Left, Right…Romance Chowk: Drip of stormy love

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Left, Right…Romance Chowk

Chapter 5:

The car wiper was stuck. Mann lunged towards the front seat and grabbed the dusty garment to wipe the window sheet. The cab slowly ambled its way towards Churchgate but hit a dead-end to wage a battle against the water raging its might. Water seeped inside the car that soon replicated into miniature version of a swimming pool.

The two car occupants, Mann and the car driver impassively watched people stranded, kids doing a somersault and flowing on a container substituting for a boat that turned the road into a vast sea expanse.  The driver was having a tough time, igniting the battered engine to life that screeched and timidly lurched ahead. Wrong signal. The water escalated like a rush of electrical wave and ran wild on the otherwise busy road at Eros Theater.

The black umbrellas mushroomed on the road past 2 a.m and flapped open, thrust forward and backward where people had a tough time holding on to. The car again battled the rush of water spurting under its wheel. The phone battery was almost done and Mann managed to make a call to Sejal’s Mom.  “Aunty! I cannot speak much since my phone is dying. I have reached Churchgate but we are stuck. It seems like it will take me another hour to reach your house,” his voice wobbled with emotions.

The TV reporters clumsily walked inside the flood to report and stood on their naked feet with their pants rolled till the knee, battling the heavy rain and cloud outburst to report live on the state of the city. There was panic everywhere. It was may hem everywhere. The car engine conked. There was no way it would leap to life.

The police were trying their best to help stranded citizens who were lost and moving in various directions with difficulty to find shelter under the roof of nearby restaurants, hotels and the station. Together, Mann and the car driver held to each other’s arms to wriggle their way in the water and crossed the road for shelter.

As Mann trudged inside the water that ran deep till the knee, the cab driver called, “Sambhal ke Jaana.” They exchanged sympathetic glances and smiles, a rare luxury in Maximum City. A tale of two humans and strugglers in the city who understood each others’ emotions without uttering a single word despite coming from two extremely different background.

Mann tried to find his balance by walking slowly in the water, battling the fear of being carried away by the waves when a cop held his hand and escorted him towards Churchgate. Sejal’s Mom was waiting in front of the gate housing the line up of plush apartments and she hugged him. “Are you okay, Beta? Let’s get inside the car,” she was on the verge of tears.

The car slowly trudged inside the water that made a splash like a stormy river. “Where are we going to find her?” her voice choked with emotion. “Pray that nothing will happen to her,” tears welled on her face.

The vehicle slowly ambled. It was dark everywhere. Mann called the emergency number but no one was picking up. He tweeted and sent a message on Facebook with the picture of Sejal. It was 3 a.m in the morning. The status and tweets were shared zillion times.

“Where to find her?” she stammered. Mann scratched his hair and tilted his head towards the rooftop of the car. He urged the car driver, “Bhaiya, let’s move towards Churchgate station.” The driver nodded. The tide was growing at every second. It was a five minutes distance but the car was stuck for almost one hour and the wheels turning into a ship flowing in the water.

The deserted road resembled the cramped space in the city pocked with vehicles, from cars to black-and-yellow taxis and a Best Bus all flowing together in a chaotic manner like the serpentine queue. Car drivers honked blaringly in sheer desperation. The vehicles were zigzagging inside the water from left to right and entangled in a circle. They were stuck inside the car, sandwiched between vehicles across all sides that felt as if a wall has been built.  It was impossible for the driver to thrust forward or pull back.

The car stood parallel to the platform facing gate and next to the yellow and brown local taxied on the railway track drenched into a vast pool of water. There was chaos inside the station packed with the seamless crowd mushrooming like eggs in a nest sprawled with tensed faces running amok and screaming for help. Battered faces, whispers and angry voices howled with palatable tension, wondering on how to get out of this mess.

Mann furtively looked around and his eyes cocked towards the road and railway station, silently longing for the sight of Sejal.  He fixed his gaze towards the train that was filled with commuters who couldn’t get out on the platform that was filled to the brink with water. A face struck him. He looked again and was bewildered. Sejal was sitting on the seat and her head buried inside a book. She was sitting in a casual manner and unperturbed about the city drowning and rain water spurting like electric waves.

He gently touched the shoulder of Sejal’s Mom, “Aunty, look there,” he pointed out to the train. She was flabbergasted and speechless. “Look at her. I can’t believe it.  We are so worried and she is casually reading a book inside,” she heaved.

