Tag Archives: words

Jilebis.

— Looking for feedback. All are welcome. —

As I stood by the small sweet shop in one of the eat streets of the city, waves of hot air hit me from the stove lit ahead, as the heavy late night air settled around me. It was a hot night. The rains had been distant for two days now. It was not humid but it wasn’t cold either. Not the weather which would have been appropriate for steaming, sizzling jalebis but then you can’t say no to the piping hot, deliciously sweetened, freshly fried orange spiral pretzels. Seems more like a sweat shop, than a sweet shop, I thought, seeing beads of sweat run down the forehead of the man, as he poured out the batter from the cone over the boiling oil in concentric motions. The smell of sugar syrup rumbled my stomach. This is more than just the smell of sugar, I figured, a little puzzled.

Smell of butter melting onto hot pans wafted from across the street. I looked around to see my friend standing at one of the shops there. I tried calling out to him to catch his attention. He was fidgeting with his phone. My voice drowned in the clamour of the street vendors displaying their balloons, scarves, fidget spinners, the vehicles trying to honk their way through a mass of people. No one seemed to make way, all lost in the aroma of food, savouring the spices which hit the tongue in spots you’d forgotten existed. You know food porn exists when you see people eating while clicking pictures here, I thought, smiling to myself. I whipped out my phone and texted my friend, One of whatever you’re ordering for me too. He looked up at me almost instantaneously and gave a thumbs up before turning to the man manning the counter there to place a re-order. I made use of my phone and clicked a couple of pictures meanwhile, of the sizzling and now hissing jalebis as they turned crispy enough to savour, of the people lined up by parked cars, bikes, among the moving vehicles, paper plates and disposable glasses of various juices, shakes and tea in their hands, The ten feet wide alley was wide awake as well as sleepy – the upstairs of the residential buildings lined up on both sides seemed to have slept for the night, lights out in most of them.

“Madam, your jilebis,” he said, handing over my guilty pleasure to me. I took the plate and handed him the money. Foodgasm, here I come, I thought, rushing over to my friend across the street, the oncoming cyclist ignored.

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Graciously Yours!

P.S. : I am trying to work on my descriptive writing and if you think this is at least decent enough to garner a comment, let me know. I would love feedback, good or bad.

Why ‘Outspoken’?

The word that is doing the rounds in most of my social media accounts and now here too – ‘Outspoken’! The name of our team’s in-house public speaking forum at work.

Three weeks of effort, bonding with friends over brain wrecking sessions, hours of script editing, listening to audio recordings of speech practices at the oddest hours, reaching work early, leaving for home late – it became a habit.

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Oh shoot. Why did we begin this? Breathe, breathe.

The fright of the stage, fear of performing sub par, worrying about being a nerve wreck – not for myself, but for others. All of it so that the other people I know also feel the rush of confidence on the stage I’d once felt.

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Who’s backing out now? Will anyone even come?

Last week, I wrote about the event (a meeting for an audience of more than 80 people – we wanted bigger, better, grander) coming up. This week we are done with it. Not only did we manage to create joyous ripples of success but even five days after the event, mention of it creeps up in conversations.

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We didn’t know either we’d be so good, but thanks!

I’ve been thinking for a while now about why the event mattered so much to me. It took a lot of space on my already full plate. My manuscript editing got hampered, my work hours stretched into my sleep hours, I forgot to eat on time, I was hardly being able to compartmentalize and prioritize and these are all things that really matter to me! Then why? I thought about it – a lot. I tried explaining myself to people in a lot of fancy ways. But it is time to come clean. I have always been afraid of public speaking. I still am. I still fear I will fall short of content, or blabber too much, mostly about Elon Musk, or if I will have cold hands. Thankfully, shaking knees got chucked out of the window over the months. So yes, this is me. But I took my chances. I got pushed by a couple of people, they know well who they are, and I realized I could be less nervous and more confident. It dawned on me that with time, I could be the one addressing an audience. And I wanted the others to see, know, feel and acknowledge exactly what they and I had been missing out on for most part of our lives – the chance to let go of the fear.

I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the lives of people around me. This lets me make a difference in mine through theirs. With you, I too get better. With you, I laugh. With you, I cry. With you, I walk the talk.

And that is exactly why I did it.

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Can’t stop dancing the happy dance!

Graciously Yours!

Life Notes #13.

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I’m not the one on the stage this time, yet the test is mine.

The last life note that I wrote had to do with my entry into public speaking, with me emceeing for one of our corporate events. This one has to do with public speaking too but this time I am putting a lot of other people on the stage, wanting them to enjoy the stage just as I had on that day four months ago. Some of us at office came up with a public speaking forum so that others too got a chance to taste the rush of the stage, overcome the fear of the microphone and find themselves while letting go of the clench of the teeth, the shake of the knees and the sweat in the palms.

