Wednesday, January 17, 2007

For you!

I was going through Viky's blog and I came across this. It so perfectly showcases the life, uncertainties and emotions of all married girls from our generations that I had to re-post it on my blog. Viky, hope you don't mind.
This one is for you, my l(w)ife!!! It may not always seem so but I do appreciate your being in my life with all I have!!!
Though all girls may not be unlucky enough to have been married into families that so thoroughly distinguish between their daughters and daughters-in-law, the element of uncertainty, that of leaving a set life back in their parent's home is ever-present. As guys, we may not fully comprehend what that feels like (which is why we could be insensitive to it at times), it would be better if at least we acknowledged it and helped ease out the change-over.
Addressed to: All the men of our times
Here is a girl,
who is as much educated as you are;
who is earning almost as much as you do;
one, who has dreams and aspirations just as you have because she is as human as you are;
one, who has never entered the kitchen in her life just like you or your sister haven't, as she was busy in studies and competing in a system that gives no special concession to girls for their culinary achievements;
one, who has lived with and loved her parents and brothers and sisters, almost as much as you do for 20-25 years of her life;
one, who has bravely agreed to leave behind all that, her home, people who love her, to adopt your home, your family, your ways and even your family name;
one, who is somehow expected to be a master-chef from day #1, while you sleep oblivious to her predicament in her new circumstances, environment and that kitchen;
one, who is expected to make the tea, first thing in the morning and cook food at the end of the day, even if she is as tired as you are, maybe more, and yet never ever expected to complain;
to be a naukraani, a cook, a mother, a wife, even if she doesn't want to; and is learning just like you are as to what you want from her, and is clumsy and sloppy at times and knows that you won't like it if she is too demanding or if she learns faster than you;
one, who has her own set of friends, and that includes boys and even men at her workplace, too, those, who she knows from school days and yet is willing to put all that on the back-burners to avoid your irrational jealousy, unnecessary competition and your inherent insecurities;
yes, she can drink and dance just as well as you can, but won't, simply because you won't like it, even though you say otherwise;
one, who can be late from work once in a while when deadlines, just like yours, are to be met;
one, who is doing her level best and wants to make this most important relationship in her entire life a grand success, if you just help her some and trust her;
one, who just wants one thing from you - your unstinted support, your sensitivities and most importantly - your understanding and love.
Are you man enough to give it to her?

I am.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The 8.03 am local - Borivli to Dadar

Time: 8 am

S gets off the autorickshaw outside the station, says bye and rushes off into the train station. I'm still paying the autowalla and receiving my change back. As I look towards the station, S is no longer visible swallowed by the throng rushing into the station. "Gosh, I guess I'm going to be late for the train again!", I think pushing myself into the crowd, elbowing my way ahead.

The 8.03 local is still there on platform number 3 - and I finally catch sight of S running along the start of the platform having made her way there after a good run. I jump onto the tracks off platform number 1 and cross over them to platform number 2 and jump onto it. Smiling, I wait for S to reach me having taken a shortcut. She joins me and we make our way ahead hurrying as we see the signal change from red to orange. She gets on to the ladies Ist class coach and I move on to the adjacent general Ist class which is already full of people crowding near the door and the aisle each vying for a comfortable spot - this could be hanging from the best position near the door or standing with your back against the partitiion walls on both sides of the doorway.

I slide into the narrow tunnel that is still open and even that closes as 3 more people get in behind me. Almost immediately, all the noise dies down. It is as if I've entered a library! Only the whirring of the overhead fans and a slight humm of the crowds still on the platforms reaches my ears. Imagine, the train has not even started yetand already I can't move more than maybe twist myself from one side to another to make myself comfortable (comparatively).

All around, people are either dozing or reading newspapers, books or even study material. Some, like me, are not yet in a position to take their reading material out of their bag and hold it up at reading level. I notice that the luggage rack has been taken out in this particular train - a grim reminder that the train blasts that hit us last year came out of bags placed on these luggage racks. This also meant that I had to commute with my bag hung off my shoulders.

All of a sudden, raised voices near the door proclaim the eruption of a argument. This had to happen, I think. Looking around, I exchange a few resigned smiles with others in the compartment. The following amiable conversation ensues:

Commuter 1: Hawa khaane ka itna hi shauk hai to khudki gaadi main jaoo..train main dusre log bhi hote hain...tere baap ki jagah nahi hai...
Commuter 2: Baap ka naam leta hai, neeche utar, dikhataoon...
Commuter 1: Terese darta hun kya, chal neeche!!!
Commuter 2: Jyaada aavaj mat kar, bahut dekhe tere jaise. Umar jyada isliye chup hun!!!

