Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Contentment.....

I read this story once. There was a little town with a small population. All the people were going about their life, doing their work, content with a small town's simple life. Then one day a guy gets married to rich man's daughter from a big city. She brings with her a shining merc, and a host of gadgets and appliances which are essential for a luxurious lifestyle. Instantly, the items became the talk of the town. And soon, all the townsfolk, perfectly happy with their lives were discontent. They suddenly found the money they had was not enough, the small town and its facilities not adequate, and they felt envious towards those few who did have them. The peace and harmony of the town was lost. The stress levels rose, and people were falling sick more often. There were fights among friends, fights among relatives, fights among family. The happy town was no longer happy!

What went wrong? Why did people suddenly crave things they didn't really need? Its just that they saw someone else having the things, and then felt the need for it themselves, but did they really need it?

Monday, March 21, 2005

That night it rained!

This is a story a friend of mine forwarded..... its a sad tale, but has a ring of truth in it!!!

"Lets go for a walk", said Rahul. "Yippee. Lets go", said Swetha, almost jumping out of her seat.
It was yet another boring day in the Mysore training institute. Dusk was breaking in. Swetha had already taken two breaks since lunch. Nevertheless, she had been anticipating Rahul's invitation for another break.

Rahul and Swetha had known each other for the last couple of months. They had been together since the training days. People knew them as the best of friends. Rahul, the regular T-D-H type, who spoke with a heavy Bengali accent, was a popular flirt in the DC. On the other hand, Swetha was a chubby sweet little girl, who was always on the lookout for sorrow souls. They enjoyed being in each other's company. Swetha would disclose all his crushes to Rahul, and Rahul would always be seen taking classes from Swetha, on how to impress a girl in 24 hours. Rahul had helped Swetha to forget her 7-year-old single lane relationship and Swetha would see to it that Rahul would never be lonely. Most of the time, they were together. People admired, some even sneered with jealousy, the relation that these two shared. The walk today was unusually long.

"This is gonna be one of our last walks", muttered Rahul in a low tone. "I know", replied Swetha in a soft, almost inaudible voice.

Mysore DC had completed the long cycle training and the postings had been announced the previous day. Swetha was posted at Mysore base location, while Rahul would have to shift to Bangalore. Even though they both always knew that they had to separate one day... they did not expect it to happen so soon. Swetha, who belonged to the sentimental group, looked at Rahul and managed to pass a disguised smile. "I tried my best for a swap. The HRC is stubborn. She is still holding on to 'EURP P.U. doesn't encourage swaps.' I cannot stay here alone Rahul." "I swear, I am gonna miss you badly too dear" replied Rahul, again faking a smile.
"Hey don't worry sweetie, Mysore is just three hours from Bangalore. Just call me and I will be here." said Rahul, trying to cheer her up, though his words did not light up Swetha's face.
She just replied with a frown. "You will be busy with your new girl friends and our work. You will soon forget me"

"Hey come on!" said an offended Rahul. "You are my best friend. Can I ever forget you dear?"
"You just wait and see", came an almost sobbing reply.
"Don't start crying dear." Said Rahul with a gloomy face... "Oh... by the way... it's getting late... let's go back" he said, taking a U-turn.
As destiny wanted......... the next week saw Rahul packing his bags for Bangalore, while Swetha moved out of her PG, to a rented apartment closer to her office. They parted with a few wet handkerchiefs. The bus started moving. Rahul looking through the Volvo glass was trying to say something to Swetha. His actions deciphered, as "I will call u when I reach there. Gonna miss you. Take care... Bye-Bye"
Swetha was comforted by her own tears. She felt very lonely, as if she had lost something. Something, very precious. Consoling herself, she went back to her room, shut the door, and started sobbing again. She had found a very good friend in Rahul, and he was her major support. She had no clue in the beginning that she would get so much attached and more important... too much dependent on him. She sobbed herself to sleep.
A couple of hours later, she heard her mobile ringing. One look at the tiny screen, which happened to display, "Rahul calling..." and she was overjoyed. She answered the call with a

