2

The Curious Case of TINDER Girls

The Curious Case of Tinder Girls…

Boy swipes right…Girl swipes right…It’s a MATCH!!!

Tinder boy: hey! H r u

Tinder girl: hiiiieeeee…I am good…u tell

Tinder boy: what are u looking for…here…

Tinder girl: nothing much…just friends…

Friends…Friends…Friends…

The boy would be friend-zoned here as well!!

Are you single?

Are you fed up of your single status?

Do you want to date someone?

Are you on tinder?

Have you ever tried any online dating apps?

Have you never ever found anyone online?

Then this one is for you.

For everyone’s benefit I would just define what tinder is; it is an online dating app where you can like or dislike someone just by looking at their pictures and a small bio. If that person also likes you…then you become a match…and you can proceed to chat with each other and in that process hopefully get to know and fall in love with each other.

I won’t lie and shy away…but I did try the app myself. Unfortunately I lucked out in finding anyone who can find my pic likeable enough to swipe right on me 😀 but I was fortunate enough to come across a number of profiles after every 12 hours and here are the types of girls the joker saw there.

Emma Stone is on Tinder! (Stop using a celebrity pic)

The Celebrity DP

I really request to all the girls out there who really want to try out tinder (or for that matter any app) for dating please upload your real pictures. That would help. I mean that would seriously help. We definitely know that Emma Stones and Alia Bhatts of the world won’t be using Tinder to date or find love. Lets assume even if they are, do you think that we don’t know how we look that we will fall in your trap? 😀 So stop using a celebrity pic. Just remember you are beautiful in your own way and the right person will like you the way you are. Anyway…there are many (guys) who swipe right (Like) on all the profiles.

The less the merrier (DP with four other girls)

Talking about display pictures, there is a certain section that, I don’t know why, uploads DPs with more than one girl in them. I mean I know that I would love to date more than one girl, but again it will be of great help to know which one is actually you…to whom the profile belongs out of that selfie, which contains four beautiful damsels. No offence…but I would whole-heartedly try to convey to them that even if you feel that you aren’t that attractive…you don’t have to hide behind a group. Just be you.

The Quotation DP

The landscape or the quote girl

Then there is this third kind who will end up putting quotation or landscape pic or no pic as their DPs. I totally believe that, I wouldn’t want to date a landscape or a quotation…I guess you can understand that this sentence even doesn’t make any sense. You simply miss the logic of the dating app, which is based on the likeability (read hotness) of someone’s face/body and how can someone be interested in you when you don’t even put a picture, which even showcases a face. Please…you need to understand that we guys have a limited quota of free likes and in the rush of liking everyone…we don’t want to like a landscape.

It’s a simple bio not an essay

These apps definitely give you a chance to redeem yourself, if you aren’t able to attract someone just on your face value. There is a small bio (about me) section where you can write things about yourself…your likes and dislikes…hobbies and other related stuff. Some girls just take this section too seriously. They will end up putting a 300 words essay as if to compensate on what they didn’t achieve during their boards exam. Do you seriously think that boys really read that much…did I say that much…actually boys hardly care what you have written in your bio…especially if it is this long. The ironical part of these long bios is that most of them usually have a last line saying I don’t want to write much here. The guy is almost dead by then.

Everybody is a traveller

Choose one

I am of a kind…who usually goes through the bios. I believe the most overused term these days, which you might end up reading in almost every bio, is that they are ‘travellers’ (for this one I am including the boys as well). Firstly it is already a misunderstood term but that’s not important here. The laughable part comes when you actually chat with them and you come to know that they might not have travelled ever in a train/plane or worse…they would have not even left their city ever and still they have the audacity to call themselves travellers. I wonder how can someone highlight transporting in metros and local buses as travelling.

The Sapiosexual kind

One incredible advantage of skimming through these bios is that your vocabulary is definitely going to improve. You will come across all kinds of jazzy fancy intellectual words. One such word, which actually stands out is ‘Sapiosexual’. Off late I have seen this word being used a lot in bios, which literally makes me laugh. For people who don’t know, sapiosexual means one who finds intelligence sexually attractive or arousing. Ma’am you really think you are sapiosexual then stop swiping right for it virtually and go seek the truth in reality. I guess when you write a word like Sapiosexual in your bio on an app which focuses on face value…I don’t know whether you find intelligence or not but it definitely speaks a lot about your intelligence quotient.

