Saturday, June 7, 2008

Alice in Wonderland

Dancing amid a thousand faces, her face glows with life… Never before had she danced with such passion. To any other person, she’d come across as someone who’s celebrating life; who’s ‘living it up’ in style… Did the thought ever cross your mind that she’s dancing away the blues? (No way!) She’s neither the ‘Lady in red’, nor is she ‘the girl next door’… She’s just another victim of the ‘Alice in Wonderland Syndrome’; dreaming her secret dreams, craving her secret life…”
Why are we afraid of admitting that we are day-dreamers? Why are we unwilling to accept that there’s a little bit of ‘Alice’ or ‘Walter Mitty’ in each of us? Do we fear what people would think of us; how they would laugh behind our backs; or is it simply the pre-conceived notion that “Nobody would understand”? Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to real world! A world where one feels lost among 6.8 billion faces; and finds solace when he just whiles away hours staring at the ceiling fan, ‘pretending’ to sleep. In the real world, things couldn’t get more ‘realistic’ than this… Or could they?
“Life is a long-long road and we are but travelers.” And like good travelers who are faithful to their voyage, we must journey on; in search of a niche where we would ‘fit in’, a niche that is symbolic of our ‘selves’. Why aren’t we told to enrich our voyage with experiences as enthralling as the adventures of Alice in Wonderland? Perhaps that is the reason why we fade into a world of our own every now and then. Because the outside world has nothing to offer (or so it may seem…), we seek our “Some place far away…” within ourselves… There’s a difference between loneliness and solitude… The strangest thing is that in spite of having encountered both these emotions, none of us have the acumen of explaining the difference between the two. What we do not realize is that in this ‘space’ that we have created, there is no solitude… only loneliness; void and hollow loneliness.
Why is it that people whom we’ve known forever seem like complete strangers; and then someday when we come across a complete stranger, we feel that we’ve known them since forever? In times when all those friendly faces turn into stone, why is there always a ‘mysterious stranger’ ready to befriend you? During those times of trial, we ask ourselves this question… Only to find that there is no logical explanation for such a question; but the answer is this stranger’s ready shoulder on which you can cry your heart out…
In this real world, we’re all alone… Agreed, friends do make life a lot simpler; but in the end, we have to journey ahead, leaving behind all those people who meant the world to us… The truth is that each of us is living in a world of our own, and every time two worlds coincide with each other, a little story is born. These stories are waiting to be told; waiting to be shared with those ‘long-lost’ friends who were a part of them. Don’t ever let these stories die a tragic death. Awaken the story teller in yourself and let the nostalgia wash over your soul. You will move on all by yourself, you might even forget what they were all about… But what you will never forget is how you felt…
“She walks amid the puddles filled with muddy water… Never before had she been so alone, and yet, never before had she felt so alive… Under the immaculate blue sky that rains down tears of joy in this “Some place far away”… There’s nobody to watch this girl who’s ‘celebrating life’; who’s ‘living it up’ in style… And she dances with the freedom of the Arctic terns that journey towards a land where they would find warmth and solace… She’s neither ‘the Angel descended from the heaven above’, nor is she the “Vision in white”… She is Alice; the Alice in you and in me, and she has decided to set herself free…”

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A day without laughter is a day wasted...

If you happen to see this video, please please please with sugar on top, go through the previous post too. These are glimpses from my schooldays ('SENTI MUNNI' THANKS A TON FOR THE VIDEO!)... The previous article was my farewell speech, which tells the story of my association with La Martiniere... And to all my 'junglee' friends: "LOVE YAS!!!!"

Monday, March 24, 2008

The end of the beginning...

