I picked up the pen

image

Comfortably it had stayed there for a long time,  searching for an excuse to be made a free soul,  a free maker of its own destiny,  to cover canvases of imagination,  to erode misconceptions of the many,  to say things unsaid,  to just play. 
My hands were shaking,  a deep sensation ran down the very nerves that drove these hands,  this body, this mind.  How shall I? What should I write? Were some of the questions that bombarded my peace of mind.
I picked up the pen,  adjusted the glasses which had seen the many,  unseen the many and wrote-

Ma’am,  I need 16 marks to qualify.  I will study seriously the next semester.

I did it.

Hahahhaha

The story of most of us engineers. I hope you enjoyed. 😀

Do comment. 

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The structures we call home 

Reposting a story I wrote sometime back…
Walking through the park that came on my way to home, I saw a nest that had fallen from a tree. There were two beautiful eggs in it, still intact. The nest had played it’s role. It protected the ones for whom it was created. The mother of the eggs was sitting there on the tree, crying helplessly because she had a premonition of what all might happen to the pieces of her.  I couldn’t resist myself, lifted the nest and climbed on the tree from which they had fallen. I carefully placed it on the branch that I thought to be the strongest and most sturdiest one. The bird was relieved- help came to her in an almost unexpected shape, size and form. I climbed down the tree. The bird was now happy in her nest. Suddenly, another bird came flying and perched on the same branch where the nest was now resting. Both the birds were now in a conversation. It seemed as if they were telling each other what had happened. Language looses its relevance as a mode of communication when there is grief or sadness, happiness or joy. Seeing them content I moved on. I reached my apartment, put the keys in the small container by the door and started to change into something more appealing to my body than what appealed to others. I checked my phone for any messages. Normally there would be messages from friends who wanted to meet or there would be messages that nobody listens to-advertisements, Insurance, assurances etc and etc. There was one message that captured my attention. It was from my dad. ” Hi Son, how are you? Our anniversary is this month. We were thinking of organising a get together. Your mother has asked if you could come?” A chill ran down my spine. Had I become so absolved in myself that the two most important people had become so distant from me. I looked at the time of the message. It had arrived early morning and my clock reminded me that they must have slept. I quickly grabbed a calender and searched for the date when my parents became my mother and father. There was so less time! I called my brother who had received a similar message. We decided on meeting as soon as possible. Tickets were booked, bags packed and I was there in the queue waiting for my entry into the plane. As I entered the plane, my mind was replaying all the memories. I sat on my seat and was waiting for the plane to take off. The seats next to me were empty. As the occupants started occupying seats, I came to know who were to be my partners for the entire journey. They were a newly married couple. They were too shy to talk to one another. When the husband saw me already sitting he took the seat next to me and asked his wife to sit at the corner. The wife was heavily dressed and was holding all the jewellery just like a kid who has been given a large scoop of ice cream. He does not want It to spill, does not want it to fall so he is busy balancing all those load. The ice cream is the most precious thing for him. Both of them were excited and nervous. It seemed that they were in a flight for the first time or they were traveling together for the first time. They were rarely looking at one another, but they did ensure that both of them were comfortable. 

The air hostess came at the front and started the demonstration. The wife couldn’t find the seat belt. The husband when saw this, quickly searched for the seat belt. He found it. His this achievement made him full of confidence, he had shown his wife that he was useful. His wife did acknowledge this by the smile she gave looking down at her feet. While the air hostess was busy explaining the routes for exit if the plane went unruly, my mind took me to a story of my father and mother when they first went on their trip together. “We were married for some time. Back then I used to earn less you know. But I did earn much to feed you mother full.” he used to tell us when we all would come together. He would continue ” 

One day my father said to me, son you have not taken your wife out for sometime. I command you to take her somewhere except this town.”. “So papa where did you take her?” we would ask in curiosity. ” Son you know travelling was so difficult back then. There were no luxuries that we have today and I earned enough to get ourselves an ordinary ticket. But your mother never complained.” Whenever he was telling us this story I could see his eyes sparkle, his voice with an added level of loudness and pitch and his hands adding to the enthusiasm and pride that got inside him. I was brought to the present by the speeding aircraft that was running to fly. I looked at the couple. They had closed their eyes. The wife had held onto her husband’s hand. The husband had gripped her hard. He was abiding by the promise he made to her. “I will always love you. I will always look after you. I will always wipe your tears. You are my queen and I am your king.” my father would tell my mother only to make her shy away in a smile. The plane was in the air. Both of them opened their eyes and quickly shrugged off their hands. Both of them had turned red. Their cheeks covered in the gushing blood that was flowing because of the paced heart beats. The flight was long so I thought of getting to know my partners. They were from a small town and were married a couple of days back. It was their first trip together to a new place. I quickly made friends with them and Told them the purpose of my journey. They were happy to know what I was doing and wished me luck. The end of the journey was closing in. 

I prepared myself to meet my parents. The wife of the husband next to me was still sleeping. The wife had put her head on her husband’s shoulder, the husband did not move. He was freezed in that position, wanted to provide his wife with a place to lie her head. He occasionally looked at her wife. There was this one streak of hair that was disturbing her. He was too shy to touch her but was angry at the streak because it disturbed the most important person to him that very moment. After a while when he couldn’t resist he took the streak and put it behind her ear. He was happy that he could comfort her. The pilot announced that the flight would be landing soon. Everybody started preparing themselves for the landing. I looked outside the window. The land where I was born was welcoming me, another flashback struck me. “Son, you know what all your mother has achieved, she did it when she got married to me. She did her further studies when you were still a baby. She would daily care for you, feed you, make you sleep, took care of the needs of the family and still god knows how she got the time to study. I remember I would stand outside the examination hall holding you when your mother gave her exams. When you would wake up, she would come outside, make you sleep again and then continue her exams. Your mother has done lot for us. Never ever disrespect her.” he would say. There was numbness in my feet. I couldn’t feel the ground beneath. After all those years of struggle and hard work, after all those years of sleepless nights, my parents never asked for anything. I remember my mother scolding my father for every thing that was not needed. My father would always reply to this, ” Let me fulfill their every wish. I couldn’t do it back then.” We did not realise this before, but now when I look at those times, my father gave us a life of a prince. The plane landed and the pilot welcomed us to the city- the same city where I was born, the same city where I learned to walk, the same city where I got my first medal. After the flight, I had to take a flight of stairs down to the ground. The air knew me, the ground welcomed me. I took my bags, bid adieu to the couple and took a cab to the house. As the driver drove, I could see the streets that had changed to let new birds set up their nests. They had widened, the chairs outside were now in an air conditioned environment, the food cooking outside was now covered in a veil of “class”. I remember my father and I used to go on a walk everyday in the morning. We would discuss everything except studies and I always used to get that smoking hot delicacy from around the street. ” You make this so delicious.” I would always tell the man who was busy attending his long queue of customers. ” I am glad you like it.” he would tell. That street corner was now taken by a well renowned saloon. “Development is always necessary. You develop the older so that It continues to Spell magic. We can always throw away an old thing. But new does come at a cost.” My father would always say whenever we asked him to throw away his used clothes, to get rid of old books, to get rid of the ancient. ” I have memories preserved in every thing that you see here. Your books, your clothes, your drawings. How can I throw them away? They help me remember how we became what we are today. One day I too will get old. Then what will you do?” he would say. His every word struck me like a drop of water that falls in a silent night. Every drop that falls, it touches your heart, refreshes you, gives you something to think. Continuous, perpetual, periodic, rhythmic. Everything he ever spoke was to help us in the future. 

