Amazing people who make me go on n on n on:)

24 July, 2011

Of 'Zindagi Na Mile Dobara' and more!

It is 1 o’clock at night. I have just returned from my first night show of a movie in a year because the world was hollering about Zindagi na Milege Dobaara since a week and I thought if I won’t catch it now, I would soon probably be gasping for air or something or be labelled an outcast and deported to Alaska.

But as I was returning I was also pondering over my exact feelings about the movie. Of course there was a feel good but then there is also a tad bit of disappointment somewhere. That was also introspected and I came up with my very own bullet list again:

1. We actually had centre seats 6, 7, 8 (my nephew had also gone with my beloved and me) but the stupid seat guy made us sit at 3, 4, 5 and then came a fat aunty ji, some ten minutes late in the movie with two gawky guys dangling by her sides, made us all stand and create a ruckus and probably got us cussed under the breath by those seated behind us and despite me asserting that she’s seated her big butt on our space, they eventually gobbled up our seats and we had to settle back on her corner ones. Not that I was cribbing about those seats before, beloved was-but then the aftermath conclusion is I hate being bullied into giving what is rightly mine for no rhyme or reason. So bad start and also a nudge to beloved to remind him the umpteenth time that it is great that he is so super accommodating and all but there are times in life when he has to give up the ‘chalta hain’ attitude that surfaces EVERY where. I tell him people are using him for his niceness and he only says ‘Chalo, kisse ke kaam to aa raha hoon!’ Grrrr-believe me, it is not so “awwww...” every time.

2. Facebook was screaming and reeking with praises of the flick and how it was changing lives-some scores of very flattering updates were about the movie. I remember a cute blogger friend also updating this as her status. “Those who liked Delhi Belly and not ZNMD are sick.”
I did not dislike it really but just to be sure, I took the thermometer into my mouth to check if I was-98.4 it says and along with that in asterisk, are the invisible words that only I can perceive- ‘You are over healthy, could you please do something about it?’
I guess over expectations nipped the outcome a bit. Lesson learnt also that one must watch movies that we look forward to before the reviews flow in because you might not read the movie buzz section in the newspaper or avoid the pompous critics on television giving their ratings but you can run, you deny but you can’t escape the reviewers on Fb-count me as one of them too.

Zindagi Na Milege Dobaara:
Firstly, why such an excruciatingly painful title Madam Zoya Akhtar? I mean agreed there have been worst-Kabhi Alvida Na Kehne, Kuch Kuch Hota Hain, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam it’s now 1. 19 a.m. please forgive me for my tired memory and hence not coming up with more of such obnoxious names, I shall devote a post on this some other time to make up. But fortunately for those flicks the names kinda gelled well with the mouth. Zindagi-makes me just stop short at that...“Zindagi” for ZNMD is too weird an abbreviation and a very inconvenient for the lips.

Please don’t get me wrong here my friends- I have nothing against wholesome family entertainers-they’ve built our cinema on that. Look at The Johars and The Chopras achieving cult statuses by selling larger than life dreams. You come out hoping for a Raj to bump into or imagining flowers blooming at every encounter to turn it into love at first sight and then dance on well choreographed chartbuster numbers in Swiss locales, wearing heavily designed outfits at your sangeet. I never thought I’d be saying this but I now think-Isn’t it time we grew up?

I mean agreed ZNMD sounds such a fabulous proposition if it could really come true. If all men could go to Spain or even a poor old Singapore for bachelors party and then bump into beautiful scuba divers and have one night stands with good girls and with no strings attached! If we could meet up school friends after years and get together for such longish time as though nothing’s changed! If we could just dive into water or jump off a plane or run before a mad bull which I feel many do anyways in this part of Uttar Pradesh with rampant street animals making a go at your rear side at their whims and fancies and feel that we are living again. If only we could just as easily turn down marriage proposals without caring a damn about the feelings of those involved especially family and become Runaway Brides and grooms! Yes, we’d be kings of wishful thinking!

The Times of India recently informed of a study that revealed that romance novels lead to unstable mental health for women making them either over-the-top expectant or wanton to materialize such as they read, in their own mundane lives. So I guess it is time we told the movie makers to stop messing with our heads and please don’t give us larger than life ideas that seldom see the daylight. I mean till we craved for houses and families like Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum it was alright-please don’t make us yearn for a life like what you show here! On a personal note perhaps I am also a bit bitter because I have always wanted to live like that-be on the move, new experiences around every corner-may be this mad post is just a response to the ‘sour grapes’ syndrome of the fox who is tempted by the grapes on the vine and then raises a snooty nose in disdain when it realises that they are beyond its reach.

