Speaking My Mind

Speaking my mind is a place where I'm just myself. It is a place where imagination, facts and emotions live in harmony. A place where expressions get the right words..

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Other Woman.. !!

Sunday, February 05, 2017

It was 11pm in the night and as usual Neha was staying back late night in office. She had made her work her everything ever since she had separated from Arjun. Everything was good between both of them for the first 2 years of their marriage but don’t know how that other woman came in Arjun’s life and everything in their relationship went for a toss. In today’s lifestyle we all have multiple doors of exit from a relationship but it requires some genuine efforts to stay there. Arjun and Neha were a perfect couple till that other woman made the inroads.

She was working when a pop up from the corner of her screen came up. It was a friends request from Snigdha. She was astonished to see her friends request, however, she opened the website and had a look at Snigdha’s profile. Neha, above all was a very clear minded and a strong headed woman. Anyway it was more than 5 years since she separated from Arjun, she accepted Snigdha’s request to connect. Within a few seconds there was another pop up, this time it was a message from Snigdha saying ‘Hi..’. And then there was a series of messages from her.

‘I wasn’t hopeful that you will accept my request.’

‘I can’t even tell you in words how guilty I am for what I did to you in the name of love. I am really very sorry Neha. Please forgive me if you can, you have always been the wisest amongst three of us.’

Neha was reading all these messages but she wasn’t feeling any type of emotion. That’s what such a severe emotional strain does to you. You just stop feeling anything. Neha however replied, ‘It wasn’t your fault completely. Somewhere I had kept those doors open from where you sneaked in. I thought I was giving him room. Anyway, you have my forgiveness but just one request, I do not want to be in touch with my past therefore it will be better if we don’t talk after this. Hoping you can do atleast this much for me.’

Snigdha replied, ‘Thank you so much for the forgiveness. I will not contact you or even him. I am going away, far away. Before going I really wanted to confess my guilt to you and say sorry. One more thing, I don’t know about myself but he surely doesn’t deserve you. God is watching, we get results for whatever we do in this life only. I have paid for what I did to you and he will pay for what he did to both of us. Sorry and Thank you, once again.’ and she went offline.

Neha switched off her laptop and left for home. She was thinking about what just happened. Why all of a sudden after all these years this woman had decided to talk to her. And what was she saying, what wrong Arjun had done to her. As far as she knew they were happily living together. She couldn’t sleep at all that night thinking about all this. Chapters which were closed half a decade back have opened again. She was all the more disturbed as she was a firm believer in the signs. Neha had a strong feeling that this is not stopping here and there is surely more to it and she wasn’t ready to face her past or things from the past again.

A week later it was Rehan’s birthday and Neha was invited to the birthday party. Rehan was Arjun’s best friend Ankit’s son. Ankit despite Arjun’s childhood best friend was at Neha’s side when things were falling apart between Neha and Arjun. Though meeting them reminds her of her past but Rehan was Neha’s favourite ever since he was born. She couldn’t say a ‘No’ for Rehan. At the party while talking to Neha in a silent corner Ankit told her that Snigdha tried to commit suicide last week but saved by a vigilant neighbour. Neha’s eyes opened wide listening to this because same day she messaged Neha as well. That means she was really so much distressed that she chose to end her life. She felt pained for her as a woman and a drop of tear escaped from the corner of her eye. Immediately she left from the party and decided to go back home.

Don’t know what came to her mind but she turned her car towards Snigdha’s home. As she knocked at the door a frail bodied woman opened the door. She was shocked to see her. Snigdha she knew was a well built gorgeous woman for whom Arjun fell. Snigdha on the other hand couldn’t control her tears seeing Neha. A strong urge hit her and she hugged Neha tightly and started crying. By now the caring side of Neha too took over. She held her with warmth and her eyes were filled as well.

Neha took her inside and made her sit. Snigdha kept crying for hours sitting besides Neha. Her pain was multiplied by the guilt of what she did to Neha. She told Neha how an year later Arjun dumped her as well even knowing she was pregnant. She had no option but to abort the baby. Snigdha was in deep state of shock and mental trauma, even more than what Neha was 5 years ago. Also because Neha was very strong headed as well. Neha sensed that even though Snigdha was saved once but her behaviour is a lot suicidal and it is not good to let her alone.

