I think of you#Random Thoughts

Sounds of ocean and stars filled sky

Silence of night and every tide that rises high

Reminds me of you, whom my soul holds tight

 

As the light of moon kisses shine of dawn

I search for you inside every thought that is drawn

Sweet smells linger around, I think if it is you

Tides tickle my feet, I think if it is you

Gentle wind touches my cheeks, I think if it is you

Rustle of sands, I think if it is you

 

Sounds of ocean and stars filled sky

Silence of night and every tide that rises high

Reminds me of you, whom my soul holds tight

 

Why this cool breeze? Isn’t your touch enough?

Why this light of moon? Isn’t your smile enough?

Why this sweetness of honey, isn’t your kiss enough?

Why this life without you? A moment spent with you, isn’t it enough?

 

Sounds of ocean and stars filled sky

Silence of night and every tide that rises high

Reminds me of you, whom my soul holds tight

The Lone Orphan – Part 10 ( Last Part)

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction (Love to also add that childlike imagination ;-))

Please read Part 9 here: http://shineofdawn.com/?p=181

“You mean to say that I am descendant of this tribe who can read these scripts?” I ask him. “Yes, there are different levels of access for these scripts. For any other person who looks at them they are just blank scripts however if you touch them, the words will appear “he replies. “Is this some kind of joke? Are you people trying to fool us? “I shout at him. Many gasp for my rude behavior towards their guru. Atchyutha lifts his hand, silences everybody and continues “I know it hard for you to believe. It was same for you mother too as she was unable to accept the destiny to give your life as sacrifice to carry forward the legacy,” he says. “Mother,” I whisper to myself. A sweet feeling passes through me as I realise finally I came to a place where my mother had lived.sivalingam

Atchyutha walks away from us and sits on the rock near the Maha Siva linga. Chandesvara approaches me and continues, “Out of many evil groups who tried to get these scripts from us, the main opposition to us are the Dhushikas who from centuries have been trying to get those scripts. They have very bad intentions of misusing the scripts and gain authority all over the world.  Even if they get hands on few scripts, they will recreate another war like Mahabharata,” he says.

I shudder at the thought of another war like Mahabharata. “A prophecy was made when you were born that you are the protector of our tribe. Your father, a brave warrior was overjoyed to hear that,” says Chandesvara as I listen to him as if I am in trance.

“The head of Dhushikas, called Andhaka killed many people over the years to get to know how to read the scripts.  When he came to know about the prophecy, he tried to abduct you but your parents fought him bravely before losing their lives for you. A friend of your mother, Prasuti carried you off to far land to save you and we never heard from her again”, says Chandesvara.

Tears roll through my eyes. My parents didn’t abandon me. They sacrificed their lives for me so that I can live. I am not an orphan. I know where my parents lived. This truth is enough for me to live my life.

“Who can escape destiny, our guru Atchyutha always said you will come back here one day. We all waited for this day,” says Chandesvara. His voice breaks my thought process and brings me back to reality.  “This man’s grandfather was the only person with whom we had contact to outside world. He helped us by passing information on the happenings from outside world,” he says pointing to Arjuna and continues, “Even his grandfather was killed by Dhushikas to extract information.”

I am in shock on this whole situation. When I look back it seems I have traveled a great deal from the day I moved out of the orphanage. Many people got hurt in these events. Professor is in hospital, Prasuti madam got killed, Arjuna’s grandfather got killed and don’t know how many lives are in danger. I look at Shankar; he is standing bit far away from me and looking at me. He is the only person left in my life who has come this far with me in spite of all dangers. Just then we hear a loud sound of several branches breaking and several knifes fly in air towards us.

“Move,” shouts Chandesvara and shields me from the attacks. “We are under attack, get ready with the weapons,” he shouts to the entire tribe. Atchyutha gets up from the rock and starts murmuring under his breath while he circles the Siva linga. Old ladies in the tribe take the children away towards the huts. Every man and Women run towards the Siva linga and forms a circle around it as standing guard. By then Shankar joins me and Arjuna ushers us away from the group towards the backside of Siva linga. Several people dressed in black with strange tattoos on their hands start attacking the Rudra Ganas. Without mercy they start slaying anyone who comes in their way. ”Where is the girl?” a shrill voice shouts. “You are doing a big mistake by attacking us directly here Andhaka,” shouts Chandesvara. I peep from behind the tree to see this evil man who killed my parents.

In center of the commotion stands a huge man, over 6 feet tall, completely dressed in black with a huge tattoo on his left arm. He looks so menacing and has hatred written all over his face. I hate him instantly. This is the man who killed my parents and any person who is related to me. Few Dushika men hold Chandesvara tightly on his spot. Terrible war is going on between other members.battle_of_the_french-indian_war

Just then a young Rudra Gana man jumps in front of Andhaka and attacks him with a knife. “You fool! Do you think you can kill me?” shouts Andhaka angrily and slays him. The young man dies instantly and falls to ground. Before I realise screams escape my mouth as I witness this cruel event. “There you are,” says Andhaka and walks toward me. Few of his men hold Shankar tightly while Arjuna manages to escape from there.

Terror seizes me as he approaches. He drags me by my hair near to Siva linga as I wither with pain. By then Atchyutha has drawn a circle around the Siva Linga and is sitting in front of Siva linga murmuring ferociously under his breath. “Get the scripts and read it out to me,” he says. “Do not do that and do not touch it with your hand,” shouts Chandesvara. Andhaka slaps me hard and I almost faint for the pain. “Touch the scripts,” he says while forcing my hand towards them. I resist touching the scripts. He slashes my hand and I scream loudly in pain. “I will torture you but not kill you until you do this for us,” he says. He lifts his knife to slash me again, just then Arjuna comes from nowhere and pushes Andhaka’s hand away.

“How dare you,” shouts Andhaka, his eyes shine with anger. He tries to push Arjun away and comes to get me again. Arjun does not give up and fights with Andhaka. “I will not spare anyone who comes in my way,” shouts Andhaka, his face bulging with anger. He slashes Arjuna with his weapon. “Arjuna!” I shout unable to digest what happened in front of my eyes. “Do not give up for these people,” Arjuna says and his motion less body collapses to ground. “Arjuna!” I cry unable to speak.” I enjoyed killing your friend,” says Andhaka to me, his eyes glowing with pride, he bends down and whispers,” the same way I enjoyed killing your parents.”

Hatred and anger fills in me. “You are evil,” I shout at him shivering from head to toe. Andhaka laughs at me. “You are evil,” I repeat crying. I take a stone and hit him hard. “Arghh!” he shouts in pain. “I will teach you a lesson,” shouts Andhaka and tries to lift me. Just before he can lift, I roll towards the Siva linga. Andhaka comes after me with more vengeance. “I have enjoyed killing your parents, your care taker and now your friend. I will kill anyone who comes in my way,” he says and moves towards me. I feel so much anger that I just want to hurt this man so badly so that he can never recover. My hand falls on the Trisul infront of the Siva linga, I take it and throw it on Andhaka.

Andhaka screams on top of his voice, blood starts streaming from his stomach. The man who was unstoppable till now starts to collapse. “Our leader is hurt,” shouts one of the Dhushikas. All of them come running towards him. “Take me away from here,” screams Andhaka,”This girl has hurt me with the sacred Trisul,” he says. Dhushikas gather around Andhaka and few of them lift him. By then the Rudra ganas taking advantage of the situation, start to attack the Dhushikas. Following a terrible fight, Dushikas escape with Andhaka from there. I watch all this helplessly, unable to get up on my feet.

“They all ran away, please gather around,” shouts Chandesvara. I see so many dead bodies lying around me. I have never seen so much blood in my life. I look at Arjuna’s motion less body. “Arjuna,” I cry as I lose my conscious. The last thing I remember is Shankar running towards me to hold me.

I open my eyes, once my eyes adjust to the darkness, I see Shankar, Chandesvara and Atchyutha around my bed. “How are you feeling? Shankar asks. “I am alright,” I say to him. I remember all the bloodshed that happened here and also death of Arjuna. I shut my eyes as if that will help me to forget things.” I want to leave,” I announce to them. “You cannot leave, you have mission to fulfill. You need to save the scripts else these Dhushikas will continue to create havoc and we don’t know how many will lose their lives,” says Chandesvara. ”Exactly that is my point. I came here just to know about my parents, now I know about them and I do not want to go any further. I do not want to involve myself in all these and I do not want my dear people to lose their lives saving me,” I reply with lot of agony in my voice.

Shankar and I prepare to leave. Chandesvara tried to convince me but Atchyutha stopped him and asked him not to force me. They arrange for protection and help us to reach Delhi. All the way back we do not speak much.

“You can still change your mind, “Shankar says to me over the phone. I am in airport to fly out of country as I got seat in a college abroad to pursue my studies. As I will be leaving country in some time, I have called Shankar to say bye one last time. “I do not want you to fall in trouble because of me. Also I do not want to involve in any such things. I guess if I move out of country, everything will settle down,” I say to him. While I am on call with Shankar, I observe that two huge men dressed in black occupy seats near me in the departure lounge. They look bit out of place. I observe that they have symbol of Dhushikas on their hand. I experience a sudden surge of voltage in my body. These people will not leave me or any one related to me.

“There are two people similar to Dhusikas in the lounge,” I tell Shankar. “Chandesvara told me last words of your father,” Shankar says. “How is that related now?’ I ask him. “Your father said, my daughter is not a coward, She is and will be a descendent of true warrior,” says Shankar. I cut the call and think about the situation. I have a choice to make here. Either I have to run all my life and die like a coward or value my parents sacrifice and fight bravely.  My blood curl when I think about my parents, Prasuti madam, Arjuna and all those innocent people who lost their lives. I will not run away like this. I will face them, make my parents proud and live my destiny. I get up from my seat and go out of the airport determined.” Nobody can escape destiny,” Atchyutha’s words echo in my ears.umagana

My name is Uma Gana and this is the beginning of my story.

 

                THE END

The Lone Orphan Part 9

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction (Love to also add that childlike imagination ;-))

Read Part 8 here: http://shineofdawn.com/?p=171

I look around confused trying to understand what is going on around me. All the tribal people are shouting and crying just then a voice booms over all the noise, “Have you all lost your minds? Why are you making so much noise?” By hearing this everybody becomes silent and bend their heads in respect avoiding eye contact with each other. I turn to look in the direction of the voice, curious to see the owner of such booming voice. As people give way, a very short old man with a hunched back walks towards me with help of a walking stick. His face is so wrinkled that I can hardly make out his face features.

As he approaches me, his pace slows down and his expression changes instantly.  “Ah!! So you came back after all. Who can escape destiny?”  He says with smile on his face.  I recognise that they all are speaking in the script language which we used to decode in professor’s office. “I am in search of my birth secret where once incident lead to another and I am here today,” I say to the old man, “Who are you people and what is all this about?”  I ask him. The tribal chief comes forward and takes the red shawl from me. He points to the symbol on the shawl and signs me to look behind the huge Siva Linga. I gasp when I look there as the same symbol is craved on a huge rock behind the Siva Linga.

“You are not here by accident my child, your destiny has brought you here,” says the tribal chief.  “What are you talking about?” I ask him.  “My name is Chandesvara and I am the head of our tribe, the Rudra Ganas ,” he says and then points to the old man , “This is our guru Atchyutha . Nobody knows how old he is as he is there with us from centuries,” he says and bows to Atchyutha. All this while Atchyutha is looking at me seriously, lost in his thoughts. “It is true then that Rudra Ganas really exist,” says Arjun who has reached to my side now. “My grandfather used to always talk about a tribe who resides in the far away mountains, guarding some secrets,” says Arjun. “We do exist dear boy and I know your grandfather too. He has died for a good cause. He is a true warrior” says Atchyutha with gleaming eyes.

“Please will somebody explain me what is all this about?” I shout unable to bear the tension. “Our tribe was originally from Kamyaka forest and our ancestors migrated to this region with a divine responsibility,” says Chandesvara, he takes a deep breath and continues “During the Pandavas’ exile time, many learned saints and gods visited Yudhisthira, the eldest Pandava to discuss various things. During this time many scripts about immortality, science and human development were written. “

Atchyutha clears his voice and says “Once Arjuna was granted the boon of divine weapons by lord Shiva, there were scriptures written on how to make nuclear weapons.  These weapons were used in the war of Kurukshetra, in which many lost their lives and loved ones. Kurukshetra war has seen such bloodshed that once it was over nobody was left with any happiness. Loved ones gone, kingdoms destroyed, women widowed, kids crippled. It seemed as if the happiness was removed from the face of earth,” he says with pain in his eyes as if he lived in those difficult times.Abhimanyu Battlefield

“All this has left the eldest Pandava, Yudhisthira heart broken. He gave our tribe the most honourable responsibility of preserving the scripts of immortality, nuclear weapons and many more. He asked us to take them away so that this knowledge is not available to anyone and bloodshed should not repeat again, “says Atchyutha.tribal

I am in some kind of trance as if I have time travelled to those days. I can feel the despair that war has created. I can feel the pain of people who lost their loved ones, the helplessness Yudhisthira would have faced as he created those scripts which was misused instead for welfare of the human kind.

“Over the centuries, many people tried to obtain them but got killed by our tribe,” says Chandesvara “But these scripts cannot be read by any one.” Unable to understand what he said, I ask him,” What do you mean by these scripts cannot be read?” He smiles and says, “An ancient magic and a divine spell was cast on these scripts so that these cannot be misused. The scripts which right now lay under the Maha Linga in front of your eyes, cannot be read by anyone,” he pauses, looks at me and continues ,” Only a blessed descendent born once in a century, in our tribe can see and read them.”

Atchyutha walks near to me and whispers loud enough to be heard by all “only blood of such descendent, born once in a century illuminates this place.” I am completely shocked by this new revelation.

 

To be continued …

The Lone Orphan – Part 8

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction (Love to also add that childlike imagination ;-))

Read Part 7: http://shineofdawn.com/?p=162

I open my eyes and the only thing I see around me are huge tall trees. I try to move my legs and hands which are bruised due to strenuous travel. I get up from my place and see that Arjun is sitting guard for us. I search for Shankar and find him just few feet away, engrossed in deep sleep. It has been more than two weeks since we started our journey into the forest, Arjun in our lead. It has been the most gruesome travel till date in my life.Amazon_Manaus_forest

During the day we travel and in the nights we camp in a place where Arjun marks as safe to rest. We take turns to guard our resting place while others rest. I swear we are only able to survive due to the medicines which Arjun has prepared.

I stretch my legs and hands, stand up from my place and walk towards Arjun. “You seem to be lost in thoughts,” I tell him and sit beside him. “We are nearby to the location which we marked but we have not come across anything,” he says. Even I started losing my hope as day after day we are just going after something which is not clear to us. Arjun looks as if he is hesitating to say something. “What is it Arjun?” I ask him. ” Do you remember I told you that some wild animal killed my grand father?” asks Arjun. I nod my head. “He was brutally murdered by someone and I was never able to find out who did
that,” says Arjun. I look at him, shocked by this sudden revelation.