Then I am also pondering that maybe it is the small city deficiency syndrome-may be life is such in metros of Delhi, Mumbai and the likes. But then we also have friends in these places that are equally stuck up in the grinds of the everyday earning of bread and butter that I suppose they strive to be served in gold plates adorned with precious diamonds, for their work schedules are so maddening that enjoying what they are reaping is postponed till some other time. Enough is never enough!

The movie-ZNMD was less of a movie and more of an experience, a journey you made with them. Of course I laughed and smiled and ogled at the three gorgeous and sexiest men in the Indian film industry and wanted to be Laila at many points yes, the smooch point topping the list. But then I also felt it all was too beyond our reach. I mean what could possibly have been the outcome of life for the trio after such a road trip-back to the grind or can they afford to party like that forever? How can you keep living Zindagi when zindagi makes 101 demands out of you to slog to survive? We all love holidays, we all love to be free without responsibilities, do things that make ME happy at the end of the day and period. But is it really possible? To just be with no strings attached?

It’s not that people like those don’t exist who live up their lives-they do, but their number is too miniscule to want everyone to be and behave like them. Possibly like a rare ‘Salman’-who gives up his obligations to an unborn child and his unwed mother for he never really grew up to want to grow up? And then also-do Hrithik, Farhan and Abhay really look as though they were out of college just four years back? Despite all their hotness, please! There were many shades of Dil Chahta Hai and The Hangover there and also some other movies which I could not put my finger on. I loved Farhan’s recital of poetry, loved the Senorita song and ached to be buried in the tomatoes too. And as far as the lip lock was concerned-we’ve seen Hrithik do better- remembering here the Dhoom kiss with Aishwarya that was oh-so-awesome!

On the other hand was Delhi Belly, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Again male bonding formed the crux with three guys as the protagonists. I read many reviews condemning the toilet humour and offensive language yet there was a novelty attached to it. The unique blend of English and Hindi that did not look artificial or put on in anyway-no songs, no intervals, no pretence, no dreams-just shit happening as it really does happen in actuality sometimes. There were genuinely moments when I laughed my head off my seat.

Despite all my aversions to crassness in real life, if you ask me which is closer home to me-I’d say there are more chances of me finding myself in trouble with the mafia and hear the worst of F and all the rest of the alphabet words than finding myself with a sexy finance man, who’d be ready to give up his job to go away with me to Morocco and the likes and sing Senorita there for the rest of our lives. I know what you are thinking-is ke liye tereko Katrina types hona padega-but then even hypothetically it is a weird possibility. I also know that you are going to tell me ‘It is just a movie-itna sochte nahi hain’-but you know, one of those days when a movie makes you-THINK!

After having blah-blahed about it all for three pages and still having you hear, let me also say this-our opinions of movies are formed not just by the content and merit of the movie itself but what frame of mind we are in when we venture to dekho them. I remember a couple friend and us went once to see this suspense thriller by the actor who played Meheer No. 2 in the television serial ‘Kyonki Saas bhi kabhi Bahu thi’ and laughed our guts out at the ham scenes and blatant and obnoxious over acting and omg-dialogues that were dissected and imitated-it remains one of my most enjoyable movie experiences ever! I don’t know what made me write a movie review for I generally don’t. Just that ZNMD makes you wanna be free and when you can’t, you wanna tell the world it is an impractical and bad idea! ;-) 

22 July, 2011

Have you ever got a Hair Spa?

“Have you ever got a hair spa?”

A year and a half back I was asked this same question and I had looked despairingly at the saloon owner thinking here she goes again, trying to push through another product/service that I don’t want and what is wrong with the world and spending on frivolities that we can definitely do without? I mean a ‘hair-spa’ sounded like another chochla of big people with bigger pockets and the biggest of vella time.

