Sunday, October 25, 2009

Happy New Year??

John passed away 4 days ago. He was a healthy man in his thirties. He is survived by his wife and two children, aged 4 and 3. When my brother was a trainee engineer, they both worked on the same ship. That's how they met, and that's how we knew John. This time again, they were on the same ship.
While in Chile, John complained of being unwell and was admitted to a local hospital where he was diagnosed with brain tumor. He had to be operated without the knowledge of his family, as his condition was worsening. His family was clueless about his whereabouts when he didn't call home for more than two weeks. Eventually the company informed them about his hospitalization and his elder brother was flown to Chile. But unfortunately, John died before his brother could reach him. He died alone in a foreign country, with no one at his side. How he would've wished to have kissed his kids and wife for one last time, to tell them how much he loved them and cared for them. But, what a tragedy!
John had been to our home once. He had brought chocolates and the seventh book of Harry Potter which my brother had sent. I remember his jolly laugh and humble nature.
As I got into the lift yesterday, his kids were going downstairs to play. They were totally clueless that their father is no more. I could not help but pity them.

If John's death was unfortunate, Navdeep's was untimely, who passed away early yesterday morning.
He was the husband of one of my aunt's daughter, whom we knew for almost 20 years now.
Navdeep had a kidney failure soon after his marriage and was on treatment for more than 7 years now. The evening before he passed away, he had been to the hospital, with his wife, to get the dialysis done. After visiting his in-laws, he drove the car for more than 30 kms and reached home at around 5am. As he bended down from his bed to pick up something, his head hit the bedside table and he fell unconcious. He was rushed to the hospital, but the soul had already abandoned the body.
Two days from now, his daughter turns 3. Is this god's gift to the little girl on her birthday?

It's been only a week since the New Year started and by the looks of it, it certainly doesn't seem happy to me. I remember watching P.S.  I Love You, where Hilary Swank kept receiving letters addressed to her by her dead husband, Gerard Butler so that she gets out of the trauma and does something substantial in life. I think of these two wives who have lost their husbands, and I think of these small children who lost their fathers, and I wonder if they would be as lucky as the protagonist from the movie. I know its a foolish thought, but I cant think of anything else that would brighten up the life of these people who have lost an important part of their lives, forever!

I pray that John's and Navdeep's soul rest in peace and that God gives their families strength to come out of this trauma.
Fin.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A New View

I moved into this new room a 2-3 weeks back.. It's on the backside of the hostel and faces the open field behind the building.. I love this new room and specially this tree that stands right outside my room's window.. Every time I see it, I somehow feel very calm and relaxed.. I clicked this pic sometime late in the afternoon a few days back.. Just wanted to share the "view" with you ;)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Stink-bombs and pain..

There's always a first time for everything in life..
Your first bike, first crush, first kiss and then the first time when you wash your clothes..
I had never in my life washed anything other than my underwear, until last night.. I must say it was a painful experience..
I'd soaked my clothes 2 nights back and was too lazy to wash them.. So, by the time I'd finally made my mind to do the tedious task, they were as fragrant as a stink-bomb.. They actually smelt better when I had soaked them..
First, it was the stink. And then there was the brush I had to use to wash the clothes.. After 45 minutes of agonizing struggle with the brush, it felt as if my shoulder would be dislocated..

Bottomline : Never keep clothes soaked for too long or even better, don't go through the pain of washing them yourselves! Ouch!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Love liberates you

"I don't think we should be seeing each other anymore"

"You joking right?"

"Does it look like I'm joking?"

"You can't be serious! What happened? What did I do this time?"

"I can't handle this relationship anymore. We can be good friends and I think we should leave it at that"

"We can make this work together. Please don't do this to me. I need you!!"

"I'm sorry I can't help it. I've thought this through. Goodbye"

She banged the door as she walked out. He stood there paralyzed still looking at the door, hoping she would walk back in and say that it was all a joke. But she never came back. When he came back to his senses, his cheeks were wet.

He went to her house hoping to bring her back to her senses and mend everything. She sobbed but remained adamant on her decision. She had always been that stubborn. He could not understand if her tears were really out of the failure of the relationship or was it just to get some sympathy. The latter seemed to be more convincing now as she was doing everything possible in her reach to distance herself from him. He got frustrated trying to make her understand and left.

It was raining heavily as he got out of her building, thinking of his life without her. He kept walking in the pouring rain for more than a kilometer without realizing where he was heading to.

Suddenly his phone started ringing. He reached inside his pocket and saw her name flashing on the screen. He didn't feel like to talking to her, but still answered the call.