“I wonder how we are going to walk past the water to save her.  Sejal! Sejal!,” her Mom lunged out. The voice went unheard and lost to the noise.  Mann yanked the door open, dithered at the water flowing till his inch and saw a long cardboard flowing in the water. He didn’t think twice and thrust his body that landed straight on the moving object. Mann held tightly to the cardboard and pushed it as if it’s the gear of a car, pressed hard planking his body on it to wriggle his way till the stairs of Churchgate station.

Mann stormed inside the station, battling the crowd of people and pushing his way between them to leap inside the train. She was oblivious to the voices and his presence. He pressed her arms and she almost yelped. “You! Almost scared me like that,” Sejal protested. Mann berated her, “You got the nerves to  complain when the entire of Mumbai is sinking under the water and the whole world is stranded.  Your Mom is in tears, sitting inside the car and I travelled on a dirty cupboard like a fish in water.”

“Oh! Yeah! That’s why you are completely wet. Dude! You are not wet. You look like a water man,” she appeared nonchalant. “Let’s go,” Mann dragged her out of the train. The tide was growing and spiralling like a tornado. Sejal and Mann clutched to each other, trying to get out through the main platform but the waves shook them as they took steps back and waded through the small door at platform No. 1.

The water was roiling like a steam bath on the road. Both of them were tensed and figuring out how to find their way inside the car that was stationed within a touching distance. They stood on the stairs and in the flick of seconds a flash of current waves knocked them off their perch that dragged Sejal inside the storm. She howled and shouted, ‘Help’. Mann flung his body inside the water and held to her fingers. The violent waves pushed him away from her and she was thrust to a faraway distance. His body spun in the water from right to left. He hollered, ‘Help! Help! Help!’

Battling the angry water that run above the knee, he struggled to stand on his feet in a stiff position to fight the angry waves. He lost control of his body that jerked backwards towards a hard object. A dash of hope surfaced. It was a motorcycle that lay abandoned against the wall. Mann removed the stand with force and held on the bike that stumbled inside the water and hit the pavement filled with water. He sat on the bike and pushed it with all his might.

Sejal was struggling inside the water and nearly tripped before getting up again. She was choking. Mann caught sight of her and was unsure what to do to save her since he didn’t want to lose the bike that would shield both of them.  He twisted his back in a reclining position and tightly held to the handle as he fell along with the bike inside the water and struggled to hold the fingers of Sejal.  The huge machine pressed his body. He was reeling in pain and stretched his hand to clutch her palm.

Sejal hands loosened away from him and he struggled to unfetter himself under the bike’s clutches. Mann limped his way towards Sejal and almost swam in the water covering the road. She was moving further away from him and was carried by the tide.  He pressed his hand to the ground to find his balance, wading through leaves and mud, battling his way and being hit by objects on the body.

It was a battle against the storm. Sejal’s body twisted and recoiled like a snake. Mann saw a wheel flowing and flung it towards Sejal who held to it by using the feeble force inside her. He finally held one side of a wheel flowing in the water and pressed her hands tightly. Mann shouted, “Don’t worry about me. Fucking put your head inside the wheel.”

He pushed the wheel and pressed Sejal’s back towards the wall, covered her with his body. She was choking. Both were tightly holding to each other. He kissed and hard pressed her back. The water has reached their necks and they exuded relief to see the rescue team of police and citizens taking a dive into the water. They were ushered towards a safe spot on the pavement coated with red bricks.

Their lips sat passionately tight on each other and curled together in the monsoon drip. They stopped in their track and smooched again. Sejal and Mann embraced each other and oblivious to Sejal’s Mom standing silently behind them. They smiled sheepishly. Sejal held on to her mother like a child guilty of a crime. Mother and daughter wiped each other’s tears with their hands.

 

 

Love

V

 

 

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Mumbai flood, accountability and passing the buck

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Image sourced from Google.

We were taught our lessons the hard way in the older days by a tough master who spanked us down the bum that made us diligent students.  Times have changed. No quite so for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The same administrators who want to turn the financial capital of India, Mumbai into Shanghai has simply lost the art of learning. It makes me wonder from whom the BMC, albeit, rulers of the city elected by the people, learned the A-Z of administration.

