A Travellerspoint blog

In The Name of Father

I do not remember which year that was. But yes, I was in class VIII then. I had just stepped onto my teenage years and I was a confused soul. More than what I am today… when I am at the wrong side of 30s.
I don’t know how and when things started falling apart. I was too young to comprehend and decipher. But yes… I knew for sure I did not belong to a “happy” and a “healthy” family. I saw my mom and dad cribbing and fighting day in and day out. At times it was violent. I’d wake up and see my mom with a black eye or sometimes a swollen face.
There were times when I managed the courage to ask her but she never told me the truth. My dad was beyond comprehension for me. He would never try and have an “adult” talk with me when it was about my mom and him.
So I left them at their own devises and I tried to keep myself occupied with Alfred Hitchcock, Sidney Sheldon and at times the Hardy Boys series borrowed from our school library.
So I was in Class VIII … and my mom eventually decided to walk away from this marriage and we packed our bags and moved to our maternal grandparents place. I do not know what the situation was like. It was a joint family with too many people. I was happy to be around my cousins and mingle around. What my mom was going through was perhaps tough and not easy. But that’s altogether another story I will write some other day.
So I was in school. It was summers. As the final bell rang, we said our prayers and walked down to the main gates and then head home.
I remember the huge iron grilled gate. We had to pass through that gate where Sister Theresa would stand like an obedient watch dog and see all the students walk without much fuss and in a single file line. You know how life is when you are in a Convent school. Not that I mean bad but it was too suffocating and claustrophobic. And after that ordeal we would reach the main gate to be outside of our school compound. No one could enter beyond that huge iron railed gate.
And I was walking slowly – I was going home to my maternal grandparent’s house which was a five minutes’ walk from school. Ever since we came to live in with them I walked home alone, missing my other walk-a-thon friends, because they were walking in the opposite way.
As I passed those huge iron grilled gates I spotted my father. Amongst the swarm of parents waiting for their daughters. It was after a long time that I saw him. The moment I saw him, I stopped. I did not move an inch forward. I saw the eagerness on his face. He looked happy. He looked sober. He looked as if he wanted to hold me in his arms tightly and take me back home.
I was always a daddy’s pet. And he knew it too well… there were times when I saw my mom and dad arguing and without even knowing who was right and who was wrong I’d take my father’s side.
But that day was different altogether. The moment I saw him I turned back and ran as fast as I could back to the place where we usually stood for our morning and afternoon assemblies.
I had my classmate Rashida with me. She was clueless about the whole affair. All I remember after this long is she crying out “Nan…Uncle…Unlce… Naaaaaan………”
I do not know how many minutes I waited there in the inner playground. The school seemed empty and then I managed to gather my wits and courage to walk through that gate and finally head home. As I walked though the main gate I did not see my dad.
And when I reached home to my mom, all she did was yell why I got late….
Sometimes things are better left unsaid… but now I seek answers…
I do not know if a “sorry” would be adequate… I lost my dad twenty one years ago.

Posted by incommunicado 09:21 Archived in India Tagged me people Comments (0)

