You know what i did this summer?

When ever I start feeling that I am normal, one or the other thing happens to make me feel otherwise. Not that I am complaining, but most of the times it upsets me for a while. For a better part of my life I have felt that I am gifted and special. It has nothing to do with my talent, which I doubt I have any, or achievement, which I don’t have any so far. It is just a feeling that what ever I am doing or planning to do is right. Nothing can go wrong with me. I would lead a perfectly safe, happy and blessed life with my loved ones. If you, like me, claim to be normal, you can relate to this feeling. It has nothing to do with being religious or confident. We all feel this way and if we don’t, we are not normal. While stepping out of house, we know very well that we can very well get into a nasty traffic jam, or god forbid, we may even get into an accident the consequences of which can be anything. But we never think that these atrocities would ever occur to us. We read, hear and see these things happening in the world but this world seems to be out of “our own world”. But “our own world” eventually is a part of this world and things happen to make us realize that we are normal in every way. This summer a series of unfortunate events occurred which actually shattered my faith and believe. But ultimately which somehow played an important role. I am not saying that I have been reformed. No, not yet. It would take more than a century for any one to mould me into something better. Few things, though, have changed around me, within me. It was the second month of my interns at the firm. We, I and Srishti, liked the office and the office liked us in return but things changed. I fell ill and somehow we could not inform them. It was Saturday. On Sunday, my mother called upon me in the afternoon. She had been trying my phone since morning but as I had forgotten to charge it so she could not reach me. When I came onto the line, her voice was anxious. Now, if you don’t know my mother, you can not imagine how scary that is. I had never seen her so worried, well, to be technically correct; I had never heard her so worried in my life. She started scolding me about my carelessness. But I sensed something and directly asked why the hell was she creating a fuss about a thing so trivial? Why wasn’t she telling me the exact cause of the trouble? And she told me something she never intended to speak out. It was about dad. He was suspected of having cancer. The diagnosis was due though. DAMN. This could not have been happened. And even before I realized, tears started flooding. Mom was still connected and was consoling me. I sobbed silently. But this silence was more then enough for her to understand. She told me that there was nothing to worry, that it was not confirmed. Yet the heavens had fallen apart for me. After killing the line, I cried like hell. My roommate had gone out and I was alone. It helped. I cried aloud for hours. Next day onwards I lost interest in office. To make matter worse the atmosphere was already very acrid. I had liked “my” boss very much for his liveliness (yes, we had divided bosses for our convenient) but as I was very “unprofessional” in my approach, his friendliness suddenly disappeared. It stung. To be brutally honest, he was one of the factors for which I liked the office. It was not that I was in love or something but he appeared to be good hearted and was workaholic. I had found both the things appealing till now. As they say, only change is constant. A week passed. And on next Monday, it was confirmed. Dad had cancer. Now there was not even an iota of doubt about that. This time, strangely, I didn’t cry. I was too shocked to react. I had no courage left to console mom, to tell her that everything would be alright. But she had plenty of it. She tried comforting me by saying that it was perfectly curable and things would be fine after treatment. As always I listened to what she said. But I was blank. I came back to the basement where my office was situated. I locked myself in the washroom and stood in front of the wash basin. I have no memory of doing any of it but I had found myself looking at the stupefied reflection of mine so I certainly would have done all this. And suddenly I broke down. Fat tears were rolling down my cheeks and I gagged myself by the back of my hand. The one week old lump in my throat suddenly gianted to stay there for the next one month. I had no clue when and how I recollected myself to face everyone. After returning back from office I called upon Akshay and told him everything. I knew he was clueless as he could not handle situations like this. But I just needed a shoulder and he had strong ones. I thought no one had noticed anything in the office as from past one week they had been suffering from my silence so they had got used to it. But someone had noticed everything. The partner of the firm called me to his chamber next day. He asked me why I was “visibly shaken”. Even if I was scared to speak it aloud, I told him the truth. He was very concerned and said everything which was needed to be said. But nothing could have brought back the cheery “me”. Mom used to call me up everyday. I tried mustering up courage to talk to her or in fact to listen to her. But the trying moment was when dad came on the line. I suddenly felt as if something had been pressed against my ribs. And this something was very pointed and heavy. I could not talk to him for more than a minute. The ordeal was not over yet. Voices started chasing me anywhere I went. It was all in my head, I told myself. But one could not get rid of her head anyways. When I was staring at Monika’s face, the voice from her lips told me, and only me, that if I would again go out in sun, he would not help me with my homework. I went to bed. I could not tell whether I had closed my eyes or I had switched off the lights but in darkness the voice trailed to tell me that if I could not adjust in the hostel I could come home any day. As if it was a daily ritual, any time tears started outpouring on their own. Many times Shailza pointed out that I had been crying. Once kaynat told me that I had spoiled a page of the file I had been reading by my tears. I was actually left wondering if they had a brain of their own. I was crying in my bed, in the deserted tomb nearby, in the bus, on my desk, in the kitchen of office, in the washroom, on the desk again, en route to PG, in my bed again. For the next 6 days I never slept, hardly ate and rarely talked. People around me where offended for my neutrality. And I had no endurance to make them understand that my mind had refused to register anything. My roommate shifted to another room. My friends took my silence for arrogance. I tried hard to be with them, to follow what they were saying but the voices in my head kept me preoccupied. Only Siddhartha, Monika and Shailza understood that I was not being arrogant or selfish. I was plainly miserable. A word which I had spent a better part of my life hating suited me very well. Meanwhile the voices grew in my head. It was the voice of my dad. It kept on telling me to learn to polish my shoes, to read the newspaper properly, not to skip the sums I considered hard in my math book and many more things. But the sentence which haunted me most was the one he had said on my first journey to Raipur. It was the time when he had come with me for my admission in university. On our way, he mentioned that sometimes he feels that he had not spent enough time with me. As a child I was very close to my mom and then I went to boarding. When I was a kid he never had time and now when he would have time, he was afraid I would have gone far. Both of us had stared out of the tinted window of the train to hide our tears at that moment. But now that sentence had made me weep thousands of times in a day and the worst part was I had to do that alone. A feeling of being underwater, gasping for air and still unable to come over the surface had over powered me. I had slightly escaped two road accidents and the credit goes to the drivers who were vigilant enough. When ever I heard the voice, which was every where and every time by now, I felt as if someone had stuffed me into a big balloon and I had exhausted the oxygen inside. I wanted to beg the outsiders to pinch it and free me. But no voice escaped from my lips. Instead the lump in my throat became so sour that it scorched. I was suffocating and was sure that there was no end to it.