Neha took Snigdha to her home till she feels better. It wasn’t easy at all for Neha to get along or care for the woman because of whom her own life was destroyed but I think the pain was the connection between them. That’s how human relations are , sometimes they bond very strongly even over the strangest of reasons. Gradually as the time passed Snigdha’s condition improved and so is their relation. Though Snigdha’s guilt hasn’t left her but Neha’s anger for her definitely mellowed down. As the time progressed further their connection took the shape of a beautiful friendship. They started going out together, partying, laughing and enjoying life together.

When anyone enquires, Neha would tell them she is her cousin from Bombay because she knew no one will understand. Their bond was complicated and a logic beyond explanation but they truly share a beautiful relationship. A friendship which is a learning for others. Sometime all we need is to drop the baggage we carry and look at beautiful side of even the ugliest situations in life.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

First step towards Freedom - Rishikesh Trip by Planetabled

Saturday, January 07, 2017
More than 2 years since I had a trip outside NCR so I was desperately looking for an opportunity to sneaak out and then one day while I was talking to Neha she told me that she’s planning a trip to Rishikesh. I was a little skeptical initially as I haven’t traveled without family ever but since I had the backing from Neha and Planet Abled team there weren’t second thoughts. Though convincing parents was an uphill task, over protective clan.
There were no fears but a few questions regarding the accessibility of the place and accessible washrooms, etc kept popping up but then that’s the fun part, when you don’t exactly know what are you getting into. This trip was very important for me not just for the fun part but also because this trip, if successful will open a lot of travel avenues for me and definitely a boost for my self confidence.

It was a wonderful experience, let's start with the road trip first. The stretch from Rishikesh to Shivpuri was awesome with the breath taking beauty of mountains and the river Ganges flowing quietly, cutting its way through them. Then the resort where we stayed was awesome. It had the hills on the three sides and the jungle was almost intruding through it’s lawns. One can just imagine these sights or see them in movies.

Planet Abled had advised the resort management well in advance about the varied requirements of it’s differently abled travelers like accessibility of rooms, washrooms, food preferences, etc.

Now a little about my fellow travelers too. So there was this guy very enthusiastic about everything, from the famous Ganga Arti in Rishikesh to the nature walk uphill or the Rafting and Zip lining, this guy was game for everything. Then there were two ladies on wheelchair in their 60s but still very excited about rafting. And then there was me, a lazy ass who just wanted to sit in the lawn in the resort and soak in the sun while staring at the mountains. While I did not join the group for rafting but I got to know that they enjoyed it a lot and almost had a ‘Zindagi na milegi dobara’ moment.. when everyone went silent for a couple of minutes because they were in 'Awe' of the nature..

I might will not be able explain in words how it felt when I was seeing what I'd imagined. The feeling, when you are sitting in a lawn and talking to the mountains. While you were talking to the mountains some beautiful birds in the adjacent jungle get jealous and start calling you out to come and meet them as well. I may sound a little over-dramatic but these were exactly the feelings I was going through.

I must say I’m very impressed the way Planet Abled has managed this tour, from the itinery, the resort or managing the rafting and zip lining for the group. From getting the required approvals to handling the safety part for its travelers. Everything was very well planned and executed with perfection. Team Planet Abled was fully equipped and well trained to cater to the different needs or requirements.     

It was really a great experience. Someone came to quench their thirst for adventure and someone like me was there for the peace of mind. I think by the end of the trip everyone has got what they were looking for. Not only the peace of mind, as a writer I have also got the opportunity to enrich my soul with those moments and inspirations. In some way or other, it will keep reflecting in my stories for some time now. That old man who narrated me the stories while putting the wood in the bonfire still visits me in my dreams :)

Saturday, December 10, 2016


Saturday, December 10, 2016
Everyone knew him by the name of ‘Clown’; no one knew his actual name.  One could see him daily passing through the lane to the lake but hardly anybody has seen him talking to anyone. There was something very unusual about his personality. He was a lonely dull person when he was walking alone. Sometimes talking to himself while walking and looking around with scared looks but an energetic funny faced clown as soon as someone passes besides him. There were two very extreme sides of him and this man somewhere stuck in between belonging to no one.

