Picky Tongues

So, what does my tongue pick? Not to savour this time but to exclude it. What would it be? Which taste is the one which I dislike so much that I won’t mind if my taste buds won’t recognize them?

Salty? No. I really like cooked food and those utterly tasty junk foods. Pav Bhaji is a delicious dish in India.

Sweet? Oh, please. How can I live without jalebis? In the early mornings of Varanasi even Steve Jobs was fond of them.

Sour? May be. But no. I like amla and lemons. They are a rich source of vitamins and it feels so good to have them after coming from a scorching sun.

Bitter? Yeah! bitter!! I don’t like them. That bitter gourd my mom makes. I just wish I don’t have to eat them again but that wish has not come true till date.

Bitterness neither in tongue nor in our life is desirable. But surely, they are essential at times. Bitter gourd helps you with digestive well-being. Similarly, bitterness in life at certain periods is essential to make us realize how beautiful our life has been. That teacher, who is strict and tough and mean at times, often rewards with the best of knowledge that we cherish for the rest of our lives.

Whatever be true and reasonable, but please!! no bitter gourd. If I get to choose a flavour that my tongue will no longer be able to distinguish, that would be bitter.

Imagine, how good would it be if we get those nutrients of bitter gourd without having to taste their bitterness. How good would it be when our moms won’t shout at us for not eating them? A real fantasy land I suppose.

Imagine a flatterer who gives us the best of knowledge, brings the best out of us without being mean or strict or harsh. Now, I am really delving into fantasy land. ๐Ÿ™‚

Mexico vs Netherlands World Cup 2014

Till the end of the first half, neither Mexico nor Netherlands were able to score a goal. For a team like Netherlands which stood so strong in the previous matches it seemed a bit weird. There was something essential that the team lacked yesterday.

Within 5-minutes of the start of the second half Mexico had scored a goal. Now there was something really wrong about the Netherlands and something particularly good for Mexico. No doubt Mexico has been a good team in the World Cup but it could not be considered a real contender of the trophy. And then, if Mexico would beat Netherlands knocking them out of the World Cup, that would be something really mind boggling.

But hey, here they are, 5-minutes to the end of the match and still, Mexico led by 1-0. Mexico had played well and maintained its lead till the very end of the game. Suddenly, the power shuts down. But I am at peace, as I knew the result. I was so sure that Mexico would win. It was bound to win. What could go wrong for them in the last 5-minutes? Absolutely nothing! Really?

The next morning I see the newspaper to see what!!? Netherlands won by 2-1. Has there been some misprint? I read the whole report and then confirmed online. Really, Netherlands had won the match. In the 88th minute, Wesely Sneijder scored a goal for his team making the final score 1-1.

Ok, but 2-1?? How?? In the 5-extra minutes after 90 minutes of play, Huntelaar scored another goal getting the final score to 2-1. Its like snatching a piece of bone from the mouth of a dog.

SHOCK AND AWE!!

The Comma

I wonder what would have happened if there did not exist a comma. Comma are used to rest, for a while, like this ๐Ÿ˜› while still maintaining the flow of the conversation. Though there have been a lot of warnings on its overuse as I did in the previous sentence, I just can’t help it. I love it, a tiny worm looking thing that comes in handy for every idea I feel the need to share with others.

I am not averse to any punctuation mark. But I observe that I rarely use semicolons. Commas are an integral part of my writing and they have often brought home some trouble when my exam papers are checked. But still, there is a mutual understanding between the two of us and comma is still a strong companion for me .

Others who too have their faith in comma are:

In honor of the comma

Comma trauma

Romancing the comma

Playing with dots and commas

To comma or not to comma

The comma user

I love you oxford comma

The life of a comma

Punctuation

and there are many more…

 

This post was written in response to the daily prompt.

The Talent of Varanasi

Environment plays a very important role in our writing abilities. Whether we want to write an article, a poem, a short story or anything else, it is important that we are comfortable with the place where we sit to write. There are writers who travel, go to places, at times some weird places just to get the required feel required for their writing, to produce that masterpiece.

But, to those who don’t write it is hard to explain all this effort that a writer performs to accomplish his writing task. The first time I heard of such a thing was Ruskin Bond who lived in the himalayan mountains despite huge fandom. If he chose to, he would have been able to afford a house in any of the cities in India or UK.

However, I felt the effect of environment in one’s writing abilities only when I arrived Varanasi. A holy city by history, it has produced some world class artists like Pt Ravi Shankar. There is a long list of such people who hail from Varanasi and here, dear readers, do presume that I am not comparing myself with any of them not to be modest but because it is just a crude fact that I don’t stand anywhere near these personalities. I have wanted to write poems in hindi since my school days. But, I was not able to complete any of the poems with just the ideas I wanted to convey.

