The Simple Things

Its easy to be difficult, but so difficult to be simple.

So many times, we make things so complicated, so warped for ourselves and for others that we lose sight of the important things in life which are so simple ...

To tell the people you love that you love them.
To laugh happily, and often.
To stop and smell the flowers.
To sing out loud when you feel like it.
To seize the moment when it comes.
To smile and greet those you know.
To enjoy every moment spent with loved ones.
To take it easy and chillax once in a while.
To get wet in the rain.
To go for long strolls, carrying no worries with you.
To wake up early (ocassionally) and see the rising sun.
To see the stars at night.
To praise a job well done... and not criticize an honest but fruitless effort.
To be generous and giving without expecting something in return.
To be a good child to your parents, a good sibling and a good friend.
To help someone in need.
To work hard and party harder.
To live life on your terms... but not at anyone else's expense.

Simplicity is the essence of contentment. And here we are, trying our best to (un)learn Complex Analysis... I knew there was something wrong with the subject the moment I set eyes upon it. No wonder we aren't exactly a happy bunch of people in the Maths Dept....

A Perfectly Ordinary Day

Perfect Weather
Fresh, cool breeze ... raindrops falling lazily in a sprinkle ... the smell of wet earth wafting through the air ... the pitter-patter of water on the roof ... an aura of utter peace and contentment ...

Perfect Company
Sitting with Ash in Nesky ... for once, she was the one who wanted to stop and smell the flowers ... enjoying the perfect weather, discussing everything under the sun, no worries (not even our constant one... will we ever find BFs) ... just sitting back and relaxing, observing the life around us (nothing remarkable, as it turned out, but enjoyable nonetheless) , cracking arbit jokes, but coming up with several good one liners ... the mood to play carrom took over and we shifted to UG club ... played some good games, thoroughly enjoying each shot ... changed tables thrice, just for the heck of it ... joined by Gupta, who played below par,and justified by saying he wanted to give us a fair chance to win ... that would have been true ( coz he's an awesome player) if it wasn't for the fact that he wasn't good today even though he tried ... showed him and Ash the sky outside .. a sliver of gold in a dull gray sky ... Gupta responded "Why isn't it silver of gold"... no comments on that one ...

Perfect Music
Went to the Music Section for a meeting ... sat in my usual, much favoured (by me) spot, right in the back, strategically out of sight behind two girls ... listened to a few tunes being hummed somewhere in the foreground, some songs sung by the girls behind whom I was hiding ... "Why don't you try this song", a familiar phrase awakened me from the reverie I've sunk in ... I looked up to find The Secy and his friend , who take enthusiastic interest in me ,waiting for a response ... I sang, they sang along, and we're all happy ... I decided to change things today and introduced a few ideas of my own ... a note changed here, a scale toned down there ... I cracked a few jokes, elicited hearty laughter ... and then made a graceful exit " Oye, I'm done for today. Me leaving now" ... Happy with myself, I returned to Nesky to find Ash and Gupta, who've been bugging me for the last half hour with missed calls and messages ... Gupta playing songs on his newly acquired cell ... His "Ultimate song, just listen to the lyrics" turns out to be Gupta's life-story aptly titled "Bad Day" ... something about the magic dying, and a fake smile to accompany coffee ... we promptly change the song ... happy again.

Perfect Ending
Orange ice candy for dinner ... an after dinner stroll ... a rush back to the hostel ( Nature calls) ... an hour in the computer centre ... will go back and chat again with Ash, who happens to be my roomie ... class at 11 tomorrow, so a good night's sleep awaits ...

An extraordinarily ordinary day.

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My friends keep giving me feedback on my posts....
" It was sweet!"

" My blog is cryptic?? What about yours??"

" That post was too long!"

" U didnt mention the Bon Professeur.. u ruined the whole thing!"

" U seem confused... do u want one or don't you??"

" U know what, your blog is a bright spot in my day. I know everytime I open it I'll find something new."

" I read your blog today!! Achcha tha!"

" Who wants to read your blog anyway??"

And so on and so forth....

BUT NOBODY POSTS THEIR COMMENTS ON THE POST ITSELF !!