5 comments September 5, 2009

Past four years………

At 22, my life is going just fine with some ups and downs. If the current market scenario is neglected, everything is going alright. I am in a profession people think I ought to be in. I have the most understanding parents I have ever seen. I am the eldest and respectable sister of two young handsome guys who are doing just fine too. I have one more year to spend before facing the real market and just one more year left of my college life.

Like any other kid in the country I too had a happy childhood, troubled teen and now a worried adulthood. I have many acquaintances, some friends and few best friends. I don’t have a boy friend right now but considering the fact that I don’t believe in love and I would certainly have some scopes if I ever needed one that should not make a difference. Besides I am perfectly straight, not anatomically but orientation wise.

So that should make me a perfect unnoticeable girl next door. And believe me, that’s what I prefer to be. I like my neighbors enquiring about my well being when I am away and greeting me with a broad grin when I am in town. I like the way our milkman smiles and greets me when he meets me in my semester breaks. I like to help the kids with their homework and paintings and dance practices. Although I prefer books over parties, I do burn calories if the DJ sounds ok. I am comfortable with Herman Hesse and Ayn Ryand as much as I am with Rowling. Some of my classmates think I am a bit weird and intellectual. I disagree with the later. In return I think they are very childish and give importance to pretty unimportant things like marks. So the feeling is mutual.

I don’t think anything with me is abnormal or worth writing for. Yet I am writing this to thank the people who matter a lot in my life. These are the people who have supported, shown faith and cared for me. I am not good at saying thanks but it surely need to be said.

 

 

One fine morning when I caught my college bus, in a hurry as usual, I found one of the sweetest but stern looking senior of mine sitting next to me. I hardly had shared few conversations with her. They were friendly, mind you, but they did not bring us any closer. She was very helping and good natured but there was something about her which made me stay away. She was a good scholar, sincere student, teacher’s pet and I was the perfect opposite to the t. that morning, however, something changed. She was not even sitting next to me but she asked if she could use my seat for a moment as she had to end up her chores of “getting ready”. I offered my seat and asked her to keep sitting as there wasn’t any seat left in the bus. She insisted that I take my place back. So I did.

Things like that are quite common in the morning hustle bustle. But that episode made our everyday “HI”s into more cheerful greetings. One day when I went into her room to visit her roommate, I found her alone. Although I was bit scared of her, I thought it impolite to return back especially when she was in a mood to chat. We talked about books, movies and stuff like that. That was the first proper conversation I had with her.

 

After we got back from our semester break, hostel arrangement was shuffled and she was shifted to a single room (HNLUites read kitchen). The final book of Harry potter series was released and both of us were looking forward to read it. That was when I started paying her visits and she actually one day returned it back. I actually don’t remember when it happened, but we started coming closer. She was no more just a scholarly senior for me but a friendly senior. Things went smooth and we started talking about anything under the sun. I explored the adventurous, funny part of her which was unknown to many. Many people flinched when they heard that she is my good friend. To be really honest, I had not started saying that she was my friend. I respected her and calling her a friend would have dragged her equal to me which I could not have even dreamt of. She still was a senior and a respectable one. I loved her, cared for her, loved spending time with her and enjoyed the outings with her. She reciprocated all of these emotions. What she could not reciprocate was the respect I had for her. In spite of the closeness we had, her seniority was still dug deep in my heart.

