NO INSECURITY WHEN GOD IS YOUR SECURITY

I had this pretty friend in college, whose boyfriend forbade her to dress well. He didn’t want her to appear beautiful to the eyes of others. During college functions where we were supposed to be draped in sarees, he put a check on her. As a result, she skipped college functions. How could she be present without adhering to the prescribed dress code for the day? Shades and sun glasses were objected to, because they would draw the attention of other guys towards her. Too suffocating a relationship to be called ‘love’!! Eventually, they broke up when some sense dawned on her and she got fed up with his over-possessiveness.

This guy was ‘insecure’. And that led him to be over-possessive for the girl he claimed to ‘love’.

One thing we need to be clear is about the distinction between ‘inferiority complex’ and ‘insecurity’. Both are different, though there are certain overlapping consequences and that makes them seem similar.

Insecurity arises from a fear of losing things or people.

What gives rise to insecurity?
1. Early life events – A young girl who has seen her father desert her mother, will be likely to be insecure in her love/married relationship.
2. Past experiences of losing – A person who has failed in many job interviews, will feel unsure of retaining the one he gets through to
3. Pressure to prove oneself – When there is a pressure to prove oneself, be it at work or in relationships, one tries his/her best to stop all doorways that might be barriers in the way.
4. Difficulty in accepting ‘no’ – An inability to accept ‘no’ for an answer, causes people to develop an inner feeling of insecurity.
5. Social Media – Too many stories doing the rounds in social media also create the fear of losing. 

Manifestations of insecurity

For the insecure person:
1. Fear
2. Anxiety
3. Stress
4. Anger
5. Occasional insomnia
6. Extreme steps like plotting to harm people who make them insecure
7. Phone tapping
8. Deploying private detectives

Dealing with insecurity

  1. Remember that there is a Chief Architect behind all that happens. So, do not fear losing.
  2. Receive the gifts in your life with gratitude – be it people or jobs or material possessions. This will lead you to value them today without being apprehensive of losing them tomorrow.
  3. Put your past experiences in the hands of God. He’ll shape up your future. Don’t you worry.
  4. Be yourself. Do not give in to pressure to prove yourself. You are a unique creation of God blessed with strengths that you can flaunt and weaknesses that He can convert into strengths.
  5. Never forget that all things and people on earth are transitory. You can never hold on to all things or people that you lay your hands on. So then, why grip them tighter only to stifle yourself and ruin your blessings!

Each of us is safe in the hands of God. When this is learnt, there would be no space for insecurity.

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THE HOLLOWING ATTACKS OF THE INVISIBLE INSECURITY

Insecurity is such a powerful sentiment which certainly attacks every living being at one point of time yet it can’t be clichéd since the trap is so obnoxious that the thought process is always backed by our false lies, fear, and anxiety. It is no less than an illness with a well-known cause of over attachment to possessions or beings, to an extent to make one feel sufficiently hollow breaking down the esteem and confidence in oneself. With its symptoms being depicted in every form of relationship, no one can be blamed for its occurrence as it is a self-developed vice. When it comes to facing insecurities, I have struggled with them in many phases of my short existence on this planet. From my first puppy love to competing with the world and paving a way for achievements, insecurity has accompanied me like a best friend, surfacing on the top of my chaotic head, most of the times. The repercussions have taken the form of killing all that has been beautiful or maybe little less pleasant while holding me back in my sphere of ambiguity, bittering the existing relationships and most importantly the one which I share with myself. Whenever insecurity attacks, it weakens my soul giving rise to tendencies that probably do not belong to me while I commit acts out of jealousies, obsessions and fake arrogance.

I remember how during my school days, I used to stay away from the so-called academic achievers of the class, despite being one among them. It was because somewhere or the other I compared myself with them and thus ended up consoling my inner self by pinpointing their flaws. Similar was the case when I was preparing for a competitive exam and the bright answers given by any student used to make me feel low. I would not call it as jealousy since there were no ill regards held for others but it somehow brought my deficiencies to the forefront or made me feel so. Maybe it has been the reason of my efforts to choose the less competitive sector for work until I realized that there are and there will be face-offs everywhere and we are not meant to win or excel every time once we have given our best shot. Competition is actually essential since it is the driving force of excellence in any project or task being undertaken for accomplishment but that doesn’t mean we ought to create the fear of failure. It actually took me two career switches to accept the differences in the level of intelligence and realize the uniqueness of each individual. A lot of courage is required to confess this insecurity but then I am able to share this today because I have overcome it. I realize that it is only when we learn to accept our limitations amid the varying circumstances and seek contentment in our positive traits that we can appreciate others’ beauty of minds. Parenting and upbringing also plays a major role in the cause of this insecurity and hence it is essential to raise the children in a way that they are well aware and satisfied of their own strengths and weaknesses before they are exposed to the worldly charm where there will always be people better than us, be in terms of skill, intelligence or beauty, and other characteristics. Yet it should be engraved in our minds that no one can replicate our personal abilities and talents and perse even if imitation is possible, circumstances and time periods always vary and hence insecurity needn’t take birth. It is rightly said by Steven Furtick:- we cannot compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.