The cab stopped at my house. It was still standing their magnificently just to tell the world that it is always there to protect the ones that live  inside. I paid the driver and thanked him for the ride. I took my bags and rang the bell. I was waiting there and suddenly I saw my school bus passing through. It stopped when I lived there. I never was ready on time and both my parents would take me as it is And drop me to the bus. I always wore my shoes in the bus. Separation from them was never acceptable to me. When I would come back my mother would be Standing there to receive me. She did not let me touch the ground. I was the son in her arms. And today I was standing there at the same house. The house that shielded us when everything was against us. My mother came out to see who had come. I could see big tears rolling down her cheeks. I ran to hug her and she burst into tears. ” Ma don’t cry. See I am back.” I tried to console her. She didn’t say a thing and took me inside holding my hand firmly. She didn’t want me to leave her again. As i entered the home, my every memory also entered alongwith. ” Don’t run in the corridor. If you get hurt get ready for more thrashing.” my father would always scold us when me and my brother would run after each other to tear each other apart. Many a times we fell, many a times we got hurt but my father never thrashed us. He was always there with his first aid kit that comprised everything iodine, sweets, bandages- both for the pain and the heart. He was always there for us standing rock solid but with a heart that melted only for us. I noticed my mother’s hand. Her grip had weakened. She was trying to hold onto her tears. ” Ma I am not going anywhere.” I assured her. At the end of the corridor, my father was sitting on the same chair he used to sit whenever he got time for himself. He would switch on the television. ” What hypocrisy is this? They are good for nothing. Let me come at their position. I can do wonders.” he would tell everybody in the room. He was there sitting, the television was not turned on. He had slept on the chair, his glasses still on his eyes and the cup of tea right besides him. My mother went closer to him and woke him. He jumped on his seat, adjusted his glasses and then saw me. ” welcome back son.” He stood up and came closer to me. He hugged me. He had shrinked in size. My father’s shoulder were the highest peaks for me. They may not be the highest now. But they still are the strongest. He was very happy. ” I am very happy today. I shall have a big bowl of sweets today.” he exclaimed. I sat there with him while my mother went inside to call my brother and bring something for me. My father went along with her to help her. I sat there and looked at the walls where I was brought up. ” Son, our house is small. It was very difficult to get here. I used to earn less. Everyday I walked kilometres to save money. I don’t know how many times I and your mother slept without food. All we ensured was you were fed fully. Your mother has burned her hands over stove, got electric shocks from heaters, fell many a times in unconsciousness. But son we never gave up. Every time we did something it was you and your brother who were in our minds. Although the house is small, but it is all that we could do. I remember when I came here, there was not even a single house. There were farms all over. When I looked at this land, I knew this is the place where my house would be built. Son, we have toiled hard to make what you see today.” he always told us this whenever we talked about him shifting with me or my brother. What is a house I thought? Initially it is just a piece of land. A piece that could have been anything- a farm, a school or may be even a temple. What makes a building a house. Is it just the bricks and the mortar that helps stand it or something more stronger? Why is that people get attached to things? A building cannot be living. I said to myself. My whole family was now in the same room. I met everybody, ate the delicious cookies my mother made and went to my room to change. ” It’s the same as you left it Son.” my mother told me. I went to my room. It was the same. The cupboard had that blue texture covering and on it my examination schedule was still stuck. There was a small note on it. “All the best Son.” I kept on watching it for long. My table was well organised. Although it was never when I studied on it. All my pens were still there. I opened the drawer and found my slam book that was filled by my friends. I sat on my bed. It felt familiar. I kept on reading the book. I fell asleep. I don’t know whether it was the tiredness of the journey or the bed that made me feel at home. When I woke up I saw my shoes had been untied and I was covered in a blanket. ” Don’t sleep here son. Okay let me take you to your bed.” my father would lift me everytime I slept on the couch and make me sleep on my bed. Whenever he would leave he would move is hands over my head, just to make him sure that I was sleeping fine. I opened my cupboard and found my old school dress hanging meticulously there on the hanger. It was like my parents wanted to preserve everything. Everything that did not mean anything to us. They were busy collecting everything that we had left back. Everything that did not fit us. Everything that was old. I took out my clothes from my bag and changed. I went to meet them. A party had to be planned! We deliberated on every thing and then decisions were made, caterers contacted and guests were invited. I saw how my parents fought over many things and how they consented on one thing. The day of the party came. Guest arrived and me and my brother received them all. We took care of all the arrangements. My parents were sitting on the atrium. They were happy to see everyone smiling and enjoying. The party came to an end and we took off for our home. We entered the house and my father narrated the incident when they arrived first time in this house. ” You know kids. When this house was completed, I asked your mother what was the things she wanted inside. You know what she said. I want you all.” We entered the house. That night we had a talk like never before. We slept while talking. The next day both of us had to leave for our work. My mother was crying hard to see us leave. She did not want us to go. But my father gathered herself together. We left with tears in our eyes. I took a flight back to my city. As i was being driven to my apartment, a thought came to my mind. What is House? A structure that is built on a land with bricks and mortar. There is use of steel for reinforcement, wood for doors, paint for finishing. Is it just the materials that make a house or much more. A house is more than a structure. It is the conglomeration of the various aspirations and desires that a man tries to fulfill, nurture over time and try to create it in reality. My mother and father always wanted to build a home where we could always stay together. They bonded the house with their love and affection, nurtured it with their foresightedness, reinforced it with their understanding and brought it into a reality with their hardwork and the respect that they had for one another. Although they fought many a times, got angry over things irrelevant, but at the end they always saw the bigger picture and helped each other grow together. Today when I see them, my respect for them grows by leaps and bounds. They created a Home from a house, they created us, they made us what we are today. As i reached my apartment I was filled with amazement how they pulled this off together. I was standing at my apartment. I opened the door and as I entered I heard some motion. I got alerted and took in my hands a bat that was lying there. I started to move towards the source of the sound like a lion approaching his prey. I saw that a window had broken due to the storm. The storm had caused something delightful. At the window of my apartment I saw something very beautiful. A pair of birds had made it their home.


Image is my first try at drawing. 🙂 

A dream….

Dear Miss yet to come,

Life is a puzzle we all are trying to find a solution. Everyday we wake up to something that we try to forget or something that we want to cherish. 

I woke up today while dreaming of a place set in woods, surrounded by the smell of nature, undisturbed, undisclosed, a secret kept hidden from the eyes of malice. It was cold and I remember the fire that you had lighted in that little fireplace we made together. It had now changed places. The Sun shone bright, spreading its rays indefinitely over the blue canvas. You were still sleeping. 