“Just get one,” she had said with eyes so full and assertive as though she was coaxing me to volunteer for a mission of world peace. Post that she began to enumerate how my hair was begging for moisture. “But I do wash them every second day with water,” I stressed, half wondering what these women wash theirs with. I was then explained to that my hair was dry and damaged and more blah-blah on some pollution crap. I wanted to tell her how my beloved still loved to hold them tenderly in his hands and not so tenderly when not so tender, but let the urge pass. Hitherto I had lived on the premise that pollution is only fatal for the lungs and breathing and glaciers. Apparently like most of my premises, this one too sucked and sucked my natural and otherwise eternal beauty.

She had already made some not-so-flattering remarks about my non-toned and sagging skin I can’t believe I just typed that and I am not even deleting it and bulging sides and age spots on my face-it was a fitness cum beauty centre and so what do you expect-the diversions from my face to the body were natural yes, I am trying now to salvage the damage done. I had finally begun to wonder-not about the so called flaws in my physicality but rather what the f@#$ was I still standing there and doing, listening to her rip me apart? My self esteem was wilting so low that we’d need cranes to lift it up again.

I told her point blank- ‘Lady, you are not helping your own cause if you are going to pick my faults even worse than my husband!’ And finally she got the jhatka, immediately realising that she had overdone it and then began a butter dipped little speech on how fair my skin is otherwise, and how fair-soft skin could LATER be prone to problems now she tells me and how my hair just needed a bit of pampering. She just saved herself from being crowned with the worst salesgirl tag and almost won the best one, for I gave in to a trial session. Okay hair spa me and this better be good!

I was led inside a chamber and little red lamps and candles were lit instead of the harsh glares of bulbs and tube-lights. Light instrumental music to the likeness of a flute being played near a waterfall with soft chirping bird almost made me look around. In walked a guy wearing an apron and asked me to change into a gown. I was suddenly alert-dim red lights, gown, guy-all seemed too red-light-y for my own good. But what the heck, my mom had got it done and survived it to praise it, so who am I to act all touch-me-not. Reasserted henceforth that wackiness runs in our ‘genes’, even when we wear a salwar kameez-okay, very poor joke, I know.

And there I sat on a plush, cushioned seat all set to be experimented on. Why do the thirties have to be so hyped everywhere as the warning knell to watch out for, just because they want to sell their stupid anti-wrinkle and age-defying creams and ‘you are worth it’ hollers...rather all a bunch of gobbledygook? I so love this word and wait to use it at the first hint of hinting at nonsense. Yes, I wrote this post just for it! So I was given the head wash and some cream was lavishly spread out on my strands and roots, enveloping just my head but giving me an overall feel good. My legs were placed in between an automatic mechanical massager that totally lightened them from knees to the toes, with soft squeezes and pressures so that I almost felt after a while as though I had no legs at all-and that was a good thing by the way.

So then began the unexplained aren’t you lucky that you are on a page where even ‘the unexplained’ is explained in such great lengths? The guy could create magic with the so right movements of his fingers. He used the pressures to unlock every tired and knotted vein running through my head and spine and the rest of the body took to the impulse and let me be free. It was the most relaxing head massage I ever got okay the most relaxing of the two official saloon massages in my lifespan and I think I even closed my eyes for long gaps in between as though I presumed I was being transported to the ethereal and I would open my eyes and ask, "Mein kahan hoon?" Of course the best was yet to come. The ‘hair’ spa then culminated into the disentangling of my neck, arms and shoulder build up and also of the back-over the gown of course! And I thought I’d died and gone to heaven and there Yamraj himself was welcoming me saying that the back massage is the heaven’s way of a shake hand and I am nodding in unadulterated pleasure wait, isn’t Yamraj supposed to be at the entrance of hell? Then who the hell guards heaven-damn, my mythology!

Thereafter there was hot steam treatment, some equally hot coffee with yummy nachos along with a mayonnaise cream dip nopes, I don’t go there for the free food, a hair wash again and conditioning and a very well pampered me. Two hours of such indulgence that I almost felt spoilt. My tresses caressed my top like Solomon’s silk! I thought the hair clip would fall off, it became so soft and smelt and felt so sexy.

Okay, I have been trying very hard to evade using this word but I think if I do not I shall explode (with no puns intended) and the essence of the feeling would not be conveyed just as well. The experience can be defined as good as being orgasmic! Phew! There! Said it!

And you know what else did I say, which I can’t believe till now that I actually said it that day to the hair spa guy- “Your wife is a lucky woman if she gets this kinda massage!” Yes, extreme gratification tends to cloud my thinking and vocal abilities. And he just smiled shyly in response, interpreting it god knows how and showing his tobacco stained teeth in his own version of a gratified expression.

