Tag Archives: Delhi

O Stranger! How can I say Thank you!


..Dont know where it all started…but before I could realise..it was too late…I had already been attacked by..what I called “Crossophobia“…traffic panciked me…the very thought of crossing a busy road kept me at home on bright spring days…

You may term it as.. lack of confidence… I may not agree with you, but neither can I shoo it away completely ….Never for anything else in my life, have I felt …what I feel on seeing a road zooming with traffic…

Cars honking madly at each other..make me a lunatic ..The traffic signals, indications of the Traffic police have always gone over my head tangentially… I can swear by God…that Traffic signs for me are as apprehensible as Rocket Science..!! :D….

So Delhi…one of the most thronged cities of India…had always been on the top of my phobia list…

I had heard people say..”God puts you before what you most fear ..so that you will emerge courageous…stronger and  …victorious…”

And perhaps..for God ..I was no exception…

After drenching myself in the Mysore rains…I had to come to Delhi to gather dust…Cant say how and when…just as it was happening..I feel I have changed a lot..  Sure..it was to happen..the dust on the Delhi streets has settled over the rain drops clinging to my body from Mysore…and they have given me the smell of the dry earth being sprinkled with rain drops…. a colour of the golden mud…While some may call the smell and the sight..DIVINE…for others it can be just another repulsive sight…

So the cold war began… The Traffic… the Crowd would never stop for me…So.. why do I stop for them…??? I would wage a war..a Cold war…

And Sure enough …cold it was for me ..

With every sight of a road to be crossed..I got cold feet…and with every step I took while crossing it..I was drenched in cold sweat…cold were my heart beats and cold was I……Even after having crossed the road…the thought of having done so…. made me shiver from disbelief..for another fifteen minutes..cold blood rushing through my veins  and making me numb…..(or rather Dumb!! 😛 )….So cold it was for me…that it left me..frozen to death…

But then there were people…some people around me…well Colleagues at firstno rather friends… Perhaps much more than that….probably..One my Breath and the other my Beats… No …in Short..THE Rolly and THE Ahmad for me…

We had stuck by each other in the hardest of times…and put up cat fights in the most trifle of matters…I guess that describes all… 🙂

I clung to their palms…mine all sweaty…and theirs perhaps a Solace to me…                                                                                                            She would drag me safely and sometimes get reprimanded for that….and he would gently take me by my arm..never forgetting the basic difference that existed between him and me… 🙂

But it was a shortcoming …and I was unable to bear it..With each passing day…                                                                                                           An indistinct indifference irked me each moment of the day…I could hold their hands..while crossing my life…but I just didn’t want to hold them while I crossed the road… 🙂

I wanted a confident chuckle to burst from my cheeks with every cross-road in life …and I wanted to do it all alone…

So that I could stand up in front of the mirror and say…”Yes Pamela…You can do it”…and See my reflection wave back to me and say..”I trust you..”

Days went by …I stopped counting them as weeks rolled over…then there had to be months….and then there were the seasons…

I had dried up my tears in the dry autumn..that brought me to Delhi…I froze my emotions and crystallized myself into a cold stone..with the chilling winter….thinking that my fears would never spill out from my cold surface…

fortunately or unfortunately… I was wrong…

But then..after every winter comes a Spring…melting the ice crystals all over…I found myself changing again..hope to despair and now despair to hope….The hope this time was sweeter…perhaps the water from the melting ice is always better than the one which has never experienced seasons..

So…one day ..the Spring Bloomed a lovely afternoon in my life…

Rolly, Ahmad and I set out to the nearby Rail-Bhawan to fetch some tit-bits at the lunch break. It was the same story…I was the cheese in the Sandwich while tip-toeing through that busy road….

But the story wasn’t exactly the same…

Something changed…. and it changed Something forever…

On the way back…I received my Mummy’s call…and with the “Hello”..there also burst a giggle…an innocent and abrupt..grin across my face…and a loud….”WOOOOOOOOOOOW……Kete saara Pigeons… ” we had just intruded the chowraha..where hundreds of pigeons were flying hanky-panky….!!! Strange Sight…!!…and then…something even stranger…

A lean little girl ..Ummm not so little…probably just like me..clung tight to my arm…just as we were about to cross the road…Rolly and Ahmad were taken aback..and I stood there completely flummoxed…

Before I could ask ..a few quick words..”WhO…WhAt and WhY Me?”… She uttered something magical… which I was hearing for the very first time in my life…” I want to cross the road…and I can’t ..Please ..take me there…I ..ummmm…actually …..umm please…..”

