Tag Archives: Delhi

Once upon a MidNight…


The clock struck 12. The ominous moment had arrived. We glanced nervously at each other. Neither had done anything more sinister than this before. But we did not have the choice. The unimaginable had  already been done and there was no way it could be undone.

It could now only be hid under the darkness of the moonless sky. We had to act quick else the night would fade away.

The stench had been growing for a week now since we first shifted into this new apartment. We never knew we would be facing this.

Though god loving I had been equally satan- fearing. Signs and omens tested my faith in a flash and…I was forced to believe the unbelievable…

The day we shifted a big black cat jumped up on me while I was trying to climb up the stairs. I was knocked down hard as it jumped over me and disappeared into nothingness…

except for a few scratches and a broken hair clip all I could give myself was a pounding heart at the top of my throat.

But then I had to move on…though similar omens followed.

But now both drenched in cold sweat heaved the plastics extremely cautious not to leave any evidence of the ghastly act. The lights could be turned on in no condition as we struggled with the weight, the darkness and the stench…tottering through the 2nd..the 1st…and finally the ground floor…

ThumPP!! and ThuuuuDDD!!!

we RAN with the haste of the storm and the stealth of the breeze!!…

Huhh!

Gasp..gasp ..gasp…! Thank God nobody saw us…

Yet in the trauma of the macabre move I reminisced those peaceful days which now were a long lost dream…. 😦

I had asked my landlady..but she lied… I had talked to a few neighbours but they laughed at my “big issue”, I had requested the sweeper but she would refuse to open her mouth about it...Nobody in this new locality would tell me anything about it… until I met the laundry man…

He heard me right. Agreed to send someone who could be trusted with the

But in the end he eerily smiled…” Madam are you new in the neighbourhood?”….”That’s why? ”

that “that’s why” nearly choked my heart..”O dear lord..why the heck had I shifted!!” 😦

Seven days were too long for the countdown…

I would wait nervously at the door each morning since 5.00 before eventually moving out of the house. Nobody turned up…

the knowing dawned deep upon us that today was the day and tonight was THE night… the crawlers and wrigglers had begun to invade the rotting mass…The thought of it wrenched my stomach with dread and disgust.

But we somehow did it..

We gazed long at our accomplishment from the 3rd floor balcony… it wasn’t long before  somebody would pick “it” up and nobody “perhaps” would know who did it..except for that strange dog who sniffed us close!..

I looked at her and said…I never knew I would miss the dustbin so much!! eventually even we have joined the club of Delhi’s Rich and Famous!! 😛

The locality is all posh and pompous with a split ac in each room…a sedan for each of the members above 18…all sorts of smart gadgets fill all their lives and all exquisite jewellery adorn all their wives !! But somehow none of these multi millionaires have felt the need of a mere dustbin…

Each day each moment the rubble may come form anywhere and from any floor… aaaannnd adorn your freshly bathed body before proudly claiming its throne on the streets!! 😛

Here people unscrupulously, unhesitatingly and with such untellable joy aim their exclusive, extraordinary garbage onto the streets….as if playing holi. 😛

May be this is what is called being “Filthy” rich 

We waited for 7 long days in our zealous attempt of finding a community dustbin or even hire a scrap collector but to no avail!! and eventually we had to play the inevitable holi that night. 😦

It won’t be long before we wouldn’t need to wait for the night fall and play the holi audaciously in broad day light! God save me from turning savage. 😦

When Government is ‘deeply saddned‘ by the meager 74.04% literacy rate… I wonder what great statistics can transform such a ‘great‘ a Functional Literacy to as high a figure as this!

But I am no complaining citizen to stay dumb…

As I reminisce those days when I proudly declared….”I love My India and I strive to make it Clean and Green.” ….I wait for the community dustbin to turn up (for which I have requested the MCD lead)…or the angelical scrap collector to knock my door one fine day! 😀

Meanwhile I will just wait and pray that I am not compelled to repeat that sordid sin again!! 🙂

O dear lord may our deep dark secret….

