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Trees, my happy mojo

In them, I find unique friends lending me a shadow, exuding freshness, and keeping my secrets intact. Therapists for life and free talk, listening to my worries without judging as if telling, “Go on we are listening.” Such friends are rare jewels, extraordinary and truly awesome.

How much I took them for granted and walked past, blithely ignoring how good they made me feel, ushering into such positive vibes, fluttering my hair to make me happy for no reason.

My magic potion and the signs never lie. Every time, I feel happy in their midst, ushering like divine intervention creating the extraordinary and magical vibes sprinkling life with unexpected happiness and surprises. The first time, the trees gave me the happy happy vibes, it was many moons back leading to travel when it wasn’t on the mind. It felt like the universe conspiring for happy mojo. Deep inside, I knew that something good will surely happen but failed to read the whispers.

The trees and saplings carry a womb of silent confessions and lone hearts, couples straddling to happiness or hidden desires buried deep inside, ailing person coping with grief of the departed love or drifting apart and maybe growing old together till eternal. So many stories about happiness, pain, unhealed wounds, grief or solace waiting to be told.

Trees! Do they tell you their inner feelings? Frustration in a loveless marriage, or the perfect relation, obsession with success or madness that nobody could or would understand, repressed desires or sexuality and their fear with the pandemic or death? How many come to terms with the reality as you shield them or offer them an outlet to vent?

Believe it or not, I speak to the trees and branches for they have become a part of my existence, the identity which is kept closely guarded or the space where no one has the right to infringe. The desire to run from everything, new relationships, new people and the new world has opened me to the beauty of roots. I hear the whispers of the trees, swooning into my ears and lullaby to the soul, glint to the eyes knowing about the special friends. They are my root, the voice longed for, a tiny speck in the thorns to wash away all worries, frustrations, trauma or inner battles.

How do you stand tall, dear trees and remain unaffected by ways of the world for decades and wounds as they slash a piece of you? Tears don’t trickle when they cut you and your companions into pieces? Don’t you ask if they don’t have a heart? You don’t belong to a country or region, state but the universe. How you fill me with gratitude? Remember our first talks in the recent days and sometimes back. I was hesitating to speak you know that, right! It happens with old and timeless friends, discovered recently.

The fear of looking fake or forced as we speak to each other, sharing anger, pent-up frustrations and happy moments. A simple thing telling about my daily snippets. Just basic, you know that. Plodding tirelessly on the path carved to protect me and smeared with love, you are not just leaves but a smidgen to protect, heal and shower cornucopia of blessings and love.

Our conversations are simple, mild and no heavy duty. Why put so much pressure on nature? I speak to trees regularly and as much they may like to be flabbergasted, it gives a sense of peace, soothes my senses and a new pleasure activity. They call me in their midst. There is such power and aura to be in their company.

I hugged the trees during the evening walk. The hesitation to be called a mad man, the feeling was missing, second time and third time, spreading arms wide and hugging. It sends the wholeness of the universe, accepting the gift and love of the sprawling abundance capturing into the spirited. Such is the cornucopia offered by trees putting crenellations to rest. Just imagine such a world, trees and only trees. So many stories and conversations to tell each other in this journey, about love and wounds we long for. 

With Love


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Emotions of Diwali, buried in past and present

Diwali is an endearing festival. It offers us a bevy of excitement, joy and happiness unbound. Traditional house cleaning, an assortment of sweets at home, the traditional and piping hot jalebi, barfi and gulab jamun. Festival of lights as it’s called in India and the world where the huge Indian diaspora is settled offers unbridled happiness and makes it an affair to remember celebrating bonding, unity beyond race, caste or gender and for that matter, bringing hearts together.

The charm of Diwali is something we long for in making preparations buying lamps, washing, dusting earthen lamps retrieved from some far-flung home corner or buying nice, colorful ones. It’s a must every year. Of course, planning to buy sweets at the favorite mithai shop makes the festival unique, special and endearing. Unfortunately, the whole Diwali frenzy and excitement seems to slow down during the past 2 years with the coronavirus hitting us hard with people losing jobs, struggling to make two ends meet and shops facing a harrowing time financially.