There is no excuse to justify the crumbling of infrastructure in the city that was brought to its knee on 29/8 when 30 lakhs commuters were stranded for an entire day and devoid of food or water.  The BMC is the richest body in Asia who has a budget of Rs 94.91 crores alone in 2016-17  and they simply cannot pass the buck or pretend it is business as usual. While we didn’t face a repeat of July 2005 when more than 1000 lives were lost and 944 millimetres of rain were recorded in the city, it could have been completely worse in Mumbai with just one-third of that rain on Tuesday. Everything stood paralyzed.

First and foremost, the helpline number 1916, fire brigade or all emergency numbers were choked and went for a toss as reported by the TV channel, Mirror Now coupled with the complete lack of facilities. There was raging chaos. It’s a matter of shame that it’s the commoners who mounted help on a colossal scale through Facebook and Twitter by publicly offering their phone number to shelter, arranging food provisions, rescuing people stuck in the rain or issuing advisory while political administrators simply went out of sight. It is the people that make The Spirit of Mumbai. A grand salute to the commoners who went all their way to help people, be it the cops, Navy, NGOs or women organizations or religious organizations who pulled all strings, and fearlessly strode their way to occupy every space in the city.  A special salute to the Mumo Mumbai moms that boasts of more than 1.4 lakhs members on their FB group and some 2,500 ladies, which a friend Neha Kare is part of, offered their personal mobile number to help citizens. It makes me in awe of Mumbai and its people who has never shied to help in the face of calamity.  The spirit of the city is all about the people and not rhetoric of pandering to political emotions. A complete revamp of infrastructure should be insisted upon.

Secondly, the lack of drain facilities, the careless manhole dug and potholes claimed lives. It seems like a déjà vu of 2005. This time, a doctor slipped inside the manhole that was uncovered and lost his life or for that matter, a young man choked inside his car due to the rising tide.  My friend’s husband like many commuters was stuck inside the local train for 18 hours, just to give an example. Who will be accountable for such dangerously lapses? It’s high time for the BMC to become accountable in the face of tragedy and as a world-class city, we cannot afford the infrastructure in Mumbai or any other Indian city to fall apart like that.

Image credit: Google

Every day, people flock to Mumbai to make a living and it takes a huge toll on the city due to the dearth of quality infrastructure or housing facilities. There is a lack of provisions to expand the city reach and creating vast spaces coupled with quality of life which is the need of the hour to avoid tragedy.  There is no point to mount a statue of Shivaji Maharaj worth Rs 3,600 crores when one third of that money could have gone to sort out the mess in the city and give the citizens state-of-the-art and safe infrastructure.  On Tuesday, we witnessed how disaster management control room went clueless in the face of adversity.

Thirdly, every time the mighty rain strikes, lives are lost and humans are buried under risky buildings like the 117-year-old Hussaini building at Bhendi Bazaar crushed like biscuits. According to reports, there are 25,000 dilapidated structures proned to risk in Mumbai. It makes one wonder on the state of such building spread in every nook-and-corner of the city. For instance, The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) is responsible for the maintenance of the buildings and it begs the question whether a structural audit has been done by the latter or for that matter, offering alternative and safe accommodations for the people whose lives are in jeopardy. The city has reached a saturation point.  What we need is not throwing people out but court action against the culprits such as corrupt officials who are often in cahoot with unscrupulous builders violating Floor Space Index.

The role of the BMC is not to send notices for breeding of mosquitoes but be accountable to the tax payers and the people.  What have we learned 12 years later? Zero. Zilch.  The sad part is that it’s not just in Mumbai and Delhi but also in other parts of India such as Chennai , UP, Bihar, Uttarakhand or J & K. Life cannot go on like that be it Mumbai or any part of India.

Love

V

Left Right…Romance Chowk: Chasing the mermaid

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Chapter 4: ‘Chasing the mermaid’

The yellow-and-black taxi chugged slowly and was stuck in the pool of mud and water splash escalating higher at every second. Vehicles on the road were flowing like paper boats in a directionless manner. The entire city was brought to a standstill for more than three hours.

Mann was tensed, anxious and bored at the same time. The car lumbered, stumbled on the broken road and all of sudden jerked to stand still that provoked a thud noise that splattered his earlobe.  A thick fog surfaced to cover the beautiful Mumbai sky. It was raining everywhere. The cloud has lost its sheen and every space turned into dark spots as if some ghosts were wrecking havoc on the city by spitting fire balls and black smoke. The wind roared like wild sirens to conspire with angry foes and the thunder sparks shrieked like angry Goddesses.

