Platform no. 11

And I missed my train…

I rushed to the railway station. Outside the jumble of auto rickshaws, horse carts, cycle rickshaws, passengers with big canvas bags presented a maze. As though by some magic I wove through them expertly. I sensed an extra sense within me as if the pull of G had filled my senses with an extra power. I sensed that the porter rolling his iron cart ladled with an odd assortment of trunks and suitcases followed by the fat woman with her two children would take a sudden turn and come directly in my course. I also somehow knew in advance that a boy would come running towards them and he would be forced to stop his rolling cart suddenly, throwing off the precariously placed luggage on the platform. With a sense of deja vu I watched the sequence of events unfold in front of my eyes. Could I really have known this would happen? Or was I just feeling this way in my excited state of mind?

I seemed to know exactly where platform eleven was supposed to be. Even though there were no signs to direct me. How could there be a sign the station had only eight platforms. Strange! you say! ya but then what about my meeting with G had not been strange?

I was a waiter in a cafe that sold everything from South Indian idlis to Punjabi Dal Makhani and American Burgers. I wasn’t proud of my job but one had to make a living and to do that this was as good a job as any. Born as the third child in  a poor farmer’s family on the outskirts of Rajasthan does not give one too much choice in terms of careers. I had been bright and managed to finish high school. Then I had gone to the government college in the district headquarter. Wanting to study further but having  no money I had been forced to come to Alwar. Here I had enrolled myself in MCom. and to make ends meet had taken up work as a waiter in a cafe in the main market area. Life was trudging along. It was not the life I wanted. Like everyone else my age  I too craved for a white-collar job, a car, a small house of my own … dreams of a middle class existence, ordinary in every way.

The ordinariness of my existence makes what happened to me that day even more extra ordinary. Like always I was cleaning the cafe in the morning. Business is slow in the morning so there are only a couple of us  on duty. Manohar and I are in charge of opening the shutters, dusting the tables, putting everything in order and serving the stray customers. Manohar was on leave so I was alone in the cafe. Nathuji, the assistant cook was there in the kitchen with a few of his cronies, shouting orders  and obscenities, FM played on a transistor in the kitchen but only faint shreds of the music could be heard outside in the hall. Just then the bell that tinkles each time a customer pushes open the door, jingled. I looked up to see a young woman walk in. She looked  around the hall for a waiter perhaps, on spotting me she smiled. I greeted her as I had been trained to do by the manager and pointed her towards a corner table. Then I hastened off to bring a glass of water and menu for my first customer of the day.

When I gave her the menu, she did not take it. “You tell me what to eat?” Oh! she was that type , I thought . The young and yuppie type that come into the cafe to sample something wonderful! Give me the local specialty types! Must be a tourist! I thought. Must have come to visit the sanctuary located a few kilometers away and wandered off to explore the local town! Something didn’t quite fit though. She didn’t have a camera though or the tell-tale bag behind her shoulders.

I rattled off a list of names of dishes… including almost everything on the menu, as I had been instructed to do. “Never tell a customer what is good. He will assume other things are bad.” was the dictum of the boss! “Keep your preferences out of the cafe.” He had said. If I were to be honest with her  I would have told her that if she wanted to eat something really delicious she ought to go to the halwai in the by-street at the next turn. Nathu ji halwai, in the next by-street ,  served an amazing aloo subji with pooris that were truly awesome and his milkcake was something to die for.

“You want to come” she said, pushing back the chair she was sitting in to get up. “Come… me… where?” I stammered somewhat startled.  “To the halwai on the next bystreet! the one who serves amazing subji , poori and milkcake!”

How did she know? Had I spoken aloud my thoughts? I looked around immediately. Just in case the manager had come in and heard the exchange. I would lose my job if he got to know that I had sent a customer somewhere else. “Don’t worry! she said. A slight mirth in her voice. You didn’t say anything. And by the way… I ma not a yuppie tourist and no, I am not here to go to the sanctuary. And though I don’t mind tasting some nice local delicacy that’s not the purpose I am here.”

I was stunned! Can this girl read my thoughts?

“Yes!” She said, smiling at the puzzlement on my face. “Now are you coming or not?” I really want to taste that milkcake!” I have looked back at that moment a million times in the last twenty-four hours. What made me take off the apron that was part of my uniform and rush behind her? I have never done a reckless thing in my life? I have never even jumped into the lake near my village. The one that has a  cliff looming over it. Almost all the village boys did it. It was like a rite of passage. ..

 

To be continued…

The WOW prompt this week was“And I missed my train…”

Wow prompts always get me thinking so I sat down to write this story, but then life came in the way. I guess weekends are not as free for moms!!! So I am leaving this here. An unfinished story , to be completed soon. If it catches your fancy do come and look me up in a couple of days. It will be ready to serve and piping hot!