“He is not my real grand father,” Arjun continues,”I mean, I am not related to him in any way. My parents died in land slide when I was very young. My whole village was destroyed. Myself and few others survived. We walked for days and people started dying in front of my eyes,” Arjun pauses and shuts his eyes tight as if seeing a bad dream. “One day I became unconscious and people left me behind thinking I was dead. Grand father was passing through the forest, found me and took me home along with him,” Arjun says. I nod encouragingly at him and he continues,”He took care of me since then, taught me all the secrets of the forest.I owe my life to him,” says Arjun, placing his right hand on his heart. “However he was always secretive about something. He said he will tell me when time comes.During his last days he lost mind and used to be scared about something. One
dreadful day, I found him brutally murdered near the river. I felt I will find answers here but I started to lose hope now,” he says and tears fill his eyes.

We both just sit in silence lost in our own thoughts. In a way both of us came in search of answers but we seem to be in a dead end. I open my sling bag, take my red shawl out of it and wrap around me.”Arrhh!!” screams Shankar.We both get up from our place to see what has happened. An arrow comes from behind and hits Arjun, he falls down unconscious. I look at Shankar and see that he is also unconscious. A group of strangely dressed men surround us. “Please do not kill us,” I shout on top of my voice and raise my hand. My shawl, which I had wrapped around me falls down. Suddenly all of them drop their weapons as they focus on me. one man comes forward, drags me towards the group.

He shouts orders to others, they drag Arjun and Shankar towards them.They tie blind folds to us and take us with them.After what seemed like hours, they push us to ground. I can hear voices around me. Someone opens my blind fold and my eyes seems to be out of focus.

By the time my eyes adjust to surroundings, I observe that we are in a clearing which has small huts in circle and in the center is a huge Shiva Linga. An elderly person who looks like their head, also dressed in similar clothes like other men is performing some kind of ritual in front of the Linga. I am still confused as why I was not made unconscious. One of the men approaches the head, whispers something in head’s ear. He stops his prayer and looks at the man with strange expression on his face.

The tribal head rushes towards me with a surprise look, he pulls me towards the Shiva Linga and makes a cut on my hand just enough to create a design with droplets of my blood on the floor. Suddenly the entire floor illuminates and the head cries in delight. The entire tribe is now bowing to me and crying. I look around bewildered. I turn around to see that Arjun and Shankar have gained conscious. They also look equally shocked.

The Lone Orphan Part 7

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction (Love to also add that childlike imagination ;-))

Read Part 6: http://shineofdawn.com/?p=157

Before I could respond, our driver interrupts us. “Sir, I will take your leave now. I have to go back a long way,” he says to Shankar. ”Thanks for helping us to reach here,” Shankar says and pays him money. We carry our luggage and follow Arjun towards the valley. “What is the plan? When are we going to the location?” I ask Arjun. “We will start our journey towards the location tomorrow. For today, we will camp near the valley,” says Arjun. We just walk in silence behind him. The surroundings are so beautiful that I just could not take my eyes off. There is a small stream flowing towards our right side with crystal clear water. Far away, standing tall are the snow-capped mountains with large trees at their foot. I can only see greenery all around me. Involuntary my mind travels back to the busy city traffic and I sigh.

The-Lost-Forest

“Your friend requested me so much that is the reason I agreed to be your guide otherwise I have stopped going into forest long back,” Arjun says. We are sitting around camp fire and helping Arjun in preparing some medicines. Morning after we arrived, we rested in the tents already set up by him. While we rested, Arjun disappeared for few hours and later came back with lot of different kinds of roots, leaves and some dried tree barks which he said will use to make some medicines which will be useful for us during our journey in the forest.

“Why have you stopped going into forest now,” Shankar asks him while helping him to powder the dried tree barks. Arjun does not answer but continues to mix the powders. “Sorry If I have asked you something wrong,” says Shankar. Arjun hesitates for a moment and says, “Forests hold many secrets and I realized it is better to keep away from them.” Shankar asks “What Kind of secrets?”  Arjun gets up from his place as if to indicate end of conversation. “Please get some rest now. From tomorrow you need every ounce of energy. Good night,” he says and walks way towards his tent. “What is he so secretive about?”  I say out aloud.

I shiver as the early morning cold wave passes through my spine. The time has come for us to start our journey. I am standing in front of the tents while Shankar and Arjun are packing the stuff. Both of them finish the packing and walk towards me. “Now I have to brief you both the important instructions for our travel. If everything goes according to plan and we face no issues, it takes 10 days for us to reach the place nearest to your location, from there we have to trek a mountain and travel to your location,” says Arjun. “How many days it will take to our exact location?” asks Shankar. Arjun remains thoughtful for a moment and says “Even I am not aware where this exact location is as nobody from my tribe has ever dared to travel so far.  But my grandfather used to mention about his expeditions to that far away land but eventually he stopped mentioning.”

“Oh! Then can we ask your grandfather for guidance?”  I ask him. “That is not possible as my grandfather is no more. Few years ago we found him dead near the stream.  During his last days he lost his mind and always shouted warnings to keep away from forests.  We assume on one of his hysterical days, he wandered off to stream where some wild animal killed him,” says Arjun. “I am sorry,” I say. “That’s alright,” says Arjun and continues “If I am not wrong, you are here for a personal reason but not for a research because nobody will risk life for this kind of journey.”

I stare at him with loss of words and he stares back at me as if trying to read my mind. “Is that a problem for you?” asks Shankar breaking the silence. Arjun does not answer him and continues to stare at me for some time. Shankar clears his throat to indicate his presence. “I trust you people,” Says Arjun breaking his stare,” I believe each of us are born to fulfil our destiny and each of us have a role in the game played by the supreme power,” he says looking at far away mountains.

He opens his bag and passes each of us a sling bag made of cloth. I observe mine is green in colour and Shankar’s is red in colour. “These bags contain important things which we need during our journey. Please keep them hung around you all the time. Even if we lose our luggage we should not lose it,” says Arjun. I open my bag and see that it has various small containers packed neatly, a map with directions, a torch light with back up batteries, a gun kind of object but not exactly a gun, few round black colour balls, a small bottle with a transparent liquid, a knife set and some bottles with lotions.

“We have to remain together all the time and stick to each other. In case if any of you is lost or in danger, then fill the shooter with black ball and pull the trigger. This will generate red flames to the sky so that others know where to find the lost person,” says Arjun. “What is this liquid for?” I take the small bottle in hand and ask him. “You should take a sip of this liquid when it is your turn to guard in the night while others take rest. This will enable you to stay awake.  The forest is filled with wild animals, poisonous insects and poisoning trees too. The lotions here has to applied to entire body as we go deep into forests to save us from insect bites. All the other containers have medicines which can be used in emergency and I have labelled each of them. I think we are good to go now,” says Arjun.

I take my red shawl, dump it in the cloth bag too and hang it around myself. We all carry our luggage and stand to face the forest entrance. “Hara Hara Maha Deva!” Shouts Arjun. The entire area reverberates with his voice. The tree branches shake violently due to sudden cold wind. We begin our journey to the location, Arjun in our lead.

To be continued….

The Lone Orphan – Part 6

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction (Love to also add that childlike imagination ;-))

Read Part 5 : http://shineofdawn.com/?p=153

“But how does it relate to Pandavas exile?” I ask Shankar’s friend. He remains thoughtful for a while and says “During the exile, for few years, Arjuna travelled to the Himalayas to worship Lord Shiva and gain some divine weapons. That is how Himalayas is related to Pandava’s exile.” We all remain silent for a moment lost in thoughts. Shankar breaks the silence and says “Our investigation on the script started in Kamyaka forest and ended in Himalayas. This seems to be a dead end now. I guess we should leave it here.”

“I feel it is not a dead end but just a loose end that we need to connect. I have come so close to finding about my family and also how the attacks are related. I cannot leave all these at this stage. If I do not find out now, I can never be peaceful all my life,” I say and before I can control my eyes are filled with tears. “It is just that we do not know how to proceed now. All we have is symbol and few directions. You have applied for your advanced studies also outside India and can expect admission anytime now. Why do you want to spoil your life with all these things,” says Shankar. “I will carry on my quest with or without you Shankar,” I say determinedly. Shankar looks at me, takes a deep breath before he says, “Very well! If you have made up your mind then I will also support you. We have to decide what should be our next step.”

“The script talks about the exile and also directs us to the location near Himalayas. As per my analysis, the location is somewhere deep in the forest near Himalayas. You have to mark the locations and proceed according to the map,” says Shankar’s friend. “We have no idea about those forests or how to survive there. Is there a possibility that we might get any help?” I ask him. “I know a guide there who know the forest very well. I can give you his contact.  He used to work for our base camp when we were stationed there,” says Shankar’s friend.

“Thanks so much for your help friend,” says Shankar. “No problem Shankar. Just a word of caution, do not reveal about the symbol or your motive even to the guide. Just tell anyone you meet on the way that you are proceeding for research work. You carry your ID always with you. All the best,” he says. We thank him and cut the call.

“Let us make all necessary arrangements as we do not know how many days we might require,” says Shankar. We start doing the arrangements for our trip to Himalayas. “Let us make a checklist and divide the work among us,” says Shankar.  As we are going to unknown place, I pack everything we might require from battery backups to medicines and first aid box. The day of our travel has finally arrived. I feel a sense of excitement and anticipation of what to expect in our search.

I reach airport and see Shankar already waiting for me there. “Let us proceed to check in,” says Shankar. We stand in the line and Shankar updates me, “I have arranged for vehicle to pick us up from airport and drop near to the village. The guide will meet us there and take us further from there. I have made the maps as well on how to proceed.” I feel a sense of gratitude rush inside me and tears fill my eyes. I realise that relations are not always blood but also through heart. Unable to voice my feelings I just hold Shankar’s hand and he turns to look at me. I just look at him and try to say thanks but my throat is chocked. He nods his head as if he understood my feelings. Sometimes silence can express feelings better than words.

Flight lands in our destination airport without any hiccups. We walk to the baggage counter and collect our baggage. As we proceed to gate, we see a driver holding a card with Shankar’s name on it. “Hi, I am Shankar,” says Shankar to the driver. “Hello sir, Please come,” says the driver cheerfully. He has a wide smile and appears to be in his forties. We load the luggage into the car and settle ourselves in the back seat. “The drive is long sir. The temperatures drop as we go further so I suggest you keep your warm clothing with you. Usually we never get any booking this far. But our manager said you are important people so he sent me as I am experienced with this kind of journeys,” driver says.  He still keeps talking but I doze off and before I close my eyes I hear Shankar making a conversation with him.

I feel I cannot breath and somebody is trying to kill me. I gasp for breath and wake up in a jolt.  Shankar looks worriedly at me and says, “Are you alright? I was trying to wake you up. You have slept for long time and dint eat your food too. Do you want anything?” I try to relax my cramped neck and stretch my hands. “No, I am fine. I will have just juice,” I say and open the Juice bottle from my bag. I take a swig and watch out of the window. Sun is raising and I can see the orange light spread across the mountains. There are no words to describe the scenic beauty. Road is surrounded by lush green valley one side and snow-capped mountains on other side. Fresh morning air hits my face through widow and I fill my lungs with this fresh air. “We have arrived our destination,” says driver. I force myself back to reality and get down the car.himalayas

Shankar got down before me and he is talking to a tall, well-built man. I walk towards them and he turns to face me. He appears to be in early fifties. He has many scars on his face and hands as if he lived with wild animals.

“Hello, I am Arjun and I am your guide,” he says to me.

 

To be continued….

The Lone Orphan Part 5

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction (Love to also add that childlike imagination ;-))

Read Part 4 here: http://shineofdawn.com/?p=147

“What?” I say in disbelief, the cotton in my hand falls down from my hand. “Yes, Kamyaka forest no longer exists,” Shankar repeats himself. “I heard that Shankar but all this is hard to believe. How can a forest not exist? What about this river Saraswati?” I say impatiently.The-Lost-Forest

Shankar adjusts his seating position and continues “Saraswati River does not exist in present India. But it is mentioned in many ancient scripts including Rig Veda.” “Where was this river according to scripts?” I ask Shankar. “It is believed that Saraswati River was between the Yamuna in the east and the Sutlej in the west,” says Shankar. I shake my head in disbelief. “What happened to the river now if it existed in the ancient times?” I ask Shankar. “The later scripts indicated that the river dried up in a desert,” Says Shankar. “There must be some geographical evidence about this then,” I say still trying to digest this information. “Many historians even believe that the river was a sleeping river. There are lot of arguments around these details. Professor used to mention that there are lot of secrets that are hidden which once unveiled will cause major unrest,” says Shankar.

Shankar packs the first aid box. He seems to be relaxed now. In our discussion, I have not realised how much time has passed. I look around and see that the area around park is deserted. “I am still unable to understand why you were attacked for these scripts. Why Prasuthi madam is killed?” I say.

Shankar remains silent as if lost in thoughts and finally says “Time should answer your questions.” We both started walking from the park and reach the main road. “My head is aching with all these thoughts let us have some Tea,” says Shankar. We walk into a small road side shop. Shankar looks around to see that nobody is following us and makes sure that we sit in a corner table away from the crowd. Once we are settled, Shankar says “Should we inform police regarding this? By now they would have got to know that Prasuthi Madam was waiting for you.” I hesitate for a moment and say “Shankar, A thought is troubling me from morning, how is the symbol in scripts same as the one in my shawl? Prasuthi madam is also not alive to give me information. Let us not inform them about your attack and let us try to gather information on this by ourselves.”

Shankar does not answer me and just sips his tea in silence. I wait for some time but he does not respond. “I know you might not want to be involved in this considering that you are attacked today. No problem I will deal this on my own,” I say to him unable to cover my anger. Shankar looks at me, smiles and says “You ladies always try to read between the lines is it? I was not hesitating to gather information. I was just thinking on how we can do this.” Even I relax, “So what can we do now?” I ask Shankar.

“Let us go back to my home, go through the documents and then decide where to start,” he says. We both leave the tea stall and take an auto to Shankar’s house but we stop the auto in the end of street only. Shankar looks around to make sure there is no one following us. “Let us go through the back side garden gate just to avoid any attention,” he says. We enter the house through garden gate. Once we are inside the hall, we see that Shankar house is not ransacked. “Looks like they do not know where I live. May be they just saw when I went to professor house,” says Shankar. He opens the documents and reads the script and the translation many times. “As these scripts are related to Saraswati River and talk about exile, my guess is that it is related to Pandavas exile,” he pauses thoughtfully and continues, “I have an idea, one of my friends works in the archaeology team near Kurukshetra. Let us call him and ask if he has any idea regarding this symbol.”

While Shankar is talking on phone to his friend, I go through the notes which professor had made on the scripts and I spot there are some longitudinal directions which are scribbled at end of the page. “Shankar, Look at these directions here do they make any sense?” I ask him. Shankar holds the phone for a moment looks at them and says, “My friend is asking to fax him the script. Let me also send these longitudinal directions to him.” I settle myself on the sofa and lean back. Today has been such a hectic day. My eyes droop just then Shankar comes back to hall. “I have sent him the fax, now let us wait for his reply,” he says.

Time seems to pass heavily as we wait for his friend’s call. I make some coffee for both of us and we just sit on the sofa in silence. Phone rings and Shankar picks it up in first instance. “Put the phone on speaker,” I say to him. “Shankar, I have gone through whatever you have given, your guess is right these scripts relates to Pandava’s time,” his friend says. “Do you have any idea about this symbol?” Shankar asks him. “I do not have any information on the symbol but I have found that the longitudinal directions and the place referred in the script you sent me do not match. However, I know location to which it matches,” he says. “Which location?” we both ask at same time.

