Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Fear Stays

The Fear Stays

Its a Monday. I just left from office & took a cab. As it appears, there is a lot of traffic today- I don't understand the reason as to why are Mondays always so overly crowded. The roads, the trains, the cab lines- everything is hilariously crowded.

As the cab halts at yet another signal, I check the time & realise its going to take long. I debate whether I should get down & run- to get the usual train; or should I try my luck. Being too tired to run a distance of 3 minutes, I decide I’ll better take the next train.

As I get into the train after walking peacefully to the station, I see to my surprise that it is not really crowded. As I settle down at the Window Seat & take out a book to read- a Nicholas Sparks love story that has engrossed me a lot recently, I hear a lady asking me where will I get down. For a moment I wonder why does she need to know- the train is hardly packed. She asks it also to the lady beside me, after which she settles down on the third seat.

She appears to be those extra friendly & extra talkative people who just have to speak random stuff with random strangers. Soon, she takes out her mobile phone & a battery.

I wonder why is the battery separated from the phone. The lady then speaks something with the woman beside me, telling her that she does not know how to put the battery into the phone. Which surprises me. I mean she surely doesn't look like a woman who wouldn't know how to open a phone & put the battery back in. That too, an old Nokia piece. The lady beside me takes the phone, opens it & puts the battery in. The woman tells her to restart the phone. All this while, I am actually pretty surprised. I mean in this age who does not know all this? & judging by her looks- definitely not people like her. She further asks the lady to dial some number- which of course, doesn't get connected.

Now I feel panicky. I know its strange but yes, for a moment there I feel sudden panic. My mind goes haywire with random thoughts. What if this woman is a wrong person? What if she knows everything but is just acting innocent? What if she is some terrorist? We have all seen in the movies how terrorists blow away things by pressing a phone button. My mind contemplates & then reminds itself of the attacks that recently occurred in Punjab and how Mumbai has been put on an alert.

My mind, now spinning out of control, starts framing things. What if something like this happens? What then? Being overtly sufficient, my brain also recollects all the previous train bombings- the times, the places, the horrendous news & the stories.

The brain- truly imaginative to its character- starts thinking about the hows & ifs & then's. What will happen.. What will happen to me.. How will the police interrogate in the tragedy.. & how soon? Will they catch hold of her?  If the police ask me about the lady, how will i describe her..  What will the newspapers publish.. Will they do a story on me with those picky lines like ‘how a girl took a different train than her usual one...’

As my mind continues to spin out of control, the phone woman- that's what I have named her- gets up. As I tilt my head to see her, she gets down at the station & leaves. I let out a sigh of relief.

Now that I am not paranoid, my brain decides to work logically & makes me think of how stupid I was. It was just a lady & it drew me thinking weird things.

But then what do I do? Whatever I have seen in the past & in the recent, it is scary. The way Mumbai has faced terror attacks- so many times- though I never recall it in my sane state, the fear stays. Somewhere at the back of the subconscious mind- the memories- the second degree memories & I call it that because I never lost any loved one there- they scare me. What happened, how & the after effects- both on the survivors as well as the general public haunts me. & at such instances, it surfaces up.

I am sure I am not the only one. We all have this fear deep down, buried inside us which we never show. But its there. It is very much there. The ghastly memories of 7/11 train bombing (11 July, 2006 Mumbai train bombings).... The horrifying memories of 13/7 (13 July, 2011 Mumbai bombings)... The traumatizing memories of 26/11 terrorist attacks (26 November, 2008 Mumbai Terror Attacks) though buried inside, are still fresh. I do not think any Mumbaikar will ever forget them or ever get over the fear.

Mumbai- the city that never sleeps. Mumbai- the city that always runs. Mumbai- the city that gets up & continues to buzz day after day even after being traumatized. The spirit of Mumbai, as it is said.

Yes, the spirit of Mumbai. The spirit to bury our fears deep inside & face the world everyday with belief & faith. The spirit to keep going.

We are not people who do not feel the fear. We have it running inside us everyday- every time we spot an unclaimed bag- Every time we see a suspicious person. But we decide against succumbing to our fears & instead get up & live with the belief that such things wont happen again. But the fear- its always there.

Like it is said, pushing the skeletons inside the wardrobe doesn't make them dissapear- they are still there. & our fears are just like the skeletons. Not visible, but very much there.

Mumbai- we love you.
Mumbaikars- we salute you.

(No intentions to  hurt any sentiments by the use of the word "Bombay" in the .gif image. 
Images Source: https://www.google.co.in/imghp?hl=en&tab=wi&ei=bXK4VfvUHoaUuASU9KDgAw&ved=0CBIQqi4oAQ) 

[Disclaimer: The places and incidents mentioned in the blog (except the incidents mentioned as 26/11, 13/7 & 7/11 and Punjab attacks) bear no resemblance to any person living or dead ; or action or incidence, or any other occurrence. The piece is purely a work of fiction.]