Just looking for friends (P.S. I am not looking for dating/hookup)

One interesting line you are going to see in about 70-80% of the bios is that they are just looking for friendship. And on top of that they will explicitly mention that they aren’t looking for dating/hookup. I literally fail to understand that, then why ma’am why…why the hell are you on a dating app on the first place. I hope there are enough friends already in your life and even if they aren’t…tinder isn’t a place to find one. Just for one moment think about that poor guy…who is serial victim of being friend-zoned by every girl he know out there in the physical world. The only resort left for him is to try these dating apps and you are not going to spare him there also. I don’t know about you but he definitely didn’t sign up on tinder to be friend-zoned there as well. Right!!

What to make of profile like these

Entertainment or promotion or simply validation

A study says about 20% of the girls on tinder aren’t there for dating and about the same amount are there just for entertainment. These kinds of girls are there for the simple purpose of entertainment. I have come across many of my friends as well who end up saying that they are on tinder just for fun (not that kind of fun 😉 ). They used it because they were getting bored and instead of doing anything else they like swiping on tinder. Some of them are there just for the sake of validation of their current hotness…whether people are still finding them likeable and how many people have swiped right on their pics. Then there is this lot…that likes to promote them. In their bios you will find their instagram ids, their snapchat ids and all the possible social media ids on which they have a profile. Poor guys!!!

The ones who want their business to flourish (pro-fess-titutes)

Sometimes I feel that on Tinder there are more of those kinds, who want to make a quick buck rather than actually looking for dating or friendship, especially in metropolitans or in international locations. The moment you have their profile on your screen you know for what purpose it is there. Some awesomely hot pic with negligible clothing with their prices in their bios. I let you know one comical thing how these workingwomen…put out their contact numbers. They will never write like 9876 it will be mostly like nine eight seven so that their profiles are not caught in algorithms preventing such profiles.

The guy angle

Then there is this epidemic problem where the guys will have their profiles in the girls section. I wonder how difficult it is to select the correct gender out of just two options. And how can you expect other guys to swipe right on your profile unless they themselves are seeking the same gender. There will be some who will pose as girls themselves. These guys don’t know that we already have this instinct that the moment a profile matches to our profile 99% of the time we assume it to be a fake profile. I mean we see ourselves daily…how can somebody swipe right on us. If somebody swipes right we would go to any extent to find out the genuineness of that profile. Plus I don’t understand those guys who pose…because if we match…what do they get out of a romantic conversation with other guy assuming that the other might be straight. 😀

I know I know I have used a lot of stereotypes in this one. But all you feminists out there before you just decide that this guy shouldn’t have a right to live…or simply want to pick up your gun and shoot me…this was all in good fun.

For everyone else I would say if you are using an online medium to find date or love. Just be you. Say things and behave in the manner you would have in a real physical world. Smile please and happy dating.

For all those who are on tinder,

For all those who date online,

For all those who date in the physical world,

For all those who are too shy to go out there,

For all those who are seeking it online,

And

For all those who have found love online…

It’s not a GOODBYE,

But its a GOOD BYE…aur han…Keep swiping…you never know what you find out there.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

 

25

A KISS that never happened

A KISS that never happened…

“Will you be my Dance Partner for Life?” was all I could muster. She cautiously mentioned, “I need some time to think as I am not sure what exactly I am looking for”. 

Some days back while I was in Dubai…

I: See my intentions are very clean and pure for you…but I guess we are not on the same page…at least at this time and point in our lives. You are on my mind and thoughts always and I am not saying this to flatter you. It is really the case.

She: I think we should sit and talk about this. I would want to settle down for sure but I don’t know what I am looking for and even if I say I will think about it I am uncertain how will you take it plus I am skeptical about what I want.

I: Okay then lets sit and talk.

I came down to her town. Was there for about a week and tried to reach out to her everyday and plan a meeting. She was either too busy or too busy, but all in all didn’t meet me. I was hurt and on top of that she forgot my birthday. The only thing that came to my mind was it’s all about the priorities and my name wasn’t on that list. “When she has her priorities cut out then why are you busy trying to woo her”, the mind questioned. The mind understands and takes a stand but the poor heart gives way.

