Thursday, 20 June 2013

Life in a Metro - Literally

Metro rides are one of the most introspective and observational times for me. It is in these minutes of solitude  in the midst of a crowded compartment, that I make my most honest and surprising observations. Most days, my metro rides are constricted to 10 minutes or so, where I just want to look outside, at the building passing by, waiting fervently for the impending departure to the work space, the mind already at work making check-lists. But today, due to an unforeseen circumstance, I was made to travel in the metro for a longer distance, and had more time to observe my closer surroundings in the ladies' compartment and the people that ride the metro with me.

The first most striking observation was that there was an eerie silence. Now, in a city like New Delhi, and the haphazard lives of an Indian living,. silence is a luxury that I figured was afforded by a select few. But in that metro compartment, apart from some chitter-chatter in hushed tones, perhaps with a friend but mostly on the phone, there was silence. Some had books in hand, some had earphones from which I could hear a faint drum of music, and everyone was engrossed either in their thoughts or music or quiet conversation. The only noise was of the metro rolling along, separated from sun-bathed locales of the developing city.

The women, mostly young office going crowd, all had the urban look around them. Busy, non smiling faces, immersed deeply into their daily lives and race for bread-winning. Their clothes, some were formal western, some Desi and some casuals, but all had non-telling expressions, hiding their thoughts from a room full of strangers. In such a crowd, I noticed the feet of a rather becoming girl. Otherwise pretty but with a fault, with the second last toe smaller than the last. She saw me looking, and she looked up, and smiled, the most radiant, vibrant smile, as if to tell me, you may look at my faults, but you can't budge my mind. She flaunted her fault, and walked out onto the platform to go about her business, with a smile on her face. I wanted to stop her, I wanted to say, your faults are mine too and I could care less about them, as do you . So kudos!

Eventually, the journey ended, the metro stopped at my daily destination, and got off looking ahead at my day, and the place of my work, but with the thought, that despite my faults and short-comings, I will smile through my day and keep the spring in my step.

Life - taught in a metro...

Saturday, 27 October 2012


Aaj bhi kuchh sawaal hain,
Jo poochhne se ruk gayi,
Aaj bhi kuchh khayal hain,
Jinhe kehne se chook gayi.

Aaj bhi kayi baatein hain,
Jo ankahi si hain reh gayi,
Aaj bhi inn raaton mein,
Main jaagti hi reh gayi.

Aaj bhi tum khamosh ho,
Aur main tarasti reh gayi,
Aaj bhi tumse sunna hai,
Jo main hi kehti reh gayi.

Aaj bhi main jaanti hoon,
Tum jo mehsoos karte ho,
Aaj bhi maloom hai mujhe,
Jo dil mein hi tum rakhte ho.

Aaj bhi shikayat tumse hai,
Zubaan se dil dikhaate nahi,
Dil ki baat na keh kar kaash,
Mera dil yun dukhaate nahi.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


Aajkal ki baat nayi hai,
Iss beyzaar duniya mein,
Kuchh muskurahatein hain,
Woh berukhi nahi hai.

Aajkal roz ki baaton mein,
Shayyari sunayi deti hai,
Daftari kaagazon mein bhi,
Likhi ghazal dikhayi deti hai.

Aajkal aasmaan ka rang bhi,
Tasveeron mein dil jaisa ho,
Panchhiyon ne gulaabi kalam se,
Jaise afaq pe ishq likha ho.

Aajkal hawaaon mein bhi,
Sard se paigaam hain,
Subah ki safed dhund mein,
Chhupa ek hi naam hai.

Monday, 8 October 2012


The relativity of Time is a well-known phenomenon, experienced by everyone at various stages. It is an oft repeated saying that time is running or dragging at a snail’s pace. Why is it that Monday to Friday feels like a lifetime, and Saturday and Sunday feel like the blink of an eye? Why is it that hours of sleeping feels like seconds and seconds of boredom feels like hours? Why is it that a bad movie feels like it will never end and a good one seems to have ended too soon? And pray, why is it that time with someone you love feels like it is never enough and moments waiting to meet them feels like an eternity has gone by?

While these questions are interesting to think about, what intrigues me most about Time are the lessons it teaches us about people in our lives and the natural process of elimination that is brought with it. It is rather fascinating that no amount of insight or closeness or understanding really tells you who are the people who will be with you through the highs and lows of life, and it is only over a period of time that you realize who you can truly depend on to be with you forever.

