Sunday, December 5, 2010

कारवां: Travels from here, there & far away: Abulation in the land of Ahmedshah

Jama Masjid
For more pics visit my flickr photos. Link to the right.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Daily Discovery:

"No need for revenge - just sit back and wait...
those that hurt you will eventually screw up all by themselves...
And if you're lucky, God will let you watch!!"
- Read it somewhere and experienced it personally! 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Conversations in Itarsi

It was cold, chilly, a usual December night. And it was silent. It is indeed weird how silent it can get inside an air conditioned train compartment.
There we were, talking. Things that lovers spoke. Things that still kept them together. Things that still made them pine for each other. After mistakes, repentance, anger and forgiveness. After the initial hunger of bodily pleasures and sexual gratification dies down, its conversations that keep lovers sparks aglow.
We spoke.
Nearly a decade of being with him had taught me this.
Under the blanket provided for traveling by the railways, we dint play footsie.
We still held hands, entwined fingers. I still loved to feel his warmth, look into his eyes, the way they always gleamed, of his hair that was all fast turning white.
But something that never changed is the heady smell of romance. Of knowing him by his smell. Of running up to him and burying my face under his jawline and proclaiming every time that he still smelt the same
And never forgetting it. Even when he was long gone...
And so we spoke.
The train pulled in somewhere. I checked my watch. It was 2 am. I peeped out across the window opposite us and read Itarsi.
"You want tea?"
"I would love that"
And he ran out and came back with one kullhar (earthen cup) chai (tea).
He never drank tea.
I smiled.
He smiled back.
"Are u happy?" he asked.
"Very."
I cupped the kulhar in between my palms to feel its warmth. Sipped slowly on the average concoction called train ki chai (trains tea).
It dint matter if he was seeing me in a worn out cotton salwar kameez. The 'dupatta', my keeper of modesty tucked away to pave way for comfort. Without make up or moisturiser.
As we spoke...
He took the empty cup and went to the common dustbin outside the compartment to discard it.
Came back.
I lazily went to him, and put my head on his lap. Looked outside through the glass sheeted windows. Astonished I wondered if the measurement of the window height from the seats were such that lovers could gaze out with their head on their lovers lap??
He ran his fingers on my head, my hair, on my course raven lack hair. I could see nothing out of the window, save the occasional lights.
We were both silent...
First time journeys together...
In such a long, long journey..
Of love and longing,
Of tales and stories...
and conversations in Itarsi

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Daily Discovery:

Half a truth doesnt count.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ayodhya (first drafted and published in August 3, 2007)


Its taken me the longest to come up with this post. In normal circumstances, if I've got the title for a post I publish it within two days. Ayodhya has taken me over months.
Ayodhya as a topic is part of my existance, a part of the country from where I am. Ayodhya has shaped me up in a certain way.
It's taken me so long to come up with Ayodhya because I wanted to write a lot, but dint know what to write. I've gone through pages and pages of documents and papers and case studies trying to put up accurate facts and statistics. But would all that have my signature bearing on it or would it be modern day plagiarism?
I've decided to chuck reports and articles and write the very reason why Ayodhya haunted me for a very long time.

I went to Jamnabai Narsee School. Life in those days meant going to the school bus stop by 8:15 a.m. and coming home by 4:30 p.m. It also meant I would wake up at 7 a.m. every morning cursing my school for not letting me sleep well.

Myself as a kid always complained to my mom regarding her absence from my school, as in , when other parents would drop by every now and then, my parenst never did that. There would be Bombay bandhs and hoardes of parents would come to collect their kids...where as mine were always missing, no matter what the circumstances were I always came back by 6075..my school bus number. Well I almost always came back by that bus.

Circa December 6, 1992 and after the Long break (45 minutes of recess) parents started dropping by, picking up kids. I was my jolly self. Somehow the feeling of not being picked up by parents gave me a high. You know the kind of high when you are kid and it makes u feel stronger and more mature. I consoled myself with this high when I knew my mom and dad wouldnt be coming. The 'period' (lecture) was abandoned and the teacher started calling out the name of the kids whose parents had come. I was least bothered. With gay abandonment I was singing around feeling my high and getting higher knowing fully well that I would be borading 6075 at 3:50 p.m.

"Archana", the teacher called out and I thought it was something else. "Your mother has come", I looked out at the classroom door to verify whether it was indeed my mom or a kidnapper (parental warnings). I saw my mom with a straight face in one of those Chinese silk sarees she got from the U.S.
I was shocked and at the same time happy. Shocked to see my mom come to pick me up from her work and happy to belong to the majority group..the group whose parents came to pick them up when anything or everything went wrong in Bombay.
In an enthusiastic manner I packed up my backpack telling some of my classmates with excitement that my mom had come, walked towards my mom held her hand and started walking. I asked my mother what had happened to which she gave a very stern "Nothing has happened", reply.
We caught an auto rickshaw and came home. I still dint know what was happening. Mom changed into a salwaar kameez and then we went downstairs to the Bhatias. Thats when I heard my mother and Mrs. Bhatia discussing the repercussions of Hindus demolishing the Babri masjid in Ayodhya. I asked mom where was Ayodhya, thinking if it was somewhere close by to where we stayed in Juhu. I still dint know what was happening. As a few days passed by I wasn't going to school, not for the next 2 weeks. Thats when we kids in the building realized that there were communal riots in Bombay. The building I resided in had all Hindu families and we were later told that Muslims were all out to kill Hindus.


'6 th December 1992, Kar Sevaks from the VHP and other communal parties and organizations barged into the Babri Masjid , in Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh, to claim back land that is supposedly the Ram Janm Bhoomi, a matter corroborated by the Archeological Survey of India. The then U.P Chief Minister Mr. Kalyan Singh stepped down and the then Indian Prime Minister P.V.Narsimahrao established the Liberhan Commission on December 16 1992, under the Union Home Ministry, to put forth its findings that led to the cause and results of the Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya.

The commission was supposed to give its reports within 3 months.'


Every night a family from each floor would keep a vigil on the entire building with the help of the watchman.
'Jaleel', a Muslim from Tamil Nadu, guarding a building full of Hindus in Juhu.
The ground and overhead water tanks were sealed with eight locks each because there were rumours that poison was being poured in other societies to kill Hindus, and I remember all the parents talking about Mussalmaans raging around with black flags, flamed torches and swords killing everything even remotely associated with Hindus.