Then ….did I think twice…?? Strangely No!!!…I mean I said …”YES!!! …ya sure…” and that..with such grace….as if I had been doing that …ever since I had learnt to walk..!! 😛

As if suddenly all wisdom struck me…As if I was not I , me not me….. Suddenly the sounds didn’t matter and the crowd faded away..the honking…it just seemed distant..everything vanished…all I could then see was the other end of the road..where she wanted to go…

I pressed her hands in mine…for the first time I wasn’t embarrassed by my wet palms….and the sweat in her palms..seemed like a coolant to me… :)..

we kept walking…oblivious of the noise, the traffic, the jostling crowd….the pigeons…The Rolly …The Ahmad…

I asked her …”how many years..in Delhi..”…She mumbled..6 years..and you?”..

I was proud to say..I have persisted.. 6 long months….since Sept 14…

then again..she asked..”which way are you going??”…..I returned….“which way are you going??”…

That was it…I went past my office …and walked with her…to the other side of the lane…

Something which I had never done before… all alone..not even for myself…

Then there was no losing time…I hicupped the last question…rather my last words…with her..”WHY ME?? !!?!”…

the reply makes me ponder even today…”You were happy to see those Pigeons…”..

She jumped over into the bus..there was no waving…there was no good-bye…not even a Thank You..

There was no time to ask her name…and there was no time to think..and determine what I got back …

There was just..No time to realise..I had one more road to cross alone…

Ahmad had come over ..to make me cross again…

But I couldn’t notice him…I think I crossed the lane..by myself..

Rolly and Ahmad..were chortling with laughter…saying…”Pammi should get a Bravery Award for the feat…One who doesn’t know how to cross herself…sets out guiding others… :P”..!!!

But then it hardly mattered…I knew what I’d got..

I was at the crossroad of my life…not knowing which step to take and how big my step should be…and whether to take the right or that which was left… I didn’t know..it myself…

And she was a Stranger…How did she know..what I was to do???..I’m perplexed…” How did she know that getting across the Central Secretariat Crossing …would make me get across the Crossroad I was standing at in life…??

I   don’t promise …I will begin to like the Delhi crowd…the mad traffic….                                                                                                                            I don’t promise ….I wouldn’t be scared to cross the road alone..ever again…                                                                                                            I  don’t promise I would gracefully walk across and never panic….

But I certainly do promise…I will wipe my sweaty palms on my T-shirt…won’t be embarrassed that I panic….Look   at the Bhagwanji’s wallpaper on my cellphone…smile to myself and say….”Yes..you have done  it before …and you can do it now…you can trust YOURSELF Pammi…Go on…”

I cannot muster up words to mumble…What I have got from YOU…

Neither will YOU ever know….that…

“You have given me …ME…the me that I had always longed for…

Lucky that you didn’t say a Thank you…because I don’t know how am I to pay back…what you have given me….You have gifted me your confidence and You have gifted me mine too dear…

Just tell me….Tell me please…

O Stranger….how can I ever say …THANK YOU….

hmm atlast...I did it..

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Wasn’t I the “SOMEBODY” this time?


Somebody..just another person from somebody’s family…n that somebody already a long distance relation….UFFF!!..I wish Mommy would stop acting like my Public Relations Officer…
My Mum’s brother’s wife…..Wel I love her ..she’s my ‘Mami‘..Okk
Then comes her sister…Hmmm… I have been friends with her since school.. but I just call Her ‘Masi’…

But then..come her In-Laws into the scenario….OOOOO my God..how do I ever know why I am to be extra nice to them… ????!!

But then who is my PRO??..my MUM..and there’s no ‘NO’ that she would listen…

 So here’s the story finally….

One fine evening I set out in the Metros from Central Secretariat to Rajiv Chowk and then from Rajiv Chowk to Dwarka Sector-9….I was to meet my sister Golu and Mami who had come to visit me in Dilli…I being a ‘busy’ person never could give them time..Office was all I saw every day from 9 to 9 and the four walls of my flat was what they saw every day from dawn to dusk…

Frustration drove them away from my place to my Mami’s sister’s place…

Time had already come..and they were supposed to be leaving the coming Saturday..I really had no option but to go there and bring them back home…

 So I set out….

