Undivided Indian-ness

images (11)……Undivided Indian-ness.

A day prior to every Independence Day and Republic Day, there is a sudden surge in the patriotic sentiments of all Indians, and we frantically send our wishes to all our near and dear ones. With passion, vigour, and national fervour, we celebrate these days in our offices, schools, and colleges. We also remember the hard work and sacrifice of thousands who laid down their lives for earning us our precious independence and sovereignty. We had one identity then – “INDIAN”, who were those struggling to break away from the thorny clutches of the British Empire. Our freedom fighters sacrificed their lives, not for their religion, caste, or language, but to regain the identity of being an Indian.
Today, while we celebrate 70 years of our independence, it’s time for serious introspection. It’s time to analyse and understand the sacrifices of our freedom fighters, who, with the motive of attaining freedom, braved the vagaries of jail life for years together in abysmal conditions and were even hanged to death.
It’s high time we asked ourselves a question – “Did Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Udham Singh, and thousands like them, risk their lives for a socially divided independent India or an integrated independent India?” And certainly, each one of us has the answer to this, lurking in the deep corners of our conscience. But then, why are we getting blinded and waylaid by our parochial leaders, who, for their vested interests, spew the venom of hatred among the communities, religions and castes, threatening our Indian-ness. Can we not see the traces of the erstwhile British policy of “Divide and Rule” in their thoughts, speech and actions?
If we are educated in the true sense, we must not blame our leaders alone. It is also our responsibility to not get carried away. When our freedom fighters understood the hardships of dying and embraced life imprisonment for the sake of the nation, I believe, it is the foremost duty of every educated Indian to imbibe complete Indian-ness in their hearts and actions so that no one can dare to divide them again.
Only then, celebrating our independence has a meaning. Otherwise, it will innocuously pass this year too and come again next year without any tangible patriotism.

It’s time we move from divided Indian-ness to undivided Indian-ness.
‘Happy Independence Day.’


Different People , Different Strokes

17334187656857Different People,  Different Strokes

Its  never easy  to make  people  follow  you. By nature  man  is  greedy  and  this  instinct  we  carried  from  our  bovine  ancestors. People  follow  you  for  greed  and  nothing  else. The  greed  could  be  of  many  kinds- money ,  power  ,  survival or  amusement.   To have a beeline of followers   you got  to  be  Rich,  powerful ,  benefactor  or an  actor. Secondly , you  got  to  do  something different  for  people  to  be  interested   in   knowing  you or  following you.

Everyone wants  that  he  should  have  followers. Followers  also  want to  have  followers.  The  seniors  in  any  organisation  want  the juniors  to follow them. Blindly. But  this does  not  happen always.

But  history is  replete  with  examples  that  very seldom    people follow  those  who  walk   on  the  beaten  track .

So  the  first  Rule  is  –   if  you  wish  to  have  followers – Do  not  walk  on  a  beaten  Track.

Beat   a  new  track. And  openly face  the  hardships  in  the  new  track you create because  any new  track is generally  replete  with new challenges and  obstacles which you have to  tackle.

As time passes by and you done’t give up…….the path  which  was  initially  laden with impediments now  becomes  familiar  and  the  hurdles  which  seemed  insurmountable now  seem  easy.

Slowly  as  you  move  ahead  you  will find  ppl  following  you grow  in  number. Remember, all  are  not  your  friends. Some  are following you simply out of   intrigue. Intrigue    to  see  of  you perish  or   survive  this  barbaric  decision  of yours.  Once when  they   see  you  tackling  the  obstacles,   some may   even silently withdraw.

However ,Seeing  you  succeed and move  ahead  newer  people   start  to  follow  you and    see  how  far  you  can   go.  These  are  not  people  who  had  the  intrigue  but  the   ones  who   wish  to  profit  from  your  discovery. Good luck with them.

One  seldom reaches  his  ambition in life  with  the  set  of  people he  started  the  journey  with. Hence, learn to work with all-friends, foes, competitors and  subordinates.

She Was Here , Always…..


She  was  here, Always…..

She  was  there  with me  again tonight . Even  from   a distance, I could  see  her  very  clearly. Her  face was gleaming like white marble   in  the  light of  the  full  moon. I could not take my eyes off  her  for  even a moment. As  she  came closer our eyes  met  and  a  sweet  smile  erupted  from  the left corner of her   soft  lips. She always smiled like that. Slowly the smile stretched to the other  side of  her  lips  and then  to her chubby cheeks.  She had  not  changed,  even  after  so many  years. She was tall, slim  and    gifted   with  beautifully crafted  features . This  was  coupled with a fair complexion and a sweet voice .Today again  I was   stupefied  for  almost  five minutes, as always, and    could  not  utter  a word.  I finally   got up  from  the  bench  and  walked  towards  her slowly , as though   still in a stupor of her  beauty.

“How  are  you?” I  said finally coming out of my momentary trance.

“Oh , I am  doing fine, and you?” she asked with a smile.

“Been busy  with my  college studies.” I  said  trying  to be   as truthful  as  ever.

“Not missing me? Or  still feeling  shy to  admit it ?” She asked.

“I  have  been  thinking  of you  off  and  on. What are  you doing by the  way?” I answered.

“I  am  also  in  college” she  said.

Her presence itself  was  so  soothing that I  just  wanted  time  to  stop here  forever. Love  filled  my heart all over again. We  walked  in  silence  for a while. But before I  could make any conversation   she  suddenly turned  around  the corner and   vanished  into  oblivion. I  frantically  looked  for  her  in every  possible direction. There  was  so much  about  which I  wanted  to  talk with her. There  was  so much I wanted  to say. But  she  wasn’t   there in  the  garden anymore.

My  eyes  opened.  I realised  it  was the  same  dream again.  I  was in  my hostel room  and  there was no garden  around.  Raga was  gone once  again. I had  once  again lost  my  chance  to  express my feelings, just  as  I  had  missed it  before  we  parted  after school.  I stayed  in  the  bed for  some  time more,  lost  in  the sweet   memories  of  my school  days .