I as a kid started fearing. My fear psychosis against Muslims began.
So much so that when Bombay started limping back to normalcy and school resumed, I feared every bearded man was out to kill me. I never sat near the window seat in the school bus, fearing to become an easy target of a bearded man. The mere sight of anyone with a skull cap made me hide behind the seats. I've done that on many occasions. After the demolition in Ayodhya, I believed that Muslims were murderers. I remember praying to god every night that I shouldnt ever die of Cancer, AIDS, or killed by a Muslim. Yes Cancer and AIDS were the also other new found fears of the masses.
I remember having no New Years celebration to welcome 1993 and everyday I would feel the air around me hot and tensed. The city was wounded. My city that boasted to be secular, peaceful and liberal was badly wounded.

We had school projects in Primary school and that semester the subject was 'Bombay'. It was 12th of March 1993 a few weeks after the riots had subsided and our school had taken us out for a field trip, to show us the entire of Bombay. We were at the Price of Wales Museum in Kalaghoda when we heard a loud thud. Some of we kids thought some tyre got punctured; then we heard sirens; all over.
We were all huddled into the bus and it was all hurried....next thing I remember we passed by a building and I saw shards of glass everywhere. Yes I saw blood splattered here and there too. I think we were at Dalal Street that houses the Bombay Stock Exchange.

A series of bombs had rocked the city. Killing hundreds of people.
We heard name like Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon. We even heared Sanjay Dutt.
The riots had wounded the city.
The bomb blasts made her bleed.

Then again a commission was constituted under Justice B.N. Srikrishna...popularly known as the Srikrishna Comission report.
'In 1992-93, the city of Mumbai was rocked by communal riots between the Hindu and Muslim communities and bomb blasts perpetrated by Muslim terrorists in collusion with D-Company mafia don Dawood Ibrahim. While communal riots are not unusual in modern Indian history, these riots were particularly startling in light of Mumbai's largely peaceful past. Above all the Bombay Riots appeared to compromise the much-vaunted image of the city as cosmopolitan, secular and tolerant. Further, the riots appeared to solidify the image of Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackrey who scathingly criticized the judiciary.
Justice Srikrishna, then a relatively junior Judge of the Bombay High Court, accepted the task of investigating the causes of the riots, something that many of his colleagues had turned down. For five years till 1998, he examined victims, witnesses and alleged perpetrators. Detractors came initially from left-secular quarters who were wary of a judge who was a devout and practicing Hindu. The Commission was disbanded by the Shiv Sena led government in January 1996 and on public opposition was later reconstituted on 28 May 1996; though when it was reconstituted, its terms of reference were extended to include the Mumbai bomb blasts that followed in March 1993.
The report of the commission stated that the tolerant and secular foundations of the city were holding even if a little shakily. Justice Srikrishna indicted those he alleged as responsible for the bloodshed, the Shiv Sena.
The report was criticized as “politically motivated”. For a while its contents were a closely guarded secret and no copies were available. The Shiv Sena-government rejected its recommendations. Since under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, an Inquiry is not a court of law (even if it conducts proceedings like a court of law) and the report of an inquiry is not binding on Governments, Srikrishna's recommendations cannot be directly enforced. Till date, the recommendations of the Commission have neither been accepted nor acted upon by the
Maharashtra Government.'-Wikipedia.
I dint know there existed something called the Liberhan Commission or the Srikrishna Commission, till a few years back. I also dint know that the Liberhan Commission now has the tag of the longest running Commission having cost the Indian exchequer nearly Rs. 63 lacs. Its been 17 and a half years and still 'FINDINGS' are going on.
That the Srikrishna Commission report is played with and disregarded by political parties as and when they deem it fit to set their vote banks ringing. That it is the same UPA (Congress) that backed the retaliatory story put forth by the Sena-Sangh Alliance in 1992-93 just so that 'outside hands could be' easily blamed.

Is it an irony that no 'COMMISSION' has been established in the Bombay train blasts case where in the ATS (Anti-Terrorist Squad) has still been unsuccessful in finding or framing the culprits?

On the 31 of July 2007, The Bombay serial blasts case finally came to a close with actor Sunjay Dutt being sentenced to rigorous Imprisonment. Maybe the film fraternity would vouch for his character. I would not. In fact I still wonder why he was released from the TADA Act. Lets all agree to the fact that Sanjay Dutts popularity soared after Munnabhai and its sequel..but prior to that we all knew his connections with notoriety. As a judiciary the law binds on everyone equally. If Sanjay Dutt has awaited and suffered enough since the last 14 years with a sword of uncertainty over him so have others. The man got lucky because he was associated with Bollywood and had the opportunity to gain sympathy. But that doesnt mean he goes scot free.

Coming back Ayodhya, I wonder whether the Liberhan report will ever see the light of the day or get stuck under some bureaucratic red tape.

But now I realized a few things. That it weren't beard men or men with skull caps that were after my life; who triggered my fear psychosis. It was after all a well planned chapter in history that the generation after us will read and know, someday when we become parts of that history.
I accept that I too have been a victim of the communal riots that rocked Bombay. I have been a psychological victim.

That at the end of the day, the community that I feared so much in our country is after all so volatile simply because they do not have a sense of security in them, why else would they resort to acts that only display their want to survive.
That at the end of the day Bombay has insulated itself against attacks on religious places and blasts.
That afterall, at the end of the day 'The Spirit of Bombay' is aptly displayed and conveyed by 'Salaam Bombay'.
That at the end of the day most Bombayites including myself dont really care about Ayodhya and the outcome of the suite in the Lucknow bench of the Allahbad High Court.
That afterall its best Ayodhya remains what it truly means 'Not to be warred against'.
Thats its best we let Ayodhya remain just thatAyodhya a place in Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

On being asked if I was manipulative (Dec 12, 2007)

I stand here at crossroads yet again,
facing roads that I know not head where...
Each step ahead is filled with uncertainty,
the will to live still there...

And then I see some faces that seem to smile,
from a distance of where I stand...
I have my smile washed away in tears,
when I touch those faces...
faces that fail me understand.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Lovers Lost Paradise.

There is blood running down my hands. The blood that's getting washed off my hands in this heavy rain. The blood stoked rain water that kisses the asphalt road and goes into the sewer taking with it my tears that are anonymous with the rainwater around. The thunders that deafen my screams. Of anger, rage & madness. But this isn't my blood. Its that of a child.  Of everything that I could have done, today I have taken the life of my child.
Yet I'm howling helplessly. I have crossed the limits of madness, of sanity. I'm beating my palms against the coarse asphalt, sometimes rubbing vigorously, still screaming, crying & begging to be killed too. Mercilessly.
Every inch of me shivers, of the shock and cold.
Murder isn't comforting. Nor is it conclusive.
My girl is only a few months old. A month and a half to be precise. Now she doesn't move. Eyes shut, skin turning pale I see the blood gently oozing out of her tiny head. Even in death I cant help to notice how perfect my little girl is. Strands of hair that I imagined would grown into forever dark locks that ran in my side of the family are as lifeless as she is. Clad in a white soft linen dress that is now entirely red I can feel her turn cold. Somewhere, I've given up hope. I know she is gone. Yet every second I'm pleading and bargaining...to somebody..something..help me undo all this...

