PARADISE FOUND

“This is it… I’m so screwed” I told myself. 



You know there are moments in life when your mind goes blank. Fear grips you and you’d have reached a point of no return. There was no turning back. I stood frozen in time and I was lost wondering about the next set of things to do.

When I boarded the train a few moments ago, life seemed far simpler. Pbbbbsfftt, I remember calling out on Mumbai’s Saturday commute rush. The train was not empty. It was packed. A bloke like me who enjoys the creature comforts of his most beloved car, public transport has always been something that has never been my first choice. 

The beauty of a new city is that one cant carry the creature comforts from home to wherever we go. I looked around and I was not impressed about the number of people on board that train. My condescension got slapped two stops later. The train no longer felt empty. I saw hordes and hordes of people magically squeezing themselves right into the compartment. It made no bloody sense. The entrance was clogged with blokes hanging. The passage was clogged with far too many folks standing. None of that seemed to matter. People kept pouring in and the traffic didn’t seem to stop. It didn’t want to stop either. 


I grew concerned about the folks joining in. The fear came in later. Soon at this stop, I witnessed something that was nothing short of a miracle. People were entering and exiting the train at the same bloody moment. I mean I crib about folks not wanting to let me out of an elevator which supports a maximum of ten people. The train was out right crazy. Folks seemed to be leaping out of the train to get out of it. I had never done anything like that in my life.

Every inch of my civic sense felt violated. This wasn’t right. And then my thoughts took me to what really mattered. I forgot about what was right and wrong. My worries were about how was I ever going to manage getting off that train. I can’t tug and push people. I’m more of an excuse me guy and when snubbed, I’d rather write a long SARCASTIC blog which makes no sense to the one I’m trying to offend. Yes. Those are my skills. I have words. I have the ability to mask words. Good luck using words like, dude, ever heard of civic sense? to get off that train. No amount of funny lines were ever going to help me bail out.


Math has never been my strongest skill, but in my moment of panic, I was close enough to arrive at sensible numbers. There was a tube diagram explaining the distance between each station from Church gate. I soon deduced that If I managed to disembark by a relatively empty station then I could take a cab or a rick to get to the final destination. At that point, I had lost faith of ever getting down at the station where I was supposed to. I respect the courage to never give up. I also did respect the realities of being incompetent enough to snake my way through that crowd. 


And so life’s funny twists kicked in. Beyond a certain point, I think it was Mira road, the train decided to declare itself as a fast train. Bada bing, four stations were to be skipped and the next was Andheri, my destination.

“This is it… I’m so screwed” I told myself.


I had no choice now. My plan A had obviously bombed. Plan B was to ride along further down the line and get back to Andheri. In my moment of panic and numb fear, I decided to give things a shot. I thought there was no point in giving up without doing something. And with that, I mustered all my courage and shed all my sense of decencies and roughed and I mean ROUGHED my way towards my right. I found a nice spot near the door. I could almost taste the air of freedom. 

For the first time in 30 minutes, I smiled. This was damn easy. I felt silly worrying witless about things in life. I promised myself to stop worrying like how I did. Still, things were way too easy. This was not the pattern that I had come to observe in people when they were about to exit the train. 

‘Andheri KIDERich Hai’ (which side is the station) I enquired. The unkal smiled and said, that would be towards your left. 

My heart sank! I was at the wrong end of a rather jam packed crowd! BLOODY HELL.

Anyways, once bitten is still once bitten nonetheless. I knew what it felt to rough my way around the crowd. I decided to try it one more time. The train still had a way to go before it reached Andheri. And so I bulldozed my way through it. I think folks immediately spotted me as a tourist. I was probably the only one who felt apologetic about cramming into people. I kept apologizing and excusing myself and begging folks to make way. Yup. I wasn’t one of them. That being said, the folks were kind. They obliged. 

Magic happened from that point onwards.

I found myself at the very center of a heated conversation about how Mumbai got this crowded and bad suddenly. A lot of reasons were cited. I did the unthinkable. ‘Yeh IT wale.. sab ke sab’ and I started off 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 (that roughly translates to its because of these IT companies that things are bad)

And before I knew it, I was their FRIEND. I was offered a free consultancy on how I can get down at DADAR instead and either take a cab or take the metro back to Andheri. I found myself talking about the rains, the food, about the city that never sleeps and its people who never ever give up. 

The conversation kept me distracted from the destination. Before I knew, I had finally reached Andheri. What happened next, is something that folks will have to experience. No amount of words can ever do justice to describing that experience.

I stood facing the door. And the next instant, I was out standing on the platform breaking the air of freedom.