"Hi.. Listen, I'm genuinely sorry for everything. I know you are going through a lot of pain right now but I couldn't help it. Trust me this is the best decision for both of us"

"I don't trust you anymore"

"That's up to you, I can't change your opinion. Just wanted to say thank you for everything you've ever done for me. Really appreciate all the time spent with you and would cherish it forever"

"Please stop giving me this bullshit. You kick me and ask me if it hurts"

"I spoke whatever I had to say. I just hope we can still be good friends"

"Hahaha.. You want laddoo in both hands, don't you? Lady, let me tell you how this works. You wanted to part ways, you got it. Now leave my life and go destroy someone elses. Your work here is done. Thank you for screwing up my life. This conversation is over"

He stood beneath an old banyan tree, feeling a little better after venting out his anger. As he stepped again into the rain, he started humming a song, feeling free from the bondage.

Love, he thought, does liberate you. In some cases, it liberates you when you are in love and in his case, after the love is gone..

Monday, February 9, 2009

Death and Birth

It was almost midnight when the phone started to ring. I wasn't asleep, as yet. But nonetheless seeing her name on my phone's display made me sit up. She never used to call me up this late. And lately, she didn't use to call me at all....
The phone was still ringing in my hand.
Why the heck was she calling me now? Why at this time of the night?

"Hello..."
"Err...Hi... It's me..."

"Ya, i kinda realised that seeing your number"
".............."

"So what is it? Why are you calling up at this time of the night? "
"There's some bad news I have to give you...."

"Bad news? What happened? Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. "

"So what's the bad news??"
"Ruchi and her family had a car accident... "

"WHAT?! How?? When?? Where??"
"About an hour back. On their way back home, a truck rammed into their car near the University"

"Oh my god! Everyone is okay, right?"
"Well, not actually...."

"Whats wrong? Tell me damn it!"
"Well, Ruchi is the only one who survived the accident... Her parents and brother all died on the spot..."

"Oh f**k! This is terrible! How is Ruchi now? Where is she??"
"Ruchi was taken to the nearby civic hospital by the police...The truck driver fled from the spot"

"Ok...I'll be there in the hospital in 20 minutes... You are there with her right?"
"No, I'm at home...I'll be leaving in 10 minutes from here..."

"Ok...I'll pick you up on my way then....Is that okay with you?"
"Umm....."

"Well, you know you can just say NO if you don't want to come with me"
"I'll come with you...Just this time..."

"Whatever...I'll be there at your building in 20 mins..."
"Okay..."

25 minutes later...

"What the hell? I've been waiting here for past 10 minutes. Why do you always have to be late?"
"Im just 5 minutes late, stop crying like a baby!"

".............."

In the hospital...

Me: Ruchi! I'm so sorry! Neha just told me about it....
Ruchi: (sobbing uncontrolably) Mom.....Dad.....Ankur....All gone.....All.....Why did you spare me God?? Why??? I want to die too.....
Neha: Ruchi control yourself...We know its a hard time for you, but don't blame yourself... It's not your fault whatever happened...
Me: Neha's right, don't blame yourself... Everything will be alright....
Ruchi: What will I do without my family??? I want to die too...

Ok, now this was the first time I was with someone who had just lost her entire family! I was completely blank as to what to say to make her stop from crying. I had no clue why i was saying everything will be alright, when i knew it wouldn't be. This sucked! I wanted to help my friend out but didn't know what to say or do!


At this point of time, the nurse comes in and asks us to leave the patient to rest... Outside the room, the corridor is full of Ruchi's relatives... We both walk to a few empty chairs away from Ruchi's room...

Neha: Poor girl! What a terrible loss! I wish we could do something for her...
Me: Ya its a terrible thing to happen...What do you think we could do for her?
Neha: I don't know...My mind is just full of things...I think i need a break!
Me: I think there's a canteen at the end of the corridor, want to have a cup of coffee?
Neha: Yes please....

As we walk through the corridor, I wonder what Ruchi will do without her family. I imagine how it would feel if I loose my entire family...My world would come crashing down! I try to take my mind off the dreadful thought and try to have a look inside the other rooms...
I see patients tied in plaster, lying on the bed.. Some moaning with pain..
A few people are crying over the loss of their dear ones... As we come near the end of the corridor, Neha stops walking and stares inside a room...I retrace my steps to see what has caught her attention... A nurse carrying the new-born hands over the baby to the mother, who is in tears of joy...

I'm suddenly struck by the thought that life is so weird.. Death and birth takes place every single minute.. In this very hospital, while some people are crying over the loss of a loved one, some are beaming with happiness and welcoming a new life into this world.. Whatever happens to Ruchi now, her life will never be the same again.. A void that has been left by the loss of her family cannot be filled by any words that we can say or anything that anyone of us can do.. Now, its a struggle that she has to undertake herself, just to survive.. What a life!

Im so lost in my thoughts that I forget what was I doing in the corridor till I feel Neha's hand on my shoulder..
"Come lets go get that cup of coffee.. "
"Ya lets do.. I think this is going to be one long night.."

