Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category


Tobby was hopping from one spot to another nervously in an attempt to escape those prying eyes. Perhaps he had overstayed on the generous bits of bread crumbs. Being surrounded with so many people, in a way that he was meant to perform, was not his thing.  Tobby, my accidental balcony-visitor pigeon, injured his leg a month ago. After applying antibiotic ointment and bandaging the injured area loosely, I called the security guard to take and hearten him for doing what he does best- fly! It was more than 2 days but he was still not able to take the plunge. Every morning when I crossed the parking lot I could see his struggle, twitching from one corner to another and perching himself besides the morsels of bread.  The fight was real.

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What made it worst was the assumption of callous overgrown kids that he will launch into the air with constant “Shooooo’s”. His strident cry was clearing stating that it was not pleasant to be reminded that, now, he is incapable of something which is supposed to be his only talent. Of course he was trying, but every time he was missing the dart.  The next day, two more pigeons followed him and this made him flutter aggressively. May be the pigeon buddies were trying to up his morale but it alarmed him more. That was it. I brought him back, housed him in the balcony with enough food and left him on his own. No pestering. No clapping. No prying eyes. And definitely no shooooooo’s.

Next morning he woke up different. He glanced at the balcony edges, slithered himself across the old bean bag and started moving his legs in unison. Look at him! I shrieked in excitement. Next thing I see is he confidently clamped on the balcony railing waiting for the ultimate moment of freedom.

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Tobby was done with trying to fulfill everybody’s expectations; he was done with seeking validation from others; he was done with being exposed to judgments that were dime a dozen. He realized that mob has no face, just unidentified screaming heads who do not wish well for anyone. He didn’t want to figure out anything more. He just wanted to be happy and embark on a journey whose pace was determined by him, and only him. He rose to his feet, started flapping wings and finally gained the thrust for his maiden undogmatic and enjoyable flight.

Possibly Tobby’s story is the inspiration somebody with broken wings needs to hear today.

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P.S: All pictures are a result of Google search and I have no copyright over them.

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“It has been with me for ten years now.”

“So?”

“Umm.. its been very long. It’s a part of my identity now. Well, kind of.”

“How can it be your part? Why can’t you get rid of it?”

“Well…I don’t know..Let’s just say, I am emotionally attached to it. I can’t let it go.”

This was me trying to explain my reasoning of sticking onto dual SIM cards, one of which –now on national roaming–was older than a decade now. Sobha, my unusual friend at work place, was tossing questions at me with full pace. The reason I call our friendship unusual is because we were poles apart from day 1; we belong to two different generations, our idea of relationships, food preferences, temperament, working style, lifestyle choices are as different as between a mom and daughter. Yet, oddly, we bonded like no one else did. She is like a Ballad and I am a grating item number. Sobha is nearing her 50 and I am about to hit 30 so naturally there are loads of conflict of interest, but once in a while I get to taste the old world when I am made to stand in her court room. In her words it’s called discussion about ‘life’. Today was one such day.

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“Repeat what you said.” She asked. I was jolted out of my thoughts.

“I said, I am emotionally attached to it.”

Her eyes became wider. “That’s it! This is what I wanted to hear. Emotional attachments! This is the only reason you have held onto a number that is of no use to you. Otherwise there is no logic to it. Good you understood.”

Trying to defend my standpoint I responded, “Of course there is logic as well. Tomorrow if any of my old friend or acquaintance tries to reach me, it should be easy enough for them.”

She laughed. “So you mean, you call even those people friends who you have not spoken to for years or vice versa! Okay, chalo lets assume hypothetically that they want to connect to you, even then you think they would need your ten years old number to reach you in this era of Facebook, Emails and common friends.”

I stared down for a while in discomfort. “You do not understand!!  Not necessarily a friend, but I may need it someday. Who knows what situation I will be in tomorrow and I need to contact them or someone wants to contact me on this very number”, came the reply from me.

“Fine. Yesterday she –pointing out at one of our teammates– forgot her phone at her desk and went for lunch to Pizza Hut with you guys. I was the only one near to her desk at that time. She wanted to call and ask me to keep the phone with me for safety. What she did?”

“She took my phone and called you.” I said.

“Yes. She badly wanted to reach out to me and she found a way to that, through you. At least the message reached to me. Likewise, if anybody needs to reconnect with you they will do that whether after 5 years or 50 years. And in case you are wondering that what if you need the help of 2000th person stored in this SIM, consider another situation, what if you need the help of 2001th person whose number you don’t have anymore? In that case, you will find him/ her out anyhow, just like she reached out to me yesterday.”

Twiddling fingers on my head I replied in restlessness, “I don’t know. It’s all very complicated.”

“Life is never complicated. We make it. We refuse to see what is very obvious. Just like a tree sheds its leaves and gets festooned with new leaves, we too keep moving on in life. Those who are important to us emotionally or spiritually or by whatever means, we take them along. Similarly, we are picked up by people who deem us important. It’s as simple as that. The day your generation will understand this they won’t need to carry dual SIM or triple SIM. Or at least they should just start accepting that it is purely for emotional reasons.”

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She was right. Most of us carry the baggage of past expectations and memories for a significant time and conceal it under the name of sentiment, need or emotions. What Sobha wanted to make me understand was not the usage limitation of my phone numbers, but showing me a mirror that somewhere we all are living with a baggage, if not SIM card then something else. Happiness is the basic pulse of the universe. But, the underlying happiness of the soul gets covered up with ambiguity and paradoxes. Faded jeans, old diaries, chocolate wrappers, torn shoes are all a part of it. I still have an empty perfume bottle at my dressing table because the smell still reminds me of my first international holiday and I refuse to let it go.

If we all could master the art of living baggage-free then life would have been so simple indeed. Just embrace whatever comes in your way, care for people who still are with you, forgive those who are not, show genuine warmth and chart a path that is cheery.  Strangely, its only when we are striving for something badly falls into dust, we feel liberated to fill up the vacuum again with good spirits of joy, something that is a fundamental display of human ability. This conversation was one that kept me awake for long. Having said that, I still have many of my old stuffs intact, including the SIM card. Not sure if I can ever muster the courage to get rid of them, but at least I have identified the reason for now—a baggage 🙂

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P.S: All pictures are a result of Google search and I have no copyright over them.

 

 

 


The place that I am going to write about today already has massive worshipers. In fact, it is touted as one of the best destinations for travelers. Nightlife, amusement park, tranquil sea sides, desert safari, shopping, exemplary man-made structures…it has everything. You name it, you have it. Dubai is one place to reckon with. It’s almost mind-boggling that how this sprawling desert has urbanized so much in the past few decades, and yet has held onto its novelty. But, don’t worry this is not going to be one of those travel blogs guiding you about places to see in Dubai. This is one place where most of us must have heard a lot of, if not visited till now. Thanks to Google, we already know the iconic landmarks of city.

