Sunday, August 28, 2011

It Rained That Night

Aliya was staring at the rain droplets oozing down the glass panes. Sitting adjacent to the glass window, in Café Coffee day, she is well-settled in her cozy stole. With a hot cappuccino by her side, she had a ‘P.S I Love you’ to complete. But for the moment, the beating rains have caught her attention. “Rains are always beautiful”- she wondered. As mist tried to gather on the glass panes, Aliya too got lost in the rains and her lovely memories of it.

Four years back. 12th August. Aliya was on her usual rounds in the evening sitting on the rocks, by the sea at Band Stand. Although, she has moved to Mumbai 2 years back, she was still settling in this busy city. She came here everyday to face the sea, with lots of question in her heart. With an expectation at heart, she would be replied to some of them.

Hi, may I join you “gently said a voice. “ You already have, I guess” –replied Aliya with a smile. The guy introduced himself as Lakshya.

Lakshya Sinha was a IIM graduate. Had 2 plush offers, when he quitted Citi Bank and chose to freelance. Because he wanted time to pursue his real dreams – to become a writer. Lakshya always had been a rebel in his own ways – he felt he was a misfit in IIM – pure grey cells put him there which he felt had no contribution of his – born out of Doctor parents, he felt it was pure genes .His heart was always some where else.

So here Lakshya was, for last 2 months in Band Stand Café Coffee day, trying to frame his first story. Everyday he wrote something; he felt incomplete and destroyed it. And that’s when he spotted Aliya.

Lakshya: “I see you everyday around this time, so was just wondering what brings such a beautiful girl, everyday here, that too all alone “.
Aliya: “Guess the same reason, what brings you here
Lakshya: “How did you know I am alone
Aliya: “Guess other wise you wouldn’t be sitting here or keeping a eye on me
Lakshya protested he was not keeping an eye on her. Aliya smiled and said “Kya iraada hai, line marna chahte ho”. Lakshya was taken aback by the frankness of Aliya. Aliya’s smile reached her eyes.

Actually I am used to this loneliness “Lakshya said in this submissive tone. “But you see, today that’s 12th August, is my birthday, so didn’t want to spent alone, so walked up to you”.

Lakshya had come to meet her, out of curiosity. But clearly he was smitten by her attitude. Aliya cracked up loud into laughter. Her laughter was infectious and echoed to Lakshya’s ears. But it didn’t stop, it continued for some time. “Did I crack some joke?” – said a irked Lakshya, who didn’t miss the satire in the laughter. Aliya said: “I am sorry”. She sounded apologetic and replied: “I come here everyday to find myself from these waves – they reassure me that I exist, when they touch me feet”. Lakshya was confused by her reply. Aliya continued “You see, there is a another strange co-incidence besides both of us being alone”. Lakshya curiously asked : “Whats that?”..Aliya replied “We share our birthday -  “. Lakshya looked astonished. Aliya continued: “Hmm..yours the real one and mine is the fake one on papers “. Both laughed loudly. Lakshya said “Never the less we should celebrate “ – There was a prolonged silence at Aliya’s end.
Dark clouds were meandering over the head. “It can rain anytime “ thought Lakshya. And heavy droplets started falling. Lakshya said “I think we should be get going “. Aliya got perturbed. She tried to reach her mobile, with her fingers searching for the quick dial 7. “Let’s go fast”- cried a frustrated Lakshya, wondering what was Aliya trying to do in these heavy rains. Aliya finally got up, trying to search for something – and she slipped. Lakshya reached out her hand – and what got in his hand, left him shattered. It was a stick for support – and with that he sensed the girl he was flirting for last ten minutes - whose eyes he found beautiful – had one more truth hidden in it. That they can’t see Lakshya or for that matter anyone. Lakshya suddenly remembered Aliya’s laughter and words. He felt a chink in his heart.

Aliya Sharma. 25 years of age. Fair, smart, long hair and beautiful eyes. Graduate from top college of Delhi. She had everything to die for. She had three dreams – become a successful model, run a school for kids and travel to most exotic locations around the world. Her dreams came crashing down – when a speeding car, knocked her down, and her dreams too . She survived the accident but her eyes didn’t. And a lot of other things didn’t. Her relationships made an end. And so did a lot of other things. For Aliya, her world came crashing down. She was finished from inside, but she wanted to fight and won to win this battle too.

Lakshya helped Aliya settle in the Café Coffee day. It was raining profusely. There was a awkward moment of silence between the two. Aliya took the lead “You dont need to be sorry, you didn’t know “. Lakshya replied unapologetically “Your eyes are beautiful and I love them”. She initiated to move, when hand reached her fingers. It was a gentle touch, a touch of assurance. She could feel it. As she stood, she forwarded her hand in the air, “I am Aliya”. Lakshya held her strongly, and said “I say friends”.

