I went on a tour to the Indian state of Gujarat with family recently. It was fun filled, exciting, adventurous, reminiscent of the two decades we have spent together. Sure we had our tough moments too but very well overshadowed by the good moments!
The driver we’d hired was peculiar though. He had a fascination with keeping the car clean! Within an hour of starting the drive, when food was mentioned he immediately requested us to not eat in the car. As the trip progressed, his fancies for taking care of the car started to become nightmarish for us. We couldn’t use the pouches at the back of the seats because they’d become shapeless then. We couldn’t put up our cramped feet on the seat. We had to check the soles of our footwear before getting into the car. We had to try and dust every grain of the beach sand from our clothing lest we carry it into the car – even if it meant waiting in the noon Sun for an extra half hour drying ourselves, our clothes and the stuck sand! There was a moment when a couple of us were sitting in the car waiting for the others to join and there at the side of the road, as our car stood, replete with dust (because well, Indian roads are dusty, especially when travelling between cities) our driver was dusting the car’s body with a cloth. Why on earth would someone do that in the middle of a 50 km drive? It would all just come back!
So needless to say, in our seven day trip I was dreading spending the 40 hours or so in the car travelling, with that guy at the wheel!
The last night of our trip was planned such that we’d be travelling overnight to our final destination. It was also our first night travel while he was at the wheel. Around 1:30 AM, we got stuck in a traffic mess on the highway. And we’d just crossed a scene of an accident ten minutes ago. In the pitch darkness of the roads, the night only lit by star shine and vehicle headlights, even overturned stones may seem like human skulls. If that wasn’t enough to spook me out, we found out that there was another mix up that had happened ahead and we would be stuck in the car for a while ~ too cold to step out, too stuffy to stay in. We switched off our car lights and music to save fuel. And good we did, because the jam finally cleared three hours later! About 25 kms from there, we again crossed an accident spot. By now, I had tremendous respect for the driver because not only did he have a steady hand but he was very careful while overtaking other vehicles or maintaining the speed limits! Though I had noticed this over the week, that thought never got a chance to come to the foreground, because of his affinity to keep the car clean.
His sole job was to ensure that we travelled safely and on time. And he did that brilliantly, not failing us even once. Yes, he wasn’t the most charming talker or accommodative enough when it came to his car but that is not what was earning him his bread and butter. His driving skills were, and they were top notch.
Note to self : It is so easy to judge people, make fun of their personality if it differs from ours, without thinking or asking why they do what they do, without bothering to know what makes them them. Where’s the fun in being empathetic and sensible all the while? But would you rather live easy or live right?
In the background is a 15th century well cut out of hard rock to preserve water. It has 162 steps of descent and is located in the Uperkot Fort in Junagadh, Gujarat, India.
Among the few worldly possessions I own, these are a few stones that I have. Actually they are more like pebbles from river beds. I’ll leave you guessing how I ever even laid my hands on them!
I took them out after a really long time today. A friend suggested an idea which I turned down initially but later seemed appealing to me in my boredom. The idea was primitive! Literally. Could we start a fire with these stones?
I tried it obviously. Under parental guidance! The only guidance my mother had was “Please keep the stones away from your face.”
I tried. I struck the pebbles hard and fast against each other. I was eagerly waiting for a spark to ignite! I’m sure if you looked into my eyes then, you could have seen the sparks of excitement! Well, turns out they were the only sparks.
You know how long I tried? I tried for almost four times the attention span of average humans. I tried for 30 whole seconds.
Well it’s not my fault that humans on an average have an attention span of eight seconds now. We’re down from twelve seconds in 2000. Even a goldfish has an attention span of nine seconds average, a full one second more than ours! Yes, that teeny weeny goldfish which has a teenier weenier brain weighing 0.097 grams (Average human brain weighs 1.5 kilogram).
Note to self : Primitive life wouldn’t suit me. I think that the primitive man/woman who first started the fire by striking the stones for, apparently, a very, very long time was more angry than bored! Boredom suits me. Anger doesn’t. I’m happier without pebble fire!
P.S. : How long would it really have taken to ignite a spark though? Anyone knows? Or is it all up to Google again?
Warning : Rambling ahead.
I am sitting somewhere (bored to the hilt!) and writing this post where I shouldn’t be writing it from, which I am obviously not going to divulge here!
The past few days a lot of stuff has been swirling around in this crammed head of mine and it’s time to check with you awesome people whether my mind is still okay or is it time for therapy?
Never focus on only one person in your life. Be it friends or family (which rarely happens these days, honestly!) or even your love. And even your love.
