Sunday, 6 September 2015
Tuesday, 12 May 2015
My friend, this extremely intelligent but very shy boy, was hiding a secret. I still don’t know how he managed to keep it hidden from me, but nevertheless, he did. When it was time for him to let it out of the bag, he developed cold feet. Our friendship broke, but what hurt more was that I didn’t know why. This was in 2008.
I kept searching for answers without any luck. No, I wasn’t roaming around with a magnifying glass or torch, but I would try to start conversations with common friends. With my busy work schedule, I had to eventually lose hope.
One day, a call came. I would prefer to call it a small atom bomb... my own little boy or fat man. Here was the secret my friend had been hiding for years, and I was being told about it on the phone by someone else. I wouldn’t like to reveal it here, and someone’s secret is not why I am writing this post. My reason is much bigger, if understood.
That day I wanted to run and give my friend one big bear hug. I wanted to tell him how sorry I am for not even being worthy enough of his secret. I couldn’t do any of those. I had somehow obtained his new number, but I didn’t call.
Today, after almost seven years since I met my friend last, I sent him a text on WhatsApp.
There were no sorrys, no tears, no past. I was stuck with something I was reading and the only person I could think of was him. As upfront as I usually am now, I just asked him my query.
Bang came his response, ‘I am sorry, but who is this?’
‘Poorva here. I know you might block me after knowing my name, but my intentions are not wrong. I never intended to not tell you my name. I thought it would come on WhatsApp.’
‘Hi Poorva. Hope you are good.’ The response was delayed, but it came.
‘Ya... I am good, hope you too are. See, I am stuck here, in this problem. Can you help?’
‘Yes... do this...’
‘Thanks man. And listen, I forgive you and hope you forgave me too.’
‘May I come back for help if you are okay or are you going to block me?’
‘Let me know if required. I will try to help.’
‘Thanks. Good night.’
In between my small query, I had solved the big one. This was an apology to a friend I had been wanting to make for years, but never could. Either there was no courage, or a lot of hesitation.
My Baaji once told me a story which has taught me numerous lessons...
A teacher asked her 10-year-old students how many enemies they have. Some said two, some three, and some even ten. The teacher then asked the students to carry as many potatoes as the number of enemies each one had. The students were supposed to carry these potatoes for a month. A week passed, then two weeks. The potatoes started to rot and give a foul smell. Still the students had to continue carrying them for a month. Into the third week, the students could not bear it at all. They requested their teacher if they could stop, to which the teacher taught them the lesson for life:
When I spoke to my friend today, I let go of one of the heaviest and smelliest potatoes I had been carrying for seven years. Though there was no response by him to my apology, the blue ticks on WhatsApp told me he had read it. The good night from his side just confirmed that my message had been conveyed and most probably accepted.
You have no idea how light I am feeling right now, sitting here and writing this post. And if you want to get the slightest idea, identify your potatoes and just let go of them.
Saturday, 9 May 2015
Sunday, 23 February 2014
After a very long time, I took out my old bicycle from a dusty corner of the house. The tyres had got cut from places, the pink colour was hardly visible, the brakes were not in working condition. I had to take it four storeys down to the road and I struggled with that. I had no stamina and eventually gave up on the third floor itself. Embarrassed, I called for help and someone came to lift my bicycle.
Thankfully, I had exhausted my energy, but not my will. Once on the road, I somehow managed to drag the bicycle for almost a kilometre to the repairing shop. The man over there asked for a hefty amount but promised to make it new. A few hours and ten cups of tea later, my old bicycle was like its heydays again.
But this is not the end of the story.
After so many years, I struggled to balance on my bicycle. I had forgotten which brake was for which tyre. I had to drag my feet on the road to stop. But the biggest problem was something weirdly different. I was confused between my bicycle and my car.
At every corner, I habitually gave the indicator and tried to push the right handle up and down. Every now and then, I looked into the rearview mirror and found myself gazing up in the sky. I pushed the right pedal extra hard at every speed breaker confusing it with the car's brakes, and obviously went jumping after that. I rode my little bicycle in the middle of the road like it was no one's business.