I lost myself and found PARADISE.
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That sounds like a nice day spent travelling by the train. Is it not the case with us in our lives?  We are all but lambs when we start. We dream, we aspire, we have our fears and doubts. There are folks who bully us. There are folks who support us. What is absolutely certain is the fact that like the Fast local to Church gate, 

“Either you stand where you’ve always stood, cribbed, whined, complained, feared, given hope and done absolutely nothing at all. Or you have a choice to do something , to fight for what you want to, to fight the way you want to, to still hold your principles precious, to be unstoppable but not like a wall, but like a flowing river. You do what it takes, WHATEVER it takes to reach your goals” .. and once you get there, there is but the air of freedom waiting to surround you.

Cheers to the city that reminded me about how we never give up. We don’t give up when we get scared . Especially when we get scared and things start to look bleak. That’s the moment that deserves every ounce of our courage. and indeed, PARADISE FOUND

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Walking with a yogi

I’m making a conscious effort to not publicize this blog. This one is for me. I want the words to not lose themselves in a data crash or a laptop change. I cant write this on paper. It might just freak my parents.

Enough about me. I started reading the book, Autobiography of a yogi. I got it as a gift. The tale of how I got the book is nothing short of synchronicity. Befitting so far.

 

Lets quickly get to the point. I think the first 10 chapters in the book are all about unlocking the chakras.

 

The first few chapters talk about Yogananda’s parents and his immediate family. It talks about blood ties. It talks about the first earthly bonds of bodies that all souls must learn to overcome. Hence, Root chakra. Muladhara. I’ll not attempt to write about the chakras here. As i said, this blog is for me to record and revisit at a later point of time.

 

The root talks about immediate ties.

 

I think the chapter on Gandh Yogi, or the yogi of perfume and scent, It talks about the Sacral chakra.This chapter talks about the seduction of power. It talks about sensory perception and the illusion of senses. How the senses please, and how such pleasures are pointless.

 

Tiger swami. This was the one that got me thinking along the chakras. Tiger swami, represents the Solar Plexus. How could he not? He’s the epitome of the SELF. had skills, took pride in them, was an awesome tiger basher. Even at the face of a possible self destruction, he still chose to brave the odds. He felt offended when challenged. He beat his odds through grit and determination.

 

Classic Solar Plexus. Focuses on the identity of the body.

 

Mahasaya . The guru represents the heart. The examples in the book about the talkies, while i was amused at the detour from the spiritual path, and then i realized it talked about the heart. Guru establishes that chord between their hearts .Its only through Yoganandha’s heart’s desire, is he revealed the grandeur of such a connect

 

 

JC bose makes an appearance. My initial feeling was that the chapter was pointless. And then it hit me. Bose represented the Throat chakra. He was creativity exemplified. Yogananda makes it a point to focus on the speech delivered by JC Bose. A tell tale sign of a balanced throat chakra. When one takes pride in the talents, one deviates from the path. Bose had it balanced. His focus was towards the quest for scientific truth.

 

And this brings us to Yukteshwar Guru Ji. The story of how guru ji made it to my life still brings tears to my eyes. I’ll skip those for now. Given the context of the book, Yukteshwar guru ji makes an entrance at the Third eye chakra. What poetic beauty in the sequence of the book. The master appears to liberate the student. Goosebumps moment I when i got to the chapter.

Another reason why I chose to make these correlations was the fact that I coast through diverse emotional states when I went through the chapters. The root, I cried. Throat, I felt condescending. With heart, I felt at peace. Just happy to be reading about Mahasaya. With Solar plexus, I felt stoic.

 

I’ve experienced similar emotional swings before. When I started meditation, I picked this youtube meditation clip that lasted 21 minutes. 3 minutes for each chakra cleanse. It was the most enlightening 21 minutes of my life. From anger to tears, from love (karuna) to stoic detachment, I felt a lot. Back then, I couldn’t understand the what or the whys. It took me a while to understand the state of my chakras to see how they reacted different to different stimuli. I experienced similar sways when reading the chapters. It’s not common for me to emotionally breakdown reading a book and most definitely not a spiritual book.

 

I’ve stopped believing in coincidences.

I’ve still not read the chapter yet . My journey continues.

Mumbai Moments

tags

 memories

The other side 

“Secretly, I wished it could fly” 


We live in a fantastic land. A land of a million gods, a billion stories of morals and storytellers par excellence. Ours is land that had embraced nature unconditionally. It’s not a mystery that stories passed from one generation to another combined the elements of nature and virtues of being a human and knit the tales into a fine blend. 

Most of the tales I heard as a child or read in the form of Tinkle or Gokulam (not sure if the latter is still in publication these days) revolved around anthropomorphic animals living through events that challenged their moralities. It sure was a personification of the best kind. It imparted wisdom in ways a child could find palatable. The tales never hinged around the greyness of the world. The context were always black and white. There was absolutely the right thing to do. The evil in our hearts was easy to spot and were duly punished in time. Karma was a gentle vigilante and Karma always caught on.

