Friday, December 25, 2009

Forgiven not Forgotten 1

The meeting of the Indian Council of Textile Owners had just dispersed. The lounge of the hotel ‘Grandeur’ was filled with rich businessmen, old and young alike; the young entrepreneurs were being introduced to the elder members by the Chairman, Mr. Ashok Sahai.
At the centre of the lounge stood Mr.Ryan, Ryan Jindal, surrounded by a group, consisting of the richest members of the council. He needed no introduction. The Jindal Textile Corporation had been the most powerful and successful industry in India for the past 15 years and had only doubled in its value ever since Mr.Ryan inherited it after his father five years back. Ryan had been an MBA fresher when he took up the responsibility; everybody knew there was something else in the man that made him what he was- the king of the Jindal empire. He had the strong and slender build of an athlete and was dressed in a black suit tailored to perfection. His body looked chiselled, with not a single vestigial muscle. His face was angular with a sharp, pointed nose.he had black curls that fell over his broad forehead. And his eyes… people who conversed with him rarely looked at his eyes, they made one uncomfortable. They played a huge contrast to the sophistication and aristocracy his clothes displayed. On the surface, they were insolent and impersonal, but anyone with a little more insight could see that they were only a screen to something more savage and terrifying, like the fores of nature bottled up in human form.
At present, he was completely bored of the flattery he was being entitled to by a group of businessmen around him. They were saying something about him being the responsible son and the future badshah of the textile world. He smiled and nodded appropriately to all the comments, but his eyes were shifting, scrutinising the groups of people around the room. Suddenly they fixed onto someone, someone standing with Mr. Ashok, being introduced to some others. His eyes never lost sight of her for a moment. He stared at her as she stood there- tall, slender- a picture of elegance. Her face wore a smile- a smile that reflected beauty and self- confidence, but more than everything, they deepened her eyes and the colour on her cheeks. A simple sari of blue silk adorned her, but she looked like she would hardly have looked less elegant in a pair of jeans or trousers.
For a few moments, Ryan looked at her and then turned back to the conversation immediately around.
After a quarter of an hour, he heard Mr.Ashok’s voice, “Mr.Ryan, may I introduce to you Miss.Tamanna, and Ms...”. “Mr.Ryan, Ryan Jindal, I know him quite well, Mr.Ashok.” “That’s my pleasure, Ms.Tamanna.” Ryan stretched out his hand, his eyes looking straight at her as if he were challenging her. She met his eyes with defiance and took his hands coolly. Even as their fingers touched, his palm enclosed hers. The warmth from him seemed to spread all through her. Her eyes wavered just an instant and she was the first one to withdraw her hands.
For a moment there was troubled silence, and then Tamanna composed herself and managed a weak smile, “Nice to meet you Mr.Ryan”.
“Of course, Ms.Tamanna, looking forward to see more of you.”
In sometime, Ryan took leave. He never stayed back for the Council dinners. As he walked back towards his car, he thought of her again. There was something about her, in her poise, but she had wavered from that at his touch. The thought made him happy, though no girl had ever resisted his touch. But he knew this had been different. She had been genuinely surprised, perhaps troubled, at her own response. He would find out more soon.
Thinking so, he directed his remote at his car. Something was wrong, it refused to open. He pressed again, no response. “Is anything the matter, Mr.Ryan? That’s my car.” Tamanna stood loking at him, hands folded, a smug smile on her face. Now it was his turn to be genuinely surprised. “This is your car?” He had every reason to be surprised. The car was the first of its kind in India and he had been the first Indian to get it. He loved cars, especially, huge, black ones. He would never have imagined anyone elseat the Council to have ever owned one like that. She broke into his reverie, “If you’ll please excuse me,” and she pressed the button on her remote. The car dutifully opened its door for the rightful owner. As she walked past him to get into the car, he involuntarily shifted aside, and saw his car parked some 100m away. “Good night, Mr. Ryan”, she said and just sped off.
For one moment he stood dumbfound and then a smile crossed his lips, a cold, cruel smile. He had discovered what was different about her. After a long time, he had been challenged. He felt a gush of adrenaline. She was an independent will, a tigress. He would possess her, he decided, “Very soon…”, were the only words that came out of his mouth.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

One year since a disaster...

