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Monday, August 6, 2012

Half Life

Half Life..... There used to be some formula for it in class 8 or 10... maybe 9. Don't remember the formula now. Its pretty simple... Life expectancy in India is about 70 years. I am exactly 35. Quite simple to work out actually....

Was just thinking what has changed.... in the last 10 years... maybe even 5.... A few things which come straight into my mind...


  • I lived on the 12th floor 8 years back... today I am on the 15th and suddenly the lifts seem to have got so much slower. I also get more irritated when the lift stops at every floor.... I don't think it ever bothered me a decade ago.
  • I drove 30 km a day on my bike 10 years ago.... Now I drive maybe 3 km a day, but my back seems to hurt more.
  • I lost my patience sometime when I was 30.
  • I am much more patient with the wife. I definitely love her much more. But its more subtle now. The 30 min "I Love You's" are gone... The roses now seem costlier... The impromptu midnight drives are dangerous... The coffee sitting at the parapet of the International Airport seems a stupid idea... But then now the house is empty when she is not there..... she is the only one who can make paneer bhurji.... I know the exact mood she is as soon as she says "Hello" on the phone.... her illness makes me sick.... the spring in her step makes me energetic.... her smile makes me laugh.
  • Don't feel like connecting my laptop to a RJ 45. Need the house to be a Wi-Fi hot spot.
  • Was getting a house in Pune for 7 lakh then.... Was more interested in having paav bhaaji at Chowpaaty. Today bought the same house for 35 lakh and paav bhaaji has to be at Kailash Parbat.
  • I value my parents much more.... or rather the parent I have left.
  • Guy friends then were more binging partners, and girl friends disco and ball partners. Guy friends today are rocks I lean on, and girl friends carry my emotional baggage.
  • My wallet then usually had only Rs 100/- today probably Rs 500/-.
  • I realise that 10 years seems like so much when you are on the starting line and so little when you have finished.
  • My younger brother does'nt seem like a cry baby any more.
  • I probably thought I was a big stud and invincible when I was 25. At 35 life has shown me the realities in so many ways.
  • Egg yolks..... strict no no....
 Also probably a nice time to take a pause and think and ponder over where I come from... where I wanna go??? Separate the wheat from the chaff. Keep what matters to me and cut the appendages. Cherish what I have and not worry about what I don't.

Pity I have not yet figured out that formula... Could have helped me figure out a few things.

Friday, September 30, 2011

She is there by his side...

She is there by his side
No matter which way is the tide
It could be going up or down
He always wears her crown

She is his good luck charm
He always has her on his arm
He may be near or he may be far
The doors of her heart are always ajar

He is the one in whom she totally believes
Her pains and sorrows he always relieves
They may be apart for a while
But he thinks of her when he goes to lie

They do have their regular fights
But these tunnels do end in lights
She is always there by his side
Always and forever by his side





Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Last Letter to My Dad



Dear Dad,

When I got up today morning, I had a faint suspicion that today something was gonna go dreadfully wrong. I have had this feeling on so many days in the past, so just as I did on those days, I chanted the "Gayatri Mantra" a few times in my mind and set about to start my day.

Today was not like the other days that had passed uneventfully and peacefully. Today when Mom called me on the phone, I knew that this time was not like the other times. This time what I dreaded and hoped would never happen, happened. We lost you today Dad.

You never ventured near the computer or the Internet while you were with us, I hope they give you the Internet on the newspaper there, cause then I am sure you will read my last letter to you.

I have seen snaps of you holding me when I was young. I remember a particular snap with you in a white shirt with black dots looking down at me and smiling. I remember the stories you told me about how we used to go to see Mom in hospital when Prabal was about to be born. Me in a raincoat standing in front, with you driving your Lamberetta scooter.

In fact the earliest memories I have of you are you coming to pick us from school on that same scooter. You were always late Dad.....always. Well at least that gave us a chance to buy sweets from the small shop next to the school gate. I remember we used to go for picnics on that same scooter. The four of us. And remember, I always sat on the carrier behind and you even skidded the scooter once and we all had a great fall.

I remember you telling us that when you were younger, the girls complimented you for your Italian good looks. I am sure Dad.....where else do you think I have got my good looks from?


I remember how you used to comb you hair for ages just to make sure your puff looked just right. You used to stand in front of the mirror and admire your dimples. I remember the songs you used to sing to get us to sleep.

