Grey love

They were on skype. He said something, she said, “What do you think? I have got grey hair for nothing.”

He smiled and said,  “With every new grey hair, my love for you grows and deepens.”

The next morning, she received an sms asking, “Wanting to get rid of your grey hair. Our product assures that. Contact us… ”

She simply deleted the message.

 

 

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Right to Privacy

The Supreme Court of India in a landmark judgement on August 24, 2017 unanimously declared that  individual privacy is a “guaranteed fundamental right.” I danced in joy when I first read this as a ‘breaking news alert’ on my mobile phone.  It’s a historic judgement and I am really excitedly looking forward to see its ramifications.

In between joy and excitement,  I thought of this conversation I had with my Punjabi co-passenger during a train journey from Manmad to Jalgaon.

She: Where did you stay?
Me: Name of the hotel
She: How much you paid?
Me: The amount
She: Tax vax to hoga ji (there will be some tax amount too)
Me: The amount
She: How did you go to Shani Signapur (A place in Maharashtra, famous for its Shani Temple) ?
Me: Taxi
She: How much you paid?
Me: The amount
She: Indica? AC
Me: Swift?
She: Bhaisaab hai na (meaning my husband)
Me: Haanji
She: How many years have you been married?
Me: Years
She: Family. shamily
Me : Planning (BIG LIE)

And then the icing on the cake of right to privacy

She: I am very good at it

Me: Meaning

She: On teaching how to have babies

Me: Wow. Good for you.

Chai romance

tea

Sit by my side,

Let the world run to the coffee shops,

For their share of  frothy cappuccino,

We will sit here,

In this dimly lit room,

On the Midnapore grass mat,

I bought from the Dastkar Nature Bazar,

We will slowly sip our chai,

Mine with sugar, yours without sugar,

We will talk politics, love jihad,

GST and the times we are living in.

You and I

With a cup of chai.

The ache

rishikesh

I went to Rishikesh many years ago. I loved the cool flowing waters of the river Ganga. I love rivers, the stories they carry within themselves, the way rivers flow even as stories around them keep changing.  I found a kind of resonance with Rishikesh and its crisp air.

Years later, my friend went and stayed at The Glasshouse on the Ganges. I fell in love with the images of this beautiful property. I had thought to myself, “When I will have little extra money to splurge, I will stay at The Glasshouse with my mother.”  I wanted to indulge my mother. She had always indulged me in myriad ways. It was my turn to indulge her.

But life on most occasions chooses its own path. By the time, I had little extra money to splurge on a luxurious Rishikesh holiday, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. And the travelling never happened. Because our journey had become a difficult one. Travelling itself had become a luxury considering the nature of her illness.

Now one of my close friends has gone to Rishikesh on a short holiday. And I can’t stop think thinking about the ‘Rishikesh holiday’ I so very wanted with my mother. The holiday that never happened.

Maybe I shouldn’t have waited for having a little extra money for a luxurious stay at the Glasshouse. Maybe I should have just gone ahead with whatever I had.

Maybe I am living with too many  ‘May Be(s)’.

A temporary matter

It is evening,
The street lights are on,
People are rushing back home
Some are on two-wheelers,
Some are in their cars,
Some are in autos.

Xxxxxx

They are in a cab,
One of them is going to a hotel,
The other one … Home
Sometimes homes feel like hotels,
Sometimes hotels feel like home,
Home.. Hotel.
All Temporary

He says He’s tired.
She feels his tiredness
She stretches her hand towards him.
He holds her hand,
Plays with her hand. Fingers.
He tells her ‘you have very soft hands’
She thinks ‘wish life was soft on our love.’

Uber Romance

She books a Uber cab.Even as the taste of the coconut-ginger drink lingers in her mouth. She feels happy that the updated version of the app is really working well.

Inside the cab.

He says he’s tired. She feels his tiredness in her heart. She can only offer her hand. He holds her hand. Plays with her fingers.

