DEEP WITHIN – XI

As they entered Aman’s house there was sound of laughter and singing emanating from the room. Manan and his mother were laughing whereas Mudit was singing a funny song and prancing around. Hot tea and samosa was there on the table. Punit was surprised to see the atmosphere in the house. It was just a one room kitchen house but was neatly kept. What touched him the most was the affable aura in the house. They all seemed so relaxed and happy.

Mudit stopped singing in mid sentence and gave an exaggerated bow on seeing Punit. “Here comes the hot shot captain to a poor man’s home” he announced. Manan signalled Mudit to stop the sarcastic tone. They welcomed Punit and offered him tea and samosa. But Punit was so uneasy he didn’t know how to react.. He just mumbled an excuse and rushed out.

On the drive back home the devil and angel on either side of Punit had a huge argument.. the Devil said “Look at that Mr. Goody two shoes.. In injury also this guy has earned points.” The angel on the other hand pointed out “Look at him and his family these are nice people“. And Punit didn’t know what to think.

The stadium was empty, the lights were on. Coach Sharma was sitting in one corner his hands on his forehead. Aman’s injury had drawn the worry lines across his forehead…
With his star player out of action he was really worried about the team’s performance. A niggling doubt was bothering him.. “I just hope Aman is not faking this injury just to strengthen Punit’s place in the team. I know from previous experiences, he is capable of going to any lengths if he thinks it is in the team’s interest.” Coach was still lost in thoughts when someone came and sat beside him. Coach turned to see Punit sitting besides him.

DEEP WITHIN – IV

Aman was walking down the footpath to the bus stop lost in his own thoughts. He was thinking about Punit’s little drama. 

“It’s not even official yet and Punit is behaving like this. He is surely going to make my life difficult as a captain. How do I tackle him. He is one of the star batsmen. If he revolts then surely there will be a split in the team. Why is he so headstrong? I should try to talk to him once again.”

Aman boarded the bus. And someone called out his name. He turned and saw his elder brother Manan and his friend Mudit sitting in the back seat. They were coming back from their tuition classes. Manan was 2 years elder to Aman. He was studying to be a CA. He was quite good at his studies. Both Aman and Manan were talented and hardworking. They were well aware of their father’s financial condition and knew that to improve it they will have to work hard and take the family out of this condition.

“Hey Bhai! The coach is considering my name for the Captainship of the team.” Shouted Aman excitedly even before he reached the seat. There was a hoot of joy from them and a round of Hi-fives… Aman settled in the seat in front of the Manan and Mudit and turned around. He rattled off the morning’s happenings.

“This Punit sounds like trouble.” said Manan. “Be very careful of him.” were the wise words of the elder brother.

“Ya! What the hell does he think of himself. If he is the son of the trustee of RPCA does he think he owns the whole academy. He is nothing but a rich brat… very arrogant… How dare he call you slumdog? I don’t trust him one bit. These kind of people only know how to climb using their surname. He should be thrown out of the team” added an agitated Mudit making a disgusted face. 

“Easy easy… Mudit you sound like you are getting ready for war.” laughed Manan. “Don’t be so biased. He is after all an exceedingly good batsman. He will remain in the team.” added the level-headed Manan. 

Aman was looking from Manan to Mudit and wondering what a deep muddle he had got into and how was he going to get himself out of it.

Meanwhile Coach Sharma was getting ready to submit his recommendation of the final list of players to the board of trustees. He was sure he had made the right choice and that it was the best team they had put forward in the last few years. This team would really go a long way in the coming tournaments. Hopefully they will win the cup too.

Coach Sharma entered the grand conference room of RPCA. It was a huge room with wood panelled walls and a long oak table reminiscent of the grandeur of the British era when this building was built.  All the twelve trustees were seated at the table. After all this was a very important meeting, the team was being finalised today. Mr Sharma passed out the copies of his dossier to all the members and waited for their response. At the head of the table Mr Vikram Shah opened his dossier and had a grim look on his face…

I AM SCARED OF HOSPITALS

“I am scared of hospitals”

I get really anxious when I have to go there. Actually I shouldn’t be feeling such things. The two times I got hospitalized and operated upon it was a joyous occasion, as it was for the birth of my two children through C-Section. I don’t have any bad memories of that time everything went smoothly and I went home happily with my babies.