It had  been almost  three  years  since I  had  left  school  but  the imprint  of Raga  would not fade. My  mind  would  return  back  to  it  every now  and  then. And then for  hours my  mind  would  flutter  in  the  sky  like  a  bird  looking for   its mate. It  was  not   just  a  memory  but  an indelible mark which  I  was  finding difficult  to  erase. I  had  been  the  victim  of  the   first  infatuation of  my  life.    It  had  been  there  for  three years  now. And  no  one  except me knew  about it. It  wasn’t   just a  crush, it  had  taken over my  life.  I  had  heard  so  many  stories  from  my  friends   about  their  first loves , their  first  infatuations  and  how  they had nurtured  its memory   for  a  long  time  or  at  least  till  they   had  their  second  one. My story  was  different; as  there  was  no  space for a  second  love  in  my life. The  best part   of  it all this  was her  continued  appearance in  my  dreams  at  regular intervals.  And the dream repeated itself   whenever  I tried  to  keep  her  out  of  my memory. At  times  I  even  felt  that  her  thoughts  had started  to affect  my   studies seriously. Her thoughts  had  invaded   every  activity of  my life. I could  not  keep  myself away  from  it. I tried lots of  other  diversions to  take  my  mind off  her. But whenever   I   even  partially  succeed, she  would re-appear in my  dreams.

This  was the  the  third  dream  of her after I had  left school.  I  had  lost  touch with almost  all my  classmates.  I did  not  have  her  address  because I  had  never  visualised  the sort of  whirlwind  it would bring into my  life  when I  would go   away  from  her.  After  the  second  dream  I   contacted  some  friends  in the city   but  they  too had  no  clue  about  her. She  had  probably  changed  the  city  due  to her   father’s transfer. One of my friend  gave  me  an   old address he  had  of  hers.  So one day   I wrote  an  innocuous  letter, lest  someone  else  lay his  hand  upon it. And then  I kept  waiting for  a  reply   for months. A  year  passed by  and  I did  not  receive  any communication.

I  had  first seen  Raga  when  she  had  taken  admission  in  class  XI in  our school   and  at  the  very  first  glance I  fell  head  over  heels for her. In  my  eyes  every  part  of  her was  specially  sculpted. Every  word she  uttered  had  a  new  musical  note in  which  I  could  get  inundated and  weave  a  song  around  it. Every  glance  of  her towards  me  was   like  a  big  hug  which I would preserve  for  days,  or  till  I  got  a  second  look. The day  I  did  not  see  her  in  the  class  would become   a  gloomy  day. My permanent seat was   on the desk right  behind  her   so  that  she  was  never away  from  my  gaze.  My  every  action was  to draw  her  attention.  Even my success in  studies  was with the aim  to  impress her. I loved the weekdays and hated  Sundays, for Sundays  took  me  away  from  her.  Whenever  she was  absent  on grounds of  ill health,   I  would  secretly  pray   to God  for  a miracle  to make  her  well  soon.   God mostly listened  to  my prayers  and  she  would  be  back  in class  the very  next  day. She  was  a  very good  orator  on stage   and   whenever  there  was  a  competition in school , she  would  win and I  would  generally  get the  second position. I would  feel  happy   for her.  But once,  in order  to  impress  her , I  prepared so  well  that  I   won  the debate  competition. I thought  she  would  come  over and  congratulate  me as  I  used to  do  whenever she  won . But  she  didn’t. Instead she  ran  towards  the  class  and cried on  her  desk. When  I  saw  her  crying I decided  to  not   to  take  part in any competition thereafter. The school  days  passed by   this  way  but  I never gathered  enough courage   to   convey  my  real  feelings.

About five  years   passed after school  trying to  locate her. The friends I contacted   knew  nothing about  her  present whereabouts.  Instead  they started teasing me.  They  advised  me  to  forget  her  as  she probably  had  moved away.  So I kept  quiet  about  it  and  started  to concentrate upon  my  studies.  Some more time passed this  way , trying to  find clues. But none arrived. I thought I  had  finally been   able  to  push her  out of my mind. But  it  was  not  to  be.

Then  one night  she  suddenly re-appeared  in  my  dream. I was  back in the  garden again and there  she  was,  at  a  distance, in her  usual form.  I was captivated once again  by  her  presence. I  could  feel  myself  going numb. She  seemed  to  be  glowing  as  a goddess of  beauty. I  kept  looking  at  her , totally spellbound for  quite  some time.  Eventually I  got  up  from the  bench   and  moved  towards  her. She  did  not move  away. We  walked  together for a while.

“How are  you , Raga?” I  asked.

“I am  fine . And  you?” she  answered.

“I have  got a  job and it  keeps  me  busy”. I said.

“I  am also working  as  a teacher  in  a  school”. She  replied.

We  were  ambling   in the garden and  there  was  nobody  else around. I was  thinking , should  I tell  her  about my inner  feelings now?  Though  I  had  a  job, it  was   too early  to  marry. What  if  she  takes  offence  to my  advances? Such questions  kept  crisscrossing my mind.

In order  to make  some conversation I simply  asked her, “How are  your  parents and  sisters?”

“They  are  fine” she  said.

“They   want me  to get  married soon”. she added , looking into  my  eyes.

“Is  it?”I blurted out.

There  was  a sudden  knock  at  the  door and  my  eyes opened. I  was dazed  by  this  sudden  tsunami  in  my  dreams. A  tear  rolled  down my eye. Does  she  really  exist   somewhere?  Waiting for  me?  This   question began to  haunt  me. Why could I  not  express  my  feelings  even  today.  What  she  told  me-  was that  a  hint for me to act now?

But where  was she ?

