Saturday, December 29, 2012

The last pretense..

It was a quiet evening. I sat with Kuhoo after a long day. We talked occasionally, for the most of evenings with her, words aren’t required.

“Why get ahead of ourselves? Let us stay simple and see things as they come” Kuhoo spoke.

“I agree, though it’s been difficult to resist the drag. People around try to show what they are not; talk about things they hardly know; and do things they seldom understand”, I said.

The muse continued. I remembered the days in my kindergarten school. On one of these days in winter I felt lost in the crowd and I did my first experiment.

“My pandali kite cut ten kites yesterday evening”, I said and looked into Nikki’s eyes.

“Ten”? Nikki looked astounded.

By next day Kanu, Chandan, Soni, Hemlatha, Kaushik and many others in my class knew that I cut ten kites. Something stopped me from telling Nikki later that I could never really fly a kite. She never thought I could be lying; I never thought I could become famous.

For few days I lived a facebook life, empty inside and ostentatious outside.

Finally one day I saw my classmates gathered around Kaushik. “I cut twelve kites yesterday”, I heard him saying with all the confidence he could muster at that age.

I knew he was lying. I knew his uncle had cut those kites because Kaushik resided only next to my house. And I knew Kaushik couldn’t even fly a kite without his uncle’s help. But I kept quiet as I realized Kaushik, for the same reason I knew, would also know that I was lying few days before.

I also realized even though my experiment was successful, I had failed.

I grew up reading people around, met many other actors; better actors than me and Kaushik with newer ideas and more resounding explanations. But they could never escape me.

Later in class 10, I read ‘akhbar mein naam’, a story by famous hindi writer Yashpal. I realized that the world recognizes that ‘akhbar mein naam’ perspective. I absolved myself and moved on.

After a number of years, lately I feel amused seeing a large number of people like me around me. The desperation continues, and their virtual worlds appear to have taken over them; they look so artificial.

In that facebook world, there is no clash of opinion, no lack of money, no trace of mediocrity and no truth. It’s the world we have projected about ourselves to perhaps show what we are not, what we miss and what we wish.

In the actual world our opinions are flawed, our relations fading, our accounts depleting and we see limitations. But this is the only place where we will eventually find the real happiness, that real love and our place in the world.

It’s not that I have found it, but I know I am directionally right. The first pretense happened within me, so will be the reprisal or the last pretense..

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Returns of the day...

“Will have a coffee”?

“Yes. Sure”, I said.

My life was changing too quickly during the year 2010. I had to take a few tough calls; tough on me in particular.

I sat opposite to Kavitha in office cafeteria. I was the mentor assigned to her and was supposed to help her with best possible answer to each question she might had about the organization, about her career and related future. To make things worse, she was beautiful; albeit she looks even better today.

“What is it, Manish”? She asked, unable to hold her smile.

“Nothing”, I tried to hide the clumsiness that I too, feel near the girls I am attracted to. And then, being a mentor I was supposed to appear resolute.

But it was too difficult to act before her. “Kavitha, I am not sure what I am doing, whether that is the right thing to do, whether it makes any point or gain”.

“Your gain is the number of near and dear ones you really have today. If it is for them, if it means something to them, you should go ahead”. Her eyes shone.

The roles reversed that day. Though I never told her before but since that day, to me, she remains, a girl to reckon with.

Yesterday afternoon, it was almost a déjà vu of that event when Kuhoo said the same thing, to see myself from others eyes. By the time we completed our regular monthly shopping, I didn't realize when Kuhoo teamed up with Madhu to throw a surprise get together on my birthday.

By the late evening, I was a five year old; surrounded by my cheering friends.

I realize what I could have missed had I not shifted my orientation towards personal life. I guess I returned right in time.

Kids too relished meeting again and posed one after the other. And At the stroke of 12 midnight, we cut the cake.


I feel grown up. And I see my gain today.


Thank you all. God Bless you all.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Tea Pot

                                                                                                                 (Section 9: Impressionist)

It was around 2'o clock of the early morning of 24th December 2009, we were traveling to Dwarka in a train from Mumbai.

