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Archive for the ‘Story’ Category

Beauty in a Miracle

I often ask my father how I look when I try a new dress on. And he always replies with what I find rather unusual, ‘You look very pretty. But for me, that 5 pound baby covered in blood will always be the most beautiful.’

This often puzzled me. It was a tad heavy for a fourteen-year-old to understand. As I grew older, I asked my dad what this meant, when he finally told me when I was in my twenties…

“It was raining heavily that night. Your mother, then in her ninth month of pregnancy, was having several contractions and was in severe pain. The hospital was nearby, but going there would’ve taken too long, so we tried to call the doctor to our home.

A doctor and two nurses had arrived after an hour-long drive, for what would’ve taken merely 15 minutes otherwise. The rain didn’t stop and neither did your mom’s wailing.

I held your mom in my arms and lay her on the bed. She was at her heaviest best, but I didn’t feel a thing when I lifted her. All I wanted was for you two to be safe. Your mother leaked unfamiliar moans out of her pores in pain. I held her hand but I still felt as helpless as ever.

“The baby’s crowning. I can see the head.” One of the doctors said after making your mother push several times. I held your mother and wiped the sweat on her forehead every few seconds. She was being brave, and despite the pain, she tried to push you out with all her might.

After that eventful hour, the doctor held you in her arm and your mother fell into an unconscious state. There, in the doctor’s hands, was this little thing with blood all over its body and scratches of hair on its head. I asked the doctor if it was a girl or a boy and with a gloomy expression on her face, she said, “she isn’t breathing.”

My face fell. I went numb. It was like my world had come crashing down on me.

“Please do something, doctor.” I yelled in exasperation. At that moment the only thing I could be relieved about was your mother not being conscious.

The doctor kept you on the study table and rubbed your back and feet. Everyone in the room felt helpless, and watching the colour of your little body change, a tear rolled down my eye.

An hour passed by, the doctor now told the nurse to bring in a vessel full of hot water to dip a towel to rub on your chest. As time went by, she felt more and more restless.

Your mother was conscious now. And after telling her what happened she began to wail incessantly.

The doctor wrapped you in a blanket and took you to another room. Three hours had passed. And the nurse put her hand on my shoulder and said, ‘please pray for a miracle to happen’.

The doctor kept you on a higher platform, and rubbed your chest continuously. We had almost given up hope.

In a desperate attempt the doctor dipped her rubber-glove covered hands in the warm water to clean it. While rubbing your chest with one hand, she pinched your tiny nose and after a brief look at the sky in what was the briefest prayer ever, she brought her mouth close to yours and breathed into it. She kept doing that for a few minutes, until a miracle happened. All of a sudden you gave a meek cough, and a viscous liquid came gushing out of your mouth.

That sight I can never forget- your mother’s smile amid her tears and the sound of you crying from the other room.

The doctor brought you in, smiling, and gave you to your mother saying, “I’ll let you hold her before the nurse cleans her up.”

I had never seen that expression on your mother’s face before that day, it was full of joy, relief and tiredness. She gave you to me after she cajoled you and you stopped crying.

I had held you for the first time that moment. I could never be more thankful to God for giving me what was in my arms. You were still covered in a slimy liquid, your eyes still closed and you were wrapped in a towel. I rocked you gently a few times and I saw calmness on your face. It was that instant that I realised that, to me that was the most beautiful sight ever. The life that ran through your veins, that calm expression on your face, that beautiful little nose and mouth through which I could feel a mild breath pass through; it was all so beautiful.

For me beauty was in the life that I could feel in you, one which had given me more joy than I could ever imagine; beauty was in the eyes of your mother which cried and smiled at the same time; beauty was in the miracle that I had just witnessed. And in my eyes you will always be the most beautiful when I held you in my arms and felt you breath.

From that day on, I found beauty in every smile, every laugh, and every movement of yours. Because you were my miracle baby and whenever I saw you I knew what real beauty meant to me.

 What my father often told me was crystal clear to me now. I felt a little happy tear roll down my eye. My perception of ‘real beauty’ changed after my father narrated this story of the beauty in a miracle.