Its been a year since the attack took place in Mumbai... the suddeness of that attack left us all thinking about the status of our security... so who is to be blamed? Is it our Government, the Pakistani Government, the Terrorists, the Indian navy???? well, i sincerely feel the problem lies with us.. yes each one of us... surprised.. i'll tell you how..
Jus think and answer this question... how many times have you laughed recently, a true laugh from ur heart..? how many times did you smile, a smile that reached your eyes? how many times did you engage in some activity with passion? how many times did you do something which gave you real happiness? how many people have felt happy because you're in their life? did you actually make a positive difference to anyone's life in the recent past? Scan your thoughts and tell me whether you think more of positive thoughts or negative ones?
I'm sure most of the people around will have unsatisfactory answers to the above questions...
There's a serious problem with our lifestyle, we care for nothing and no one, we just think of the work we have, our ambitions, our problems, nothin else.. we are so wrapped in ourselves to even think of others- our family, our friends, our near and dear ones... leave alone the society and the nation...
There's no spirit of living anywhere... its only survival of the fittest... a rat race where all of us are competing... some of us without even realising why we are here and some are left wondering whether they even belong to this world...
so how does all this relate to the title of this post???( i hear you asking:) )
wat do you when u r irritated on a day? u show that irritation towards someone else.. and that someone to somebody else..
This continues as a reaction.. and as you might have read in thermodynamics(even if you haven't), the disorder in the universe keeps increasing.. and hence all the anger keeps adding up and then when its too much it jus shows up somewhere..
you are wondering wat i'm probably blabbering, but that's how it is.. the earth, nature and the whole universe perform and respond to our emotions through events...:)
You might have noticed that positive things happen to you when you're happy and wen u r already angry, something keeps happening to make it worse...
So, the anger and contempt and indifference we have built around us, that which surrounds us like a second skin is what is making the world respond to us with hatred...
What do we do about it..? I'm definitely not going to preach about humanity and compassion... We need a renaissance, a change within ourselves, a change in our attitude, our perception, the way we look at the world...
We need more positivity in our thinking... passion and purpose for all our actions... love towards all our fellow beings.. admiration towards nature...and contentment in our heart..........
If each one of us were to follow this, all hatred would vanish and the world would be a much better place to live in...

Monday, October 12, 2009

mesmerising...

The music was mesmerising. It transported me to a different world. It induced a different kind of warmth; it seemed to be reaching out to something deep inside me, kindling some sleeping spirit inside me. It pulled me into itself; I seemed to be falling in spirals, into nothingness, just an endless well of ecstasy… just the way I would when I looked into his unfathomable eyes…
I felt I was in his arms, looking unblinkingly into his eyes, not searchingly, just lost… my mind goes blank, I feel a certain warmth emanating from him, his eyes weave a spell…I’m lost in it…I feel his hands hold my waist, the touch of his fingers on the bare skin below my tee bring me back to my senses. I blush. His eyes seem to penetrate my very soul, I can look at him no more, my eyes waver… he holds me really close to him, I don’t know where to look; I know his eyes are still looking passionately at me… I feel his warm breath on my neck; he slowly lifts his arms from my waist and holds my face in them. I look up. He brings his face really close to mine; our lips are almost brushing…
I come back to reality… the song is over… my skin is still tingling and my lips are wet…

Friday, October 9, 2009

life in a metro

It was a very cold night. The downpour hadn’t ceased for a couple of days. The routine life of the people had reached a standstill. Every nook and corner of the city was flooded and the Government had declared a holiday for the next two days, which would probably extend until the rain ceased.

Asha had just returned from her night shift. There had not been much work, but she was tired after having waded through the rainwater to find the way back home. The holidays had been declared only two hours after she had reached her workplace, Bluebay Soultions, where she worked as the Project Manager. Her husband Vishal had been lucky. He worked as the Chief Engineer at a chemical industry and had unfixed and unscheduled working hours. He had an afternoon shift and now he wouldn’t have to even wake up.