I took a cup of coffee from that kettle that I gifted you when I broke the one you had bought.(Sorry for that!) I held the cup and went out to see the nature wake up to the day. The river flowing made music with the fishes in its sheen, waiting for someone to applaud, the trees rustled each other into a hug, the birds clicked their beaks, the day had started for them. I went inside our little blue house (although I had to fight a lot for the color ;-)) Climbing the steps we painted together, I now recall how difficult it was for us to bring this into reality. The dress you didn’t buy, the journey we couldn’t sail, the match we missed. Don’t you think it is all part of that solution? We sacrificing everything for something that only we can see. This puzzle, this journey, this birth, all have been a myth that has carried many generations for many centuries onto a simple fact that everything is mortal. Immortal are the memories, the moments that we build together, the smiles, the cries, the fights, the days we didn’t talk. All, every, each. 

As I Reach the bed where you still are dreaming of me ( just kidding ;-)), I couldn’t resist but notice that little smile on your face. The same face that makes my day, that makes my home. 

You are home dear miss yet to come. Yes, you are. And if you are besides me, I am sure something beautiful will come out from this life, this puzzle….

Take your time Dear Miss yet to come. I am a true gamer and a true gamer never gives up. 😉 it will be fun looking for you. 🙂 

Waiting for you.

With lots of love,

Kumar Harsh 

Winter..

Dear Miss yet to come,
How are you Miss yet to come? I have been looking for you for sometime now. Yesterday I was walking through the park where sometimes I find really strange but yet too jovial things happening. A kid was learning to ride his bicycle there. I sat down on the same bench where sometimes the little squirrel that lives on the red tree comes down to chew on some munchies. I saw how carefully the father put down his son’s new bicycle. It was a red shining hotride customised only for him, that’s what the kid thought. I could see his face, filled with the emotion of happiness combined with the inhibition of trying the new adventure. He was all ready to ride it. But his father, a little too careful wanted him to wait. “See son you can ride it once I check it.” He said and got busy tweaking the bicycle. The boy noticed every gesture his father made. The movement of the screwdriver, the little red can of oil, the way his father looked at his bicycle. ” When can I ride it?” Curiously he would ask and everytime his father would say just a minute. It was just like preparing for war. Fathers never let their kids enter a war unprepared. I told myself. He checked the protection gear on his son. “Ride my boy.” He exclaimed with joy and a tinge of scepticism. The boy got on the bicycle, ready to ride he asked his father,” what should I do?”. ” Put your legs on the pedal and there you go my lad” he smiled. The kid injected with a desire to ride and a hope to fly, Pushed the pedal. “I am with you son” said the father as he carefully pushed his son into a new Kingdom. It happens frequently. Don’t you think Miss? We are seldom pushed into something we don’t want to venture into and then something magical happens. The earlier feared arena becomes a piece of cake, a walk of lifetime and then we realise it was nothing but our mind that stopped the heart from beating emotionally, not just functionally. The father let go off the bicycle and the kid was now a master of his beast! “Dad, I can ride a bicycle”. His face had grown like the sun which had nothing to fear for, no one to beat, nothing to hide. The kid fell on the next turn. His father came running to him. “See, now you know what it feels like to ride in the wind. You have to keep your feet down my Son.” 

The winds were becoming colder as the day had started to sink into the sheets of the calm. The two took off for their home. “We will try harder tomorrow” the father had said. 

I sat down there for some more time after they left. A strange fragrance had captured my attention. The same fragrance that poets reverb about, the fragrance we all seek in times of apocalypse. I let myself absorb that fragrance. Intricate cannot be seen, delicate can’t be heard. I had started to feel the cold, my body had started to accept the stillness, it was ready to disintegrate. The best thing about experiences like these is that they are new. One cannot just make them happen. They just flow. I left myself in that state, hoping to a achieve something. 

I opened my eyes when a stroke of wind had carefully feathered my forehead. I was now someone I didn’t knew. 

I found the kid who was lost in the mundane routine, the father who was crushed by the gigantic boulders of work and most importantly the wind who had lost its ability to fly, to change, to breathe, to listen, to smell and to see. 

This park made  a way for me  Miss. I am glad I stayed. 

This winter I hope that winds gets a little colder, the sun a little warmer, the flowers a little merrier and the us a little more closer.

Hoping that you experience something magical like this.
Waiting for you,
With lots of love,

Kumar Harsh 

Unplanned Destinations

The train was leaving the station. The signal became distant with every burst of power that the engine was giving to the train. The station seamed dearer, the one that mattered diminished. The train moved smoothly, swiftly; the running cars couldn’t match it’s speed, the trees sprinted backwards. I sat on my seat in the train which was taking me away from the place which had made me realize how destiny surprises.

I was working for a National daily and just like a worker ant, was working day and night to meet the ends of my entire family that consisted of two very lazy, stubborn twin brothers who refused to work; and my ailing parents. No day would pass when there would not be a war of words on the monetary support that the family needed. My parents would everyday insult them, said every jibe. My house had more voices, more commotion than a market, which was unending, unbearable. Every day I would leave the house, shut back the door and run to my office which provided me solace, helped me to think, realized my potential, served my ambitions. That was the only place where I was not sought for the money I earned but respected for the work I did.

That day was just like the normal days. I came to the office, put down the bag that held everything I owned, let the hot cup of coffee warm the table, jerked my desktop to wake it up from the deep slumber, prepare for work. I had just opened my bag to let the files see the light of the day that the secretary to my boss came and said” Boss wants to see you.”  The usual reaction to such directions is driven by the fear of what lies ahead. So, I was little skeptic what the boss might say. Nevertheless, I approached his office, made a subtle knock on his brown door that clearly declared that the following room belonged to the boss. The voice from inside allowed me to enter. The room of the boss was well decorated and well set. He had a huge table that was being headed by an enormous chair on which the boss was seated, preoccupied with the work that had to be done. For a moment, I thought that I must leave but then, the boss paused his work and looked towards me. “I have been noticing you for over a month now. You have been doing a good work. I wanted you to take an assignment I have decided for you. Rita will tell you the details. Tell me by tomorrow if you are interested or not.” He said without any change of facial expressions and continued his work. I was surprised. But consoled myself, said thanks to the boss and started to move backwards until I found the door, opened it and came out. I was sweating, I felt something I had never felt before, I felt important. The secretary came without any delay and handed over to me a folder that held the details of my assignment, congratulated me and went away to do what was required of her.  I took the folder and guided myself to my table that was peacefully waiting for me.  I sat on the chair, took out the contents of the folder and was amazed to see what it displayed. It required me to cover the festivals of India. I had always dreamt of seeing what made India a place for so many conquests and battleground of many great battles, but my responsibilities and my wallet prohibited me to take a tour so expensive. But today I was just a Yes away from fulfilling my dream. I had become the centre of eyeballs for each of my colleague that day. They couldn’t resist asking me what I would do. I had no answer. The day seemed longer than usual. But somehow the clock stroked 5 and another day declared it’s end. The journey back home was very exerting. I was absolved in the thoughts what would the family do without me, who would care for the parents, how will they feed their hunger. I reached the home and my mother was the first to realize that I was keeping something from her.

