Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My Platinum Day of Love - Forever


Source: Internet
I look at him wolfing down scoops after scoops of his favorite ice-cream while talking animatedly about his new found career.

He’s been chosen as one of the 10 engineers to be trained in Cochin for a year in the field of marine engineering, post which he will sail the world as an engineer.

I smile at him without listening to a thing.

The ice-cream treat is a token of appreciation for clearing his interview and achieving his dream job. But he doesn't know that this is also a parting away celebration – because in my mind I've already decided to end this.

I know this is bizarre – talking about ending relationship when this post is supposed to be about building relationship, growing & nurturing them, all while discovering your Platinum Day of Love

Why did I decide to end this relationship? For that we need to begin from the beginning, precisely one and a half month before the ice-cream party.

It’s a typical Gujarati pre-wedding Garba night in Navsari, a small town in Gujarat. Attending the wedding of a fellow colleague is a group of Mumbaikars, among them are the main protagonists of this story.

To discover love at somebody’s wedding is melodramatically Bollywood. But being a Shudh Desi Indian our romances are no less than a Bollywood screenplay and this is how the story begins.

The boy watching the girl dance, the girl scolding the boy for drinking too much, and so on and so forth. One thing led to another and by the end of the night the boy realized that he is irrevocably in love with the girl. He admits the same to the girl who brushes it aside assuming he is drunk, however not before planting the idea in her mind too.

They both retire to their respective rooms and begin the journey of realizing their hidden emotions. The late office hours, meeting up at the office pantry for steaming cup of coffees during breaks, debating and arguing over petty issues [both work related as well as general].

Was there always an underlying current or is it something that they learnt only now?

Amidst confusion yet with a clear mind, love blossomed between the hero and his lady. Was this their Platinum Day of Love? Not yet.

Merely a week into their relationship the boy revealed that he is applying at a marine engineering company which will give him the opportunity to be trained on the job in Cochin for a year after which he will be a professional sailor, meaning his job will require him to be away from home for 6 months at a stretch.

The girl simply nodded and went back to her coffee, thinking this is just a piece of news. Time flew and the day of the interview arrived. Knowing how much this job meant to the boy she helped him prepare for the interview all the while praying silently that he should not get the job.

This mixed emotion ascended from the fact that an occupation as a sailor would mean a long distance relationship and the girl was not prepared for the same.

The boy triumphed his interview and was elated above all else. When the girl got the news she was happy for the boy but sad for herself. She decided it was time to end, lest it gave heartbreak later on in their relationship it was better to end in the beginning.

Fast forwarding to the ice-cream parlor, I smiled teary eyed with a walk down the memory lane.

By now we are out of the parlor and are strolling down a lane. While he kept blabbering about his antics at the interview and other things, my mind kept repeating the lines I had to tell him.
                                              
“Let’s end this!” I whispered.

He looked at me with confused eyes.

I repeated myself, “Let’s end our relationship. I don’t think I’m ready for a long distance relationship. I don’t think this will work. Let’s end it!”
                                                                                                                  
Silence

Followed by some more silence         

Then, with a long breath and a deep sigh he turned towards me.

He took my hand in his, lifted up my chin, made me look into his shiny black eyes and slowly whispered in my ears – “I know this will work. I know we will make it work. I know I will make it work. You are the best thing that happened to me. You came into my life and I got my dream job. You are my lady luck. Even if you want to leave, I will never leave you. Not because you are lucky for me but because I feel lucky to be with you. When I got this job the first person that came to my mind was you. The thought of sharing this news with you doubled my happiness. Please be with me. Let me be selfish this one time and grant me your love. I promise I’ll let you be selfish throughout our relationship.”

Saying this he plucked a twig from a nearby tree and fashioned a ring out of it. Sliding it gently into my fingers he crooned a soft ‘I love you’.

With tears in my eyes and confidence in my relationship I hugged him dearly. This day and every day of my life hereafter is my ‘Platinum Day of Love’.

5 years into this relationship and we are still going strong. As for the ring he made from the twig, it is safely nestled amongst the many souvenirs of our love.



                                                                                    
This post is published for the Platinum Day of Love contest on Indiblogger.



Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fear not, we are equals

Source: Internet

 As a girl I’m advised not to go out late nights, to wear ‘appropriate clothes’, to arm myself with chili powder and pepper sprays, to be extra vigilant about who is walking behind me and on and on and on.

I ask—“But why me?”

When mothers can advise this to their daughter, why can’t they advise their sons about respecting a woman and her modesty, about treating them as equals and not as sex objects.