Dad if I have to describe you, I need just two words. A fighter and a complete family man. Your last fight with the long illness of more than 15 yrs shows the will you had to live life. The will was to see us settled, for us to have our children and for you to play with them. I don't remember a single occasion when I heard you say that you did not want to live anymore.

We know that even after you had your first and second attack in Port Blair and even while you were in ICU you clearly instructed us that we would stay on in PB till we both finished our 12th and got admissions in good colleges. That was how much you valued you family.

I remember the first time when we actually went out as friends was when we went to Allahabad and you dropped me to college. We had lunch of tandoori chicken and thumbs up and then we went to college. You told nearly everyone you met to take care of me and for the first time I saw you cry as we said good bye. I hope you are not crying now Dad, as this time the bye is really for good. I didn't cry then but I am crying now.

You loved your meals at a nice restaurant occasionally. It had to had to be only butter chicken and naan. We always forced you to try something else, but you never gave in. I wish we could have a meal together now Dad, and this time I will order the butter chicken and naan for you.

You loved to watch a movie before that. I know how keenly you were waiting for "My Name is Khan". The movie is running now Dad.....Can we see this movie together? We always fought on who would buy the tickets and whether there was any point in seeing it in a PVR. I will buy the tickets Dad and we will go to Delite like you always wanted.

The gol gappa wala at gole market really looks forward for your visit. Whenever I went there alone without you, he asked me "Babuji kahan hain?" I always told him "Jaldi aayenge, khatta paani peene ka man karege toh aayenge". I wish I could give him the same answer now Dad.

I am lucky I bought myself a new cellphone just in time. Although you did not appreciate the colour (Koi acha pink, blue nahi tha kya?) it sure has a good calendar and scheduler. I will need it now as you will no longer remind me when my LIC premium or house installment is due. Dad you did that for Mom, Prabal and me. I always wondered how you managed it. I remember I also coaxed you into paying the installments for me sometimes.

I feel bad now that you had to lure me into coming home to see you. "Samit, Mummy ne aaj tasty chicken curry banaye hai....aake kha le". Why did you never say "Samit come home, Iwanna see you". I hate myself for not coming home often enough to sit with you and talk to you.

In spite of not being too well you wanted to go out and visit places with your family. I know you used to tell Mom, I can go anywhere in the world if my sons are with me.

Finally Dad, I hope U had a satisfying and fulfilling life. You got your sons settled and married, you have a lovely grandchild. You have ensured our Mom has all the worldly conveniences. I hope there were no dreams unfilled except the one or two I know about.

Dad please rest in peace coz I will fulfil them.

Thank You Dad for loving us all so much. Thank you for making us the stand on our feet and for being there every step of the way. Thank you for everything.

Your loving son

Samit

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Many faces of Love



1992 - 93 - 94

He was in class XI. Final exams around the corner. If he passed he would move on to class XIIth and then boards and then degree college followed by a job and then marriage. Only the last part interested him and that was what was precisely on his mind as he stared at the other end of the class.

Hair tightly tied into two plaits neatly held in place with red ribbons. A plain neatly ironed school uniform, white socks pulled up nearly to the knees and shining black shoes. He found her the most beautiful girl in the world. He had been staring for a few hours now, and for months before that...Yes HE WAS IN LOVE.

He had spent hours drafting love letters and tearing them up....he was good at Mathematics....she used to go for tutions...He enrolled for the same classes and stared some more there. He would translate the Maths lessons into Hindi and wrote them down and then passed it on to her...hoping she would understand now...

He lay awake at nights wondering if her lips were pink or red??? Did she even notice him? Did she know he existed? He thought their eyes met in class last month....did that actually happen?

He wrote her name followed by his surname and stared at it for hours each day.

He told her he loved her at least a million times a day....in his mind.....

It may not have been love in the true sense but it definitely was a strong attraction....and only one sided. She did not feel anything for him.

2001

His marriage was fixed.....

A lot happened in between but she was the same girl...

The pig tails had been replaced by flowing bouncy hair. The school uniform with flowing dresses and the shoes with high heels.....Now that the marriage was fixed, she noticed him, smiled at him and he told her he loved her.

They would go on looooong drives and he would hold her hand all the way. They would listen to songs on the car stereo and sang together. The sat the whole day at Buddha Jayanti park. He kept looking at her and cooked up excuses to touch her, hold her hand, give her a hug.

During the courtship, when she was at her parents place, he would beg his mother "Mom after 11 the STD rates are one fourth, can I please speak to her for the whole night once???"

