Saturday, July 18, 2015

Voices from the Past

"Hey! Aren't you Meera?"

How many times since I left Delhi I must have hoped to meet a friend, an acquaintance, a neighbour, a classmate who would say this to me. You can say that was the only one thing I longed for, but over the years, forgot.

Then suddenly, in 2001 or so, I was accosted by this question. The tall man in front of me looked like no one I knew, and yet something deeper connected and I knew he was a dear friend from school whom I last saw when we were 14. It was almost 15 years, and as expected of boys, he had shot up. But there is something about a person that never changes, does it?

Slowly a few more connections got renewed and the social media lived up to its promise.

But just how much, and how empty the pot still was, I realised when I was added to the whatsapp group of my batch. Initially started to connect the different groups from the different streams, it was suddenly merged. It could have stopped there and the group still would have been substantial. But even those who left in between were added, including me.

Yes, the messages flood the phone. Despite all resolutions, you end up getting caught to see who is saying what.

But the best part - they remember. In a group of 60 plus, not some one or two, but many remember and that is when the pot started feeling full. It meant being able to revive memories, of sharing snippets and laughing at nothing. It was like unraveling a thread and watching a knot come loose!

Whatever our age now (you figure it out), I feel like a teenager, nay, a child.

Sharing what a friend from another similar group sent:
Money cannot buy us our childhood. Only friends help to recreate those moments, from time to time, at no cost.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Joy in Small Things

All one needs is a friend, a few stones and a chalk to feel while away time
And if a granddaughter makes a board game, we are not too old to learn a new g

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Meant to be Broken…

The recent tweet by Hema Malini has many of her readers shocked. She blamed the father of the child for his daughter’s death in the accident she was involved in. Seriously guys, you are shocked? Isn’t this par course?  The road is the jungle and your survival depends on your deftness and luck for that day. Why blame somebody, anybody, for the accidents that happen?

After all, might is right and it is the survival of the fittest. It is a jungle raj on every road in India, and blame cannot be lightly placed on one party. It could be one who is speeding, or another, who breaks a rule and pays mercilessly for it.

We see it day in and day out, this mindlessness. A few months ago, I was driving down a fairly free road at a comfortable pace. I saw a car hurtling down the road – from a spec in my rearview mirror, it filled it in no time. It was to my left, I was slightly towards the middle of the left. I kept an eye on my mirror as I switched the left indicator on. The car continued to hurtle unaffected by my indication. The turning neared and yet the car showed no signs of slowing. I paused, startled, for now the man had covered the distance without slowing even once. Only near the turning, the car slowed for the briefest of seconds. It hadn’t stopped and if I turned, we would crash without doubt. No such considerations deterred the man behind the wheel.  He crossed me from left. If he had turned left, I would still have been assuaged. But he took a right, right in front of me! If I had been hit and killed, even then it wouldn’t have made news because both of us – that driver and I – are ordinary people leading ordinary lives driving ordinary cars. Considering I escaped unscathed due to some surprising presence of mind, I can only say as the potential victim, I carried out my responsibility of being cautious. Any harm would have been my responsibility, right?

A friend, for instance, saw green (signal, dumbo, not money) and started crossing when a speeding van jumped signals. Her leg was nearly severed (nearly, not actually, severed) and she was in bed for six months. Sheer madness to think green is meant for crossing the junction. It should always be amber in your head, whatever the signal in the signal post.

Take another evening last week;  a sterling example of my negligent behavior.

I parked my two wheeler – a 2001 Scooty Pep, even more ordinary than my car – to the left of the road; looked to the left (traffic was not moving on the other side of the road), then right to look out for traffic – which was nil; and stepped out on the road. Now, you may say, ‘Wonderful, girl, just the way to cross!’ I stepped on the road, thinking only of what I have to purchase when something heavy banged against my leg. Two men on a bike on my side of the road, coming on the wrong side drove straight into me, the bulk of the metal hitting my left leg. They were slow, what a blessing, or else I would be in the hospital too. But I am no lean, negligible person. Even at night, couldn’t he see me on a well-lit street?

Now, tell me, who is at fault? Me, of course! I should have known that people will come from any side – right side, wrong side, upside, downside (we see it in action movies)…. It is my responsibility to keep my person safe! If I don’t, then how can I blame others if I get hurt?

Having said that, the reverse, unfortunately, is also true. If a Mercedes sees green light and takes off and a bike or an auto or a smaller car decides to ignore the red and cuts perpendicularly, can the Mercedes be blamed for the accident? If a biker chooses to suddenly jump lanes and is knocked down by a bigger vehicle coming in the correct lane, won’t the car get blamed for the accident? If a tempo suddenly shoots out of a side lane on to the main road, and an oncoming lorry crushes it, whose fault is it?

When it is a matter of life, it does not matter who takes the blame. Big or small, vehicles carry people. We seem to value life cheap – even our own. The new rule is – drive like a king and destroy anything that comes on the way; or get destroyed.

I have learnt to use the beautiful alapadma mudra even better than in dance. When in doubt while driving, just use this mudra and have the question, ‘What?’ on your face. It will confuse victims, potential or otherwise. And you can leave convinced you are not to blame.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

One Earth: Don't Mess Around!

One Earth: Don't Mess Around!: Give crow rice, it will eat neatly, not a scattered grain. Koels are fairly clean eaters too. Not much mess around their dish. Mynah, I...

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Clouds of Imagination

One, two, three
Chasing each other in glee
Kick one off the list
Two replace it quick

Not a thought in the head
But subheads demanding to be fed
Stories, novels, features, blogs
Family, dance, leisure, phew, no dogs!

Work drills, heat kills
Body cries, mind dries
Like a zombie, on the mill
Up and down, and yet only downhill

Pull the reins of your life
Leave behind the daily strife
Break free from the life of ruination
Adrift on the clouds of imagination.

Floating and dreaming
Mind empty, life filled with meaning
A nice dream, till it lasted
Now let me get back, before I am blasted!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Clasped Hands

Nithya extended her hand. Sampoorna resisted. "I will manage," she said stubbornly.

Nithya pursed her lips angrily and looked at the road. The traffic showed no signs of abating. "We are not going to cross today," she complained. "I have to get back. My children will return from their classes," she complained.

Reluctantly Sampoorna grabbed Nithya's hand. Nithya was shocked at the touch, at how hard the hand had become.

She kept a foot forward and Sampoorna followed hesitantly. Slowly the two walked across, Nithya matching her steps to her mother's pace. A speeding car slowed but blew the horn near them. A startled Sampoorna clutched her daughter's hand in fear.

Nithya glared at the driver and they managed to cross. She needed to steady herself for a second as memories of her agile mother confidently helping young Nithya cross the road, holding the tiny hands in her own soft hands came flooding. Waiting patiently in the park, allowing the child to play to her fill, taking her to the doctor's, taking her to her friend's homes, giving in to every demand - memories of her mother's youth and strength. Her mother was but a shadow now, still patient, still not demanding, unable to do all that she would like to.

But even if she had demanded, who would have heard the old woman? Nithya hadn't been giving her mother time, thanks to work and family. Today had been an emergency and already the piling list of chores made her tense and upset.

Seeing the contentment on her mother's face, she dropped the list from her mind for a few minutes. They walked slowly, chatting about olden days. Even Nithya felt nice, not worrying about mundane routine for a few minutes. She took her mother to the temple and bowed before the deity with a free heart, feeling a connection she hadn't in a long while.

Maybe she would lag by a few minutes in her schedule, but she felt she needed to make time for her mother. If that was part of her schedule, it would not be a lag, would it?

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