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Sunset cruise- check; Burj Khalifa- check; Fountain Show- check; Gold souk- check; Desert Safari- check; Sheikh Zayed mosque- check; Yas Island –check; Ferrari World- check.

So, what’s new to write about this fabulous city?

You know your vacation is a success when on the last of the trip you suddenly start wishing if there were few days more…at least few hours.  As I sit down to write this I am experiencing massive toothache because of my erupting wisdom tooth. Even then, my spirit for writing about this city was not letting me sleep. Yes, that’s the word- Spirit. This is what makes a desirable destination different from others.

Travelling is my passion and I had sworn to myself that I will never visit a place more than once. Only because there are many more countries to cover and there isn’t much time. But, this city changed my viewpoint. It made me obsessed to its spirit. Apart from pouncing on the scrumptious and widely-liked Dubai chocolates and loosening my purse strings for gold and perfumes, I was phenomenally refreshed to meet some new people and breaking out of the monotony that we often get trapped to.

I happened to once share cab with a mother-daughter trio. They were originally from Egypt but are now settled in London from a significant time. They too were on a vacation. I befriended them during my trip and, as expected, our first topic of interaction was Bollywood and Shahrukh Khan.  They couldn’t stop praising Dangal and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, the 2016 blockbusters. They wanted to visit India only for Taj Mahal, but I made them understand that India is much more than that. I introduced them to the gamut of soul-pleasing places here and was feeling very proud and content at the same time.  I believe I made some good acquaintances and would like to keep in touch with them.

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Next, I met a very chirpy and frivolous man during my desert safari.  He was driving the Land Cruiser that was accountable for giving us the lifetime experiencing of dunes bashing. Prepared for a unique adrenaline-pumping adventure in the colossal orange-red dunes, we started with our journey. God bless his sense of humour, because his opening line was “Do you have life insurance madam as it is going to be my first attempt.”

I almost underwent a heart in mouth situation in those few seconds. I gulped my fear and voiced my concern timidly, “What do you mean?” He started laughing and didn’t reply. I didn’t know how to react until my husband whispered, “Don’t worry. He is joking.” “Are you sure?” I snapped immediately. “Let’s hope for the best.” I don’t know what that meant, but we started seeing the vivid orange dunes reluctantly. In the next 5 minutes I was sure that he was joking in order to keep us on our toes because he was exceptionally skilled and had expertise in what he was doing. The roller coaster ride in the desert was exhilarating. We were sliding down the slopes; sometimes egging him to stop, sometimes gasping and most of the times giggling. The beautiful desert shimmering like gold is a marvel to capture. As the evening stretched to night, we were guided to enthralling belly dancing and fire show. Later that night, on our way to the hotel, he introduced himself as Mohammad. Apparently he had enacted a negative role in a Tamil movie long ago. But, now it’s been more than 10 years he has been rendering dunes bashing pleasure to all tourists and also giving training to all amateur aspiring drivers.

He kept joking about having multiple girlfriends and how his increasing weight is scary or what would happen if I start driving his car. God knows, when was the last time I met a fun-loving chap like him!

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The conversation that followed that night once again opened my eyes to appreciate the gift of life. Sure, the heart is pumping blood inside but that is not enough to keep you alive. We are not born to lead uneventful and mundane lives. We are work in progress and the only way to keep growing is meeting new people, becoming better each day, inspiring others, taking things lightly, defining yourself and in the process get enriched with a feeling of purpose and happiness. He waived me goodbye saying “Never take life seriously and always be happy. Carry your binoculars along.”

Today I was going through my old e-mails where I had drafted one with the subject 20 things I want to do before I die. It was the year 2013. Interestingly, the 20th point clearly stated ‘Visit Burj Khalifa’.  I didn’t even remember that I made a list like that or I should strike that off now. But, what remained with me is the expression of leap of faith. Nobody knows whether what we dream today may come true or not, but sometimes leaping off the edge will let go the fear of falling. Whenever you start feeling comfortable anywhere, start questioning yourself is this the time to break the pattern. Who knows you may end up soaring high like never before. Just like desert has a dual trait of being hot at daylight and piercingly cold at night, life too is waiting to show you its many faces. You just need to be ready with your binoculars.

UAE, thank you for such a lovely time! I felt affectionately welcomed, with a sense of coming back to you again and again.

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Let’s get the record straight, yes we are experiencing a hurricane right now in the country with the onset of high-value currency demonetization. A lot has been said about it; the problems, long queues, hidden agendas, currency circulation, cash crunch, bankers as our new hero…and many other things. We have been filling our head with innumerable information, thanks to television and social media. Some are with the government while others not.

It’s time for a breather. Isn’t it?

Let’s give our relentlessly working mind a break and, for a change, look at things just the way they are. No political spin, please! I have been reading all the stories that have been going rounds from past couple of days. Having experienced the cash crunch myself I know one thing– that it is not an easy phase. However, this stage of adversity made me realize one basic thing. We Indians are not that complicated or apathetic as one would portray us to be.

If there are retired bankers who are offering to extend their helpful hands to wind up the work faster, there are also young bankers who don’t mind sacrificing their weekends and sitting daily till 10 at night. If there are restaurant chains like Pizza Hut offering free food to people standing in inexhaustible queues resembling 100 feet long anaconda, there are also shopping malls that have made their parking charge free for the entire week. If there are some local vendors who are delivering groceries at credit, there are also people who are voluntarily serving tea and water to people sweating in scorching heat just to get hold of the new currency at banks.

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Of course, there have been many inadequacies and I am sure we all are ranting about it. The entire country has toppled over, but honestly, can you guarantee that if there had been some other country things would have been better? Far from our image of a poor or a law-breaking country, there has not been a single incident of violence, hostility, ransacking or loot.

My father had to wait for four long hours at the esteemed PNB bank to get his old currency notes exchanged. Honestly, I was worried because growing age usually brings along many jigsaw puzzles. To my surprise, he came back with a beautiful story to narrate. There were few chairs in the bank lobby, and it was unanimously decided that the senior citizens and ladies will take turns to sit there and rest, while their place in the queue was being taken care by the person subsequent to them in the line. My father got his share of resting time. Not only that, he was also greeted with generosity- in the form of snacks- offered by strangers who had now become friends.