Little Acts of Love - An Obituary

I don’t know from where to start and where to end. In times like this I miss you the most. It was so rude on your part to leave me like this – the way you did.
Nana… I still remember the last time we met… it was one of those hot and humid monsoon days – some day in August I know for sure. You were in town. I did not know that. You had called me a couple of times and I did not take your calls deliberately. And then my phone screen flashed – Nana Residence…. I answered the phone promptly.
“You are in town?” I asked and without waiting for an answer I added, “You should have told me earlier!”
“Earlier?”, he asked with as he rolled with laughter.
There was a long pause.
“I am here since the last three days. I am leaving day after”.
I did not even have the courage to say “sorry”.
I hemmed and hawed for a while. I felt at loss of words.
“I long for the coleslaw and the baked fish”, he said.
“It will be there tomorrow evening”, I replied and we hung up.
Nana came over the next evening, with his cousin – from his father’s side – someone I barely knew. Both the men ate greedily and in minutes the coleslaw and the baked fish were finished.
The meeting was a small one. They stayed for a while – maybe an hour and half. Before he left, he gave me a tight hug and kissed me on my cheeks and said, “Do answer when the pone buzzes”.
And then they left. It was the last time I ever saw Nana. He was wearing a light blue faded denim shirt and a three quart pants. He had put on a wee bit of weight and boy he was looking good.
I wish I had known that it would be the last time I was seeing him ever. But then that’s how life is. You do not know what is in store for you in the times to come.
The days and weeks that followed were not amusing at all. Nana would keep calling me relentlessly at odd hours and kept talking endlessly. Half of the things I did not understood - it is because he usually spoke what was in his mind at that moment. He would not even care to go into the outer periphery of the story to let his listener understand what that was all about. It got a bit too much for me. And then I decided I would “seriously” not take his calls and listen to his nonsense any further.
One fine morning when I woke up and checked my phone I saw I had 127 missed calls from him. It scared me. I sent him a message – a stinker rather and asked him not to call me at odd hours like the way he did. And then and there I added all his phone numbers in my “call reject” list.
I still feel sorry for doing that.
This was about a year ago. And I also got myself a new phone number. No! You are wrong if you are thinking I got a new phone number because I was not looking forward to take his calls. It had more to do with my bill plans.
After my new phone number was fully operational, I messaged it to all my friends except him. I am sorry again Nana.
Yes, after a long time my phone was silent. It did not beep at odd hours. I did miss speaking to him but slowly and slowly I got used to it.
And then one fine day my cousin called up – you know the kind of cousin you normally meet at social and family functions. You exchange hellos yet you are not too friendly to be in touch on a regular basis. So when she called me I was quite surprised. We were talking about everything – the price rise, weather, weight , health – it was basically wasting time and money talking all this out of the blue and I was telling myself at the back of my mind – come to the point without much ado… and my prayers were answered when she said, “Nana is in a rehab, in Cal. Do you know about that?”
There was a long pause and then I said, “No. I did not know until now. The last time I met him was a year and two months ago. I haven’t spoken to him after that.”
She continued, “He will be out of the rehab in three months time i.e. Jan”.
“I hope he does not get back to alcohol once he is back”, I replied and we ended our conversation.
I remembered him as we stepped into a new year and I thought, “He should be out of the rehab one day or the other. I hope he takes care of himself and does not go back to his heavy drinking”. There were times when I had this desperate urge to call him… if not call then at least send him a message and let him know my new number. But I did not.
Days passed on. My life was going through some major changes as well and I was quite preoccupied with that. Staying alone in a city with a six year old daughter has a lot of perils and responsibilities. And I was totally investing my time managing the house and my daughter.
Once in a while I did remember Nana. But I decided I would call him on his birthday and surprise him. Nana’s date of birth is one date one cannot forget easily. It’s on 25th December. Now as you are reading this I am sure even you will remember the date if nothing else. So I waited. I had made up my mind and that was it. I would call him on 25th December and wish him a Merry Christmas and then a very happy birthday.
I wish life was as easy as we plan out.
It was the 21st of November last year. I had just reached home, dropping Nior at school. My aunt – someone I rarely speak to called up. We spoke about everything – like I had spoken to my cousin about everything under the sun and the she asked me,
“Did you get the news?”
“What news?” I asked her.
“Well I am not too sure, I do not know if it is true or not but Nana passed away last night”.
My world stood still and I froze. There was nothing to say.
We hung up. I called up his friend in Shillong and he was as shocked as I was when the words hit me first.
But yes it was true. Nana was no more.
I took the night train the next day to Jorhat with an aunt of mine and our family friend – the writer Uncle. My daughter is to young to understand what death is all about. It did take a lot of effort on my part to tell her that she won’t see her Nana Mama again.

Nana was kept in the morgue. All were waiting for his younger sister to arrive on Sunday.
Dipli, Nana’s sister arrived by one in the afternoon and by that time there were a lot of movements. Some were arranging his “sangi” (the bed made of bamboo straws on which the body is carried to the cremation ground ), Zulu uncle had already left for the morgue. I was getting uneasy. I did not wish to see Nana in that state. He was a very good looking man. I always said he resembled Sly Stallone. And this was not what I wanted to remember for the rest of my life. We came back to the guest house and rested a while.
That same evening we took the train back to Guwahati. I went to visit Dipli and their Dad. And as I hugged her, it was for the first time I broke down.
Its been close to three months now but I am yet to overcome the fact that you are no more.

Nana… your phone numbers are still my call reject list. What is the point now to remove those? I shall never get to hear your voice again. I shall never have the brother whom I loved so much. I will miss the way you pampered me. I remember how much of cajoling and emotional blackmailing I had to do so that you part away from your Ralph Lauren golf shades. You said they were a limited edition and you bought them for 500 dollars. But then you gave me your shades… and I still remember I said, “Aah! These shades! You could have given me one of your tee shirts instead!”
I wanted to learn golf from you. I wanted you to live to see my grand children. I wished you lived long to see me get older and fatter.

