Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Other Side of Me- Part 2

Read Part 1 first...

I landed at Indira Gandhi International Airport today morning at 8. It was a bit chilly outside the airport. I tightened the scarf around my neck, and extended my left hand out to stop the next cab.

-“Delhi Institute of Engineering”, I told the driver with an inquisitive eye.

Before getting into the car, I felt my left pocket to see if the pepper spray was in place and easily accessible if required.

Priya knows about my yearly visits to Delhi, though I have never talked to Nitin or anyone else about these before.  I remembered that I had forgotten to mention Priya about my visit this year, though I knew she couldn’t be any less supportive. The last time I saw her was when I stormed out on her four days ago. I made a mental note to patch things up with her once I got back. After all, she was another half of me. We were like peas in a pod, two bodies but one soul.

The cab stopped in front of the institute main gate. I paid the driver the fare, gave him a little tip and said him thank you. I took my bag pack over my shoulder and took a little sip from my water bottle and placed it back in the side compartment of the bag. I looked at the signboard on top of the main gate, took a deep breath , and placed my foot inside.

Ten minutes later, I stood leaning at the gate of the cafeteria, my eyes on the table at the farthest corner. He was sitting there, as usual alone with his Kulhar of hot Chai on the table. As usual he was just staring at it, biting his lips, deep in thought.  Few seconds later, he looked up and I realised he had spotted me. He waved his hand.

-“Hey”, I doubt whether my voice had reached till there, I could barely hear myself. My lips were pressed tight.

He got up from his chair and slowly came towards me. After staring a few seconds at me, he hugged me. It was a strong but gentle hug. I felt a chill down my spine.  I hugged him tight and closed my eyes. Well, just looking at him brings back a vast array of memories.  George is the only person who knows me best, even more than Priya or Nitin does.  He is the only person, who knows who I really am and I can be completely myself with him.

-“So, you still are in Delhi?” I asked him, my right hand on his left bicep, my voice now barely a whisper.  I asked him, though I knew the answer.

-“My brother is here.” He said. I could feel the pain in his voice. He held my left hand tight.

-“You know you don’t have to do this.” I was staring at our hands, tightly held together. I couldn’t make up the courage to look at his eyes.

-“I do. My brother is here.  Even though I am only a minute older than Tom is, still that makes me the older sibling. I need to take care of him.” His voice was much louder now.

-“No you don’t. You need to get out of here and get a life.” I could feel my eyes welling up.

-“If you think so, why do you keep coming back here?” I could feel his eyes on me now.

I freed my hand from his. Taking a deep breath in, I said, “This is my place. This city, this college, this place and I have a history. I left my soul here”

The conversation was going nowhere

-“Shall we go?”George asked.

I nodded.

He put his hand gently on my shoulder as we walked till the main gate in silence. His car was parked there.  He held open the passenger door for me.

-“Thanks”, I said as I got inside.

In a few minutes we were on the highway. It was chilly outside but I still didn’t feel like closing my side of the window. I wanted to look outside and take in as much of the sight, as much of the air outside.

As the forests on the side started getting denser, I could feel my hand on his left hand which was controlling the gear. My grip was getting tighter. Tears started coming in my eyes as I looked outside.

Eight Years earlier... 19th November

-“You know you are a pretty romantic boyfriend. Giving your girl the first ride in your car”, I smiled; my teeth all out as I looked at him driving calmly.

-“Yeah, a special girl like mine deserves some royal treatment.”

I folded my arms around his left arm and placed my head on his shoulder.

It was 10 pm and we were returning after watching Pride and Prejudice. I remember every little detail of the night very clearly.

-“You know I envy you. You are so lucky, getting a car from your parents on your birthday” I sneered at him romantically.

-“Well, my brother and I are supposed to share it. And it’s more like getting into college gift rather than a birthday gift. My parents always thought we were not even smart enough to become waiters” He laughed loudly.

I loved that childish laugh on his face.

As we neared the highway, we saw a police checking post far ahead. My hands froze. I am personally not very fond of the police. He must have sensed my dilemma.

-“You ok?” He asked, concerned.

-“I am not particularly very fond of the police. Wherever they go, problems follow them.”

-“You are making me laugh. Don’t worry. Must be some regular check for drunk driving.” He gave a pat on my hand.

I wasn’t sure. As we neared, a policeman signalled us to pullover.

As we stopped he came from behind and knocked on the window glass with his stick. Tom pulled his window down.

-“Girlfriend, Eh? You two where going at this time of the night? Doing hanky panky eh?” The policeman said, leering at me. His mouth stinked.