As a child, I did find these extremely fascinating. I was too young and too innocent to be a cynic. I accepted the tales. I didn’t dare question them. How could I? I didn’t know the ways of the world. 

Today is a different ball game. I know of a world that flourishes between the extreme shades of black and white. We call it the kingdom of Grey. Right is not always right and wrong is at times the necessity to achieve something greater. The end at times justifies the means and I’ve learnt to call the justification by different names such as grit, determination and possibly the driving Passion to win. cheaters do prosper and today we call them as adaptive rather than vile wicked creatures with cruel intent. 

The world is drastically different today. 

While I accept the world for what it is, I couldn’t help but wonder about the tales being told to us now. Now. Especially now. We’ve long passed that expiry date on innocence and naivety which we once were. We have crossed the point of no return where right and wrong often blur the boundaries that keep them separated. And yet, we still witness the tales again today. 

And so there I was , secretly wishing for it to fly. I saw it’s struggle. I saw a few judgemental eyes. I imaged what the thoughts might be in the air. Did they want it to fail? Did they want it to fly? Did they want anything at all? And at that point, I realized that the thoughts were mine and mine alone. The thoughts of mine were getting reflected through their anthropomorphic existence. 

The crows were cawing restlessly. Ruckus was in the vicinity. When crows gang up, something usually conspires around. This time around, it was a trial by apparent fire. The youngling was struggling to fly. It tried. It tried some more. It probably tried with all it’s tiny beating heart. It was failing. The restless elders around it were not particularly enthusiastic about it’s failure. A few swooped in to peck it. The trial was now more than a test of flight. It had transcended into a battle for survival. 


I couldn’t help but wonder about the crows which were in the stories that I heard as a child. Crows were wise. They shared plenty. Unity was their strength. Today, they were no longer the heroes imparting values that inspired. Today they were as nature intended. Throwing adjectives to nature is a futile exercise. It would again reflect on our perception based on our bias.

I wondered about other animals in the mix too. Lions cannibalize the young left behind in the pride. Monkeys are violent and territorial. Tigers are loners. I quickly tried mapping the tales I heard as a child and what the discovery channel has enlightened me. The fantasy of the human imagination really did fall short on keeping up with realities that nature intended. 


I think there is always an other side to every tale there is. I’m not sure if a selective comprehension is a right about way of forming biases which would form an influential say in our thoughts and decision making process. I guess that roughly translates to a simpler conclusion of throwing in the context of the current time and age when we come across wisdom which gets passed on. Do we see it as a tale and contemplate, or do we internalize without understanding the wider repercussions of the choice? 

Now that rests with personal preference!


Anyways, so there was a king sitting with a problem statement at hand. And so walked in the wise fox 🙂


Karthik

The circle of life


There are times when the flow of the blog does not bend to my whims. So there I was trying to find a picture of this cycle ‘Street cat’ from the house of BSA. 



BSA Street cat. It was the coolest bike when I was in school. Those who desired it and had their parents crush their tiny dreams, they went ahead and bought Hercules MTB. I was the lucky one. I had the Street cat.

Its funny that sitting in 2016, This morning my thoughts took me all the way back to 1995. Anyways, that’s that. It would have been nice to stumble onto it’s picture. 

The tale predates the time I got the cycle. School had its phases. I believe right from the sixth grade, it was extremely cool to ride the cycle to school. I mean only dorky kids still commuted in the designated school van. Of course, there were those kids who stayed far. The story that old and I’m still trying to sound politically correct. Ditch it. Cool kids hit the school in style on their cycles!!!!!!

So before the dawn of the age of the cycles, it was the school van. I remember this one incident when I was seated right next to this kid. He was a few classes younger than me. I don’t remember how things took shape but I did end up correcting his home work notebook. I had generously awarded him a few stars. 


Needless to say, the next day his mom was waiting to have a word with me. Yeah, that was fun. She insisted on meeting my mother. Things didn’t go all that well for me later that evening. I had learnt a lesson that day. ‘DONT GET CAUGHT doing stupid things’. 


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The gym was fun today. I’m seeing a change in pace ever since I start guzzling proteins again. I wrapped the day’s work out and settled down for a cup of lemon tea. I parked my car in my usual place and started walking towards the familiar shop. It was a daily routine and I had no reason to expect anything out of the ordinary. 

I thought I saw a familiar face. ‘Didn’t ya study in ‘Hindu’ ‘, I politely asked the bloke.

We both strained for a few seconds and then our memories finally indexed and caught up. He was the same kid whose homework I had managed to mess up. Decades later, he had grown taller than me. He had this manly mustache. There still were traces of his facial features from when I knew him.



We exchanged names and quickly verified the homework incident. Our pointless conversation was interrupted by his little girl. Shruthi. He introduced me to her. The little one had a magical voice. Good morning uncle, she greeted me.

