Being a Man…..

Be a man, be a man,
Shouted the crowd, be a man,
Carve out a ruthless shine,
Bring a sword with a deadly grine,
Swing it high, 
kill a dream so brigh,
Be a man, be a man,
Shouted the crowd, be a man,
Strengthen yourself,
Harden yourself,
Do not let a drop come out,
Turn away from things that cry,
Wear a mask with a mark so coy,
Be a man, be a man,
Shouted the crowd, be a man,
Every woman is a jewel,
Every child is a gift,
Preserve them, 
Protect them, 
Be a sunlight,
You are a saviour,
Of meek and the lame,
But what about the man,
Had become a stone,
Is man not a human anymore,
He feels, 
He cries,
He is sometimes meek,
But the only thing he hears,
Be a man, be a man,
He wants to break the mould,
Set for him the day he was told,
You are a man, 
Rule with all your might,
Nobody hears what beats inside a man,
The man turns himself into oblivion,
And tells himself each day,
What has been said for eternities, 
Be a man, be a man,
Shouted the crowd, be a man,

A letter to me…

Dear Harsh,
We live in a world that is heavily shaped by what others think of you. There are times when the thought of being you just skips your mind because what others may think of you becomes prominent- that is what we have been told for almost all our life. Climb down the bench, don’t talk too loud, behave, don’t run, don’t touch, don’t understand, just obey. We have been subject to conditions that could have brought the best in us but Alas, we were shaped by what society might would have thought about us. I have been thinking about you a lot lately. You have been a good son till now, followed everything which was laid upon you, never broke any rules, was always helpful and could never lie. Your heart always overpowered your mind where there were some major decisions to be taken. You never intended any wrong to befall on your loved ones because they were the ones that resided in your heart, they were the ones that helped mend it when it was broken, gave it shots of adrenaline when it was almost dead. You never ever thought what your present action will do because you never thought from your mind. This did not affect many as your major decisions until now included mostly that involved you the major part and somebody or a group of some bodies as a minor or even an insignificant part. But from what I have seen in the past few watches, your decisions have started to affect many and the most affected is you. I am observing you and I don’t find you in a very functional state just because of the one decision that has made some people erase you from their life. I know this is painful because these people were your closest accomplice in some very good times. Grieving for them has become an order of the day for you. Everyday you become older than what you probably are just because you keep on thinking about them. I am not saying that this should not be done. But look at yourself buddy. You have lost all your happiness and joy that once you spread across everyone you met. You are not even justifying your own name- Harsh that means happiness. I just have to say this to you- you are everything that the universe is made up of. You have a body, a soul, a purpose and most importantly an aim in life. You have tried your best to maintain the relations that you wanted to maintain. Buddy, you look tired to me. I request you to please stop. You are just letting yourself go in this process that has snatched you from all the happiness and has made you a walking corpse. I can very well understand how difficult it is for you to let go because you find happiness in smallest things. A bubble of water can excite you, a bird bathing in a pool of mud can entice you, a baby laughing can mesmerize you. I know you will never forget those people because they will always remain special to you. You have grown in their company. But buddy you will have to learn to let go or else you will lose yourself. 
I will always be here. I will always help you when you need me. Just listen to me because I am you.

Your best friend, 
Kumar Harsh

They were two but one…

They were two most beautiful pieces of the puzzle. Simple yet sophisticated. It was refreshing to see them, hold hands, talk to one another, look at only to make the other person shy away. This bond they shared reminded me of the bond of the wind to the wind chime. The music is soothing when both of them work together. In harmony, synthesized to a perfect tune. ……….

A single life….

Encourage thy soul,
The days of the dark,
Be My light,
Forever stay bright,
Help the dread,
Remember the bread,
Churn the butter,
When was it easier,
Caress my head,
The world is still left to win,
Work hard,
Get a mark upon your mast,
Break my bones,
Let it flow haywire,
Turn, twist and make me burn,
Gold is never made in the cold,
Pull me down,
Let me taste the ground,
A single life,
What’s more in hand,
Run fast to the high,
Just a reminder is what all I cry,
A single life,
Put all your might in this single life.

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.


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.