Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Travel diaries- Hyderabad to Bengaluru!

They say if there’s an innocent amongst a hundred criminals, the law of the universe is to save the hundred rather than punish one innocent. Surely there was one such innocent on the bus I took back home.

The fates of hundreds intertwined, we travel as a single unit in a bus from Hyderabad to Bangalore. The fate of the bus is the fate of all of us, and my strong belief is that the fate of all of us is indeed the fate of the bus.

Context: I’m traveling from Hyderabad to Bengaluru by Orange travels.

2:45am: I wake up to see two women standing at the driver’s seat, and a man checking some diesel pipes in the bus.

Me: What’s up?
The woman standing: We have a diesel leak in the bus- they’re figuring if it is fixable.

Technical guy who analysed the issue- It is just a pipe problem, fixable in ten minutes, but we don’t have the necessary material to fix it.
Orange Bus customer care: Please fix it using an alternate material available.
By then frantic passengers: We aren’t gonna board a bus we know might go up in flames. Sorry nope. Find us alternate transport.
Me: Curiously looking around.

2:55am: 6-8 of us off the bus.

Driver: *screaming* Don’t worry Saar, we will refund your money entirely!
A miffed passenger: Money? Who cares about the refund! Get me a way to go to Bangalore.. now!
Bus coordinator: (to the driver) Can you stop talking right now? Just shut up.
Me: Outside is a cool breeze (which is just the right amount of cool, not cold), the moon looks strangely beautiful (and bigger?), and I realise I am still alive. We didn’t have any fatal accident, refund or no refund, Bangalore or no Bangalore in the next few hours, refreshingly alive.

And then I laughed. Out loud. The girl who laughs when she loses her way around any place on vacation seems to have not changed. One bit. I like it. I don’t try to hid my smile amidst all the tension. Just text my manager that I’m definitely going to late the next day. Don’t text anyone else because I’m actually not one bit worried, but anyone else close to me would be freaked to hear this. I put my phone back in, and a woman around me strikes conversation with the three of us who are standing with her.

By now, two buses have passed us, one of them being an Orange travels itself, both merciless to even stop and ask what the problem is. Disgrace to humanity- but that doesn’t faze me. However one other passenger is beyond livid, and is asking what kind of orange travels bus goes off without checking on another that’s in trouble. I’m too absorbed about my good fortune that nothing really has happened to be worried or angry.

I’m just smiling away still, and this woman says “Thank your stars we are our alive and haven’t gone up in flames!” I’m amused. She thinks like me. I laugh. She misunderstands, “there has been one such incident of the same bus on the same highway”, she explains. I’m surprised. I thought Orange was a very safe bus to travel in.

By then another bus (of Morning Star) stops, takes us in though they are completely booked, and let’s us sit on the floor in the space between the two columns of seats they have. Thank God that I have experience to sit down, four hours of travel sitting in some posture close to padmasana is not the biggest ordeal. Three of them have crouched sideways and attempting sleep, I doubt they realise they are going to feel cramped on one side of the body in about 20 minutes’ time. However sitting cross legged is not an option for them, so I stay quiet. A few men who also got in have comfortably settled in crossed legged too. And then I attempt to sleep. And succeed. I keep waking up in between, but there’s absolutely zero tension or worry or any such during the whole time, so the sleep was strangely good quality. I guess there is an inner adventure lover in me- and any deviation from routine that does not involve life risk is something I welcome with open arms. Actually no guessing, it’s a definite.

I had to change a bus in the morning from Devanahalli to get to Silk Board, and a kind gentleman offered me a seat on his single sleeper berth. I took it, only to realise that the door would hit my legs each time it opened, since that was the first seat. And oh, did I mention long legs? Never have I so strongly felt about wanting shorter legs- thoughts were along the lines of- long legs are needed if one is in modelling, which I am not remotely associated with. What’s the use of this? Sigh. 

