Thursday, June 19, 2014

Heroes of the war!

When I used to be based in Delhi office dear blog, I had this person cross me many times. Short, straight faced with a loud voice. I sometimes said a casual hello to him and at other times didn't. For no reason, at all. I don't know what I thought about him because may be I didn't.

I met him again today, here in Khandala where we were going through this case study about Kargil War. It was about this one particular day when Captain Rakesh was asked if he was up for moving towards Kargil. The impeccable Captain that he was, he answered in affirmative. The case then described in vivid detail the preparation, Captain Rakesh's actions, demeanor and the troop which he was leading; towards a terrain that was not just difficult but most hostile.

This person who worked on the same floor as I did, went on to explain further about the Kargil war, about the realities which only the soldiers and their commanders go through. The more he said, the more I felt indebted to the countless soldiers who laid down their lives for the nation. The person went on to create imagery about the warfare, the strategy, the tactical nuances and the million emotions that he went through during the war. It was an unconventional war, a war for pride, a war for reclaiming what was rightfully ours.

My eyes welled with tears and my body got shivers while watching the 10 minute clip which he presented. What would it be like, to be there, for hours and days together; in midst of firing, enemies and death. My imagination fails me and so do my words. The person said there are no runner ups in a war, you win it all or you lose it all. It was clear by now that the person in front, the same person who I saw working on my floor is the Captain Rakesh Sharma, one of the heroes of the Kargil War.

Captain Rakesh Sharma fought all odds to restore the honor of the nation. He came back victorious and the nation celebrated. He was awarded with Shaurya Chakra and rightly so for his valor was outstanding. We applauded emphatically and he said humbly, "my biggest pride was that none of my soldiers ever died, I promised myself that and I lived upto it".

What strength of character dear blog, what an amazing feat to achieve. I felt so small for having passed by him so many times without acknowledging who and what he is. I chided myself but couldn't keep myself from reaching to him. I congratulated him for having done something so admirable and spectacular. He blushed and said.. It isn't spectacular, just normal. 
What humility, what a sense of purpose!
Take a bow, Major Rakesh Sharma, you make a billion people proud.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ego behind the wheels!

I hate driving dear blog and I hate it since the time, I started driving. It isn’t a particular incident that I wish to narrate neither is it some kind of fear or phobia. Its just been on my mind for a few months now and I never came down to writing about it, because I thought it is kind of trivial. But well well, when have I last written about things of great importance so I might as well write this one too! You know what I particularly dislike about driving, strange as it may sound but it is the ego. I just hate the blatant display of huge bloated egos on the road. I have experienced so many times, with others and myself. How shamelessly people conduct themselves on the road. They honk, they abuse, they threaten for absolutely nothing. I don’t remember the last time, the same people who honked like no one’s business  to have shouted in a mall or abused in a fine dining restaurant. It is something about roads in our country, that people feel it’s okay. I have never been genuinely smiled at by a fellow driver on the road let alone sighting a waving hand! It was in New Zealand that I saw people on the road, calm, composed, happy and waving all the time. I almost disbelieved their gesture but then that is pretty much true. All our great tirade about culture, language and respect goes swooshing out of the window when you are here, behind the wheels.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New new newwwww!!

I have been giving an ear-to-ear smile dear blog since yesterday and you would laugh if I tell you the reason. But I am so excited and kicked that I just can't digest and thus here I am writing to you about good things that life brings. So first things first, I got a new role at work, yippie! I have no idea what I am supposed to do, where to begin from, how am I going to meet deadlines but believe you me, I am ecstatic. It's like the way I used to feel, when I would get new books for the next standard, I wouldn't understand anything but the freshness of new books, the feel of crisp pages, the fact that I may be capable of something slightly bigger used to give me such a high!

I have been in a similar role at work for the last four years and the newness is just as awesome as it can get. While this is the happy news at work, there are things at home too, to be happy about. Like boy got me a diary, yes a diary and a swanky pen with which I write. It feels wonderful to be able to use the pen and write random stuff about life and the like in that diary. I mention completely frivolous details about the day but but but it works wonder with the brain. I hope to open it some day and read it loud and giggle. I even wrote on the front page of the diary: Ashish and Neha, private and confidential. And at the cost of sounding extremely silly, I even made small hearts on that page. 