When you lecture this to your daughters, you are actually making them weak, making them feel guilty of who they are, creating fear in them and snatching away their basic right to live freely, the right to safety and the right of belongingness.

This country belongs to women as much as it belongs to men. Its roads, trains, cabs, nightlife, beaches, hotels, restaurants, movie theatres --- everything equally belongs to them. We do not need to fear to use any of them, at any time of the day or night or with anyone.

Whenever I come home late from office or outside, all my mother worried about was my health. But one brutal rape shakes the entire country and boom ---- all mothers are worried about their daughter’s safety.

Suddenly counseling begins, advises flow from every person you know, defense techniques like martial arts are encouraged to be mastered --- all this for a ‘just-in-case’ situation.

I don’t wish to learn survival techniques. I don’t wish to live in a society in survival and fear. I refuse to accept a gender biased crisis.

I am this country’s daughter and I have every right to live freely as every other citizen. I will not fear and succumb to maniacs.

If anything has to change, then it should be the society and the mindset of people living in this society. If you blame your actions for women and their ‘inappropriate clothes’, then what explanation do you have for raping a 3 year old kid?

Men, you need to change your attitude and accept women for the way they are. Hold yourself liable for actions you take on account of your own filth.

Change now, for your own mothers, sisters and daughters, for we are not feared of you and we shall never be.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Monsoon on the beaches of Gokarna



 It’s pouring heavily outside as I’m snuggled up with a copy of my favorite author Ruskin Bonds’ stories of the hills and mountains.

It’s a Sunday afternoon. However the sky paints a different picture of dark grey clouds and patches of colorful rainbows, giving the afternoon a late evening look. 

Cool, sweet-smelling air wafts into my room through the open window as my mind travels and relives the memories of my visit to the beaches of Gokarna.

About Gokarna:
Gokarna, a small town in north Karnataka is a religious as well as tourist place, with legendary temples and beautiful beaches adorning it. It is a little ahead of Goa, but relatively less commercialized and less populated – which made it an instant pick over Goa, for a relaxing experience on the beach.

How to reach:
You can take any train which plies between Mumbai and Mangalore and depending on the train; you can either get down at Gokarna Road station or at the next station, which is ‘Kumta’.

We boarded the Mangalore Express superfast train from Panvel, which had no stop at Gokarna, yet luck found us and the train got a signal exactly at Gokarna station where taking full opportunity of the situation, we jumped off the train without any platform to land on. It was our first kick start to the vacation.

From the station you can take a cab or a rick to reach the town/beach. They charge anywhere between `400-`600 for the trip. We took the only cab – an Omni –parked outside the station and barged in after bargaining it to`500.

Where to stay:
We first wanted to stay at a beach resort. However the resort we tried turned out to be very congested and had smaller rooms. And also it was way ahead of the town.

After much contemplation and many trips to different hotels we took lodging in a humble and peaceful hotel right in the middle of the town which is about 2 minutes from the temple and 3 minutes from the main beach. Hotel Savitri was clean, open, spacious and very cheap – exactly what we were looking for!

What to eat:
The food is simple and you can give your taste buds some nice authentic South Indian cuisine. There is one restaurant in town called ‘Pai Hotel’ which provides some simple food at relatively low price.

You can have beer or coffee and enjoy the breeze sitting in Namaste Café which is bang opposite the Om Beach. It’s serene and picture perfect to watch the sea, hear the waves, and enjoy your drink.

The only disappointment for my friends was that they couldn’t find authentic sea food – fish, prawns et al, which we finally managed to get hold of on our last day of vacation in Kumta.

Sands and Beaches:
Gokarna boasts of 3 key beaches --- Main beach or Gokarna beach, Kudle beach and Om beach. Gokarna beach and Kudle beach lie in the same stretch and you need to trek a small hill to reach Om beach on the other side.

The beaches are clean and less populated. Drizzling rains and noisy waves made for a beautiful evening on the beach. We built castles, played in water, jumped high when a wave arrived, shouted and cried when a wave hit, whined when the waves pulled the sand beneath our feet, posed in different angles for photographs set against the wild sea, had hot chai and returned back to our hotel drenched in happiness.

What does the legends at Gokarna say:
Jealous of Ravana’s mother’s prayers to Shiva, the Lord of Heaven – Indra, stole the Shiv Linga and dropped it into the ocean. Seeing his distraught mother, Ravana promised that he will go to Mount Kailash and bring the Atma Linga for her worship.

