I am still studying) and I didn’t have company to celebrate it with. So this year I thought enough is enough! I should pamper myself. Do whatever I wish to, even if it means doing alone. I do go out shopping, window shopping all alone. I totally enjoy it. I even go and sit at bookstores alone for hours sipping coffee or tea. It’s a complete blissful experience. I stalk people(not like a stalker), look around,  listen to people talking, read a book, or simply talk to the voices in my head. And it is fun.

Just before a week to my birthday I had this conversation with a friend.
Me: Meet me on my bday!!
Spikey: Why? What do you plan to do?
Me: No idea! Will think of something…will eat mud chocolate pastry
Spikey: That you can do any day…do something fun ..what were you doing now?
Me: studying
Spikey: oh you are still Hemione Granger!! Cmon Granger show me you are fun..I will come only if you plan something fun.. what do you wana do on your bday?
Me: Go to orphanage?
Spikey: I said fun!!
Me: suggest something..what do you wana do?
Spikey: I have fun all the time..You  tell me what do you wana do?

I thought and thought and thought and decided the next time someone asks me “show me you are fun” I will simply say “I am Hermione Granger.”

Me: Lets go gokarting..laser tagging,.,,what say?
Spikey: hmmmmmmmm sounds good..
Perhaps it didn’t impress him. Hence he didn’t even bother wishing me on my birthday. K

So finally I decided I would take myself out on a date, a movie date. Watch a movie all alone with strangers!

The first person who had a problem with my watching a movie alone was ofcourse my mom. “Movie alone? Ask someone to join you.”
But where do I find that someone?
Finally she agreed. My brother had one question “alone?mom allowed?”

Then I told a friend “hey I am going to watch Neerja tomorrow all alone.” His response “why where’s your bestie? “

Another friend asked “your brother allowed??” :O

My kindergarten friend 1 : Don’t worry dude! It’s totally okay to watch a movie alone. I watched spiderman all alone in Goa.

Kindergarten friend 2:  That sounds cool! You can eat alone too!

My cousin : why are doing this to yourself??Its your bday!! Why are you going alone?And Neerja??okay go ahead cry alone on your birthday!!

Another friend “movie alone? Well that’s good. See Neerja akeli itna kuch karli. You can watch a movie alone. That should be your inspiration.”

Bestie: Neerja on Bday?That's too alone! okay let me know how it goes..

Soul sister “sup dude? You at the movie? Alone? Why??why didn’t you take uncle aunty along with you? Okay I will wish you later then.bye .”

I didn’t feel like I was alone. Though there wasn’t anyone sitting next to me. A vacant seat is not that disturbing. What disturbed me was the bunch of giggling girls munching popcorn at the back. They loved to talk, laugh and eat. I am sure they can find better places to do that. They did everything except watching the movie. And the guy at my front was busy with temple run the whole time. I wonder why he even came. He didn’t look at the screen even once. He was engrossed in the game holding the phone so high that I could see it. I watched the movie and I wasn’t a bit bored. The 20 minutes intermission kills though. I did have the option to get a coke or coffee. Or maybe go to the washroom. If you are girl even if you don’t need to pee you still can go to the washroom in the intermission and wait in a queue for your turn to look into the mirror and brush your hair and touch up your make up. I wasn’t carrying a hair brush or a lipstick or even a lip gloss. But I was carrying a CA book in my little cute matching backpack. I had even forgotten to wear new clothes for my birthday.Why? Because I didn’t want to, simply didn’t feel like. I stayed back tolerating the nonsense commercials on the screen and smartphones are a saviour. Finally the long 20-25 minutes passed. People around had started crying. I started questioning myself why wasn’t I crying?Am I heartless? I could actually hear people crying. Finally I became a little bit teary eyed. And I told myself I am not heartless :P I enjoyed watching the movie alone. I can watch movies alone :D

I had to make few calls. People who I couldn’t talk to when I was at the movie.
The first call I made was like this “What? Movie alone?Why?which movie?Neerja? You are already a feminist. Of all things in the world why did you watch neerja today?How many people are lucky to have birthdays on Saturdays? There is so much more to do on a Saturday than watching a movie alone on your birthday. Please don’t do this again.Go and party!”
I wish he understood Saturday and Mondays are the same for people like me. :|

The next three reactions were the same “movie?alone? why??why didn’t you take aunty?”

Another reaction “well you always wanted to do things alone!!that’s a good start.”

Nothing can beat the last reaction of the day. “Dude seriously?you went to the movie alone? CA insaan ko kya se kya banadeta hai. You are an apt example..why didn’t you ask duckie to accompany you? She was studying? Yaar CA insaan ko kya banadeta hai!!”
Me:yehi jeevan hai!
He: I will be 24 next month! Kya zindegi hai!
Me: don’t remind me of age..I just turned a year older today.. saari jawani CA ko de daali..
He: Yeh jawani hai Sadwani! But haan CA insaan ko kya se kya banadeta hai!I see your updates on facebook AK is interested in Leh Ladakh trips..
Me: Yes I so badly want to go and live in a monastery there..maybe become a monk. You know CA insaan ko kya se kya bana deta hai :P

I went off to sleep asking myself one question would you like to watch a movie alone again? Answer was obvious “why not?” :P

Thursday, March 3, 2016

If You Could Remember Me Now..