When I moved to this city for my undergraduate studies, I felt some sort of peace and fluidity in me. I don’t know how it came but within 3-months after my coming to Varanasi, I was writing my poems completely. I wrote one, and then two and it went on and on. Of course these poems were in hindi, so I could share them with my friends there. I can’t say I wrote good poems but I wrote them completely and that is what important to me. If you(dear readers), are familiar with the language, do have a look on my poems by following the link:

Some Words

Though, I have not written a single article of this blog being in Varanasi I still believe that Varanasi was a place where I could produce my best writing. Being on the ghats roaming around, getting ideas arbitrarily and penning it down in hostel, all this was what I did in 3 years of my stay there.

Writers have a talent. But so do places. And for my abilities, what-so-ever, is a sure talent of Varanasi and not me. Incredible Varanasi! The place that got a better out of me, this is my writing space.

The Surprise Gift

There have been a lot of vending machines here and there. To be honest, I hail from that part from India where such automated vendors are very rare. One can see them only as ATMs and weight measuring devices. Recently, I saw a machine delivering railway tickets at a railway station in New Delhi.

But, I have seen them delivering chocolate bars and and other stuffs in TVs. Yes, I know such things exist in some part of the world where perhaps, there is a shortage of population or may be, they are developed ones.

I don’t know if such a vending machine exists which I am thinking of but still, I am hopeful there would be one to come up. My vending machine would deliver gifts. Now, why gifts?

Gifts are something that are required almost everyday and at any moment of time. Lets say, I forgot to buy a gift for my girlfriend for her birthday. I call her at mid-night and wish her. She asks me for a present and, logically I should not disappoint her. I should gift her something nice. But how do I do this at mid-night? In present scenario, I would make excuses that for some realistic reason, I would not be able to come up to her. But, I really want to meet her.

Now, if the gift machine exists and there is one installed on the way to her home, I would just have to go there and fetch a gift on the way. Of course, there would be different choices of gifts available and also there would be choice for the kind and color of wrapper for the gift.

That gift would not only be a surprise gift for the one receiving the gift but also for the one gifting it.

Lets imagine another situation. Lets say you are a grandparent to a child and you are going to visit him. On the way, he calls you and asks you for a gift. That gift may not necessarily be the one you have brought for him and you are too tired to go to a shop and do those talking and bargaining and choosing etc stuffs. So what you do is simply stop at a machine and ping on the screen with that particular gift your grandchild has asked for you.

You may also be a husband coming after a business trip or have suddenly remembered in the evening that today was your anniversary. What you need is an instant gift for your wife.

Gifts are something that are needed everyday and almost anytime and their demand is never going to diminish. So, for me, a gift machine is one which is sorely needed but doesn’t yet exist.

What If?

What if the sun rises in the west? Would hindus then worship in east and muslims in west?

What if I got good grades? Would I become famous? Would that hot girl in my class then become my girlfriend?(no, believe me)

What if Deepika Padukone comes to me and asks for a kiss?

What if this. And what if that.

What if I were to relive the past?(prompt)

All these are hypothetical questions which cannot be true from the human knowledge gathered till now. Yes, good grades are something you cannot find on my transcripts.

And so is tracing back my past.

The fact that these can never be true makes them even more wondrous. At nights, when you have no more energy left to do anything significant, you wonder such things. This can also be said day-dreaming, I suppose.

So what if I were to relive the past week? I wonder.

This week started with my offer letter for admission to a graduate program. So that is a good thing. I may want to relive it. But then, I had to cook on my own as my parents were not home. Though I am not a good cook but I managed to make some khichdi that was neither raw nor burnt. So, for me, even that would be an accomplishment. I may want to relive even that. But, I lost someone and my parents were gone in the funeral of that ‘someone’. I would definitely not want to relive that. There was sadness all over. So I would not want to relive that either. In short, I would not want to relive that past week which has just ceased to be as time is the most transient thing we have in world.

Moreover, time that remains for us in this world is itself a decreasing function of time. I would want to live every moment fresh not a stale one.

Offside Memories: My First Encounter With Football

Football is a sport with not-so-great fandom in India. Of course, people know when there is a World Cup going on but they are least bothered to watch it. There are two reasons that account for:

1. Most of the people don’t understand football.

2. The match timings are always in nights in India.

But, the popularity is slowly gaining momentum. People have started to take more interest in football than before and the younger generation looks forward to moving on from traditional cricket to football. I remember I watched my first football match in 2006. The match was a World Cup Final in which France and Italy were the two teams.

