Tu muskura, jahan bhi hain… tu muskura!

Last week, something shocked me out of my wits. A friend, a trekking buddy – who I’ve had the privilege of trekking with just once, passed away! ON HIS BIRTHDAY! On his way to his birthday celebrations! Ironic. Tragic. Call it what you may, but the pain caused can never reversed.

How, you may ask? Bike Accident.
Must have been his fault then, you may say! NO, it wasn’t.
He wasn’t speeding, he was wearing a helmet. He wasn’t drunk. Nor was he sleepy. But a dumper truck came up behind him, ran over him causing him to bleed profusely and ultimately, succumb to his injuries.

On 20th May, his birthday did not end. Sadly, his life did. Exactly on the day he was brought into this world.

I kept wondering how his family must be dealing with this. How his gazillion friends are struggling to come to terms with this loss. Like many, each day I would keep landing up on his facebook page, just to see what people are saying, wanting to comfort them – but not finding the right words to offer them any solace.

They wanted him to live forever. Who would’ve thought forever could be severed by the sharp knife of a short life.
But maybe forever is here to stay. He will stay alive in all those pleasant memories, that will remind people of the joy he brought to their lives. That will teach to enjoy every single moment, as if it were their last. Cos, that was definitely the way he lived. I’m sure if he’s reading this somewhere, he would agree that he had no regrets EVER! Well, maybe some. But he lived his life well… and would have made the rest of it seem like a lifelong party!

Got me thinking too, that life is too short to be spending it over wasted weekends, with never-ending assignments and obligations! Made me wanna revisit the trek that I took with him – to the highest peak in Maharashtra – Kalsubai! And like most other times, when Im struggling to reach the top.. to race ahead so that Im not the last, this time I will take it slow and enjoy each and every moment on the way to the peak. Basking in the journey, cherishing every smile. Cos life is bigger than winning, life is bigger than the destination – life is all about the journey! Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away. And those moments, that is what Anshuman passed on to everyone around him! He has given us a million moments for us to spend our life with, and remember him in the most amazing way!

This morning, I was travelling to work and listening to this song ‘tu muskura’ and as my favourite classical part in the song played, I closed my eyes to sink deeper into the melody. As I opened my eyes, at Andheri station, I saw someone who looked just like Anshuman – and at that moment, I heard this part: “Tu muskura jahan bhi hai tu muskura, tu dhoop ki tarah badan ko choo zara.” I didn’t realize that the sun’s rays gently danced upon my face, and as I looked upon the heavens – I noticed that the sun was gleaming behind a cluster of grey clouds!

Anshuman, I hope that was you trying to send down a message, asking us to find a silver lining behind the grey clouds cast upon us! As I touch the peak of Kalsubai this time, I will remember to send up a prayer for you! Do give us an awesome sky to click that day!

Aiyo, my trek mate! I know you’re smiling wherever you are! :)


The Pencil & the Eraser!

I’ve known quite a few relationships that resemble this one. Some people come into your life to become a part of it, others remain in them as memories. But whatever it may be, each of them bring along a lesson, a learning, acting out their part in the grandest stage act ever witnessed – LIFE!


Pencil: I’m sorry

Eraser: For what? You didn’t do anything wrong.

Pencil: I’m sorry because you get hurt because of me. Whenever I made a mistake, you’re always there to erase it. But as you make my mistakes vanish, you lose a part of yourself. You get smaller and smaller each time.

Eraser: That’s true. But I don’t really mind. You see, I was made to do this. I was made to help you whenever you do something wrong. Even though one day, I know I’ll be gone and you’ll replace me with a new one, I’m actually happy with my job. So please, stop worrying. I hate seeing you sad.

A big thank you to all those who have made all my wrongs seem right, and eventually erased themselves from my lives, leaving me with a brand new page to start over with!

The Day I Felt Like Tangdi Kabab!

This has been my first attempt at documenting my horrific train journeys… which were mostly during my college days!

There is something about trains journeys… (especially the LADIES COMPARTMENT) that I look forward to… right from pushing the ladies to get that spot near the door (even though there isn’t much rush) to fighting with them for entering your space (which mostly means the aura around me). Over the years, the fights have been many… but the reasons have been equally unique and entertaining!

Lets start with the very first day of college: its the first day of your independence, no more uniforms, no more  restrictions, no more tabs on where you’re going & what you’re doing. So with brightly coloured nails (toe nails of course.. finger nails were a victim of my ‘nail biting’) & and even more colourful wardrobe- I set off to experience one of Mumbai’s most harrowing experiences – The LOCAL Train! It is said that once you master the art of travelling in a Mumbai Local, you can travel in any part of the world… under any circumstances! I was about to get the very first dose of that lesson.

The very first journey was an eventful one: after much struggle, I finally managed to enter the area near the seats and stand comfortably. Until a few college students notice me and ask me to pass my bag to them. I thought they were trying to rag me, and anyone who knows me well enough knows that I cant live without my bag! Hell, I used to even sit with my bag during the entire tuition class!   Anyway, they didn’t know me… so I did not expect them to know that. And they seemed nice. So I passed the bag and started chatting with them. During the course of the conversation, I got to know that these 2 were a year older than me – seniors in my college. So, they kept filling me in on vital details a fresher needed to know! By the next 2 stations, there was a vacant seat and these 2 pretty gals asked me to sit. And I did not know how to react * yes it was a pretty dumb moment* and I immediately blabbered ” you’ll sit.. you’ll are my seniors na!” There was laughter and how… I think I remember Priyanka & Nancy still laughing at my act of lickass :P

But that journey was quite nice actually… wait till you hear about the return journey!