He used to wear the mask of a clown always; probably he worked in a circus across the other side of the lake. It was around 8 in the evening and he was laughing, making funny faces and doing tricks to make the fellow passengers laugh. His main focus were kids though, as they are the easiest to please.

As he peeped outside he realized the shore is approaching fast. His smile went dim suddenly as he saw it and silently took a seat in the corner. He didn't want to go back home. This is not the first time he was behaving like this, it's almost daily. He waved at the kids in the boat with a halfhearted smile as he stepped on the ground and started walking slowly towards the street which leads to his home. He was walking very slowly like someone has tied heavy weights to his feet.

As he entered the lane towards his home he left behind him the crowded part of the town. It was now a deserted lane with almost no one around, except a few stray dogs, his only companion in this dark. He reached out to the side pocket of his bag and took out some shredded chicken. The dogs knew he would get them something to eat as he would do daily. He bent down on his knees as the dogs came closer to give him a much needed hug. He sat on the pavement and saw his friends enjoying their supper. These stray dogs were his only family in this crowded town. As they finished their food, he too made a move towards his home.

He was about to knock at the door but then realized something and reached out to the keys in his pocket and opened the door. There was a very dim light from the bulb in the corridor. He headed to the bathroom straight away to remove his get-up of the clown. He switched on the bulb right on top of the mirror. Looked in the mirror and smiled.. the funny clown smile, but what, his eyes were telling a different story with those tears he was holding. 

He started peeling off the mask gently.It took him some efforts to look at his face in the mirror without the mask. He opened his eyes slowly and vomited the moment he saw his face in the mirror. It was the vomit of disgust; he could not handle looking at his face.

Earlier that day:

The Postman knocked at the door and said "letter for you". With a little shock he opened the door and received the letter. He was a little startled as he hasn't received any, for more than a decade. He flipped the letter but there wasn't any name of the sender, curiously he opened it with his shaking hands. He was frightened because somewhere deep within he knew who the sender was.

The letter read: 

"So you thought that you will put on a mask of a clown and will run away with it.  All these years you have been hiding behind this mask but how do you face yourself when you remove it. Do you like your face when you look in the mirror?

That day when those men were raping me you were the only one who saw that. I clearly remember your face. I was looking at you and crying for help but you just stopped for a moment and then rushed away. Even in the court room you denied seeing anything. I was denied the justice because of you. I was raped twice, first, by those men and second time in the court room, you raped me of justice.

We can't change what has happened but I want you to do something. I want you to come tomorrow and place this mask on my grave."

The next morning he was last seen, walking towards the graveyard with the mask, in his hands.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My 'Very' Short Love Story !!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016
First time I saw her when she came to the book store and trust me I never believed in love at first sight before that moment. She was so full of life and someone with a rare ability to carry all type of emotions in the absolute right quantity. I still remember that when she looked at the cover of the book she almost fell for it and after reading the synopsis she said “I’m buying this book, already in love with this character.” Don’t know if she meant that but I fell in love with her for sure.

It was the Saturday afternoon so she headed straight to a near buy Starbucks. She was so desperate to start reading the book that she took out the book first and ordered her coffee later. And me… well I was just looking at her beautiful face all this while and wondering how can someone be so beautiful like an imaginary character straight out of fiction. She was completely lost in the book and graph of her facial expressions was moving along the story. While I was happy with the author for writing things which could make her smile but in the same breath I was upset too seeing her upset.  For once she was almost about to cry and in that moment I was wishing if I could hold her hand and say “Don’t be sad, read further, he will be fine.”

A few hours passed just like that. We were so engrossed in each other that we didn’t even care about the time. Sorry correction, she was engrossed in the book and I was all engrossed in her.  I must say she was a quick reader, by now she was almost at the climax of the story and I was sad that this all would end very soon.

While I was little upset about her finishing the book and an inevitable end of these beautiful moments, life was planning even bigger setbacks for me. A guy came near her table. At first she did not notice him but as she noticed she got up and hugged him. They had a little conversation and the guy sat beside her, well close enough to burn a hole in my heart. No seriously, I was upset, very very upset with her in that moment. Five minutes ago you were smiling, laughing, crying for that character in the book and right now this guy is sitting with you and you are all for her. You’re allowing him to sit so close to you and even he’s holding your hand.