"Hey... You reached so soon? How was the trip?"
"Yo dear! Just reached. Bangalore seems to be bliss. The climate is almost like Mysore. It is wonderful... though Mysore was better.... Coz I miss you badly here..."
"I miss you too dear," said Swetha... trying to stop her tears. They talked on for almost an hour. Swetha was all the time advising him, on what to do and what not to do. And Rahul was responding with a "Yes dear" "Ofcourse I will" "Sure, I wont" A couple of days had gone by. They used to call each other every day. They did not miss the good morning / good evening / how are you / I am fine ... SMS almost every hour. Thanks to the Airtel to Airtel free SMS scheme. Slowly the days went by. Two weeks had past since they parted.
That Saturday, Rahul called up Swetha in the morning and said...
"Hey Swetha... you know what... I am gonna have a terrific weekend. We are going to check out Nandi hills today."
"We? What do you mean by we?" asked a puzzled Swetha.
"Oh Oh. I completely forgot to tell you about my new friend. She is so cute. We are in the same project. We both are going to the hill station. Just about to leave... So thought of calling you up and say a hi."
Somehow the "hi" was not so enticing for Swetha. Back there, she was finding it hard to talk to anyone after Rahul left, while on the other hand, someone had already taken her place in Rahul's life.

“She managed to mumble out "That's great Rahul. Have a nice time... and enjoy yourself." She was kinda upset, but didn’t show it.

Days went by and Swetha was feeling that the distance between her and Rahul was slowly increasing. Then one day... the phone at her desk rang.

"Swetha... you have to go to Bangalore for one week to gather the details of our APPLE project". It was the voice of her PM. Swetha could hardly believe her ears.

"Wow! What luck! I can meet Rahul for a week," she said to herself.

She was very much happy and excited over this new twist. As luck would have it... it was Rahul's birthday next week. She thought of giving him a big surprise. Therefore, she hid the news from him. Next week, Swetha was in Bangalore. Thanks to the huge crowd of people, she managed to go unnoticed by anyone, especially Rahul, for the first day. It was evening. She had left office early. She went to the market and brought some beautiful flowers. She had been waiting for this day. Flowers have this magical way of pleasing people... and so she was choosy in selecting them. Rahul was her best friend, and she cared a lot about him. Taking the flowers home, she had her dinner and was waiting for time to pass. She knew Rahul's address... she left the hotel at 11:30 and hired a taxi to reach Rahul's place. It was a short distance away, so she reached pretty soon. She groped around and found out his flat. The lights were still on. She frowned. She wanted this to be a magnificent surprise and hence had expected him to be sleeping. Nevertheless, she timidly went to the door and rang the bell. The door opened in a few seconds... There was Rahul. "Happy birthday..." said Swetha. Rahul was stunned. He could not believe his eyes. Taking the flowers, he said.
"Oh gosh! Thank you so much Swetha. I never expected you... come on... come inside..."

Swetha removed her shoes and went in. Little did she knew that there was a bigger surprise waiting for her inside. She saw that the room was decorated and there was a birthday cake, which had candles on it. There was a pretty girl standing there in blue denims and a red top.

"Err... Swetha let me introduce you to Neha. And Neha, this is my friend Swetha"

The girls exchanged smiles and said Hi to each other. Swetha felt uncomfortable. She wanted to be the first one to wish him on his birthday. But look here! It seemed that someone else had already done it. Still, controlling her feelings, she did not react. They sang the birthday song together, cut the cake, and had fun. The Party was over.
Swetha said, "Rahul, it's getting late, I will leave now. Can you tell me where can I find a taxi?"

"Hey, are u nuts or what? It is very late. You don't need to go anywhere. Sleep
here tonight. Even Neha has decided to stay back."
Swetha would never have accepted this, but the last line "Even Neha has decided to stay back" drove her to say, "Well, if you insist, I will stay back."

