Dil Chahta Hai

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Dil Chahta Hai
Kabhi Na Beetein Chamkile Din
Dil Chahta Hai
Hum Na Rahein Kabhi Yaaron Ke Bin

I allowed myself to raise the volume higher than usual as I listened to this anthem of friendship by Shankar Ehsan & Loy. I closed my eyes to let the words sink in. I’d bought myself a new pair of headphones. I’d heard the song countless number of times. But today it seemed to have a different feel to it altogether. Well, they say that unless that happens, you can’t really say you bought a good pair.

I wondered whether it was just the headphones that had changed. Or was it the yaari-dosti of the past; which was now just a collection of vague images residing in some dark quaint location in the mind? A pebble had stirred the calm waters of the pond that was my mind; and images of fun and frolic bubbled up. I remembered one occasion when we were stuck in a traffic jam while travelling to India Gate. It was raining heavily and we’d all sung this song at the top of our voices in the car. The images of the silly antics, the uninhibited playfulness and the tiffs made me laugh.

Din Din Bhar Ho Pyaari Baatein
Jhoomein Shaamein Gaayein Raatein
Masti Mein Rahe Dooba Dooba Hamesha Samaa
Humko Raahon Mein Yun Hi Milti Rahein Khushiyan

That time had passed. It was not coming back. But strangely, I didn’t feel nostalgic. Maybe this is all that it was meant to be – a discreet pond of memories to be stirred occasionally in reminiscence.

Kaisa Ajab Yeh Safar Hai
Socho To Har Ek Hi Bekhabar Hai
Usko Jaana Kidhar Hai
Jo Waqt Aaye Jaane Kya Dikhaye..

The effervescence in the pond subsided as the song came to an end.

I’ll wait for some new puddles of water to collect. Maybe then I’ll buy an even better pair of headphones.

Adrak Vaali Chai

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“Cheers,” Aman and I said at the same time; smiling as we struck our cups of tea together raising a toast; almost spilling a few drops.
Koi ho.. Yaadon mein..
Palkon pe boondein liye,
Aaina bani yeh aankhein teri..
Mohit Chauhan’s ethereal song ‘Boondein’; from his Silk Route days; played on Aman’s speakers. The glass sliding door to the balcony was fully open. A swift cool breeze blew in through the door ruffling the clothes on the washing line. Monga Saab, as we fondly call Aman, makes some great Adrak vaali chai(ginger tea). We sat on the low narrow side table meant for show pieces; the hall being devoid of any furniture-a characteristic of a bachelor pad. The only utility of the hall was for playing cricket with a tennis ball.
The warmth of the tea, the cool sensation of the breeze and one of my favourite songs; a perfect start to the morning.
Bheeni si.. khushboo hai..
Havaon ke jhonkon ne jo,
Chhu ke tujhe chhudai..

When there’s a fork in the road!

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Life tends to lead you to situations when you need to make tough choices; when you need to choose between two very divergent paths. More often than not, one of these paths is the easier choice and the other is a more difficult one to tread.

While logic would propel you to take the easier path, it’s always the path less travelled that is more intriguing. It pulls you towards it, because there is a victory attached with taking the tougher choice and still coming out successful.

It fascinates you and you are drawn towards it.

Depending on whether you can convert your tough choice into success, your choice is said to be intelligent or foolish. But the experience is simply unmatched!

I was faced with such a situation a few months back. I took the road less travelled by, and it proved to be the right decision; although a tough one at the same time. Even if it hadn’t, I’d only have had myself to blame. But now I have only myself to credit as well!

Close Shave!

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Sometimes you have certain experiences in life which can give you goosebumps by their mere recollection. I had a similar experience today.

The weather has been really chilly for quite some days. The sun had shown some muscle over the dense fog only today.

I was sitting with my family in the verandah to enjoy the sunshine. The adjacent building is being constructed. I looked up and saw that the workers were putting up a column and were struggling with it. I cautioned the others that some brick or other construction materials might fall over us, so it’d be better if we moved in. But they didn’t quite pay much attention just then.

Then something strange happened. Without even giving a second thought about warning them again, I simply got up and moved towards the door. I had barely taken 3-4 steps; when I heard a loud crash behind me. A brick had fallen at the spot where I had been sitting!

