For the many thoughts that come and go unannounced and the ones which refuse to budge out of my head…


It is sad that it took a bitter and badly written post to revive a blog which was in coma for a while. But I guess sometimes you need the right kind of emotion to bring you back from hiding. This is in response to this post. It has created frenzy all over the blogo-sphere. And well read it here if you haven’t already. And here are my responses are in red.

Dear Delhi boy,

Namaskaram from the South of India, or as you may like to believe, the countries south of the Vindhyas.

-Dear South Indian girl (since Ghetto-ising isn’t really my style, I shall refrain from calling you Madrasan),

Good evening from… well, an Indian. I usually am against being racist, because frankly I’m left with very few options, after being a part of so many cultures, and belonging to so many places having an army dad. And just to make things straight, I am part Punjabi, the rest of me I shall get to later.

I came to your city 2 years ago with a brand new job and a bucketload of expectations. My friends and family here thought I was completely insane to choose Delhi over more female conducive cities like Bangalore or even Bombay. I am very sad to report that your reputation of being an ignorant, chauvinistic oaf with the intelligence levels of an autistic 3 year old on crack precedes you and it hurts me even more to admit to this rather accurate description.

-First of all, I’m sorry about the fact that despite your desperate attempts to make Delhi-ites hate your kind, I still love South Indians. Some of my closest friends are South Indian, and even after reading your post, I still wouldn’t ‘generalise’ and look at them with suspicion, despite you completely reinforcing the unjustified stereotype against your kind. I’m sorry to report that I still haven’t lost faith in your kind despite this statement being exaggerated and downright derogatory to children with special needs.

Your reputation has travelled far and wide, to countries outside South India as well. And believe me man, it is not a pretty situation. I understand that your stone faded, ripped jeans, your V-neck cleavage showing t-shirts that reveal to the world that you have infact inherited your mother’s voluptuous shaved Punjabi bosom, are what you think maketh a man, but it does not. It only maketh for a man who gets a pity license to share his girlfriend’s bra. I write to you as a woman who has been brought up in a society free of any discrimination towards women so thanks to you, my living in Delhi is as safe as Hugh Hefner’s playmate of the year living in Jeddah.

-I understand how you feel. It is but natural that an age-old Indian fetish for breasts surfaces now and then. Quoting most psychology texts, the things we notice most in the opposite sex are the ones deficient in us. It happens. I don’t blame you at all. As for your society honey, at least I have the freedom of wearing shorts to college without being judged.

You meet me at a friend’s birthday, talk to me about nightclubs and your new SUV and when I look like I’m in desperate need of a barf bag, you think I have an attitude problem. I understand this completely. But let me remind you that I am from SOUTH INDIA and not SOUTH DELHI, so no ,I am not scrawny, I am not fair, I don’t have straight hair and my topics of conversation go beyond the Fendi I saw in last month’s Vogue.

-So Miss Southie, at least women here are allowed to nightclubs and not shoved out of them by some moral brigade trying to supposedly ‘save our culture’. Women in fact are welcomed into nightclubs with no cover charge. I do like Fendi, Gucci, or even flee market apparel, and at least I have the freedom to openly lust for them without being judged.

I am olive-skinned, have lower –back-length lustrous cascading tresses that sometimes make me look like I fell out Jim Morrison’s tour bus. Got a problem with that? Well just suck it up coz I was born into a society where a woman can whoop your Punjabi patoutie to pulp.

-So you want to be accepted for your self-degrading description of what I would have otherwise called beautiful, but cannot accept a man with a single physical flaw. Do I see hypocrisy here?

While your mother pretends to be very progressive but still cows down to the whims of her husband every single time, mine on the other hand was born into a matriarchal home where every single possession is in the rightful name of the girl child. Could you ever, my hunky handsome, cash throwing pig, imagine this kind of power in your society? So stop telling me that women are not treated like trash where you come from. Just shut up and admit to it. It’s just easier that way. And lest we forget that we’ve managed to curtail the number of rape cases despite not having a female Chief Minister. Amma ‘s body composition generates way too much heat for her get out of her AC room anyway, so don’t even bring that up.

-Congratulations for being born where you have, but I’m still not going to stoop down to your level and generalize. Both my parents are emancipated to the core. More than your society could ever imagine being. Despite my mother earning more than my dad I still live in peace and harmony and have the freedom to have a boyfriend (and for that matter even girlfriend) from anywhere in the world and openly discuss about him at the dining table.

And your English. Good Lord, what in the world is up with that? I don’t want you to ‘explain me’ anything. It’s like you need to go to primary school all over again. And call them your parents, not your ‘peerents’ or what your cooler, more happening brethren call them—‘mere mom-dad’. Like what are they? Conjoined twins? Are they joined at the hip?