In the last 24 hours, I have seen a lot of humanity- in a person who gave me a seat when I changed buses in the morning, in a bus coordinator who gave me entry to the bus while the driver had already turned me away, in the few women with whom five minutes of conversation and sharing a bus journey on literally the floor of a bus was pleasant just thanks to the way we looked at it, in one of the men on our original bus who said “Let all the women and children go by the buses that pass by first, the men can go later.” That was some chivalry at display, ( and might I say sense) considering he had his wife and child traveling with us- and he didn’t mind being left behind while they went ahead of him.

When I put up a WhatsApp display picture which said “Adventure is out there. Go find it”, one of my friends commented saying do you really know what you are asking for? It was intriguing that she asked me that- I thought okay I have asked for adventure for an entire day (that’s how long the dp lasted), let me take it off and so I did.

So this whole incident had me thinking of three important things:

  1. Who was that one innocent- rather who were the bunch of innocents (for lack of a better word) whose fates were strong enough to decide that the bus didn’t meet anything fatal? Whoever they were, much gratitude to them- one can never tell.
  2. While I wondered why exactly did I have such an experience, I realised that it was my call for adventure that brought this upon me- and am just happy that I didn’t miss the experience- in fact, I devoured it :P
  3. Strongly realised that life is not a one way street- what you seek is seeking you! So what are YOU seeking?

Saturday, December 23, 2017


Well, not the revive that replaces your need for starch!

Reviving- this blog, the habit of blogging, and my self. That’s the whole idea.
It’s been aeons since I found the need to write here- life has taken many a twist and a turn since I last updated here, and the person who wrote on this blog before no longer is the person writing today. Well the identity with which she goes in the real world is still the same (my account isn’t hacked :P), but the person behind that identity- well the old me is no more.

Out of all the twists and turns on the road of life, some have been sweet, some bitter, and some bittersweet. From someone who was a total out and out extrovert to an introvert today, the journey has been surprising, to say the least.

This afternoon, while on my way to a friend’s place, this blog came calling in my thoughts- and as is my habit, I answered that call. I am now answering, rather. I wistfully thought of all the auto stories that I have missed writing here- all the good folks whose lives I hear about in morning conversations enroute to work, all those who hate Bengaluru’s traffic and yet are here for their livelihood, a few mean ones who I don’t figure before getting into their rick, and a few more who happen to drop me multiple times - and how the familiarity makes me love Bengaluru even more! When I meet the same auto person a second or third time, it gives me the feels of a rural countryside where everyone knows each other and everyone’s lives are beautifully interwoven into the others’- and I do give reigns to that imagination-before being dropped off to work which is indeed in this city of Bengaluru- a city, not countryside at all! Familiarity and kindness with folks who have seldom any business with our lives - like the cab and auto folks- in my daily life is that dose of uncertainty about who I will meet the next day. The irony isn’t lost on me however, that every single day I put my life in the hands of a complete stranger, quite literally, to transport me from home to office and vice versa. When’s Floo powder going to work for muggles? (Potter heads, I can’t resist a few esoteric references here and there!) I have also missed writing about my new workplace- it’s called Tally Solutions- and have definitely missed writing about Mr. Bharat Goenka, Tally’s founder. This is a customary beginning of sorts post- so I will not delve into too much details of everything- but suffice it to say I’m a huge fan. More about the man and his principles and my absolutely justified fandom in a later post :D There’s a lot more that this blog took than just about musings of my daily commute and work- it also was where I pondered aloud of life when life became unfathomable, put up stuff about classroom mayhem scenes (which now easily translates to office mayhem scenes- surprising how mayhem remains a common denominator :D). Here’s to everything that I wish to bring back on the blog- a bit of my life, and a bit more of me :)

Winding up feeling thoroughly satisfied- here’s to yet another new beginning. When an old friend (like this blog) comes knocking(even if just in thoughts), it is after all not done to leave the door unanswered!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Coma.. and the wife.