‘Two States’- The Story of my Parents’ Marriage

This post was selected for BlogAdda’s Tangy Tuesday picks on 26th April ’11

This is dedicated to mum and dad, for their 21 beautiful and eventful years of marriage and the many many more to come. Belated happy anniversary to both of you. 🙂

It all happened one fateful day in 1989. My dad (a surprisingly down-to-earth Punjabi) was a lieutenant in the army, in a unit in Bombay, and hence the junior-most in the office. My mum (a surprisingly smart and ‘non-chinky’ Nepali) had just started out as an air hostess enjoying the thrills of new shoes from Paris and watches from Dubai.

My dad’s regular day started and ended in the office and little did he know any colours beyond the ones in his olive green uniform. Well, at least not until my mum decided to learn how to drive in an army driving school one fine day.

My mum wasn’t a bad driver, in fact she wasn’t too bad at all. Not until she discovered one day that she was lousy at reversing. And this she got to know when she rammed the car right into my dad’s (way too little) office, and nearly broke down an entire rear wall, leading to my dad rushing out as if an earthquake had just occurred.

No. It’s not what you think. There were no sparks at all. In fact there were only explosions and fireworks. My dad came out fuming, at his broken wall and my mum counter-argued at the fact that the army didn’t provide him with enough funds and a better office with stronger walls.

The argument went on till about half an hour or so when my dad’s boss summoned both of them to his office, where the argument was abruptly ended as my dad’s boss told them both to apologise to each other. After a few exchanges of the most murderous glances ever, my mum broke the silence and apologised, since the bad reversing style was hers after all.

My dad got the ego boost but his male-pride needed a little nursing too, so he invited my mum for lunch as an apology for him yelling. My mum agreed on the condition that they would go dutch. And then what followed was my mum and dad’s first ever ‘un-official’ date, at a vada-pav stall, on another fateful day in 1989.

My mum continued her driving lessons. Apparently, she needed a lot more practice at reversing. After every lesson, my dad would invite her to tea and samosas to his office and sometimes he would fill-in for the driving instructor, when the instructor would be on leave or sometimes even when he wasn’t.

Sometimes my dad’s boss needed things to be sent here and there, my dad would, more often then not, always volunteer to deliver something whenever it were somewhere near my mum’s house, and would ‘drop a casual visit’, saying he was ‘just passing by’.

The meetings grew. My mum’s driving improved, but she continued to come to correct even the most petty mistakes. And my dad paid his visits even when nothing was to be delivered anywhere and sometimes just something as petty as a glass of water or juice.

Symbolically enough, from the very first time they met, quite a few barriers were gradually broken as time passed. They started going for more lunches together, still sharing the costs and quite often they went for evening walks together in nearby parks and the pavement by the sea at Marine drive.

And on this one fateful day, many walks and lunch-dates later, my dad asked my mum out under the setting sun at Marine drive.

They dated for about almost a year and everything was going smooth until the entry of the villain of this story- my paternal grandmother.

My paternal grandmother was this typical Punjabi mother of a son, who was dying to show off her wealth and riches to her relatives through her son’s big fat pompous Punjabi wedding ceremony. She finally got the opportunity to bombard my dad with numerous matrimonial offers when my grandfather got a posting to Bombay as a doctor in the railway.

There were girls’ families who visited my grandparents’ house almost every fortnight and my grandmother forced my much protesting dad to visit girls’ houses now and then. My dad begged all of them to reject him, and he successfully wormed his way out of the matchmaking conspiracy, humouring my grandmother at the same time.

My grandmother began to smell something fishy and when she finally got strong hints, she debarred my dad from talking or meeting ‘this girl from another community’ a.k.a. my mum.

My grandmother continued the matchmaking in full swing, with twice as much vigour this time, and one of those days a girl and her multi-millionaire family was going to pay a visit.

My grandmother started to prepare for that day right from the morning, and told my dad to come home early from work. She bid the heartiest goodbye to my dad, and he drove off in his (now antique) Bajaj scooter. He drove at the highest possible speed he could manage, sped past his office and reached his destination- ‘The Bombay high court’- where my mum, along with my maternal aunt, paternal uncle and a few friends waited for my dad. My aunt being an IAS officer had pulled some strings and made my mum and dad jump the que. And on that very fateful day, the 13th of April, 1990, my parents were officially married after a 25-minute long procedure and about four signatures.

And that is how my mum and dad got married.

No. The story isn’t over yet. After that rather eventful day, my parents, each with their headiest adrenaline rush, decided to go and pay a visit to my grandmother. Yes, it was a pretty bold move, but she had to know some day, might as well have been the first.