I smiled and felt bad that I didn’t have anything handy to give her. We spoke a little about her school. She was waiting for her school van to pick her up. Her van arrived on cue. Before she boarded the van, I told her that I had first met her daddy when he was just about her age. She blushed and left me with a smile.



I bid my farewell to my long lost van acquaintance. I hit the shop for my cup of lemon.

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

I couldn’t help but reminisce about the circle of life. Similar iterations with new souls and bodies taking part in each iteration. I felt happy and amused. There was a side of me that felt a little sad. I took stock of how much I had fallen back on my life. When I was a kid, the 33 year old version of me was very very different. I had always imagined myself to be much taller, a mustache to accessorize my face. A naughty kid of mine to keep the household occupied in a perpetual struggle to restore the sanity in the house.

I don’t think I’d complain. I don’t want to take that road of What ifs ever again. I settled down to read a few blogs from my other circle. One caught my attention. It was about the ironies of life. It was about how we neglect the wonderful things that surrounds us and fixate on what we don’t have and feel horrible about what we are missing out on life. That blog was a timely send. 


I smiled, paid for my cup and stretched my arms wide open under the bright burning sun. I felt thankful for the strength and courage that I’ve managed to acquire over the years. I looked towards the skies. ‘I still dare to dream, you know that right?‘, I gently whispered to the heavens.

In silence, the universe acknowledged. 


Karthik

L’ eterna primavera (An eternal Spring) 

“Please don’t leave me”, he begged.


There was a compelling silence in the room. He was a man who was now reduced to tears. He was no longer the stereotyped image of a man. He was not the epitome of masculinity. His tears robbed him the pride and dignity of being a man.

In front of her , all that she could see was an image of a man breaking down. The overwhelming moment found her shaking where she stood. 

“Please don’t leave me and go”, he begged again.

Do you remember the time we met? Was it all a lie? Does our history mean nothing to you? He asked. 

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

The two had first met in the big city. They were young. They were lost. They were yet to face the shades of the world that surrounded them. Together they fought their odds. They were in love. It was a time when love was as sweet as sweetness could be. The two found comfort in each other. They complemented and completed each other. The two put a brave face and marched into a brave new world.

Their parents were against their union. He left all that once belonged to him for her. She left her world back for him. The two started a fairy tale of a dream together. It was a summer of magic and miracles. 

She was an angel. He could never bring himself to stop loving her. He tried hard to be a provider that she deserved. He worked and slogged for that extra buck. He had once promised her the world and that promise was his pursuit in life. She , of course , was a worker bee herself too. They both found success in their career early on.

As they both grew older together, their world had also grown around them. Responsibilities piled up and life’s priorities changed. She never changed. He never changed. They both were inseparable lovers.

They were not a special couple to the way of the world. They had their differences. They had their insecurities at play. He wished he could earn better than her. He wished that he could live up to his promise of giving her the world. Not that it was a race, but he had managed to fall short. It’s cruel that there are days when our best is still not good enough for the world. The pain nested in his heart. He endured. He fought for her.

The stress and strains of a career was having a toll on her too. As her work expanded, her working hours expanded. Her days would start as early as the sun and would end a few hours before the moon would call it a night. The long hours were hard on her both physically and emotionally. With each day passing, it was a battle that she was slowly giving up on. She knew she deserved a better life. Love was blind. Not that she’d complain, but it was a thought that burdened her. Love versus Life, she’d often ponder. The very thought would bring a smile on her face at times. 


Through the challenges of life, the two lovers endured.

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“Don’t you love me anymore?” , he asked her pitifully. Were your words mere lies? Is this what we fought for so long? It’s perfect that you want to throw away the last two years of our life and walk away? 

The tone of his voice swayed again. The cycle of a broken heart was at play. The cycle always started with denial. Then it was the turn for anger to seep in. Then would come the guilt. The last leg of the cycle was usually frustration and dash of regret and remorse. Denial would kick in again and the cycle would go on to repeat itself.

His tone swayed towards anger. His submissive demeanor was soon fading away.

She said nothing in response. She stood in stark silence. The coldness in her heart possibly knew no bounds.

Tears once again flowed rivers in his eyes. He gasped for a breath. Words no longer flowed effortlessly for him. He couldn’t help but stutter on his words. 

“Is it because I’ve still not lived up to my promise of being there for you financially? ” I know we both agreed that you could quit as soon as I made enough for both of us. I tried. This house, the car. I thought I’d land that deal. Things have been rough at work. 


He continued rambling about his failures. Not that it mattered to her anymore. She tried to not dwell too much into his current plight. She was tired of telling him that money didn’t matter to her. This was not a new fight that they had. Every now and then, most of their fights would usually land on the question of money and she’d try explaining to him that it didn’t keep them separated. He’d get convinced and the two would go back to being one again.


She still said nothing. 