It was still dawn when I stepped out of the cab and walked towards the entry gate of the Delhi airport. The early morning February air was pleasantly cold.

I was travelling to Bengaluru to attend a college friend's wedding. It had been four years since we graduated from the same college. This wedding was also going to be a reunion of our batchmates. But what I didn't know was that the reunion would begin much ahead of time; right in the queue in front of the airline counter.

I was almost sure it was she. Same height! Same long hair! Same complexion! Curiosity had my eyes glued to her. And then about 60-odd seconds later, when she turned, she proved me right. My ex-girlfriend stood two places ahead of me in that queue. We had never met after the college farewell.

I stood like a fool looking at her unable to understand my own reaction. When we parted our ways four years back I had put a full stop on that chapter of my life and moved on. I never expected to see her again after all these years. I felt something funny inside my stomach. It was a strange feeling. We both stared at each other for a few seconds but none of us spoke. She turned and walked away swiftly. Her heels still made the irritating sound. I smiled remembering her irritating “tock tock.” I realised she was walking away like a stranger. Perhaps she didn’t notice me. Maybe if I had worked out a little bit or shaved my beard she would have recognised me.

I sat and sipped coffee while waiting to board the flight. I saw her again. She was sitting right there in front of me holding a big fat picture album and a book. I shouted “Hey Ayesha!!” She gave me a confused stare and behaved like she didn’t hear me. I wasn’t going to give up this easily. I went and sat near her and spoke in a clear voice “Ayesha it’s me Akash!!” She looked at me and said “sorry I don’t think I know you.” Before I could respond she had already left.

Throughout the flight I couldn’t help thinking about her. How could she simply walk away saying she doesn’t know me? I wasn’t sure what was worse, bumping into your ex girlfriend who doesn’t remember you or realizing the fact that her behaviour still affects you after all these years. It was my fault. We broke up because I realized I wasn’t really in love with her and I wasn’t ready for a relationship. I knew she was very serious about me.  She was hurt but she never said a word, she didn’t demand any explanation. We broke up and never looked back, didn’t even bother to stay in touch. I just had a strange feeling that she was still somewhere around.

Ayesha looked at the clouds flying along with her. They looked like small packets of memories to her. She wished she could open the packets and find out what they stored. She opened the album hoping to uncover some packet of memories. She went through all the college photos for the tenth time since morning but this time her eyes got stuck on a particular face, a neatly shaved handsome guy standing next to her. She looked at his eyes and remembered the man at the airport calling out her name. She nudged her elder sister sitting next to her and pointed at the guy on the picture.

The Bengaluru climate totally made me forget about what had happened few hours back at Delhi Airport. Before I could feel the pleasant climate properly I heard someone whisper my name. I turned to find Ayesha standing right before me. I was confused. What’s wrong with women? Unpredictable! She spoke very slowly almost like whispering “I am sorry I couldn’t recognise you at the airport..I kind of have this problem..I…I..I am unable to remember people..” She struggled through the last line. Her eyes looked lost and helpless. “It's okay Ayesha! I don’t blame you I am no more that handsome hunk I used to be back then.” I laughed and joked. She didn’t say anything, simply smiled and walked away.

I was still in a state of confusion when someone tapped on my shoulder. It was Ridhima, Ayesha’s elder sister. It was always a pleasure to meet her. I hugged her. “What a pleasant surprise!! How are you?” I almost shouted.
Akash it’s nice to see you after such a long time..Hope you are doing good..I wanted to apologise to you for Ayesha’s indifferent behaviour. I understand you might have felt bad. But then it’s not her fault. She genuinely doesn’t remember you, me, or even herself.” She spoke while her eyes were still glued to Ayesha. There was concern and fear in her eyes. “One year back she met with an accident, she was in coma for five months and when she woke up she wasn’t the same. There was a new Ayesha who didn’t even know herself. She lost her memory. Since the last three months I have been taking her to new doctors, places she liked, people she loved. But nothing has worked. And finally I got Rohit’s wedding invitation I thought some miracle might happen here. But she couldn’t even remember you…I guess there is no hope left..” She broke down.

I promise Ridhima, she will be fine.. We will help her out together...I promise..” I don’t know how and from where these words came from. It wasn’t just my tongue but somewhere deep inside someone was making me say this.
Ridhima thanked me and said “she just knows you were good friends.”
Everything looked blurred and I realised I was crying. My eyes seemed blocked by tears. This cannot happen to her. She didn’t deserve this.

Normally an open bar meant heaven for me. But tonight I wasn’t drinking. As everyone raised their toasts on the sangeet night, I kept looking at Ayesha. She sat and smiled. Everyone had started dancing. Her lost eyes looked around; they fished through the crowd hoping they would soon find out the way. She clearly didn’t remember anyone, not even her girls’ gang. The whole gang was hugging sobbing and perhaps sympathising. The more I looked at her the more I remembered the past. She was the girl who set the dance floor on fire. The first time she was drunk she had puked all over me. I hated her for that. But today I badly wished she would do that again. A part of me wasn’t ready to accept the fact that she didn’t remember me. Though I had moved on and closed that chapter of my life, the chapter remained safe inside me.