She looked me in the eye and said, “What happened hubbly?” she called me hubbly, that name I always wanted to hear, it was dearer to me than the name that I used on my daily dealings, it reminded me that the world is beautiful, it made me regard what I possessed, it helped me to digest every ordeal I faced. “Nothing Ma” I replied. “You know when you were a little kid, you would always look at your shoes when you lied. Tell me, I know how your shoes look”, she said in a voice serene and soothing. “Ma I have been given an assignment to go to India to cover her festivals and I don’t know whether I should go or not.” I questioned her. She did not reply rather went back to the rocking chair she always sat on. “You know your father gifted me this chair when you were in my womb. I would narrate to you stories of strange places, of ghosts, of fairies that were fairer than the milk, of people who would walk on rope, of palaces that extended beyond infinity, of food of the Gods.” I didn’t know what to say. Mothers have a mind of their own. They do not function like normal people. They would cry when they are happy. They would cry when they are sad. They would cry when excited. But they would never cry when we cry. They would never cry when something bad happens. They would not cry when adversities are on the rise, the Sun is not visible. She took out a tattered piece of cloth and opened it. It had money in it. “Take these, they are not much but they will help you.” She said. Tears rolled down my cheek, I could not speak, I hugged her tightly. She smelled the same, the same when she was greater in stature than me, had the same hair colour as mine, when her eyes did not require the assistance of lens to see, when her legs would move her around, when she would run and hold me up high. “Kiddo don’t cry. I know what you want. I will always remain here. Don’t worry about me. I am old enough to take care of myself.” I was crying like a baby. She moved her hand over my head and tried to console me. “You know I always wanted to travel. But…” she stopped. “Go on Hubbly, go, travel on my behalf. You must do this for your mother.” “Yes Ma. I would do anything for you. But who will look after you when I am gone?” I asked. I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned back. It was my father who was quietly listening to the entire conversation. “I am still alive and kicking.” He explained. “And by the way you’re Ma and I would keep busy. We never required any external help.” He tried to stop the crying me. For the many years I had been living with them, I never realized how perfect they were. They were made for each other, the two halves that completed a picture, lovers forever. They made me comfortable in a second. My dad handed me a photo that was in his wallet for an eternity. It was a family photo that had all of us in one frame. “Always remember this. Whatever we do, whatever we say, whatever we don’t say, this family, this bonding is what that keeps us going. We are nothing but pearls in a necklace tied through the bonds of love. The necklace would be damaged if any of the pearls go missing. Enormous, extricate, extruded, explicit though delicate, intricate, included, implicit, that is love my Son.” He kissed my forehead and hugged me. I felt safe; warmth from the heart reaches faster than the warmth of the Sun. It had never occurred to me to talk with my twin brothers. I grew faster than them, our talks reduced, work overshadowed play, money took over emotions. I went in their room. They were busy creating something from the brushes that carried the colours of rainbow. I just stood there, watching them, how time had taken its toll on them, how their hands created magic on canvas, how brilliant they were, pure genius, master. “We will take care of Ma and Pa” they surprised me. “We know that we have not been supportive and not doing enough to care for everybody we love, but we assure you that we will try our best no matter how difficult it turns out to be.” I never knew that this assignment would do me so good. It made me closer to everybody I loved. The pearls of the necklace were held together more firmly. The bonds had reinforced. I burst into tears. We all were together. We all were one. That day was the best of my life. The war of words had turned into a sweet exchange of memories. The next day my brother woke me up. Both of them were ready with the portfolios they had created. “We thought that we must help our brother share the load. We had been creating this portfolio for a month now.” I had no words to say. I went closer to them and took them in my arms. The power of three was redefined. We were stronger together; we told ourselves and set for our destinations.

I reached my office and went straight to my boss’s room. “Good Morning Boss, I am ready for the assignment.” I told him. “Good then, you leave today.” My boss never failed to surprise me with the composure, calmness of his character, with the heaviness of his voice that clearly reflected the maturity and experience he had gathered over the years. “But Sir” before I could say anything, he handed over me a collection of articles. “These articles I had written when I went to India. Read them if you wish. We must be prepared for what lies ahead. All the best. Enjoy, but don’t forget who you are.” He told me everything and I pushed myself out. I had no time to say goodbyes. I took my tickets and went straight back to home. I had to pack myself for an expedition, I told myself. Everyone helped me in the packing. My father ran to the market and bought some supplies along with him. Chocolates, snacks and a beautiful Swiss knife. My mother packed all her love along with the woolen she made for me. My brothers packed a beautiful message for me. Everybody was prepared to send me off; it was I who did not feel like going. My mother was quick to sense this. “Hubbly, we can take care of ourselves. Don’t worry about us. You do what you want to do. Will I remain happy if you couldn’t do what you dreamt? No, then, enjoy what will come before you, live every moment that you encounter, celebrate the happiness, don’t look back, because everything that stops you from doing what you want isn’t something to be waited for. Always remember who you are.” The office had sent a car for me to take me to the airport. My brothers loaded my luggage into the car and I was ready to leave. Everybody was there out, except my mother. I looked into my father’s eyes. His eyes told me how he was assimilating the idea of me not being there the next morning. His eyes told me that mother was crying inside the house. His eyes explained me that they will take care of themselves. I sat in the car, bid adieu to my family and started the journey to fulfill my dreams, to know who I was.

The journey to the airport reminded me of all the childhood memories. How my father would fix the broken things in the house on any opportunity available and how he would leave a mess that would make my mother angry and they would have arguments that would be audible to the neighbors. How we brothers would play with our mother, confusing her with my twin brothers. How we would jump on the bed stopping only when the mother came bashing at us with the stick she kept handy to make us fall in line. What are memories? I pondered. Are they just a glimpse of the past or something more? Memories are relations, I realized. They are relations with our past that help us recongnise what we are, where we came from, what we are made of, what we enjoyed, what we suffered, how we dealt with everything, what makes us stronger, what brings out the child in us, who are the people that matter. Memories are reflections of what life is- an ever changing, everlasting phenomenon. Memories are not just glimpse of the past; they create our very present, shape our very own future. The car stopped at the airport that everyday witnessed arrival of new, departure of old, creation of distances, strengthening of bonds. I took out my luggage from the car, thanked the driver and started walking towards the entrance. The security guard asked for my documents in a very humble manner. I couldn’t resist the admiring the tone of his voice. “Good Morning Sir, May I have see your documents?” he asked. “Sure” and I handed him the documents. “Thank you Sir, Have a nice Flight.” He said and continued doing his work. Human being is a complex organism. They learn from everything and try to improve. Learning is a process that has acquired the importance of something greater than living. We learn to live, we live to learn. I told myself. This brief incidence cheered up my mood. I rode a smile on my face and could see how infectious it was.  The person who was operating the cleaning machine when saw me returned the smile, the girl in the queue did the same. After completing the formalities, I took a seat as there was still time in my flight that was to reach New Delhi- the capital of India. I took out the article that my boss had given to me and started to read one of them.

