The Fuss in the Bus

Bus-journey

Dated : 20 Jan 2017

Sometimes all it takes is a strangers smile………..to start a journey of a 1000 miles

By the rule of no choice I have to travel to Pune to visit family in a Volvo bus.

My personal chauffer usually doped on excess tobacco, hired drivers appearing in radiant smells, taxi services costing almost as much as airfare and train tickets requiring a much-advanced booking, buses pose none of the above problems and this comes closest to my voyage tick marks.

Still, it’s not the most pleasant of experiences not cause am a travel snob but it’s just something that starts building up slowly which almost guarantees that by the time you reach your destination you will definitely be few hair short.

And each time I say never again, I promptly get sucked into travelling by the same mode, the next month or the other.

Deciding to take the Shivneri Volvo at their Maithre Park bus stop at Chembur for sheer convenience of location, being the second stop en route after its start point at Dadar, I try to look out for some kind of ticket booth.

Two tickets I say with confidence in my broken Marathi. Two because I have the bright idea of booking a seat next to mine for my luggage. Besides, it will give me the freedom to stretch my legs and avoid any kind of human skin contact.

He informs me that I need to buy one in the bus as soon as it reaches the stop, which I am informed is another half hour away.

Tugging on my two heavies I squint for any early sign of it as I wait alongside few others whom I guess are going to be my travel companions.

One looks at me as if I may have come from a very foreign land and in painfully accented English he asks, ‘So we are going same place ha?’

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I look away. This scene is not new to me. Middle aged, pot-bellied Uncle types always seem more interested in my life than they should be. Then whether it is an air plane, a movie theatre or a plain old bus stop, it hardly mattered.

Not one to be dissuaded he tries again, ‘Oh Madam, we go to Pune huh?’

We go to Pune! The mere ring of that line is enough to enrage me.

I drag my heavy lugs slightly further away, next to the lady in a shiny blue sari.

I avoid looking in his direction so as to avoid eye contact at any rate.

The lady smiles, ‘Pune bus!’

‘No Timbuktu,’ I am tempted to cry out but common sense says that I might need an ally on the bus in case belly bawdy Baldy decides to make my life miserable with space intrusions.

I nod at her and give her a half smile.

‘You are married?’ she asks me. What was this? A conspiracy?

I shake my head.

‘Oh I have nice nephew,’ she reveals, trying her best at the English language to impress me.

‘He is in Pune. If we get down same place then you meet him; he will be there at station to pick up me.’

I look around panic. Praying now that there is an extra seat waiting in the bus for me; for the last thing I wanted was to be caught between she-match Maker devil and male leery deep sea.

Fortunately, the bus arrives and without looking at either, I rush to get in first, hoping to convince the driver for a double sitting.

He spits some orange out of his window as he replies rudely, showing me his smeared teeth, ‘Not allowed!’

‘And why not?’ I start arguing, ‘I am paying for it isn’t it?’

‘In fact, I will buy the whole bus you tobacco sucking monster;’  I feel like adding but decide to not piss him off in case he directed me to the rear end of the vehicle just to have the sadistic pleasure of watching me throw up.

I quietly pay him and take the fourth seat on the right, next to a younger girl who may have boarded from Dadar. Better her than the rest of the crazy.

She looked like a college student, we would have nothing much in common and that was alright. It would help me catch up on my wats app group messages.

As the bus moves along, I discreetly glance over my shoulder at a shiny blue object floating in my side vision periphery. She waves.

‘Good Goooood’ she starts, ‘I have already informed nephew about your coming.’

I look zapped. It seemed like she had a welcome committee ready for me.

I turn away quickly, wondering how the hell I would get out of that one.

Should I inform her that I was a millionaire posing as a commoner?

No that would be mean and untrue or maybe it would excite her further.

Should I fib about an impending albeit fake fiancé?

No, that would start more conversation for she looked thirsty for any kind of acknowledgement.

Though she seems harmless, I was in no mood to make small talk -I seldom was.

I pretend to get some shut eye as the bus touched the expressway, yeah  just a couple of hours to go….

