Saturday, April 25, 2009

The one last trip.........

Can it really be?

I remember giving a brief look, but i knew i wasnt looking or listening.My mind was searching for the one face which had meant the world to me, among the sea of faces around me. I could faintly hear the cries resound from somewhere but what i distinctly heard was the nadaswaram playing, the laughter of the children, the tinkle of the jewels, the sound of scurrying feet.

I could get the faint smell of agarbathi and coconut oil.

I could also get the distinct smell of jasmine and sandlewood....

They were bringing him....

I could see him walking down the aisle, clad in the traditional white mundu and with the sacred sandlewood paste smeared on his forehead.
We had waited for years for this one day.The one day which marked the culmination of the years we spent understanding each other and loving. We were sure of what lay ahead. And we wanted the blessings of the elders before we embarked on a journey for life.
I remember seeing his teasing smile as i walked in as the shy bride clad in my rich kancheepuram red saree and my head covered with jasmine and clad from neck down in gold.
As i sat down on the 'mantap' near him,I could hear him as he whispered in my ear 'See, i told you would do it'.
I had always claimed i wanted a simple wedding.. and definitely no gold ornaments or kancheepuram sarees.I reciprocated with a glare.

At the auspicious moment,i prayed to all the gods in the skies above as his hands tied the 'thali' around my neck. I prayed to be given the traits to see him smile the way he was then, all his life.

They asked me to get up and come into the room......
One last time... i was told.....

I remember seeing the glee on his face as he picked up our son from my mother's hand.
He said he had planned a surprise for Aditya and me, before Adi enters his first house.

I could hear Adi cry. He must be hungry.I haven't seen him since the last evening.

He was a proud father. My heart also swelled up with pride each time i walk in home from work to see father and son cuddle up and play. It always amazed me as to how a 3 month old could manage to bring so much joy on my husband's face..something i took close to 5 years to know.

5 years, that's how long i have known him. Married for 2 years ...

My prayer's had been answered. I had seen him smile all his life, i had kept him happy all his life... but little did i realise that 'all his life' was a short time.

It was an accident,i was told.

It was just yesterday evening, when he said he was going out and will be back in an hour's time. He reluctantly gave Adi in my arms and went to change.

Inspite of all the agarbathi's and coconut oil lamps burning in the house,i could still smell his cologne, like he was standing right beside me. I could still see the sparkle in his eyes and the smile on his face.

It cant be over. My son will not even have a memory of the proud hands that held him when he was born, nor the look of joy on his father's face when his little finger curled up to hold his finger.

Three people ceased to live from the same moment..................

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Questions for the day !

Why is the first step always the most difficult to take?
Why is that gestures never convey their meanings?
Why is a smile the hardest to be reciprocated?
Why is looking into the eyes the toughest thing to do?
Why are explicitly spoken words the most difficult to be comprehended?
Why are people always evaluated?

Why the heck did i wake up in the morning with these stupid questions????
I knew i shudnt have stayed up so late writing the previous post!!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The window seat

To get out of the depression of my last post, here goes one more !

Usually the big trip home for a vacation is endured by long hours of travel in a bus. But this time, for a change, i decided to pamper myself and take the luxury of flight journey both ways!
Talking of flight journeys, i am not a frequent traveller by flight and somehow each journey has always made me very anxious.I still remember my first trip by flight.It was to spend a vacation with my brother and sister in Dubai.Since it was my very first trip,heading all alone to a foreign land,my brother was giving me details on how to go about the formalities in the airport, each time he called. I kept pestering him over every call that he even filled up a word document on how to travel by flight and sent it to me.Finally after hearing my never ending volley of questions, my brother arranged for me alight at the sharjah airport instead of the actual dubai international airport, since he said that he was so sure i would never make it out of the airport if i alighted there(Apparently it's that big!).

Finally on the big day, my father and me started off on the regular routine of the question and answer sesssion and Do's and Do Not's. Do not talk to strangers, Do not accept any packages from strangers, Do not eat or drink anything anyone offers you. Hearing all the talks, my mother just had one comment to add, that she has no fears for me, she just fears for my fellow passengers!

With a mobile phone huddled between my ear and shoulder and my brother on the other end of the call, and with loads of baggage i trudged very bravely into the Trivandrum international airport. Standing at the entrance, i memorised for one last time all the directions that i am to follow and marched ahead. Finally after what seemed like a big ordeal, i somehow made it out to my brother's outstreched arms at the oil rich arab land.
His first question to me was, so how did you enjoy the night lights of dubai? I was dumbfound.What is he asking?I just reached now.What night life is he talking about? Seeing my expression, he asked me..didn't you get to see the night lights when your flight was about to land?
"No, i was sitting in the aisle seat.All i could see was the other passengers in the flight. "
Arrghhh... he says and tells me that he had specifically put me in for the night travel so that i could catch the beauty of lights from high above. I was hurt. I really dint know that you could fight for a window seat, like in our local buses.I made a mental note to make sure that no matter what, i will be by the window seat on my return.

