Tiny Tales :: 1

Tiny Tales: 1

It was dark and cold night at the sea beach. There are hardly any tourists apart from them. She waited for him by sitting there. She couldn’t keep up with his pace at which he walked away from her. She was shocked seeing he could leave her in that dark sea shore alone. She waited. Because she believed her love would return to that spot eventually. She could have gone back to her room and waited. But she was scared for his safety. He was drunk and enraged. The sea was dangerous and so the deserted sea beach. She was scared for herself too for the risks she was aware of at such place.

He returned, but not to her. Seeing her seated on that rock he slowly took a shortcut to the hotel. Unaware she kept on waiting for him and someone else came to her. He was lurking in the dark bush for a long time assessing his chances with his victim. Moments later the sea roared, as usual, hiding the unusual faint scream from her mouth.

Next morning everyone asked, “What was she doing there at such hour alone?” “What was she wearing?”
That followed “She was asking for it. A girl like her deserves this.”

I am a Potterhead

“After all this time?”

That’s what one of my friends asked me this Sunday after I posted a picture of my brand new collection of Harry Potter series to celebrate its 20 years anniversary. I couldn’t say “always” in reply as I didn’t read any book from the series until recently. “But better late than never”, I replied.

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Would you believe I finally started reading Harry Potter series just this January? And finished it in 20 days. All 7 books. When I started reading the first book I was already scheduled for a trip. I took the iPad with me loaded with all the 7 books. I even read while I was traveling by train. I read at night till dawn even when I was supposed to wake up in the morning. I read while waiting for the train. I read while I was visiting my relatives.

I couldn’t wait to get back to the story every night. The whole day I would be trekking in Uttarakhand or traveling from one city to other and return to my resting place tired and sleepy. But the moment I would hit the bed I would start reading. I even read while I was suffering from fever, cough, and cold which I caught from drastic weather change during the trip. I was that hooked. Any Potterhead would know the feeling. Then I watched all the eight movies one after another.

Let me tell you why it took me so many years. I was introduced to this magical world for the first time through the first movie when it came on Star Movies one night. I liked that movie but had no idea it was already a famous fiction series. None of my friends read English books let alone reading Harry Potter. Most of them didn’t even read book at all. So there was basically no one to put some sense in me, you see? I watched 2nd and 4th movies skipping the 3rd one on TV when I could while forgetting half of the things from the previous movies. So basically I wasn’t understanding what was it all about.

Then I watched the 5th one on big screen. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Then I gave up. I thought it wasn’t for me. I never watched the rest of the movies again. I saw the thick sparkly books at bookshops and the prices were outrageous for me at that time. And I couldn’t imagine myself reading all those bulky seven books in my lifetime even though I am a book lover. So I told myself I am never going to read or watch all these ever. “These are for children”, I told myself even though I read children books all the time.

Then I met Potterheads. Watched them around me. Slowly I started feeling jealous of them bonding over some dialogues or trivia which I hardly understood. I started feeling left alone. I grew curious. Then finally I took my chance. And boy, would I ever regret? Yes, I would. I regret missing out on this for so many years. Had I been reading these books during my teen days I could have fallen in love with one of the characters (read Fred) without knowing whether he was going to die or live in the future. I could have waited eagerly for the next book to come. But I missed all these little joys from happening. How sad!

I cried buckets for each and every death. I am still mourning. “She has finally arrived.”, one of my friends said this when I declared that I finally finished reading the series and I don’t know what to do with my life anymore.

I seriously don’t know what I am going to do with my life after this instead of re-reading these books and reliving the life at Hogwarts over and over again. These books taught me a lot. It echoes almost everything I believe. I think I have finally found a fictitious world where I feel at home. Where I can hide every time whenever I start feeling uncomfortable with this real world around me. Where I can seek the answers which I always look for in this real world. It has its share of sorrow, pain, anger, and all the negative elements of human world but it has countless of good things too which are so reassuring.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I think I am going to be a Potterhead now. “Always”.

