Monday, December 31, 2007

Drafting the year gone past..

January, bought in the year with deciding that I would go to USA for grad school. Well, actually deciding it for sure in my mind. Had already don't the applications. It was just a decision made for my mind to start shifting into going mode. Dint shift into that mode anyway. Exactly this time last year, I was with my brother. I miss him. He is where I was last year, while I am.. well.. here.
Also, being my blogs birthday month, it got a new stat counter. It gets tougher to give gifts to children when they are growing up you know? Maybe this post, will be one.

February, Went to the blogger's meet, realized that the community was great, but did I really fit in? really?
Wrote a post with 20 random facts about me. But I figured no one would want to read it so left it in the drafts folder.
Made my second film. Loved every minute of making it, shooting it, shooting for Puneet's film and slogging over the music.

March, a respected, older journalist, trashed all blogs and bloggers. Got my blood boiling. I bought out all my guns and wrote a gunpowder coated post on it. Saved it in my drafts. I did not think anyone would want to hear me scream, plus, would the blog world really stand behind me. Also would the journalist even read it?
I still haven't visited Savannah yet, you know, from the Tantrum I threw.
Plus, put on five kilograms - dangerously close to getting out of right weight bracket and into overweight. Actually already a couple kilos into overweight bracket, but blissfully denying it. Oh and blog got recent comments widget because of a very benevolent, but media shy reader, AnonEcon, along with a new sister, Dreaming Through A Spyglass which has been largely inactive.

April, saw Namesake and Class of '84, with awesome people/bloggers. Applied some more, got rejected from my Top Priority University, and accepted from some other place called the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (Who wants to go there anyway??) Mom made lovely achars at home.. bottles and bottles of pickles. I blogged about it. With pictures and recipes, but figured that no one would want to read a post about the pickle-expert that my mom is.. Drafts folder it is.

May, Summercamp time!!! Absolute dhamaal, stress because there were 85 children instead of 50. 8 songs, 8 different dance forms and costumes for all the 8 dances. After the Finale Stage show is over, I have to decide on which university I do want finally. Erm.. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign it is.

June, Jats is here!! Yay!! Fulto Dhamaal, between his busy schedule. Three movies a day, coffees, conversations, morning walks, night walks, and beach. Oh the beach, our sanctuary. But before that, I had my last first rain experience.. in May!!
Also a fellow blogger and me had an interesting conversation on how blogging to has been commercialized, and I poured my thoughts on this, a lot of them they are, into a post. But really, who am I to comment on this issue. I am not even a popular bloggers or a semi celebrity blogger. Should I really do it then. Nah.. so it just ended up being a draft. Got the horrendous dental surgery done on me. I should call it Dental Construction because of the way the doc was hammering my tooth down, all without an anesthesia too. SO was mouthless for a couple of weeks.
Also, RESULTS!! I will never forget that day. Never, ever. It's not everyday that I top the university. Yes, I'm bragging, forgive me for it?
Also, Visa interview. Almost did not want to get the visa, got it anyway. The last hurdle crossed. Ready to fly. Quite an eventful month.

July, Chintan Bhai's birthday month!! Tried a post that would look into my future. But c'mon. Who am I kidding? Who wants to read that shit. Drafts. Left India intime for Bro's birthday. Got his a shiny GPS babe as a birthday gift. In case you din't know it even yet, that was MY idea!! Philly is beautiful. Where my brother lives is a beautiful house, and he drives a shiny black car. I knew all that already, but the last time I had come to US I hadn't gotten to see his house and how he lives. Three weeks with him before back to school...

August, wrote a blog about the million new things I did since I came to the US, and about the million misconceptions people have about US. Myths, realities and perspectives. Sounded very freshie to me. In the drafts folder it went. Set up a new home, a new identity, met all the desis in my university. Hated some, who went on to become my closest friends, liked some, who went on to a different world altogether.. Fierce loyalty for RM existed at that point of time, while Sam warned me, "She is not at all what she looks like. Beware". Took it with a pinch of salt. Uneventful birthday, a little sad even. But am quite used to sad birthdays by now. Classes begin. Only Indian in my entire department, and college. They can not believe that an Indian would want to get into Media and Advertising. Nice.. Hunt for assistantship and jobs also is on in full swing. Got a job, dishwasher. Took it in spite of my family not wanting it. Not an eventful month, but a lot of things happened.. If you get what I mean..

September, got a job as a writer with the yearbook of my University. Honored. Became a busy Grad student tackling two jobs, two researches and three classes. Also, making friends, knowing people. Got close to DA, had a lot of fun. Meanwhile, the Gumbal was being built. Strong. Found my support system, fought against it, but loved it all.

, things were getting worse with RM. Hated the politics played with DA as a center. Got in the way, ruined the friendship with DA quite a bit. It upset me the first time it happened, the second time, I had stopped caring. Was getting used to it. Also, FALL!! Beautiful colors, beautiful leaves and beautiful weather. Started a fall color collection at home. Job going on as usual, but suddenly I realized that all the Pasta, Sprite and Desserts I was having at my job everyday was not helping me at all. Had put on 3 kgs, 8 pounds!!! No Pasta from now on, and no Sprite. Erm, dessert was an indulgence allowed.

November, wrote a post on the two jobs I was doing. Two ends of a spectrum. One very prestigious, another, manual, unskilled labor. I realized Mom and possibly Pri would not like my talking about it on a public place, so I posted it, but then condemned it to Drafts. Fell in love, with three people while things with DA reached a terrible state. Slogged like crazy for final papers. Also, lost 2 or maybe 3 pounds.

December, first few days, harried with work. Then, ultimate relaxation. Finished all pending work, did my bills, accounts. Patched things to a civil degree with DA. Cooked all that I wanted to try for Pinks, Pal and Dhoom. Saw a couple of movies I wanted to catch up with. Packed for Chicago and LA trip. A day before leaving for holidays, got the news that I had received an assistantship. Awesome!! University funding me.. paying me big bucks. Finally got dream job and dream life that I had been hoping for everyday. Maybe there is someone who listens to you. Chicago - Home food finally, lovely soft, white rotis, shaak, dal, rice, brownies, sev puris, mm.. lovely. 4 days in Chicago, I put on 6 pounds. Aw shucks. LA - Home. In USA. Having fun runnning once in a while, doing housework, helping masi around the kitchen, making fun of cousins, rolling and coasting on the world's scariest roller-coasters. Suddenly realized from my pictures, that I am at my fattest I have ever been. Infact, I have surpassed that line too. Shit!! Need to lose weight.

Conclusion, less of Drafts if possible. If I am writing about something, and writing the entire thing out, then it definitely should be worth it. Right?
Also, I dont believe in new year's resolutions, but I AM going to lose weight. 15 pounds. 7 kgs, if possible, then more, like 20 pounds or 10 kgs. I will do it. Have done it once before, can do it now. Two, will live a fuller life, more fun, more time, more love.

P.S : I know its a really long post, and I was almost tempted to put it in the drafts folder too, but enough of hiding my posts. I hope. If anyone wants any of those drafts to be put up, and you think you would read it, let me know. Will post it then probably.
Also, lurkers, readers, non-commenting readers and active readers, if anyone has any opinion on these drafts, or anything under the sun at all, feel free.

Enjoy the New Year people!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Taare Zameen Par - Stars Shine Down..

When I was in Std. II A, there was a guy who sat behind me. Jay Shah. He was tall, lanky, and had shaggy hair that fell all over his face. He lived five buildings away from me and traveled in the same bus. His Mom used to tell me all the time to sit with him more, spend my lunches with him and "influence" him.

He had failed in second grade twice.

His mom used to take my books to complete his classwork. He could never pay attention in class and was always more interested in random, arbit things. The teacher used to go crazy explaining sums and words and sentences to him. He could never recite the poetry. Never paint a picture complete. I thought of him as a friend in the beginning. I would try to explain things to him, finish his pictures, recite poetry to him. I gave up when he failed again. I moved to the next class. III A. He left school. I saw him on my street a few times. We would excitedly talk the first couple of times. Then, it was just a wave. And then we went our way. I heard he was shifted to a "Special School".

Since the first grade, there was another guy in my class. Very bright. Always sat in the first bench. Not a ranker, but intelligent. Slow, but smart. He had some physical handicap. But his mother pushed him. He graduated from school with the rest of us. Apparently, he went to science college, and graduated with a BSc. I do not know here he is, but I see him around in the Social Networking forums. He recently added me on all of those, and on GChat and more.

He looks like he is successful in whatever he is doing.

Taare Zameen Par is about one child a little more than that. A child with a serious learning disability, which no one seems to recognize and which the Indian Schooling system pegs down as mischief, naughtiness and arrogance combined with laziness and a lack of willingness to learn.
It talks about Inu, Ishaan Awasthi, his unchanneled, unbridled intelligence. But the teachers in his school, his father and even his mother to an extent do not see it. When they look at him all they see is a failure and a dumb child.

Aamir Khan, as Ram Nikumbh, his new art teacher sees his potential, and identifies with it, because he too was a dyslexic student, misunderstood by his parents as a kid. Nikumbh turns the boy's life around and shows everyone his potential.

