Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Great Expectations

Expect Nothing ! Keep your expectations at a check. Take life as it comes. 

But I have never been that way. A set of assumptions make an edifice about anything and everything in my life. If I know that something is about to happen then I presume things, expect such and so will happen and hope that it happens that way. In my head I see what I hope to see and I keep seeing it. 

Is that so bad? 

Let me tell you what happened this Dusshera. I had no plan and I was absolutely bored sitting in the hostel room. An impromptu plan; my friend calls me in the evening and says he is going with his cousins to see the Pooja celebrations in Cuttack. He invites me to join him.

Cuttack, I expected it would be a small town. There will be bad roads and small temples filled with simple people. A village that is just becoming a town. There, that I had assumed. My second problem was that I didn't know my friend's cousins. But I had to get out of the hostel. I put on my best form and smile. I decided that I won't ruin their family time and timidly just walk by.

My first stop was to meet the cousins. I was prepared to play my part, that is not actually play any part and just be quite or talk only if necessary. Few minutes after the introduction and niceties I absolutely loved them. They were such good company I remember that I was laughing all the way to Cuttack.  They knew every nook and corner of Cuttack. Four of us in too big a car making our way through a sea of bike riders. Thus the backdrop itself,as you can imagine, was hilarious.

The journey to the small town begins. Cuttack in all its might was a city in its own right. The roads that swirled, the bridges that rose, the sign boards that flashed and lights of a national highway that illuminated it... and the crowd that thronged!! Colours adorned the city and it boasted of grandeur. At every turn I saw the beauty of deities magnified and glorified. We stopped the car and walked the roads. I was busy turning hither and thither trying to catch a glimpse of all that my eye could catch. My friend had a difficult time trying to make sure I was not hit by any vehicle. The perfect ending to the evening was the blissful "Dahi Vada". Bold and italics would do some justice to this fabulous delicacy, I hope. A great cold coffee to hold on to,on the way back, my friend's favourite became my favourite too! An amazing place and a great evening! 

And now about my expectations.You can say that I expected it would be not that great and may be that's why I enjoyed it so much. But had I not expected anything and decided to take it as it comes I would have again not enjoyed it so much. I expected something and reality took me to another direction.

Isn't that how you experience joy, amazement and also yes, disappointment or hurt.

When I share my problems with my friend she often tells me that don't expect anything at all. That's how you don't get hurt. But according to me it's expectations and hopes that make you experience reality better. I expected to be part of someone's success and happiness, but I wasn't invited. That disappointed me but also made me embrace the reality that I was never in the first circle of importance.

Had I not expected anything how would I eventually realise it. To stand there and not know is worse than having to turn around and walk away hurt.

Do not put a limit to your expectations. Expectations make you know what you truly want. And knowing what you truly want helps.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

There is a bane to every boon

My ability to walk away from something that mattered much to me has been so innate that I have started to wonder if it’s a boon or a bane. To see and not feel anything anymore…. That’s the pinnacle of detachment!

I have always been able to climb there too soon and walk down the other side. But, the trigger to this has always been externalTo turn back and walk away has always been my last resort. An Aftermath of infinite trials that emerge from the bottom of my heart.

Every coin has another side. The refusal to see the other side doesn't justify the deep attachment towards anything. Acceptance of this and acceptance that there is a flip side makes life a lot easier. Every boon comes with its bane. That's how life is. Choose the boon, relish in it but the bane will strike you….one or the other day!

I feel a multitude of feelings simultaneously. And it’s so deep, that it troubles my existence…may be that’s why I can pen it down and when I do… it takes a page.

The bane of a boon.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Why is there a QUEUE...Inside a Train?! #MUMBAIDIARIES02

It’s been over a month and I had already started feeling like I was a Mumbaikaar. I had travelled to almost all places and local train didn’t scare me anymore. I was comfortable…even confident enough to direct other hapless passengers and help them to know which train heads where.
Things went fine and were finally constant. But as they say “The only constant thing is Change”.

