Friday, September 28, 2012

A slip between cup and lip

I am saturated with the marathon holiday break that I have now. An idle mind is a devil's workshop. I pestered my parents for almost a month to grant me money for buying novels to pass my time. I prepared my wish-list of all the novels that I wanted to read since an year. My town doesn't have a good bookstore. So I waited till we went to a two-day trip to Kolkata. The itinerary was tightly packed and both the days were reserved by my mother for trips to Kalighat Durga mandir and Dakshineshwar Durga mandir. I requested fell on my parent's feet and begged to take me to college street, where I heard that there is Asia's largest book market selling novels in second-hand. Finally, they obliged. I went hysterical with so many options of novels available. I picked 13 novels and waited for the moment I could come to my hometown and devour them page-by-page. My mother purchased infinite Bengali cotton saris at New market.

I and my mother had to return to our hometown while my father had to stay back on office purpose. Our luggage weighed more than the prescribed limit of 40 Kgs specified for cargo on the flight back to home. My mother made me leave all the books with my dad but did not reduce even one sari of her's though I was repeatedly pleading her. It will take two months for my father to return from his official tour.

The previous day I stacked all those novels into a tall tower and was jumping with joy at my acquisition  The next day I was dejected at the airport as I had to leave behind my bag full of novels.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A little bit of honesty goes a long way


From Rajiv Gandhi International airport, Hyderabad, I had to catch a morning flight to Kolkata. Not wishing to eat the bland breakfast served in flight I decided to have breakfast in the airport. I ordered a plate of Guntur-Idly in a food joint at the airport which costed a whopping price of Rs.85! In a hurry, unable to yield to a large queue of customers, the cashier gave the bill to me but surprisingly, got confused and did not take money for the order. I tried to tell him but he refused to listen to me and shooed me away saying I was holding the line of customers.

Oh shoot! I thought the restaurant won’t suffer losses if it didn't charge one plate. I had the free breakfast triumphantly, happy that I saved a lot of money. Seriously Rs. 85 for two idlis is too much!! I planned on eating soon and slipping away lest he realizes his mistake later. I was gulping down the idly and then midway I had my guilty conscience probing and disturbing me.  I could not eat any further. Then and there, I got up, went behind the counter and explained to him that by mistake he forgot to take money from me. He was very happy at my honesty and thanked me. He said that his boss would have chided him at the end of the day if the cash and the bill accounts did not tally and he would had to pay from his own pocket. It might not be a big transaction, but I felt very good with my sincerity and ate the rest of my breakfast in peace.

I was shopping with my family on a hot mid-afternoon.  My father was very tired and hungry. He wanted to buy a plate of fruit salad from a vendor on the street. The vendor handed over the plate to my dad but my dad was unable to hold it properly and so it fell on the road strewing the pieces of fruits here-and-there.  Disappointed and hungry my dad gave the vendor his money and we proceeded to go home. But the vendor called us back and gave another plate and did not accept money for the second plate which was totally unexpected.

He earned my respect as he was a man of strong integrity, who didn't feel greedy for money though it was rightfully his, only because his customers were not satisfied. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

The solitary blue stiletto

I and my blue mate
Encrusted with Swarovski crystals
Snake-skin leather, lace of velvet fleece
Heels pointed slick and shiny
Couture of Jimmy choo
Trend setters straight from Milan
Meant to see the glitz of glistening parties
Mind you... not any ordinary footwear we are
We often mock our neighbours-the dirty pair of sneakers
Of their futile existence, sans, style or substance
Regret why you keep us beside them
Being worn to drab unglamorous places
Biting the dust on potholed roads
Next to us they don’t even stand a chance
Because we are The blue stilettos

I and my blue mate
Endured your weight
Transformed your awkward gait
into a cat-walk on the ramp
Treaded and pranced miles
Made you stand inches taller
Elevated your confidence
Enhanced your persona
Fashionistas complimented you
Appreciated your style statement
 Designed to impress a woman’s vanity
We were your fad
Addressed to your whim
Jumped in your gambol
Pity you! Though we discomforted your feet
Ignoring the shoe-bites we gave
You suffered us stoically
Because we are The blue stilettos

But as my mate is lost.
I stand alone. Blue. Neglected.  Jaded.
A lonely sole in the closet
Waiting to be picked
Waiting to be dusted
Waiting to be worn again
Meant to see the glitz of glistening parties 
Missing the tick-tick rustle when tapped on the floor
The dirty sneakers stand proud and sturdy
They mock at me that I am all alone
Alas! You abandoned me in the shoebox
Choosing the dirty pair of sneakers over me
Ordained to a twist of fate
I know it wouldn’t be late
that you would totally dispose me off
Because I am the solitary blue stiletto

Saturday, September 1, 2012

My dad's memoirs – Episode 1

(Chronicles of my dad down the memory lane in his own words)

When I was posted to Dimapur, Nagaland, on CGM promotion, initially I was taken aback. It is 2600 kms away from home and is considered unsafe as the problem of insurgency persists in north-east India. Then, I remembered my father who took transfers as a challenge and readily accepted them without grumbling. He, without a second thought, went to even those places which were backward with little amenities.

He worked as a headmaster in Zila Parishad schools of Ananthpur district. He was a strict disciplinarian and a man of principles. One of his students was riding a bicycle without heeding to the national anthem being recited in the morning school assembly. He considered this disrespectful and punished the boy for his lack of discipline and patriotism. Whereas, my father would stand up and salute the flag whenever the national anthem was being sung, no matter where he was and what he was doing. The boy that my father punished turned out to be the son of a powerful local politician, who felt insulted and saw to it that my father was posted to the remotest village in the district. He also sent a message across, that if my father would apologise to the politician, he would consider the cancellation of the transfer order. My mother initially asked my father to meet him and sort out the matter appealingly.  But my resolute father took a firm decision and accepted the new assignment. In the new village, we faced a lot of difficulties and challenges. I and my siblings would study in kerosene lantern due to lack of electricity. Medical facilities were deficient. My father had to commute long distances for fetching even basic commodities.

But he never repented his decision and never compromised on his principles. He used to say that Lord Ram was happier in the forest than in Ayodhya.

Recollecting this incident on retrospection I took inspiration from my father and relocated to Dimapur although I had to be away from near and dear. I decided that I will bravely accept any challenge that would come in my way. 
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