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.