Monday, January 26, 2009

In the midst of plenty but still in want

A: "When are they putting up the internals marks? Weren't they like supposed to put it up last evening?"
B: "I hope I score good marks.."
C: "Shut up! I just hope that I don't get any backlogs"

The whole class was buzzing with the news of the internal marks being put up. I had never seen all the batch-mates present at the same time in the same class! The internals marks seemed like Satan who had ordered his minions to come and see how they had fared.

I was eager to have a look at my marks too but was not as worked up as the others. I knew I was not getting a backlog in any of the papers. The excitement of being graded after such a long gap from studies did have some enthusiasm in me. That was the only reason I was present there.

There were ooh's and aah's from the girls that had gathered around the notice board. I saw the peon walking away from the notice board and realised that the marks must have been put up. I walked to the notice board and tried to find my name on the list. There it was, serial no 8, roll no 8008, Arun Samotra. I shifted my focus to the marks and found that I had done good in all of them. I had scored more than 80% in all the papers, except one. I typed my marks on my cellphone and walked out of the now growing crowd of people. I added up my marks and was trying to figure out my aggregate percentile when a friend of mine patted on the back saying, "Congrats dude! You topped". I gave him a smile and tried to calculate my percentage. I sucked at maths! I somehow did manage to find out that I had scored 87.5%

I was feeling elated and wanted to share my happiness with someone. I had almost dialled my brother's number when I remembered that he had left for the ship last night itself. Damn it, I thought, why couldn't he have left today instead?
What other option did I have? How about Kiran? Yes, that seemed like a good idea. But wait, Kiran also left for U.K. today morning. Why did you too have to leave today??

I barely used to speak to my room-mates and other hostelites nowadays. They were sitting in a corner discussing their marks and I had no one to share my moment of happiness with. All of a sudden I remembered this one phrase that my teacher used to say in her classes, 'In the midst of plenty, but still in want'.

I was surrounded by people who were just classmates, but I couldnt spot even a single friend in them. I felt like crying, but no tears would come out. Tears always failed me when I needed them the most. Thoughts engulfed me like a dark dream. Maybe happiness was never meant for me. Maybe I'm meant to live a life of being an outcast. Or maybe I need to find friends among these people.

I walked back to my hostel alone, looking at the sun setting down in the west. The happiness had long vanished into thin air. What was left was the feeling of being a loser. Loser seemed like an understatement now. As I stood alone under the vast blue sky, a flock of birds flew above me, chirping as if they were mocking me. There I was, in the midst of plenty but still in want of a friend to share my happiness with!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sleeping next to your enemy!

"So I heard from her that you are going out with XYZ"
I was staring at a stone lying in the middle of the road till now but instantly turned to face her.
"Who told you this?"
"It doesn't matter who told me what. What really matters is if it is true that you both are seeing each other"
"Hell no I'm not dating XYZ! Now tell me who is the one spreading all these rumours?"
"Oh alright. Well if u insist on knowing, its your roommate ABC."

Stunned, I keep looking at her for a few seconds before moving on. I walk her to the gate of her hostel and wish her goodnight. Still shocked by what I've just heard, I start walking back towards my own hostel in the moonlight. I'd already been a victim to being linked up with girls from my class but by other people. This coming from my roommate was a blow in the face for me. It was the very same guy who used to snore on the bed next to mine in the hostel. I'd seen him do this to other people and knew the kind of guy he is, but it never occured to me that I could be his next victim. By now my head was hot like a pot of boiling water. I didn't want to ask this person if he was actually responsible for spreading these rumours. Right now, all I wanted to do was pack my stuff and walk out of that room which we both shared. I didn't want to spend anymore time being his roommate.

I reach the hostel gates as they are about to be shut and walk in. He's standing outside the room, laughing and talking to some guy from a different course. I don't even look at him and walk to my room and change into my night-suit. I leave the room saying something about assignment and go sit in my senior's room whose watching a movie. I sit there for a little more than two hours and watch the movie with him. The hostel is as peaceful as a cemetery when I step out of my senior's room into the corridor. The cold winter breeze gives me goosebumps. I go and stand at a window in the corridor and keep gazing out into the darkness for 10-15 minutes. When I feel contented and peaceful, I walk to my room, pull over my blanket and go to sleep.

In those few minutes that I'd spent alone in the freezing corridor, I realised that this was just the start of the journey that would go on for another two and a half years. Picking up a fight or getting into a dirty argument now with my roommate would not benefit me in any manner. I also realise that it shouldn't matter to me what the world says about me, till the time I'm clear in my actions and intentions. I sleep peacefully that night and meditate the next morning as usual. It's a brand new day now, with a promise of possibilities and failures. It's for me to stand out as an achiever between my friends and peers. With all this clear in my head, I walk out of the hostel smiling at the world. There's only one thought in my mind, Carpe Diem baby!