The 15 Minutes

Those 15 mins every morning with my mother has come to become the best part of my day, life. The drop from home to her bus stop which is on the way to mine. Takes 15 minutes. Everyday.

She is with me. She talks. She shares. Stuff she wouldn’t otherwise at home. She talks about her work. She talks about her college get-together. She talks about her plans. She talks about her calls with her sisters. She talks.

Though a grown child that I am, I am still happy about the fact that, those 15 minutes she is completely with me. Her eyes for me her ears for me. Her thoughts for me. She is present around me. The lighter part of her day, when it has just begun is also shared with me.

Those 15 minutes that she gives me, is the most beautiful thing anyone can ever do for me.

Time.

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A Crush

He stood on the balcony. The twinkly lights draped on the railing of the balcony threw light on his face. He stood, lost in his thoughts. One hand in his pocket. His beautiful digits of his other hand lightly wrapped around the green beer bottle. He took a sip as he watched the city sleep under the yellow street lights.

Light drizzle. He runs his beautiful digits through his hair. Hair tousled.

At that moment, exactly that moment she felt the wind knocked out of her chest. Swollen heart. Unbearable, undefined emotions.

That was it.

Walking with the Differences

They were two individuals.

He loathed some things she loved.

She loathed some things he loved.

Emotionally, both would be on different planes. Always.

Yet, they co-existed and were the best of friends.

They accepted and walked with the their differences with their arms around each other.

Bread Samosa

I was on a vacation in Hong Kong. We had spent the day walking. It was a very good and satisfying day. It was so good, that I had found my old appetite rumbling in my stomach. And that appetite brought this strong craving on my tongue: a strong want to eat India Chat. I had traveled down from India to explore this place, and yet this thing in me wanted to eat desi street food. But, I kept mum. Thinking this isn’t what he would like to eat. And yet, this man, to my great surprise and happiness asked, “Would you like to eat dahi puri?” I was wondering if he could read my brain waves.

There in Hong Kong, when we were eating the dahi puris with some addition of samosa chat, I got hit by this strong wave of nostalgia:

I would wait eagerly for my parents to come back home from work. I would be in the garden with my pupper. Waiting for them to walk inside the green gate, just to run close to whoever comes home first and ask, “Can we have bread samosa for dinner?” The day we would have it was like a picnic at home, but at night. Would be noisy, cosy and fun. Like some kind of celebration. The walk with my father to the shop to buy fresh out of wok samosas. Holding his fingers. Walk back home to eagerly eat the hot samosas, flattened and pressed firmly between two breads. And the satisfaction once the first bite was savoured…

I missed it.

Then today happened. We were out, my father, sister and my niece. While each ran their errand, I entered a small shop. One place which came close to making samosas like the samosa shop in the place I grew up. And I had the question in my head again. I turned around to find that my father had followed me in the shop with his cup of coffee. I asked the same question, “Can we have bread samosa for dinner?”

He smiled. Maybe the nostalgia had hit him too. And he answered saying he was just going to ask if he should get some bread for the night.

It was a celebration again. This time it was for my new job. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate.

Somehow, the mood was better. Like we had grip on something and that it wasn’t lost. I saw the old me. The old, easy bond I had with my father came back. He was happy. Genuinely happy. Happy to do this. Let his grown up be a child.

We were excited.

My mother was excited when I told her. It made me happy. Somehow the atmosphere felt familiar. It was warm, cosy and celebratory again. Though it was disastrous: the samosas were too spicy for our taste, yet it was the emotions that mattered.

It was about the simple pleasures. Most of the time works like a charm.

The Friend Who Cared

He had met with an accident recently. He had hit his head. It was so severe that he had no recollection, not even of the accident. A month’s worth of memories was blank to him.

I had met him at my workplace. I liked his simplicity and naivety, his innocent approach to the world and the strong hope he bore and carried in his heart about humanity and his trust in them. It was refreshing to see it and let hope take birth in me: A sense of wanting to trust.

His head injury had taken a toll on him. I couldn’t meet him. Rather, I didn’t want to meet him. I wasn’t sure I could see any human in that state.

Then, one day he messaged. A wonderful surprise. I didn’t think he even had the mindshare to tell me his story of what happened that fateful evening. But he did. Ugly truth and all. He opened up, kept his heart out on the table and bared it all. I was at loss of words.

He messaged me again today. To tell me his success towards recovery. Mentality, emotionally and physically. He even told me he is catching his fears by its horns and marching forward. He’s taking his time, but there he was. Ready.