Taare Zameen Par, is a must watch. It's a little slow in the beginning, but picks up lace once Aamir arrives (obviously). The boy, Darshan Zhaveri, I think, has a very few lines in the entire film. Maybe that's why he manages to pull out such a stellar job. Too many dialogues would have ruined his character. The mother, Tisca Chopra, and the elder son, were very believable and acted really well. The father was probably chosen to play this part because of his very fatherly, and ugly looks. Ishaan's friend Rajan was a characted well played too.

All in all, a colorful movie, with beautiful songs, lovely acting and a touching story. And a movie dedicated to Jay Shah, wherever he is. And the second guy's success.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

This place is called Bliss

I have written four posts on my assistantship. Newly gained assistantship. But for some reason they are all lying in my drafts folder. Everytime I after I finishing writing, I would say, "I don't want to talk about this." And off it would go to my drafts folder.

There is no other way to say it. I got an assistantship. A tuition waiver, which means that the university pays my fees, and I get paid a crazily huge sum of money each month for 20 hours of work a week. It IS an UNBELIEVABLE situation.

I did not, so did not, expect to get this job. Suddenly it sounds like those words I used to mouth daily, to I don't know who, were being heard. This last semester, I have literally, LITERALLY, been talking to myself (?) or someone I have no idea of (???), saying just the same thing over and over again, "Please give me an assistantship. Please give me one." And lo, at the end of the sem I got it.

Also, I'm in LA now. At my Masi's place. I am working out, (or have started to), and doing home stuff. Am eating just as much as I want, not being forced to eat more, and am with my Second Mom. My Masi. It feels like home. Added benefit - There is a Sun here!! Which makes the weather about 20 degrees brighter!! Which I love!!

It's generally a good time. Maybe it's the christmas cheer. Maybe it's just the goodness of life. Good moods all the time, happiness everywhere and family around me. Ahh, Bliss is where I am folks!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Things change, and time is relative about the change. I was in this place, Chicago, at my aunt's place three years ago. 2004. I was a mere 18 years old then. Mature in some ways, but still dependent on anger and tantrums.
My camera's batteries died out.. and I wanted new ones. I wanted to be able to capture every magical moment I was spending here. I really wanted to. And I have this thing about cameras and wanting to keep clicking away. I kept askign for batteries for two days and no one would get me any. Being in a new country with a different currency and a different way of shopping and behaving.. I couldn't even just go out on my own and get some batteries. Tired and angry, finally on the third day I erupted. I threw a huge kickass tantrum. HUGE. I just went from an adorable teenager to a sulky child.

My anger was justified, but my tantrum was not. Today when I look back, all I can remember is that silly stupid crying me, throwing a tantrum at the Baha'i Temple in Chicago, refusing to talk to anyone. I am with the same people today. Alone. No parents, no elder brother. And suddenly I realize that maybe they identify me with that tantrum too now. That's the mark I left on them. If the same thing happened today, I would get angry.. and then shut up.

Pal keeps asking me to yell or say something when I am pissed off. But I cant. There are very few people in front of whom I blow off my steam, because they are the only ones who can handle it.

My mom, Chintanbhai, Sneha, Tag, PRi and once upon a time, Mr. Pilot. Don't get me wrong, I have other very very precious friends too. But somehow the anger just does not come in front of them. I just eat it up. And that's how it should be. I should know when to bite my anger up and be mature about the situation.

That's why I like growing up. The change within me. The change in my way of looking at things, my perspective if you will. The change in my way of looking at the world. The change in the way I react to situations. The change in the way I think. Because I think.

It's as addictive to me as writing is. Thinking.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

She never existed..

What happened to the girl who never thought before doing, saying or wanting anything? When did people start telling her that you think too much..

What happened to the girl who had supreme confidence in her skills and talent? When did she start fearing her own karmabhoomi so much that she wouldn't touch it with a barge pole..

What happened to the girl who was the center of all parties? When did she start hating, abhorring attention..

What happened to the girl who firmly believed in love, and knew it would happen at the right time? When did she start believing that she did not deserve love and there was no way in hell anyone would even think of her that way..

What happened to the girl who had all the traits of growing up into a teenage girl, young girl and a woman? When did she start thinking that she was just not good enough to ever be considered a woman..

What happened to the girl who looked in the mirror and loved what she saw?

She Never Existed at all...

Our perceptions of beauty are very surreal, framed and conditioned by a society who wants perfection and rejects anything else. And the outer appearance counts for so much that the inner person starts hating herself for what she does not look like, even though everytime she visualizes herself, its someone different. And everytime she sees the mirror she realized that she was not what she thought and visualized herself to be. She did not have that sculpted jaw line, well defined cheek bones or even the large almond shaped eyes.

Everytime she went to an interview, met someone important, she thought why the hell would they be interested in whats up, down, right or left in my life.. Because she did not look like a star, she assumed they would immediately reject her, they definitely wanted pretty people in their offices.

Because all the while.. She did not exist at all..

Cross-Posted at

Friday, November 30, 2007

Warning: This is a rant!!

Yes, you have been forewarned.. DO NOT COMPLAIN if you still read this.

Ok. Now that we have that cleared..

I just do NOT understand life. Or people. Or people-politics. Or people's behaviors. Or my room mate. Yea, I am back there again. I had been resisting all this while. I had promised myself and my dear blog that I will not whine or complain about RM anymore. Because someone tried to preach to me about how I was being unfair about talking about her publicly where she could not defend herself. I kept trying to clarify that really, its not like I hate her. It's just that we do not share the same comfort level, but I was still preached at. Anyway, I had decided even before that, that I am not going to turn into a whiny blogger (which it looks like I am turning into) and whine about something as uninteresting, dull and boring as a flatmate.

But it so happens, that DA and me have stopped talking altogether now. Because of RM. I had accepted that. Chalked it up as his loss. I had really convinced myself that if he got lured into her behavior and preferred that to my friendship, then its absolutely not my fault and that sometime in his future he would look back and repent. I was actually giving myself some credit for once. He said that when we were together, like him, me and RM, there was a "Clash" between the two of us which made him feel butchered between us. And he chose to just get distant because of that. His loss.

And now, she just very sweetly told me that a group of our seniors, who we are both very friendly with. And who I thought considered both of us as a part of them, called her today and asked her if she wanted to eat dinner at a restaurant in Mahomet. I really do not mind if she dines with a million people. But, I thought we were both at an equal foot there. In fact, if nothing, I have worked for them more than she has.
Ever been friends with a group of people and then suddenly realized that the group asked your roommate to join them for dinner and not you?

I seriously think that something is wrong with me now. Like maybe I have horns on my head, or maybe I really look so bad that when compared to the person who lives in the same flat as me, she is anyday better. I am NOT jealous. I am just mildly hurt. Really.

Because if I was terribly hurt I would probably not go to the mass party they are having tomorrow. Where they have sent a mass email out to everyone and asked them to come with booze and snacks.

You know what hurts more? Just a little more, not too much, mind you. Even I can't see through that bloody face everytime its on. Its just later when she tells me stuff like, yeah they asked me out for dinner, I realize, "Hey!! I am being excluded from here too now!!"

And thats exactly what happened with DA. I tried telling him that I feel like I am excluded when I am with him and RM, but he said it was just because of the clash between RM and me. So has this so called "clash" between us been at work even when I was not around and she was?

A few day ago, Dhum aked me how I can bear living with this. I can't really. Everyday my mum tells me to get out of this situation. To call its quits. But everyday, there is something new. Yesterday, she was out all day, today she was sleeping all day and tomorrow she will be sick all day. And that's how it keeps going on. And between all this, the "clash" is apparently working..

And that party tomorrow? I am definitely not going. Playing cards with Dhum, Pal, and Pik is so much more fun than being looked at as a side kick or just an additional person.

Thanks Guys. For being there.

And for any of you who did read this till the end, thanks for putting up with it. I just hope you dont think I am a b##ch because of this. Don't judge me on my rants. Please.

The starred abuse is because my Mom reads my Blog. Remember?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The circle of trust..

I have repeatedly said that I never had friends through my undergrad years in Mithibai and BMM. And then not in MCJ too. None except the few who insisted on sticking to me.

Today I will explain why.

I have always had a problem with trusting people. This is a convoluted sort of a problem. I trust people too easily, and because I know that, I have learnt to not trust them with my feelings, thoughts and opinions. And experiences. I have had the most outrageous, adventurous and even stupidest of experiences in my little life till now. And it is difficult to trust people with them because you do not know what kind of impressions they will form because of it.

So I prefer letting people think that I am this stupid, care-a-shit, blunt, and maybe egoistic female. I had a bunch of people who I trusted implicitly, and I did not see why I would need to trust anyone more.

In my first few days in US, I had decided that I will drop this attitude, I will be who I really am. No defenses. But they kicked in automatically.

"What's the problem there babe?" Div asked.
"I just can't trust anyone div. I don't want to voice my thoughts or opinions. I keep thinking that I have you guys for that, right?"
"That's stupid, raags", she said, "these are your people now. Trust them. Love them. Unless you take the plunge, you will never be an involved person."

I listened to her. I somehow opened up to Dhum. He was one of the first few people I spoke with, and spoke a lot with.

Then, slowly, I got close to another friend. Let's call this friend Deshi American (DA). He spoke a lot about his life, we had long conversations. But I wouldn't open up to him. I wouldn't talk to him about my life. DA kept asking me why I did not talk to him, why I did not open up to him. And I said I don't know. I could feel my brain telling me, its because you don't trust him with your thoughts, opinions, ideas and feelings. But I could trust Dhum with it. But not DA. Dunno why.