Of course he/she maybe the love of your life and your soul mate and your Knight in Shining Armour/Damsel in distress waiting to be rescued and you would vehemently disagree with me, but hear me out!
Sure that person is the one you want to spend your whole life with but do not focus on only that person. Remember before your love came along you had others in your life who loved you, cared for you, cried tears of joys in your wins and held your hand to get you through those tough times? Those people also matter. Yes, they still matter. And you have to let them know that they matter. By actions as much as words. It may be just one person or two or several but let them know and be there for them.
You don’t want to be so content in one single relationship that you don’t even realize when the others left you behind and all you were left were with memories and ‘what ifs’ and ‘had I’s’.
It is good to have someone to go to in case you need to let out steam or you know just want a change of scene!
And frankly being tied to the hip is somewhat uncomfortable to those around you, irrespective of how many compliments about ‘cute’, ‘romantic’ and ‘perfect’ you get!
Note to self: Keep the ones who want to make you smile dear. There’s more than one person of that kind.
But, hey! That’s just what I think! What do you think? Am I going bonkers or do you finally see sense on this blog after long? [Hint: Just leave lots of love and affection in the comments! And side by me. Shhh!]
P.S. :Thank you Regular Indian Girl for the book series. That may have influenced the post a little! Just a wee bit.
First things first. Apologies for not having written for so long!
Now, let’s come to the point. There’s this place in Calcutta called burrabazaar (literal translation : Big Market). See, how we do it? No need to be creative or rack your brains to think of a good name! We also have New Market and A.C. Market! That’s for another post! So this burrabazaar is a market where you can find everything from clothes, accessories, footwear, food, household appliances, craft supplies, electricals, et al! Name it and you’ll get it. It’s like Target under not one roof. It’s spread over countless small shops and roadside stalls and single moving vendors. You see it also has its own Wiki page in case you want to know more.
And considering there’s a wedding coming up, it’s sort of customary for us to visit the market at least once, irrespective of whether we actually buy anything or not. For this visit it was my turn with Mother. The younger one sneaked out of it for her own good. Going there after four long years, I’d forgotten the fight I would have to put up just to avoid falling in those open drains, moving handcarts and freshly dug up tunnels in the middle of roads! This is what I mean when I say road by the way :
My Mother is a wonder! She sneaks into the smallest of spaces available and just serenades her way out of the human maze to get to exactly where she wants in that maze of roads lined with a more complicated maze of shops! And I am something like this :
Leaving aside the fact that the shopping spree was successful for Mother at least, I also realized that there are times when your phone camera will just not give you what you want. Every time I tried standing and clicking a picture for you people to see, the crowd around seemed to just get me moving again! You see, you just don’t stand, loiter or window shop there! You keep moving!
This is what I came up with. I know I am a better photographer than what these pictures portray!
And now I gotta go because I need to go shopping again! Dear brother, please get married soon!
Note to self : Next time, if there is a next, keep your elbows to your chest, cell phone safely tucked in your pocket, and march ahead with head held high! And stop staring at those colourful trinkets on sales and bags hanging overhead. You’ll hopefully not get lost then! (Doesn’t mean I got lost this time.)
At 4 a.m. I stirred in my sleep because I heard a lady shouting downstairs. Then I instructed my ears to catch the words and instead I heard my parents in the next room talk about fire and smoke. What would you do? Get out of bed to enquire? What did I do?
Blunder 1: Turned on my side and slept again! And I am not proud of it. I chose sleep over saving my life! Until obviously my mother came and announced “Out of bed now! There’s an emergency!”, at which I immediately leapt out of bed, grabbed my phone, pulled my sister out of bed and went to switch off the main electricity supply to our flat.
Blunder 2: While I was doing this, my mother ushered us out of the house just when my sister reacted in time to take the keys to the house, which my mother in her panicked state initially failed to see the relevance of!
By the time my father located the flat which was the source of the fumes, our resident electrician and another man had readied a fire extinguisher for use.
Blunder 3: Interestingly, my father had to remind the electrician to switch off the particular flat’s electricity supply to avoid the fire from spreading through the lines.
Blunder 4: While we were ringing door bells and evacuating other residents from their flats, a lot of them elderly, only after 10 minutes into the whole exercise did a young guy realize that the building’s fire alarm should be sounded to make things easier!
Blunder 5: While the evacuation persisted and the fire couldn’t be brought under control, a good 20 minutes from the first time I got out of my house, it struck me that the local emergency fire services should be informed.
Blunder 6: And guess what? I pride myself for remembering contact numbers of people, but I couldn’t recall if the fire emergency services were 101 or 102! (FYI, in India, it’s 101.) And of all the contact numbers I have, I didn’t have that of the fire department!
