You Brilliant Thing!

They say, if a friendship lasts for 7 years, it’s likely to last forever.

Three years ago, I spoke to her for the first time ever. And that day, something inside me told me this is going to be a good run. With her. 3 months later we stepped in to begin a new journey together. We got on a Delhi – Chennai flight that was going to change our lives forever but we didn’t know that then. From the nonstop chattering during that flight to every single day at B-school, whether we were fighting (which we’d mastered the art of) or we were laughing our guts out at the most inconsequential things, we knew this was different. This woman’s been my best friend, my worst enemy, my mirror, my sister, my roommate, my inspiration and my worst nightmare all in one. She’s given me some of the most memorable days in life, and yet some of the most defining. Her strength, her attitude, her character, her weaknesses and her apprehensions make her who she is today. And am I glad to have met her!

We’ve fought like kids and patched up with hysterical laughter. We crib and cry and piss each other off, but she is and will remain a crucial part of me. Always.

Deepika Solanki, if there’s anything I want in life it’s to see you achieve all that you’ve desired. And I can promise you this one thing – I’m going to be right there every step of the way. To fight your fears with you, and squash them to the ground. To give you that tight bear hug when you need one. To show you the mirror when that’s required. To travel the world with you when you need to let your hair down. And to kiss your ass when you act like an idiot. But most of all, to tell you how amazing you are and how you inspire me even when we don’t talk for months at a stretch.

God bless you, you brilliant thing!

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Stare at Your Feet

When the Sun sets and the doors are locked,
When you can’t escape the loud ticking of the clock,
When your head screams these silent screams,
When you get nightmares about what were once sweet dreams,
When you stare at your feet, begging them to move,
But they lay motionless as if there’s nothing left to prove,
Push yourself just one more time,
Brush off the dirt, the stains, and the grime,
Take the longest road and run away,
And I’ll run with you till we’re both sand and clay.

The Wounded Heart

The wounded heart,
It’s never too smart,
Living life on the edge,
All its love it’ll pledge,
In all sincerity it beams one day,
And all too soon your lover gets away,
Your mind is numb, your heart ablaze,
Suddenly it’s only but a complicated maze,
But fear no more, for you will live,
One breath after another, to this world you’ll give,
Fear not, little one, for you will be content,
And then you’ll understand what all of this meant.

#55WordStory: Theme: ‘Solitary’

The fan creaked, tired from years of running. The old notebook sat there, waiting, desperate, screaming in silence – dog eared pages, torn at the edges. The coffee stains so permanent, you couldn’t guess there stood a table beneath.

The pen lay there – throat parched, breathing its last, paralysed. Solitary had been a way of life.

Practical files and lab coats

Not too long ago, we sat on those benches wearing that uniform, registers in hand. Some of us too studious, others too sporty. Some who loved to bunk, others who wouldn’t ever think of it. We were first benchers and last benchers. And our problems were pimples and class tests. Inter-section sports tournaments were our life and birthdays meant treating friends to the oily tasteless chole bhature in the canteen.

Then, of course, there were slambooks and rose days. There were friendship bands and class boards to decorate. There were house meetings and punishments for entering class late. There was excitement around teachers’ day celebrations purely because there’d be no classes that day. There was writing love letters and passing notes, doodling behind copies and chewing pen caps. There was a certain aura around whiteners and a certain charm in never carrying a pen to class. This was when buying ink for fountain pens seemed like an ‘investment’, and the most exciting ‘tiffin’ we carried was for that one picnic every year.

Then, there were those last-day-of-exams plans that almost always screwed the last exam simply because we were dying of excitement as the hour drew closer. And there were roses hidden in books, stolen hugs on a deserted staircase, the butterflies in our tummies when we’d be the only ones in a dead quiet corridor, that wrapper ofthe first chocolate ‘he’ got you. There was the transition from buckled ‘girly’ Bata shoes to ‘boys’ Liberty shoes with laces. There was the transition from knee-length socks to those barely covering our ankles. There was the season of sweaters and blazers and mufflers – of waking up at 6am and almost dying in that morning school bus ride. There was a charm in new notebooks and stationery. There was a difference in the neatness quotient of our handwritings on the first and the twentieth page of our copies.

There were practical files.There were neat diagrams of the plant cell and animal cell. There were lab coats. There were red pen ticks. There was daydreaming in the middle of a hindi class. There were songs without which the school assembly would be incomplete. There was sneaking cell phones into class. There was the era of the Walkman. There was the era of cassettes. Recording and rewinding and fast forwarding them to that one song that was our favourite. There was constant bickering about how short the girls’ skirts were and how low the guys’ pants were. There was taking laps of the big field as a punishment for ‘not being good’. There were Hardy Boysand Nancy Drew. There was Mills and Boon. There were R S Aggarwal and R D Shamra. There were time tables and third languages. There were free periods and that one white shirt that was so severely scribbled on.

And then we grew up. Into a webof deadlines, with no time to breathe – into ‘making a life for ourselves’, working day after day and earning pockets full of money.

Stop for a moment here. And cherish all that we did ‘not so long ago’. It’s what made us who we are today.

The Angel

We take a risk. We try and test. And at least for some time, for this miniscule honeymoon period, things seem to be working out well. We are all happy and having fun. Till that one moment of truth comes crashing down. And we get to know something we were better off not knowing. Or at least, it would have hurt less coming from the other person rather than a random stranger. But then, out of the blue, this angel comes forth, with a brilliant piece of advice.