While this goes on, a few smart alec college kids shout out from deep within the coach, "Maar, maar usko!!! Chodna mat!!!". The surprising part is, immediately after this, all fall silent and the two commuters who fought are seen to be standing staidly next to each other as if nothing had ever happened. Everyone else falls back into a stupor.

With a slight jolt, the train starts off, right on time. Some of the commuters offer a small prayer to the Almighty for the well being of all fellow travellers and themselves, of course. Very soon, the train catches speed and the regular and soothing rocking motion starts. All the commuters are well settled in their respectively niches (actually half a niche maybe).

In precisely 4 minutes, the train reached the next station and began its slowdown signified by the shuddering we are subjected to. Even before the train comes to a complete halt, a mob of commuters zoom in wedging themselves in all the available air pockets that were still left over. At the same time, their eyes were roving around the whole place looking to see if there was any possible spot they overlooked in their search for a comfortable position for their journey.

*** At this stage, I would like the reader to note there at no stage have I ever mentioned a "seat". These things are meant for the very lucky and patient few and are often unheard of among us peak time travellers.

There is a lot of shouting of "andar chalo, andar chalo" accompanied by "bahut jaga hai, chalo andar" right uptil the time the train makes its exit. We are back into out settling down phase till we reach the next in line station. If one is to raise his head and look above, he would see a veritable sea of hands reaching upwards to hold the metal grips that line the whole length and breadth of the standing room in the coach. In fact, at this time there are at least 4-5 hands at each such grip. Btw, when I say hands, I actually mean that each person is holding on to the grip by only a couple of fingers so that others can hold on to.

Halfway through the 45 minute journey from Borivli where I stay to Dadar which is the closest railway station to my place of work, I develop this unsatisfiable urge to scratch at my nose (you know that temporary itch that develops when you least want it to and when you are in no position to do anything about it). I control myself for about 2-3 minutes and it is getting unbearable now. The only option I have is to rub my nose against my arm which is holding the grip above me. So I venture to do the same very carefully so as to not disturb the equilibrium we are in now. I rub my nose against the arm and the relief in my nose is instantaneous. At the same time, there is the realization in my arm that something that should have brushed against it (my nose) has NOT done so!!!!! Thats when I realize that inadvertently I had wiped my nose against the arm of a person standing next to me!!! I hand it to the tolerance of that guy that he overlooked the whole thing altogether (I did apologise to him, of course).

Post this incident, a conversation takes place between two college-going students about a third friend who wasn't present. The basic topic of discussion is how this friend istrying to "patao" his tuition teacher's daughter. While this "hot" topic is being discussed, I see a third commuter standing right behind these 2 kids. Being much taller, he towered over them from behind, his head kind of hanging right over them. Not able to keep his ears away from the talk happening so close to him, he was busy listening to them speak. I have termed such people as an IP, short for "Interested Party". Basically these are the fellow commuters who get so engrossed in other people's conversations that even though they do not actually speak up, you would see them shake their heads in affirmation or dissent, their expressions would change with the tone of the talk - sombre when the talk is serious, gay when the topic fun, argumentative when the talk is such. In fact when the people actually having the talk become silent (for whatever reason), the IP has a plaintive interrogative look on his face as if saying, "Come on now, it was going so good, what happens next??? Don't keep me in suspense!" :-) To observers like me, this looks so funny that I can hardly control my laughter!!!

Within the next 10 minutes, the trained breezes though Mahim and Matunga junctions and finally after that truly engrossing journey, I alight at Dadar and make my way to my office thinking of the day ahead. Imagine, we do this everyday - that too twice (the return journey has a class of its own!)!!! It is not said in vain that the Mumbai locals have a life of their own and can be termed, quite aptly, a world within a city!

I'm back!

Hey, I'm back!!

Admitted, after a long hiatus, but at least am still alive!

A new job means a lot of things, but mostly it means a period of new friends to make, new relations to forge, a new reputation to construct, a new yourself to discover and many other such "news".

The flip side to this is that one tends to neglect one's old life, the things you've left behind. One's routine goes for a toss for that interim period. Its all somewhat like a vibrating guitar string - when at rest, its perfectly still, one pluck and it starts vibrating, moving away from its resting place and then finally comes to rest after some time to the same place.

Well, I've come back too!! Hopefully should be able to write more from now on. Hoping the few friends I made on here and the ones from out who used to read me have not given up on me. Till later.....