I am sure there must have been several other incidents as well, some inspiring, some depressing. The point is, let’s start looking at things in a transparent fashion, without being influenced by what is being said or written. Figure out your experience and then pass a judgment. We may not be the perfect law-abiding citizens, but we are not that bad as well. Some part of us still continues to be the caring, compassionate and refined one.

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P.S: All pictures are a result of Google search and I have no copyright over them.


“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”

………..Suddenly I feel all grown up; suddenly I feel alone; suddenly I feel a vacuum; suddenly I feel devoid of a purpose in life. Everything at the snap of a finger!!

I knew lot of struggle was going within you, but never realized all the glitter around your smile would be rubbed off so soon. Every time I still wake up from the echo of that phone call, I feel empty and dangerously consumed for the entire day.

I never realized this before but you played host of roles in my life.

You are my best friend. And I am not saying this because today it has become a fashion to call every known person of 3 months to call your best friend., but you are literally there with me at every stage. Together we share so many jokes that only we can understand. We have code names to all hilarious events of our lives, keeping the people around guessing. We can call each other even at odd times to share both moments of distress and happiness. You roll up your sleeves every time you see any hurt coming my way. We love to travel, click photographs, pose like a badass and laugh at ourselves. Most importantly, I have the liberty to lose my temper in front of you (and even at you) without getting judged or making you offended.

You are my daughter. I may or may not love to experience motherhood sooner in life, but you made me a mother in the last 3 years even before conceiving one. Once you were extremely ill and said that you miss your mother more than anyone else in the world. I told you that I was there, but you said only the love of a mother could console you. And that was the day when I decided to be your mother. After all, the menace spreading inside your body was making you a kid day by day who needed pampering and attention. I still remember I started calling you “tui” instead of “tumi” and adopted the approach of a mother while inquiring about your health. I don’t know whether it was planned by god but just 9 days before your departure we met and I fed you from my hand and even took and brought you back from washroom. I may have never known what it feels to take care of a baby so early, but you gave me that.

You are my problem solver. We all have that one person in life that doesn’t have any solution to our problems but rambling about it in front of them hundred times gives us peace, and who knows, can also fill us up with ideas if the luck is by our side. You are that person in my life. God know how you manage to have that much patience, but you have always lent me kind ears to all my blabbering.

And of course you are my mother. I am your pride. You always tell me that. I am amused with the glint you have in your eyes whenever you speak of me to others. You always wanted me to be an independent woman who respected culture but was not confined to it. You taught me that my womanhood is not limited to being a good cook, being married or giving birth to a child. You taught me to have my individual identity first and most importantly be a happy soul.

I still shudder to revisit the day when you held my hand for the last time while your eyelids grew heavy. I clutched back and said “tomake ekhan theke nie jabo” (we are taking back you from here soon) and you replied gently “aar nei, aar nei, aar nei” (no more, no more, no more). You were trying to say something more when you exhaled, but I couldn’t understand what you muttered. I even couldn’t do anything except for staring at disbelief when the doctors asked for my signature on the consent form for END TO LIFE.

All I have is now bits and pieces of what people refer as remembrance. The sarees that smells agonizingly familiar. The fondness for devotional songs. The flair to cook Hilsa fish. The enthusiast laughter that followed whenever I mimicked someone. The intuitive touch that reached for my hand whenever I felt down. The maniac denial to take medicine. The weakness for bakery biscuits. The little boxes full of body lotion and nail paint. The glasses with dust. The insistence to safeguard my emotional well being at every situation. The phone number at speed dial. The list is endless.

Maa…People say I have lost you, I say I have gained a guardian angel. People say you don’t belong to this world anymore, I say you don’t need a world to stay, just my heart is enough. People say I have to move on from you, I say I am an extension of you, how do you move on from yourself? People say I have to refer you in past tense now, I say the journey from “is” to “was” is going to induce a tumultuous fear.

I refuse to address you in past tense. So, you are my best friend; you are my daughter; you are my problem solver and you are and always will be my mother.

Free of all the pain, smile again, fly again and LIVE AGAIN.

……..Suddenly I feel all grown up; suddenly I feel alone; suddenly I feel a vacuum; suddenly I feel devoid of a purpose in life. Everything at the snap of a finger!!

 


It was only yesterday when I celebrated my silver jubilee with great elan. Or at least it seems so now. Its been 3 years to that. I was about to turn 28 and contemplating whether it is really the time to sluggishly crawl into that “mature” age group. Suddenly it occurred, why not flag off my late 20’s at a place that is embodiment of youthfulness, fun and unending entertainment. So, yes I started my journey for Thailand.

The only apprehension was that Bangkok and Pattaya are mostly associated with adultery and no strings fun. By any stretch of imagination I didn’t know what I was embarking into. But, who cares! I only knew one thing. The best memories of life come from leisured conversation with a stranger, feeling the wind on your face, dipping the toe in sea, getting lost in the distant roar of ocean, and holding the hand of your loved one.

It took me just a week to realize that Thailand is much more than adultery. Picture this, a place to get soaked in nature, strolling wearing your flip flops to beach cafes, sea walking and para gliding in clear blue seas, unspooling your body with a traditional Thai massage, holding a tiger in your hand during wild life safari, and posing reluctantly with your favourite celebrity in Madam Tussaud. And if you have time left after all this then it doesn’t harm to opt for a pole dancing show as well.

Walking Street, Pattaya

On our first day we went to the famous Walking Street at Pattaya. If the craving of grooving to discotheques keeps you awake at night then this is the place for you. Famous primarily for the neon lighting night life, you will find plethora of live music venues, discothèques, go-go bars, and of course nightclubs in this long stretch. Frankly, I was awestruck with the accessibility of so many things at one place. Regularly you will be approached by marketeers with menu card (its actually like a restaurant menu card) that has options of different types of adult sex shows going whole night. You can have your pick or else you can politely say no and enjoy the night at a bar.

I had a gala night. More so, because my birthday was just couple of hours away now. I dropped my guard and danced until we got drenched completely in sweat. This was one night I am never going to forget.

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Noong Nooch, Pattaya

Nong Nooch Garden is landscaped park that is the biggest botanical garden in Southeast Asia. It can easily fall in your all day trip. This 2.4sq.km. area is a theme park that gives you a peak into Thai cultural shows, elephant shows and you even get to sit besides a royal tiger. Taking a nonchalant stroll in this park will remind you of French garden and European Renaissance garden. My soul and spirit got significantly uplifted with the presence of orchid nurseries and topiary garden.

