Sunday, 1 November 2015

Joy forever

I was a lonely soul. Confused. 

Living in my own make-believe world. People had used me, broken my heart. No one ever understood the real me. The me who lived in fairytales. Who loved selflessly, and wished for nothing else in return but love. Yes I was that crazy! Impractical. Weird.
And still I loved. Even my enemies. Even the people who did not love me back the way I did. I used to be hurt.

And then there were two me! The one which everyone saw was the new me. Smart, confident, professional, ever smiling, the funny girl who cracks jokes all the time. Compassionate, yes. But lonely, empty, inside.

There were trials and errors. I was failing at everything! 

And then this guy came into my life. I could not help but feel a strong pull. I had no idea what was going on, and before I knew it, we were in love!

I had completely forgotten the lonely me, until today. Scared of losing him, I am scared of losing myself along with him.

There are some joys that bring a breath of fresh air into your life. And then there are some which enter your lives so slowly that you don't even notice them. You start taking them for granted. But the latter ones are the ones that stay forever! I don't want to lose him! That's all I really know!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

For the love of poetry

It's amazing.... how poetry seems to grow on you. Every time I read a piece of poetry, or the lyrics of a song, I can't help but find a new hidden meaning. 

The most surprising thing is that this might happen even when I have written it myself! Strange but true. It's as if the words flow on their own, and dance on the plain paper. The written words of the poem tell a new story every single time. That's the beauty of the written word.

I wrote the following poem a few days back. Free verse. The words don't rhyme but the thoughts do.

Write down everything
Your drifting thoughts, your worries
That one memory which makes you smile
And also the one which made you believe in life
The one which brings a tear in your eye, whenever you think of it.

 Write down, show me the part of you 
Which is untouched 
Either by love, or by hatred 
Which is pure, blank as a sheet of paper 
Hint at your true self through your writing. Write down your deep dark secrets 
In ways which only I can comprehend 
Write them as if they are not yours 
I’ll read them as if they’re mine to hold forever 
Give me solace, through your writing. 

Write down what life means to you
What you hold in your heart, your ambitions
Write it down so that it adds more meaning
To the lives of those who read it
One more clue, to solve the mystery of life, as we know it. 

Write it all down and show me
Write from the depths of your being
For when I read it, I read you
And then become one with you
For when I read on, I don’t remain me, I become you…

Dedicated to all fellow budding writers.

Originally posted here

Friday, 18 October 2013

On the rain, the blocks and the little shocks!

Most of the memorable experiences in my life would start like- "It was a rainy day...". 

Is that not what a poet craves for? Rains have a certain romanticism imbibed in their very nature. It would only be a hardened, heinous heart which would not be delighted by the rain!

Poetry flows at its own pace. I strongly feel that poems are quite feminine in nature! When you want to write one, however hard you try, it refuses to lift its veil. But then it reveals itself, surprising you. So impulsive, yet so tender. Like a little child throwing tantrums one moment, and then mesmerizing you by her innocence in the very next!

However hard I tried, throughout the monsoon of 2013, that ever elusive piece of poetry evaded me. I had waited for the rains, and wanted to write something new and different from my previous writings. But the harder I tried, the worse it became, so I gave it up altogether, and blamed writers' block (as though I was some great novelist working on her masterpiece!).

One fine Sunday morning I opened my favorite Sunday read- The Indian Express 'eye'. It was a whole issue on happiness, and I could not put it down until I had finished it from cover to cover. The article on Sachin Tendulkar by Aditya Iyer ('Sach were the Joys' was a touching one. But the one which captured my imagination was the one about Ruskin Bond ('A Slice of Life' 

The following introduction quoted from his book 'Rain in the Mountains' struck a chord somewhere...

"All night the rain has been drumming on the corrugated tin roof. There has been no storm, no thunder, just the steady swish of a tropical downpour. It helps me to lie awake; at the same time, it doesn't keep me from sleeping. It is a good sound to read by — the rain outside, the quiet within…"

I read this, and then all of a sudden, it started to rain! The monsoon was long over. Perhaps this was a post-monsoon shower. But still! It was raining indeed! And that too after a long time. 

The pure joy remained in my heart. And it flowed in the form of the following poem...

Rained inside, and out...

I sat by my window, reading
It rained within as I read.
The raindrops, the overcast
Building up inside my head.

The quiet outside, I could not hear
The storm within, fathomless.
A storm so full of despair,
The rain inside, ceaseless.

The rain then poured, ever-so-more
Flooding the depths of my hollow heart.
It overflowed out of silent eyes,
Dripping on the book, as it part.