“They match a location near the Himalayas”, he says. I look at Shankar and he is equally as surprised as me.

To be continued…

The Lone Orphan – Part 4

Read Part three here: The Lone orphan Part 3: http://shineofdawn.com/?p=144

“Let us get away from here,” he holds my hand and leads me away. “Shankar, let me go inside and check what has happened,” I tell him still in shock. “The police are investigating and not allowing anyone inside. You seem to need rest first. Let me drop you in hostel for now. In evening we will go to police station together,” says Shankar and leads me away from the orphanage.

part4picIt is night already. Shankar has not contacted me till now. I keep trying his phone but it is switched off. My impatience gets better hold of and I start pacing around my room. It seems as though it was ages ago that I found the symbol even though it was just yesterday. Just then my phone rings and I see Shankar’s name on display. I pick the phone and before I say hello, he says, “Are you alright where are you?” My worry comes out as anger and I shout at him “Where the hell have you been?”

“I was attacked by some unknown people but I managed to escape. I am hiding in the park near MG Circle!” Shankar says and I can sense the panic in his voice. “What happened?” I question him, with a sense of increased apprehension. ”Please meet me in the park. I cannot tell you over the phone. While you come please get the script papers and first aid box”, he says and cuts the call. Something is seriously wrong, my heart tells me so. I take first aid box, scripts and stuff them in my bag and rush to the park.

“I went to professor’s house after dropping you in hostel today morning. I felt there is some relation between the incidents that has over folded and the scripts on which we are working,” says Shankar while applying the antiseptic I have given him. We are in the park now and I am helping Shankar clean his wounds. Shankar cringes as the antiseptic lotion touches his wounds.

“Let us go to a doctor,” I say seeing his pain. “No, that is not important now and anyways I feel alright. Let me finish what I was saying,” he says rather impatiently. I nod my head in agreement and he continues, “I thought we can get Idea by going through the scripts and notes. As professor is in hospital, I have used my spare key to access professor study. Once I collected the documents, I started to your hostel but on the way I was attacked by two people,” he pauses for moment to adjust his seating position. I hold my breath and wait for him to continue. “They were talking in a strange language and were trying to snatch the documents. They were also questioning me about something which I did not understand. But I was able to hear a few words related to the papers we were translating,” says Shankar.

“I am surprised that there is so much of coincidence that has happened in the past two days. The symbol on my shawl and the script matches, professor attached, Prasuti madam dead and now your attack too,” I say still trying to connect the dots. “There is some connection between these scripts, the attacks and you because there cannot be so much of coincidence,” Shankar confirms my fear.

He continues, “Professor and I were working on evidences about the existence of Saraswati River which was considered sacred river during ancient times. During the course of time, this river became extinct. This river was considered to have many healing properties and is mentioned in many ancient scripts. ”

He reads the script many times loudly and says thoughtfully, “The script which you translated talks about a forest. It seems to emphasise that it is a forest of exile. As our research is related to Saraswati River and based on the timelines to which the script belongs, I think the script is talking about Pandavas’ years in exile.”

“Let us then find the details about that forest of exile. I have a strong feeling that there we might find some information related to my parents,” I say to Shankar.”Pandavas spent their exile in Kamyaka forest situated on the banks of the Saraswati River but, this does not help us and we cannot go to Kamyaka forest,” says Shankar. “Why?” I ask him. “Because, Kamyaka forest no longer exists”, he says.

 

To be continued ….

The Lone Orphan – Part 3

Read Part 2 here: http://shineofdawn.com/?p=139

I rush to my cupboard and take my red shawl, the one in which I was wrapped and left in front of the orphanage. The same symbol is stitched in the corner of the shawl. I hurriedly translate the text in the script and read it aloud.

Deep in the forest of exile we dwelled, treasures of nature we protect

Close to the heart of lord now we reside, law of the lord we abide

Trespassers be aware, wrath of lord is what you will invite

I cannot comprehend what it means. I read the text many times but cannot understand how it is related to the symbol and to me. Suddenly, I think of Shankar, he might have an idea. I call Shankar and he picks up the phone instantly.

“Hello, are you alright?” he asks me. “I have something very important to discuss”, I tell him and brief him about what I have just seen. “This sounds strange,” he says, pauses for a moment and continues “You find a symbol stitched on your shawl in the scripts which is very strange .Let us meet in the cafe at 10 AM tomorrow to discuss,” and he cuts the call. I try to sleep but cannot, being in a state of shock due to the events that have unfolded today. I wrap my red shawl around me. It is raining heavily outside and my mind is also in same way disturbed by thoughts. With a jolt, I remember Prasuti madam. She had joined the orphanage as a care taker in the same year when I was left there. May be she will know anything about this. I see it is very late in the night but still I go ahead and call her.

After a few rings, I hear her voice. “Hello!” she says. “Hello madam”, I say and before I continue she interrupts me. “I expected your call, but not this soon”, she says calmly. “What do you mean madam?” I ask her obviously surprised by her statement. “Meet me in my office tomorrow at 11 AM. We cannot discuss on phone”, she says and cuts the call before I can say anything.

I am waiting in the cafe for Shankar; it is already 10:45 AM. He has promised he will be here by 10:00AM. There is no sign of Shankar yet. I will be late to meet Prasuti madam. I feel restless as I have to meet Prasuti madam at 11 AM. Just then I see Shankar walking towards the cafe. I observe him carefully as he walked to the door. I knew that time was running out but suppressed the urge to check my watch. I took a deep breath and started counting in reverse under my breath. “Ten, nine, eight, seven…”

I always count in reverse when I am in tension. This helps me calm down. “Sorry I am late. I went to the professor’s house, requested the police and got the remaining papers so that we can work it out”, he says. I cut him short before he continues and tell him “I have called Prasuti madam after I spoke to you yesterday night as she joined the orphanage in same year when I was left there and I always felt her behaviour bit strange towards me. My guess was correct. As soon as I called her she told she was expecting my call.” Shankar looks confused and says “What? She said she is expecting your call? But why would she say that? “I shake my head and say “I have no idea why she said that. She asked me to meet her at 11 AM. Let us just rush to orphanage, meet her and later discuss our details,” I say to Shankar.

“The papers I have brought have some more texts and longitudinal directions”, says Shankar. “Let us talk about the papers after meeting madam as we might get some information”, I cut him short. I am already late; it is 11:30 AM now. I see a lot of crowd in front of the orphanage. “What happened?” asks Shankar to a person standing nearby. “Prasuti madam was found killed in her office today”, the man replies.

I stumble with shock and Shankar holds me.

To be continued…

The Lone Orphan Part 2

Read First Part here: Part1 : http://shineofdawn.com/?p=135

Part2:

“Welcome young lady, I am glad to have you in my team,” says professor Nandikeshvar. Professor is a medium built man in his late fifties with a warm smile and fatherly approach. He is well renowned in his field. After moving out of orphanage, I shifted to a hostel near my college. Even though I get scholarship and free books, I still have to work part time to support myself. As I aspire to be historian, I have joined as part time assistant in professor Nandikeshvar’s team. Professor is unmarried and stays alone in his 4 bedroom duplex house. His house is situated in the outskirts of the city and also has a lovely garden. Ground floor of the house is used for Professor’s study and research work.

“Meet this young man, his name is Shankar and he works as my research assistant”, professor introduces me to another man. Shankar looks few years older to me and has a very sweet smile. Shankar and I instantly hit off as friends. After college, I spend my evenings and Saturdays in the professor’s house sorting out the papers, taking notes, copying and arranging his research files.

acinet_image“Shankar, what are these symbols?” I ask out of my curiosity. It is a warm Saturday afternoon and we both are working in professor’s study. “These are related to an ancient language scripts found in professor’s research,” says Shankar, taking the papers from my hand, “I have prepared linguistic references for it. I can teach you how to decode it,” he says, “Here see this linguistic reference, using this we can match the symbols and write down the notes,” he hands over the reference papers to me. ” You can also learn how to decode but please do not tell professor I showed them to you. Off late he has become very restless regarding this research and I feel he is hiding something from me” says Shankar. I take the papers from Shankar and slip them into my bag and say “Don’t worry my lips are sealed. I am just curious that’s all.”

Somebody is trying to kill me, I cannot breath. I am struggling to escape and suddenly I am awake from my sleep gasping for breath. I see that my phone is ringing loudly which I why I have woken up from sleep. I calm myself and pick the phone. “Where are you?” asks Shankar. “I am in hostel today. I did not come as I was not keeping well. Is anything wrong?” I question him sensing the urgency in his voice. “There was an attack on professor today in his house and they have admitted him in the hospital. His condition is very serious. It seems the whole house has been ransacked,” says Shankar. “Oh my god!!” I say in shock, “Is he alright? Where were you when the attack happened?” I ask him still trying to digest the information he has given me. ”I was out of town on personal work and when I got back I came to know,” he says still sounding panicked. “Tell me which hospital, I will start right away,” I say to him. “He is admitted in city hospital. I will see you there,” Shankar says and cuts the call. I get ready and rush to city hospital.

“Professor is in ICU and we can see him only through glass door,” says Shankar as soon as I go near him in hospital. He looks strained and visible shaken due to this incident. We watch professor through the glass door. “Today you were supposed to be there right?” asks Shankar breaking the silence. I nod my head and a shiver passes through my spine to think of what would have happened to me if I was not on leave today.

“There is nothing much we can do rather than wait for professor to recover. It is already late night; I think you should go back to hostel. I will call you if anything is needed,” says Shankar.

I am back from the hospital and enter my room. All the linguistic reference papers on the table have scattered due to gust of wind. While I start re-arranging the papers, I notice a strange symbol on one of them. There is a text below. I feel I have seen this symbol somewhere. It seems very familiar. I take the paper into my hand and observe deeply. Shock hits me and my jaw drop open. I know where I saw this symbol.

To be continued….

 

The Lone Orphan Part -1

tat1Part 1

I cannot breath. I can feel the blood rushing to my face. Some hand is squeezing my neck. I cannot see the attacker as my vision is blurring. I try to push that hand away but the hold is very strong. I need to get out of here at any cost. I do not want to die. I feel somebody is shaking me continuously. I open my eyes gasping for breath and sweating profusely. It takes a moment before I realise that I was dreaming.

A pair of eyes is looking at me worriedly. Slowly my vision returns to normal and I become aware of my surroundings. “Are you alright?” asks Prasuti madam looking worriedly at me. “I was passing through the corridor past your room and heard your screams so I came to check. You were screaming badly and trying to fight someone. Is that a bad dream?” she asks. I nod my head, at a loss for words. This dream keeps repeating and whenever it visits, I am left breathless.

While I am still composing myself, she walks towards the window and stands there in silence staring outside, lost in her thoughts. Several minutes pass and I feel awkward due to this silence. As if she has sensed my awkwardness, she suddenly turns and says “Get ready fast and do not be late for the prayer,” she leaves the room without looking at me. Taken back by her strange behaviour, I get out of my bed to start my day. It is mandatory to attend the prayer every morning in our Ganga orphanage for Girls.

I was left at the orphanage door when I was few days old, wrapped in a red shawl. My orphanage took care of me since then. Nobody ever knew who left me here or nobody ever came to take me from here. People around me always said I look very pretty with bright brown eyes, long hair, and dimple on my cheek. I always wondered if I look like my mother or my father. In childhood, I used to dream a lot of how one day I will be taken from here and how I would have a family of my own.

As a bright student, I studied in school outside my orphanage which offered me free education. One day there was a fire accident in our school and all the children of my class escaped a very big danger. Once we were bought to safe assemble area, I was shivering with fear. I saw how parents ran to their kids, hugged them and assured them that everything is fine. Nobody came for me. I just stood there watching all other kids with their parents. lonelygirl_5bsqhej1

My little heart cried for someone to hold me, comfort me and just assure me that everything is fine but nobody came. I cried my heart out that day and after that almost every night until my tears dried out. Even though life made me a strong girl, inside I am vulnerable child who craves for affection. How I wish I knew who my parents are. My thoughts are disturbed by a knock on the door.

“I see you have packed,” says Prasuti madam, standing near my room door. I complete twenty years today here and as per the orphanage policy, I have to move out. “Yes madam, I will be leaving now,” I respond to her while I pull my suitcase out of my room. “Have you found your part time job?” she asks me. “Yes, I have found a part time job to assist a history professor in documentation and organize his research papers”, I answer. “All the best,” she says, pauses for a moment and says “Stay safe and trust nobody”. Before I can respond, she walks away from me.

“I take my suitcase and come outside the orphanage. I hold my red shawl in my hand. This is the only thing with me related to my birth. Even this place from today will not be my home anymore. As I walk outside the orphanage, I feel a prickle on my neck as if somebody is watching me. I turn back to look at the orphanage and see Prasuti madam watching me with a strange expression from her room’s window and I can see that she is muttering something furiously under her breath. I take few steps ahead, turn back again to look and she is gone.

To be continued…..

Shine Within #Random thoughts

Dawns turned into dusk
Days and Nights passed by
I waited, I waited, and I waited for you
To share the thoughts, oh to show the budding flower
To listen to the sound of rain together
To share the joys, the sigh of a hard day
The pat on the shoulder on a well done day
Dawns turned into dusk
Days and Nights passed by
I waited, I waited, and I waited for you
That little joke, that warm hug
That sweet kiss and that little prayer
Deep into shallows of dark I fall
I think and think is it worth after all
Days and Nights passed by
I waited, I waited, and I waited for you
I search within, there I found self
The one I ignored in the ignored wait
I find a power and key to that happy note
I learn to sing the song and your lines too
I shine, I raise and I fly too
I fly in sky, I fly over oceans
I fly and fly with my new found wings
Dawns turned into dusk
Days and Nights passed by
I am the Shine in my EVERY Dawn that passes by
Happiness is found in self, not in the wait
I realise as days pass by…

A Girl in Cross Roads

Below is the story I wrote for a short story writing competition. I was given a passage which I have to use anywhere in my story and the rule is that the story should be a life lesson. The passage given to me was:

She sat in the Starbucks cafe, sipping her coffee and staring out of the window. The blood stained knife lay next to her handbag, covered with her blue silk scarf

Now read on my story

*************************************************************************************************************

She stares into the mirror, watching her reflection. “Honey colored eyes”, that is what he used to tell her and his gaze would melt her. She sighs, recovers and splashes water on her face. Focus is important now and her work has to be carried out without wasting any further time. She takes a knife out of her bag, hesitates for a moment before slashing it on her hand. Warm blood comes out and stains the knife. The cut is not very deep, not deep enough to kill her. One more time and her spirit will be free. Just as she lifts her knife held hand again, somebody knocks on the door.

the-girl-for-the-dream-world

“Hello!! Is anybody in there? You have been there for a rather long time. Please come out”, a woman shout restlessly knocking the door. She is in the cafe’s restroom trying to take her life but is disturbed by this continuous knocking. Her concentration is disturbed. The time is not yet right. She will come back later and attempt again. Lucky that the wound is not very deep, she just cleans it with a tissue and comes out giving way for the angry woman. She comes back to her seat in the cafe.