This is an appeal to all those who read my blog... kindly comment on what you liked or disliked about the post. You don't need to be a member... or even to disclose your name if you so choose. But please do post your comments ...... so I can continue to do just as I please anyways!!
Appreciate your views and the time you take out to read my blog. Love you all a lot!

Kasauli.... Those Were The Best Days Of My Life

1992 - 1995 .... The 3 best years of my life .... the ones I spent in that Heaven on Earth, Kasauli. My father was posted to Kasauli in November 1992. Packing our bags and moving to a new place was nothing new for us. Dad made me sit on his lap and gently broke the news that we would be leaving Chabua (Assam) ,our home for the past 2 1/2 years, for Kasauli. I was all of 7 years of age, and was unbelievably excited at the prospect of living in the mountains. Within a month, we had left the tea-gardens and ULFA behind for the pristine hills of Himachal Pradesh. It was a long journey ; took us more than three entire days to finally get to Kasauli. My first view of Kasauli was from behind the plastic bag I was throwing up in - in all my three years there, I never once missed an opportunity to empty my gut while travelling in the hills. The driver of the official Gypsy sent to receive us at Kalka station stopped to let us enjoy the first sighting. It was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. Stark blue mountains rising up to touch the sky. The cold, crisp air nipped at our faces. Winter was already here. Steps cut out of the rock, the sustenance for the farmers battling it out each year against the elements of Nature. Fresh sprigs of flowers and ferns pushed out from cracks in the mountain face, tall pine trees showered needles at us every time the wind decided to sway them. Pree and I saw our first pine cone right there by the roadside and it was treasured by Pree for the rest of the journey. All around us, there were mountains and more mountains. And on one such mountain, there was nestled a beautiful town, dotted with tiny cottages and winding roads. That was Kasauli.

The Gang
We had a lovely home there... huge, airy, full of sunshine. We even had a garden full of roses and bright yellow flowers I didnt know the name of. It was a small campus, just about 8 families and 3 unmarried officers, who became our best friends in no time because they always had something for Pree n me. We were a gang of about 11 kids, ranging from 4 to 15 years of age, Pree being the youngest. All the parents were extremely sporting and let us kids go wherever we wanted to on those hills. The Gang ended up trekking on all the known paths, discovered several new ones, had picnics on the bare hillsides, went for nature rambles, started a flower and leaf collection, made several trips to Kasauli town (3 km from the campus) just for the heck of it. There were old colonial buildings on the way, the famous Sunset Point ( from where Chandigarh looked like a Cadbury's chocolate, the sectors divided neatly like the bar), an Army Guest House ( whose guard was rumoured to be tough on kids trying to trespass, but was captivated by Pree's charm and let us pass through every time), Gilbert's Track (from where Lady Gilbert and her horse fell into the valley below.. there's a grave to mark the spot where they fell), Rosewood Cottage (an upmarket inn for the tourists who came from abroad or from Chandigarh), Khushwant Singh's retreat (noone ever went there, but there it was) and several other beautiful villas, whose inhabitants we all recognised, but knew nothing about. Those were the carefree days of innocence , when all we would worry about was whether the dahlias we were carrying would survive the trek back home.

St.Mary's Convent School, Kasauli
Where the entire Gang went, comfortably in the bus we had for our own. Where I first saw the inside of a cathedral, and was overawed by its majesty. Whose buildings were scattered on top of a hill, and we had to walk for 10 minutes to get to the Library from our class. Where the hostellers were snooty and always had the best of things- brightly coloured erasers, fancy purses to carry their pencils in, the coolest schoolbags. Where children came to everyday from far flung places in specially arranged school vans. Whose parking attendant was a deaf-mute who taught me how to weave pine needles into rings. Where Sister Rosemary was notorious for pinching one's ears, and Sister Esmeralda was the sweetest (she was only 24 years old). Where I sang my first song on the stage. Where our Class Teacher was Mrs.Rathore, whose daughter Sneha always scored full marks in every subject (she was in another section). Where they took us on long marches in the mountains, then sat us down in the middle of nowhere and told us it was our picnic spot (we planned what to bring, and who to bring it,for weeks before the scheduled picnic). Where Pree was the favourite student of her teachers and from where Ma brought her back home everyday at noon in the ambulance because there was no other means of transportation. Where I made friends with Ruchi, Preeti, Angana and Sneha.. and went to their homes from school for lunch. Where Nitin made me my first proposal, on his birthday..." Happy Birthday Nitin"..."Thank you. I love you. Have some cake. I brought it just for you" , and I ran out of the classroom crying because the others started teasing me immediately... If I'd only known what it means to be loved (I got a letter from Nitin a few years back. He's a software engineer now... oh how I wish...). Where I prayed every morning with all my heart during the morning assembly for us to get a free period (I loved to run about in the playground). Where I enjoyed every second I spent with my friends.
St.Mary's Convent School.... where I cried my eyes out when we had to leave Kasauli.