Recently I had moved to Ghatkopar where my cousin stays. I was travelling to CST from Ghatkopar and I was happy because there were fast trains that ply in this route. I would be saving 10 whole minutes and I was sure I would be able to travel more comfortably. So that fine evening I got down from my office planning how the evening would be with that whole extra 10 minutes. I got into the train which was proudly standing in the last platform as if it was ready for a race.  I boarded it and stood near the door hoping that the wind would blow on my sun harassed face. People, as usual, started asking where I had to get down. I pleasantly told “Ghatkopar  ” -that far away land which was 4 or 5 stops away. There were quizzical expressions and I was approached again by one lady who told me that Ghatkopar platform is on the other side. Their expression was if I had boarded a completely different train and I had to take a taxi and rush to another station. All I had to do was move about 5 feet and stand on the other side of the train. I appreciated their help and I said calmly that I know that I have to stand on the other side and shall do so in some time. I thought to myself that I am no longer a newbie here and I can figure out things myself.
It was then that I saw that strange thing! A queue of 5 or 6 people standing disciplined near the opposite door. One tall girl frantically came running from behind me, adjusting her spectacles, asked the ladies in that queue something that I couldn’t hear. But I definitely heard the reply “Haan! Yeh Ghatkopar ka line hai”. I was dumbfounded. The train that too a fast one, had not even started from CST and passengers had already formed a queue for getting down at GHATKOPAR. I sighed. Why is there so much fuss and hurry? I thought to myself .It was then that I observed ladies standing next to me were actually arranged in the same linear fashion. That was the THANE queue. At that point I lost it. I was exhausted by the intensely hot and humid day and I decided to stand my ground. I needed some air and I was in the perfect spot!
Came Byculla, I did not budge. Then came Kurla. I stood my ground but so did all the ladies in the Thane queue. Then ensued a fight. Kurla v/s Thane. People who were to get down at Kurla fiercely pushed their way towards the door demanding that they have to….they just got to get down. If people who were supposed to get down at Kurla were shouting that why Thane log have to block their way then it was countered equally fierce by people who pushed them back saying “All you have is this train? Why couldn’t you board another one..This is a fast one!”.By this time around 50 people were standing in that 5 feet of space I thought I will make it.
I got scared by then and decided to ask for help. I whimpered..”Ghatkopar”. A lady turned around and asked me completely shocked “ Ghatkopar”.I had the expression of “Guilty as charged”.Though she was kind at heart she was very strong and tough .She pulled me out of the thane line and wedged me into the Ghatkopar one.
There is one bad thing about fast trains. They are fast. When it reached Ghatkopar station there was so much of rush for people to get down that people who were standing behind me fell over me and I finally managed to wrench back my limbs from the crowd. I thought I had lost my bag. It usually is very heavy and it weighs down my hand. But supporting around 2 to 3 ladies who were leaning forward, now it felt a lot lighter. My lovely bag just dangled weightlessly now. Long Live Einstein and his wonderful theory of relativity.

Mumbai would never fail to surprise me..not even a single day! But I am loving it!

Thursday, April 28, 2016


M-Indicator App, Just keep it open and be ready! You‘ll be able to find the train and the platform and the time of arrival easily. Everyone told me so. But what they didn’t tell me was to make sure that I put my mobile in the bag and hold my bag tight. Once I found the very right train in the very right platform I had to do gymnastics in one leg to make sure I don’t lose my mobile which was in one hand and my bag which was in the other. #MumbaiLocal Journey begins! Though there was quite a rush, the journey was good and quick. CottonGreen, Dockyard Road, Sand Hurst Road ..Chunabatti, Sewri….the names amused me….and then there was Kurla. I think there is one big Mumbai hidden alone in this place. The sheer number of people who get down and get in here, in this station is humungous. Finally I thought I got a seat…I took my earphones out and was about to enjoy a song when I realized it was the last station. No wonder I got a seat.
Mumbai CST,UNESCO world heritage site, probably is the most visited tourist spot. The footfall everyday must be thousands or may be even more. People rush by, there is no time. If it is to catch the right bus in the morning, then it is to catch the right train in the evening. I have always felt that CST terminal is like a point in relay. The trains barely touch it and then they are off at full speed again…back to Vashi, Panvel ,Andheri…and then back to CST. For them it’s truly not the destination, but the journey that matters.
I looked around, searching for exit. I had to stand and look at both directions. The mere act of standing irritated people. You are supposed to either walk fast or run. That’s the norm. I had to dodge people who were rushing left and right. Finally I found the exit and walked out of the station. I had to go to my office which was near church gate. So I took a bus “CST to CST via Church gate”. I had to get down near Mantralaya. Everyone told me “ It’s very easy, most of the buses stop near Mantralaya”. I got in the bus and took the ticket. Something about me, might have been the way I pronounced Mantralaya, seemed strange to the conductor. I ignored it. I was excited to see around CST, apparently the prime location of Mumbai and the most happening place.

