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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

V

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My newspapers tell-tale


What’s up with Gupshup, chai aur coffee and daily newspapers in India better than the rooster crooning that morning has arrived? I may be a relic of the past. There was a time or still better call it, heydays, buying daily print newspaper without fail and I mean not one but a couple of copies, accompanying for coffee, spending a good one hour and makes for the local voyage. Yes! I would prefer reading my newspapers and don’t mean solving Sudoku over a conversation.

Image credit: Google.

When I read Shail’s post on Newspapers, it got me thinking about telling my print tale. Hey! No confusion for newspaper and print are two sides of the same coin but just I hate repetition in a sentence, except for this one. I no longer buy newspapers. Blame it on the digital world cum pandemic where we get everything at our fingertips. Another unapologetic and apolitical reason is I now live in a country where the level of journalism is low that buying newspapers is just not an option.

Of course, there was a time where I would get two weeks old Sunday Times for some 25 bucks when the price in India is 5 bucks and would sit lapping it off. But, that’s just the past right! Of course, everything is digital what with websites and the last time I bought a newspaper is probably two years back. OK! I am lying here since bought one last week for Mom since she wanted to read something but was so disinterested to sieve through. And, the irony of sort is that I was a print journalist. Truth be told, you wouldn’t find a single newspaper on my workstation.

Back to my story, there was a time in India that I wouldn’t thrive or survive without buying newspapers with the assortment being endless. Imaging buying some three newspapers in those days was something and you gotta read. Boy! I did. How on earth I got the time to read is the biggest question but which is intriguing to me, at the same time! Newspaper reading in the morning was breakfast to me something I skipped while having tea or coffee. I would walk kilometers down the road in Pune if all printed news were over nearby and just wanted to bag my favorite newspaper. That’s also true. In those days, it was ToI.

And, the last time I held a newspaper in my palm was eons ago when someone got me from India. That’s the tale. On my tablet, there was an e-version of a Delhi newspaper subscribed for free but sadly, after the pandemic, the publication was shut down. It’s about time to revive the old-fashioned newspaper digitally and actually thinking to subscribe to e-papers. I really miss reading newspapers in some way or the other but I can always revive it during the post-pandemic times and like they say, moving with the times.

Reading experience may have altered yet reading on gadgets like I-pad makes for a unique experience and already I read Kindle books enjoyed to the hilt. Why not for newspapers or magazines? There is nothing like mobility and reading by sitting in the bus or train, watching the scenery which offers us un abound joy in an altogether different manner and who knows a story may be brewing in our heads, just like this post mushrooming.

Reading newspapers and sitting at the coffee shop in Bandra or CST, watching cabs and buses ambling makes for quite a sight. I love watching the scenery and people straddling their way on their daily chores or snippet of laughter and conversation while reading newspaper and man, could sit for hours wolfing the news, lighting a smoke and sipping coffee which tells a story we wouldn’t know. The coffee and newspaper tales are my happiness quotient where the simplicity of life is always what I long and look for.

The time has come to read the e-version of newspapers and magazines, something that I did during the COVID times with journalism colleagues sharing on Whatsapp. I still receive magazines from time to time. We all have a newspaper story we remember fondly and harking to the past, making for happy memories and unbound joy. What yours?

Love

V

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Stories of wave, sobs and joy


flake of waves,

caking my face,

feels like invisible caress,

touching the soul,

icy sensation,

a love escapade,

serenaded by breeze,

warmth caressing the skin,

floating memories,

happiness eluding,

lifetime of sobs and stories,

imprisoned to the past,

stormy clouds,

when happiness knew no bound,

sadness conquered,

chilling sensation,

leaving behind for decades,

was only yesterday when seamless joy lived,

misty evening,

clouded rain,

voices lost to the crowd,

haunting when the end seems nearer,

yet faraway,

aspirations and tales of hopes,

whipping waves,

for hope is the balloon growing mightily,

heavenly kiss,

blowing into smithereens,

adversity and pain.

Love

V

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Tears! What are they?


Tears,

what are they?

buried in the past,

love and memories,

we cannot have,

making peace with the unquenched,

curled into smoke,

what we left behind,

not claiming.

a slice of the unachieved,

welled eyes,

reminder to release the toxins,

bury them,

burn the pages,

flip the tale,

dance madly,

till eyes dry,

carve new memories,

in the same place,

shed fresh tears,

the reminder we all need,

tears are love,

a rich symbol,

empower the hearts,

heal the wounds and joy,

in equal,

don’t hold them.

 

Love

V

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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.

 

Love

V

 

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When the lit candle melt!