In her last semester, she started spending more time with her classmates and other friends. That was the moment when I realized that I had started missing her. I could still go to her room and talk for hours but I missed her. There she was, just next to me, and I had been acting as if she has already gone. Strange enough, but I never had been jealous of her friends. I withdrew a bit. After all I was just a junior. She still teased me with my friends but understood when I got hurt. Her smiles used to fix it up for me. She had cared for me like a sister. She could have laughed at me and made me rectify my mistakes with a stern look. I would blindly do anything she asked me to do. But the distance was still there.

It was her farewell party that day. My best friend’s girl friend had done a good job to turn my mood off to the lowest level possible. She is perfect in it anyways. He added to it by irritating me more. Our quarrel ended with my laptop going out of order and I had already crossed the deadline of my honors project submission the previous day. I threw all sorts of tantrums and she appeared out of thin airs to give the solutions. She made me go to the computer shop to get it fixed immediately. It got repaired within few minutes. On my way back to the hostel, I was left with no reasons to attend a party. She wanted me to be there, alright, but it’s her day. She would be having all her friends with her. She wouldn’t miss me at all. I, on the other hand, would have to spend the evening alone. She would be too busy to care and my friend would be tortured if he would be seen with me. I called her up and said that I could not attend the party as I had to complete the project. The reason I gave was true but not honest enough. She said she wanted me to be there but she can understand if I wouldn’t be able to make it. I had heard that before.

When everyone was getting ready, I gingerly sat in my room with wet eyes. I suddenly felt lonely. Another good friend of mine kicked the door (sorry but the manner she did it, it was no knocking). She asked me why I wasn’t going to the party. I stated the excuses including the part where I got hurt by my friend’s behavior. She gave me a lecture about what it would mean to my senior if I attend the party and why that friend of mine was not relevant at that moment.

When she left, I thought what it would mean to her if I attend the party. And then I was strongly reminded of every moment I had spent with her. Good and bad, we had shared all sorts of stories. She had been a support system. She had said that she trusted my talent when I had started doubting myself. She no doubt was special to me. She was more than an ordinary senior and I would miss her when she would be gone.

Hell! I didn’t care how much it mattered for her. I didn’t give a damn if my presence would make any difference for her or not. All I knew at that moment was I wanted to be a part of it as it was her day. I could have given up anything to be with her at that moment. I wouldn’t want to miss it for the world.

When I reached the hotel where the party was about to take place, she called me up. She asked me where I was. I told her that I really wanted to come but I couldn’t. I could feel that her voice had a clear tint of disappointment. I had the urge to tell her that I was already there, that today would be a perfect day for her but I refrained myself. I repeated the same old story and she showed the same old understanding, somewhat gingerly though.

We took our seats in the hall and within few minutes, the seniors arrived. As they started making the gala entry, I stood up to make a video of the event. I was standing in the aisle when she entered. She was looking gorgeous in her blue and silver saree. but the most beautiful thing about her was her soft and shy face which lightened up when she saw me standing there. Her jaws literally dropped and she could not suppress a grin. We could not converse then but just shared a glance. That was enough for the moment as I couldn’t have said anything. I was suddenly suffocated by the thought that she would be gone. The thought struck like a thunderbolt. At that moment, no words were needed. I knew how special she was for me and all she said about she wanting me to be there, was true.

As about the party, it was marvelous. When she was surrounded by her friends and they were having a heavy moment, I just taped her shoulder and asked her to give me the same old “mousy” smile as I wanted to store it in my camera. She asked me not to do that as she had been crying. What she did next was worst. She made me cry. I hugged her and cried like a kid. She had been holding me and tears flew down her cheeks. I had got my “mousy” smile though. I got more then that. She asked me to hold her scarf for her which I did with pleasure. What she would never know was, I slept clutching that scarf that night, trying to hold hard the part which was important yet inevitably going far from my life.  That evening, in that party, she actually became my friend. The wall I had unknowingly created was blasted at once and all the locks were suddenly “alohomored”.

nupur di n amrit bhiaya

 

I still respect her but now I know how to respect a friend. Before her, I used to respect my friends’ individuality but she has made me respect an individual friend. If today I have kind of forgiven my best friend, it is because of her. If today my self esteem in still bubbling high, she is the cause. And if today someone would bang her head for my grammar, it would be her. I am sure she would still love me. And on my part, I still have to finish the book she had gifted me. Every time I start reading it, I am stuck on the first page where in her handwriting some beautiful words are carved. I can never thank her enough so I would not even try. I have never been afraid of her but I fear losing her. I need no more reasons to love her as I have already found enough for this life time but I am sure she would provide me many more. When I would shift to new campus, I am surely going to miss you Nupoor di. There would be moments when I would be nostalgic enough to shed tears but this time you won’t be there to wipe them.

1 comment July 4, 2009

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