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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The Devil’s Handshake

Easy way out at times, rather most of the times, is deceiving. It might seem shorter. It would also appear to provide a respite, because would seem to be very convenient. Very, very alluring to jump on it when that bus stops in front of you and imagine all the lighter days ahead.

Untill you take it.

Most of the times, it will leave you with a broken back and an irritated soul.

Yet, at times you would hesitate to let the easy way go. Even if it’s the right thing to do.

Let go.

Better to walk down the hard path with a satisfying journey than shake hands with the devil.

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 Face in the Mirror

One dark room. Faint shimmer of white light falls in the room. Bright enough to make out the faint silhouette of the things in the room. At the left corner, there is a mirror hanging on the wall.

I stood in front of that mirror, in the almost darkness. I could see my silhouette. My hair. The faint shape of my face. I could see it. But, I couldn’t see my eyes, my lips or anything that defined my face.

Blank.

Have you ever stood in front of a mirror like that and wondered when all your features are wiped clean, what would be your identity? Would a description of ‘what makes you’ by a trusted friend satisfy you? Would the shape of your eyes or the plumpness of your lips define you?

I found myself standing in front of the dark mirror longer than I should. Trying to squint my eyes and see if I can still see something. Maybe a ghostly shape? At least a faint sketch of my eyes.

Nothing.

I wondered, why did it matter so much?

Then I asked myself, “Who is she?”

The defined face in the light or the silhouette trying to discover and define herself in the dark?

I walked away with no answer.

The uncertainty still remains. And I’m learning to be ok with not knowing right away.

A Tiger’s Walk

The monsoon had just begun. The constant drizzle and patter of rain had made the forest lush and green. Sitting in the open safari jeep I could hear different sounds: the bark of a cheetal, the challenging hoot of a langoor and loud chirping of cricket, filling the silence of the jungle in perfect harmony.

The road was wet, muddy and slippery. The guide had just taken a turn in one of the narrow roads, hoping to spot something wild for his fellow passengers. Another jeep came back from the opposite direction and halted in front of us. Some communication was exchanged and before we could gather what had happened, the guide had swiveled the jeep around and sped in another direction. He hastily explained that he had gotten an intell on a spotting of something rare and exotic in the forest in the middle of monsoon season: a tiger.

We came to an halt in front of a man made lake,which was couple of meters away. And we waited. Silence ensued to prevent any startling. There was an occasional clicking sound of the DSLRs that every enthusiastic photographer had pointed at the ready. Everyone’s eyes and lenses were at the lake, waiting to spot the tiger. So were the passengers in the jeeps ahead of us.

But the tiger took its own sweet time. It did it’s own thing. It continued doing whatever it was doing. Unfazed by the onlookers. It was as if, the world ceased to exist after the lake where the jeeps stood waiting.

Mintues passed by.

The impatient city dwellers started clicking their tongues. The girl next to me zoomed her camera and started scanning the lake area, using her camera as a makeshift telescope. We were still unaware of the Tiger’s exact whereabout. So we waited. 

Suddenly there was a yelp. An indicator for everyone to look in the direction the finger was being pointed.

The tiger was on the move. This majestic beauty, in its grand splendor…

It walked slowly, in its own pace. Patient and in peace with itself.  Unruffled and unmoved by the countable eyes that were piercing on it, trying to look at it’s every single move. But, it just kept walking and crossed the road till it finally disappeared in the greens of the jungle. Unaffected. Peaceful. Content. Maybe these were the Tiger’s state of mind.

This was the majestic Tiger’s walk. Teaching me, silently. Answering me, subtly.

Standing Out

There was this constant chatter of confusion rattling inside my head. A constant question bouncing, asking myself everyday, “Who am I really?” Though uneasy, it felt relieving to speak out my opinions and feelings without being afraid of being judged for the wrong reasons. But still, the question remained: how much of me can I risk being shared? How much of me felt comfortable in my own skin?

And as an answer, while waiting for my shuttle in the evening today, I saw this white hibiscus inhabiting in between this wild growth of leaves. I had to double take to notice it, but I did. The white beauty stood out brilliantly when I encouraged it to step out of hiding. 