The bus route covered almost every place. It went along Marine drive and the morning sea was just perfect. The small dent in my happiness was that I didn’t know where to get down. There were so many buildings and I had no clue as to which one is Mantralaya. Finally I thought I reached the stop and I rushed to get down. Someone shouted at me from behind. “Ye Mantralaya nahi hai”. The conductor was smiling at me. So I sat down. And for all the stops that came by after that, I used to look back at him and he used to shake his head “Nope…No”! I was getting tensed. He came to me and asked me  “Aap ko kahan jaana hai?” . I told him “Petroleum House and its near Mantralaya”. “Petroleum house...” he pondered. He broadcasted my problem to everyone in the bus. Then everyone started discussing.

“She could get down at XYZ stop….” “She can walk from LIC office.” “She had to board the other bus.” “She should get down here…and walk right…then left…then straight…then right...then left…”!!! So much of confusion.  I noticed that even the driver had joined the discussion as he was driving. I was looking at everyone as they spoke and I meekly said that I can check Google Maps. Laughter erupted ,Google Maps won’t help you was the consensus.Finally they all came to the conclusion and they told me how exactly to reach “Petroleum House” .And the kind driver totally invented a new stop and stopped there to help me manage and find my way. And Yes!! …I did find my way and I safely reached in time to my new office!
Thanks to Mumbaikaars… Love you guys!! 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

There is nothing permanent except Change

The toughest day in my life was my first day at School. Crying my eyes out,clinging to the window,unable to bear the sight of my parents leaving me,I thought I would never survive any of it. 20 years later,I totally agree that the most wonderful phase in my life was the one I spent in school.

Change is awkward at first. It is something that tosses you out of your comfort zone and when you manage to get up you understand the world as you know it is not there anymore. It is uncomfortable, for changing from one state to the next upsets our control over outcomes.It is essential to learn to deal with this as change never rests.Change is here to stay.It is just waiting around the next corner. 

So how do you turn the tables. Socrates said "The secret of change is to focus all of your energy,not on fighting the old but on building the new". Change can flow or jerk, depending on our resistance to it.Synonyms of change are shift,adjustment,variance....But change also means challenge,transformation and development.Even a roller coaster ride can be fun if you know when to lean and create balance.

Change pushes your boundaries and brings out the best in you. The true meaning of things does not lie in them but in our attitude towards them.Just when the caterpillar though that life was over it became a butterfly.

Standing on the brink of something new,let us not comfort ourselves by saying " Just hang in there" but by saying " Lets make it". We dont grow in retreat,we grow through endurance.

Change is opportunity in disguise.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bhai,ek chai?

Time flies by when women shop.It was one such fun day in kochi,a few years back. The culprits were my mom and my aunty.Believe me,I was too young to understand the value of such an opportunity and thus was more or less a victim to their diabolical shopping spree.My mom and aunty,it seemed,had taken an oath that they wouldn't spare the touch of a single cloth in the shelves of a multistoreyed building which,obviously or probably, could be the largest silk showroom in “The World”.But time and tide waits for no man or..woman. We had booked tickets for the evening train ,a superfast train which unlike all the other trains, reaches the station on time,5.30. When the bill was paid and the multitude of bags were delivered the clock ticked 5. I wondered if the clock too wanted to catch train because its hands were rushing towards 5.30. Tucked beneath many bags in an auto rickshaw that was definitely under Hermione's undetectable extension charm,were my aunty,my mom and me. A journey through the roads of kochi is like enjoying a free adventurous ride in a theme park except that there is no seatbelt or any gurantee for safety. The roads arrogantly screamed,“Though I may be the cause, I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR LOSS OF VALUABLE (life).It is the responsibilty (and concern) of yours and yours alone.”

