Monday, October 24, 2011

The Next Time ...

“Virendra.. ”
Radha fumbled around with her fingers .
The cold heavy alarm clock , the half opened tablets , the glass with her dentures and finally her cold rimmed spectacles .

She held them gingerly , almost lovingly . Folded her legs and sat up , her hand weighing down the hard flat pillow .
She put them on . The entire world becoming clear .. almost clear . The left glass had cracked a few days back .
Mr.sharma had such a bad habit. He’d put his walking stick on the table , and this time it landed on her spectacles .

Never mind , she repeated her “Hare Rama Hare Rama” and got up from the bed .
Her knees were sore , thanks to arthritis .

Last time Virendra had come , they had gone to this doctor .
 Her family doctor in Shimla . He told her they’ll do some surgery something .. but then , if Virendra wasn’t there . Who’d be there to take care of her ?

She put the dentures in ..and quietly walked around the bed .
The view from the window was breath taking … at least that’s what anyone new would think .
To her , it were the same hills . The ones in Dehra , Shimla , Chamba .
But somehow Virendra had liked this room . So she stayed .
And the last time he came , he bought those blue curtains too .

Blue curtains .. blue skies . ‘Winters are approaching’ ,she thought .
And wrapped herself in a shawl .
At this age , it’s always winter .
The shawl smelt so faintly of Virendra . He had wrapped her in this when they came here last time .
And Jenny had given her this wool cap . Swiss , she had said .

It’s too cold to take a bath . She decided , as she settled down in front of the mini temple in her room .
The Krishna idol , Virendra loved it so much .
He and his father had bought it together .
Some simple village Janmashtami fair , he had fed Him laddoo for years .
And this time , when Jenny and he’ll come , she’ll make sure the chhotu feeds Krishna too .

Her hands on her knees and clutching the cupboard next to her , she finally got up.
Raising her hand to the top most shelf , she fumbled around till she found the old box .
It was not so tiny , actually Virendra’s painting box .
He used to keep his brush and paint and what not in it !
And so many prizes he’ll bring when he was In college .
‘I wonder , if he still paints ? I must ask him the  next time he comes ‘
Inside it , was an old painting brush , a “Mothers’ day” card , an old faded photograph of a small kid in the arms of his mother ( the black and white ones you take in old photo studios ) .
And a coloured photo of a tall 30s something Indian guy , a blonde and a baby in their arms .
She looked at it lovingly , running her fingers over it . As if touching it .
“I must learn this e-mail soon “ , she kept the box back .

The last time he had come , they had all gone out . And Jenny was talking , she couldn’t understand .
All the accent and the english , but Virendra kept translating .
He looked so tall . He looked like his father . If only he was there , he’d be so proud of his son .
He was talking about his company , and blooming business , and some estate . And Jenny wanted her to come too .

“Where will I go at this age ? You people go ahead .. anyways you’ll be coming back from time to time . “ , and Virendra had put her hand around her .

She shuffled forward , cane in hand .
It was time for breakfast , and curse these stupid broken spectacles , the world ahead looked unclear to her  .
As she entered the hallway of ‘Care Old Age Home’ ,she wiped the glasses one more time ,
“I’ll get them repaired for sure .The next time Virendra comes …”

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My love affair with Chennai buses

There are different ways of seeing a city’s ‘crowd’ :
If you are in Delhi ,I suggest you take a walk down the ‘university area’ or ‘chandini chowk’ or just hop into a metro ..
If you are in Hamara Lucknow .. go ‘ganjing’ in the evening or drive over to Tundae Kababs ( or if u need real ENTERTAINMENT …SaharaGanj ;-) )

But if you are in Chennai …you can Go over to Marina and Besant nagar beaches /  Mylapore temples / Kalakshetra / get lsot I nthe aroma of a hot filter coffee / go catch a first day show of Thala’s movie / go shopping down Ranganathan street
OR , you can take your ipod and hop into a bus :-D

See, I was raised as a ‘delicate darling’ .
So , the only time I traveled in buses/tempo was when I was escorted by an ‘adult’ .And by the time I grew up , my activa and I had a roaring affair going on .
Or , there was always someone’s car to jump onto .
The result ?
 I realized that if I don’t travel in buses while I am in college .. I’ll never do it !