The next day morning, once again Shweta wished Rahul and left for her hotel. Work was hectic. She met Rahul for his dinner party in the evening. Neha was with him. She found this annoying, but as usual, did not utter a word. The next day morning, she called Rahul and said...

"You mean fellow, you haven't shown me around Bangalore. I am free today evening. Take me to the good places"
"Sure we will do that baby." Was his reply.
The day was boring for Swetha with not much work to do. She waited until five and then buzzed him on his cell.

"Where are you Rahul? Come on... let's go!"
"Oh... I am so sorry Swetha; I have this telecon thing... I am gonna be late... just wait for some time... please dear"
"Sure I will wait dear, you finish your work. Tell me where are u, I will come there and cheer you up", said Swetha.
"Hey that's fine dear. No need to take any trouble... Besides, Neha is also here."
Swetha was surprised. She had not expected him to say this. This time, not knowing how to react... she was searching for words to reply... she struggled and said...

"Well.. err ... Rahul.. I am.. err very tired.. I think I will go back... err.. Let us go tomorrow..."
Rahul replied "Wow, that's fine... no problem. We will surely go tomorrow okay, thanks a ton Swetha for understanding."
Unfortunately tomorrow never came. Rahul was busy with one thing or the other. She was feeling all the more lonely and desolate. The feeling that Neha had replaced her position sank her. A frustrated and irritated Swetha was waiting for her last day in Bangalore. That day, she did not expect Rahul to call her. So to inform him that she is leaving, she called him in the evening and told him that he is leaving in an hour. She was shocked by Rahul's reply.

"Oh I am so sorry dear; I won't be able to come to see you off. Today I have a very important meeting, I am really sorry yaar."

"Its okay Rahul", said Swetha, thinking at the back of her mind... what meeting could Rahul possible have after office hours. Heartbroken by the crushing changes she found in her best friend, she left for the Majestic bus station and boarded her bus. She kept on looking outside as if she was expecting a miraculous surprise. But no one turned up. Resting her head on the slide seat, she closed her eyes. Memories of those wonderful times spent with Rahul were flashing in front of her eyes. She did not have any grudges that Rahul had replaced her, but what pricked her was how easily she was forgotten and forsaken. The journey was perhaps the dullest and saddest for Swetha.
Back in Mysore, and back to work, Shweta was trying to cope up with life. After a week, Rahul called her up. She did not want to create an issue, but just could not stand it. She blurted out everything. She asked him to give an explanation. His reply was

"Look Swetha, you are a very good friend of mine. But now, there is someone more important in my life. Someone with more priority. Swetha... I am in love with Neha."

The words were so cold that Swetha could feel its bite. Gathering all the bits of her remaining calm, she sobbed and said.

"I don't have any problem with that Rahul. But falling in love doesn't essentially mean that you have to forsake your old friends"
"You have never fallen in love. What will you know about love, Swetha?"
Rahul's words shattered her heart. She had never expected to hear this from the person she cared and loved the most. She quietly cut the phone. She shut her eyes tight and cried.

That night it rained.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Many attempts.........

Now here's a post I've been trying to put up since Saturday.... But everytime I put it up, something or the other goes wrong with my page!!!! And the best part is, the moment i un-publish it (that is, if i save it as a draft or delete the post) the page becomes fine again!!! Can't figure it out..... maybe blogger doesn't like what I have to say!!!
But what the heck, I'm posting it again.....
I was at this seminar on the 10th and 11th... it was a techie seminar on the way IT has and is changing India.... Oh no, I am not gonna bore u guys with thw details of who came and said what.... the reason I mention this seminar is - during his talk, one speaker said that management experts give many theories and models for bringing about changes. But the problem arises when we try to put them to practice! Isn't that true? We read and hear about this theory and that, but while putting it to practice, well its another story all together.
So, this gentleman says that in the fifty odd years of his career, he has found that three models can be used to bring about the change in any sort os situation. So here, I want to share those three models with you!