The cab driver turned to Mann, “Bhaiya! We don’t have any choice. I am turning off the key. It’s impossible to move and I am very scared. Pray Bhaiya for our well-being. Everything is dark.” The man quivered and fidgeted with the car’s key. Mann nodded. Sejal occupied his thoughts and wondered whether she is stuck somewhere in the city. At that point of time, he didn’t mind her making out with a female friend or having sex with a random guy in a house or hotel, surrounded by a bonfire. As long as she is safe…he will turn a blind eye to extremities or human frailties that accompany the human mind and the quest for sensual adventure.

He was trapped in the myriad thoughts. Suddenly, he felt something sharp inside his heavy back pack that hurt his knee. He unzipped the bag and his hand flew inside to reach a dead-end at something thick that he removed. A pink wallet was snuggled inside the comfort of his bag. Mann was bemused, ‘How the fuck this pink wallet entered my bag?’

Mann pressed the button and the wallet flipped open. It contained a letter written by Sejal in bold, ‘You know where to find me.’

“If I go missing one day, don’t freak and become dukkhi like some jilted lover. Remember Devdas. It’s so passé. Mom will call you and blow her top. It’s her normal best. Excitement is me. Clue No 1, remember our conversation during sex. I love to mumble during the act like a flattened parantha. I disappear out of the blue. Thunder, rain and monsoon excite me to no end. I am a mermaid.”

Mann was amused. A feeble smile enlarged his jaw. He couldn’t help stop the frantic heart beat. His mind was stuck on the letter but at the same time was fighting demons like the ferocious rain spreading its might like arrows speckled on the car. The brain has stopped functioning. His eyes were glued to the letter that he caressed with his hand.

“Hey! Wondering what I am blabbering right now. Babe! Time for clue no. 2: You love girls who stand in the middle of the rain and getting drenched from top-to-toe? Sounds sexy and revealing when they wear everything white? The water makes the skin translucent. Gives you an orgasm…in your head. Stop being hard and stiff inside, you pervert. Imagine the rain sending the whole of a Mumbai in a tail spin and folks running for their life. See! Sirjee, I am Jhansi ki Rani and love to flirt not with men but danger. I love caressing the rain and the violent tree branches falling on my face feels like sensual love and lip smacking sensation. I ain’t crazy. It’s just a shade of me that you never knew till now. Slow baby! Dheere dheere, you are approaching my location and no, cabs are not GPS enabled. You gotta do some hard work to find me. You will be handsomely rewarded with a sprinkle of wet kiss and loaded sex for a full week. Wrack your brain.’

Mann almost cursed in frustration. “First, the cab is not even moving and she is telling me that I am coming closer to her.  Where the fuck do I find her? She lost it. I could be sleeping on my bed, wrapping myself under a thick blanket. But, no, I am out looking for her in the rain. I am the one who is mad. I am shivering. But, for whom! But, Madam doesn’t care. Right now, I don’t mind watching those ugly Ekta Kapoor soap operas that serves as a good substitute for porn.”

The letter was long like a scholarly dissertation and his eyes bore shades of tiredness. “Now, should I tell that guys like you are fascinated by Mumbai locals and railway station that you like to explore as if it’s some playboy hub! Stop guessing, baby. The clue lies within. Follow the heart. Heard the classic and oft-repeated ritual? Dhudne pe bhi bhagwaan milta hai. It’s not like I am some fucking bhagwaan but well, Run Lola Run.”

Mann was tired and felt his legs numb. He wanted to sleep in the backseat but ended up chasing the flies hovering above his head. Suddenly, the cars started to move and Mann felt a dash of hope. He read the letter all over again. It was unbelievable. Something was brewing in his head. He had an inkling where Sejal was.  A triumphant smile surfaced on his smile. “Pagal ladki,” he muttered.

Tring!!! Sejal’s Mom was calling. He picked it up, ‘Hello aunty.’ The person at the other end was worried and her voice broke, “Where are you beta? I am sitting inside my car and not able to get past my gate because of the rain and water flooding.” Mann spoke in a calm and hushed tone, “Don’t worry aunty. I think that I know where she is…saw a letter filled with clues. It’s almost impossible to get out of the city. But, we will find her.”