Toppled and tumbled somehow we managed to reach the station. And now comes the mountaineering. I bet you ,if you utter the name of god sincerely and climb those narrow ,sloppy steps that leads to the platform carrying two heavy bags on both the limbs of yours,he is likely to liberate you from much of the Karma of previous births.But we were running out of time and wits.My mom and aunty who had clad their beautiful sarees elegantly tucked it around to one side and was ready for the climb,looking messy.You see,fashion and style shall never hinder any woman from reaching their goal. The auto driver,a gentleman,looked at the 3 of us and the bags,he blinked at the hugely disproportionate number of bags and looked at us. He immediately swung into action.He helped us carry the bags and we finally reached the far away land named “platform”.By the grace of god,the train was still there,waiting and frowning. The auto driver helped us carry the bags and we reached th seats.Finally!! We kept the bags in their places and sat.We smiled at each other and breathed a sigh of relief.We made it.All that's well ends well. .......And all that is not???

I shall tell you. It just keeps getting worser.

Three belligerent passengers attacked us for usurping their seats and which on further scrutiny of the tickets was not an allegation but a fact.And thus the plight of the people with too many bags continued. The stress that I give on the number of bags again and again is because it really was stressful. The train had a chaircar arrangement .There was space in the middle through which one person could barely walk. If someone came towards you, you had to have had some training in gymnastics or experience in weight lifting.So people opted the easier way; to place the burden on the shoulders of aisle-side seated people,who were a lot likely to become quite humble by the end of the journey by sharing many a man's burden.Amidst their stares and curses,we struggled to get through. True to the dictum,it just kept on getting worser.We realised that we had to go through many compartments to reach ours.It was impossible to move on.But fatigue can give you ideas and also the courage to believe in them.My mom stopped an IRCTC employee,a Chai waala ,a man who distributes chai in the train.She asked him for help. He was a north indian who was addressed by many as bhai.He was tall and seemed custom made to render this favour to us.He carried the bags in his shoulder and the heights of his kindness and his stature matched.He troubled no one and walked swiftly with 2 or 3 bags and we could easily manage with the rest.And finally we reached our compartment.He placed the bags neatly in its place,helped us get seated and did not accept any money we offered him and went away with a smile.At last we were in our very own seats.Seated comfortably we enjoyed that evening by having chai from our bhai.

Today,many years have passed after the incident. I work in the city of Kochin now. I travel home every weekend in that same old train. He was no where in my memories and in fact I didn't expect that he would be in the same train. But the towering figure cannot be missed.He comes swiftly holding chai kettle to every compartment. He is still the same old bhai. I smile at him and ask him for chai. He smiles back. A smile that he generously endows on everyone,I am sure. I wonder if he knows the reason behind mine when I affectionately ask“ Bhai,ek chai!”

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Another one in a million

It amazed me when I walked into that huge building along with some other thousands of people.It is one of that humungous structure that is the fulcrum of activity of an IT giant.

 It seems that the programmers have unknowingly programmed themselves to behave in a similar manner. 
They dress up in more or less the same shades. The lighter shades that fail to distinguish among stripes or checks. They walk in the same pace making the same strides that echo neither enthusiasm nor reluctance.An incomplete giggle,laughter that seems to have kept a tab on the decibel level is heard across the corridors.

I have seen the big bags,the smaller ones that hold lunch boxes,the shoes,the sandals,the ties.I have seen everything and yet nothing that I can remember and recollect as one that was different from others.
They put up their Identity cards that ought to tell them apart from the crowd. But sadly it doesn't . Sadly nothing does tell anyone apart. Every single one of them embodies the silent murmurings of a crowd.

It is good in a sense that no one can flaunt their positions or privileges that belittles another one. But as every coin has another stimulates the frightful monotonous regularity.

The fulcrum is abuzz,the crowd moves on...The day turns into night...the crowd moves on...

"Inspired" by a boring visit to an IT Park.