A few hiccups later, I was riding like my old self again.
And it was then that I felt the cool wind blowing on my face, a feeling lost in the AC of my office and the closed windows of my car. It seemed as if my eyes opened after a long time, strained with the computer and TV screens.
I heard some kids playing, I saw aunties chatting, I went to roads I had never been to before. These roads were in my locality itself, those aunties were always around, the kids had grown up in my area, yet I had never seen them in the past few years.
So engrossed was I in work that the sun always set inside office and always rose when I was still in my bed. I was appreciating the beauty caught on camera but I never took out time to step out and see the real beauty that lies abundantly in the world we live in.
Today when I rode through that breeze, the colours were again brighter, the sounds were again louder, the thoughts were again clearer, the world was again the same place I once loved.
As I lie on my bed writing this blog, my calf muscles hurt after being made to do some real exercise after such a long time. But this pain is truly worth it, because it gave me my lost feeling of freedom back today.
Sunday, 27 October 2013
Sunday, 18 August 2013
After I secured this Muslim driving license, my PAN card, my car loan, my phone connection, everything took so long that I gave up hope. I thought that's how it happens in India. But I did not know that that's how it happens with the Muslims in India. And this realization dawned upon me at the Bengaluru International Airport.
I look like a normal girl, just like your next-door neighbour's daughter. But if you are a normal Muslim girl, you are not normal. After the cop on duty checks your documents at the airport's entrance, he will 'request' you to step aside. He'll then ask you some questions very matter-of-factly... where do you work, where are you going, etc.
Initially you will feel the police are doing a good job. When this 'good job' becomes a routine JUST FOR YOU every time you go to the airport, the extra security starts making you feel insecure. You feel that a shadow is following you everywhere at the airport. Those policemen have an eye just on you. They are taking a bit longer in screening your hand luggage. In that massive crowd of people, you suddenly feel all alone.
When my fear got the better of me and I told my parents about these regular airport questions, they knew they had to act, and quickly. They took a break from their work just to stand with me in queues and get my documents corrected. Since we don't believe in bribes, our queues were longer too.
My first journey with the new corrected non-Muslim documents was something I will never forget. I stood at the airport entrance, holding my ticket and driving license, ready with the same old answers. But instead of questions, I got a smile from the cop. Poorva Jain was not a terrorist, Poorva Khan was.
We all know that deep in the heart of almost every Hindu, a Muslim is a terrorist. And every Muslim knows that Hindu mentality deep in his heart as well.
Today when I look back at my 'Muslim' days, I know how insecure a Muslim feels in this country. I have felt it for a couple of months. If you could feel it for just one day, you will know what I am talking about. Perhaps after knowing that, you will also truly understand why even Shahrukh had to say, My Name is Khan, and I am not a terrorist.
Friday, 16 August 2013
They don't know a shit about what you are talking. They just know which person is THE man they must impress. Mind you, they are very good at that, at this impressing thing. In fact, howsoever intelligent you may be, you can never ever be as good them.
So what is the strategy of these people? They take this THE man's side in everything. And how do they do it? They repeat the words of this man, just after him. They might include a yes sir, a true sir along with it. But most of the times only repeating the words with a more convincing tone does the trick.
And what happens to you? You, who are so hardworking. You, who spend those extra hours, put in that extra effort? Nothing. You look like a fool in front of THE man. After sometime, you even start feeling like a fool because you hardly speak anything. Only THE man and the repeater are the ones involved in the conversation, supporting, well, THE man and his beliefs.
There will be times when you too will think you should be like him, the repeater. You will even try, but will soon give up. The original you will ask the fake you to give up. Relief will set in after giving up. And if you have waited enough, if you have held on, you will be lucky enough to see the repeater fail.
This repeater, he always eventually loses, because he has nothing original within. He is just a master PR whose irritating behaviour is only there to test your patience. The original will win, no matter what. I know, because I have experienced it, and am still experiencing it.