It had been two days R hadn't picked up the phone. We had barely spoken in the last few months. He came back from a meeting in Vietnam, said there were sales targets to be met at work and so he'd be home sparse. Well, this was the rudimentary explanation to be given to a spouse. Truth was, the girl he was cheating on me with was getting hitched and R was doing what ever infidel does in these circumstances. Trying to keep both, the wife and the mistress.
The pregnancy had been stressful. I had found out about the infidelity in my second trimester, right after my monthly ultrasound. R said he wanted the child and me and apologized like every God-forsaken-son-of-a-bitch does on getting caught! He also promised he would end the 'affair', a promise I knew was as hollow as every infidel is.
I had thrown his laptop off our 7th floor apartment, broken the LCD of the 40 inch BRAVIA and flushed his mobile phone in front of him. All this on the night of confrontation.
Every waking minute after that was a struggle. To find reasons to go ahead with the pregnancy. To secure the future of my unborn. Slowly but steadily as my hormones raged, in the passing weeks R and I stopped interacting at home. At the same time I'd be lying if I said  I dint hope and pray. For my baby and my marital home. Every night I'd wonder as to how the man who would fly across countries to be with me even for a meal while we were dating could do this to me. I cursed myself for having ever trusted him.
Yet ironically I'd wonder what features would my baby take after him. Would it have his nearly porcelain white skin as his family came from the foothills of the Himalayas or would it be dusky like me with east Indian features. These thoughts helped me be sane and let me have a few hours of necessary sleep that I needed.
There was an old domestic help and she became our messenger. R and I would talk through her. I knew we were doomed when one night I had been secretly weeping on my side of the bed and R came to me. Not to comfort me but to have me. I had slapped him hard across his face and thrown him out of the bedroom. This was in the seventh month. I did not try to save this sinking ship 'cuse I had found out more evidence he was still cheating on me. Hotel bookings in ones name for single nights in the city itself where u have a house is ample proof. There were nights when I thought I'd probably finish all this by stabbing him with a kitchen knife. But the thought that this man was the father of my unborn child kept me away from acting on my thoughts.
We put up a good facade the day Agni was born. Smiling and looking every bit the happily married couple that a lot of not-so-happy couples always do. But the moment we were back home, it was the same silence again. I hoped for the miracle of him coming back to me and his daughter entirely.
A fortnight back from the hospital, on a rainy night I knew he was talking to someone on the phone in the washroom. I knew it was 'her'.
This time I knew it was time to act. I got the old desktop working cuse I knew I could then access his personal mails through the POP server. Something we had done a month into our marriage but something I knew he had forgotten. Every time I had to open a new mail from his whore, my hands would tremble and my heart raced in anxiety. I wondered what did I lack or where and when did I go wrong??
Was it because she was prettier? Was I that bad??
Then I opened the mail that made my head spin and gave a pain of shock so bad I felt like I was going to die. R had written in no uncertain terms he was going to divorce me if 'she' decided to call off her family arranged wedding. He had already spoken to a lawyer.
I was aghast, devastated and felt worse than dead.
I took Agni, and drove to his work place. Somewhere between accepting congratulations for our baby and being asked to take a seat, the silly perks of being the wife of a Vice President of an MNC, I barged into his cabin where I found both of them having lunch. I flung the printout of the mail at him, slapped him a dozen times more when he asked me to calm down, banged his new laptop again hoping I'd rendered it useless tore both their shirts and told "her' she was worth eight thousand bucks a night! Since that is what he paid the hotel towards hooking with her. This I told in front of his department staff.
I think by this time I had lost it completely. I wanted to kill one of them or myself.
I took my little girl again in my arms and got into the car he had gifted me last year as an "appreciation anniversary gift". To appreciate the fact that I had quit my job as an ad woman so that I could spend more time with him and family. He had asked me to take this step.
Then I began to drive and honestly I dint know where I was heading, in what direction at what speed, nothing. The next thing I know there is an SUV from the opposite direction that bangs me head on. Agni who wasn't tucked into a baby seat gets flung out of the car. I had obviously not locked the doors.
In the next 10 minutes on the Delhi Gurgaon expressway I struggle towards Agni who is motionless, not even a wail of pain or discomfort. I limp towards her in the rain.
I kneel down at her still hoping, still bargaining with the seconds that pass by.
I pick her up onto my lap.
Clad in a white soft linen dress that is now entirely red I can feel her turn cold. Somewhere, I've given up hope. I know she is gone. Yet every second I'm pleading and bargaining...to somebody..something..help me undo all this...Of everything that I did or could have done not this... not this..
I hold her close and begin to scream.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The gasrtonomical odyssey: Soma by the Kalras @ Sula Vineyards

The Sula vineyards
The monsoons are on and it had been over a month since I hadn't traveled or ventured out of Bombay. I've stopped my unconditional love for this city, more so after IB took me to places around the world and made me realize that cities are made by their people who are passionate for its cultures, history and spirit. They are definitely not made up of political-mafias, intra-national racism, indifference and filth!! So when life and the world showed me beautiful cities I decided to commit my first-time infidelity! City wise.
Anything over two months drives me mad in Bombay and so the monsoons were a quick excuse for a getaway. This time I headed again to Sula near Nashik.
The view of acres of vineyards in the monsoon from the Tasting Room, sipping a glass of wine is wonderful!!
So I had to. After reading Rashmi Uday Singh's TOI review  on 'Soma' - food by the Kalras, and the words 'Laal Maas' (goat meat in a spicy firy red curry) I knew I had to be at this restaurant that Rashmi featured. Mind you the Kalra's are not the same as Jiggs Kalra (of Punjab Grill fame). Honestly, I dont really care who is the cook as long as my palates are happy.
So after having many glasses of wine which included the beautiful Sula Brut Rosé Sparkling, the Dindori Reserve Viogniér (delicious and my favourite with the rich smell of Apricot and Lychees), the Madera Red etc. we were hungry for food.
The resturant opens at 12:30 pm and shares space with Little Italy. Its quiant, has an open and airy feeling with glass walls to get the maximum view of the vineyards and high wodden and wrought iron furniture. Very Italian!! Table mats with Sun Signs in Indian names and an open tandoor counter this place appealed to me instantly.
They have some Italian and world music playing too...
The staff is extremely helpful and friendly.
We went straight for the main course and I ordered the the rave reviewed Laal Maas. The last time I had this dish was at the Nahargarh Palace and Fort restaurant in Amer, Rajasthan. There in the land of the Rajputs and Marwar it was delicious. This time I wanted to see how it would be recreated in the land of the Deccans accompanied with a glass of the Dindori Reserve Shiraz (my idea)!
The Sula Brut Rose sparkling