When the meeting finally took place

I drove to her place and from there we went in her car to a Gurudwara. Just before leaving She had washed her face and forgot to put any makeup. Her kohl-less eyes were really piercing. Her face was looking simplistically amazing and serene just like the face of a newly born. She wrapped around a ‘duppatta’ (Indian Scarf) around her head before entering the premise. I am not finding any words to describe her. It’s in my memory and every time I close my eyes I can see her. She was looking like the perfect wife that I always dreamed off. She herself was not at peace from within but for the first time I noticed that there was a lot of calm on her face, which was actually getting transferred on to me. In fact the peace returned to the Gurudwara once she arrived. After she prayed we sat on a bench inside the premise.

She began, “I guess you are not planning to shave off your beard anytime soon”. “I celebrated a very dear friend’s birthday in January and that was the last time I shaved”, I said mischievously. She interrupted me mid sentence, “yayayaya…I know I know…it was my birthday only”. I smiled sheepishly and began:

You said that you are looking for someone who is mature…who is elder to you. My question to you is what is the guarantee that a person who is elder to you is definitely more mature and a guy couple of years younger wont be. A guy who has shouldered a lot of responsibilities and seen a lot in his past and who has tried to do justice to each one of them would have some level of maturity and understanding to do it.

All this while I have loved you…the form might be different. I never judged you for you being you. I never judged you for your scores, I never judged you for your lifestyle, I never judged you for how you dress up, I never even judged you when you went after other guys, I was always with you…but now I believe I should be given a chance to prove my worth. How can I convince you to be mine?

Her puzzled look conveyed that she wasn’t ready with an answer and the talkative me continued.

I love the way you are. The complete you…not a percent here and there. I guess I have fallen for this imperfection. I love your innocence and at the same time your carelessness. I love your smile and at the same time your temper. I love your giggles and at the same time your anger. I love your warmth and at the same time the way you shun people away. I love the genuine friendliness in you and at the same the difficult being that you are. I love your dance and at the same time the flaws. 

he found peace and solace

What my heart felt

I believe love is binding together of all perfections and imperfections of two souls. If it’s too perfect then it can’t be love. That way it would be become too boring and the love will slowly find its death. The beauty of it lies in it only. What’s the point of happiness if there is no sorrow…what’s the point of day if there is no night…what’s the point of good if there is no bad. Imperfections bring a sense of realism to everything. The most important thing would be how we use all these to our advantage…to our bond…to our relationship.

“I feel there isn’t any spark. We don’t have that connection and on top of that I am myself not sure what I am actually looking for”, she reasoned.

Irony of my life would be our relationship getting burnt when there was no spark in it 😦

I Continued, “It took a lot in me to bring back to life that part which died 3 years back and I decided that I wont consider anyone to be my soul mate ever again. But with you I can see a future, I can see a way and above all I can see a life. If I can do that so can you. In any case you are going out to screen candidates for a perfect arranged marriage. In the first couple of meetings can you imagine kissing someone, that spark might be there…but how would you make sure of his nature, behavior and his real self? At least with me you don’t have to make any guesses. You know who I am or is it going to be another case where a guy who is friends with someone for so long, will lose out just because he was a genuine dear friend.”

I thought people seek someone who never asks them to change and accepts them the way they are. I have heard many of my friends complain that they have found a husband and he loves them but they haven’t found a friend in him. I totally believe that if there is love and no friendship then a marriage might flounder but if there is a strong bond of friendship between a couple where they can share each and everything with their partner without the fear of being judged, a marriage can withstand any storm.

“You do not understand my point of view. I can’t force myself to love you or even like you”, she was beginning to sound desperate. I listened to her reasons but they weren’t making sense…I guess for the first time I was finding it really hard to decrypt the fairer and better gender.

I tried to reason her out, “See in 99% of the cases when two people fall in love with each other, its always that one person falls in love and then woos and convinces the other.” We fall in love with our puppy or the recently gifted sapling. It’s all in the mind. It just takes one thought to be in love with someone.

I could sense that she was now very edgy and was beginning to lose her patience. We got up from the bench and headed towards the car.

You won’t believe but this year whatever decisions I have taken were totally based on us. I have not been able to make the next career move because you are not sure how you want us to proceed.

