Saturday, May 31, 2008

oh shi(f)t ! ! !

hi. exams on. Less time. So no updates.....this was one article i had written on may 10th n i dont have the patience to edit it...

its may 10th. I have roughly 10 days to go for my sem 4 exams (read: death) to commence and here i am. Tired. Bored. Frustrated. (blame it on i.e.m.!!!). even more so because my vivas ended day before yesterday. I need a break but given the situation i am in, its better to start early.

There are some things which i get annoyed at really quickly. One of them is my parents not telling me some things which they should. They think that it will get me thinking into these things and affect me.

Lately, i had been hearing the 'shift' word a lot in the maa-baap conversations (i tend to accidently eavesdrop sometimes when i am in the kitchen making myself a snack) . The discussion had taken several forms like argument, debate, vociferous declaration and what not. Especially my mom(i guess all moms are like this). I confronted my dad and he told me to mentally prepare myself as we are moving out of the house to a new one by the end of june. Even though i was expecting this, my hands and feet went cold. Now cmon, i ve been living in this house for about 17 years. You dont expect me to be happy to leave it!!

its so bad. Shifting sucks. Dad said that there was a chance that wouldnt happen and i pray so. But its a very thin chance. Might as well forget about it. I ll miss my friends. Goes without saying. But some subtle things have been such a part and parcel of my life that i cant imagine my life without them....

... the daily morning 4 o clock noise of the milk truck.

...the sweet scent of chocolate wrappers in my building lift.

...the awesome sea view from my terrace. early morning jog at the race course.

...smell of horse shit along my way around the race course towards mahalaxmi station everyday.

...the futile wait for bus 124.

...the sweet scent of agarbatti in the passage corridor.(courtesy::neighbour)

...the ganesh visarjan proceedings in my colony every year.

...the broken glass windows of the opposite buildings reminding me of my school days when we used to play cricket and broke those so conveniently(and how the govt has been incapable of repairing them even now!!).

...the empty 8.17 borivali slow everyday.

...sams-the best hajjam in tardeo.

...haji ali juice centre.

...walks along worli sea face.

...troubling couples making out near lala lajpatrai college.

...tnmc ground beside my building..

...the 20 yr old rajdoot(its a bike..dunno whose but it looks awesome!! lol!!)

...difficulty in crossing the 6 lane road at haji ali stretch.

...the 9 to 10 timepass below with friends. room (sob sob!!)

...tardeo book center ( my saviour throughout!!!)

...sardar pav bhaji

...kalpana restaurant bakery



(the last 6 are restaurants!!!)

...the every sunday football in lala lajpatrai colg compound isolated place near breach candy

...the irritating tune on opening the lift door

...phoenix mills

...the easy access to town

...THE TAXI!!!!

...the usual 6.5 sec delay of my room tubelight rooms dirty curtains

...throwing water on bhelpuriwala below

...still but unusuallly moving cars, at the back of lala colg quadrangle!!!!(lol)

...worli police swimming pool

,....the list is endless but i wont bore the reader (if any) furthur!!!!!!!

bottomline:: i dont want to shift!!!!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008


warning:: long post ahead.....

I was in the 10 th standard at that time. It was in the evening, after schoolthat I was walking towards the bus stop. there was traffic at one spot and to avoid it I decided to walk some distance and catch a bus from the left junction. I took a left and walked humming on a new song..and I saw her.

She was a short, bright child who seemed to be 9or 10 years old though she claimed to be 13. she was sitting below a street lamp with a basket of vegetables in front of her and two books on her lap. That bright angel-like face , her deep dark eyes and her cute little smile………..i can remember till today. She was dressed almost in rags, but she sat with some dignity.

I approached her little ‘shop’. My shadow appeared on her books and she looked up at me. What a sweet little child she was!!!! She smiled and asked me which vegetables she wanted. I didn’t answer.

“ what are you reading?”

“English balbharti”
the cover showed std.5.

“which school do you go to?”

“I don’t go to school. One of the school children was kind enough to give it to me.”

“how do u know to read if u don’t go to school?”

“I went to school for 3 years but dropped out as I couldn’t afford the minimal; fees.”

“is that why you are selling vegetables? To gather enough money to go to school again?”

“no.i am doing this because my father cant sell vegetables today.”

I enquired why.

“because he s drunk again and hitting my mother at home.”

There was no remorse or sadness in her voice. All throughout the conversation her pitch was jovial and happy.

“what is your name?”


I took out my wallet. 45 bucks. 5 to go home. I took 40 bucks and handed it over to her.

She stared at the money and innocently enquired how many vegetables I needed.
“those are for your books. Buy more. Read more.”

Her smile faded. She stood up held her hand in front. she didn’t want the money.
“thank you, but I am not a beggar. I sell to earn money.”

Surprised. I didn’t expect such a reaction.
“I am not treating you as a beggar. Keep it for now.. return it later when you think u can.. for now get more books.”

She clutched at the notes. The reluctance was obvious.
“please give me ur address and tel. No.”
shit. She was adamant.

“you wouldn’t need that. I ll meet you soon.”
Saying that I walked away, not looking back, praying that she wont come up and hand me the money. I I gave her money to console myself . to make me feel that I tried to do at least something for that poor girl. I got into my bus and headed home.

3 years later, I walked down the same lane towards my school to take my passing certificate. The clerk wasn’t there. Disappointed, I was returning to my bus stop when I saw a girl about average height, long hair, looking up to me, smiling. She had grown but I could never forget her innocent, sparkling eyes. Manu.

“you have grown, manu.”

“so have you…come with me.”

A dark middle aged man with grey hair was sitting in his vendor stall. The place was respectable, not shabby.
Manu led me to him, her father, and told him something in a language I couldn’t understand.

The deep lines on his face vanished and he smiled. He got up to his feet and shook my hand. He cleared his throat and said
I was of your age when I left my house. My father was a farmer with three sons and I was the youngest. We were a rich content family till the time we brothers started fighting for our share of land. All of us were married. I decided to come to mumbai.

We built a shop and I sold vegetables and fruits. We were quite happy. Then it all happened. In 1993, after the bomb blasts, riots took place and my shop and house were burned down. Everything I had saved for my family went up in flames. After things turned to normal, I had no shop, no savings, no home and a family to look after. I was angry and took up drinking. I used to remove my frustration on my wife sometimes. But we were never starved. I came to know the reason much later .my little girl used to sell vegetables and bring money for my family. When you gave her the money that day, she didn’t buy books. She bought medicines for her mother. I was ashamed of myself.””

He took out a handkerchief and tapped it under his moist eyes.

I resolved never to drink again and go back to rebuild my shattered business. It took time but my daughter edged me on. She supported me. And now we are happy and back to how we were.””

He reached out to manu and kissed her on the forehead.

“I know why you told her all that about returning the money and I know ypu wont accept it now.”

He took out the most red apples from his collection, packed them and handed it to me.
“as a token of my thanks to you my child. For helping a poor family.”

I took the bag, shook the man s extended hand. My hand was clammy with sweat .i couldn’t muster enough courage to look at manu again .when I finally did, she was there looking at me smiling her own innocent smile. It reminded me of that evening when I saw her first. Was this the same 10 year old who saved her family? how could a child so young understand so much and carry out such a difficult task all by herself> a shattered family? A drunk father? The time when most children play games and dance around… this child did so much…….

She was 5 years younger to me but I felt she was a hundred times more mature, than me.

I said good bye to manu and walked towards my bus stop. My head was begging me to stop all the thoughts racing through my head. My mind kept me on.

I caught my bus and took the last seat. For the first time in 9 years, I felt my eyes moisten.