Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category

The First Love

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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.

 

 

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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:-

NAD

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).

GENERAL BODY MEETINGS

17334187656857General  Body-Meetings

 

As I entered the classroom I found that there were only five girl students sitting on the last row of chairs . On seeing me they all  turned around  and then there was a sudden hush-hush talk.

“I think , he is a new student in our class.” I could hear some voice in between giggles.

I moved in and sat on the first bench. Opened my bag and took out a notebook. And tried to look into the blank  black-board  on  the wall . I knew that in college  Zoology as  a    subject  generally had few boys but here it seemed there were no boys in  the  class. Its going to be very difficult, I thought. I had come from a  boys school and was very uncomfortable in front of girls. Here the giggling from the rear  benches seemed to have moved closer. I think the girls had moved ahead. From the corner of my eye I could see that they were now occupying the row of chairs just one row  behind mine. Being first day in the college in Mumbai I was actually worried about being ragged by the seniors but here it seemed the situation was worst. I looked at my watch nervously and pat came a comment from the rear.

“We still have 5 minutes for the class” the pun was accompanied with a laughter.

The class room was very small room with just five rows of six chairs each. The chairs had a book rest on which one could write. I Thought there is no point in sitting here in the class, let me wait outside and let the girls have fun alone. Why should they have fun at my cost. So , I got up to move out of the class room , and suddenly a girl got up from the rear row and came to me.

“Hi I am Minal” She said and extended her hand for a shake.

I was taken aback at this intrusion. Till now I had never shaken hands with a girl. It was not so common in small town culture from which I hailed. Even if we wanted to do it   in our heart of hearts , the girls would not appreciate it and our extended hands  would remain extended in thin air only . So we never extended our hands in thin air infront of girls. Here I had a delicate hand in front  of  me to  be  shaken and as I looked up , a pretty face .

I was tempted but I was scared.

How  it would be to shake hands with a girl?  I did not know the  answer. Everybody seemed to be watching as there was a pin drop silence from the rear benches. Almost five seconds passed in this stalemate and the nubile hand was in front of me.

“Come on, I am not a untouchable. This is apartheid” She commanded.

I could not decide what to do. So I left the decision to my hand.

“Hi, I am M Joined the college today”. I replied and my hand decided to stay in the pocket only. I wanted it to come out but it held steadfast to the principles which the master had taught him for years. I respected the decision of my right hand .

The nubile hand  widrew slowly. And then another girl got up and came ahead.

“Hi I am Yasmin” said the second. Without extending her hand.

“Hi , I am Arpita”said the third

“Hi I am Geeta”said another .

Then the last to come ahead was seemingly the ring leader of girls. I could see from gait of confidence about her.

“Hi , Do you believe in General body –Meetings?” She said curtly giving me a sly smile and looking at others simultaneously.

“Which gereral body meeting? Departmental?” I said innocently.

“No I mean just general body-meetings” She said trying to be serious.

But just then my eyes quickly scanned the other girls and they had kept a hand on their mouths and were laughing.

It dawned on me what she was hinting at. But I didn’t want to get my leg pulled further so I showed ignorance.

“I don’t know” .I replied.

“tch, tch … so sad” she said looking at her friends.

“Whats your name” I asked the gang leader.

“You will come to know by yourself”. she answered arrogantly.

“Leave him , yaar, he will learn. Today is his first day.” said another one and they all went back to their chairs.

The teacher walked in and just behind him came in two guys and another girl who were standing outside in the corridor. The class started.

So in the next one week or so the class attendance was complete and we finally had a class of four boys and six girls. Among  the  classmates there was a  permanent pair of  a  boy  and  a  girl who would walk hand in hand all the time. And then another boy called Louis, who   had his girlfriend from some other class and would most of the time keep bunking . And the third boy called Dinesh was too busy all the times in his books and his goal was already set i.e to study in US so he talked of only how to crack  the GRE and so he was too boring for the girls. And that left me , whom they had given up on the very first interaction   because I was dumb and didn’t know the meaning of general body-meetings. For a number of days they maintained an ice wall.

But as the semesters passed  by  the interaction increased,  as we had to do lot of projects together. The ice wall began to melt , albeit slowly. My shyness also reduced to some extent and I started to communicate more freely. Me and Dinesh became good friends and sometimes  in the lab we both and the five girls would sit together and chat freely. Being a small class there was interdependence in terms of sharing notes and doing projects. I also came to know the name of that girl ; the gang-leader , she was Sandra. Sandra was a  bit softer now but still had her arrogant airs. Gifted  with good looks  and     fair  complexion she  knew  she  could pull crowds. Though she  was   slightly plump but  that  did not  dither  her  confidence  . She was always engaged in troubling teachers when she was not troubling the co-students with her sharp remarks.

The year ended well and Dinesh and I scored first and second position respectively. The girls too were not far behind and generally the class as a whole had done very well.