He told her she was beautiful every time he saw her. He used to open the car door for her each time she got in. He never got irritated with her and was always willing to listen to her stories. In fact he wanted her to keep talking so he could just sit and look into her melting eyes.

The love had increased but still had a long way to go. He showed his love more than he actually did.

2010

He is still the same and so is she. The only thing that has changed is the time they have been married.

He loves her now. In the real sense of the word. He makes sure that she is always comfortable. If she wants something he gets it for her. He hugs her and sleeps at night. He cant sleep without her. He still teaches her....

He comes back home from office and looks forward to sitting with her and share the happenings of the day gone by. He loves going for long walks with her. He cries silently when she is unhappy. He prays for her happiness.

He gives her space. He loves it when she goes to meet her friends and comes back smiling. He loves taking her on holidays. And she loves him back..with conviction and in a way only a woman can.

But.....

He hardly tells her he loves her.

He never holds her hand when they drive.

Rather than singing together, they argue in the car.

Buddha Jayanti park has become a cheap place now.

He stopped opening the car door for her long back.

He gets irritated often and dosent look into her eyes when they talk.

The love has grown.....but when and why did he stop showing it?

Authors note: All unmarried people may come back and read this post a few years after marriage. It just might make sense then


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Auto Expo 2010



Delhi is a great place.......apart from the fact that I was born here......its got fairs and expos....things which I love to go to.......Trade fairs I never miss and this time I decided to go for the 10th (I think) Auto Expo......

Now as brought out above.....I was born in Delhi, which makes me an Indian......and Indians don't have the word "Tickets" in their dictionary. So being a true Indian, I ignored the phenomenon called tickets and sought out on my mission to manage FREE PASSES.

Lots of phone calls.....texts......mails.....but no luck. After all India has a huge population and all Indians have the right to free passes. Lots of friends started avoiding my phone calls, acquaintances started ignoring my calls......But I like these times....fair weather friends are sifted out from the real friends.....and at the end of the day U can figure out who are the people you can really count on. Nothing against anyone, but all I expect is take my call and say "Sorry dude, cant manage passes".....Don't just ignore the calls.

Anyway, there is this sweet friend....bechari was doing duty at the auto expo and somehow she managed to get me two passes.....one for me and one for the wife....who surprisingly wanted to go along (though I have doubts about what she was more interested in....the cars or the food). So God bless this friend.....May she keep managing passes for me all her life.

Very prudently, I had decided to go to Pragati Maidan on my bike in spite of the chilling winter. I had suspected there were going to be traffic snarls. Forget cars, there was no parking even for my bike. Luckily I spotted the supreme court parking and parked my bike there on the sly. There was a huge traffic jam and even crossing the road on foot to approach Gate No. 7 was a mammoth task. After dodging a few cars and jumping over the bonnet of one, we were within sight of the gate. The snaking queue there was daunting enough for us to have second thoughts about entering the expo. Finally after a few shoulder pushes and elbow jabs, with my wife protected in front of me we managed to enter the gates.

As expected, it was mayhem....people and more people were all over the place.....long queues at each pavilion....I wanted to go to the BMW and Audi pavilion and the wife wanted to go the food courts.....There was no point arguing though...Both were equally inaccessible. We decided to try one of each.

The BMW pavilion had a serpentine queue....we braved our way in......We cud see the cars standing in the distance and each had a heavily made up and scantily clad model with it. The huge crowd was clicking away to glory. Some were clicking the cars, most were clicking the legs. I was interested in neither specially from this distance. So we pushed our way out and decided to try the food court. The crowd was as much there.....and the claustrophobia got to us.....

The only thing left now was to try and figure out the way back to Gate No 7.....that was what took us about an hour.....The auto expo as such had taken us only about half an hour.....and so in all of about one and a half hours we were back to where we had smartly parked our bike.

So at the end of it, I was glad I had acted Indian and managed passes and not wasted precious money just to make a huge effort to get into Pragati Maidan and a larger effort to get out.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Never Again...


Three times in three months......

I never thought I could do it...but well I have.

I don't think I have done it before.....I don't think many people have done it.....and I certainly never ever want to do it again.

Yes, I have managed to fall sick for the third time in as many months. And sick does not mean a running nose and a sore throat....sick means that along with 102 fever, total lifelessness and a dead feeling.

I was trying to blame it on the winters but I don't think that is the reason. But the silver lining in the otherwise dark cloud has been my realization of the value of family and friends.