……melt into a dandy dream…( a community dustbin  !!) Quick Please!!

Amen!

Happy Independence day to MEEE!!


If you think you are going to find something about …”How India struggled to get its Freedom?…How efficiently have we been handling our precious Independence?…Have we flourished enough building Valuables..or building up  Values?…Have we been true to our state all this while..or have we made corruption as a core option??….Have we made Commonwealth bring pride to India or have we made Commonwealth the wealth exploited from common  people…..

Then …..I must Say SORRY…..!!!

Having made you read all this long…I want to admit I don’t know what’s happening in India…because I don’t know what has happened to me and why…So I remind you…on reading this you are not going to acquire the snapshot of India and its 63 years of Independence…But you may continue with your own fancy… 🙂

We had our Independence Day celebrations in Office…and it being India’s Premium Research organization… having the Minister for Science and Technology as its Vice President and Prime Minster as its President…we were expected to put up a great show…

Hot and humid as it was…I was getting confused whether I was nervous…or whether it was just everybody sweating profusely…as the ink from the papers I clung to… gradually began to fade away…

I had to compere the entire session… and sing … a solo and one in chorus…

It was just 40 mins that would suffice for all the show…as the Minister had to go…

So I began…the taste of Devnagri on my tongue and the melody of such pompous Hindi to my ears felt really great…I felt proud of myself… that I was doing all this …and that being presented to people  of such profile…

I would not say I did a commendable job…but yeah neither did the microphones….

But then filling in my eyes with the sight of a Minister who had graduated from Berkley …a highly Qualified Director General….. (all the while smiling at me)…and three top notch IAS officers…I said to myself…whether great..good or groggy..I would have to do it..because if I didn’t then nobody else would…. 🙂

And I held on…..

Well first time in the 11 months…we were presented with a Certificate of Appreciation by the Minister…He whispered in a fraction of a second…You are running the entire Show?!…GOOD!…you sang well too…”

I couldn’t even smile back….had to run for compering the next event !! 😀 😦

So came the end…and the numbers dwindled away…I stood there confused as everybody gave their share of opinion…on what it was and what else it could have been…

The very people that I work in close association with said…It was too long…it lacked vibrance …It was too sad… you didn’t look glad…it was melodious but a bit too tad!!

In short BAD!! 😦

I knew it wasn’t so…as a bunch of people complimented me on how gracefully I had done Lataji’s  ‘Aye Mere watan k logo’..it being such a difficult song…some were really impressed at the way I compered and the contents of my script….some said I looked confident …and so on… 🙂

Well can’t say I wasn’t disheartened with the way people could play such great critics without ever caring for the other person’s feelings…I simply stood there gulping each word in…

The saddest part was people who said so were all those whom I face each day of the 7 day working week we have here…who knew how I was dragged to the office at 9 and came back home all withered and spent at 8…with the humongous task of compering in Hindi…last night…

I programmed myself to shield my sensitive heart…and told it…if it wasn’t worth appreciating…it wasn’t fair criticizing too…So my stupid heart just stop being so sensitive!!

We were taken to snack at the India International Centre to while away time as my boss didn’t have the keys to go back home…we were there..

On a call from Daddy…my heart again ailing …he was really down with a burning temperature for the past few days..He had come to Delhi..stayed at my place..washed all my clothes…stuffed my mouth with bread and Jam…as I typed an email for office…

On 14th He had a flight to catch up at 11:45 back home…and I had a meeting to attend at 10…So I had to leave him home with a hasty bye…to attend that really important meeting…

With the Dosa a few more words of analysis of Today’s show fought their way into me…as I remembered my Daddy…as I remembered how hard I had struggled last night…writing the script in Hindi ( ofcoz with tremendous help from one of my colleagues over the phone)..till 2 into the night…..

Who knows what worth it was !!