When I was battling with all sort of these negative emotions a thought struck me and gave me a ray of hope. May be he’s just a friend, a close one probably. She might not be liking this touching, holding hands and all but may be the guy is too sticky and she‘s just too polite to yell on him at a public place.

Keeping hopes is good but equal are the chances of them getting shattered. As they say ‘Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst’, well I wasn’t prepared for it.

The guy stood up from the couch, pulled out something from his pocket and sat on his knees on the floor. He raised his hand towards her; it was a ring in his hand. She was all red and blushing as he was proposing her. I was praying to God that she says a ‘No’ but no, she said ‘Yes’ and they kissed. He held her hand and both of them start walking out towards the door.

Book was left behind on the table. I was shattered, all of this came to an end with the same speed and intensity as it was once started. I wish someone could pass this message to her:

My beautiful Reader,

I just wish that we could be a part of each other’s story. Either you could be with me as my beloved in this book or I could be the guy who just proposed you.

Love always,
The character of the book you just smiled, laughed and cried for..  

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Across The Wall..!!

Sunday, August 28, 2016
We do not forget some people and some faces in life. This is strange, many of the faces or people I have encountered in last 15 years have been forgotten but not her. 
It was my first day in the new school. School used to start at 8 am but since it was my first day I reached by quarter to 8. An attendant from the lobby followed me to show my classroom. It was an empty room except just one girl sitting at the end of the first row. She seemed a little upset but I didn't dare to talk as I didn't even know her.   

She noticed some presence in the classroom and looked up for a moment. I gave her that quick-first look smile but she did not respond and in fact stood up and went out of the room. Yes, it was a strange gesture but those eyes.. they said a thousand words in that one second. Many of us actually don't mean it, when we say "Love at first sight" but in that one moment I experienced that. 

There was a whole world in her eyes, the world behind the curtains and always inviting you to the other side. She's looking at me or not, it always used to seem that those eyes were talking to me. Eventually we became good friends and came even closer but every time when I tried to look in those eyes she would distract me. She never wanted anyone to look in her eyes and read her secret. She herself was as good a mystery as her eyes and one day in those mysterious circumstances she left without informing anyone. A few months later, I received a letter saying.

“You’re one of the most genuine person I know, always be like that. And, I love you too but can't come back. Please do not respond back to this letter...."

I knew it was her, nobody else it could be. 

Many years passed by but my longing for her never decreased. There were times when I would wake up at 3 am in the night and start searching for her or any clues about her on the internet but all in vain. Those eyes kept coming in my dreams and used to talk to me but talk to me in a language that only my sub conscious mind would understand and the conscious mind would just feel a desperate urge to look for her or find her.

A few months back, I was just surfing Facebook and I looked at a photo on which one of my friend was tagged. There was a girl in a red checkered shirt with a glass of wine in her hand. She was very gorgeous but more than that what struck me were her eyes. She had exactly the same eyes, the eyes I'm searching madly since ages. Without caring about what she would think I sent her the friend's request, which to my luck, she even accepted a few minutes later. I felt like I was waiting for this moment for more than a decade. I messaged her and soon the conversation started. 

Gradually we started talking regularly and not much surprisingly, it wasn't just her eyes but her persona too resembled a lot. One day we were talking and discussing the plans for the coming weekend when she asked me if I would like to join her for a long drive. I agreed in an instant and was excited as hell.

On Saturday, sharp at 11 am she was there. She was honking to call me outside. As I was picking up my stuff I just peeked outside the window from the curtains half split. My eyes fell on her, she was looking so beautiful. I rushed out and sat beside her in the car. She opened the door and got out of the car throwing the keys at me. 
"You will drive and I'll just relax. I'll tell you a story as well “she said with a little smirk.
“What story...!" I asked to which she replied 
“Don’t ask too many questions or I'm going back home right now".   
"Ok, Ok relax" I tried to calm her down while I started the ignition of the engine.

We drove for some 15 kilometres on the highway. I was just thinking of taking a right turn towards a resort but she interrupted my thoughts and asked me to take a left turn, as she would have been reading my mind. I told her that I'm not aware of this route and we might get lost but she said she knows the route very well and I should not worry and just enjoy the lovely weather and the rainy drive.