Expectedly everyone around was sleeping. Kuhoo and Adi were on the lower berth. I was trying to sleep lying on the upper one.

I looked at Kuhoo. She was..careless and beautiful. In the start of the month she had complained that I was getting too involved in office again.

Actually I was; therefore I had a taken a week break to spend some time with her and to catch up with life.

Few memories came by. Remembered the planning we did about our marriage and the honeymoon. I liked the hills and she liked the beaches; I asked her choice and she chose my choice. We went to Darjeeling, during an almost off-season, where we talked and walked endlessly across the winding roads in and out of the town. I promised her I would balance my work and life. And six years had passed since I had made that promise, and more or less, I had failed every year.

On one of those evenings at Chowrasta, we had stopped for tea. And Kuhoo asked about my priorities in life, which actually I had never thought about. Incoherently I spoke something and she smiled, “Hope you will include me in your priorities”.

I still remember her filled eyes when she started telling about her childhood, her likes and dislikes, every little thing she wanted to try but couldn't start, the dreams she had but could not pursue, her priorities and the expectations that sourrounded her.

Unfortunately, in some of the smaller towns in India a girl child is taught more don’ts than do’s, and the circumstances, those impact her confidence and independence. We talked for hours during those quiet moments. I promised her the world. She told I was her world.

As years pass by, I see some changes in me but she fights to protect her world. I try to act practical, but she stays in her dreams. And her belief in those dreams does challenge the reality I live in.

We spent good time together during the Dwarka trip and lived through the old memories. On return journey we sat by the window, and we're having tea when I tumbled the cup and tea fell over. Bit disgusted, I said, "Moments of happiness come to everyone's cup; it depends who enjoys the sip and who tumbles it over".

"I will fill your cup again", she smiled. "Ain't I your tea pot"?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ancient Evenings and Distant Music..

                                                                                                                      (Section 6 : Impressionist)

On an early morning of June 2004, we were crossing Rishikesh, the pilgrimage city near Dehradun, known for Lakshman Jhoola and Ram Jhoola and historically known as the place where Lord Rama and Lakshman came for penance after Lanka war.

We were going to Kedarnath Dham. My parents had, for the first time, planned a trip among high mountains. And Sonu and Rishi too had joined the group.

“It’s going to rain”, Papa said slowly, looking up at the dense dark clouds.

“That’s how it’s going to be throughout”, I smiled back as we moved ahead. The Garhwal range of Himalayas surrounded us with enthralling views of the valleys, forests, butterflies and flowers. We had got up early morning to start the trip. I dozed off.

Since childhood, we wish to be somebody who we see and admire. But in the pursuit, we tend to lose ourselves. And then a point comes in life, it becomes so difficult to just be ourselves. My trip to Kedarnath Dham was to re-discover the ordinariness that we normally let go while growing up.

Got up with few sprinkles on my face. It was drizzling and we had reached Dev Prayag the place of confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini, two tributaries of River Ganges. We got down for a while and saw ourselves in a sea of mountains.

I sat on a stone bench, at the edge of the lonely road. The silence and the fragrance of the surrounding engrained my belongingness to the place. I felt I have been there for long long time. Not sure how to associate that feeling, may be something like those lazy mornings on a holiday, when we sit quiet and from the silence comes the distant sound of ringing bells or the prayers or the chirping birds. A music that makes us breath easy, a music that affirms our existence.

We had bhutta and shikanji there and re-started our journey. Our aim was to reach Gaurikund, the origin of Mandakini River, by 5 p.m.

Dipak (our driver) warned us about the weather as sometimes due to heavy rains and landslides the roads to Gaurikund get blocked. The message was clear that we had to cut down such stoppages to minimum.

I sat in front. From there started the journey among the scenic valley, breath-taking mountains and eternal waterfalls. We crossed Pipalkothi, Srinagar, and Rudraprayag and then headed towards Kedarnath. Bemused, I was again lost in thoughts again.

