Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Bond...

'Nice tea!', he said and gulped it rather quickly. Quicker than usual, she thought. She collected the cup from his unsteady hands and smiled. He started for the door in his unsteady and frail steps, trying to be as quick as he could. She felt they could have spared some more time for a good conversation, as always. After all, they had always enjoyed the long chats over matters that bound them. But he was unlike himself today. She rose to see him off and stood by the door as he waited for the elevator and started in the direction of the ascending staircase. She redirected him and made a mental note, 'All is well'. Back home, she eagerly opened the small box, it contained some fine crockery. The miniature glasses were very special, his parting gift.

Four years ago, on a wintery evening, he had called her. His voice was unsteady. She answered the phone and heard a strange request from a shaky voice. 'Can you please come over for sometime? The baby is missing her mother'. At first she was amused at this rather unusual request.  What could a girl like her in her early twenties do to pacify a six month old?  Nonetheless, she obliged. The baby was cute and clung to her. He was happy and she was surprised. For a long time she pondered, 'how did he know'. Then it became a regular practise. They would meet up and invariably discuss subjects close to their hearts. She was a book lover and he a loner looking to kill time. Soon enough, books were shared and conversations revolved around them.

He confessed to her that without the books, he felt very lonely. They were his solace. In return, she tried to keep him busy. She would pass on every good book she knew. His appetite for reading grew and he relished the fare. She admired his interest and he in turn whole heartedly thanked her contribution. Slowly conversation veered towards more personal issues, she realised that he was a keen observer. His observations were sharp and astute. His anecdotes were interesting, his ways affectionate.

He spoke of his life - the highs and the lows, the depression and the triumph. The wretchedness of life and its ability to keep you occupied. A deep friendship blossomed thick and air tight. They had shared concerns with kept them occupied. After all, love demands devotion. They were devoted. He to his wife who was now a septuagenarian with child like habits and she to her octogenarian grandmother. And between them, they celebrated their everyday milestones.

Then came the news of his daughters transfer to another city. He was to leave. She was worried about his mental well being. But he assured her that he is going back to the place he belongs. She hoped for the best. He bequeathed his collection of books to her, she had received few gifts as precious as these.
He visited her, a day before they left for the new city. She intuitively knew, they would hardly meet.
Yet he assured her that he would keep in touch. She wished him good health in return.

She was going to get married soon, he wished to attend her wedding. She felt honoured and overjoyed. And then the phone rang one day...he had left for a better place, they said. The bond was stretched beyond the horizon and yet she knew like before, it was strong enough to bind them, the stream of memory was steady.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Arranged Marriage

As she readied herself yet again for the 'now familiar' ritual, brushing the last strand of her hair off her tensed face, random thoughts invaded her mind.  Fast and furious thoughts, half eager, a bit anxious about what the day would unfold and yet, half hearted. Half hearted, true. The man hunt had become a routine affair for her. She had been through the farce way too many times to keep up the excitement and today, she was in no mood to fake. Rather she thought to herself,  'had I ever tried it even a few times, I would have been married by now!'. Phew! Talk of self inflicted woes. As she went about perfecting the ambiance, the thoughts still troubled her. More than they ever did. Its difficult when you don't know what you want from life leave alone a life partner.

The past experiences has tempered her too much. And only she knew that behind the tough carefree and care two- hoots personality of hers, was a woman who was crumbling. Her own ambition had driven her to the edge and circumstances just added their bit to make it look like a perfectly twisted movie plot. She was too worn out to realign her goals and take a stock of what was happening, "go with the flow", she would instruct herself often.

Today the day had arrived and they were to meet. The long conversations on the phone, sessions of skyping and all the exchange of ideas, had managed to keep him interested. Yet, she knew it was half hearted. She hated herself for being bereft of emotions and wondered if 'normal' things would ever happen to her. By the way, why would someone want to settle down with her, she thought. She had no USP. She was nearing thirty and it had started showing. Not in her best physical form too. She thought to herself, "Its only fair, why would someone marry me?"

The bell rung and the thoughts were interrupted. She opened the door half consoling herself to be prepared for the mental miscarriage if this did not work out. He arrived and to her surprise, he was like a breath of fresh air. He was childish and spoke a lot. Not exactly her type. But then she thought to herself, what is it that I have been looking for all this while, isn't it 'someone to make me smile'.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Kabhi apni hansi par bhi aata hai gussa..

Kabhi saare jahan ko hasane ko jee chahta hai..

Kabhi chupa lete hai gamo ko dil ke kisi kone me..

Kabhi kisi ko sabkuch sunane ko jee chahta hai..

Kabhi rota nahi dil toot jane par bhi..

Aur kabhi bas yuhi ansu bahane ko ji chahta hai....

Kabhi hasi si aa jaati hai bhigi yado me...

To kabhi sab kuch bhulane ko ji chahta hai...