Sejal’s Mom broke into tears. “Beta, can you come to Churchgate. We will go together to find her in my car. My driver will take us.”

“Theek aunty. Hope the cab beats the traffic. I am coming,” Mann tried to calm her. He ordered the cab driver, “Bhaiya, please take a u-turn, speed and avoid potholes and flooded areas if possible. Churchgate.”

The driver nodded. The car screeched its way at a hurtling speed and in the flick of 10 minutes, it was speeding on the highway. Mann couldn’t believe that an Ambassador car can be so fast and furious. The driver sensed that something was wrong.

Love

V

 

Fiction: Footprint of love

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A fiction tale that I am doing after a very long time. A love story that I have tried to write in a different way set against the backdrop of Monsoon, and something that I have perhaps never tried before. Hope the readers will like it and looking for honest feedback.

Footprint of love

The water see-sawed from gentle to violent and roiled into a storm to reach a crescendo high and the windy breeze blustered its way past the Arabian Sea. The Monsoon has reached the shores in the evening and it became dark everywhere.  A feeble blip could be spotted on the buildings that sprawled in the city.

The Jamun and peepal trees warped in a half circle and the leaves splayed like glue on the wet pavement. Black umbrellas were pushed by the thunderous force and human bodies jolted and wavered to balance their steps.  She was caught in a storm and the body lay erect and stiff like a statue on the cement concrete and unfazed by the maelstrom of fury. No power on earth that could make her bulge away from this position. Everyone skittered to safety. The water splashed on her face. The sticky white dupatta and Salwar were drenched and the Kohlapuri chappal sat like a glove on her soft and flawless feet. She longed for his sight.

After all, they met for the first time, held hands and kissed voraciously on the parapet at Marine Drive before he left her to defend the nation on the border. He had to go. She couldn’t stop him. Tears were filled to the brim. Her soul has already died but the lifeless body was adorned like a bride wearing shiny attire and a bindi applied on her forehead as she sat on the parapet to wait for her prince every night. There was nothing on earth that could make her see reason.

The slim boy empathized with the Didi who bought a single rose and bunch of flowers from him every evening and his eyes became moist looking at her state. She tied the flowers on the bun and imagining that it’s the hand of his prince adorning her hair.

The last time he walked with poise in his army uniform towards her and warbled into her ear on a Monsoon evening. She loved how he bent on his feet and kissed her hand like a gentleman of royal lineage. He held her hand slowly and took off her chappal, as they trudged the rocks to sit atop watching the water flowing down. She bit him on his ear and not giving damn to the world.  It was just him, her and their universe. Thrusting her legs to stroke his ear and jumping within inches of his waist, he held her as she smacked his lip and swayed to the tune of intimacy, the love bites flew deep inside her soul. He untied the lace of her blouse and kissed her, running his finger deep inside her body. It started raining suddenly. They traipsed their way downstairs and walked on the soggy path together, clutched to each other by the waist and unmoved by the roving eyes.

It was the dreaded phone call that wrecked their world. Emergency was declared. He had no choice. After all, he had to urgently report to his post in Ladakh. She became furious like the stormy sea water.  She roared like a tigress, scratched his face before pushing him away. “Go! I don’t want to see your face,” she sniveled. He held her tight and pushed his tongue inside her mouth.

It’s been a year. The war has stopped. No one heard about Major Vikrant. He never sent a letter home. He pretended that she never existed. Perhaps, he found someone in Ladakh. Mitali was blinded by his love. She made the trip every night and waited for his footsteps in vain. But, the human instinct could never fail her. She knew that. The voice of reason of her loved and closed ones bore no impact on the soul that was drowned in his love. The tears have stopped. She has ceased to be human but a lifeless robot, anticipating that one day Major will wait for his Mitali at the parapet and pick her in his arm. After all, their love can never die. The mountains and the sea listened to her shriek at night. The dead soul was hanging by a thread and a faint hope like the dim light in the city was the only reason that kept her alive.  The chubby girl slowly lost her spark and the dark spot on the face echoed the bruise of a heart shred into pieces.

Thunder roared. Lightning struck. The grey sky and cloud slowly turned black. The rain slathered every space in the city. There was not one soul or animal wading on the parapet that wore a desert look.

