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Detour!

As I alight on the Churchgate station for a new day at work, I take a right instead of the subway. I have been doing this since the last few days. The road from the station to my office goes through the business district with building around.

The route from the right is longer but takes me along the sea. While coming to office, one station prior to my destination, I look out of the window to find a cloudy sky over a somewhat raging ocean. The weather seems pleasant than the usual humid Mumbai climate.

I walk toward the sea from the station. The shops don’t open that early and the road is much quite at this side of the town. The bustling business district is just maybe a kilometer away. The Buildings at the side of the road still have the old world charm. They have not been taken over by builders who build ugly glass building called offices with limited colours like blue and grey.

I cross the Hotel Ambassador. Everybody tells me that there was a revolving restaurant at the top of the building. I am not so sure of the rumors. A quick search on the Internet reveals that there indeed a revolving restaurant offering a breathtaking view of the Queen’s Neck;lace called the "Pearl of the Orient".

On the left is the renamed "Pizza by the Bay" It was earlier known as "Jazz by the Bay" where live jazz was performed by upcoming artist every night. I am not sure Jazz is still played there. Mumbai is a fast city. The concept of sitting relaxed eating and listening to music is probably alien to the metropolis.

These buildings were built when Mumbai was just starting to grow into a metropolis. When it did not matter if it was called Mumbai, Bombay or Bambai. Debatable issues which I have no wish to fall into.
I cross the road they to reach the Marine drive promenade. The sea beyond the walls is not as raging as I imagined it to be but still the waves splash the wall with little fury. People on the promenade are a relaxed lot. No office rushing people here.

I want to sit there and enjoy the sea and its breeze. Amu and I would sit here in the evening before marriage. We haven’t come here in a long time. Maybe we should again and maybe on a morning. The mornings are much quieter here. The occasional joggers with the whole music and pedometer and all that fancy gadgets and shoes and the whole attire.

The health conscious wear shoes. I see a middle-aged man with bright green t-shirt and brighter green shoes. Thankfully he is not wearing any green shorts. Another jogger lady experiments with bright blue pair of shoes. Another jogger ahead is comfortable with mellowed down blue shoes.

A middle aged woman in salwar tries to run through her weight. An aged man walks with a brisk pace. They all try their own version of something called exercise. A man in fifties is making a strange gesture of clutching his both hands and making a movement as calling everybody to him. A closer look reveals that it his his version of exercise. 

The young couples facing the sea oblivious of the surrounding. There is more privacy in the morning. A girl in a burkha comes along with her boyfriend. Love still find a way in a conservative society.
Then there are those loners who sit by themselves watching the sea. And there are the college kids who come in dozen admiring the early morning sea and sky.

Servants of affluent families are there to walk the dogs. I think walking with the dog is the best way to connecting with your pet. I guess a dog has become more of a status symbol now.
A boat with two fisherman wobbles in the sea. Early morning catch it seems.

As I turn toward my office, the clouds are just clearing up. The sun shines through the clouds and the first bead of sweat breaks from my forehead. An indication of the day to come? Maybe!
An extra 10 minutes than my normal way but mind recharged for the day!

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Yesterday Mumbai witnessed 50000 marriages and so I am told. The truth about 50000 marriages cannot be verified. But I sure attended three of the 50000.

Attending a marriage means meeting familiar faces and then answering the familiar question “When?”. I have learnt to answer this questions now with a joke or a counter question which mostly ends the topic.

An acquaintance who got married recently met me at a marriage reception yesterday. Asking me where I was in the search he told me to get serious. My mom who was sitting near by seconded the opinion.

Then he told me something totally absurd.

“Stop photography and get married”

What my photography has to do with my marriage? In my opinion, nothing.

The human brain is capable of multitasking. We talk when we drive, we eat when we watch TV, we even let our thoughts waiver when working.

So why life should be any different. We don’t go jumping from one task to another. We manage and run many tasks in parallel. I guess task is not the right word but in absence of any other word, I would consider that.

We Indians consider marriage a “must-do” thing. After certain age, we are expected to get married. In absence of a life partner in our life, we are considered absolute failure. Your achievement, your personality, you life does not matter any more. What matters is the spouse besides you.