She sat in the Starbucks cafe, sipping her coffee and staring out of the window. The blood stained knife lay next to her handbag, covered with her blue silk scarf. Evening dusk rays falls on her face and elevates her features.   This is his favorite place to hang out. It is situated near the famous shopping district and always filled with people creating a lively atmosphere. He always insisted they come here. This is where they had hung out many times. Today, she is alone here and he would be married by this time. Today is his wedding.

Every inch of this place holds their memories. The promises they made to each other. Today those promises do not mean anything to him. “I will show him what true love is”, she thought. ”I will give away my life for the sake of our love”, she pacified herself. She looked around the cafe. There are about 4 other tables apart from her table and a sofa towards the other corner of the cafe. In the center of the cafe, towards the wall is the billing counter. Her table is in the rear end of the cafe near the window. From her table, she can see all the other tables clearly. Being a public holiday, the cafe is filled with people. There is a young couple with their small daughter on the table to her right. The father is showing off his muscles to his daughter and she is giggling uncontrollably. The mother is looking lovingly at both of them. In the table to her left, an aged mother and her son are sipping their coffee. In the sofa, friends have gathered for a birthday celebration. The Center table is occupied by a middle aged person working on his laptop, whilst his coffee turns cold having been ignored. The table towards the wall, near the billing counter is empty. Beside this table is the door to the restroom. The cafe staff, a cheerful boy and a young girl are busy serving the orders. That is what he used to like about this place. This place is known for its excellent customer service and amazing coffee.

The cafe door opens and three people with heavy bags enter. First one is wearing a green color T- shirt. He looks young, perhaps in his early twenties. The second one wearing a grey T-shirt and the third one wearing a black T-shirt both appear middle-aged. They go towards the empty table and occupy. She can see them from her table. They seem to be tourists. They seem to be talking in a different language.

She has wasted enough time already. Time has come to attempt again. She moves towards the restroom with her bag, with the knife wrapped in blue scarf lying safely in the bag. When she reaches the rest room door, the guy in the green T-shirt gets up suddenly, punches her in the face and takes his gun out. She hits the wall and falls down shocked with the unexpected blow.

The other two guys also take their guns out. The cafe and its occupants are all trying to get in terms with the happenings even as chaos sets in. The middle aged man in the center table tries to run towards the door. Before he can reach, the black T-shirt man pulls him and punches him in the face. He moves towards the door and stands guard there. “Until the government releases our leader you all will remain our guests!” shouts the grey T-shirt man. “If anybody tries to move and cause trouble, we will not think a second before shooting that person”. Her nose is bleeding due to the punch. She sits on the floor near the rest room door watching them helplessly.

The young couple’s daughter starts crying and the parents are unable to control her. “Keep her quiet”, the black T-shirt guy shouts. He picks a satellite phone from his bag, speaks in low voice into it. “Your government is aware of the attack” he announces loudly to no one in particular. Everybody is gazing at them in silence. The green T-shirt guy indiscreetly presses the remote to get on to the hourly news bulletin which has just started to report this incident as its breaking news. .

A number of police vans are parked outside the cafe. Press vehicles have also surrounded the cafe. Negotiators are talking to these men asking for their demands. There seems to be a lot going on outside the cafe. It seems as though hours have passed and she is still sitting on the floor watching the happenings. The child has stopped crying now but is clearly unsettled. “My child is running temperature and appears disturbed”, the child’s father shouts at them “She needs medical assistance urgently”. “Just shut up and sit there without moving”, the black T-shirt man shouts. “I need a doctor to see my daughter right now”, the angry dad says, “You take my life, I don’t care but I want my child to be saved. She looks at him from her place. His face is full of anger and love, a rare combination. All that matters to him at this moment is his daughter. His words trigger a distant memory for her, she can hear her dad‘s voice in her head. She is taken back to that day when she met with a terrible accident.

“I need a doctor to see my child right now. If she is not attended I am going to drag you people to road”, her dad shouts in the hospital. He was carrying her in his arms and he ran from pillar to post to ensure she was treated on time. His timely actions gave her a new life that day. Her dad has been her big support always. She had lost her mother when she was a one year old child and from then on, her dad took care of her every need. He did not re-marry even though he was young as he wanted to ensure that her future is secure. In her every joy he found his joy and he would do anything to wipe that tear of her face. Her dad, her hero will be devastated if he comes to know what she was up to today.

“Thud!! “, the sound gets her back to the present. She sees that the aged mother in the left side table has fainted and fallen down. The son is hovering over her and shaking her. Outside sirens are ringing and lots of vehicles are moving into the area. The son tries to wake his mom. The little girl’s father hands over the girl to his wife and tries to go near that table, but the green T-shirt guy catches hold of him and hits him hard on his shoulder. He falls down whimpering in pain. The son is crying loudly and shaking his mom. “Ma, please wake up. It is my mistake that I forced you to come here today. I thought we will celebrate my first salary with a cup of coffee, but didn’t know I will put you in trouble!” he cries uncontrollably. She knows how it feels to buy something special for a loved one with one’s first earning. She had treated her father too, when she had her first salary. When she thinks about it even today, her heart fills with joy.

“Pa, please don’t keep calculating the costs”, she whispered to her father and snatched the menu card from his hand. “Please order whatever you want, today is my treat” she said. After that day, for at least one week her father proudly spoke about her to everybody. “I am sure she will reach such heights one day that I will be recognized as her dad”, her father kept on saying. “When I retire I will happily relax and you will be there by my side. What else can I ask for in this life”, he said to her with tears in his eyes. If her attempt was successful today, sure he would have been known by her name but that will not make him proud rather it will make him bend his head in shame. The thought of this makes her shudder.

The boy has stopped crying now and he is looking at his mother helplessly. The grey T-shirt guy keeps talking into his satellite phone in low voice. The negotiations are going on. She looks at the news channel which is capturing the live actions of the police vans, media crews, ambulances that are waiting outside. A crowd has gathered and police are trying to control the crowd. The black T-shirt man moves away from the door for a brief moment to discuss further action with his fellow mates, just then one of the guys from the birthday celebration group gets up and runs towards the door to escape. The black T-shirt man moves back immediately and hits the guy on his head with his gun. All the friends shout loudly and run towards him. The black T-shirt man pushes the guy towards his gang and his friends catch him. “The next time someone tries this, the bullets will speak”, the black T-shirt man barks. She looks at the friends, as all of them huddle for a group hug, in an attempt to protect each other. She thinks of her friends.

Her lovely friends, who always watched her back, pampered her and encouraged her in every aspect. In college she was their star, leader and support. She excelled in everything she did. What would her friends say when they come to know that she who always spoke ideals have attempted to take her own life.

She has not valued any of these people in her life when she decided to take her life. She would have killed her dad’s dreams; she would have let her friends down and most of all she would have fallen down in her own eyes. Is this called love, to take life for a person who has never cared to look back and carried on with his life? Suddenly she felt as though there was no difference between her and these armed-men. They were killing innocent families and with that their dreams. Even she was about to do the same, kill herself and with that her father’s dreams. How did she even allow another person to push her to take her own life? “My life will be worth if I were to lose it while fighting these fanatics, rather than die for some idiot who didn’t even value me”, she thought.

She quickly recovers and looks around to assess the situation. By now, the police are surrounding almost the entire cafe and the black T-shirt man although standing guard has moved away to the center. The grey T-shirt man is also guarding another part of the cafe, while the green T-shirt lad is standing close by. She realizes that she is just an arm’s length from his legs. She cautiously removes the knife which is still wrapped under her blue silk scarf and with great force manages to slash it through his legs. He loses his balance and falls on her while letting out a wild shriek, obviously in severe pain. He is just unable to comprehend whatever happened. Seeing this act, even as the other two men run towards her, the now-motivated father of the little girl also runs behind them and hits them from back. Before they can recover from this situation, the group of friends run towards the door and opens it for the police and the para-military force.

A few minutes later, the scene is completely different. She is now wrapped in a blanket with a cup of hot tea in her hand. Police has taken control of the situation and arrested the armed-men. As the now relieved hostages are treated with first-aid, everybody around including the men in uniform have a word of honor for her. It was as if she was living a dream in fast-forward mode. The doctor finishes treating her. ”Please wait here, an officer wants to talk to you”, he says before leaving her alone. She is left alone to her thoughts while waiting for the officer.

Today she has thought of taking her life and also of saving lives. What a contradiction on a single day. Within a span of a few hours she learnt a big lesson and got to look at life differently. Suicide is not the solution for everything and self-love is more important than anything. Anybody before taking their life one should think about the people who love them, trust them and build their dreams around them. Hope and trust on oneself is a must.

“Madam, thank you so much for your courage today, but I would like to ask why were you carrying a knife along? Anyways, we have taken its custody”, the officer tells her. She looks blankly at him, wondering what to answer. “OK madam, we can discuss later, you please take care”.

She walks towards the road, into the shining rays of dawn with a new glow on her face. She has learnt a lesson today, a lesson so precious that she will never forget in life.

Lockout @ 24

8:30 AM, 24th December

Jingle bells, Jingle bells jingle all the way I sing while I pack my bag for office. My eyes fall on the fortune cookie which I have opened yesterday night. Something exciting is on your way it said. Wow!! Exciting!! I am ready bring it on!! I say out loud and continue packing my documents. While everybody is in holiday mood, I am stuck away from home in another country for my work commitments. Being a day before Christmas, my client office is open for only half day after which it will be closed for Christmas holidays.

I have to get a couple of documents signed off by the client and leave to catch a flight to my home town at 6:00pm. I have to take this flight at any cost as my visa also expires on next day, which is the Christmas day. So it is very critical for me that I get documents signed off and leave today to my country. As this was a short visit, I choose to stay in a friend’s house. She has already left to Paris for her holiday. I am supposed to hand over the keys to her colleague before I leave for the airport.

9:00 AM, 24th December

I am almost ready to  start for office and I see that my phone is ringing. This must be from office reminding me about my meeting. I take the call but cannot hear anything as signal is low. In order to take the call, I rush to the front door and accidentally pull the door shut. The door gets locked automatically. After a second, to my utter shock, I realise that I have just come out with my phone leaving all my things inside the apartment including the apartment keys. There is no way for me to get into the apartment or no way to get out of the building common door. I am standing in bare foot outside the apartment shivering with cold as it snows outside unable to comprehend what just happened.

The building in which the apartment is located has three floors with two apartments in each floor and a common entrance door to the building. My friend’s apartment is on middle floor right hand side. As I am here for only for short term I do not know any of her neighbors.

10:00 AM, 24th December

I am dead scared as none of my efforts to open the door have worked. I tried to push the door hard even kicked it (yeah tried how they show in movies!!!) but the door is not opened. I tried calling my friend but her phone is not reachable. I remember the letting agency name through whom my friend got this house. Luckily I have that agency number in my phone so I try calling them. Every time the line gets connected, some automated record plays with a spooky female voice singing some Christmas carol. I try for 5th time now but still that spooky voice plays (I swear to god one more time I hear this lady singing, I will break my phone!!!) and it looks like the agency is closed for Christmas holidays. Looks like my phone sensed the danger, it announces that battery is low and the phone switches off.

I have 8 hours before my flight takes off. My Coat, Shoes, laptop, suite cases, passport, ticket and money is inside the house. I shiver as the cold passes through my body and it occurs to me that even my visa expires by next day.

I knock on the door of the opposite apartment. After knocking for long time, the door opens slowly. Behind the door, a man is standing in his white bath robe. There is something very scary about this guy. He looks extremely fair, dark brown hair and cracked lips. He looks like vampire that was about to go to bed. “What is it, my love?” He asks me his voice sounding extremely calm. “Err!!” I say lost for words and deeply scared by his appearance. “Come inside my dear we can talk,” he says looking still at me not even battling his eyes for a moment. I remember the gypsy women who lure teenage girls and say “come inside the caravan darling, I will tell you about the man of your dreams.”

“I am sorry to disturb you, actually I knocked on wrong apartment door,” I say to him trying to act as if I am going downstairs. “That’s alright, please come inside,” he says to me. Utterly scared, I blabber something and rush downstairs and act as if talking on my phone. He looks after me for few seconds and locks his door. Thank god!! I don’t want to become a Christmas present for vampire!!

10:45 AM, 24th December

I knock the left hand side apartment door in ground floor for long time but nobody opens the door so I knock on the right hand side apartment. A cheerful looking young man opens the door. Before I could say hello, I hear a voice in background and a young lady appears behind him. “Hi, I stay in apartment number 24. I have locked myself out of the apartment. Can you please help?’ I ask him. He looks at me skeptically and says “we are going out now for a doctor’s appointment. Not sure we can be of any help. ” “Please help me!! I have my flight in few hours and all my things are inside,” I tell them. She whispers something in his ear and goes inside. She comes out with a bunch of keys in her hand and says “You can try to open with our set of keys, but we cannot be sure if it works. Just give it a try.” I hurry upstairs and try hoping for a miracle to happen but it does not work. “It does not work,” I tell them and hand over the keys. “We are really late for the appointment we might be back soon so if you can wait then we will see what to do,” he says to me and they lock their apartment and leave. I just stand there not knowing what to do and how to proceed. Times just seem to tick away. As it is very cold and I am standing bare foot and no coat, my fingers starts to hurt terribly. Who ever said white Christmas is beautiful!!! Sigh!!

11:30 AM, 24th December

Time has passed and the couple has not returned. I am really running out of time now. I just go to top floor of the apartment and knock on the door. After a while a very beautiful lady who appears to be in her mid-forties opens the door. “Hi I stay in apartment number 24 and I have locked myself out. All my things are inside the apartment and I have a flight to catch. Please help me,” I say to her. “Actually I am in hurry, I am running late to catch my flight for my holiday,” she says. “Please help me as my visa expires tomorrow, I have to leave now. My friend is not back until after New Year’s Eve, “I plead to her. “ Come inside let me see what I can do,” she invites me inside her house. “Father, she has locked herself out of the apartment can you check if you can help her?” she says to the old man in the hall. He mumbles something to her in angry tone but eventually gets his tool box and follows me to my apartment. He tries to open the automatic lock but fails after multiple attempts. We both go back to their apartment. “I think we have to call the landlord, maybe he will have another set of keys,” she says. “I do not know who the land lord is,” I say to her. “Let me check apartment community emails, maybe I can find his contact,” she says hopefully and goes inside the room to check on her computer. “Are we not getting late for our flight? Why are you so concerned about this stranger? She will figure out what to do,” her father says to her following her inside the room. “Father, let me do whatever to help her. Can’t you see she is in trouble?” she hushes her father right away.

12:30 PM, 24th December

I am almost in tears now. “I think we have to call lock smith. That is the only option I can see,” she says. Apparently, she found out from the emails and couple of calls to other association members that the landlord stays in an island and does not visit here very often. His phone number is also not reachable. “What if the lock has to be broken, if the lock has to change then we have to get the land lord permission for it else it is illegal to break the lock,” says the father. “If we have to break the lock, then we have to go ahead and do it as all her things are there inside,” says the lady. “We have to get association permission and also landlord is not reachable who will take the responsibility? How sure you are that she is telling the truth? What if she does not stay here at all?” shouts her father ignoring the fact that I am standing there and listening to them. “Father, please let me handle this. I will take the responsibility and any blame. I am ready to face it but let me help her now” she says to him and cuts him off.