After an uncomfortable silence for a couple of minutes she asked "Story time?”
I said "Why not" and gave her a smile. She started:

“Once upon a time there was a king who was very kind but very defensive and insecure. One day he got to know that there is a wall just outside the kingdom and anyone who had crossed that wall hadn't come back. This news got king very curious and he decided to see that wall himself. Many of his ministers advised him not to go as no one ever came back from across the wall and what lies across is a mystery but king was firm on his decision. 

Next day he went there with 5 of his bravest soldiers. First soldier climbed the wall and got very excited looking at the other side and jumped off. After a few hours when he did not return second soldier too climbed the wall, he too was very happy and excited looking at the other side. He too jumped off. This went on and all 5 of his brave soldiers jumped to the other side and never came back. This incidence made king very anxious and he decided to go himself. He managed to climb the wall and as soon as he looked at the other side there was a gleam on his face as well and he too jumped on the other side of the wall and never came back.."

"Then..?" I asked her, she said "This is it, story is finished". "Huh, what a strange story.." I replied.

A minute later she asked me to stop the car. To our left there was a wall but beyond the wall, I could see hill ranges. Though I could not see what's right down there but far away those hills were looking very beautiful and mesmerizing. I was amazed by the beauty of the place and was surprised that how come I didn't know of this place till now. There was a nip in the air and trust me it was a mystic feel around. One can feel something magical in the air. While I was lost in my thoughts she sneaked out of the car and climbed the wall. Her eyes lit up as she looked down the wall, she looked at me and said "It was great knowing you.. always be as genuine as you are." 

She smiled at me and then she looked down and jumped.

Now if I tell you that girl in the school was nothing but the dream and an aspiration that everyone of us has somewhere hidden deep inside, something we truly long for. The girl I met on the Facebook was nothing but our dependency on others, be it emotionally or otherwise and we get so dependent that we tie up everything in life to that one person. And lastly, the world across the wall which gets everyone so excited is a perfect world of our dreams. But since we are always dependent on someone else to make things perfect for us, that world remains only in imagination and out of bound for us. 

Hence, we keep toggling between the reality and a perfect parallel world.

Monday, August 15, 2016

I Dated Death.. !!

Monday, August 15, 2016
Nothing in this world can be a better teacher than life because when life teaches you something it not only makes you learn but it also changes the whole outlook. I am an oncologist working with one of the best hospital of the country. My typical day at work includes meeting atleast 10-15 cancer patients daily. A few of them lucky, for whom cancer gets diagnosed in the early stages but for majority it gets detected pretty late hence dipping the chances of survival even further. I have been in this profession for more than 15 years now and I have seen many patients losing their battle to cancer. As a doctor, I and my team try our best to cure our patients but medical science isn't that much equipped yet that we cure all of them and send home.

Aman's case was a little exception to the facts and the practices. He came to us when he had just turned 24, he was diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin's lymphoma cancer of white blood cells. This type of cancer is a rare occurrence for an Indian, it is typically a disease from the west. 

Like any cancer patient, Aman too broke down hearing this. He was just 24 years old then and like any youngster he too had some dreams about his job, his life partner, family, friends and life in general. I can imagine how it feels. It is like 'Death' spray painted on the canvas of your dreams. More than the death this feeling is even more painful but he was a very strong character. He recollected himself and came to my clinic and said in that guyish style "Doc, I want to live. Please do whatever you can I'll cooperate during the treatment but I want to live." There is nothing better for a doctor than a patient who is mentally strong to undergo the cancer treatment and someone who wants to live despite all the pain and hardships. Over the next few weeks Aman underwent multiple sessions of chemotherapy. His body was responding to the treatment though he had completely gone bald. 
Three months later he was declared cancer free and discharged from the hospital.

Life is very harsh sometimes, Aman started to feel those symptoms again after a couple of years. This time it was Stage 3 of the cancer. His treatment was started again with more chemotherapies and even more painful procedures, procedures which are actually more painful than the death itself. I saw his health declining at a rapid speed but he was always smiling. On his special request he was given the room in which windows open to the foot hills with a great view especially in the rainy season. All the time he used to do something on his laptop, sometimes smiling and singing with himself and upon enquiring he would wink and tell you that he's dating a girl from Dehradun. He would then tell you a joke on the long distance relationships and start laughing.