DA and me are not close anymore. He has suddenly become very close to RM. And I find myself being glad about the fact that I never trusted him with my thoughts, because I definitely do not trust RM with it. And DA has become annoyingly formal with me since he has grown closer to RM. I can NOT take formalities within friendship.

And I have another beautiful friend. Pal. She is simple, straight-forward, caring, trust me implicitly and I am slowly realizing that I trust her implicitly too. And I have realized that I miss her presence if I don't meet her for more than a couple of days.

And there is Pik, he is the third dimension of my brother and Veeru. He is just someone who can be trusted implicitly. He is someone who will talk about everything to me. He is someone who, while watching a movie, will suddenly sigh and say, "I want to see you with a boyfriend, Pragni". And then looking at my baffled expression he will pass a stupid comment lightening the moment.

I cannot not mention Petrovski. He is not on campus yet. I know I probably shouldn't trust him that much. But I do. We have a very informal friendship. He is very easy to talk to, to trust. He actually exercises his rights on me as a friend, which is a sure shot way of gaining brownie points with me. I feel like wanting to make his transition to U of I as easy as possible. Telling him everything that I would have loved to know before I got here. I want to be able to make the smooth transition to a real friendship with him. He started blogging after reading my blog. Which, is a huge honor for me, really. Every time he thinks about getting an apartment, he asks me if I see myself hanging out there once he comes. And I think that is the cutest thing possible. He is not really a part of the circle, but somehow I already associate him with us.

I have realized that next year, I am taking an apartment near Dhum and Pal, just so that, even though I'll be living alone, I will be with my these few people I trust implicitly. These are also the only few people on my campus who know that I blog. That's a different thing that only Dhum and Petrovski reads.

I hope to goodness's sake that nothing happens to all of us. That nothing touches the trust that we have. To this Dhum will say in his characteristic way, "Eh-screw you.. nothing will..", Pik will just smile that beatific smile of his and put an arm around my shoulder. And Pal will give me her bone crushing hug and say, "you shut-up now".

So I shut-up now.. and I get back to studying which the rest of these people are doing and I am not.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A glimpse into the future..

It's bloody tough to get a job, and I am still talking about on-campus jobs.

I hold two jobs as of now, one which pays me enough to get by, but is not worth mentioning, and another which pays me nothing but is very prestigious. But I beloed all kinds of papads to get these jobs. By that I mean, I applied like crazy, pursued like crazy, went personally although they did not want me to, and finally landed the two jobs which were not bagged because of the above activities.

I tried for a job as a designer, multi-media assistant, graphics programmer and even a software consultant on campus, but only got rejects from all of these. And got accepted for one of the most lowly jobs on campus, and one of the most highly revered one. I had applied for 27 jobs the last time I counted.. and then I sent some more resumes across.

I am not even going into the crazy application I did for assistantships. And landed none.

Now, that I have comfortable accepted these two jobs (read: stopped cribbing about them), it's time to start thinking about a job in the real world out there. And shit, that is scary.

Pri has been job hunting like crazy in her part of the world, and not landing anything too. I am not internship hunting, and I dont see any firm plans yet.

If this is the condition now, I wonder what will happen after I graduate. And Pri wondered that too.

So we both ended up making a pact together. I graduate in Dec 2008, and she graduates late 2008 sometime too. If we both do not find jobs, in US or UK, by May 2009, we are both packing up and moving back to India.

I anyway planned to work in here only for a year, I ll waste half a year looking for a job, and if I dont find one, its time to head back to India, go to a portfolio school, or do one more degree/diploma in Strategy and work back home. Or get into a venture with Pri.

So this post here seals the deal we made. With all you people reading it as witness. So none of us can back out :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Numbing the Numbers- a meme

So here is a Numbers Meme that Ideasmith tagged on to me really long back. Like, five months ago. But I just wasn't doing it because I thought no one would be interested in knowing more about me through a Meme, really. I mean, just because I think Meme's are fun, doesn't mean the person who reads this will think so too. But, apparently I was wrong. Dhum has been behind me to put up the one and only Meme I have ever been tagged for, and so, since I do have someone interested enough to read my Meme here it is..


1) Wow, I am soo thin/ wow, I have a super figure.
2) I want to fit in with the crowd..
3) Can you take me to so-n-so place
4) Oooh, I love parties!!!


1) Seene mein jalan, aankhon mein toofan sa kyu hai
2) Under my Umbrella
3) Bhagam Bhaag
4) (Waiting for) A better tomorrow
5) I'm not a girl, not yet a woman..


1) Being home, sitting with mom and reading a book
2) Sitting at bandstand fort, or at the far corner of Silver Beach with Mr. Pilot
3) On the bike, on a long stretch of road, at 140 kmph
4) Listening to music without thinking a thing


1) Just Because
2) The way to go
3) The Backbenchers
4) Sunset rock
5) Blue and Green


1) All metallic, heavy songs with meaningless lyrics
2) I would love to erase the existence of Limp Bizcit or whatever he/she is
3) Dil le gayi kudi Gujarat di

I am hoping I haven't jinxed my chances of getting more Meme's because of the late deliverance on this one.. :) And to pass this along, I tag Puneet and Anirudha, because I don't know of any other blogger who reads these dreams.. and who can take this Meme ahead..

Friday, November 02, 2007

Home is...

There are days when I am the goddess of practicality, and days when I am an emotional puddle. And it is NOT easy admitting this over here.

I have been pestering my mom and brother off from the past few days about how I should not bind myself down to Mumbai just because I have been born there and because I have lived there for the first 22 years of my life. I need to look at the bigger picture, at the enormous pastures that are open for me, all the opportunities out there. Home is where I decide my life is!! Where my career is and where my future is.

And then there is today. Friday night, 10 PM, in the bathroom of the undergraduate library, I look into the mirror and suddenly realize that if, at this very moment, I was on Andheri Station, waiting for the 8:34 Churchgate fast, I would be happy. The happiness would be in my bones. Even if I was not smart enough to appreciate that happiness, it would exist.

And then I again start looking forward to the day I might return back to India. To Mumbai. To home. Home is where my heart is after all.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Spinning on my axis...

Ever chased a racing leaf on the sidewalk?
Watched the trees turn into spun gold/copper/red metal/pink gems?
Smiled at every stranger you met on the road?
Told your bus driver how you are sure she will find happiness in her new marriage?
Looked at the moon and squeed, "It's a full moon on a purple sky!!!!!!!!!!!" ?
Cooked something just because someone has been craving it from a long time?

These are the little pleasures of life here.

The crackle of leaves turned into a crispness, of color and material. I started a collection and RM and me both keep adding on it. The chest in our living room is beautifully decorated with all the colors of fall we could gather.

The beauty of the black,black trunk of the tree adorned and made even more beautiful by the beautiful colors of leaves on it. It is as if the trees have been decked up in gold, copper, and bronze jewelry. Really. Everytime I bend down to pick up a leaf and carefully store it in my book or bag, there is someone looking at me curiously. And when the someone understand that I am storing my first fall, gathering remembrances for life, they give a gentle laugh and an indulgent look.

Everybody smiles. I can't believe that I think it is rude of those few who don't. Me, who was a grumpy, cynical brat back home. I REALLY was. Everyone wishes you a good day, and everyone asks you how you are. Some even really answer when you ask them that back. They discuss their marriages, lives, moving out, children, growing up and growing old too. All it takes to start the conversation is, "It's so cold/hot today".

But the cold (its -1.5 in the nights, and 2 to 6 in the day) brings along with itself a resplendent sun. One that shines down like the king granting a favor by its presence. A lazy, slow glow. Which warms, but doesn't drive the chill away. And when the sun shines down on the skies? It creates magic. Especially in the evening when it's setting. It spins a mesmerizing, blanket of rioting colors. And then it leaves the skies, but leaves its purpleness, or whichever color it has spun behind. And then the moon reigns. And oh, it looks so darn pretty. I wish I could climb high up on a tree so that someone could take a picture of me with the beauty up there.

And finally, on a hectic, busy, workloaded sunday, when you remove the time to cook gujju dal, just because your roommate really, really wanted to have it. It feels good. Really good. Especially when the dal turns out perfect. And even if there was not enough left for you in the end. It feels good.

I just hope the goodness lasts...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Who said Voice Message system was stupid!!!

Whirrr Click.. You have reached the Voice Mailbox of.... ~The Dream Catcher~.

You have... Nine new messages..

First Message - Benaa, where are you.. every time we call your phone goes to your voice mailbox. Call back quick (Mom)

Second Message - Hey, I am really sorry. Din't mean to upset you, I just said what I said because you said that she did not know what you said, and I did not know if she knew so I just did not say anything. I hope you got what I said. Mumble-mumble mumble. Call me back, k? (Dreamer, friend over here)

Third Message - Paraaaggg, where are you yaar. Throw, just throw your phone away. I reallllyy need to talk to yaar. What is this yaar. I will call you later ok? Take care yaaaarrr.. (Mr. Pilot)

Fourth Message - Bena, tel lagava ja. (Literaly translated - Go apply oil, actually means - GET LOST). Hmphh. Call me back. QUICKLY. (Mom)

Fifth Message - This is an automated message for Rwanda Cole. Are you Rwanda Cole? You have $ 5400 left in debt with United Colors of Benetton due to the over limit purchasing of $ 5300. Please pay your dues. Thank you Rwanda Cole. (Unknown debt payment system that insists that I am Rwanda Cole, although I have replied in the negative to her initial question atleast half a dozen times)

Sixth Message - BETA!! Mom is waiting for your call. Where are you? Why aren't you calling back? Quick. (Dad)

Seventh Message - Bena, never mind. If you are studying then call on my cell after you are done ok? (Brother)

Eight Message - Love, are you ok? Call. ( Mom)

Ninth Message - Static... Pause.... Cough.... Click.

