Thursday, May 12, 2011

I Want A Place In Your Heart

I threw my bag on the floor as I called out “I am back mom”. It took only a couple of seconds for my mother to find out that I lost my gold chain. She was about to freak out.

“Don’t freak out mom. I think I know where it is” I tried to calm her down a bit.

“What do you mean?” she yelled.

I gulped and said in a low voice, “I think it might be with the person who stole my shoe”.

A couple of days back I visited the Shiva temple with my mother. India and temples can imply only one mean joke-Missing shoes. But the weird thing was only one shoe of mine went missing. My mother thinks I didn’t look properly for the other. I explained her that “my dream guy” will get that shoe for me at right time and right moment. Of course my mother doesn’t believe in fairy tales.

“And how did you figure that out?” She asked again.

“It’s normal for my prince charming to take the chain as a remembrance token “I said dreamily.

My mother sighed. She was back in the kitchen as I switched on the tube. I was worried only for a couple of minutes before I got dissolved into the commercial being played. It was about a young man who scrambles in a railway station platform and looks around frantically for his wife. The presence and concern of the man puts the wife at ease and makes her feel safe and secure for now that he was there.

“It takes small things to make women happy. Right mom?”I looked towards the kitchen counter as I hugged my pillow.

“Yes beta. Just returning a chain will do”, my mother mocked.

I guessed she was still mad at me. “Oh my god!” I exclaimed suddenly “In few moments the clock will tick nine”; I grabbed my binoculars and rushed out.
”Ouch!” my brother and I said in unison as we bumped into each other.
“Good heavens. Be careful you two. What’s the hurry?” yelled my mother.
“It’s that boy mom”, he rubbed his forehead as he said; “He usually comes home by this time.”

“You like him only because he is cute. Girls are stupid. They forget their brains in their makeup kits”, he said as he tried to tighten an invisible screw on my head.

I pretended not to hear him. What do kids know about love? I looked from my window again. That “dream guy” will be there only for a minute to unlock his door and I can’t miss my turn. I waited the whole day for him. The boy disappeared into his house. That one moment took my breath away.

I wondered if he knew I was watching him. “What will you do if he stands in front of you?” my brother tapped on my head to get me back from my dream world.

I did not reply. He laughed “That’s right. You might be too shocked to answer”

I answered rather sincerely “I will ask for a place in his heart”.

He coughed. “Are you laughing?” I asked with a wrinkled nose.

“Of course not. I know you are serious.” he tried his best not to laugh but bursted out laughing. Why are brothers so annoying?

After three weeks “my dream guy” moved away. I didn’t know anything about him. I once saw him in a grocery store and was shocked to see him with another guy.

“I knew about his orientation.” my brother took another cookie from the jar as he said. We were in the kitchen. We were supposed to be helping my mother with dinner preparations.

“You knew about him?”I asked.

“It was an open secret. He was kicked out from his family because he was not normal .Poor bloke”, He munched some more cookies.

“Didn’t LGBT fight for their rights recently? Besides how can a mother not love his son?” I asked in astonishment. I imagined now-not-my-dream-guy say I want a place in your heart to his family members in tears.

“Leave him alone. He is happy with his life. Not every family is as broad minded like ours to accept abnormal people”, he split the last cookie into two as he said that. He is so kind, I thought.

“Hey wait a minute .I am normal!” I tried to take one piece from him.

“Sure. Normal people expect letters to turn up from Hogwarts” he teased as he ate both the pieces. I stared at him. “What?” he asked with a grin.

“Why were you born?”I asked. He gets on my nerves.

“God forgot to put brain in your head. He sent me with extra brains to guide you dumb head”, he stuck his tongue out as he ran, laughing at his poor joke.

”You are dead meat!” I yelled as I chased after him.

Monday, May 09, 2011

The Other Side of The Broken Fence

“What are you thinking”, my friend asked.

“Nothing. Not a thing”, I said as I looked around the room.

We were sitting in the Blue room. The room was small.At one corner there was aqua and cross corner had a projector. The team just finished with a presentation about the company. I looked around and made a quick count. There where thirty five candidates, which means I still had time to attend the interview. 
“Let’s go and check out the campus”, I said as I pulled my friend out of the room.

“What? Are you serious?”

“Yes mom. It’s my dream”

“What unrealistic dreams do kids have these days? The girl next door is so dumb and she still managed to get into a MNC. Why can't you?”

“No mom. I am not interested. I already told you I want to go into teaching profession”

“You don’t know what you need. You are just a kid!!”

”I am not a kid”, I said.

“Of course you are not. That’s why I ordered tea and not milk”, my friend teased.

“Hey look! This cafĂ© is huge. All the food here is free”, she sounded like a five year old .I looked at the menu. It had south Indian food along with all the junk food one can think about.

“You want to work here for free food?” I asked.

“Oh yes. Food will make one's life better. What else do you need?” she asked  raising her eyebrow. 

“Job satisfaction?” 

“Yes dad. I should love what I do”

“All you like is to read fictions and play e-games.”

