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.)