Tidbits



  • Ma taught in KV within the campus. She was soon everybody's favourite teacher, as she always has been in all these years as a school teacher. Her students were from not-very-well-off families, but they showed their love in so many ways, it brought Ma to tears at times. Vivekanand and Devanand, twins who adored Ma, actually sculpted a wooden statue for her. Sunita knitted a sweater for her. A colleague gave her a handmade shawl (it was ugly, but Ma still wore it to school for a week). Everyday she returned home with flowers and cards the students made themselves. It was not unusual to see Ma walking down the steep slope with two or three tiny tots clinging to her hands, their mothers following with the bags and water bottles. Ma was everybody's darling. She still is.
  • We had parties every Saturday. The Commanding Officer and his wife believed whole heartedly in "Let's go Party Tonight". All 8 families would gather in the Officers' Mess Lounge. The parents would chitchat, have games, dance and sing (the CO's wife loved singing and dancing... hence the rest followed!!) .The Gang would always play hide-and-seek. The mess was huge, and we knew every nook and cranny of it. We always had such fun that we used to refuse to go back home, although it was usually 1 am by the time the party ended and freezing cold outside.
  • I had my first crush there in Kasauli. He was in The Gang, one year older than me. We would often run around holding hands, we would dance together in the parties, help each other during our treks. I was convinced I would marry him. The next year, his mom brought two Rakhis, and Pree and I tied him a Rakhi each. End of crush.
  • Dad, Ma, Pree and I would go off to our favourite spot on the hills for picnics during summer. We would walk it down to the spot, carrying a bag full of goodies- Maggi, Rasna, chips, chocolates and water. We would sit on the rough brown grass under the Pine trees. Dad would doze off, Ma would read a book, and Pree and I would run about picking pine cones and flowers. Eventually, we'd sit down to eat. Dad would crack jokes, the two of us would prattle about school and the various secret ways we' d discovered and Ma would give the latest gossip going round the campus. All in all, a peaceful and lazy Sunday. Perfect.
  • We went to Shimla, Chandigarh, Kulu-Manali and lots of other places around there. We didn't travel much because Pree n I were majorly travel-sick in the mountains. The campus had a picnic in the valley, by the Solan river. The entire station was there- around 100 families from the ranks, and the Officers and their families. Huge cauldrons, gallons of kerosene, stoves- practically an entire cooking range, were loaded onto a one-ton truck. The Officers rode in the two-ton trucks with the airmen and their families. A morale boosting gesture apparently. That's big in the forces... bonding with the ranks. When you have to ask someone to sacrifice themselves for the nation, you need to show them you're going to do the same. The Gang rides together (as usual) in our school bus, with our mothers. We sing all the way down to the river, then have the best time of our lives splashing about in the frigid waters, being almost carried away by the swift current, and pulled back just in time by a fat cook who looked as if nothing could dislodge him from his position. We ate the food cooked right there, sitting beside the river, throwing pebbles in and watching them disappear with barely a ripple. It rained lightly, and we saw a double rainbow spanning the sky. We all ooh-ed and aah-ed, and stood watching the miracle in silence. A blood-red sunset later, we all piled back into the trucks and buses and rode back home.... unforgettable days....
  • Lucy... my first pet. An utterly cute, tiny little furball of a puppy that a cook from the Mess gave us. We all adored her. Ma, Pree and I were crazy about her, and Dad succumbed to her selfless love and her floppiness in no time. She would jump onto the bed at the middle of the night, somehow get into my sweater and snuggle up to my neck from inside. In the morning , I would be woken up by a wet lick, an eager yap and a face full of Lucy. She was a mountain bred, no pedigree. But no amount of breeding could have produced more lucid brown eyes, dripping with affection. She would follow us everywhere and was known to everyone in the campus. One day, our upstairs neighbour (whose wife had passed away a few months back) took a fancy to Lucy. Ma, being generous as she is, gave her away to him. Pree and I were heartbroken, but comforted by the thought that she was still only a stair away. We often found her pawing at our door, whining to be let in. Ma tried to be strict... after all Lucy was now theirs. But she was underfed, and was digging in teh garbage for food. One day, we returned to find Lucy gone... forever. Our neighbour, for whom Lucy was a momentary fancy, had left her hungry as usual and as she foraged for food, a passing group of tourists ,who had come to visit the famous Monkey Point, took her away. Someone in the campus saw her in their arms, and rushed to tell us, but it was too late. I never forgave the neighbour for his neglect. And I would never forget Lucy either...
Leaving Paradise
And then, one fine day, Dad sat us down again, and told us we had to move to a new place now. The tears just wouldn't stop. The Gang cried with us, and consoled us at the same time. We would always be friends. We'll always keep in touch. The bigger boys, who'd been like brothers to us both, immediately brought us our favourite chocs. Surbhi, my best friend there, cried with me. Soon, we were packed and ready to move again. We were sent off from Kasauli by over 100 families who had gathered there to say goodbye. We were accompanied all the way to Kalka station, 1 1/2 hours away, by 10 officers and their families. And as we rounded the bend from where we had our first glimpse of Kasauli, I bid my final goodbye to the best place of my life.
Those were the best days of my life....