I am More Indian Than You Think

I come from a suburb of Kolkata which has a population that followed all kinds of religions possible in India. We even have people belonged to different tribes as neighbors. An outsider can’t differentiate between houses of different religious person, we live in such a way. Inter-caste and inter-religion marriage is very common in our area and nobody thinks it as more than a small gossip. But we all speak Bengali so the harmony was nothing extraordinary in my opinion.

I started playing chess when I was 11 years old. To be honest I was quite late compared to other chess players I know. I was a shy and introvert girl at that time. I still am. But that exposure into the world as a sportsman changed my life. During my first year I came to know the players speaking different but familiar languages and coming from different parts of West Bengal. I made friends for the first time with the boys and girls of different ages other than those I knew since my childhood. The horizon of my mind just started to get bigger.

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Within a year I got selected for national level age group tournaments. My first ever national tournament was held in Thrissur in Kerala. That was the longest train journey I have ever made at that age. It took us 3 days to reach there. I struck up an acquaintance with a lady in train who spoke fluent Bengali but told me her mother tongue was Telugu. I was amazed. Co-incidentally the journey covered the 31st December and 1st January. I was woken up by some people running around shouting and wishing each other “Happy new year!”. Such a unique and happy way to start the year.

My experience was same at the tournament as well. Till then I only read in books that our country’s political motto is “Unity in diversity” and I experienced just that after reaching the venue. So many girls from every corner of India came to participate in that tournament, held in a small village called Peechi. Some came with their families, just like me. The families made friends with each other with their broken English while we girls played against each other. Many knew each other from earlier tournaments. Every evening after our tournament rounds and before our practice sessions we played together in the hilly ground or went to see the beautiful reservoir & dam nearby. The tournament was hosted in a church. We all shared dormitories and had so much fun together. The village had only a small hut which served rice, sambar, and omelette for lunch and dinner. The only small stationery shop available there had a pay phone from where we made calls to home.

I made best of friends over the years from every corner of India. We grew up together literally. We met each other at tournaments every few months held in different corners of India. I participated in tournaments held in places I never imagined existed. I traveled extensively. And from that time I became a bohemian at heart forever. I felt proud being an Indian. I don’t think any other country has as many differences as we Indians have yet so connected to each other. During International tournaments I even made acquaintances with people coming from different countries.

We, chess players played against each other but never hated any. After every match we discussed and helped each other to analyze the games and find wrong moves we made. We wrote letters to each other for years pouring our hearts out.  I am still in touch with many. We never bothered about religions, regions or financial status. We shared rooms, meals, heartbreaks, failures and success with each other as if we were families. We loved and accepted each other just the way we were. We even tried to learn each other’s languages. We never laughed at each other’s accented and broken languages as we taught each other or at our poor scores in the tournament. More than anything we exchanged our different cultures and values.

I tasted different authentic regional foods (sometime even home-made foods) as I traveled to different parts of India since very young age. With that exposure I have developed a tongue which can survive with any kind of tasty food available around me without feeling homesick. From Chhole Batore to Dosa, from Fish Curry to Misal Pav, from Momos to Haleem, from Lucknow Biryani to Hyderabadi Biryani, from Rajma to Malabar Chicken, I am all game. That same exposure made me understand and love people even if they are not Bengali or Indian. I have become a global citizen yet an Indian at heart.

Today India has more than 40 Grand Masters and many International Masters. India has produced exceptional players over the years and many more in the making. Even though I don’t play anymore I still feel so proud of being a chess player. It is not a team game yet there is no rivalry. It is this Indian-ness that helped me succeeding in my career as a Graphic Designer, as a designer must understand every client’s taste and need is different. I shifted to Bangalore 10 years back and never felt away from home. I am #MoreIndianThanYouThink it is possible.

Knowing people with different mother tongues made me a language-lover. So I started learning German as well. Two years back I met an elderly German couple, Moni and Klaus on a trip in Coorg, Karnataka and we are still in touch through e-mails. As I spoke to them in German they said they felt at home. Before parting Moni gifted me her magazine as that was the only possible option she had. I still treasure that one.