The two were extremely exhausted from the altercation. He didn’t have much strength left to continue standing. The evening had taken a nasty toll on his body. He sat down on the floor. He had gaze locked upon her. He saw her standing motionless. She stood blank. Emotions , or whatever was left of her, had long gone drained away from her face. There weren’t any expressions left on her face. 

The two looked at each other in silence for a while. Time had passed. The two had not moved much. 

“Fine” he finally declared. Leave. Just leave. Get lost. Stay the hell out of my life. I know you have the hots for your boss. I’ve seen you two together. No wonder you stay back late at work. If all that you ever wanted was an MBA grad, you shouldn’t have wasted your time on a loser like me. 

Go, go leave a happy life.

The minute you step out, I’ll slit my wrist and call quits. I can’t deal with this emotional torture anymore. 

Once again he broke down.

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Image description not specified.A woman beaten up real bad




She stood in silence. She felt torn apart from the inside. She wondered about how her life got to be this way. He was sweet. That’s how he had always been. Tempered yes, but she never saw this ugliness to him before. His angry outbursts were few and far in the beginning. Words became harsher words. Harsher words soon became occasional tight slaps. Things escalated very rapidly from that point on.


She felt torn from the inside. He was the love of her life. He was her life. She no longer saw no future to him. This was not the first time she spoke about wanting a divorce. She knew each time the subject opened up, a nasty fight would break. She had forced herself to be mentally strong to deal with that. This time, things had gotten really nasty. Her jaw hurt. Her lips were busted open. Her eyes had swollen up. It was probably in shock where she bit her tongue. She couldn’t really talk much.


It was not the hurt and the miserable unbearable pain that tormented her. She felt dejected by the blatant betrayal of love. How could this be love, she wondered. Her’s was a heart filled with regret. She felt trapped. She had no where else to go. She had left behind a loving family , a family that had never raised it’s voice against here. She didn’t have the courage to face the stigma of walking away from a husband. She no longer had the strength to endure the forked tongues of a million people. Her only ray of sunshine was that they didn’t have a kid to raise.


Lost in thoughts, lost in life, lost in mind , body and her broken soul, she finally moved. She had found the strength within her to wipe her bloodied tears off. 

The time had come for an eternal spring.

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Spring is season that represents resurrection. Their life started on a summer, she endured a winter. It was now the time for a spring.

Spring, aka Primavera. Primavera is a FANTASTIC piece by Ludovico Einaudi. This blog completes my Ludovico trilogy. 

Primavera, this post, talks about the dark side of love. While the song inspires peace and skillfully inspires a moment of catharsis, I’m putting the heroine of my story through such a catharsis.

Nuvole Bianche 


You don’t have to say a word

You don’t have to be around
You don’t have to hold my hand
You don’t have to do a thing!


You don’t have to hear my thoughts
You don’t have to watch me fall
You don’t have to pick me up
You don’t have to spare little time

Coz I’ll be in your thoughts forever
and you’ll be in my wishes and prayers
We’ll be always right together
Even when we walk a million miles apart!


When the days are hard
when the nights are dark
when things drown your heart
when the roads are lonely long

When you feel bruised
when you lose your faith
when you close your eyes
and wish for a miracle

I’ll be in your thoughts forever
and you’ll be in my wishes and prayers
We’ll be always right together
Even when we walk a million miles apart!

You are my blue sky
and I’m your white clouds
so close and yet so far
Always together and still a million miles apart!

so , You don’t have to say a word
You don’t have to be around
You don’t have to hold my hand
You don’t have to do a thing!

Karthik

When the heaven smiled

Fl

 

It was the happiest moment of Vrushali’s life. Freedom, she thought. She was no longer a prisoner to those four walls. She was no longer a constant reminder of what a harbinger of misery that she was. She no longer had to be there.

It was a small affair. How could it be a big one? She was not surprised by it. It ached her to miss out on something grand. She didn’t have much trouble making her peace with that. It was after all the day of her wedding. She had every reason to smile. She did smile that day. It was special. It was a smile of a liberated soul.

The ceremony wrapped up real quick. They didn’t have many guests either. The time soon came for her to leave. She hugged her father. She felt nothing. She was numb to the man. I guess her dad was also numb to her existence. Things had never been cozy between the two of them. A short hug later, she gently whispered into his ears. “I’ve left you something in mom’s drawer. Please do check it out”.

And that was it. She left. The house felt the way it had always felt. Empty, loveless and void of emotions.

Raghav breathed a sign of relief. He had done his part. He knew his daughter would be happy. Her happiness still meant a little, if not a lot to him. He locked the door and hit the bed to sleep of the night.

It was a lazy Sunday. Raghav went about his routine of watering the potted plants in the garden. There was something magical about roses. He deeply cared for them. Lovely pink roses. He would treat them with supreme great care. If Vrushali loved something in that house, it was the roses.

