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Quiz time

Who is the most happiest between engagement and the marriage?

Its neither the boy or the girl but the telephone company which is the happiest

On a different note what was I doing on evenings before 22 January 2011? So the evenings are spent talking to the Wife-to-be on phone. Its time I give her a name. The Wife-To-be is somewhat….how to say it… not romantic.

Living on the two opposite end of the city mean meeting cannot be an everyday affair, even though I would like to be more of an everyday thing.

So we have different office timing and the best time to talk would be when she is travelling to office in the morning and then back in the evening. She travels in a train for a short distance while talking to me. I have now learnt to identify where she is is based on the background noise.

I can imagine and state correctly the whole route by listening to the background sounds and believe me, I am good. It was the same knowledge which I used to give her a surprise during Valentine day.

Yes! I had my first Valentine day!

There are a number of background noises I hear during the whole chit chat to and from the office. Most of them identifiable. But there was one noise I could not identify.

When she is on the railway platform, a continuous beep sound could be heard in the background. I asked about it and she did not know. I have been travelling on the Mumbai locals for a long time and even I have not heard the sound or maybe did not pay attention to the sound. I heard the sound everyday as she waited for the train but I still could not figure out what was the sound.

Few days back while travelling with my mom, I was waiting for the train at Mumbai Central Station and I heard the sound again, the same continuous beep sound.

The Mumbai local trains have introduced a small compartment reserved for handicapped and cancer patients. The compartment is mostly the 6th compartment in a 12 compartment train. Earlier it was very small. Now its much bigger in size. It allows the handicapped people to travel in little comfort.

The train has a board which shows the location of the compartment. On the platform, an illuminated board shows the location of the compartment so a handicapped person can identify it and find it easily.

But how would a blind person identify the compartment if he/she cannot see it?

The answer is quite simple. By verbal aid. The board gives a continuous beep in regular interval. The blind person can identify the compartment with the beeping sound and get into the handicapped compartment easily.

With all my senses intact, it becomes difficult to really understand how a handicapped person will go along in his/her life. I take things for granted but they don’t. Someone thinks about the way to make things easier for them. Sometimes what you need is a simple logic.

Quite a simple idea when you think about it!

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Downs and Up

The sun shines bright again. The birds chirp again, the flowers bloom again and a laugh triggers a million smiles.Yesterday what seem like a big problem isn’t a problem anymore. Things actually fell into place and that too without my intervention.

Somebody up there still likes me!

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I had the worst Diwali this year spending it in bed. Everyday of Diwali I made a trip to the doctor and the worst thing was the doctor could not figure out what was the problem either. I did all types of test including Malaria, Typhoid and even Chickengunya (I had to look it up).  Nothing showed up in the result. The fever gradually went down on its own but left me with a very depressing Diwali.

It was not all. Three weeks before and after Diwali, I became ill and was suffering from pain. It turned out to be kidney stone but there were nights when I had spent literally crying in pain.

Anyways the stone’s gone now and I feel much better.

But during those 6-7 weeks I had spent time on the Internet researching the pains and illness. I had looked up for symptoms and diseases closer to the symptoms. It was more frustrating because the doctor could not diagnose the illness. Once you know the problem the nest step is about getting rid of it but what to do when you don’t know where to start?

It was sad, depressing and scary.

I came to know about many illness and obviously my general knowledge increased but all in all, it did not do me any good. The newly acquired knowledge was actually making me more sick or scared. I actually imagined myself very sick and thinking about what would happen to me? I wondered how am going to get finance for the treatment and what will happen in the future. I went on to think and imagine about life extremities.

Ofcourse  I did not say this to anybody but the future looked quite bleak.

Thankfully and fortunately nothing like that happened. But it does not mean that nothing like that would never happen and that’s why we have insurance.

Being knowledgeable about stuff makes you better equipped to handle the stuff/situation but then not knowing lets you have the blissful pleasure of being unaware of the bad/worse aspect of everything.

Ignorance is really bliss!

A few days back a astrologer met my mom and examined our house. He did a detailed study of our house and gave a verdict that a part or the house as a whole was kind of unlucky. This was as per Astrology/Vastu or something I did not understand.

Naturally the detailed study freaked my mom. She now wants to implement the solution suggested by the astrologer. Come to think of it, a few days back she was happy watching her favourite saas-bahu serials.

Now she is tensed and I understand her fear. She has asked me to do certain things for my and the house’s future. I on the other hand may reluctantly do what she tells me but definitely half-heartingly. With me not getting married and my brother who just had a small accident which fractured his hand, she has more reasons to believe it.

I am not debating of how much of the analysis is true. There would be people who would strong oppose and support both side of this stuff. I do not even want to get into the argument about the validity and authenticity  of Astrology, Feng sui and vastu shastra. I am neither accepting or denying it. It depend on the faith of the individual and faith drives you to do lot of things.