I love all new things: new role, new house, new relationship status and yes new speakers. Did I mention that we are going to buy new speakers tomorrow. On a tangential note, we went to Matheran last weekend. What fun, we did a trek, sat through a magic show, went for a swim, played table tennis. Fantabulous is the word. And we stayed in this really Victorian styled resort. No luxury, no modernities just the basics. That place reeked of such old world charm. We were mesmerised completely and I, as usual was in awe of old couples who too were on a romantic weekend :-)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Chooda, my pretty pretty chooda

It was exactly five months back, that I got up, dressed myself in a nice but not brand new salwaar-kameez. Mom had to convince me for quite a many days before I decided that I will not buy a new outfit for that day. It is believed that a girl should wear old clothes and then give it away but I told mom, that isn't happening. We mutually decided on something which looked traditional. I also wore matching danglers, I tied my hair in a simple braid. When my grandmom, uncles and aunts, Jhai Ji, Chachu, Chachi, Mamu, Mami saw me, they said I looked beautiful and a true blue Punjabi. I liked that. Before, I could talk more, mom called me and said, the ceremony is going to start. I shouldn't delay else we will all get late. I went and sat, slightly nervous, slightly happy for something very real, very special was going to happen. The pandit Ji, said some prayers, did a few things and then I closed my eyes. I was going to wear Chooda, the only mark of a newly-wed, as I understood when I was four. Both my Mamu-Mami, took one arm each and slowly and carefully slided down the maroon and cream bangles. I wanted to cry and I did. A very beautiful Punjabi folk song was sung in the background - sada chidiyaan daa. It was an emotional moment and I lived it, moment by moment. When I opened my eyes, a few minutes later, I saw my arms, covered with handkerchiefs so that I don't see Chooda. I lived through the day, without trying to look at my arms. In the evening, while I was getting dressed as a bride, all I wanted to do was see how my chooda looked. It was pretty dear blog, very very pretty. I touched it many times, moved it whatever space was left in my arms.

I have such sweet memories of my chooda that I can't help but smile; from random people asking in office lift for sweets to old ladies in NewZealand asking where they could buy those pretty bangles. I used to be perpetually in awe of my chooda. Amazing, isn't it, how things become so real, that they become a part of one's identity. Today, 5 months hence I have carefully taken out half the bangles and kept the other half in my arms. Oh! I miss them already. Happy pictures from November, 13 and November 14 2013 :-)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mumbai - that I hadn't seen

You know dear blog, irrespective of what people feel about Mumbai, I like Mumbai, I really like Mumbai but unlike my first stint, my second stint here isn't very pleasant. I feel confused and often bewildered by the ways of the people here. The same people who I thought were no-nonsense and would be the least kind of trouble makers.

I live very close to office and thus cannot find an auto, I have never cribbed about that because I have always believed that if Mumbai throws problems on you, then it also showers you with twice the number of solutions. So I figured out soon, that unlike Delhi I could just tag along with anyone taking an auto and be safely dropped close to home or I can walk down like many others or I could take a shared auto to Bandra station which will pass by my house. I found the third one most hassle free  and thus regularly started doing it. One fine day at about 7 30ish I did the same, I took the auto almost oblivious of who was sitting next to me. I felt suddenly someone trying to come close enough for discomfiture. I turned sideways and gave a ferocious look, he retracted. I got down and rushed home. He was a man of about 40 years, a regular office goer, a nondescript native who had dared to do something outrageous. That left an ugly taste and I became much more conscious of my surroundings, of public transport in this beloved city. Other day, it was a Saturday, AD and I came back from Phoenix Mills at about 11. We found a small place to park our car, when suddenly, a man of about 50 along with 3 other people started misbehaving with us. He did so because he claimed that it was his parking and NO ONE could ever take that. My blood boiled for he looked at our Car number and said, look the arrogance of Delhiites. I was aghast dear blog, I wanted to slap him tight; the stinking, crude man who belittled us for no fault of ours. It pained me how he stereotyped us and threatened us. He said in as many words, "Gunda raj hai mera", he meant, get away or you are in trouble. We got away. This is about a three month old incident. Just when we thought we are settled, quietly in our little house, we got a jerk yet again. AD was in Goa for work last week and I had a crazy schedule in office so practically, there was no one at our house. When we got back, we noticed something peculiar with our car. The edge of the window panes were all tampered with, AD took the car to a mechanic only to find a 12 inch steel scale being extracted out of the window pane. The mechanic told AD, someone tried real hard to steal your car but couldn't.

