Reality Check



Sometimes when you start to fly, life has a way of bringing you back on earth – reality check! It begins with subtle signs at first and if you get it, great… if you don’t, and still go on happily prancing about in your bubble, you get a hard knock to burst that bubble…


Hindi mein kahavat hai “der aaye durust aaye” But once you are reeling from the hard knock, it is difficult to get up and start running… sigh, but we have to na…? You could take it in your stride and move on or you could fret over the fact that you didn’t read the signs before. But you know what, reading the signs is risky business!!! It’s like reading a thriller in a language you don’t know well… You could get the story all mixed up J


But we all need reality checks – keeps us in line… Personally, I think small little joltlets (not full fledged jolts) at frequent intervals are a lot better than one big jhatka that leaves you all breathless and gasping for air. What do u think???





One of my closest friends got married today. I missed her wedding because it was in her ancestral village. Ironically, I have lost touch with most of my old friends and G3 (that’s what this one is called!) is one of the remaining few… there is no definite point when our friendship began, and I do not even recollect the first time we met. She was in my class since the first sem of college, but I knew her only briefly then. We really started to become friends after we started the second sem. We happened to be in the same practicals batch throughout our years of engineering, and I was constantly asking for her assignments and experiments. She used to constantly complain that I was too slow in completing my work and I always told her she was too serious about it. Imagine this, she was one of those who stayed farthest from college, and her journals and assignments were always handed in before me (and I happened to be one of the closest to college!!!)


Whenever she got Idli’s for lunch, the whole lot of us would polish it off in seconds, and then give her part of our lunch… we were forever complaining that you get too few idlis and far too infrequenly! Her lemon rice, coconut rice and tamarind rice were to die for and in turn, she always demanded a few few sips of the chaas that was a perpetual part of my lunch… I vividly remember those endless hours spent writing in college…. No we weren’t writing blogs or stories, we were writing assignments (that happens to be the only thing we did in college… trust me, this is one hundred percent true!) Hours and hours of boring work, made tolerable by her singing… she is a trained classical dancer and singer. Oh I remember now, she’d always said during college that once she is thru, she will have her Arangetram (the debut performance of a fully trained Bharatnatyam dancer) and we would all have to attend it! But as we moved in the corporate world and got busier, I guess she had no time to think about here arangetram and the invitation for that never came… what came instead was her wedding invitation! And a love marriage at that!!!! Now, there is nothing amazing about a love marriage, but about G3. The timid, confident yet not outspoken girl who was in my college was the ‘mamma-pappa’s daughter’. We always thought she would be one of the first in our group to get married, and that too to a boy her parents would pick out for her. Well, she amazed us all…. Actually, I think she amazed herself too!!!


There was a time when we fought. It wasn’t a big thing; I don’t even remember what the issue was. There were no heated arguments or name-calling. We just stopped talking to each other. After about 3 weeks or so, the whole class knew we weren’t on talking terms and a lot of them gave us advice on why best friends shouldn’t fight. Hell, best friends should fight at least once in their life-time. That’s when they truly realize each other’s worth. Same thing happened to us. We had started missing each other terribly (though we never admitted it even afterwards, forget admitting it then!) Then one fine morning before class began, we just looked and each and burst out laughing. Neither remembered why we had stopped talking in the first place and by the time the morning classes began, it was like the last 3 weeks hadn’t even happened!


We did our project together and broke our heads over a lot of things in the final year… Then, we ended up in the same company and were in the same office for about 2 years. We met on and off at that time, both of us getting busier and busier. And then one fine day she announced that she was resigning. She left for UK on an assignment. We kept in touch thru mails at that time. One day I was out for dinner with my family, when my phone rings and I see an international number flashing on the display. Curious, I answer the call and its an absolutely ecstatic G3 at the other end. “My marriage is fxed!!!” she tells me and we chatted for a while. From then one, we chatted often, more so when her wedding was close. I haven’t seen one item of it, but I know everything that went into her trousseau!!! Today, I was a bit sad that I couldn’t make it to her wedding… but all my wishes with her. I pray that G and D have a wonderful wonderful life together. A life full of happiness and blessings… Congratulations dear and all the best as you begin this new phase of your life…


Kaun kaun conned?