-“Sir, this is my wife, and Dhanaraj Sharma is my father-in-law. If you want you can talk to him right now”, Tom said in a bold voice as he scrolled through the contact list through his phone. I doubted whether we did really pass off as a married couple.

Whatever he said, had done its job.  The policeman became stiff. “No sir, why disturb big sir at this time of the night? We do some routine checks sir, drunk driving kids, you see sir. Not safe here. You and madam go sir. Sorry sir, for disturbing ”, he blabbered with a smile on his face. I hate that smile.

As we crossed the checking post, We both burst out laughing. I couldn’t control my laughter.

-“Who the hell is Dhanaraj Sharma and how do you know him” I asked Tom.

-“Well he is your dad and since I married you, I know him.” He laughed his patented childish laugh.

I slapped him on his hand, there was a big smile on my face. “No, I mean for real.”

-“Stupid, he is the director of our college. As far as why that guy was scared of him, I have no idea.”

And we both again burst out laughing.  We were on the highway now. As the forests started getting denser, I could hear a screeching sound.

-“What’s that?” I looked at Tom.

-“I don’t know, never heard that before”

Five hundred meters further, our car jerked and stopped suddenly.

-“What happened?” It was getting late and I was worried.

-“Lemme check” Tom said and got out of the car. I went out behind him.

It was getting colder and I could hear some voices nearby, so I told him to hurry up. Tom was handling a car for the first time, so he couldn’t make out what the problem was. The voices were getting closer.

-“Maybe we should see who is coming and ask them for help” Tom said.

-“Okay” I was reluctant and a little scared too.

They were a group of seven men, with bottles in their hand, which I presumed was alcohol.

-“Hey, can you guys help us. There seems to be some problem with the car”, Tom asked one of the guys though I wished he didn’t. They didn’t look like the ones you could trust.

-“Sure buddy!” The biggest one of them said while  pushing Tom aside.

-“Hey!” Tom really gets angry at such bad manners.

My breathing stopped as I could feel the other guys looking at me with hungry eyes, leering at my breasts.

-“What buddy you said something?” They big guy said and taking a big gulp from his bottle threw it aside. 
The bottle landed with a crash on the road. “Look, boys, this guy wants to say something,” He said with a mocking laugh. Tom had sensed the danger at this point, but it was too late.

Three of the guys came towards me, with eyes like a prey, hungry. They  stinked. I wanted to run, but my feet were frozen to the spot. I tried shouting but one of them already had his hand on my mouth.

-“Hey you!” Tom was really angry now. He tried to come and save me from the grip of those savages but there other men had stopped him midway and was shoving him away. I was desperately trying to shout.
They all came over me. I tried to free myself. But they were strong. I could feel my clothes being stripped off. Someone grasped my breasts. It hurt. I didn’t know how many they were. I could hear Tom’s voice in the distance. I tried to fight. But they had pinned me to the ground. They were cowering over me. They were hurting me.  I was scared. It was cold, it was painful. I wanted it to stop. It seemed like eternity. I passed out.

I opened my eyes. I could see no one

I was cold. I was in pain.

I wanted to shout. I couldn’t

I wanted to move. I couldn’t.

I passed out again.

I opened my eyes. I could see someone. No, I couldn’t.

I was cold. I was numb. I couldn’t feel the pain anymore.

I wanted to shout. I couldn’t

I wanted to move. I couldn’t.

I was dying

I opened my eyes.

I was warm.

I could see people in white around me. Then I couldn’t see.

Maybe this was heaven.

I closed my eyes.

I woke up. There was a girl wearing a white uniform standing beside me. She told me she was a nurse and that I was ok. She told me to sleep. I slept.

I opened my eyes. Now I was awake. I could see Tom standing beside me. I tried to speak, I still couldn’t. I wanted to smile at him. I didn’t know whether I did or not. Then I realised it was George. They looked alike, they were twins. Only very close friends can tell the difference. There were friends, and doctors, and police.

A smiling lady doctor came up to me and sat beside me. She asked me how I was feeling. I tried to nod.

-“You were raped. Some people found you and brought you here a week back. You were being assaulted using sharp and blunt objects. Your uterus and intestines were affected. You were suffering from sepsis. We had to operate on you thrice. We are sorry, but we had to remove your uterus to save your life.”

I nodded. I didn’t want to hear anymore.

George shook me out of my thoughts. “We have reached.”

I could feel my eyes wet as I looked from the glass. I didn’t want to get out of the car.