She opened the door as quietly as possible with her set of keys. She marched straight up to the bedroom, dropping her bags and other accessories on the sofa even as she went past. She walked up to the cupboard and picked up a fresh set of clothes. After a shower, comfortably dressed, she went to the kitchen to put together a breakfast. Only then she realised that milk had not arrived owing to the rain. She rummaged the shelves for a packet of noodles, but realised she had none in store. She went up to the fridge for some bread. But even that was unavailable. Vishal and she had got quite used to eating outside that she hardly paid any attention to the food available at home. Now she knew she neither could order any breakfast, as the entire city was drowned in the floodwaters and all shops were closed, nor would she be able to borrow something from her neighbours as she hardly knew them. She suddenly wondered, even as a kid, she knew all the aunties and uncles living close to their house and used to regularly visit them, especially their kitchens where all of them would present her with the most delicious snacks- she was the favourite kid in her apartment. But now, she hardly knew the face of the next door aunty. She sighed, probably some of the evils of her job.

At last she managed to find some rava and made some upma for herself and Vishal. Everyday she used to have her breakfast and leave his portion on the table before she went to sleep; today it would be different. She wanted to eat together and so went to the bedroom to wake him up.

He was sleeping deeply, snugly under the blanket. She looked at his face. So innocent and helpless, like a kid, she thought. His hair was tousled and made him look boyish. She suddenly had an urge to touch his hair. She raised her fingers to his hair, they were trembling. It had been long since she had any physical contact with him, not a human touch, infact they hadn’t even exchanged a smile for quite sometime now. Nervously, her fingers touched his hair. She ran them softly across the length of his hair. The feel of his hair made her blush. She had enjoyed doing this even from college. They had been the most wanted and famous pair of their business school. Both were all-rounders and were among the hottest people. Their parents had been informed about their love affair quite early and both the sides had easily agreed. No one could debate the fact that Asha and Vishal were made for each other.

His movement under her hands suddenly brought her to the present. She quickly withdrew her hands and called out his name. He opened his eyes partially with quite some effort and looked at her. “What’s the time?”, he asked in the most sleepy voice. “It’s 9.15, but you don’t have to go to office today, the entire city shall remain closed for the next two days owing to rains.” Now he opened his eyes completely and looked at her in astonishment. “Really? Two whole days?” “ Yup”, she nodded.

“Then why are you waking me up at all?” he was complaining now. He always loved to sleep, especially a few extra hours in the morning. “Let’s have breakfast together, one day, please”. “Arey, no need of any breakfast, let me sleep”.

“Please Vishal, once, for me, please?” she was pleading now.

He reluctantly sat up on the bed and looked at her. She was tired, still she was as attractive as she had been at college- the same expressive eyes, the sharp nose, easily paving way for a small mouth with its curved, sweet smile.

He knew it was not of much use resisting those beautiful eyes, and that sweet pleading voice. Even from college days, that was how Asha used to win over him in half the arguments they had. Otherwise it was not easy for anyone to face his arguments where he put forth his views quite harshly and arrogantly, if required, but most of the time he was right.

After a brief shower, he joined her at the table, where she was waiting for him. “Oh upma?” he retorted. It was certainly not one of his favourites. But of course, today it did taste good. After a long time, they had a meal together. Neither spoke. Each was lost in a world of memories. How much fun they used to have at college?! They couldn’t remain parted for even a few minutes. How many movies, picnics, long drives would they have shared!! Now their ambition had taken them mentally and physically apart from each other. They had different shift timings, most of the days being unable to even look at each other. For the past six months, they had remained indifferent to each other’s existence. Life had been only all about projects and more projects.

Today was different. By this time, they should have been straining their brains to work up a solution to some HR crisis or something of that sort, but now the whole day was stretched out in front of them without any such job. “What to do now?” Asha was the first to reflect the thought that was on both their minds. “Perhaps we could watch a movie? A thriller?!” Vishal smiled mischievously at his own suggestion. Asha was always scared of thrillers but she couldn’t resist the idea of watching one. And Vishal loved to convince her into watching one and then scaring her right through with some extra pranks of his.

Asha knew what exactly was on his mind, still she agreed. She had always been the adventurous type of girl. So there started a search for a suitable movie. The entire shelf had come down on the floor in the process. After an hour or so of search they zeroed down on one dvd. By this time, the entire house was in a mess. So they decided to clean it up first. One leading to another, they ended up cleaning up all the rooms, throwing out all the unnecessary stuff, removing the cobwebs, giving the entire house a vacuum, scrubbing the windows and the floor. It was evening by the time they finished. They were tired and famished. But the afternoon had been fun. They had spent time together, helping each other in some productive way and that was more than satisfying.