She calls a number of locksmiths but many of them are either on holiday or far away from my location and due to snow they cannot arrive on time. I am just standing in their hall and looking at her while she tries number after number.

01:00 PM, 24th December

“At last one locksmith agreed to come. You are lucky he is driving towards this town and can stop by how ever as it is on holiday, he wishes to charge more,” she says. When she mentions how much he wishes to charge, my jaw drops open but I do not have any choice now. “I have no money with me as all my things are inside and I am not carrying so much cash even in my bag,” I tell her. She thinks for a moment goes inside and come with cash in her hand. She gives me the cash and says “I have saved this money to buy something special for my daughter for Christmas on our holiday. But you can use this money and give me back later when you can withdraw,” she says to me. “This is the limit!! How can you give this money to her when you don’t even know her? Being a single parent, I know how hard you have worked to save this lot so that your daughter does not feel left out this Christmas. How can you just drop it off for this stranger?” her father shouts angrily at her. “Father, if we cannot help a fellow person in need then I do not think any gift I buy will give happiness to us. If I can teach my daughter to be compassionate and helpful, then that will be the biggest gift she can get,” she says and hands over the cash to me.

“We have to leave now as we got late. You wait in front of your apartment for the lock smith,” she says locking her apartment door. “What about the money?” I ask her. “You can return it back to me when you can,” she says and the family leaves.

01:30 PM, 24th December

The locksmith comes and examines the lock. He just uses a string and does something with the lock, within seconds the door opens. I feel so happy and there are no words to describe my relief. I pay him and thank him for helping me. I go inside the apartment and check my personal phone and there are lot of miss calls from office. “Where have you been? Are you alright? Client is still waiting for you” says my colleague.” I will tell you later please, can you take sign off instead off me, I will email you the documents,” I tell him and send him the documents. I realise that in my tension I have not thanked the lady who helped me

02:30 PM, 24th December

I take a cab and go to town center. I buy flowers, Thank you card and withdraw cash. I write Thank you on the card and realise I have not even asked her name due to the situation. “Thank you Savior”, I write on the card and sign “Yours, Stranger”. I keep the cash in an envelope and push the card and cash inside through their door. I decorate their apartment door with flowers. I am overwhelmed by the whole experience today and my faith in humanity has risen. Today, I  learn a lesson that giving back to the society and doing our bit for the people in need is the true essence of any festival. I take an oath myself to learn to be compassionate and helpful from now on and not to turn blind eye on people who need my help.

04:00 PM, 24th December

I take my suitcase out and check all my documents. I pull the door to lock and the door locks automatically. For a moment I stand still, have I taken the keys? I search my coat pockets frantically, relief passes over me when my hand touches the key bunch.

And the baby came

‘Do I look like vampire?’ my friend questions me in phone. ‘Do you realise that it is 3 AM and you have called me to ask THIS?’ I reply back. ‘Ahh! Never mind the TIME first answer my question’ she says. I sigh and answer, ‘No you don’t and shall I go back to sleep now?’ She seems to ignore the anger in my voice and continues ‘OK dear go back to sleep now. See you tomorrow in office.’ From the day my best friend came to know she is going to be mother, she keeps getting these weird doubts and also weirder cravings.When I came to know the news I was excited and happy for her but little did I know what was in store for me (Phew!!!). post7_1

‘Now it is your turn’ says my friend. I start singing the next song and my friend joins in. We both are in bus going to office. We both are singing songs to our heart content ignoring the stares from others. This is our daily routine when we get into bus these days (Listening to songs and singing is good for pregnant ladies – says my friend). Knowing my singing ability still I dare to sing in public. I am sure kid is cursing me every day. ‘Stop the bus’ says my friend suddenly ‘Right now!! Stop the bus’, she shrieks and stands up. The conductor and driver of the bus get scared and stop the bus. She gets down the bus and walks very fast across the road. I get scared and get down the bus and run behind her. ‘Hey what is it?’ I shout to her. ‘Why did u get down the bus?’ She does not answer me and crosses the road. I just follow her. She stops finally in front of a hoarding and pants. I also look at the hording; it is some advertisement of a hotel. ‘That’, she points out to the hording and says, ‘I want to eat that.’ I don’t understand what she wants to eat. ‘What is that you want to eat?’ I ask her. ‘I want to eat that sweet in the advertisement now ‘she says. Oh!! She ran across the road for this. ‘Do you realise you scared all of us and crossed this heavy traffic road to show this stupid sweet’ I ask her. ‘This is not stupid sweet!! This will be the most delicious thing I will ever eat. Now!! Right now!! I want to eat it’ she sayspost7_2.

 

I call an auto and tell the hotel address shown in the advertisement. I have taken photo of the sweet from hoarding so that I can recognise it in the hotel. ‘You grab a chair and wait, let me go and buy the sweet for you’ I say to her. She nods happily and settles herself in a chair. I go to the counter and wait for my turn. ‘Please give me a piece of this sweet’ I show the photo to the man behind the counter. That guy gives me a strange look and packs a single piece for me. I take it back to my friend and give it to her. She looks at the sweet and does not touch it. ‘Eat’ I say to her but she does not touch it. ‘What happened? Eat the sweet’ I say to her. ‘But the colour of the sweet in the advertisement seems bit different from this one. Somehow I don’t feel like eating it now’ she says. ‘Are you serious?’ I say in disbelief. We have come all the way here and now she does not feel like eating (Sniff …Sniff… Yeah I am crying!!! Thanks for your concern!! ). ‘Yes, let us go back to office’ she says.

I reach canteen in tea break and there I see her waiting for me, lost in her serious thoughts. I sit in chair next to her but she does not seem to notice and is still lost in her thoughts. ‘What is that you are thinking now?’ I ask her. ‘I want my kid to have long hair like me and big eyes like my husband. I read somewhere that if we see a person’s photo graph daily then the kid will have those features. Hey I want my kid also to have dimple like you. Shall I keep all the photos in my bedroom and look at them daily?’ she asks me. ‘Oh!! I didn’t know you are going to give birth to photo copy machine which will copy features from photographs. I thought it will be human baby which will be formed from your genes.’ I say mockingly to her. She laughs at my irritation. ‘Ok!! At least let me buy some cute baby posters for my bedroom’ she says. We say good bye and get back to work.

‘I have moved to a new place here. I hope I will make new friends here too’, our friend who stays in USA has called. It another (boring) day in office and as usual all our gang is on the conference call. ‘Hey don’t worry am sure you will be fine’ I say. ‘Wish you can take break during my delivery time. You can see my new born’ says my best friend. ‘Yes, let me plan my visit around that time’ says my USA friend. ‘How do you manage food in new place? Do you get any Indian food there?’ I ask my USA friend. ‘Yeah, I get everything. You know what I ate samosa other day and felt so nice’, he says and laughs. Suddenly my pregnant friend says ‘ohhhh!!’ And she is dropped of the call. ‘Hello!! Are you there? What happened? Anything wrong?’ I say. There is no answer from her. I feel panicked. ‘Let me go to her floor and see what happened’ I say to others on the call. ‘Yeah just go and check on her. Hope she is not in any pain’ says my USA friend. I drop of the call and rush to the floor where she works. From the window I cannot see her in her place. I see a colleague of her going inside the work place. I stop her and say, ‘Can you please check and tell me if my friend is there inside the work place?’ She checks and confirms that she is not there anywhere. I quickly go to Ladies room and check if she is there. Even there I cannot find her. I check in every corridor and her favourite place where she stands and talks on phone. I cannot find her anywhere. My phone rings and I see my USA friend is calling. ‘Hello!! I cannot find her anywhere’ I say to him. ‘OMG!! Where did she disappear?’ even he sounds panicked. ‘I will call you as soon as I find her. Bye for now’ I say and cut the call.

 

post7_3I go to parking area to see if she is there anywhere but she is not there. May be she is in some trouble. Maybe she went to medical facility and at this thought I run to the medical facility in our office. ‘Has any pregnant lady come here?’ I ask the nurse there.’ Nobody has come’ she answers me. I go inside and check all the beds I cannot see her. In between I am calling her and her mobile is not reachable. I check dormitory, near ATM and any other place I can think of. I am worried now should I call her husband and inform? Let me inform the security first and then call her family. I am walking towards the security who is standing near the canteen suddenly I see her in there sitting in one corner. I run towards her and see that she is eating samosa. Evening sun is falling on her face; she is glowing and looks very happy as if she has achieved something. ‘What the hell are you doing here? You have cut the call in between and without notice you have disappeared. Do you have any idea how much worried I was? Your phone is also not reachable. ‘I yell at her. ‘You guys were talking about samosa and I felt like eating it so I just came off to canteen’ she says innocently. I forgot all the tension I went through and burst out laughing.‘You heard samosa so you cut the call and came here to eat samosa?’ I say still laughing. She also says yes and joins me laughing.

post7_4Days are passing by with new experiences each day. I still continue to sing horrible songs and make her listen to me. Sometimes we both even compose songs together with silly notes. I started experimenting new recipes and make her eat. Her weirder cravings and doubts continued making me go mad sometimes. And one day the baby came. I rush to hospital as soon as I get the news. ‘Hey!! How are you feeling?’ I ask my friend. She smiles and nods her head. I see the tiny little baby beside her. I carefully carry her in my hands and look at the sweet little face. ‘Ahh!! Here you are the cause of my troubles for all these months. No more womb services’ I say to the baby. Suddenly the baby smile ceases, she looks at me intensely and starts crying. ‘OHHH!!’ She has come to know that this is the voice which sang all those horrible songs. May be she recognised my voice and got scared I will sing again. ‘Shhhh …. baby Shhh…’ I say ‘don’t worry I am not going to sing’. She continues to wail at the top of her voice. The nurse comes running to the room. ‘I have not done anything. I dint sing also’ I say in panic. Nurse takes the baby from me and says to us ‘If the baby cries first check if you have to change her sheets.’ We both look at each other and smile.

I sit in chair and relax. From now on days will be cool. I can relax. No more cooking new recipes, no more singing songs, no more running with food snaps to match them. I can relax now. Another best friend comes to see the baby. ‘Guys, I have news to share. Guess what? I am going to be mother. My husband is travelling on work for 3 months anyways you guys are there to take care of me right’ she says. ‘What?’ I say loudly, ‘I mean congrats’ I say. I look at the baby in the cradle and she winks (I swear she winked ;-))

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A Letter from my Mother

Mom is baking my birthday cake and I am sitting on the kitchen counter chatting with her. Smell of my favourite food is lingering in the kitchen. I am happily laughing. ‘Are you listening?’ My manager questions me. Oh!! I was day dreaming. I come back to reality of conference room and try to mumble something to my manager. Today is my birthday and here I am struck in a foreign country away from family attending meetings running from one conference room to another with laptop in hand. Worst of all today is Monday (Thanks for your Sympathy. It means a lot to me). Birthday on Monday is worst combination ever.

My work is done and I am walking back to my apartment. The feeling of spending birthday evening alone is not so appealing. I open my apartment door and see there is pile of post lying on the floor. Letters from council, marketing promotions and in the end of the pile I see a cover addressed to me with familiar handwriting. ‘To my daughter with love’, it reads. What!!!!! My mom wrote me a letter!!!   I spoke to her today morning she dint mention regarding writing a letter to me. I curiously open the letter. I see that on right side top corner of the letter she has mentioned date, time and place.

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‘Dear Daughter, I wish you a very happy birthday. I know you are alone there today, missing US. I felt few feelings are best shared through hand written letters rather than emails or phone calls’ (I hope she does not say on this birthday I want to reveal that you are adopted). I focus back on letter and continue to read. ‘I was cleaning our attic today and found your dance dress and anklets. Your passion for dance, you dance programs and how beautiful you looked when dressed as dancer flashed in front of my eyes. Did I tell you how proud I feel about you always? I know you are an independent woman today leading your life but for me you will always remain my baby who I used to hold in my hands. I still remember the day you are born, the joy you gave to me and daddy ‘. At the end of the page I see that mom has drawn some drawings resembling a small girl and she even named it with my name. I smile and continue reading the letter.post1_1

‘You know what I like most about you, it is your smile. I once told you in childhood that you should always keep smiling whatever it may come in your way and you always continued to do the same. Dear child I know as you grow older there will be lots of hardships that will come in your way but just remember even the brightest star SUN has eclipse after all we are humans.As eclipse passes of and brightness comes back in same way hardships pass away and there will be light again. I was looking through old photos one afternoon and saw many photos of your childhood. Many good memories passed through my mind. How you and your brother used to set up Ganapati in our garden during Ganesh Chaturthi. How your cousins and friends used to spend summer holidays in our house. How you at every chance given used to jump to dance. Once you could not wait till I opened new nail polish bottle and you broke the lid with stone. I was so angry on you that day. I laugh when I think about those days. How my silly little girl is grown into an independent woman today’.

‘Daughters are mother’s eyes to see the world. I was born again the day you are born. I grew up with you. I laughed when you laughed, I cried when you cried, I suffered when you are in pain. I fiercely protected you so that you are never hurt for anything. The first time you went on stage to perform, I was nervous. The day you gave your board exams, I was awake with you every night and studied along with you. The day came when you have to fly with your new found wings I was felt as if I was flying. Whenever you travelled to new place and shared the memories with me, I felt as if I am seeing the world through your eyes. You introduced me to technology, helped me learn things. We mothers protect, support, teach, and take care of you daughters, eventually the process is reversed as you daughters protect, teach and take care of us. I am sure every mother will agree with me

I look away from letter. I feel all heavy suddenly. All the memories cross in front of eyes. How she has encouraged me to be what I am today, my confession box, my GO TO person whenever I am confused what to do. Many a times I have taken her for granted (As many of us do, taking mother for granted). My eyes are filled with tears, I continue reading the letter.

‘Dear Daughter’, my mom writes, ‘on this day I want to tell you few things which I want you to practice in life. When you want to estimate other person’s behaviour, you note down their negative and positive points. You behaviour should always be on the other person positive points. Try to see positive in every person and mould your behaviour accordingly. If you ever feel angry or upset on anything just write your feelings down on a paper. This will help you sort your thoughts and let go. Letting go is what I want you to learn’.

I look away from the letter and get lost in my thoughts how rightly said letting go is what we all have to learn in life. Else we will be stuck in past and never be able to progress in life. I gather my thoughts and focus back on my letter.

‘Whenever you face a problem in life, if you are scared then the problem will win over you and trouble to the greatest extent. The moment you stop getting scared and turn around to face it, the problem will run away from you. Dear child, whenever life is hard on you, just put a brave face and flash your ravishing smile then see how life will take a turn and everything will turn in your favour. I am always there with you. Remember in life where ever you are, whatever it is I Love you a lot. I am your greatest fan and always proud of you. My love will always protect you. I wish you a very happy birthday child’.

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By the time I reach the end of letter my eyes are filled with tears. I see at the end of letter my mom has drawn pictures of us and named each of them. My picture is smiling the most. Warmth has spread around me as I hug the letter and feel as if I am in my mom’s hug. The letter smells of my mom’s perfume. I guess she has sprayed her perfume on the letter. I am not alone after all on this birthday. The letter from my mother has filled me with lots of energy. This is the best birthday gift ever. A hand written letter carries so much emotion than email or phone messages. I take my note pad and start writing reply to my mom.