For me crossing the road had always aroused something  called “crossophobia”….But then fighting off the traffic and getting to the Metro Station I managed to get a ticket to Dwarka…

My colleagues Shilpa and Chhavi were with me..but I never stopped panicking…A small town girl ….with a small chicken heart!!

My Mami’s Brother-in-Law had come to pick me up. I reached home, freshened up….I was soooo happy to see my sister…again..

Engrossed in each other…we enjoyed a lot…Well…she was my GOLU after all !!!

Calls from office kept on blasting my head off…But then I was audacious enough to switch off my cell phone and take 2 days leave…

A day we spent at their place hardly doing anything and…just punching each other as soft-toys….rolling on with laughter and basking in the warmth that childhood sometimes offers  J

…Seemed as if this Happiness would just never end…. J

But then..moments tick away….and they do that really fast ..

We had to spend the second day of my leave at my place …and they were to leave the very next day… L

 Early in the morning at 5:30 again “somebody” ….woke us up…Golu and I were cuddling together in a velvet blanket and the very idea of having to leave behind this bliss was terrorizing…

What on earth makes those ”somebodys” awaken us at this weird hour when we are not supposed to be leaving the place before 9….??!!??

OOOO my god!!! Yet another Long Chain of emotions…for a long chain of SOMEBODYs…

MY MOTHER’S…BROTHER’S…WIFE’S….SISTER’S….FATHER-IN-LAW..was returning back to Orissa and we were supposed to wake up and say him a ‘sweet’ good bye…!!!

I could not express my discontent at being commanded to leave the bed..because I had always pretended to be ‘The Nice Girl’…but somehow irritation was simmering within ..as I sat there completely..glum…

 Everybody was happily chatting with him…but suddenly the old man realized that he could not trace me…. I was too silent to be myself J… and so he asked “Where’s Raina??”…

I don’t know….but I must admit..”THAT SOMEBODY”…had just spoken SOMETHING that stirred me from within…

….Two days had passed pretty swiftly….

He chose to be a silent old man and I chose to be the bubbly brat..!..

… I hadn’t bothered to speak a kind word to him  since the day I had come and touched his feet…as a mark of greeting…

Yes .. I must admit my Mum could inculcate the culture…but I guess…I could not assimilate it well….

Immediately after that, we defined our boundaries..He took the Common Sitting room and we confined ourselves to the bedroom…..We never spoke…

 ..And all of a sudden he called out my name..utterly strange..for an Old man of 70 to remember it…. and even stranger to acknowledge the my presence..at such a moment…

A quick question sprang up in my Conscience…

Wasn’t I the “SOMEBODY”…this time..??

…even before dawn had set in, I had seen him tip-toe through the balcony door..careful enough not to wake us up…straight … to the Tulsi plant..in a wet dhoti to offer his prayers….

my eyes were half closed then..or Perhaps..was I completely blind..??

 A tinge of respect for this old man…seeped into me….as I spoke to myself…I would no longer term him “SOMEBODY”…

 ….Now back from the self talk world..

I presumed my sweet self….and said that…”Aja were you looking for me?”

He then walked towards me and my sister and handed us each a crumpled 100 rupee note….

Speechless as I was …I noticed Payal holding a similar note…She was his own grand-daughter…

 I felt as if… I would choke … guilt piercing me from within….I tried dusting it off my body…but stubborn as it was….it stayed on…

  …Perhaps they realize the essence of life…

 Perhaps they know…Life is not just a Rat race to be won…there’s more to it…

And even if it’s one….then it’s okay to halt down….take time to gobble down the bait…… be caught in the mouse-trap….sometimes…

Because who knows!!?? ..how real is the bait and how mythical is the “real cheese”???!!!

 Anyways…

Today when I manage to earn a fair salary….the hundred rupee note should have felt humble on my palms….but then…”SOMEBODY…”..SOMEBODY special….has humbled my heart instead…. taught me the value of regard and appreciation towards life…the joy of sharing my life with millions of SOMEBODYs around me….the delight on touching their lives in a million miniscule ways…as they  have touched mine…

So..then when I would look down from heaven..I can give my best grin and say..”Look !!….people down there still say….there was SOMEBODY…who never forgot to smile…and… she was SOMEBODY …somebody really special….”