I  got up from  the  bed and moved towards  the  lone  window  of  my  room and  looked  at  the  vermilion  sky  of  dawn. My eyes  closed  . A  soulful prayer  came out   of  my heart.

Please bring  her  to  me , or help me  forget  her. Save  me  from  this  torture. Please, oh God,  have  mercy  on  me.”

As  before, I  was not  myself for many days . I was  in  a  different  world thinking  of  her  all  the  time. My  work  began  to  suffer. I tried  to talk  to  some  friends   about  our classmates in general  but none seemed  to  have  a clue.  Every day  was  becoming difficult.   I  gave  up  after a  month of futile  chase, but continued  to pray  to  God.  Nothing  happened.

Another  year  went by. I  was  prepared  for  the dream to  re-occur.  I  knew  she  would  come . Every night,  before  I  slept  I  thought  of  her, thinking  she  would  come in my dreams  and I would   tell her about  my  feelings  and  inquire  of  her  whereabouts. Some months  passed  by  but  she did  not  appear. Then one  day  I  was  having  an  afternoon nap,  and  I saw  her.

Yes,  she  was  there ,  but  she was standing  far away  from me, at the other  end  of  the  garden. So far away   that I could  barely   see  her  face. But I  could recognise     her even  from  that  distance. I  tried  running  towards  her but then  realised  someone was there  with her. They seemed to  be  in  conversation. When  I  got  near  her he  was  gone.

She  smiled    at  me and  my  heart   melted  once again.

“ I  have  got  married.”  she  said looking  as  bright as  before.

“To whom?” I asked .

There  was  no  answer.

“Does  this mean  you will not come to this  garden ever  again?” I  asked , feeling dejected at  what  I had  seen.

“Do  you want  me  not  to?” She  asked.

“No. I  want you to come. I  feel very  nice meeting  you”. I  said.

“Why? ”  She  smiled as she asked.

What  should  I  say now?  I  thought to  myself- She  is  married  but  to me  she  was still  the  same  Raga , the marble  goddess she  was in school. I  wanted  her  to  be here  with  me  in this  garden for some   time more  .  Yet  I   said  nothing  to  hold  her  back.

“Because  I  used  to  like  you  in school”.  I   managed  to  say.

“And you  mean   you  don’t  now?” She   smiled  and  I   once again  swayed  to  the  bliss of  her beautiful  eyes. I knew she  liked me.  I got  up  to say the  words  I always wanted  to  but saw her move  towards  the shadows  in the distance.

And my eyes opened.

This time  the excruciating  aftermath of  the   dream  lingered much longer  than  usual. I recommenced my search for  her. I  had  to find  her. It  was getting  too much for  me  to  bear.  I took some leave   from work and  reached  my  school. Checked  the  records  but  could not  find  her   address. She was  not  registered  in the  School  Alumni  list  either. By now the  internet  had  also  evolved  but  it  could not  give  me   any clue. I  shot  some blind emails at  anticipated addresses  like ragabiswal@hotmail.com, ragabiswal@yahoo.com  and waited.  All  my  efforts  proved  fruitless. I  was  annoyed  at  the Gods  and  so  I   prayed with angst  and   lamented why I  was  being  put through  this torture. I  also   visited  a  renowned  dream analyst  in  the  city  and after listening  to  my tale  of  love  and  loss   she  opined  that  though  this  was  a  very  strange  case , keeping  all  the  emotional factors away , it’s  was  simply  my  own pent  up  feelings which  I   could  not  convey to  her  at  the  appropriate time. This put an end to my turbulence. I  walked  back home  in silence and  stopped  my  hunt  lest  I  get  declared   a nut.

Whenever  I  dreamt of her   again,   time  stopped for me . Between  the  dreams,  the  time  would  fly   and  I  would wait  for the  next  glimpse  of  her. I  was living from dream to  dream.

Some more  years  passed.  I  got  married . I had  a  beautiful,  caring  wife. My  memories of   Raga were slowly   fading away   but  were not  totally  obliterated yet. I  would  not  think of  her everyday  but  whenever I  visited  some  social  sites  on  the  internet my  hands could  not stop  but  type  her  name in  the  search  box.  It  must have  been almost  fifteen  years  since we  had  parted at  school.   One  day  I  hit upon  an  old family album  and  found  a  class photo and  there she  was – the  marble  beauty,  as  glorious as ever. I  could  not  sleep for several  nights. My  fading  memory rekindled. I  wanted  to meet  her  again. Many a times my  eyes became  moist while  thinking about  her  and  the  dreams  of the past. A single  glimpse  was  all  I   wanted  now. She  also would  have  grown  up  like  me, happily  married somewhere  with beautiful  kids . I knew  all  that. But  all these  arguments  of  my   head   were not  acceptable to  my  heart. I  began  to  stay  aloof and  talk  less  to   my  wife. I  would  spend  my  days  praying to God   or  on  the  internet searching for a clue. Time  had come to  fulfil the desire of my delicate heart.  But  inspite  a  frantic  search  I    again reached  a  dead  end. I  tried  all possible yellow  pages. So  many  name  combinations but  failed. Feeling  that  there  was  no  chance  of finding   her  in  real life I  wished that   even  if  I  saw her  in my  dream once more;  I will say  good bye to her  once and for  all.

As  I  was  nearing  my  fortieth birthday,  my  wife  Simran and  two children  were  preparing  a  big party. But my  mind  was  somewhere else.

And then  one day she  finally came to  the garden.

In all her glamour and simplicity she was  clad in a traditional  saree. She  looked so different  and mature  now, I  was  simply   fascinated to see her. She  was  walking  towards  me  and  I could  not  take my eyes off her. As  she  drew closer  I  was simply  enthralled  by  her  aura. She  will remain stunning forever  I  thought. Today, I was  prepared  to  speak it  all. I  had  even written  and  rehearsed  the sentences. But somehow   they  refused to  come  out  of  my  mouth.