Now, we aren’t close friends. We are just friends. Who smile, wave and wish each other at work. Maybe have small talks now and then. But not close enough to have this conversation. If I were in his place I would have thought millions and millions of times before I wrote an open heart message. When he told about himself, he sounded a bit like me. Yet, he did take this step, which I wouldn’t.

One would wonder, “Why the heck is he telling me this?”

Some would think, “Wow. This man is strong.”

Some would genuinely wish him well.

Some wouldn’t give two hoots about it.

Yet, he got out of his comfort zone and he shared. All his vulnerability exposed. I know the effort and courage he would have mustered.

He was that friend who cared enough to share. Cared enough not to care what me or others would think of his message.

He cared enough to trust me and share a part of his life with me.

Truth Behind that Lie

She kept speaking to his namesake. Calling out his name when speaking with the namesake, to taste the missing flavour on her tongue. Hesitant to pick up the call and end the silence. But when the silence ended, he missed hearing her sigh of relief. Of being able to call him out without using the namesake as a reason.

Yet, their friendship grew stronger after survived this storm.

About a Long Affair

As soon as the bus halts at my stop, I find myself rushing to cross the road. Forgetting my fear of crossing roads. Rushing like a mad woman to climb the three tiny steps and stand next to this jolly man with his hair parted in the centre. Just this. The man with the magical stall of wonder. My Pani Puri walla.

He nods his greeting and silently thrusts a small bowl made out of dried leaves in my hand. He puts on his gloves, takes a puri from the stacked heap, cracks it open, fills it with masala aloo, dips it in the spicy tangy paani and places it gently on my bowl. 

The first Puri, when it touches my tongue and cracks open in my mouth, the flavours explode! Melting away all the frustration and stress of the day. I feel comforted. Sometimes, this spicy beauty soothes my soul better than the saccharin words of my dearest friend.

The flavour brings out the vivid colours of the darkening night skies, and as it starts refreshing my soul I can finally hear things around me. Till then it’s just my Pani Puri walla filling my bowl with my beloved street food, comforting me silently, without understanding the chaos in my mind. 

By the end of maybe ‘one plate’ or even two, I don’t even feel guilty about my indulgence. 

Rather, I feel happy. Content. Comforted.

Always!

An Exercise

She asked Jane, “Will you do something simple for me?”

Jane nodded, as she sniffed and stifled the threatening tears.

“Will you take a piece of paper and list three good things about yourself and three negative things?” She asked watching Jane grind her teeth, struggling to compose her control.

Jane looked her in the eye. The second part seemed easy. “I could list more than three”, Jane thought as she walked out of the room.

Listening to the cries and blows of the faceless humans, Jane had succumbed to demoralisation. In her mind she was on her knees, heart broken. Lost. Without a purpose.

Jane, after leaving the room, had sworn that she will not go back to her. Yet the exercise haunted her. The point she was trying to convey Jane, had touched the right spot. Yet, she failed.

My dearest Jane, you beautiful soul, why can’t you see what I see when I look at you? Try and you will find yourself seeing yourself in a different light.

Jane, See!

That Sweet Lullaby

The mother held her baby in her arms as she rocked her gently. She sang that sweet lullaby in her soothing, gentle voice. Her dream of wanting to be a singer was fulfilled. She had an eager audience. Her daughter calmed down. Her breathing became regular. Her eyes heavy, until it was unbearable to keep them open anymore. She was finally asleep. But the mother continued to sing. Repeating the verses, enjoying the lyrics as she imagined dedicating each words to her daughter. Singing her emotions to her. Till the song slowly faded on her lips. Her eyes rested with the trailing verses. 

The day came to an end. Another battle won. All that mattered was her baby daughter in her arms.

That Goofy Face

There’s always this boy. I had a minor crush on him. Then we became, sort of, friends. Every time he opened his mouth, I would always feel that I like him lesser. But then, no matter what he said, this tall boy, when he would smile his full goofy smile at me whenever he passed me by, I could feel my heart do a double somersault no matter how hard I suppressed it. His smile was big and always seemed​ to reach his eyes. 

I would avoid his eyes every time we passed each other by. Especially if it was more than once in a day. Because he smiles his big smile every single time! Even if he was annoying and taken, his smile was contagious. His smile would leave a smile on my lips which would pass on to the next person passing me by. 

He is unaware and it will stay that way. It will be my little secret corner in a small room in my head: He’s that goofy faced friend, who notices it all, and makes me smile unwittingly ever time he smiles. And my day gets better.