Voice Messages are fun!!!!

Now that mom dad have gone back to India, wonder who will leave so many messages :(

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Things Room mate can hate about me...

So I believe that I am pretty objective and fair. No, really. Which is why, I tried to think of things from a different angle. I tried to get into RoomMate's shoes, into her skin and her brain and list out the things she might hate about me. Like, her brain might go, "There, she did that again. I so HATE that about her." So the following part has been written from what might be her perspective.

  • I hate the fact that Pragni stays at the Union to study till 12 in the night.
  • I hate the fact that she then studies at all weird times, like from 12 in the night to 5 in the morning and keeps the light burning in her room all that while.
  • I hate the fact that Pragni eats cereals and cereal bars and oats for breakfast.
  • I hate the fact that she has 6 bottles of Conditioners and 7 bottles of Shampoos.
  • I hate the fact that she feels too cold when I put the air-conditioner on.
  • I hate the fact that she cannot bear the loud, LOUD bass music that the neighbors plays everytime she is studying.
  • I hate the fact that she soopenly dislikes me taking lifts and drives from people. So much so that I have actually reduced them.
  • I hate the fact that she wants to shop for groceries together, thought she did go alone the last time when I went to a pub for a party.
  • I hate the fact that Pragni believes that laundry should be done once every two weeks.
  • I hate the fact that she loves apple juice.
  • I hate the fact that her room is an masterpiece of Organized mess, while mine is strictly, disciplined organization.
  • I hate the fact that sometimes when she is going out of the door, she asks me to lock up behind her and does not use her key.
  • I hate the fact that she keeps momentarily losing her things just to find them again under a minute.
That's It. I can't think of anything more than this that she could hate about me. Now does this give me the right to list out the facts I hate about her? :) just kidding..

Apparently she wants to stay with me next year too, even if I might graduate by December and not stay the entire year. Hmmmm..

Do you really think she could hate all this about me? Really, Really??

Friday, October 12, 2007

Blankness prevails..

Why does the mind keep expecting even though it has been made clear in the past that expectations are not to be entertained..

Life can march right along with noone around and with everyone around. Life just does not stop to watch, the destruction or splendor..

I don't want to miss the magic, but sometimes, you expect too much of a magical quality from it.. which can kill the charm of it..

I successfully manage to kill the charm off all my magic. Always.

Maybe I should go chop my hair off..

Monday, October 08, 2007

Stars Shine Down...

Ever seen a star in the eye? Try it.

Try gazing at the shining glimmer of a now-bright, now-dark star..

Try gazing at the throbbing intensity of a thousand stars shining down..

It's an experience on its own. It's something that will last you a lifetime. I hope I get my fill of them in this lifetime, doesn't seem possible though..

It feels like the stars are talking down with you. Like they are saying something, only if you understand it. Like they are pointing to something, only if you get it..

It feels like heaven..

Friday, October 05, 2007

And life goes on..

So how much do you think a chat window can express? Even if I am being honest about when I smile and when I don't, you'd never know the difference between a sad, forced smile and an enthusiastic, happy smile.

You'd never know the doubts clouding my eyes when I said I was ok, and you'd never know the hesitation with which I said things are going great.

And I'd never know what you meant when you said, everything that you said..

And life goes on..

Another October begins..

Monday, October 01, 2007


I have a blank Word Document in front of me. In fact it has been there for the better part of the day.

Whenever anyone calls, I say, "Uhh.. I'm studying.. can I get back to you later? I'll call you when I take a break."

Said call disturbs my thought process (maybe the thoughts were just about to be spilled on the blank Word Doc, you know) and I decide to download a few songs. I download Euphoria's entire album. 9 songs. Then chiding myself about not studying, I turn to the blank Word Doc. I then download Shaan's entire collection of songs. 21 songs.

Dhum pings me online and wonders if I am studying that hard. I say "Ofcourse, oh and could you forward the song from Dor to me? Ahh Thanks.."

Back to studying then. I think about the reflection paper I am supposed to submit on Wednesday, and the article I am supposed to submit on Tuesday, and the report I am supposed to submit on Monday - TOMORROW!!

Brain refuses to get stimulated, motivated, inspired. I turn to the 600 page reading I have to do for next Monday. Brain loses all grasp on stimulation, motivation, inspiration and spirals down to lala land. Sleep. ZZZZ. Forty Winks. But in my case, a little more often.

Everytime I start my readings, one page = 30 minutes of deep sleep. So deep that I even have dreams. I tried reading while I was walking, I stood for 30 minutes sleeping. I tried reading while I was studying with friends, I camouflaged my sleep. I tried reading while I was sitting on the hard, rough, poky carpet, I slept on my reading. Sigh. And I finally, desperately, tried reading while I was sleeping. Some inverse logic might be at action, I though. Needless to say, I slept. Sleeping.

"How are you with deadlines??"
"Oh, deadlines are sacred to me. Back home, we used to say, 'you gotta meet a deadline, even if you are dead!!"

This is what I said in my interview. And I think this is why I got my job.


Sigh. The Word Document is still blank...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Unpredictable Suddenness

Something just clicks. And something goes wrong. Something just shifts and slides inside and falls into that dark sphere which hurts terribly.

I spend the entire day pleased. With a spring in my step, a smile in my mind. I finish all my work on time. And then the dark sphere approaches. I run away. I try to run as far away as I can from it. Once it clouds over me, I know the cheer will take time to return.

I hate my damn moods. I hate the damn unpredictability of it. I HATE IT. But they just don't seem to understand that. They just keep pelting me with their suddenness.

I was walking across the Oval Maidan, 8:30 in the night. The laptop felt heavy on my back, and I knew my next train was at 8:43. I had a load of work to finish, I had a load of work to start with. I remember smiling because I liked the feeling. The feeling of knowing my responsibilities and priorities. The feeling of the chilly twilight breeze, hitting me across my face as I walked across the dark, dark pathway. The dreamy walk, lit with bright yellow bulbs, littered with pani-puri wallas and couples walking hand-in-hand. I remember thinking then, "Maybe this is how living in USA, shouldering my responsibilities will feel like."

I was so wrong. I want that feeling again. I want to be able to feel comfortable enough to feel like that again. I was rigging N about not having inner peace, I just realized now, I am ravaged inside. I don't have even a tidbit of inner peace. Why? Why the hell? If everyone thinks this too, then why is there no answer to it yet.. someone must have an answer.. who??

Friday, September 14, 2007

Who is wearing the pants and why..

Before I start writing this post, and before you start reading it, I should warn everyone that I am not judgmental. Neither am I opinionated. But yes, I do have strong, tangently-inclined opinions, which have their own value systems. I do realize that the few of you who read this blog know me personally and know the people I talk about, and I will talk about personally too. I beg you to not form your opinions based on what I write here, and don't hold me to them too. I notice things, I feel something about it, hence I write. I might notice something else later and my feelings or opinions might change. Which is a natural human process.

Those of you (if there are any) who don't know me personally, and yet read my blog, I have only one word for you - Welcome!! (Not that the others are not welcome!! :) )


When I shifted into my new apartment, I had a clean, white, untouched wall and a lot of frames to be hung. I wasn't sure if I could pierce holes in the walls here so I asked my uncle (Masa) about it. Masa told me that all I needed was a few pins and a hammer and I was set. I try to cover all grounds, so I asked my seniors about whether I am allowed to do such things, and they said sure, just when you are vacating the apartment, se sure to stuff the holes with Colgate. Fair enough.

Problem two: Where do I get nails and a hammer from?
Masa's advice: Oh, Just meet Rahul (Some undergrad ABCD here, who he knows well) and say, "Raaa-hul.. How do I make holes in my walls for frames...(Accompanied with batting eyelashes and a few helpless giggles)"

Needless to say, I refused and my wall remains untouched and the frames unhung. But I am fine with it. This sounds like a better option.

I was planning a trip to Chicago, which is a three hour drive away. Room-mate (RM for all practical purposes from now on) tells me, "Why don't you call V? He will definitely take you there.." I cancelled my roadtrip. Better option.

RM was scared about a security issue concerning the internet we have been using. I told her that if someone comes asking, say that you don't use the internet, your room-mate does and leave the rest upto me. I have no idea how I will tackle the situation, if it arises. But I do know that she doesn't want to handle the issue, and I feel like the man here, asking her to drop it all on me.

RM's laptop arrived today ( Congrats for the same!!), but she missed the delivery. The FedEx guys think that the best time to deliver anything is when you are at class. Go figure. Anyway, this has happened with both of us before, at different times. First she, and then I tracked out way down to the otherside of this otherwise small town (Far, Far, Faaar away), to get out parcel, and back, in the bus. This time, she called up a friend, who lives far, far, faaar away too, got him to pick her up, take her to FedEx, and drop her back home.