“Raga, where  were you for so many years? I  have  got  married and  have a  beautiful  wife and  lovely   kids now”. I  said , my throat  choking.

“I know  that.  I  was  always there   with  you.” She smiled.

“ Today I want  to confess something.” I  said ,gathering some courage .

“Go  ahead, tell  me.” She  said.

“I  have loved  you   for  so long. I  have  only been   thinking  of  you all  the time. I have  seen  you  in every rose, in every  petal  and  in  everything  of  beautiful. I have  prayed for  you  in  every temple , to  a million deities. Every day  has  started  and  ended  with  thoughts  of  you. No  one can take your place in my mind.   I  can’t live without  you. You  are  my  first   and  last  love of  this  life,  Raga. Come with me  or  take   me  with you  where  ever you go.”  I  said,   looking  into  her  gorgeous  eyes. We  were  both sitting  down  on  the  grass today. And  that made  me  feel  so  very  light  that I told  her  everything  I  had always  wanted  to.

“I  have  always loved you too Raveen, may be  you never  realised that”. She  said, softly  holding  my  hand. It  was  the  first  time we  had  touched each  other I could  feel  the warmth of her  hand , just  like  the  warmth in  her  voice  today.

“Raga,  I can’t  tell you  how  much I    have  missed  you.” Saying  this  I  laid  down on  the  soft  grass  and  closed  my  eyes. She  was  still  holding my  hand.

She  bent  over  me and I   suddenly  felt a  soft  kiss  on my  forehead and then on my cheek.  My  eyes  opened  and I could  see  her before me. I  could  feel  her tenderness. I  could  feel  her soft  hand holding my own. I  could  feel her marble smooth skin.  Yes, it  was  real . It  was  her. My  dream  had  come true . She  had  finally  come  into my  life. I  closed  my  eyes again  and my  arms  went  up and  hugged  her  tightly not  to  let her go away this time.

“Happy  Birthday, darling” Simran   said.

I clenched my  hands  tight.

“Happy  Birthday darling” reverberated  the voice again. It  was  the  same  voice, the same blissful  voice of  my  dreams! Why  had  I  never felt  the  semblance! My prayers  had   been  answered finally.

“Thanks for coming   into  my  life”. I   said

“I was always  here  with  you”  pat came the answer from Simran ………. or ….  Raga .

They were  one  and  the  same. It  was  me  who  had  missed  the  connection.

I had  found  my  first and my  last  love.

 Everyday  was  a  dream,  thereafter!

On Reaching 50

images (11)On Reaching 50

I  am not the only one,  neither I am  the first one who  has  reached 50. Many  have crossed it  and many will  cross it in future.

But  it certainly is a special milestone , not for  me alone  but for everyone who has  crossed it ….

Unlike others I  wish to  halt  here  for a short  musing  and mulling and think of what I have  lived  and  how I   intend to  live in  the  time to  come…

The life  I have lived  has  been tirelessly busy, mundane and over disciplined. There was no humour, no fun, but only responsibilities. Which I think I  have  fulfilled to my  best.

The loss of my parents very early in  life  has been  an irreparable loss from which I have not been able  to  fully  recover  even now.. At  some stage when I wore the  uniform  of an officer, the organization i.e the army took over the role of my parents. It has gave me safety , security, love and care.  Because of which I  could  stand up to take on  the world. My wife ,  kids  brother and sisters are  now  my universe. My friends  and  students are  my lifeline. Teaching life skills is my  passion.

I am eagerly looking at the  times to  come with  hope, to see   new things  happen in this ever  changing world. I do hope to contribute a speck in helping people  and improving the lives  of people  who need  my help.

I  pray to  almighty  to  give me  strength to be able  to do something  for  the  society-for the  needy, the  poor  and  those  who strive  to improve  from  their present  destinations. Thats  all is  my aim  and  resolve for  times  to  come.


Prompt Action by Railways

Prompt Action by Railways…..
Today I boarded the Rajdhani Express today morning from secunderabad for nizamuddin.. Soon the breakfast was served but the quality of food  was not so good. We just had it. After some time came the pre-lunch soup… Which was simply tasteless and drab. I told the service person but he said nothing and walked away. After sometime lunch was served which too was of  extremely inferior  quality. We could hardly eat half of it. Luckily, we were carrying some packed items from home so we managed. After lunch, the quality of ice cream was simply  appalling. This whole experience put me off and  I started  contemplating of putting in a complaint or Suggestions on IRCTC website.
Then suddenly I got a call from +91139(I think it’s the railway number). The voice message wanted me to rate my experience on two issues i.e quality of food and punctuality of service. I rated both as very low. The voice msg told me that I can also tweet my experience at @RailMinIndia .
I promptly tweeted. Within few minutes I got a reply and I was asked my pnr number which I typed immediately.
To my surprise within an hour the catering manger in the train came searching for me and asked me what the issues were with food. I gave him the details. He apologized and promised to show improvement in the dinner.
And certainly the food served in the dinner was well cooked and tasty.

Thanks to the railway for adopting technology and taking prompt action on complaints.
However, I am writing this so that every one is aware that as train-travellers, we should not accept sub standard treatment and also if we take the pains of reporting the matter , the officials are prompt in responding.

At the end I also tweeted thanks @RailMinIndia.

The First Love


Recently while  sitting with  my  senior professor in the department over a   tete-e-tete the  discussion rolled over  to  the environment  of freeness prevailing in  colleges and  universities these days. The senior professor suddenly  became nostalgic,  kept looking  on  the  wall for sometime  and  said in  a  thick grumpy voice  which had  a speck of  a  regret in it, “I too  used to like a girl in my  college  days  and  could  never  stay  without  having a glimpse of  her everyday.” As  my eyes became  agog at the candid confession @60,  a  memory  not less then 40 years  old , he  avoided looking at me and  continued  looking  at  a  spot on the   blank wall  where  probably  he was seeing a image of her.