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Lufthansa’s new TVC caught my attention. It is celebrating India’s growing global influence. In this ad the mouth watering food they are serving made me think how delighted Moni and Klaus would be when they make their next trip to India as they always travel by Lufthansa. And I hope I can visit them soon.

This post is written as a part of the contest #MoreIndianThanYouThink in association with Indiblogger and Lufthansa.

When It Rained Here

The wind started thrashing the window panes suddenly in the evening and I knew it would rain. I opened the window of my bed room and sat on the bed in dark. The silvery threads of lighting were flashing at the distance in the sky. The cloud started rumbling. Bangalore is no more pleasant during summer like it used to be. Earlier we used to show off the ever-pleasant weather of Bangalore, the city of gardens. So a rain like this is a reason for a joy after a hot summer day.

Even though our apartment building is far from the main road, the adjacent lanes have a good number of vehicles flowing through all day. Soon it started raining and the cool breeze started coming in my direction. People started running around, disoriented yet happy. Some of the balcony doors opened and people stood there for a while enjoying the rain. I remembered it’s been a while I took time out to watch the real life around me. Many memories were piling up in my mind. Thought about the paper boats and puddles in our garden. I can never get enough of rain.

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[Royalty free picture taken from internet and edited in Photoshop]

Bikers were hurrying towards their destinations as they were not prepared for this. Few pedestrians were struggling to hold on to their umbrellas. Cars, autos and trackers were occasionally clogging the 4 lane junction. The shop owner across the road was watching the rain with an amused expression. One tall guy changed his direction suddenly as it was being difficult for him to manage his umbrella and remain dry. Raindrops on black telephone cables were glistening like diamonds.

Away from all these a lone dog was trying to keep himself dry under a tree. I know this dog. The dispirited dog was all soaked within few minutes. The front gate of the house next to him was closed. He walked away somewhere to find a better place.

The lady from one balcony in 3rd floor of a building across ours went inside leaving the door open. I noticed the only big tree in our area moving violently, as if it was dancing with impish glee. The dog came back again to his old spot but didn’t feel comfortable. He looked at the boundary wall of the house for a while and then decided to leave again. This time to a different direction.

I closed the window, knowing it won’t rain for long as everything was still so visible. I didn’t want to witness the moment when it stops.

 

Fact and fiction

This was my task.

Fact and fiction

Trying to write both fact and fiction can help you realise the relationship between the two.
Write a paragraph (50 to 100 words) containing one fact and three fictitious elements. You can write about yourself, about your interests, about history – about anything you like.
Then try the reverse – write a paragraph containing three facts and one fictitious element.

 

And I have come up with this.

1 Fiction, 3 Fact : Ravi was in his final year of engineering, living in a different city while I already started working and still lived in our native place. He was my childhood friend. One night during our regular chat session over yahoo messenger he told me he was going to see the sunrise at the sea beach nearby with his friends whom I didn’t know. He didn’t reply the next night but next day I got a call from an unknown number telling me he drowned and if I suspected anyone.

1 Fact, 3 Fiction : That giant truck from the opposite direction was overtaking the other one at the same time when we turned at the blind bend of the road. It was too late to avoid the clash. Before I lost my consciousness, drenched in my own blood, I saw both the truck ran away. No one else was there to help me on the highway at 4 o’clock in the morning.

Why don’t you try too and write in the comment section of this post?

Flowers, Spring & BigBouquet

Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”
— Robin Williams

Spring is here again! The season of new beginnings. Fresh buds blooming, animals awakening from hibernation and the earth coming to life again. The temperature is rising slowly. At some places the slight winter chill still refusing to leave the night air. This is the season of flowers. The earth is turning green again before the Summer hits us. Spring is the season of colors as well in India. 12th March we are going to celebrate Holi, the festival of colors. Humans of India surely took inspiration from the nature.