I do agree that love is very essential in our life and maybe not all are lucky with love. How does marriage becomes the ultimate goal of anyone’s life and what happens after you get married.

What’s next? Many would answer children and their dreams. I guess that question can be answered differently for different people.

I love taking photos. I love the idea of capturing life with my camera, I love looking at the world through the view finder. I know I am not the best photographer and there are many who are much better than me. But I know I am good if not the best.

My point is why does life have to stop for anything. Doing something passionately is important. Some give more importance to their career than their life, some focus more on enjoying their life. The choice is theirs.

But dreams/goals not happening does not have to stop life as we know. We don’t have to wait until we achieve one goal and then move on to next. We can have multiple goals. We can have many dreams. Some would call it unfocused but then what’s wrong with being unfocused?

When I was small, I dreamt of owning a hi-fi music system and listening to music sitting on a rocking chair. Today I have a music system and a rocking chair but haven’t used the two completely since the time I have bought it. But when I was a child I did enjoy music on a simple stereo and audio cassette too. I guess I enjoy other aspects of life more.

Finding my soul mate is a parallel task which runs with a lot of tasks in my life. I don’t have to stop being happy because I am not getting married.

“Aur bhi gamm hai zamane main mohabbat ke siwa”

I have many things to do, much to learn. I want to write, take photos, travel and do all that which is physically, emotionally and economically possible. I want to live my life now and not schedule it after anything. I want to do a road trip travelling across India, I want to take some really good pictures and I want to do a lot more.

I want to use that rocking chair and that music system

Yes! My efforts to achieve my goals and whats considered essential in life will continue but then Life is calling!

Why wait for just one dream?

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Lucky Boy

I am quite lucky to be where I am today. Back in my childhood and the way I studied and went about in school I had very little confidence of going anywhere. I was a very under confident fellow.

The low confidence made me mug up things and my goal was to pass rather than to excel. I was more worried about my marks than I was about learning anything. Infact I was so obsessed with my grades that I cannot remember much from my school days.

But then I did ok. By the time I passed my diploma I cared less for the result and realized that understanding things was much easier than mugging up subject. Of course some subject like maths were still a problem but then I made it.

Few days back while talking to colleagues, we discussed that life has treated me ok if not better. I never had plans except for some short term goals. I never had dreams to fulfill and there was never a need to be somewhere at each point of life.

I should actually thank god for wherever he has brought me today and am much lucky than many people in the world.

But… ofcourse there is a but.

But I am not lucky enough. I mean I am like in the situation of “99”. Never the century but getting out at 99. I haven’t been plain lucky. I haven’t had anything fall in my lap. As far as I can remember, nothing.

I had to work for it!

I remember once when mom saw the horoscope in paper and asked me to buy lotteries. We won but not more than what we had spent. My bank balance is comfortable if not handsome.

As I said, nothing falls in my lap.

I find myself when heads I lose and tails I don’t win either and it does happen

In a card game, I can strategize my moves but then I don’t get good cards. I find myself at the losing end in the game of luck.

Its quite frustrating.

I had felt in love with a girl who was engaged to somebody else. Then I fell in love with one who got married to somebody else. Predictably I lost both time.  I tend to like girls who have no interest in me. That’s unlucky in love. But then looking back, there hasn’t been any girl who was interested in me.

Now too, when I go about searching a bride, I get rejected by someone who I am comfortable with.

When I am late, the bus always gets stuck in a traffic jam

The cost of the costly camera I bought reduces the next month I buy it. And its not just camera it can be anything. When I am late, something has to go wrong. Even when I am late, I am the first one to reach before others and end up waiting for others.

I could go on about everything, things that leave me hanging at 99 and never see me completing the century. I could be blaming the luck more and not putting much efforts. I could blame myself for the situations. But blaming luck seems like an easier way out.

Actually its not that bad as I make it sound like or is it?

For once I would like to be really lucky and not called lucky because I managed some things in life. I mean like real lucky. Like luck without efforts and seriously absolutely no efforts from me.

I want to be surprised. I want to feel happy because something unexpectedly good happened. I don’t want to wait for something and when I finally get that thing I want the feeling of happiness rather than relief of achieving it. 

I want to be rich just like that and ofcourse legally.