The next year my father was posted out of Mumbai and so I shifted to the hostel. The boys hostel was within the main building of the college campus. It was a five storied building with twenty rooms in each floor. All rooms were on twin sharing basis. I was sharing the room with a boy from the arts stream for whom enjoyment took far greater priority over studies. His father was a rich person and was sending him adequate money to enjoy  life in  Mumbai. Each one of us had a bed , a study table and a Cupboard all in one line along the length of the room touching respective side walls. One end of the breadth had the door and the other end two large windows. Now Paarjit , my  roommate had spicy tastes and he had a large collection of posters and centre page pin-ups from Playboy and Debonair magazines. On the very first day he displayed his collection on the wall above his bed. And along the bed he had pinned a six foot poster of his most favourite Hollywood actress , offcouse in bikini. In the manner that  when  he would sleep on the bed they would both be juxtaposed. Room Number 55 (our room) became the hot spot of the hostel and all the boys would come and admire Paarjit’s collection. He soon became a Hero of the hostel. On the opposite side my wall gave a deserted look. He told me that he can lend me some posters if I wanted but I said it is fine without it.

Second month in the hostel, one day Paarjit requested me if I could stay out of the room from 1 PM to 6 PM . I asked why did  he need the room to himself?.

“Are you going to do some more pinning up?” I asked.

“No, I am going to get my girl friend to the room. We wish to spend some time together.” He said.

“But girls are not permitted inside the boys room. You will get caught”. I said.

“Hey , you don’t know the customs of the hostel. Tomorrow is last Saturday of the month and is called ‘open day’ in the hostel. Girls , parents, sisters all are permitted from 9 AM to 6 PM in the rooms. Wake up, Mike(as he used to call me)”  He said.

“Oh, I see” I replied.

“So you getting your GF , eh? Why you need the room for 4 hours she can see it in ten minutes?” I said. It was my turn to pull his leg. I had a chance to pull the leg of the Hero of the hostel. Now I understood why he had decked up the room.

“Come on Mike, be a sport ,yaar. I have to help her with some project work. You know she is from first year class. Please yaar”. He pleaded.

“Ok, enjoy yourself Buddy.” I said and he gave me a big smile as to say how considerate I was to help him do the project of his GF.

Within a month of the first open day of the hostel the word spread in the college also. Somehow it reached the girls of our class too. One day when me and Dinesh entered the class in the morning we found the girls looking at me and giggling.

“ Am I wearing something funny?” I asked.

“No , No. when did we say that? said Minal.

“Then why are you laughing? I asked. My doubts were rising.

“nothing” they said.

“ok , then carry on laughing , if there is nothing”. saying this I moved to my seat in the front row.

There was a sudden silence at the rear benches where girls were sitting.

“No, there is something we want to ask you, Mr M”. Spoke Sandra.

“Oh, but you said there is nothing? I said. I never left any opportunity to pull  Sandra’s leg. Though she seldom gave  others a chance as it was she who would be teasing us most of the times.

“All this while you have been fooling us, eh. You are not so simple as you look. No?” She said.

“What do you mean? What have I done?” I said. I turned back to face them.

“We came to know that you have pinned up very spicy posters in your room.” She said amidst fresh giggles from her friends.

“So?” I replied.

I was enjoying this chat now. I didn’t want to defend myself yet by saying that my part of  the wall was  still  barren.

“We all want to visit your room” She said.

I was taken aback at this. I did not expect this. I thought they would just tease me and I would also just enjoy it. But this request was tricky.

“That is only possible next week when there is ‘open day’ of the hostel.”I said.

“Wake up, M , today is open day. Don’t try and dodge us , Ok?” said the gang leader Sandra .

OMG they had done  their homework, I thought.

“I will take you next month , today my room is in a mess” . I tried another trick.

“Never mind the mess. We just want to see it for a short while” She said.

I looked at Dinesh. He was smiling too. I understood this information has been leaked by him. But now I had to handle it myself.

“Ok , lets go.”  I said.

“Now? , Immediately?” Now it was their turn to be shocked.

“Yes”. I am ready.

The reaction from the girls was slightly slow but they all got up.

Within minutes we were at the reception of the hostel and then the lift. I pressed the button and the lift door opened.

As girls started to move towards the lift I stopped them and said. “All of you can’t go together. I will take you one by one”

Saying this I softly caught Sandra from her wrist and said, “first I will take Sandra to my room then all of you one by one”.

All girls were looking at Sandra now as to how she would react to the situation.

“ Why you want to take me  first?” She said . First time I could see an amalgamation of apprehension and innocence in the eyes of the gang leader.

“Because I have just decided to start believing in General Body-meetings ” I said looking into her eyes .

She jerked her wrist .

“Nooooo” she shouted and ran out of the hostel door.

Me, Dinesh and all the girls could not hold back our guffaws had a big big laugh standing there. They knew I had settled my score with her.

That day we  all went back to the class smilingly.

Next year i.e in my final year my roommate was changed and the walls were neat and clean again. I invited all girls from my class for a small party in my hostel room. And we all enjoyed. Sandra was there too. In her true form again. And there was no General body-Meeting held.