Another brutal attack of insecurity was initiated when infatuation struck the chords of my heart. Obsession with that loved one arose to such an extent that the fear of losing him subsided the genuine concern and actual affection for that person, resulting in relationship failure. Well, it cannot be exactly termed as a relationship but yes while we were in the so-called phase of puppy love, not a single day passed without the thought in my mind that what if it doesn’t work out. And hence with my excessively possessive vibes seeking his attention ended the wonderful friendship between us in utter bitterness and resentment with hurt being created on both sides. Moreover, it becomes very difficult to have things going on a smooth run when it’s me on one hand, holding ego that hampers clear expression in front of the other person triggering further anger and toxicity. Further, the stage of separation worsens the situation when the feelings of inadequacy start creeping in, robbing one of the inner peace. The insecurity gets heightened with shattered self-esteem converted into urging outbreaks of dependency and desperation. However, since it is said that time heals everything and varied realizations follow, I too sought relief and inner liberation in the thought that what is truly meant to be ours, will always find its way and would never pass by. Hence there should be no bouts of insecurity compelling us to commit acts for proving our worth or attaining someone for if it takes so many efforts, it is actually not worth it.

Having confessed some of the instances, I find pleasure in the fact of having not turned this write-up into a parable on insecurity. It actually takes a lot of struggle and hardships for these above-mentioned realizations to enlighten us and seep down into our inner-self. Dealing with insecurity is just like abusing our-self allowing the germs of possessiveness, aggression, and over-thinking to spread in our body. Hence sometimes we need to sit with ourselves to meditate upon our thoughts and feelings so that our intentions can be checked and the blocked energies can be released from time to time. The non-prudent expectations arising from the bacteria of insecurity need to be responded with self –love, and care rather than worry, doubt and greed. It is never about suppressing these insecurities but accepting their occurrence, acknowledging them with consciousness and patience while simultaneously allowing them to pass away so that we can rise above them as soon as possible. True liberation creating happiness can be only experienced when we let these insecurities pass away without acting upon them too much such that it which further opens the door for true love and real golden avenues. Each one of us has the permission and deserves to feel worthy and safe enough in one’s own skin.

THE INCURABLE DISEASE CALLED – INSECURITY

“Is this not David, of whom they used to sing in dances,

‘Saul killed his thousands,
And David his ten thousands’?”

The people of Israel sung this song when a young lad, named David, killed Goliath with just one pebble dug deep into the giant’s forehead and won battles after battles for his king and his countrymen. The whole nation was celebrating their victories while the enemies were remembering David’s courage but Saul, the king of Israel was burning with envy and insecurity concerning an inexperienced boy, David. And till his death, he tried to kill David many a time even though he knew the boy David was not guilty of anything. It is because of his insecurity of losing his throne to David made him attempt this crime.

When I think about the king and his feelings of insecurity, I see a reflection of myself in him. Yeah, it is true that I don’t have power and scope for which I haven’t tried to murder anyone or doing something close to it out of sheer insecurity. But I know in my heart, if I would have in a position to kill or harm someone like king Saul, then I would not have stepped back even a bit to do that crime. As we know – Power Corrupts.

In my life, I have lost many opportunities of doing something that others can do because of my health conditions. And that always had made me feel insecure about my ability to do something remarkable, impress others and gain attentions of others.

I am not saying these feelings should not come in our minds. Everyone feels insecure from time to time, particularly in certain situations or circumstances when we might feel less talented, less attractive than others. It is natural. But when this feeling of insecurity controls our minds or life then it is very dangerous and devastating. And especially when we start comparing ourselves with others it becomes worse. Just imagine, if we are worried and anxious about our life thinking whether we can live or die the next moment or tomorrow, then when will we actually live a life!!!