Then I decided what worth it actually was…hurrying through the dosa…

He said coffee for five to the waiter…and I yelled “ No a TEA for me please!!”…

I never was this happy sipping onto tea before…

Since Sept 15, 2009…I had loved the Coffee…I had loved the dosa…idly …and Upma too…I had loved to claim “YES SIR!!” as my favourite words…I had loved to see my puffy eyes doing both the horse and donkey stuff late into the night…I had loved to console myself…”a sincere try never fails…my work would certainly speak for me one day…yeah some day he would certainly utter my name first when he had ultimately remembered it…yeah someday I would make all of them happy……”     HUH!

But then I had forgotten…touching my pillow each night I should have atleast made one person happy in the day…either them..or me and that one person was certainly never them…and that one person certainly wasn’t me either!!

So…I sipped on delightedly as I formulated and engraved onto my mind…the decision of a long fought battle…

The glass doors of the IIC…shut behind us…stepping onto the sun…I gaped madly at the laal Batti on  Sir’s vehicle…as if seeing it for the first time…I smiled a smile…a smile that swung me off and onto my dream… 😀 🙂

I said to God…will you give me that one??….although Red’s never been my favourite colour…And Pink is what I like most….. But I would love to have this one in red….!!!! 😛

I sighed..some things/people have their value recognized…only when we come to know we can never have them again… But then…… SO BE IT!!

Got down from the car..there was an assortment of kids…all sizes, shapes and colours available…trying hard to put up an Independence day show for the Apartment residents…

Parents were lined up in the scorching sun…

I had nothing to do…Nothing here in Delhi..No Friends..no family..no kids (ofcoz) 😛 !!

So I stayed back..clicking on the camera..absent mindedly…

I could see kids perform…their eyes searching for their maa on the stage…mothers more anxious than their performer kids…

I could see children running back to their parents…who would then proudly say..how great their performance was…how sweet her voice sounded..how smart he seemed while he danced….

Which if one fairly judged was partly true and partly not….But for parents there is never any partly ….they are just entirely..entirely for their kids.. 🙂

I was reminded of school…of my Mommy who would dress me so aptly for each and every performance that I did….how she would drop me anywhere and everywhere I wished for with her zooming black Kinetic Honda…how she would yell at Daddy who was too shy to tear the crowd and step to the front for clicking my pic while I performed….

I missed them madly…tears flowed down my cheek…I had been yelling at my Stupid heart for being so touchy feely since the morning….I had calmed it down too…But these memories just broke me down beyond repair…

Suddenly the job…the life here seemed meaningless…

I opened the keys into my flat…the past 11 months had made me forget myself…my family… as if I had locked myself up and thrown away the keys…

I had forgotten how I hate to be so lonely…How I should miss home more often…so that I don’t miss life… and How I should respect my likes and dislikes as much as I did so for others…

I had almost forgotten…”How much I had loved to be myself…before…Before I earned this fat salary…”

While at school…money never filled my pockets…but Individuality and self respect filled my soul…

Having struggled in Delhi alone for the past 11 months had given me an illusion of Independence…of freedom…But I had never realized what a poor miserable slave I had become..trying to please those who were not even my own…how I had curbed my freedom…  my dreams….for the sake of others…..Shame on me!

Now I have all that money and all that money can buy…But I just couldn’t buy the ability to dream…the pride in being myselffree…fragile yet fearless!!

This Independence Day…I will buy myself some freedom..Shop for some expensive dreams…. that when I keep in my wallet will not let me sleep for the fear of being lost….and I would hold them dear…

I would give myself some Independence to be the one I have always been . This Independence Day….I would make myself realize how Independent I actually should be!!

I laughed to myself…as I unlocked the door…I will unlock myself today too! 🙂

I promise Daddy…I would get that one for you…I hope you don’t mind red..as you have always been colour blind!!

I promise Mommy….I would never grossly deviate from the way you had manufactured me Fragile…yet Fearless!!… 😛

I promise myself….I would never ever love the Coffee again… 😛

Hey!! Happy Independence day to MEEEEE…!!



Will Somebody give me a Good Morning!!