When was the last time you wrote a letter to your mother? Or when was the last time you got a letter from your mother? Why don’t you write one now and feel the happiness I felt today. And yes, don’t forget to spray your favourite perfume on the letter ;-)

Whenever I am low, my mother’s words echo in my ears ‘whenever life is hard on you, just put a brave face and flash your ravishing smile’. That is it I just flash my smile and everything is under control J J

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What is your score?

‘ACID properties guarantee that transactions are processed reliably’. ‘ACD properties ‘shit I missed something again. ‘AIDS properties guarantee that transactions are processed reliably’. “OMG!!” ‘What are u saying about AIDS? It guarantees that transactions are processed reliably?’ My friend looks at me and gasps. We have our 6th semester exam tomorrow so I am waiting for my friends to join for our usual group study. My best friend arrives first, drops her bag on the floor and sits beside me. She asks me suspiciously, ‘What are u reading about AIDS?’ ‘Nooo!!! I was reading about database properties but I am failing to memorise correctly’ I say. ‘OH Ok Ok!!’  She replies and gets busy in opening her books. ‘What is the most dreaded question in student life?’ I ask her. ‘What is your score?’ She says and sighs. ‘Yeah I agree. People asking how much we scored is the most dreaded question. Asking students about their score should be made illegal’ I say.  ‘Let us start our exam preparation with the most important task’ I say. We both look at each other and say together ‘Foood!!’ We should not feel hungry while we study right. The food should be directly proportional to the books we have. After all we should keep up the energy levels (Don’t you agree?).  We go to nearby store and pick up

exam1all varieties of snacks. When we go to pay the bill the person in the billing counter asks us ‘Beta is there any party?’ We look at each other and say ‘Kind off!!’ By the time we go back, all my friends arrive and we settle down to study.

‘Let us go through the topics and I will explain them’ says the intelligent friend in our gang. I roll my eyes and look at him (Ah!! Yes he is exactly like that friend of yours who is intelligent and scores high all the time even though he hardly studies). ‘You’ he looks at me and says ‘ Did u get your own pen and note book this time or like last time you will disturb others’? ‘Yeah I have got my things’ I say. While we go through the topics I ask my intelligent friend ‘Is there any short cut to remember this?’ He fumes and says ‘There are no short cuts to learning. You need to understand the concept well’.  ‘It is general mentality of people these days that short cuts are easy way to success’ says another friend. ‘We are future of nation how can you think like this?’ My intelligent friend points at me. By end of next 5 minutes there is huge group discussion on FUTURE OF NATION. We all forget about exam tomorrow and deeply immerse ourselves in arguments.  “OH MY GOD!!” ‘We have wasted so much time in arguments we still have 12 chapter to cover’ says my intelligent friend who suddenly realises how much time we wasted. Everybody gives me a look as if it is my fault.  He starts explaining about the topics I see my best friend is pushing her book towards me and shows what she has written in the book. It reads Do not worry we both will make short cuts to memorise. I write What if these people come to know and push the book towards her.  She writes we will do it when everyone sleeps and pushes the book towards me. Do you think I am bad FUTURE OF NATION? I write and push towards her.  She writes don’t be silly and draws a cute smiley face and pushes the book towards me. I giggle and look at her. We both start laughing. By now everybody are looking at us with a disapproved look on their faces.

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It is dinner time now and we all came to nearby canteen to have food. By now more than covering chapters we have discussed, argued, agreed, disagreed on various topics under sun. Except our exam subject tomorrow we have covered topics like Tribes in amazon forest to NASA developments, Haunted buildings in city to ghost experiences, what government should be doing to what the laws should be like, Our Crushes to heart breaks and so on. ‘We have very little time we have to cover few more chapters’ says my intelligent friend. ‘Give me your water bottle’ he says to me. ‘No I do not share my bottle’ I say. ‘Girls are so possessive’ he says. ‘Guys are more possessive than girls’ says my best friend angrily. Again we start another discussion on Guys Vs Girls, who is more possessive.  We are shouting on top of our voices and suddenly lights go off. The canteen owner is standing near the door with lock in his hands. He looks seriously at us and says ‘Can you guys please stop your discussion and leave? I am waiting to close the canteen’. We hurry outside back to our group study room. By now all of us are dead scared of tomorrow.

Today is the day of exam.  We have not slept whole night and somehow finished all the chapters. ‘Let us have breakfast’ I say to my friends.  My intelligent friend looks as if he wants to kill me and says ‘What is the most important thing for you to do on exam day?’ ‘Any day I should have breakfast first’ I say. ‘Seriously is there anything more important than food to you? Now please revise. We can eat after exam’ He says.

exam-cartoon

I take bath, wear my sentiment dress and pray to god (No!! I did not wash my hair just normal bath.  NEVER wash your hair during exams all that you have studied will be washed off. Ok!! Do not laugh. Can we have some respect for my sentiments please!! THANK YOU!! ). I am the most religious person today. I start revising the topics suddenly I hear my favourite song playing. I turn around and look from where the song is coming from and realise that it is playing in my head. I try to ignore the voice and read loudly ‘Normalisation is used to keep a database as efficient as it can possibly’. The song play in my head ‘Baazigar OOO Baazigar…’ I close my eyes and read loudly. How much ever fast I read, even faster the song plays in my head. It is like DBMS and Baazigar song face off in my head. ‘Normalisation is used to keep…Baazigar OO Baazigar’. ‘Normalisation is used Baazigar O Baazigar  …

examsongNormalisation  …Baazigar’. “Grrrrrr!!!” Let me finish singing the song first and then study. I sing the whole song loudly then feel content.

I reach the exam hall on time and find my place. I settle down, place my things on the desk and look around. I feel everybody looks confident except me. I see guy next to me has spread different colour pens and pencils on his desk. ‘Excuse me are you by any chance trying to sell those here?’ I ask him. He gives me an angry look and says’ No!! These are to highlight my answers’.  ‘Everybody settle down. We are about to distribute question papers’ shouts the invigilator. Suddenly I feel everything is going on in slow motion. I see from corner of my eye that invigilator is distributing question papers.

My stomach crunches and I can hear my heartbeat. I feel I do not remember anything whatever I studied. At last I get my question paper and I glance through the questions. Whatever I THOUGHT will revise later and forgot to revise appears in question paper (I am a STAR!! You see). I start writing my answers. I see the guy next to me is going on taking additional sheets. I have not even completed main sheet. I border my answer sheet four sides with pencil like making a frame. Ahhh!! Now I have only small space left to fill. The invigilator looks at my paper and screams at me not to waste paper.  ‘Erase that frame, fill the page completely then only I will give you additional sheet’ he says. I sigh and start erasing.

exam2 Just then some poor fellow student releases stomach gas with sound giving trouble to all our noses (Everybody has their own ways of releasing exam pressure I guess :P ). ‘What is that noise? Keep quite!!’ says the invigilator. Well!! Nobody could say what that noise was :P :P

The exam is over and I try to give my best. Outside exam hall I wait for my friends. My best friend comes out and by looking at each other we know how we have done our paper. Another best friend from our group comes towards us. ‘How did you do?’ I ask her. ‘I have not attempted most of the questions. I have not written properly at all’ she says. ‘Oh!! Poor you do not worry we all are in same boat’ I say to boost her morale (Actually it is quite comforting to know somebody else also did like us HA HA!!! I am not alone you see :P)

Today our results have come. I glance across the classroom and see all my classmates talking animatedly to each other. One of our classmates is arguing with professor to give her extra mark. As usual our intelligent friend scores the highest.

Exam-results1The friend who said she has not attempted many questions gets the second highest and I really wonder how she got so many marks without attempting full paper ( May be professor corrected the paper twice!!). ‘How did you get so many marks?’ I ask her.  She smiles sheepishly at me. Anyways I feel happy for her and congratulate her. I come outside the class room, my best friend joins me. ‘What is your score?’ we both say at same time. ‘Never mind!!’ I say to her and we both burst out laughing.

(Psstss… if you find any similarities to your gang, then let me THANK GOD I am not the only one who ended up with crazy gang :P ).

 

 

Finding Hobby

‘My hobbies are….umm..My hobby is … ummm ..errr.. ‘ I bite my lip and look down thinking hard. ‘You don’t have a hobby?’ My team lead questions me. I look blankly at him. ‘Ok! Anyways welcome to our team.’ He says. I thank him and come back to my place.  I have newly joined this team and today is my first day hence this introduction session. ‘He asked me about my hobbies!!!’ I say to my best friend when I call her. ‘What did u say?’ asks my friend.’ I didn’t say anything. I should have said something like ‘My hobbies are watching TV, reading books and singing songs.’  ‘Tch..Tch…Tch.. You sound so boring’ She says.’ How about saying my hobby is to collect wild flowers’ I ask her. ‘Ahh!! How exotic!!’ says my friend sarcastically. ‘How about saying my hobby is to collect stamps’. ‘Did you ever collect stamps in your life?’ She asks. ‘Yeah I did. You don’t know about it ‘I say. ‘What? I don’t know is it? Is there anything I don’t know about you? You have never collected stamps in your life.’  My friend says confidently (This is the reason we should always be nice to best friends!! They know too much!! ). ‘Hmmm yeah I never had any hobby. How about having one now?’ I ask my friend. ‘Hey that is a good idea. ‘She says excitedly ‘Even I want to have a hobby let us do it together.’

finding

‘To find a hobby which we love to do is no less than finding a soul mate. You need to feel that passion towards it. Who knows you might find some hidden talent of yours.’ My friend says like one of those motivational speakers on TV. I can’t stop myself from clapping. ‘Ok, let us start our search. #Finding hobby starts from today’ I say excitedly.

teddy1

‘Soft toy making!!! I am not good at it’ I say to my friend. ‘How do you know without trying?’ She asks. ‘I did try once in child hood and it was not a very good experience. Do you remember that toy you saw in my house which you kept on saying looks very scary as if it is straight out of horror film?’ ‘Yeah’ she nods ‘Your Mom kept on insisting that it is a polar bear and unique piece. I didn’t believe her though.’ (My Mom covered up my disastrous teddy bear as polar bear!! Sniff…Sniff..Mommyyyy..I Love you Mommmyyy. ). ‘Let us forget about this option then and think about something else’.

trek

‘Are you serious?’ I ask my friend. ‘Yes, I am’ She says rather bossily.  My friend has enrolled my name in a trekking club which I am not at all interested to join (ME and Trek Huh!! You got be kidding!!). ‘Why are you not joining?’ I demand.  ‘I will from next trek but for the first one you need to go alone. This is such a good hobby. It involves physical activity and it will keep you fit. ’ she says.  I feel fully motivated.  I am bubbling with energy. Today is my first Trek. ‘Are you ready?’ my group lead asks me. ‘Yeah totally!! I have bought new back pack to take my things. This really cool water bottle, new shoes and did u see how cool my dress is?’ My group lead has #ARE YOU KIDDING expression on his face. ‘I meant are you read to trek?’ ‘The trek? Yeah right the trek. Am ready!! Totally excited.’ I try to keep my face earnest and give # LOOK AM SO EXCITED expression. My group lead looks suspiciously at me ‘Let us start the trek.’ He tells to my group. I start trekking with other group members. We have already trekked for 30 min and I am panting hard. ‘Sir, Actually I got emergency call. Can I just go back?’ I ask my group lead. ‘You got a call? None of our phones have signal here. How come your phone is reachable?’ Shit!!! I should have checked my phone first. ‘Err…I mean I remembered an urgent work.’ I say.  ‘See Madam, you have to complete this trek and please do not disturb anymore. Come on move now.’ Says my group lead giving me an angry look. Huh!!! Trekking is not as cool as it sounds. Pssstt… Let me tell you a secret. Strictly between you and me. I already started regretting my decision of joining this club. By end of day, I am baked in sun, every part in my body is hurting. ‘I don’t think Trekking is part of my soul. It is not going to be my hobby’ I say to my friend. ‘Oh dear! That’s alright, let us go on to next option on the list’ says my friend.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-singing-rabbit-cartoon-illustration-funny-character-image39538447

 

‘I was watching this movie in which the hero will have a challenge with heroine’s father who is a great musician and he will learn music in no time to prove himself.’ I say to my friend. ‘So what are you suggesting?’ She asks. ‘Why don’t we also join singing lessons?’ I say excitedly. We enrol for music lessons and today is our demo class.  ‘We might find our soul in music.’ Says my friend hopefully. ‘If we concentrate and learn sincerely one day we can even think of singing professionally.’ I say dreamily. ‘Hey let us ask our other friend also to join for keyboard classes then we can start a band. Who knows one day we might be famous’ my friend continues excitedly. ‘Let us do this’ we both say determinedly. I can already see myself on stage taking that award ‘I would like to thank my parents…’ my thoughts are broken when the door opens and our teacher comes inside the room.‘Do you have experience in singing?’ our teacher asks me. ‘Yeah I used to sing when I was in school’ I say confident. ‘I used to sing national anthem and also school prayer song’. ‘Good. But did you learn music is what I meant to ask’ She says. ‘Yeah for some time in childhood but I have lost practise.’ I say to her. ‘I have no experience in music ‘my friend says. ‘No problem, I will sing and you both repeat after me’ teacher says.  She starts singing and we try to repeat after her. Every time we end up singing something or other wrong. When the teacher sings it sounds so nice and when we try to sing only noises come out of our mouth. We ourselves feel terrible to listen to the noises we are making err…I mean the song we are singing. We try hard but I remembered the donkeys which used to shout outside our school in childhood. The teacher now clearly looks irritated. She asks us to take a break. Some other student comes in the room. Teacher and that student start singing something complicated. We both find it amusing and we giggle. Teacher stops singing and looks at us. ‘You both, get out of my class’ she says angrily.

phoot

‘You always take lovely photos. Why don’t you try photography?’ says another friend who is UK. I have not thought about this. ‘You are right, let me try it out’ I say to her.  ‘You have to try it out.  Who knows there might be some hidden talent’ she says. Visions of myself doing photo-shoots appear in front of my eyes. She even gifts me a tripod to pursue photography seriously. My friend and I get totally motivated again. We take my DSLR, tripod and got to park in the morning to capture few pictures. After an hour my excitement is slowly dripping. We could not capture a bird or squirrel. By the time I set up the camera the subject is gone. I try to run behind a squirrel, trip over and fall down.  Few people started looking at us suspiciously when I try to capture photos. By evening we are exhausted. My limbs are aching and I feel tired. I think this is not my cup of tea. Not sure how people roam around holding such heavy cameras and wait patiently for their subjects to appear. My friend agrees with me.

guitar

We head to coffee shop in nearby mall in the evening to relax. We see a guy playing guitar. He seems to be enjoying what he is doing and he seems to play it effortlessly. People are going mad and screaming with delight. ‘Playing a guitar is not as difficult as I thought’ I say to my friend. ‘Yeah see that guy all he needs to do is play that strings and it seems so easy’. ‘Yeah we just have to hold it and strike the strings. Easy Peesy’ I say ‘Yeah very easy’ my friend says. I turn to look at her and see her eyes glowing. ‘What is it?’ I ask her. ‘Are you thinking the same as me?’ ‘Yeahhhh!!!! Why don’t we learn guitar?’ She says. ‘It sounds really cool. Let us do it’ I say ‘One day we will also perform in crowd like this. People will go gaga over us’ I slip into dreams. My friend tugs my hand and says ’We have to do this.’ ‘Yes, we have to’ I agree. ‘We will learn guitar’ we both say at once. We sound as if we are pioneers of new change in the world.  We enrol for guitar classes. We buy our guitars. We both are dressed in really cool outfits (Come on!! We HAVE to look cool. After all we have to fit in the scene right). ‘I will explain you the basics and you need to practise’ says our teacher. ‘Which song are you going to teach today?’ I ask my teacher. ‘Song?’ he laughs, ‘First learn the basics. You have long way to go.’ He shows us how to play and we start practising. All I produce was some noises out of guitar. My fingers start aching by holding the strings.  I concentrate on strings, guitar slips from my hand and falls down. ‘Madam, concentrate otherwise you will damage the instrument’ my teacher shouts at me. I try to play the strings and my fingers get hurt. ‘How did that guy play guitar? He looked cool and it looks so effortless’ says my friend. ‘Yeah and we got carried away’ I say. By end of class we both are low in our spirits and walk back home without uttering a word.