 I have used a lot of  Hindi words in this post. I have to dash off now but will come back to translate them for those who are not familiar with hindi.That’s a promise!! :)

 

 

Ding-a-ling-a-ling

There’s a part in my heart

that sings ding-a-ling-a-ling

it says it misses everything

the joy, laughter & friendly baits

hushed conversations, impatient waits.

There’s a part of my heart

that’s forever an optimist

it draws suns, rainbows and endless bridges

this part goes rap-a-tap-tapa-a-tap-a-tap

how bad can it be?

another chance another dance

this is the only life I have you see

I am holding down this part

stifling it making sure its never free

some black holes swallow

the brightest suns

and unlike what  some wise men say

following ones heart doesn’t always pay.

Too many truths

There is my truth
And then there is yours
You believe in yours
Even though I know mine
Is the only one
That exists
Which one of us is lying
Maybe neither.
Finally
There is no one truth
Only what we believe
Or even
What we wish to believe
In this tussle
Of truth, beliefs and wishes
Wishes always win
Or maybe they always lose
Either ways
I feel defeated.

One of those days

There are days when everything seems wrong
There’s no solace in the sweetest songs
These days don’t come often
But when they do
Would you think me selfish god
If I come looking for you
You know me god
You know I am true
It’s just this
That I don’t often come to you
It’s not because I don’t believe
Infact it may be that
I believe too much in you
I believe you exist in everything
See everything I do
I hope today god
I hope my belief is true
Cause today is one of those days gods
One of the days I need you

My Age – My olympic medal

Age is just a number

just a number is age

when we come into this world

there is nothing in our hand

our bond is with just one person

and that too a bond of dependancy

for survival

Growth is beutiful

except in cancer cells maybe

as we grow

our circle expands

to include so many more

we learn

liveliness, humility, generosity

friendship, honesty, loyalty

hard-work, ambition, perseverance

kindness, responsibility

we develop relationships

and friendships

we nurture

we create.

Its a shame that modern man

has begun to look at age

as baggage.

The bent form

the wrinkled skin

the dullness of eyes

are trophies

speaking of our accomplishments

in Life.

All I say

is that when its time for me to go

I hope that I have

lived so fully

love so completely

laughed so heartily

cried so inconsolably

that the number I wear when I go

is no less to me

than an Olympic Gold!

This post is written in response to the prompt at the daily post “Age is just a number,” says the well-worn adage. But is it a number you care about, or one you tend (or try) to ignore?

 

 

 

 

 

 

A funny thing

A funny thing happened on my way to work

As I sat in my car rumbling and grumbling about the psycho boss

Who praised seldom and shouted a lot

I saw a neighbor dressed in khaki

Bidding goodbye to his young family

Will he come back one never knows

Where in comparison to him stand my ‘job woes’

 

A funny thing happened to me today

Just as I finished shouting at my little boy

He forgot his home work and scattered his toys

The news broadcaster spoke of a bus filled with boys

That slammed into a train fatally

I looked at the tear streaked faces of moms on TV

And wondered somewhat guiltily

Did they too shout on their little boys

About unfinished homework and scattered toys?

A funny thing happened when I went to bed

Complaining about how I never get any rest

How my back hurt from house work and my feet ached

The magazine I picked to read opened on a page

A paraplegic’s face stared out at me

My aches then seemed like a blessing to me

They showed what god had bestowed on me

A working body that ‘en’ abled me

A funny thing happened on my way to the mall

On a red light crossing my car came to a halt

A naked baby carried astride the waist

Of a little girl hardly nine years of age  

Looked imploringly into my face

I lingered, my car stalled

In my mind’s eye I recalled

The pegs of clothes that hung carelessly on my walls

Suddenly I didn’t need to shop at all

A funny thing happened as I went to eat

in a fancy restaurant on an upmarket street

Dressed in formals I stood waiting in queue

I saw a simple food cart roll through

Its bell tinkling, pleasant smells wafted by

Bringing alive memories not yet old enough to die

When food meant something hot and cheap

To be shared with a gang of friends and purchased by heaps

Suddenly the five starred restaurant lost it’s Appeal

I ran behind the cart for a  hearty meal.

 

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. The Write Over the Weekend inspiration for this time was

‘A funny thing happened on my way to….’

BFFs !!! Besties – Yes, Forever – No

The prompt at The Daily Post today is ” Do you — or did you ever — have a Best Friend? “

If I’d been asked this just a couple of years earlier…

Pat would have come the reply ‘yes’, Yippee!

I have them. Not one not two but maybe even three!

