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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The Five Fat Bulls

The other day in Church at the seven pm Novena at St Micheal’s Mahim, the Priest heading the service made a very interesting speech.

Interesting, because it stayed with me for the next whole week, up until now obviously.

For I will be the first to admit that, there are times when I check out mentally, during the ten minute in between conversation, when he speaks to all the attendees before him.

Please note that I use the word conversation and not sermon, for it hardly lasts more than an easy listening ten minutes and is filled with knowledgeable tit bits from a biblical story or a hot current topic.

Anyways cut to the chase, the speech I am addressing is the one where the Holy Man expressed his concern over the angst situation in Chennai regarding the bull taming at Pudukottai district where two died and 83 were injured.  cfsafwafasf

For those like me who have come in late- this Jallikattu sport involves young men latching on to the humps of bulls.

One who manages to stay there after the animal makes three jumps is declared a winner.

Considered not only dangerous but unfair to the animals as well by various rights activists, the Supreme court banned it in 2014, but it still continues in certain Tamil Nadu districts as a traditional sport.

The said Priest cleverly related it to how all humans also have five such wild bulls in their lives that need to be tamed and brought to order.

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Stating Anger,Greed,Apathy, Abuse and Gossip as the main five.

He went on to validate his conclusions by making valuable points on these potential downfalls of the human race.

I always respect priests who spend time before their services to make a wholesome point.

Especially associating it with current affairs which catches the public interest.

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They do their homework well.

And why not? Many of them are on social sites and have a wide network all over the world that connects them to other devotees and their brotherhood.

Personally, it’s always nice to take back a small message from the altar.

And strangely the message of the day seems to resonate with exactly what I need to hear. Uncanny but true.

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I thought I was the chosen one, until many have confirmed the same.

So I conclude that it is all in the interpretation.

We take what we want to hear, place it in our lives or in a given situation and learn or grow from it the way we chose to.

The choice is always ours……….

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Resolutions a waste of Time?

Resolutions are a waste of time. Promises, which are meant to be broken.

So to turn it on a notch higher, I have served a few commandments to myself….

  1. Thou shalt not selfie in boredom whilst waiting for friends to show up at cafes and restaurants.
  1. Thou shalt eat less cheese and ‘ say cheese’ more often.
  1. Thou shalt attempt to say Good -morning as opposed to snarl – grunt – grump! new-year-res

 

 

 

4.Thou shalt not cling to French fries as the only comfort potion and treat caffeine as life’s sole solution.

5.Thou shalt not make conversations with random people with sob stories and take on their affairs.

6.Thou shalt endeavor to read more self enhancing books instead of doping on Big Boss and repeats of Friends episodes.

7.Thou shalt read business, world affairs, current events in news papers(starting with the head lines)and be part of important adult conversations once in a while.

8.Thou shalt upload google maps on phone and other cool apps before my dudhwala does(if he hasn’t already) .

9.Thou shalt be hundred percent gossip free (currently 70 percent)

10.Thou shalt spend wisely and slowly, in shopping sprees, limited to once a week.

11.Thou shalt remember that walking to the car, typing on wats app and jumping down irritants throats does not count as ‘regular form of exercise.’

12.Thou shalt never reveal true age and continue being 25 forever!!

 

 

 

When can we say ‘Enough’ ?

This honest feature  is supposedly written by the Indian celebrated author Chetan Bhagat; I say supposedly cause I got it in a text message forward.

And it was not directly from Chetan’s phone, so can never blog claim a hundred percent. img_8388

 

 

 

 

 

It is something I have been meaning to write but I don’t think I could have put it in a more impactful than this:

“Yesterday, I was driving, and the FM radio went off for few seconds. I thought, I should have an iPod. Then suddenly I realized that I have not used my iPod in last 6 months. And then, more things, Handy cam in last 2 years, Digital Camera in last 2 months, DVD player in last 1 month and many more.”

Now I can say that I bought that Handy cam just out of impulse, I have used it twice only in last 4 years.So, what’s wrong and where?

When I look at myself or my friends I can see it everywhere. We are not happy with what we have but all are stressed and not happy for the things we don’t have. You have a Santro, but you want City; You have a City, but you want Skoda. Just after buying a new phone, we need another one. Better laptop, bigger TV, faster car, bigger house, more money, and I mean, these examples are endless. uiunjinv

 

 

 

The point is.
Is it actually worth?

Do we ever think if we actually need those things before we want them?

After this, I was forced to think what I need and what I don’t. May be I didn’t need this Handy cam or the iPod or that DVD player.

When I see my father back at home. He has a simple BPL colour TV, he doesn’t need 32″ Sony LCD wall mount. He has a cell phone worth Rs 2,500. Whenever I ask him to change the phone, he always says, “It’s a phone; I need this just for calls.”And believe me; he is much happier in life than me with those limited resources and simple gadgets.