And now I know if you really want to speak to someone do not hesitate or wait for the right moment. That might never come at all.
25th Dec from now on will never be the same.
Nana I hope you are in a better and a beautiful world now. You will be missed always.

Posted by incommunicado 00:45 Archived in India Tagged me people Comments (0)

Notes to self

I just need to discipline myself... thoughts are in plenty...brimming
And I need to write!

Posted by incommunicado 07:43 Archived in India Tagged me Comments (0)

From Rejection to the Center Stage.

He is not the regular hunky-dory, muscle flexing, gyrating to music kind of an actor. You might even fail to recognize him if he walked past you or bumped into him while crossing the road. Yet he is intense. Versatility is his keynote. Meet the man of the hour – Nawazuddin Siddique. From a small town named Budhana in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh, hailing from a farming family to the glittering world of Bollywood, his journey was not an easy one.
He began his career as a watchman in Delhi when he decided to move out of his home. His love for stage and acting developed when he began watching plays at night after his duty hours were over and soon joined a theatre group. He enrolled for a course in National School of Drama and after graduating he moved to Mumbai to find greener pastures. However it was not a cake walk for him. In an interview to The Times of India he said he was a “rejected actor” and he aptly describes himself as a “kaala kutta” while speaking to DNA.
It took 12 long years for this fine actor to finally set his foot in the world of Bollywood. From mere roles where you’d miss him at the blink of an eye in movies like Shool (where he is a waiter) and Sarfarosh (where he is a criminal appearing barely for a few seconds) in 1999 to Gangs of Wasseypur, Talaash, The Lunchbox, Bombay Talkies, he certainly has come a long way and with lots of accolades, acceptance and trophies.
He is a man who can fit into the skin of any character with great ease and conviction. Be it Taimur in Talaash as a guy doing odd jobs in a brothel or as Shaik in The Lunchbox, the guy taking Sajjan Fernandes’ (Irrfan Khan’s) job when he retires or as the eccentric and wicked Shiv Gajra with an evil laugh in his latest release Kick.
In Kick where he appears after intermission, he steals the show right away from the biggies like Salman Khan and Randeep Hooda nonchalantly!
Yet you just cannot get enough of him. For here is a man who manages to steal the entire show and attention right from the time he appears and you will be left asking for more.

Posted by incommunicado 20:27 Archived in India Tagged people Comments (0)

Little Acts of Love - An Ode to my Friends and Other Devils!