One day he was in severe pain and even the injections of the painkillers weren't good enough. He called me in his room and asked, 
"Doc, by now we're good friends and you bloody even know about my relationships and personal life (with a wink). On that note of trust, will you answer my question with utmost brutal frankness?"
I could see that question coming, I said, "Yes Aman, ask anything"
He said, "What are my chances of making it doc.. please be honest."
I replied with the face lowered, I wasn't able to make an eye contact with him this time, I said "10 percent.."
He said Ok and closed his eyes. "I want to sleep doc, please switch off that light when you leave." he said.

I left for home after that but next morning when I reached hospital it was a complete ruckus. Guard on the entrance told me that a patient is missing and they fear that he had fled. When I asked the patient's name he said "Doctor Sir, he was some Aman from the cancer ward." After hearing that I should have been very worried for Aman but it wasn't the case, instead I was happy for him somewhere.

From this whole Aman fiasco, I've learnt a very important lesson that no medical college or books can tell you. I learnt the lesson of empathy. I am not saying that as a doctor we don't do enough, we do everything to cure our patients but all the time we were just concerned about what medical science says. Not saying that every time we can cure a cancer patient but we can surely heal the trauma he's going through and in those last days that healing touch does matter a lot. It reduces that mental pain the patient goes through. 

5 months later, I received a letter at home "From Aman Bhatt"

Hey Doc, apart from my family and friends you 're that other person I wanted to say 'Bye' before I leave and in the most probability I'll be gone by the time it will reach you. Dude, I always used to bug you with the Ruskin Bond stories in which he has described Dehradun and Mussoorie in such a beautiful way. It was raining when I fled your hospital and came here and trust me it's even more beautiful than what Ruskin Bond could actually describe. There's not a better place to die than this (a wink).

And dude remember? I used to tell you about that girl from Dun. I have sent a couple of pictures of us together. Isn't she so beautiful, as gorgeous as these hills in the rains.

And Doc, don’t get senti after this. You did what you can but when I got to know that my chances of survival are minimal that's when I decided to die differently. I did not want to die in a hospital room, with 100s of bulbs flashing on me and in front of a helpless team of hospital staff looking at me.

I wanted to experience death in a different way. I wanted to date death before I actually die.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Eyes With A Million Dreams

Sunday, July 31, 2016
This is funny how we start contradicting our own philosophies after following them for years only after damaging a lot of relationships and bonds because of them but that's how humans are.  We learn only after losing, well almost.
It is that time of the year when monsoons are at its full blossom. It is drizzling continuously since morning and the surroundings are all lush green and beautiful. Our town is situated right under the foothills and that's why quite popular with the tourists. At the end of the lane in the corner there is Nathu sweet shop and the monsoons bring the windfall for him not just because his shop is situated in a market abuzz with the tourists but also because he makes some scrumptious Samosas and Jalebis.  

That's how I met her, Anu. She was standing in the queue waiting for her turn to get the Jalebis and sweets and I was just behind her. Something was very special about her that I fell for her in that moment even knowing that she could just be a tourist visiting the place. She was a tourist indeed but thankfully that wasn't our first and last meeting. A month later I went to Delhi to attend a bloggers meet and guess what, there she was, hosting that event. She obviously couldn't recognize me but I did. After the event I invented a reason or two to talk to her and told her that I first saw her at my hometown. Conversations started flowing from both the sides. I can still feel the excitement I had in that moment while talking to her. Our conversations continued to a table in the restaurant that evening and then followed by the late night sessions on the phone. I think we both knew what's happening but none of us conveyed. Sometimes it's best to just feel a moment than killing it with over thinking.

 Describing Anu: she has always been a mystery since the starting. One moment you feel like she's totally into you and another moment she is detached. One moment she's such a practical person and another moment she's a dreamer. I remember once I asked her the significance of the tattoos she has, a butterfly and stars on her arm and a Koy fish on her leg. She said that Koy fish depicts her sun sign but what she explained about the butterfly and stars is what truly defines her. She said a butterfly because that's how she is, someone who's a wanderer, someone who wants to explore, someone who wants to experience the world while the stars depicts the dreamer in her. Trust me that's how she is, sometimes she's just yours and the very next moment she's detached and all set to realize her dreams.   