Short Story: (a meaningless one )
“An angel must’ve saved you!” joked his sister, as she bought light coffee for her brother who had just awoken from coma.
“No… It wasn’t an angel, it was my wife.”
“Wife? We were here all night Mithun, and your wife did not come here last night. She went home 6 months ago, and she said she won’t come back. Maybe it was her dreams that woke you up, but not the real girl”, said his mother.
“NO.. I know the difference between a dream and reality. She was here, right here. I don’t know how she woke me from my coma, that you must ask her” said Mithun, completely convinced that she had come the night before.
“Alka is in Pune, not in Kashmir; and even if she were in Kashmir, she wouldn’t come back. No. It was your fault that she left, and I doubt she would ever forgive you”
Mithun sighed. How would he ever convince them that if she hadn’t called his name in her own sweet voice, he wouldn’t have woken up? How would he explain the touch of her hand on his forehead, how would he explain the words she had said to him, wearing the purple saree that was his favourite?
He decided to let it be. Sooner than later, they’d know.

 And now that he had drunk a spoon of the light coffee and had orders from the doctor to sleep, he recollected the night’s happenings:
“Mithun. Wake up. I thought you lied to me, or worse, cheated me. I thought you found someone else. I thought you had forgotten home. I thought you were everything I should detest and hate, and I left for good. And what did you do? You didn’t lie, or cheat. You didn’t find anyone else. You definitely didn’t forget your home, and you were the last person I would hate if I knew. But you didn’t tell. Why? You didn’t inform, not one letter. For 6 months. What should we think? Nobody stopped me when I left home, for they longer knew why they had to stop me.” She placed her hand on his forehead, and it was soaking with sweat.
His head was throbbing, he wanted to answer her, but it seemed that he was sleeping and she was talking to him when he was asleep. Why would she disturb his sound sleep? She knew he was injured, and he needed rest.
She continued.. “Do you remember the lunches you promised to take me on? The dinner we were supposed to have in the lightless restaurant in Swiss? Do you remember that we had to visit the Wat Poh, to pray for a happy life? The long vacation to Tahiti?”
OH! He had forgotten. He had forgotten his dreams, his wishes.. He listened.
“What about your friends who are waiting to meet you? What about your sister? What about your parents, and what about me? Don’t you want to get up and talk?”
He didn’t remember this either. That his friends were waiting for him, and that his family missed him. He thought to himself as to why he didn’t remember. But there she was, his beloved wife, reminding him of all the wonderful things he seemed to not remember about.
“Do you remember the midnight coffees and the long drives, and the beach trips and the group hangouts? No, I’m sure you don’t remember. But most of all, do you remember that you promised to spend a lifetime with me, not just 1 year and 6 months? No, I don’t think you do.”
He was angry. At himself. Because he couldn’t remember talking to his wife in a long time, and now though his sleep was so deep and comforting, he needed to wake up that moment and reply—
“Yes. Yes I remember”
His voice sounded rough, even to himself, and his vision seemed blurred.
“Actually no, I don’t remember. I didn’t remember. If not for you, I would have never remembered” he smiled.
His lips cracked, and it started bleeding.
His lovely wife, draped in his favourite purple saree, couldn’t believe her eyes it seemed. She was too overwhelmed to speak, she had suddenly lost her words, and had tears flowing down her cheeks.
“Alka? Alka!”
“Thank God!” she screamed, with the rare display of intense emotions she always felt, kissed him on the forehead.
“Take care, I’ll be back”, she said, and left.
“Why are you leaving?”
She didn’t answer. She simply left, and he couldn’t do anything, not even speak a little louder. He felt weak.