I will tell you the truth people… I had suffered from this disease called, INSECURITY a lot during my childhood till I came here to Kolkata for work. And my insecurity has always made me grumble about everything that I don’t have or I couldn’t do. I used to stay unhappy and sad always. I used to day dream thinking I am this, I am that… and at the end of each dream, when I used to realise my real status, I get frustrated.

The symptoms of this disease are anxiety, paranoia, fears of loss, instability etc., diminish our capacity to think and act effectively. And that’s what happened to me most of the time during those phases of my life. But I have observed, after my second surgery in 2001, I received an immense strength from God above to battle out this insect – INSECURITY from my head and really felt healed in the latter part of my life till today.

A few days ago, I was having a heart to heart conversation with one of my beloved sisters and while sharing my life with her I told her that, “the moment I stopped grumbling about what I don’t have and concentrated on what I have, keeping ‘whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might’, as my motto, my life changed.

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(Award Winning Photography depicting “Insecurity” – Collected from Google Inc.)

On closing, I want to mention what Psychotherapist, Erin Leonard says… “Humility, vulnerability, and mild insecurity are qualities that allow a person to grow and love in a healthy way. They allow human beings to be beautiful.”

We can’t cure this disease of insecurity feelings completely but we can moderate it, manage its level and keep it under control as many diabetic patients try to keep their sugar level down.

To keep your insecurity level checked, follow FOUR things, as I do…

  1. Always seek to do what is pure and right…
  2. Do things with all your might…
  3. Keep negativity out of sight…
  4. Trusting in the Lord to continue the faith-fight…

Trust me, these things are proven through my life and is very much applicable to another human of flesh and blood like me 😉

Stay Blessed!

AN UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTER – XIV

…She looked at Pragya who was sleeping like a log. She smiled and closed her eyes shut.

She no more feared the dream that kept haunting her since God knows when. The dream of having a boring routine of being alone, dressing up in cotton sarees, carrying a jute jhola, cooking for just herself and having no family. She no more feared of having to grow old without having a companion or having to call the kids playing in society garden her own. She would love to buy them candies though, but no other part from her dream bothered her anymore. She was sure that she wants to fall in love all over again. She had let the guard on her heart lose and now her heart was reaching out to someone. Who was it?

Happygolucky checked Radha’s reply and he couldn’t stop smiling. He was used to girls falling for him. His personality and nature always did the trick. You know, some people are so good at showing light to a wandered soul and he was one of them. He had inherited this quality from his dad. He shut down his laptop and looked at the watch. It was 1:00 am. “Oh no… less than 5 hours of sleep! Chalo, doctor Sahab so jao, counsellor bane firte ho. Itna hi shauk tha to psychologist hi bante, Orthopedic kyun bane??Happygolucky cursed himself under his breath.

Next morning Radha was up much earlier than her usual time. The morning seemed beautiful. She could hear birds chirping, she could see beautiful hues of flowers adorning the Gulmohar tree outside her balcony. The pleasant fragrance of Mogra from her balcony lifted her spirit high. She was wondering why she had failed to notice all this before. Well, love does its own magic, doesn’t it? Radha took in a deeeeep breath and said it out loud, “come on life, bring it on! I am ready!

Just then the doorbell rang.

Who is it right now? Its too early for the milkman or the newspaper vendor too” muttered Radha and rushed to the door.

When she opened the door she literally shrieked. She called out Pragya as if she had seen a ghost.

Pragya… Pragya… come out… jalllddi…

Pragya came running at once. She was clearly worried. “Hey Rads, what happened? Are you alright?“…. and even Pragya couldn’t believe her eyes. However, couple of moments later, she gathered herself and said, Good morning guys! What a pleasant surprise. Please come inside“.

That’s when Radha realised her hyper reaction and apologised too, I am sorry uncle, I must have scared you. Hey, Dr Akash! Morning. Please come in.

Pragya and Radha were shocked but happy to see the old man and Dr. Akash happy together.

Beta Radha, I can’t thank you enough for having cleared the air between me and Akash. I forgive my son and I will be moving to USA with him soon. We want to make up for all the years we lost.” The old uncle looked at Akash with tears in his eyes and hugged him hard.