I am ready to love you with all what I have…with all what I am. And if you don’t know it I am already in so much love with you. I want us to dance together, to travel to see the world together, to laugh together, to fight together, to make each other feel safe, to complete each other and to grow old together, and in the process to love each other so that our bond of friendship grows forever.

“I cannot imagine kissing you”, she shouted back irritatingly while putting car in the top gear.

There was silence in the car after that. After a while she said in a dejected tone, “Now you will go quite”. I shyly mentioned, “I am thinking…”

We reached her place. I chose its better to bid goodbye and let her be happy the way she wants to be. I leant forward placed a safe kiss on her forehead, tightly hugged her and whispered; ”All I wanted was a chance and I really wanted this to work…anyway…this is the final time that we are seeing each other”.

I turned around…got on my bike…with moist eyes…had a joyless smile on my face, which echoed with my broken heart…rode away.

Image Ref: Poetry Language

Image Ref: Poetry Language

For all those who have suffered heartbreaks,

For all those who are with their love,

For all those who are friend zoned,

For all those who still can’t convince her,

And

For all those who smile in that pain…

It’s not a GoodBye…

But It’s a GOOD BYE

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

 

6

The LAST BENCH

The LAST BENCH…

It was the start of summer of 1997, and I had successfully completed sixth standard and got myself admitted in seventh. Usually the session began from April and all the new admission happened by then…but there were a few who would join the session a bit late sometimes in May and some even later than that after the summer vacations got over.

Our class had a rotation system, in which every row of student got to sit in the front row once in a week. By then most of the class knew my ways…I had the last row just to myself…with no one ever asking me to rotate.

The Place where it all began

The Place where it all began – Image Ref: Neha Uttam Kumar (www.craftoon.in)

It was a sunny morning and we had returned to our classes after the morning prayers. My south Indian Class Teacher who happened to be our English teacher was taking the roll calls. She had reached midway only…when a female voice interrupted her, ‘Ma’am!! May I come in’? She was another of those late admissions. Hardly had I known then that this girl would turn out to be one of closest friends I’ll have for two decades. (Yeah you heard it right…TWO DECADES).

‘Ma’am!! May I come in’, she asked for the permission again. The sound of a girl’s voice was more than enough for all the students to gaze towards the entrance especially the boys from all the rows…from first to last…and hence my vision was also scanning her. The first thing I noticed (which I remember) was her free flowing golden brown hair on an unusually tall girl for a seventh grade. Modern would be the wrong word to use here, as she looked more urbane than others. When the length of other girl’s skirts tip toed with their matching socks’ she stood out with just knee length ones. Her tall, waxed (I should not mention here but was uncommon in those days) legs added to the allure.

The teacher gave her permission to enter the class. She got her name registered in the attendance register and started looking for a place to sit. Unfortunately for her the girl’s row was full (Yeah we had a separate girls row  ) and Fortunately for me I was the only one sitting on my Last bench. She walked between the girls and the boys’ row and everyone from the first seat to the last followed her with their salivating stare till she reached my bench. I was no dud either but never…ever had any girl asked me, whether she can sit next to me…and hence with my unprepared nervous look…I nodded. That’s how my last bench friendship started…

The girl with the brown hair - Image ref - and-beautiful-blue-drawing-favim-com-1624755.jpg

The girl with the brown hair – Image ref – and-beautiful-blue-drawing-favim-com-1624755.jpg

She came across as a brat to me and would carry the fanciest of things you could imagine…from glitter pens to different type of colorful pencils…from unusual hairpins to…colored covers for the notebooks. There was a child in her who decided never to grow up even to this day. She was careless at times…was extremely pampered and amusingly clumsy with things and at times with herself too. The more I got to know her…the lesser that feeling got, ‘where it was a big thing to sit next to a girl’ and in no time we were like buddies and had our gang.
Giver her height, she took the utmost advantage of it…she was an athlete and played a lot of sports. When other girls were busy chitchatting and playing stupid games she would be around us on the field or on the basketball court. This made our bond stronger. Whether it was recess or sports period or just chatting in the canteen we were everywhere.

All this gave a tomboyish feel to her. There would be occasions when we would be standing in the canteen and she would have her arm around my shoulder and it was the onlookers which made me realize that it’s time to take that arm off from there. She hardly gave a damn about those kind of people and that was the most likable thing for me in her. She knew what was good to her and always followed that…though that can’t be said for the bad ones.