Opening my eyes with the rising sun, vision searching for the Ganeshji poster on the wall…I pray to God to give me a Good Day…a 24 hours that are fresh and new.… specifically  a Good Morning…because a Good Morning heralds a good day…

A couple of ‘good mornings’ go over the phone….the numbers just rise and fall like a sine wave…But I just don’t want those words on the line…those voices over the Nokia 3600 I own …remind me ceaselessly “ You are precisely 36 hrs away from a place called home…”

The rest of the things fall in place mechanically until 8:45 am…as if I have been programmed and hard wired to do so…  I get into the bus stuffing my ears with the ear phones…and hush the voices inside me to a deafening silence….it’s unsafe having a wagging tongue these days…specially for me, I being a person who suffers from an ailment called Pressure of Speech 😛 !!

Perfectly posing a plastic curve on my chapped lips…and faking a twinkle in my eyes, confident that my glasses would keep the dark circles from the spotlight…  I try hard not to hear anything other than the music on my iPod … and neither the voices outside nor the voice within….both being equally disturbing for me….The lump in the throat keeps growing as I hear but cease to listen…and as I cease to listen, I cease to open my mouth….

Passing by trees, buildings, stray dogs, millions of vehicles, trillions of people doing zillions of stuff…something I struggle to pass by is Myself…

Then comes that India Gate…I’m not going to tell you why…but yes I don’t want to go around it twice a day….

With all those…and much more…the Head Quarters gate comes pretty soon….ready to gulp me down for the day…A nervous attempt at crossing the road turns successful… as I flounder my way to those Great Glass doors….

These days they hit my nose badly… every day these days… I push my glasses over my nose and wish myself a Good Morning….

I don’t know what his name was…I don’t know where & why he had to leave….I don’t know since when I had acquired such a liking for him….and I don’t know why I miss him too…

All I know is…he will never know …because nobody knows him, nobody would tell him and he would never read this…

O No! You don’t need to span your imaginations wild….He was just a person…a person who took care that those great Glass doors didn’t hit my nose….

I sometimes wondered…how could someone look so warm and hearty in the worn out uniform of a security guard…

I dedicate a whole 10 mins to my mirror, struggling to disentangle my curly hair…and all I have is a mess rather than grace, warmth or that hearty look…!!!?? Utterly Unfair!!

A booming Good morning would warm my ears…and that lump in the throat would instantly melt away with a …”Good Morning Bhaiya….Kaise hain aap?”…Instant exchange of innocent grins…a peek or two at the missing lunch packets and for sure the following frowns at our fast fading flesh…would all go by in just 30 seconds…

30 seconds…a good enough time for replacing that plastic smile by a silly grin…for clearing the lump in the throat and making way for my verbose version again….

Hmmm…The Great Glass doors would then be flung wide open and I would enter regally without hitting my nose on it….carrying that grin with me…. along with that Good morning….

Over the day…the number of questions we were put through by him, were directly proportional to the in and outs we made…they would usually range somewhere between “Khaana khaya ya nahi???….” at the lunch break…to “Kahaan jaa rahe ho itni dhoop mein….??” And then a “ Byeeeee Bhaiya” at the end of the day…

That was all….

We came to know one day…he was about to leave…the contract with office had concluded…It’s hard to say that I felt even a tinge of sadness…just that I and my friend thought we would gift bhaiya with something…he was one of those few people who would give a smile without the thought of having something in return….he would be happy if we did so ….

But we never knew why Lajpat Nagar seemed miles away…and his last day in office had already passed long back….silent and unnoticed…

It’s been months now… and there’s this new person at the Glass doors…He’s just perfect in every way a Security Guard could be….he has a good discretion of Designations and Seniority, gives the grandest of the salutes to the most senior of the bosses…the only thing is he knows it too much and he uses his discretion….

You can’t spot a crease or curve on his pompous uniform…but neither can you spot a curve on his face…

Millions of people walk in and out of our lives…touching our lives in million little ways…but while we go on….those little things seem too miniscule to be worth noticing…. Sometimes those million people go away… never even knowing they were something to us…and never even letting us know we were something to them….