I heard a lot of hype around this movie & I must say that it stood up to every bit of it. I personally loved the movie and it is truly one of Salman Khan's best movie in the recent years.

The story line is pretty simple & the plot revolves around a good (and innocent) man trying his best to leave a kid back her home, who is apparently a Pakistani. But the simplicity & grace with which it tackles a very sensitive issue is commendable. Nowhere does the movie derail from its track & nowhere do you feel that a certain part wasn't required.

It is truly a great movie with a simple concept put in with the best story line, perfect characters and some sweet love.
It has certain perfect funny punches which have been inserted so very accurately, and the actors play the part just too well! 

The actors have played their parts really well. Salman is just perfect as the Bajrangi Bhaijaan-he fits in just as perfectly as the butter on a bread. The little cute girl Harshali Malhotra has acted exceptionally brilliant and is way too cute and adorable- way to go girl! Nawazuddin Suddaqui is at his comic best.

There are a few instances though that have been exaggerated a bit, or could say that they have been portrayed in a larger-than-life manner. But one can digest it provided the fact that it is a Bollywood movie. Though a bit unrealistic in a few parts, it all somehow adds up to the movie in its own nice sweet way.

So we have here a film that is simply so sweet & innocent- it warms your heart & has you smiling & weeping for all the joys of it.

Jai Shri Ram!

Story- 5/5
Acting- 5/5
Dialogues- 4/5
Presentation- 4.5/5
Connects with you? - Yes! Totally!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

For Love and Duty

For Love and Duty

Meera sat on the sofa, clutching onto the pillow tightly, her eyes glued to the television. Every minute, every second that ticked by, so did her heartbeat rise & fall. She was watching the news- intently.

As she anxiously kept flipping the channels, her mind was drawn back to the memories of the last two hours. Those had been the most beautiful two hours of her life. Undoubtedly the best, for years to come.

She had met Rahul at the Marine Drive. That had been their favorite place since college days. Rahul & she had been the best of friends, and their friendship had gradually evolved into love. They loved being with each other, they loved each others' company. Rahul was a silent guy but with her, he always spoke his heart out. Even Meera- she was a bit of a pessimist but Rahul always brought out the best of her in every situation. This was that kind of perfect love- where each one of them gradually evolved into a better person with the other. Of course, they had their share of fights & quarrels, but Rahul could never see Meera upset. Almost as fast as he would get angry, so would he melt with one look at Meera's innocent face.

Both of them had been in love for a long time, but none had taken the initiative to bring up the topic. They had been unspoken-ly committed towards each other. After a lot of debate with herself, Meera had built up the courage to express her feelings towards Rahul. But that very day Rahul told her that he had been transferred to Pune, & had to report there the next day. Rahul, being the man he was, Meera knew for him duty came first. He was one hard working, honest and efficient police man. Yes, Rahul was a police officer, & he was very serious towards his work. He was one such officer who took his Duty very seriously, for whom serving the Nation was before any personal interests. That was the reason Meera decided not to bring up the topic then- their love could wait- it was strong enough to survive the long distance. She would wait until when Rahul would be back.

& he did come back- just as promised. After an year. He had been transferred back to Mumbai and the first thing Rahul had done upon landing in Mumbai was to call up Meera & ask her to meet him at the Marine Drive.

She knew it. The moment she had received his call, asking her to meet him at ‘their’ place, she knew this would be the day- the day she had always been waiting for. The hope of the day she had been desperately holding onto for the past one year.

They met at the decided place. It was a pleasant weather or was it just the fact of being with Rahul that made it pleasant- she did not know.

Time flew, and it was evening. Rahul came close to her, took her hands into his & held them ever so gently. She had always found this amazing- the way Rahul- ‘Rahul the strong cop’ always turned so very gentle when handling her. She smiled. She knew this was the time- the time of her life. 

As her heart pumped loudly in her chest & there was a flutter of butterflies in her stomach, Rahul said, Meera, I Love You. Will you marry me?", & he went down on his knees, with a Ring in his hand.

Though she knew this was coming, she felt a gush of happiness & warmth. As she nodded her  head & said "Yes!", Rahul put the ring on her finger & gave her a hug. Never in her life had Meera felt so complete like she did today.

As Rahul looked into her eyes, Meera could see the depth of his love- the honesty in his emotions- clearly. Rahul moved an inch closer & she blushed.

Just then, Rahul's phone buzzed. As Rahul received the call, he froze. Meera could witness the change in his expression, the change in his body language.