“she was my  first love and the last one too”. He said in a low romantic tone and a tiny smile  broke  at his lips.

“ Sir  did you confess your  feelings to  her ?” I  asked giving  a real  worried and concerned  look on my face.

“Obviously  not , in our times  we never  had the  courage  to go in  for  such things. And  even if I had,  I knew the answer  would have  not  only been a ‘No’  but it could  have  resulted  in a  complaint against me  and  a probable rustication from  the  college  itself.   I could not afford  to  taking such  a risk”. He muttered  closing his eyes.  “And Sudhir,   She  was  so  beautiful and  I was  so ugly at  that  time, there was  no chance of getting  an affirmative  answer”

Hearing  this  I could not  resist to let  Sir  not vent  out  his  long suppressed  feelings which  probably  he  had  kept hidden for decades. “ Sir, you know where she  is  now?” I asked .  “ Yes” He nodded. “ Why not say it  now, Sir?” I  pushed a  bit  further.

He took  a deep  breath, looked  at  the  same  spot  on the wall   , then  looked out of the  window at the  budding autumn leaves  on the branches of a  tree which  were  falling on the window of the  Head of  the  Department office. He  closed his  eyes and  said, “No. its too late now Sudhir”.

“Sir,  You  did not speak  to her at  that  time for fear of rejection? Isn’t  it?” I asked.

“Obviously Yes” He said

“Sir,  do you see her often nowdays”I  asked .

“ Not really,  she  is married  in another town  but  has  recently shifted  back to  Ambala after her father’s  demise to stay with  her ailing  mother.” He  was now opening his inner feeling to me.

Though  I  was much younger to  Shukla Sir I too  had  been teaching in the same department  for last  10  years . Me and Shulka  sir  shared a  good friendship and had  common views  on a  number of topics. Sir  had  taught  me  during my MA studies when  he  was  a young  lecturer  in the same department of the  university. As  students we  always found  him to  be  a  smart  teacher  ,  not  ugly at  all  what  he thought of himself  today. He was also  astoundingly  intelligent  and  knowledgeable about his  subject , Economics. Even today  his tall  and  lanky figure  would  be  a  matter of  envy  for  a  large  number of  people  who  are  in his  age bracket. He  even  partially  dyes his hair of  the otherwise receding hairline. He  ensures he  presents  a  smart  demeanor but at the  same  time displays  the  grace  of  his age  in  his day to day dealings with everyone. He is  married to an equally graceful lady.

“ Sir, when did  you see her last” I asked.

“ last week” He responded.

“ Sir, is she as  beautiful  as she  used  to  be in college?” I  asked.

“Come on Sudhir, obviously not,  with age beauty wanes, grace  stays” He  said.

“Sir with age ugliness  also  goes and grace  comes to those  who  are  sincere,  you are  one of  them. You look smart  , rather  very smart for your age and exceedingly handsome and graceful. You are  now  evenly placed. Go ahead tell her your feelings” I  said.

“ How can I say It now? I am married  with grown up kids and your bhabhi has  been  so nice  to me all my life. No,  I cant  do this. It will be a  sin.” He retorted back .

“But you  will  keep remembering  her all the time, is that not a sin?” I  said sounding  adamant now.

“ Sir what I  am  telling  you do is not going to be a sin.”I  said.

He looked  at me but  kept quiet.

“ I too want  to confess  something to you today” I said  looking  at his expectant  eyes.

“Really? You too had a first love”? He said

“ Sir,  everyone  in his life has  a  ‘first  love’ , what  varies is  the intensity with  which  a  person loved  his ‘first love’ . If that  intensity is  high like in your  case  the  feelings  linger on for a lifetime, in others is  just  wanes  down with time. But  that’s  not  what I am going to share with you  today  , What I am going  to share with you  is different. I  had been  a ‘first love’ of someone”. Saying this I suddenly stopped and looked at him.

“ What ?” and you knew about  it”? he said  with eyes  wide open. “

“ No Sir  , I never knew about it. I  knew  her as a friends in the neighbourhood  in my  teens  and  college days  but  never had  any feelings  for her. Both  families  knew  each  other  well and we  used to  meet  like  normal  friends in groups  during  social functions in the coloney. After I got my  job here I  moved out and she  too got married after  a couple of  years.  But there  was  no such  feeling of love and all   ever  from my side.” I said

“ Then  how do you know  you were  her ‘first love’?. He  asked little irascibly.

“ Sir , it  has  been 20 years  and  she  also is well settled  with  grown up kids. Last  year  she  had  come to  our  town on  some family business work and called me up for some help. She  was  staying in  a good hotel here. I  went  to  help her  and  over  a cup of tea  she  became  very serious. I asked  her, “Ruby what happened , you are  in entangled in what thoughts”.

She  said ‘nothing’ but  left  suddenly   after  saying  that she  had to  catch up  with some work   with her business  clients. I  returned  home rather surprised at her behavior.

Shukla Sir was listening  to  me rather attentively now.

“What  happened then?” He asked.

I  got a  call at 10pm that night from her. Worriedly  I picked  up  the  call hoping  all  was  well with  her as she  was  staying all alone in a hotel.

“I want to  talk to  you ,  are you  free now?”She asked

“ Yes,  but you never talked  in the morning  when we met,  what is it?” I  asked.

“ I did not have  the  courage  to  talk  to  you face to  face , that’s why I moved out for my work leaving the tea halfway”. She  said in a  low voice.

“ Tell me now,  what is  it that  you wish to talk to me?” I asked.

“Did  you love me when you were  studying  in college”? She suddenly asked and my heart  missed  a  beat  at this question.

I became  numb.

I did not know  what  to answer. I had  never  loved  her in  a way  she  was asking. I actually  never  even  had  thought of her like that. Infact  we  were not  even best  of friends  . So this question  was  so much of a shock. She was  such  a graceful lady now, mother  of two  teenage  children and  with  a smart husband who had a  big family business in Delhi.