She came the next night, and the third. And she left, every day, after spending those two precious, joyful hours with him. He was too weak to stop her, and she was too stubborn to tell him why she did this.
So he contented himself with the two hour daily visit, and promised himself that he wouldn’t let her go once he became stronger.
He had promised her not to mention of her daily visits to his parents, though he didn’t know why she was hiding from his parents.
It was five days since, and they were talking about travel. Whether a vagabond life would be good, or whether it would be better to call some place home. She said she would love a bit of both, being a sort of a vagabond and yet having a place to call home.
“Imagine living in the deserts of Rajasthan for a month. It would strengthen our souls, and make us appreciate life in Kashmir so much more. We don’t have to suffer the wrath of the hot sun like in the desert, we don’t have to search for water like people there, nor do we have to cover every inch of our skin from the fear of having sun burns. And yet they live, the locals, with just as much happiness, if not more, than us Kashmir locals, who have been truly blessed by God”
“Yes” he agreed. He imagined himself in a turban and dhoti, and his wife wearing bangles right up to her arms just like the Rajasthani women. He smiled, that would be lovely.
The clock turned four, and she got up to leave.
“STOP!” he screamed, as much as his voice would allow his injured self to.
Alka continued to walk, she was almost at the door.
“Stop”, he whispered. She controlled the tears that had welled up in her big, sad eyes, and opened the door.
“Alka. Alka! ” her father in law froze.
Her father in law had just arrived at the door of his son’s hospital ward, and he made so sign of allowing Alka to go. She didn’t know what to do, she couldn’t go now, it was too late.
“So it is true.”
She stood without saying a word, without knowing what he would say to her.
He said nothing either, and silence followed.
She recollected her words of the last day at Mithun’s place:
“I have waited more than any of you for his letters, and it has been a long while since we heard from him. You had convinced me that he would come back, that you knew your son well, he loves his family and me, yes I also believed so. But it has been way too long, 6 years is a long time, and I believe your son has no intention of coming back, and he’s very well not dead, because if he was, we would’ve been informed. He hasn’t replied to any of the mails, and no correspondence from his colleagues either. Does this mean anything to all of you? Every minute here reminds me of him, and his betrayal, and I can stand it no more, which is why I must leave this place, the blessed land of Kashmir, and try to find peace. I know none of you will stop me, which makes it all the more worse. Know that I will remember my family, I can never forget you all, but to find peace, I must walk away.”
And she had left.
She had imagined the worst, and fled. She didn’t have anything to prove her wrong. His family also didn’t know what to think, they only prayed for his welfare, and wished he would return home some day. They didn’t know if they should stop Alka from leaving, but they hadn’t stopped her, because it was killing her more than them in that house, the house that had become hers because of him.

And that day, when she found him, fate decided to intervene.
She was forced to get admitted to a hospital for a day for wart removal, and she had come to the one in Kashmir because this was one hospital she knew. This was the closest she had come to home (rather Mithun’s home) in the past 6 months, and it pained her just the same. And when she was getting discharged, there was this register at the desk, and only one name caught her eye. Her heart skipped a beat, and with nothing but a ray of hope had she gone up to his ward, only to find his sister next to him. She had decided to come back the next day, and she came. And spoke, and woke him out of his dream.

Mithun’s family were proud to know that their son took a bullet and was in coma for 6 years, and he hadn’t betrayed them the way they had assumed, but it only caused them more grief that the doctor said he would be that way for life. They didn’t want to put Alka through this misery and hadn’t informed her about it, and yet, here Mithun awoke, and claimed that she had come.
His father wanted to find her, tell her that all was forgiven and she can come back home, but it took him a while to figure out when she came to the hospital, because they were there round the clock. After Mithun’s sister confessed to sleeping from 2 to 4 – it was impossible to stay up whole night—he figured it might be true, and came to find out.
And there she stood, his daughter in law, just like his son had said. It was true.
“I’m sorry”, they both blurted together, father and daughter in law, and then at that moment, she knew she’d found her home again.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Speech about silence!

This was a post written long, long ago; when I had just finished reading "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a world that cannot stop talking"

Susan Cain is her name.
Quiet is her book's name.
And whatte book it is.