2021 was a difficult year for many of us and particularly so in India with many people losing lives to the virus with the hunt for ICU beds or oxygen. It’s a moment of happiness and I don’t want to dwell on this scary situation with the fear of death for our loved ones looming large. Many among us were surrounded by someone who succumbed to the virus and it breaks the heart. As we celebrate Diwali, my heart goes to a friend who passed away or the family and friends of friends who lost a loved one. There is a need to heal our broken hearts, missing the ones who are no longer with us and have become light shining on us.

A time to reflect on our past as Diwali lends significance to the festival of lights and how we created this bond of happiness permeating time with our loved ones. There is an inseparable bond between Diwali and the Pune days, the city I made home where no memories can be written without its mention. It felt like war in those days and assailed by snippets of firecrackers on both sides of the road. Walking down the elongated Pune road carried its fair share of thrill, the abhorred crackers exploding and bulging to save the self from the explosives giving joy to some.

The plates of mithai at our friends’ home who became our family in a city that has welcomed and adopted me with open arms make the celebration something fond to recall. It felt like yesterday, right from snuggling inside the crowded mithai shops and out in the sweltering heat, hunting for a decent Kurta Pyjama with a friend and still not getting anything worthwhile. Of course, loitering on the crowded Laxmi Road was nothing less than a huge celebration and with the swarming crowd, shopping for Kurtas Pyjamas, saree and Diwali gift to encountering a college friend is no rare sight. It makes the moments vivid as if it was yesterday only.

The treat of sweets in abundance, one flowing after the other visiting Adi’s home where a group of us would make a huge line waiting for the sweets or being coaxed to gorge on and his Mom’s coffee which is the best I had. It was pure bliss or visiting my affable Doctor’s home on FC where her first order is to offer the prayer first and she would literally stuff me with the mithai at her home. So much love and abundance hidden in the Diwali celebrated at home. Home would always be Pune.

The night would end up playing Truth and Dare or cards in the company of friends that would make missing Mom and Dad a little less for Pune always gives you this vibe. Today, I have crossed shores and seas, getting the sweet treats for home, to share with family, friends and surroundings from the authentic Indian shops.

Diwali has altered over time. It was just yesterday that I was having this conversation with Mom telling how in those days, there were only one or two Bihari sweets prepared at home by Indian migrants and this whole sharing was done with immediate family or at times hardly anyone. People lacked means in those days and how today, everything is available easily with the whole cultural shift made from frying sweets at home to picking them on the shop’s counter.

Mom has always been someone who prefers making sweets at home rather than buying from outside. She would spend a day or two, sweating to make ladoo and gulab jamun at home where Dad would help her till midnight. I remember how as a child I would snuggle on bed and hear voices in the kitchen with the whole frying, conversation and finally they would be done in the wee hours. Dad would fill the sweets in the white plastic container. The next day would be the same story with mom making a different set of sweets with malpua would be menu prepared with love and Mom’s specialty.

Times may have changed but the feeling remains the same in celebrating the festival of light and cementing the bonding. Diwali is the time to share happiness with our loved ones and make every single moment count.

Happy Diwali


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Mind over matter and bonding at Ted Circle

Getting up on Sundays is as hard as fuck for it’s all about lazing on bed doing zilch, coffee, reading books or plainly just burying the head under the blanket. My power day to recharge the battery and re-energizing without giving a damn to anything on earth entirely spent on bed.

When Shikha ping for the monthly Ted Circles, there was absolutely no way that I could miss it this time unlike the last one. 5 P.M Indian time, I was inducted in this amazing circle for one full hour filled with people breeding with positivity and tickling our creating bones.

To put it this way, we were being ourselves with the lead discussing on what makes us US which is my favourite thing and we were all charged up, in the company of new people offering fresh perspective reflecting on topics where one thing led to the other on this amazing platform to share ideas brewing inside the head.

An interesting thing I would tell is that thanks to Facebook and Whatsapp, I was face to face with Shikha during the meeting who was my school friend and after a good 20 years. Oh! My! We were still teens in those days and met during a quiz competition where her vast knowledge saved the day, earning me a certificate and a trophy. Crazy days! Well! These are days left behind and tuned off but the rare times of growing up making such rare friendship precious.