Even though I have fallen sick consistently, the family has been there every time and every day. The calls from friends which are so taken for granted on healthy days become a reason to smile when one is sick. Some friends who don't call or visit when you are healthy make sure they do it when U are down. These are real friends.

Couple of friends dropped in yesterday when I was feeling really...well dead....and they sat for a couple of hours and by the time they left I was feeling like living again. Then there is the doctor friend.....I think whenever I call him I am sick and thankfully he treats me with the same enthusiasm each time. Some friends just say "Heylo" and it feels so much brighter......

This post just to thank the family and friends.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Trip to Srinagar


The wife and I have a rule... We go out on our anniversary...Go out and relax....discuss the year gone by...make plans for the coming year (which mostly never work out) and basically just have a blast. Since we were in Delhi this time, we decided to make a trip to Kashmir. Also, we have a cousin in the Army who is currently posted in Srinagar, so basically the time seemed ripe to make a trip there.

I made use of my LTC and let the Government pay for my trip there...it seemed right also. They were the ones unable to control what was happening there and so if I was going there at my risk (despite advices by everyone not to), I thought let them at least pay for it.

So we boarded the flight to Srinagar. The flight was short and sweet. Before the plane even started to take off, lunch was being served, and by the time the air hostesses cleared it, it was time for landing. Pity, i could not even complete the movie on the in flight entertainment system. The view from the plane was amazing. The snow covered mountains and the clouds seems to merge together. The most noticeable thing being that the mountains were mostly barren, devoid of any vegetation.


We landed at the Srinagar airport. Even before landing, one can begin to see the effect of militarization there. The airport is completely camouflaged and one can even catch a glimpse of air force planes stationed there. As soon as we deplaned, the first thing to hit us was the cold icy wind, followed by the realization that there seemed more policemen and guns than travelers and bags. It became even worse as our trip progressed. Apart from the Army, there seemed almost every para military force stationed there. I could not help wondering how all these forces coordinate among themselves and decide their area of operations.

We also realised another thing. All these years of militancy had taken its toll on Kashmir. That place is at least 25 years behind the rest of India in terms of development and infrastructure.

Anyway, now about the good part. That place is truly paradise on earth. We were not visiting during the peak tourist season, yet the beauty of the place had us stumped. Nearly every tree had a colour of its own and the flowers were still blooming.


We visited Gulmarg, where we found snow only after taking the Gondola (cable car) to the highest mountains. On the way from Gulmarg to Uri, we visited an orchid and saw apples on trees for the first time.


Uri, is another place which is not really frequented by tourists, but actually is a beautiful place. We visited the Kaman Setu, which is the bridge from which the Bus to Pakistan crosses over and also is used by the trucks carrying out trade between Indian and Pakistan. We saw a few Pakistani trucks and they seemed really funny, all decorated with mirror work and fancy paints.

On the way we crossed Baramulla and Kupwara which saw major action during the Kargil war. These places see infiltration on a daily basis even today. In fact just a month before Major Suri had lost his life in an operation in Bandipora, and this happened while his wife had come over to Kashmir to celebrate his birthday and was waiting for him in a guest room in Gulmarg. Hats off to these Army guys. Believe me guys, one has to go there and see what these guys go through to understand the Army. Listen to this. These guys man the forward bunkers all through winter. They are cut off from all civilisation for four months. All rations are stocked in advance. For four months, about a handful of guys in a bunker....snow all around. No TV, no cells, no hot food, no bath.....I mean basically no nothing. Get these guys to come and play Big Boss......

Salute U guys...each one of you. Just one thing baffles me. What motivates these guys. To protect us like this. To try and climb a mountain with an enemy bunker on top. He is sure to be killed. Why does he still do it. Love for the country.....maybe.....not too sure.....money....surely not....Fame....absolutely not...Does anyone know Major Suri???? Someone explain this to me please. We were lucky to meet Major's brother in Gulmarg. He had come to see the place where his brother served. Hats off to you too Sunil......

Well. another thing baffles me. How can three strands of a flower cost so much. Saffron.....yes. We visited the fields where these flowers grow. I plucked a few flowers. Will sell them someday when I am bankrupt.



We also visited Pehlgam which is also really beautiful and more like a conventional hill station with a Mall road and shopping. We also hung ourselves on an electrified fence, but thankfully Kashmir is still a part of India and the electrification was not working.


I also picked up some walnut wood furniture from Srinagar which cost me a bomb but people say is worth it.

So all in all it was a great trip, and actually an eye opener.


Authors note:- I dedicate this post to Major Suri and all the Army guys out there.