-“Aditi”, George placed his hand on my shoulder.

I got out of the car. We went inside the cemetry.

I kneeled down and placed the flowers on Tom’s grave. 

--------------------------------THE END-----------------------------------------

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Other Side of Me- Part 1

“So finally! You are getting married.” Priya gasped, her eyes opened up wide and glittered as she twirled the diamond ring in my finger.

“Yeah”, I nodded at her, smiling.

“That’s a pretty rock”, she grinned, still fingering the ring.

I smiled and looked at him from across the room. He was sitting with Papa and Bhai at the dining table. They seemed to be having a good time, talking, giggling and laughing out loud. Ma was enthusiastically serving her future son-in-law a variety of her patented and neighborly-praise winning pakoras. It seemed to me as if Nitin looked a little out of place, I had always worried whether he would get well with my family. He was a calm and composed, down-to-earth guy. We, on the other hand believed in living life to the fullest. My Dad always said a good laugh and hearty conversations keeps your heart healthy and brain working optimally.  Nitin stole a quick glance at me  and found me staring at him. He smiled. Priya waved back with a big smile on her face. I smiled and turned my head away.

Nitin was the kind of guy every father would want for his daughter.  He was intelligent, hardworking, successful, and yet so calm and down-to-earth. With me, he sometimes behaved like a kid, and sometimes like a protective grown-up. He loved me, but he respected me more. He held my hand gently yet firmly while crossing the road. He said I looked cute when I was angry because tears trickled down my face and that would make my face swell up and become white. Whenever I felt low, he just sat beside me, so close that his arm touched mine and keep staring at me without speaking a word until I rested my head on his shoulder and then he used to hug me really tight. He jumped in joy on my achievements and kept motivating me. On days it rained, he used to come to my apartment with a movie and a big bar of chocolate and we used to curl up on my sofa and just talk. Most importantly he always stayed- through my different mood swings. He stayed when I was happy, sad, angry and even when I told him to get lost and not talk to me. He didn’t talk much, he talked just the right amount. His eyes spoke for him, his eyes spoke a million words. And each time he stared into my eyes, I knew how much he loved me.

They all talked about us, at office. We met three years ago, he was my senior and a really helpful mentor. Within a month of my joining we became friends and soon enough we started dating. There was something dreamy about his eyes. They said it would never last, romantic relationships are never meant for the workplace. There were uncountable bets on us. My colleagues eyed me differently and cruelly, except for the ones that were my friends. They really supported me through these all. And we emerged from it all. We were the perfect, happy couple at work, the kind you only see in television or read in Nicholas Sparks’ novels.

Nitin was the perfect gentleman. My Dad never thought that a guy would be coming to his house to ask his daughter’s hand for marriage. My Dad always hoped his kids would fall in love and only invite him on their marriage. I was my dad’s princess and the perfect prince was standing at his door.

When my brother and I were kids, I remember my Dad telling us to keep our personal life separate from our professional. Don’t take your bedroom to your office and vice versa. He always believed in the fact that a person and his wife should never work at the same place, as workplace differences may cause personal problems. But Nitin proved him wrong. He was a perfect boss at work and a perfect boyfriend outside office. No matter how much the pressure at work would be, he never took it outside office. It was as if he knew some divine mantra to lead a carefree life. He never let our personal and professional relationship mingle up. Yet whenever I had too much work, he used to stay back with me and only go home after we had dinner and he dropped me off to my apartment making sure I have locked the door properly.

And now here we are, three years later, proving all the people at work that they were wrong. Time has changed them also. They have believed in the miracle of love and here they are wishing us all the luck in the world, blessing us to lead a happy married life.

Priya shook me out of my thoughts. I found her staring and me and smiling.

“You look beautiful.”

“Thank you”, I blushed.

I was wearing the red and green churidar Manish gifted me on my last birthday. He said he saw it on a mannequin on Paree Boutique, which is on his way from home to office, and it strangely reminded him of me. 

He instantly thought I would do more justice to the dress than the lifeless doll would.

“So have you talked to him yet? What did he say?” Priya asked.

“About what?” I  raised my eyebrows as I had no clue what she was talking about.

“You know...” Her eyes were staring directly at mine.

 I knew.

“No” I said got up from the sofa to go to my room. Priya followed me.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Life is all about taking risks- Random Scribblings

"If you are not scared, you are not taking a chance. And if you are not taking a chance, then what the hell  are you doing?"