The session ended a little more than one hour and yours truly felt recharged by interacting with plain strangers but there was no fear since we had so much to learn from each other. I was and am in awe interacting with such people chartering their own course in professional lives, daring to dreams and look forward to learn so much from them.

Such online discussion in the new normal pumps me a helluva lot and after that I was already bursting with tons of energy to spare. Just imagine! Don’t they say it’s all about the company you keep where there is room for positivity that can work wonders on the brain!

Sometimes, we need a break from the Sunday routine of lazing around and often what it takes are powerful conversations serving as a constant reminder that the world is our playground, remove the shackles or chuck out blinkers and let the creative juice flow in without additives.

Here, I mean the constant pressure or blocks we put in our heads whether our works would be liked or not. Let conversation be an artsy affair and I couldn’t be more grateful that the Ted Circle worked wonders on my mind with everyone indulging and happily sharing about several aspects about life for there is more beyond the drudgery, right.

The post is written on Monday with Sunday in mind since I couldn’t think clearly on the day. A free writing prompt every Sunday and linking to Esha’s blog. I promise to hop on the listed blogs where the aim is to encourage writing and removing the mind’s clutter every week.



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Diary of a recluse (7): Virus and home scare

The new normal took its toll and went like the flick of dust with anxiety touching me in places least expected pretty much like the jab. I woke up to a couple of friends and their loves ones becoming COVID-19 positive. It took its toll on me for such friends are closest to me and yet another two recovering from the pandemic, being almost surrounded by the virus.

Oh! What was happening! I hit the panic button and wondered why it is happening to my loved ones. It was less about me but the ones I care the most. It can hit hard since as humans beings we reach a vulnerable point and don’t want anything happening to the ones we care the most. One after the other, the pandemic was taking a toll on friends. Some recovered. I went on a spree regularly checking on the well being of friends and to make things worse, some of my friends didn’t respond. It got me worried. Thankfully, things started to settle in.

The way the infection is flaring back home in India is getting scary. A friend’s cousin passed away at a young age and another one whose uncle died with the infection with few whose parents are struggling, hoping they recover swiftly. I really hope we are able to flatten the curve where the onus fall on us as human beings. Mask up people, avoid social gathering and stop this nonsense of putting everything on the head of God. Even the great almighty will not be able to take such a huge burden.

I reached out to a friend who helped to calm down where she shared some meditation tips with me, telling to repeat, “My friends and loved ones are all safe and protected, especially from this deadly virus corona. Amen.” It helped a great deal. I lit a candle and concentrated on the flame. We need to take great care of our mental well being and the loved ones around us. The best thing is to tune off from social media or news outlet on the virus scare. It can really harm us.

The bottom line is always check on our dear ones and it doesn’t harm making regular phone calls. So, what the world has shut itself! Perhaps, the second wave is a blessing in disguise in growing closer to the ones who matter and reassurance that things would get better for all of us. Like they say, tis too shall pass and it will. True, the are are lots of strain in the way we deal with worries because we don’t want anything happening to anyone but at the same time, we need to be optimist. After all, what choice do we have other than being positive in our thought process. Be Covid negative but positive in the mind.

There come a time when there is no right or wrong way speaking about the imposed lockdown across places such as Maharashtra or the rest and be it India or any country in the world. At first sight, I feel it is important if we want to curve the super spreader like it is happening right now and the other, there is the issue of livelihood for the commoners in India. It’s quite tricky. We gotta foot our bills but at the same time, need to learn with the virus. One day it will appear, the next disappear and resurface again.

It’s never easy to be cooped inside and there is always an underlying harm that can happen to us. At some point I became cranky and lashed angrily on a neighbor aunty who was irritating by interfering on something we were doing in our backyard at home. Yet! Never knew I can be that angry but then I guess, we reach a saturation point in life and important to speak out. We shall speak about it in detail in another post. I shall try not to be angry and develop immunity against things that irks me.

Be safe people



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Pune Memoirs (First Year): First friends made in college is blessing

Pune Memoirs,

First Year: 2003

Fergusson College (FC):



The year was 2003, the first year in Fergusson College meeting my first friends in the gang, Amrita, Pooja, Shiji, Savita, and a second Amrita with Harsh and Pranab where we would sit together during lecture and after at the campus, watching movies and lunch, innumerable birthday treats.