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Traditional Thai Massage

You go to Thailand, and not have a full body massage, is that possible? Me and my husband resigned ourselves to this 2 hours long full body traditional Thai massage. Howbeit, beware when you think of going to any random spa or massage parlour there because most of them adhere to the concept of providing adult services along with massage. Nothing wrong in that, but if that is not your interest area then you have to be careful in picking your destination. We had our hotel receptionist guiding us to one of the most trusted and popular parlours practicing ancient art of Thai massage. The gentle massage had a magical healing effect on our mind and body. It calmed my nervous system and displayed a meditative quality that I am failing to describe in words. Its a thing that has to be experienced, not explained. Do include this in your to-do list whenever you are in Thailand

Underwater World

You do not want to get wet and yet want to get a glimpse of thousand varieties of marine species? No problem; Underwater World in south Pattaya bring you an exclusive slice of marine life. It is one of the largest ocean aquarium in Asia. Stroll around this 100m long underwater tunnel and enjoy the panoramic view of marine life. From shark, starfish, turtle, Guitarfish to Butterfly Fish you will see everything here. If you are willing to shell out some money and have a diving certificate, then you can even go inside the tank and feed the sea creatures with your own hand. The natural light is ideal for having a clear view of species and also for clicking pictures. This is one experience worth all the money!

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Gems Gallery, Pattaya

Girls pay attention. This one is clearly for you. Visit the world’s biggest jewelry store, the Gems Gallery. Before you dismiss this as yet another jewelry store then make sure that you know that the experience here begins by taking you on a toy train ride wherein a computerized system gives you a 3D effect of bursting of a volcano into lava, making of mineral rocks and finally the cut precious stones. Once the toy ride is over, you can proceed to the store and shop till the day ends.

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Madam Tussads, Bangkok

Well, what to say on this. The name itself is self-explanatory. The photography fanatics can let themselves loose and get themselves clicked with each and every famous personality in the world. You name it, you see it! As expected, even I didn’t give my camera a rest even for a second till the time I was inside.

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Pole Dancing, Nana Street, Bangkok

We were extremely fidgety on experiencing the night life in Bangkok, particularly going to a strip club for pole dancing. Two individuals from India to an unknown city exploring a world that is denied in our country seemed fear-inducing. But then something happened. Now there is a flash back story on this. On our first day, we were waiting in the queue for visa on arrival when my husband pointed out that a celebrity couple was exactly behind us. I shunned him saying he was hallucinating. The couple must be in their 50s. They started talking to us about their itinerary and asked about ours. It was a casual half an hour talk. We waved goodbyes and headed to our respective hotels. Turns out, the couple was actually a known face in Kolkata. The woman was 90’s Doordashan news reader, now a successful dancer with her own dance troop performing all over the world. While her husband owns a production house in Kolkata. My husband was unable to recall their name, but then while scrolling down his Facebook account he saw one of his friends had liked a post from the woman. From her account, we got to know his husband’s name. My husband sent a friend request to him and in couple of minutes there was a message from him. “Hey where are you today?” Lets meet up. You decide the place and let me know.”

Honestly I was not keen for this meet. I tried to justify my reluctance with points like generation gap and dissimilar interests. But, my husband insisted. We decided to meet at Nana Plaza, which is like the Walking Street of Pattaya. After the formal greeting, the couple immediately sprang up. “C’mon why are we wasting time here! Lets go for pole dancing. It’s not that we are here all our lives.” I was choked for a moment to listen that from a man who was my father’s age. But, frankly, I was happy too that finally I got the nudge that I was waiting for.

We entered into AngelWitch Club and within minutes were engulfed into this world of pole dancing. One good thing about these places are that no one is a rambler here. People know what you are here for and they give you that- Entertainment. We went club hopping the whole night. My legs gave away after midnight but the other couple displayed a level of energy that we failed to match up.

Inquisitive enough by now I asked, “Aren’t you tired?” The reply cemented my faith on the saying, age is just a number. “Tired? Guys you are in your 20s. I have a son of your age and my age doesn’t stop me from living life-like a big party. There is no monopoly on feeling young. It is just a state of mind. Its been 25 years we are married and we still feel the mad passion we had for each other. We have next Krabi Island and Kashmir in our list. You are still too young.”

Believe me, I never felt that young and energetic ever in my life. Next day the couple excitingly took us to the Baiyoke sky hotel, the tallest building in Thailand. I was in awe of their child like vehemence. We enjoyed our cocktails at the 84th Floor and had the whole city laid in front of our eyes like house of cards. This night completely nullified my fear for heights. Directly or indirectly, this couple injected a new dose of power in me.

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At the end of every trip my husband has a habit of promising something. Last time, he promised that he will ring in my 28th birthday in the most happening place of Thailand. Today was our last evening at Bangkok. I asked him, “ so what are you promising this time.”

“That I am going to be your best friend always and no matter what numbers tell us, we are never going to be old,” was his reply.

And we burst out laughing. No body knows how your life would pan out so no point living in the fear of doomsday. Thus, the idea of sluggishly moving into the “mature” age group has taken a backseat for now and I came back humming the lyrics of a popular song.

“Let’s go crazy, crazy, crazy ’til we see the sun
I know we only met but let’s pretend it’s love
And never, never, never stop for anyone
Tonight let’s get some and live while we’re young”

🙂

 


“Heart break is an inaccurate term I feel. It is your soul that splinters. It is up to you how you pick up your torn pieces again and ultimately negate all wrong moves that stymied your journey towards happiness.”

It was the year 2013 and I was imparting my usual spurts of divine counseling to a friend who just had a bitter breakup. It seemed the be all and end all factor. It seemed I knew all the general ethos of heartbreak industry. Well….at least till now. A Facebook notification was waiting for me. Rashmita Gupta had pinged me nearly 2 years after we passed out from our batch of Journalism and Mass Communication. I was little puzzled at first but then chose to go along with the conversation.

“Hey Cutie. How are you? Married?” She asked.

“Hey I am good. Nah…no trace of being married and I am enjoying my single-hood to the fullest. What about you? In Kolkata?”

“No..I am in Delhi”. She responded.

“Great. Doing job there?” I thought the conversation is going to head towards that boring zone of how much you have achieved—and how much I have achieved.

“I am here for my treatment”

“Treatment?” My yawn was interrupted midway.

“Yes.. I am suffering from blood cancer so here at AIIMS since last 6 months.”

“What? You are kidding right?

“No dear. Why will I joke about something like this?”

And my mind went numb just like an ECG reading going flat.

I was already battling my mom’s relapse of breast cancer at that time. With this news, again, my peace of mind was precariously eroded and it precipitated to an impending breakdown.

I typed like a fanatic. “Ohh shucks. How is that possible? I am feeling out of breath on learning this.”