Gardening done, he finally walked to the drawer to see what his daughter had left behind. Neatly tucked between a red saree was an envelope. It was a special saree. It was what his wife had worn on their wedding day. Raghav ripped the sealed envelope open and sat down to read a letter that it kept safe.

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Dear dad

I know I’m not the child that you ever wanted. I’ve struggled all my life to even fathom why I had let you down this much. Was it because mom died at childbirth? Was it because I was a girl and you wanted a son? This is something that I could never figure out on my own. You were never around to sit and talk me through things. You never did bother spending time with me. You were a great provider. I’ve never ever have had to ask you anything twice. In fact , most days, I don’t even remember asking you for anything. Things would always be there. I’ll always be grateful and thankful about that.

Dad, I’ve always longed for your love and attention. I really do wish that we had a normal relationship like most fathers and their daughters. I guess I’m not lucky there. I really do wish mom was still alive. Maybe things would have been so very different.

I’m 25 now. I guess it’s a little too late for things to change. I’ll have to deal with that.

For what it’s worth, you’ve taught me to be a good parent. I’ll never be like you to my kids. I’ll leave things there. I guess I’m short on nice things to write to you about. I don’t want to end this on a negative note.

I forgive you dad. I hope you forgive me because I’ve been nothing but a massive disappointment to you. I’m out of your life now forever. I don’t think I’ll ever come back to that house of yours. I could never call it mine.

May you have all the happiness that I could never give you.

Yours,

Vrushali.

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

Raghav’s heart felt heavy. His tears could not find a way to hide themselves behind his brown eyes. He sat motionless.

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Vrushali was now in a different city. She was far away from a place that she was forced to call a home. She was now in her house. A house that she hoped to build with love and care. She stepped into her new home with a heart filled with hopes and dreams. It was going to be a happy place. Karan was a nice guy. His parents had died when he was young. They had left him a considerable fortune behind. A fortune that helped him with an education and a comfortable career. She did feel a little sad that she had to marry into a household with no wider extended family. It had always been her dream to marry into a big family. He dad pressed and she didn’t bother putting up a fight. She had already given up on her life. She felt that she was never fated for happiness. Karan was sure a surprise bonus in her life.

She opened her yellow suitcase to unpack. She found a decrepit envelope resting on top of her neatly packed clothes. She didn’t remember keeping any there or seeing one there before. Her curiosity got the better of her and she ripped it open. It was from her dad.

She hesitated for a moment. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to read it. It was odd. It was not very characteristic of her dad to surprise her with a note. She decided to give it a shot. She figured that she had nothing further to lose by doing so.

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

Darling Vrushali

I write this to you with a broken and a bleeding heart. I’ve been a lousy father to you. I know that. I’ve had my reasons. I could never really tell you about it. Your mother did not die delivering you sweetheart. After you came, complications arose. The doctors kept her in the ICU. She fought bravely for a month. Then one day, she fought no more.

It was the first time my heart shattered to pieces. The hospital left a huge financial strain. I had to leave you behind to be taken care by your nanny. I had no choice. I had debts to settle. Life took its course and as fate would have it, you starting growing up to be exactly like your mother. There were so many days when all I ever wanted to do was to hug you and cry. I couldn’t . I wouldn’t.

I loved my mother the most in the world. God took her away when I was 15. Then my dad. There was this love of my life. Maybe its in my stars where it’s written that I’m not destined for happiness. A nasty accident took her away. Everybody that I’ve ever loved has died on me. Talk about the worst curse a man could ever endure. I thought your mother would change things. I loved her very much. She was the breath of freshness in my life. She was a god send. Oh I was madly in love with her.

It was her choice to name your Vrushali. We spoke about it. It was either Anush or Vrushali. Your very name reminded me of her. The way you smiled, it was exactly like how she smiled.

I promised myself to never reveal how much I loved you darling. I didn’t have the strength to lose you. I had nothing else to look forward to life without you. I guess it’s too late now to reason my way out logically. I was scared. I could never forgive myself if something were to happen to you.

I know you didn’t like me either. How could you? I was a bad father. I wanted to vent it all out to you some day. I guess that explains the letter. I’m not asking for your forgiveness. I know I don’t deserve it. I’ll make my peace with it.

I’m sorry my princess. Never ever think that your dad never loved you. I love you darling. I love you more than my life. I picked Karan for your because I know he appreciates the value of people in life. He would never run behind money and ignore you. You would be to him, what your mother was to me. An angel who came into our lives to make things better. I know Karan would see you this way.

All the best darling.

Maybe next life, I hope to be the father that you deserved.

I’m so sorry. I hope you find all the happiness that I could never give you.

Yours.. Yours forever

Dad

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She was her dad’s daughter after all. He was her father after all.

And somewhere in heaven a mother smiled happy. It had taken her 25 years to smile. She smiled today. She knew that it was going to be a very different day tomorrow.
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45 minutes of traffic, Andare by Ludovico Einaudi doing a loop, how could I not resist bringing out the emotions in my heart.