“Come back monu. It is too late now”. This instruction was usual when we played for too long. Our games weren’t structured. We just played and chased the wind, butterflies and kites.

And then we used to sit down for a while resting. Those evenings were beautiful. I always felt Mummy called us a little too early. But I liked the view of the setting sun and seeing other boys playing till dusk, laughing occasionally.

I remember how the sky would lose its color slowly. The frozen moments when the trees became a matter of debate on whether they looked like a dragon or an elephant. But there was never a need to win the point or argument. The evenings, we were just ourselves, living every moment of it.

It was later afternoon when Dipak stopped the car again. We were hungry. The place was 'August-Muni' where the river Mandakini levels the ground. We ran towards the river and sat there having snacks. Sitting on the bank of Mandakini River, I saw the canvas again. The canvas of the evenings, that I have been seeing since childhood.

We resumed our journey. And reached Gaurikund aorund 5.30 p.m.

It was late evening by the time we could get a place to stay. We had Aaloo parathas for dinner; and those were the tastiest parathas I had in those years. That night it rained heavily and I slept dreamless.

By the next morning, rain had stopped and the shining sun greeted us a promising day. The whole atmosphere enchanted ‘“Jai Baba Bholenath”.

The main temple is 14 Km from that Gaurikund, up on the steep climb. I decided to take Palki for Ma and Papa. I looked around.

A boy came and asked “Bhaiya, Palki karenge kya”? He was around 20. With him were two more boys of around same age.

I smiled. Thought there were too young to take papa on Palki on a 14 KM steep climb. “Tum log kaise lay jaoge”? I tried to shut them up from asking.

Looking straight into my eyes unfazed, the first boy replied, “We can take both of you (me and papa) together”.

I may have ridiculed them but actually I felt ashamed to see their ability or necessity. We (except Sonu) took ponies after climbing half the distance as we were climbing too slow to reach the temple in time.

En route, I watched them. It appeared that our so-called reasoning or mindset has impeded the growth of original abilities. Climb was getting steeper. My pony stopped for water. I gave her a pat. She responded with a puff. “She likes you”, said the pony-man.

I looked around. Those Palki boys, dozens of ponies climbing, I saw how difficult was for those boys to step up, and then the main temple from a distance. It was difficult to tell who the true worshippers are. We pretenders learn some techniques, set some mindsets, declare ourselves logical, and throughout the life live like a parasite. Our prayers remain self-centered, our laughs practiced, our methods parasitical and still we act 'honest' or 'devoted'.

We reached the temple. I don’t remember what I prayed for. God did communicate to me all the way as I'd understood that like the times of those ancient evenings and distant music, I have to just be myself. No more setting conditions or standards of shoulds and coulds.

Pic by Piyush

Evening fell among the mountains. On the way back on my pony, I heard the enchanting bhajans slowly getting imperceptible as we came down. That evening and that music is eternal, deep inside as I see the canvas and hear the music very often, from who has always answered my prayers.

God bless you all.

Sunday, July 1, 2012 break bought it..

“How do I look”, I wore a dark blue t-shirt and looked into the mirror. We were going to meet Nidhi and rest of our friends yesterday evening.

Kuhoo did not respond. It was difficult to understand whether that silence was deliberate or she meant ‘how does that matter’?

I tried again. “Do you think this t-shirt looks good”?

“Yes”. Kuhoo gave a half-a-second look and resumed with her work.

It was too short a response. I was expecting more. “I think black will look better”.

“Wear black then”, and this time she didn't even look at me.

Normally I keep quiet after that. But good sense did not prevail. And yesterday like one of those rare in year days, I attempted to tease her.

"You know there are lots of girls there".

"Yes. Bhaiya". She smiled.

I retaliated,“They call me bhaiya to show their affection, don't you see that"?

“I do”. But sometimes even her affirmative words sound like 'don't fool yourself'.