“India is a land of surprises. It is a place that will bring a smile on your face in ways that are impossible to imagine. People greet you with Namaste. They would walk miles barefooted to worship their god, click pictures of you because you are unique in skin colour, bathe anywhere they find a stream of water, eat food that may tingle your taste buds in very harsh but delightful ways. India is incredible, India is a celebration.” This was the first paragraph of the article that my boss had written. I imagined already I am in India. The voice from the speaker announced the departure of my flight. I put everything inside and paced towards the boarding gate. I entered the plane and found my seat. Slowly, every seat was occupied. I tried to enter into a conversation with the man sitting besides me. It turned out that he was an Indian!! “So you are writing an article on festivals of India” he asked and I replied in affirmation. “Then, it becomes my responsibility to introduce you to India and her festivals. Let me start by telling you a tale. Once upon a time there was a ruler, a ruler who was never seen before. He fought for honesty and in return of it lost everything he owned or loved. He did not leave the trait of honesty even when the Gods demanded the life of his loved one. The king was Raja Harishchandra. There was another king who was sent to exile for 14 years in a forest with bare minimum by his father and the King did not even argue, respected his father’s direction letter by letter. That king was King Rama. There are many tales and fables that would want you to know more. If you are writing about the festivals of the country you must know what being Indian means. We are people who have mastered the art of “Jugad” ,i.e, skillful utilization of what is available at the moment. We believe in secularism but start anything new by inaugurating it by Hindu rituals. We have over 22 languages written in our Constitution, the lengthiest Constitution of the World. For every 10 km you walk in the regional parts of the country you will find a new language, a new accent. I don’t know about the food you eat. But in my country there are so many varieties of cuisines that you will be perplexed and the food will turn out to be a piece of art. There are numerous means of transport ranging from planes, trains, buses to cycles, rickshaws, three wheeled vehicle. You will find every type of terrain there. Hills, plains, concreted and mud roads. Variations in temperature are one thing you need to get accustomed if you are travelling in India. There are deserts that are as hot as a shimmering rod and there are deserts that are colder than the coldest of winter nights. Festivals are some bright display of colours, emotions, happiness, love and family bonding that if you are part of a festival you would never want it to end.” There was feeling of pride when the man was explaining everything to me. I could see his eyes sparkle and the scenery of everything he said in his eyes and his way of speaking that I was completely intrigued, wanted to land in India right away. The man kept on narrating stories and time passed very swiftly. We exchanged our contact information and he invited me to his house. Relations are something that escapes the formalities of the situation. The best relations are those formed unexpectedly, unknowingly, without any condition, without any expectation. We were two individuals who would have never ever thought that they would meet in this utterly different way and would become friends. Destiny surprises so does the human nature. Time passed and the captain of our plane announced that the plane will land soon. My friend asked me to look out of the window. It was something completely random, no order, no set pattern. “These are the slums of Delhi” he said. I had only read about slums in books, in newspapers that termed them as breeding grounds of criminal activities. But from such a height, even the slums looked beautiful. Sometimes order creates chaos, chaos sometimes bring relief. The plane landed and we started to move out of the plane. The weather was extremely humid and hot, hotter than what I had expected. “Welcome to India” my friend happily told me. “If you ever come to Chandigarh, do come at my house.” He said. “Will do” I said. We shook hands and went on our different ways. A car had come to pick me up from the airport. I saw my name on a placard that a man was holding. The man had the biggest moustache I had ever seen. He was carefully looking at the faces of every passenger coming in a hope that he finds the person who he had to pick. I went closer to him and said “Hi”. “Namaste Sir. Welcome to India. I have to take you to the hotel. ” he replied while holding his hands together. “Let’s Go” I exclaimed and the drive started. As I was looking out I noticed several things that were new to my eye. There were vendors that were shouting on the height of their voice declaring what they were selling, children were going to schools with bags bigger than their entire body, buses had people clinging to its edges, the road was packed with vehicles, shops were busy alluring customers by the enormous signboards that took up the majority of roads, the traffic policeman was trying hard to control the traffic. Everything was so random, so colourful, so distinct from one scene to another. I had never ever seen so many different things in such a short interval. There was so much to absorb, so much to hear, so much to think. The car reached the hotel and I checked in. Due to jet lag I was feeling the need to lie down and I did. I woke after 7 long hours of sleep. It was too late and I thought that I must read. I took out the articles that my boss gave me and started reading one of them.

India is a place that is best explored when you don’t feel like. Don’t look at the watch to explore her. India doesn’t sleep, it just shifts places. The night is the time when you will find some very inconspicuous evidences of how life evolves in situations that warrant the actions needed for survival. People sleep on footpaths that are buzzing areas of activities in the morning helping people earn their bread, the tea from the roadside vendor tastes better than a Starbucks, the difference between man and animal diminishes and all of this happens in the dark of the night. The lights from the distant source exhibits how different India is. It has the richest people in the world and those who just survive. Many a times I found children studying in the light from a street lamp. I asked them why not study in the day. “Day gives food, night ensures survival.” They would say.

I stopped reading the article, dressed up and went outside. Night is pleasant than the day, night ensures balance, I thought. The vendors were still shouting on the height of their voice, women were bargaining in the way that amazed me. I asked a local about the conversation of a woman that was going on with the vendor and he explained everything to me. “Look, she just bought the item at half the price quoted by the vendor.” Bargaining is an art, I thought and women are its masters. I thanked the person and marched forwards. There was a wedding going in a hall that was full with people. People who were dressed in the most vibrant colours I had ever seen. I took the liberty of inviting me in the wedding. The people were looking at me just like the new kid that comes to the class first time. They smiled at me and the kids giggled. There was food arranged diligently in the corner of the place, it’s aroma attracted every one present there, just like a beehive; there was commotion, there was curiosity, there was happiness. The chefs were working hard to satisfy the people those had come there to lay rest to their appetite. A young man in his early twenty’s came up to me and asked if I was looking for someone. I told him everything. “Athithi Devo Bhava”, he said. “In India every Athithi ,i.e., the guest is considered to be the Divine himself. I was dumbstruck by what followed next. I had become the center of attraction. I was fed all the dishes that were made that day and they tasted divine, Food Of the Gods, I thought what my mother had told. I was taken to the couple being married and the photographer placed me in the center of the frame and was taking photographs of every one that came along with me. The young man was with me the entire time. I asked him about the dress that the women were wearing. He explained everything curiously, there was pride in his voice, he felt important. In India, you will find a variety of clothing. Women wear Sari, Salwar-Kameez, Shirt-pant and there are many variations in the manner of dressing. You see we don’t ask them to wear any particular dress. But we cannot move away our eyes from them when we see them wear Sari and Salwar-Kameez. It appeals to the Indian in us. We appreciate whenever they dress to please themselves, not just to please the eyes.” He stopped. The women were looking beautiful, they wore so many colours-green, red, black, blue, pink, white. They had given me an entirely new meaning to the word- dressing up. The boy was right. Their clothing was something that brought relief to the eye. It was splendid, not altered, no impurities, no pre-requisites, just beautiful, adorable, to be remembered forever. Women are special I thought, they are ingenuine, their love is unconditional, they love to be pampered, they love to be noticed. I asked for the permission to leave, thanked them for everything and started walking towards my hotel. Just then I saw a person who was throwing and shouting at every vehicle that passed by. He was in a dilapidated condition. The hair on his head had found its way onto his face, his beard mixed with it. Whatever was left of the remains of his clothing was an evidence that the man once was prosperous, once wore to please, once dressed to impress. The colours of his nails had amalgamated with the colour of his skin, distinct, dark, dirty, unkempt. His legs were a liability to him as they were of no use to him. With every rock he threw, there was a cry that accompanied it. The cry was full of rage, full of detest, full of helplessness, full of despair. I asked a person that was sitting near the tea vendor about that man. “People say that he was once a great man. Powerful, prosperous and respectful. He lived a happy life with his wife in someplace that was the home to him. He lost his wife to a sickness and was left with his only son. The Son grew younger and the man became old. The Son fell in love with a girl, forgot his father, tricked him into believing that they would go someplace good to live, sold off his only home and instructed him to wait. The man waited for the day the Son would to come pick him up. That day never came. The father was disappointed, thought the world is a cruel place, wanted to destroy everything that left him. This is one of the stories that have always been circulating. Nobody knows the truth. But we all know the man suffered. Whatever anyone does, nobody deserves a punishment so severe, so cruel. We tried to know what the man wants. But he never talks.” The man ended his talk with a sigh. Exigencies of situations sometimes cast their shadows on the present, affect the future in ways that people tend to lose their hope, tend to forget themselves, tend to detest, lose their voice, embrace silence. Generally, we calm ourselves believing that tomorrow will be better. But sometimes it is better to believe that what is today will never be present tomorrow. It will become history the other day. People leave, relations break but it is the human tendency to walk again, to stand up after the fall, work against the tide. However, humans do come in many variations. I thanked the person and continued walking towards my hotel. I reached the hotel and went straight inside my room. Today was a big day I told myself. I let myself in the bed, thinking about what happened today, I went to sleep.

