Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Major Epiphany

There was quite a rush there. People were coming and going. Some were shouting. Some were giving a few orders and there were some to carry out them. Some were having a tête-à-tête. In the middle of all this, his parents were found sitting and waiting eagerly for a miracle to happen. A few of his close friends were also present praying for him. All eyes were fixed on that door. It opened,finally . They came out and looked at his parents and his friends.

Eleven Months Ago:

“And the award goes to Rajat Sahni, Mechnical Engg, Third year! Rajat, would you please come up on the stage and collect your certificate and the medal?” Said the announcer.

 Rajat Sahni never lost any competition he took part in. He was not called the starby his friends just like that. He was worth the title.  He had the best sense of humor in the whole college. He was charming. He was handsome and had a superb physique. No girl, he ever asked out, could resist him. And those, whom he did not care for used to die every day. He was never good at studies, but he had in him to conquer everything without that special knowledge of books.  He was the topic of debate for many people around him. Some were jealous of him, some adored him. He didn’t have any kind of addiction or any bad habit. In short, he was an enigma for many.

People were in complete awe of Rajat. He had won the inter college dance championship. Nobody knew about his dancing skills. “You’re one of a kind. And you know that. Don’t you?” chuckled Sakshi. He hugged her. “Let’s go for a movie tonight. I owe you a treat for this medal. Oh wait! I have a date today!” Said Rajat. “You’re sick too. You say you love me and you ask so many girls out, and here I am, a fool who always fall for your stories.” “You know that I’m one of a kind. That is not going for date with those girls, that’s just obliging my fans !” he winked.  “RAJAT! Get out my sight! Now! Else I’m gonna strangle you!” They started fighting, like always.

“So, what are you gonna do after you drop me home?” asked Maanika. “I’d wash my clothes.” Rajat winked. “Oh ho! I get it. The star and his sarcasms!” “I was serious.” “Shut up! I meant my mom and dad are out tonight. They’ll come day after tomorrow. So we can go to my place and I shall make you a cup of coffee.” “Why bother so much, if we can get that cup of coffee of just twenty bucks here only?” “I meant, you can stay at my place tonight.” “Only if you’ll wash my clothes!” “Rajat! I’m serious. I love you.” “And I love Sakshi.” “Rajat, you’ll forget her once you get to know me.” She slipped in a tablet in his drink, without him noticing that. “You can never beat her. Never!” “Is that so? How many girls have you tried till now?” Rajat had no answer. The drug had started showing its effects. “This will be between just you and me. Right?” “Absolutely!”

“How could you do this Rajat? I mean, I never said anything because I knew you love me and would never break my trust. You went out with so many girls, I never said anything. But this? The whole college is watching your deeds in their phones.” Sakshi was in tears. “I…I’m sorry Sakshi. I’m really sorry. I don’t even remember myself doing that. I love you Sakshi! I really do love you. I promise you I’m never doing anything like this again.” “Sorry? Rajat, try and stop that despicable video of yours from spreading in the whole country now. Everyone is talking about that.” “Sakshi, I’ll take care of that. I said I’m sorry. I just want you to accept my apology.” “Sod off Rajat. It’s all over. You take care of yourself and that video. And never ever show me your face again. Goodbye.” She left.

Rajat knew he had botched up his whole image in the college and in the eyes of closed ones. He spent numerous days piddling around without showing anyone his face. He just wanted to meet that nefarious girl, with whom he went out, but only found out that she had taken a month’s leave. She had eloped with her partner after committing the felony. His girlfriend had dumped him. He couldn't go to college. He couldn’t do anything. It was then he decided to smoke out all the worries from his life. That was a mere beginning.

Rajat Sahni had become a chain smoker. He changed his lifestyle but his past never left him. Memories of Sakshi continued to haunt him. Number of fags increased upto 80 a day. He had a very few friends left. He would listen to no one. 