“Chemo is going on and it will continue for next 2 years. I am a bald girl now. Hahahaha”

I was enormously impressed that despite discussing such a critical situation she still had her finger on the pulse of humour. Just like the old Rashmita we knew.

“Hey don’t say like that. Being bald is not that important. Important is that you should come out of this perfectly. Even my mom underwent chemotherapy so I am fairly accustomed to the process. The bottom line is that you should fight like a tigress and you will I know.”

Our chat continued for another 30 minutes and we signed off. But that was just the start of our occasional online nudging of each other’s well being. She notified me of the number of chemotherapies she was undergoing. 95 was the number when last time we spoke.

 

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Yesterday was again one such day. I was talking to my mom on phone and she was confiding how the regular doctor visits to hospital are getting more painful with each passing day. It was churning up my sanity to the extent that I was not able to think of anything else. Later in evening, my husband and I were having a philosophical talk on life and the nauseating hardships that comes along with it. Suddenly I saw a post from Rashmita that said “Watch me on Zee Bangla today on Dadagiri.” For all my non-bengali friends, Dadagiri is a game show hosted by none other than our dada Saurav Ganguly. I am always unmindful of TV shows in general, but something inside today told that I have to see her.

I called my husband and we both started watching the show reveling in the pleasure that there is someone known in television today, completely unaware of the fact that this will be more than a game show.

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She came and conquered not just the fellow participants and the host, but each and every person who get bogged down with little adversities of life. I once told her that fight like a tigress and she truly did.

The way she put a brave front on the show while talking about the day she got to know about her medical condition; how doctors told her that she has only 20% life expectancy; how she went for painful bone marrow test 4 times; how she took 160 chemotherapies in the tenure of 2 and half years; how some of her close people stopped coming to their house thinking that it is some contagious infection; how a firm rejected her on knowing that she has blood cancer, but hanged Yuvraaj Singh’s and Manisha Koirala’s picture outside their conference room with the tag line WE ARE PROUD OF YOU; how she kept repeating that she is a conqueror and will emerge strong out of it……It was so surreal……..and finally she won the game show.

She was so phenomenal that even Saurav Ganguly was forced to come at her place and shake hands to remove the stigma that cancer is contagious. It was bloody applause worthy. Pardon my language but I can’t control my soaring heart and gasping breath even while writing it. The show ended with her holding the trophy in hand and we having tears in our eyes. An hour before, we were discussing that how life can bring burden of prejudice and loathing at times, without having an iota of contemplation that life gives extreme highs and lows to everyone. It is up to us how we fight our torn reflection and see ourselves in the mirror every single day with the same zeal.

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We sat in front of the television as the end credits rolled and my mom called me.

“ I saw your friend today on Zee Bangla. If she can take 160 chemotherapies and refuse to give up, I will not let 8 chemotherapies breed fear and helplessness in me anymore.”

Many knotty issues got straightened out today. There are so many perspectives to ponder upon with that one hour episode and one phone call from my mother. Rashmita Gupta is an inspiration. And no matter how much I write it will always be less. My tank of angst is empty today.

Thank You Rashmita!


I want to thank Readers Cosmo for coming up with an honest review for The Paradox of Vantage Point. Here is the link:

http://thereaderscosmos.blogspot.in/2015/12/the-paradox-of-vantage-point-by-indrani.html


This Diwali was special. It had to be for many reasons. First, it was my initial attempt to celebrate the biggest festival of my country as a married woman (Phewww that sounds like lot of pressure and hype!!) Second, it was my hubby’s much anticipated birthday. And most importantly I was on a vacation that screamed adventure from Day 1. It was the Diwali day– the festival of lights; our vacation was over and we were giving rest to our acutely worn-out legs at the Delhi airport, waiting uncomplainingly for our next flight. What I didn’t know that this festival would become doubly memorable in the next few hours.

The entire airport was given a larger-than-life appearance; from mammoth lanterns and diyas, LED lightings, idols of Peacock (national bird of India), staff dressed in traditional attires, to usage of national and international languages on Diwali greetings. From the look of it, it was a delight for every passenger regardless of their nationality.

All with one sole reason- reminding passengers of our rich culture! Appreciated!!!

Everything was going well until Ratul, my husband, saw a woman of foreign origin weeping profusely at the other end. He immediately sprang up from his seat.

“Something is wrong with her. We need to check.”

“She must have come to drop someone at the airport and feeling emotional. It would look stupid if we probe. Sit down.” I smirked.

“Yes, but if you go and ask it won’t invite much trouble. My going would seem like a desperate man trying to friends with a firang.” He had a point.

I tried to amuse him with talks so that the rest time for my legs get extended to few minutes more.

“Fine. Go ahead. I want to see how good you are at flirting.”

“Please don’t joke. Look she is crying more now.”

“Okay. What do I get in return if I go?” We both started laughing letting our imagination run wild.

“Don’t ask me such questions or I will start my cheesy talks again.”

Undoubtedly going to the crying woman seemed more suitable at that time. I brushed the indolent expression aside and donned a more considerate expression.

“Hey is everything alright? I mean, you seem little distressed. Can I help you with something?”

She looked away and started crying again. I didn’t know how to react. Before I could think of calling any policeman there, a girl in her early 20s walked in with a club sandwich in her hand and offered that to the woman.

“Excuse me…do you know her? Actually my husband and I saw her crying so got little worried. You know her?” I asked.

“No didi. I just saw her this morning, just like you guys. Her name is Chlo. I don’t know the full name but she is here since last night. She had a direct flight from Goa to Delhi, but at the last moment Air India changed that into a connecting flight via Mumbai and because of some delay she missed her Air Canada flight and now she is stuck here. The worst part is that her Visa is going to expire tomorrow. She has not eaten anything so I got this for her.” She pointed at the sandwich.

“Okay. But talking to Air India will solve the problem. That’s not an issue I guess.” I was brimming with self-confidence and pride that when you are at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) nothing can go wrong. After all, we are taught since childhood that Athiti Devo Bhava (guests are god). Even Aamir Khan says so!

I was getting wide-eyed with my confidence when she intervened. “You think so didi? I have been trying that since morning; ran from one official to another. She even spoke to Air India officials but no one is willing to extend a helping hand.”

“How is that possible? That sounds little weird. I mean…..”

“What happened?” I was interrupted with Ratul’s query. He couldn’t control and finally jumped in the conversation. In the next 10 minutes he was told the entire story. In a fraction of second he passed the trolley luggage to me and went straight to the police official at the entry of visitor’s gate. This was followed by few other security officials. While the three of us followed him in a baffled state.

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“By the way, I am Dyutima Sharma. I am an Mphil student at Calcutta University. Originally from Bhopal.”