x-x

Time passed and I changed many places, saw many festivals, met new people, experienced many cultures. I saw the festival of Diwali- a festival of lights, where nothing mattered- your religion, caste, sex. The enthusiasm was beyond compare. Everybody participated, everybody celebrated. Houses were decorated with the brightness of the lights, crackers shunned away the silence of the night, sweets overpowered any bitterness, gifts brought smiles to faces. I saw Id, where thousands of people sat in the Mosque, bowing their heads to the Holy Quran. The image was breathtaking. They would hug each other and consume Sewaiyan– a delicious dish made with milk, threads of wheat, sweet and lots of love. Huge statutes of Lord Ganesha were immersed in waters of the Arabian Sea in order to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi. People took the dip of life in the Holy Ganga to absolve them of their sins in the previous life. Then there was Lohri, a festival in which the Punjabis celebrate infront a huge bonfire singing, dancing, enjoying. Time was less and my work seemed to be unending. I was in Chandigarh so I decided to meet my friend whom I met on the plane. I took out his address and told the taxi driver to take me there. Chandigarh surprised me in a pleasant manner.  It was the most planned city that I had ever seen. Everything displayed the mark of an artist. Its roads, roundabouts, gardens, homes. I reached the house. I wanted to give my friend a surprise so I did not inform him of my visit. I rang the bell and waited for him to come. His house was just like a typical Indian house-huge front door with a bell on the side, a name plate with his name preceded by the deity he followed, his car was covered and there was a line of flower pots on the boundary of the premises. He came out dressed plainly in a Kurta Pajama which was the most comfortable piece of clothing I ever wore. “Surprise”, I said. “Oh, you came.” He ran out and hugged me like a brother long lost. He took me inside and with same warmth what I had been receiving during my entire trip, introduced me to all his family members. I had spent a long time with the Indians and was now accustomed to their traditions. In India touching the feet of the elders is seen as a sign of respect. I touched the feet of my friend’s mother who was amazed to see a foreigner bend down to touch her feet. His sons were ecstatic and running around circles when they saw me. His wife was also surprised to see me. My friend showed me to my room and I changed into the pair of Kurta pajama I had.  Then we spent some quality time together- discussing what we have achieved, what we want to achieve, what is life. Families are some cluster of ideologies that stay together no matter how grave the situations are, no matter how much they fight, no matter how far they remain from one another. They are a necklace bound together with eternal ties of love. My family had extended today. I had a brother who lived in Chandigarh. The next day I had to leave for my country. I thanked my extended family. My mother gave me a shawl; my brother packed me a beautiful picture of all of us together. I had the same Swiss knife that my father had given to me. I gave that knife to the eldest son of my brother and the photograph to his other son. “Take this. This is one of the most prized possession I have. Take this and always remember that you have an uncle that lives in another land but shares the same heart, same body.” I told him and took them into my arms. I thanked everybody for the time spent. My brother had loaded my luggage into his car. We started the voyage back to my home. Before my flight I was to get on the train that would take me to New Delhi. I took my luggage, said goodbye and hugged my brother tightly. “Farewell brother. You will always be welcomed at my house. Always remember that you have a brother in Chandigarh who will always be there for you no matter what befalls. Always remember who you are.” He wished me luck and the train started. The train was leaving the station. The signal became distant with every burst of power that the engine was giving to the train. The station seamed dearer, the one that mattered diminished. The train moved smoothly, swiftly; the running cars couldn’t match it’s speed, the trees sprinted backwards. I sat on my seat in the train which was taking me away from the place which had made me realize how destiny surprises. A month ago I was absolved in the daily routine that my life had become a cycle-eat, work ,sleep. There was nothing new or exciting in my life. But this assignment had brought an all new dimension to my life. I had seen places, met people, been a part of celebrations that could have never happened if I had said No to the boss that day. I formed new relations, reinforced the previous ones. I had time to peep into me and see what was there that formed an intellectual. An intellectual is someone that is guided by what he’s been an entire life. His mind, heart and body sometimes work in coordination, sometimes not. But an intellectual is shaped by what the ones closest to him want to mould him in. I broke the bonds of society and culture and have witnessed the best and worst of both the worlds. I slept on footpaths, cleaned dishes at Gurudwaras, bathed in the Ganga, climbed mountains, grew beard, did not eat for several days, walked hundreds of miles, travelled in every type of vehicle, done every type of mischief, let the roads drive me to places unexplored. This trip was something that had brought out the real me- the one who does not fear the unknown, the one who does not expect, the one who can easily form relations, the one who can walk, the one who traverses.  Now, when I go back home I take along with me the memories, the relations that will keep on going to motivate me to work, to live, to enjoy every moment. I now know what being a citizen of another country means, how language as a barrier diminishes when eyes speak, heart listens and mind answers.  It does not matter where you are born, neither the circumstances that prevailed when you grew, the only thing that matters whenever you try to create a name for yourself is the will to do. I realized this from the driver of the taxi, the guard at the airport, kids those studied under the streetlights, the man who threw rocks at moving vehicles. Life gives us an opportunity to learn by its very own method of letting you first experience it, think over it and then making you realize that even the bad things teach something, the dark teaches to see better, loudness tells you what to listen,  paucity tells you the importance of excess.