A falling drop then caught my eye,
Not within. Without.
A fresh downpour, now greeted me,
Not inside me, but out!

My sad heart now soaked itself,
In the delightful burst of cloud.
The wind, the thunder, the rainy spell,
Dispelled the dark, stormy shroud.

I sat by my window, pondering.
As it rained, watching in glee.
The innocence of the falling drops
Finally got the better of me.

The peace inside, mesmerizing
I saw the storm in new light.
The rain inside, was now out,
Despair was now pure delight!

It was a bit difficult to write after such a long time. Thought of giving up when I was in the middle of it. But I persevered! 

And that is how I overcame my so called 'writers block'!

(I've clicked the picture above at the Kaas valley, Satara, India)

Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Heartfelt Wish

The beginning of a new discovery...
(Fourth and final part of Khushi's story)

"You should put your heart and soul into whatever you do", said Shirish on the phone.
Khushi had called him up to discuss some problems with her project.
He went on and said, "But only if it's worth that much effort. If you are trying hard, very hard to push a wall, that's all vain! What can one gain from pushing a wall? Similarly, stop focusing on unnecessary things, stop wasting your energy on things that would not lead to anything and focus on your sole aim in life, whatever that might be."

Khushi's eyes lit up. She muttered, to herself "Sole aim in life...!"

"Yes Khushi! Each one of us has come to the world with a unique goal, a unique job. And you have to realize why you have taken birth, why you have chosen this career. The very reason for your existence. And only then would you realize your sole aim- or in easier terms your true calling in life!"

There was a long pause as these words sunk in. Khushi's mind now started seeing things more clearly. She became pensive and started to ponder upon Shirish's words. Everything suddenly started making sense! And   everything unrelated to her sole aim started looking unnecessary. An unnecessary burden which she was carrying on her shoulders.

"What happened?" said Shirish, due to the sudden silence.

"N... nothing sir! Thanks! Thanks a lot!!", she came back to her senses and found her voice!

"Well then think it over. It's time for me to doze off, okay? If you need to ask anything, you can call me anytime" said Shirish.

"Oh, no problem at all sir. Good night!" she replied. And they hung up.

Khushi sat. Sat in silence. She had now realized how stupid she had been. She had spent 5 long months. Depressed and brooding over her sudden change of emotions. Blaming herself, punishing herself for falling in love with her teacher! She had  cried every night. Had lost her sleep. Had lost her bubbly nature and joyous ways! All that remained was a doll. Who smiled back at everyone, who talked and laughed but who was totally empty on the inside...

After talking to him that day it finally dawned upon her. She now took each one of his words to heart. No use of feeling unnecessary things...
She decided, firmly, that she would focus on her sole aim and live only for fulfilling it. It would take time to forget the past, but time is the best healer, is it not!

She picked up her phone, composed a message and sent it to Shirish. The true hidden meaning of which, she knew, he would never, ever come to know...

It read...

Dear sir, you have taught me so much in life
and unknowingly.
I'd always be grateful to you!

The end... (or the beginning of a new discovery!)

Friday, 23 November 2012

The Heartfelt Wish... (Part 3)
Khushi's realization...

She called frantically.
"The number you are trying to reach is switched off", said the female recorded voice.
It was one year since Shirish had left college, and had joined another one in the same city.
Khushi too had graduated and now pursued her Masters at another institute.

Shirish sir's leaving the college had been a shock to them all. They were all sad and happy at the same time. Happy for their favorite teacher, because he had moved to greener pastures. Yes. Shirish had shared his reason for going with them. Another gesture which endeared him even more, made the students feel more like friends.
"It's a better post, with a better pay." He explained his students on the day he had walked in with chocolates in the class. His last class.

Khushi just sat there in her corner seat. No one noticed that she did not take any of the chocolates. Neither did anyone notice her silent tears. After the college was over she rushed to buy a goodbye card for him. On which she wrote-

"To the best teacher I have ever had.
Biochemistry was never so much fun.
We'll miss you"

"But I'll miss you the most..." she said to herself.

By the time she came back, he had already left. She stood there, holding the beautiful green envelope in her hand. Disappointed.
But Khushi was made of sterner stuff. She decided that she'd give it to him whenever she meets him next and wiped her tears away. From that day onwards she carried the card every single day.
The term and also their last year in college was drawing to a close. She wondered whether she would ever see Sir.

And yes, she did see him! On the day of her Biochemistry exam. There he was standing outside the classroom. Greeting his students as they came out. She almost jumped. But he couldn't see her in the crowd and started walking away.
She literally ran after him, and finally caught up.

Panting she said, "Good afternoon Sir!"