“But how can I do something which I don’t love? Please try and understand.”

“You will love it if you look into it. It might be more interesting than you expect. Just give it a chance”

“You don’t have faith in me?” I asked.

“Ok fine. Let’s take the kulfi then” she grabbed the drinks and two Kulfis as we left.

It took around twenty minutes to find the Blue room. I noticed that the room had more empty chairs than before.We took our  seats.

“Are you nervous?” I whispered.

“Why should I be nervous? If not this company then I will try for another.” She tried to play cool.

It was not our first interview call. We were desperate to get jobs. If you do not manage to get a job after graduation, and if you didn’t plan for higher studies, believe me, everyone is cold towards you even in summer. India is a free country, but some Indians are not.

“Software jobs are life sis”, my cousin one said. “If you make it into them, you will be covered in gold.”

I looked at his brand new car. He was a couple of years younger to me.”The work is raw. But who cares? The pay is excellent!”

“All you care about is money?”I asked. 

“Oh come on sis. This is reality”, he gestured his hands to signify his point,” Besides  I only do this job to save some bugs and then I will start my won company. Teaching is boring”.

"When one loves ones Art,No service seems to hard" I saw the quote on the wall.

“Are you stupid? Save the spiritual stuff for later. Hurry up. They called your name twice already!”She shooed me into the HR room.

Fifteen days later I was at my friend’s house watching tube .We were waiting for the offer letter from the company. Life is not like an Ameer Khan’s movie where, after three hours you end up saying your parents were wrong about you. Reality is much deep and even more cryptic. Parents guide their children to achieve their dreams in an easy and better way.

“I am bored. Let’s go out and celebrate your birthday again”, my friend said dully.

“What? Same place with same friend. That’s boring”, I argued.

Everybody is born for a purpose. It’s only you who can figure it out. You might be happy at one side of the field, but in life you need to hop onto the other side of the broken fence. There might be a whole new world waiting for you, which no one has seen yet. The road you choose to travel might make all the difference in life.

“Okay Libra baby. Let’s celebrate for a different reason” she asked rather in an  I-am-bored tone.

“Yes. Today is International Teachers day.”

Sunday, May 08, 2011

The Dusty Old Haunted Bike

“Waah! It’s awesome dad. I love it”, I exclaimed.

“Let’s start practicing from tomorrow ok?”

“Yes”, I sounded excited.

It was during my graduation days that my dad bought me a brand new bike. Of course I was not excited. It means I can’t travel in autos and buses. I am basically an indoor kind of person. But I was happy as all the new things were first tested by my sister and brother. Within weeks they learnt the bike and it was my turn to hop on.

Thanks to the Indian government it took me two weeks to get the learning licence. If you are in Hyderabad and want to start new relationships, a business, play games or learn driving a vehicle you land up at Necklace road. My father took me to a large parking place which in morning, was used by kids to play cricket and driving learners like me.

There were quite a few who came to learn two-wheelers though. There where women who were in their late thirties and some girls about my age. Even when you don’t know them in person sometimes you enjoy their company even in difficult situations. 

My father was precise about the instructions. He first told me what is used to stop and start the vehicle. You might find it stupid but the last vehicle I piloted was my tricycle on my eighth birthday.

My first day was great. I learnt how to balance the vehicle and was able to ride without my dad’s help. It took me two weeks to perfectly take U-turns, and it was time for my sister to take the charge from my dad.

It was a very pleasant morning. My sister drove till, now called, “practice spot”. She took her usual seat near a tree and watched me ride the bike. I took several turns as my driving test was within a couple of weeks. I wanted to ask my sister about my performance so I stopped my bike on a slope and searched for her with my eyes.

“Hey! Where did you go?” I asked when I spotted her.

“Oye.Hold the break....WATCH OUT!!”


~~Half an hour later~~

“How did you do it?” dad asked in disbelief.

“Awesome! You girls are geniuses. You hit a car which was already parked.WOW!” my brother keyed up.

“I didn’t even start paying the EMI yet!” mom added in worrisome. 

“Chill mom it’s still in one piece”, I tried to cheer her up.

“Oh! I should be glad. Did anything happen to the car you hit. Was the driver angry?” mom asked in a cynical flavour.

“Mom relax. He wasn’t even there. Besides you should be proud that she learnt to take a U-turn now”, my sister added cheerfully.

“And we did write dad’s phone number on the cars window. So he might call you for the bill dad”, I added dimly. Well, we are quite honest people. Alright, I did get that idea from a commercial advertisement. But I ran away only to come back later.

Three years have passed, I thought, as I stood in an overcrowded public transport. The bike lay untouched after that incident. None of my family members found time to ride it. It stood in the garage, now old and covered with dust. The birds had built their nest and are living happily. 

I once told my bike, “I am sorry Mr. Bike. I always dreamed off  riding  on you and find my prince.” I didn’t expect a reply, but I felt it roared ,“Thanks to you I am still in one piece. Ride on me again and I will kill you! “.

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Hyderabad, A.P., India