Life is unpredictable. We never know what's going to happen in the next second. The future is dark. In the next five minutes, I might be dead, or I might be famous- no one knows. So the best thing to do is concentrate on the moment in hand. We live life one second at a time, and we make plans for the future.

But do those plans always come true? So, I dream of having my own house in the suburbs when I am old. I dream of sitting on the front porch having tea with my husband knowing that my kids are well settled and happy in some part of the world and they still love me. But there is no guarantee that all of it will come true, or worse, none of it might happen. I may not be famous, I might still live in a rented apartment, I may not have a husband or kids or I might be dead. But that doesn't keep me from dreaming. And if we are lucky, we realise, in the face of life, the true dream is being able to dream at all.

Life is all about taking risks. And it starts right from the day we are born. It's a characteristic of our subconscious mind. We try standing up, though we might fall down and get hurt. We try to talk, though the words coming out of our mouth may not make any sense. What if we didn't try then knowing that there are risks. We wouldn't be able to talk or walk today.

We go to school, knowing that it's a place filled with strangers, we might be bullied. We make friends knowing that they may not stick with us till the end. Chances are that they might not be the "my person" one or they might betray us. But we are strong enough to take the risk. We fall in love with a person knowing that he might not be the one. We know he might break our heart but we stick on with a ray of hope. We get married without knowing where it might lead to. What if your guy doesn't remain so supportive after marriage. What if he falls in love with someone and leaves you? Well, none of these stops us. We have kids and hope they will grow up and be established and happy, and that they will take care of you when you are no longer able to take care of yourself. We take these risks without knowing what the final outcome will be.

We never learn from other's mistakes. We have to make our own mistakes. No one is there to tell us what's right and what wrong. We have to learn our own lessons. We have to sweep today's possibility under tomorrow's rug, until we can't anymore. Until we finally understand for ourselves that knowing is better than wondering, that waking is better than sleeping, and even the biggest failure, even the worst, beat the hell out of never trying.

We know that some of these chances we take may end up failing us. No matter how hard we fight, we fall. And it's scary as hell. But at the end of the day, the fact that we all have the courage to be still standing is reason enough to celebrate.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I love you Autumn

Autumn is my favourite season. I love autumn. It's not too hot, but it's not too cold either. There is minimal humidity and it's the perfect time of the year to party around. Unlike spring, there's no disease spreading viruses roaming around in the air. I feel it's even the most beautiful season of the year. Oh! The nature's bounty. The hues all around cheer me up. Everything is just perfect.

Here are a few pics I clicked today from our hostel garden. I just couldn't keep myself from praising the beauty of these flowers.

And I just came accross the perfect poem for my perfect season.

 To Autumn
-John Keats
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

  Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

My not-so-secret Wishlist

I have always been a fan of Preeti Shenoy’s books. (I have read them all). I love her blog too.She is one of my inspirations. She works really hard to be a good mom as well as a good writer. The best thing I like about her is that we never get to know any of her life’s problems through her blog, or twitter or facebook. She is a lady whose writings spread happiness.
So, a few months ago, I read her book- “The Secret wishlist” and finally I have come up with my own wishlist. It’s huge, and a new point adds up everyday. Well I am a girl who lives in her own fantasy world, and being a 20 year old, I have my own dreams. So here’s my wishlist (please don’t call me crazy)-

Now that I have got a job, I have decided how much money to save every month. I am well aware of the fact that everyone makes plans on how to spend their salary, but I will quote my dad- “A person who doesn’t know how to save money from the first day they get their salary, can never end up learning how to save money.” So in a few years, I plan to have a huge savings.

When I join my job, I want to work really hard and stay long hours at work. I plan to take very little vacation. I want to be the kind of career oriented person you see on television.

I want to visit all of India before I get married.

I want to go on a tour to Europe for my honeymoon. It’s a romantic place and has a rich history and my friends who have been there loves it. (See those savings in point 1 actually makes some sense now)

I want my daughter to grow up and become a doctor. So I guess we have pretty much established the fact that 
I have planned about kids too.

I want a brother or sister for the daughter in point 3. And I want one of my two kids to be adopted and I want to have both kids before I am thirty-five so that there’s enough time for them to settle down before I retire.

I want to stay in a house by the time I am thirty, not an apartment, but a house. It will have a backyard and it’s going be in a very calm and loving neighborhood.

One room in my house is strictly going to be my library. With lots and lots of shelves of books. And there’s gonna be my big study table and a big chair.

I want to learn swimming, and to play the guitar, and I want to learn Salsa.

I want my name to be in Wikipedia before I turn forty.