The telecast was scheduled at 1.30 am, so I had to watch it discreetly. Sounds were kept low as everyone in home was sleeping. I was excited about this match because of only one reason-Zinedin Zidane. He had announced his retirement from football after this final match. All I knew about him then, and even now, that he was a great legend. I wanted to see how he played. No, I don’t want to become a footballer, but still I admire the game.

So with drinks and snacks I sat on the sofa in front of the TV to watch this legend. Within the first 5-minutes, or may be 10, he was shown the red card. Why? He had an italian footballer with his head. Everything seemed so dramatic then.

And this is what I like about football than cricket. Here, every team stands equal on field and so is every player unlike cricket. In cricket, there always dominates one team over the rest and that team is favoured unjustifiably on field in certain cases. There are times when one player is intentionally targeted in a match of cricket.

May be I am a novice when football is concerned, but even today I find every footballer being treated with an equal eye whenever I get to see a match.

However, the next day, it turned out in the media that the italian player who was hit by Zidane in the football match had abused him verbally in retaliation of which Zidane had hit him.

As we all know, France had lost that Football World Cup Final to Italy and as an early enthusiast of football and Zidane of course, I had been greatly disappointed. This was my first encounter with football.

Familial Feasts

I truly believe celebrating dates for relatives like father’s day is something I don’t want to say on the blog. Dear readers(if any), don’t think that I do not have my father with me, nor I hate him. In fact, I love him-a lot. But that doesn’t mean I dedicate him a day in a year. As if for the rest of the days he would hold some less importance in my life.

Some might argue dedicating a day is a sign of respect or honour, one expresses toward his relatives, father being the recent case. But then, why not dedicate 2-days or 3? Who would say his father is respectful for the exact amount of dedicating 1-single day?

What I don’t like even more is the way people celebrate these days. On a father’s day one may write huge loads of quotations on facebook, all in the name of father even when his father is not on facebook. Moreover, what is the use of such writing if you are living with your father? You could wish him personally.

But still we do celebrate a father’s day or a mother’s day and so on…just for the sake of their being priority in almost everyone’s lives. But who after your father, a more distant relative?

For me that would be granny’s day. I don’t know if such a day already exists but this is what I come up with. The reason being obvious-that most grannys do connect with their grandchildren well. They form a bond with us which even our parents are not able to make with us in order to discipline us.

A granny is an old friend with huge wrinkles and weak voice with a lot of experience and power. Of course, they don’t lift weights but they are powerful enough to save us from our ferocious parents when we break a flower pot, or when we fail an exam, or when we hit our neighbourhood’s kids. They even save you when a neighbour complains to your father that you had sneaked and misbehaved in his daughter’s room.

When we have dedicated so many days for so many people, let us dedicate a day, or may be 2, to our oldest and most powerful saviour who is so much loving and and caring yet with whom we feel secure to share our secrets, our little escapades of life.

This post was written in response to the daily prompt.

FAVOURITE MISTAKE

Mistakes are something which are followed by regret by nature. But there are mistakes which bring in some happy moments with them. Of course, such mistakes are very rare, but they do exist.

One of those rare mistakes which I committed was on my way to university from home. It is a 5-hour journey to Mughalsarai from where one has to share an auto to go to Varanasi.

After an overnight journey I just wanted to anyhow get to my hostel without physically hurting myself in the auto as I felt dizziness all over.

As I entered the auto I saw a beautiful girl sitting by the window side. It was strange to see such a beautiful girl travelling at 4 am in the dark. She, however, seemed to be somewhat happy as she saw me.

I sat beside her. The auto was then packed with other passengers with no room to even shake a bit. As the auto started, a sudden jerk came to all of us as the auto bumped into a big pot-hole.

I caught the side wall of the auto from behind her with my hand just a bit short of touching her. I tried my best from keeping my hand from touching her as it could mean different things. She might get uncomfortable and she could get me into trouble.

Its more vulnerable for boys in India than for girls. Once, just once they need to complain or shout in public, all the people around become the moral police and judge and the boy is pronounced the culprit and punished with shoes, kicks, punches and what not. Needless to say that all this happens in a matter of seconds.

The journey began and so did my escapades with pot-holes. They came one after the other and I was trying my best not to bump on her. I think, she noticed that as she became more comfortable in her posture caring less if I would put my hands here and there.

Just then, a rather large pot-hole was encountered by the auto which had gained some momentum by now giving all of us a big jerk. My hand with which I was holding the side of the auto fell on her shoulders.

“Oh shit! I am gone. Any moment she will shout and the trouble time may start for me. But its not my fault. I will explain. But she would be angry and would not listen…” I was thinking stuffs that I had imagined in the past.