Early morning drive

Photo at Flickr


A very strange incident has been happening to me for the last two days and I am sure that I am not the only one who has experienced this!


It happened day before when I was coming back from work with a colleague of mine, M. He was driving his car and we were having a little chat as well. Battling the heavy Mumbai evening traffic, we got on to the Ghatkopar Mankhurd link road. Now for the uninitiated, this road passes thru a slum like area. Its quite a wide road and is used primarily by trucks and motorists who want to avoid the crowded suburban road (which happens to be quite prone to jams, by the way!) So, we get on this road, merrily chatting away to glory and stop at a signal. Suddenly, this guy crossing the road from in front of the car points to the engine and says something like “Sparks”. It just so happened that we were quite engrossed in the discussion at that point and didn’t pay much attention to him. We’d hardly gone a couple of meters when a tall fellow standing at the other end of the crossing points frantically to the engine and says that the engine is sparking. Now at this point, another guy weaving from between the traffic comes around from the back of the car and suggests we take the car to the side and check the engine.


Now me and M really get worried. His car is new. It’s not supposed to have problems and the area is not really conducive to stopping and changing a flat tire! But we do pull over to the side and M switches the air conditioning off. A seemingly friendly guy emerges out of nothingness and tells us once more that the engine is sparking. Now M opens the bonnet and the ‘seemingly friendly guy’ peers in it. M joins him at the front and peers in as well. Apparently, he can’t locate the source of the trouble. That’s when the SFG (seemingly friendly guy) asks him to throw some light into the engine. M takes out his cell phone and flashes it inside. What he detects is a small spark. Then, he comes and switches off the engine. The SFG puts his hand into the engine and M joins him at outside. By this time, a small crowd of SFGs (read 5-6 guys) gather around the car and start peering inside. Inside the car, not inside the engine!!!! M was worried not just about the car but about me too. And I am thinking, there are mobiles, laptops in the car. What if, someone tries to snatch one and run away! Then the original SFG says that we could tape this wire. There is a mechanic available close by. Initially, M said “Haan haan bulao, mechanic ko bulao” But then he decided to risk the remainder of the 20 minute drive and snapped the bonnet shut.


We spent the remainder of the ride in razor-sharp tension and kept looking at the pedestrians to see if anyone else notices the sparks and points them out to us. Apparently, none were looking in the right direction. I also checked the reflected surfaces of the vehicles ahead of us to see if there were any sparks reflecting there. M tried to make some small talk about not wanting to get stranded and how I could get onto a bus and ride home if the car stalled. He even jumped a red light coz he felt the car was stalling. He didn’t want to halt even at a red light, lest the car stop running at all. Anyway, we made it home and after about half an hour, M calls me and says, “Anks, we were just about to be conned! It seems there is a gang operating in that area. They pull out some small parts of the new cars and replace them with old ones.” I was like, Oh thank God there isn’t any big trouble. We had a small laugh about it and then ended the call.


Next day, M relates this incident to others at work and 3 others claim to have been conned in the same way at the same spot. Two people even asked him if there was a female sitting next to him! That apparently is the MO of the SFG gang – they target new cars with female passengers. So that evening when we were getting back, M asks me if we could take the ‘Sparks’ road again. I said, “Why not? This time we are prepared for them!”


And sure enough, when we reached that signal a guy casually crossing the road says, “Gaadi se parking nikal raha hai. Aag laga hoga” and he moves on to the other side of the road. Now M and me look at each other and start laughing. M says, “I happened to glance at this guy. He was standing at the side of the road and didn’t proceed to cross as soon as his light turned green. He was looking at the cars that stopped at the red light. He glanced at me first and then at the car. Then he started crossing the road. I felt like telling him that kal bhi hua tha sparking!”

But this is no laughing matter. The way this gang is conning unsuspecting motorists. I can’t believe that the police or the papers haven’t caught on to this…


Tra la la la

Tra la la la la….



She had been playing hide and seek for many days now. Making an appearance quietly in the night and leaving her mark. It was only when you woke up in the morning did you realise she had been there. The morning air smelled different. The fragrance of her visit lingered on, adding a freshness to the morning that was somehow different. Her footprint could be seen everywhere. The roads were damp and the plants were bathed. You wish you had woken up when she came. So that you could reach out your hand and touch her. Try and close your fist around her knowing very well that she’ll slip away. But you would try nonetheless. You want to be tempted to run out to greet her, to welcome her with your arms outstretched. The way you perhaps did when you were a kid. You wish you could lose yourself in her once more, forgetting your worries, your troubles. But she remained illusive, playing with you, teasing you, lurking just around the corner, coming out when you won’t see her and yet know that she has been there.

