Sunday, April 27, 2008

The alter ego

It was a Saturday morning, forwarding towards the afternoon. Bhaskar had his house build in the west of the eastern mountains. He had never felt the morning sun in his house. Today, he had just woken up that the call bell had rung. When he opened the door, he was handed over a letter by a postman, who appeared quite old for the job of letter delivery.

After closing the doors, Bhaskar went to his study and looked at the envelope. He smiled, looking at the sender’s signature, and then the smile turned to anxiety. This was one sender he loved to receive letters from, but then he never knew who this sender was. He had still not opened the letter. He looked away, through the window at the mountains that stood in the west, by the side of the lake of blue waters. They were shining, the mountain and the lake, by the glory of the morning sun. His house was located at the end of the gully that started somewhere within the mountains and ended into the main road by the lakeside. Through the window, he could see a continuous flow of vehicles on the road. And of people, who appeared happy, and were proud owners of this luxury called smile. “Luxury - that is what these things are for me”, he thought.

Bhaskar lived in Nainital, a beautiful city, in the state of Uttaranchal, in northern parts of India. At the age of thirty nine, when most of the males of his age remain occupied with the business of making money and raising the kids, he was struggling to understand something. The error with this whole thing was he didn’t even know what he wanted to understand.

He was married once, at the age of twenty six, to a beautiful girl, younger to him by two years. His looks never complemented her wife’s. But his neighbor’s did. One day, without quoting any apparent reason, she fled with her lover. On afterthoughts, Bhaskar believed that it was good that they never had any child as it would have complicated the separation process. Since then, Bhaskar lived with his widow mother, whose only concern was to get him remarried, till she was alive. For last four years, he lived alone.

He had moved to this city when he was offered a job with State government’s Water division, a year before he was married. Last year, he took a voluntary retirement. Since then, his only communication to the outer world, through the doors, was done for the grocery shopping and these letters, which he received once in a while; rest was done through the windows.

When he brought back his sight to the envelope, Bhaskar felt the smile was still lingering on his face. He opened the letter and started reading –

Dear Bhaskar

How are you? I am good, here, in the hills of Kumoun. The days are beautiful, clear and quite. And nights are very soothing. Generally I sleep well leaving a few exceptions, like last night.

Last night, I saw a dream. It was about you. You were dressed in your grey formal suit. You looked handsome, very handsome. You were accompanied by your mother. I think, it was some function… a marriage function, I guess. Your wife, or rather your ex-wife, was standing on the dais with the guy in your neighborhood. I am sorry but I had to tell you this - you looked sad, very sad. I got up, when you were just about to wish the couple. I suppose, it was good that the dream was gone as I could not bear to see the torture on your face.

Bhaskar, I know you still love her; you still wait for her. But for what? I think you should move on, Bhaskar. Move on, from the stagnation you have brought in your life. There’s so much to do, so much to see, so much to live for. It’s more than ten years now. It’s only she who left you, but what you did? You left the whole world! Your rage is against whom? Your wife? Your neighbor? It’s not they who are suffering, by whatever you are doing, but you. And they don’t have to. Just because your marriage was arranged, it doesn’t mean that the love could also have been arranged. Love can never be.

May be… just may be, you two were never meant for each other. Just because she didn’t love you, it doesn’t mean that the whole world will start hating you. And even if it does, there’s one person who will always love you, and that’s me. I love you, Bhaskar. I love you very much. I can’t see you suffering. I want you to be happy. Promise me… that you will be, will you?

Waiting to hear from you soon.

Yours ever,


When he closed the letter, Bhaskar looked in to the glass of the window. He could see tears rolling down his cheeks. He moved closer to the window. The gully below his house was quiet. Only, once in while, a bunch of kids would run after each other. Or a hawker would walk with some stuff to sell.

He tried to think. “Who is this? How does he know so much about me? How does he understand me so well? Why does he always write to me whenever I wish to read from him terribly? How does he know that I need him? Is it he or she?” His mind was full of such questions. But he never got answers to these questions.

But somehow, Bhaskar was not feeling sad at the moment. Not sad; but not happy even. He could not name this feeling, but he was enjoying the moment. “May be,” he told himself, “… just may be, this is the start of something which is known as Happiness. May be, I too can afford luxury of smiles those streetwalkers possess. May be.” And then, he was smiling, when he brushed his teeth. When he had his bath. When he sat for his prayers. When he cooked his brunch. And also, when he ate it. In this moment, he knew that he was being loved, by someone, very dearly. He went on to have an afternoon nap.