It was a really close shave. I had escaped by a matter of seconds!

When I think about it in retrospect, I realise that some strange intution had driven me to get up and move away from the spot without warning the others again; as if I knew I was the only one in danger.

Was it a mere coincidence?

A sight to cherish

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Sometimes life shows you sights that you cherish all your life. I was driving to college and the sky was partly cloudy. It was well past the ‘office-time’ so there wasn’t much traffic on the road and the car moved at a decent pace unlike other days.

The windows were rolled up, so there was absolute silence inside; peace and calm; just the way I like. The sun bathed everything in its light. Then the scene changed as a cloud cast it’s shadow! In a few moments it was sunny again. I could see the shadows of the clouds moving along the road. It was a scene worth cherishing!

This hide and seek continued till I reached college. It did set my mood right for the day, maybe even for the week!

Art of Losing

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Truth is hard to digest, I had heard. But there’s quite a sizeable difference between hearing and coming across this reality; just like there’s a difference in sympathising with someone in pain and actually feeling the pain.

There are times when you start believing that a particular thing belongs to you. But the sad reality is that certain things in the world are just not meant for you, and you have to accept this fact sooner or later.

I knew it isn’t easy, but actually experiencing it was a completely different ballgame. It’s just so difficult to let go off something you’ve treasured for too long. It feels like you’re losing a part of you, and this feeling of loss seems to tear you apart.

I figured there are two ways of dealing with this. You could either not be attached to anything, so you do away with the feeling of belonging. If you don’t possess something, you can’t lose it. But, by doing so you risk making your life a dull, colourless and tasteless journey through time. It’s the sense of belonging that adds flavour to life.

The other way is to learn to let go. This is the difficult part. But things don’t quite come so easy in life, do they?

Yahoo’s Monsoon Gallery

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The latest news is that my picture has been selected for Yahoo India’s monsoon gallery! Here’s the link to the page –
http://in.news.yahoo.com/monsoons-india-2011-flickr-photos.html.

See the 3rd image titled ‘Earth, Water, Sky’.

The Coup

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Here’s a story I wrote for the college magazine :

“Have you reached college?? Has the class started?”. . “Don’t know..I am stuck at Nehru Place..”.

Next day – “Class shuru ho gai kya?? Yaar i woke up late today..”. . . “Don’t you think I am the wrong person to ask that question?? I am at Chirag Delhi flyover.. :-/ .”

Next week – “When you’re a bit more late for class than you usually are, you initially get a bit nervous. But a massive traffic jam on your way makes it almost certain that you are going to miss the 1st lecture. . Maybe even the 2nd. And then, you just sit back, relax, and enjoy the weather!! That’s exactly what I am doing right now..!!”

These are some of the conversations between my friend Andy and me, which took place via text messages almost every day before class. As is obvious, both of us were perennial latecomers and eventually backbenchers; not by choice, but due to lack of options. Most of the time we wouldn’t be allowed into class, and we would sit outside, on the staircase landing, chatting. All this continued, until one day. . .

There are two columns of benches in our class, each bench capable of accommodating four persons (though most of the time I would ask my friends to squeeze in and make room for me, when I wouldn’t get a seat). Girls would sit in the first half of the left column; not because they would all turn up at the same time to grab those seats, but simply because the boys would leave them vacant (maybe) out of courtesy. The rest of the seats would be occupied by boys.

There were some questions in my mind, and probably in the mind of every other boy as well; for instance, how was it that girls managed to top the exams each time? How was it that they ALWAYS got more marks – in assignments, practical files and projects? Where were we lacking? But alas, neither me, nor probably anyone else was bothered enough to look for answers.

I was running late for class – as usual – but the stakes were higher than just missing the 1st lecture. We were supposed to submit our assignments, and sir had already made it pretty clear, that all latecomers will not be allowed in, and their assignments would not be accepted. The saying “Old habits die hard” seemed to hold more relevance. I was fifteen minutes late. The chance to submit the assignment was gone. It was particularly displeasing, because this was one assignment that I had really worked hard upon; working late for a few days to study the topic and finally sitting up till 3 am to write it down the previous night. All wasted, just because of a silly reason – not reaching class on time.

It was one of those moments when you feel, that had this all been a movie, the camera would be revolving around you – with some slow music (violins) playing in the background – to make the scene look more melodramatic.