With moist eyes and still holding his dad close, Akash said, Pragya, thanks a ton for your advice. If I had returned to USA that day, this day would have never dawned. Thank you for helping me get my dad back.”

Oh I am so happy for you both. Please dont thank me. I just tried to do something good and I am glad it worked for you. You guys have a wonderful life ahead.” Pragya wished both of them.

Uncle, we will miss you so much!” said Radha but her heart also noted that she was going to miss Dr. Akash too!

Uncle, why don’t you take Radha along with you? Who will give you ice at 11 pm otherwise?” Joked Pragya and mischievously winked at Radha.

Radha froze in her tracks. How did Pragya know that she was getting attracted to Dr Akash when she didnt even know about her day out with him. Well, BFFs know a lot you know, sometimes they know even that which you don’t know about yourself.

Laughter and cheer filled the room. This moment called for a celebration. Radha made adrak wali chai and Pragya ran to fetch Inder bhaiya’s samosas. Acche din wakai me aagaye!

Lot of times we lose lot of years sticking to our fears or massaging our ego. But life is not always the same. After storm comes the rainbow. So be easy on yourself. Set your heart lose. Shed your ego. Go ahead and say I Love You to the person you really love. Say I am sorry whenever required. Life is beautiful and life is simple. Do not complicate it. Cheers!

A NEW BEGINNING! 

AN UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTER – XIII

Radha reached home, letting herself soak completely the experience of the events that took place on that day. This was probably the first time in a long long time that she let her hair loose and cool her feet without inhibitions.

Her footsteps tapped the senses of Pragya and Samay who were very much lost in their own world, perhaps in themselves. Radha felt a bit awkward lest she disturbed the couple, but it was 11PM already and she didn’t expect Samay to be still there. Pragya formally introduced Samay and Radha. They exchanged pleasantries and in a couple of minutes Samay left.

So Madam how was your day? I know it’s a silly question because I know how your Sundays are, but still…” Radha was particularly mischievous, a little unlikely of her. And to her question she expected a likely Pragya trademark answer – loud and cheerful, volley of words, excited recitation of the events during the day. But this time Pragya surprised Radha with her reaction.

She embraced Radha tightly and Radha could feel dampness on her shoulder. She parted from Pragya and looked deeply into her eyes. And they had their “Pride And Prejudice” moment where Jane Bennet breaks the news of her engagement with Mr. Bingley to Elizabeth Bennet. Yes, Samay did pop the question and it was given a nod of affirmation by Pragya.

Oh Sweetie, what a news! Very happy for you“, exclaimed Radha and there were more hugs to follow. Amidst too much excitement and happiness Radha didn’t give an account of her day and even Pragya had so much to embrace and so the question didn’t cross her mind.

It was now 1 AM. Pragya slept, but Radha had so many thoughts crisscrossing her head. “How long you should know a person to be able to decide to spend lifetime with her or him?“, “How long is enough?“, “I really hope and wish wholeheartedly that Pragya isn’t another Radha“. Her bitter past always knocked the door of her conscience. But today it was a bit unusual. Radha couldn’t stay longer in those murky lanes of past and she shifted gears to the pleasant time she had just few hours before. Never before she had let any stranger take a walk in her lone time when she wrestled with herself.

That night passed and so did the day. Pragya was busy with her future-in-laws and of course with Samay. And Radha couldn’t blame her for that, after all she was going to take a big leap towards a new beginning, preparation was a must.

Meanwhile Radha was spending more time with Vansh for the upcoming launch of the project. Radha was concentrating on her responsibilities forgetting how Vansh behaved with her a couple of days ago but Vansh struggled to keep himself steady as he was feel guilty. When he found a little lone time with Radha, he approached her politely…

Radha, I am very sorry for behaving so rudely that day. I was very disturbed with that call I received from my Mom but I don’t want to give any excuses for what I did… I am really very sorry. Please forgive me.” He said as he held Radha’s hands.

Radha felt awkward as she is not so comfortable with this touching of hands or anything. She pulled her hands back and said, “It’s okay, Vansh. I haven’t known you much personally until recently that we are working together for the same project.” She paused and posed a question for him, “But what happened that day? Why were you so disturbed? If you feel okay, then you can share or else I won’t mind.”