He had started looking thin. Black circles developed around his eyes. His lips lost their color. His physique was gone for good. His confidence was on an all time low. The fags increased to 100 a day, until one day he experienced severe pain in the upper abdomen and fell unconscious. He had developed pancreatic cancer.

Present day:

The doctors came out of the operation room. Rajat’s parents and his friends looked at them. “He is alright now. He’ll recover in a month. You can take him back in a few days. He was lucky we could diagnose him as his cancer was in early stage.” “Thank you Doctor, thanks a ton!” His parents could only say this. “Doctor! Can I speak with him” his father enquired. “Sure”

“Hey Dad! I’m sorry.” “Don’t worry son. Everything’s gonna be alright. Just have a little faith in god.” “No dad, I’ve let you down. I’ve let everyone around me down.” “See son, we never stopped you from doing anything. We always had full faith in you. We were fully aware of the brilliant mind you possess. We knew that whatever you do, you’ll touch great heights. You got early little success in your college. People around you got jealous and conspired against you. But the problem started when you fell for their plan. That girl fooled you and consequently Sakshi left you. You should never break your trust of your partner. If you've made a commitment then stick to it. Never let the fakes sabotage your relationship!And the biggest mistake you ever did was to start smoking. You, of all people should know that every breath of smoke you take destroys your future. Smoking to me is like suicide. It is death in anticipation. You still have whole life in front of you. Make your choices, live it or burn it. I’ve said what I wanted to. We still have faith in you. As soon as you’re discharged, we are leaving this city. I want you to have a fresh start.” He left.

His father had said enough to make him ponder for a long period of time.  He was on a verge of having a major epiphany in his life. He had to move on now. He had got a second chance to live it, and was determined not to blow it up again.

CWG Opening: The Experience

You switch on the TV, tune in to a news channel, the probability of you seeing news on CWG is almost one. You receive hundreds of forwarded messages every day; the probability of you getting a joke on Suresh Kalmadi is one. You wake up in the morning; take the newspaper in your hands, open up the first page, probability of finding news on CWG is more than one. Many people may not even know who Suresh Kalmadi is or what does he do! But, they do laugh and forward the joke made on him to others when they themselves get one. Such is the effect of CWG on the people. Sole reason would be that this is the first time such big event is happening in our very own country, India. People are excited. Some had/have doubts; some can’t stop themselves from praising the event.

The opening ceremony of any games is an event everyone, sports-lover or sports-hater, loves watching. The lighting, the performances, the music, the props used, stars, etc make the opening an amazing thing. CWG had an opening ceremony too. Thus, for we Indians, the exciting was doubled. I had barely managed to get the passes for the ceremony and to be very honest, I wasn’t very excited for it. I was not sure whether after so much reading and knowing about the mishaps (physical and financial), would be a hit or flop.
I reached the stadium three hours before the scheduled time. The journey was not very comfortable, as I had travelled in the newly inaugurated South Delhi Metro. There were a few technical faults. The station at JLN stadium was commendable though. But, I was devastated to see the commotion and rumpus outside the main gate. There was no sign of any queue. The volunteers seemed helpless. People were doing the same thing they had been doing since ages, not obeying any order. Everyone wanted to get inside as soon as possible. Result: The stadium entry appeared to be as a normal mela.

After putting in a few extra efforts, I managed to get inside. There was again no queue at the security systems. I ignored this time, and formed a line at one of the security checks. There was a monitor to scan our passes’ barcode. It had failed. Thus, no face or ticket recognition. Anyone could go inside. The manual security check was very normal.

Finally I managed to grab my seat inside the stadium. All I could see was kids rehearsing and a huge circular aerostat placed in the middle. I still had two hours before the show would begin. So, being a big foodie, I decided to fill myself in with the eatables available in the stadium shops. I fainted this time after seeing the crowd at the shops. Everyone seemed dying from hunger. I went near the counter and then realized I could only go near the counter, not buy anything.Sanity had died. People were shouting for the soft drink and burger like anything. Most of them were even trying to push the ones standing ahead of them so as to get to the counter earlyAll they could get was hot cold drink and a squeezed burger. I was becoming odious about the mismanagement of the stadium. I wondered how the show would go on.