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Spring also reminds me of my childhood in Kolkata. Every year during March we would have our annual exams. We would eagerly count days for the last exam to finish and then we would be free birds playing in our garden whole day. The White Lily would spread its enchanting fragrance every evening and I would smell and tell myself how lucky I was to have a garden full of flowers. Because I knew not everyone was that fortunate.

In our garden we had White Lily, Marigolds, Pinwheelflower, Four o’clock flower (Mirabilis jalapa), White Rangoon Creeper, Rose, Land Lotus, Hibiscus, Night-flowering Jasmine to name a few. We never needed to buy any flowers. But that was past. While we still have the garden in Kolkata, I live in Bangalore now and having a garden here is merely a dream. Balcony gardens can’t beat the actual garden ever. Even if we wish to gift someone or wish someone to gift us flowers we need to go to the local florists. The fragrance of freshly bloomed flowers is one of the things I miss so much.

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With our busy schedules these days we hardly can spend much time at the florists and buy the perfect bouquet for our loved ones or for ourselves. Some shops are at such a busy road that even standing there for few minutes is a pain. That’s where online e-commerce sites come to our rescue. Even then most of the sites have limited combinations of bouquets and no tool for customizing our own choices. BigBouquet (www.bigbouquet.in) gives us such options. The first ever and only site which allows their customer to choose the flowers, number of flowers, greens, fillers and packaging.

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Give it a try this coming women’s day. Tell the women in your family that they are special. Or just buy flowers for your home anyway. BigBouquet ties up with local vendors who don’t have access to the online market. With the current situation after demonetization and our economy changing from cash-based to cashless these local vendors are one of the victims. Even though BigBouquet started its operations last Spring, the role it is playing to help the local florists’ businesses is more relevant now.

Celebrate the season with flowers, friends and loved ones.

HUMAN I SEE : 4 : The Cab Driver

‘A’ has a habit of talking to the drivers whenever we take a ride anywhere. He just can’t sit idle having a stranger within his radius of 10 meters. I join him sometimes if the person is really interesting. Meeting new people is one of the main purposes of travelling after all. Last year we were going to Chennai from Bangalore to attend a family function and we took a cab to reach airport. I don’t remember the driver’s name anymore but I remember him and his words vividly. From the first moment he struck as a very nice person. Offered us bottled water and wifi password for free. It was hot summer day. We didn’t need the wifi password.

We started chatting as usual. The JNU topic was still fresh. Kanhaiya Kumar was out on bail and rest were still in jail. Automatically our discussion shifted to the topic of the recent trend of labeling people as anti-national and sending them to Pakistan. It is amazing how words of wisdom come from strangest people and places. I will try to quote and translate his words as I remember.

“These politicians and their supporters now want us to hate everyone who is not Indian. Specially if they are Pakistanis. But tell me madam why should I hate a person I don’t even know or have seen him? They are also someone’s sons and daughters. They also work whole day like me to feed their family. Tell me sir, does a Chinese mother love less? When they die at war do their families grieve less? What if I was born in China or Pakistan? These things are not in our hands, right?”

At this point I felt sudden rush of emotions that someone so different from me feels exactly the way I feel. While those days I was discovering lack of empathy and compassion is the new definition of patriotism which disturbed me and made me worried so much, I was overjoyed meeting a stranger who has both the qualities in right amount.

He went on telling more.

“Regarding our own countrymen and fellow citizens, did you ever notice how do they keep the 5 rs pen locked with a chain at the counters of Banks? They (the authority) don’t even trust us with a 5 rs pen and we talk about enemies! We don’t need any enemies. We are even beating our own children at colleges. If they become successful in starting a riot anytime soon people like us will die or protect each other. They will take the first flight abroad to run away. Probably all of their children are already abroad studying or working or they don’t have any family to worry about that is why they don’t care.”

There were more discussions till we reached airport but these two points he made stirred me most. All these fresh incidences of violence and outrage at Delhi University and Jamia Millia Islamia University reminded me of him.