Ravana performed severe penance and pleased Lord Shiva, who in turn bestowed boons upon Ravana. Ravana asked for the Atma Linga. Shiva pulled out the Atma Linga from his own heart and gave it to Ravana with strict instructions that it should not be placed on ground till it was sanctified at a final destination otherwise it would establish itself wherever it is placed on earth.
Afraid that Ravana with his renewed power and the Atma Linga might cause problems, various Gods in heaven appealed to Shiva for redress from this unwanted situation. Shiva pledged that Lord Vishnu would redeem the situation.

On his way back to Lanka, Ravana stops for his evening prayers in Gokarna. He saw Ganesha (Lord Ganpati) in the disguise of a shepherd boy and asked him to hold the Atma Linga until he finished his prayers. Taking advantage of the opportunity Ganesha put the Atma Linga on ground and vanished. Ravana tried to chase Ganesha and the cows that he was shepherding. However he could catch hold of only an ear of the last vanishing cow. Hence this place was given the name ‘Gokarna’ (in Sanskrit 'Gow' means "cow" and 'karna' means "ear").

Despite several attempts Ravana could not excavate the Linga and had to accept defeat. Finally Ravana gave the name ‘Mahabaleshwar’ (meaning all-powerful’) to the Atma Linga and it is now built as a temple.

Verdict:
If you stay in or around Mumbai, Bangalore or Mangalore and want a quiet retreat for 3-4 days then Gokarna is the place to be. With its picturesque beaches minus the crowds, mythical temples, simplistic lifestyle, and peaceful atmosphere Gokarna should definitely be on your travel list.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Heart Desires the Forbidden


Source: Internet
Divya tried to concentrate on the pile of work lying on her desk. It was a Monday morning and with backlogs from the week before, she was inundated with loads of them. But the last thing she wanted right now was work.

She was finding it absolutely difficult to concentrate or even sit at her office desk with Raghav sitting diagonally opposite to her and every few seconds their eyes met and a feeling of discomfort sank in.

She tried to ignore and get back to her work, but destiny behaved in a harsh way with her as she was assigned a project which was to be worked in collaboration with Raghav.

Raghav mailed and let her know that they will start on the project after lunch.

Lunch approached quickly and Divya tried to flush down morsels of food with huge gulps of water since she had lost appetite for food or anything else.

Saturday night incident appeared in flashes and she had to fight back her tears, which challenged to drop any moment.

Why did she get totally drunk in her office party and then do stuff she was bound to be unhappy and ashamed of? Why didn’t she stop herself from going forward and strangely, why did she enjoy what she did? Why were there no regrets or remorse of what happened?

When she failed to answer these questions, she pushed the rest of the food down her throat and got up for a walk outside the office. All she needed now was fresh air and some sunshine.

She went out in the sunny weather and drenched herself with the afternoon sun and warm air. She thought about the consequences of her Saturday night act and the impact it will have on her for the next few days.

She had this nagging feeling that though she is going crazy with all such thoughts, Raghav seemed to be unfazed by anything. He was as normal as any day and nothing seemed to affect him at all. This thought made her even more livid and she vowed herself to stop thinking at all.

She returned back to her desk and saw Raghav waiting for her. It was way past lunch time and it was time she loathed having to spend.

She sat silently and began opening all files and folders related to the project. While they were discussing work, Raghav got a call. The screen flashed a name and Divya instantly knew who it was and saw Raghav shifting uncomfortably on his chair when their eyes met.

She encouraged him to take the call and tried to focus on the assignment. She could hear him whisper to his girl that he is caught with work and will return back her call soon.

Divya felt a pang of jealousy and uneasiness as Raghav spoke to his girlfriend.

She could hear his voice croaking in her ears as he spoke to Divya the other day when they were utterly drunk and were quite vulnerable to each other.

She felt her quivering lips on his and the way their lips danced around with each other. She felt the warmth that ran through her body when he undid her shirt buttons and felt her skin.

She felt the hunger in both their bodies as they tried to grope and fondle each other. She felt a passion, a desire that her body had yearned for in the past couple of months since Tarun had left the city for his new job in Bangalore.

Tarun – remembering this name her senses returned back and she found herself sweating profusely. She left abruptly for the washroom and slapped several gallons of cold water onto her face to get back to reality.

She returned feeling hot and flushed. One look at Raghav told her that he understood her dilemma. “Oh, can he really understand my dilemma?” thought Divya. He doesn’t even have a hint of what she had undergone in the last few hours after the incident. He didn’t even have the courtesy to call or message and ask if everything was alright.