Vansh, gathered himself and looked at Radha as he started to speak. “I had a very bad break-up three years ago and I could not move on from there. I do everything normal and talk normally with everyone but all I did was just pretending while carrying a heavy heart inside me. But that morning, my Mom scolded me a lot, telling me to be selfish and coward. I shouted back at her. My parents want me to move on and marry a girl whom they have chosen. Last two days were very tough. I was all alone during the weekend to myself and was lost in deep thoughts. Now, I decided I will give in to what my parents say and marry the girl they want me to marry. I would meet with her and share my heart before marriage and will surely build my home…I won’t go on like this anymore.” He took a deep breath and felt relieved sharing his heart with Radha.

He looked at Radha, who was absolutely quiet, lost in her own thoughts and thinking about her recent posts on her blog. Vansh smiled and said, “I am happy, I could share my heart with you, Radha.

I am very happy for you too, Vansh… Really very very happy for you and I wish a good life ahead… And yes, don’t forget to invite me and Pragya for your wedding.” Radha said as they both laughed for what she said jokingly.

That day while coming back to her home she was wondering about her own life. Why she has been so alone till now…? She is already 35 and a little after she might not get another good match… Vansh was younger than her… he decided about his life. Pragya decided about her life…It was only she who’s still so confused and undecided about her life. With all these thoughts going on in her mind, she reached home and quickly switched on her computer to check her blog. And there’s a comment from THE HAPPYGOLUCKY

“Why do we search for answers to all our queries?
Why can’t we let God handle all our worries?”

Dear Radha, sometimes we don’t get answers directly. We have to understand them by being watchful about how God works in our life. So go ahead and submit your worries to Him and listen to your heart… He will surely guide you.

Radha was startled by the response and was really overwhelmed. She looked around to make sure that Pragya is not there at home at that moment. She wanted to comment back and know this person for sure… So she wrote back…

Radha: “These were wise words. Thanks a lot. May I know, the person behind happygolucky? I want to interact more as I feel you answer to most of my queries.”

She pressed REPLY button and waited. She took her new phone and downloaded WP App quickly to login to her account so that she can have instant access to her blog. Before she logged in to her blog in the phone, she saw a notification on her computer. “Whoa, he is online then…” She clicked on his reply and read…

Happygolucky: “Lol… If I would have let everyone know about my identity like you you had then I would have given my real name instead of this Happygolucky. I have my reasons… But I am inclined to your posts because you speak from your heart and I can see you have lots of queries in your mind. I wanted to help you out with my feedback on your posts. That’s all…

Radha: “That’s so sweet of you thank you Happygolucky… I respect your decision and really motivated with your responses to my blog posts. Thanks again… I will be satisfied with whatever minimum way we are interacting on this platform.”

She switched off her computer and decided to use her phone if she gets any reply. She was hungry and needed something to fill her stomach. And as she was making little Maggie for her to eat, she remembered what Pragya advised, “don’t read too much meaning into the replies. Let the virtual world remain virtual.She didn’t forget about the blogger but she put him aside as a virtual character keeping his wise advises in her mind.

Pragya returned really late that evening and was very tired. She went off to sleep right away wishing Radha goodnight. Radha was in the front room watching TV when she heard her doorbell ringing. It was no one but the next door old man. Radha usually gives him the ice and saying a goodnight but she had different plans for today. She asked him inside to which the old man felt little surprised. He came inside and took his seat on the couch, trying to figure out what Radha has in her mind.

Is everything alright, Beta?” He asked looking bit concerned.

Yes uncle, everything is fine. Just wanted to ask you something very personal.” Radha said politely.

Go on, my dear…ask away…” He responded as he looked at her intently.

How is Akash, your son as a person? I mean before his marriage to that lady?” She posed a question which the old man was never expecting. But she has two reasons of asking this question. Firstly, she could feel her heart little warm when she thinks about that new person around her, especially after yesterday. Secondly, she wanted to reunite this father and son as they both needed each other at this point of their lives.

The old man adjusted himself on the couch before he spoke. “Akash was the best son ever anyone can have, my dear. We as parents were proud of him. He was excellent in every aspect of his life. And that was what hurt me the more when we expected more from him, he disappointed us.” He felt choked with emotions. Radha pressed her hands his and consoled him and replied…

He was the same Akash, Uncle… even today.” She smiled while the old man looked very surprised thinking how Radha says so when she was so angry when he told her about his condition earlier.

How do you know?” He asked curiously.

Radha smiled and said politely, “I got to spend most of the time with him yesterday, Uncle. I reprimanded for what he did with you. But he broke down and explained everything from the beginning till now…” And Radha explained everything to the old man. He was stunned and could not speak much after listening the whole matter about Akash.