When he woke up, the evening was about to set. The dark, orange sunlight was dragging itself on the floor of his room, flowing through the window. He decided to go down the street. He wished to take a walk along the lake. He dressed himself up. While combing his hairs, he looked intently into the mirror. He smiled happily, picked up a marker, lying near by, and signed on the mirror –

I love you, Bhaskar.


Monday, April 14, 2008

The process of falling in love… and out of it.

Hi. I am Okendra. Okendra Dixit; Age: Twenty five years, height: 5’9, weight: 75 Kgs. I am a mechanical engineer by study and a software engineer by profession. And to tell you all, I don’t look bad, at least not to me and my mom, but never had a girlfriend in last twenty five years of my life ( and that’s my earnest confession!)

But I did fall in love, many times.

First time in class VIII. I was twelve, she was thirty two, or may be, thirty four or thirty eight (who knows and who cares?). Whatever her age was, she looked awesome… or rather… terribly awesome. Ok…ok… I am sorry my word bank… or rather vocabulary is poor. She taught us Geography. The only lesson I learnt in all the years of my geography learning was – my dear geography teacher had an awesome geography herself. And to an extent, I did believe that she remained unmarried just for me. I just can’t describe how heavenly I had felt when she had called me for a coffee at her home. Though most of that hour I was kept busy correcting the geography answer sheets of my junior class (of course by looking in the answer key that she had provided!), it was an honor to be called at her place. When I got back to my hostel, all my friends were extremely curious about what had happened. I said the truth… and some lies. Ok…ok… lies were more than the truth but you see, my friends, even though they knew I was lying, kept saying “Oh, Man!” And I was loving it.

That was school days. May be I was too young for all that. And after school, post a minor afterthought, I can easily say that it was infatuation, and not love.

But it happened. What happened? … Love, man!!

I was in my second year of graduation. She was just out of her post graduation and was in our college to teach us Information Systems. Boy! She was hot. Or I can say hotter than what all chicks we had in our class (you see computers don’t offer an interesting career to all those Miss Indias and we are left without any choice!). So I fell in love. She had an awesome smile, man! When I was watching that movie called Main hoon naa, I knew that your teacher can be hot. But she was a bad teacher, bad when it came to teaching. But how did it bother me, or for that matter, to many other guys in the class. Oh those other guys! You know what they did? They, sitting in the last bench of the class, imagined if she would teach us wearing a bikini!!! Bastards, I say. I never sat with them.

In third year, the worst thing happened. She got married. I wondered, “How can she do this to me?” And during my last days of engineering, those back benchers were my best friends.

That is all history now. I never liked history, whether it dealt with someone else’s life or my own (A history without a girlfriend, huh!!) So let’s get back to the present.

I joined this company in January, was sent for an initial training program for a month. That’s where I met her, or rather saw her. Oh man, she was awesome… or rather terrible awesome. You have to see her to believe me. When she looked at me and after a moment’s pause when she smiled - she kills! On almost all the days of my training, I had prayed to god, contrary to my friends’ prayers of getting a good project, to fix her up in my project, which ever it is. The quality of the project? What does it matter? I have learnt by now that every IT project is a… bullshit (Sorry was trying to use a better word but couldn’t find).

And god did listen. Now I know that he exists. When we were allotted cubicles (our own cubicles, you see), I had prayed god to let her be allotted with the cubicle next to mine. But I think god had gone to sleep by then. She was given the cubicle next to the guy who looked horrible (even his mom would have thought so) but had uncountable number of girlfriends. My heart sank. “No not she, please… I don’t remember which was the most prominent feeling, but I hated to see them together.

Somehow, I think my good looks had played their magic. She continued to smile at me, even though the length of the pause between our eye contact and her smile had increased. I thought she liked me. But when, even after a month in the same project, our only mode of communication was our smiles, I started believing that either god was dead or was seriously ill.

Another month passed like that, in exchange of those smiles. And one fine day she came, walking in the most elegant way she could ( I didn’t see her walk but I assume that she must have walked in an elegant way, as I have seen in almost all movies that whenever heroine walks to the hero for the first time, the walk is elegant).

“Hi. Can I ask for some help?” Man! That was the sweetest voice I had ever heard.

“Oh, ya… ya… ya… sure… why not… tell me.” I mumbled hesitantly. Anyone of those multiples options of affirmations I presented would have been all right but I did not wish to take any chance.

“Actually… I am trying to convert a for loop into a while loop, buts its not giving me the same result. Can you please check it once?”

“Oh, yaa. Sure.” And I walked with her to her cubicle.

After solving the problem, I so badly wished to tell her that it was a simple, stupid mistake that she had done but avoided when she praised me as if it was the hardest problem she came across and I was some kind of Einstein to solve that. This definitely started our series of meetings, discussions, chatters and laughter.