  1. All charcters in the story are fictitious, though the incident on which this is based is real.

 

Nampalli and the Sardar

 

Nampalli  and  the  Sardar

“From this  year  every new  entrant  in  the  hostel  will  be  first  interviewed  my  me  personally” . Shouted Fr Nampalli from a  distance,   to  the  student President of  the Hostel  while  the freshers  listened  at  a  distance. We  were  about  15  of  us  trying  our  best  to  get hostel  accommodation  in  one  of  the elite  college of  Darjeeling.  We  all  knew  that  if  hostel  is  not  given  then  we  will  have  to  spend at  least  four  times  the  money  to  hire  a  PG room  in the  town. And  that  will be  four  kilometres  from college.

“Stand  in  one  line ,  you freshers!  and  take  out  your  admission  cards” reverberated  the  voice of Nim Tsering  who  was  the  Hostel Student President. We  were  in  for  trouble  as  we  looked  at each  other so  as  to  be  asking  what will  the  life  inside  this  deadly  hostel. We  seemed  to  be  quiet unwelcome  guests.  But  the  mystery  was  going  to  be  unfolded  in  the  next  one  month  when we  would  join.

I was  fifth in the  row. When  my  turn came  I  was  called  in  . I  climbed the  five  stairs  to  the  hostel entrance  and  straight  in the   front  room found  a stern looking  Father  sitting on a  table. I  wished  him and  sat in the  chair  meant for me.. After confirming  my  name  he shot  a  direct  question.

“ Do  you drink  Alcohol?” Continue reading

“We want to see life”

When  I  was  in Delhi  , I  would  daily  go in the  evening  for  a  walk  in  the nearby  park.  There  I would  find  some  old people  just  sitting on  the  benches  from  4 PM  and  till  it became  dark. The  park  had  young infants  playing  with their  mothers/ maids,  young  and  middle  aged people  doing brisk walking in  order  to  loose  some fatty tissues, young  boys  doting some classmates  and   young  girls   strolling  whispering into mobiles  glued  to  their  ears . Amidst  this  bundle  of activity were  these quiet  , well composed  spectators  who had  no  phones  glued  to  their  ears , who  were  not  doting , who could  not  walk much and  yet  they seemed  to  enjoy  watching these  three  hours  of torment  activity  in  the  park. At the  turn  of  darkness slowly each  one   would wriggle  to their  respective  four  walls  of their homes, to be  there in  the  park  next day same time same  way.

One  day  I happen to  recognise one  old  man  sitting  there as a   colleague of  my father and  I said  “Hello Uncle, I  am son  of  ………. I  think  you  and  my  father  had  served  together somewhere”

“Oh  yes, my son , I  remember him. And  you were  such a  tiny  kid  then” He said  while  indicating  me  to  sit  next  to  him. For  the next  ten  minutes  it was  his  turn  to  remember  the  old  times . He  said  he  is  81  year old  now   and  both  his  children are  settled  in  USA.

When I  got  a  break I  shot  my  question  which  was  bugging  me  for  a  long  time at  him,

“Sir,  why do so many  elder people  just  come  from  their homes and  sit  here  for three  hours  watching  people. Would  they  not  like to  spend  time  seeing TV or read  or  do something else”. I  intoned  my long  awaited  question.

He thought  for  a  moment,  started  to  say something but halted . The  question  seemed  to have  foxed him. It  was an  analytical  question. The  answer had  to  equally  intelligent   too. His 37 years  of  speckless  service in Army behind him his  answer  had  to  befit his  age  and  experience.

“We  come  here  to  see  life. In  every blossoming   flower I  see  so many  colours  of  nature. In  every bud I see  the  emergence  of  new life , a  new  innings. In  every  leaf, I see   the strength  to cling to  its twig. In every   infant playing   here I  see a new  bloom of  life. In  every action of a young child , I  see  innocence of  God, truthfulness. In every  youth, I  see the unfathomed cosmic energy . In every adult  I see the  vagaries  of  life  he  has  gone  through. So , I  come here  every day  to  refresh my  memories   of  what all  stages  of life  I  have  gone  through. If  I  stay  at  home  I  will  only  see  the old  age. And there is nothing to   learn   from   old   age alone.  The   essence   of  learning lies in learning  at every stage  of  life .  For  people  like  us  who didn’t  do it then, now  is  the  time  to introspect. Learn   and   unlearn so many   mistakes  of   our   lives.   What we  did  right  and  what   we  did  wrong  at  every stage  in  our life goes  in  our  mind  like  a  re-winding of a movie.  We try and  re-live  every stage  of  our  lives  seeing ourselves  as  a  the  young child , young adult  and  then a full adult. These are   the learnings  which  I  carry everyday  from  this  park, my  son.” Saying this  he  adjusted  his spectacles   to  wipe  the  moistness  of  his  eyes. I could  make  out the  heavy load of  sweet and  sour memories   every old  person carries  with him.

As  I  got up to leave I bowed  down to  touch  his  feet  but instead  he  pulled  me  up and hugged. Next day onwards ten  minutes  of  my park  time  was  devoted  to  him everyday.