Another curry that we ordered in the sea food section was the Jhinga Masala that was to be accompanied with the Sula Chenin Blanc (my idea again)
Then there were the Paneer Makhani and the Dal Makhani. A bread basket of Naan's and rotis were ordered as accompaniment.
To begin with came the complimentary 'Paapads' with the mint curd chutney, pickles and onion-lemon wedges.
Then came the food.
I dint bother to wait and click the pictures and did so while the food was on our plates/being served. Please excuse me for that.
The first bite of the Laal Maas and bravo!! It was soft, succelent and came off the bone. Just as good meat should.
I was transported straight back to Amer!!
The Laal Maas

The red wine added to my palate.... but I'm sure this dish would carry off on its own without any fancy wine having to butress it.
The Paneer Makhani
Next came the Jhinga curry (excellent again). Medium prawns in a fantastic central-India kind of gravy which I noticed would be a killer with rice but I dont have the appetite for both Naan and rice so skipped the temptation. The Paneer Makhani was decent too.
The Jhinga curry in the middle and Laal Maas to the right corner on my plate

The real winner however was the Dal Makani.
It was full of ghee but who cared. Nowhere else have I had such astounding and good Daal Makhani. No, not even in Bukhara @ the ITC Maurya in Delhi (okk maybe I'm exaggerating a bit) but believe me it was flavorsome!!
The Dal Makahani

We ended the lunch with the Moong Daal ka Halwa, it was hot. I dont like hot deserts. I rate it an average.
All in all, Soma get a thumbs up for me.
Damage for 4 people with drink was around Rs. 2400/-
The Moong-dal Halwa

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The gasrtonomical odyssey: Kababs

I realized, that so far I had totally neglected the mention of one my passions - Food. Which is an integral part of my planned/impromptu travels. That to let my escapades remain in my many tiny travel agendas would be like committing managers sex to an introverted hardworking subordinate in the corporate world!
So from this day onwards, you shall find some posts on my Indian Gastronomy finds. Any inputs, additional points would always be welcome.
My first post is on the oft revered Kababs.
I've had them at Calcutta, Delhi, Lucknow, Rajasthan, Hyderabad and Bombay and heres my list of favorites.

1) Aminias, New Market, Calcutta.
I always thought the hyperbole 'melt-in-your-mouth' only existed in writing. I had my first experience in 24 years at this place, on our last day when we strolled in ordered Mutton Chap (average), Reshmi Kababs (melt in your mouth indeed) and some Tandori Roti. For deserts we had the classic Firni (good) Meal for 2 is close to Rs.250/-. Nothing so far has managed to oust Aminias Reshmi Kababs from being THE fav.

2) Qureshis Kababs, GK-II, New Delhi.
Head here for the best Seekh Kababs' on a cold wintry morning that Delhi is ohh so famous for. Its a non descript, street side place with table almost reaching the road. But the Kababs make it all worth it. Damage for three people is less than Rs. 500/-
 
3) Shiraz, Park Circus, Calcutta.
Heard of Barra Kababs?? Those are supposed to be big. Shiraz will not disappoint you. Again the ambience is nothing to speak of. But who cares. I head out for the food, nothing else. Shiraz whips up some good Mutton Biryani too!
The Barra kababs and biryani @ Shiraz


4) Kabab Stalls on Mohommed Ali Road, Bombay
This place ranks lower because of hygenie point of view and the lack of consistency when Eid is not around. Do try the Seeekh Kababs and Boti Kababs.

5) Aangan, Koramangala, Bangalore
Perhaps the best Malai Kababs your toungue could have ever tasted. A plate sets you back by Rs. 180/-. This also happens to be a favorite with a tonn of friends.

6) Punjabi Times, Banerghatta Road, Bangalore
I dont remember the name of a particular Mutton Kabab I had nearly two years back. But what I do remember is the unforgettable taste. With the rib bones on, mutton never tasted so good.

7) Urban Tadka, throughout Bombay
These guys make amazing Achari Kababs, better than the Trident-Hilton guys!!
The Tundey "Gilavti" Kababs with onion and Seermal

8) Tundey Kababi, Chowk, Lucknow
Well personally I felt that these Gilavti Kababs are only exaggerated. There is no feel of meat and its just spices and something wishy-washy in your mouth. I had it with seermal (saffron bread) and the total damage was Rs. 25/-

Monday, August 9, 2010

Gear up for Meter Jam -12th August.

For more details visit http://www.meterjam.com

Ever been stranded late at night in the middle of the road, nearly pleading with an Auto Rickshaw or a Cabbie to take you to your destination.
Ever reached a point where you helplessly bribe a non agreeable auto/cab driver with a few bucks more if he gives u a ride back??
Ever cursed/abused the clan of cabbies 'cuse they drive away and pretend you dont exist on the roads??
Ever debated with one of those guys who rip you off with false/forged Meter Reading cards and on you standing your ground there are ten more of them standing as if to thrash you down??
Seems familiar??
Time to hit back at them.
We know our "system" has "enough" to deal with.
Its time we took matters in our hands.
On the 12th of August, shun them. The very Taxi/ Auto drivers. Pretend they DO NOT exist. Do your health some good, wake up early, leave early and walk it down or take the BEST if its been ages!!
No matter what, dont look at those cabbies/autowallahs.
Its for a day.
But its time we start taking these people for a "ride" too!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Kjærlighet : Enden er

Dearest Hanky Moody,
I'm too late isn't it? Just too darn late. Too late for this whole bloody lifetime. Knowing you, you would have a smirk off your shoulder to tell me, "Chill", "Lay back and relax" and it would be as awckward and restrained between us as it has been, since I choose not to hold your hands for this lifetime. For all you know, you might never ever read this. Now that you have a beautiful, gorgeous woman as your wife who keep you happy. But often, keep wondering how would it be with the two of us, if it were to be ever. I fell in love when I couldnt have you anymore, when life was giving you to someone else. I fell in love after I declined to accept your love. Watching you walk to th sunset with someone else got a lump to my throat. But I had to face the consequences of a decision I took, a choice I made. Now I read our letters and smile, sometimes there are few tears of regret and a silent prayer for you to always be happy. This much never changes. My genuine prayers and concern for you. And I also wish, that in some lifetime, its me who is by your side.
I guess sometimes love is in prayers.

This being my last letter to you in this lifetime.