Two more months passed like that. I was happy and had almost formed the idea that she was my girl, until Friday, the seventh.

That afternoon, I had finished my work and so had gone to the smoking zone to puff out a cigarette. I thought of her –

She was smiling, like an angel. I was looking at her, of course like a hungry devil. She looked away for a moment and washed the smile of her face and then, she pushed herself closer to me. The devil was taking over the angel. I took her hands in mine, and pulled them up to my lips. Then, I caressed her cheeks through her lips. We came a little closer. It was a moment before I could have kissed her and smooched her and…whatever, a bloody mosquito appeared, started hovering around our faces and giggled its rubbish humming in our ears!!

I still can’t figure out whether it was the mosquito in my imagination or her voice in reality that hampered our historical kiss to take place. It was rarest of the rare to see girls in smoking zone of our company and when I saw her, I felt happy and sad, both at the same moment. Happy to know that she had bothered to come to the smoking zone, just to see me; and sad to realize that she had to come to the smoking zone. Hey, but she looked sad… I wondered why?

“What happened, baby?”

“Nothing yaar, my module has to be delivered by EOD (End of Day). I would have completed it but, you know, today is my roomies birthday and she wants me to be in the party. Though I promised her to be there but doesn’t seems like I can.”

It appeared as if she would cry in any moment. So I said, “Hey can I do something?”

“Can you work on it, if you don’t mind? It’s just a portion left, just a few fixes here and there. And you can do it within no time. You know you are super!”

“Ok… .ok… don’t embarrass me now. You carry on, I will do it. Anyways I don’t have much work for the day.”

“Oh, Oku (she shortened my name for the first time, and even though I didn’t like it, I made myself to like it as it was from her), you are a sweetheart. Thanks a lot,” she said and kissed on my left cheeks. Man!!! She kissed me!!! A slight deviation in the placement of the kiss towards the left would have been better though.

While returning home in the office bus, I was still engrossed by the magic of that first kiss. Suddenly I realized Akhil was talking to me. He asked, “Do you know something?” I wished to say – I know many things. But it would have been a stupid reply to a stupid question, so I just asked, “What?”

“I think Richa and Piyush are seeing each other.”

Oh I think I never told you all that Richa is her name. Her? Arre, Richa, my girl… you see. Well I replied, “Well they have to. They sit next to each other.”

“Not that way, dude.” And he smiled. His smile appeared hundred times more villainous than what Amrish Puri had ever done in any Hindi movie.

I said, “What rubbish! Who told you this?”

“The whole office knows that.”


Just before he was about to get down at his stop, I asked Akhil, “Do you really think they are an item?” He laughed and stepped out.

Yesterday – Monday, the seventeenth, when Akhil said something about Richa in middle of a conversation, I said, “She is a dumbo!”

“I thought you had good feelings for her, man!” He was astonished.

“Good feelings, my foot! She doesn’t even know how to change a for loop to while loop. On what basis the company has recruited her, only god knows!”

“Hey, chill boy! What happened?”

“Nothing. What will happen to me? It’s just that she is an empty headed girl…”

“hmmm..” He sighed and looked out of the window of the bus.


You all must be wondering – why a sudden change in my opinion? Well, what Akhil had said about her and Piyush was true. Who Piyush? Richa’s ugly cubicle mate. Now I know why she always took so much of time to smile when we looked at each other.

Well, thankfully, I am out of love again. Thankfully? Do I have options?

Saturday, April 5, 2008


किस्सों एवँ कविताओं का
संग्रह लगता मेरा जीवन,
जब अपने ही इतिहास के पन्ने
पलट रहा हूँ, पलट रहा हूँ ।
हर पन्नों मे कितने किस्से,
कितनी सारी कवितायें हैं;
कुछ सीधी-सीधी बातें हैं,
कुछ टेढ़ी संरचनाएं हैं;
जब अपने ही इतिहास के पन्ने
पलट-पलट कर देख रहा हूँ,
तब अर्थहीन कवितायें लगती,
कुछ किस्सों को भूल चला हूँ ।

आज पुराने, कई ज़माने
देख रहा हूँ फ़िर से जीकर,
जब अपनी यादों के गलियारे में
भटक रहा हूँ, भटक रहा हूँ ।
ढूंढ रहा हूँ उस
क्षण को,
क्षण में भूला था मकसद,
जो ख़ुद ने चुना था - ख़ुद के लिए,
जो ख़ुद ही भूला - किसके लिए?
जब अपनी यादों के गलियारे में
भटक-भटक कर घूम रहा हूँ,
तब सोच रहा, किस राह चला था,
आज यहाँ किस राह खड़ा हूँ?