Love has no language. Maybe it’s really not that dumb a idea to speak and express it from time to time. What are you waiting for? Have you expressed your love to anybody today? Do you really want to survive tragic moments to express what’s in your heart? Mom, dad, spouse, future spouse, your kid(s)…. don’t leave em a text. SPEAK IT OUT.

Karthik

This is my song

Freedom1

 

Am I really free? I wondered out loud.

The run up to the Independence day left me with a few lessons and a lot of thoughts. The last weekend, I managed to catch a glimpse of what it meant to fight for one’s freedom. The words of this blog have been haunting me for a while and finally I decided to give them their due wings.

Bored by the radio, I plugged my phone to the car and opted to give the playlist in my phone a fair chance. Most songs residing in my phone were at some point in time my absolute favorites. The only time I’d transfer a song to my phone was when I liked it plenty and wanted to keep them handy at all times.

A familiar tune picked speed. I’d usually skip the song. Last Friday, I decided not to.

There is this beautiful song called Kun Faya Kun from the movie Rock star. It’s a sufi based song and hidden away in the magical mellifluous lines is a moment of catharsis for the protagonist. That image will always remain fresh and vivid in my memory. The lines ‘Maula’ would go screamed of sorts. The protagonist would look up to the heavens in an untold moment of extreme sadness. The simple line would symbolize an acceptance, a denial, a helplessness , a frustration and an acknowledgement of a broken dream.

Needless to say, I do have quite a few memories stacked up against that moment. Memories do have a way of keeping us, strike that, I’d rather speak for myself here. Memories do have a way of keeping me hooked on to a point in time. The stronger the memories, the deeper the connection with things attached to it. And that would go on to explain why I’d usually skip the song. I guess this is a classic example of being an emotional fool.

I’m no longer conscious or insecure about being an emotional fool. There was a time when I thought being this way was rather foolish and childish too. The more I connected with a wider audience, the more I spoke with people, I came to both realize and accept that I wasn’t the only one like this who was tormented by this foolishness. A lot of folks out there would not bother revisiting things which hold a deeper meaning to them because of the memories they’ve associated with them.

That being said, Friday, there was a struggle in my head. I liked the song. I couldn’t sit through it either. The past long gone, the memories were now only a fragment of a figment of my imagination which I could breathe life into. My mind was trying to defy emotions and let logic seize control. My fingers kept twitching by the steering wheel. The song was only a key press away from being changed.

At that point, it was no longer about just a mere song. The song represented my past. The song represented the list of things that I still kept alive in my mind and the proverbial heart. The song represented the imprisonment of my mind by my mind.

‘THIS IS MY SONG’, I roared vociferously. The intensity to the moment was dense. I sat restless for a few moments which felt like an eternity of struggle. I’d be happy if the tale ended with me singing the lines and resuming control over my present and enjoying the song. Sadly none of that happened. I endured the song. I survived the song. No longer I felt compelled or obligated to change the track instantaneously. No longer such songs exercised the power to render me worthless and cast into a pit of doubts and misery. I could sit through it and I consider it a battle won.

The Saturday, I made it to the movie suicide squad. Hitting the movies is not a new experience to almost all of us. Here is the catch. I’ve never really hit the theaters all by myself before. There was this one time when I was in Bangalore and I decided to watch Star wars. It was a different affair. I had plans to meet up the guys later on and since I stayed far away, I needed something to kill time.

The Saturday was a conscious choice to hit the movie because I wanted to. It was ikky at first. I felt uninvited and unwelcome. I was extremely judgmental about me watching it all alone. As the movie took its course, I managed to reconcile the situation. In time , I put aside the insecurities and a million other self deprecating thoughts and started to enjoy the movie. Three hours , a cold coffee and a tub of pop corn later, I walked out of the movie hall a different man.

I’m a child of the 80’s. I’ve not really suffered oppression. I’ve never been suppressed. While the words of the history book helps me connect with an India which was not free, I was never there to experience it first hand. This day of Independence, I finally had a glimpse of a struggle for freedom.

‘There can be no freedom without a struggle’ – Katz. We all fight our battles for freedom. We are not really free. Restrained in shackles of thoughts and memories and fears, our battle is a daily struggle for that air of free freshness. Most days we succumb to our captors and refuse to dare to lead an independent life. There are days when we rise to be a hero and exhibit a raw courage to be free.

I do feel a little more free today. Freedom indeed.

Two worlds 

“I remember the morning. The phone’s alarm went off. The radio had his favourite song playing. I greeted him with smiles. I knew he loved waking up to his preferred music. He smiled and wished me a morning too. There was nothing new about the day” , the father took me through the wee hours of the morning. 



