Thursday, 13 February 2014

My Valentine....forever !

"Naa...naa.. Brave girls dont cry! You are my brave girl na?"
She nodded in response while wiping off the tears from her mud-smeared face. Her bright milky-white face was now full of dust, sweat and tears. The tears were leaving a trail on her mud-caked cheeks. Her cheeks were red hot and she was trying hard to control her sobs.
"You are my brave girl na?"
She nodded again. This time more swift and determined nods. Yes, she was a brave girl.
"And brave girls dont cry, hai na...?"
She managed a weak smile while violently nodding her head. Yes, she was a brave girl.
Her knees and elbows were bleeding, and her favourite frock was dirty. She almost recovered from her sobs and was feeling better. He was now telling her stories from his childhood, how he used to fall off from trees and scratch his knees and elbows, and sometimes break his bones. She was lost in his world, giggling at the funny stories, gasping and tsk-ing when he fell and hurt himself. Her pain was something she didnt remember anymore, she was now in his world, climbing trees with him, stealing mangoes and jamuns from the trees, bathing in river outlets, dozing off in the fields while being woken up by the cows or buffaloes grazing besides. She loved listening to his stories. They were her bed time essentials. They transported her to a world free from her mother scolding her, her tuition teacher asking her for the home-work, her school teacher running behind her with a cane stick, her brother snatching her favourite candy from her hand, their neighbour complaining her mom for every little thing she did, the stray dogs on the road chasing her. His stories freed her from everything that she disliked.

Without stopping his chain of stories he cleaned her wound slowly, nonchalantly. The oohs-aahs were involuntary, she wasnt aware of him cleaning her wounds, she was still cheering at him, while he played gilli-danda with the roudy boys of his neighbourhood  hitting the gilli as far as possible, and she would clap with glee. Her wounds were her least concern now, infact she had forgotten what happened half an-hour ago. There were so many more interesting things to wonder about, and he had opened the door to her imaginary world.

She could barely recall the last time she slept with her mother. Dada was her most favourite bed-companero. His stories would put her off to sleep, and she would get up cuddled besides him. He definetly was a magician. He magically made her smile and giggle, even after a bad caning from her mother. He helped her with all her homework. And magically he knew all the answers to all her questions! She would ask him the most difficult questions from her text book and he would answer them without even looking at her notebook! His handwriting was so beautiful, unlike her crooked, battered handwriting. He even knew the most difficult things of all, the multiplication tables! He knew them all! Once she asked him 100 100 za... and without even thinking or hesitating with he simply said 10000. She even sat and multiplied it to check if it was correct, and yes it was! He truly was a magician! He knew everything! And the best part was, he was her favourite best friend, who would also sneak a few aath-anas into her palm every now and then when the kulfi-wallah made rounds of her locality in the evening. Not just that, he would also ensure that her mother didnt see the kulfi stains on her frock. He would run to her hearing her scream even in the middle of the night. And the best part about him was that he never let her alone in dark. He always accompanied her in the dark room, or dark lane, even if it was just a hundred yards away. He could made studies so much fun, and her dictation spellings, multiplication tables, history, geography used to be a cakewalk with him, she often wondered why her tuition teacher and school teacher could not be like dadu. Studying would be so much fun then! She would have loved to study and not hated books in that case.

Their bed-time ritual consisted of him narrating a fairy-tale  and she would beg and plead for another story, and this would continue till she dozed off. This meant it took her 5-6 stories each night to doze off. She couldnt help it, his stories were so interesting, dozing off was the last thing she wanted to do after hearing them. There were times when he would doze off in-between a story and she would wake him and hand him the thread where he left the story. She even didnt mind the repeat of stories. She just liked listening to him for hours before dozing off, and it could mean he exaggerating a fairy-tale , narrating the panchatantra stories or simply talking about his childhood. She just loved listening to him. His voice and arms was what she needed to sleep, more than stories. She needed him instead of her mother or father. He was a all-in-one for her. Give her dada, and she doesnt want anything else in this world, not even ice-cream or golas or kulfi or gol-gappa! He was her favourite...anytime, and she would never do anything which upset him, probably that was the sole reason she went to school and did her homework and learnt her lessons on time. He never had scolded her, and she got scared when he got angry, but somehow, even in that anger he always managed to give her a smile followed by a wink, and she'd relax again...getting engrossed in the things she did and run around the house. He'd take her to her dance classes on his Lambretta, and she'd enjoy the ride with him more than her Kathak classes.