He turned back and smiled. Life smiled at her.

She gave the card to him, as words failed her. Shirish was surprised, "What's this?"
"A card for you sir." Khushi replied. "Thanks", he said, "Remember one thing in life, whatever you do, put your heart and soul into it. Wishing you all the best!"
"We miss you sir", Khushi blurted out. "You can always call me up, or come and meet me. I am always there for you all" said he.
These words comforted her soul.

And there she was, calling him up like always. She had a presentation to give the next day. She just had to talk to him, for guidance and motivation. The very sound of his voice always comforted her in troubling doubtful moments.

"Perhaps he's out of station somewhere"
"But why didn't he tell me"
"Is everything okay"
"I hope he's fine"
So many needless thoughts sprung up in her worried mind. But to no avail.

And the presentation day came. Khushi's presentation went really well, as always. Everyone applauded her.
But still, nothing appeared to be okay without Sir. She continued trying.
And alas! He picked up in the evening finally! Trying to suppress her emotion and annoyance, she filled him in on everything about the presentation. He was happy and congratulated her. Khushi's anger and annoyance melted away after listening to his voice. After sharing some pleasantries he hanged up.

She thought to herself, "He is so adorable. What is this feeeling.. He is God for me. Don't know anything else..."
And she felt it. She felt that weird pain. That weird feeling in her heart....

"Oh no! Please no! NO!!! This is wrong!!" she thought, in a sudden rush of self-realization!
But no one could have helped it. The unimaginable, yet the inevitable, had happened!

She cried to sleep that night. Not knowing how many sleepless nights lied ahead of her...

To be continued...

Monday, 5 November 2012

The Heartfelt Wish comes true...

(Part 2 of Khushi's story)

The rainy season has a certain mystery about it, some hidden joy which used to bring out the best in Khushi. Just like her name, which means 'happiness' in Hindi. This is why it was the season closest to her heart.

A soft drizzle had marked the beginning of that day and she woke up to a slight chill in the air. Feeling lazy due to the extra hours she'd spent studying the previous night, she felt like sleeping for five more minutes but dozed off for another thirty! She woke up with a start, to her grandmother's shout. And stood bolt upright, realizing that she was late for college!

She got dressed fast, fearing the lecture would start. And reached college in a hurry, only to find that the first lecture was off and her classmates were having an animated discussion about something.

"Prof. Das has got transferred to the other branch", said Shyamli, Khushi's friend and benchmate for one year, with a twinkle in her eye.

"Wow! That sounds exciting! Is that why he was not taking any lectures since the past few days. But now who's going to teach us biochem?", Khushi said to her with a bit of concern in her voice.

"I don't care, as long as we've finally gotten rid of all those boring lectures", said Jyoti.

"Yes indeed!" uttered Ravi, "We get a few days off hopefully?"

"No, that's highly impossible. The head of department has said that someone's going to join today itself"
said Shyamli, matter of factly. And they all started doing what they loved! Chalk fight!

But Khushi, still a bit dazed and lazy, looked at the rain outside, from her desk in the classroom, adjacent to the window. And felt poetic. She thought of all the amazing teachers she'd had all her life, while staring deep into the eyes of the pristine raindrops which fell from the sky. They soothed her. And breathed life into her very being.

And then it happened. Her wish came true. Without she even realizing it.

Their new teacher walked in. And introduced himself.

"Hello guys! I'm Prof Shirish and I'm going to teach biochemistry to you all"

There was some kind of a warmth in his ways. None of the teachers had referred to the class as 'guys' before. They felt a sudden closeness and took an immediate liking to him.

Something, somewhere clicked in Khushi's mind. Her heart said that he is an awesome human being.  Nothing much interesting in his appearance. Especially from the Indian point of view. But his aura was very positive she felt.

"He has come into my life for a reason," her intuition spoke again.

The classes began. The class enjoyed the subject for the first time ever. Shirish sir's knowledge was vast and he had a way with students. He understood them well. The class used to be more like a playful discussion. Full of diagrams, educational videos and question answer rounds. Something which the students had never seen before. Sir seemed to know just what the students liked and captured their imagination. Months passed since the students bunked a biochemistry lecture. They now took more interest in the subject.

"Before we start with today's talk, let's discuss something about proteins. What are proteins made up of?" asked Shirish.

"Amino acids" the class replied.

"Can we say that amino acids are the building blocks of life?" the teacher asked with a twinkle in his eye.

"Yes" could be heard sporadically.

"Oh come on! In science you can't just give a simple yes or no for an answer. You need solid reason for any statement." Shirish added.