When I returned home and told my beloved how unbelievable was the experience, he mocked me saying that I only loved it so because I got close to an actual massage by a guy although it was just in my head-literally and otherwise. And also was added that since I had got it done, he should also be fairly given the freedom to get a massage from a woman whenever we go to Thailand. Alright I said and then mumbling under my breath, as long as I get to pick the woman and praying in the next breath that the sexed up country also has obnoxious and ugly women available for these stupid services instead of the just-out-of-magazine-cover models, using whom they have spoilt the imagination of half the Indian men! And as soon as I agreed, his suspicious eyebrows now got raised even higher wondering what exactly happened that got me convinced so quick.

Ewwwww! I retorted almost offended, not because he had raised scepticism at my Ganga ki tarah pavitra intentions and actions but because he still didn’t trust me to have a good taste. The massage guy was half balding, married and ugly I said, although those hands and their skills didn’t tally with the rest of his body. I also slowly added that I had shed a few grands in taking a package of 15 hair spas at such a heavy discount that he would be super proud of me as a thrifty and prudent home-maker and not to add the hot hair one.  

This was prior to Seeya happening and while I took 10 of those in the next six months, I have managed to avail just three in the last year. The second last just happened today and hence the nostalgia and the super feel good. If you have already got it done, you know what I am saying and certain 'chochlas' come guilt free. If not, try it once and preferably by a man, for sorry my genderkinds but this requires a certain amount of strength and knowing a woman’s head-all puns intended!

16 July, 2011

Adopt, Adapt, Adept!

Love at First sight!
And this month we complete a full year of having Seeya in our lives-a year which on reminiscing was one, that sometimes went by in a jiffy and at other times I remember turning around and questioning, ‘What, it’s just been a month since!’

For those of you who have joined me late-Seeya is my adopted daughter and we got her into our arms at exactly 5 p.m. a year back on 13th July, 2010. She was then a tiny, timid looking bundle that was relatively quiet yes, appearances can be deceptive and somewhat lost when she entered the household and met all eager faces ready to welcome and pamper her. She spent the first few hours observing with thorough amusement the seemingly circus of our friends and relatives, enfolding before her and then around 9-ish, we heard the first of the later very regular and louder of blood curdling screams and wailing.

The first day dazed look
‘Oh my god’, I had thought! She misses the familiar hands of those who nurtured her for her first seven months. What if this is a mistake? What if she continues to cry and does not stop? What if she does not like the feel of having me next to her? I had spent the whole of that night with one eye awake and at this point it is almost a habit now. My journey began on an apprehensive and pressurized note-I had to make this work as I had taken up the cause-come what may!

When we had decided to go in for adoption, contrary to popular beliefs, my main concern was not where the baby came from or what religion would she be of or that should we not want a male child instead or why did the mother leave the infant. Neither did I think that this baby would be any different from one that would have come out of my own womb. These thoughts did not transpire in my mind even fleetingly. My main concern was-would she accept me as a mother? Would I be able to do justice to a child that is being handed to my care unconditionally?

My life for thirty two years prior to Seeya, had set into a routine that made me very less answerable to anyone except myself. I was fulfilling all my duties and with the rest of my time I was gratifying all my desires with all possible indulgences-teaching, blogging, shopping, travelling, gyming, meeting up friends for movies and outings. This was not a giant leap for the child who barely crawled-it was more so for me, almost like going to the moon. I wondered if I would be able to fit into the mould of a traditional and sacrificing mother, the kind that I always saw being reflected in my own mom. At the risk of sounding vain, let me just say I have surprised myself in the last one year although also occasionally admonished and sometimes self-shaken like a cough syrup bottle!

There is something in that word ‘MOTHER’ that binds two souls-one who calls it and the one to whom it is addressed. It brings in a magical attachment and the feeling I guess is mutually beautiful-when you hear a child cry out ‘mamma’ in her sleep as though she knows you would make her safe and when little ears hear someone say it is okay and cuddling her heartbeat close and tenderly.

I had pondered for a long while over baseless worries like what if she went to others’ arms more willingly like may be mothers around me who had brought up children. There must be some special charge about natural mothers that children get drawn to-something that comes with pregnancy perhaps and the waiting period of nine months. Did I miss on that which would cost me dearly?