He held Aliya’s hand strongly and took her out to the rains. “Feel it Aliya – you feel you don’t exist, – do you know why the rains are beating down so hard – it is their way of telling you that they are madly in love with you. People love you, or they don’t. Period. Don’t stop loving yourself please “. Aliya felt embarrassed and said “Shit. How can I treat myself so shabbily. I am Aliya Sharma”. A moment of silence separated before that infectious laughter, this time Lakshya joined.

That was second turning point in Aliya’s life. Happiness befriended Aliya again in form of Lakshya. They met everyday at Café Coffee Day, Band Stand Bandra. Coffee and long hours of chat. For both of them, it was easy to open up. They did not have baggages. They discussed everything from college, relationships. And even how Lakshya slept with a chick from his college in drunken state, which scared a fuck out of him, that he don’t attract AIDS. Lakshya came as lease of life in the darkness of Aliya – he stood for positivity, ready to enjoy every moment of life in his own way. And he was a flirt and funny too.

 He took Aliya to places – places that Aliya never been. She felt alive with Lakshya . Aliya was slowly coming to herself with her state. And it was Aliya’s 26th birthday. Lakshya only aim was to see Aliya smile. For him, everything else in life became secondary. Lakshya drove her down to Khandala. Aliya had no clue where she was going but she trusted him. She didn’t know who taught her to trust him. She was wearing a red kurti with a Patiala. She could feel the slippery beneath her while walking. But without a word, she was clinging on to him. She could feel drops of the rain. She could hear the sound of water. Slowly, sounds of water grew. There was a strange nervousness and excitement at the same time. Suddenly adrenalin rushed through her body. And next thing, she felt cold water beneath her feet. It was a spring, and the waters were splashing all over. She could feel the freshness of the place. A strange power of joy overcame her nervousness. Her heart was beating thousand pounds; she stretched out her hand to enjoy the moment. She never ever had got chance to come so close to nature ever. She realized her darkness was no longer a constraint. Her heart wanted out to reach out to Lakshya, she could feel the breath of Lakshya .She wanted to hold that moment forever ; she softly whispered “Love you “, Aliya’s heart wanted to cried out for so long finally it blurted out. Aliya‘s face was glowing with happiness. As Lakshya held her, there was pain and dilemma in his eyes.

Aliya was feeling cold. Lakshya slowly came and held her hand from the back quietly. She was slowly but surely facing the breeze. It was windy; her hair was fluttering and troubling her. But she wanted to face it. Suddenly Lakshya withdrew his hand, Aliya skipped a beat. Aliya started looking here and there. “Don’t look for me, Aliya- Go forward, this is your life, you need to move forward without a support “. Aliya moved forward. The wind grew stronger, the palpitation increased as she moved forward towards an unknown. An unknown fear gripped her, but she was determined not to call Lakshya. Aliya unknown, moved towards the edge of the cliff, as Lakshya watched her from the distance. She was almost there, Lakshya felt a lump in his heart. He rushed – rushed for his life – he knew he had long fell for her – Aliya felt a strong push backward. “Are you mad – what were you trying to do?” asked an irritated Lakshya. Aliya smiled loudly and said “As if you would have seen me dying? – I trust u, u would never let me die “. A pained Lakshya cried holding Aliya strongly by her shoulders “I am no one – your life is too precious to waste for anyone”. Aliya retorted, “You are my life “. Lakshya held Aliya’s hand gently and looked straight in her eyes – “You deserve much better in life “and walked away. “Life has given you – a girl who don’t know how the world look any more, a girl for whom world didn’t care for any more” . Lakshya stood still, an arrow of truth binded him. He could not understand himself –  this was never part of his plan , to fall in love,  to be hope of an innocent blind girl. Not at this time or juncture of his life. He cannot date her, Death has already fixed a date with him. That’s why he left his plush job, and follow his one last dream before he left this world. To write a book but destiny had something else written for him. Unknowingly he has fallen in love for a girl, who is learning to see the world, through his eyes. His voice choked with guilt even as his heart wished he could live a little more for Aliya. He had to do some thing, for Aliya. How he could love someone so deeply in such a short time, he wondered. A pain came out of his heart that echoed in the hills for long.