Well, a name is an identity mapping, and it plays a prominent role in how you look at people (this happens at a subconscious level, so many of your reactions might have been plain surprise, and some of you who have consciously changed this subconscious pattern can laud yourselves- for you are the people regarded as open by nature (most of the times).

And the reason Quiet is the quite at the main focus of my mind is that homo sapiens inhabit this world, and as humans, each one of you has been labelled an extrovert or an introvert at some point in our lives,and each of you, dear readers, can imagine how you felt the first time someone said to your introverted college self, "Speak up, dear boy. You need to speak to get noticed", or someone commenting to the extroverted teen you were a decade ago, "Speaking up is a great habit, keep it up!"

Introversion and Extroversion are both good in their own ways, and one thing I read in the book, I agree strongly- there is NO rule that Introverts hate public speaking, they might just get tired of it soon-not scared. And there is really no saying that all extroverts are good thinkers, so all the extroverts out there, time for a reality check. You all undoubtedly respond with oozing confidence, but how often are you accurate, how often are your ideas well thought and worthy?

I leave you with this thought: all you introverts, think of the times you've been labelled less creative, just because you didn't speak up. And all you extroverts, vice versa- all your imbecile ideas, acknowledged only because they were spoken.
None the worse, none the better. Starting today, give a little more credit (and respect if you already don't) to all those amazing contributions by the introverts to the world, and a little more thought to all the things extroverts really say. And oh, I am both an introvert and an extrovert to different degrees, an ambivert, aye. (And in the book, for the first time- in my life- I find the usage of the word ambivert, and am totally delighted by it!)

Insanity.. and my cousin.

NOTE: This is not an article written by me.This is a conversation I had with my cousin last night, and I don't guarantee you laughs or anything worthwhile, though both of us were in splits the whole time we were texting.

SR: What? Are you crazy or drunk?
(Well, this was, as you guessed, NOT the first thing she said to me. This was well after we'd spoken a few things which I cannot disclose here, and to my consistently crazy (or as per her, drunk) responses, this was what she said.)

(OK, I got permission to add this : The above response was in response to this statement of mine: Now that you both are putting the same dps and all, when are you going to get him to meet the family? :D  And no no, we can't backtrack beyond this, sorry :D)

SN: Which one do you think? 

SR: Drunk definitely.

SN: No amount of getting drunk can fetch you this. It's called Insanity, m'Lady.

SR: I totally agree :D
      Christmas was one crazy day, can't wait to tell you about it.

SN: When, after like 100 years?

SR: I sometimes feel everything is going so fast. Just too fast.

SN: Like what?

SR: Friends, crazy things. This year.

SN: Aww. I understand.

SR: I feel I have to stop to breathe.

SN: And then you wonder if you'll miss all this when you do.

SR: Yeah you just spoke my mind out. How's life with you?

SN: Life's good. I'm happy like happy happy. Can't ask for more. :)

SR: I think you're on drugs, no? You sound very perky.

SN: Think all you want :D Credits to my insanity.

SR: You're on steroids! Caught ya! :D

SN: No I just did weeed :D Anything to make you believe. Lol

SR: Your system is flushed with high levels of serotonin and estrogen. :D :D
       Weed, lol.

SN: Without weed or alcohol, if my system is flushed with high levels of serotonin and estrogen, can't imagine        what will happen if I actually did weed :D

SR: I wonder what you would do if you got drunk now. Jump off the building? :D

SN: Naah. I ain't suicidal, or depressed. I'm haappppppy. :) You know? :)

SR: You don't have to be suicidal to jump, you can even do it for an adrenaline rush.
       Similar to bunjee jumping.

SN: *An expression of shock* Now my turn. Are you drunk or on drugs?

SR: Why? *Suspiciously questioning*
       I think I'm sane. Much more than you are :D

SN: For thinking bunjee jumping and jumping off a building might give you the same "rush" :D

SR: Ha ha. I didnt mean it :D

SN: I'm insane, and yet sane enough to know that bunjee jumping and jumping off a building have two very          different endings :D You, on the otherhand.. Seems to have lost it :D

SR: Shut up.