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And then as if the plot is just waiting to thicken, I feel a kick on the behind of my seat.

I ignore it; it’s probably a foot stretch error of some Daddy long legs; then comes along another and another.

Is it an annoying child?

Once again my seat shakes, I have had enough.

I turn around, my eyes blazing, ‘Will you please stop?’

A skinny moustached man snarls back, ‘Certainly not.’

He speaks perfect English which is good, it would make it easier for him to understand what was about to come….

‘Look,’ I say with the last ounce of patience I had left, ‘Be reasonable. I’m not able to relax as my seat is constantly wobbling with your oversized legs.’

‘Should I cut my legs because Madam is inconvenienced?’ he looks menacingly at me.

I cannot believe his high road tone. He has already gathered a few nosy parkers who are straining their ears to know what is transpiring.

‘If you don’t like your seat, take the one left at the rear end….you spoilt brat,’ he goes on rudely.

‘ Talking about rear ends… why don’t you shove that idea right up …..’ my temper is now scorching.

I have to exercise immense self control to not say the above line aloud.

Now had I been on different grounds I would have done so but not wanting to be thrown out of the vehicle at any point in the middle of nowhere , I keep my trap shut and instead softly request the sweet girl next to me to swap seats.

She smirks: certainly not!

Impossible! What was wrong with the world?

My horoscope had said, ‘Conflict!’

I just thought it was singular.

And then came a thud behind me and a loud voice.

Potbelly bald aka Mr Inquisitive has yanked my seat nemesis  from his perch and is about to punch him straight in the face.

‘What you said? What you told her?’  His saliva is dripping from the corner of his mouth and it is not a pleasant site.

Most of the passengers stand up, more so in excitement with this welcome interruption of their otherwise thoroughly boring journey.

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The moustache man is now quivering.  ‘Sorry s se orry, Sir.’

I look away. Now I am indebted to Potbelly for the rest of my hours and would be forced to make some kind of gratitude speech.

I thank him kindly much to his joy and I hope against hope, he would not follow me home, with his beady eyes and his yellow teeth.

I look at blue sari whom I fondly address Auntyji ( all of a sudden.)

‘I can’t wait to meet your nephew’ I say and she beams.

There, I have smartly created a diversion and no one can infringe my space from then on.

Aunty and I become inseparable for the next two hours. We hold each other’s handbags at public toilets and I buy her a cup of Masala tea, we share a few jokes about baldy and leggy over steamy wada pavs.

I tell her about my upcoming first book, the editorial complexities and the struggle with the idea of starting my own blog.

She hears me with great enthusiasm, as I try explaining it all in Hindi which is her comfort zone.

Then I sheepishly confess to her that I was using her as a decoy from the bus delinquents and she laughs….

‘Don’t worry, I was using you too,’ she replies in jest.

I look at her in disbelief; doubtful that these kind of strange men posed any trouble for her.

‘You see beta, I Iost my young daughter a few years ago and only wanted to remember the feeling of being overbearing and caring….’

Half hugging her, I write my number on a piece of paper.

‘Call me anytime you feel like doing that again,’ assuring her my presence from then on. At least over the phone.

She takes it from me readily and gratefully, keeping it safely tucked in her purse.

As we got off at the last juncture together, she digs into her handbag and hands over a white handkerchief.

‘It’s unused and white, just like a blank paper.’ She states.

Then patting my arm at my confused expression, she tells me in Hindi, ‘Beta, Aap jo bhi likhoge, acha hi likhoge. Khud per bharosa karna sikho.’ (Whatever you will write, you will write well only, learn to have faith in yourself)

And as one voyage ended on a stranger’s confident claim, another one began with my blog- ‘ Chai with Kai.’

 

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All for the Love of Writing

Trrring… Trrring…
Catch Author Kainaz Jussawalla and chart topper author Arvind Parashar in an exclusive chat on the occasion of his new  book release online which also reveals an interesting cover.
Arvind’s first book Kabira was a top seller in November 2015.Since then, his fans have only been growing in width.
Intrigued by the title of his new novel, book one in the series of ‘Messed Up’ But All for Love trilogy…I catch the Dashing Author on a video call, at his pad in Bengaluru, on a relaxed Sunday, over a cup of Darjeeling Tea and latte..