Who lit the candle?

melting in the glass,

iridescent rainbow colors,

tobacco stench,

high on substance,

i forgOt the lyrics,

crumpled papers flowing in the chaotic waters,

rumpled tale,

it can’t be you,

forever lover lost forever to destiny,

heart breaker,

i ain’t running after you,

head spinning and electric voltage,

can’t be the alcohol,

massage my wounds,

rub the salt of past and present,

roads I once recognized,

deserted to fleeting memories,

lost to the winds chime,

we shall run away from the pains,

the chasm of an unspent life,

even death wouldn’t spare us of lies told to the self.

 

Love

V

 

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Day 32: Attached to love and a city!


Something brewing in my mind! Slap silly mind in jest! Brush the alcohol effect maketh the mind wondering, hitting an emotional high and transported into the world of surreal…love shuv, emotional fire and romance of illusion. Where’s the pretty girl, I wonder!  My heart goes cuckoo. Who makes the mind go topsy turvy! The relations we make and ideas flickering inside the head!

Attachment is a bitch, I tell you! We cling to love, the emotional sucker that we become and flitting to the past…read Bombay the emotions and city bang bang, Mumbai seeping into the soul. I can never live without the city, the rains sputtering and crowd going berserk, wind tracing emotions to be flung at Marine Drive, the local trains or life left behind. I am stuck into the past that chains me to its womb. Days of yore taking a lone walk in the city, longing for the perfume of nonveg food, cutting chai or bun maska at midnight right at Churchgate Station. Hell to the heart that cries and longing for impossible in rewind.

Bade Miyan at Colaba, Baghdadi beef fry with flat and jumbo naan to quench the stomach’s thirst or beer flowing at Leopold or Cafe Monde! Sports Express Bar, I heard it’s closed and confined to relics. I love wading past the hawkers selling fake Gucci and the unbranded, that wristwatch flapping open and close, someone asked me to change the model since her Dad didn’t like the gift Man! I bartered with the dude, maskaoing him to change and he did! It felt like a triumph to woo the lady who almost chucked me outta her life. Mumbai is an obsession for me when I ain’t in the city! The cane juice cooling the heels at every nook-and-city corner! Alcohol doing things to me and making me go berserk right now.

In the name of Maximum City, I said cheerz to Kingfisher beer and now staring at the Bombay Saphire Gin…everything amchi Mumbai and Good ole’ Bombay makes me wild, the past flashing right in front of the nose. The trips at the now-closed Planet M and Groove music shop at Churchgate, making me flaneur incarnate, walking aimlessly for a fag, I crave for alcohol, longing for a fling! Imagination is an ejaculation! The stench wafting through the air in an odorless city that can claim no place in the cramped space and pace, occupied by sweating bees, we call humans.

Stinking men and women! No world big enough to run for peddlers and pimps to make a living in a city called Maximum. Everything comes at a price where migrant workers with tinsel town dreams run the risk of being thrashed for being labeled as Bhaiya by the manoos! The ones who shall not be named! Filmstars spotted in South Bombay! Are they real! Doe-eyed babe coyly hiding her face on a double-decker bus on spotted and clicked by fans, upcoming female star having coffee in the sweltering afternoon with Parsi family, far away from the gaze! The perils of being infamously famous.

 

Love

V

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Days of togetherness


Those days will stay forever,

friends grown apart,

crossed seas and moved shores,

memories carved over the years,

laughter and silly quabbles,

moments created in togetherness,

moulded and roughened us,

emotional thread,

it feels like yesterday,

a tear shed,

on times we left behind,

hard to fathom and perhaps accept,

stories we created,

years flitted,

what remains are perhaps the joy,

a soul lost,

i perhaps live in the past,

feels like a dream,

an arrow piercing the heart,

an emotional trip,

shall never come back,

haunting the heart it does!

past is ghost of present and future.

 

Love

V

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Swirling to colors of Holi


 

Swirling in the colors,

bearing no stain,

curled into shapes and forms,

happiness,

intensity,

magnifying joy,

wipe off anger,

prejudices and hatred,

washed by colorful stroke,

for its holi,

bond of friendship and love,

memories lasting a lifetime,

magnificence and exuberance,

unshackled emotions,

seek thy fragrance,

of existence,

liberate the emotions,

a palette of expression,

adorn with sweetness,

magical feeling of Holi,

childhood excitement,

waiting to celebrate,

intensity of adulthood,

tears of joy,

reminiscing about moments,

dancing merrily.

Happy Holi

Love

V

 

 

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An alien destination


blindly trusting the self,

is all that we need,

chuck out the blinkers,

be risk free,

foray into the unknown,

this alien destination,

fear of the unknown,

flush it,

explore,

kiss the future,

discard the past,

press the delete button,

unchain the soul,

go easy,

break the walls,

never let the root decay,

dreams lay in ruins,

start again,

existence is no selfie,

unfold the kodak moments,

create new memories,

compose a new tune,

open the eyes,

unlayer the canvas,

futuristic dreams,

be real,

trust the friends,

keep moving ahead.

Love

V