And an impromptu chit chat followed to lighten the tense situation.

“Nice to meet you Dyutima. I am Indrani Majumdar. I am a writer by profession.”

“Oh woow. Writer. Sounds good. Have you written any book till now?

“Ummm…yes…will tell you more about it.”

Meanwhile, there were many pseudo-humans who came, listened to the complete anecdote, sympathized and walked out saying “dekh lo beta tum log”?(You guys manage). A fellow passenger, probably to gather some fun, arrived at the scene and started spilling suggestions. “Book a ticket and go. As simple as that.” He said.

“She obviously doesn’t have money. She is a nurse and came here for some social service. Moreover, it happened because of the chaos of the connecting flight, why would she pay?” Dyutima retorted. In return, he rendered a vicious assault in the form of his next comment. “Then get stuck here poor woman.” He chuckled, made fun with hand gestures and walked away.

And there we were again!!!! All the big talks of Athiti Devo Bhava lay bare in front of Chlo. No matter how much you clean the city and endorse respecting humanity in front of the whole world, truth has a way to come to the surface. We felt naked in front of a person who came India for work and probably now will have a bad experience to narrate to people of her country. Situations like this can gnaw at your heart for a considerably long time. It was shameful. “If you can’t give hope then at least shut up.” Dyutima shouted at the top of her voice. While the man gave offensive looks as if he was abused.

Ratul kept moving from one place to another but everywhere he was shown the door with a remark “Ab kya kar sakte hai!” (What can be done now!) This remark was a cue that nothing can be done–you go now–do your own work– let us do ours– this woman will find her own way. In another 20 minutes we were caught in this whirlpool of flawed management. But, when a person is determined all cues go for a miss. I saw a remarkable comprehension of humanity in Ratul and Dyutima. Both of them refused to believe that there was no way out.

Ratul went to the customer support desk of Air India and argued for some time. “Please don’t repeat saying that nothing can be done. Of course something could be done. I want the phone number of airport manager.” I sensed restlessness in him. At last some ray of hope was seen when we got the number of Air Canada office. Alas, even that hope was being trampled upon mercilessly when the officials said that there is no facility of ISD calling from there. We kept inquiring that how do we call then. One of the staff said rudely, “Apne number se kar lo na call agar itna hi hai to.” (Call from your own number if you are so concerned). It was not the time to get into further loud bearish arguments so Ratul requested politely to guide regarding the phone call. Finally, we were asked to go downstairs.

Ratul asked Dyutima and me to wait as it was getting problematic to roam around with luggage. Chlo handed over her luggage to me and went with Ratul. Dyutima and I found a place to sit and waited in bated breath.

“Your boarding will start in another 1 hour. Aren’t you worried that you may miss your flight” I asked Dyutima looking at my watch.

“Yes I am worried, but you know didi I just don’t want Chlo to leave with a feeling that all Indians are uncooperative and awkward. I know eventually she will go, but I just want to stay for as long as I can. Change will come if we all at an individual level begin to change. Even my father says the same thing.”

I was amazed at the level of thoughtfulness she had at such a relatively young age.

“So didi what is your book about?” She asked with gleaming eyes.

“Ummm…it’s about eunuchs…transgender you can say…Its called The Paradox of Vantage Point. I am just rooting for a society in which all of us can peacefully co-exist without any kind of prejudice, and basically my story is about that.”

“Eunuch? Great I learnt a new word today. Someday I can even do my project on this topic because my subject is clinical psychology.”

“Of course you can. This is a good topic to explore.”

We plunged into an hour-long meaningful dialogue during which we spoke only about the solemn hope of making the world a better place in our own way, which was highly unlikely, considering two girls in their 20s were involved. On a normal day, you don’t see young people ditching their Facebook and latest shopping talks. Time was running fast. Dyutima was getting late for her boarding and so were we. I called up Ratul.

“Indrani I don’t know what is happening. She has called Air Canada and they have kept her for hold and she has discussed her problem already with 3 representatives, repeating the same story again and again. Now she is crying.”

“Ratul, Dyutima has to leave and so does we…I am worried.”

“I know..I know…But we can’t leave her midway crying like this…At least somebody has to take her responsibility. Her visa would expire tomorrow. Wait….somebody has responded to her..let me call you back.” He disconnected the phone. I kept urging Dyutima to leave, but she insisted to stay for 10 more minutes.

Finally the jigsaw puzzle started falling in place when I saw Ratul and Chlo coming out. A picture of happiness slowly started revealing itself.

He said smiling ear-to-ear .“Air Canada agreed to book her a ticket for midnight but she has to pay a certain amount, at least slightly lesser than the original amount.” It was the first time in those two hours when Chlo was smiling and we had emotions speaking through our moist eyes.

“I hope you have a safe journey and take care about connecting flights next time.” I advised.

We had a group hug. She folded her hands said “Namaste” and walked out.

I didn’t waste time in capturing the moment in my phone.

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Ever heard that when there is a will, there is a way? Well, someone just did that in front of my eyes.

I whispered in Ratul’s ears, “From where do you draw strength for all this?”

“Just one thing—always place yourself in the shoes of the sufferer. What if we go to Canada someday and are mocked the same way in time of crisis. I don’t know whether Chlo had any fault in this, but at least a basic level of kindness and guidance could have helped that girl a lot.” He smiled.

We keep ranting about humanity and compassion all day on Facebook and Twitter. But, when it comes to practicing it in real life, very few Ratul and Dyutima come out in open. Very few show the grit to overcome the limitations of an ordinary conscience. The epidemic of apathy is slowly engulfing each one of us, and thus sadly we don’t have ‘time’ for anyone else. For me, I had seen two real people today who didn’t believe in diluting goodness. Thankfully I am living with one of them.

As we started walking towards our respective boarding gates Dyutima said, “I know why you clicked the picture. You are going to write about this. Right?”

“I am a writer. I am always in hunt of stories. But you two gave something more than story to me today.” I winked and signed off.


It gives me immense pleasure and pride in announcing that my book The Paradox of Vantage Point is now a verified product with Amazon India. Please follow the link and order to your heart’s content. Flipkart link shall follow soon. 😊

http://www.amazon.in/dp/9385247220

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For all those kind followers, who were waiting for the first teaser of my book, The Paradox of Vantage Point, the wait is over.

Get a peek into the premise of the book.


So, here it is! The dream that was engraved in heart since childhood is nearing a winsome conclusion. It was hard to realize that while providing readers an insight into my mind almost every week through my blogs, soon I would be penning down a full-fledged book.