But to my astonishment, she didn’t shout. Instead, she rested her head on my arms and bowed a bit towards me. I didn’t know what to do. I had never imagined such a situation, especially in such a conservative society of Varanasi.

I didn’t move my hands and she got cozier in my arms. “Is she a prostitute?”, I thought but no, I remembered I had seen her quite a few times in the university campus. She could not be a harlot. I decided to stop judging her.

Anyways, it felt great to have her in my arms. She had closed her eyes and even I was feeling sleepy in the morning wind. I rested my head on hers and slept. To be honest, I didn’t sleep but just closed my eyes and cherished every moment.

As we reached the university gate, she woke me up saying-“Kya din bhar yahin sone ka irada hai?” meaning “Do you intend to sleep like this all day”. I wanted to say her- yes, or I don’t mind. But, instead, I said sorry and smiled, she giggled on that and we went to our respective hostels.

That day I realized two things-

One, that a girl resting on your arms, trusting you enough for that gives you a far great feeling than all the porn and sex of the world.

Two, that I had just committed my favourite mistake in life.

The Unescapable Sin

CHARACTERS:

Shwetabari Devi – An old lady
Preeti – A woman
Shiva – Preeti’s husband

STORY(PROMPT):

Shwetabari Devi : I have always had a tendency to be busy. Though I am old now, sitting in a room the whole day like other ladies is not something I cherish. Yes, its hard for me to walk, but still, I managed today to walk to the park nearby and have some fresh air.ย It was a fine day and I carried with myself a pair of knitting needles and some yarn. I want to present my grandson a red sweater for his coming birthday.

So I was sitting on a bench in the park and there were children playing with some disc. There were some young couples walking together. They reminded me of my youth.

Just then, one of the couples as they walked towards me, the man stared at me, and kept staring. For a while, I tried to ignore him. But, as he kept staring, it started bothering me. Being a single lady, old enough for some mis-happenings, I felt intimidated and vulnerable.

Then, I gathered my conscience and reasoned that I was after all not that vulnerable as this was a public park with quite a lot of people around. May be, I reminded him of some old acquaintance. Or may be, I, myself, might have been some old acquaintance or even a relative.

In this old age, I could hardly be confident of my memory. As I brought my conscience back into reality, what I saw was so unexpected.

Preeti: Shiva had started crying. I didn’t know what to do. He started crying all of a sudden like a small child. Why? Did I bore him so much? Was this walk annoying him so much? Being a pregnant woman, didn’t I deserve a walk with my husband after so long?

I felt angry for a moment but as I saw him again in the same state of emotional breakdown I became worried. “Please don’t cry, please don’t. What’s wrong? Tell me.” He didn’t reply a word, instead he kept crying.

I felt bad for him. May be, I was unable to meet his expectations. But he should tell me at least. After all, I am his wife. I tried consoling him. Not that it would work, but I couldn’t do anything beyond that

After so many days, he was free to take me for a walk. We planned a baby and expect it 3-months from now. Life seemed so perfect, just a bit short of family time.

Was it the paucity of time that he realized he had lost so many precious moments he could have with me? How sweet! I was tempted to kiss him.

But then, my eyes went on to the lady sitting on the bench whom Shiva kept looking every now and then while he wept.

I understood the reason for his crying. I didn’t say a word to him after that. I just held him tight, my grip tightening with time.

Shiva: I felt the grip getting getting tighter. I knew why she was doing this. But, I was least bothered to respond to her.

I didn’t expect this would happen today. As I came to the park, I saw my mother. She was knitting a small sweater as she used to a couple of years ago. Back then, I was still a bachelor.ย When I asked her why she was knitting this small sweater she would say that these sweaters would be presents for her grand child. I used to mock at her on this and she would playfully get angry and hit me. I was never hurt.

A few months later, I married a girl and was very happy with my marriage. But just after a month, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Doctors advised me to leave her in the center for better care. But I didn’t want to. My wife insisted we should let her live in the center. We had a fight with words that night.

But I succumbed to her arguments as I was a busy man. I could not look after her all by myself. The decision was the most practical decision then. Even my father was not alive to look after her and my wife had just refused to.

The day I left her in the center, she cried and pleaded not to leave her. Even I could not keep myself from crying with her when Preeti held me, tight enough as now and I had to go back with her.

I have tried to avoid her since then. But, when she became pregnant I realized I had gained some responsibilities. So I went to the park with her. Today, when I saw my mom, I could see that she didn’t even recognize me when she saw me. I felt so guilty and helpless.

I tried to stop crying but in vain. After sometime, my mom came to me with her eyes wet and somewhat red, caressed my back and said-“Don’t cry son, don’t cry. It’s not your fault. Don’t cry.”