I was shattered to the core. What had I done to myself? Was I the same boy who never got late in school? Things were definitely not going right. It was time to change things; to change myself. It was the time for a REVOLUTION. . . .

It was 9:02:35 am when I set foot in college the next day – yes, I did note even the seconds – and even after trying really hard, I was still 2 minutes 35 seconds late! But it was considerably better than the usual 20 to 30 minutes.

I hurried up the steps, and reached class before the teacher, only to the shock of all my classmates. Their eyes seemed wider than they usually are, and Shaurya said, “Tu time par kaise aa gaya? Aj suraj nikla hai ke nahi?!” (“How come you’re not late today??”). I just smiled in reply; I had nothing to say. That day I was unusually attentive in class. I asked questions, I made detailed notes. My friends watched in shocked awe – they had to – after all, I was sitting on the first bench; something I hadn’t done since 3rd standard, unless of course asked to do so by the teacher as part of a punishment.

This time, the camera revolved again, but the music was now much more cheerful; the violins were replaced by guitars, keyboards and drums; and I had a victorious smile on my face!

Then started the melodrama. It was my friend – Andy, with an angry look on his face, and “Dost dost na raha” playing in the background. He clearly expressed his discontent about all that had happened. He had to – after all, he had lost a partner in crime! But with a little consoling, he too was aboard the revolution that I had initiated.

Next day, I entered class at 8:58:20 am, and some more accolades followed. As expected, Andy too was on time! Confetti fell, cheerful music played, as we shook hands, grinning ear to ear!

But the revolution did not stop at Andy and me. It spread somewhat like plague did in the 90’s, and soon enough, more than half the boys were ‘infected’. They would turn up early; grab all the front rows, so that the girls were left with no option but to sit at the back; paid attention in class and submitted their assignments on time!

It was a COUP, a Revolution. I can imagine what the girls might have felt, and I do empathize with them. They had been dethroned.

A week later: excerpts from a text message conversation between two girls in my class–

Naina – “Have you reached college?? I am late. . I think I’ll miss the class today. .”

Tanya – “Not even close!! I am stuck at a jam at Kalindi Kunj”!!

Confusion hi confusion hai!!

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There are certain phases in life when your mind seems to be utterly confused about pretty much everything. That’s exactly the state of my mind presently. I feel as if a big tornado is whirling inside!

There are so many things that my mind keeps reminding me to cogitate on. It’s playing the irritating assistant these days who keeps troubling his boss for every little thing. The only difference in my case is that the things that it irritates me with aren’t really ‘small’! There are decisions, very important ones, that my heart and brain have yet to reach a consensus about. I feel I am two different people within the same skin; two people who seldom agree with each other.

It’s not that I am trying to run away from making choices. It’s just that I’ve thought so much, and so many times about them and reached no conclusion that it seems worthless cogitating repeatedly when my thoughts invariably veer in the same direction each time. It’s like driving along the same road again and again and yet expecting to reach a different destination each time!

Sometimes I decide to think about something, and while I am doing so, several other issues come to mind simultaneously thus perplexing me in a very strange way. You’d empathize with me if you’ve had the experience of several restive mosquitoes buzzing in your ear at the same time while you tried to sleep!

I know all this sounds crazy, but that’s what it really is! Life IS crazy!

Phew!

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Phew!! I am so relieved that the site is up and running once again, and it loads much faster too. I had to change the hosting once again and unlike last time, I had the backup of the databases. But, I hadn’t anticipated that restoring the databases would so difficult! It took me nearly two days to get it done.

The past few days have been hectic. Had my exams last week. I think I have done well enough, especially if I take into consideration my preparation!

I’ll be going to Goa on 24th Feb on a college trip. Haven’t done any major preparations for it yet, am depending on mom for that! I haven’t had much time for it anyways, except the weekend which I spent working on the site. I’ll have to run around a lot tomorrow for shopping, the part I hate the most! My mom literally has to drag me to the market for buying clothes because I don’t go for shopping unless I notice that most of the clothes in my wardrobe are almost qualified to be called rags!

I have been planning to start posting in the ‘I Dream’ category for quite a few days now. I have quite a few ideas about what all could go into that page. But, now I guess the Shubh Aarambh can only be after 3rd March when I return from Goa.