Crossing Boundaries…

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This post has been selected as a Blogadda WOW post (Dated 25th August).

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Sunday, 18th August.
Rishikesh Building: 6.30 pm

The children geared up for another game of cricket. It was risky, because just a month ago, they had been warned by the society, not to play cricket in the garden. Reason? Too many complaints of broken windows. Especially from the Monster – Mrs. Sharma, whose 3rd floor window was always in the way of a good ‘sixer’. Six times, that’s how many times her window had become the target. And she was mighty furious.

Today, she stood there, at her window, waiting for them to start their game. She had decided that if they broke any more of her windows, she was going to find out who exactly did it, and make them pay for it. “If the building secretary isn’t going to do anything about it, I will have to do something about this nuisance myself”, she grumbled to herself.

And the boys, ranging from 6 to 16 years, well…they had a plan of their own. They decided to play a prank on her. How? By constantly hitting the ball on the offside, no major boundaries… just minor runs & only one tappa catches would be declared as out. Sounded simple, no? How could she catch them breaking windows, if they were playing a decent game? They decided to to tease her all evening with this tactic of theirs.

So the team captain Ansh ran the team through the rules once again. The opening batsman, Harsh, had been famous for his spectacular boundaries. He did not like this idea at all. Why should he be deprived of playing a good game, just because of a few complaints. He had made up his mind. After the first few overs, Mrs. Sharma would get fed up of their ‘tuk tuk’ game & go inside. That’s when he would start hitting his big shots.

As predicted, by the fifth over, she did get irritated by their stupid game. Just as Harsh saw her walking in, he decided to go for the big boundary. The team held their breath as they watched the ball fly through the air in slow motion. Yes, his sweet spot turned out to be her window. Again.  Except, this time, the ball didn’t hit the window. It flew right through it!

‘Phew, bach gaye’, he thought. They all breathed a sigh of relief. Which was soon drowned out by a piercing shrill, coming from Mrs. Sharma’s apartment. The boys froze. What had happened? Should they go & check? Ansh & Harsh being the oldest among them, decided to do the right thing. They asked the lil ones to stay put & most importantly, stay cool. They ran up to her 3rd floor apartment. They rang the doorbell frantically, and the 50 year old matriarch came limping towards the doors, her eyes welling up with tears. She let them in only cos she needed help. She realized she could yell at them a little later.

They noticed the mess in the house. The mess they’d created. Apparently, Harsh’s super sixer had entered her living room, bounced off her table, knocked over her cough syrup. The glass bottle had fallen to the ground, and she had accidentally stepped on shards of glass.

They were sorry, and their eyes reflected that. They made her sit down on the sofa & immediately ran to the window to call out for help. The watchman couldn’t hear their shouts. ‘Munni badnaam’ was playing out on his FM player. The chillar party sensed the urgency, ran towards him & pulled out his earphones, and told him that 3rd floor wali ‘monster aunty’ needed help.

They all rushed her to the nearest clinic, and stayed there until their parents came to pick them up. The doc had mentioned that the gash was quite deep, and that she would have to walk with support for at least a week or 2.

As they reached the building, they all took turns to apologize to her and promised that they would go to a open ground to play cricket. They also told her that they would like to visit her every evening, till she gets better.

Ansh had noticed that her family hadn’t come by to get her from the clinic. He asked her, “Your family members didn’t come. Where are they?” She remembered that dreadful car accident that took away her husband & her son, brushed away her tears & said, “I’m looking at them, right now!”

She gave them a group hug, planted kisses on their foreheads and just like that, Monster wali aunty found a new reason to live!

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda
(prompt: 3 words, 1 story. cough syrup, earphones, prank)

L for Liebster, L for Lucille, L for Love!

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So this post is looooooooooooooooong overdue… in fact, blogwatig bestowed the honour of the Liebster Award on me exactly a year ago (23rd August, 2012 to be precise). And I have been such a lazy ass. It has taken me about 3 blogger meets, and over a 30 posts to get to this one. And I’m glad I’m finally here.

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So, what is a Liebster Award, you ask?
Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

It’s appreciation from fellow bloggers & your chance to introduce yourself to other awesome bloggers.