He tells her ‘You have very soft hands’

She thinks ‘Wish life was soft on our love.’

PS :The fare for that Uber ride came to Rs 161. She had to really look deep within her handbag for that Rs 1 coin.

Hello 2017, be nice

Am I late in writing this post? May be, I am. But I hope 2017 will give us more

moments and chances to love, appreciate, hug, laugh and wipe tears. I hope, we will

create a compassionate world. Yes, I know we have Donald Trump. But let us hope

for a better and more generous world.

(Apart from the last pic in the series, all pictures are clicked by me).

sunset

There’s a beauty in the setting Sun. And there’s an elegance in gentle touches

too.  Like the leaves in this pic. Be tender, be gentle.

little

Small can be beautiful. Small can make you feel happy. On a personal front,

I am in love with the color purple. I told my younger sister to get me a purple

lipstick (I told her to do a google search on Rihana’s purple lipstick.) She

actually did the google search before going to the market to buy it for me.

Yes,. I am now happily wearing my purple lipstick.

reflect

What’s life without reflecting? Even as you rush through deadlines, targets,

acquisitions and the like, pause and reflect. Revel in the beauty of reflections.

Don’t be in a hurry, always. Reflect.

banyan

I love Banyan trees. There’s a strong sense of history about banyan

trees. Be rooted like the banyan trees. And also give shelter to the

tired travellers. The trees in Indian cities are losing to flyovers,

apartments and shopping malls. Let us hug our trees and protect

them. We need them badly.

look

Enjoy the moment. Make friendship with nature. Nurture

this friendship and enjoy  this with your loved ones.

Most importantly, create memories.

In mood for more Pink

I am not an Amitabh Bachchan fan.  I interviewed him some years ago and that was one of the rare celebrity interviews I have done in my 20 year career which took place dot on time. That act of punctuality was refreshing. After I finished the interview, when I came out of the room,. scores of people rushed towards me and asked me. “How was he?’ That was my glamour moment.

I had no intention to watch Pink. My friends suggested that I should watch it. I came up with the logic that you need not convert the already converted. What will Pink tell me  more?

I had a change of heart while having lunch in my office on a Monday. The day at work didn’t look menacing. It promised to end on a sweet, hassle-free note. It actually ended like that. So, there was I with my friend to watch Pink.

I am not here to review Pink. I don’t think I am qualified to be a film critic. I loved the three young women actors. They were smooth like silk in their craft.

Pink brought alive lots of dormant memories within me. Pink brought back the life I lived in Delhi in the 90s.  Pink made me miss my dear friend from Manipur with whom I shared an apartment in South Delhi. Pink made me relive the horrors of living the life of independent, working women in a highly masculine city like Delhi.

Pink made me think of all the men with whom I had some kind of relationship/friendship. Pink reminded me of a friend who laughed when I was recounting the horrors of being molested near my house. Pink reminded me of one of my high-brow friend’s statement, “You are such a nice person. Why are you sharing a house with this chinky girl? ” As if that was not enough, he added, “They all are so easily available.” (Never knew, women are products.)

It’s rather unfortunate that for the women of India, the mean streets are becoming more brutal. In the midst of all shining superpower talks, woman are being attacked, raped, murdered. A woman was brutally stabbed and murdered in broad daylight in Delhi on September 20.  Her only fault was she said, “NO” to her stalker.

I have three young nieces. I hope, they will have the power to say ‘NO’ and there will be young, liberated men in their lives who will respect that NO.

I am still feeling the ache of memories buried deep within me. Almost all my male friends are parents now. They all belong to the creamy layer of society. I am wondering how are they bringing up their sons? Are they teaching their sons about respecting consent in a relationship? Are they teaching their sons to help their mothers in clearing the tables after dinner? Are they teaching their daughters to fly high in the sky without worrying about the length of their skirts?

There’s a kind of dull pain in my heart.  I feel like writing a note to my Manipuri friend. I feel  like hugging her, sharing a drink with her and looking back at the years that have passed by. She lives now in Melbourne and I am missing her a lot now. I hope our travel plans materialize and we will be able to meet soon.