The violent wind shook her off and ruffled the crumpled hair like a rush of divinity lashing on her.  It jolted the half dead soul that suddenly stirred to life after days, nights and months that felt like a life time. She slowly upped her face to stare blankly at a car. The door slid open. A powerful but unknown force dragged her inert body to life and Mitali wheezed towards a wheel chair rolling its way on the parapet. She stopped the wheel chair with all her force.  She felt dizzy but hanged to the human flesh that sat like a corpse. His eyes lid moved slowly and a feeble smile surfaced. It was him. Major Vikrant twitched fingers touched her skin. Stream of tears ran down on her face. He was inert like a stone but the facial nerves were moving. The love of her life was convinced that he will find his Mitali in the nest where the love once bloomed. It was written in the stars. Together, they will conquer love and brave the storm. It was a matter of time. They never lost faith. It started raining again and water sprinkled on them as she tightly held to his hand.

Love

V

Wisp of memory, friendship and a mark sheet

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A lifetime may not be sufficient to add zing to existence as we revisit old papers, certificates, and postcards spanning over more than a decade. The memories carved and wreathed in our soul makes it feel like a dream that never happened and burst like a colorful balloon the moment we are up in the morning. Friendships, silly pranks and silent wishes or wisp of happiness, fun, and bonding billowed like smoke disappearing in the sky and dust.

One often wonder where have all those years smacking of goodness or jelly moments disappeared in the flit of seconds. It feels so unreal when one harks back to the past that empowers and continue to define our present. Maybe our future, too. I just feel like blowing colorful balloons with tiny messages in paper chits and let them flow and soar higher in the sky. I never thought that after 11 years or more, I will laminate mark sheet, revisiting the first dash of Mumbai Monsoon in 2007.  It was in those days when I received the TYBA results and landed in Mumbai just after the train blast to speed up procedures for past grads. I just graduated in Pune. I remember calling friends to tell that I am fine and not to worry post the terror attack. It started raining in the morning when I woke up and crossed the road towards the Xerox shop that was opposite the hotel to get the fresh mark sheet laminated in Mumbai Central.

But, this time it was the best friend’s FYBA’s mark sheet that I laminated and sent to him by post two weeks back. It’s intriguing how his first year mark sheet staying with me for more than a decade. In the earlier posts, I told you that he got married in Mumbai but yours truly missed it. So, I decided to send him a wedding card. Yeah! I still prefer hand-made cards to this whole online wishes in the form of a card. I am old-fashioned that way for I doggedly believe that a proper card with ink poured over paper and writing a postal address brings so much warmth. The surprise gift was the mark sheet and last week, he whatsapped and so happy that he got the same. We tried to remember how his first year result stayed with me. There are two possibilities, one when he travelled with his ex and gave me some documents since I was the one who collected his results and secondly post our final, I had to get him some paper from college. But, I ain’t sure how the document conspired to land in my personal file. In the hum-drum, I hastily moved to Mumbai since our results came late and one year later, he hopped to the Kangaroo land, Australia.

The man was happy to get back his mark sheet which is intriguing to both of us since he told me that he always keeps handy first year Xerox.  It’s what you call friendship and the deep bond we shared that always binds us.  The past can do wonder to hearts and souls where a simple thing as a document can weave the strings of hearts strummed like the sound of music to touch us in places. Of course, I did make a Xerox as a reminder of those carefree days of friendship, leg pulling, smoking in the pot and alcohol flowing in the veins.

Time flits so easily that it knocks us in such a way that we don’t stop for a while to think about the moments that elapsed in front of us. I really wonder, where have all those days gone when we made the most of life and it was calling living, unlike now. We were not much into social media during that time and warm conversation plus laughter were shared over a cup of chai or coffee. Time is karmic. The worse with Karma is that it doesn’t give you the time to take a breath and hold the memories like pearls flowing inside the palm of your hands. Collecting memories can boost our mind. The dream of the impossible to thrust time backwards to relive those moments is the delusional thing that we humans may not be willing to do. Will time let itself not to flicker with speed? Often, I am plagued with such questions in skeltering with time.

The month of June was also Dad’s birthday where he would have turned 75 years old. It been 11 from now that he suddenly sunk into a coma before passing away. I was in Mumbai and had to rush home in no less than two days. Luckily, I saw him still alive on the hospital bed and one week later he breathed his last at home in front of me. The childhood moments that play in the mind and Dad’s voice whispering in the ear during my sleep is a sign of presence. I shall leave before this whole post becomes emotional and be back in a brand new post next week, speaking about Dad and the signs our loved ones send from heaven.