Accidentally....

My friend P wanted an ice cream... it wasn't too much to ask for...
So we went for a walk at 9.10 pm to get an ice-cream for her. We had just crossed the Saraswati Mandir, engrossed in our own lamentations (how we don't have anyone who would take us out for ice-cream...), when there came a squeal of tyres, a screeching brake and the crunch of metal on the road. I turned back.. to find a head lying at my feet. I almost screamed, but found the rest of the body attached, so refrained from adding a few more noises to the scene. It was an accident.

The driver of the scooter had fallen head-first , with his vehicle falling on top of him. While I comprehended the mess, I heard a wailing from somewhere in the background. The source of the cry was a woman who appeared to be hurt. A motorcyclist stopped and a few boys also came to help the man up. After picking up the driver's specs, which lay thrown off a few feet away, and depositing it on the pavement, I went to see the woman. P and I were the only two girls on the scene, so it was upon us to talk to her. As soon as she saw me, she beckoned to me, held my hand, pulled me down on to the pavement beside her... and immediately plonked her head on my lap !!! While in this uncomfortable position (for me, that is) , she kept up her wailing, "My foot is broken.. he broke my foot.. I have two small children at home.. what will happen to them after I'm gone..." along with a string of censored words for the driver, which made even the guys standing around blush. I gingerly patted her back, all the while wishing she would get off my lap , and assured her she wasn't dying. Firmly (but kindly) I told her her foot was, in fact, not broken... she didn't have even a scratch. By that time a crowd had gathered around the pavement. Several people gave invaluable suggestions from the background. A Genius came up with a brilliant plan "Give her some water"... as if I was a standing fountain. This started her off with a fresh bout of wailing... this time for water. I looked at P..."Where do I get water from?" she responded. I decided it was time to change the topic. I told the lady to try and stand up and walk around a bit. My idea was met with universal approval, with several people from the crowd joining in encouraging her to stand up... though from a safe distance. P from one side, and I from the other, pulled her up to her feet. She protested and tried her level best to keep sitting (probably she wanted a nap on my lap again). That thought spurred me into action and despite her best efforts to the contrary, I managed to heave her to her feet. She stood unsteadily for a moment.