When she asked me to accompany her, I refused. She asked me why, and I told her the truth.

I am not comfortable asking someone to pick me up from my house, take me somewhere and drop me back, and then go back on that self-same road to where he actually came from in the first place. It's awkward.

I live in a town where traveling by the bus is pretty convenient. And, traveling by car is convenient too. The bus system here is pretty good, plus it helps that I can look up online when the next bus will reach exactly outside my home and which bus will take me where from wherever I want to go. You get the picture.

But, on the other hand, its not that difficult to buy a car in this country after a few years, as a result of which a lot of seniors and friends I know, have cars. And since they are all nice people they are always ready to help/comply.

While I know that this is what friends are for, I also know that I am not comfortable taking obligations from people when I can use my own self or my resources to get the same thing done. I hate being typified as a typical girl, because I believe I don't fit into that segment. I also understand that most people don't like being "Typified".

Maybe I am being sexist when I say that I expect girls to behave this way. Maybe I am being practical when I say, don't take anyone or anything for granted. Maybe I am being too stubborn when I refuse to take help from people bowing under stereotypes.

Am I the only one who can see these stereotypes? Or am I the only one who can feel their pressure and be uncomfortable with the comfort offered by the stereotypes. I know that is a paradox, but it makes a lot of sense. I am uncomfortable with it just because staying within the boundaries of these stereotypes will make my life easier, and more comfortable.

It's not about the male or female stereotype here, its about fitting into the mould of damsel in distress and waiting for a prince to lift you out of it. Why can't these damsels stop sounding so dainty and pretty just by their names and start fighting back their own distresses, at least till you can. Till you have the resources too.

I am not saying that you should deny help when you seriously need it. Going back late in the night, and said friend offering to drop you back, is understood. Need to go somewhere immediately where no bus goes, really far, and said friend takes you there- understood. But more than that, and it brings an image of a female sitting on a pretty couch, twiddling her thumbs waiting for the man to come and roll out the carpet so that she can step up and go about.

It's really not about who is wearing the pants, its about who is making whom wear it.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Sea, the sun and the confusion

Pal, my friend doing Urban Planning here, was calling me up to her place, "It's spectacular, the apartment we have rented."

I dint say much. I don't know why. I followed her up the circular staircase to her apartment. I could feel her excitement passing on to me. But I was just smiling.

When I entered her place, it was just a terrace. A square room with glass walls, with a huge terrace bordering it outside from three sides. And out of all those three sides all I could see was the blue, very blue and Azure sea. Rippling gently with the breeze. The coast wasn't visible at all. It was as if the building, her house, was right at the bank of the coast. Looking out into the sea. Beautiful. As far as my eyes could see, as far the horizon stretched all I could see was the blue, blue sea and the orange, setting ball of fire above it. Somehow the sea was untouched by the sun's hue. It was a crystal cobalt and the sky was a mixed palette of reds, yellows and orange.

I don't know how long I stood there, mesmerized. Dumbstruck. Pal had gotten lucky with her home. It was a beauty. It was Mumbai as my eyes saw it. Fascinating. Mumbai, over here.

Suddenly I jolted out of my reverie. "I have a job interview at the radio station, right under your house. Oh god, I'll be late." I rushed out. Longingly, I looked over my shoulder once at the vision I was so enamored by. Something was changing, but I couldn't single it out then.

I ran down the circular staircase, and reached outside the building. I thumped on the door and told the student at the other side that I have a job interview with the RJ right now.

"Which RJ?", he asked me, looking into his rooster.
"RJ Tham."
"Oh, but he has been fired. He should be coming around right now to plead his case, maybe he can plead yours too."

Plead?? How could that be? RJ Tham had taken me around the entire radio station the last time I met him. He had been pretty positive about me getting the job. How did he lose his job????

RJ Tham came around. He did not see me. He charged straight inside. I followed him in. The student let me in thinking that I was coming in with Tham.

We went up the circular staircase. The walls were filled with colorful graffiti. He was saying something about how I can't get the job, because he himself has been displaced. I thought, yeah I got that much, Buster.

I followed him around for a little while. Hoping for something to click in place. For something to happen that would get me this job. Nothing.

I was climbing up the stairs to Pal's place again. Round and round, up, to the blue, blue sea. I somehow felt like I was showing her place to my parents. Telling them that look, she has a place that looks out to the sea... the SEA!!!!!!

When I reached the squarish terrace, I realized what had gone amiss then. The sea had been receding. Now all I could see from the vantage point was small buildings and streets and little bit of sand. No sea anywhere. Up above, the sky was a dull. The color was just not registering. Like the sea, the sky had lost its charm too. Receded maybe?

I live in a non-coastal city now. There is no water body, even within 30 miles of the place that I live in. I can not count small stupid ponds that are miles away, as water bodies. Pal lives in a ground floor apartment(that's called the First floor here; weird) , with two other roomies. I cannot work in a radio station, thought I'd love to, because its not affiliated to the university. The radio station here, is on the ground floor too, facing out to the main street here. There is no sea here. No SEA!!!!! :(

AND I don't understand what my mind can conjure up while my eyes are closed. I just don't get it, and no matter how much I try to find the meanings of such dreams, I come up with the obvious. If there is one thing I know about dreams, it's that it never means what is obvious apparent. Which leaves me flummoxed. Sigh.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Life took the Backseat in the Roller Coaster..

Life is a rollercoaster. Really. But the ups are really short, and the lows are really long. I guess I am getting too clich├ęd now...

Anyway, a few people who are really silent readers of my blog, or so I believe. I hope they are not total non-readers :(. So, these people, suddenly got active, in their own way, and delighted me. Absolutely delight me.

Pri, is leaving for her masters abroad soon. Technically I can't say that she is leaving, since I am not there, as in in Mumbai, to bid adieu, but, anyway. So as she finally, FINALLY, disembarks on her further studies, she left me a beautiful, beautiful gift. A blog. Something just between the two of us. It feels like its a hotline of some sort. London to US: DIRECT. (No, the link on her name above is not to her blog. Dint I say that it is just between the two of us??) There have been quite a few friends of mine who have started blogging after witnessing my mania.
Or so I like to believe. Just humor me if it's not that way, OK?
But, this is a blog made just for me and her. I don't blog in it. She does. For me to read. I think its a wonderful thing to do. Especially since she knows how important it is for me!!

Also, another friend, who I have surprisingly started talking to quite a bit, talking about life here and all called me suddenly. Nothing so huge about this. Except that I had never spoken on the phone with said friend before. When Unknown Number Calling, flashed on my phone, I assumed it was Mr. Pilot, and I picked up with a cheery "hello".

"Pragni?" (Pronounced as Prugni, like in a short 'a', not the elongated way it actually is. And anyone who doesn't know me in real life will obviously not know how to pronounce it right. Like I guess those few reading this and who don't know me personally, mispronounce it. Yes, I'm sure you do it too!!)

So said friend is in Petrovski, which is not a place, but is just what I call the place from where said friend hails. So Petrovski (as we shall call said friend) has never spoken to me on the phone. NO we are not net friends. We were supposed to be humwatans in this place here, but his end of the things dint work out. I was too surprised to hold a proper conversation I think, but I was pleased, supremely pleased. It's not everyday that someone calls just because, "I couldn't come online too often, and because of this new time difference between us now, I just don't ever see you online!!"

And the third non-active friend. Who was not supposed to be a part of this post really, but got included in it, just because of his enthusiasm to see my next post up and on. So this friend is also someone studying here at the U of I (notice how I don't say UIUC anymore.. we are actually the U of I!!) This friend, better called Dhum ( short for Dhum dhum dhadam dhadaiya re), revealed to me sometime back that he reads my blog. Which induced a Cheshire Cat kind of a grin from me. Nothing pleases me more. And since then, he has been on my case to get me to blog more often. Everyday I am greeted with a "Hey, did you post something new??".

Dhum, I don't think I have told you, but I find this REALLY sweet. Keep it up will ya? Motivates me to getting my fingers moving along the keyboard (Another huge Grin).

So that's the ups on my life's roller coaster as of now. Recounted so that they last longer!! Hope I dont sad enough to start recounting the downs too... :)

Wish Blogger had smileys that I could include in the post yaar..

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Living life...

Sometimes, I forget I am not in India. Sometimes. I take a step out into the world. Look up, look at the sky. It feels the same. Look around me, its the same. I still have to rush to make it in time for my classes. I still have to wait on the pavement for the bus to come. I still see the bus go past me, just coz I'm late by a minute. It feels the same.

Just because my parents are not home, does not mean I dont feel attached to them anymore. Just because I have the right to, does not mean I will abuse my rights. Just because I can, does not mean I will. I don't see whats the big deal about the freedom. I think the only freedom I have now, which I dint have earlier is to pay my own bills. Everything else is the same.

It's not a tough life really. It's just living that life that's tough. It's not a life you can't adjust to. It's just slipping into the adjustment that might be tough.

Everyone keeps telling me that things will get better. For some reason, I trust them and believe them. I believe that things will get better. Because they tell me.