To be honest, I am more freaked out now than I was then. Probably because this time around, it’s not me but 30 odd people who are going to be under the scan of an audience that is almost three times the stage-gracers. This is going to be their make-or-break moment, because if we manage to break through their walls of fear together, we’ll make it! I still haven’t figured out why this means so much to me, why I am praying all goes well, why I’d rather keep my fingers crossed till the D-day than uncross them and work on my manuscript. I want each of them to go up there on the stage that day and unveil the magic of their thoughts, perform like they’ve unwound their shackles, unbound themselves from all the chains, like they’ve found themselves. I want to take pride in their efforts and see them take on the stage and world with confidence that shines like the sweat after an innings well played.

Note to self : Making a difference in someone’s life is all about the effort. It doesn’t matter if you succeed or not, though success would indeed be sweeter! What matters is that you tried. Efforts do count, even if not recounted or acknowledged enough.

Graciously Yours!

Scarred.

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I scared you. The knowledge I had of you, scared you. I became the personal diary you never wrote. You could see the ghosts of your past reflected in my eyes, each time you looked into them. I became a reminder of what you were trying to forget. My comfort with you, scared you. You dreamt of coming out of your shell, greeting the world like you used to but the fear of being trampled upon pushed you inside again. You had lost the real you within yourself. You did not want to be reminded of it. Not by me. You thought it was easier to push me away. At least, you could still stay safe in your shell then. You wouldn’t disappoint anyone again. You wouldn’t worry about hurting anyone again. It would be just you and your memories. You wouldn’t have to owe anyone anything again. That was easier, wrong but easier. You chose to hide behind your scars. You chose to leave me behind. I was you. You were me. You chose to leave yourself behind.

Graciously Yours!

Belong.

Stranded, lost, fumbling to find the way back,

‘Tis too dark to see, too lonely to ask,

The way back to your heart, once that I called home,

The grass, the road, the river, the shore,

I cross it all in the hope that I will find you,

The eyes moist, voice cracked, all I wonder is,

As I shout out to the skies, from the depths of my soul,

Will I ever know where you belong.

Graciously Yours!

 

A Smile Here. A Smile There.

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He looked visibly frustrated. And he had reasons to be so. He’d been on his feet for almost half the day and the ordeal was not over yet. He kept shuffling his feet across the floor, trying to visit each table more than once. He knew his boss was keeping a tab. He had to sell the offer they had just rolled out. He collected the offer pamphlets from the doorman’s podium.

He walked to the nearest table. The occupants were conversing. “It is bad manners to intrude,” his teacher had taught him in school. He didn’t want to intrude but his job demanded otherwise.  He went up to the table, excused himself and started explaining the offer to the customers in the middle of their meal and conversation. Halfway through, they took the pamphlet and resumed their conversation. Not a smile, not an acknowledgement, not even the plain old nod. He called it the ‘wallpaper theory’ – he was like the wallpaper, essential but not cast a look at, never smiled at and walked past. Well, at least they were better than those customers who turned around to shout at him, or be rude, or asked him to go away! Oh yes, there were such too. They’d look up and say, “Could you go away?” If only they knew how to even say please.

Every trip to the bathroom involved washing his face more than peeing. Waiting on tables wasn’t his dream job, this was no one’s dream job but if he wanted to get a monthly cash deposit in his bank, this would have to do. He had to remind himself every couple of hours that this job was more important than rude and impolite customers, than being treated like wallpaper, than having to carry people’s soiled plates, sleeping with a pain in the feet which seemed like it would never go away again, and a bruise to your self respect each damned day. But it would have to do. They say no job is small, yet the way they behave each day belittles him.


I met Bhanu, who works at a fast food outlet here in Bangalore. I don’t know what his story is, why he does what he does, how he motivates himself to wait on tables all day long, how he lets out all the frustration that is more than visible on his face, but I am sorry I couldn’t get a smile on his face! Probably one smile from me wasn’t enough to make up for his tough day!

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Let’s try harder next time and be more polite to the ones who have jobs that could not be further away from the term ‘job satisfaction’. Can we do that?

Graciously Yours!

Breathe.

Her husband sat her down at the bed. She’d just taken a hot water bath. She placed her towel on her shoulder to soak up water from her wet hair. She inhaled deeply. This wasn’t the first time she had to answer the questions. This wouldn’t be the last.

“How did it happen?”

“What did he say?”

“How does it feel?”

“When exactly did it happen?”

“Did you see it all?”

Once again she closed her eyes and recalled the moment. In a flash, it was all over. One second she was at the pavement, the next she was on the road, the head of a dying man on her lap, blood drenching her clothes, tickling down her skin, shock overriding the bile building up in her stomach.

She opened up her eyes again. She was ready.

Her husband instead said, “It must be difficult for you dealing with the accident. Do you want to eat outside or should I cook?”

She breathed again!

Graciously Yours!

Six Word Story #11

And the six word story series is back!

Closure is overrated. Reopened wounds bleed.
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Graciously Yours!

P.S. : What should be the next six word story? Give me words! I’ll pick up themes!