Akash is very lonely and in the hotel. He was returning back… but it was we, who asked him to wait for sometime… Uncle, please forgive him… I am just like your daughter… can you not do it for me…?” Radha was overwhelmed as well, seeing the old man speechless and emotional. He got up and walked out of her apartment just nodding her without uttering a single word.

Radha was worried for him but was happy… Why she was happy she was not sure of it… she was just smiling and feeling very happy… She felt her heartbeats beating faster… She walked inside her bedroom and lay herself gently on it… She looked at Pragya who was sleeping like a log. She smiled and closed her eyes shut.

(It’s a joint venture from both Kalpana and Chiradeep)

AN UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTER – XII

It was a Sunday at last. Radha slept in till late, and Pragya was up and about like a paradox. Radha smiled; she knew why. Sunday meant Pragya’s boyfriend Samay, will come to spend the day with her. He was an army officer and drove all the way from place to Pragya’s place religiously on Sundays.

Radha buried her face in her fluffy pillow and called out to Pragya, “He’s coming?”

Pragya, who was brushing her frizzy hair straight said, “Yesss!”, Radha could hear her happiness in her voice. The seductive smell of her alluring perfume permeated the bedroom’s air.

Radha chuckled and tossed in her bed; she lay facing Pragya, witnessing the glow in her face. What was it about this man that made her so ecstatic, that made her wait desperately for Sundays? All her new dresses, new shoes, new makeup was saved for Sundays. She meticulously planned for Sundays, painstakingly shortlisting the things she wanted to try with Samay. She emancipated a radiant luminosity of love for the next six days until Sunday. ‘Can the presence of a man make so much difference in one’s life?’ she questioned herself and got the answer from within, ‘No, it wasn’t the presence of a man, it was the presence of love.’

Pragya checked her wristwatch, and just then the doorbell rang, she rushed to answer it. Radha heard Samay’s voice boom in the corridor and then all she heard was Pragya talk nonstop like a chatterbox. A few minutes later, Pragya appeared in the bedroom, bouncing with excitement. She held Radha by her shoulder and made her sit.

“Rads Rads Rads, I have something to ask you,” Pragya said brimming with charged energy.

Radha pushed her hair out of her eyes and tied them in a ponytail. “What is it, mad mademoiselle?” she asked.

Pragya softly slapped Radha’s cheeks to shrug the sleep from her eyes and Radha screeched. “I need this apartment to myself till night; Samay just surprised me,” Pragya said flashing a gold pendant in her chain, “It is exactly one year since we met, I forgot, but he remembered. I wanna do something special for him too, I wanna prepare Samay an awesome romantic candlelit dinner,” Pragya announced.

“What?” Radha asked startled, “and where will I go?” she asked.

Pragya made a cute puppy face, “Please Babe, just for today. Dekh, you have only been shuttling between work and home for months now. You need to go out and have some fresh air” She cringed her nose and joined her hands like a good disciple.

Radha huffed and sighed. “Theek hai. FINE!!!” she said, getting up from bed, “but you will reimburse all my bills.” Radha made her way to the washroom, and Pragya jumped on her back, hugged her from behind and kissed her cheek, “Thank you, Babe, Thank you so much, you are a Lifesaver.”

A few minutes later she heard the main door shut close and she knew Pragya and Samay were gone. She filled the tub, adding bath salts to the water and lowered herself in the water, having a long leisurely bath. Later she made herself a heavy brunch and then decided to pamper herself to a massage and some facial. Her favourite spa was overcrowded, but she managed to get a spot with her beautician. The massage was relaxing and soothing, rubbing the stress and fatigue out of her tension points. But she ended up spending more than she intended in the salon, a trick her beautician often played on her by coaxing her into Detan Face Mask.

Three hours later she was back home and decided to go for shopping, a movie, dinner and have some ME time. She picked her handbag, her wallet, her phone, and set out to her favourite mall, The Ambience Mall.

She roamed in hallways lined with hundreds of different stores, teeming with teenagers in ripped jeans and overpriced tees. She had no list in mind and was window shopping when she came across a mobile store and decided to check for a new mobile for herself, the one she had was severely outdated. The man behind the counter was determined to make a sale as he showed her an array of newly launched mobiles when a man came and stood next to her, looking at the display of phones. She was standing face to face with none other than Dr Akash Verma. She took in a sharp breath and excused herself from the shop. The salesman gave Akash a hidden look of contempt as if it was his fault he lost Radha’a sale. Radha was halfway down the corridor when he heard someone call her name.