And we go on…just the same filling our lives with all those things that are “worth noticing, worth considering, worth rejoicing”…But with all the delight we have for having those…why do the voids still gape??….the voids for those million little things…those trivial things…never worth noticing before…..

God!! You are too good at Mathematics!! How can you really work out so many permutation combinations that each entity in this world is so inimitable…so irreplaceable… that they can create a void in our perfectly filled lives…as they walk out…??!!….I’m baffled….

It’s so unfair that we can always look back…but can never go back…..

And today..just like every other day of my life…..I look back…being unable to go back and claim all those significant things worth noticing….worth bringing back to fill in the voids…

You have gone …and here…I don’t carry the Good Morning with me any more…I guess you always declared that for me… I took it from you prima facie and kept it within throughout the day…you gave me a Good Morning…and I made it a good day….

Today I have to find something good about the morning…before considering it so…I don’t know why…but I can’t declare it for myself… and I do find myself longing for that declaration…

Today as I walk on…rubbing my nose on the stairs to the 1st floor….I think I remember you….No I actually miss you…and I miss those Good Mornings…

I wish I could have them back….

Will Somebody give me a Good Morning??!!!

From God-fearing to God-loving.


“Om shun…Shanaischaraya Namaha”…is all that my lips chant since yesterday… Yesterday was a really auspicious day, the religious calendars said…with all those moon, sun, planet and star positioning….some great day that had come after a span of 170 years….isn’t it amazing??

I was amazed too…this day was called the Shani Divas….the day of the Saturn god….known to bring in hard times for people like you and I….

S o many poojas would have to be done…so many chants…so many rituals…lest we invoke Shani Maharaj’s annoyance and all that we would then have would be misfortune…

So then pooja’s had to be done any way…even the not so pious man would fear being an atheist this day….So everybody joined the bandwagon of devotees to please Shani Mahaprabhu and earn their share of the fortune cookie….

Thank God that it was my friend’s papa who had taken us to Mehrauli…the Largest Shani temple in Delhi…Had it been my papa I would never have been able to make it to the pooja mandap… 😛

From 7:45 to 10:45….we were in the queue…with thousand others….a small booklet of Shani mantras….a parched throat and a scorching sun above was all that we had…Me and my friend were taking turns reading that tiny book for a while thinking the queue would dissolve as we did so….but then we had to turn back and take solace at the increasing numbers behind us rather than the numbers before in the queue…

From dusty streets to green carpet strips….we never could know where the actual temple was for nearly 2 hours…as the media people from India TV and P7 thronged the place for an interesting capture….

The wait led to a relieve period as we saw the temple gate and the mist from the unusual water spraying fans touched our red hot faces….Maroon never seemed soo good before until we were shifted to a maroon carpet patch and came to realize this was the last part of the queue… 😀

Unitl then I had lost the last iota of energy…ceased looking back or front…had shut my lips indefinitely….and just kept the chant going within my head, knowing that I may swoon any time soon. 😛  My friend’s father with hair all gray and forbearance at an epoch was my inspiration to keep me going in the infinite wait….

I was surprised to see new entrants fighting their way into the mid of the queue with so much of an audacious shamelessness, in lying to the volunteers that they were there since the morning…. O great!! they really understood the essence of praying to God and visiting temples….chicanery and deception had seeped into our bloods so much…..that made us lie on days that we considered so auspicious….

As the queue ended and so did the wait eventually…we caught a glimpse of Shani Maharaj’s Gigantic idol….I could never explain the turbulence within me…the sight made us all forget that our heels were roasting on the heated floor…I had prepared a long list of family ailments and ”things to ask for”….soon that list started playing in my head…Rewind…Pause…Forward ….and Play…. 🙂

As we all bought Pooja Thalis…we were sure God would definitely hear us this time…. We had come so far…waited so long….and had held on to faith all our lives…. Yes…the pain was worth a reward….