I have loved her for all these reasons, I have loved her for those beautiful eyes which look at you while weaving a million dreams in their backyard. The very reasons for which I love her were also the ones I was insecure about her. I always knew that sooner or later my insecurities will get heavier and destroy this relationship but maybe I wasn't strong enough to keep them in control. I think sometimes in a relationship it gets very important to trust your partner and go with the flow. My biggest mistake was that I wanted to control everything, from our relationship to Anu, I wanted to control everything. 
One day the hell broke loose and she called it quit and left to not come back. 

I always saw it coming but somehow never made a conscious effort to improve the situation. But now an year has passed and there wasn't a single day when I haven't missed her. I was always living in the constant fear of losing her but when I lost her I realized that it wasn't because of her but I have lost her to my fears and insecurities. 

May be we can be strangers again and start a fresh but the sequence of events can definitely change therefore I'm standing just outside her door ready to knock. They say opportunities don't knock twice but they never mentioned that we can't knock it the second time ;-) 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Till Now and Beyond ..!!

Monday, July 04, 2016
That was a phase; life was just going on and on.. Nothing to complain but also nothing to get excited about. I was going to office and coming back home and was just stuck in that loop. To make things worse weekends were there as well to make me realize that I don't have a life and it wasn't wrong. However, once in a while when I got the chance to go out with friends or family I made it a point to highlight it well on social media so that apart from 'Me' nobody else would ever believe that I don't have a life.

On one of those Sundays in early January this year when I was just looking around the Facebook in the hope of coming around something interesting. Sometimes I feel that we keep peeping in Facebook every now and then as we keep peeping in the refrigerator again and again in the hope of finding something interesting to eat. Well probability wise Facebook wins this comparison... haha. Anyways, moving on with the story, I came across a Facebook profile of a girl in some ’Disability Group' I am member of. I sent her the friend’s request, not just because of a good display picture but also the curiosity of knowing what 'Planetabled' is since it was mentioned quite a lot of times.

Don't remember exactly but fairly soon my request was accepted and I was talking to this girl. Well I'm a little proud of myself when it comes to the flair of talking to someone I don't know... LOL. but let me admit she was better than me. In no time she convinced me to come to their very first event, it was a heritage walk at Mehrauli Archaeological Park (in and around Qutub Minar, New Delhi). Obviously, my first question to Neha was if the place is accessible on a wheelchair but I was convinced it is. She also explained me that even if it is not completely accessible but that's what 'Planetabled ' is for, she told me that the idea of 'Planetabled' is to provide accessibility solutions to the differently abled so that they can travel without any apprehensions. I wasn't very convinced though but I thought let's give it a try, in the end either I'll have a Sunday well spent because any which ways it's going to be wasted otherwise.

So it was a Sunday in late January, I was all set for the event with my camera n all. I reached the entrance gate of Qutub Minar and as my driver was assembling the wheelchair for me, a volunteer from Planetabled was there to receive me. He accompanied me to the entrance where all the participants and the volunteers were standing. There was media presence as well. They were interviewing the participants about this whole initiative and I was thinking it's too much noise without any results. Well I kept my smile on and moved ahead with the event. I won't get in the details of the event but a lot of things were worth mentioning be it their well trained volunteers, their preparedness, the sign language interpreter for the deaf and mute, they even arranged the wheelchairs, a curator for the visually challenged participants who was helping them going closer to the structures and touch them. Apart from this there was a history expert as well who was telling the stories behind all those structures and Delhi's history. During the event some new friendships were made as well. By the second half I was convinced what Neha is trying to achieve through Planetabled is not just money but her accomplishment lies in those smiles and those tear of joys in the eyes of the participants.

That was the first event of Planetabled and in the last 6 months there were many such events conducted like a walk in the Garden of 5 senses during Garden Festival, Pottery workshop, Heritage walk at Redfort, A tour to Transport Museum and A poetry-short stories recitation at Dilli Haat and I have been to almost all of these events. All those great things I mentioned for the Qutub Minar event are consistent with all their events but with the Red Fort walk Planetabled went a step ahead when they surprised me with a temporary aluminum ramp to access a museum which had 4-5 stairs at the entrance. I was amazed because this not only shows your preparedness for what you do but also shows your seriousness for the whole thing.