“ I am waiting  for an answer Sudhir, Please answer me ,  you  loved me, right ? but could  not  get  a chance  to  say  it, isn’t it?” She  asked  with  a  voice which was  intense  and  sweet.

“ Ruby, where  are  you right now?, how  was  your  day?” I said.,   trying to avoid  the  answer but concurrently  my  mind was working overtime  to select  the apt words to use if I am cornered  for an answer.

“ Sudhir, I  want to know sincerely. Answer me.” she said.

“ What should I say?…….look we  booth are happily married……..why are you asking this  question  after such  a long  time?” I said trying some cryptic logic to avoid giving  a direct answer.

“ No, I  insist” She  said.

“ Ok  if you  insist, the answer is ‘No’.  But  Ruby  why are you  asking  such  a question….Look  we  are grown up  people now.” I  said.

There  was  a silence  on the other end now. Then she  spoke.

“ There  was not even an iota of feeling of love for me Sudhir, please tell me?” She said   pleadingly.

“Ruby  please don’t misunderstand me, I was too busy in my  studies in college and then immediately after  college I got the  job, I did not have time for  feelings for anyone. But  please  tell me why  this eruption after twenty years?” I said.

“ Because  you were  my first and last love and I always believed you loved me too.” She  whispered  amidst  sobbing.

We both  were  quiet for a while for she  had shocked me and I too had let  her down.

“Ruby please ,  how  would I know that you loved me? Did you ever say it?” I  said  trying to defend my case.

“ Sudhir in our times how could  girls  say such  a thing? you  should have  sensed it yourself.” she said, amidst  intense sobbing.

“ You  can say it today if  you want?” she said.

She was really insistant now and I  could  realise the  intensity  of  love in her voice. But I  was  also  helpless as I could  not say such  a blatent lie at any cost. Let the tears roll but  I will not confess  what was not the truth. Love is  from  the  heart it can’t be pretended even in retrospect.

“ No,  that shall not happen.” I  said.

“ Ruby please  relax,  life  for both of  us has  moved  fine. Lets live  the  way it  is.”  I  said.

Sir, Soon  after  that  she  hung up. I  am  sure she  did not sleep that  night.  I too kept awake for a long time and kept thinking of  the old times but could  not connect any incident  where she  had  displayed  any  special feelings or  may be  I   never  bothered to note. Anyway life  had moved on.

Sir  was listening  attentively to  my  confession.

“ What happened  after that? He asked after a  pause.

“ Sir, she called  up next day in the morning.” I said

“ What ? she  did?  I thought  she  would  never ever   speak  to you after  your rude reply.” he  asked

“ Yes  sir, she  did. You can’t forget your first love so  easily, isn’t it?. I  replied.


Next day morning, I  waited for  a minute before I picked up her call. Her  voice was  mellow now.

“ Sudhir, If  time  was to go back,  would you still not love  me?” She asked .

“Ruby  time does  not go back. Lets  live in present.” I answered.

“ But why  can’t  we  think and  take our  minds back?” she  insisted.

“ Look  Ruby my answer  would  still be same”. I  said as I wanted to finally prevail and leave no more misunderstandings.

This time she  did not cry.

“  OK, can we  be friends?” she  asked.

“ on one  condition.” I said.

She  was  shocked but asked  “What  condition?…… That  I  should never call you again? …..Then how will we  remain  friends?” saying this she  laughed  now.

“ I am happy  to  hear you laugh . The condition is that you  will bury the  past and  not mention it again. Ever. Promise?” I insisted on an answer and a promise now.

“ Yes,  I promise.” She  said happily.

After this it was my turn to surprise her.

“ I  too want to confess  something to you.” I  said.

To  which  there  was  a  sound of a deep  breath  which  I  could even   hear  on the mobile.

“What do you want to confess?” she  asked  softly. May be  she  was  expecting  the unexpected confession from me. May be the actual  story would  turn out to  be  a Hindi  movie  climax. But it was  not.

“I  am totally  floored by  your  boldness of  saying this so candidly…….  confessing this after 20  years. And inspite of  having  such  a successful  marriage  and  still taking the  risk of saying this  to  another  person. It requires guts…..hats off  to  you.” I said.

“ Sudhir  ,  you know  something , a  big burden has got off my head and heart today. I am feeling very light. I  feel  I  may have  lost  a  lover  but  I have  regained  a friend” She  said confidently.

“ Indeed you have” . I said  with  a feeling of  triumph of truth over  a lie.Had I lied  under duress I  would have  been in  a  burden throughout rest of my life.

Sir, after that  me and Ruby   have  become    good friends. At times  I even take  some piece of advice from her on important issues and  so does she. There is  no mention of ‘love’ or ‘no love’ any more,  we  are both  living  peaceful lives and knowing well our responsibilities and boundaries.

But  somewhere  within  me  this incident brought   a nice  feeling  that I  was  also loved. Thats it. I did not  get  angry at  her  saying it to me. I  rather felt happy that I  lessened her burden.

“ Sir, why I shared  this very intimate  part of  my life with  you  is to help  you go ahead and lighten your burden”.  I  said ,  looking at  my Head of Department who had  again started  staring blankly at his pet  spot on the wall.

“ I  will not be  able to do it I feel.” He  said somberly.

“ Sir  it will  make you feel  light and believe  me  she will  appreciate it   too. After  all  you look  much smarter  than ever  before.” I said in a light tone but that  did  not change his deep-in-thought expression.

“Hmm…….. I will think about it. Thanks for sharing  your  experience. Bye”. He said in voice  which meant I should leave him alone..

Weeks passed  and Shukla Sir  avoided  meeting me and  stayed  very  serious  in the Department in a world of his own. I too did not bother him.

Then one day  suddenly I  got  a  message  to  reach his office. Seeing me he said , “Thanks  , I am feeling much  lighter today.” the  smile on his face showed that he had succeded.