“But no problem”, thought Divya “I’m going to make sure I’m absolutely all right and be as normal as I can be”.

She came around and took her seat and got back to what they were doing.

Their knees brushed each other under the desk as they were working, bringing them back to a standstill.

Sensing the tension between them, Raghav motioned Divya to step out of the office for a few minutes since he wanted to discuss certain things.

Divya was hesitant but went ahead anyway. They moved to the smoking zone and Raghav lit a cigarette before looking into Divya’s eyes. “We’ll have to get back to being normal as soon as possible, since that’s the only solution we have right now” went Raghav.

Divya hung her head low while listening to his ramblings of “it was not right”, “it was a mistake”, “we have to move on”, and “relax and chill”.

She looked up into eyes and said, “I know everything that you are saying, yet my heart desires the forbidden, my mind warns me but my heart is singing a different tune all together”.

Divya bit her lips after uttering these words. “What was I just rattling off? What has got to me? This is absolutely absurd, absolutely bizarre”. She looked stunned at herself, at what she had just spoken. All she could do to avoid embarrassment was to run away from the scene and she did just that.

Walking nervously back to her desk, she continued looking at the screen, while forming fresh images of her last moments of togetherness with Raghav. She felt ashamed, embarrassed, ridiculous, hurt and abused, all at the same time.

Even though she had the guilt of what she did, Divya liked what happened and started to nurture a feeling, which can be termed totally wrong, yet pleasant.

She knew she had to come out of this and shift back her loyalty. Yet an unsaid emotion was growing inside her.

With great difficulty she went back to her work and tried to finish it before she left for the day. Raghav returned, discussed work and went back to his seat.

The day ended with difficulty and so did the next few days. Divya started to return back to her normal self but with a bruise which was fading away slowly yet imprinted with a permanent mark.

Raghav and Divya continued to meet, discuss and work together but it was strictly professional and nothing was discussed beyond that.

Days flew and Tarun was due to visit Mumbai in a couple of days. Divya decided to tell him everything. They met at the airport and went straight to a restaurant to have dinner. Tarun was happily chatting about his new job and how things are shaping up in his new office.

Divya looked lost but tried to put up an interesting face. Finally when she could take no more, she blurted out every single aspect of the story, talking about her professional relationship with Raghav, about the office party where she got herself heavily drunk and ultimately to her infidelity, even if it was only for an evening.

Tarun listened to her patiently but his face flushed red with every single description of the story. Divya could see anger ooze out of his eyes and she could say no more.

Tarun walked out of the restaurant after paying the bill and didn’t stop to see if Divya was still with him. Divya tagged along and was apologizing profusely, yet Tarun didn’t stop.

Finally after reaching a less crowded street, he offered his anger by mentioning that she has acted like a typical whore and that he doesn’t want her in his life ever. Divya cried, pleaded, begged, but it had no effect on Tarun. He left her crying and sobbing on the street and took a cab and left.

While Divya was still crying on the pavement of an unknown street, Tarun called a number on his cell phone and excitedly gave the news that the problem has been solved by itself and now nothing can ever keep them apart. He just broke up with his girlfriend and there’s no stopping from now on.

“Wait till I get back to Bangalore Baby!” he purred into the cell phone. Keeping the phone down, Tarun smiled to himself thinking how very lucky he is.

He had started to like Aisha from the time he was introduced to her in his new office. He began dating her shortly after and was thinking of ways to get rid of Divya. He did get rid of Divya, and how!

Smiling and chuckling he headed towards his home while Divya was bleeding her heart out on the street cursing herself and praying for Tarun’s forgiveness.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Street Delight


Classic street shopping
“250 ka? Kya bhaiya hamesha ka customer ke saath aisa karoge? Reasonable rate kardo, 100 mein de do!” Sounds familiar? Have you heard yourself speak these words to the street shop owner with authority and élan and managed to bag a bargain yet again? Then welcome to a delightful experience of shopping on the streets!

Street shopping gives such an adrenaline rush which any other adventure fails to match up with.

Our generation has thrived shopping on the streets of Mumbai. The main haunts were Linking Road, Hill Road, Colaba Causeway and Fashion Street (famously called FS). I remember carrying 1,000 rupees in my pocket during my college days and shopping for the next 6 months in these streets. Ah! Good times!!


Inorbit mall - Vashi
And then one day big, wonderful looking, glass paned malls came and voila our attention and loyalties were diverted instantly. Taken in by the beauty and charm of the malls we spent almost all of our free time in these malls, until the shops shut down and we were practically shoved out of the mall.