‘There are always obstacles in life. If we want to do great things then we should be motivated’ says my friend. ‘Yes whatever it is we will find our hobby’ I say emotionally.

My phone rings and I see another best friend from Mysore calls me. ‘How are you?’ she says. ‘I am not in great mood’ I say and I narrate my experiences to her. ‘Why don’t you write your experiences and share with every one?’ She says and laughs.

It is already one month since Guitar. We have tried drawing classes in which I was thrown out on day 1 as I was not able to draw even a line straight. Next one was make up classes. This one was interesting but I was scared to look at myself in mirror at end of every class.  Children in my building used to get scared when they see me when I return from the class. So I stopped going to make up classes (For greater good of the world you see!! Ok!! Don’t look at me like that Phew!! I have to admit, sometimes my makeup face used to scare me also in my dreams). Next followed baking classes. I had to stop after I got severe stomach infection after I ate my own baked cake. Then my friend suggested stitching.  ‘If we can learn stitching we can even start our own boutique’ she said. After making some disastrous pieces, I had to leave that one as well. Days passed but I still dint find my hobby. I am still in search of my hobby………

Hey YOU!! Yes YOU who is reading this. Do you have any suggestion for me?? Can you tell me a hobby which I can pursue??

PS: Behind every successful woman is a best friend giving her crazy ideas – Un Known

freinds

 This post is dedicated to all such best friends :) :)

One…Two..Three..ON AIR

flight6

‘Don’t put your hand outside the window and play’ says my brother. I roll my eyes and ignore him. He is busy munching chips and teasing me (His favourite pastime huh!! These siblings I tell you!!).  He continues ‘Don’t try to put your head outside the window and look outside’. I turn and give him if you don’t stop I will kill you look. ‘Hey I am just trying to cool your nerves. Look at you how tensed you are’ he says. Yeah I have to agree with him I do look tensed after all this is first time I am travelling abroad and icing on the cake traveling first time in aeroplane. Flying in so much height and for so long leaves me nervous. I have to admit I have trust issues with these flight journeys.

‘Hey that is such a good news. Wow!! A good move in your career’ my friend says when I tell her about my work assignment abroad. ‘You must be very happy. Get me loads of chocolates’ says my baby cousin. ‘I am so proud of you. You have made the family proud’ says my dad. Now if you ask me how I am feeling? Nervous!! Tensed!! Goosebumps!! Butterflies (Any more you want me to add: P).

It is holiday season so flights are running full hence I am asked to travel from Bangalore to Mumbai, Mumbai to Dubai and from there to England. My town being close to Bangalore there was never a chance for me to travel more than 3 hrs and now I have to travel across cities. I could see my Dad is also tensed this makes me more nervous.  The day has finally arrived. #Suitcase packing episode starts. My Mom is busy packing my suitcase. She is trying to fill my suitcase majorly with all sorts of eatables she thinks I will need. I pull the suitcase away from her and say ‘Mom!! Please don’t keep so many things. I am not going to eat all of those. I am not going into jungle where I won’t get anything.’  My Mom pulls a face with #IAM THE MOM expression and says ‘I am not born to you. You are born to me. I know what is best for you’ seriously!!! How on earth can only Moms come up with these kind of logics? I am sure even Superman’s Mom would have told him such logics (Imagine Superman in his costume ready to go out to save the world and his Mom says ‘You are my child first later superman to world. If you go out without finishing your food I will ensure you regret it for rest of your life or Beta wear your underwear inside not outside’). My grandmother chips in and says ‘Why don’t we add some homemade medicines. They will be useful’. My brother says’ What if you lose your luggage?’ My Mom says to my brother ‘Stop scaring her. See I have made these colourful ribbons which I will tie to your suitcase so that you can recognise it easily’. I am going nuts now ‘Noooo!!! Mom please I don’t want those crappy ribbons for my suitcase. They won’t look cool’ I scream. #IAM THE MOM expression comes again on my Mom’s face. I say ‘OK!!  Do whatever you think is right. My dad who now looks more nervous than me says ‘Shall come with you till Mumbai?’ My Mom who always accentuated on how girls should be fearless and independent does not like my dad’s proposal. She says ‘She is not the first human to travel abroad its ok she can manage’ (Atta mom!! See how Mom’s logic changes conveniently here!!).

flight5 Finally with colourful ribbons tied to four sides of my suit case and my name written with bold letters on the suitcase, I start to airport with my (In) sane family. I can see the cab driver smirking huh! I Love my family I Love my family I keep repeating to myself.

We reach airport on time #boarding the flight episode starts now. I can feel butterflies in my stomach. I go to check in counter with my luggage. I hand over my passport and ticket to lady sitting in the counter. She asks me ‘Do you prefer aisle or window seat?’  I say to her nervously ‘It is my first time in flight’. She says ‘Ok Madam. Do you prefer aisle or window seat?’ She does not see my nervousness. ‘I am nervous I am scared of heights ‘I tell her. She looks bored now.  May be she thought next I will tell her about all my fears and complexities, before I could say anything else she says ’Please take your boarding pass Madam I have given you a window seat’. I thank her and proceed to security check. Once I am done with my security, I proceed to gate to board my flight. In front of me I see a huge aircraft. This is the first time I see an aircraft so close I am fascinated by this sight. I take out my phone and message my Dad ‘Daddyyy the flight looks soooo huge. I am excited and tensed both’. My dad replies ‘Ok’.  My Dad replied just ‘OK’!! Huh!! I message back ‘Dad I will miss everybody. I want to go there also but want to stay here also’. My Dad replies back ‘Then like Sri Vishnu vamana avatar keep one leg there and one leg here’ (Vamana Avatar is fifth avatar of Vishnu who descends to teach a lesson to King Mahabali). I reply back ‘Ha Ha funny!!  He replies back ‘OK’. Arggghhh this ‘OK’ in text messages should be banned!! Gate opens and we are asked to board the flight.flight3

Nervously I enter the flight find my seat and settle. A gentleman comes and sits beside me. Before I could stop myself, I say ‘Hi. Is this your first time in flight?’ He gives me a strange look. Why did I ask if this was his first time? If I am travelling for first time it does not mean everybody else is. ‘No. this is not my first time’ he says. I think he felt insulted. Throughout the flight he does not look at me. I keep myself busy looking outside the window. As the flight is in night I am not able to see much and everything looks dark. We land safely in Mumbai airport. I get down the flight stairs and see a small bus waiting to take passengers to the airport from runway. I see many people carrying suitcases. Where should I get my luggage from? Oh!! May be it works like how they do in buses? May be I have to show my boarding pass to somebody from cabin crew and they will take out my suitcase for me. After getting down the stairs from flight I walk towards the rear of the flight. Somebody from the crew is shouting and trying to say something. I ignore him and walk further. A guy comes running to me and says ‘Madam you are not supposed to come here please walk back to bus’. ‘I have to take my suitcase. I have to catch my international flight next’ I say.  He looks totally confused and says ‘Walk back to bus madam you will get your suitcase.  ‘But I have not taken my suitcase still if I go back how will I get my suitcase? I have to catch an international flight next’. He looks pissed off now. ‘Madam is this some kind of joke? Are you not aware that you are not supposed to walk under aircraft and on runway?’. ‘This is my first time flight. All I need is my suitcase. I have to catch an international flight’. He looks as if he want to hit me now. He keeps his face as if he is talking to a kid and says ‘Madam you need to walk back to the bus. It will take you to airport and you will get your suitcase there in baggage line. Now will you please walk back to the bus so that you can reach on time to catch your international flight’.

Did he stress on ‘International Flight’ Huh!!!!! Whatever!!! I walk back to bus by now all the impatient passengers are looking very angry and give me stern looks. I reach airport collect my baggage and proceed to check in for my ‘International Flight’ (See now you guys also stressed on it Phew!!!).flight4

I walk into aircraft and settle in my seat. It is a long journey to reach my destination. I immerse myself looking outside the window. After sometime I see I am flying in between clouds. My friend and I always spent free afternoons in childhood lying down in our garden and looking at clouds. I see in one part of the sky sun is setting and another side of the sky it is still bright. What a lovely colour it forms in the sky.

Suddenly I feel like flight is going on series of speed breakers. If you have travelled on the roads of my city you will know this experience. I never thought they have speed breakers in sky also. I ask my fellow passenger ‘Is it speed breaker?’ He looks confused and says ‘What are you saying?’ Suddenly the flight makes sounds THUD…THUD…THUD… and jerks.  ‘This’, I say to him ‘Is this jerks because of speed breakers’. He says a small prayer to calm his temper and says to me ‘Have not heard about turbulences in flight journeys? Now let me go back to sleep’.  Passenger announcement says ‘Please wear your seat belt and remain seated we are passing through turbulence’.  This is it sounds like world is coming to end. I am dead scared. What if the flight collapses? I think about my parents and friends. This is answer to all my sins. I pray to god and as if my prayers are answered the flight is out of turbulence and the jerks stop.

It is announced that we are about to land. I can see green landscape with beautiful view. The flight lands and this time I know where to get my suitcase so I proceed inside the airport. Once I am done with my immigration and I get my luggage.

First time ever I am going to live on my own in an unknown country. I am nervous at the same time excited.  I feel all grownup and responsible (On second thought let us leave grown up aside ;-)). I might be lonely without my family. I might miss them terribly but I know now I have to fly with my new found wings. I promise myself that I will have best time in my life. Looking ahead for all the fun and crazy times I will have (Me being “ME” crazy is assured for sure, I walk outside the airport.

To or Not To??

Somebody has rightly said ‘Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.’ I am one of those people who believe in this saying. I have this special sniffing skills which always searches for new places to eat (No! this sniffing skill is not result of me spending my childhood playing always with dogs in our compound). Today is Saturday so I was thinking of utilizing my sniffing skills to explore new places. My phone rings I see my friend’s (Who shares same view on food as mine) number on display.  I lift the phone and I hear her shrill voice ‘Helloooooooo Hellooooooooooooooo.’ She is shouting as if she is trying to talk to me directly from her place. She continues in her excited tone ‘I got to know about this place in Sasha Road which serves best paranthas. Why dnt we go there today?’ I become alert on the mention of paranthas. My ears stand still and I say ‘Why not? Let us go there today’.

shivering1We meet in town centre and take bus to that road.  Once we reach that road we spot a restaurant and decide to go inside.  The place seems to be empty and no customers at all. The owner of the place comes forward and says ‘Please come. Have your seat’. I try to figure out the expression on his face. Is it happiness like’ Ah!! Customer at last’ or is it that expression of hunter that he has got his prey. I turn my attention to a lady in the counter who seems to be his wife. She also has this same expression. ‘OHMIGOD’!! Where did we land?  I look at my friend and she gives me back a look that usually is on people who enter haunted buildings in horror movies.  The place is very small has only two tables and one counter with display of dishes.  The place has odd haunted feeling and I regret my decision to come here. I look around to see if there is any way to escape from here but I see the way is blocked by the owner of this place.  He looks elated he shouts ‘They are here, Let us begin’. I look at my friend face and she says’ What are they going to begin?’ I try to be brave.

The owner gives us a menu card and we just choose to order Paranthas and some curry to go with it. While we wait for the food to arrive, we see a handsome boy and a very good looking girl come out from the inside room.  ‘Thank God!’ these people do not have that menacing look. The guy seems to be very happy that there are visitors and he keeps smiling at us and ask us once in every 5 minutes if we want water. I wanted to say ‘Dude!! Please relax’. The girl just stands near our table and stares at me. I admit I look funny in that new haircut. Actually I thought I looked really cool until I started getting these strange stares from everybody and at last one friend of mine dared to bell the cat and told me it is not cool and I look as if I am just out of a washing machine with my hair standing still.  Both boy and girl seems to be having a competition to serve us. Our paranthas arrive and despite the look of the place and people here they look really yummy. We start eating them and relish the taste. I try to give appreciative look to the lady at the counter but she stares back at me without change in expression. The boy and girl do not move away from our table and keep prompting us for water or more food. Once we finished our food we proceed to counter to make payment. My friend does the payment and I stand behind her just then the boy and girl comes to me. The girl shoves a tissue paper in my hand. She whispers in my ear ‘Please go outside and read.’ I get surprised before I could say anything she says ‘Please not here.’  Imeme look at the boy and he is also looking at us.

We go out of the place and I say to my friend about the paper the girl gave me. My friend gets excited she squeals ‘Open Open’ I say ‘wait let us at least walk little further and read it’. We both walk little further and I open the paper. In red ink a name and phone number is written on the paper and a line below it reads ‘Please call me after 8PM tonight’. I was shocked!! Is this for me only? Why did the girl give it to me? We try to see if the name written on the paper is a girl’s name or a boy’s name but we have never heard such name so we fail to understand. My friend says ‘Let us google the name, maybe we can find something about that’. I agree and search the name in google but the results show the name can be either boy or girl.  ‘What if this is some organization or someplace’ says my friend. I try to google and fail to get any appropriate result. I say to my friend ‘Let me call the number and find out what is this about’  ‘Noooo!!! ’ My friend shouts ‘Waiiitttttttt!! What if this is some threat and they trap people. It I still 5 PM in evening and it is written to calla after 8PM’ Hmmm I agree.  ‘What if the girl is in danger and looking for help’ I say. My friend says ‘May be this is a trap and once we call money start getting cut from our phone’.  I say ‘Once we call what if they say we came to this place we do not have money to go back please help us’. My friend gives me a look and says ‘Oh Please!! They are not on road and they definitely dint look as if they were starving’. ‘What if they will lure us back to that haunted place?’ I say. ‘Do not worry. They are more scared of u than you being scared of them’ my friend says looking at my haircut. (DAMN!! this hair cut). My friend keeps her thinking cap on and just walks aimlessly on the road. We both are lost in our thoughts and train of thoughts go around in my mind. What if this is some serious organization and once we call them police try to link us to them? Why did that girl give to me in such hush hush manner? Why was that boy smiling behind us? Why was that lady at the counter look as if she is possessed? What did the girl wanted to tell me? Who wanted to give the paper is it the boy or the girl? ‘Let us go back to that place and ask the girl what is the problem’ I say to my friend. My friend looks scared ‘Noo!!’ She says ‘Let us all at 8PM and find out what is this about. I have one more thought’ she says looking at me. ‘What is it?’ I ask her.  She keeps a safe distance from me and asks ‘What if the girl is interested in you’? ‘Whaaaaaaaattttttttt????!@@##’ I scream at her.  She laughs and walks away from me. We run out of thoughts on why we got this paper. ‘OK!!’ I say ‘Let us not call the number and forget about this here why take risk?’ My friend also agrees with me. After walking few steps she says again’ but if we do not call how will we know why they gave the number and that too in such secret manner. We will keep thinking about this’. ‘OK, but I need to think if I want to call or not’. We say good bye to each other and leave to our respective homes.