I want a girl to fall in love with me just like that. I know its impossible but still its a wish.

I want to sleep without nightmares and strange dreams.

I know I am cribbing but then it does become frustrating to be stuck at 99. Today when I became 34, life is not bad but it could have been more. Yes! There have been efforts taken by me but then luck does not favor me much,

For once I would like to be a lucky boy!

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Death has been in the news since last few weeks. People have passed in quick succession. Some old and some not so old.

My Dad’s elder brother passed away when I was out on the Jim Corbett Trip. My mom’s aunt passed away couple of weeks back. A former neighbor passed away from heart attack and a childhood friend passed away, again from a heart attack.

The neighbor was not old to die so early. A mother of 4, I knew her as she lived in our building. I knew their children better than her.

My mom’s aunt passed away after some complication. Again my mom knew her better and I had met her when she came to our house. A loss for my mom though.

My Dad’s elder brother, my uncle passed away when I was on the Jim Corbett trip. Although I would talk to mom everyday, she did not tell me that. I was informed when I came back from the trip. Relation with my uncle was not at all good during all these years. He was critically ill back in December 2002. Mom and Dad had gone to see him and take care of him. Nobody had thought he would survive.

A month later, Dad passed away. Our relation with uncle and his family were not on the best of terms. And after the scene they created during Dad’s funeral, I had stopped having any contact with them. Although they were and are blood relation, I hardly had and have any emotional connect with my uncle.

When mom told me about his passing away, I did not react much. It was like someone distant had passed away. It felt like I was watching a news channel and the news does not concerns me. Mom and Brother went to the 12 days ceremony and I did not go. I did not feel I should be there, even though it was my social responsibility.

The whole idea of being there and interacting with the rest of the family gave me cold feet. I was afraid that some of the family member might make a comment and I might not react favorably with them. The whole show of “pretending” is what I did not agree with and was not comfortable with. I realized that I was not uncomfortable of the ceremony but of the people my uncle left behind.

I guess it goes in the family!

Sri stayed in the same building as ours. When we were small, he along with his brother were very good friend of mine. Both elder than me, I would tag with them and they knowingly and unknowingly protected me. When I was in 3rd or 4th Standard, they moved to a new home. We met them a couple of times but in absence of modern communication devices like email and phone, we just drifted away.

I had not seen them for maybe past 20-25 years. I do have some blurry image of the two brothers but nothing much. Sri, the younger of the two was maybe a couple of years elder to me.

I heard that he was working in a high stressful job when he had a heart attack. He died in his sleep. I did not know how to react to his death. He was not that close now to feel anything for him. I don’t know what kind of life he lived or how he had grown up. Was he the same friendly boy or had he matured enough? Lots of life has passed between us.

He was totally out of touch to remember anything but a small part of my life had been spent with him. A small part of my childhood which I still remember has his presence.

I haven’t gone to meet the family yet although my mom has gone and met them. But it made me think. How does a young guy passes away at this age. Maybe it was his time, maybe he should have slowed down. Lots of questions unanswered. We stay in the same city but we have never met in more than 20 years and that was surprising if not shocking.

In all these death, however there was something to cheer about. My younger brother got engaged. The marriage is in November.

So we had these small ceremony of the engagement two weeks before. When your younger brother is getting married and you are nowhere in the horizon, its not a pleasant experience.

I was prepared for the obvious questions of “When are you giving us laddu?”

I coolly point out to the laddus for my brother’s engagement.

I would always cringe at the question asked during these functions

“So, what about you”

If I answer that efforts are being taken, then they would insist that I be serious and then they start to tell me how my mother is suffering because of me and how I need to take responsibilities. This can go on with me getting uncomfortable and nodding my head in agreement. My seriousness is judged by the delay I am facing to get a bride. The more the delay, the less the seriousness.

But then I have found a way to enjoy or rather turn the table on them.

I smile, the best smile i could put and then say

“Trying! Efforts are on. Do you know any girl? Do you have any girl in mind?”

The next moment, they either walk away or smile or mutter some promises of finding me a girl. 99% they are off my neck and looking for the next victim. Most probably they will never ask me the same question that evening.

I agree, I am a tough product to sell!

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So its that time of the year when people start questioning my very existence or maybe the purpose of my existence. Its the time when I celebrate the birth of my existence.