But still whenever I visit someone who is in hospital my heartbeat increases. I shudder inwardly. I still haven’t been able to pin point why this happens. Maybe it is the atmosphere there, or the distinct smell of disinfectants or the endless wait for the doctor to come and pronounce his verdict. Most probably it is the pain of seeing your loved ones lying on the hospital bed and at least one or if not multiple tubes attached to him.

When my father-in-law was hospitalized I was a newly wedded bahu in the house. My mother-in-law understood my discomfort with the hospitals and gave me the duty to take care of the house and the small daughter of my sister-in-law at home, while all the other family members were taking turns to be in the hospital.

But it is not avoidable always. When my husband was in hospital for a unique combination of dengue and malaria, I had to stay overnight in the hospital with him. And at times I had this insane urge to remove all the tubes and just tell him to run out with me and go home. My brain told me it’s insane to even think like this but the urge was definitely there.

When a person is in hospital he or she is in a bad condition and is suffering. But here I try to bring the spotlight on the family members who are sitting outside waiting, hoping, praying. They too are suffering. Trying to strike a balance between making things normal at home and waiting outside the ICU in an usually uncomfortable seat. Waiting for hours for the next round of the doctor and who will come and give some news about the patient. The feeling of helplessness that a person gets because all they can do is wait and pray for good news.

When my nephew was born he was diagnosed with sever jaundice and was put in neo natal ICU. The mother had to sterilize herself, change clothes, wash hands etc to go inside and pick up the child and feed him. Everybody else in the family used to helplessly just look through the glass and see the baby.

Recently my uncle got brain hemorrhage and is in ICU fighting for his life. When my family and myself met the doctor we had a huge list of questions. Is he out of danger? How much time for recovery? etc etc. There was a barrage of questions directed at the doctor. After patiently answering a few of our questions. He effectively silenced us with only one answer. “I won’t be able to say the words you want me to say right now. We will have to just wait and watch.”

So our family is again facing an endless wait. My uncle is fighting a battle inside the ICU and the family is fighting a battle outside in the waiting room.

But there is only one thing that makes this wait bearable .HOPE. The hope that the patient is getting better slowly and steadily. Hope that we all will go home hale and hearty and life which had paused for a while will again be back to normal.

AN UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTER – VIII

For a change Radha was happy to step out of her house into this chaotic traffic. The interaction with Akash and his father had left her a bit shaken. She did not want to pry into a private matter but at the same their story intrigued her. She got a seat in the bus, put on her earphones and relaxed. One of her favourite songs came pouring in –

Kissi ki muskurahton pe ho nisar
(Fall in love with someone’s smile)
Kissi ka dard mil sake to le udhaar
(If possible take away someone’s pain)
Kissi ke vaste ho tere dil mein pyaar
(If you have love in your heart for someone)
Jina issi ka naam hai
(Then, that’s the way life should be)

On reaching the office all thoughts of Akash and the old man went flying out of the window. There was a big meeting lined up. The whole of finance and marketing department was working on it. Their company was going to launch the new product in a big way. Vansh was representing the marketing department. She was from finance. Staff from other departments were also present. Vansh gave a brilliant presentation about the features of the new launch and the steps involved in the whole process. Every department was allotted their respective jobs. She was quite impressed by the way Vansh handled the presentation and the questions after that. Radha thought to herself “Ok so Vansh has brains also along with good looks and humour… Great combination…

Next couple of days were a whirlwind of activities. They had to work out the detailed cost of each activity, get approvals and things lined up for the launch. She spent a lot of time with Vansh and others in the team even though the work was intense they were enjoying themselves. And Radha could see that Vansh had this great quality to insert humour into very serious and intense conversations and lighten up the mood. At least, it eased off the pressure for sometime… but at the same time he had an eye for details. Not a single loose end missed his sharp eye.

