Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oh What Freedom this!!!

It's been a long long time. I have to come to office early to do this. :)
What shall I write about today? Theres everything and nothing. I've been thinking about the process of novel writing. How do authors construct a story, fit charachters into it and govern everything about them? Its a feeling of immense power but incredibly difficult. How do they ever decide that this is the way the story is goins to happen, this is the way this charachter is going to behave and this is the way I am going to write it. I for one cant even think of a story I want to write about.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Why are you Late Today ?

The door bell rings suddenly, insistently, shaking me out of my slumber and I walk bleary eyed to the door. The maid awaits, having managed to wake me after four attempts at the bell. Our morning alarm clock is late again. And I know that we will be rushing to office, running around desperately to catch an auto-wallah willing to take us the short distance to office, cursing the traffic, and generally doing what most Mumbaikars do in the morning.
“Why are u late today?”, I question querulously, “Don’t you know we have to get to office by 9, and can’t be waiting for you?”. She does not answer, just staggers around unsteadily while she attempts to sweep the house. I notice, and think for the umpteenth time that we need to get a new maid, this one seems to be getting worse by the day. But there just doesn’t seem to be the time to do anything nowadays. I rush to office, oblivious to any problems but my own.
Another day dawns, more leisurely this time. The bell wakes me up again. I even attempt a smile today, from the general good cheer of the weekend stretching ahead. I make some tea while she cuts the vegetables. Only when I am about to drink it, does it occur to me to offer her some. She becomes a human suddenly, just the same as me. A few questions and I learn her story. Married at 18, four kids already, and a drunk for a husband who beats her up regularly. The last time he had done that, she had had to go to hospital for a week and couldn’t walk properly after that. She still came to work anyway because she’s the only earning member now. Economic independence and women’s liberty. This is not what they mean, surely?
The door bell rings again. She seems terrified. “If it is my husband, tell him that I have left. Please. He will drag me home if he finds me here”. I open the door to find blood shot eyes. I smell the alcohol on his breath. I hold the door open an inch, and say she has left. He repeats the question, and I my answer. More irritably. Insistently. I slam the door shut on his face, wishing instead that I could give him a taste of his own medicine.
She smiles at me gratefully. We are allies now. Friends in a way. She may remain a terrible cook, and a sloppy worker. But she’s turned more into ‘Madhuri didi’ now, from being just ‘the maid’.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Incredible Kindness of People

We often hear stories of people complaining about how they have been unfairly treated by others. I think its an in built human trait that we focus on the negatives rather than the positives. But i have often been amazed by the sheer kindness that people can exhibit sometimes without expecting anything in return.
I was on my first trip to Mumbai, alone on a train from Chennai, visiting the IIT campus for a competition. Solely dependent on some vague instructions provided by the event organisers I was a little nervous about how to get to the campus from the station. Asking a few people in the compartment around me, elicited immediate directions and warnings. One man actually got down in the station along with me, put me on a taxi after issuing dire warnings to the driver and even went to the extent of calling me after half an hour to inquire if I had reached safely. I was incredibly touched. And delighted. That a total stranger should go to so much trouble for me expecting nothing in return was surprising to say the least.
Ive tried to do my bit too after that, helping strangers with heavy luggage, giving up seats on buses for old people, exchanging berths on trains. Little bits of kindness here and there. People view me suspiciously sometimes, but they make someone's day a little brighter sometimes. And they are surprised too by the kindness of strangers.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Transition times

My life has been always neatly divided into phases. There was school, college, Wipro, MBA so far and now my married phase is about to begin. But I think its those in between transition times that are the hardest to define and get through. Looking back now I think they were what helped to adjust from one phase to another and changed something inside me. Helped me grow up from a school going child to one supposedly ready to face the challenges and sudden independence in college. And then from an immature college student to an excited then bored office goer.
I am in a transition time right now, and I have the feeling of having lost my moorings, of being afloat and patiently waiting to reach somewhere, to start the next phase. I can already feel the time slipping away, the time I want to cling onto and remember - as a spoilt grandchild, as an independent woman, as a daughter with the freedom to make her own decisions, as a child who doesn’t have to think about what others might think of her actions. Time to just sit at home and while the hours away, reading a book or sleeping or just doing nothing without feeling guilty about it. This is one of the most precious times to me and i intend (hopefully) to use it well.

Friday, February 29, 2008

The End

The last class is over. The last exam done tomorrow. My dues will be paid. My bags will be packed. And I will be out of here in a few days. 'Here' has been home for two years. An incredible two years.
A tiny room that surprisingly seems to fit in everything. Friends for life. A totally new career. A few amazing professors, a few horrific. Burning the midnight oil everyday. Learning outside the classroom. Tough schedules. Movies on the Lan. Endless chatting. Shouting at the top of my voice. Dancing in the rain. Long walks on empty roads. Last minute submissions. Giggly Gossip Sessions. Never ending assignments. Meetings in the well. Sleeping in class. Laughing uproariously at silly jokes. Making presentations I haven't even read before. 24 hours internet. Reading in the empty library. Impulsive trips with friends. Arguing with 'bhainas' in broken Hindi. B Bot. Worrying about grades. Weekly trips to Big Bazaar. Endless batch meets with people shouting. Kotwal mails. Mess food. Cats sleeping under my bed. Washing machine queues.

I've had a wonderful time. And now its time to move out. And on. To a totally different phase in my life. Its scary. More than XIM was when i first arrived. I am leaving behind now, everything familiar and safe and comfortable and stepping out into the unknown. Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing it the right way? Will I make terrible mistakes? Do I know where I am going?
I dont know any of these things. But I know I can manage. I've learnt a little of that here.

Friday, February 15, 2008

What am I Missing Here?

The days seem to flow into each other, each passes by unremarkably. And before I know it a month has gone by and I have nothing to show for it except a constant stream of movies, books, a few classes in between, lots of sleep and a decidedly lazy attitude to life. My resolutions of studying all the books in the library, of learning something new, of visiting as many places as I could, of writing of all the things I wanted to write but never had the time, of catching up with old friends, all seem to have vanished into thin air. I have caught ‘Sixth Term’ disease.

The last term in this course that has filled my life for the past two years is one that I have been looking forward to for so long. Very few classes, lots of free time and the placement headache out of the way. This is the time that we are supposed to enjoy ourselves, do all the things we never had the time to do and yet it feels strangely unsatisfactory. To while away all our hours in doing nothing and finding newer ways of ‘passing’ the time requires energy too, something we seem to lack. Occasional weekend trips once to Calcutta, others to places nearby did relieve the monotony. But they were occasional.

I seem to have lost something. Something that helps me want to do the things I’ve always wanted but never got the time. Something that inspires in me a disdain for the monotonous. Something that makes me hate my present life and makes me look for better things. Work. Need to find it soon.