Friends For Life

Friends  for  Life

  • Mohinder Pal Singh

Every  now  and  then all  of  us  meet  some    strangers .  With  some  we  exchanges  glances  ,  with  others   some  words  and  with  some  we becomes  friends. No one  is  born  with a  bunch of  friends. We  are  born only  with  our  parents.   All  friends  come  into our lives   first as  strangers , and  then  out  of them  some stay  with  us  as  friends   while   others  depart . The  journey from  strangers  to friendship depends  on  some  pre-requisites.  The first  one   by  its  presence  and  the  other  by  its  absence. The first,  is   the  presence  of  the  feeling  called  mutual.  Everything  in  friendship is  supposed to  be  mutual; be  it  respect,  love,  understanding or   genuine feelings. Nothing  can  be  one-way on the road of friendship.  The  second  is  important by  its  complete  absence  and  i.e   hatred.  This  absence  also  has  to  be in both and  not  one. If  it  is  present  even  in  one  person  it  will  not  let  the bond  nurture. For  a  good  bond of  friendship to  germinate  the  strong  presence  of  the  first  and  the complete  absence  of  the  second  in  both is  a  must.  Some  other  good  or  bad   feeling like  jealously,  competition  can  co-exist  in miniscule  quality without doing much harm .  The  bond of  friendship  can  withstand  them  to  a  great  extent. It  will be  surprising to  note that  the  gender, age , caste, religion, colour  play   so  little  role  in  this  process. Some even  say  that  the  opposites  attract but  that  too  cannot  be  postulated  because sometime  similar  also attract.  No  theory  of  science ,  art  or  psychology  has  ever  been  able  to  explain  the  nuances  of  this relation clearly. The  how  and  why people  becomes  friends  still  remains  an  inexplicable  mystery. Only  one  thing  seems clear and that is it  all  stems  from  the mind   and  thoughts.

An   indelible   truth of  the  life  is that  all friends  were  strangers  one  day.  But   all strangers  do  not  become  friends,  is  also  true. When two strangers  meet for  the  first  time  , something  wriggles in them, something  kindles, some neurons  snap and some  signals  mingle , only then  begins  the  process. If  the  signals  are  present  only in  one  person the  process  of  bonding  will  not  commence  effectively because  the  first   condition  is  not be  met. Once  initiated  , the  process of  friendship goes  through  some subtle and   overlapping phases. The first  phase is  the  introductory  phase  , where  the  strangers  develop  an innate urge to  know  each other. This may be  in  a  kind  of simple  hand-shake  in college, a  party or  in  a  meeting. The  introductory  phase may  last from a  few  seconds to a few  days. It  may  involve  some  verbal  introductions  about  each  other or  may  be  just  a glance. Once the  vibe  sets  in  and  the conditions  listed  above  seem  in place the  process starts. Closely  following this  phase  , is  the  second phase  called  the  Inquisitive  phase. After  a   brief  introductory phase  heralds into  curiosity and    you  wish  to  know  more  about the  person  (  if  you  do  not  know  it  earlier). Even  if  you  know  it  earlier  ,  anybody  will  like  to  be  in  verbal  communication . Inquisitiveness  includes  knowing  about   his/her  habits,  nature , likes and dislikes. This  phase lasts  for  a  much longer  duration.  This  is  followed  by  the  third phase called, Sharing  phase.  Having known    a person for  some  time  you develop  some  faith  and  you   feel  like  sharing  things. This  may mean sharing  some  of  your  not  so  important  secrets  or  even  physical  things  like  giving  small  gifts etc. This  is  followed  by the  fourth  phase  called  the  Test  Phase.   The  road  from  being strangers  to good  friends is  not  surfeit  with rosy petals  all  along. There  are  rough  and  muddy  patches  enroute  which  need  to  be crossed  . At  times  true  friends  can  be  harsh and  rude  too. The  Test phase comes  in when  misunderstandings , personal biases creep in. This  needs  maturity in understanding  and   handling the  feelings  of  a person. The last phase of  friendship  is the   Move –on  phase.   Once  the  bacon of  the friendship  has  been  baked  properly  under the  phases   then  it  can withstand  the  vagaries  of  life and  nature  for  a  life  time.  No  amount  of  time-gaps, silences  and    devilism can  sever  such strong  emotional bonds.

This  article  will  be  incomplete  if I  do not mention  friendship in today’s fast-moving-life  context. Friendship  in today’s  context  is  like  a  continuum,  it  is fast moving, it  has  to  remain dynamic,  it is  for  a  purpose. It  is like  a  tiny  electron which  is  always  in excited  state, always  in  motion. Due  to  24X7  communication  channels, you   can  be  always  be  in  touch with  each other.  Extend  help  and  seek  help continuously. Another  very  important  feature  of  friendship  in  the present context is  the  large  number  of  strangers   to  choose  from.  When  you have  too  large a  number to  handle  the  depth decreases. In earlier days communication was  slow  and friendship  was  more  grave  and personified. Today  it  is  not. Friendships too  have  become like  a  FMCG( fast –moving  -consumer-goods)commodity . Even  after  going  through   the    arduous  phases of  friend-development one  does  not  wink once  before  giving  up  with someone and picking  up  another. Speedy communications have tremendously microscoped  even  the phases  of  friendship-development.

So  in order  to  keep  your  friendships  in  order and  long  lasting  what  needs to be  done?

It is  simple. Firstly, take  friends  seriously because  good  friends  are  a  gift  for life. If  you  have  friends  maintain your  link.  Once  you  make  a  friend stay  in touch, it is  easy to  do  so nowdays. Second, easy communication  also has   a  serious  negative  effect of  breeding misunderstandings. Simply  guard against it. Thirdly, come  what may ,nobody  likes  un-asked  criticism on  anything. So hold your  nerves  even  if you  don’t  like  some  unruly   actions of  your  friends ,  he  may have  his  own  reasons  or  compulsions. Lastly  always try to   be    a  motivating  factor. Everyone needs  it. And when  it  comes  from  a  friend it  has  a  very  soothing  effect.