Kjærlighet,
Karen

Sunday, August 1, 2010

कारवां: Travels from here, there & far away: Jaipur

@ The City Palace; Old City; Jaipur; Jan 2010


For more pics visit my Flickr Photos. Link to the Right.

कारवां: Travels from here, there & far away: Maharashtra Monsoons; Igatpuri

Raindrops on the glass window; Igatpuri; July 2010
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कारवां: Travels from here, there & far away: The beauty of the Teesta

"Oh! Teesta"; on the banks of the Teesta; Sikkim; Jan 2010

कारवां: Travels from here, there & far away: Darjeeling

Tea Pot reflecting the Gompa @ Golden Tips; Darjeeling; Dec 2009
For more pics visit my Flickr Photos. Link to the Right.

कारवां: Travels from here, there & far away: Sikkim

Prayer Wheels @ The Rumtek Monastery; Sikkim; Jan 2010
For more pics check out my Flickr Photos. Link to the right.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

कारवां: Travels from here, there & far away: Audhyaana - Lucknow

The Bada Imam Bada; Lucknow; July 2010
For more pics visit my Flickr Photos. Link to the right.

Friday, July 30, 2010

स्पंद: Spand

I have walked a great distance and finally reached by your side;
The journey seemed impossible to fight against the tide.

Let me sit across, in front of you, and let me look into your eyes;
I know they have shed tears galore in the dark awaiting a beautiful sunrise.

I know you want to keep it hidden from the world, your sorrow & anguish in heavy rain;
That at times you wonder what worth does it make, all the laughter against the pain.

We're all going through this journey of life forever, with so many people walkin beside;
Some stay long and some forever while some trudge away for an easier ride.

I know it hurts you every moment to fight your emotions away;
But such is life for everyone, against her we have no choice or say.

So let me be there right next to you, you can hold me by my hand;
Its good to know there is someone for you who takes a supporting stand.

Let me wittness every passing moment of your life, let me smile and cry with you;
Let me feel your lips on mine some days, let me have dreams more than just few.

I will be there every time you look at me, on days you would tell tales or rather confide;
Let me tell you the day will be beautiful, the day I hear your heartbeat lying by your side.

(स्पंद: Spand, in Sanskrit means a heartbeat. First published on August 13, 2007)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Daily Discovery:

I was asked 'What is the strength of your relationship?'
I said: Big, silly, nasty and even violent fights! Afterall, if a relationship can endure the worse between the two people involved it has the strength to endure the crap of the outside world...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Daily Discovery:

You know the most painful, tearful and heart wrenching journey?? When u decided to leave a place for good, travelled miles for years picking up the pieces of a broken life, met people, took chances gained your reasons to live again only to come back and reach the same place you had left it all...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Into an old lovers lane

A life encompassing a lot of loss and gain,
Met men who hurt to cause a lot of grief and pain,
Gave few reasons to smile and lot of disdain

Yet there was one with a smile insane,
Who took me away to distant lands and terrain,
And under the stars and by the balmy sea wind,
He would sing an old lovers song again and again...

The song that I now sing with the city's new rain,
A mind that wanders into an old lovers lane...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Daily Discovery:

'The past is part of the book you are still writing. Turn back, its always only a few pages away.'

Friday, May 28, 2010

Daily Discovery:

If your apologies and acts of remorse yield no result, it could only mean one thing - The damage was too deep and your efforts havent measured enough.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Daily Discovery:

'Whats hidden or covered will always evoke curiosity.. Whats out there and bare will only get the stare'.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Daily Discovery:

Between dreams and fulfillment, there often lies money.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Daily Discovery:

'The wealthiest of people are those who are well read and treasure a trove spilling of books. What riches are those of minds that do not understand the beauty of words, stories and fine poetry. Of lives, loves and lifetimes. Such minds were born with a begging bowl empty and they die much before the bowl could get full'

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Daily Discovery:

When you look at life with Love tinted glasses, even Frauds look like Gods!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gallery: Religion

Photocredit: Clicked by Bhavya Roy.
Subject: The Ganges publicity display board in Benares.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

From Chittagong to Bombay

Halima is thin, well built with a sharp tongue. At first it was difficult for me to figure out her mindset every time she spoke. I would wonder was she complaining or was that her general tone? Then I realized that it was a habit. A habit of sounding like she was at war and the only weapon she had was her voice. She had a war ravaged voice while she sang praises for the houselady, or complained about too many clothes and utensils to be washed and dried.
On few days her daughter Aphreen, all of 17 would sometimes accompany her. She would wash the few utensils while her mother mopped the floor. On such days my mother would offer them tea and biscuits. And Halima would open up to her in between her tea sips.
That she is 45. Once widowed and saddled with three kids. Two daughters and a son she is married again to a man she met when she first worked at a construction site as a laborer when she first arrived in Bombay from Bangladesh. Her eldest daughter is married and now lives in Dhaka (Dacca) the capital of the erstwhile East Bengal, now Bangladesh.
The younger daughter who stays with her was married off last year but the husband is now absconding. The youngest son works in Dhaka too. Found a job only recently.
For a house help or maid Halima wears good clothes. Good quality cotton salwaar suits. Well cut, embroidered sometimes and complimenting her 'at-45-and-mother-of three-yet-envious' figure. Hair always up in a top-knot and big flower shaped clips on them. Sometimes the clip adorned with false yet bright shining diamantes and stones.

She says its difficult being a Bangladeshi woman and surviving in this city alone. Without the requisite working permits. Bribes and 'haftas' exchange hands for their safe keep and anonymity in this megapolis. Her current husband, Maqbool is younger than her but takes care of her and is concerned about her kids. He is a Bangladeshi too.
He visits his folks and family twice a year. Everything that she needs to be aware of she knows. Then married him.  It is a mutually benificial allaince.
Sometimes her husband calls on her mobile phone and Halima yacks back with the same at-war tone in high pitched sharp 'Bangla'.
By her looks I know Halima must be getting a lot of 'undue' attention. First in the construction site she began working, now in the households she goes to do chores everyday.
She is the perfect realization of a lot of middle class middle aged men's 'maiden' fantasy.
I dare not ask her, her stories of survival and compromise. But I must confess I am curious. I know she is the treasurer of many stories.