She’s made you wait so long already, you are desperate for her. Almost as if she knows this, she plays this game of hide and seek with you. The day when you least expect it, a gust of wind hits you. It hits you hard, but what hits harder is the realization that comes with it. This is no ordinary breeze! This is an arrival announcement. She is coming and she has sent you an advance notice. Prepare yourself, here I come, says she. You suddenly become aware of the other signs. The air carries a subtle hint of her arrival too. You think of a princess whose perfume wafts into the room much before she makes an appearance. The perfume does its job, without a single spoken word, the entire room is aware of the princess’ imminent arrival and everyone looks forward to the first glimpse of hers. When she enters the room, all eyes are on the princess and she enjoys each and every bit of that attention. You think of this image and realise what you’d been waiting for is like royalty too, eagerly awaited by one and all.

A smile breaks out on your face and you see the faces around you mirror it. Everyone has caught on the signs and is smiling in anticipation. It’s the end of a tiring day; the wind refreshes you and fills you with a childlike glee. And for a few moments, you do forget your problems. You stretch out your hand again to check if she is really there or is it just your eyes playing tricks on you. And when you do that, a soft shower of the rain falls on your hand. Its touch seems wonderful, caressing. Its feel is like velvet, soft and sensuous. But the most overpowering feeling is the exploding happiness in your heart when you see the rain, when you feel it. The air is cooler than it has been in months. The wind sprays tiny droplets on your face sometimes. You raise your face eagerly to the oncoming spray and close your eyes tightly. It is your moment of pure unadulterated pleasure. The bliss of first rain…


Bridge over the creek, originally uploaded by anksy06.

Grey… The world becomes grey when I move over the creek. The rail track a dark grey, the water a light grey, the sky a lighter grey and the mist surrounding me is the lightest, almost white grey. The horizon is blurred; the sea and sky go from being one to another at no definite point, almost as if one flows into the other. The buildings on the far end are hazy at best and the clouds hanging low over a small hillock just add to the chimerical atmosphere. But I think it is the mist that does it. It is the soft mist that casts a clock of surrealism on everything around, making me feel I am in transit between two worlds and this short stretch is a walk with my inner self. A walk where I become oblivious to the people around me, to the jostling, pushing and to the incessant babbling din that can only be the result of hundred or so women crammed in a space meant for fifty. And yes, I do become oblivious to all that. When I look at the rippling water flowing under the bridge, I sometimes think of life, sometimes of death, sometimes of dad, working so hard to keep all of us happy, sometimes of mom, who has made us her world giving up everything for our slightest joys. I also think sometimes of death, the 50 feet drop to the water below you can do that sometimes… It also makes me think of things I have deliberately pushed to the back of my mind, an introspection of sorts…

And on other days, it’s bright and beautiful with a breeze that ruffles your hair and refreshes you completely – draining all traces of a hard day at work. Nature, they say has a strange way of connecting with you…

Charlie’s Angels….

The part about real life that is different from books and movies is that there is no suddenness in real life. Well, almost no suddenness. Transitions in life are generally slow, progressing over time as against abrupt, jolting happening in reel life. When do people at your workplace go from being colleagues to friendly colleagues to friends, you can never really say. There are no defining moments you can look back upon and say that this was the time my relationship with such and such person changed.

It’s all a blur when I look back at it now, nut J, S and me have gone thru exactly this transition. They can be clearly called sources of solace in a place where the general atmosphere tended to be hostility wrapped in a cloak of friendliness. It was so easy to forget it all when I stepped out for a cup of coffee with J. When I think of all that drooling over dollops of luscious chocolate ice cream with S, it gives my perpetual chocolate ice cream a big boost!

It happens rarely, but it happens sometimes, that I am at a loss for words!!! This is one such time… Thanks for being there girls, here’s to Charlie’s Angels J



ps – For those of you who can’t understand the title and pic in this post, J, S and Me are called Charlie’s Angels!!!