Friday evening, after the wrap up of the launch show they all finally relaxed and let their hair down. There was a mini celebration of sorts happening in their team. Everyone was congratulating each other for a good show. Radha just took her plate of snacks and sat in a corner. Soon Kavya from Customer Service dept joined her. She was a cute perky girl always updated on the latest office gossip. While Radha and Kavya were chatting the topic of Vansh came up. Kavya looked at Vansh chatting and laughing in a group and said “By looking at him can you tell that a couple of years ago he had a breakup with his long time girlfriend and he was completely heartbroken!

What are you saying? Where did you get this news from? What happened exactly?” Radha bombarded her with questions.

Kavya loved it that she had complete attention of Radha now… she savoured the moment and then replied “They were college sweethearts I think. They both worked in the same company. I have heard that they were inseparable. But no one knows what happened one day they suddenly broke off. The girl left the job and the city too. He was completely heart broken. After sometime he too changed jobs and came to our company.
This is all I know.

Radha was stunned. She kept thinking about Vansh and his tragic love story. What must have happened??

She reached home and was still lost in her thoughts. Pragya was not at home. She had gone out with some office friends. Radha changed into her night suit and opened her laptop. She wrote –

Was no one happy?
Is everyone hiding some or the other sorrow in their hearts.

Har kissi ko mukamal jahan nahin milta…
(Everyone does not get complete universe)
Kissi ko zameen to kissi ko asman nahin milta…
(Some don’t get the land, some don’t get the sky…)

She stopped typing…

What would have cause the breakup between Vansh and his girlfriend. Has he moved on or is he hiding a broken heart behind this jovial nature?” Thoughts kept wandering in her mind. Suddenly she was thinking about the old man and his son Akash. Pragya had told her that he was a doctor. How could a doctor himself be the cause of so much heartache for his father. “I have been so busy with this launch don’t even know whether the two reconciled or not” thought Radha. She made a mental note to ask Pragya tomorrow if she knew anything…

Suddenly there was a ping in her blog. The comment was from happygolucky. “Oh my…in this chaos of launch I completely forgot about his incomplete feedback on my last post. Has he completed it this time? With trembling hands she clicked on the notification.

WISH I COULD TRAVEL BACK IN TIME…

Oh How I wish I could travel back in time. There are thousands of things I would like to erase or change. I would erase all the embarrassing moments of my life or the bloopers I committed. I would change all the reasons because of which I got scolding from my parents or teachers. Ha Ha !! If I could go back and tell my younger self the things I learnt the hard way, life would be so much more sorted… But these are only wishes. And maybe then I would have missed out on the experience of growing up. 

But then we all have regrets in our hearts and always wish we were given a chance to undo it. I can also think of a few things. 

I was a very happy go lucky kind of child. Never took my studies quite seriously. In my primary school years I was in the top ten in class but by the time I touched secondary section there were many distractions. And I somehow lost that competitive spirit. I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self how important it is to get a cutting edge degree or a professional degree. And how a plain vanilla B.Sc. doesn’t take you too far. It’s not that I didn’t have the capability, at least l like to believe that I had. Its only that I was not inclined to work hard, didn’t have a goal in mind. I just went with the flow. School, then graduation, then marriage… Everything just happened. It was like my boat was just floating with the current I didn’t even try to steer it. This regret is always there in one corner of my mind. 

As far as my relationships are concerned there is one more thing I wish I could change. When I was in my early twenties I had my sister and two cousins living with us. I was an elder sister to all three of them. The go to person for them. I used to be their agony aunt their problem solver and their shield when we faced the parental ire. I really miss those days, the camaraderie we shared and the fun we had. My friends were by default their friends too. And we were a big happy gang of girls. 

When I got married and shifted to Mumbai I suddenly plunged into a brand new world, a new city, new family, married life. I got so immersed in my life I think I suddenly left them in the lurch. Those were the days of STD calls and rationed talk time, no mobiles to keep in touch with my family. My parents probably understood but my gang of girls deteriorated. There was a rift between the three of them (Two on one side and the third one on the other side. My sister moved to a hostel for her engineering studies I think that was the time she must have felt the most lonely and needed someone to talk to and I was busy building a new life. To this day  regret that phase of my life. I did not even realize the chasm that was created between me and her till it was too late. I just hope she doesn’t carry any bitterness in her heart even now. If I could just re live those 4-5 years of my life I would not let my baby sister feel abandoned ever. I was so intent on creating new relations I took the ones I already had for granted. 