The day to return came almost real soon and i could hardly believe that i had to head back.I was back at the Sharjah aiport again. And this time, while collecting my boarding pass, i put on my most innocent look and flashing my most gracious smile, i ask "Can i get a window seat pleaseeee?" .The person at the counter, takes one look at me, has another look at my passport (Probably trying to reaffirm my age!) returns my smile and hands me my pass to the window seat. My return journey was around 1:30 early morning from Dubai.So my brother had specifically asked me to watch out for the transit from the night sky to the skylight break into its golden glory. I was all excited and on boarding i hurridely rushed to my assigned seat.What do i see? One very very old grandma and her accompanying maid have already taken my seat and the adjoining one leaving only the aisle seat to me.Very graciously i ask them if they got the seats right and the old grandmom gives me look which says 'can't you just sit there and keep quiet', which is exactly what i did.Muttering under my breath and furious at having my window seat taken,i sit grumpy all throught my return journey. I dint even get to see a hint of anything which looked like the sky.

Very soon, i got the chance to relive my dreams of a window seat by the flight again when i got myself booked for the kingfisher flight from Bangalore to Trivandrum.Going through the same old procedure of flashing my most innocent question 'Can i get a window seat pleaseeeee?' [Which is always reciprocated with a questioning look by the other party..wonder why!!], i managed to get a boarding pass which read 10A.Finally my chance to see the sky from close up.I board the flight, rush to my seat and to my dismay see that it is occupied by a gentleman in a very professional business suit. I glance up at the seat numbers written and tell him that i think he is in the wrong seat. He pulls out his boarding pass and tells me his seat is 10B and that he is in the right seat. Very innocently i repeat "Sorry, but A is the window seat and B is the aisle one".Off he starts blaring out," are you trying to tell me? Do you know how many flights i have boarded and travelled in? "Ooops...i was taken aback.I dint expect to be hollered at. I had a good mind to reply to him that probably he has enjoyed many flight journeys, but this is just my third one and that i really wanted the window seat. But well, being the 'Decent and well mannered' [;)] girl that i am, i give in and fuming internally, i give up my window seat for the aisle seat again.Before the flight takes off, he propels what looks like a air pillow against the window and sets himself to doze off. Even before the plane takes off the ground, the only sound i could hear was that of his loud snores [even above the roar of the engine!]. With that dumb pillow blocking whatever little view of the sky i could have had and with his loud bull-dozer snoring sounds,it was everything i could do, not to bang his head against the sides of the plane!

So it was Strike One, Strike Two......and Strike Three ...for my window seat in an aeroplane!

Recently, i again booked myself in for air travel [this time more lavish.. i got them reserved for both ways.. To and fro..BLOR<-> TVM]. Finally, asking the same old question for the third time, i again get a boarding pass which reads some number and an 'A'. I reconfirm with the lady at the counter, if 'A' is really for window seat and she re-affirms it. I had a good mind to record her confirmation reply in my mobile, in case i come across some other jerk this time.The same old ritual again, the same old walk to my seat. And what do i see?.. The window seat.. All mine..waiting for me. I was so elated and looked all around to see if i could express my happiness to anyone around.Unfortunately no one around me looked interested in knowing about my joy on this, so i decided against it and simply settled myself in the seat, took in the scene of the airport through the little small window by my side, fastened my seat belt and smiled gleefully. Finally..i made it!
Just then, a small voice beside me says 'Excuse me'. I turn and look to see a boy who looks to be around 3, a lady [his mom]..and another girl around 5 yrs of age standing beside my seat. The lady looks at me very apologetically and tells me that she is travelling alone with her two kids, and that since it's their first time by flight, both kids want a seat by the window. I could guess the rest of the request. Putting on my most gracious smile, i move aside to make place little kenith.Little did the lady know that i was also as eager as kenny was, to sit by the window.. But i guess, the age and size difference does play a very influential role in such situations. So there went my chance again! But i must say that, even though i dint get to enjoy the window seat, i had a nice flight with kenny by my side. We kept blabbering for the one and a half hr of our flying time.

By now, i had given up all hopes of a window seat and decided not to pursue it any further. The return trip, i just stood like a normal grown up without putting forth any requests. The guy at the counter asks me 'Maam, do you have any seat preferences'?

I reply - Not really. [Point to note : i was travelling back on a wednesday evening]

He replies : 'Maam, the flight is not really full and if you prefer i can put you in for a window seat'!