 Hey Arvind, what’s the story? The title sounds quite up my street, if you know what I mean?It is a Romance thriller Kai, this is one space that lacks Indian writing and I hope with this novel and more I can provide that to our readers. 

Sounds good! Any fun moments writing it ?
Plenty. There was a time, while writing the climax, I had writer’s block. It took me two vacations and six weeks to write those six seven pages. See, this is the kind of fun authors have. Another was, when I had lost my notepad that had a couple of chapters in it. Things like that. In terms of the publishers, it is Srishti publishers, who need no introduction. I am so excited to have bagged this trilogy deal with them.
And well …Who or What has inspired you to write it ? (wink)

First of all, it is mostly a stretch of my imagination. Yes, there are certain funny instances in the novel that have been inspired from real life, however the plot and the overall story is pure fiction. A nice cup of black coffee, beautiful landscape and lovely people in my life- good enough a combination to inspire me to think and write.

I have been noticing your terrific fan following across social media?

Fortunately, I have a pretty engaged set of fans / readers on my pages. I love interacting with them. They always inspire me to write. They love my quotes, pictures, live chats and my books. In fact, they have been waiting eagerly for Messed Up! Book.

Where do you think the future of writing lies in the Indian industry?

It is a great space to be in. Indian writing is now more prominent than ever before. We have new readers who are entering that bracket as we now see, reading and writing is being encouraged in the schools and colleges. So far as the writers go, if you write well, engage well with the readers, you will stay for long.

Where is your first launch for Messed up … when do we expect the release? Am I invited?
We shall do in Bangalore, Mumbai , Kolkata and Delhi. The book is out for pre orders already and has been trending in top 50-100 on amazon bestsellers. It will hit the shelves in the month of May.
Of course you better be there …..That goes without saying!
That’s Fantastic… We… will all be there…. Arvind!!!

Stop those bullies now!

Recently I have been coming across too many instances of kids being bullied in school.

Today I am addressing the younger lot between three and ten who may have a hard time expressing their plight or their experiences and how as elders we can reach out to them.

I have also posted at the end of the feature, an interesting link of how older children can prevent being intimidated in school.

For me the definition of bullying is just not limited to a big kid pushing a smaller one or even two kids punching each other. For me it is about the bystanders, teachers, Principals and elders who don’t address it or take a strong stand on it.

I remember as a nine year old child I always stood up to a bully who bullied others. Luckily nobody bullied me, maybe because I was over confident as a child but that didn’t stop me from protecting the dark horse or the timid goose.

Recently one of my friends adopted son at eight came home crying one day, “my teacher said that I don’t belong to you.”

I was appalled. Not as much as the mother of course. When the mother addressed it with the School Principal, she was told that nothing of that sort ever happened. Blunt Denial!

The Chapter at school ended there, for my helpless friend couldn’t pull out the child in the middle of term but it was her prerogative to break this piece of information to her child gently and slowly and no one else’s business. It was too late.

The questions and the sleepless nights that followed were horrifying for the parents.

Another instant where a friends six year old came home from school one day howling that she didn’t want to live because the kids at school teased her about a skin condition. The mother had to change her school at once; she couldn’t risk making the child lose her morale and her innocence at such a tender age.

When I asked what the teachers said, she said nothing! In Fact they had also isolated her in class from games and workshops for the same.

This is my conclusion, that when one kid attacks another physically or verbally asserting his superiority, it is the role of the teacher or an authority figure to immediately intervene and nip it in the bud.

If the teacher is indirectly involved which means not pulling up the oppressor, keeping silent, nagging or taunting the child in class or being indifferent; she or he is an equal participant.

In this case waste no time in pulling them up and the parents of the violator. Playing the good guy or the timid one will not serve you or your child any good.

When parents take admission in a particular school it is not the school doing them a favour, rather the parents giving their prized possession in the hands of strangers in the hope that they would create something more beautiful than he or she already is.