It was a happy house. I could see that. A retired dad, a warm and a wonderful homemaker of a mother. It was a house that exemplified the word Warmth.


“Nothing much dude. We hit the coffee shop. Work was hectic and our team decided to hit coffee day for a break. The waiter immediately recognized him. Welcome back sir, he said. Your usual again?, Hazelnut latte?, he had offered. We all smiled. He sure was a popular chap. The room always lit up when he entered. Fun bloke”, the colleague summed it up pretty neat. 

Deep down I kinda knew that. Enthusiasm is very infective. It spreads. If there was anyone who could ace at that sport of spreading a little sunshine, it sure was him. I jotted it all down on my little red notebook. 

I spoke with a lot of folks and everybody had the same story to say. Fun bloke. Lived life like a celebration. He always managed to lift the spirits up. He was lost in thoughts at times and then again, these days who isn’t. The report was now ready. The next step left me a little jumpy. 

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I saw myself in a room that was dimly lit. The candles did institute a sense of unsolicited eeriness in the air. Of course I was unnerved by it all. I had been here a few times before. I had gone through this a few times before. The familiarity did take the sting out of creepiness. No matter how many times I’d be here, I always felt a little unsettling when it started.

A séance was strictly off the books deal. It would never be accepted in a court of law or offer plausible explanation to things. I knew it would help folks reach out for the closure that they needed. 

All my thoughts were on the man who celebrated life, the man who saw life in others and helped them realize it. All my thoughts were on the man who was no longer medically alive. Jai… or as the records stated, Myrutunjai had my unrivalled attention. I was appalled by the irony at play here. Myrutunjai, the name that meant he who conquered death, and yet I saw no victory that day. 

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Later that night I sat by my night desk going through my notes. I wondered long and hard about him. I wondered long and hard about myself and the people around me. I couldn’t really call the difference between the course of lives we all lived. He had snapped and rest of us were more of a ticking bombs. Once again, I read the notes. Only this time, I read it out a loud. There was something about the day that gravitated my thoughts towards it. I couldn’t shake myself off it. 


Dec 15: Monday

” I woke up today. I heard our song. The same song that I had heard so many times ago in the past. It was our song. We loved it to bits. Dad soon walked in and he reminded me again of the song. Aint that your song, he asked me politely. 

I smiled and wished him a wonderful morning. I no longer had the strength to fight anymore. I felt trapped and haunted by my past. Its funny that way. Life is funny that way. When people leave, its just that they alone leave. Our world that surrounded us at some point in the past, the memories that we made, the sights and sounds that we enjoyed, none of that disappears. It’s cruel. 


Dejected, I knew I couldn’t stay in bed and keep moaning over things that were. I rushed to work. Work was my only recluse.

As fate would have it, the team decided to hang out. Of all the places they could pick, they had to pick the one we used to frequent. Talk about a lousy day. I felt like a guy who was trapped in a haunted house. The ghosts of the pasts were haunting me plenty that day. I knew every inch of that coffee shop. We had our favourite table. We had our favourite order. We even had our favourite waiter. He would always smile. He made us feel welcome there.

It was his morning shift that day. He was still around when the team got there. He greeted me. Offered me my usual cup. He asked me about why I stopped coming there. He said that the evenings were not the same without us around.

I felt like crying. This stranger, this bloke who knew nothing of us, and somehow we had touched his life in a strange warm way. We made his day and he missed us. While that was there, I was now a lost and forgotten memory to someone to whom I was the most important person in life. I felt extremely torn that the wrong folks missed me the way I wanted to feel missed.

I hated my life. I hated it unconditionally. 


Nothing has been the same ever since that day. Every where I go, I am reminded of the past. I’m surrounded by memories. I feel trapped and I see no escape. Each time I fight it and put a brave face by smiling through the worst of the days, there is always someone or something that pulls me back to the life that I once had. I no longer have the strength or the courage or the will to endure. I’m done.” 


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I read the note once more before I called it a night and hit the bed. I couldn’t help but wonder the way of our lives. Why is it that we are so easily prone to shatter our spirit. Why is it that we get so depressed that we refuse to come out of it. Why is it that folks around us cant sense depression when it sets in. Why do we poke fun and make things light. Why is it that we cant really connect with the demons that are running rampant in the minds of our friends who are caught in a miserable vicious cycle of anger, guilt and remorse!!!! 

Is it not a wonder that all of us live in two parallel worlds. One, a world of folks who surround us and another a world of our making, made of thoughts, dreams, desires and wishes. How is it that we live two parallel disconnected lives. Which is real? which is an image? In which world are we our real selves? When did life become so complicated!!!???

As my thoughts wandered off, I fell into a deep sleep. I knew I’d not have pleasant dreams that night. I still had a report to submit to Jai’s parents. It was going to be a rude shock to them. I definitely was going to have a lousy day ahead tomorrow!!!!


Katz