Sleeping Beauty - This princess whom we know as sleeping beauty was put under a curse, and she went to sleep. But all that was needed to wake her was a kiss of love from her prince!
There are situations that can be changed by the slightest effort. Like a tree with low hanging fruits. All thats needed to do is strech out a bit, and you can pluck the fruit off the tree. A minimum effort with the right focus can easily bring about the change that we want.
My fair lady - Eliza was a poor flower girl who was transformed into a prim, high society lady by our hero. He changed her dressing style, her speech, her manner, her conduct and finally Eliza does pass off as a society lady!
When a large change is needed, its best to go step by step. Change one thing after another. And eventually, you will realise that a lot has changed. This is effective since only one thing is being changed at one time - there is lot of focus. And whatever progress you are making, is there for you to see. Winning each little battle to eventually win the war.
Michelangelo - Michelangelo was once asked how he manages to make such beautiful statues from stones. He said " When I see a stone, I see a statue in it. I simply chip away all that is extra, and my statue is ready"
When you want to change something to something else, just get rid of all that is unwanted. And your block of stone will turn into a beautiful statue!

Sounds simple doesn't it?

Saturday, March 05, 2005

The final part...

The most logical conclusion seemed Kajri. The fire must have started when she was in Kaya’s room, probably putting away the bags. Kaya thought about Kajri – her slightly scared expression when Kaya had first seen her, the intimidated look throughout the car journey, she had no regrets about leaving her family, her so-called home, she was full of hope for her musical future, eager to learn and train under Charulata Bhandari. Kaya recollected the brief time they had spent together, and realized that Kajri – waiting to blossom into a beautiful flower, had been nipped at the bud. She had been strangled in her cocoon just as she was ready to come out of it. Kaya felt her anger rising at the greed of the man called Kailash Pradhan. The lawyer, the liar, the cheat, the murderer. Hot tears began to flow down her cheeks, and as she put a hand in her pocket to draw out her handkerchief it brushed against a soft paper. The moment Kaya drew it out of her pocket, she realized it was her aunt’s letter addressed to Charulata Bhandari, praising the talent of the young girl called Kajri, who was coming to meet her carrying this letter. A tear fell from her eye; and Kaya moved the paper to prevent the drop falling on the writing. She must’ve folded the paper and thrust it in her jeans’ pocket while entering the hotel. And there it had remained till now, a reminder of Kajri. She put the letter back into her pocket and moved on. She arrived again at the banks of the Ganga, and looked out at the devotees having an early morning dip in the river- seeking absolution of their sins. Kaya wondered whether all sins were pardonable. If Kailash Pradhan took a dip in the Holy water, would his sins be absolved? She sat on the riverbank, her emotions raging from anger to grief. Kaya tried to figure her next step. She couldn’t hide on the streets for long, she couldn’t linger in this city for long. She had to get out. And leave the bunch of crooks to enjoy her family’s wealth.

As she sat gazing into the river, every now and then her thoughts would drift to Kajri, and her aunt’s letter would leap into her mind. Kaya felt that she was in such a filmi situation. On her radio show, she would sometimes elaborate a situation and asked her listeners to call in and tell what they would do if stuck in it. She had once asked them what they would do if they were stranded in a foreign country without any cash. A husky voiced girl had called her, in fact Kaya had felt that the caller was probably a boy, and the nature of his answer forced him to pretend otherwise. The caller had given a filmi solution to her filmi problem. But it was a fairly simple one. Sell your jewellery. Kaya considered it, and counted her jewllery pieces. A small diamond ring and matching diamond earrings, a thin gold chain about her neck and a lone silver anklet on her left foot was the jewellery that she wore. All of it together was probably worth seventeen thousand, but she had no clue how much she would get if she tried to sell it. And after taking the money, where would she go? She would get out of this city, but she couldn’t go back to Mumbai or her job. Kailash Pradhan had probably told them of her death, and if she were to go back, he would definitely come to know. And the second time, she may not be so lucky. Her despair turned into anger as she realized that she had no options. And deep in her heart, rose a desire for revenge, to leave them as helpless as they left her. Kaya could not spend the rest of her life watching her back. But, as she calmed down, her old rational self took over. Revenge was best left to movies and novels. Kaya had to get on with her life. Her life? What was left inher life? What could she go on with? And with that, she once again thought of Kajri, the girl who had been eager to get on with her life. And then, a thought entered her mind. She wouldn’t get on with her life, she would get on with Kajri’s life. Kajri had taken the death meant for Kaya, and Kaya would take the life meant for Kajri. It was an unfair barter. But, destiny had chosen it for Kaya. She would forever be grateful to Kajri for the gift of her life. But now, she had to get to Benaras.