Dear La Martiniere,
It’s impossible for me to sum up in just a few words how much you’ve meant to me. You’ve been a living entity, a habit … so much so, that getting up in the morning and not wearing this blue tunic is almost unimaginable.
Through the first few years of my association with you, I was a ‘slow coach’ and a ‘cry baby’. I knew I needed to toughen up, and toughen up I did… Later I earned titles like ‘Hermione Granger’ and ‘cappy’.
When I came to class 3, I improved my handwriting under the watchful eye of Miss Shaw who affectionately called me “a little puppy” because of my two fluffy pony-tails…She told us to make our letters “big and round… like little pearls”… today, my handwriting is a tad bit different…or as Mrs. Dass said, “It looks like it has been written by one who doesn’t have a thumb”… However my hair is still the same, and Miss Shaw’s fairy tales, nursery rhymes and G.K. lessons will be an integral part of my childhood memories…
To Mrs. Sadiq, Mrs. Abbas and Mrs. Dass, the ‘coolest teachers in the world’… middle school was absolute fun with you. To Mrs. Khanna, who made us “lbh” every article in our chemistry books… ma’am you made me “learn by heart” not merely text-books, but also lessons of life. To my all my Hindi teachers... my Hindi was never as bad as Disha’s (as Mrs. Dayal had said, “Angrez chale gaye, Disha ko chhod gaye!”), but my questions would drive anybody to the end of their wits… Miss Khan, who managed to keep us all up during Civics lessons with her sharp sarcasm and witty jokes. To Mrs. Mishra, Mrs. Kashyap, Mrs. Dube and Mrs. Bose, the most patient teachers in the world, I will always be indebted to you for your care and affection. To Mrs. Tripathi and Miss Ali who were my mentors…you honed me into ‘acting like a lady’. Miss Kotesh and Mrs. Gupta... in 2 years’ time, we have broken too many voltmeter knobs and test-tubes, but you both always smiled and said, “Rajkumar, zara dekho bacchon ne kya toda.”
To Mrs. Chhatree … miss, nobody sings like you do and nobody teaches music like you do... we would “come for choir practice to the music room as soon as the bell rings” even after leaving school. To Mrs. U. Pant, our librarian, who has always been a constant source of inspiration to all the students.
To all my juniors who have most patiently endured my “Western Group once more” and “EYES RIGHT!” commands… In the past year, you have given me barrels of love and a treasure chest full of memories, there is nothing else I could have asked for.
To all the boarders who taught me the Martinian way of life… It was with you that I learnt what ‘mart claps’ are and what phrases like “day-chuck” mean, and how a “no need” or an “aaaiyyaaa” can sum up a plethora of emotions… and I just loved becoming a MEG… although I’m yet to beat Dolly’s MEGNESS SCORE!
To Mrs. Abraham who forgave me after I made the glorious mistake of leaving school after class 10 and came back crying in 5 days flat. You called me a ‘bad coin’ and took me back with a smile on your face. I would never be able to thank you enough for all that you have done. Ma’am I am sorry if I let you down. I hope that you would forgive me thinking of me as your little narrator in the ‘Mother Crow, Father Crow’ play…
“Time seems like a summer bird, swiftly flown away…”
La Martiniere, when I first came to you, I had tears in my eyes. It is dramatic irony that today as I leave, my eyes are brimming with tears once again… I am indebted to you for 14 most beautiful years of childhood filled with friends, elocutions, Go-Go ice-creams and Gandhi Corner samosas. Not in a lifetime will I be able to pay back. In the end all I’d like to say is that you are the bestest school in the whole wide world and I love you from the very bottom of my heart… I’m not going to say that I’ll miss you because I’m never ever ever going to forget you…

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Presence of the Past

As you trudge ahead,
Trying to hear the unsaid,

The frozen past is right behind,
It’s your creation, you got after all that grind.

Every note, every story, every street is yours,
And those little secrets you hid behind doors;

The picture you cherished all this while,
Has faded like all the others in that frayed pile.

You’ve lost the broken candle and its light-
The only thing that got you through the pitch dark stormy night…

The hallway still echoes with your name,
The verses on the walls and those silly games.

The scar on your knee reminds you of how you fell down,
But it did feel better ’cause ‘they’ were around.

Of letters, kisses and candy hearts;
And cheesy pictures of cupids with darts!

The memory of a heartache and a ‘SORRY’ note,
The fantasy of being stuck with him on a stranded boat…

The anxiety when she hung up on you,
The ecstasy when she said, “I do too…”

The rumours of the haunted graveyard down the lane,
And the stories of the dead janitor that drove you insane!

The truth about the ‘birds and the bees’,
And that it had nothing to do with ducks and geese!

The petty brawls with other bratty boys,
A broken elbow couldn’t spoil the winning joys.

You believed aliens and UFOs would never let you down,
And that you had pals in ‘Martian Town’!

Many of those faces have gone astray,
And those sand castles: blown away…

In time you broke a few hearts (’cause they broke yours),
Funny isn’t it, how we settle scores?

You’re scared with every step you take,
You want to stop for an old friend’s sake.

“I’ll lose all this if I move on…
It’ll all vanish, it’ll all be gone!”