-So how old are you? 5? Anyone can call their parents whatever they like till the time they’re given due respect, you have absolutely no right to point fingers at people’s existence being from an incestuous wedlock.

Your South India counterparts may not have your looks, but are way more mentally stimulating, a quality that eludes you obviously, but has been the single most sexy factor for us Southie chicks since the age of five.

-Why do you seem so apologetic about the looks you possess? Because what looks like a desperate attempt at being a ‘dark and proud people’, you come across as someone with a deeply embedded inferiority complex. Seriously, be proud of the way you are. And I mean genuinely.

I mean once again, who can blame you? You were brought up on Gurdas Mann and the heroic deeds of Devinder Singh Bhullar and the ever so fair concepts such as elections in Phugwada while we mere ‘black-colour waale’ mortals had to make do with Bharatnatyam classes, M.S Subhalakshmi and chess. Shame no?

-Just because Bharatnatyam started somewhere near where you live does not mean you’re the only ones who possess it, North India is flooded with people and institutes which teach Bharatnatyam. To top that we even have a wide variety of other dance forms to choose from. We have Kathak, Jazz, Ballet, Hip-Hop, and so on, and of course Bhangra and Gidda, which mind you need so much energy, you’d need to be the human version of the Duracell bunny to give a 10 minute performance in them. And as for chess… we just choose to lie low and channelize our energies into lesser sports like… well hello? Those are sports nonetheless, it doesn’t matter!

And yes, if by a slight chance, you do find my big dancer eyes attractive enough for you to prolong our conversations and meetings and if by an even slighter chance you fall in love with me and decide to marry me, you will have to wear a mundu and you will have to lie prostrate shirtless at the Guruvayurappan temple.

-You are a tad confused lady. Despite this whole supposedly witty and totally-not-exaggerated rant about the men of my kind, you still have hopes of marrying them? If any of the Delhi men do want to marry you, they would gladly bare it all and wear a mundu if needed.

A small price to pay for all the genuine independence I am giving up for you. And that’s the real thing, not what you see the Delhi girls at LSR and Stephen’s doing during their fake as hell protest marches coz ultimately they’re going home to a family who’re putting together money for Bobby beta’s bail coz he just ran over his girlfriend’s ex, by mistake of course.

-Woah! This is where I get vicious honey. I cannot help it if you were too busy trying your ass off to get into IIT and in the bargain did not get in and with the marks you obtained in an attempt to focus more on entrances you didn’t get accepted in some of the MOST prestigious colleges in the country where most people would give up a limb to get into. ‘Sour grapes’ is the best way I can describe this. At least the Delhi girls from LSR handle a break-up in a more dignified way than this. Oh and if not IIT you could probably try nursing school you’d blend right in (Yeah, how’s that for a stereotype? That’s how it feels).

I understand that I come from the land of ugly. I mean obviously Hema Malini, Sri Devi and Aishwarya Rai with their natural banal looks don’t even hold a candle to Priyanka Chopra after her two nose jobs and one lip reconstruction surgery. Not a chance in hell.

-Natural looks? I really pity your ignorance sweety but from a girl who is supposedly proud of her ‘South-Indian dark complexion’ it’s strange that every actress you have mentioned here is fairer than the other, not to mention the amount of tweaks and corrections their own faces have gone through. NO ONE, and I mean no one can ever look the way they do at their age without any correction at all.

But when you do come to ask for my hand, remember I am part Maharashtrian and part South Indian and NO, they are not the same thing. So please tell your family, not to drop racist bombs like “Arey woh sab toh ‘Sawth’ ke hi hote hai na?” And YOU—don’t walk up to mother in an attempt to make flattering conversation and say shit like “Aunty you don’t look like a South Indian You are so fair” In return she will verbally Texas chainsaw massacre your face so badly, your dead Dadi will haunt you the very same night, telling you how fleeing Pakistan was less traumatic. So don’t. Better still just don’t speak. Just glean and flex your muscles a little and keep smiling. Just whatever you do, don’t talk.

-Wow! You know if you just wanted to get married to a guy from Delhi so desperately, why didn’t you just say so instead of dropping subtle hints in a post where you’re simply trying to play hard to get? You could just talk to your family you know, they might just understand that you want to be with someone NON-South Indian. And of course since you invested so much of your precious time trying to crack IIT, I don’t blame you for lacking basic language skills, but let me tell you honey, there is a difference between being witty and being plain rude. Trivialising the trauma faced by people during partition is simply offensive and taking this too far. So yeah I guess it’s just better that you are not spoken to, because you’re simply not worth it.

You may not like our food, but then we don’t like you, which is worse. We may not be even that into food, but then that’s coz we have other things to do with our lives, like crack IIT or become writers, journalists, activists and do things that we are very passionate about. The South Indian woman has a voice and boy can she yell. So if you want to Sambhar ‘Chawl’ your way into my life, then you got to toe the line. Be way more aware than what your are.