Picture this. Today, a typical Saturday or Sunday evening goes like this – go for a movie at the multiplex in one of these malls, come out having ridiculously priced popcorns & samosas, do a little window shopping before we reach the right product at the right price and place (waiting at the never-ending trial room queue and then at the bill counter), end it with a dinner usually at McDonalds or Dominoes (after a fight for the table and chair as half the population of Mumbai is jammed in here) and go back home with a lesser weighing pocket and even lesser satisfaction.


Colaba Causeway in Mumbai
Gone are the days when we sweated it out on the streets buying stuff from almost every shop (since every shop had something unique and priced low), take a break and have a sugarcane juice from a corner shop, go back to shop some more, break for lunch (which mostly consisted of sandwiches and dosas from another street vendor), rest, shop, stroll, shop, drink, shop, and finally go through all the shops once more to make sure you haven’t missed out anything before taking a train back home.


 After our fight for a window seat we settle down and go through all our purchases which are haphazardly thrust into plastic bags (it was legal then :-D) and compare stuff until the entire compartment is clued onto your exhibition.

Shopping in groups is fun!


These shopping excursions were usually taken by a group of girls/boys. So it was fun and excitement on the one hand and it proved to be useful taking in loads of advises before we zero in on any purchase.



We still recall how a particular girl in college wore a similar T-shirt we bought from these streets and swearing never to wear them again, how we regret not buying a bag which was quite cool and we had extinguished all our cash and had to return without it, how we loaned each other so that a friend could buy a sandal she was eyeing and longed for, how a firang or a new-to-street-shopping girl had to shell out 500 bucks for the same skirt you purchased for a mere 150 rupees.

It was total fun and showed the spirit of shopping together, spending time with friends and made for some memorable picture to reminisce down the years.

Street shopping, I assume, is one of the best memories of being in college and it prepared us to be decision makers early in our life (what with deciding which color of the same T-shirt looks good or which bag will match your recent purchase of cute mojaris :P).

 
Hope to continue this legacy of shopping and to make our road side vendors or ‘bhaiya’s’ (as they are fondly addressed) a little more rich!

So where will you be this weekend?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Reflection


Source: Internet














I look at her.
She is quiet and still.
I approach her hesitantly. With trembling hands I lift her chin up.
Her eyes bore into mine yet they seem distant and aloof, as if searching something far behind mine.
She does not move. She is still.
I smile and she makes a futile attempt at the same.
Her eyes well up instantly and I feel the wetness on my cheek.
I encourage her and she spoke through her eyes.
I push along and she pulled back, afraid to cross the line.
She became quiet again.
With quivering lips she muttered something.
I thought I heard my name.
I looked at her and she vanished.
She vanished, leaving me to my reflection and my thoughts.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dasvidaniya - Until we meet again!


Dasvidaniya or ‘Goodbye’ is not just a word but a very sincere emotion, an emotion which you feel when one fine day a very close and dear friend leaves you and moves on with life and you are left with nothing but precious memories and empty promises to meet again.

However, what will truly remain is the fact that we met; the fact that we shared a beautiful chapter of our life with that wonderful person.

Ishika, a person whom I met 5 years ago, contributed to that special chapter in my life and will always remain a part of it. She was truly unique and exclusive in many ways, and I’m sure people who’ve interacted with her will approve and agree with me. I’ve often commented that she is a single-piece manufacture and nobody else can be like her.

I’ve argued, debated, laughed and sobbed with her. I’ve shared dirty jokes, personal problems and several fleeting emotions with her.

She is an epitome of liveliness and full-on energy.
Nobody can beat her in window shopping ;-)

She used to grumble and whine about Mumbai since her relocation from Calcutta, and most of the time we ended up arguing which city is the best.

She often lured us to come to her hometown for all the special places, shopping sprees, roadside eateries and Durga Puja. Though she stayed in Mumbai, her heart lay in Calcutta.

Now that she is leaving Mumbai I know that somewhere she would miss this city and would definitely praise Mumbai with all her heart to fellow Calcuttians. Somewhere surely a part of her heart would continue to live in Mumbai.

So when Ishika decided to leave Mumbai and move back to Calcutta, it’s only fair that we give her a royal farewell. After much deliberation, we fixed a date for the surprise party. I called up past friends and team members and asked them to be a part of this surprise party:

And then what, cake was cut:



Food was served:


Liquor flowed:



And everybody made for a perfect picture, eating, drinking and chatting.