My parents (now married) drove off to my grandparents’ house and decided to enter from the back door. And well, as luck had it, Miss multi-millionaire and family were sitting in the drawing room at that very same time. My grandmother opened the back-door and was overcome by the rude shock, when my dad introduced her to my mum, ‘his wife’.

I wish I was there to have seen the expression on her face. Apparently she froze and didn’t know what to do for about 10 minutes and when she finally gained her senses, she had her very first heart attack!

The chaos ensured the family in the drawing room to never be seen again and the heart attack turned out to be minor acidity.

My parents decided to have a small ceremony a week or so after, but neither of them could decide between a Punjabi and Nepali ceremony.

They finally came to a consensus, and decided that, since everything started and happened in Bombay, they might as well have a Marathi wedding.

That girl in the drawing room got married to one of my older paternal uncles some time later. My grandmother was still in shock for a few months, and to date she still tries to take revenge for the shock by being a soap-opera-ish mother-in-law to my mum. My grandfather was one of the happiest at the ceremony and to date he’s proud of my dad’s choice and his bold move.

Well… and then of course, about a year later, I came into the picture. And to date I laugh about the filmy-ness of my parents’ story and try to picture my grandmother’s expression on that eventful day.  But amidst all the chaos and overwhelming emotions, my parents managed to live happily ever after.

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Of an Unforgettable Friend, Precious Memories, and a Phone

Was  it all just a bad dream? Did my perfect life with all my friends and loved ones just take a drastic turn? I sat on the last desk of my college classroom, feeling numb. My hands trembling with what I just saw. My face fell, and for a while I couldn’t feel any emotion. AN saw the expression on my face and rushed towards me to grab my phone from my hand. It had a message from our teacher on the screen which said,

“I’m really sorry, I don’t know how to tell you this, but Tejaswee is no more.”

My best friend, Tejaswee, someone I had known for 11 years, was never going to come back. I couldn’t emote for a while when finally AN hugged me and we burst out crying. As we rushed to the hospital, my mom called me several times on my phone, but I had no energy left in me to even pick up the phone. Moreover, I hated the sight of that thing from then on for the bad news it brought to me. I wanted my mom, but I couldn’t bare to see my phone again.

AN picked up the phone and held it on my ear. While I couldn’t say a single word, all I did was listen, and my tears were the only thing that came out. AN held me as tight as she could and with numb faces we walked towards the hospital ward.

I hated my phone that day. I didn’t look at it for the next few days either. I couldn’t even reply to any of the messages which my friends sent as condolence. Usually it was her who called me most often, but just the thought of her name which would never flash on my screen again, made me sad and angry.

It took me a few days to gather myself. Everyday I wished for it to be a nightmare and get over with. But who knew, sometimes reality is worse than a nightmare.

I frequently went to her house, looking at her room, lying on her bed, pretending to talk to her, looking through her stuff.

One of those times I had gone to her house, and was looking through her stuff, I spotted her phone. Somehow I mustered up the courage to plug it into the charger and switch it on. I was scared to do so at first. I didn’t want to go through heartache. But there was a part of me that urged me to look into it.

I switched on the phone, and the first thing I saw was her wallpaper, which was a picture of both our hands which we had once taken in our college lawn. It reminded me of that day when the four of us, Tejaswee, AN, V and me, were together in that lawn and were making jokes and having fun, rolling over the grass like maniacs, not caring about the wide spectator-ship we had gathered. I smiled thinking about that day, it was one of those days in which we had a free class and had planned to explore the entire college for hideouts.

I looked further, and saw the call log. My number was the last received call on her phone. Life does take unexpected turns. Who knew that this would be the last time I would ever talk to her? In an instant, the last conversation we had began to play in my mind. It went something like this.

Me, “Stop being madam attention seeker, sweety, you’re scaring the hell out of all of us. Jokes apart, how do you feel now? Is there any improvement”

Tejaswee, “Don’t you worry I’ll be fine, just that my organs have enlarged and it hurts. But that’s okay, it’s just that I hate it so much, because I look so fat! ugh!”

Me, “Oh shut up. Silly girl. You better get okay soon. We have to finish making those crazy documentaries, and plan out our birthday we’re going to celebrate together.”

Tejaswee, “Arre don’t you worry, since I have nothing else to do I’m actually thinking about the guest-list and theme for our party. And don’t worry, the party’s going to be the best party ever.”