Love

V

Life will go on!

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White swan in the pool of water

Lonely kid singing loudly,

for the silver Gandhi coin

Pigeon flocking its way above the sea to reach the sky

Wings clipped in fear of falling

We are our biggest foes,

scared of our own shadow

A child’s parched throat longing for the steamy cup of tea

He cannot afford the tea

chased away for having dirty feet soiled in mud

A city life envied by many

The migrants sleep on an empty stomach

Unfulfilled dream

curse the destiny

The class divide where the urban elite throws money

and the poor long for Vada Pav to fill the stomach

The Monsoon has started and rain pouring

A violent curse for some

For the rest of us, it’ s a blessing from the sky

We will whine on our fate, laugh together and fight our way in the railway compartment

Deep chasm in life and emotions

Still

Life will go on!

Love

V

 

 

 

Friday Fiction: Love, Monsoon and Sachin

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Tip tip..tap tap…tip tip Baarish shuru ho gayi. The song played at full volume on Radio Mirchi in the colony at South Mumbai as water plopped on the muddy pool at the basement.  Avanti slowly opened her palm to grab drop of water inside the moist hands, winked at the sky with a playful smile on her face.  Rustom stood at the balcony, wearing a white muslin Sudreh, and hands pressed on the metal handrail, to admire her from a distance. He enjoyed staring at the open sky and the sudden rains that brings a whiff of romance. Rustom always dreamed of love the good ole’ way, walking and holding the hands of a special someone to brace the rain. Avanti was oblivious to Rustom who was smitten with her charm, divine smile and how she ran down the wooden floor, swaying to the  rain and soaking in water, her hair grew thick wearing her trade mark, the  white Salwar Kameez.

Rustom sat cross-legged on the wooden chair and sketched the portrait of Avanti, who was dancing in the rain and trotting her steps to gaze at the sky. She is his prayer, muse and meditation. He longed to see her, breaking free and showing her true spirit, wild and dare, at the start of every monsoon. The sky wore shades of darkness during the afternoon. Thunder and lightning shook the Parsi locality at Mumbai Central where young kids cycled their way back in the dingy lane to snuggle in the comfort of their homes. The braver ones stayed outside the row of houses that formed a rectangle on the huge area, to play marble and cricket.

Suddenly, the rain roared to life and droplets rattled the window sills. Footsteps were heard descending the wooden stair. Rustom sprang to life and pushed his way past the flowery curtain to wade his way at the balcony, that gave an aerial view of life at Dinshaw cottage. The pressure cooker blew like siren and perfume of food wafted in the air.  Loud whistles brought the Parsi colony alive and crackers fizzled, as the rain played spoil sport.  Sachin has scored a century to win the nerve-wracking final against Pakistan at the Lords. The entire nation are glued to their TV screen. The residents jumped and effervescent voices could blow the Dinshaw cottage apart. Celebration has just started and unbridled voices sang with passion at full volume, ‘Ooh aah, India..aaya India…Maara re sixer.’

Avanti whose hair was combed in knot, closed her eyes and a feeble smile surfaced at the edge of her lip. Her cheeks reddened.  She longed for the love of her Knight in shining armor that would mount on the galloping horse to carry her in heaven. Water gently kissed her forehead and slathered on her lip. A loud sound was heard where folks chanted, ‘Sachin! Sachin! Sachin! India! India! India!. Rustom’s eyes were closely following Avanti.

She thrust her legs and unfazed by the white pyjamas, tapered to the ankle and the slim fitted Salwar to her thin body, danced passionately with a large smile. She looked like a Goddess consumed by the fury of passion and trance. She bore her soul out, crossed and swung her arms open, rotated her whole body to celebrate India’s victory. Rustom let himself loose and was drawn by Avanti’s energy, found himself aping her movements. She suddenly stopped in her track at the sight of Rustom dancing madly and eyes fixed on her. “Oh! No! This fellow has been watching me dance like a pagli and is imitating my movements. Is he the one? No for love cannot happen like that?”

They stood and looked at each other for few seconds, emotions flowed through their eyes. He smiled at her, consumed by her inner beauty and flawlessly divine face. Avanti turned back and smiled coyly to him. She covered her face with the hands, turned and smiled a second time in Rustom’s direction before she ran up the stairs. Rustom closed the curtain and walked back to his study.

With Love

V