So, Vinita thinks Im awesome? Yay! Here’s how we met. Rutavi Mehta introduced me to the awesome women of the Indiblogeshwari community. And soon enough, I was at my very first blogger meet last year in August. And my blog post describing the event was when  the Queen Blogger first discovered my writing. And she loved it. :)

Vinita and I are connected in more ways than one. She and I both belong to the ad industry, very similar in nature. And now, she has passed on her Liebster honour to me. So here I am, fulfilling the tradition of this award.

Here are the rules:

If you are tagged/nominated, you have to post 11 facts about yourself
Then you answer the 11 questions the tagger has given you & make 11 questions for the people you are going to tag.
Tag 11 more Bloggers (with no more than 200 followers)
Tell the people you tagged that you did.
No tagging back.

Eleven Facts About Me!  
1. I love trekking and adventure sorts, but it takes a lot for me to get off my lazy ass!
2. People think I am really nice, thats until they see the throbbing vein in my temple when Im screaming my lungs out. PS: Dont worry. It takes me a long time to reach that agitated state. I will give you a lot of chances to prove that you are not stupid.
3. I HATE liars.
4. I have always wanted to learn the violin. And Salsa.
5. I love dogs & think that they are way better than the current batch of humans on this planet.
6. I love DIY art. My cupboard has equal portions of clothes & junk Ive collected over time.
7. Ive been obsessed with the colour purple ever since college days. Even dyed my moms wedding dress in a wispy shade of lavender, cut it short & flaunted it for Christmas that year. Thanks mom!
8. Loved my dad to bits. Keep wishing I could get into a time machine and say a lot of things that I didnt get to say!
9. Drama queen by nature. Drama-lover too.
10. I will always accept a compliment with a lil bit of disbelief, cynicism.
11. I absolutely HATE anyone throwing kachra on the road, in the trains. Have actually held a woman’s hand and asked her to hand me her kachra, and threw it in the nearest dustbin I saw.

The Eleven Questions that I have been asked….

1. Do you think a 3 am friend is a myth?
Totally. My best friend starts snoring way before midnight. And even an owl like me would bitchslap anyone who woke me up at an unearthly hour like that. (Medical emergencies are exempt from this rule :P)

2. Who would you rather be? A celebrity or the Prime Minister of the country?
Prime Minister, who becomes a celebrity – thanks to my deeds & not my silence! ;)

3. What is the one quality you’d like the older generation to imbibe from the younger one?
To learn to relax, keep calm.

4. What is the one quality the older generation must pass on as a legacy to the next?
Their grace, and dignity. The way they could hold beautiful conversations without a trace of profanity in it.

5. What is your take on beauty contests?
Reinforcement of beliefs that external beauty makes you who are. The last quizzing round is just a formality. The swimsuit round is where the real winner lies. It is just another boost for the cosmetic & skin cream industry!

6. If there was one thing you could do to make a difference, what would that be?
I would work towards preserving / increasing the green cover on this planet.

7. What has your electricity consumption been the last month? Is it gonna change for the better?
Its on the rise, and I feel guilty. Hope to change that.

8. Who is the one person that inspires you?
My elder sister. A self-made person, who has created opportunities for herself at every stage of her life.

9. Did you ever go back to school and meet your teachers? Why?
Once. Didn’t get to meet them, most of them have retired or have left this world :(

10. What colours would you paint with if you had just two shades to choose from?
Black & white. The basics. But the essentials.

11. Since I am bestowing the award, What one liner would you write describing me? :P
Fultoo fatakari. The online space would be quite boring without you.

The Eleven Questions that I now ask YOU

1. What is that one moment that defined you?
2. The best thing someone has ever said to you.
3. If you weren’t doing what you you’re doing currently, what would see yourself as?
4. The best place you’ve travelled to, and the best memory associated to it.
5. How did you deal with your first heart break?
6. What is the worst piece of advice you’ve given someone?
7. If you could choose your name, what would you call yourself?
8. Have you ever done something stupid, and absolutely loved it? Temme about it.
9. What is the worst Youtube video of yours, that became a viral sensation among your friends?
10. Have you ever considered shaving your head, just for kicks? Would you?
11. If you had a chance to slap someone, just for being alive, who would it be?