Indeed the problem is, most of the girls call me bhaiya. Don't I look 'dangerous' enough? The bigger problem is they are not like those 'behan ji' type girls; so my treating them as behan will also be so incorrect. But for some strange reasons Kuhoo doesn’t see any threat, and that makes it, my biggest problem.

We came out of our flat talking.

“OK. Leave those girls. They are lots of Korean, Chinese and Iranian girls in this apartment those give me that long look”.

“So haven’t they asked you to join them at the swimming pool yet”? This insult was deliberate. And she knows I am bit uncomfortable bathing in public and then I can’t swim.

The issue is, the longer I continue the fight the more miserably I lose. As we entered into the lift, we saw a Chinese (or may be Korean) girl. And I continued to my peril. “See that girl ? She smiles whenever she sees me”.

Hardly had I completed, the girl actually smiled and said hello.

I shrugged my neck as if I am used to of such greetings. Gosh she sounded friendly, but to me, she appeared lovelier than ever before.

Then I made an extra effort to show acquaintance, “We are going to meet our friends”. She smiled again as we came out of the lift.

The girl walked ahead of us, stopped and then turned back, “Have a lovely evening, uncle”.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The show must go on..

                                                                                                        (Section 5 : Impressionist)

By Piyush

The pain of loss or failure is felt only to those who can succeed.

But this is story of a person who continues to live trying something, knowing that he won’t be able to succeed. Does he live every moment of his life with the pain of loss? Since the time I’ve known him, I have been thinking what drives him.

I guess some of us know. I wish all of us could know.

On 6th March 2011 morning, I boarded a slow local train on the harbor line to Khandeshwar (near Panvel). I was going to meet Nishi and Pranat, my school friends.

I’m little uncomfortable taking crowded trains but thought Sunday could be leaner than weekdays, I decided to try.

When the train came, I realized I was wrong. Some Mumbai locals are always crowded. I hurried in; only to find myself in the vendor’s coach. And the train started.

Felt a little awkward; but stood there for few minutes when a person of around 50 stood up and offered me his seat.

“It’s alright”. I never imagined an old man offering seat to a ‘relatively less old man’ and that, in Mumbai.

“I will get down after a few stations”, He spoke in Hindi with north Indian accent.

“Ok. Let us both sit then”, I smiled and we sat together on half seat each.

And for those minutes we talked.

A nondescript personality, perhaps little unwell too; he works everyday as a transporter of slippers and shoes to a shop in Andheri. Around 20 years back he came from Baliya and has been struggling to save enough to keep sending back some money home for his mother and wife.

“This must be very tiring. How much do you get? Don’t you have any other option?” I felt bit uncomfortable with his toil.

Then he spoke as if he wasn’t heard for long.

His father had taken a loan that he couldn’t repay in his life time. The lender had a small business in Mumbai. He continues to work for him to compensate for the loan; though he doesn’t get as much other guys in the same shop get.

“You cannot continue like this for ever. How much of the loan is still to be paid?” I tried to explain about possible loans he may get from banks and other sources.

But he said he wants continue to work for that lender, for he gave money in the hour of need. And then he also agreed to employ him instead of taking over his land when his father passed away. There was a sense of gratitude.

He got down at Andheri but I kept thinking about him. Don’t know what will happen to him after few years. His only son is now married. But he is not willing to or is unable to keep him. He knows he has grown old; the young guys are faster and smarter. He knows, his struggle will increase as the society and his age will slowly take away his strength.

Perhaps this is what people call 'passive euthanasia'. I guess before it became 'legal', it has already been part of many of our lives.

But he doesn't expect any support or pity. And I also received the underlying message, that unlikely anything will ever take away his belief that he can continue. He didn’t talk about the options; he talked about what he wanted to do. He keeps no grudge whatsoever and he knows how to spend the rest of his life.

The certainty about how he wants to spend his life drives him, even when he knows his fate.