Aarghh..... Now fate was taunting me!
This is probably why people say, never run behind anything. Stop running and it will eventually catch up with you!!
Once more i board the Jet airways flight with a pass to the window seat.My hopes have risen high again.I reach the seat. A very apologetic looking stewardess is standing by my seat and tells me that, since the flight just landed from Bangalore, there had been a slight 'accident' in the previous journey and apparently, the previous passenger had spilled the lunch package on the seat. It was covered with a white turkish towel.
She asks me "Would you mind sitting in the aisle seat? The flight is not full. I shall check if i can get you a better seat elsewhere".
She walks off.
I shout behind her "Please check for a window seat..................................."
I dint see her for the rest of my journey in the aisle seat.

My 5'th flight trip, my last flight trip till date.
I have decided - The next time i ever board a flight,it is going to be on my own chartered flight, with all the window seats reserved just for me!!!!!

But now when i think about this, i really find this entire incident hilarious. Harsh lesson learnt, no matter how hard i try, unless i am destined for it, i dont get it...........whatever be it. A lesson i will always remember in my life. A lesson which has taught me not to have expectations in life.....

But someday...i really do want to sit by the window seat and see the sky or the moon or the cities below or the deep blue oceans or the snow capped mountains..or atleast the flight's wings......... [;).. i dont really change!!!].

Consistant change

Well, apparently my last post was a bit too 'pinky'.True,it did indeed get a little too mushy and i am definitely not the girl who likes pink,but to sum it up,let's just say that every girl has a feminine side and every guy,...... a rich side to him!! [;)].

Just back after a very refreshing long vacation. Each time i am back from a vacation i always realise that i am more in need of a vacation than when i was when i left for home. Each visit to my home, i decide that this one visit i am just going to sit and loiter around home and be a nuisance to my parents. But invariably, each visit i hardly get to be with them or at home.It's only when i am about to board the bus (For a change, this time it was by air!) that i see my parents face and realise that i dint get to sit home and exchange my stories. That's when i feel the biggest tug at my heart and just want to jump out and head back home.

Each one of visits home had always been like going back down memory lane for me. But this visit was one heck of a shocker for me. On every other vacation,every time i walk in with my bags, the house had always looked the same, as it was 2 and half years ago when i had walked out to set a place for myself in this big big world. I always felt like i was just returning after a day at college rather than coming back from an entirely different state after three to four months.It hardly took me less than five minutes at home to feel like i never left home, like i had always been there all the while. But this when i walked in, my room with the big cot and my computer table and my treasured book collections.. everything was different.The cots had been moved aside and re arranged.My computer which i had always maintained as the centre piece in my room had been moved to one far corner of the room, hardly seen and used.The big huge shelf which held all the books me and my brother lovingly treasured looked like a famine had hit it. One minute in the room and the next thing which i did was shout out 'ammmmmaaaaaaaaaaaaa'!

Frantic my mother came running out from her workplace - the Kitchen. What happened to the cots? Why was my computer table moved aside? Whatever happened to more than half the books in the shelves? All my tinkles,Archies,Chandamama's,Champaks, my enid blyton collections, my brother's war time books, the sidney sheldons,my college reference books,even the lab record books right from school..i never let my mother throw out any book....I have a perfect count of each and every book in that house. Very dramatically i opened my cupboards and even the clothes in there were missing.Instead it was all stuffed with the un-usable items in the house and many stuffed dolls (Thank god they survived!).What happened to all the clothes which were mine.. the ones i grew up wearing?

I was bombarding my mother with a zillion questions all at the same time. And she was just giving me a very quizzical look and looking very surprised.I am sure that for a moment she even thought that i had gone mad. One by one she started giving me answers.

a)You have outgrown all the clothes in there.I have given them away to the maid's kids.

b) The kids in the apartement come asking for books to read or for reference.I let them check and take whatever book they like.

c)No one uses the computer anymore.Why should it take up so much space in the middle of the room?

Noooooooo..i yell. The clothes.They are just mine. Ones i have been wearing for so many years now.My books, my collection,..aarghh..Frustrated my mother leaves the room to resume her work around the house.I am still left in the middle of 'my room'..which held nothing which was mine anymore.I felt like a stranger standing in the middle of nowhere. The room held no signs of the person who grew up in there. I had papers stuck all around the wall near the computer table, my timetables in college, prayers i loved to read, names of my favourite books i need to buy,movies i watched..and even few song's lyrics. None of them were around anymore.

I realised that 'my room' was now just a 'guest room' in my parent's house.The one place in this world where i felt my presence existed.. well i just felt it diminishing.Gradually as the realisation was sinking into me, i felt the pang of the pain that at this stage in my life,i am just really a traveller.The house in bangalore just feels like a temporary phase. Till i settle down into something more permanent in life, everything around me is just a phase.Something for me to think about and ponder over when i am reminiscing in my couch probably 30-40 years later.

The only thing which is ever consistant in life is change.........