The plane landed and I was right there where it all started- my home. I reached for a taxi and asked him to take him to my home. I reached my home. The home looked all the same except it had a car parked at the front. I rang the bell. A woman opened the door, she was not my mother. “Yes, What do you want?” she asked. A voice from inside asked her who was there. It was my mother’s voice. “Ma, its me Hubbly” I exclaimed and ran inside. There she was, sitting on the same rocking chair. “Hubbly you are back.” She was shivering with joy when she said this. I ran hugged her. It was a perfect reunion. Both of us were crying, a lost part of her had come to her, I found what I missed for so long. She pushed me aside and said “You have become weak Hubbly. Didn’t you get proper food in India.” I burst into laughter. Whenever we hear something we desperately want to hear from the person we want to our mind plays with us and reacts in surprisingly different ways. “Welcome back son” my father told me from behind. All of us were crying and laughing at the same time. “Where are the brothers and who is the woman?” I asked them. “Son, your brothers have made us proud. They are the creative heads at a large publisher, where they have been designing the covers of the books. This woman has been appointed by them to look after us. They even bought a car previous week.” I was happy beyond compare. My brothers had excelled, I had excelled, my parents had excelled. My father called them and within an hour they were standing in front of me-suited, booted. “Looking Good” I told them with a grinning smile. “Welcome home brother” they said and came running towards me. I told them all about everything I saw and witnessed in India, how I got a new brother and the glimpses and glories. Everybody was amazed to discover what I found. I could see pride in their eyes. They were happy that I could do whatever I always dreamt of.  The next day I went to meet the boss. I went inside his room. The boss was busy doing his daily chores. “So you are here. What did you learn? Is the article prepared?” he asked. I gathered courage and told him, “Sorry Sir, I cannot write the article. There is so much to say that words will lose their relevance; feelings cannot be worded Sir. I tried writing everything I saw in India. But, I was amazed to my very core. I want to narrate everything to the reader. I apologize once again Sir. I will pay back the expenses of the tour within a week Sir.” “Very well then, you can start paying it by today.” He continued “I have become old you see. I cannot work the same I used to when my body was younger. I have been looking for the perfect successor to this position. The one who can justify and maintain the sanctity of this position. No one was up to your mark. I am glad that I chose you. Welcome Boss” he ended. I was taken aback, took a seat to absorb what just happened. “I know you must be confused. Let me tell you why I chose you. Writing is all about what you think, what you feel. One cannot write because he is forced to write. I knew that writing on a subject as vast as festivals of India is a magnanimous task that can only be achieved by a passionate fellow. I know deep down in your heart there is a voice that tell you that you can write it off. Take your time and now that you are the boss focus your energies on writing to contribute, not writing to earn because when you write to contribute you earn something more important than money. Enjoy this position, enjoy this place but do not forget who you are and I think you might by now know who you are. All the best.” He said it all and quietly left the room. There was applause outside his room. Everybody was there to see off their boss and welcome their new boss.

Destinies take sometimes unexpected turns. It never fails to surprise. We must not run after destiny rather try to create our own by fulfilling dreams that we see, by loving those who we want to love, living the way we want to live because at the end it is our life and we only get to live it once.

Thinking over the mystery plane, I was walking on the timber lane,

Destiny is something unknown, we fail when we try to know,

Walk over the seasoned wood, let the destiny be your good,

Don’t try just fly, let the destiny be your spy,

Life gives second chance, be a wise grab that chance,

Fail, fall, drop, get shot, don’t ever try to stop.

The Impatient Me…

Hello friends,

This is a story that has been derived from my life. Hope most of you can relate to it.

Walking down the yard I was feeling burdened, burdened from the fears that were burning my mind from inside, preventing any clarity of mind, preventing any action. I kept on thinking what will happen if I say so, what if, what then, how. My mind was playing with me and heart was injured in this process. I crossed the yard, opened the door to my red mustang, sat in it and looked in the mirror seldom used to see the ones following you, the ones that stare at you, to look behind. Flashback started, the cassette of my life reversed to the very starting.

The alarm clock set on the side of my single bed would everyday wake me up to a new day, a day that seemed like the previous day. Rise, dress, join the parade. My life was as boring as it could be. I had no surprises, no expectations, I was flowing with the flow. Nevertheless, I religiously attended the college because it was one place where I could talk with humans in the real world. My only friend Craig would meet me in the class, where he would be dying to tell what happened with him and his ‘so called girlfriend’ the previous day. I had no choice but to listen, making me feel worse inside, why can’t I talk to girls, is it so difficult?

Everything was going the way it meant to, classes held as scheduled, lunch breaks were as gossiping as before, time passed, bell rang and my journey back to home began. Just as I was getting in my car, Craig held me from behind and said” hey man, college fest is next month.” Fests are something that were alien to me because the sight of couples indulging in public display of affection in the fests would make me sick, making me realize how single I was. But my love for writing possessed me and I asked Craig for the details of only the literary events. Craig looked at me like a mother who was prepared to scold her child, like a librarian who would stare at you because you could not keep silent, like a girl who had been offended by someone of her beauty. “Brother do you even know what a fest means. It means to celebrate, to enjoy, to live.” Are you going to tell me about the events or not? I asked rudely and seeing nothing I jumped in my car and drove. This is normal with me. I usually tend to over react to situations, patience is something I was not born with and never tried developing it. I reached home and while sitting on my bed I realized that I had done wrong with the only friend I had. I called him. It is said that opposites attract, Craig was entirely opposite of me. He had dozens of friends, every weekend he was invited to a party. He took many initiatives to acquaint me with his friends but I avoided, discarded his every attempt. He picked up my call and said” What?” “Sorry man, you know how I am”, I tried to defend my case. You know what, I try so much to make you feel happy, why don’t you want to be happy? I had no answer. But, then it was the usual me, I had no answer why was I like that, why the colours seemed so vibrant, why the music sounded too loud, why every morning was just another morning, what to do with the mirror.

Ignorance is bliss

I ignored everything around me and sometimes ignored even myself.  The next day I met Craig he was completely normal as nothing had happened the previous day. He gave me a list of all the literary events along with the contacts. Thanks buddy” I said and hugged him. “Man don’t do this to yourself, you deserve better.” He whispered in my ears. After the college I contacted the people involved with the organizing and stated my inclination towards writing. They readily took me. Literature does not attract the already centre of attraction, the cool, the hot. Everything was prepared and we were set to welcome the participants at the fest.

The fest was inaugurated by the director of our college. People were excited, smiles rode the faces, happiness drove people to stalls, butter popcorn was all over the place, occasional laughter, gigs and gags, best dresses gathered eyeballs, hairstyles were all new, shades sat over nose.  We waited for our event to start. The participants started coming in and we started registering them. Then, something happened, unexpected to me, something totally intriguing. I was busy in registering the participants when I heard a voice that was the most serene, most soothing I had ever heard. “Hi, I wanted to register for the event.” The voice said, I lifted my face to see the most beautiful, divine creation of the heavenly bodies that was nurtured with utmost affection and care. I could not take my eyes off her. Dressed in an ethnic garb, her eyes were like black holes, the one you want to be lost in, the ones from where you don’t want to come out, the dimples on her face made me think of the craters of the Moon,  her hair was shining like a wood furniture that had been just polished. Immaculate, unearthly, out of the league. I was so lost in her that my other friend jerked me. I gathered my senses, ordered them to behave and continued the process. The competition started and everybody got busy. But I could not prevent myself from seeing her. I kept on looking at her and every time she played with her hair, I skipped a beat. The entire competition I did not hear or see anybody. The host announced the end of the competition. My heart broke, stop the time it said, you would not see her again. Disappointments are a part of life, I thought but this disappointment was too much to bear. She went outside the hall, I saw her leaving the room, an angel had left the place of commons. My mind, my heart, my thoughts went along with her and I took off for my home. Patience is a virtue which can drive individuals to act, sometimes prohibit action. But patience is something that could not root inside me. An impatient me, I messaged her on the phone number she gave.