There was nothing to eat. Asha pledged that the first thing she would do after the rains would be to buy and stock all the groceries. But for now, she couldn’t think of anything other than the neighbours. The rain showed no signs of stopping. She went up to the next flat and rang the bell. She waited nervously, thinking of how she would introduce the conversation. The door was opened by a fat lady who beamed surprisingly looking at her. “Hello Asha! What a surprise! Please come in.”

Asha was really surprised. “Thanks, Thank you aunty, but how do you know me?”

“I know everyone who lives in this apartment. I sure didn’t expect to see you here today. But believe me I’m really pleased.”

“Oh…Thank you aunty, actually I was just wondering if I could borrow a packet of noodles if you had some. Our supplies have run out, and the shops are closed…”

“Of course you can have it. Even better, both of you could have dinner here tonight if you wish.” The invitation sounded really warm.

“Oh no aunty, that’s really kind of you, we could probably have it some other day. We wouldn’t want to trouble you so much. Thanks a lot aunty.”

Asha came back with a packet of noodles in her hand and tears in her eyes.

She went upto the kitchen quietly and made the noodles. Thoughts swarmed her mind even as the floodwaters were filling up the entire city. What a meaningless life they had been living for the past few months- not useful for anyone, nor for themselves. Was this what they had wanted? Was this how they were going to lead the rest of their lives? No way, not at all.

As they had their dinner, she spoke out all that had been going on her mind to Vishal. He heard everything silently. At last he said, “You think I have not been thinking about all this? These thoughts have been frequenting my mind for quite some time.” So they agreed that from now on they would spend weekends with each other and for each other. They even decided that they should revisit old friends and refresh the cherished memories. And then that night, the plain noodles brought more taste and fulfilment to their dinner that several five star hotel dinners had failed to do.

After some days, the cyclone had departed. The city got reintegrated into its busy schedule, and so did Asha and Vishal. But they never forgot small things like wishing each other a good day, eating out on weekends, and kissing each other good night. And their nights were always good…:)

The Flower

It was a beautiful spring morning. A small girl walked into a colourful garden, filled with multi-hued blossoms, outlined by the fresh grass, sweet smell filling the air, the melodious chirping of birds adding a background score, making the place look and feel enchanted. The girl was high in her spirits. She danced around the garden, admiring every flower she came across... each was unique and inspiring, the amazing creations of mother nature.
As she strolled along, one flower caught her attention. It was truly unique in its shades. Something made it stand out among the rest. This made her curious to go close and feel its texture. She wanted to examine it close, to find out what gave it its uniqueness.
She walked upto the flower and looked close at it. It bounced slightly in the wind, tantalising her with its cheerful freshness and intriguing colours. She put out an innocent finger to feel it and then... a thorn that had been hiding somewhere till then popped out and pricked her. Ahhh! The pain immediately brought tears to her eyes. A drop of blood oozed out from the pricked spot and fell onto the plant. She looked up at the flower and said, "I just wanted to feel your texture, why did you prick me? Did you think that I would pluck you off your mother plant and take you with me or something. That is not my aim, I would never let you wither and go waste. I want you to remain here and spread the joy of your beauty all around."
There was a slight breeze and the flower seemed to droop a little. As it did, a dewdrop hiding inside the flower came out and fell at the girl's feet. The girl looked at the dewdrop sparkling on her foot in the sunlight. She again put out her hand to feel the flower. This time no thorn pricked her, instead the flower seemed to open up brighter and smile at her.
She too smiled back and then left the place.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tell someone that you admire

For a very long time, i have been practising this policy. If i lyk something or someone, I jus go and tell them straight... not caring for what they or others might be led to think about me. It jus makes me feel good to think that i have made someone's day. Admiration creates a positive flow of energy, that reaches not only the receiver but also engulfs the perpetrator.We admire someone when we feel that they are a better version of what we want to be. It feels so good people who think similar to us exist, who have actually pioneered our thoughts and feelings.
But sometimes, the situation turns bad when the person you admire thinks you are trying to flatter him/her (there are a few people). Further worse when it is assumed that you are doing all this jus to get some work done from the person concerned. Though there are people doing such things, one should be able to distinguish between heartfelt admiration and flattery.
Sometimes, it is tagged as flirting. I wonder how people can get so blasphemous to the point of misinterpreting (knowingly or unknowingly), admiration as flirting. Most of the times, they jus don't understand.
I shall jus continue practising my policy, afterall true happiness is not about we being happy. It is when someone else is happy because of us.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