Writing a blog/article and being a story-teller are entirely two different things. To retain the storyteller within while writing was an exhausting as well as a rewarding experience on many levels. There were many days when I was at a loss of words, and there were also many days when I just sat down for hours just writing…and writing. I don’t intend to be any literary god. I just want to share a story that struck me while traveling in local trains of Kolkata.

My baby—The Paradox of Vantage Point—would be out very soon.

Stay glued to this space for the upcoming teaser that gives you a peak into the premises of the book.

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Keep the blessings and wishes coming in!!! 🙂


“How much will it pay you?”

“Do you earn anything out it?”

“Well, at the end, it is not bringing you anything”

“It’s good only as a part-time activity”

Acha hai timepass ke liye” (It’s good for timepass)

Artists are often bombarded with all the remarks mentioned above when they set out to nurture their art in public. My passion for writing and this blog RUMINATIONS OF MIND was not an exception either. At the dawn of my career, there were constant queries thrown by friends and family that how much I am expected to monetarily derive out of it. I had no answer; just one conviction that I wanted to learn and get consumed in this process of creating beautiful, inspiring string of sentences. I wanted to tell stories that could drive mankind to a reflection of reality.

The hunger of writing was so insane it seemed, at one stage, that this aspiration was the only thing that pumped blood inside my body. Alas, I met only with a mocking smirk whenever I shared this with anyone. Moreover, there were many uncertainties regarding my grip on the craft that continued to haunt me. I used to write a lot, but the fear of rejection and ridicule prevented me from sharing my work with anyone. There was a point when I even kept my first Blogspot account password protected so that only selected people (who I thought would be encouraging come what may) could get access to my articles. This continued for nearly a year.

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In 2011, after many pestering sessions with a friend, I shared a piece of fiction on Facebook. It was called The Journey of Thousand Miles. It was not a professional writing, yet the fact that it was written from heart, struck a chord with most of the people I knew. Many expressed astonishment that I could write and some poured in lots of congratulatory messages. However, that was again the end of it. I dipped back again into my hibernated Blogspot.

Contrary to how “fun” and “relaxing” it may appear, being a writer is not that easy. Good writing—or any form of art for that matter– comes only to those who have no qualms in sharing a part of their soul with their audience. You have to let go all the inhibitions and let people enter your world of imagination and creativity. In a way, let people slice up your psyche and make you feel naked because, at the end of the day, even if your story is adorned with illusory characters, your readers know that it is also an extension of you. An artist always spills some of his character in this work. The challenge lies in not compromising with that streak of revealing yourself in open. Because readers can aptly distinguish between transparency and manipulation. You have to present only yourself. No imitation is required.

On many occasions, the writing block fails me. I am an ardent worshipper of this astounding craft and get totally enthralled with the way the letters, words, sentences all get wrapped in each other to give birth to some eye-popping and heartwarming paragraphs. However, there are days, when you sit down to express yourself, and nothing but quietness comes out. On those days, you start questioning yourself. You feel that the artist inside is dying a slow death and nothing could be done about it except for feeling helpless. Even on those gloomy days, the writing has to be continued. I wrote some awful drafts; read them again and again and later tore them apart. But, at least your weapon–the PEN– should not leave your side.

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Adding to further injury, our inflated ego refuses to comprehend that art is subjective. People can like, hate, absorb, discard, burn your work. Period. It should not anger or upset you. What should remain constant is the zeal to learn something new every day. Because you can be born with good talent, but in order to be great, your skills need to be polished. Till the end of life! This is how the spark remains alive. There is no shortcut to hard work. Your imagination and artistic faculty needs to be fuelled with steady elements of courage, belief, modesty and self-confidence.

RUMINATIONS OF MIND was given a re-birth in early 2014 with the same mindset–Following the passion that makes me feel alive, speaking truth, asking questions, finding answers, worshipping words, and most importantly sitting down and writing better than my previous post.

After all, it’s not always about money!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Baggout for listing my blog at Number 13 position in the category of Top 14 Entertainment post for the month of May 2015.

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The journey has just started. I will spare no effort in learning more and be brazen in my conviction. Since I believe that anything that is tried long enough always finds it way.

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.”Issac Asimov

P.S: All pictures are result of Google search and I have no copyright over them.

 


It was an unfussy Monday morning where getting reading and reaching timely on office was the main agenda of the day. Until my phone rang; it was my father on the other end. “You try to come by today or tomorrow. Your mom has suffered hyponatremia, it’s something related to very low sodium level in blood, due to which she is in ICU and unable to recognize anyone.” Can you imagine the throttle when someone tries to stuff pile of cotton down your throat? Yes, it was exactly the same sensation that I felt after putting down the phone call. We knew that she was unwell, but a call like this from an optimistic man like my dad was totally uncalled for.

I rushed to the other room where Ratul, my husband, was occupied in selecting the ideal Monday blues shirt for him. “I need to leave right now for Kolkata. Please book the tickets for me. Mom is not responding well.” I fumbled in despair.

“What? Okay, wait I am doing right away.” And as he switched on his laptop to book the tickets, he continued “I will also go with you. I will not leave you alone.”

A drop of tear trickled down my eyes as I said, “But, you are not left with much leaves. You already took more than 20 holidays for our wedding.”I could sense the determination in his voice and see the commitment in his eyes when he said, “It doesn’t matter. I will see what can be done”.

The 2 hours run from Vapi to Mumbai airport on that fateful Monday morning is something that transferred me — now I feel– to the world of farthest trance. On one hand, my devil side was having negative thoughts that what if I fail to make it on time, while the sanguine side kept praying endlessly on a loop. It was the most genuine, sincere and longest prayer to god in my life. Your mind tends to bring to table all possible awful consequences in situations like this. And I, just like any ordinary person, was terrified that my phone, when switched back to normal mode from flight mode, will act as a harbinger of bad news.

It was nearly 5:15 when we landed in Kolkata. I was told that the visiting hour in Apollo Hospital ICU is from 5 pm-6pm. The distance from airport to hospital was almost 15 kilometers. On an average day, it would have taken good 40 minutes in Kolkata’s infamous traffic. Reaching hospital at or after 6 would have meant waiting for another 12-15 hours to see my mother, who was on a totally slippery slope. It was a battle against time in every sense. Ratul kept requesting the taxi driver to accelerate like it was his last drive, while I kept gazing outside the window tight-lipped. Finally at 5:45 I entered the Apollo gate and saw all my relatives, brother and father standing and waiting for us. Without looking at my eyes directly, my father handed me the ICU visiting card and told meekly, “Its 2nd floor. Bed No. 230.” Only one person is allowed at a time to visit ICU so naturally no one would accompany to help you search that chaotic, confused place in a big hospital, or no would be there to hold your hand when you slowly walk towards the place of resurrection.