Kaya decided to use her caller’s trick. She walked into a medium sized jewellery shop and urged to meet the owner, who turned out to be a portly middle-aged man.
“Yes madam, what would you like to see?”, his tone was doubtful, as if he knew the real purpose of Kaya’s visit. Maybe it was due to her disheveled state and distressed voice.
“Sir, I need your help”, Kaya began.
“Hmmm, a victim of the fire tragedy? “
“Yes..”, Kaya was surprised.
“Sell or mortgage?”
“What?”
“Madam, do you think you are the only one who wants to use her jewellery? I have had at least seven people in the last one hour who want money.”
“Oh, I want to sell it.”
“Are you sure? We keep the mortgaged items safe for one and a half years.”
“I am from out of town. I want to sell”
“Ok then. What have you got?”
Kaya pointed to her ears handed her ring to him. “They are a set”
“These are branded?”
“Yes” She told him the brand.
“Certificate?” He enquired, “Do you have the certificate?”
“No, it is at home.”
“Tsk tsk. Too bad. The re-sale value of this brand is high, but not without the certificate. Anything else?”
She showed him the chain. He took all the pieces from her and examined them. They completed the transaction, and Kaya walked out with ten thousand rupees in her pocket. She had to haggle a bit, and she was pleased with the negotiations.


And now she was ready to leave the city. She would get to Delhi by bus, and then catch a train to Benaras. She walked to the bus stand and enquired about a bus to Delhi. It seemed to her that there was one every half an hour. So all she had to do was buy a ticket, and get going. Kaya purchased a ticket, and while she waited for the bus, she spotted a dhaba right opposite to the bus stand. The place was quite crowded. People were constantly moving in and out of it. And as she came close to it, a variety of smells hit her nose at the same time. Poories, Pakodas, jalebis, boiling almond milk, all from the huge kadhais placed outside the dhaba. And suddenly Kaya’s stomach gave a lurch. And she realized she hadn’t eaten anything since the previous day’s lunch. She entered the eatery and found herself a table at the far corner. She ordered a king’s fill and gorged on the food when it arrived. She took longer than she had intended to, and after paying her bill, rushed out of the dhaba into the busy street. She had to cross the road to get to the other side, and hurried on for the fear of missing her bus. She was about halfway across, when a speeding black car turned the corner, a few hundred meters from where Kaya stood, and rushed in her direction.


Kaya tried to leap out of its path, but there was traffic on the other side now. She frantically looked at the incoming car, and her froze at the spot. Her eyes met the eyes of the front seat passenger. The shock in them equal to the fear in her own. Kaya’s heart beat very fast, and stomach tingled with apprehension. But, her feet seemed to be rooted to the spot. She tried, but she couldn’t move her legs. Time seemed to have slowed down, and those few seconds; everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. Going back would mean colliding into the traffic on the other side of the road. Moving forward would be rushing into the path of the speeding car, or walking into the hands of the very people from whom she was trying to run away. This and a thousand other thoughts passed through her brain before she could comprehend what was happening. She was so wrapped up in her own thoughts that she hadn’t realized that the car was swerving. The driver seemed to have lost control of the car. It was now heading straight towards Kaya. Just as it came within a few feet, she turned sideways. At about the same time, the driver turned the car as well. The car had spiraled totally out of his control, and the wild turn had caused it to completely block the other lane. For a fleeting moment everything seemed all right, but it was not so. A large loaded truck was coming down the road, its speed a little more than what should’ve been. The driver braked hard, and the sound of the air brakes could be heard all around, but the truck did not slow down enough. Still at a good speed, the truck driver made a frantic attempt to avoid an impact, and turned towards other side. The truck hit the side of the car, and dragged it diagonally across the road for a few meters. Suddenly, a bus turned the same corner that the car had a few seconds ago, and the car was sandwiched between the two large speeding vehicles. The sickening crunch of metal against metal filled the air.