The Eleven Worthies I pass the Liebster Award to:
1. Anmol Rawat: http://anmolrawat.blogspot.in/ : been reading his posts on the Blogadda WOW weekends, and love the stories he’s been churning out.
2. Bhakti http://bhaks.wordpress.com/: Just discovered that I hardly know anything about my colleague. Her blog is a good place to start with.
3. http://fuchsiaoutbursts.wordpress.com/: Dunno much about her, except that we share the same theme. And our love for WOW weekend prompts.
4. http://thewhitescape.wordpress.com/ I love all her weekend posts for WOW, and look forward to them :)
5. Mahesh Patil. http://maheshpatil.net/: A colleague, photographer & extremely punny & sarcastic guy. Would love to know more about him through this post.
6. Jayshree Punjabi: http://mindlicker.wordpress.com/: bachpan ki dost, who I’ve reconnected with after a long time.
7. Gopika Panchmatia. http://goodfoodbadjokes.wordpress.com/: A very close friend & awesome cook/ food blogger, serial killer – armed with PJs :P I know a lot about her, this is just to see her quirky responses :)
8. Prianca Bhatia: http://confessionboxpp.blogspot.in/ The most hilarious blogger Ive ever come across. Ever. One of the first friends I made in college
9. http://proactiveindian.com/ love the anonymous nature of his identity. Would love to know more.
10. Kalindi : http://kalindishappiness.wordpress.com/ The awesome Vipassana chick . And thats why I need to know more about her. Cos u cant call someone that awesome vipassana chick :P
11. Aditto : http://aditto.wordpress.com/ food & travel ka combo – aditto! LOL, tell me more :P
Please leave a link to your Liebster Award post in the comments section below so that I can read your answers :)

Midnight Wishes

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At the stroke of midnight, Esha woke up to strange noises. They were strained voices, singing happy birthday. She leaned over to her side table, checked the clock. It showed 12.00 am. 13th August. With quivering hands, she turned on the table lamp.

13th August. It was definitely not her birthday today. Nor anyone else that she knew of. But this date rang a bell for her. What was it?
She looked over, and her husband was sleeping peacefully. He didn’t seem to hear even the faintest sound around him. Maybe this was her demon to face.

Demon. Ghost. Paranormal activity. The Supernatural. These things had always intrigued her.
In fact, you would always see her scouting for haunted locales, just to explore them & find out the story behind it. The more mystery it had, the more exciting it was for her. She knew the significance of 12 am or 3 am. She knew better than to explore the source of the noise, at this hour, all by herself.

But this noise seemed to engulf her in a trance. She began following it, in a dream-like state. The singing had transformed into unbridled laughter. As she walked out of her bedroom, and headed towards her terrace, the voices grew more distinct. She began recognizing a few of them too.

She grew even more curious as she walked up the stairs. The terrace door was slightly ajar, and there was a bright light emanating from it. She was smiling, as she walked fearlessly into the light. The voices seemed to welcome her. Right there, on her terrace, were all the faces that she had pursued in those haunted locations. Those horror stories that she simply had to discover. The drunk plumber who killed his cheating wife, and then himself. The 6 year old who died trying to save his dog from an accident. The daughter-in-law who had been burned to death. The grandfather who was cursed by black magic. And they were welcoming her into their world, where she would learn even more. It would be her ‘birthday’ – Friday, 13th of August, the day she leaves this world & steps into theirs.

They were urging her to take the plunge. She took a step back, and they all closed in on her. She was a little nervous, but there was no way out. Her hands shook, as she stepped onto the terrace wall. She let the moment take over. If this is way it had to be, she might as well enjoy it. She opened her arms and flung herself from the terrace of her 4th floor building. The freefall lasted for a few seconds, but it felt like eternity. When she finally touched the ground, she felt a sudden jerk. She woke up, and found herself in her bed, right next to her husband. She was sweating profusely, and was breathing hard.

She checked her clock on the side table.
13th August. It was exactly the stroke of midnight.
And the singing had only just begun…

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This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda & was selected as the WOW Post. (prompt: at the stroke of midnight…)

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This post was published in tamarindrice:
http://tamarindrice.in/tamarind-rice-issue-6/midnight-wishes/

Do Right. Inspire Right.

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Kindness. Compassion.

I believe school friendships are the most genuine ones we could ever have. And uniforms played a huge role in wiping out stereotypes, discrimination & prejudices. We made friends with a single hello, and some of them do manage to last forever.

This one, unfortunately, did not last for long. But in that short while, it touched me deeply.

There was a girl who was quite reserved, and I used to hear a lot of stories about her. One of them was the common problem kids face at school – LICE.
And for that reason, she used to sit in the last row, first bench, all by herself. No one wanted to exclude her in that manner, but no one reached out to her either. She exiled herself before the girls could start teasing her about it.