At this point, our man the driver decided he wanted a piece of the action too. He limped towards us. That's when I saw he was walking using a cane and his scooter had two support wheels. He came forward and stood facing the three of us (who were looking like a team for a six-legged race). He gazed at P, blinked then asked "Are you all right?? Can you walk??". A bit taken aback, P replied," Yes sir. I'm fine. But she's the one who's hurt". Regardless of this fact, he peered next at me,"And you... are you okay?". I knew the answer to this one, " Yes sir. I'm fine. But she's the one you hit". A bit bold, that last bit. I think it finally got into his head. He blinked, then asked us, "What is she feeling right now??". Not how, but what.He looked drunk. P and I looked at each other, then at the lady held suspended between us, then at the man. He decided we were too slow, and asked her directly, " Aunty, what are you feeling at this moment??". Anyone could have told him this just wasn't the moment for that particular question... and he definitely shouldn't have called her Aunty. She started telling him exactly what she felt... about him. A string of abuses later, he retired dazed. Just to get things moving, I asked her to try and walk a few steps. She resolutely held on to my shirt, pulling it this way and that, and with maximum effort, hobbled a few steps. I thought my shirt was on the verge of being ripped to shreds, so I picked her hand off my shirt and deposited my own hand in hers.

By this time, another Bright Mind asked me where she was from. As if I've known her all my life. At this juncture, Panditji, a bearded acquaintance of hers who happened to be passing along, informed us she lived in some Vihar or Nagar in IIT. He ventured to add that it was basic humanity for those present to get her to the hospital. To which the Bright Mind replied, "Panditji, daadi badhne se insaniyat nahi badh jati". Touche. A silence followed this particular remark, during which I fought to keep my face straight. A new crash broke the silence... a motorcyclist and a scooterist had collided in the background while the crowd took up most of the road. They cursed each other and moved on. That was the breaking point, and P and I burst out laughing. The laughter gave way to a sigh of relief as a car stopped and the driver got out and offered to take the lady to the hospital. We practically carried her to the car, pushed her onto the seat and ventured to shut the door, when I realised she was still holding on to my hand. "Who's coming with me to the hospital?" she demanded. Not me. "Aunty, our in time at the hostel is 10 o'clock. Don't worry, you'll be fine". There was a lady and her daughter sitting inside the car. Before they knew what was happening, I managed to wrench away my hand, shut the door and P and I sped away in the opposite direction at full speed.

The last thing I heard was someone sighing, "Man... did you see that car. That lady is lucky she's got an opportunity to sit in it", to which his friend replied, "Ultimate, yaar....."

A Short Story

I'm not short. I'm relatively short. Literally. All my closest relatives are taller than me - Ma, Dad n my sis. I'm the shortest in my family.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My sis Pree is 3 1/2 years younger and 3 1/2 inches taller than me. That means she looks down upon me in more ways than one. Ever since Dad got posted to Bangalore, we've had to introduce ourselves to his colleagues. A sample conversation goes something like this :

Colleague/Wife of colleague : So beta, what do you do?
Pree : I'm in my first year of graduation.
C/WoC : That's wonderful. (Smiles at me) And what about you?? (Patting my head. Can't pat hers,she's too tall) I've heard they have changed the examination pattern for schools this year.
Self (drawing myself up to my full height) : I can't really say. But I have heard the pattern has changed...in the last 4 years since I gave my school exams.
C/WoC : Ohhh...ehhh.. (Blink blink..squirm uncomfortably)
Self (continuing after a dramatic pause) : I am in my final year of post graduation... in mathematics... from IIT-Roorkee.
C/WoC (with a nervous laugh) : Hahaha... actually you look like the smaller one.
Self : I am the smaller one. She's the taller one.

Knockout punch delivered. C/WoC withdraw in confusion and embarassment. I take it in my stride with a martyr-like smile plastered on my face while my "kid" sister veiws the entire scene benevelontly from eyes placed 5' 8.5" above the ground. End of introductions.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The four of us - Ma, Dad, Pree n I - went to get our family photo done in a studio. There was some confusion with the placing... the photographer could not find an appropriate place for me. I couldn't sit between Ma and Dad ("It looks like a V"). I couldn't stand behind them with my sis ( " Looks lopsided " ). All four of us couldn't stand together (" looks like an M now "). In the end, we compromised with Ma and Dad sitting on chairs with Pree standing behind them and me standing on a stool beside Pree. End of photo shoot.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pree and I had a Girls' Day Out thing going. Saw this extremely cute guy walking past - tall, handsome, cool. I looked at Pree. She didn't even pause in her stride.."He's too tall for you. You'd crick your neck looking up at him. Look for someone your own size ". My concerned sis and her suggestions. "You're a regular pain in the neck, you know that?" was my irritated response. " See what I mean", was her witty rejoinder. End of discussion.