Schools are here to bring the best out in your children; they are the bridges to their adult life.

I would not say that all schools are like this or that; or it is this simple ; for I am aware it is almost impossible for a given teacher to monitor each and every child in a class of thirty and more, all the time but one can prevent it from taking a turn for the worse.

Here are some of the ten things I have collected from parents of children who have been bullied one time or the other, that may help in tricky situations like these :

  • Stop laughing at it or making light of the situation when it happens. Don’t ridicule him or her for being shy or inactive. Teach the child to take a stand. It may be to call upon other friends for help, alert the authority in charge and show courage.

  • Believe your child when they tell you. Always believe your child! Children lie but they are not liars!

  • Address it immediately with the said parent of the child or the teacher involved.

  • If a teacher is nit picking on your child constantly, approach her and understand her point and then say yours. If after that it still continues, take it up with a higher authority.

  • Don’t be afraid to put it on paper and hand it over. That way there is no confusion in what you expect from the institute and what measures you plan to take, if it happens again.

  • Talk to your child everyday for fifteen minutes at least. Seek to understand how it may be affecting them. Do not disregard the child’s role in it; chances are he may have set the ball rolling…

  • Bring forth your point in a kind and justified manner, rewarding him for good behaviour and reprimanding once in a way for disobeying. Make sure it is not in public. There is nothing worse than public humiliation. It is as bad if not worse than being bullied by his/her peers.

  • Make sure he or she can tell you anything and everything. Do not punish them for being honest even if it is for something you don’t agree at all. Later you can tell them right from wrong. Listen. Don’t judge. Confident children are less likely to be bullied.

  • Make sure he or she is in a positive conducive environment of praise and encouragement, tip off relatives and close friends to pat the child on the back once in a way even if it is for something small as drawing a flower or scoring a goal. Keep him surrounded by healthy play dates and same interest groups that enhance his/her self esteem.

  • Avoid bullying tactics with your spouse, your other kids, your siblings and at home. The child has to feel that the behaviour is unacceptable in any situation at any stage in life.

 

Check out: https://nobullying.com

https://nobullying.com/7-ways-to-avoid-bullying-when-in-a-new-school/

Strictly Come Parsi

 

Parsis ..we are unique and we are loveable !!!!
I won’t say more !
But I must confess that I love being called crazy
It is my U S P!

heyHere are some of the things which according to me every Parsi does or has,  at least once in their life time.
Please feel free to add more …

  1. Every Parsi must have at least walked out of their home once without their Sudra kusti.Naughty !
  2. walkingOK Every Parsi must have burped at least once, loudly in public.burp
  3. Every Parsi must have dreamt of a delicious food spread once at least, after just finishing a huge meal.

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4. Every Parsi must have at least said once in their life :  “I will never be a vegetarian ”
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5. Every Parsi must have forgotten their topi or scarf at least once before entering Agyari  and had to borrow or pick from old ones stocked on the premises.

6. Every Parsi has a childhood doctor/homeopath, usually some Walla.. who they still want to visit and claim their childhood candies from.

7.Every Parsi loves his Mumma equally, if not more, than his spouse, even on his 25th wedding anniversary!

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8. Every Parsi must have sworn at least once in their mother tongue, even if they never use a swear word otherwise. (MC BC Ghadero)

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9. Every Parsi  would have had one favorite grand parent whom they have thought the world off, living or dead.

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10. Every Parsi will have at least one weakness.. if not whisky peg then chicken leg. If not 50 cups of tea a day, then cards to play.

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11. Every Parsi may have attended a Lagan(wedding)  only to relish the Patra,(meal on a leaf) often forgetting the names of the bride and the groom.

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12. Every Parsi must have clapped, danced and rotated on the Birdy dance Song at least once in their lifetime.

13. Every Parsi is related to another with a maximum of four degrees separation.(fact unverified though)

14. Every Parsi has the half conviction or at least a passing thought, that they descend from some kind of royal lineage/ kin.