How we became friends I cannot recall now but must be meeting by accident on campus, maybe the library lining up for Xerox but whatever is the reason, it happened during a random conversation. Some bonds are bound to be carved and am happy to be part of the group. By nature I am quite shy and immediately after becoming friends, the girls shared their lunch made at home with us and we contributing in emptying the tiffin. We bonded over food.  Last week, Amrita sent me an absolutely beautiful Hindi poem about news on TV which I loved for the simplicity and embedded feeling where later we connected on Whatsapp after more than a decade.  Incredibly unbelievable! Connecting after little less than two decades with one of the first college friends. We spoke about the days where several moments came back as if it never left us. It prodded me to do another Pune Memoirs, going back to the first year in college.

College Katta where we would sit.

There is no specific order narration about those first-year moments. Let me try, rehashing my memory. Since I am a crossover Indian whose parents crossed the seas, I have a tendency to use the vernacular at times but not always right, using the word ‘Gham’ alluding to the sun and the girls were a tad surprised. Amrita came to the rescue telling how in some parts in Bihar, the word gham is used and something we could connect about belonging to the same place. There are certain things that make people connect. There are many such incidents and of course infatuated with one of the girls whose Economics book I took, forgetting to bring with me to college. S. playfully threatened to beat me with a stone and I played around by hiding behind a few girls.

There was something between me and S but the signals were mixed and confusing. Blame it on a shy and introvert nature that I didn’t pursue ahead. She is such a beautiful girl and her features attracted me during the first few days. There were signs that I couldn’t read or didn’t want to! It’s difficult to say now after someone confirmed about mutual crush recently after so many years. A deep friendship brewed between us and drooled over her handwriting once borrowed her Economics notebook home. Yes! I gave her a red rose in college. She almost disappeared during the second year in college and I did try looking for her.

Shiji is someone I connected this week after many years. She has the art of gelling effortlessly in any form of conversation and choosing her words carefully. The impression I had about her in those days is someone sorted, brainy, and a sense of maturity in her 18 years in those days. I was always in awe at the effortlessness and easy conversation she makes for everyone to be super comfortable ringing in a sense of mutual respect, humility, intellect, easy-going, and fun-loving is super visible.

Our gang loved discussing everything under the sun, right from Politics, Economics and issues facing India to become a superpower 2020. How we rued about people needing a reason to party on New Year eve what with the whole hoopla about paying 1000 bucks in a crowded place! Cherishing those moments and making the most in sprinkle joy on faces. I always looked forward to meeting them every day without fail. After all, the group was my only friends on campus in the first year and hold a special place in my heart.

A trip to Shivneri formed part of the most blissful memories in college reserved exclusively to the Hindi department and Amrita as well as a couple of girls wanted me to be a part. Behenji (Hindi teacher) was someone I greeted in college and she was fond of me as a good and respectful boy. The girls, led by Amrita argued with Ma’am for me to be part of the trip and finally was in. What a trip it was! Waking up early morning and headed in the bus to Shivneri where Shivaji Maharaj was born, trudging painfully and at a loss of breath towards the slope that makes quite a good but tiring exercise for the brain. I still remember the trip and the various place we visited in Maharashtra, near Pune or singing Hindi songs on the bus. The places where we took lunch break and bonding with each other. I remember Pujari Sir accompanied us for the outing.

There is something very innocent and cute about Amrita. I didn’t really like the place I was staying where the flatmates weren’t people clicked with. Before the end of the first year, I started looking around for places to stay and visited Amrita’s flat within walking distance of Fergusson College was a regular affair and just near the stretched Pune University flyover, nestled in a serene environment and surrounded by the shade of trees. A pure soul, she has a way of allaying fears where all the worries fly out of the window. I want the readers to catch the beauty  and exact words penned in Hindi here to get the feel, “Agar tum ladki hoti na Vishal, hum tumke leta ghar pe.” It literally means that if you were a girl, we would take you as our flatmate.