By Ajay Sudhanshu

I had heard about such certainties. They say it comes to only few of us. And that too very rarely in our lives, no matter how many life times we live. Wish someday I will experience it. And till then, I have decided to let all the grudges go; the show goes on...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Catch another butterfly

                                                                                                               (Section 8: Impressionist)

It was a thursday evening, during the early weeks of November, 2008. I was on my way back to Bangalore after a week long trip to Raigarh.

I had to catch the night train from Raigarh. And in hurry, I had reached station bit early and the train was running late.

My ticket was done by hotel’s travel desk. It was wait-listed but those guys had assured that it would be confirmed.

I sat on platform number 2 waiting. Though it wasn't too late in night but the platform was almost empty. Vignettes of tea-stalls, vendors, book-shop, went through as I breathed slowly after a long tiring day. It was getting cold as well. I wore my jacket and cuddled up with my laptop bag. Time slowed down as I tried hard not to sleep.

Since childhood, I have waited. I have waited to grow old, waited to become self-dependent; I have waited for the people who’ll love me, waited for the ever elusive happiness, waited to connect to and listen to those I've grown up with, and to express my feelings. I have waited for every little respite, the work stress didn't allow. The wait continues.

Train reached almost an hour late. There were no charts, no other person traveling with me from that station. I got into the train thinking my ticket would have been confirmed and I would get the berth number from the TT onboard.

It was late night by then and curtains were drawn. Almost everyone was fast asleep. I decided not to disturb them and I waited for the TT outside, near the wash basin area in the coach.

No one came for long. It was getting colder. I sat on my bag and closed my eyes.

I got up with the sound of water flowing. I saw a girl washing her face. She gave a corner eye and went inside. I saw the dislike in her eyes as she banged the door while going inside.

She might have thought I was traveling without ticket. I felt bad and cursed the TT for not showing up. Since I had to catch the morning flight to Mumbai from Raipur and in the evening another one to Bangalore, it was too costly to get down and cancel and re-book the flights.

Train picked up speed as I sat outside in the cold. I remembered when I was studying, my travels were mostly unplanned. I had to travel waitlisted several times. I traveled sometimes during holidays, sometimes after exams. I never really cared whether I will get a berth. My ‘Weekender’ jacket was enough to keep me warm. I slept careless of the world. But that night it was difficult to sleep. I was worried about my image before the so called world.

Finally TT came; he could offer me a berth. But I did not sleep because the train had to reach Raipur at 2.20 AM in the night. I reached Raipur, took morning flight to Mumbai. Completed my work in Mumbai, and boarded the evening flight to Bangalore.

Bangalore flight was quite crowded like most of the fridays. Anyway I had decided to sleep through out. Hardly had I buckled up when a crew member informed I was upgraded to business class. Thought it was even better place to sleep. I came ahead, kept my bag and slept.

“Towel for you sir”.

I got up. I saw the air-hostess. I saw the same girl. I almost smiled.

"How are you sir?" she smiled.

"Tired", and then I slept.

She came later, told that she actually wanted to offer me the seat next to her because she was not sleeping and had to get down at Raipur. But she did not do so because I could have been misunderstood her.

I came back home. Adi had to tell me a dozen stories of the week gone by. He talked about his friends, all girls !! and his plans to go to water-park with them. Then he showed me all the cards, stone colors, and drawings they had made together.

He never has to think about what others will think about him; he doesn't get bothered if anyone may misunderstand him. He is as clean as he does whatever he feels like.

He does not know the inhibitions and restrictions an adult life comes with. And I have decided I will teach him the basic minimum. I will let him enjoy the clear heart. I will tell him to wait; before he gets into adulthood; before he gets impacted by others; I will tell him to go catch another butterfly.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Bee Farmer

                                                                                                                (Section 4: Impressionist)

On 10th October 2008, early morning I walked alone on the beach of Pondicherry near Aurobindo Ashram. That morning I met a person named Mr Selvan who runs a small business in Chennai.

Our meeting was unexpected. Actually I got a bit annoyed initially with his sudden show of interest to talk. I almost avoided him at the beach; but later at the breakfast table we met again and there we talked.

I introduced myself.

He said “Good morning Manish. Who are you?”