Kabhi achha sa lagta hai aazad udna kahin...

kabhi kisi ki bahon me simat jane ko ji chahta hai...

Kabhi sochte hai, ho kuch naya is zindgi me..

kabhi bas aise hi jiye jane ko ji chahta hai..

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Striking the Memory Chord...

If we ever speak, you would know...Life to me, may seem a series of episodes, where its lights, camera, action and every scene will be narrated with its story, colours and characters mouthing their exact dialogues. Yet, for long, I have always missed and struggled to drag the feelings out.

As Stephen King puts it,"The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of because words diminish your feelings - words shrink things that seem timeless when they are in your head to no more than living size when they are brought out."

Like the lyrics of the song from the movie Rockstar: Jo bhi main kehna chahoon...

Jo bhi main kehna chahoon
Barbaad karen alfaaz mere
Alfaaz mere

Whatever I want to say,
it's ruined by my words..
my words..

Kabhi mujhe lage ki jaise
Saara hi ye jahaan hai jaadu
Jo hai bhi aur nahi bhi hai ye
Fiza, Ghata, Hawa, Baharein
Mujhe kare ishaare ye
Kaise kahoon
Kahani main inki

sometimes I feel that
the whole world is a magic,
which is there and not even there,
this breeze, clouds, air and springs..
They signal to me,
how do I narrate
their story..

Maine yehi socha hai aksar
tu bhi main bhi sabhi hain sheeshe
khud hi ko hum sabhi mein dekhen
nahi hoon main hoon main to phir bhi
sahi galat tumhara main
mujhe paana paana hai khud ko

I have often thought,
that you, me, all of us are like mirrors,
we only see ourselves in everyone else,
I dont exist, still If I do..
right or wrong, I am yours,
I am yet to find.. find myself..

This blog is dedicated to the 'feel' of those memories and the want to preserve them before my memory fails me.

Malhaar's Mother

In the morning rush to get to office in time, only happy to have successfully clambered on to the 10.09 CST fast from Ghatkopar, I took a deep breath to have found a place to lean against and the train trudged on. As a matter of habit, I  began scanning the crowd, the familiar faces in the train were greeted with smiles and acknowledgments and they reciprocated accordingly. The ladies compartment is always an interesting place to be, as there is a lot to observe - the clothes, accessories, footwear, cosmetics and yes, the attitudes. Just that the glances have to be mastered with some practice, without offending the other with your stares. Although, this art is very quickly grasped by the female species. Also, like teleserials, there are a few stories to eavesdrop on for continuation of the plot, this should be done without guilt because the parties to the conversation are sometimes loud enough  that the male co-passengers in the adjacent compartment too stand to benefit.

Yet in the entire jingbang, there are a few faces, that intrigue you, there is some thing about them that is either amiss or screaming for attention. For people like me, such faces speak volumes, at other time act like magnets. One such co-passenger was Malhaar's mother or so I'd like to address her. I vividly remember the first day I saw her, a cherubic face with a plump structure in a dark salwar kameez in shades of orange and yellow. Her hair was unkempt and curly, greying at the temples. The eyelids were swollen as if she had wept that morning and the nose running, a bit. She was hanging alongside the foot-board next to me, speaking hurriedly into the phone, as if she had   to finish the conversation within the limited time frame - the 15 minutes from Dadar to CST. She spoke in Marathi, probably to another elderly woman. Detailing that morning's chores and chaos. And then referred, so fondly to her son - little Malhaar, who would look forward to his father's visits and  almost always wished to accompany his Dad to his paternal home, sometimes on his own insistence and on rare occasions, when his father invited him over. Her work place, where there were a few colleagues who just wouldn't give her the privacy she needed. She spoke of the unwanted invitations to socialize, the inappropriate advances and the late working hours. The lack of her own family support and the fear of losing her son's affection.  And the raging hormones in her mid twenties that of late required her to frequent the doctor's clinic. 

There were a few more occasions, traveling next to Malhaar's mom. Nothing much changed about her appearance, neither the hair and nor the swollen eyelids, just the temples were an increased mop of grey strands. At times, I would silently hope, as Dadar station approached, to see a hint of a smile on her face. At least an illusion, that would just last a few seconds. Somehow, I would always be disappointed. On a few other occasions, when we travelled in the same compartment, her conversations on the phone and with a particular fellow passenger she knew, veered around the same concerns and circumstances.

With agony and pangs of separation writ large on her face, it was hard to know the right thing to say to her. Though my heart would well up with empathy, it was a  situation where I found myself ill equipped to express concern at the woman's mental state. I, often, found myself questioning destiny and regretted my own inability to help her despite understanding that sinking feeling of loss, a feeling that is hard to describe to the inexperienced. It did not help much that Malhaar's mom was once a fellow classmate who had eloped with her paramour after an early marriage and I had known her better than most co-passengers as the curly haired girl who always smiled as if to show-off her cute bunny rabbit teeth.