People were all frantic and flustered as Shani Maharaj was known to be an angry God… They should certainly perform all those rituals….and all the more religiously lest they displease bhagwanji….The Fear Factor frenzying the Diya hall…where the crowd kept on crashing into each other and each of us….at the peak of our panics….as our Diyas didn’t light…”O my God what a omen it was!!….Will it bring misfortune for sure…or was there any ritual that would compensate???!!!!” 😦

They said we were supposed to light the Diyas with our own matchstick and should not share the flame with another’s diya…as it would dump his sack of sins onto ours….O God!! Never  would I take anybody’s sins!! Was my share of sins less bothersome that I would crave for more…!!???!! 😛

…there was a separate queue for offering oil to bhagawanji….we entered that too…bought our offerings and set off…But Lo!! They would only allow Men folk to do so…and only when they took their baths and changed into a miniscule piece of red langot!!!…. 🙂

So all we could do was hand over our bottles to a someone in the queue and take leave…

….Gulping down the last sip of the lassi there and looking at the new people in the queue…we were delighted beyond measure….that we had finally done it!!

Dozing off in the car….I came back to my senses in the underground parking of Bangla Sahib…I wished for a bed but was bumped into the lift…. 😦

And as we entered the gurudwara compound…the moments were overpowering… fraught with flash backs of my entire life…

People say…” Hands that help are holier than lips that pray…But then I came to know this after coming here…after coming to you ….. to fold my hands in prayer…to open my lips for taking your name…. Your prayers have made me realize…I need to understand first and to be understood second….”

As I came to see those hands that not only joined in prayer but also helped the needy… those lips that not only chanted your name but also uttered words of compassion… I felt strangely relieved….I didn’t have to choose which was holier….which was better 🙂

As we kept our shoes in the shoe racks…I wished there would be any ritual to keep me consumed…to keep me away from this “difficult to handle” feeling…but I hardly could find any…I found myself gaping at the all sophisticated people who might have been dropped by a Mercedes and were polishing shoes here….cleaning the floor with a radiant smile emanating from their faces….

The water from the tubes at the feet of the stairs wet my feet…I felt it wet my heart too…cleaned my feet and cleansed my soul…. as I bowed down to kiss the stairs…I saw little girls of my age were offering the Amrit Jal…never had the water tasted soo different…We took the halwa Prasad into the gurudwara…and having done the parikrama….sat down to pray…

Then it just would not stop…dripping incessantly… as if determined to flush away all that I had…and never again moisten my cheeks….I suddenly had a running nose too…and I found myself floundering which one to wipe…the eyes or the nose??!!

Thank God that we drape our Dupattas over  our heads here…that hid some of the water flow…and Thank God…that she never questions too much….perhaps she was going through the same as was I…

They were chanting the Amrit Vaani…and I was startled to find my soul responding to a language that I couldn’t even remotely understand….The words Prem and Satya…..being repeated over and over …..and tears running down over and over…

I couldn’t take it any more and so decided to move out…as we got into the waiting hall for having the langar….I was still trying to figure out why couldn’t I ask Bhagwaanji for a single thing from my wish list….except a “samastanka bhala hou….May everybody have your good will….” How dumb I was to forget wishing??!!…the shani chant still hanging around my head….made me feel dizzier than ever before…..

The wait ended soon and we were made to sit in a commodious hall with an assortment of people from all layers of our social strata…

It was more than describable more than divine as a feeble old man kept reciting… “ wahe guru da khalsa …wahe guru di fateh….and something followed by a satnaam….” I switched off everything within me…even the chants…. and my lips repeated his words….

We finished the lunch and set out….

Everybody was smiling at each other…as if they had known each other since ages…. everybody seemed so fearless….the intrepid aura clearly warming each soul…there was no ritual that could go wrong…there was no folly that could enrage Bhagwaanji….there was no nothing that could stir up the serenity….all that pervaded was Peace….

As we were buying a few kadaas…the echoes of the amrit vaani was playing both loud and gentle….something which meant…”You have come here to me….with all your fears….but just don’t forget my child….you need not fear when I am here…. Just don’t worry….Surrender yourself….surrender….because I am there….and I will take care….”