Another year! Another birthday!

33! Yesterday!

From 30 to early 30s to soon racing to mid-30s to finally late 30s. Life racing like anything and I have just started discovering life. I like to quietly usher in my birthday. The one thing I hate about celebrating my birthday is “celebrating” my birthday. I admit its nice to know that people remembered your birthday.

But then birthdays become an audit point. A moment when everybody looks back at your life and start analyzing what I have achieved or what I have not achieved. With most of my friends having married, I cut a sorry figure of being not married. Its the time of the year again, when taunts are taken with a pinch of salt.

The definition of success changes with growing age. I guess one is never successful enough to make others happy.

That’s why I prefer people forgetting my birthday. Its easier that way, for me!

There are some who never forget my birthday. Mathew and Lize are one of them. The family joins the group. Chetan forgot it last year. Amol forgets it every year. Rahul sometimes forgets. Bhavik never forgets.

Chetan, Amol, Rahul and Bhavik have been my college friends. Things have changed a lot from then. Chetan, Amol and Rahul are married now. Yesterday they came with their spouses. Their family changes the equation a lot. Its a sort of disconnect with them. I don’t feel a part of them anymore. I am just complaining here but then to justify my uncomfortableness, I am supposed to mix with them after 4 years of their marriage. And I am still uncomfortable with couples.

Three couples becomes a little too much to handle. Its just an endless struggle to fit-in and every time falling a tad too short.

The people who remembered my birthday remembered it this year too. Those who didn’t were reminded by the people who always did and so surprisingly, a lot many people wished me.

The phone rang the whole day. I saw three cakes this year. Mathew and Lize have been bringing cake since the time I have been back in India. This time too they bought one.

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The college friends also brought me one!

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Sunday being a holiday, the office colleagues couldn’t miss the chance. So saw the third cake today.

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There have been times when my birthday has gone without anyone wishing me leave alone a cake to cut and this year its raining cakes.

The office friend brought extra cream to color me white. I have to admit, the detailed picture look scary.

A party for them is still pending.

However my hints suggesting them the new Nikon lens have gone on deaf years. The only option left was to spell it out and send them the URL to order them online. Maybe next year!

So another year goes by! Hopefully, the situation would not be so gloomy next year.

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700 – That’s the number of post I will be reaching soon. It took me more than 4 and half year of existence to reach here. Its been a journey, a journey to my past, present and future. Many people have never met me but had been a part of the journey. On the occasion of 700th post, I continue with the tradition of Full2 Faltu, when I invite guest writers to write. The guest posts are for 15 writers and it will continue till 699.

These writers have chosen to write to be a part of charity. I hope you like what they write. They would love your comments.

Previous Guest Writers

Presenting the next in the series. The earlier being

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Blue Hues has been born many times with different names. This avtaar has remains consistent for a long time. She stays in Mars. What’s Mars? Find out about in her blog. But Mars is surrounded by the sea and sea has waves, many many waves. This is the story of the waves.

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And then there is the beach… I could sit for hours and days there without ever getting bored or restless as usually is the case with me. Like that pacifying influence the temple exercises on some, the beach goes beyond being a mere shrine. It’s the dwelling, the spot i call mine, yes, in the shade of the tree. With not a thing to do, but sit and gaze and be involved in a world beyond my reality…

When we were kiddos and were swimming in this sea, Nuka and I would be naming the waves as they would unfold, “here’s a baby wave, a mummy wave, and a papaaaaaa wave–swim for your lives gang”!! How we would paddle, paddle away the swiftest our limbs could.

So here is the story of the wave. You might have heard of many before, but since each one of these waves is uniquely different from the other…

It’s all about a race they are running, them waves. All of them are orderly aligned out there, excited and eager to see each other’s performance and eager to act out theirs too.

It’s ShowTime, some are going for the race for the first time, some are veterans of the game and some are part of the audience. The young waves look at the old ones suspiciously, overhearing their stories curiously but all the same telling themselves that they are going to be far more impressive than the old ones had ever been, had ever seen. The old waves only nod and smile, remembering their first time, but also are they eager to perform yet again. The audience? After the main show, even they are allowed to come on stage and ‘perform’. It’s the word of the day.