He kept repeating this question even after I spelt almost my biography and then I gave up.

“What do you see?” I asked finally.

“I see a bee”.

“A bee?”

I admit he had something in his personality that made me listen to him. He spoke, "In the valleys of Himalayas, there are lakhs of bee colonies. Northern states in India like J&K, Punjab, and Uttaranchal etc are abode of millions of bees. There, each bee lives a life like we do. Together they work, grow and die”.

“You mean they live a purposeless life?” I asked.

“No. I think there is a purpose in each of the bee’s life. Worker bees produce honey; the queen bee has to reproduce. There is no one without a purpose”.

“So what is the message?”

“The message is they do it together. I want to tell you that your identity is ‘how you contribute’ to the society that mandates togetherness”

“Mr Selvan, I understand your point. But I feel lost in crowd at times. Don’t you think my contribution must make an impression or shall I say difference? Don’t you think a progressive society requires some kind of innovation?”

“Indeed it does. But difference must not mean isolation; it should not come at the cost of togetherness. The day such arrogance or isolation takes over you, there is every possibility that you will lose your purpose (contribution) and hence your identity (who are you)”

I realized he must have seen me walking alone early morning in my own world. He may have felt the loneliness I never intended.

“I have lots of friends Mr Selvan”, I smiled.

“I am happy to hear that. This is how it should be. Without your friends, you are no one”, he smiled too.

“But there are many lonely and isolated souls in this world. Will you be worried about that Mr Selvan?” I asked.

“Manish, I am a member of Auroville. Indeed such isolation may break the balance we seek in our society”. Then I saw he was getting into a kind of abstraction.

“Manish, I have always felt there is a ‘bee-farmer’ watching us. Is he the God? I don’t know. I also do not know whether he is as merciful as we think. I am not sure whether he creates the earthquakes and tsunamis.”

I kept listening.

“What if all, this world is one of those thousand experiments a bee-farmer does with multiple combinations of bees to set up a productive bee-hive. A bee may never know the overall purpose of the bee-farmer but the bee-hive will be destroyed if the bees are unable to stay together.”

He continued, “Immaterial to the purpose of an individual life, we must acknowledge the purpose of overall human life, else this experiment will fail. Our future lies in our ability to stay together and that should be the purpose of our life, and our identity”.

I nodded. I visited Auroville that day.

The Bee Farmer expects us to go ahead and make as many friends as possible. The companionship will let us know our contribution and the answer to ‘who we are’.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


I do live, with those moments rewind..
there is little bit for you..still left inside..
as memories the distance far..
you walk down the strings to my heart..
the song comes out…and the music through
a pain rekindled..I sing for you..

It’s been some time since my close friends have been asking but not until last winter could I really give any serious thought to it. I have been into some kind of trance in which the daily life kept passing by, with several subtle hints that the time has arrived, to write it or at least attempt it.

Impressionist is not my story. This is story of some of my near and dear ones, and of those events that have made an impact on my way of seeing things. This is also the story of all those who brave the inner loneliness while living a worthwhile life; of those who love someone knowing it will never come back; ever forgiven someone and know that it remains the final form of love.

(This story will have 18 sections and I will try to complete all in a year or year and half; don’t intend to rush it as I must honor my other responsibilities.

I will write all the sections first as posts in my blogsite ( After receiving responses to the post, I will further prune the section and will take out/ change the names of characters, wherever necessary.)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Calcutta training chronicles

Sharing herewith what my friend Anu Lall wrote as 'Calcutta training chronicles' in 2003.

Anu, Vijay and I had gone to Kolkata to impart SAP HCM Training. She was at it again, pulling my leg, but indeed it's such a treasure having such friends like her around.