And the best part was: I loved it even more when it was standing out with its own elements. It didn’t hurt my sentiments one bit. Just like that, it felt natural to accept the white in between of dominating green.

Nature answered my agitated mind, and helped me take a step away from the anxiety of wanting to please everyone arould myself by becoming into a version they liked. Losing my essence in the process.

I’m at peace with all of me at every moment now. Most importantly, I’ve begun accepting myself the way I am. At least a little more than yesterday.

It Is What It Is

Did I get too comfortable?
Or was it my vanity?
When everything was at my finger tips
I walked away
Leaving everything behind
Should I blame it on the youth?
Or do I call it a wondrous risk?
Embarked on a journey born from an infatuation
To see it crumble at my feet
Most often I look back
And wonder what could have been
The places I would have traveled
The heights I would achieved
Only if I would have waited, a little while longer…
But I wonder
If universe turned back time
And granted me this wish
Would I have done anything different than this?

Pining After Long Shots

That’s the thing about hope – it makes us dream and get ahead of ourselves. We give our best, putting in every last bit of our will, fully aware that it’s a long shot. Aware that there is a fair chance of that something not working out. But we anyways give our everything in because we believe we have got nothing to lose. Slowly gambling on the our fragile heart’s naivety and letting it get ahead of itself. So we dream and inadvertantly start hoping, pining and praying asking, “God! I hope it works out.” Making it seem more like our ticket out of the current​ misery and our ultimate happy spot. Suddenly, there is so much to lose: A trail of dreams and the whispered promises on the dependencies… Forgetting that there is a fair chance that it might not work out. Maybe, it was the audacity of our confidence which made us forget about different scenarios. Maybe it was something else. 

Then there is a slip. Your gut picks on the vibes, and we begin to pray, “God! I hope I’m wrong about that!” But then, hey earth to… reality is the ultimate truth. This is life. In mum’s wise words, “You won’t always get what you want. However bad you want it. However desperate you are about it. But don’t forget to live. Don’t forget to be happy. Give your sincere shot. And don’t forget to nurture your patience.”

And then, there comes the wait. The wait to let it pass, the news to sink in and the final acceptance of reality. Till something else comes along and the cycle repeats.Maybe the next time, pining, hoping and dreaming about it would not be so bad. Maybe this time, it would be right time to receive.

Till then, don’t give up.

Everything will be ok.

The Midnight Before The Dawn

The clock slowly edges towards midnight, and it is a long drive back home. Suddenly, the safety confines of the vehicle is shattered as the car breaks down in the middle of a deserted road in the city. The car has run out of gas.

She steps out of the car, and hears the sand crunch  beneath her feet. She looks around, and just before the clock strikes 12, she finds herself face to face with her monster. It stands in front of her, swaying slightly under the influence of excess alcohol, the stench reeking from his breath. She could smell it. Its yellowing eyes roved over her, making her heart race with fear. She takes a step back, trying to find something to hide behind. To cover her naked vulnerability. But she still felt uncovered. Her clothes, were merely an illusion covering her modesty. But to its eyes, she was a prey. A prey to be destroyed beyond recognition, to send her back to her spiraling downfall.

It sneered.

Panic gripped her soul.

She looked for the courage in her that she thought was inherent within her. She found nothing. She only found cowardice.

She bowed. She hid behind her invisible personality.

He took over and faced her monster. He stood looking at her monster, chest out, hands on his hips and let out a strong growl. The monster distracted, looked in his eyes, its eyes had stopped roving over him. It looked straight in his eyes. Almost daring to imagine itself to be his equal.

But he smiled. “The audacity of your persistence! The audacity of your ignorance!”, he said as laughter started bubbling up in his throat.

Gathering her courage, she peeked at her monster.

He took a step towards the monster, cornering him till it couldn’t bear his strength anymore. It slinked back in the ground, exactly where it belong. Dissolving into nothingness.

He turned around and looked at her.

She found herself, smiling at herself.

Maybe, she did need to open up to possibilities. Maybe, she did need him after all.

He was her dawn, she was waiting for.

He was a part of her after all.