It is 7PM now and I get message from my friend what did u decide? phne1She asks me. ‘I will call’ I message back to her. ‘No do not call from your mobile what if they come to know your number and misuse it’. I agree with what she says. I see if I can block my number to display on other’s cell when I call.  The clock strikes 8PM and I take my phone to call. My friend messages me ‘It is 8 PM go ahead call and once you talk call me back I will be waiting’. I think should I call from my mobile and on second thoughts I decide to go out to the phone booth on the road and call. I lock the house go to the phone booth across the road.  The night is rather chilly. Is nature trying to warn me about something? I lift the phone and dial the number.

 

I hear somebody pick the phone. I say ‘Hello’……pic1

Liberating Spain – Part 1

 

Day 1:brc1

The well-deserved break I have been dreaming of for past few days has finally arrived. Visions of self lying down on the beach, with a drink in hand and enjoying the view, kept coming back to my mind.

It is 7 am on a Saturday morning, too early to be outside the house on a weekend. I drag my suitcase out of my house and check all important things that I shouldn’t miss. Everything seems to be OK!! Time to fly.
My friend and I take train from Birmingham to East Midland airport. On arrival at the airport we learn that our flight is delayed by 2 hours. We finish our check in and proceed to security check. A lady officer comes and asks me to step aside. I smile at her but she does not return my smile. I try to communicate to her with my expression ‘Hey see holiday is written all over my face. Sure I am not a threat.’ My telepathy seems to fail. After what seems to be a series of stripping checks (!!!)  She allows me to go. Seriously!!! Do I look like a criminal!! At last we board our flight to Barcelona. The flight is short journey and we land in Barcelona airport. We proceed to immigration counter where the officer looks suspiciously at me and says something in Spanish. Subtitles please, I say to myself and my minds starts translating my own versions of what he is asking me. I assume he is asking me ‘How many days are you planning to stay in Spain?’ I respond four days.  He says something to officer in next counter and questions me again I assume he is asking me ‘Do you have enough money?’  I say yes I have enough money. He says something in Spanish again. I assume he is asking me show the money. I open my wallet and show to him still he does not look happy. He gives an expression as if he wants to just hit me. Oh my now I am scared. I remember seeing something on TV other day where they try to question people like this in immigration if they have resemblance to any criminals.  Do I look like one? This why the officer in East Midlands airport did so many checks on me? Damn! I should not have applied that hair color. I say ‘I have this travel card also if I run out of cash’. He frowns and does not look happy. I am wondering if he wants to see my bank statement next.  Before I could say something again, he says in English ‘Lady I need to see your Visa will you please me give me your new passport.’ Phew!! I just gave him my old passport. I take my new passport out of the bag and present the visa page to him. He responds something in Spanish nods his head and lets me go.  My mind gives subtitles again may be he is saying ‘Tourists!!’  No please stop your subtitles here I say to self.  All I could have done was ask him to speak in English! Any ways there it goes another stamp on passport :)

We find out details on how to reach our hotel. The tourist information desk is very helpful gives us details about 4 day Barcelona pass which will cover travel for 4 days during our stay in Barcelona. We come out of airport and take bus to our hotel. I relax in the bus looking around absorbing the landscape of Spain. If you ask me what is my first impression about Spain, it is bright, colourful and vibrant lit up with sun rays. We reach our hotel do check in and go up to our room in 5th floor. The room is very huge and has a kitchen as well. We fresh up and get ready to explore the city. We go to the reception and the handsome receptionist (I wonder how all Spanish men look so good. May be we need to borrow some of their Genes ;-)) gives us the metro map and told us as this day is Saturday hence the public transport is open all night. I ask him how to reach the beach. He marks a place on the map and tells us to reach there and walk to beach. I must admit I could not pronounce even one Spanish name right. We walk to tram on the way exchange pleasantries with an old Spanish couple not understanding anything of what they said but just laughed along with them whenever they did :P:P Emotion has no language you see ;-). We reach the stop and walk on the spectacular roads of Barcelona. The roads are lit up, handsome men, beautiful ladies, kids running along ah well even hippie looking girls like us :P ( Did I Just call myself a girl !! giggles :P ). My eyes shine and I try to absorb the positivism from the city streets. We walk across the road and see a band performing, a giant wheel, people cycling on the roads( apparently if you are a citizen of Spain u can get annual pass for using government cycles and can cycle around the city)many food courts claiming to provide authentic sea food. We Pass through one of the restaurants, the restaurant guy who is getting people to his place comes to me says loudly I am the owner of this place and whispers may be one day!! I burst into laughter and walk off. Finally we reach the beach. We take off our slippers and run like small kids to the water. There are lots of people in the beach and two restaurants as well. We go to one of them and get ourselves drinks and we go and sit in the beach. There is some fireworks display going on. We settle in the beach bury legs in the sand and watch the fireworks. If you ask me how I feel now? Amazing is all what I can say. Sea breezes, drinks, open space all I could feel is PEACE. We finish our drinks and walk back to metro and reach back our hotel. It is 1:30 AM by the time we reach hotel but still we don’t even feel a wee bit of worry as the city seems to be ALIVE, BRIGHT even at this time of the hour. I doze off to sleep listening to a band performing across the street near out hotel.

Day 2:barcelona

Today we plan to visit Barcelona City by taking Barcelona tourist hop-on bus. We go to nearest stop take the tourist bus which takes us through the city of Barcelona. We see Barcelona’s biggest bank, Football club, Placa D catalunya – which marks the beginning of famous Rambla, Passeig de Gracia, La Pedrera designed by Gaudi – the famous architect who build many land marks in Barcelona city, Sagrada Famailia which is still under construction. The building work began in the late 19th century and is still funded by churchgoers and devotes. It is dream of Gaudi and has become symbol of Barcelona now. Then we arrive at park Guell and but our tickets to the park and our slot is around 6:30 in the evening. It is still 2 in afternoon so we walk back to the tourist bus. On the way we see people standing like statues a headless man and a man balancing himself on his feet. We take the bus and go to a place called Tibidado but to reach there we had to take 100 years old blue tram. We climb the hill in the blue tram and reach to a point and loiter around without knowing what to do. We just take some snaps and see view of Barcelona city from the hill top and when we think to come down is when we see that there is another tram that takes people further up the hill. We run to that place buy tickets and go up the hill. OH MY GOD!! Are the words I uttered when I saw the breath taking view of Barcelona city from the top of the hill. The sun rays falls on the city and the city glows in golden yellow, the blue sea meets the blue sky. We buy a coffee and just sit near the railing watching the view of the city and we are so lost in this beauty that we don’t even utter a word and you know how hard it is for girls to sit in silence unless they are dead or probably alive in situation like us. Somebody rightly said ‘Life is not in the moments we breathe but the moments that take our breath away.’ We get down the hill and reach the Park. We reach 1 hour late than our time. We request the lady at the counter tell her that we lost our way in the new city ( Well it is not completely wrong we did lost our way seeing the beauty of the city) and she allows us to go in says we are very lucky :P :). We arrive inside and see the famous Gaudi lizard which is made of mosaic hmm this Gaudi seems to me a man who tried to make the world a colourful place…literally!! All his architecture work used colourful mosaic something I can compare to what I saw in Italy Well that is another story! We go to top floor and yet again get the breath taking view of Barcelona city in night. The City is lit up with lights, the world trade center near the beach glows in lights I must admit here am falling in love with this city.
By now it is 9:30 PM in the night and we are starving!! We ask nearby shop people are there any place we can get Indian food. One of the shop keepers suggested us to go to a place called LA Rambala where we get lot of good food. We reach the metro and ask everyone how to reach LA Rambala. Nobody seems to understand us at last one handsome looking Spanish guy tries to understand what we try to say. I write the name of the place on paper and show him. He smiles and corrects our pronunciation. The place is called LA RAMBLA and as it is Spanish language is a tongue twister :):P He asks us to follow him as he is also going to same place. we follow him and he shows us the metro line and we get out in a stop called  catalunya we thank him and proceed outside and then there in front of my eyes this spectacular sight of shops, lights oh my what a sight we walk across the streets looking into shops and enjoy the view. We ask few guys and come to an Indian restaurant named Bombay Spices. We go inside and ask for vegetarian food and we settle down in our seats. Across the table we see 3 guys from India who came for trip from India we exchange greetings and make us busy eating food. Once done we again stroll through the streets and come back to hotel around 1:30 AM. I doze off to sleep thinking about tomorrow. Yay tomorrow is a big day for me in life. First time ever I will go for Scuba diving that too in the most beautiful part in the Mediterranean Sea :)

( To be continued in Part 2 )

Liberating Spain – Part 2

Please read Part 1 before you start with this one.

Day 3:illes

Today Morning we wake up to sounds of rain. Seems to be drizzling outside. We get dressed, pack our bags and ready to leave. Today we have long way to go. We need to take train to a place called Girona and from there bus to L’ESTRATIT a coastal town in Costa brava area of Spain where we plan to do out Scuba diving. We call Aquatica diving center with whom we have booked our Scuba diving in L’ESTRATIT informed them that we are starting and leave to bus stop to take bus to central railway station. We wait in the bus stop then we see the hotel receptionist (yeah the handsome one) comes running to us and asks Are you from room number 513? There is a call for you from Girona. There seems to be alert in the sea so today Scuba diving is cancelled. We run back to hotel and call them back they say that
the weather in sea is not good from afternoon and as our dive is in evening they said it might be 50-50 chances. We said to them that we will come there however and see what happens. We reach central railway station called Barcelona Sans. I got to ticket counter and make that guy over the counter understand the place where we want to go Initially he gives ticket to some other place and it costs us too much so we recheck and go back to counter and make our attempts to make him understand and at last we get the tickets to Girona and we get into the train. After 1 hr 30 min we get down in Girona station. Struggle with language starts again and we find out at last that the bus to L’ESTRATIT is at 2:30PM which will be very late for us. So we take a taxi and try to call Aquatica but they are on sea already and do not take our call. We reach this picturesque coastal town but the cab driver drops us the sea shore and leaves. We fail to find out where is Aquatica center it is already 3PM they would have left to sea by now. We are disappointed and sit on the steps of one of the other diving centers. The owner walks in and we tell our sad story to him. It is already 3:30 PM and day wasted. He says don’t worry I have private number of Aquatica owner and he calls and informs them of our plight. Aqautica guys ask us to wait near the sea. They come and pick us from there and take us in boat to the sea. There were three guys from Aquatica. One was our instructor one to drive the boat and other one to go with experienced divers. We were given diving suits and asked to change on the boat only. It was embarrassing we did not want to change the clothes in front of everyone. Observing our discomfort one of the instructors gave us bath robes under which we could change in to the diving suits. Once we are done we are given instructions on how to communicate under water and how to control our breathing. The experienced divers jump into deeper part of the sea and dive along. We were taken to less depth place. Who goes first asks the instructor I say OK I will but then I was scared, excited and cannot explain what all I felt. Instructor puts the oxygen cylinder and I cannot get up on my feet it is so heavy. I jump into the sea it takes me bit inside and throws me out I panic! The instructor teaches me how to breath under water I try but keep failing slowly my courage seems to drop down I come back to the boat. The instructor asks ‘what is your age?’ I say ‘what?’ He says ‘Yes you heard me right what is your age?’  I say ‘I am 29.’  He says ‘All these 29 years you breathe with your nose so when we ask you to breathe with your mouth obviously it will be difficult do you expect to do this in 2 min? Remember this is your first time and you came all the way from Barcelona took so much effort do you want to go back like this. Give yourself time you can do it. When you go underwater do not panic and all you need to remember is breathe. Each and every
breath u need to feel and take it.’ His words gets into my head I am not going to go back without doing this successfully. I say to him ok am ready to go. All set this time I go into sea. My instructor takes me underwater and I concentrate on my breathing I go successfully underwater and go along with my instructor. He shows me some corals, orange fishes, black fishes, Green Alga. Under water in the sea all I can see is blue colour water and darkness. I feel on top of the world floating underwater. I feel free like a fish. Mesmerised by my surroundings I move across. My instructor takes me to top near boat I come out of water and my instructor starts clapping he is very happy for me and so am I. I feel so happy and as if I have achieved something. Even though my cheeks and legs hurt I feel light as if I’m floating in air. I see light I see sky.  I am filled with energy now and feel so elated. I just sit on the board and immerse myself into surroundings. I just want to take this positive energy I get from nature back with myself. We reach shore and we are driven back to Aquatica center. We change to dry clothes and take snaps with our instructors. We say good bye to our new friends and walk towards bus stop to catch a bus to Gironi. We reach Gironi on time and catch a train back to Barcelona. In the train we fresh up and decide to celebrate our dive in LA Rambla area in any of the Spanish pubs. Once we reach Barcelona we head straight to LA Rambla Street. We spot a lively pub and get in to it and order for Tapas (Spanish starters) a cold soup and some pizza. Our waiter a handsome Italian was all attentive to us and needless to say we got at most attention there ;-) Once we are done with dinner we head back to hotel in cab and reach around 1:45 AM.

Day 4.scuba

Today is our last day in Barcelona. We have our flight back at 3:30 PM so we thought to make use of the day. We just change into shorts. Pack our luggage do the checkout and request the hotel guys to keep our luggage in the reception. We catch the metro and reach the beach by 9:30 AM. When we arrive entire beach is empty and when everybody are busy going to office or working hard in office we simply play in the beach and sleep in the water. I try to remember what I would be doing if it was my day in office. Visions of me holding my laptop and running between conference rooms come up. Bless the lord here I am lying in the beach and enjoying myself. When the time comes for us to leave we try to follow shower sign on the beach and come to know that it is open shower. Nooo!! Break your dirty thoughts!! We just shower in the open shower to wash off the sand and hair. Then we find changing rooms and change to clean clothes. We run to hotel collect our luggage and reach airport. We arrive at gate just 5 min before takeoff and we are the last people to enter the aircraft. Water dripping from hair. Sand falling from slippers and occasionally from hair. People giving us weird looks. Nothing mattered any ways in front of the joy we got playing in the water. The flight takes off from Barcelona I bend over the window to get glimpse of this city. It looks lovely as usual. One of the best cities I have visited so far. It has architecture, modern lifestyle yet charm of old times, fantastic people ever ready to help, amazing language, awesome food. If I have to describe Barcelona I would say Lively, Vibrant, Colourful and energetic. This city has a soul and I am in love with this city. I Close my eyes and retire to my seat. If you ask me if I will come back here again, well you know my answer :)  :)

 

My Crazy World