It may or may not be true but it surely did one thing. It fuelled the fear in my mom’s heart. It put a doubt in her mind and a doubt or a fear cannot be cleared easily. You can treat a disease. How do you treat a suspicion, a doubt?

In the future, we will be sceptical about what we do and would blame the direction of my house’s window. In my advantage, I can be spared of all the blame I have to take afterward

As we say knowledge is power but I have to admit, Ignorance is still bliss!

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Friday night and I am having a conversation on facebook with a friend while watching a movie on the smaller window. What to do? I have this huge urge to do multiple task at the same time. I am a multiprocessing, multitasking person.

While taking about the life in general, the topic expectedly shifts to my marriage or lets say my “not getting married”. So she tried to analyze why is that I don’t get married? I try to explain that its not my fault.

Actually not always.

But she refuses to believe me. She finally arrives at a conclusion that I was at fault. I must be doing something gravely wrong that I cannot convince a girl to marry me.

Well! She was right in a way. I cannot get a girl to marry me. Its just too difficult convincing the girls to marry me. It has not happened once but twice when I almost convinced a girl to get married to me and now both the girls are happily married.

Most of the people just find it difficult to accept that girls reject me. Most of these people who think that way, are married. Just because you are married, does not mean its easier for me to get married. Did the person who climbed the Himalayas think that it was easier for everyone to do it?

Ok! A little over the top. Getting married cannot be equalled to climbing the Himalayas. But its not easy either.

As expected, most of these girls don’t go beyond my photo. I have become like that horse who would come second even if it ran alone. That was  a copied pathetic pj. .

Anyways, as I said that its not my fault or maybe its not my fault always. I do deserve a benefit of doubt.

I have told my mother to give my photo to anybody with a proposal. I don’t want them wasting time trying to guess the most eligible bachelor when they send the proposal.

Actually its logical and practical. In an arranged marriage, where you can have a choice, wouldn’t you go for better one? There was a time when my mother blamed me for girl rejecting me. Now I don’t argue.

I am a perfect marriagable material. I have a job which pays good. I have a house of my own. So I am what they call as “well settled”.

Ofcourse that doesn’t hide the fact that I am ugly too. I know most people would criticize my saying that but whats wrong? Why does being ugly is so bad? Ok! “Ugly” might be a harsh word so lets call “not looking good”. Why not accepting that you don’t look good is so bad? Nobody feels bad when beautiful people accept that they  are beautiful.

Nowadays even so-so looking girls reject me. I know that pathetic. But I can’t help.

I have met girls with her parents and put on my best behaviour. I have met girls without her parents and still put on my best behaviour. I have talked gently and made a good conversation. I have been polite. I have been courteous and I have been funny. I have made them laugh.  I don’t remember looking at the girl lecherously like a Hindi movie villain. Like a good gentleman, I had even paid for the restaurants bill.

So where do I go wrong?

I don’t ask the reason when a girl rejects me. She will not tell me the real reason. So I don’t ask.

Most of the married people feel pity for me. But I don’t. Yes! It gets a little lonely sometimes. But I find myself to be mostly smiling, happy person. Life isn’t great but its not bad either.

I guess I have to think on the eventuality of being alone in my life and that’s depressing but I guess nothing would feel that bad when you make yourself ready for that eventuality.

I still have a lot to do. I want to see many places and take many pictures. I have to do lot of things I haven’t even thought of.

I am still searching for that girl who would say yes. Believe me, I genuinely try! I really do! Maybe I wouldn’t die alone. I have hope.

Till that time, give me a benefit of doubt! As I said, Its may not be my fault.

………… not always!

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As I send my last email for the night, its finally time to call it a day. Its been a second night in a row in the office but today there is satisfaction of the job being completed. A task which started last week with a plan had gone for a changes so many times that the original plan was nowhere near to the one that was actually  implemented.

In fact the last few weeks have not been good. I need to take a break. I haven’t touched the camera in all these weeks.

The last two days were filled with stress, anger, doubts and anticipation. Thankfully today its all gone and a contended feeling replaces all negative feeling. Nothing feels good like a job well done.

As me and my colleagues prepare to leave for home, we remember it had rained. We had been informed that it was raining by our other colleagues from home but the work in our hand did not give us the luxury to look out of the window

The air was filled with the sweet smell of wet soil and everything was wet. Unlike everyday, the air felt cooler with a slight wind too. I bid my colleagues good bye and hail a rickshaw for home.

Turning on the Jogeshwari-Vikroli link road, I glance at the sky. Some dark clouds still gives the proof of the presence of rain. The monsoons have finally arrived for the parched Mumbai.