Thanks…..I do believe you will take care….all my life I have asked you for so many things..never realizing you already knew what I desire….what I deserve….and that you will take care….

I had feared all my life whether my prayers would be answered?? Whether the diya that I couldn’t light at the first stroke would bring me misfortune??  Whether consciously  or unconsciously I commit a folly…and what if the folly isn’t a folly, but a sin??…..Never realizing,  I was merely a medium….whatever happened and whatever would happen was all a part of your design….

Today I go back….and having taken so much from you…I return back all that I had been collecting since consciousness prevailed….Yes….I  give you all my fears….just one…that, “Do I deserve all that I desire??” for the first time in life I pray to deserve rather than desire….Well …I know..You would take care of everything….and you would make me capable of deserving whatever I desire in life…and beyond…..

I had come here God-fearing….and I go back loving you….loving myself…loving whatever you have surrounded me with….

I go back fearless….I go back God-loving……

Because I know…You would take care……

What Does it take to be Happy??


I know this picture didn’t seem pretty enough..surely not one to be put in this Blog…my blog…owned by somebody…who had been so choosy throughout her life…

But then…surely it was something that made me think again…about what I am …what I could have been …what I never was…or what I never would be…

Being too much fussy about the perfect shade of pink for my skirts ….other than the 8 other shades that I already had …I had rather forgotten to think…to think about those girls of my age…who would never know what a pink is…

The story of the little boy who ceased to complain about the shoe that hurt his feet..until one day he found one who didn’t have feet at all..seemed just too touchy feely …to shed a tear or two and quote as an ideal story to any sensible circle….the mails about how much food we waste and how much we grumble about the taste, while millions died of hunger…seemed just a thing to pass on to all those on my mailing list…and show how sensitive and humane I was….

It so happened that one day I came to know the value of a choice …how unhappy I was being able to afford one..and how glad they were..never been considered to make one…

As we set out to explore the New Friends colony near our apartments…I had no idea I would be made to face an inevitable insurgence within me…

After having a sumptuous dinner..the custom said an ice cream cone wouldn’t take too much space in an already overstuffed stomach…So we set out to the Gelatos an Italian Ice-cream corner…Fussying over the flavors and the scoop or the cone choice…each of us got to have their say…

Well Gelatos had to taste good after all the bucks we blew away for those meager spoonfuls…But Lo!…each of us screwed our brows over the taste and the middle class man in us began lamenting about the wallets being emptied over the cones…

And that made us hold on to the cones…trying hard to like the taste, convincing ourselves..it wasn’t all a waste….

Shops…book carts…cinemas… salons.. spas…food courts apart from the young funky mass thronged the place…After all it was the New Friends Colony…one of the Posh areas of Delhi…but then wasn’t it a part of this planet..where also lived many semi-clad, half naked, half-fed-hollow-eyed people…millions of street children…just like us but unfortunately so unlike us…

Time had taught them to know how to make the best of their surrounding…what if they didn’t have the best of the lives…they would still flaunt an animated curve under their running noses…Really time had taught them well…

Such a bunch was hanging around us too…a 7 year old “big” girl with her year old sibling hanging around her waist…and a couple of other under 10 boys …

well begging was their job…not that it was the best profession in the world…but they just had it…call it livelihood …or call it liking….

It wasn’t that great when you saw those blank faced children tugging at your tea-shirt as you licked on your cone…Not that I have poured out my sympathy to such children of the street all my life…not that I feel that’s the only option they have…not that pity is the only thing I can offer them…but yes…yes that it was easy for us to sit back and scorn at how lazy and sly these kids were to beg around…to shop for our sympathies…while I felt why couldn’t my mom offer me the glass of water as I sat gaping at the TV in an AC room…thinking it was too hot for me to step out….

It has always been like this for us and it has always been like this for them…each of us have inherited our fates and fortunes..and each of us are trying to convert it into something a bit different than what we have been handed over with….