When I miss my bus, I tell myself that it happens to every student.
When I am rejected from a Job, I tell myself that every student who wants one, has one job. I will get mine soon too.
When I see no chance for an Assistantship, I tell myself, that every Indian has got funding by the second semester. I won't be excluded. I'll get something too.
When I try to cart 8 bags of wal-mart groceries back home, on the bus. I realize every new student must have done this too.
When I see who I really am now, I realize, everyone must have had this moment of clarity too.

I can see my true self forming in front of me. When anyone asked me to describe myself, I kept saying that I dint know myself well enough to be able to give a description. Now I can see that the vague outline is forming in the picture. I see myself deal with situations, and it strikes me that this is the way I deal with situations. I see myself react to something genuinely, and I realize that I dint garb that reaction, scared of what the people who already have an impression of me in their minds would think. I react, I talk, I comment, and I behave to fill in that picture and make it more definite. To remove the vagueness and fill in colors.

I smile. I laugh at what I was. At what I had forced myself to be. To gain protection from hurt, I trained myself to be aloof, indifferent, unconcerned, unattached. I now realize I am not. I will hurt no matter what. Protection will just save me from wear and tear, but exposure will toughen it up.

I realize that I have gotten over the worst setback in my life. I realize it suddenly, one day, while sitting amidst a party of 25 people, bidding farewell to a friend, someone I have known since just 2 days. But someone I do consider a great person. It suddenly dawns on me, that I have gotten over the setbacks of my life. I have moved on. It took me 5 years, but I thought it would take 7!! The past has no power over me anymore. No strength to hurt me, taunt me, condemn me, laugh at me or cry with me. The past, has reduced in significance, and become just a story lived, loved, and left.

I struggle with daily life. But its the kind of struggle that makes your life, not breaks it. I am living. After years of getting by, I am suddenly alive with life.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


“She is flighty,” Vishal’s mother, Anuradha, said with a sniff.

“Amma, she has been my best friend since the last 12 years now. You know I have been in love with her since the beginning. You knew it all along. I know her well, She knows me well. She has finally agreed to marry me. Why are you disagreeing then?” Vishal said a tad impatiently.

“Vishie beta, you know.. her… about her.. all those boy-friends,” Amma said the word boyfriends almost as if she would contract some disease by its utterance.

“Mother, please. She has friends; I am one of her friends. But I love her. I always have. She is really very.. nice” Vishal finished a little lamely. He did not have a better word to describe his best friend and not soon-to-be-wife Raina. He did not know how to tell his mother that Raina knew him best. Raina understood him better than his own mother. She advised him better. Raina was truly wise, and she took responsibility for every action of hers. Yes, she had had a string of boyfriends, but not once had she shirked any responsibility which the consequences brought about. Raina had never been serious with any of those guys, and she had never faked a single thing. Vishal had seen Raina not at the helm of a situation only once. When he had met her all those years back, when she was nursing a severe heart break. Vishal had stood by her while Raina pulled herself out of her depression, while Raina regained her dignity and composure, Vishal had been falling in love with her. But Raina had refused. I don’t want to burn the bridge of our friendship behind us, she had said.
She had a lot of relationships since then, but she never started one with Vishal. They were for forever, she had maintained.

Now after 12 years, Raina had finally agreed to marry him. She had said she was ready to take the responsibility of it. If he could convince his parents. It had seemed like an easy task but..

“Vishal, I am not old-fashioned. I do understand this love business. But.. I always hoped you’d like a more reliable person.”

“But I have never known anyone more reliable then Raina. Amma, I am 29, don’t you think I understand what marriage is all about. Don’t you think I understand what kind of a commitment it is?”

“Age will never explain to you what marriage is all about,” Anuradha said sharply. She took a breath, cooled down, and continued in a gentler tone, “Look, if you both are sure, then I am not going to stop you. But I hope you both can take the responsibility of marriage. Only being best-friends will not last you through it”

Vishal was speechless for a few seconds. His mother had said exactly what Raina had. This made him more confident about her. “Amma, friendship alone might not last us through it, but it sure will help. I am sure of it.”

“Ok then, we should talk to her parents next, hai na?,” Amma conceded.

“Bhaiya, I really like Raina, and I have always known you were in love with her. But..,” Jyoti had specially dragged Vishal out of the house on the pretext of buying Mithai.

Vishal knew she had something important to talk about. “But, are you fine with her past? I know all about her bhaiya, she is my friend too. I am not talking only of Abhay, but all the other flings she had and all that..”

“Jo, Raina agreed to marry me. You know Raina. If she has agreed, then she will keep the faith intact. I trust her.” There was nothing to hide from Jo, although she knew Raina only after Vishal, Jo and Raina were very compatible.

“I do too. And I know she never lies. But I was just wondering if you are comfortable. You have a long life ahead now, together, you know. Anyway, I think gulab Jamuns are more festive. But what if they leak on the way to her place?,” Jo was satisfied. And at peace. She knew Raina would keep her brother happy, and she knew her brother loved Raina like crazy. Things would turn out fine.


Raina’s parents agreed immediately. They had known of Vishal’s love for their daughter since long too, and they liked the boy. A little immature, but very reliable. And he truly loved Raina. He had waited for her all these years.

While the parents looked up dates, Raina and Vishal retreated to the terrace. They loved sitting in the swing there. Silently, looking at all the trees peeping into the top floor.

“Rae, are you sure of this?”
Raina turned her gaze on her best friend. Sometimes, Vishal thought, it feels like Raina can read my thoughts. And she mostly could always predict his next move.
“Vishal, I took 12 years to think this through. Are you sure?, ” Raina asked him calmly.
“I love you. I have always waited for this.”
“Loving and waiting are very different from being sure. But I think you might grow into the idea of marriage once you experience it.” Raina looked away. For once, she was a little unsure about what Vishal would do in the future.


“Are you going to call Abhay? Or any of the rest, that you are in touch with?” Vishal asked Raina a few days before the wedding, on the phone.

“Hmm, I will inform Abhay. He deserves that much. And I don’t think I will invite Gaurav, or Mayank or Rolan or anyone for that matter.” Raina said thoughtfully, “And Vishal, before you ask, I don’t want you to call preeti too. Let us both let bygones be bygones.”

“Oh I was not going to call her anyway,”Vishal lied, knowing very well, that Raina would see through the lie.

“Yea, right,” she said.

“Raina,” Vishal said after a pause, “We will be happy..” His statement was toned like a question.

“Marriage is not disposable Vishal, remember that. Always”.


“Want to grab some lunch, love?” Vishal asked Raina.
“Hmm… I am elbow-deep in work Vishal…” Raina said apologetically.
“Which is why, I keep telling you to drop that job, and join me. But I know you wont listen.”
“Ok. Lets do one thing. Come over to my office, we’ll have lunch at the little pizzeria next door”
“Uhh.. and have your entire office staff peering down our shoulders? No thanks. You carry on with your work, I’ll see you tonight at home.”
“But.. oh. Ok.” Raina said, slipping out of her, let’s-go-out mood.
“Are you going to be at work late today?,” Vishal asked suddenly.
“Hmm.. mm. I’ll be home by 9:30 or so. You are cooking dinner tonight right?”
“Yeah. Stir-fry.”
“Ok then. I’ll see you at the dinner table!!” Raina said, injecting some cheer into her voice.


Raina walked into the foyer of her building and waited for the elevator. When she stepped into the yawning door, she heard a clatter of heels. Surprised she was about to stop the door from closing but it snapped shut anyway. She punched in the open door button, but when the doors yawned open again, there was no one on the other side. Maybe that someone had clattered down the stairway, not towards the lift.

Raina turned the key into the door, and walked in. The table was not set. And the spicy sting of the stir-fry was not wafting around in the air.

“Vishal?,” Raina opened the bedroom door and walked in. Vishal was lounging on the bed. Doing nothing. He grinned at her brightly.

“Are you alright?” she asked him, standing at the door.

“Rae, you are early. It’s just… uh 9..” he slurred, “come, let’s go to sleep.”

“Aren’t we eating any dinner?” she asked him, not moving an inch from her stand.

“I din’t cook anything. I forgot. Went to sleep. Can you rustle up something? I’m hungry too”

“Corn Flakes, Toast and Cold Milk. With fruits,” she said in one breath, “wash your face and come to the table.”

“Yes, Rae”

She had his bowl ready. She knew how he liked his cereals. Chopped fruits, lots of flakes, cold milk and a chunk of chocolate hidden somewhere inside. Toasts on the side plate.

She sat with her mug of cold milk. She told herself she needed the strength. He slunk into his chair, picked up the spoon and stirred the mixture around. He avoided her eyes.

“Did you ever think of Abhay after our marriage, Rae” he asked after a lengthy, pregnant pause.

“Yes, I did. But I never contacted him again. And you know I don’t talk to Gaurav or anyone else too”

“Hmm,” he had even started talking like her. Living with her, he had picked up parts of her living, and made it his.

Raina gave up the pretence of eating. She just looked at Vishal, waiting for him to talk about it.

He looked up, and his face crumbled.

"How did you know Rae," he stumbled, "Please Rae, I'm sorry. I wont talk to her again. Please Rae. Rae I love you, but.. " Vishal was spluttering helplessly now

“Marriage is not disposable Vishal, I had asked you to remember that.”

Monday, July 23, 2007

Losing a grip on reality..

It's surreal. My brain refuses to accept it. While I was racing around the airport unloading the extra luggage.. I dint believe it.. while I was getting through Immigration I dint believe it.