I swear to god, my jaw dropped after seeing the first sight when the ceremony began. That circular aerostat had gone up, there were a few huge puppets hanging from it and the lighting was so amazing. The music and the crowd’s reaction made me forget everything. The performances began. We all could see the artists performing at the stage on that aerostat, that too with effects. The fireworks, the lighting were incredible. The performers were terrific. The kids who performed the bangle-in-the-hands act were a delight to watch.  

Then came the parade of all seventy one participating nations. Starting alphabetically from Australia and India being the host came in last. The speeches given by various politicians slackened the event but the laconic speech given by ace shooter Abhinav Bindra charged everyone up. After the speeches, a tribute to the Indian railways was given, a train showing all the cultures of our country made a round of the stadium and the overall look was tremendous. But, the main attraction remained the circular balloon, all the lightings appearing on it, the telecast of the main program or a generation of Mahatma Gandhi’s sketch or a lighted sculpture showing a medicated man.

One by one, all the main dances and the other cultures were performed. Hariharan with his song Swagatam won almost off the hearts. Appropriate dance moves shown by the kids were fantastic. The only thing left was our alleged musical maestro A R Rahman.  The ending performance given by him was simply mesmerizing. The theme song of the CWG, sung by him made me say, “Oh WoW! Unforgettable experience!” Last but not the least; he concluded the ceremony by singing the world famous song: Jai Ho!  

After prancing in my reveries about the ceremony, it was time for me to leave. No sooner did I step outside the stadium, than all the commotion and stampede again started. I overheard people complaining about the washrooms,”Isse achha to sala sulabh ka hota hai!”The walking speed of people appeared to me as millimeter per second. There again was no management. People were shouting at the managing staff and to one another.

Overall, I would just say that I shall remember this day as the day I witnessed the rich culture of India live, that too in an extravagant way! All I could recall after coming home was the performances, the lighting, the music, the environment and Rahman’s singing act. The experience ceremony gave me will be cherished forever! Hail India! Jai Hind.

The Charade

“Why the hell is he not shutting his mouth? God! I’m so tired and this boy is continuously squabbling with everybody!” Mr Kumar murmured with an annoyed look on his face. He was trying to sleep but the noise from his surroundings weren’t permitting him. He looked down. The boy looked so happy. He looked free from all the worries and tensions. People sitting around him were eagerly listening and arguing with him over what he was saying. A smile appeared on Mr Kumar’s face. The boy seemed breaking ice with everyone who tried to focus on him. But then, Mr Kumar had his ego. He couldn’t go down and talk to the boy even he felt it would be good. He again lied down and tried to sleep. He failed.

The train stopped at a small station. People came in, people went out. Hawkers flooded the whole compartment, from chai wallas, poori sabzi wallas, and a few chana wallas. The noise increased. Mr Kumar couldn’t sleep. He again looked down at the boy. He seemed to be in form. Mr. Kumar assumed he’ll be his stress buster as he appeared to be acting like one with others. He got down. There was no place to sit. The area around the boy was crowded. He tried to ask a fellow passenger politely, “Err… Excuse me sir, actually mine is upper birth and I wasn’t comfortable up there so can I just…” Before he could complete the gentleman whom he was talking with gave his reply, “Shut up! Let me listen to him. He is great.” Not getting any seat chafed Mr Kumar’s nerves. He gave everyone As-soon-as-I-find-a-seat-I-shall-teach-this-boy-a-good-lesson look. But to do that he needed to sit near him. The boy seemed to have God’s stamina. He had not stopped speaking since the moment he had boarded the train. He looked around. Everybody was giving notice to that boy. No one really cared to give him a seat to sit.