He didn’t realize when Aliya had gently rested her shoulders on him. “Would you would like to have some food” – Lakshya asked. Aliya was hungry indeed, she wondered how Lakshya knew. Next moment, Aliya like a little baby was feeded by Lakshya on a plate of Golgappa. . Aliya was happy and at peace, completely unaware of the storm that waited for her. Lakshya was crying at a distance silently watching Aliya. He wanted to hug her tightly and cried but couldn’t.

Lakshya‘s mind wanted to go back but heart wanted to stay. He felt like he was cheating on Aliya.

They drove to a resort. That night Aliya and Lakshya spent beneath the open sky, holding hands together, talking, cracking silly jokes as if there were no tomorrow. They were back to their child hood days.

It was morning; Lakshya was waiting in the car. There was a strange calm around him. He would be ever grateful to Aliya for yesterday, he has never been so happy. As soon Aliya stepped out of the resort and headed towards car, it started raining. Aliya stretched her hand out; Lakshya smiled as her saw her. He quickly went out of the car and and pulled her by his arms. And they danced in the rains

Suddenly a voice called out “Mam”.

The attendant in the Café Coffee day was calling her. Aliya was back in her present. The attendant wanted to know if Aliya wanted to order anything else. She nodded and said to herself: “I have everything”.

A guy pushed the door and came walking towards Aliya.

Guy: Aliya Sharma!! I am Arjun!!!
Arjun used to a close friend of Lakshya.
Arjun: Aliya, I really don’t know what to say. This is the most fascinating love story I have ever heard. A guy, at the juncture of his death, falls in love with a blind girl, in his dying days, and becomes happier by the day,  because he gets to live life for the person he loved,  his end would mean life to someone else.
Aliya: His life never ended, he will always live with me, through my eyes. He gifted me the most precious thing anybody ever could – his eyes.

Arjun: You ever feel like betrayed by him that he never told you
Aliya: In that sense I betrayed him too, I knew, I had overheard him speak to his doctor the day I proposed him.

Arjun was shell shocked.

Arjun: You knew….
Aliya: In love, it just happens, we can’t do much….. It’s the moment that matters and in that moment u just want to be with the person you love, to see the other person happy. We both hid the fact from each other because we just couldn't see the other get hurt.

Aliya: Lakshya is waiting for me in Crosswords; I got to make a move.

Arjun again looked stunned

Aliya: Lakshya – title of his first book. He could not survive to name it. But I did. Today it’s published finally and stands tall in the book houses.

Arjun: But it’s raining!!!!

Aliya smiled. She looked outside; she could still visualize her and Lakshya dancing in the rain. That’s the last time they danced.  Life has moved on three years but her heart still is meandering in the fond memories of Lakshya and incidentally rain happened to be part of her each defining moment. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Just that.....

I have walked a few mile,
Have been walking for a while
Few summers and winters…
Some lovely springs and rain…
Brings back memories of love and little pain………

Black and White was the world I saw…
Streaks of grey slipped in,
Thin line blurred between purity and sin,
 Felt for a while, and then faked it with smile…

Even if lips do, eyes don’t lie…
To every emotion there isn’t a why….
 A simple coffee may stir it rich,
 A rich damsel may appear to be a witch…
 Life had only one hitch
 Only a few smoothies and lots of stitch…

 Eyes dreamt of a fable
 Of Wonderland, romance, fairy and a tale…
 Some music and dance…
 It may have rained that night by chance J


Monday, April 4, 2011

Magic Unplugged !!!!

Its two days since World Cup has ended – the hangover still looms large – an ecstatic feeling within, predominantly influencing any action or inaction – sitting idle in front of television set and watching extracts of Sachin or Yuvi’s interview again and again and Shahid Afridi’s suicidal interview pops up now and then as a distraction. Will choose to ignore that. It is too small a distraction in front of this tsunami of happiness that Indian team and India as a nation given to us. Joy of winning would not have been so sweet if Mango People – Aam Aadmi, or “We the People” as Barkha would have put it, had expressed our feelings in such grandeur, euphoric manner. “Iss Raat Ki Subaah Nahi” was the wish of the million Indians, that night. It was one lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng partyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!! And the experience of it, is something that can’t just be put in any paper or frame.

And it all started one and half month back on 19th Feb, 2011. Looking back, it was like living a life within a life….Come to think of it, it was like any perfect bollywood screen play, scripted with excitement, thriller, passion and romance, with backdrop of a love story – love of Indians with Cricket, love of fans with Men In Blue….love between team members of Men In Blue, and last but not the least undying wait & love of our demi-god Sachin, for the World Cup for 22 years. Just like reel-life hero SRK had to wait for her Zaara, in an YRF flick, for 22 years. It was cinematic, only this time God Almighty scripted it perfectly, for its favorite nation India and his favorite child Sachin.