Thereby there must be a latent organism or arrangement within the body that excreted exceptional amount of patience into a female system so that she would smile even if the baby woke and cried every half an hour of the night for half a year non-stop, even when it would have loose motions extending to a score or took one hour despite a dark room and pin drop silence to be put to sleep whenever tried. And when Seeya mouthed words like ‘papa’ and ‘umbrella’ before “mummy”, I could almost see my worst fears being realised.

I always and sometimes still do considered myself as non-motherly types. I was most decidedly convinced that there exist a plethora of genes that are preordained to different individuals variedly- the study genes, marriage-genes, mother-genes, arranged/love marriage-genes, business/service sector genes and the likes. And hence some are suited to a particular environment and others scuffle in the same like penguins brought to the equator.

I have had my share of struggles. I gave up on my social life and round the clock became a permanent fixture before Seeya’s big, beautiful eyes. I took a sabbatical of one month from teaching which left me with nothing else to do than hover around her like a relentless bee over a juicy flower. With the absence of domestic help to come to rescue for a long while I was managing the show single-handedly and the biggest positive that emerged out of it was- I had lost three kgs of weight in the first month, although along with a little bit of my mind too. Also the fact that my beloved’s super hectic work schedules till 10 p.m. and my mother-in-law’s social and television-al commitments saw no dip, escalated my woes nope, she is neither a social worker nor a television actress.

However, seeing so many people in the joint family on and off made her extra demanding as she would get bored of anything/everything and any one person within fifteen minutes and get cranky to necessitate more. Within a few months I seemed to have aged a few years, more so in mind than in body. I was losing the inclination to mingle with friends for we had no place to leave back the little one, with a relaxed mind and I had nothing significant to contribute to enjoyable conversations except garnish them with my cribbing to make it indigestible.

I sometimes felt hawk eyes were watching me intently waiting for me to err and in this delusion perhaps I had given so much of myself that I often felt little remained within me. I lived in the perpetual scare in the first half year of having her that someone someday would turn around with a pointing finger and say ‘She is not so good a mother, as the child is not born of her’. It made me burn the midnight oil also midday, noon and evening oil with a ferocity hitherto unknown to my placid existence. I would rarely let her off my sight as a result of which she rarely wants me now to go out anywhere minus her or be ready for hell being raised of tantrums and another night of sleep cruelly slaughtered when I return even from an occasional movie. In the last twelve months, we have been for just seven night outs without Seeya yes, I keep a count, comes handy in emotionally blackmailing the beloved!

There were days when I would ask other mommies, if they had really had it so tough or was Seeya an extraordinarily gifted troublesome baby. Turned out that it was a mix of both! She has mischief written perhaps with invisible ink on every pore of her body. She clings to me like a baby monkey to its mother. She has understood that she just has to shriek in her jarring volume, worse than Sunny Deol’s spine-tingling yells and she would get absolutely anything, for everyone runs to save their ear drums than save the child from getting spoilt and pampered. She is a smart one with tear drops waiting at the edges of her eyes to make sudden and super frequent public appearance its the days of publicity my friends and although one year and seven months old-she still does not sleep non-stop at nights for more than two hours at a stretch and sometimes breaking even in between to make us hear those cries as though we’d perish out of missing them so much!

However, all said and done, life does settle! Perhaps despite all my claims then, I really wasn’t prepared for motherhood, or the fact that I would have to do it all alone. And how does one prepare anyways-you can’t get the neighbours infants for three days of trial to your house to see if you’d survive it and live to tell, can you? The system gradually adopts, adjusts and adapts. I no longer care about being judged by others for I know my daughter cannot be without me even for a few hours, which by the way is something I sigh upon too sometimes.

I am slowly trying to get back vestiges of my erstwhile soul-meeting people, facebooking, blogging though still not able to take care of my shape as much as the mirror would prefer me to or impart my knowledge cells as much as the students would like me too. But the tightest bear hug from her and the genuinely nautanki smile makes me forget about anything deficient anywhere.

Seeya is a unique child-she can mouth rhymes to sing of Sheila and Ready to recognize the names, songs, ads and people and pronounce complicated things like helicopter, octopus, dinosaur, hiccup and yawning. She runs around me calling “mamma, mamma” like in the ‘mute-off’ version of the Hutch puppy ad. She does drama even more than I can possibly fathom to contrive despite my Drama Queen Title and nakhras that would put Begum Akhtar to shame. She is destined for great things, I just know it somehow. When she would lower her tone and marinate it with the yummiest of hug and say ‘mamma’ with her soulful eyes looking at feels like heaven to say the least although it takes very little to cross on to the other side of the fence too.