Me, “That it will. And the documentary has to be made with your magic hands.”

Tejaswee, “Achha listen, I’ve got to go now, time for some silly test again. Just remember to put a mosquito repellent cream whenever you go out, and please reduce your caffeine intake, it’s not good for you, sweety”

Me, “Dumbo, I will do that, don’t worry. But not before you’re back okay. Deal?”

Tejaswee, “We’ll see, I have to go now. Take care of yourself.”

Me, “Look who’s talking. You better get well soon okay. I love you sweety”

Tejaswee, “Muah! I will always love you, Roo” (‘Roo’ is a name only she called me)

Those last words kept playing in my mind, like a broken record. I wished I had recorded this conversation when it happened. But it was in a place far greater than that. It was engraved in my heart. In an instant as I thought about it, I broke into tears, thinking about our birthday we were supposed to celebrate together, and the fact that it would never ever happen now.

I kept staring at that call log and cried at the sight of our hands.

I shut the phone flap and tried to gather myself again. As I wiped my tears I opened the phone again. I opened the messages this time, and clicked the sent items folder. I only wanted to see the messages she had sent to me. I scrolled down further into the folder, ignoring many which were in fact sent to me, when finally I stopped at one particular message.

“Roo.. I’m taking revenge for all those times you nearly brought me into tears with those ultra lame and pathetically sad PJs of yours. 😛 (read the next message).”

And the second was this:

“Killer PJ……….







…….PJ arrested! :P”

The smile reappeared on my face, thinking about all those times I made PJs and she grudgingly tried to suppress her laughter but it ultimately led to all of us laughing in unison.

I still miss those times. And I still wish I could bring back those days. But I had to resign to the fact that those times would never come back. True, those days will never come back, but those memories will always be alive through her phone.

I realised how important my phone was, my faithful friend who saw me through my best and worst times. I opened the inbox in my own phone, and found that very same message. And all I felt thereafter, was that I would never let go of those memories which were inadvertently connected to my phone and hers.

This was the picture which was the wallpaper on her phone and now mine

Anjaana Anjaani-Movie Review

An almost empty theatre made my expectations hit rock bottom, but I guess that made me appreciate the film a wee bit.

In some ways ‘Anjaana Anjaani’ is just another girl meets boy story, but with a difference. The difference here is the twist. And the twist happens right at the beginning.

When fate, rather several suicide attempts and a hospital ward bring them together, all hell breaks loose as they have a mutual suicide pact if at all they don’t fulfil their last wish.

Kiara (Priyanka Chopra) suffers from a perpetual and recurring (which gets irritating towards the end because it is caused by the same person) broken heart due to which she wants to end her life and Aakash (Ranbir Kapoor) loses everything including his job and home due to the stock market crash, which becomes his reason for suicide.

What follows is an interesting journey in which they try to do things they’ve always wanted to do before they die and to live life each day like it were their last. With flashbacks squeezed in here and there, narrating how they were driven to extreme measures.

In some parts it gets stretchy and monotonous, and in some you do get little bouts of laughter (some of them, unintentionally). So the pace of the film remains moderate.

The pair does make for some good chemistry, but Priyanka Chopra’s perennial drunk act and Ranbir Kapoor’s I have an attitude but I’m an ordinary nice guy conduct, would make you wonder what else could you have bought with that ticket money.

Overall the storyline is not bad, but the film is very average due to it’s unnecessary stretch and pointless extra bits, which tend to bring the pace of the movie down. Similar to the pace of the film, the songs too can receive mixed reactions.

The film is a one time watch, and beyond that one time, you’d pray for dinosaurs to return to the planet.

The story is different and unlike most Bollywood films the story is not all that bad. But like most Bollywood films, it loses the plot halfway through.

Personally, I would give it two and three quarter stars.

If you’re a die-hard fan of the two (or even one of them), it’s a must watch. But if your looking for story as well as some brain then it’s definitely a miss.

Of Bad Days and Pepper Sprays

My day started today by a frantic search for an auto, and due to the rains, the one I finally found charged me extra. It was a pretty uneventful journey until we reached the flyover, where the marvel of a 21st century machine broke down and I had to step out and wait for about thirty minutes for the driver to repair it.

After a rather long thirty minutes we were moving again and I finally reached college, only to figure out that the class was so unimportant that we ended up watching a movie in it.