There’s something tender about art, poems, films and music. They make you go slow. They make you remember moments. Sometimes beautiful, sometimes not beautiful. But they make you remember.

Remembering is a beautiful art.

(The other day, I was having a conversation with my friend about SEO titles. She told me it’s a bad idea to put a film/song name in the headline. Well, I can’t think of anything else other than Pink)

 

My Father

I love men who can cook, buy handloom saris for their women, write long letters and look after trees.

My father did all these beautifully, wonderfully and elegantly.

No, he was not a superman. He was a man.

I miss him dearly but looking at people around me, I love him more intensely.

Even when all that I have of him is memories.

Memories of a Father.

My Rainbow Man

Our paths crossed (for almost 24 months) when we worked together some years ago. He had heard horrible things about me from one of his close friends who worked with us for a brief while.  She had painted me as a ‘ruthless bitch’.

It was a tough beginning for him too. But somehow he loved me for being a hard task master. He was eager to learn. I was eager to teach. In due course of time, his reservations melted away like ice cubes leaving no traces of its existence. We clicked. He had and luckily still has a wacko sense of humour. Humour works for me. But not Comedy nights with Kapil.

He left the job to move to another continent. He wrote a highly emotional three page long letter as a goodbye note. He wrote in that note that I have changed his life as a senior at work, as a human being. He wrote also a line, “It was gratifying to meet somebody who has experienced more of life than me. And till now I thought I have seen it all.” I read the note and thought to myself, “What does this 24 year old know about life? What has he seen in life?” I was arrogant about my share of experiencing life, loss, love. I was arrogant about my grey hair.

We have stayed in touch over the years. He still writes long emails to me and calls me at regular interval irrespective of the time zone. Last year, he was in India and we met for a nice meal of naan, paneer makhni and chooza chicken noorani. He has been telling me that he wanted to talk to me about something personal. I thought maybe it’s about a girl he’s dating or his career dilemma.

During the course of our dinner, he told me, “I am gay.” And he told me, “I want to live a life of truth and love.” And he chose to tell me because he knew that I wouldn’t judge him and would love him the same way as before. He talked about his whole painful struggle of coming into terms with his sexual choices and the whole turbulent path that lies before him as he comes from a very very traditional family. He talked about being ridiculed throughout his life, of going through deep pain in his personal space. I felt ashamed of thinking about “What does this 24 year old know about life? What has he seen in life?” I felt ashamed about my own arrogance, lack of compassion.

Our relationship is one of the most beautiful parts of our lives. He has given me lots of gifts. He has gifted me beautiful silver jewellery, lovely handcrafted notebooks, lots of songs carefully chosen for me and beautiful handicrafts. I haven’t given him anything material. Nothing at all.  I wanted to buy a shirt/kurta for him when we met couple of months ago.. I told him, “I haven’t given you anything.” He looked at me and said, “Mam, you  showed me how to love. The art of living life as a lover.” I had no words express.

I have been thinking of him for the last couple of days. On Tuesday, February 2, the Supreme Court will hear a curative petition on LGBT rights. It’s rare that it would be an open hearing on section 377. On Saturday night, I watched a television debate on LGBT rights and I almost cried seeing the aggression, hatred for homosexuals (by some panelists). I just wanted to hug my rainbow man and tell him, “It’s fine to be a gay. The world needs love. Just more love.”

Today morning he called me up and we spoke for almost two hours. Yes, telepathy works. Longing for someone intensely works. We talked about hatred, aggression ruling our public and personal space. We talked about Syria, Palestine, LGBT rights, dalits, women and hungry kids. It was wonderful to be on the same page. Sharing our anguish, our desire to love freely and openly.  We talked of life ahead. He told me, “Mam, I will be your budhapa ki lathi. I just want to give more of myself to people I love. I will cook for you.”

He’s the rainbow of my life.