So one year down the line, I have come to a conclusion which is generally what I come to, when I get too tired of thinking -Adoption is simple, parenting is difficult and well guided parenting is the easiest. To love a child as your own is not tough, to love a child despite yourself is. A child opens vistas in a person that are hitherto unknown and if you think you’ve ever loved a man/woman with your heart and soul, worry not, for then you’d realise it is absolutely effortless to love a child.  

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06 July, 2011

Ah, to travel with Mr. Right!

Amongst the many other things that form a part of my bucket list, is the deep urge to travel far and wide by myself and before I need spectacles and a walking stick to ensure my safety while doing so. Of course that is besides the point that I get a wee bit nervous when on a vehicle alone that is not a car and if it does not move on a road. And the wish list item does not end there. But before reaching to the crux, how on earth can you be on this page and be saved from the backdrop? *mad witch grin*

I can almost count the occasions when I have got the opportunity to take a trip alone, not just on one hand but perhaps on one finger. Yup, I am a sort of dhabba on the face of independent, do-it-all modern women in some things! When little, we did most of the travelling with parents, as in on holidays or as brother and sister, as in my two and a half years younger brother accompanied me whenever we were allowed to go by ourselves. Now the age gap of 2 to 3 years between siblings is the worst kind of gaps possible. I know it is convenient for the poor parents to ensure production before the machinery goes through wear and tear or the process becomes taxing; and also for children who are born some 8-10 years later after the first born, as lesser eyebrows are raised at the commendable horniness of the parents.

Anyways, the younger-“especially two years younger” brothers are the worst of the lot as kids-they aren’t old enough to be all commanding or young enough to be all obliging. Somewhere in between they become hopelessly demanding, nosey and also threatening with the one and only weapon in their arsenal, “Sunoge nahi to mummy ko bata donga”. And you know that even if the crime is trivial the opposition bench is so bloody cunning that a hanging is imperative. So please welcome the personal, unsolicited bodyguard who wants to tag along everywhere and wants to know everything otherwise he jumps on the blackmail wagon. You can well imagine how those trips minus the parents but with dadi-ma type younger brother could be.

A couple of times I did manage to journey by train alone during college days and each time I would step onto the compartment floor, a silent prayer would adorn my lips- God, please let this be the mother of all trips that I have envisaged in my mind over and over again: I would get inside, look for my seat and manage to find it somehow but with an occupant already. There would be a magazine covering the better part of his face and I would say, “Excuse me, sir, I think you are on my seat?” And he would in slow motion remove the magazine to reveal his handsome ‘Mr Darcy’ like countenance and be so apologetic that you almost begin to apologise for having checked him. The rest as they say would be history, cutting to the next scene of us being encircled by a big group of friends, after our return from the honeymoon and telling them how we met! *Sigh!* -There, now you know the complete wish. But like half the things that get shot and processed in my little mind but never see the daylight of development, this also seem to be going in the same archive box. 

On this first historic occasion, was an obnoxious aunty ji who was my fellow passenger and was travelling as it seemed after a more than generous lunch and refused to stop emitting its uncalled-for fragrance in the air that orbited me. I didn’t know what to pray for more: controlling the non-stop ranting coming from the top of her or the non- stop bombardment developing from her bottom. To top it all, the lady had the audacity to complain that someone in the compartment was “spilling gas” in the environment, to take suspicion from her. Ya, right, like I was born yesterday and as if smell from the “gas” travels like speed of light and fills remote corners first instead of the helpless corner of her adjacent seat. The non-stop firing continued till we reached Delhi despite me putting up my handkerchief as a white flag over my seat but fell on deaf ears or rather deaf butts till all its ammunition was exhausted and my sense of smell was damaged for a fortnight. I even considered going in for therapy to handle the trauma.