Our friend has a way of calming us down in a gentle fashion and ringing in dollops of cuteness in the way she reacts to things. Once, we were at her home and visiting her flatmate Pallavi and Meenakshi, together with a friend. I think the girls were going for the end of year party and Pallavi served us Vodka. It was December 31, I still recall during the final year.  Amrita was coming out of her room and joined us in her apartment. She innocently asked what we were drinking and Pallavi asked her to have some Vodka. She hesitated and the expression on her face was a moment to capture. The reaction was priceless and again needs to be written in Hindi what Amrita told, “Arre yaar yeh toh bohot acha hai.” The expression was funny and something to drool over. As I look back at those moments, it feels like yesterday and still smiling, remembering every moment.

Kimaya where meetings were hosted and hanging out.

Priceless moments during college and another instance, we were in the same group volunteering for our college festival that happens every year. It was either Oorja or Wallstreet. I think it was Wallstreet, the Economics department festival where a group of five in the marketing team and after the all volunteers meet at Kimaya, we started off on two bikes to market the festival inviting students from other colleges on a Saturday afternoon. We drove to Symbiosis college. We sneaked inside one of the classrooms and started marketing about our college festival, telling fellow students to come and join. We were on the marketing mode addressing a classroom when suddenly the teacher walked in. Amrita shouted at the top of her voice, “Bhaago!” Our enthusiasm was cut short and in time leaving pamphlets on the table running and panting to the parking spot leaping on the bike. As we run away, the girls in the classroom looked at us amused but it was good fun, smiling and laughing, bringing good vibes in our hearts.

Many such moments are present am sure about it. I think we were also part of a workshop hosted by Shiamak Dhawar’s dance group and rocked the Dhoom Machale dance that was good fun. We were all Economics students and often would walk past the gate near the Mathematics department on the other side of Fergusson College on the main road and adjacent BMCC college. There was a line up of tea and snack stalls. At that point, I recovered from food poisoning and grew a phobia eating outside but all of them, Shiji and Amrita coaxed me to have a lil bit of Vada slowly. I am glad about listening to them and slowly immunity built.

As I look back, a certain sadness flows thinking about the group splitting during the second year where we went to different directions with new people. Perhaps, it was our fault together with me. I could have taken the initiative of keeping it intact but somehow, life is not in our hands. Once, I met Shiji and we had a chat because somehow Amrita went on a different mode, avoiding conversations. But, circumstances push us in different directions. What matters is keeping those moments in our hearts and making us complete as individuals in our journey, a reminder to always preserve goodness and innocence, when life takes a toll on us. Such near perfect moments equip with strength.

Today, we celebrate Friendship Day and vividly remember many of our conversation and fun moments sitting at FC katta which we call Main circle and Kimaya that feels like yesterday only. This friendship shaped my life and to be remembered forever, the moments and images remain visible. There are so many thoughts in the mind veering towards the conversations playing in the mind and ears, the exact words we spoke to each other. People meet for a reason. A friendship that stays forever and a real blessing. What would I be without those days!





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Joy of connecting with first college friends

There is joy and taking on an emotional trip connecting with the first people becoming first friends in college. You bring a certain innocence and at times lonely joining as a fresher student that we call in India FY (First Year) and quite a departure in hitting the ground with new people. In class, the ratio of boys to girls is about us being a minority to the majority of girls, giving us so many dating options. Speak about crushes and dates.

The year was 2003. I still remember the first class attended and the first people met in those days. I wanted to make friends but the thing is about taking a sweet time opening to people. Introverts and shy people are like that. It happened that I walked on the campus and spoke to a gang of girls from our class, Economics but can’t remember exactly how we met. We became friends in no time. The localites girls invited me to sit with them and remember we sat on the brick stairs at Fergusson College where they shared their Tiffin food with me. Such friendships are designed by divine intervention and just happens. Just imagine an introvert like me didn’t take a lot of time in making friends.

Unfortunately, the gang went into different directions after the first year but fondly remember the birthdays treats, watching Kal Ho Na Ho and Out of Control, going for lunch at Chaitanya, and few other places on Fergusson College (FC) Road. The cherished moments lost and found since last week. I reconnected with Amrita last week and Shiji on Whatsapp today. There were Savita, Pooja and a second Amrita, Harsh and Arnab in the group discussing Economics, Politics and everything in Pune City and where do we want to see India as the biggest super power. The heart feels heavy today going back to those days of innocence. Still, there is certain happiness.