I decided to walk up to her and start talking to her. But because of my bratty, prankster image, she kept her distance thinking I was up to some mischief as usual. It took me a while, but I started talking to her eventually. She began opening up to me, and I slowly realized that she wouldn’t eat anything during recess. One day, I asked her about it. Turns out she had financial problems, and tiffin was a daily struggle for her.

I started sharing my dabba with her, and she loved the cheese sandwiches my dad used to make. When I told him about her plight, he started packing an extra dabba, just for her. I was quite touched with my dad’s gesture, and I was happy to help her.

But that was short-lived. I guess she must have heard someone say something, because in just a few weeks, she asked me to stop getting her food, and soon after, she stopped talking to me altogether.

I had no choice but to respect her decision, give her some space & move on. I missed her, but I guess some people come in your life for a reason… and leave when that purpose is fulfilled. Through her, &  my dad, I learnt compassion & kindness. I learnt about giving & selflessness. I learnt to ‘Do Right’
And the legacy will continue…

P.S. I am sharing my Do RIght Stories at BlogAdda.com 
in association with Tata Capital

 

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly!

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This post has been selected as a Blogadda WOW post (Dated 11th August).

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It was a pretty ugly spat.
From bouts of yelling, to absolute silence, interspersed with inconsolable sobs…as he walked out of their home.

She was trying to stay cool, but her mind was in a disarray much worse than her living room.

She was done trying to keep them together, when all he wanted was to be apart. 
She’d discovered the trail of clues he was leaving behind, a testimony to his infidelity.
It wasn’t this obvious earlier. But now, it’s like he wanted to be caught, and set free from the shackles of their empty marriage.

In the past, they’d agreed to disagree with each other, when problems arose.
But she was done sweeping issues under the carpet.

As she slumped into the corner of her plush Malabar Hill duplex,
she recalled the days they spent in each other’s arms.

But those seemed like a haze now, and as the tears thickened,
she could only see the ‘other woman’ in his arms.

She’d always known that she was slowly losing him,
and her attempts to win him back were futile.

She got up, drew back the curtains,
and fixed her eyes upon the Queen’s necklace that adorned Marine Drive.

She walked out of the door, her vintage .22 teak wood revolver tucked safely in her handbag.

The next day’s headlines were: The good, the bad & the ugly.
Business Tycoon caught in the ‘act’ with a bar dancer, wife shoots herself in front of them. The two of them have been booked for abetting her suicide.

It was her goodbye gift to them, as she welcomed death with open arms.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.
(prompt: use opposites)

26.07.13. This day. 8 years ago.

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This post has been selected as a Blogadda WOW post (Dated 11th August).

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A day of many learnings…
A day of irreparable scars.

A day the city drowned,
A day also when humanity rose above expectations.

A day when I celebrated my first Malhar volunteer meet.

A day I realized the importance of communication.

A day I saw the worst side of my ‘best’ friend,
And then saw the best side of my worst enemy…loneliness.

A day when I spent 24 hours disconnected from my world,
A day when I connected with a whole new world.

A day when I traveled in almost every mode of transportation…
A day that revealed a new journey for me…one that led me to discover my inner strength.

A day that saw me spending the night sleeping in a bus, among strangers.
Yet somehow, that night, their presence was strangely comforting.
We were all battling the same fears, we all had the same goal.

A day that saw me wading through chest-deep water across Mumbai.
A day that saw me almost scrambling for a morsel to eat, making me realize just what desperation and hunger really means.

A day that taught me what yearning really means….
Yearning to hear that taunt asking you to come home early….
And you finally understand the love and warmth in something you used to find annoying earlier.

A day that I could call the longest one I’ve ever lived,
One that made me aware of every minute of those 24 hours.

A day that saw women getting groped & people getting fleeced, even in adversity.
But then, it was also a day when I saw people get out of their comfort zone to throw biscuits & water our way.

A day when I heard of people dying mercilessly at the hands of Mother Nature, combined with the apathy of our government.
And then, witness an insensitive director make a love story with this day as the backdrop.

A day you’d love to hate & hate to love
Yet, you cannot deny it’s existence.

Every Mumbaikar has their own version of this day.
It’s more than just a day.
It’s a date, with those memories.
It’s a reminder of my scars.
And a celebration of humanity.

26.07.05
In memory of everyone who suffered that day.

 This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda
(prompt: use opposites)