The next time the travel plan happened I allowed my parents to drop me earlier and settled on my seat. They stood at the window outside of the chair car compartment lingering around till the train budged so that they could give me the signatory “bye-bye” wave. I think this tradition emerged more from the fear of not wanting the jaane-waala to return than anything else. So now I also waited with baited breath for the seat beside me to be taken. I even bribed Bhagwan ji in my mind again with the promise of a prasad of Rs. 50 in his temple as soon as I returned back to the city and Rs 100, if things got a romantic twist. Terms and conditions must be clearly laid so that chances of follies are narrowed down and such a petty offering, because by my pocket money’s standard, it was a king’s ransom- okay, a stingy queen’s ransom may be. And with me whose solitary travelling possibility was even rarer than seeing a man give birth, I couldn’t allow it to be screwed, could I? walked an Uncle ji who snored through the rest of the journey when he was not tearing the entrails of the food that was served and particles of the gravy on his plate also managed to find the white spaces of my dress. Why me God? Whyyyyyyyyyyy me?

It was revelation time again. I realised that all those things they show on screen or write in books are complete crap:
  • You never meet a Greek god or even an Indian god on a train or plane-geek god-yes may be!
  • There is never a hijack where you and yummy ‘dish’ get stranded in the luggage cabin for hours so that a mush story takes a pre-mature birth.
  • There is never the train being missed so that you get to travel in a car instead, crossing beautiful locales and singing songs in valleys amidst "friendly" cattle. I know I have to see lesser movies but they also ought to make lesser movies like these-there’s a thing called social responsibility for heaven’s sake.
  • You never fall asleep over a handsome shoulder and wake up all embarrassed on the surface and bursting with joy within.

What happens instead:
  • There would be a good looking face though not at a seat next to yours but at a distance and with family or a super good looking wife and no matter how many times you pass him by to go the washroom, he won’t consider raising his eyes to you, while the rest of the co-passengers would stare at you suspiciously with raised eyebrows.
  • The head on the shoulders would be of a little boy with a flowing nose or an aunty ji with flowing saliva or a whole brood of wailing babies with ice-creams or something equally smeary that almost every time would miss spilling on your clothes, till they eventually do!

After marriage I have travelled alone just twice without my husband. On the first occasion I was returning from Delhi and he had to tour further so he came to the station to see me off. As I boarded the train I expressed my anxiety that I was travelling alone after seven years-what if I keep sleeping and reach Lucknow ahead instead of getting down at Kanpur? Who would look after my luggage in case I would want to go to the wash room? What if I slept and the people around took my luggage and got down at some platform in between? And what did the gabru jawan of my husband do: he asked the aunty ji yes, aunty ji again-I think I have some magnetic connection to them-I seem to attract them all on the birth next, “Please take care of her, she’s travelling alone for the first time.” The aunty ji checked me out with one long look up and down my frame wondering if I was really in twenties or just looked so. He even gave me a call just before Kanpur Central was expected to arrive, with instructions to take my suitcase and stand near the door to avoid the rush. Okay-okay, now we didn’t have to take things this far!  

The next time I was travelling alone was post my first ever going solo trip to meet up my ‘still single’ friends last year and really indulged in fun before motherhood called in. I had a fabulous time visiting lounges, meeting new people and going clubbing and four days just whisked past. On my return journey there was a pleasant seeming Sardar ji sitting next to me. My fun and fantasy quota had brimmed by then and anyways I had given up hope on ever writing a post on ‘Love Story on a train’. However, there did materialize a story of sorts.

Have you ever come across a child who has say never been to any fun park but just returned from Disneyland and thereby just can’t stop raving about it? I was a similar excited buffoon. All through the way I took phone calls from friends whom I had left as well as of those whom I was going to reach to, telling them animatedly the gist of all our little escapades. I came back to the arms of my beloved a very happy woman but later an embarrassed one for the Sardar ji turned out to be one of my husband’s business dealers. Needless to say he expressed his uncontrollable bliss on the fact that ‘bhabhiji’ seemed to have had so much fun and also pointing the details as though to prove what a good listener he could be!

I wished again like I have on so many occasions that my mouth should come with a zip lock or an inbuilt backspace key! Also was proved that no one listens to me unless I make a mistake. I had to explain to my beloved with never before conviction that how I am not totally useless-I can be used as a bad example. And since stupidity is not a crime, I manage to go scot-free every time. Now in the pipeline is an idea to take a break again soon and travel alone to Delhi, with Seeya of course. Let’s see how this one fares, though all my expectations generally leave me with lesser inclination to join the gym- for I get enough exercise just pushing my luck!    
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