Fresh....

There are very few days on which I wake up bright n early. One of these rare occasions occurred recently when my roomie had gone home for 5 days. I spent the first two days cribbing and feeling sorry for myself, coz till 2 months back, I too was among those who would run home every other weekend. I missed my family;missed Ma's delicious cooking and her pampering and care and attention, missed Dad's love,wit and sarcasm that accompany my narratives of life here, missed my sister's constant leg-pulling and teasing. Above everything, I wanted get away from here, from the indifference, ego-hassles, lack of co-operation that characterise the way things happen in our department, to a place which is my own...My home. And so, in this atmosphere of frustration and sadness, I awoke on the third day at 4.45 a.m.

It was cool and breezy and even before I opened my eyes, my senses were filled with the sweet fragrances of a new day. I opened my eyes and saw the curtains at the door billowing gently in the wind. I was suddenly wide awake, not drowsy, but fresh and alive. I got off the bed and walked to the veranda to look at the wondrous scene unfolding right before me. The sky was a pale blue, with fluffy white clouds edged with gold scurrying across it. The sun was not up yet, but its reddish golden rays were beginning to light up the sky. Birds were chirping all around, flying busily, already starting their business for the day. Somehow at that early hour, everything looked new to me. I observed glistening drops of dew on the grass. I could spot a bright crimson flower popping out of the shrubs. A robin alighted on the railings close to me, hopped about for a moment, then flew off again with a flourish. From somewhere far off, I could hear the Gayatri Mantra being chanted. Peace and tranquility filled me right to my core. I was one with Nature, and the only thoughts in my mind were those of frank wonder and amazement at God's genius and creativity. My heart was so full of a golden glow that I felt it would burst. And just when I felt that I had reached the height of contentment, the sun rose with all the beauty and majesty that only Nature can achieve. As red, pink, yellow and a rainbow of other colours filled the vast blue expanse, my heart could not help bursting out in a prayer of gratitude to God for his creation, for giving me my life and so much of love. And as I stood there, I felt the breeze blowing away all my frustration....

I start Afresh.

French In The Land Of Les Ganges

"Je suis Candy " says the extremely pretty and enthu French girl standing in front of a class of around 20 no-hopers who've come to learn French... the guys being there exclusively for eye-Candy, the girls for arbit other reasons...

I'm part of the bunch of arbit reason girls...me n my friend-cum-roompartner-cum-classmate, who rushed to the Humanities Dept on the last possible date for enrolment and managed to wrangle two of the last few seats left in the course ("It'll be fun"... "I've always wanted to go to Paris"... "Huh??"). The next three months look promising, full of fun n frolic... till we get our first "assignment". Never thought that at the age of 20 I'd have to learn the alphabet all over, and not manage to learn it anyway. After aa-ing, bey-ing, cey-ing for sometime (with audio-visual aids, no less), I retire to the loo, exhausted and confused (is it pee or pey??). I return with gusto to pursue "Les Salutations" which starts us off with "Bonjour Monsieur/Madamoiselle" and similar greetings. After rolling and growling my r's and sounding as if I'm going to puke at any moment, I attract several unpleasant glares from the other girls in the comp centre, and decide I've done enough for the day. So ends my first encounter with la langue de Francais (Don't bother to check the grammar).

TWO WEEKS LATER:

Candy throws an amazing punch at us . "We shall have ze French examination, zest a test to see what you have learnt", all the while smiling brightly while we heave a collective groan. None of us have been able to decipher anything beyond Bonjour and Merci in the class, except a few enthu-cutlets who it seems are French-mistakenly-born-in-India. We have the test a few days later. It is best described as an unqualified disaster. However, I end up making a few more friends ( amongst them a sardar who claims he's a founding member of ISI-Intelligent Sardars of India... Is there such a thing??)