As I spoke to Shiji today, the mind verges to every single moment and feels like yesterday only when we were laughing, attending the morning lectures wading in the cold Pune weather, and innocent crush. Yes! I had a crush on someone at that time. Imagine after 17 years, someone told me today that the crush had a huge crush on me. After so many years! I so want to go back to college. I never expressed my feeling to her. She never did. Blame it on my shy and introvert nature for not taking a chance.

This reunion is emotional and wearing a strain on me. Such was the friendship made and carved over the years for it brings out so many emotions alive at a time there were no social media. I joined the Whatsapp group created by Amrita for our batch today. Such moments heals and empowers us where things go out of hands and tending to react irrationally, an invisible force pulling back reminding not to lose the innocence. Such friends make me grounded as a person and being myself. Those days I can go forever on how it makes me sorted as a person and giving this emotional balance, a sense of identity, and without which I cease to exist. Such posts are emotional so is the person equation for friends who matter means the world to me.

It doesn’t take much just a small effort touching base with the people meaning the world and baking memories with. The moment stays forever. We live in such a competitive world where no time is spared. Take a moment. Friendships are made in heaven, don’t they say! Right now, I am feeling emotional reminiscing about those days, flooding my life with seamless happiness, and making me who I am in real. How many of you connected with people sharing your life with at some point in life?

If I had to go back in time, trust me it would be the college days in Pune at Fergusson College. We crossed seas and left our emotions behind in one place, wondering what to make of the destiny and life. Thankfully, social media as much as we argue about its relevance or futility, it brought us together. Cherish your friends and the moments making for a lifetime.





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New reality of (Im) perfect relations

Relationships are (im) perfect and no longer made in heaven. Isn’t it time waking up to the new reality of romance or serious kinda relationships that comes with huge expectations? Not just millennial culture but any relationship where we invest the whole of us, not restricted to the personal space lost and irrationally cutting chords from close friends or just put it that way, the ones that matter.

We live in troubled times and a routine running behind deadlines to make the moolah. A relation happens, falls apart and opens to a new one. You would argue it’s a circle of sort, right, and owing to past failed relationships, we end up becoming so attached breeding insecurity. I don’t blame anything or anyone but the circumstance pushes us to become clingy triggering flushing out of people that once meant the world to us. We end up doing more harm than good. The partner becomes everything and the worst part is there are a new whole and circle drawn upon our sense of creative liberty, freedom of thought and independence. I have seen people losing their beliefs and subscribing to the political ideologies of the partner. This is a wrong approach and doesn’t occur to us on losing ourself, the forced compromise made where growth is not going to happen. What happens post break up and how we go back to our old friends.

Being in a healthy relationship in my view is about growth, not only respecting but encouraging contrarian viewpoints and questioning choices made or the way both partners are approaching the equation makes for an enriching journey. It can be small things on how a partner reacted in the morning to not listening about something and cutting a conversation short. It creates an open space. One thing observed about many couples is the way times are spent in togetherness and not leaving an inch, whether coffee shop, movies to just being friends with each other. It becomes more an obsession than anything else and one day will come when suffocation will creep in. Conversely, there are couples who are always surrounded by family and friends, doing trips in a group of forever people. Again, it breeds an unhealthy equation. Where is the ME time or Couple time and why do they always need people that suffocates at some point? The concept of couples’ privacy is important, whether it’s romantic dinners and walks, being into each other’s company.

A balance in relationship, in the form of internal and external environment, is important while at the same time mixing a set of friends or co-workers wadding in and out of home or lives is not always desirable, often hinging on privacy. Once in a while, it is good for a couple to mix with each other’s people but not always since it tends to clip freedom where one partner will find it awkward not to hang out with people who have always been with him or her.  At a glance, it’s healthy hanging out with your people during night outs and the time both sets of friends can mix is during birthday parties or say wedding or some reunion. On a personal level, I’d prefer to hang out with my college friends or simply friends regularly rather than bringing my partner with me every time or vice versa. Of course, she would know my friends but at the same time, the freedom to do personal things matters lot and I will never pop in the company of her friends.