-For your hatred towards food, I’d say, try spicing things up a little bit. And some sweet should do you good. At least it’ll make you a little less bitter. At least we could hope so. And as for South Indian food, there might just be more South Indian restaurants in Delhi than any other part of the country and they’re mostly located in the Punjabi dominated areas of Delhi because Punjabis love nothing more than a family of ten and some Rawa Masala Dosas.

Remember Delhi is not a country and we are not Black. If I ever hear you utter that name of that colour, I will Kalaripayattu your tongue out of your rear. Yes , that is the secret behind our awesome sex ratio. Just so you know.

-Yes Delhi isn’t a country. But it sure is more inclusive than any other part of the country and yeah, Delhi is NOT in Punjab. Please get your facts right or else it won’t be long before someone from the operation blue star lineage performs a Gatka on you (And again, that’s exactly how it feels).

For someone who is so confident of his physical abilities you really suck at luring an intelligent woman. Don’t send me text messages that say ‘happy guru purab’, you freakshow and if you want to be cute with your ever so charming (not) Punjabi advances, then don’t send texts that say “Dil laye gayee kudi Madrraaas di”! NO. It’s just not cool man.

-And again sweety, there is a difference between being witty and being plain racist. Is it that you have a problem with all occasions where normal human beings get a reason to feel happy or is this just a special case? And who are you to define what’s cool? I’m not even going to comment on that, ‘cause you’re just not worth it.

I may have have missed on a lot in this letter, but that’s ok because you’ll forget to read it and even if you do , you’ll get your cousin Jassi from Defence Callonny to translate it for you. And this letter can’t go on forever like the Punjabi male ego.

-It’s funny how you talk about ego when all you’ve done in this letter is tried way too hard to nurse your badly hurt ego.

So long my love, and here’s two steps of gidda just for you, just to show that I can be traditional and will not accidently kick your sister while doing so.
Love, hugs, kisses aka ‘muah’ (only I shall ‘muah’, you please don’t do anything coz you tend to forget that these are my lips and not a piece of Tandoori Chicken from Kakke- Da- Dhabba)

-As for the ‘muah’… do try some passionate kissing sometime. It’ll soften you up and lessen the frustration.

Yours
Madrasan
(Only I can call myself that. If you EVER call me by this name, I will shove so many coconuts down your system that your little saver pack versions will begin to sprout coir.)

Yours truly,

Cosmopolitan Indian citizen studying at LSR

PS: And well about the other part of my identity? The other part of me is from the ‘North East’. And we get discriminated against more than you can ever think or dream of. But we’ve risen above all the petty arguments and learnt to celebrate differences. Because at the end of the day we’re all Indian, and it does not matter where we’re geographically located within the country.

I may have toed the line here and there, but trust me, I meant no offence to anyone other than you (the writer of the post) here. Frankly if in your place a Punjabi had written similar bitter words for a South Indian, it would’ve got me equally fired up.

Stereotyping and profiling can be fun to an extent, if taken in good humour, and yeah they’re a part of life. But with all the corn and cheese aside, every Khan is not a terrorist, every South Indian is not Madrasi, every Punjabi is not Sardar (every Delhi-ite is definitely not Punjabi)… oh the list is endless.

Please learn to take a setback in life in good spirit and stop blaming an entire geographical area for what you may have been through. The last person who did that had all his (Nazi) glory in his time, but no one sees him in good light today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ship Lofting*


'Shipping' in the Summer Sun

 This is a picture I took at a lake at Ambey Valley, Lonavala, Maharashtra.

What does this remind you of? 😉

*’Ship lofting’ is just a spoonerism for ‘shop lifting’. 😛

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.


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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Pictures taken by me in my college garden. 🙂


1. Oops! 😳

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2. I think it’s stuck! 😯

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3. Oh come on.. It’s not so bad. 4 out of ten people come out alive. 😉

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4. Which one do I cut first, the maroon-ish one or that beige one? ❓

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5. What’s that moving over there? 🙄

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6. I wonder what ‘that’ does. 😐

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7. I think we forgot something in there. 😳

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8. Sir, which one would fetch a better price? 😕

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9. Hurry up.. I’ve got to go watch the match. 😡

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10. His pulse is still on? Wow.. I’m good. :mrgreen:

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11. Students, give the subject some air. 😎

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12. Scissors.. Check.. Scalpel.. Check.. Syringe.. Check.. Tweezers.. Check.. Spectacles.. Oops.. 😳

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13. Damn.. That thing in my medical book was a mis-print.. 😯

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14. Ewww.. Blood!! 😕

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And last but definitely not the least:

15. Hmm.. Let’s try something new today! :mrgreen: 😆

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This is for you, Tejaswee. The ever so beautiful, you. For your birthday, it’s a little way to celebrate your life and most of all, to celebrate you.