I had just 10 minutes in my hand now. Overlooking the ever-waiting lift, I stomped up the stairs as fast as possible. With every passing second, my mouth was getting drier and mind was getting burdened with illusion of self-pity. Finally I saw bed no. 230. My heart refused to believe it was her; her face had become considerably darker, whole body was swollen, hair was mucked, lips had black and blue patches and saline drips attached to two places. Worst, her hands were tied to bed and she was struggling to get them released. According to the nurse, her constant attempts to remove all her drips last night made them do this visibly callous thing.

“Ma, aami eshe gechi.” (Ma, I have come).

“Ma…Ma”

I kept calling her until she looked at me. At first she failed to recognize me. No matter how strong you are, when your own creator looks through you, all your reservoir of confidence dries up instantaneously. My eyes welled up, but I tried not to make it apparent.

“Aamar hath e batha. Malish kore de.” (My hand is paining. Massage it). She kept repeating these lines constantly. Later that night, I came to know that she was saying this same and the only thing to everyone.

It was a horrifying first-hand experience when you could see that your life was descending into pits and yet could not show any movement. Amidst all the genuine concerns, prayers, some worry-coated gossips, we strolled in the hospital lobby for hours. The situation was such that you could not even show your tears since it will make your old father more weak and frail. There was a roaring lion inside who was waiting to come out and fly into a rage; as an alternative, I decided to stay calm and make the situation light with smooth talks.

From Tuesday onwards our lives had changed. Eating properly, taking bath like your usual self, sleeping till 8 in the morning, going home, checking facebook and responding on whats app took a back seat. It seemed my father, my brother, Ratul and I had rented a small place permanently in the hospital lobby where we took turns to sit in the two seats available (sometimes not even that). Whole day we were roaming with the luggage that came with us from Vapi. We didn’t even have time to go home and leave our luggage at home. A guest house near the hospital was our new habitat for sleeping.

Tuesday was scariest of all days; she didn’t wake up the whole day. All we could hear was her loud, shrill snoring, which was unusual because she doesn’t snore in normal days. My brother started with some Google search about low sodium level and blurted that it can even lead to coma in severe situations. The last nail in coffin was when the doctor said that the condition is so critical that even they can’t comment anything concrete anything at this stage. I would have sunk deep had Ratul didn’t held my heart gently on that day. Some circumstances are difficult to put down into words.

Wednesday started with usual coming of relatives and lined up ICU visits. Suddenly I noticed that my dad was wearing the same shirt since last two days as he didn’t go back home after Monday. Ratul took charge of bringing a new shirt from nearby shop and without any hullabaloo he did what was need of the hour. As clock struck 5, the ICU visits commenced. I didn’t know what I was getting into, but keeping all the apprehensions aside, I walked inside again. Today, I knew she recognized me as she smiled at my glimpse. Today her hands were not tied. It felt as if someone pumped oxygen into me.

“Kemon acho” (How are you?). That’s the only thing that came out of my mouth at that instant.

In an unclear and stammering way she replied, “Energy nei.” (No energy). Those two words were feast for my spirit because at least it meant she was back to her senses. I rejoiced and said, “Tumi bhalo hoe jabe, chinta koro na.” (You will be alright. Don’t worry). She just kept staring at me for a while and then said, “Ekhane kobe obdi rakhbe? Thakur rokkha koro aamake”. (For how long they will keep me? God save me.) “You are fine Ma”. I said. And with that two security guards came to take me down as the visiting time had ended.

Suddenly, I saw people rushing with camera in their hands from one corner to other. I could not fathom what was going on. A scene like that in a hospital area was bizarre. One of the patient relatives looked at my puzzled expression and yelled, “Arey Raima Sen shooting korche”. (Hey Raima Sen is shooting here). For a second, I got flabbergasted when I saw Raima Sen right in front of me. She was enacting a scene wherein she was there to visit a close person and thus was very sad. It was a surreal experience as what I was going through in real life she was performing out there through her gloomy expressions. We usually say that movies are a reflection of our real life, but today I felt it very closely. The scene required her to walk down the stairs sullenly, while I did something similar in lift. This was perhaps the epic example of fiction meets reality.

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Thursday arrived and we were anxious to know whether the treatment and medications were working as expected. My vigor reached a crescendo when her latest morning report stated that her sodium level is now gradually increasing—though still far from the normal range, but she was coming back to track at least. The usual lobby-waiting sequence continued till evening. Suddenly, my father was called by the doctor upstairs. Alarming!!!! I started sweating. He handed me the bottle of water and ran hastily. Every word fell sharply on my ear at that moment. Before I could dig more deep into pessimism, my dad called to inform that the doctors are planning to shift her from ICU to general ward as she was out of danger.

This was Room no. 515. Ecstasy and seventh heaven would be an understatement to describe that moment. We were allowed to meet her now anytime. In another 3 hours she was shifted to the general ward. We wasted no time in going and talking to her, this time at 5th floor and room no 515.

Tora kothae thakish? Aamake chere jabina. Ekhane thakbi aajke.” (Where you all go away? Don’t leave me and go. Today you live here.) As soon as we entered the room she said in an irritated voice. Even her impatience and anger seemed adorable and amusing now. Four of us surrounded her and the week-long buried emotions and conversations started flowing.

I came out of the room, then the corridor, then the lobby…..to breathe the whiff of fresh air at last. However, it was interrupted by unruly mob. Yes, again some shooting. This time it was the Sarathi Rana of the movie Kahaani (Pramabrata Chatterjee).

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My phone beeped. It was my colleague. Apparently I had won the Employee of the month award for May 2015. I looked at the hospital building, the luggage on one hand and Ratul’s hand clinching my other hand….our eyes met and we smiled. My mother got discharged 2 days after that i.e 13 June 2015. I hugged one of the aunts with whom I had a bitter relationship and didn’t talk for years. I got closer to many of my cousins during this tough time. Most importantly, after five months of marriage, I fell AGAIN in love with Ratul.

I don’t know if it is true that everything that happens is for a reason, but I came back feeling a lot more light and affirmative than before. Tough situations are your ammunition because they are designed to make you a better person and propagate compassion. There is no point in sulking in grudges because you may never know when the opportunity of evoking hearty laughs comes to an abrupt end. Every day now when I wake up my only agenda is to be more considerate and kind than yesterday. Writing is my only way of catharsis and today, after putting down the journey from Room no. 230 to 515 on paper, I feel a weight is lifted off my shoulder!

Dylan Thomas was right in saying………..

“Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.”

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