The Sunday That Never Was

A stay-at-homebody that I am now, all my days are same. Be it a Monday or a Saturday or a Thursday. It however does not mean that I have stopped looking forward to the weekends. My weekends are also are not very happening as it was ago. I end up hanging around with my closest of pals. Either they come over or at times I visit them. I am off the clubbing circuit and as well off the pub hopping mode too. Not that I complain. I enjoy every bit of the receded pace my life is currently going through.
In this repetitiveness, the only thing changing was the weather. From pleasant days to slightly warmer ones and I wasn't welcoming the summers enthusiastically.
Everything is instant in today’s time. Be it food, shopping, expressing feelings and making friends. All you need to do perhaps is just a click away. And in between all this, there he was –my brand new friend. You bump into so many people in the World Wide Web. It’s usually a rare thing to find someone who matches up to you – like peas in a pod.
“Rules?” he asked me reading my post which goes like this - “My life, my rules”.
“Keep it short and simple”, I told him.
Perhaps he was one of the few strangers I bothered to reply. Let’s face bare facts. He was the only one who had the brains to read the post and ask something interesting.
This is how it all began. It was slow, it was nice and it was getting better. We were not rushing into anything. For that matter we were not even in a hurry to ask “send in a picture of yours. I want to see how you look like”.
He was talking to A-queer-N and I was talking to a Free Spirit.
It was after four days when we finally introduced ourselves, starting with our names, but that seemed not too essential as the ice-breaking stage was crossed already and we were happy with our pseudo-names. No not pseudo … it is not the right word. We were comfortable talking to our alter egos.
Much later we saw how we looked like. But then again, the comfort level was such immense that when I saw him it felt I could have recognized him anyways!
Like his name, he is somebody that cannot be tied down or chained to or tamed. Extremely moody he leaves me confused at times. One moment he is this restless, impatient, philosophical, right on your face and funny to the bone creature and the next moment he is nervous, hugely irritated and angry with some unexplained outburst of frustrations. Slowly and slowly I learnt to deal with it. And how I learnt it! That is interesting as well.
It was after about twenty odd messages when I sent him a stinker one day.
“It’s awkward when you shut up”, I said.
“I know”, replied the Free Spirit.
“So? What are we going to do about it?” I asked him.
“Let’s observe the silence”.
So there we were observing the silence.
“I’m breaking up with my girlfriend”. He sent me a message much later, but by then I was in deep sleep and I read it the next morning and I decided to still “observe the silence”!
Months later, we decided it was time we met.
I would be lying if I say I wasn’t excited. I was. Very much indeed. I looked forward to meet this man who struck the right chords with me.
“Sandwiches”, he said and also added, “beer as well”.
“Grilled chicken”, I added further.
So it was all set.
My checklist made and marked.
After a long time I had something to look forward to. I would cook with utmost care and I could not afford to let a thing go wrong.
And on that Sunday on the second week of April, 11:30 a.m. was the time I was expecting him to be knocking on my door. Inspite of having a late Saturday night, I woke up much earlier than I would do on any given Sunday.
The chicken was already marinating since a day earlier. I began with slicing the vegetables for the sandwiches and then went on to making the mayonnaise. So on it continued till my phone beeped around 10 o’ clock.
“I am sick. Can barely move from my bed”.
The message was so casually written.
I read the message twice before I pressed the reply button. I waited for a while. I did not know what I wanted to say or type. The feeling – there was a sense of rejection, denial… it was awfully negative - something I really wasn’t expecting. It was not at all a good feeling.
I said to myself, “Stop over-reacting.”
“Okay!”, is what I replied and continued making the sandwiches, wrapping them with slightly wet cotton hand towels to keep the moisture of the bread intact. I mashed the potatoes with generous amount of milk and cheese and black pepper. But at the back of my mind there was a feeling of restlessness. I was agitated.
“Oh! Come on now! The man is sick. How could he come for this brunch when he can barely move from his bed”, I re-assured myself. But still I was not at all ready to accept this. Yet I kept my mind calm and composed and went about doing my work. I told myself, even if the plan bombed, I will still grill the meat and eat it as well.
That is exactly what I did.
I wore my Davidoff Coolwaters after my bath and put on the clothes I had intended to wear… it did not matter if the Free Spirit had turned me down at the nth hour.
So I put the meat on the grill pan and uncorked one Budweiser too.
“Cheers” I told to myself as I sipped the beer. It was good. On that hot, dry April mid morning-afternoon, I could feel the chilled beer going down my through the esophagus straight into by belly!
There my phone beeped again and it was him, “So what are you doing?”
I told him all I did and how much I loved my aloneness.
“Have fun you!” and then continued, “Am alone in the house, looking after my grand-dad. He his counting his last days and so am I counting mine. Everyone’s gone out”.
Reading this made me all the more bitter, more than the beer you see.
I do not know if I would be this patient with anybody else. But there was and still is something about him that makes me react in a way I usually do not. It surprises me at times.
I knew it. I got my answers then. That he said he was sick and that he could barely move his body was a big lie. I had this hunch about it but now I was sure.
I felt bloody idiotic.
“I do not know what made you call off this meeting of ours. It was you who said Sunday it would be. Make up your mind, whether you are sick or is it your grandfather that made you cancel our brunch. At least you could have told someone in your family that you had an invitation and we had planned this at least a week earlier. How could you do this?
It all goes to prove the point that all the things we talk have been not worth it.
But I must thank you Free Spirit wholeheartedly. It was after a long time that I was looking ahead for a day when I could unwind and be me. You have no idea how much care I took while making the food. How much I had to persuade another friend of mine to buy the beer bottles for me as you know it’s a total No No for a woman to walk in to a wine store and buy booze.
Do I sound rude and nasty Free Spirit? Oh you bet I am. You hurt me a lot today. But then now I know how not to expect things this way. From now on I never will.”
Yes I was hurt.
“People who love to eat are the best – Julia Child”, is what he sent me back.
“And people who love to cook are damned fools indeed”, I said.
So that was it, my Sunday – a day I wanted it so badly. To meet my new found friend. But like I said maybe that particular Sunday was not his day. He was not at his best and thus he decided to chicken out.
But the ripples he created were far flung.
He still is a good friend. We still talk. We still talk in our alter egos. He still makes plans. He still wants me to make sandwiches. I laugh, I say yes and then I forget about it then and there. And then I smile more because I no longer feel bitter about it. Because I have stopped making plans or expecting things which I know might not happen eventually.
Is this once bitten twice shy is all about? I guess it is… it is which that particular Sunday taught me.

Posted by incommunicado 04:54 Archived in India Tagged me sunsets_and_sunrises people night Comments (0)

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