First he couldn’t sleep due to lots of loud voices, second he too, like others wanted that boy to talk to him as he was entertaining everyone, third he was denied of any seat by others. Now, getting a place to sit was a bitter pill to swallow, but he needed to take it. “Err, Sir I guess that bag lying there is yours. Isn’t it?” “Oh really? Thanks, I should get it before anybody else does.” The gentleman rushed to that place Mr Kumar was pointing out. Plan succeeded. Mr Kumar, for the first time had played a prank. He finally got a seat near that boy.

“Oh Namastey Uncle! How are you?” “Namastey beta. I’m good. You say.” “I’m good too.” He turned to the others and started talking again. Mr. Kumar too tried to understand to what he was saying. He failed. He, then took the initiative. “Beta, what do you do?” “What do you mean?” “I mean studies or something else?” “Why? So you can pretend you’re interested?” Mr Kumar passed a troubled chuckle. “Okay, you have a kind of sick desperation in your laugh!” “You know son, that’s an impertinent thing to say?” “Yeah, but you needed exactly this. Ain’t you?” “What do you mean?” Mr. Kumar was confused. The boy winked.

“You were lying on the upper berth trying to sleep while here I was, blabbering and squabbling in loud voice. I woke you up. You came down to enlighten your mood and thought I would do it for you. You for the first time played a prank to get a seat and tried to communicate me but I didn’t respond.” The boy smirked. Mr Kumar’s heart rate increased. A few drops of sweat appeared on his forehead. He slightly shivered, got up and ran towards the wash basin. He tried to remember the boy’s words. How could he guess everything! His heart was pumping fast. He slapped lightly to himself to confirm it wasn’t a dream. He returned. To his astonishment, everyone in that compartment was staring him.

“Oh Uncle please come and have a seat.” The boy said. Mr Kumar was not in a state to speak anything. He just looked at the boy with an innocent face. The boy chuckled. “Don’t worry Uncle, neither it’s a dream nor do I know black magic.” The last words of the boy shook Mr. Kumar completely.  “Uncle don’t worry. Make yourself comfortable. I was just playing. See I was observing you from the beginning and I know how to read faces.” He winked again. It took minutes for Mr Kumar to calm down. “ I used to study. My inter grades didn’t pass muster and I didn’t have courage to face my relatives.” “You mean to say you are running away? That’s certainly not ethical” “No No, I’m just going at my sister’s home in Delhi. I’m not running away.”

“So tell me uncle, how would you like to get entertained?” “That weren’t my intentions.” “Okay so you just wanted to come down and get frightened?” “Err, ok, I thought people were comfortable sitting next to you and I was exhausted so came down.” Mr Kumar hated this. He didn’t want to give up but the boy forced him to. He tried to hide his hatred. “Okay, why don’t you tell me your most fascinating story? But it should be worth my time.” This time Mr Kumar winked.

“Do you see that Chinese sitting on that side berth?” “I do.” “Okay then watch out.” The boy stood up and asked for a seat near Chinese. “Hello! Which country are you?” “미안 해요, 한국어 해요” “Done! He doesn’t speak or understand English.” The boy then began in a louder voice, facing towards the other passengers and Mr Kumar. “Hey you foreigner! You know you’ve nice legs.” “Mr Kumar raised his eyebrows. Being a senior person he suddenly felt a responsibility of stopping by the boy at that instant, but the boy seemed unstoppable. People had started passing a smile to one another. The Chinese looked confused. “You know had you been a girl, I would have proposed you at this very moment. You’ve nice legs, you’re cute, you’ve toned body, the only problem is you’re a guy. Go for a gender change operation and I shall marry you.” There were a few chuckles and giggles among the passengers. Mr. Kumar had started feeling quite uncomfortable about this whole thing.