Rabiya counts days to the half yearly festive times. A day counted off at sun down. She sells fish at the main Chittagong market. Her catch coming from the river Kôrnophuli every morning. Every evening she rubs her hand with ash and runs her palms on the smoke of lobaan to get rid of the fish stench. The ritual is done with much fervour when the festive time nears.
She has two kids. A son a and daughter who go to the local school and help her sell the fish in the market sometimes. Her husband works far. Very far. In India. Where there is more scope and more money than what Dhaka or its Taka can offer. Afterall, since he has started working in Bombai he has promised to get her a Dhakai Jamdani saree someday soon. A first in her life.
Her two kids Mirvaiz and Irshat pass there days as many others their age in the Chittagong shanties behind the station. They await their festivities when their Aabba comes during Eid. With money and presents. When their mother cooks good chilli spiced gravies of beef and vegetables. They miss their father. But its worth the slightly better life that they now lead.
Rabiya knows her husband Maqbool is a good man and loves his family a lot. That nothing can threaten her position in his life even if he is far away. He showers her with gifts and love when he comes. Twice a year for fifteen days. Covering a long arduous journey from Bambai to Kolkata. Then a rickety bus ride from Kolkata to Dhaka. Then further to Chittagong. He says it takes more than 4 days for the one way journey alone.
So what if he is just a man. At times their religion permits a man to address his weakness as long as he can keep everyone involved happy.
And so Maqbool does keep everyone happy.
When each one knows the presence of the other in another city.
From Halima to Rabiya.
From Chittagong to Bombay.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

When Pastonjee died!

"Come down man Jehangir, early morning doing lot of kit-kit. Come soon or they will come up. Now early morning I dont want police jhamela at my door step when Navroje is on the head."

"Dont scream at me. You must have done something. Thats why police is here. Otherwise they have no work or what? That they come early morning  to peoples building and looking at the tamasa. Shamelessly having affair. Beggeting shame to my family. Good I stopped being your husband a year back. Mehnaaz is also embarrassed of you. Break off those red bangles..."

"What man Jehangir, now dont say like that. You are still my husband hanh! I was doing no affair shaffair. I've told you many times. He is my mama ka ladka. My brother. We benefited so much. Dint you see.

"What benefit?? God knows the lift had to die this week only. Always have to climb up and down 6 floors. Today, Sunday also no santi!!! Climb down 6 floors to meet the police. All because of you. And Frenny it was only you who benefited in all kinds. Saala I should've never married you in the first place. When you die I wont even offer four day prayers for you at the Doongerwadi. Mark my words. No vulture will consume you. Maybe that Pesi can come down in some form to have you."

"Jehangir, mind ur zabaan. What are you saying? Who do we have except each other? We will worry about my death and prayers later. I'm sure you will die first. Worry about urself. If you fight with me I wont conduct the prayers. Now spit the anger off me and direct it towards that chudail and her daughter outside. And be good to the police. Please. See we are on the ground floor. Shoo."

"Rani Frenny has walked down from her palatial palace. My God. What guts you have you saali-gutter-nu-rani. I dont know what was wrong with Pesi. If he fell for your daughter I could still understand and take it with a bitter emoson. That he fell for a young chokri. But you! Walk like a penguin, looks like a drum and thobda like its forgotten to take a wash for years."

"Yes Inspector, myself Frenny Mistry and this is my husband of 30 years Jehangair Mistry. What happened? Why is this bhopoo belching and making tamasa? We all stay in a society. It does not look nice na."

"Saali telling me I'm doing tamasa?? Tamasa jovu chhe?? I will do tamasa now. What society you are talking about? You run a randi-khana in the open. Soliciting innocent Parsi men, defrauding their property and wealth. Even after they are dead. You thought nobody will notice money going away every month from the bank after Pesi's death? That is why I put police behind ur fat gandu."

"Arrey he gave me the cheques. All postdated. I had given him loan. 2 lakh rupees. He issued cheques to return the money. There is no fraud Inspector. Ask her to leave and please let us be. Fokat nu kit-kit. Even ur Pesi would call you that. And he used to come for tea and Pallonjee's Rasberry cola. That means every tapri  or Irani cafe in Bombay is a randi khana or what?? And he came on his own will. Nobody asked him to come. Its a different thing you dint keep him happy. Always cluckking like a murgi. Now you go or tomorrows Jaam-e-Jamsad will have your kartoots on first page. Ive told my Mehnu to record everything from 6th floor with photographs. She has top view. Not like your daughter standing like a mute spectator to everything. Go away now."

"She wont go, neither will you. All of us will go to the police station and settle it there. I think enough gaali-galoch you've given each other in your Bawa language. The society people must've got their sunday paisaa vasool from you both ladies. Now come over to the police station. Each one of you."

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Love in the times of the Blackberry

There are fights and there is rage and flying tempers too,
Love is sometimes an over grown kid it needs some growing up to do.

There are tears and there is turmoil and there are ego issues too,
Yet every night it manages to make u pine for the person, love is complicated too.

There are sleepless nights and anxious seconds and absolutely miserable days too,
add to it forgetfulness, take-it-for-grantedness and unpardonable behavior too.

There are mistakes and there are punishments but there are feelings in between too,
Love isnt a perfect Black and White there are Gray areas too.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A man of convenience

I am nothing but a mute spectator to the farce,
watching a coy lady convolute yet another lad,
a game being played and a plan put up,
women with quick sexual agendas are many, not scarce!

She laughs out loud when he mouths something silly,
and flirts with her hair mischievously,
A cup of coffee in between my hands,
as I watch the drama, unfold seductively.

He always looks at her oh so longingly,
Even when she slips away from our table not so coyly,
taking phone calls from one of her lovers galore,
Leaving an awkwardness between him and me,
The disappointment in his eyes for one and all to see.

He gives her his treasures and his posessions,
hoping that one day it will be he,
whom she adorns in her arms and walks with a smile,
telling one and all that he is her man to be.

I know of her nights and the many men in them,
I can see through her raucous laugh too,
I know this lad means nothing more to her,
than an easy convenience for a day or two!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Riding on a donkey!!!

I wish I could ride a donkey on the streets of Bombay
with a silver witch cap crowning my hair...
a whistle in red hung around my neck
and robes in layers of velvet, oh a visual despair

On the donkey I'd pass by dim yellow lit streets
with a slow gait like the Maharanis of yore
I'd whistle out loud and give an obvious wink
At every man whom my eyes would catch a fancy for

I'd ride along the Gateway, the sea and the Fountain
acknowledging awkward stares to familiar glee
Id then fulfill the daily wishes of a travelers legend
That my sight would offer for free

I'd have drunkards lech and sing for me
Songs of nubile 'nautch' girls and how they get laid
I'd smile at them and tell them to follow my donkey
I'd be soon called the donkey girl and her crazy parade

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My country; Divided.

An early phone call from a journo friend asked me to delete a new found group on a popular social networking site. I pondered over it for 4 hours unsure. Then I killed pride, ego, self respect and the most important strength of my identity as an Indian. My Fundamental Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression. I went ahead to press the 'Delete Group' tab. With a great amount of sadness and even tears in my eyes I must confess I stay in a country that isn't secular or united. Hell, the only saving grace is that you just don't need a passport to move within the country if you've got citizenship.