Well…it didn’t take them long to realize …the ice-creams didn’t taste that great to us…and perhaps they could have a day with it…as one of us handed over the cone to one of them with an expression of relief of getting rid of that melting thing….I found my insides melting away…yes an inevitable insurgence gaining pace within me…

I had a tough time explaining my never understanding self…it wasn’t the 80 bucks that would go away…if I gave away that thing to that creature near me…It was The knowing…that how can she like something that I detested…how can I accept that I was sooo Lucky that I was not her,…when all my life I had grumbled about the things I never had…. about the happiness that God gave me so little….about the fate that was never right..and so many things that made me sooo unfortunate…..The Knowing that how can she be happy taking something in …that I was so happy getting rid off….??

The Knowing hurt me badly….it really did…

I gave her the thing anyway as did the others…the pale-faced jumped off in delight…having had her delicacy of the day….

I was losing myself again….

The winter couldn’t chill me…neither could the ice-cream as I watched the goose bumps on their naked bodies and felt too hot inside my jacket…Huh! The jacket wasn’t right of course!!….or perhaps right wasn’t I…..

They went away merrily…but I couldn’t have my calm…not that I had my calm earlier…grumbling about things I never had…rather than being grateful for the things I had…was my habit or perhaps my hobby….

Well food was not something I ever put in garbage bins….even the lights and the fans I always put –off when I left the rooms irrespective of office or home…Squandering away resources has never been my virtue…

So this story gave me a different lesson…

The question that disturbed me was “What does it take to be happy…??”

I had all the stuff that I wished to have at some point or other in my life…I had all the people I ever needed,… caring for me at all the walks of my life…I had all of the everything that was tangible and intangible…virtual or real….

But something I never had was happiness…Now tell me what does it take to be happy…I was utterly confused about all the choices I had and always disturbed about the choice that turned out to be not so commendable….

Here I remember a video that I so proudly added to my Orkut…called as ‘Chicken –la –carta’…it had won an award in the Berlin Film Festival for the best Documentary…

A worker in a restaurant brings in the left-over chicken bones in a big bin for the poor and hungry children of his village…and as the children pounce onto the Chicken bones…with so much of hunger and so much of happiness…this is what the video says…

“Let me tell their story,

You won’t think it’s true..

I have not forgotten ..

So I am sharing it with you…

For all the things we know …

What have we really learned??

Though I close my eyes…

The images remain…

And their story begins again…

Let me tell their story

That no one else can hear…

How can someone’s’ laughter

bring me close to tears….

And you will never know…

Cause you have never been there…

After what we have seen…

Can we close our eyes again…???


Well how true…”How can someone’s laughter bring me close to tears…??

For all the things we know…what have we really learnt…??”…

Yeah…I really doubt what I have learnt…and I am really confused as to why their delight was despair to me that moment…Perhaps because they were happy with something I was so unhappy with ….Perhaps because they knew what could make them happy and I didn’t …Perhaps because they knew their choices well or Perhaps because they didn’t have any choice at all…

yeah with all the things they could never have …they only could have a choice to rejoice…with whatever they had…

Usually as I pen down my thoughts…I become clear by the end of the last full-stop…about what it was… that was so very disturbing…about how to handle the thing…the feeling …or rather the fact that it was disturbing me…

But unfortunately it isn’t so this time…I am utterly confused as I had never been before…I still don’t know how to go about the choices in my life…and I still find myself wanting sooo many things that I do not possess today….I still don’t know how to have The choice to rejoice as the only choice in life….I still don’t know whether I am happy…and I still don’t know…how should I go about if I am unhappy today…..

Well Happy or Unhappy…I consider myself fortunate that I am not her…

I consider myself fortunate that I can afford to have a choice…what if I haven’t figured out which is the right one…there would certainly be hidden The Choice to Rejoice in the choice heap….and one day I would certainly find it in the pile…

But then apart from the million other questions that have remained unanswered within me…this one would take me a life time to figure out….”What does it take to be happy?? ”…..

Tell me ….”What does it take to be happy??”