SN: Sane people have no qualms in calling themselves insane, whereas the truly insane would go any             distance to prove their sanity... Aaaand for the record, go back and check, you said you're sane :D :D
Hence proved!!

SR: You should write a blog about insanity.

SN: Why a blog?

SR: You're writing really well. I appreciate your thought process going so much into our conversation five minutes old!

SN: You inspire me to simply copy paste this chat.
        Why, I might simply do that :D

SR: Best do that :D Hilarious stuff.

SN: I was just about to say "with your permission, of course". I'll really put it up, and my blog is not private.
       Okay? :D

SR: I don't mind :D

SN: What "sane" person would mind, right?

SR: Rofl. You nailed that. :D

SN: And that's how it ends. Ta da.

SR: Yaayy yayy. :D

P.S: I don't write blog posts with the same language I use while texting. I hope the jargon is pardonable.

P.P.S: "Insanity.. and my cousin" when correctly decoded reads "Me.. and my cousin" (though it should be my cousin and I.. :D) 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Shedding Skin

I was reading "Inheritance", Eragon's sequel 4 last week, and somewhere in between the story, the protagonist reaches a point where he needs to know his true name to open a vault (I did not say spoiler alert, because I think all of you would've read it way earlier than me, not to mention this is not a spoiler which people would want to kill me for.)

--Which reminds me of a very famous spoiler I was at the receiving end of--
In 2005, when Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince had just released, my friends and I stood in the queue from 6a.m to get hold of a copy, so that we'd read it before anyone else did, and so that nobody could spoil it for us. Sadly we had college to attend later, and no, Krupa and I didn't read novels in class-atleast in 11th std :D ( I think Krupa was preparing for NTSE that time, not entirely sure. :P) So I go to BASE in the evening, and Soumya enters. The very first thing she says: "Dumbledore dies!". I go like, "Whaaaaaaaaaaa!!" That was the worst spoiler ever. Worshtest.

I see that my digression has gone on longer the point I was trying to make. So coming back..
His true name. The protagonist needs his true name, and you will know your true name if you know who you truly are (So difficult, no?); so Eragon goes into thinking mode and thinks about who he truly is. And like most protagonists, he does what is required from him- he figures out his true name in a matter of a few days, and opens the vault.

Eragon's brother Murtagh's true name will be known to our beloved villian of the story Galbatorix, and anyone who knows your true name has complete control over you.

In the end, though Galbatorix knows Murtagh's true name, that will be the boy's old true name. Murtagh would've changed in course of time, and along with him changing, his true name; and that plays a major factor in the brothers' defeating Galbatorix. I've given away the whole novel, oops.

Case in point: The true names change as people change. Change is such a damned constant in life, whether you and I like it or not. We can scorn all we like, or embrace it like a dear friend.

I don't know if I scorn at change or embrace it, but that's not my point.
My point is my blog's title.
I'd titled this blog "Tranquility" years ago, with a picture in my mind.

Sitting on the sands of a beach, watching the waves crash and listening to the sound of the waves.. Being lost to the world, and only watching the vastness of the water expanding upto the horizon..
With some music and good food, and a good book to read..
And friends to laugh with, and live in oblivion to all else..
Coz the sea is second to Tranquility..
So quiet, so peaceful, so calm..

This was what my blog represented to me, a quiet retreat from the rest of the world where only traquility prevailed and the sea was my constant companion.. I longed for tranquility, for peace, for the calm of the sea; and hence the name..

And today I find the blog's purpose met, I find the sea's tranquility as my own,  and I find I have newer purposes- and hence I talk about shedding skin. Snakes shed their skin from time to time and grow new skins. I shed my blog's old skin and arise with whole new skin. Here's to the old name, I enjoyed writing to Tranquility. And here's to the new one, and to all the posts I'll put up under this name! As always, I welcome your comments.