I, Archana Bhui, am a cocktail child. My mother's ancestors are from Orissa. My fathers' migrated to that part of no mans land on the border of State territories where in his district of East Singhbhum was kicked around like a football between  Orissa, West Bengal and Bihar. Now it lies in mineral resources flushed Jharkhand. My paternal side is mostly Bengali.
I am born and brought up in Bombay and have witnessed most of the mishaps that have plagued my city on this side of the time line. As an 8 year old I was a witness to the bomb blasts and the communal riots that psyched me out against another religious group for a long time. A fear psychosis instilled by parental viewpoints mostly. As a teenager I even reveled in the 'bandhs' (closures) ordered by communally extremist groups for the want of holidays. I have walked 13 kilometers in waist deep water when my city was sinking and most recently as an Investment Banker I was in the heart of the attacks in Nariman Point when my city was besieged by terrorists funded and trained by militia groups in Pakistan.
I have been witness and a sufferer in all the events above and just so as to stoop to the levels of MNS and Shiv Sena, I gave my metriculation board exams according to the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education and inspite of Marathi not being my mother tounge I scored more than all my Marathi friends in that year of 2001. Not only that, hell I scored more in Marathi than the other two languages I had. So I see no business of a Bal Thackrey or a Raj Thackrey (who themselves write the marathi family name of  'Thakre' in an anglicised manner) or any other Mother Toungued Marathi questioning my love and commitment to this city and its culture.
And that is precisely why I will not permit such evidently power hungry people to force feed me their political agendas. Including, calling my culturally rich city of BOMBAY as Mumbai. People who argue on the name can go back to Asiatic library and open the books on the history of Bombay from the time of the Portuguese.
I had sent out invites to join the group. Some replied in the positive some retorted back in the negative. The positives were also from Marathi mother tongued friends. The NO's only from that subset. One of it happened to be from the mother of my best friend. Ove the years the mother has been closer to me than my own mother, seen me through the lows of life and I sometimes consider her as my best friend than her daughter. She said how she believed in a Hindu Rashtra and how Bal and Raj Thackrey were fighting for this cause and that Raj Thackrey was her hero.
I smiled. Ohh, we human minds and our forgetfullness!!! My friend now successfully flies with a European Airline and is leading the good life. But she had humble beginnings. You see she wanted to get into the hotel industry and getting a rank in the lower strata she ended up getting a seat in the Indian Hotel Mgmt. Institute of Guwahati, Assam. A state also under seige by extremist. There during those years from 2003-06 bombings were common news in Assam and the state almost always in the news for the wrong reason. What got her through those 3 years were room mates from all over India, including North India, South India, Maharashtra and even the North East. From her stories I felt they were leading the life of one big happy family. Then my friend was recruited by the Taj Bengal and again the national harmony prevailed in her stint at Calcutta. Now when she flies, her reporting base is Delhi in North India.
I only wonder in all these stints had any of the states displayed the 'political harakiri' that the Thackrey's seem to do what would have happened to my friends mother? It was only due to the openness of the country that her daughter is where she is now along with hardwork.
My fear psychosis of another religion went with time. A great deal of it. Now I count amongst my closest pals, a very forward Muslim peer from college who has enlightened me about a range of facts under the sun amongst many and look forward to attending their Iftaris during Eid, North Indian's, South Indians  and even Parsee's whos food me and my significant other love to gorge on in Ratan Tata Institutes, Jimmy Boys and Brittania.
It was two human beings who first came to my help when my significant other had a sudden syncope attack on a basketball court and had to be hospitalized. It dint matter they were Muslims. Even if they were, then I had the time of my life being around them, having poker nights and outings and their hospitality and kindness. When I sit on a table with fellow people, it doesn't matter what God's they pray to everyday (looking at todays busy life I even wonder how many of us have the time to think of a specific God instead of just 'God') or what language they speak. As long as we understand and appreciate each others thoughts.
Having been trained in Hindustani Classical Vocal for 20 years, I have learnt to appreciate all languages including Urdu and Persian. I have read Rumi and listend to a Ghulam Ali. An Abeeda Parveen mesmerizes me just as much as a Jagjit Singh can lull me to sleep anytime. Its one of my to-do things to go watch 'dervishes' perform in trance on sufi music in Turkey just as much as I backpack across my own country and share beautiful stores and experience from fellow travellers and fellow Indians.
Not once have I even been looked down upon or insulted for being from Bombay when I am passing through Bihar. Not a fingure was raised on me or was I questioned why people from there are beaten down.
It not too diffucult to become a Taxi Driver you know. Then why doesnt the MNS and Shiv Sena teach their followers how to drive them and tie up with Venture Capitalists and start a business venture instead??
I am supporting Shah Rukh Khan in his stand. Not because of what he said. I have never watched an IPL match in my life and dont understand the functioning of it. The reason why I support his is because of freedom of speech and the dignified and lawful manner in which a citizen of India is expected to put forth his views.
Not by the hooliganism and vandalism the MNS and Shiv Sena resort to in a bid to outdo each other to grab eyeballs and airtime.
It is of concern that Mukesh Amabani wants to shift the Registered office of RIL to Jamnagar in Gujarat and Maharashtra is loosing a lot of new business set ups because of the lack of conducive environment.
I know my city is heading towards disaster and falling prey to narrow and closed door mentalities when I, living in my own city that is part of a so called free independent and democratic country wonder and in a tense manner contemplate whether I will be allowed my Freedom of Movement and the Right to Peace when I want to go and watch a movie 'My Name is Khan'  to just have a good time with family and friends while I'm in BOMBAY!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"Buddhaa Saala!"

The watch showed 5 minutes to 7 and I breathed contently. It was one of the very rare occasions I wasn't going to be too early or a last minute passenger to check-in for my flight. Having my mother drop me to the airport has its own benifits and drawbacks. Benifit  of 'punctuality', drawback of  'rickshaw-phobia'. My mother fears a rickshaw will turn turtle while going to the airport on the highway. So I've learnt to give in and hire the good old black and yellow PAL Padmini cabs plying on Bombay roads bellowing petrol smoke and announcing their journey's start by screeching like smooth metal saws rubbing against each other or sometimes a prominent horse 'neigh' giving the passengers a good amount of  vibrations that can put most of the modern day massage chair companies a run for their money in the first 5 seconds. The older the vehicle the longer the competition could sustain.
I don't remember which category the one that I hired fell in. The cab entered the highway and I still had an hour to go before check -in would begin. It was'nt the Bombay Monsoons and there were no road blocks. I would make it in 20 minutes and so I started chito-chat with my mother telling her not to worry if I dint call for some reason in a duration of 24 hours.
All of a sudden there was a jerk, the cab moved to the right a bit and a sudden brake. A motorcyclist without his helmet on and his pillion rider looked at the cabbie and yelled "Buddhaa Saala" (Bloody Old Man).
There was no accident. The cabbie started to drive again and after 300 meters saw the same motorcyclist caught by the traffic police.
He began speaking to me and my mom in the backseat. "Jaisey iska baap buddha nahi hua, ya fir ye kabhi khud kabhi buddha nahi hoga."
(As if his father isnt old, or he will never age).