I sit in the plane, make all my last minute calls. Say bye, but don't believe it. The aircraft rises above Mumbai on time. I see the lights twinkling below.. I can spot S.V.Road, I can spot Juhu, the road leading to my place in the general direction. I see the beach, clear as a crystal from above, I see the stalls where I ate Golas with Pri and Amar. I can see the waves being pulled on to the sand, rhythmically, I cant see the the couples though. They are just specks. I enjoy the view but I cant believe it.

Abu Dhabi. People shouting for Riyadh passengers, I can see the "Princess" and " Daughters of Arabia" stories reliving itself in front of me. I go through a thorough hand bag scan. They throw small things from my bag, small things, which spell danger for them, but spell memories for me. Still don't believe it. I don't protest.

Flight to JFK, I'm sitting with the harry potter in my hands, but I am not reading it. I am sitting with an option of 256 films, 330 songs and lots of games, but I don't indulge in any of it. I don't believe it. I keep telling mum that I cant be leaving Mumbai. I don't register that I already have.

JFK. Immigration. Baggage recovery and customs. JFK to Philadelphia. Still don't believe it.

On the long drive home, I search for signs that look familiar.

I peer around..

Mc Donalds!!
Gay Lords!!
Hey, Baskin Robbins...

I look at the clouds and they resemble the ones back home.. I look at the roads, they vaguely look like the Mumbai-Pune highway. New Jersey, India Street, Saris everywhere, Patels and dosas.. India!! Mumbai!!

No, that's lost. Quite lost.

It's scary. To realize that all this while, when I said that I want to live in a small town, it was a town like this that I envisaged. A pretty, green, quiet but friendly little town. Where people wont stare, and people wont frown. It's scary because I don't want to like this place. Its surreal.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Warning: Dates in the Calender seem too far

Thoughts on a romp. Regrets, apologies to be given. Speed 180 kmph.

Million things to be done. Million people to call, meet. Million lives left to touch. Speed 200 kmph.

Sleeplessness. Constant smiles. Aching jaws. Fake happiness. Speed, sigh, 225 kmph.

Lunches left, dinners forgotten, breakfast ignored. Shadows beneath the eyes, and throbbing backs. Speed still 235 kmph.

Last minute meets. Last card game with friends. Last train ride. Last book stocked in my library. Speed: 240 kmph

No heart-felt byes. No reason to. No reactions at all.

Last two days. Feels like the end anyway. Too much happening inside my head. Outside- nothing. No reaction. No emotions.

Somebody once told me,

"Showing no reaction is a kind of reaction too"

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A little girl's dreams..

Emptying your closet can be an eye-opening experience. I found a little peice of paper which said,

My Dreams:
1. To play the violin
2. To drive a car
3. To ride a bike
4. To spend a lott of time with all my friends
5. To have a cassatte full of my favorite music.
6. To spend as much time as possible on the beach.
7. To study abroad. (Please come true)

The date on this paper was August 20, 1996. Obviously, my 11th birthday must have encouraged me to think up all this stuff. To introspect within, or whatever that is. The last one is the killer. Never knew that, that 11 year old kid would change, and change how to this 22 year old adult. Change so much that the one dream I really really wanted is coming true, and now I am wondering why the hell did I want it so bad...

I've fulfilled almost all my dreams listed on the little chit. Makes sense why I preserved it so long. I needed to see it today to understand this change in my life.

Maybe I should make a new list of my dreams now. Maybe I'll just jinx it by writing it down, and when it comes true when I'm 33, I'll curse myself about it!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Don't Leave Home...

I have been listening to Dido all day long. I think it just confuses me up more. Messes my head up, leaves a pleasant buzz behind. And I think her confusion is what makes her one of the best singers.. very real, her words. A state of welcomed chaos within...

My mind is not reacting to the environment around me. I am moving around the house as if I am going to be here forever. I am meeting up my friends, and issuing dire threats about me shipping off soon. But I don't feel it. Ineptness of my being...

Everyone keeps telling me, "Enjoy your time there, have all the fun you can, eat all you can." But I'm living my normal life. My every-day life. Where is the excitement? Why is it missing? Where's the joy? Where's the anticipation?? The Lost feeling seeping in...

My mind has gone numb. Blind maybe. I don't see the what's looming right in front of me. I refuse to accept the truth as it is happening. I pack, and I think I am packing for someone else. I empty my closets, and watch mum fold all my clothes away neatly into my bags, and I still don't see that they are my clothes. Blind spots of the mind...

I keep thinking about all those people I will not be able to meet before I leave. I wonder if it will make a difference to them. I'm thinking about it, because it makes a difference to me. But I'm quite sure its not mutual. Or maybe, they haven't told me it matters to them, for the exact same reason that I haven't. They might be waiting for me to approach them. Lost chances of my life...

My eyes glaze over the calendar. People are planning to drop me off at the airport. Marking the day, and grinning about it. There are those waiting there for me. My brother, J, my cousins, my friends. And there are others trying their best to not tell me to not go. Say it once. I'll feel better about it. It might just put me at peace. A heavy restlessness...

Laughter is miles away, in Delhi, struggling with building her own new life. Doctor is in Pune, but I will get to meet her only once before I leave. Basanti, Dhanno, Jay, Veeru are all here. We are all planning a big weekend meet. But it still doesn't strike true. Tag cant make it to meet me. Pri, my over-protective Pri, will be coming down for me specially. Puneet's presence is always around, but we haven't been able to do all those things we had thought we would do once before I go. Yet, she managed to give me one of the best gifts anyone could ever give me. But I wonder if I'll get to meet my entire family together once before I go. My entire extended family. More lost chances...

Mr. Pilot. He has been planning to come from the beginning of this month, but has not been able to make it back yet. If does finally make it back, I'll get to spend 5 days with him. Funny. Someone with whom I have spent the last five years, through thick and thin, best friends, always there for each other. In my last days here, I'll get only 5 days with him. Ironically bereft...

I installed the little midget in the sidebar, for the express purpose of reminding me every time I look at it. And the little damned thing says I have just 8 days, 23 hours, 16 minutes and 23 seconds left with me.

I don't remember my dreams anymore. I don't think I dream of pleasant things. I think they are disturbing dreams. "It's a sign of deep sleep" someone tells me from deep inside, "or maybe too blank a mind."


Don't Leave Home..

Like a ghost don't need a key
Your best friend I've come to be
Please don't think of getting up for me
You don't even need to speak
When I've been here for just one day
You'll already miss me if I go away
So close the blinds and shut the door
You won't need other friends anymore

Oh don't leave home, oh don't leave home
If you're cold I'll keep you warm
And If you're lost just hold on
Cause I will be your safety

Oh don't leave home

I arrived when you were weak
I'll make you weaker, like a child

Now all your love you give to me
When your heart is all I need

Oh don't leave home, oh don't leave home
If you're cold I'll keep you warm
And If you're lost just hold on
Cause I will be your safety

Oh don't leave home

Oh how quiet, quiet the world can be
When it's just you and little me

Everything is clear and everything is new
So you won't be leaving will you

If you're cold I'll keep you warm
And If you're lost just hold on
Cause I will be your safety

Oh don't leave home
Cause I will be your safety
I will be your safety
I will be your safety

Oh don't leave home


And who, I wonder, will be my safety, now that I am leaving home...

Friday, July 06, 2007

I have realized...

You don't achingly, yearningly miss trains. You don't miss the travelling in local trains when you stop travelling. But when you do resume travelling by them again, or happen to have that one last run, you realize what you had been missing out on all this while. And after you are done, you get back to your old status quo.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Being a Non-Conformist..

Increasingly, I realize that I don't belong to the groups that are formed in typical situations. I have often been a part of huge communities, but I have always emerged as the sore thumb.

Its been like that since I passed out from school. During school years, the bond formed were too deep, and in fact they were all formed coz each person being a sore thumb in their own way. College, I made just one friend in my entire class of 60.

Another place where I belong is the virtual world. I blogged with a passion when I started. It's mellowed down, gone through a lot of thought processes, and reached an ad hoc state. An understandum, as it can be said.

Anyway, here too, I stand out as a sore thumb. In the entire blog world, I as usual don't fit. I was very happy to meet my fellow bloggers, delighted to make their acquaintance. But then, I have resumed my normal role of being the observer, watching from a distance. And I quite realize that I am happier not conforming to the group.

I feel better for not having slipped into the well-placed slot in these groups. None of these slots fit around me. Trying to conform with these moulds feels like wearing an ill-fitting tee and and a scratchy, too tight pair of jeans.

Your identity is supposed to be something that is so you, something that you are comfortable in, right?

So there, I am glad I'm not a conformist. I am so happy being a non-conformist, a sore thumb and a loner, as a professor has once called me. Because it is because of this quality that I find those very few people who understand my need for silence, standing apart, and my non-tolerance for inane stupidity. Like my family of course. Also pRi, Dhanno and Tag.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

An Enveloping Blankness..

When I came out of the cubicle after my visa interview my face was blank...

The room was full of hopeful aspirants.. all of them looking at every single person who came out of the cubicle.. a dejected face pulled everyone else down too and a happy face.. pleased the entire room.

But my face was stubbornly blank. No expression at all.

My interview had been exceptionally brief. It was over within a minute. And I was the first applicant at the cubicle i had gone to. The cubicle was right across the exit. I came out of the cubicle, directly crossed the room and let myself out. Once in the outer security area, I asked where to exit from, since I was one of the first ones to leave and directly came out from he consulate.