“Miss….excuse me Miss, Miss Radha, here please.” She stopped in her tracks and saw Akash calling after her. He ran to her, “I need to speak to you.” he rushed.

“But I don’t wanna speak to you, besides,” she looked at her watch, “I am getting late for somewhere.” She lied.

“Just a few minutes, just one coffee, Please, I am requesting.”, he said and Radha sensed a desperate earnestness in his voice. She nodded with a sombre look. They descended the escalators to CCD and ordered two Mochaccinos.

Radha leaned forward, folded her arms on the table and asked, “So what is it you wanna talk about, what can I do for you?”

Akash gave a furtive look to the crowd around; it was apparent he was feeling conscious of himself.

He began, “I just wanna tell you that though I know you think I am an unworthy son and a good for nothing human being, I was bound by the choices life gave me.”

“Oh? Like deserting, your old father or…maybe like coming back to check on him years later?” her tone acidic.

“I went to the US, yes, that was years ago. I got a job in the USA; it was a dream come true for me. There was no one to take care of my father here, so I put him in one of the best old age homes and used to send money regularly. I met Rachel there and fell in love with her, married her, became a US citizen, and we had three children. She didn’t want my father to join us in the USA, neither she wanted my children to visit India. I did everything to make her happy, but six months ago she divorced me and…” he choked before continuing, “and the custody of all my three children went to her, all I am left with are visitation rights.” he rubbed his eyes with his handkerchief, and a waitstaff brought their coffee.

“I felt the pain of a father, the pain of separation and instantly repented the wrong I did to my father. I flew to India to apologise to him, take him back with me. But now I know absolution doesn’t come easy. It will take time and patience to earn his trust and his love once again.” He finished. There was silence as they both finished their coffee. He paid the bill, and they got up to leave.

Radha picked up her handbag and said, “I am sorry, but I shouldn’t have been so judgemental, you have had your share of problems, you know what best you could do, I have no right to arbitrate. Hope you are successful in your mission.” With these words, she extended her hand and Akash shook it.

Radha was walking away when a sudden urge came over her, and she turned, “I have two passes for a movie, would you like to come?” The words were out of her mouth before she could contain them. Akash looked abashed, but he was smiling all the same.

“I would love that, besides I have nothing to do till I go to meet Dad again tomorrow morning,” he said and followed her to the theatre in the mall. Radha couldn’t believe her stupidity; she was never this reckless, always prudent, vigilant, then what made her so whimsical today she wondered. The next three hours went in a blink of an eye. The movie was value for money and Akash was a great company. Radha couldn’t help but feel relaxed and comfortable in his company. He insisted on getting popcorn and soft drinks in the interval, and she felt like this was their routine.

Radha felt Akash needed a break too; he needed a break from all the guilt and stress of his life. He was feasting on her company like a man starving for air, talking nonstop.
“I would have shown you pictures of my kids, but my phone got stolen.” He said.

Radha swallowed, ” Actually, I too need to buy a new phone, shall we?” She offered another impulsive decision.

He nodded, and they went back to the same store where they met, and both ended up buying Oneplus Seven. Akash opened his Google Drive and showed her his family pictures. He had beautiful children, and each picture screamed of his love for his kids. She told him about her life, her work, her childhood, about Pragya, sharing things with him didn’t feel unnatural, though the voice in her head kept repeating, ‘He’s a stranger.’ but for once she let her heart rule over her head.

They had dinner in a Mexican restaurant and chatted about their hobbies over tacos and burritos. She came to know that apart from being an Orthopedic, he was also a sketch artist and loved to sketch whenever he had free time on his hands. He showed her some of his sketches and Radha was amazed to see he had drawn Meena Kumari and Madhu Bala instead of Madonna. The night was coming to a close, but Radha didn’t want this day to come to an end. She was having a very good time after a very long time. They had the grand finale with Sundaes and boarded a cab to Akash’s hotel. He got down when and Radha saw his back recede in the hotel.

“Take me to Green Palms apartments please,” she told the cab driver as the cool night breeze caressed her face. The song on the radio made her smile with her eyes closed, lulling her to sleep.