Saturday, January 16, 2010

When a man lies...

It started with a phone call yesterday afternoon whilst I was snoozing on my daily medications and a gulp of Ascoril-D. K called up asking if AJ was with me. I said no. Then she asked if he planned to meet me. I replied in the negative again and even added medical reasons that added to my inability. K and AJ have been married for half a decade now.
K said there was no news about the whereabouts of AJ and that he had walked out of home after a minor altercation.  At night I wanted to check on K and see if AJ returned and all was fine but decided otherwise cuse I dint wanna make too much of it.
Today it happened again. The phone buzzed again with K's familiar number while I was half way into my siesta. This time I silenced the ringer trying to imagine all was well and K had called me to say just this and I dint have to pick up the phone to know this info. I wasn't the one keeping record of husband wife reconciliations and happy endings.
Damn it buzzed again.
This time eyes wide open I picked up. K asked if I knew when was the wedding function of another colleague JM. I said I had no clue and also that JM was in Delhi. The whole stretch of questions were perplexing me. Then she said AJ had still not reported home. It has been three days today. To calm her down I started talking. Probed her slightly as to the reason of the fight and then the skeletons came out of the closet.
AJ and I met in a former office. He was an analyst, so the initial Chinese Walls restricted our interactions. Then the markets slipped and their was a major corporate rejig.
AJ and I worked on the same floor and became friendly. To make it pure white we became friendly simply because amongst sharks u become friends with anyone who doesn't seem to back stab you in the world of IB.
That's when I figured out his obsession with occult and clairvoyance practices.
Thats when I figured out his obsession with material things especially clothes, contact lenses and footwear that billed him more than his income and the debt he dint mind incurring.
Thats when I figured out he had a house of his own at 32 with a huge outstanding EMI and a bigger outstanding loan.
Thats when I also figured out that he was shallow to judge people by their outward appearance, clothes, hairstyle, fone and footwear brand.
I tolerated and continued being friendly with him. Having no friend at work was better than having one who was shallow.
AJ's mother being a widow at an early age had invested in lots and pots of gold and his younger sister is an established item girl down south.
When our paychecks started getting delayed sometimes for months, I'd often ask AJ how he was managing the EMI. Sometimes the mother or sometimes the sisters contribution came up. K has a small fledgling investing practice of her own. Nothing to write about and so she couldnt contribute much to the household or EMI expenses. Lets say she managed her own. Then a particular desk was shut and AJ lost his job.
History was repeating itself.
AJ was a repeat job looser. He had got this job offer after sitting home for 7 months when his younger southern siren sis asked a 'friend' who happened to be a director in the company to give her brother a job. At work AJ wasnt diligent, wasnt hardworking and just did what he was asked to. I guess his first stint at a Call Centre had his mind trapped in the Call Centre culture where work started and ended with phone calls and your shift timings. Not a minute more.
This obviously speaks doom in the big bad world of Investment Banking where everyone out there competes to register more time in their punch in cards. When we were indeed slogging it out churning reports crossing the midnight hour for months on end AJ would be conveniently missing. Then he started convincing me to get out of office for a half an hour walk everyday during lunch hour 'cuse according to him lunch hour is one full hour and one can utilize it so. I told him lunch time gets over once you finish lunch. But with AJ it fell on deaf ears. He wasnt proactive and inspite of being from a commerce background dint know how to read a Balance Sheet or P &  L statement to finish some reports that I, a non commerce student had to mark him with highlighters to pick up from.
News started filtering in how prior to landing the job here he had lost his job with a reputed German Bank I had once interned in where he was sent an absconding letter. No one knows the reason for losing his job. Then he had joined my office and when again he got jobless because of genuine cost cutting reason some of us well wishers pushed him to take up some job that helped in running the house hold expenses.
AJ belonged to that category of people who always have their feet 2 feet above the ground. He wasnt taking up offers that were a tad little less than his previous remuneration.
Today K told me about a recent spinal fracture that she suffered and how it was caused by AJ who had hit her. AJ has been assaulting K since the past few months. Looses his temper on silly little things. Kicks her self esteem by telling her how his 'friends' dont like hanging around with her because she doesnt look 'good' and insists she visits the salon every now and then when its difficult to run the house.
The worst of it all???
He has been concealing the fact that its K who has been paying the EMI''s since the last 2 years diving into her sinking savings fund from her school days where as all he could do was rake up more credit card bills to match up with my policy of not repeating clothes for atleast 2 weeks. A fact I must've on some god forsaken moment yacked mindlessly in front of a fool like him.
I clearly remember one occasion when AJ poked me about my lack of wearing make up to work every day. That ticked me off so much I told him I had no husband or man to please at an Investment Bank and all I have to offer fellow Fund Managers or Traders was a piece f my brain and Investment Ideas. If pretty faces could do it, then Miss Indias would flock Investment Banking post their ramp walking days.
That shut him up for life in front of me.
It dint work with K. She's told me about his continual trips to astrologers etc. and blowing up money to get an insight into his future. A future he was ready to do absolutely nothing about. Raking up bills into thousands but not bloody getting a job.
How he kicked out his mother and younger sis (who would pay up the house hold expenses for his house) after a silly angry fight and then does nothing to run the house smoothly or help K while doing so.
I am angry with myself. For having been friendly with a looser.
I dont know what has happened of him. If he is still alive or taken his own life. But if indeed he gets to read this they I'd just want him to know he can count one less friend in me.
And yeah even if I had said I'd not wanna repeat clothes in 2 weeks I dint have a monstrous home loan, married life or credit card bills to pay. Nor was I 32, gotten a job due to a younger sisters 'requests', or go shopping worth lacs on credit cards planning to pay back by fixed deposits when they'd mature.
I'd probably never told you this AJ but its true. Your'e an immature, selfish, LAZY and irresponsible guy who really needs to go out their and have a reality check.
For Gods sake stop lying and if you have it in you which I know you dont divorce K and let her have a better life with some one else. Cuse with you its worh nothing.