Kaya was horrified, she had stood transfixed from the moment the car had turned, she was still in the middle of the road. She could have been hit. A few people gathered around her and ushered her to the side. As if in a trance, reached the side of the dhaba and sat on a chair outside it. The people asked her if she was fine, for she looked pale and shaken. The owner of the dhaba came out and asked one his boys to bring hot ginger tea for her her. As she sat there sipping the tea, and watching the commotion on the street, she noticed a few buses emerge from the bus stand. One of them was Kaya’s. The next few hours passed in a daze, and Kaya had a bleak memory of ambulance and the police approaching. The bus had no passengers, and both the bus and the truck driver were injured, but the passengers of the car were all dead. Five battered bodies were laid down by the side of the road, and covered with white sheets. Dark red spots began to appear on the sheets as the people tried to identify the victims. All they could determine that there were four males and one female. But only Kaya knew who they were. Kailash Pradhan, his driver, Nalini, Paras and Vaibhav. All the people in Haridwar who had seen her, who recognized her. And now they were all dead. She didn’t have to fear being discovered anymore. She was free. She was Kaya no more. She was now Kajri. With this thought in her mind, she thanked the dhaba owner and crossed the road. She went to the bus stand, and was on her way to Delhi on the next bus. She felt free, like a bird flying out of her cage, into a new shy, to scale new heights. No one would ever know who she is, and she would do what her mother had always wanted her to do. Devote her life to music.


The ten thousand rupees that she had gotten were enough for her to reach Delhi. She bought a couple of clothes, a few basic necessities, a travel bag and a ticket to Benaras. With her past behind her, she reached the house of Charulata Bhandari. Charulata Bhandari read her old friend’s letter, and looked at the cotton salwar kameez clad girl from head-to-toe. She led the girl to a large room where her students were practicing. The gentle sounds of the sitar and the melodious voices practicing ragas filled the room. The atmosphere was calm and happy, and she immediately felt at peace there.
“I would like to hear you before I can begin with your training.” Said Chaurlata Bhandari.
She looked at her and nodded. She sat down on the floor, and closed her eyes. For a moment her mind was all blank, and then a thousand memories rushed through. She was back at the village, in a tiny room, a lady sat facing her, a veena in hand, teaching her raag Bhairavi, asking her to sing along. She did, she sang with all her heart and when she opened her eyes, Charulata Bhandari stood smiling at her. She had moved from reality to memory and back. Her years of training in Veena came back to her in a flash, and her talent had shown. Charulata Bhandari sat down beside her and said
“You have a very good voice, and it will be a pleasure teaching you. Welcome to my school”
She smiled and said thanks. They both got up and Charulata Bhandari hailed one of the girls and instructed her to take the new girl to a room. She picked up her back and turned. Just as she was about to go, Charulata Bhandari called her back, looked deep into her eyes and said,
“Did anyone ever tell you?”
“What?”
“You have your mother’s eyes”
=======================================================================================
And, that is the end of this “short story” I began way back in November. It could have been faster, and I hope the next one is, for an idea is brewing in my mind…….. actually on paper. Yep, this one I’m actually writing down. But more on that later, now I have a l’ll problem. I’ve finished this story, and still haven’t thought of a name. So, would anyone pls suggest one?