After which I called Just Dial, the online Yellow Pages of India, who thankfully responded very quickly! And further appreciation for the young chap at Just Dial who entertained my request, for breaking their custom and not having me asked me to rate the previous service I had received from a restaurant, the contact number of which I had taken from them. Good instincts!
And then the story has the routine firemen informed-firemen came-fire doused-all clear sign-residents go back home-sleep for a while again clichéd ending!
Note to self: Please appreciate that your life is more valuable than your sleep! And memorizing the emergency numbers is more important than memorizing those of your boss. Of course, he’s important too. But he’s not going to douse the fire, is he?
Graciously (and safely) Yours!
So you must be wondering where to I’ve been all this while! Just been a little here, a little there trying to get over a bout of writer’s block.
When I finally gave up on coming up with an actual topic to write on, here I am writing this post halfway into the night!
It’s a full moon today. The Calcutta sky is unusually clear and the phone networks unusually glitch free (except the occasional bursts of glitches my phone keeps bestowing upon me!). The sky is literally studded with stars which I happen to notice when my friend tells me over the phone that he’s just seen a shooting star and I obviously run over to the window, almost trying to get out of it, to catch a glimpse of the now long gone shooting star.
There’s something about living in a city and getting to see a constellation with your naked eyes! That too without any previous notice, not that it would make a difference to my level of awe! It is magical.
I have no idea what constellation it was or if it even was a constellation. All I could figure out was they were twinkling stars and looked like this to me :
This was in the eastern part of the sky. Anyone out there knows if what I am jumping about seeing is actually a constellation or just a bunch of stars who’re just winking at each other for having fooled me and my friend? And my mother. And another friend.
Note To Self: It is and has always been these little things in life which bring you the broadest smiles! And the most innocent ones too. Embrace life, love yourself and you’ll figure out what exactly surreal is.
A really tired me was rejuvenating today by looking out of the glass window of my office cabin, courtesy the only available cabin for auditors at my client office.
The visible main road houses the entrance to a pumping station where all day long huge tankers of the corporation come and collect water at the side of the road. The water from the 10 feet high pipe keeps pouring for a few minutes after the tanker drives away. One such tanker had just driven away and the water kept falling on the side of the road, when out of nowhere two street kids came along running and took place under the pipe.
Two kids, half naked, dancing under the water on a humid afternoon, for just a mere two minutes was such a blissful sight to watch! Another female, seemingly known to them came running with a can to fetch water and stood staring at them laughing all the while!
Not a care in the world, no botheration about the stares they might be getting (from someone like me), no one to reprimand them. Just moments of pure joy and elation.
As soon as the water stopped, they immediately ran away in another direction. I do now know whether this is a regular feature or a one-time attraction but what I do know is that I just spent two minutes smiling at kids whom I may never meet in my life but they have left a long lasting impact on me.
Though I couldn’t see their smiles, I could feel the happiness radiating to me.
Note To Self : Even if you don’t have it all, try and find happiness in what you do have. After all, life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.
Graciously (rejuvenated) Yours!
Bus stops at the crossroad. Its raining heavily. The roads are waterlogged.
I got down the bus, gingerly stepping into the mid-calf length muddy waters on the road, one foot firmly following the other. I barely opened my umbrella when I realized that one of my slippers was off my feet and was floating into the water. I looked down at the floating slipper and when I looked up again (cursing, obviously), I could see that the traffic from the opposite lane had been opened. I had less than 30 seconds to get my slipper back and out of harm’s way! Flopping around on one foot with the umbrella in one hand and my handbag slipping from the other shoulder, I picked up the floating slipper and almost hobbled across to the footpath! Relief would be a tiny word to be used to describe that moment!
Note to self : Next time, if someone says to you that the monsoons landed them in a compromising situation on the roads of India, do NOT laugh. ‘Cuz, life, dear girl, is a circle. A viciously sadistic circle!
Hi! I am back to share a little insight with you guys.
Do NOT watch cricket matches when you have your exams going on. Not even Indian Premier League Finals. Not even for this guy :
George Bailey – Kings XI Punjab Captain.
By the way, I am only saying this because they lost.
I can’t handle sportsman spirit and cheer for the game well-played by the opposition, not when I am watching their Finals during my Finals!
Note to Self : Stop choosing favourites in IPL. They almost always lose.
P.S.: Papers have been decent so far 🙂 4 down, 4 more to go!
P.P.S.: I’ll read all your new and amazing blog posts once I am done with my exams!