Oh well, and the rest of college went pretty uneventful. Who knew, what was in store for me that day. And finally with a resigned thought Me and my friend V, got into the first bus we saw, a rather crowded one at that. No place to find we stood on the isle and started talking about the trivial things in life (not so trivial after all).

Suddenly after the nice long conversation we had, we realised we had missed our stop almost ten minutes ago and had to get off two stops later. Almost getting into a panic situation we crossed the road (which involved us lunging on a two-sided barbed fence on a road divider), and to our good fortune, found the same bus going towards the opposite direction (that is, back to our stop).

We had our bouts of laughter, and little mental jigs, when our stop came and we went our separate ways. V’s house is a walk away from the stop, whereas mine needs an auto. But to my horror I found absolutely no auto around and decided I would walk till I find one. I did find one, but by then I was panting and nearly collapsing with shortness of breath.

Somehow I did reach home. It was nearly 5:00pm then. And when I shuffled through my bag, to pay the auto driver, what did I see? My wallet was MISSING! I didn’t notice it before, because V had paid for both the bus journeys due to my lack of available change. I reached into my pocket and by the Lords grace found the exact amount and paid him. I rushed upstairs and dashed into my room, emptied all the contents of my bag including the little candies.

My wallet contained EVERYTHING! Including my credit, debit and ATM cards and most of my identity cards (thankfully not my driving license and college ID card, which I keep together separately). I guess it was the crowded bus which ‘magically’ made my wallet disappear (no, I don’t mean real magic, I mean PICK-POCKET). I am amazed at how pick-pockets work with such perfection. I couldn’t even feel any movement and I’m dead sure I had it before I stepped into the bus. I’m not sure whether it was anger or sadness, but I gradually got that unwanted sinking feeling. I figured it was both. Both at different levels at different times.

Panic-stricken that I was I first got my cards blocked and then talked to my dad about what to do about the army dependent cards, and he told me that I needed to lodge an FIR in the police station immediately. It was already 7:00pm by then, and sure about not finding an auto I took the car keys and made my aunt sit with me (you may ask why I don’t drive to college. Well let’s just say, my family suffers from paranoia).

We somehow reached the police station, for which I even skipped a signal in between. And still in a bit of an imbalanced mental state, when I was about to park, I banged into a police officer’s car (no, I’m not writing this sitting in jail). I started on an apologising tangent and it took me my most sad puppy face to soften the officer to an extent that he reversed my car himself for me (humanity is not dead) and told me to that it was okay and to be careful from now on.

The rest went smoothly, everything in place. And my aunt and me headed back home with the FIR in hand and a satisfaction on the face.

It wasn’t too far from home after that, already 9:00pm now, there was an unruly man on a bike who came in from my right side (read, nowhere), and almost rammed into my car. Luckily he pressed the brakes just in time for no damage to happen. Just as I was about to move on, this obnoxious hooligan of a 20 something starts to abuse left right and centre. I stayed patient for sometime, kept my cool and tried to explain to him that he needed to be more careful, since he could see me better than I could.

No, it didn’t work. Politeness never really does. Finally I had to switch on my parking lights and my aunt and me had to get off the car. He abused like crazy (still trying to figure out why) and well after a point I abused back (it’s below my dignity to use abuses in Hindi, whatever he said, I gave back an almost exact English translation). But after a point it got even more ugly, when he started to roll up his sleeves and tried to advance towards me, threatening me that he would show me ‘my place’. What did I do after that? Oh.. I had a pepper spray clipped on to my pocket. And yes, I used it! Right onto his filthy abusive face! (In no time at all I had turned into a true hardened Delhi-ite)

I heard a loud squeal. My aunt had a proud expression. And I felt a sense of victory. Maybe it was the pent up aggression that was getting nurtured in me by the highly skilled pick-pocket and added up by this creep. I did not sit back in the car immediately as my aunt instructed me to. I did not flee or react to the wordless protest (involving a lot of baritone shrieking). But I just stood there and stared. Stared at the helplessness, this man wanted to subject me to, a few minutes ago. Started at the likes of all the culprits of crimes in Delhi. Stared at the irony, that he wanted to show me ‘my place’.

After those glorious five minutes, I sat back in my car (probed more by the honking at the back). As I put on my seat belt, I brought down my power window, and with a plain, unmoved and nonchalant expression on my face, I said (in Hindi, of course), “bhaia, now could you please move, We have to get somewhere you know.” and whizzed past…