Calcutta training chronicles

As the 21 day training at Calcutta draws to a close, time to write a feedback/ report on the highs and lows, the crests and troughs…the boring and the few interesting aspects that kept us going…

When the trio, Vijay, Manish and I started the training on day one, with Chadhaji and Ms Swarup there, little did I expect such a training.…After intros were over, Manish started on the oh so very important exercise – how to log on.. And that took the entire day. Manish made a presentation on “Put Client = 350, Username is USER##, the number of ur machine and password is new.” These three entries had one day gone. I was beginign t o worry… 299 pages ka manual kab shuru hoga aur kaise khatam hoga???
Man! I felt like it’s the beginning of a never ending fruitless journey.

The entire set of trainees nearly cried- some quite audile during the tea breaks, and some slightly heard and some in their own silent ways- jaani na, cholbe na, hobbe na – that’s in Bengali, that it just cant happen, cant be done.
These guys were going to take ages to do anything on the system. Anyway.. life went on from that day, we were there to do our job and today finally we got over with it.

Being an epitome of patience Manish just went on and on….and ofcourse the other two of us aswell. And like any other event … there were few of those ah!! so interesting statements that I think deserve mention here… and it is evident now… all this being a tribute to manish, the patience personified.
Nah! Dude don’t kill me for doing this, but seriously u deserve all the accolades. All said and done, all praise done,…now getting to to interesting taang kheenche waala stuff.. there are certain funda waala statements of his that deserve to be preserved…no offence meant .. they are indelible from our minds. Arre taang kheenche ke liye bhi to kuch karana chahiye. So for the benefit of the rest of the group … here it goes…I elaborate the situation and give the classy manish waala / or us se related statement therein… ENJOY!!

Situation 1: Classroom session. Manish giving a demo and lecture on the process.
A User, a typical one,  not paying any attention to what was said by manish in the entire demo asks some silly question …“but saar, cant you go to infotype 9930 phraam paphorty (pa40)?” manish, very patiently, explains the difference between pa30 and pa40… and concept of infotypes….
Then yet again there is another similar question… “but saar, there is one problem, the system allows me to take the designation of chairman. Now you tell me how is that possible. Your system is phaulty”. This time manish loses some of the patience and says “Aap meri baat sunte nahin hain. Aise lagta hain jaise ki sun rahe hain.. par nahin… aankh khuli rakh ke koi kaise so sakta hai? Arre aankh to band honi chhiye sone ke liye. Jaagete hain aur sunte nahin hain…. (LONG SILENCE. EVERYONE FEELING VERY GUILTY AND NOW ALL ATTENTIVE…WAITING FOR MANISH TO  COMPLETE…)………….Who ek kahawat hai na… ki kai log to naak se sunte hain…Sir, aap kyon nahin dhayaan dete hain?? Suniye main kya keh raha hoon.”

Vijay and I have a tough time controlling ourselves from bursting out laughing. Bhai Manish naak se kaise sunte hain zara hume bhi to batana?

Situation 2: Manish explaining the concept of back up data while running HBA seniority list. The fact that its very important, connectivity loss while doing the freeze on the list… then the system stores the back up. this is how he explained…

“Maan lijiye, aap senority run kar rahe hain aur power cut ho gaya..Ab aap kya karenge? ya phir chup chaap se connectivity chali jaati hai..…Mr Debnath aap sun rahe hain na?”
Mr Debnath: (Chewing paan, relocating it in the mouth making way for words…never thot speaking required so much effort for a person) “Ji Saar. Holiday home.”

Manish:  “Arre main HBA ki baat kar raha hoon, aap holiday home mein atke hue hain”
Khair jaane deejiye…. Maaniye aap ne seniority run kiya, aur sher aa gaya. (can u believe that, aache khaase ONGC office mein, lion kahan se aaya?????? Anyway that’s Manish and his examples…). Arre maan leejiye, bus soochiye ki sher aa gaya….. Arre hus rahe hain?? Aacha chhoodiye, sher ko chhodiye…. Maan lijiye veena maam ka phone aa jaata hain…aap ko jaana padta hai”

Man what a connection!!!! Sher and Veena!!! Kya baat hai! Dil se nikali aawaz. Vijay and I are in splits again. And by this time we have already started jotting down these mahaan one liners for later reproductions…