People may contest why Indians regard Sachin as God .God lives inside each of us. When a Zaheer, Yuvi, Raina, Kohli dedicated the win to Sachin, it was evident that Sachin was an integral part of each of their soul, and their cricket. He lives in each of them, he lives in each of us, and he is the constant reason for our smile in as many years as I can remember that has passed by. Sachin will always be my first love but my hero for the World Cup is MSD – totally bowled over by his out of this world display of human behavior. He showed us that we don’t need to be the star in each scene of our lives to become a hero – Bow to your humbleness, dignity, generosity. Bow to your courage, your ferocity, with which you lead us from the front, drive out Murali and gifted us this victory. The night when we lose to South Africa, my buddy Praveen commented on my update on Face book, that “Don’t worry Mahi will win the cup for you” – He did it for me and all of us. That’s the way, Mahi way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And as sweet-heart Ants put it “We will be telling these stories for years to come. Of how Sehwag broke our hearts and how hope died with Sachin's wicket. Of how Gambhir and Kohli fought back together. Of how Dhoni showed us what a spine of steel looks like and how the Cup looked in Sachin's hands”. In fact, every match had a story to tell - story of fight-back of a warrior called Yuvi in this world cup and how he won the Australia match for us, story of unsung hero Zaheer Khan and his resilience to bring India back in the match whenever India lost its way, story of a Raina and Kohli, who made their presence felt when it mattered. Each story inspired us and stirred us souls. Just like Preity’s bangles did. Another silent soul touched our heart – No amount of thanks is enough for you Gary!!!


But the journey could not have been complete without the win and the experience of night that followed – It was magical, freaking awesome!!!! As Ants best puts it, “Of how we laughed and cried and danced and sang together on the streets with misty-eyed strangers”. Seeing was believing. I didn’t see individuals, I saw Young India – who cared two hoots about caste, creed, religion, and the forbidden baggages which should have been shunned long back and greeted each other. Jaddu ki Jhappi and High fives were the order of the day. I was not born when India got its Independence – For me 2nd April, was my Independence day – Indian Flag fluttering all over the place, it made us independent from cynicism. Words like joy and happiness got a new meaning that night – as people danced their way down the streets – be it Sonia Gandhi or an Amitabh Bacchan or a me & you – all of us celebrated like frenzy as if there is no tomorrow. Stars in the sky could have fallen asleep, not us – some high dose of ecstasy was injected in our body that night.

Personally the journey was fascinating for me – and indeed a special for me for number of reasons. Of course, for Men in Blue – who bled blue to make us win. For all my friends in Facebook & Twitter, who kept me updated and motivated me with all their comments, on & off-field stories. Especially to Praveen, who told Mahi will win it for me or Ants, Tanu who kept updating cricket from my two other fav place in the world – Kol & Delhi. For my room mate Sandeep, who updated me with scores regularly when I was slogging at my office. And of course his infectious passion for the freaking Cricket League online game which was going as a parallel competition to the World Cup. For the special people of my life – Shilpee, my bro Rhibhu for bringing in positivity each time, when I was nervous during the game. Or for that matter the sunshine elements of my life- Sonia & Tj – with whom I celebrated over phone each time we won :-)

For our team- my buddies- who watched the matches together till India won – without changing our positions – some times in silence, some times in flurry of abuses to opposition and sometimes in drumming heart beats – in joy, in happiness, and in acute anxiety, hand in hand – Thank you Ayush, Dheeraj, Naishy, Sandeep, Saurabh & Viju – strictly in alphabetic order – for being my life-line during the matches, and part of all the celebrations, specially the magical nite, which will be etched in my memory as long as I live. I tried to relive the world cup moments for myself and for two people, whom I dedicate these memories – for all Indians who were not in India, who are mad lovers of cricket, when these fairy tale happened –  speically to my bro Tj and my school friend Rahul whom I connected after so many years. Guys, know you missed being in India but India missed you toooo…. Now that we are world champions – let this celebration continue as long as it can, globally – Touchwood. After all Cricket is the only religion in India – which connects all of us without any divide. Religion reminded me of another God who rules India – Rajnikant. Just one request Rajni - Take Sreesanth back to God's own country - Kerela,  forever. And his jokes, I truly believe, are the fastest manufactured innovative products in this universe . Leaving you with my fav lines from this World Cup, when we were tense in the final – “Don’t pray to God, pray to Rajnikant- God has given power of attorney to him” & " Dont worry, Rajini, Ghajini & Dhoni is in stadium ".  Amen!