"You are growing up so fast!"  he'd always tell her, and she'd wonder how could she grow up fast when things around her dont change at all. He must be exaggerating, she often thought to herself. Little did she knew, that time really does fly. That one day, when she will begin to understand that time really does fly, and that she really is growing up quickly, and he's growing old quickly too, and that one day, time will run out. That she will have to race against time. That there will be no more story-telling sessions. That she will have to bid him goodbye so soon. That she will have no more have book reading competitions with him. That she will never again go for an evening walk with him. That he will never buy her a diary milk again. That he will never gift her a pen again. That she'll never again get to sleep with him. That he'll never again wipe off her tears. That he'll never tell her a story again. That he'll never smile and wink at her again.

Little did she know, that he was really a magician, who knew the preciousness and importance of time. Little did she know, that her dada was a magician too !

PS - Its Valentine's Day today... and I have never loved anybody more than him. He was, is, and always will be my valentine, forever ! So here's wishing dada a very happy valentine's day ! I know he's reading it too... so I just want to let him know that I miss him a lot.

PPS - Wishing all of you a happy Valentine's day ! May your love be as eternal as the sky...and as pure as the fire... May your life be filled with love of all sizes and shapes ! And may you have a lovely year ahead !

"Within you, I lose myself. Without you, I feel myself wanting to be lost again."

To love...
         Cheers !

Tuesday, 4 February 2014


"History tends to repeat itself  
if you don't learn from it."

One of my strongest memories from school days is wondering why do we have to study history. The logic I often applied to it was, the people in our history textbooks have done great work, agreed, but they are dead now, and it is all past, so why should we study about what people did back in those days? Why cant we study about people who are still alive and doing something worth-while? And my teachers often told me that we study history so that we don't repeat the mistakes our fore-fathers committed. But I remember arguing that we live in a completely different world altogether, neither are we going to construct temples like the Cholas did, or are we going to have another war like the mughals did, nor are we living in a colonial world now so as to learn how to get rid of the Britishers, so we wont be needing the satyagrahas anymore too! That was me when I was in school...I was naive, just like everyone in school days is. We are too naive to understand the realities of life. We tend to take everything on the face value. But that was forgivable as we were still kids!

Now when I am growing up, I understand the importance of history. Not just the history text books but also our own history. Now I understand how powerful history can actually be ! It can teach you so many lessons. They say, life is the biggest teacher, but I'd say time is the biggest teacher. Our past can teach us way more than we can readily grasp. Our past can show us those hidden mysterious paths and lead us to the other end of the tunnel. It is so strange in itself, the fact that your past can make your future, such a paradox!

Off recently, life has been testing me. Many incidents from my past started reappearing in my present, and it was my decision whether I wanted to carry them to my future or not. It is always our decision whether to carry our past into our future, we just don't realize it most of the times.

When we see anything from our past, we run towards it either due to nostalgia or to find answer to some unanswered questions. Either of the case, we are drawn to it, without realizing that we are actually unknowingly letting or past enter our future. Unknowingly we make the same mistakes again, and thus the entire complex cycle of past-events-ruining-my-present-and-my-future begins! And once it begins, it is very difficult to put an end to it, trust me !

To know that building our future is in own hands, and we are the one who shapes it, irrespective of what shape it takes eventually, is the biggest hurdle crossed. Once you know that everything is in our hands, that you are the master of your own destiny, you have the master key that will fit any lock you want. Of course, it takes great courage to take the responsibility of your life on yourself. To be able to say that my life is like this because of my own deeds is not a joke. You need a heart of steel and courage as much as the air on this planet. Its not going to be easy, but who said life was going to be easy anyway!

I do not wish to complicate it at all. The conclusion is very simple, you wish to move ahead in life, you wish to make your life better than you had till now, you want to make your life a success? Then there is just one mantra, learn from your past mistakes, and more importantly, do no repeat them ever again. Temptations will always try to divert you from your goal. There will be many temptations. your past may tempt you to look back once again...just once, but that once may be the end of all story! 

By this, I don't mean to say, don't make mistakes...hell no! make mistakes, make as many mistakes as you want, but there is just one condition, make those mistakes just once. Never repeat them. Always remember, If you don't have margin for your errors, your errors will kill you.