So, after an eventful day at college, I step on to a Borivali-bound local to get to my humble abode at Malad. My group of friends and I stand near the door as they had to get off at Andheri! And despite warnings from fellow passengers that we would get crushed at Andheri, we decided to brave all forces and dug in our heels at the entrance. Now if it were just the entrance, it would be fine. But I was standing at the pole between the door and was enjoying the breeze in my face! I think I even remembered doing a ‘gazab ka hain din’ dance! (*yeah, Im crazy like that – bollywood rules my life!*) And then finally, comes the dreaded Andheri station – it seems like slow motion now, and yet, its still so vivid. The ladies are waiting on the platform, ready to attack, preparing to jump into the train. Fear has crippled me!I tried to jump out, there was OBVIOUSLY no way I could do that! I tried to jump in, and all  I could hear were shouts, abuses, and then…there was HITTING! The ladies whacked the shit outta me…asking me what was I thinking standing at the pole! It was a question I wanted to ask myself too! If you think this was bad, read on! 

Next train tragedy: 4.39 Virar-bound local.
There’s a reason why I remember the local time: its cos college would get over at 4 pm and between 4 & 5 pm, there was only this Virar-bound local that was a fast train (halting at all stations after Andheri). Most Mumbaikars would agree with me that slow locals make the journey seem 10 times slower! Hence, we would play with our life & board this local, with the Virar ladies abusing us and reminding us how we have so many Borivali locals and still we board this train shamelessly! LOL!

Anyway, getting back to my story, since I had to get off at Malad, I would stand in the aisle at Andheri – so that I reach the door by the time my station arrives! So, one fine day, as I waited near the doorway; I rested my hand on the handle near the door. And I realized that there was a short lady standing next to me and my hand was crushing her neck as I held the handle. At first I thought I would move my hand, but then figured that if she had a problem, she should mention it. So I decided against it, and with each passing station… there was increasing pressure on her neck. LOL, I know – MEAN! Anyway, her station arrived – Goregaon! And can you believe the gall of this woman? Ok, some of you are not gonna believe this, but THIS IS A TRUE STORY! The lady frees herself from me, grabs my arm (the fleshy part of it) and bites it like its TANGDI KABAB! Not once, not twice… but three times! THREEEE TIMES!!

Eeeekks! I was in puke heaven! At first I couldn’t believe it. She did that, got off the train and gave me a look that said “take that you bitch!” And then realization dawned upon me. The ladies just kept staring at me and then her… like it was some tennis match! I was stumped, speechless! I realized my mouth was an open invitation for mosquitoes… so I shut it quickly, wiped and arm and wished that I was invisible! Ugh! Thank God I had to get off at the next stop… which came pretty soon! I have never ever felt like food item in my life… EVER! Until that day ! :P

Ladies: train journeys can teach you life-changing lessons.

Like for example: NEVER EVER take a seemingly small, powerless woman for granted. She has powers beyond one’s imaginations! ;)

That’s it for today… I will be back with the horror tales.

Have a safe journey till then!

Reality Check!

“The ideal conditions that you are looking for don’t exist. We shall never be able to get rid of certain defects. The trick is to know that despite all your flaws you are an extraordinary person!

Yes, you know very well but try to go beyond the limits that you are used to – for ten minutes a day – be that person you have always wanted to be. If the problem is shyness, stimulate conversation. If the problem is guilt, feel approved. If you think that the world ignores you, try consciously to attract everyone’s looks. You will experience the occasional difficult situation, but it’s worth it.”

“If for ten minutes a day you can manage to be what you dreamed, you are already making great progress!”  – Paulo Coelho

The Story of the Pencil

A boy was watching his grandmother write a letter. At one point he asked: ‘Are you writing a story about what we’ve done? Is it a story about me?’ His grandmother stopped writing her letter and said to her grandson: I am writing about you, actually, but more important than the words is the pencil I’m using. I hope you will be like this pencil when you grow up.’

Intrigued, the boy looked at the pencil. It didn’t seem very special. ‘But it’s just like any other pencil I’ve ever seen!’
‘That depends on how you look at things. It has five qualities which, if you manage to hang on them, will make you a person who is always at peace with the world.’

‘First quality: you are capable of great things, but you must never forget that there is a hand guiding your steps. We call that hand God, and He always guides us according to His will.’

‘Second quality: now and then, I have to stop writing and use a sharpner. That makes the pencil suffer a little, but afterwards, he’s much sharper. So you, too, must learn to bear certain pains and sorrows, because they will make you a better person.

‘Third quality: the pencil always allows us to use an eraser to rub out any mistakes. This means that correcting something we did is not necessarily a bad thing; it helps to keep us on the road to justice.’

‘Fourth quality: what really matters in a pencil is not its wooden exterior, but the graphite inside. So always pay attention to what is happening inside you.’

‘Finally, the pencil’s fifth quality: it always leaves a mark. in just the same way, you should know that everything you do in life will leave a mark, so try to be conscious of that in your every action’

Source: “Like the Flowing River” by Paulo Coelho