It’s intriguing, how God functions in the most weird possible ways. One of those weird ways was when I was barely 8 and I found myself lying in a medical room with an oxygen mask on my face during a mild asthma attack in school. This tiny figure with two braids walked up to me and said, “Hi, I’m the new girl, remember? Do you need anything? Should I tell ma’am to call your mum? I’ll carry your bag to the bus, don’t worry. You just relax okay, I’ll take down your notes too.” And that is how I met ‘Tejaswee Rao’- my best friend.

Tejaswee's hand and mine

You may not be with us any more. It’s been almost five months since you’ve gone. But there have been so many times that have proved, that you still live on, and your presence is there somewhere around us. I know you’re hiding in one corner and looking at all of us and whenever I miss you too much, you show up in my dreams, and make me feel better.

There are many things I’ve done and continue to do that have been inspired by you, Tejaswee. You’d always pester me to write more. And you always nagged me to start a blog. I never did when you were there. But I am doing it now.

August was difficult, and September was even worse when it started to sink in. But there were always these little things that reminded me of you from time to time and kept me going.

Caricature

I caught myself doodling in class many a times. They were rather unconscious. And many times they were because classes were just too boring. It was not until two months back, when KD told me that seeing me doodle, felt like she was watching Tejaswee in class somehow, that I realised what an inevitable part of everyone’s lives she had become and always will be.

I always admired the brilliant artist that she was. Especially after she had she had made a caricature of me.

You know, Tejaswee, I started doodling so much in class my notebook has started looking like a scrap book. I’d be happy if I’m even half as amazing an artist as you, but I am getting there and it’s all because of you and your inspiration. I never thought that caricature you made of me would be so precious to me and it very much is my favourite sketch anyone’s ever made of me.

She was usually late to class. Most of the time she would enter panting, because of running from the gate to class. She would usually stand at the door and flash that million dollar smile and no teacher would ever say anything to her. And the best part was she was never scared of what could happen or what our teachers would say.

Tejaswee and the cat

She would go around petting stray animals and she’d always give water and food to a homeless dog outside our college. Most people thought that dog was ferocious, but she was never bothered about what people thought and she never got scared if she wanted to do something good. Tejaswee Rao did not know fear.

I know you’re listening, and your gloating, sitting somewhere around here. But you have really taught me to be brave. I’m not afraid any more, of what could happen, or would happen. I’m not afraid of consequences. I listen to my heart. It seems like you’re telling me to do things. It seems like I have this guiding force above me which is looking out for me, and I know it’s you. I’ve learnt to be more honest and I’ve learnt to be strong, just the way you were.

I walk in late to class and tell the teacher I overslept. I pet stray dogs and I even have started liking cats. I made friends with your cat, Puppy. Your mom told me it was very unlikely of Puppy to get along with anyone, but maybe you did rub off on me, and your aura can be sensed by Puppy.

I’ve seen many people dress up for college. Seen people try too hard or not try at all. But Tejaswee Rao, was just effortlessly a walking fashion statement no matter what she wore. I’d never seen so many colours on someone at once, and never carrying it off as well as her. Sometimes she wore an orange trench coat, a turquoise muffler, purple trousers, and held her pink camera in her hand all at the same time and still looked as beautiful as ever. And the colours? Well Tejaswee just made all of them look good together. I guess she was the only person I knew who could piece together two of her favourite colours like orange and blue and make it look so beautiful.

Don’t know how you did it, Tejaswee. But you just made the colours look good. A few weeks ago I went shopping with my aunt. And there were so many things around me that reminded me of you. I didn’t think twice before buying any of the bright coloured things I did, but I just went ahead and bought them because sometimes, it just seems like you’re telling me to do things.

The colours around you looked best on you but you’ve inspired many to be as bold as you were. And I am one of those people. There is more colour around me now. And I know where it’s coming from. You’ve taught me to be myself and not be afraid to show the world who I really am. You’ve taught me to not fear being judged.

You’ve brought much more in my life than beautiful friendship, Tejaswee. You’ve influenced me in so many ways and you’ve taught me so much in this lifetime. You were more than a friend to me. You were like a sister.

Tejaswee, you will always have that special place in my heart. And for me you’ll always be the girl who changed me and that girl who brought colour in my life.

The things that I bought because these were Tejaswee's favourite colours

I will always love you, Tejaswee and we’ll forever celebrate this day as the birth of a beautiful person and the greatest person I’ve known that even lived, and one who will live in our hearts forever more.

The first and the last time that I saw her were both in a medical room. God does work in the most unusual ways. Being with her made me realise that not only does God chose your beloved but he also chooses your friends before hand, and you are destined to meet that special person somehow. And meeting this special girl, my best friend, Tejaswee, was my destiny.