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Pune Memoirs: Angry Goddess ironed out college bullies

Pune Memoirs,

Final Year: 2005-06

Fergusson College (FC):

Have you ever wondered how a girl can step forward in defending a guy pushed by bullies in a college line getting madder and crowd not moving at all? We were filing our forms for the final year admission when this cute, Punjabi chick appeared out of nowhere. There is no luv shuv angle in my wildest dream but what unfolded would have made the perfect rom-com book or romance flick on screen. I think the G standing for something sweet asked me for something in college and ended helping her filing the form. As strange as it gets, we clicked as friends for the first time.

What happened in the next hour completely blew me when fuse lit at the other end! We were standing impatiently outside the Princi’s office and legs becoming numb with pain for the signature when a couple of unruly guys walked past us trying to storm inside. We protested. I told them to wait in the queue when they pushed me and the girl who was standing behind me just leaped right ahead and stood shoulders to shoulders facing them. One woman against four men with fierce looks and one moment thought Jhansi ki Rani or Goddess entered her body. “Don’t you dare touch my friend,” G threatened those normally fearful men in my defense. She was the typical Punjabi woman, sweet at one moment and the next turning into a tigress. She shouted as loud or twice on the face of those guys who tried to bully her but they ended up getting bullied. I touched her arms. She toned down and told me, “Let me handle this.”

I was confused, looking at those guys who must snigger at me and looking at my new found friend, feeling like a cartoon character. It was getting uglier when I told her to be cautious because they are hoodlum and probably connected to some political party. It made her angrier and shouted, “Let them! I am a bigger goonda and also have contacts.” Those guys must have developed a complex looking at her aggressivity and backed out. Somehow and to my credit, I convinced her to temper down. Finally, she relented. I could breathe. An entire crowd was looking at us and her in awe for taking on the big daddies on campus, just outside the Principal’s Office. You know the feeling about being protected and imagining biceps pumping out of the tee but the only difference the force belonged to someone else with a daring voice, standing for what is right.

Everything calmed down. We were still standing in the queue when the bestie A and his friend walked past the office when he spotted me and joked, “What are you doing here and cheating the queue.” G and A were studying German together and she again leaped in my defense but this time in jest, cackled, “Haha! He is my friend standing for me and I am letting him.” I was amazed at this girl who can suddenly be upset and the next moment getting all cool. I mean, I can’t do it and would become hyper, panting and entire body shaking.

We did chat occasionally via SMS and came to know she was working somewhere during a chance meeting at Koregaon Park. What a way to meet someone. Now, German Bakery is one hip and happening place where the Osho crowd swarms. It’s been ages that I haven’t been there that kept itching me to visit. A very cozy place to be where you can spend an entire day, whiling time visiting the small shops inside the premise at German Bakery. I remember skipping lecture and dying to have breakfast there and the first thing did in the morning, sat in the rickshaw from FC Road to Koregaon Park. I ordered coffee and muffin making for the perfect breakfast, carried on a tray to spot a comfortable place to sit. The tables and benches are arranged on several lines at German Bakery and separated by an inch when I saw G saying Hi. She seemed to be in a hurry and asked about what’s happening to college and assuming I am hanging out with some hi-fi people that I hardly interacted with. I plainly nodded.

I came in the loop that G was working somewhere and the reason, why she could hardly be spotted, attending lectures at Fergusson College. We never saw each other after that and we did connect on Orkut before it went into oblivion. The rest of the year was spent attending lectures and sitting at the hangout, Savera with friends for an entire day. New bonds were made and sitting with a foe of the sort that pushed me to console him. One lazy evening between sipping tea and the guy was sitting on the same table when he suddenly received a call from his Dad and suddenly started crying. I was getting irritated by his sermonizing kinda conversation and the next saw him bursting into tears right in front of me. Why am I supposed to do? I asked him what happened? He said nothing. I find myself raising the decibel and told that someone will never cry for no fucking reason. It worked. N started speaking about his Dad not keeping well.

As strange as it gets, I calmed him down and in a soft voice ask him to share what the issue is.  He told that after studies there is no choice but to head back home to take over the family business. I didn’t know what to say and a part of me was aware of how right he was. The harmless fun and the best moments in Pune was going to end. What we have now is memories of a lifetime. It took me quite a long time to move out of college life which feels like an entire life spent. Will I want to start all over again? The answer is yes for I lived the most perfect and best days in the city.