“Hi, this is the organizer, quite a speech you gave that day. I wanted to ask whether you’ll be coming for the next event.” She replied.” I may not come to participate but I may come to attend.”

This response of her left me hanging by the thread. I couldn’t sleep, my mind started to make stories, whether she’ll come, what if she does not come. I waited for the night to over and day to rise. I woke up before the alarm, today I could hear the birds sing, wind rustle, trees mingle, school buses whoosh. I checked my inbox to see if any message was there by her. Alas nothing.

I dressed up for the fest, combed my hair, overshadowed my bodily aroma with the fragrance of a perfume and set for the college.

The event started, she did not come. My heart broke. But suddenly I felt a vibration; my heart was given an electric shock to revive it from the dead. She had messaged! When is the concert ? Her message read. Friend in need is a friend in need. Craig was there and without thinking I asked him about the details of the event. Craig was taken aback; he told everything to me with an excitement of a child who had just come from riding a swing and was telling everything to the mother. In a blink of eye I messaged her. Impatiently I asked her whether she was coming or not. She said, yes. I felt like I’m on cloud nine, ecstasies knew no bound. I was too afraid to meet her, thought that a girl so beautiful would reject me point blank. I was too normal, too common, not at all humorous, couldn’t crack a joke. So, I stayed away from her, let her be a lost dream, tried to forget her, let myself be disappointed. Fest had ended and the usual routine again found its way into me. But this time I had twisted and turned my routine. I never knew what to do with a mirror installed in the corner of my bathroom. After meeting the ‘Angel’, the mirror had become my close associate. I would stand hours in front of the mirror trying every dress, every hairstyle. Colours had become too vibrant, morning became blissful, music was too good. Days passed by and I tried forgetting her. Sometimes actions that are performed with planning may result into something unplanned and vice versa. I don’t know what was up with me that day; I tried searching her on a popular social networking site. Actions led to reactions and I found her profile. Curiosity drove me to check her profile. I tried to find something to talk to her about. Eureka! I found what I was looking for. She was an avid reader. I gathered my strength and messaged her about a book I had just read. “Hi, just a suggestion, you must check out Winterfell by Manners. It is a good book.” I waited impatiently for a reply. Time passed too slowly. I could very clearly hear the clock ticking, gears moving. I lost all hope when the reply did not come the whole day. I was confident that it was a bad move. I tried to indulge in other activities to ward off whatever going in my mind. My hands went over the phone and a moment of joy was born. She had messaged “thanks, will definitely add it to my list.” Circumstances were so that our chat continued for hours. Time passed so swiftly, in a blink of eye. My life had changed completely. The songs in my phone that were desperately seeking attention, made me realize that music can do wonders. The songs rejuvenated me, flowers were so beautiful, mornings were so serene, birds sang immaculately, I looked at stories with a whole new perspective. Everything was going smoothly; I felt that nothing was wrong in the world. I had changed completely and my friend Craig was the first one to notice.” Something is fishy.” Craig asked when he met me the other day. “nothing man” I explained. “ His expressions were similar to that of a policeman who would ask the culprit whether he had done a crime or not and the culprit who did the crime would reply otherwise. “ If you will not tell me about it, then never again talk with me.” Craig said. I could not resist any further and told him everything: how I saw her and how I fell for her. Craig listened very carefully. He then gave his expert opinion and told me not to rush with things. So, I waited and tried building a relationship with her, tried to know her interests, what she liked and it came out to be that she was mature than her age. Seldom she would guide me, console me whenever I was feeling low, make me laugh when nothing seemed right. I tried to make her laugh but my sense of humor never could match her comic timing. She was perfect, she was the one. Everything about her made me feel that she deserved better, that I was no match for her. Craig tried hard to make me feel otherwise. But his every attempt went in vain. Exams were to start in my college, I deviated all my focus towards them and thought that it would be best if I forget her. I could not resist thinking about her every second, every day of my life. Somehow my exams finished, I checked my inbox and saw a message from her. “ Hi, I wanted to tell you that my father has been transferred to another country. I would be leaving on 23rd. “ I checked the calendar. Today is 23rd!! It felt like that the earth was torn apart, sky had fallen down. I could not think of anything, how to stop her, how would I see her, how would I meet her. Everything stopped. Impatience amalgamated with adrenaline and I took out my car drove as fast as I could and reached her home. Her home was just like the ones you see in television commercials, just like all the other ones that were resting besides it. It was coloured red with a big yard , planted with many trees and plants of various types. My eyes noticed everything, everything including the lock that was there sitting at the door, mocking me, laughing at me. Her house was locked, she had left, I could not tell her of my feelings. I was disappointed, I started walking down the yard, I was feeling burdened, burdened from the fears that were burning my mind from inside, preventing any clarity of mind, preventing any action. I kept on thinking what will happen if I said so, what if, what then, how. My mind was playing with me and heart was injured in this process. I crossed the yard, opened the door to my red mustang, sat in it and looked in the mirror seldom used to see the ones following you, the ones that stare at you, to look behind. I was just about to leave when I saw a taxi stopping behind me. My heart started beating fast, a miracle had just happened. She was there, coming out of the taxi, an Angel on earth, created with utmost precision and affection of the divine creatures. I could not stop myself, pushed myself out of my car, sprinted towards her and hugged her so tightly that I could feel her heartbeats, they were beating fast, synced with mine. A connection was established, tears rolled down my eyes, my eyes that kept on staring her. She was surprised, could not digest what had just happened. I saw the confusion in her eyes and explained everything whatever I wanted to tell her.

“ Before meeting you, I thought that world is a cruel place, a place where the ones those who wear masks, survive, people cannot be trusted, feelings are deceptive. I thought that I can only survive if I appear tough from outside, showed no feelings, lived my life alone. But the day I met you my life has changed. I have realized that even though the world is a cruel place, people cannot be trusted, but we are the ones that can allow it to hurt ourselves. I have started to live my life, listen to songs, dress well, help people. I could not say anything to you because I always thought that you are out of my league. You were so perfect. However, when I saw your message today, I realized what you mean to me. I do not want to you to leave because if you leave you will take along with you a part of my life that has been keeping me alive since the day I saw you. Please don’t do this to me.” There was silence. None of us could speak. I turned backwards and started to move to my car. “Hey mister “ she said. I turned towards her. She was crying. She ran towards me, jumped over me and hugged me. I was relieved, I was happy, I was reborn.

In life, we find people, we meet them, we get to know them, they fade away. This is an age old process and will continue forever. Sometimes we find people who we want to stay in our lives forever and this process requires an effort that has to be initiated at the earliest opportunity possible. Opposites attract but the other opposite is special, always remember that. The day we stop the effort to keep them in our lives, that day marks the fading away of those people from our lives. So, call your friend, make a cup of tea for your special someone, do the dishes for your mother, pay the bills for your father, play with your brother, talk, sing, celebrate, live and above of all- DO THE WORK.