 The boy then got up and came back to his old seat. He passed a smile to all the passengers and winked at Mr. Kumar. “Which city are you headed to?” asked one of the passengers looking at the boy. “The train’s last destination is New Delhi. Isn’t it? So I’ll get down at New Delhi. I hope I’m not bothering you.” The boy replied innocently. “No no! You’re not bothering. We all were getting bored until you stepped into our compartment.” The passenger said. The boy smiled with gratitude.

 One passenger was looking quite suspiciously at the boy from a very long time. Somehow, he didn’t feel good with the boy around him. He could sense that the boy was upto something. He went near Mr. Kumar and whispered in his ears,“Sir, I don’t know what do you think, but I feel this boy is not the person he seems to be. Can you please try to find out?” Mr. Kumar, after hearing all this, suddenly felt uneasy. He looked at the boy, the boy was busy talking with others. That passenger who was unsure about the intentions of the boy asked, “You’ve been with us for quite a while but we still don’t know your name. What is it?” Before the boy could say anything there, the passenger whom Mr. Kumar had tricked to get a place to sit came with the ticket conductor. “T.T. saab, this is the man I was talking about. He pointed me to a suitcase and referred as mine, I was shocked and ran towards without thinking anything and opened the suitcase and realized it wasn’t mine. The gentleman whom that suitcase belonged saw me opening it and called me a thief and brought me to you. He is the culprit not me.” “Is it true?” The TT asked Mr. Kumar. “Show me your ticket, I shall have to report it and you will have to get down at the very next station.” The TT said. Mr. Kumar looked at every face of the people sitting near him. Everyone was giving him an uneasy look. The boy was in shock.

The Chinese then got up and said, “Excuse me Mr. Ticket conductor, that boy sitting near the window came towards me and harassed me in front of everyone by passing bad comments.” Everyone froze at that very moment. No one knew that Chinese could speak and understand English. The boy stood up unsteadily and said to TT, “He is lying, I didn’t even touch him.” “Shut up! First of all I’m not Chinese. I’m Korean. Secondly, you were teasing with remarks as if I were a girl.” The passengers burst out laughing. The boy said to TT, “Sir, believe me, he really is a girl. He couldn’t speak all of this when I was talking to him. He was so scared of me. And yeah, he has sexy legs.” The boy laughed. “Quiet! Show me your ticket! You too are getting down at the next station.” The TT said. The boy froze.

At that very moment, Mr. Kumar stood up, looked at the boy and shouted, “Nirmal! RUN!!” Nirmal saw Mr Kumar and shouted, “Abe Rajesh, why did you speak up? Now run where?” People were dumbstruck. They tried to understand what was happening. Before they could grasp everything, Rajesh pulled the chain, and they both ran past everyone. The TT caught Nirmal, but Nirmal pushed him away and they both got down and ran away.

“I must say Rajesh, despite you being old enough for this; you carried out your job well.” Nirmal said smiling. “Yeah, yeah, now where’s the money?” asked Rajesh. “In the bag. Open it up.” They both opened the bag and took out the wallets of everyone sitting around him. “See, that Korean guy was rich enough, but still he was travelling by train. He’ll bear the repercussions of his foolish decision for a longer period of time.” “Yeah, and he was being smart enough not to speak when you were making fun of him. You served him well. I’m proud of you.” Rajesh winked. “Yeah Yeah. I get it. Now let’s spilt the money and rush to our homes.” Nirmal chuckled and they left.

Man's Best Friend

(Constant humming……) “Hey Honey! What’s up! Watcha doing?” asked Jacky. “Was I humming?  I thought I was doing that in my head. Heh!  Forgive me Jacky.Nothing sings like kilo volt. Unique Pitch! Nothing else in nature is like it.” Honey said looking at the transformer.  “I’m sure you’re right.” Jacky winked. “So what’s new?” Honey said. They started their walk to their respective homes. “Nothing. Just spending usual boring days. Ronit is so boring yaar! All he does is to watch that stupid screen where two different types of human beings play with each other’s body parts shamefully! I can’t stand it yaar! There method is so boring unlike us. I yawn, yawn and yawn the whole day. What about you?” Jacky said lazily. “Aah, that screen sounds interesting. I should visit your house someday. And you know me, I am not like you. I’m a superdog. I can never get bored.” Honey smirked.