SOMETIME LATER:

By now French classes are more tiring than Maths classes. We look for ways to bunk classes, convincing each other that as Candy is still not here (its 5 minutes past the time), there is probably no class. And no sooner than the bolder ones pick up their bags to leave, Candy enters with a flurry of activity and energy, and we immediately try to look as if we've been dying for the class to start. We usually end up having arbit discussions in class, with the so-called wittier ones coming up with all sorts of words for Candy to translate (she dutifully copies down the words she doesn't understand and actually comes back with the French translation the next time). Us Mathsies use French to get out of Complex Analysis classes ("Very important... french certificate course... got to go... already late..."). French does have its uses.

One fine day I almost jump out of my skin when I hear a bright and chirpy "Bonjour Vinashi... Comment ca va?". Just in time, I jump out of the way of a cycle carrying none other than Candy. She insists on calling me Ms.Kanish or Vinashi. I manage to wave back weakly and say "Bonjour" and before I can remember the rest of it ("Crap, what was that other thingy??"), she glides by. I'm not sure how many more such shocks I can take. As it turns out later, she is capable of identifying me in the dark, from a distance of over 200 metres, on a rickshaw, on foot, in Civil Lines, out of Civil Lines ... in short anywhere, anytime. By the end of the semester, I am capable of responding decently to her enthusiastic greetings. How can one not respond to someone who is so genuinely nice and friendly and says hi even at the risk of running someone over with her cycle ??

TOWARDS THE END:

"Time for ze finale. Ze final French exam, with an oral test". You could hear a pin drop in the silence that follows, then the uproar of protestations ("No Ma'am"..."Oooh la la, use le Francais".... "Bonjour"..."That's Hello!!"). By this time, we have supposedly done verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, professions, directions... even eaten a French crepe or something that she's baked with the other batch ("There's an other batch that bakes crepes and cakes?? Why the hell aren't we in that one??"). We've sung French songs, read French poems (morose and depressing), played games and actually held conversations in pseudo-French which would get us killed in France. So Candy decides we're ready to hold our own now. The preparations for the exam are limited to us calling up each other for two days before the exam and exhorting each other to study ("I'm relying on you"..."you're better than me at this"..."Excuse-moi "..."See what I mean "). We are seated strategically, which means 5 of us are bunched together on two benches. We must look pretty desperate, coz the invigilator immediately places us apart. The exam goes off well for me. Turns out I did learn something in two months. I finish the written comfortably, mumble through the oral and part from Candy with a bright "Au Revoir".

Our gang meets up after the exam for a refreshing drink at Nesky. None of us wants to discuss what just happened, so we observe a few contemplative moments of silence and retrospection. We chuckle at our abominable pronounciations, reminisce about the early days of French, talk about Candy (especially the guys). And at the end of it all, we agree it was some ride- bumpy and jolting, but enjoyable; although we are thankful its finally over.

I finish the course with a smattering of French & a certificate to prove it, a bunch of good friends, an unforgettable association with the beautiful, charming and utterly lovable Candy, and a load of great memories.

To be followed like The Bible....

Standing Orders For Students And Procedure For Enquiries & Punishments
(Issued by the Authorities of IIT Roorkee)

D1-2.6: Students are prohibited from writing and drawing on blackboards and walls. (Huh???!!??)
D1-3.5: Students are not allowed to become members of outside societies without prior permission of the Insititute. (There goes my membership with Al-Qaida)
D1-3.6: Students are not permitted to take alcoholic drinks and harmful drugs l;ike LSD,Charas etc. (Oh hahahaha)
D1-5.7: Lights,fans,taps etc should be switched on only when needed and must be switched off when not reqired or going out of the room. (This is a rule apparently)
D1-5.8: No pets such as dogs/monkeys (yes,it says monkeys) are allowed in the Bhawans.
D1-11.4: No private doctor should be consulted by a student on his/her own initiative.( first you reach your deathbed after the "treatment" at the Insti Hospital...then THEY refer you to a private doc)

NOTE: Detailed library rules are given in the publication "Know Your Library" available for consultation in the library. (This after a lengthy set of rules governing the Library)

The Last Word:
D2-12: In all matters not expressly provided herein, the Director may take action as he thinks fit and his decision shall be final.

Mainu BF Chahida.....