A roar of thunder and an exhilarating calm reigns. The show is about to start. Some tensed murmurs here and there and then the lightning crackers. Them waves’ hearts are beating wild. It’s the day they have been waiting for eagerly, their big day. A cyclone doesn’t come everyday, it drops by only once in a while, just like the circus which moves from town to town. Another roar from the sky and they are off! One after the other… I wish I could tell you about each of them. As I told you, each one is unique in its own style.

All the same, at the risk of seeming shallow…

There are the excited ones, the ones who more interested in being liberated, the ones who are ‘excited’ (yet again) at the thought that they are being watched. They start off frenzied, rising and falling alternatively, like a sine (the word was invented after them). They are mostly the ones who are there for the first time.

There are the ones who go unnoticed but who enjoy the thrill of dancing their act out. They flow and safely touch the rocks softly (yes that’s where the race somewhat ends), happily ride back to the horizon. They smile, content with themselves. They are the ones who aren’t looking for any medal, happened to have come across the cyclone and show. Thought they would give it a shot…

Then the ‘old waves’… They move about cautiously because they know, that even though they rule, the sea isn’t about them only. The sea holds many secrets. These waves move slower than the others, because they feel like analyzing every nook and crook of the ocean. Maybe sometime they perform a lil pirouette, but that it is the much they perform…

Moving on, oh there are so many waves…. and the sky keeps playing the tambour while they dance out and so do the winds…

And then when you thought the show was just over comes this majestic wave. Have you seen it? Does it rise high up, towards the sky, as if willing to shut the roar and the lightning, as if willing to reach out to ‘em all elements, to stop time, for it to enjoy its ride eternally. The passion with which it rises, yet moving forward, collecting all treasures of the ocean in its furore….

The audience is stunned, so are the other waves, too astounded by the sight. It’s one which they had all come for, they all secretly wished to be but couldn’t ever be. This wave was THE wave….

Higher and higher up, it creates super havoc, the poor fish are scared and so are the other waves, for this is the destructive wave too. The wave is basking in this intensity, giving its dance his/her all. The wave believes it has to be the very best, he is overtaken by the wish to exceed, go beyond…. and in this temperament, its limit is the sky.

Stunned by its own capacities, while still unraveling more energies and lost in its reverie, the wave forgets an important thing…. That once the music is over, he is supposed to bow and retreat as gracefully. Our wave has forgotten about the shore. Yes the shore, there were the huge black boulders await him. Wave believes he is mightier than those, that he would crash them all and still move forward. Oh our wave can be so naive.

… the glistering jet black rocks, they’ve known many such waves. The rocks mockingly watch the wave. They fail to admire its grandeur, its passion. They only see a potential enemy who’s threateningly staring at them, eyeing them since long…

The rest you know… Wave unfurls on the boulders and ends up breaking them apart but so does it…. Leaves behind some shells which it had been carrying for so long with it, some lil animals, some corals, all memories of what a beautiful wave it had been. The wave? Oh it has dissipated in a white foam…. Sometime again, it recollects itself and retreats, but very slowly.

Back to the Horizon. Yes, there where it all ends and all starts. You thought it ended at the shore? Nooo… It starts all over again. At the Horizon….

While Nuka and I pick up shells…..

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Why?

I am the first to wish you on your birthday
But then, I will never attended your birthday party

I may know all your crushes right from the first to the last crush
But then, I will never be one of them

I know what you like to eat
But then we have never eaten together

I know the first time he asked you
But then I will be there just to see your stupid smile

I know every fight you had with him
And I have seen the tears

You have told me a lot about your friends
But they know nothing about me

You tell me about your fun weekends
And I have seen you only on weekdays

In crisis you knew you could call me
But then you never wondered why I never called you during mine

I think I know your every secret
But you don’t know my one secret that I want you to know

I like to let go the 6:05 PM train for you
But maybe you don’t know that the next one comes 25 minutes later

I know your favorite song
And I will never sing it for you

Today we can talk about everything
Tomorrow I will be just a person you knew in the past

Its hard to explain but not impossible to understand

…. and still she asks me……..Why?

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Ramblings based on a conversation with a friend when she asked me why the girls I knew never fall in love with me. Its not poetry, just rambling

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