“Yeah, Yeah, Enough of your self praise. See that mud spot there? Let’s go and wallow. We can pass the time listening to your heroics.” Jacky said and ran towards that mud spot. “So what do you want me to tell you?” Honey, while wallowing playfully in the mud asked Jacky. “Mr. Superdog! Surprise me!” “You know, I’m kinda missing Neelesh. He’s my best friend and that moron is out of station today. He’ll return tomorrow.” “Stop boring me yaar. Tell me any of your unforgettable incidents! I’m so excited to hear them! Bow Bow!!” Jacky barked. “You rascal! You want to me flaunt my super powers?Here you go then!” Honey sneered.

“Three months back, Neelesh’s aunt paid a surprise visit to him. Man, she really was something. I mean, Neelesh is always kind to me and gives me the best of the food and keeps me free from the bondage. But that lady was pesky enough to make my gorge rise. She would always hector me incessantly. She could witter whole day and never get tired. She would always give me a withering look. Whenever I barked at the stranger she always used to shush me out of the room. One day, my patience level broke off and I decided to take charge against her. I went to Neelesh one day and asked him…”

“W..w…wait! What do you mean by asked him? That’s impossible! You can’t talk to humans.” Astounded Jacky said. “Did I mention I’ve super powers?” Honey grinned. “C’mon! Speak up. What exactly did you do?” “Jacky! There are over 800,000 words in the English language. The human eyes, however, speak a more precise code, through their narrowing, brow arches, dilations, blinking, or the asymmetrical closure.” Honey passed a smile. “Whoa! How do you know so much about English?” Again Jacky was amazed. “Chuck it moron! Concentrate on the incidence. So I asked Neelesh, whether he comprehended the corollaries of the plan I was making. To my surprise, he replied in positive. Means, I was ready to do anything I wanted.”

The following day, I ghost wrote the whole plan, crossed the‘t’s, dotted the ‘I’s, grouted the tiles and made everything sure that plan shouldn’t fail. Then, I had to implement my plan. During midnight she was asleep, I went straight into her room and took out a few of her clothes and threw them out of the window. I passed out my characteristic bark and notified her that we had a burglar in the house. She saw her suitcase opened and found her few of the clothes down the window. She then screamed and ran to pick up her clothes.”
“The next day, at the breakfast table, before she could turn up there, I changed the bowls. No sooner did she see my bowl filled with milk and rice on her table than she went berserk. She started screaming over me and shouted that she would not live in the house anymore. I could notice the hidden smile on Neelesh’s face.” Honey spoke gladly. “What brand brain you use? Tell me, I would ask Ronit to buy me one!” Jacky was in all praise for Honey.

Honey again continued, “The final day of my task was a little difficult. I had to reconvene all the other dogs of the colony and had to tell them my plan’s proceedings. I told all the dogs that they’ll have to break into my house and tease Neelesh’s aunt in the worst possible way. But the dogs were a little edgy about getting into the house as I ruled it and Neelesh never tolerated them. So Neelesh had to feed’em all so they could break into the house. They did enter the house but they went out of control and starting making the problems worse. Then I had to take charge again and I started barking in my full voice to make them feel my presence. This actually was blessing in disguise as the aunt went mad seeing all this. She instantly packed her bags and left the house. So in this way, I helped Neelesh and myself get rid of that aunt.” He completed. “Jacky!! Jacky!!” Honey noticed Jacky had fallen asleep. “Yeah! What happened the final day? The incident looks interesting. Go on.” Jack yawned and said. “You scoundrel! You’ll pray now that you never had fallen asleep.” And he ran after him.