Isn't it sad dear blog, that a newly wed working couple has to deal with such nonsense everyday. We
pay our tax, our house rent, the auto fare, everything that we are supposed to and then grapple with such basics. Look at the irony of it all, I switch on my TV and I watch ads after ads of how each of these political parties is
going to make our lives better and then dejected I think, really!?!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

It's a lazy Sunday dear blog, boy has left for office half an hour back and I am listening to AR Rahman's track from Highway, in the middle, thought of you. What do I tell you today, vacation to New Zealand, being a happy chef or Mumbai. I think I will pick up the first, for obvious reasons, one it was my happy honeymoon and two because it was truly amazing. We began thinking of our vacation even before we were formally engaged, I think partly because we had fallen head over heels for each other and partly because it is supposed to be cool to plan a vacation together :D Like a lot of other things, we had different ideas in mind. Boy wanted mountains, quaint towns, peace and just the two of us, I on the contrary thought of sea beaches, pretty cities, romantic dinners! I suggested to him that let's figure out what our married friends were upto and take their recommendations.

In the course of four months, we had in our dreams traveled the entire globe, we had been to Bali, Maldives, Australia, Europe, Bora Bora, New Zealand, Mauritius. We were practically scratching our heads on where to head to. The only thing both of us were convinced about was that we wanted to take it easy and relax while holidaying. I don't remember how and why we zeroed New Zealand but one fine day, we knew that New Zealand is where we were headed. Far far away from our country, we decided to go. While we started talking and googling more about NZ, we figured out that it fits in our scheme of things, it gives AD mountains and quaint towns and it gives me sea and cities, more importantly it gives us all the space that we needed after the wedding. Many people had told us, that NZ is as beautiful as it can get but I was completely in awe when I saw what all NZ had to offer. The country is such a picturesque place that I would always be confounded to what to click and what not to. There were times, when AD would stop the car and we would just gaze at the mountains, oceans, sun together. It was too much for a person like me, who has always been comfortable in concrete structures. When I would breathe, it would feel light, the nostrils could almost smell the airy air and
the muscles would open up to the breeze.

New Zealand just didn't boast of outstanding views but of extremely warm and friendly people too. People who would greet everywhere: in the shopping arcades, in restaurants, while clicking pictures, while sun bathing. They would pass such nice gestures to complete strangers. It was heart touching and very comforting, after all, we were just two brown people, married for a week, in a far far away land. They would compliment my Chooda, red bangles as they would call it and give me a thumbs up for having jumped out of the helicopter!

It was an amazing amazing vacation dear blog but you know what, there is no place like home. So go on, explore the world but come back home soon, very soon :)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I do

It's been such a long break from writing to you dear blog. I have been away not just from you, but from everything else that used to be. Honestly, I don't regret it, you know how it is, how one event, one relationship, one person takes precedence over everything else. I am not sure where to start from, what's to write about first - wedding, being married, away from home, life with AD, Mumbai or the new ex-CM of Delhi (just kidding :))

I think I am not over my wedding as yet, I don't think I will ever be, so why not pen it down here, somewhere in the online space, where my grandchildren will someday be able to read and laugh at their toothless old granny. I don't know if it is now that I have started going in the fast forward mode or was I always like that. Anyway, coming to where I started - my wedding. If you ask me to describe it in one word then it would be BEAUTIFUL, you know just the kinds I had always dreamed of. It was picture perfect, the chill in the air, the flowers, the candle lit stage, the instrumental music, the food layout.. I loved each bit to pieces. AD was late and I kept waiting for him not like a coy bride but like a happy, chatty bride. I wasn't nervous at all, which was hugely surprising because I was a nervous wreck a day before. Just when he entered, I got up to brace that one walk which is supposed to be like THE WALK of life. I walked along side my cousins and friends underneath a bed of roses. I felt like a superstar, with cameras flashing all over, I was overwhelmed by the feeling that the day, that moment had indeed arrived. Before, I went up the raised platform, AD  stretched his hand to take my shaky hand in his and then we stood smiling and blushing. We exchanged the garlands and laughed like this stupid couple in love.

The good part, I mean another good part of my wedding was that I didn't feel sleepy at my usual 11 30ish, I was wide awake and took all the vows with utmost sincerity and devotion. It was only after takings the 7 pheras, it dawned on me that I am going to go, leaving my mom dad alone. I cried and cried and cried some more. I hugged daddy cool and told him that I don't want to go, he cried with me, hugged me tight and then softly gave my hand in AD's. I don't think any word can describe that feeling, that sinking feeling of leaving your parents, your home and going with this one person. I took that leap, I did, with a heavy heart and tears eyes, entered a new relationship, a new family, a new life. I am thinking right now of what to write next because the new life with God's grace turned out to be fantastic not like what it used to be, but great in every sense! That in short dear blog was a glimpse of my very gorgeous and amazing journey called - I do!