the glass half empty

It was twilight. The sun was setting behind the mountains. Birds were returning to the safety of their nests. The trees had bowed down their canopy, as though cowing down against the terrors of the night. The sky was switching shades from a gay blue to fiery red, yellow, orange with a fast-approaching shade of grey. Mansukhram had withdrawn the tables placed in front of his tea-shop, signalling the end-of-business for the day. His accomplices would soon return in the last bus from the city with their day’s remuneration, all of which would be risked in several rounds of gambling through the night, within the inner confines of Mansukh’s tea shop. This had been their routine for the past 30 years, and tonight would be no exception.
As Mansukh was emptying the last ounce of tea from the boiler into a glass, he noticed a girl of about thirteen watching him from a distance. He beckoned her to come closer. At first she seemed unsure, but the sight of the glassful of tea was too tantalizing to resist. She went closer and stood in front of the shop. Mansukh studied her- a sturdy girl in her teens. Her clothes were torn. Her face was weary from exertion. “Where do you come from? You don’t have anyone with you?” he asked.
She looked down. “I ran away from home, ten kilometres from here. My mother is ill. I have two brothers and three sisters- all younger than me. No food. My father works hard in the farms- day and night. But no money. So, he borrowed. Now he is unable to repay. So, the rich man ordered my father to send me to work for him. My father refused. He sent men to beat my father; father is hurt, everyone’s crying.” Tears trickled down her cheeks. She looked up, “I could face them no longer. I ran away from home with a silent promise of returning with lots of money. That day our debts would be cleared and we would have to cry no more.”
Mansukh had been watching her face all along. In spite of the pain, sorrow and adversity, there was a streak of confidence, a ray of hope characteristic only to the very young. “You want some tea?” he asked her, handing over the glassful of the lukewarm beverage. She nodded and took it from his hands. “You may sit here and drink. I’ll be back.” Saying so, he disappeared with the empty boiler behind the shop.
She sat there silently, drinking from the glass. The tea wet her parched mouth; parched from travel, hunger and thankfulness. As she took another sip, the taste awakened her taste buds, stimulating her soul, strengthening her hope in life. She relished every sip, becoming stronger with each. The sky turned a fiery yellow.
Her reverie was broken by a bunch of loud voices coming towards the shop. Mansukhram’s friends had returned with their day’s hard-earned money, which would soon be let loose into several hours of gambling, to be lost once and for all, occasionally to be regained double. The girl’s presence was a surprise to all of them and they stopped short of entering their gambling paradise. The youngest of them stepped forward, “Who are you?” he asked, “Why are you here?” “I’m Tamanna’’ she replied, “I ran away from home. The Chaiwallah uncle gave me some tea and asked me to sit here.” All of them exchanged glances at this reply. “Will you work for us?” the eldest one asked, “We’ll give you a lot of money. Come inside, we’ll show you how much money we have.” Tamanna’s face lit up. “Really?” she exclaimed. He nodded and urged her inside. She placed her half-drunk glass of tea on the table and followed.
By this time, Mansukhram returned after finishing his chores. He had heard his friends coming and was eager to send the girl away. He was worried on not finding the girl where he had left her and became nervous on seeing the half-drunk glass of tea. He, at once, went inside. The scene that met his eyes filled him with pity and rage. The men had heaped all their money on the floor and the girl was looking at it, transfixed with helpless amusement. One of them looked up at Mansukhram, “Looks like we have a great night ahead, what do you say?” Mansukh shook his head, “She’s only a kid, you can’t do this to her. “Oh! Come on, she’s no kid, look at the way she’s eyeing the money.” The man went close to Tamanna and touched her back. “No, I won’t let you touch her”. Mansukh jumped forward to hit the man. But in vain. The angry mob pounced on him, hit him and threw him out of the shop, closing the door behind as they went in.
His whimperings of pain, mixed with the girl’s whining echoed against the silence. There was no one to hear or help. Abruptly, the whining of the girl stopped. Mansukhram broke into a sob. The sky had turned black. He cried through the night. The half-empty glass of tea stood a mute witness to what had happened. The tea inside had turned cold, as though it was chilled by the ruthlessness of the world.