Wasn’t I just very very lucky

But then things happened and life handed me lessons

It seemed there were still some it hadn’t taught me

I had my heart break well after thirty

You know a heart break by a friend is worse than a heartbreak by a lover can ever be

Its not that I don’t have friends now

I am never lonely

There are people in my world

Who really care for me

To laugh and play and even be sad and rant

I always have adequate company

Its just that now Ive learned

To not label them in tags like ‘Besties’

People grow and change and that’s how its meant to be

The one who is there for you right now

Is your only true ‘Bestie’

Welcoming ‘Books, Coco and me’ to the blogging community

 

Most of my friends in the blogosphere know ‘M’, my daughter. Many of you may also remember from my various posts about her that she is an avid reader. She has loved books since the time she was a teensie weensie baby!

At the ‘ripe’ age of nine M told me that she wanted a blog of her own. “Ok” I replied, a bit amused “But what will it be about?” “About Books!” Came the prompt reply. “What about books” I asked, wanting further explanation. “Book Reviews” M said. It seemed ‘M’ had really thought this through. M believes that even though there is a lot of literature for children, there are not enough reviews of children’s literature by children. “When adults write reviews of children’s books, they don’t do it right”, M lamented.

Over the next few months M wrote several reviews of books she had read and left them on my desk to transcribe. I am ashamed to say I never got around to doing it. Partly because I was afraid that the ‘editor’ in me would ‘corrupt’ her words with my adult sensibilities. I wanted her posts to be completely her own – her words, her style… all her!

The larger more mundane reason was lack of time. Somehow there was never time to write any of my own blog posts and hers definitely got relegated to the undefined future.

In the meanwhile M acquired a ‘second’ love! She and her brother were gifted a puppy by their doting grandparents. ‘M’s’ still mythical blog thus changed from ‘Books, Muffin and Me’ – ‘(Muffin being our pet name for ‘K’ her younger brother) to ‘Books, Coco and Me’ (Poor ‘K’- he is not happy by the way he has been bumped out of her blog!That too by a dog!.)

This time when M came home for the holidays (She has recently joined a boarding school). She practiced her typing skills and managed to feed in two blog posts. Starting a blog is a long somewhat tedious process for anyone. For a ‘just turned ten’ years old, with a life full of distractions and an endless list of stuff she wants to do, it becomes a lesson in patience. M has learned to be patient. With help from an aunt she has found a theme, designed the format and published two posts! Whew!

Sharing them here with you all. We hope you will visit ‘Books, coco and me’ and shower it with some blogosphere love. So next time M is at home for her holidays she can enjoy reading your comments just like I enjoy reading mine!

Meet coco my puggy pup

Fifteen books every little girl should read

thea stilton       malory towermiles to go miley cirus bear for felicia anne of green gablescocorainbow magicwishawozzawriter

Railway children

A tourist in my home…

Coming back home after a long holiday! the kind of holiday that is so immersing that it fogs your brain, makes you forget your passwords, the  place you kept your keys or the day of the week it is……In a couple of days I will get my grip back, the time zones will reset again and the last 40 days will become just another ‘summer holiday’ . But before that happens , before my daily life reclaims me I am offered a unique chance. An opportunity to look at my life from the outside. The travellers lens are not yet off and they allow me to peep into my home, my cosy office, the unanswered mails that lie on my desk and the highlighted notifications in my inbox with a sense of detachment. A kind on non urgency pervades the air. As if another minute or another hour or even another day flying by will have no major effect.   The mountains I saw , the rivers I dipped my feet into, the wild woods I walked in seem to have rubbed their own sense of timelessness onto me… A sense that says Humans come and humans go… Nothing that takes place in our paltry lives compares to the hugeness of this world. And is thus insignificant! This will not last forever. Shortly the all important clock, that hangs on my living room wall will reclaim her place as the fulcrum of my life. But for now I am enjoying this feeling of being but a tourist in my own home… a visitor to my own life… of looking through a camera lens into this joyful world, I call mine :)

 

It may be a while before I unpack, catch up and start writing again. Saying hello to my blogging friends with this poem I wrote last year , almost same time http://http://justanotherwakeupcall.wordpress.com/2013/07/06/stains-from-a-holiday/

 

 

 

 

An insider’s tips to Pushkar

Some of you may know that I live in Ajmer, a small town in the heart of Rajasthan.  While Ajmer is famous worldwide in its own right because of the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisty’s dargah. It is made even more famous due to its proximity to Pushkar.

Separated by a narrow stretch of mountain Ajmer and Pushkar while just a few kilometers apart physically are a study of contrasts in their spirit. While Ajmer is laid back, conservative, routine… Pushkar is dynamic, bohemian and full of surprises! It is no wonder then that I love it.

Here is a piece I recently did on Pushkar  at the popular travel blog at Travelyari. Do check it out!!

young Shiva – by-Satish-Krishnamurthy