‘Choose those one or two and keep them close’, she says. And we believe her. For there is a certain beauty in what she says. For she means every word of it. And she wants us to be happy. So we do just that. Take the leap of faith, eyes shut et al. The works. And put our patience, time and effort to work once again. For the better, this time. Always for the better.

The Sanitary Napkin Shopping Experience

I walked into a pharmacy today. As do millions of people across the world every single day. And I bought a pack of sanitary napkins. As do millions of people across the world every single day. Now, what got me so inspired to come rushing back home and jot this down is this:

I walked into a pharmacy today. And I bought a pack of sanitary napkins. Now, it’s the period between me picking up the packet from the shelf and paying up for it at the counter that I’d like to focus on here. As soon as I picked up the packet, the guy behind the counter looked at me and gave his male colleagues a quick smirk, only not quite quick enough for me to miss it. And that’s when the Cruella in me arose (believe me, I just look sweet on the outside). Had I not been in a rush, I’d have loved to have understood what exactly was so funny about this.

Had he never seen someone buy a pack before? Or was I missing the joke somewhere? Did he smirk at everyone who came in to buy an electric shaver or a toothbrush too? Because last time I checked, they were all consumer products, no?

And why is it that we (as in people in general. I’m way too carefree for it to matter) hesitate to buy products such as sanitary pads, tampons, condoms, pregnancy tests and the likes? What is the problem in going up to the shopkeeper and asking for these things? They’re there for a reason, right? To be bought? So why this reluctance? What would we do without these products, just think.

The only change I’m thankful for, in the recent past, is that they’ve done away with those ‘doomed’ black polythene bags meant just for carrying sanitary products. Had the plastic bag ban not been put into place, even this wouldn’t have been done.

So the next time you walk into a medical store, I beg you to please be ‘normal’, for this wouldn’t have happened to me, today, or a lot of other times to many of you, had people not been shy in the first place.

As for me, I’m never going back to that store. The guy simply doesn’t deserve my business.

*End of rant*

The Good Old

The charm of old photographs.

The folded corners of handwritten letters.

The smell of fountain pens.

The decade old faded movie tickets.

The tea cup stain made permanent because old habits die hard.

That personalized bookmark you kept safely somewhere.

That one photograph on your side table that’s stuck to the glass of the frame because it’s never been changed since the day it was put in.

An unused wallet full of old bills.

The familiarity of visiting your childhood park and seeing the same swings with different kids.

That one note your crush passed to you in Chemistry class ten years ago.

Your first diary ever.

The disbelief on how bad your handwriting used to be in high school.

That Backstreet Boys and/or Spice Girls cassette you still have buried at the bottom of your closet.

That once-upon-a-time white t-shirt you took to school for Scribbling day that’s now turned black but has never been washed.

Friendship bands.

Tiffin boxes.

The hundred rupee note we got from home on our birthdays to treat our friends to the school canteen food. The hundred rupee note that used to be enough, back then, to treat our friends at school.

The sheer pride on taking a new geometry box to Math class.

The culture shock of having to use registers for Accountancy after having used ‘copies’ all our lives.

Holiday homework.

Science practical files. And those diagrams.

A lifetime of memories such as these. Just because times have changed, doesn’t mean we forget the things we grew up with.

The One Tree Hill Saga

I’m quite a fan of this show called One Tree Hill. For those who’ve not heard of it, it’s a high school drama centred on the lives of 5 friends and how, over the seasons, they move on, from being confused and unsure, to being successful and accomplished.

For some reason, I see the same traits in us, the GLIM batch of 2013.

Look around. We have some mind blowing photographers, some very talented singers, sports people, writers, painters, dancers, musicians, and so much more. Maybe some of us discovered our passions, what we’re good at, earlier than others. But that’s not to say that there isn’t something inside each and every one of us that makes us unique and different and has the potential to bring us true happiness.

One Tree Hill maps the journey of Brooke, the slutty cheerleader who goes on to launching her own fashion line, that she started right there in her junior year. And then there’s Peyton who is so in love with music that the only thing she deems fit to do is open her own recording label. Then, there’s Lucas who, because of a heart condition, can’t continue is basketball career and authors some bestsellers along the way.

When I see this show, it gives me hope. Hope that the small ideas we think of today will become huge one day. That someday, those ideas will rule the world. That we’ll all be well known authors and painters and entrepreneurs and musicians. And that day, we’d proudly say that this person sat in the same classroom as we did, and ate in the same canteen as we did. That we used to sit together and sing at the basketball court, or that we beat them at a game of badminton one-too-many times.

And then we’ll have reunions where we’ll reminisce ‘the old days’ we so miss. And get all sentimental about ‘how time flies’ and ‘where we’ve reached’. This show gives me hope that things will fall into place, not for some, but for all of us. And that one day, we will make everyone proud because of our deeds and choices.

And that day we’ll know that we have arrived. Truly.

 

Project 20 something – Dedication to Maitreyee Apte

As excited as ever, she’ll wave across the hall,

To put her point across you’ll see her stand tall,

She speaks so softly, a mic won’t hear her,

She’ll shoot Harry Potter spells that’ll leave you in a blur,

As sweet as honey, a diehard twitter fan she is,

A cleanliness freak – even a speck of dust she wouldn’t miss,

Hard work and commitment come to her naturally,

You’d never see her sad or surly,

I pray to God that all her dreams come true,

Because people as pure as she are very few.