Khushi was sitting silently through all this. Right there on the first bench next to the window. Silently observing the way in which sir was teaching. His mannerisms, his body language. The way he speaks and interacts. His way of asking questions which force one to think!

"So, can anyone give me the exact answer for the question. Support your answer with a statement. There is no right or wrong answer. I'm not going to punish you!" The class giggled and fell silent.

"Wow! I've never heard this before from any other teacher, there is no right or wrong answer. He is so encouraging." Khushi thought.

"Oh I guess Khushi would like to answer that." Sir said suddenly.

Khushi came back to her senses. "Sir remembers my name!" was another silent thought before she started speaking.
She blurted out "We can not exactly say that proteins are the building blocks of life as a whole, in spite of the fact that they form a wide array of functions and are pivotal in the building up of any organism, even viruses for that matter. But there are many more things like carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acid, and many such biomolecules, which in the optimum proportion and conditions need to interact and strike a fine balance, to make life happen. And even more important than that is energy. Without which every cell, every molecule, every atom is lifeless!"

For a moment all was silent and everyone looked at Khushi as she answered. Shirish looked at her. Her saw a spark which he had never before in his whole career, in those light brown eyes.

He said, "now that's something really very true and amazing which she'd told us, guys. That is something to ponder upon. Very good Khushi!"

"Applaud those whom you appreciate and to correct those who are wrong!" Khushi remembered one of her late grandfather's qualities. Her mom used to tell her stories about Khushi's paternal grandfather. Who was a great teacher himself and was immensely loved by all. He had passed away a year before Khushi was born.

Prof. Shirish spoke about proteins and the class eventually came to an end.

Khushi felt that there was something missing. She needed to read more about the subject. She did not feel satisfied with herself. She decided to discuss about it with Shirish sir.

The practicals were about to begin. So everyone donned their lab coats and entered the lab. Khushi lingered outside. Her eyes searched for Shirish sir's tall frame in the corridor but she couldn't find him.

"Must be busy," she thought to herself, and entered the lab.

They all performed the practicals. It went on till late evening, even later than the college had closed.

Khushi rushed out of the lab as soon as it was over, only to find that Shirish sir had already left.

Lying down in bed that night she thought about Biochemistry. A subject so difficult which was made easy by Shirish sir. Shirish sir, whom everyone adored and who seemed to be just so perfect! "I wish to be like him one day" she thought and then fell asleep.

In her dream she saw Shirish sir teaching biochemistry and herself, answering questions like always, and being applauded by all. Shirish sir supported her, and guided her.

But Khushi had not thought, even in the wildest of her dreams, that this dream of hers is soon going to be shattered...

Find out more about Khushi and Shirish in the posts to come!

To be continued...

Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Heartfelt Wish...

It all started with a wish...

Khushi wished for a better teacher, someone who'd not just teach well but also ignite the minds of the students. Not that the students had lots of interest in biochemistry, but still...
She wanted to learn. All that she could! Her thirst for knowledge was irrevocable. Her curiosity ever growing!

But the subject appeared to be jinxed. In the whole course of one year, they had never been satisfied with the lessons. The teacher used to literally read out from his notes, and no one quite understood what was going on. And young as they were, her classmates, they preferred either bunking the lectures or playing games on their cellphones. Which Khushi highly detested. You see, she was that kind of a girl who always had believed in the value of a good education. She wanted to take it seriously. It was only she who took keen interest in all the classes and practicals.

She was not the topper, but used to be there among the top five scorers.
For her, scoring the best was not the ultimate goal. She did not believe in rote learning. Neither did she like memorizing unnecessary seeming stuff (like history, which was a subject which she didn't quite like for this very fact, back in her school days). One can always look it up!

She used to love reading extra stuff, stuff outside the syllabus, stuff outside the purview of the daily grind of student life. She loved the art of science, and the science of the arts! It would not have been surprising if you'd see her reading Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam's "Ignited Minds", Harivanshrai Bacchan's "Madhushala" or Rhonda Byrne's "The Secret" a day before the exams! Much to her mom's annoyance!

In her heart was a world of her own. She loved so many things and people. She respected every soul and cared for every living thing. She had a knack for science, and read science books at her own will, not according to the college lectures!

She had had some of the best mentors anyone could get. Who molded her views and fueled her imagination.

But college had been disappointing. Though the subjects were all of her interest, there was a lack, a lacuna that seemed to constantly remind her that something was amiss. Her strong intuition told her that something great is going to come, but that great something was still elusive...

And in her heart of hearts, she wished that it would arrive soon...

"Sometimes God answers all your prayers,
In the form of a person"

And that's what happened...
Her wish came true that day. On that silent rainy day...

To be continued...