But these are only wishes. Alas time travel is not possible yet. Anyways even if it were possible things would become too complicated if we try to go back and change things. We just have to learn to accept our mistakes and move on and try to be a better person than we were..

Google gave me an apt quote for my state of mind

“We don’t regret the things we have done. We just regret the things we didn’t do when we had a change.”

IS THERE SOMETHING CALLED OVER-COMMITMENT?

Is there something called Over Commitment?

The word commitment is used in many contexts. The most common context is commitment (or lack of it) in a relationship. This aspect has been discussed at length in the previous articles so I won’t venture there at all.

My take is a little different.

What is a commitment?

I asked Google and this is the first meaning Google threw up:

Commitment – the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.

For me, commitment is a promise or obligation that you give to someone or some cause that you will support them. You may be committing your time or money or emotions or freedom or maybe something else.

Lack of commitment may be one problem people face. But for me, it’s the other end of the spectrum where I get stuck with Over Commitment

Imagine a child roaming freely in a huge toy shop. He has been told that he can pick up and play with any toy. He is so excited he picks up one toy and then sees another interesting toy, leaves the first one and goes to the second and then third and so on. He is not able to play properly with any of it. On most of the days, that’s me.

I am so prone to over-committing. A friend will call me for some help I will agree. Then the society will have some function and request me to volunteer and I will agree. My family will make some plans and I won’t be able to say no. Children need help with homework or need to picked up or dropped somewhere, of course, I have to do. Then there is the regular work of the office, kitchen, etc. Eventually, what happens, I run around a lot trying to meet all my commitments and end up not giving my 💯% to any of my commitments. Later on, I carry regret that I could have done a better job if I had more time. When I promise it’s all with genuine feelings of commitment, I don’t mean to do the job half-heartedly. But sometimes (not always) it happens.

I am putting in a conscious effort to improve. And now trying to follow the mantra that – commit only as much as you can deliver. A lot of people around you need you. Prioritize, Distribute and then Commit. And learn to say ‘NO, where you know that you won’t be able to give your 💯%.

Remember! Over-commitment brings about somewhat similar results as lack of commitment.

SEEING THE WORLD DIFFERENTLY

I was never a writer… I never thought I could write something that would interest others. It is thanks to two very important people in my life that I got into writing. 

Let’s begin from the starting…

As a kid I loved stories. My Dad used to buy so many books for me from book exhibitions. I had a great collection and I used to love reading and rereading them. My storybooks were my prized possessions. There were a lot of  Russian book exhibitions in our area so my collection had a great many stories of Czars and Czarinas. Whenever I read a story I always visualised it – the room, the ambiance, the characters, etc, I always formed a mental picture of the whole thing. This craze for books spilled over to my adolescence also. From Famous Five, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys to Mills and Boons to Sydney Sheldon, Danielle Steele I guess my affair with books was lifelong. 

Coming back to the point, throughout this journey I never felt the urge to write. I was quite happy reading what others were churning out. My sister Prabhjot was actively writing for Candles Online. I don’t know what spark she saw in me and proposed my name to Chiradeep. But it was only due to the coaxing and guidance and patience and perseverance of Chiradeep and Prabhjot that I became a blogger. They both saw something in me that I myself didn’t.

Writing changed my life in many many ways. I was very bogged down by the daily mundane chores of my life. Life was just routine and not exciting. Writing for Candles changed that. Just the fact that the people were reading what I wrote and commenting on it was exhilarating. The small little limelight that was shown on me boosted my confidence a great deal. 

Writing an article is never easy for me. I usually plan everything out in my mind and then start typing. Some days it easily flows and some days I get stuck at every word. But it’s a journey which is very fulfilling. It’s an outlet for my emotions. Because of my love for stories I use a lot of anecdotes for my articles. And the inspiration for these articles comes from people around me and my interactions with them. I have started looking at the world from a different perspective. After all, anything or anybody or any incident could be an inspiration for my next article. There is a story in every person I meet I just try to weave them into my articles and my thought process.