Ridhima was on dance floor and Ayesha looked at her like a small kid lost in the midst of a crowd who knows her mother is somewhere around to protect her. Her eyes and facial expressions are still transparent. She hated me for seeing through her in and out. I could know what she wanted, how she felt just by the look on her face. She disliked the fact that I knew her so well. I pulled a chair and sat near her.
“Hey I am Akash.. You must be Ayesha? You look gorgeous.” I spoke in a flirtatious voice.
 She laughed and said “Hi Akash why aren’t you on the dance floor?” 
“Because the best dancer isn’t dancing today. She is simply sitting and looking gorgeous. She used to be my dance partner in college. I like dancing with her. So Miss Ayesha would you like to dance me? Please don’t say no!”
She held my hand and we were on the dance floor. We didn’t dance like the others. We just moved to and fro slowly in the crowd.
Ridhima says we were very good friends in college..So tell me something..about me..about you.. about us..” she spoke softly.
I laughed and said “Indeed we were and we are.. you were a terrific dancer and you never talked to anyone while dancing…you just set the floor on fire.. Don’t you wish to dance that way again? Ayesha you once danced on the streets near college with thirty unknown random people.. What’s stopping you today? We are a bunch of unknown people and I am sure you do remember dancing because you danced from your heart not brain.”

She smiled and we danced. She didn’t set the floor on fire that night but she danced.
 There was music, dance, alcohol and fun. It wasn’t enough for me or her and I knew that. She looked a bit tired. I took her hands and moved out of the crowd. We sat outside near the pool. She looked at the stars. This was her favourite thing to do. Suddenly she would disappear in a world of her own among the clouds, stars and the moon. I simply watched her looking at the sky. I remembered the times when we were together and she would tell me stories that she made up on her mind while looking at the sky. The moving clouds sometimes became a tree, a horse, a monster or even a palace. I missed her stories, I missed her. I wished I had always stayed in her life, never left. 

Finally I spoke “the moon and the clouds are playing hide and seek and the stars are sparkling out of jealousy.”
She had tears in her eyes as she struggled to speak “how did you know? I haven’t even told you this yet?”
Even I didn’t know how I knew this. This wasn’t the first evening I was with her watching the sky. I just knew. I don’t know how.
Well you were the one who taught me the art of devouring the sky.” I winked at her.
I pointed at the most brightest star “You want me to get that star for you? It is so bright.”
She took my hands in hers and said “You can’t reach the clouds, you can’t touch the stars. I will never ask you for anything impossible. Just give me what I need.”

Time flew and we both sat there the whole night. I read out to her pages from the chapter safe in my heart. Memories that I had saved, memories that she didn’t remember. But she listened to her own story, our story. I never told her about the relationship we had shared once. While visiting the past I realised she was the best thing that had ever happened to me. She was someone who believed in my craziest ideas, someone who understood me more than anyone else, someone who loved me, and I lost her. I had seen her at her best and her worst. She always reminded me of all the good things in life.

The next day she asked me to accompany her to shopping. How could I say no to her? She never even checked out any store or bought anything. We simply spent the whole day together moving around the city. Sometimes we simply sat silently struggling with our own thoughts. I didn’t want to leave her again. I wanted to make up for my mistake. And I didn’t know how. I hoped she never remembers the past. I was scared of losing her again. I lost her once and I didn’t bother, and four years later that seems to be the worst mistake of my life. I had never thought I would bump into her in such circumstances and fall in love with her. I was struggling with my own thoughts while I looked at her. She was beautiful,not like the women on movies or ramp shows. But her smile can conquer anybody’s heart. Her fluttering eyelids could make anyone smile. The way she gagged on food was a sight one would never want to miss. The more I looked at her the more I wanted to be with her.

I was lost in her thoughts and at the same time my eyes were glued to her. I don’t exactly know what happened next but like they say the things you cannot see coming your way are strong enough to kill you, everything went blank. I was on the ground. I was hit. How? When? I had no clue. I could smell blood along with Ayesha’s perfume.

My nostrils didn’t like the smell of the room. The smell always reminded me of all the worse things that had ever happened to me or could happen to me. But for the first time it didn’t remind me of anything. As I opened my eyes I realized I was in a hospital. Perhaps I was dreaming. I couldn’t remember how and why was I there. But the worst part was I couldn’t even remember who I was. The doctor spoke but nothing registered into my mind. I couldn’t listen. He addressed me as Akash. I couldn’t recall any Akash. Who was Akash? Who am I?

My lost eyes scanned through the room and I kept searching myself and then I felt like I found myself when my eyes rested on the girl standing near the door. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She walked towards me. She was crying. At the same time she smiled as she held my hand. She felt familiar. I wanted to ask her a million things but could speak nothing. Her mere presence holding my hand perhaps answered everything.

She held my hand tightly and kissed me on my cheeks and whispered “let’s make new memories together.”