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Pune Memoirs: Celebrating birthday in flunked days

Pune Memoirs

Second Year: 2005-06

Fergusson College Road


I am terribly upset and angry at myself. How on earth could I possibly flunk my Economics paper burning the midnight oil and striving hard! Incensed would be an understatement and the head is spinning, dejected on the hows and whys! In the Indian education system, we call it KT in 2 papers screwing up things. The Sociology paper was all my doing and left the paper midway to take it in October since I didn’t want to score less than 70. But, Economics General Paper, how the hell it happened!

Straddling lonely on the bustling FC Road in the evening where I couldn’t make sense about what was happening with my life. The rest of the papers were unimpressive, managing to pass in some and barring Philosophy scoring a cool 67. It’s another tale that in another year during the final, management a feat of clinching First Class, pulling all strings to overcome the deficiency looking at how SY and TY marks are combined.

During the evening, several calls were missed and didn’t have the heart speaking to anyone. Calls from the STD/PCO both and finally relented. It was the G who came back from her hometown and wishing Happy birthday. Wow! It’s not even midnight and why on earth she’s calling from a PCO. She told me about just reaching Pune and needed to activate her handset. So, she decided to call for midnight wish would be an impossible task. I won’t lie. Her call made me happy for obvious reasons.

The only person I was now missing was the best A who was traveling with his girlfriend outside India and no he didn’t call. He must be busy. Strict instruction was given to the two flatmates and couple, M and K that I don’t want any cake or celebration. Not just the exams flunking crap but never believe in celebration. Both were cunning and sweet-talked to forget the results and get myself some alcohol, not without telling to roam around for an hour on the road, admiring the chicks.  Dejectedly, I walked in slow mode to the wine shop, getting a quarter of Imperial Blue Whiskey, soda, and couple of fags. I lit one and roamed for quite sometimes.

Taking the stairs back to the flat and pressing the bell, a sense of the hall area has gone suddenly dark and now wondering why they taking so much time to open the door. Second and minutes elapsing! Now, I am sensing those guys were up to something and the white-coated door finally flapped open to a dark room.

I walked inside, slightly confused when suddenly the two conspirators shouted happy birthday and ushering me to a cake with lit candles. Guess, I had no choice but to cut the cake, flinging the exam results worry out of the window and disappeared with the Pune wind. I am beaming and blushing like a child. So sweet, I tell both them and smiling faces flashed. Faces still haunt me. Friends who plotted the birthday to make it special.

It’s been years and still remember the small, cozy flat where we all drunk and laughed together, at times seeing quibbles. I recall this birthday when things became suddenly tough and most of the friends went back home when those two chipped in to bring back the smile on my face. Or else, I am someone who can whine endlessly and go on a woeful trip. There is something special to be always surrounded by friends on a special day at a time there was no Whatsapp and think about it way back in 2005.

The day Adi came back a couple of weeks later and wearing long hair, we were pulling stacks of luggage in all directions and dragged to the stairs. The man wearing the trademark long hair and walking with the gaze of a film star casually asked, “So what did you do for the birthday?! I laughed, wondering how they just got down from the vehicle after a long, tiring flight and having the gall to ask. The best was yet to come, we will booze this week. He said. And, we did. Manish told him, yeah! Vishal told no celebration and he flung his arm in the air as if saying he can fuck off and we got him a cake.


A birthday story, celebrated twice with a surprise cake and many weeks after with best buddies boozing together makes for quite an intoxicated memory.



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Story of forever

A story has no end,

the imagination,

scars and pains felt,

moments of happiness,

the reckoning striking,

at speed of light,

ah! friends we could have made,

conversation with the self,

a soul friend,

coming alive,

celebrating bond in words,

a story-teller,

baking fun and intense conversations,

tiny quibbles,

overcoming obstacles,

with bonding shared,

look at the sky,

close the eyes,

smiles traced by the whitish cloud,

oh! friend!

what you made of!

clay and mud,

some call wooden toy,

alive you are,

one day dead,

the next vivid,

again invisible,

a game played forever.