My father was standing across the road, waiting for me. I caught a brief glimpse of him while iw as descending from the stairs and I looked down. I crossed the street looking down, for the first time in my life.

When I reached the other side, he bounded over asking me, "What happened?"

I just nodded very briefly.

"You got it??"

Another brief nod.

His face cracked up in two and he lead the way to the car, where mom was sitting.

As I crossed th throng on the road, random uncles and aunty's asked me if I got my Visa.

I briefly nodded. When they gave me a wide smile and congratulated me, all I could muster up was a small crescent which could pass for a smile. They were still effusive.

I opened the door of the car, slid in and looked at my mom.

But when I answered her, my voice almost broke.

"But you got it," she reasoned, "what's wrong then?"

I did not reply. My face was crumbling from its blankness.

"You got it right??"

"Yes, yes," my dad assured her.

And yes I got it. I got my Visa approved. It was the final hurdle, and its been crossed. It was the last deciding factor, and it has worked out.

Effortlessly, I have been granted entry into the US of A. Effortlessly, everyone has accepted that I will now transition to a new land, a new culture and an absolutely different life and new.

I expect happiness about this novelty to strike me any instant. Till then, what am I supposed to do about this crushing sadness??

Monday, June 25, 2007

Visa Interview and sinking of the ship..

Quite weirdly, it sunk in now. It sunk in now that I might actually be going away from my home for a good three to four years to study, to live a new life and to learn and grow..

A few days back a close friend told me that it had just sunk in for him that I would not be around anymore, that I would actually be flying off. And in my ever-flippant style I said, "Relax.. its not sunk in yet for me.. why are you getting so serious"

While I said this my mind was already relaying to me that the day it sunk in, boy it would hit hard. And the day it chose to happen was today, 12 hours before my Visa Interview.

Suddenly, as I looked out of the speeding car, something pinched. I blamed it on feeling bad about a few things happening around me at that moment. It took some heavy metal pounding into my ears ( and I HATE metal) for me to realize that the fluttering, the pinch, was nothing but my conscious awakening to the fact, that tomorrow will truly be the day that decides it all. And if it's positive, a new life will begin.

The more the feeling became obvious, the louder was the volume on my normally soft-spoken i-pod. It was as if I was trying to drown out the screaming in my head. Competing with the voice within. I met her, and discussing nothing with her over burger and fries calmed me down. But the minute I headed back home alone, the screaming began.

It's like its pulling me down, compelling me to understand that this just a glimpse of what I might go through there, yet I have promised myself that I will never think of turning back now.

For a moment, I actually wondered that if I really was not happy leaving, then maybe I should mess up my Visa Interview. But that's no way. The mature me rubbished the idea as soon as it took birth. It feels so weird to not be excited about going to the US of A. Maybe it's because I have already been there. Maybe it's because it never beckoned me. It never managed to quite charm me. And the rotting Statue of Liberty did not help at all.

I'm glad I have my parents with me on the flight there. It's going to smooth my ruffles more than anything else. If anything could give me a little bit of peace, it's that they are accompanying me and that my brother, is going to be around, even if not physically, then mentally.

And I'm glad that Veeru is going to be there. Even if he is going to be in New York, and me in Champaign, it's just going to calm me down knowing that he is in the same country, going through the same experience as me.

Don't want to scream inside anymore.. don't want to think anymore..

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The pain called guests...

What is it about over-bearing guests?? They are the worst kind of species alive among the Homo Sapiens.

Classic Symptoms of the over-bearing guest:
  • They inform you 6 hours before they land in your town/city/area/home.
  • They will not ask whether this would be a good time to come visiting.
  • And if you say that you are a little busy currently, they say they couldnt come later necause it's their daughters result time then.
  • They come at the worst possible time for you, ie: either you are preparing for an important seminar or a Visa interview.
  • They over-stay by atleast 3 days.
  • They insist that you take them shopping around town to buy clothes like the one you are wearing
  • They insist you cook something different from what you have already prepared
  • They are given their own bathroom, yet they use yours (even though they know your bathroom is sacred space for you)
  • They ALWAYS forget to flush
  • They insist in sleeping either on the floor or in your room, which means you have to give up your room.
  • They snatch your laptop from your lap and say, "Oh you bought a new one? what did you do with the old one?"
  • They are curious whether you have a prepaid or a postpaid connection on your handphone, and when you have to answer quite truthfully that its a postpaid they wonder if they could make just a few STD calls from your cell phone. Oh and one ISD too.
  • And oh yes, could they also give your number to their relatives so that they could recieve calls form your phone, they wont be charged roaming then.
  • Oh since the phone is so busy with their calls (incoming and outgoing) they say they might as well keep the phone in their pockets.
  • They decide they dont want to visit anyone at their homes, so they call their entire khaandan and more to your house, afterall, "your house is so spacious and you people are so nice"
  • They will insist on using the free services of that Doctor that you know, and will not even take a token bar of chocolate for the doctor'kids
  • They will very casually say, "I was thinking of going back by flight, but I dont have a credit card, can you book my flight then please?"
  • They want a tour of your entire house, as if its a monument to be seen eevrytime they come. Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C.. and tu your left, ladies and gentlemen is the little corner where Princess so-n-so read her books in peace ( when she dint have guests at home!)

I solemnly swear that like my mom dad, I will NOT tolerate such guests at home. No really, really I wont. If the guests know how to behave they are welcome, else no way. I think this generation itself will not bear with such things. More power for the youth today!!

Monday, June 18, 2007

I will miss..

I will miss waking up in the morning to the clear blue sky spotted with clouds right in front of me. I will miss hearing the faint strains of the fluteman playing a lovely old tune on a cloudy day. The rhythm bursting out of his small flute, and enveloping the entire locality as if it were a morning call to show everyone the beauty in life. I will miss calling out to my mom while still in bed, and making her sit next to me while I still laze in bed. Her sweet warmth, and constant morning chatter gently making me smile. I will miss seeing my dad walk into the room, crack some jokes as the pair of us and then go back to his laptop and his futile attempts at copy and pasting things.

I will miss finding a glass of Sun-water, a glass of Nimbu-water and almonds at my bedside table. I will miss finding the coffee ready and waiting for me once I have brushed my teeth. I will miss reading the papers with my mom, discussing crimes in the city, and politics and celebrities. I will miss helping my mom make lunch, a thorough Gujarati lunch of Dal-Bhaat-Rotli-Shaak. And some pickle, and some aachar, and Chaas, and Salad and what-not. I will miss laying out the table for lunch, serving my dad, eating together with them. I already miss the presence of my brother at the dining table, his place- empty, and his plate unlaid.

I will miss meeting up my friends at the whim of a beach and thirsting for their company. I will miss the incessant laughter which rings within our group every time we meet, its infectious nature and the million pictures taken along with it. I will miss the sombre goodness of Veeru, the crazy immaturity of Jay, the practical sweetness of Dhanno, the crazy sensibility of Basanti, the shy but persistent laughter of Rami Kaki. I will miss the assertive patience of Thakurain and ofcourse my presence in the group, Gabbar. Oh, if you are wondering where Radha is, then she is some unknown figure who keeps changing with the fancies of our Jay. And I will miss dhru's trigger happy stance on the digicam.

I will miss the not-so-surprise birthday celebrations with my cousins and my extended family at 12 in the night. I will miss watching movies late into the night with my Bhabhi, and my cousins. I will miss the small little meaningful gifts given to me on every small occasion by my Mami. I will miss the rigging and ragging between the uncles in the family. I will miss the over jealous uncle who looked into every accomplishment for some flaw.

I will miss working deep into the nights on futile projects. I will miss talking about the Indian market, the various advertisements, the funny ones, the intelligent ones with my mothers, brother and friends. I will miss watching my father switch on the Telly to watch the prime time serials. I will miss watching my father choke up when a character is tortured, dies, or gets emotional. I will miss sharing knowing grins with mom when he tries to hide his tears by coughing.

I will miss the wild assumptions of my father, the lists my mother makes, the ever ready to help nature of both. I will miss sitting on my huge dining table cross legged, while my mother fearfully waits for the Italian Marble she so loves to break beneath me. I will miss watching the sun set over the sea from our terrace. I will miss going up to my parent's room once in a while just to see its immaculate beauty. I will miss the view from their room and terrace, looking down to the other buildings and quaint green lane below. I will miss looking at my multi-hued red wall adorned with all my soft toys at the top. I will my library and the million books i have stashed inside. I will miss my collection of brick-bracks and stirrers collected from every place I've gone to.

I will miss my bathroom, my favorite place in the house. I will miss my million shampoos and conditioners and I will miss my handsome red grills. I will miss walking into my old ancient building, creaky lift and up to my grand huge door. I will miss spending countless hours at my laptop, guarding it more fiercely than my own life. I will miss sneaking off for hours to finish the current novel at my hand. I will miss my friends dropping in and then eating steaming hot nashtas my mom would make for the entire jingband. I will miss dreaming about everything and anything. The most weirdest of dreams and the most real of them at my many-layered and over-cushioned bed.

I will miss my books, my room, my home, my family, my friends, the togetherness. I will miss my life. Here.

I will miss it all. And I will come back to it all. And more.