A voice from the distance is what you hear,
You tread ahead but with a constant fear…

But you can’t forget your past- it’s like a sweet song;
So you decide to move, but take it along…
(P.S. : This poem has been written by Anchita Sharma, one of my closest friends. It's hard to believe that this girl can actually be such a deep thinker... but seriously, her compostions are just sooooo moving.... She's one heck of a poetess !!!! Thank you soooooo much for your presence in my past 'ANCHI PANCHI'!!! Love you 'sonu monu'!!!!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

'Hand'le with Care...

The first time that those hands held me, I was too tiny to understand the meaning they would hold in my life. But, something in my heart just tells me that then, those hands were shivering, unsure and apprehensive. At the same time, they had a story to tell… the story of one who had waited all her life to hold this little miracle… a miracle that she was the proud Creator of... And it was when those hands touched my frail form that a promise of an eternal bond was whispered to my soul… for the very first time, I felt ‘truly touched’ ’cause I’m sure I cried…
I had opened my eyes to a whole new world… a world that was quaint and strange… and I saw this world through the eyes of those who had brought me here. Raising a child is a Herculean task. Those hands were challenged to go through endless cycles of ‘Feed, curdle, clean, cradle to sleep, change nappy, then cradle to sleep once again’. And just before those hands even thought about catching a little nap, I was bawling my lungs out… Here we go, get your act together - ‘Feed, curdle, clean, cradle to sleep, change nappy, then cradle to sleep’ all over again.
People say that I was a sickly child…To tell you the truth, I was an attention seeker. Always demanding attention from those hands that had never left me in the first place. Purposely, I’d fake an illness; wanting only to be sponge-bathed by those hands… I didn’t care a mite that Daddy had fractured his arm and he too needed some assistance from those hands that were always so full of me…
Those hands encouraged me to take my very first steps… And guess what I did? I left them! I left them to walk into my father’s arms… Aren’t you proud of me, Papa? Those hands gave me a father, and then grudgingly complained because in an instant I had become Daddy’s little girl.
Years passed in a blur of potty-training, bedtime stories and bruises. Every time I fell down those hands picked me up, wiped away my tears, washed my wound and carefully dabbed antiseptic onto it. Those hands were pure magic... even Edward the Confessor did not possess such a gift of healing.
Then one cold December night, those hands carefully placed in my lap a small wailing bundle which looked a lot like my Strawberry Shortcake Doll… and in nanoseconds, from being a spoilt three year old, I became a responsible ‘Didi’. Those hands held mine and gingerly made me touch the face of the tiny doll in my lap… I kissed my palm and blew a kiss to her.
That was the end of it… Those hands entertained no more tantrums. No longer did they spoil me, no longer did they pamper me. My new designation as ‘Elder Sister’ was serious business; and I was to be trained to behave like one. Now when I fell, my tears were not wiped away. Those hands always reminded me that I was a “BIG GIRL” and that “BIG GIRLS DON’T CRY.” And somehow I enjoyed this new role-play.
Now when I reminisce my childhood, I am overwhelmed by a feeling of sheer disbelief that two hands could perform the job of ten. One hand was wrapped around my fingers (which were turning blue as I held the pencil so tightly) and was guiding my hand along a four-lined notebook, teaching me to form the letters of the alphabet. Another hand held a knife, threatening to hurt me if I ran out to play (all with a good intention; now I see how the threats have paid off). One hand patted my little sister to sleep. Another one held the telephone to order a tin of Cerelac. And believe it or not, one hand was still free to take on any new work!
All I can say is that through the years, those hands were always there for me. Those strong wrists with square, laboring palms, straight firm fingers and short, neat practical nails. Hands that were efficient in making everything from ‘paranthas’ to project files; hands that liked everything in its assigned place, in a struggle to make the house disgustingly clean; hands that knew when any of her three children deserved a pat on the back or a smack on the mouth...Yet through this journey, what didn’t change was the meaning that they held in my life. Despite my best efforts, not in a lifetime, would I be capable enough of emulating them.
And even today when those hands hold me tightly, the promise which was whispered to my soul eighteen years ago is renewed… and I feel ‘truly touched’ all over again… “Mamma, no matter how old I become, I know for a fact that my hand would never ever ever grow too big for yours…”


When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon- do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your heart does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.
Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would never have set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.

And if you do find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

Constantine Cavafy (1863-1933),
Translated by Rae Dalven.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

This isn't Orkut or Facebook... But photographs nevertheless

MUNCHKINZZZZZZZ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mala and Idiot with DIDI (moi!)...