In these 6 months Planetabled has evolved a lot and now they've gone even beyond Delhi-NCR. I have heard very good feedback from the participants who availed Planetabled’s services for a few customized tours to Agra, Rishikesh, Mussoorie, etc. Trust me this invokes great feeling and confidence in me that even I can now plan to travel beyond Delhi and that too without apprehensions. Now the worries of an accessible hotel, accessible travel, a helping hand, arrangements and a lot of such things are striked-off my list of worries because that's what Planetabled is for.

In these last 6 months I have also evolved alongside Planetabled as I am now more confident about going out of home. I am working on my travel wish list and a plan around that list. Trust me it’s not about travel only it is also about feeling empowered about things which were not in your bounds before. On the ending note, I still have those weekdays and weekends but how I look and feel about them has changed a lot.

To Planetabled:
It’s a job well done till now and I'm sure you're going to go farther and farther in the path you've chosen for yourself. Wishing you lots of love and support. :)

Link to Planetabled Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/PlanetAbled/
Link to the website: www.planetabled.com

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Nothingness.. !!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

As a columnist in a leading e-magazine it is a routine for me to cover different stories and events around the town sometimes even across the countries. I have done more than 100 stories in last 3 years since I’m in this profession, stories from political affairs to the love affairs of the tinsel town, stories around human rights and sometimes stories from the war zones. Overall it has been an enriching and a rewarding experience till now. I firmly believe that every person you meet in life has a unique story to tell you and trust me this phrase has a lot to offer only if we don’t forget the meaningful ones.

 In my neighborhood people know me because of my profession and it feels great when someone tells me that they’ve read a story written by me and that they liked it. And sometimes that conversation grows into a discussion when it is with Mr. Joseph. I really wonder sometimes how he has an opinion about almost everything I write. Personally I really admire this fact that he keeps himself updated with the knowledge around everything, well almost. But this time it’s been 3 weeks since I last met him. I heard he had an almost fatal accident a couple of weeks back. I was told by his care taker that though he is fine now but after the accident, for once doctors had declared him dead but miraculously he revived and is back now.

It was a Sunday and since I did not have much to do I decided to go and meet Mr. Joseph. As I entered Mr. Joseph was sitting on his favorite couch. Upon seeing me he asked me to have a seat beside him and asked the caretaker to prepare two cups of nice coffee. He knows my love for coffee, as a lot of our discussions have happened in the same setup with a cup of coffee in our hands. He seemed to have recovered a lot though but still I could see those marks on his face and arms. One thing that was peculiarly different about him in this meeting was that he was a lot calmer; I have always seen him very restless for things and situations. Most of the times he is someone who is very anxious, impulsive and restless but that day he was very different a lot at peace, a lot calmer and certainly very quiet. May be he was feeling low because of the whole accident fiasco or may be because of that near death experience.

I finally asked him if he was feeling well or not. He confirmed that he’s fine but I felt like he really wants to talk or say something but wasn’t able to. May be he was feeling awkward or something. I again tried and asked “Mr. Joseph, I’m constantly feeling that you’re bit uncomfortable and want to talk about something. Don’t you?” To this he nodded in affirmation and asked the caretaker to go out of the room.

“Rahul, what I’m going to tell you might sound very stupid to you or may be uncomfortable but promise me you won’t tell that to anyone no matter what. “He said. “Be assured Mr. Joseph our conversation will remain just between us.” I said assuring him. He was a little more confident now and said “Do you believe in life after death and all? Wjhat are your thoughts and what is your understanding about the whole thing.” “Mr. Joseph, don’t know much but all the mythological scriptures, studies and books suggest that there is something after death. A soul departs from the body and goes to the heaven or hell basis one’s Karma.”  I said. “Don’t they say one sees a bright light across the tunnel.” He asked again. I had no clue why he was asking such questions but I nodded in affirmation.

“But.. there was nothing. It was pitch dark. I couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t see probably is an incorrect statement. I couldn’t feel anything. It was all vacuum. Trust me there was nothing, no light, no God, no angels, just nothing. An absolute feeling of nothingness. May be there doesn’t exist anything after life.” His eyes became blood red as he was saying. 

I don’t remember what he said after that, I was just numb. As I was walking towards home I thought to myself that may be what Mr. Joseph just said was right and there doesn’t exist anything beyond what we have now in this moment. May be all those heavens and hells that we talk aren’t something which exist after death but all this exists here basis how we live our life. May be God is nothing but the goodness in us and heaven is the world we build with that goodness.