"What happened?", Meera asked him as soon as he disconnected the call.

"Meera, I have to go. There's an emergency. But first I have to get you home safe."
"what happened?"

But he wasn't talking. He was already calling up somebody, within minutes of which, a police van arrived. He rushed her into the Jeep- murmuring something to the policeman and himself getting into the van.

Meera was confused. She had never seen Rahul so disturbed &...& angry. ‘What was wrong’, she wondered.

"What happened Rahul? Will you please tell me?"

"Listen Meera, there have been attacks. I need to go. Il drop you home- that's on my way. & don't get out of your house."

"But hua kyaaa? What attacks? Please tell me!"

"Ok. There have been certain... Certain terrorist attacks. At few places here- in Mumbai."

"Whattt?" It came as a shock to Meera. It sounded unreal.

"Yes. Here's your building. Get down. Be at home. Don't go out- no matter what. Take care."

She looked at him, "Do you have to go?"

"Yes. It is my Duty. Nation always comes first, remember?!"

She did not know what to say over that. "You'll be fine na Rahul? Please tell me you'll be fine..." her eyes welled up with tears.

"I don't know Meera. But I know that I love you. I always have. I always will. Forever... &... & even after that."

Meera had no words.

He gave her a tight hug, the impression of which etched onto her body. & then, he left.

Her mind was brought back to the present moment. 

The news reporter went on to say, "This Inspector here was trying to save the kid, who is five years old & his mother; from the hotel which has been hijacked by the terrorists. He succeeded in getting the kid & his mother out of the hotel but was shot by the terrorist point blank. He answered his call for duty & we salute Mr. Rahul Joshi for serving the nation, sacrificing his life...."

The words of the reporter were now hazy.

Meera just stood there, clutching on to the ring Rahul had given her.

& then she screamed.

She screamed like her life had been pulled out of her. 

(All characters & incidents mentioned in this story are fictitious and bear no resemblance to any person living or dead. The writer has no intentions to hurt any sentiments in any manner. The writer has no hints / intentions towards any situations or circumstances, nor any events or scenarios. The story is plainly and only a thought process of the writer. )

Friday, July 03, 2015

A Short Story

A Short Story

She was very happy today. It had been a great great day after a long time. She was just short of dancing on her way back home. She felt extremely happy, extremely blessed.

As she entered her house, her kids approached her and hugged her. It had been a long day- away from her home, away from her kids. She had two kids- a boy of eight and a girl of five. As they embraced her, she reverted back with the tightest hug she could manage. Even the kids realized their mother was very happy today- they could make it out from her face- the way she had entered the house with a huge beam on her face, eyes glittering with joy. and her hug spoke millions of words.

Though the kids were very young, they knew their mother had been working really really hard since the last few days. She had been dull, worried and striving to make the ends meet.

And yes, she had struggled a lot in the past few months. She had strived to her bits ends. But it had all finally payed off today.

As she cooked food for her kids, she realized how happy they were to look at all the tasty food she had made tonight. Not that it was a huge sumptuous meal, but she had cooked 5 chapatis for the 3 of them and a sabji. She had also picked up  a small ice cream for both the kids on her way  back home. That had made them even more excited.

As she looked at her kids, hogging on to the food so happily, she remembered her previous months. There had been times when she had been able to barely manage any food, and there were days where she had slept empty stomach, because they could not afford food. The days that broke her heart were those when even her kids had to sleep empty stomach. 

Warding off all those thoughts, she smiled again looking at her kids.

She was a small food vendor, in the city of Lonavala. Rather, a “tourist hill station-Lonavala”- as people called it!  She had tried her hand at various things, but everything failed to help her. The village she lived in- it was difficult for her to travel to the City and even when she could, nobody offered her work. That was when she had spoken up with people and started selling vegetables. But even that became a task provided the location she stayed at. Finally, as the monsoon arrived, she came across a lady selling corns- an old lady- she became her messiah and here she was now- selling corns, or what we call bhutta famously. 
From the start of the day at 9 AM up to evening 7.30 PM, she stood at the "Shooting Point"- the famous, high peaked tourist attraction- selling bhuttas. At the start it was very difficult for her- she would freeze in the cold weather, she had to stand barefoot, there was competition, and on certain days the weather would be so bad, she would freeze to the extent of not being able to do anything. But she did. She overcame the difficulties and her hardship had paid off-today.

She did not know if the next day would be the same. Anshe did not wish to think for what would she do again after the monsoons. 

But today, she was happy. She was satisfied. She felt blessed.

With the monsoons approaching, so had her happiness approached.

The cold rains had brought a long lasting warmth for her family.