Situation 3: Training ka aakhri din. ONGC guys have organized a big bash for us. Party-sharty, gift-shift, daaru- shaaru and loads of NON BHHEGG food (that’s non veg in Bengali English for the uninitiated).
Our dear Mr Debnath gets a bit tipsy on the drinks… and catches hold of the three of us….. “Aap logon ne humare liye kitna kuch kiya… bahut accaha training conduct kiya. Maine to compuutar ko kabhi haath bhi nahian lagaya… saab aap ne bahut sikhaya.” “Bahut sikhaya….” HE GETS A BIT LOST IN THOT…AND STARTS TALKING ABOUT HIS LIFE AND STRUGGLES…
Meanwhile, The rest of the crowd giggling away as they saw us being caught by this 55 year old who loves to talk about his life and struggles and to add to the flavor is quite drunk…
Then Mr. Debnath looks at me and vijay and says ….“Aap jaanta nahin hai… monish saab to saagar hain, bahut vishaal hai…. Bahut patient hain… bahut bada dil hai… manish saab to saagar hain. Hume bahut seekhaya hai”

Okie there we go.. thanks mr debnath… in all your good intentions, you have made life nearly miserable for Monish saab… now vijay and I call him Mr. Saagar.

Situation 4: Now the smaller versions…

In the evenings after the training, we used to spend sometime at coffee places…or shop for our significant others. I remember how much of effort manish took in buying a dress for his fiancé. Vijay sir, spent time looking for stuff for his daughter…and I  indulged in shopping for myself.

On one such evening, after a round of the bazaars of Calcutta, we were sitting in a mall close to Park Street…having coffee. All three of us silent after a day long of work.

After observing many women around the place..Manish said these profound words…that I can possibly never forget..

He looked at me, very seriously, had a sip of coffee..and said very philosophically, “You know Anu, A beautiful girl is an accident of nature…But a Beautiful woman is a work of Art”.

Wah! Wah!


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Return of Magic..

It’s been more than two months since we shifted to KL.

We still find ourselves rapt with nostalgia; and with multitude of emotions that creeps in, quietly and more frequently than we can ignore. Perhaps we haven’t yet found the connection, with the land and with people here; makes us value all we had in India.

November 2011..

Last few weeks in India were difficult. My beloved aunt passed away, within an hour, when we met after a number of years. Adi had to say good bye to friends he has grown up with. Kuhoo had to leave the place that she had set up so fondly. I distracted myself into work, once again, to bury my feelings.

“Papa, those toys aren't broken !”, Adi sounded bit whining as I continued packing.

“Beta, we should give the ones they can play with. Stop me for those you don’t want to give.” I smiled.

Adi stood thinking for few moments, and finally nodded.

On that last sunday of November, early morning, we left for Rakum, a school for the blind and the orphans in Bangalore, to give all we couldn’t pack or didn’t need anymore. During the drive Adi asked, “Papa, do you believe in Magic”?


Kuhoo was a bit surprised, “Aren’t all magicians do a trick?”

Adi looked at her, unconvinced but didn’t speak further.

I looked at Kuhoo, “Magic is not what a magician does”.

“So what is it?” Kuhoo smiled.

“Magic is what makes me see that defies explanation”.

“You mean…”

“There is an element of God in magic; that inspires us, humbles us. If you believe in God, magic stays in your life”


Last evening, we sat in the balcony, with reflective thoughts. Life may not appear easier here, but we surely have grown stronger. Adi joined us. “You remember polar express”?

“Yes. Don’t remember the exact story though”.

“I remember polar express”, his eyes shined.

Adi sounds abrupt at times; it takes a while to get to what he actually wants to say. I tried to remember. “..the thing about trains, it doesn’t matter where they’re going. What matters is deciding to get on…”.

There were several times in my past life when things didn’t work out the way I wanted to, but I am happy I tried. I followed my heart every time I could and am happy that Adi promises the same believe and optimism.

Pic by Dabs

The faith stays...the magic will return...