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15. Every Parsi has been called Crazy bawa or bawi at least once, if not more, by their buddies from other communities.

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16. Every Parsi at least once must have got their cheeks pulled or called apple/ mango/ dudh pao in school , functions  or among relatives.

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17. Almost every Parsi can have ‘something per eeda’ (eggs) easily as a meal substitute.

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18. Every Parsi Has woken up in the middle of the night in cold sweat thinking about the stains /spots on their cars, sofas, side boards, kitchen tops.

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19. Every Parsi, must have skipped the fire temple, at least once in life on a Navroz or New year, only cause they were a tad lazy to.

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20. Every Parsi has one friend at least, who makes friends with him only for a dhanshak invite at his place.

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21. Every Parsi has at least one of these if not more …in their home : an antique car/ bike / watch/ furniture set / tea set/ book/ gramophone / radio / telephone / countless plastic bags.collection

22. Every Parsi has laughed uncontrollably and hysterically even if the joke is not funny or on themselves… !

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Hope you enjoyed the above points … just written for Bawa entertainment !

There are so many more…  please feel free to add yours….

parsi rock

11 Dalai Lama Quotes That Can Change Your Perception

The Dalai Lama has always been quoted in every aspect of life. I find his thoughts simple, heart    dalia-lama-mic-connecting and applicable. Here are eleven of them which would be amazing, if we could all apply them in our lives.

 
  • Be kind whenever possible, it is always possible.

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  • If you can help, you should do so. If you can’t, at the very least don’t do any harm.

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  • Remember the best relationship is one, in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

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  • Arrogance can never be justified. It is the result of either low self-esteem or temporary and superficial achievements.

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  • The true hero is one who conquers his own anger and hatred.

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  •  The ultimate source of happiness is not money or power but warm heartedness.

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  • We have to maintain control over technology and never allow ourselves to become its slaves.

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  • The more you are motivated by Love, the more fearless and free your action will be.

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  • This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy . Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.

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  • Judge your success on what you had to give up in order to get it.

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  • Our enemies provide us with excellent opportunities to practice patience, perseverance and compassion.

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Valentineship

So who said Valentine’s day is only about the other half? If that was the case then most of us would be roaming clueless for the rest of the year.
So today I think about the people around us who give us a reason to celebrate this ‘International Love Day’ all year through.
The Real heroes of the Show!
Friends, friends, and friends ….!
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A word that is grossly underestimated and slightly overly used.

 Without adding too much to the introduction, I would like to present to you the the kind of friendships that I have personally come across in my
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life that go beyond gender equations, romantic illusions and unnatural expectations.

And I am certain that you all will be able to draw parallels to your own lives, from it, in some way or the other.

(I have categorized them not cause I believe they can be put under ‘A’ specific column but it’s just easier to share.
Of course they are all entwined together and over lap each other, playing their unique roles in different phases of our lives)

 

The OLD TIMERS
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Oh they are the ones that you know forever.
The ones who have literally seen you in your nappies and climbed trees with you .e
They may lose touch with you over the years but they will never lose heart.

They know your family, your school embarrassments or your college goof ups.
They go beyond FB and Insta. They are your hooks when the world gives up on you.
Cause they still believe in who you were, before the world told you how you needed to be.

They gently remind you of those larger than life, youthful dreams, which you seem to have forgotten. They still bring a smile on your face long after the moment has faded away.