The very basic reason why he is happy with so little is that he doesn’t want things in life to make it luxurious, but he wants only those things which are making his life easier.
It’s a very fine line between these two, but after looking at  my father’s life style closely, I got the point. He needs a cell phone but not the iPhone. He needs a TV but not the 32” plasma. He needs a car but not an expensive one.

Initially I had lot of questions.I am earning good; still I am not happy…why? I have all luxuries; still I am stressed…. ……why? I had a great weekend, still I am feeling tired…… why? images

 

 

 

 

I met lot of people, I thought over it again and again, I still don’t know if I got the answers, but certainly figured out few things. I realize that one thing which is keeping me stressed is the “stay connected” syndrome. I realized that, at home also I am logged in on messengers, checking mails, using social networks, and on the top of that, the windows mobile is not letting me disconnected. On the weekend itself, trying to avoid unwanted calls and that is keeping my mind always full of stress.

I realized that I am spending far lesser money than what I earn; even then I am always worried about money and more money.

I realized that I am saving enough money I would ever need, whenever needed. Still I am stressed about job and salary and spend.

May be, many people will call this approach “not progressive attitude”, but I want my life back.

Ultimately it’s a single life, a day gone is a day gone. I believe if I am not happy tonight, I’ll never be happy tomorrow morning.

I finally realized that meeting friends, spending quality time with your loved one’s; spending time with yourself is the most important thing. img_8386

If on Sunday you are alone and you don’t have anybody to talk with, then all that luxuries of life, all that money is wasted.

May be cutting down your requirements, re-calculating your future goal in the light of today’s happiness is a worthwhile thing to do.

May be selling off your Santro and buying Honda City on EMIs is not a good idea. I believe putting your happiness ahead of money is the choice we need to make.

I think, a lot can be said and done but what we need the most is re-evaluation of the value of happiness and time we are giving to our life and people associated with it”

Think about it!

 

 

Meet the Professional… (purely fiction)

It was just another working day for Ranjana. After preparing a vinaigrette leafy salad and olive oil parathas (Indian bread) for the health conscious Jay’s lunch box which she packed every day with great diligence and making sure her son Parth had completed his homework before sending him to school, Ranjana changed into a simple chikan(embroidery type) white salwar khameez, grabbed her floral jute bag filled with some important papers and walked out of her house, heading towards her clinic which was a few blocks away from their residence.

She unintentionally dressed like that, almost every day of the week, for that was who she really was.

“It isn’t a fashion parade,” she told her secretary Tripti who had once asked her why she wore something literally off the streets when she could easily afford every possible luxury brand.

Find out more about Ranjana in Coffee Days, Champagne Nights and Other Secrets Continue reading “Meet the Professional… (purely fiction)”

Sunrise and Sunset

Sunrise!

A New Day! In my wildest dreams, I had never imagined sunrise to be among my favorite words.

For until recent, I had associated it only with fatigue, groggy eyes and an unearthly hour to wake up to.

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Then the meaning changed…..

The day you realize that life is just a successive number of sunrises and nothing else and if you keep missing them you are going to soon wake up to nothing more than nothingness, you ironically rise up.

So, I changed its inference in my dictionary.

I made it a synonym for -New dreams, new laughs, new insights, new fantasies, new goals and new directions.

Of course I still refuse to start my day with five Surya Namaskars, for that alone would just be sheer torture in my case.

Sunset for that matter is luckier; it at least gets an au revoir from me once in a while.

Just the other day, my three year old nephew tugged my hand at Joggers Park, stomped on the concrete track and demanded, “Make the sun stop setting.”

I looked at him defeated. I kept promising him all day in emotional spurts that I would do anything for him and there I was standing unusually helpless before the enchanting gold ball that was slowly disappearing before our eyes.

“Stop it,” he was close to howling now, “I don’t want it to set.”

The sun was in no mood to listen to us and I walked along wondering….Would that ever happen?

We have mastered almost every single thing we could get our hands on and our brains around.

Words, actions, technology, progress, evolution.

As adults we have insisted on controlling almost everything within our radar.

Thankfully, what we simply cannot seize is ‘nature’.

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The Trumpiest Trump in the Universe, the brainiest squad of NASA, the fastest space orbiters,  the chants of all the holiest saints of the world put together… no one and nothing could have stopped that sun from setting.

There are some things that are simply beyond our command.

And though I felt sad for letting down my little one, for just this once I wish I had David Copperfield’s chest of illusions hidden in my sling purse, it gave me immense contentment reflecting that there were some forces in this universe which were way out of our league and reach.

Some places we will never be able to taint with our greed, some missions which we will repeatedly fail at and some phenomenon that we will have no power over, ever; until the end of time.

Sunrise, sunset, the ebb and flowing tides, moon shimmer , the four winds, the Northern lights, the shooting star, gravity, cosmic design, love …oh what a relief it is knowing that some things will always be!