A wise old man once told me about this elimination process. It was one of those times when I felt betrayed and dejected about people around me and felt insecure about everyone in the process.  I did not know whom to trust and whom to consider my well-wisher, nor did I have any idea as to who will be by my side through my worst times and who will leave. The wise man came to me, and told me to just wait and watch, and no amount of thinking or worrying would ever be able to answer these questions and it only through time that I will know who my real friends, who will stay over time. Those that do not stay, were not meant to be in my life in the first place, and through this natural process of elimination everyone who is not needed in my life will naturally go away. Time alone will tell.

Today when I look back, his words make perfect sense. The people who have stood the test of time truly belong to my life and all those fears and insecurities have vanished. The good and bad times have come and gone, and those who have stayed have earned their place in the scheme of my life, and are here to stay. Time alone was enough to determine this fact, and no amount of introspection or insight into those relationships could ever give me any more knowledge or understanding about how these bonds would pursue. Time passed makes me realize the perishability of human interactions and I find comfort in the fact that it is not in my control or anyone else’s.

Have to end with a poem by Robert Frost, which sums up the phenomenon so very aptly.

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so for an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Wedding vs. The Marriage

I have noticed, and it has often perturbed me, that people use the words Marriage and Wedding inter-changeably. I guess it is because, when translated from Hindi, the word “Shaadi” is used commonly to imply both meanings. To put it simply, Marriage is the union of two individual where interpersonal relationships between the individuals is acknowledged legally and socially, while Wedding is merely the ceremony where two people are united in the institution of marriage. The word, “Shaadi” has implications in both senses, and it is used to describe the ceremony as well as the institution of matrimonial alliance.

I am not exactly a linguistic prude to be pointing out such differences randomly. I raise the point because the implications of those two words are going to impact my life so drastically in the next few months. Being the typical Indian girl, I have been brain-washed by society, family, friends, Bollywood, music and other cultural factors to know that Marriage is a big deal, and more importantly, the Big Fat Indian Wedding Day is the most important day of my life. No pressure. In the madness of arranging an Indian Wedding, where everything from the clothes, venue, jewelry, gifts, transportation, accommodation, invitation, has to be taken care of with meticulous precision, it becomes quite a task to organize everything in the best way possible.The Wedding is a giant, blocking anything else from sight and has to be given utmost attention and time. What I realized a while back though, was that I was so involved and concerned about the Wedding that I did not have the time to give enough thought to the Marriage. I suppose that is natural, as the objects which are nearer seem bigger. It’s all about perspective after-all. But still, it struck me suddenly one day, that hello, there is something beyond the Wedding too. There is a new life, new changes, a new person to live with, a new  and I have absolutely no idea how to handle any of it.

Marriage is about understanding, and that primarily comes from knowledge of each other, from time spent together. From the telephone conversations with my fiancé, all that I can get to know about him, I have gotten to know already. But how much can you really get to know? I mean, there are things you only learn when you live with someone, and the only people who have really known those things about me, are my parents. Like, how I set my alarm clock 30 minutes before I actually have to get out of bed, and snooze it for all that time. Annoying yes, but that’s just what I do. Or, a small thing like how I eat everything with a fork, as opposed to a spoon, like people in most Indian households do. Or other small things like what side of the bed I sleep on, how long it takes me to get ready, the kind of food I like, what are the small things that give me joy… I realize that he will only get to learn about these little nitty-gritty details once I live with him, and the same goes for me. I am yet to discover these small things, which makes him who he is.

Marriage, to me, is about the little details, the beauty of the institution is in the happenings which would go unnoticed by an outsider. So, while I am looking forward to the wedding, what excites me more is the prospect of finding love in the details. It may sound strange coming from a bride-to-be, but more than the new clothes and the jewelry and the shopping, what excites me more is the fact I will be getting to know and live with someone, who will understand me better than anyone else. While I am looking forward to the celebrations, the singing and dancing, I am more thrilled about spending hours talking to someone, who wants to get to know me as much as I want to know him. I am thrilled about the fact that I will have my closest family and friends to make my Big Day special, and I am even more elated that I will have a lifetime of companionship and share a life with someone.

Guess it's true what they say, God is indeed in the Details.