The SUPPORTERS

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They are by far the ones who stand with you through thick and thin.
They are the ones you can call up at 2 am (well that depends on who’s on their bed) but you get the gist.
They will buzz to check up on you often if needed or meet you for  a coffee, even if they are drop tired.
If long distance, they will send you regular messages, making sure you know they are around.
They are the ones who believe in your far reached goals, even more than you do and would root your cause when the time comes.
They are also your relationship pegs…when partners, things, careers, other pals around you let you down, they restore your faith that some bonds are made to last and don’t change with time or whim.
The SECRET KEEPERS
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These buds are the ones who keep your darkest secrets and don’t judge your indiscretions. Keep them close to you, cause they know too much. And of wwagawgtfcourse because they accept you the way you are..bag, baggage and all!
The FLATTERERS
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I adore this strange group I call friends; they may not be there on a 24 hr basis and that’s quite alright. But they will think the world of you. They will tell you that your lipstick is a lovely colour even if its smudged all over your face and praise your singing skills even if you croak.
Though some may argue that false flattery must be avoided, I think this group is very important for your self esteem. It is always nice to have some fans….even if it seems superficial; so long as it brings a smile to your face, what the hell!!!
Drink in the compliments….
The PARTY GOERS
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No, they may not end up being your besties forever but they are a social life saver.
These buddies are your de-stressers on a serious day and that missing fun element in your routine. They make plans to hang out, chill and groove.
They are what makes your FB page look glam and your life appear more exciting than it really is.
Their names may change with time but the memories you make with them, the crazy and outrageous escapades you have together… are stories you will be telling your grand kids someday.
They bring in a refreshing transformation even if temporary and come with their own formula of positivism.
 
The WIND BENEATH YOUR WINGS
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These pals are you silent hearts. Their contribution can seldom be measured, for they do it without any condition or fuss. They are happy to stay in the back ground, whilst you learn and grow. But when you look back on your life and think of the ones who genuinely stood by you when the chips were down, who gave you that extra love without you even asking for it, who made you fly when you couldn’t even see the sky…it’s them!
They are the tiny gifts around us whom we forget to give enough credit to, amidst our busy lives.

 

 

The CRITIQUES

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Aha! My least liked group, these energy drainers are the ones who only poke on your faults; they have nothing much to say that adds value and will make you feel like a loser, if you let them.
Personally I delete them immediately if they over stay their welcome.
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I wouldn’t even count them as friends if I didn’t see the silver lining.
Which is-They make you adamant to prove them wrong!
Their constant negativity makes you look at the brighter side and be grateful that you are nothing like them.
The SEASONALS
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 These are the beings who have literally fallen from the sky at the right place and the right time, into your lap! You two, really vibe on a different level and then mostly without warning one or both of you simply drift away.
But not before you fulfill some kind of purpose with each other- either a priceless lesson to be learnt or enriching one other with some timely advice, joy or hope.
These connections are not always meant to last a life time but ultimately they Fit into the grand scheme of things.
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The fact of the matter is that Valentine bunnies may come and go but good friends make the ride easier, happier and more meaningful.
Now….Don’t you think it’s time, you tell them that?

A Train to nowhere…

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“I need to experience the juice of travel,”
I told a friend on the phone,who pleaded with me, to not take the semi rush hour train into town.
“There are other ways to experience this juice or milkshake or whatever you want to,” he  tried convincing me but I was adamant.
I needed to get to Churchgate for a Poets Meet that Sunday evening from Bandra and I was hell bent, on not img_8600spoiling Uber or Ola with over priced fares that day.
Rs 30  return trip versus Rs 800….Do the math!
I must admit that I haven’t jumped in a local one in very many years. But how bad could it be?
I was glad to discover that the ticket counters were still positioned, where I remembered them last.
Looking for the shortest queue, my eye caught on the one which seemed slightly less intimidating than the rest, ‘Booking Window for physically disabled persons’ it said.
The line seemed to have only women standees which made me slightly irritated; ‘did they think they were handicapped as women?’
Then I realized it was the short, smart way my gender could be using at times to purchase quick tickets and my hesitation turned into silent applause.
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I stood there excited, clutching a fifty note, like a five year old about to embark on her first train journey.
Let me add that I have taken plenty of these, in my days at St Xavier’s College,Marine lines; with Rs 100 a week pocket money in place.
Patting myself on the back for remembering where the ‘fast train platform’ was, I walked quick paced, almost missing the swinging lathi that two railway cops were mock scaring the urchins with, on the bridge.
As I stood waiting for the 3.33 pm local to arrive, I sheepishly asked the bystanders where the second class ladies compartment was. They sized me up and down before answering ‘Last Last.’
Which I assumed meant :walk further and you will eventually slip upon it.
I started clicking ferociously on my 16 GB cell phone explaining to a group of giggling girls that it was for my blog and they asked curiously,”Kya aap foreign se aye ho?”(are you from abroad?)
 