 

Better late than too early or never

Have you ever felt bummed out about missing that bus?

That you should have just grabbed that opportunity when it was right in front of your face?

That you woke up a bit too late in the day, only to realize everyone else seem to have moved miles ahead?

If only you had made the right decisions at the right time or taken the traditional path of meeting timelines, of what the world perceived them to be?

Hold your breath, for there is only good news for you!

I am a great believer of the phrase,

‘Life can only be understood backwards but it must be lived

forwards…’  better-late-than-never-detail1

Therefore by that rule of thumb, more the delay- more the wisdom and knowledge and smoother the path ahead…..

Here are ten reasons why it’s not only all right to kick start your life late in the day; but how it may actually work out in your favour:

  1. Lots of people have started late.

Relax you are not alone in this delayed boat. In fact you have several geniuses for company.

-Van Gogh didn’t start painting till he was in his late twenties.

-Dave McClure of Angel Investor, until forty, did no investing.

-Culinary Wiz Anthony Bourdain was not thriving till he was 44. unnamed

-Winston Churchill failed school three times.

-Most Presidents and Prime ministers only become such when they are at the second half of their lives.

And hey, Prince Charles is still waiting to be King!

  1. It gives you time to really know what you want.

Stats show that 36 percent of divorces that take place are between couples who tied the knot between the age of 20 and 28 years of age.

After all, it is a bit tricky to decide on who’s a better match when one has narrowed the options in a smaller time frame?

Stats also show 30 percent of people switch careers between the ages of 34 to 36.

What starts off as the obvious road to financial stability or first job availability in their twenties, may not be anything close to the conditions one might enjoy working in, in their thirties or forties.

  1. It gives you time to pursue your hobbies

By not being ambitious enough or goal oriented, you may be targeted as an imbecile by Corporate buffs but how many of them can boast of having the luxury of passionately enjoying a leisurel pursuit such as painting, journaling or a game of tennis? unnamed1

Maybe, if they set aside a bit of weekend time yes, but those are very few and far between.

Time, effort and energy may assure them a place on top of the ladder but leaves them with very little time to enjoy the medals of their hard work. As they say, ‘Even if you win the rat race, you are still a rat…’

  1. Big and smart decisions can be made when you are ready.

Choice of career, choice of life partner and choice of the kind of person you want to be twenty years from now are much likelier to work out in your favour when you have the solid experience to back it Up with. Besides taking responsibility for your own actions, seems effortless and gratifying when you are ready.

  1. It builds character.

When you pull a late one, it makes you look beyond the superficial, it makes you empathetic to those who are still struggling and it lures you to savequestion life in a depth that you may have missed out on doing, had you caught the earlier tide.

  1. You only get more confident as you grow older.

Lucille Ball once said, “Love yourself and everything else falls into line”

As you feel more comfortable in your own skin and don’t care of what the world thinks of you, you find that self confidence to actually believe in yourself and even motivate others to do the same.

  1. You become your own best friend

You don’t need any one else’s validation or approval and sometimes you don’t even need company.

Booking a table for one at that place you feel like experimenting at, having a coffee and befriending strangers, catching that flick you wanted to see whether someone is free to watch it with you or not; It all comes easier when there is an underlying value of having lead a distinctive life from everyone else.

  1. Late bloomers will always choose the path they have forgotten.

There is no time for bullshit. With only that much of life span left, no late latif in his or her right mind will waste time on doing things they don’t like, for example attending boring events or indulging in draining conversations and pursuing interests that don’t appeal to them.

They hopefully won’t even throw it away on emotions that are obsolete.

The Late Clan will usually bring their A game to the table, for they know and understand the significance of losing time more than anyone else. jhcfhj

Read more such interesting late bloomer stories of successful people at:

http://elitedaily/?p=551678

  1. The dots connect…

The older you are, the more information you would have collected,because you have lived longer.

So everything makes kind of perfect sense; the lows, highs, good and bad, it all leads to the moment you are in ‘the now’ and the person you have come to be, cause of that.

More pieces of the puzzle seem to fit in, one by one.

And when you look back, you are actually grateful that you let some things just pass you by…..

  1. You have seen it all, done it all

Imagine how freeing it is, knowing that nothing will upset you that bad or throw you off course as much.

Hence, however it is you wish to bloom, it will simply flow….

For you already have learnt that the small stuff rarely matters and the big stuff you can handle with grace.

I look at late blooming, quite like a tree that the gardener has given up on.

It seems like it will never grow and then one unexpected day, it emerges into the most fruit bearing tree of all.

Fun fact: Did you know that seventy seven years after taking her first college course in 1930, Nola Ochs became the oldest college graduate in history, earning a degree at the age of 96?

read more about her and several others in the book:

Successul late bloomers: the story of late in life achievement by J.M.Orend ( goodreads author )