The roads are almost empty and its a smooth ride. The same road would could take an hour later in the day. The rain has left puddles of water on the road as I touch the western Express Highway.

The rising sun and the dark clouds mix and match to form a beautiful canvas in the sky. A moment like this which makes me want to carry the camera all the time.

The Mumbai’s skyline is changing constantly. Lined with big skyscrapers, the orange and grey sky offers a perfect backdrop. In a city hungry for space, the only place to get some is up.

The sky and mountains of Sanjay Gandhi National Park give a tough competition. With building touching the sky, the mountains look to be overshadowed by them. I guess a few years from now, the mountains will not be seen from the highway. Doubtful if the mountains will remain few years from now. We seem to be hell bent to destroy them to create bigger buildings.

At Goregaon, a big truck with coal has overturned. It will be a huge traffic jam later. The roads are still empty.

Its been more than 12 hours in the office and its time to go home. As I pay the rickshaw driver outside the building gate, I look around.

The city is waking up and I am ready to sleep!

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Coming home few days back, I sat in the double decker bus. The journey from SEEPZ to Andheri station takes a lot of time and I was quite impatient. It helps to have the FM on mobile. It helps to pass time during the half hour journey.

While switching channels, I caught a RJ calling a listener who had just been gifted some gift vouchers and he could gift them to anybody he wants. He was thanking the RJ and informing her that the gift be send to his girlfriend, “A”. Quite normal in a radio show where many gets some kind of gift with the only exception that his real wife, “P” was listening to her husband’s love for his girl friend. In seconds, the husband and wife were exchanging profanities.

I was kind of surprised that although it is common of cheating spouses, this man had convinced two women to actually love him. I can well imagine what would have happened to the marriage.

So the question is what makes a perfect marriage? What does it mean to search for a soulmate? Love or arranged? Which marriage is better? Lots of questions and the answer vary from person to person. Conclusion: Nothing is guaranteed. 

Its been a year on 2nd September since I came back from Amsterdam. I knew that the moment I step on Indian soil, the pressure of marriage would be stronger. Staying in Amsterdam protected me from these social pressures.

I was happy being single although I do have my share of couple of opportunities which I let go, the recent being not so back in the future. I would like someone in my life even though I admit I enjoy the Single’s freedom.

I am free to eat, drink and enjoy my life. I can sleep till late Sundays, without having to worry what I will do. I can plan my day without having to think of anyone else (very selfish). Friday and Saturday night, I can watch 3 movie back to back. I can do this and I can do that. But I don’t do any of that. I do live a very boring life.

I don’t regret it. I don’t cry over it, atleast not always. I do want to find someone in my life although somehow I think, am I ready for the changes? Back in January when I started the search, I was not convinced by idea of arranged marriage. I am still not but then beggars can’t be choosers so lets just stick with the idea.

I am not excited by the idea of going and “looking” at a girl at her house. In India for arranged marriages, the boy goes and sees a girl. Its called “Ladki Dekhna” in Hindi. In Marathi its called “Bagnyacha Program” or “Kandhe-Pohe” cha program.

I am really repelled by the idea. They say its a good way of meeting of families. While the families do meet but I really don’t dig the idea of looking at a girl as if she is some kind of an object. The girl has to look good wearing all traditional clothes like saree and all the jewels. Somewhere in India cattle, camels and other animals are sold in big markets. To make them more attractive, they are decorated with ribbons and colorful clothes. I guess the “girl seeing” program takes its inspiration from there. I may sound harsh but maybe its just tradition.

Since the time I started searching for Mrs. Punds, I have gone through lots of rejections. Earlier I would get very disappointed but now I have got pretty used to it. People accuse me of not trying hard enough. Nowadays I offer to share my matrimonial site’s id and password. Most girls don’t even make beyond my photo.

I even met a girl through matrimony site, who couldn’t make up her mind after three months of chatting, phone and meeting. I gave up finally and felt happy to say “no” rather than being tied down by uncertainty.

My mom panicked.

The concept of success changes with age. When I was small, a good grade in school meant success. Sports was not a big choice then. After school, a good college and a good degree meant success. After college, it was the good job that defined success. And when you finally settled with a nice pay package, you still not successful because you are still single.

After marriage, maybe having children will be termed as a successful, happy and contented life. After children, it would be children’s school, college and career that may define your success. I guess you are never successful. You just strive to make yourself successful.

I like to define my success. Not bad for an individual  who struggled for getting that elusive 60% in school. I would say not bad. Things look pretty happy when I don’t compare my life with others and that can be a great success if I achieve it. 

As most of my friends are already married or having children now, the pressure is mounting. I try not to attend social gathering because all the conversations are directed to the one topic which everyone likes. At times like this, grin and bear it.

The big friend circle becomes smaller. Can’t blame friends either. A family is big responsibility.