I began to show off my minuscule Marathi skills; it seemed to turn on some laughing gas switch in their system and I was thankful that my train had drawn closer.
Everyone around me seemed to be geared for some action.
I believe that shoving each other before time of this action, can be totally avoided, if we all formed one neat, straight line, in a civilized manner.
How hard was it? Didn’t we do it on the London underground?
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I decided to impart this; I would teach everyone to do things in an organised way, for that day at least!
“Go easy, form a line, don’t push. Let the ladies with the kids go first….” I started to request the confused and flustered faces around me.
Soon, my red P cap had somersaulted on the floor, my ray bans in my hands, as two boxy women shoved me hard, “What are you waiting for princess?” they howled in Hindi, agitated that I was not pushing ahead of order, before the train had come to a halt
Having no opportunity to quip back, I quickly joined the mass struggle, realizing that if I didn’t, I would be camping on Bandra platform until dusk.
Phew! I just about made it, tasting parachute strands in my mouth and an armpit in my face.
Well I did say I wanted to experience the juice of life, did I not?train1
Not to miss a photo moment(yes yes for my blog) I started once again to shoot random faces around me, startling the others sardines who are as tightly packed as me in the overcrowded tiny space.
Dadar brought a welcome vacuum and when I could breathe once again; I continued with more selfies.
The hair accessories vendor boy smiled coyly at me, “Didi mera picture khico na.” (take my photo)
Snap!
Then came his mother, in tow; with her fruit basket…Snap!
Aha I felt like news reporter on the go, already….! img_8586
I spotted some girls on the seats bending over a box; curiously I go over. Ooh nail paints.
“Which brand is it?” I asked among some weird stares.
I Wondered why? Don’t they sell Sally Hansen in Mumbai locales? Apparently not.
I contemplated buying some ‘My colour,  Rs 20 each only !’ … And there were so many interesting colors for grabs.

The stern face of my manicurist appeared out of nowhere, “Yellow cuticles madam you will get; only OPI products you must use.”    He wins. Plan cancelled.

Snappy Music in the background did I hear? Oh we have progressed!

In house Bollywood entertainment?

Brief second of  glee was cut short; it turned out to be an audio advert for Badshaah masala pav bhaji ka masala, etc etc.

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Got me wondering  if I should make a catchy jingle for my forth coming novel too and let it sing in local trains? Clever gimmick, worth considering.
As Grant road station approached….it dawned to me that I haven’t made any friends yet. I looked around. What could a possible ice breaker be on a twenty minute weekend train ride?
I smiled at the neatly plaited lady at the far left corner, she looked amicable.
I went over and took a seat; she looked at me a tad suspiciously like most around did.
“Do any of you have a hand sanitizer?”I finally questioned the trio opposite me.
My O.C.D. had kicked in as I  had a flash image of being bathed in railway germs.
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One of them stammered as she asked me, what it was?
I gave them a brief: ‘We touch things in trains like seats, handles, doors, even currency notes.  When was the last time, all of you, cleaned your hands?’
My reply seemed to make her spring from her perch and hang her head out of the door.
The other two started talking in low whispers, avoiding eye contact in an obvious manner.
Okay, I got it …I was going to leave that train with no new friends or fans and failing to impart my hygiene concerns.
On my return trip post seven pm, I purposefully sat in a quiet corner all by myself, staring outside….Counting the number of trains that crossed us and thinking about the poetry reading session I had just attended.

Poets they say are highly intelligent people who have a depth beyond common understanding. dfhthruhru

I had clearly established at the attended reading, that I was definitely not one of them.
I don’t recall being carried away into a beautiful world of poetic beauty or literature, ever….
But that did not mean that I could not get carried away elsewhere. In this case- to Andheri; which happened to be five stops away from where I was supposed to originally skip off.
Eventually, I called it a night as I hopped off the carriage, on to the wrong platform and apped for an Uber straight back home.
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