Last  but  not  the  least , If  you  have one, don’t  loose  him/her…….


Positive Thinking lessons by my 10 year old daughter before my Angiography

It  was  first week of  July 2013,  while doing my daily evening 5 km jog I felt  a  little  pain in  my  chest. I  stopped jogging  , walked  back home. After  reaching home and  sitting down  for sometime the pain automatically  subsided. Though I was a bit  worried initially but  soon  became normal  thinking  it must  be due  to some  gastric instability. The next day I  again ventured for my jog trying to keep the thoughts of yesterday’s  pain away,  but they kept  coming and i  kept jogging… but  suddenly  after  about  4 km,  the  same pain  at  the  same  place in  the  chest commenced its knock. I  was  a bit alarmed. I Changed  my jog to slow  walking and  took  a  short  route home. Came  and  sat down on  my  sofa, had two glasses  of water and  within 10 minutes the  pain  vanished. The next day and day after that I  insisted on going for my  jogs and the  pain insisted on  coming  back at  the  same  intervals.  In  the  end, on  continued insistence of  my wife and  kids I  visited  a friend cardiologist in the city of Allahabad. On asking my age ,  he said,” at 44 I  can’t take chances  with your heart  and you have to undergo some mandatory tests. All my pleading of , ‘otherwise i  am fit and fine’ went  in vain and next day itself  I underwent Treadmill  test  to which my  doctor  said he is sensing  some bit of aberrations . He immediately referred me to a Multi-speciality hospital  in Lucknow and put me on  5 tablets  a  day till the time  I could  take  leave and get my further tests  done  by a heart  specialist.

From  being a punctual fitness freak i was  catapulted into a sick man overnight.  My mood obviously   became sombre and  seeing me in this state my wife too  got worried. A  day before I  was to  leave  for Lucknow, my 10 year  , always  bubbly daughter  came and sat  next to  the bed  where  I  was lying down , trying to  sleep which was continously evading me. I  was  almost in a state where I  was  thinking that ,  will this be the last  night in my room, will I  come back  hale  and hearty? what if I  don’t  reach  Lucknow  also? Such  negative  thoughts  were  permeating  unobtrusively when I was  alone even for a minute. I  was  trying to  fight my negative  thoughts  with  all my  positive energy  at my  disposal which seemed to be slowly waning. Suddenly at around  11 pm my 10 year  daughter came into the room,  seeing me awake she  said, ” papa , You have  a train to  Lucknow at  7 am and  you  are  still  awake?” I  answered , “Yes my Child,  I am unable to  sleep,  but don’t  worry I am fine”. Hearing this  she sat  down on the chair next  to  the bed.

The  video  which i am going to  show  you all was  just unintutively recorded by me while my daughter was talking to me that  night. (  i would request  the  readers to  just see this  29 second  clip before going  back to the story- someone rightly  said child is the  father of  man).

Next  day  I boarded the train with a friend who  was accompanying  me for the trip. I must have  seen the  video  at least  three  times on my mobile  during the train journey and  everytime seeing  my daughter  giving me lessons a smile would erupt on my face. I  slowly started feeling that  I  have no problem and I would  be back with NAD( a medical term- No Abnormality Detected).

The short  journey of 5 hours soon ended and I was  admitted in the big Multi-speciality hospital. Next day  a  very  experienced  Cardiologist  examined me  and also conducted some tests like  echo, dopplers and TMT. In  the end he  opined that  there is some doubt of a mild blockage and  he  would like to put me through  angiography tomorrow morning. I  was  a bit demoralised at this  opinion. I came back to my hospital bed. My  friend Rahul  was there with me. He said, “Sir  dont worry you will be fine.” and then  we talked for a while  and watched some programme  on TV. The  ward  had two more patients  who  had undergone  angiography and  angioplasty a day prior and they were  sharing  their experiences. But heart of hearts I did not want to have  a stent in my heart at  44 years of  age.   I  wanted to  still go on  my morning and evening runs and play basketball – my favourite game,  which will  certainly not be permitted after an  angioplasty.

In the  evening  the  nurse  came to  give  a  dozen  medicine tablets. She was  very polite  and  told  me to be ready by  8 am as I would  be the  first one for the operation. She  assured  me that  I was in  the hands of  the best doctor in this field who  has a speckless  record of  doing these procedures. Amidst the  whirlwind of thoughts in my  mind  the assurances  of the nurse were  ineffective to pep me up. She made me pop some  half  a  dozen tablets which most likely included  a  relaxant because soon after  she left  i slept off.

I  was awakened at 6 am in the morning  with some more tablets to  control the BP  etc. Soon afterwards my  friend came to help  me  get  ready. Just  before I  left my  room I took the mobile in my hand opened the video of my cute daughter  and listened  to it again. I smiled ,  handed over the phone to Rahul and walked into the Cath Lab.

The whole procedure was  conducted  while I  was wide wake and Dr Goel was  talking to  me. After  10 minutes  his talk became  very light and we were laughing. He told me there  is no  blockage anywhere. I could not believe my ears ,  I  asked him again while still lying down on the operation table, Sir ” are  you  sure”. He said “yes, i have checked all the  channels of heart and everything seems perfect.” Go back and enjoy life.

I was  rolled  out of  the  cath lab.

He took my case sheet and wrote:-


Stop  all medicines.

(It has  been  5 years  since I underwent this procedure, was suddenly reminded of this incident today when  i was doing  my evening jog and thought of penning it down  for posterity)

**Thanks for reading . DO leave your comments on my blog to encourage me to keep sharing my experiences of life  and  on the  you tube channel to encourage  Jasnoor whose simplified  positive thinking  tips gave me a  new life).