I make a great hue n cry about it;
Spread the word around that I'm "Available";
Ponder for hours (okay,days) with my similarly situated friends what the reasons for our condition of "Ready to mingle, but still Single" might be;
Wonder how even girls with the worst dressing sense (this point raised by my fashion oriented friend) are escorted around campus;
Heave a long, heavy hearted sigh when I see couples roaming around;
Wish for someone to whisk me away to Ganga Canal when the weather is beautifully rainy;
Keep asking "I'm not THAT bad...Am I???" ,and driving my audience (lately my long suffering neighbour, who happens to have a boyfriend!) to desperation ("Ab pleeeeease chup ho ja");
Make sure I'm out of the hostel till the last possible moment ("10 baj gaye...chaliye andar");
Go to Nesky every single day (hmm... the guy at the counter knows me quite well and he's actually kinda cute... God,I'm reduced to Nesky waala now...I'm not THAT bad, am I?)


All of the above make me sound desperate for a boyfriend... But to tell you the truth, I'm perfectly happy just the way I am... I love my friends, I love the time I spend cribbing to them, love bugging them to bits and then think how lucky I am to have them actually comforting me, love my freedom- to do what I want, when I want, with whoever I want; freedom of choice n variety in life, love the fact that I'm actually unavailable coz I'm so busy being available, and love passing time just hanging out with my best friends wondering where exactly we went wrong and how the hell we screwed up!!

Who wants a boyfriend when I have all of this instead....

The Ragpicker

I sit looking out of the window of the Dehradoon Shatabdi,on my way back to Roorkee after two blissful months of vacationing at home.Sitting comfortably in the air conditioned chair car,I grumble (inwardly) about going back to the stifling heat, the mundane lifestyle, the boredom and ennui that characterises my life in Roorkee. As the train stops at Saharanpur, I moan loudly because the platform is on the other side of the train from where I'm sitting."Great,20 minutes of staring at dirty, plastic strewn tracks..." is all that comes into my mind.

All at once I see something moving on the track. I pause my complaining as I try to see what exactly is causing plastic bags to lift into the air and disappear somewhere. After a few moments of relentless staring, I barely distinguish a frail,wispy looking girl wearing dusty,mud coloured clothes that blend only too well with the background. She suddenly turns toward me, revealing astonishingly bright eyes in a surprisingly neat face. She looks like she's about 10 years old, but her face holds so many creases that she is wizened beyond her age. She can't see me, I'm behind a black window. We are barely a few feet away from each other, but the distance between us is much more than just those few feet. We're in two entirely separate worlds, the window giving me just a glimpse of her life. As I sit ensconed comfortably in the AC, I can see her out there under the mercilessly beating sun, picking up the filth from the tracks, putting them into the huge sack she holds across her shoulder, now discarding a packet, now picking up a newspaper. All the while she's doing this, she keeps peeping over the edge of the tracks. I see a tiny baby crawling on the platform. Probably her sibling. And suddenly, she strikes gold. Literally. In a garishly golden tetrapak, she discovers fruit juice, discarded by someone who thought it unworthy of consumption. For her, its a special treat. Lightly, she pulls herself onto the platform, hauls her sack after her and rushes to the baby. A smile lights up her face as she feeds the baby the juice... every last drop of it. As the train begins to slowly move, I can see her eyes sparkling with joy and satisfaction as she watches the baby crawling robustly again. For her, it mattered not that she didn't get a taste. For her, having something to give was the ultimate happiness.

Looking at her, I suddenly feel very small. A world of difference between us, yet who seems the happier of us both. All my grumbles and complaints vanish. As the train gathers speed and leaves the station behind, I too leave something behind and take something much more precious back with me...

My first post....

Well..I've finally done it.I've created a blog.Call it a result of utter boredom,or a need for an outlet for my expressions,feelings and my view of an extraordinarily ordinary life..or is it an ordinarily extraordinary one???

This is not a daily diary..its not a listing of my itenary.Its just a place where I can put down seemingly insignificant events of my day to day life which turn out to touch me in some way.I am not writing for critical appreciation or appreciative criticism... but I would like for you to reach out and post a comment if you like (or dislike) something posted in these columns.

Here I go....
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