I thought I was the only one shying away from such events but my college friend who has been trying to get married since last two years is facing the same dilemma. To go or not to go?

Outing with friends is still on, but family gathering are a big No. I dread and am nervous to attend such events. Every family member tries to point out my less effort toward marriage by warning me about the advancing age and the receding hairline, the sorrow/grief/distress I am causing my parents and about the future of my unborn children.Listening to them, the future appears so scary.

As I login to matrimony sites, like I dedicatedly login to my email account, I wonder, if the future so scary? Am I isolating further from the very society I strive to be a part of? Am I being a social outcast? But I always have been a loner so what has changed.

I guess its just someone’s perspective about my life.

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Note: “Yanda kartavya Aahe” in Marathi means ready to settle down in matrimony. Its a Maharahstrain way of parents telling that their children are of marriageable age

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Mumbai local trains have a personality of its own, especially the second class and first class have two distinct personality. The “Sab chalta hai” second class is so much different than the sophisticated first class. I really cannot comment on first class because I have never been in a first class.

I have always been the “Second class” man (pun intended)

Obviously the quarrels in these two compartments are very much different too. Again I have never been in a quarrel in any of the two compartments so its my guess. But I have seen a lot of quarrels while traveling.

The quarrel in a second class compartment can really achieve the highest pitch of noise. People are known to hurl abuses with the choicest of words. The quarrel starts with one person raising voice and then ends when the fellow passenger forces them to shut up or one of them gets down. Few week back in a late night train, I saw women of two families shouting at each other while their husbands choose to play silent spectators.

So it was a surprise when the compartment in the morning train witnessed a unique battle.

The morning train to Churchgate fills up at Borivali itself. As I had to get up at Andheri, I stand near the door. An elderly gentleman got in and stood near the passage near the sitting area. Another middle-age gentleman got in and stood at the start of the sitting area, his hands holding the rod near the passage. As the hand of the middle age man was touching the head of the old man, the old man got irritated. He asked the middle-aged man to go in which the middle age man was unable to do because of the crowd inside.

The middle age gentleman just stood there. Now the old man got angry and started shouting at the middle-age man. This is quite normal in a quarrel in the train. What was not normal was he was shouting in English. The surprising part came when the middle-age man started shouting back in English.

This, was one of the rarest quarrel. The first rule of a quarrel in a second class compartment is never, never shout in English unless you know only English.

So these two started shouting at each other in English and the funny thing was it never felt like a quarrel. They were like talking to each other loudly. They shouted about manners, they shouted about education and they shouted about etiquette and all in English.

Whenever the quarrel starts in a second class compartment, everybody expects the quarrel to die a natural death in a short time. Most people don’t want to fight. They just want to shout to let the other know they are angry. Its very rare that it would lead to a physical fight at all. When the quarrel does not die down, the people in the compartment take over. There are no sides. You never take side.

They first try to pacify them by kind words like “Jaane do bhaisahab” (let it go). Mostly it works and when it doesn’t, a strong voice from somewhere orders them to shut up. The pacifier and the yeller are two different people. They can never be one.  The yeller will most probably have a effect.

However coming back, the quarrel in English had everybody smiling. Everyone expected the quarrel to die down but two station later, the war of words still raged on. The pacifiers moved in but still nothing stopped. Somehow the yeller would not work here.

A person standing on the door shouted

“Arre hindi main jhagdo. English samajta nahi hum logon ko” (Fight in Hindi. We don’t understand English). The whole compartment laughed.

Another comment about fighting in English went on the other side of the compartment. Everybody was laughing again. But the two obvious of others were still fighting. Another comment prompted another round of laughter. In a short while every body was laughing and having a great time because of two fighting men.

Suddenly one of them said “You are a beast, a beast”

Calling a person a “Beast” in a quarrel is so drama like.

“Rakshash Uncle! Rakshash bolo” Another comment (rakshash is beast in Hindi)

The compartment went into laughter again and just like that maybe embarrassed of being laughed at, the two went silent. The 20 minutes journey became quite enjoyable even if it was at the cost of the two men.

Goregaon station, two men getting in started fighting in Hindi. This was one quarrel which was as expected with the choicest of words and abuses.

“Chup re tum dono” (Shut up you two) A voice roared somewhere in the compartment. The two went silent immediately. Here the yeller would always work.

A morning journey in Mumbai locals is very crowded and uncomfortable. Most Mumbaikars don’t enjoy it at all but have no choice. Many travel silently. But then there are occasions like this when fellow passengers share a laugh even though it could be as ugly as a quarrel. The journey becomes a little bearable and each one gets a story to tell their friends. A quarrel is not something to laugh about but they did stop fighting. Didn’t they?

That day in that compartment in a crowded Mumbai local, we got two very angry men and a compartment full of smiling faces!

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