“Chup tum raho chup hum rahe
Chup tum raho chup hum rahe
Khamoshi ko khamoshi se
Zindagi ko zindagi se baat karne do
Chup tum raho chup hum rahe
Chup tum raho chup hum rahe
Khamoshi ko khamoshi se
Zindagi ko zindagi se baat karne do
Chup tum raho chup hum rahe
Chup tum raho”

AN UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTER – XI

Radha finished lunch and returned to her desk. But she found it hard to focus on her work. No matter how much she tried, glimpses of old-man and his son’s conversation and glimpses of Vansh’s behaviour paraded through her mind.  She somehow managed to juggle her thoughts and finish the work. Radha booked a cab to return home as she was having a bad headache and didn’t want to take the bus.  

As soon as Radha entered the house, she could hear noises from the kitchen. Radha smiled to herself, she knew Pragya was up to something. 

“Masterchef seems busy”, Radha called out loud, and it startled Pragya.

“Ohh Rads, you are back. How was your day?” Pragya asked cheerfully.

“Please don’t ask, I have a bad headache”
Radha shrugged.

Calls for an Adrak wali chai (ginger tea) doesn’t it?,” said Pragya.

“Yes, please”,
Radha replied with a sigh of relief.

“Well it’s almost ready, but first, you freshen up,”
said Pragya in a relaxing tone. Radha smiled and nodded. 

Meanwhile, Pragya switched on Tv and arranged four hot Samosas and two cups of steaming hot Adrak wali chai (ginger tea) on the table.

“Inder Bhaiya’s samosa?”
Radha giggled loudly, and her face lit up.

“Yeah I got them while returning
”, Pragya giggled back.

“Aww Prags, you are such a sweetheart”,
Radha cuddled her cheeks. Radha and Pragya loved Inder bhaiya’s samosa. The spicy mashed potato stuffing, the perfect coating and finally, deep-fried in ghee was an ideal evening snack. “Hmmm yummmmmm,… Radha said clumsily after taking a big bite.

“Yes, okay. Now you tell me what went wrong today?”
Pragya asked.

“These men I tell you”,
Radha replied in a disgusted tone.

“Men?” Pragya asked in a curious tone.  Radha rolled her eyes and saw Pragya’s typical wicked smile and narrowed eyes. Before Pragya could proceed, Radha got up and brought her laptop. 

“Another blog! Rads, please have some mercy on the readers” Pragya teased Radha.

“Well, to be honest, even I don’t know what I’ll write”. I think I have to sort out things in my head first and then pen down something.
Radha replied in a confused tone and kept aside the laptop without even opening her blog.

Common Rads, it’s your head, not a wardrobe that you will sort it” Pragya giggled.

“Very funny,”
Radha replied, making a face.

Later that evening, Radha and Pragya finished their respective chores. They ordered dinner. Post dinner, as they were about to retire to their beds, the doorbell rang sharply. Radha and Pragya exchanged glances. They knew it was an old man. As usual, it was Radha opened the door and handed him a bowl of ice. Then Radha too retired to bed but brought her laptop also. Pragya very well noticed it. 

“Rads you normally publish your blogs at 4pm and now its 11pm. Are you sure you want to publish something now? I think you should be a little more cautious regarding the content that you publish. After all, it’s just a virtual world”, Pragya said in a serious tone.

“I understand”,
replied Radha and kept aside the laptop for the second time without even opening her blog. 

They discussed some casual stuff, and in no time, Pragya dozed off. Radha switched off the bedroom lights and tried to sleep. But she could not. She kept tossing and turning in her bed. No matter what Pragya or anyone else says, Radha had a special place in her heart for her blogs. It’s not that, blogging is her medium to express her feelings or gaining sympathy or mere appreciation from her readers, it was probably her way of venting out her pent up emotions. 

Radha finally got up and switched on her side of bed light and brought her laptop for the third time. She logged into her account. She wanted to go through the comment section once again, but she dismissed the thought and opened the new post section.

“Prags is right, I shouldn’t be showcasing my feelings publicly. I think I should use mask my feelings”,
Radha muttered to herself as she began typing.

“Why does a candle desire to melt?
Why does the moth strive for burning?
I think the test of this passion is life,…
After all every soul is thirsty and
every heart has a question,..”

Radha took a deep breath after mindfully typing each word and finally pressed the publish button. She glanced at the wall clock, it was nearly 12am.