So , after 3 years of jostling/getting trampled on/running like a maniac behind buses/screaming/passing tickets/carefully evading tamil ‘mamis’ in the buses …
 I realized that I am in love with them ( not the mamis sickos … the buses ) :)

The sheer plethora of people you come about ..
The ‘macha’ with full volume ‘otha sollala’ ringtone .
The paathi carrying her big shopping bag or dozing off near the window .
The random beautiful ‘salvar kameez’ clad girl with the flowers in her hair .
The old veshti clad grandfather holding his tattered cloth bag close to him .
The “IT” guy whispering into the phone to his girl phraand ..
The construction worker/vegetable seller looking uncertainly at the bus before getting in ..wondering if she should take a “lesser priced” bus
The rare bihari/northie guy bitching full on in hindi ( ahh … music to the ears ) :D
The ‘gold laden’ tamil mami shrewdly finding seats for her entire family !
( as Achyut rightly said “They are so short , you’ll never notice them coming .only a BUM will hit you on the leg and suddenly you’ll be pushed )
The group of giggling , noisy , spectacled school girls .
And the quiet housewife checking her watch again and again .

The scene outside the window is another story in itself .
It’s like someone is playing a live movie outside and you are being given the free seat ..there is no beginning … no end  .
Just the same movie again and again  with a myriad of characters .
Early morning Chennai … the temples alive with sounds . Big cars and aged scooters and testosterone pumped bikes roaring about ( I guess that’s the typical scene anywhere .. but the smell , the effect is unique to every city )
People driving all day .Some in a hurry , some just dozing off on their steering wheels . Some running to cross the streets .
The street hawkers resting .. the nighttime closing of shops … the chaos of everyday life and the sublime tranquility beneath it all :)

There is a certain magic about being in a bus .. you are surrounded by a crowd . And yet all alone .
Fights happen .. kindness appears out of nowhere .. everyone around is lost In their own world . Trapped in something that they love .. and yet despise .
People get in ..get out .. and the bus keeps moving .
Sometimes shaky , sometimes it breaks down and has to be repaired .
But it keeps moving … and somehow , isn’t that what life is all about ? :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Do you BELIEVE that miracles happen ?

Yes , you read that right .
The big question is NOT whether miracles happen or not . 
The big question is , do you believe/see/perceive them happening ?

I was reading the chapter on complications of pregnancy .
Right from the moment a tiny sperm enters , to the moment this ‘bundle of joy’ *cough* is born … there are tons of obstacles , each one of them bent upon kicking the baby’s bum !
But even then , babies are born everyday .. (infact by the bushel in our India ) .
I consider it a miracle in itself !

The trouble is … our dear old Bollywood movies have narrowed our imagination ( which movies ALWAYS do … we’ll talk about that later ).
You only consider it a ‘chamtakaar’ if Karan Arjun come back to avenge their deaths .
Or Reena Roy sings ‘Shirid waale Sai baba’ and gets her eyesight back .
Or John Abraham actually ACTS in a movie ( oh wait … that one’s still in the pipeline )

But ,tiny things .. the fact that a plant grows fighting all odds and trauma …
Or you catch the bus you’d been running for …
Or you go upto your doctor and he tells you “aaaaal is well”
You drive on the road and come back safely every night …
Or the sheer fact that crap like ‘twilight’ actually sells …
Aren’t they all miracles in themselves ?
Insignificant ? yes . routine ? yes . But the point is …do we feel grateful for them ?
My ass !

My room caught fire last month . I wasn’t there … but from what I saw and heard later , the curtains went up in flames . So did the bed , the table , even the door to my books cupboard .
Not even ONE of my precious books caught fire .
Miracle ? Holy Jesus’ amma ! YES !

Maybe J.Krishnamurthi was right ! As we grow up , we seem to lose the open mindedness that we had when we were in booboo diapers .
We get too accustomed to society ..eager to play by their rules .. afraid of being labeled “weird” if we believe in any such phenomena .

And thereby … too tight assed to actually appreciate the ‘miracles’ .
Open the blinders on your eyes and see , my child  … and the more you’ll see , the more will come :)

Ps – God Lives In Food ! :D

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

We stopped caring ...

Remember when you were a kiddo
And everything seemed interesting
Whether the crawling of ants on the floor
Or your maid going around dusting

The jump of joy on hearing you dad come
The lump in the throat , before school
The wonder of staring through the car window
And make-believe games were so cool !

What happened when you grew up ?
Suddenly everything seems “okay”
You don’t feel sorry for the poor beggar
You don’t feel the ‘excitement’ everyday

All you care about is the same routine
And then you lie down and sleep
Curiosity has become a thing of the past
It’s all about being serious and looking deep

You go through the same motions everyday
Regardless of how people around are faring  
Some how it has become too costly to ‘feel’
Somewhere down the road .. we stopped caring
                                 …. We stopped caring