Slowly the standards n years passed…the gang got bigger…and we were something BIG back in those days. From academics to extra-curricular…from dance to sports…from good to bad…our group had a presence.

I was always worried for her as she was a bad judge of friends…she was very poor in knowing people’s intentions behind their smiling faces. And more often than not she ended up in tears…which infuriated me a lot.

At times she found scoring marks a little hard in the science subjects and hence opted for commerce stream as our sections changed. She found new friends…newer interests…and newer connections. Our time together lessened…some of the recesses went in just waiting for her…and soon the group began to decrease in size. Meeting her on rare occasions…seeing her happy…enjoying and having fun with her buddies…made me realize that it was in her best interest that we don’t force her to join us.

Though we were still in the same school but the last two years passed with the minimal of interaction between both of us. We knew we were still good friends…she knew I would be there for her every time she needs my help and the same was for me…but sadly the ‘fizz’ was gone from the bond.

As it happens in most of the cases the people who were best buddies in their school time…hardly are in touch after that. The same happened with us. We both were busy pursuing our own bachelors in different cities…we hardly spoke leave alone meeting, as the era of social media was yet to begin. Just an occasional visit to her house on festivals or public holidays and it was still not a guarantee whether I would see her.

Image ref: Google.com

Image ref: Google.com

Some two years later we were accidently in the same city and decided to meet up that evening in a mall…but on one condition that I will have to drop her home as it would get late by then. It was our chance to catch up on those lost years and to put a dressing wherever the cracks had begun to appear in our sweet special bond.

She shouted out a long ‘Hiiiieeeeee’ with her ever-sparkling smile the moment she saw me. She was wearing a white ‘Punjabi’ salwar ‘n’ kurti and was simply looking flawless. A small ‘bindi’ amplified her beauty many folds. In fact this was the first time I was noticing the feminine qualities hidden in her. She was more confident and surer of herself both in her looks and talks. For the first time I saw a beautiful girl in her and not the tomboyish brat who sat next to me.

I still remember, after about eight long years, each and every word she spoke…the conversation we had…where we sat…what we ordered. After the initial hi and hello…we began opening up about our lives…the harsh realities that she encountered during the last few years. I could see and sense the matureness, though it was not a lot, in her. She was not the same careless kid anymore. I personally believe, no matter how rich or happy you are…but the meaning to one’s life add only when they have had their share of the bitter truths.

Listening to her story…sharing my own…saw her eyes brim with tears…my heart went out to her and just wanted to hug my old buddy with whom I once shared that bench. But I refrained…don’t know why. We spoke for hours and then I dropped her home. She hugged me while I was still on the bike (such an idiot I am). My mind couldn’t detach itself and my thoughts kept on lingering with what all she told me.

We met a couple of more times after that, in fact on one occasion I met her with my girlfriend. But again the years passed…I left the country…she went back home…changed cities…changed professions. This time luckily the technology had taken the leap and we were in better interactive stage than last time.

Recently I got to see her again, this time on a promise of a Royal Enfield ride back home. We met at a café where she reached before me. Dressed casually in a jeans and top with a tinge of reddish color to her hair…she was looking cool. It being lunch time and the café not serving any intoxicating beverages…we opted for a pizza and ice teas. We chatted and chatted about…life…jobs…not getting married…parents…pressures…everything. Her eyes brimmed a couple of times and I refrained and restrained myself again.

It gave me goose bumps when I realized how time flew and it’s been like two decades when we first shared the bench together. For a moment I felt as if we were those kids back from the school days. She told me about how she enjoys her single status by learning all kinds and forms of dance and how it has made her a dance freak…that I actually love.

The sun was about to set and she had a dinner plan…so finally we got on my Royal Enfield and headed home. I did not make any efforts to prove that I am lesser of an idiot now and again hugged her while sitting on the bike. Gifted her some chocolates, which I got from my eurotrip for her. While hugging her, my cheeks accidently felt her cheeks, which were already being kissed by her hair. For the first time I felt like kissing her…felt as if that moment should remain forever. She crossed the road and went inside her home…I was still standing in that moment…wishing her to come back. Would have got down from my bike…removed the hair strands playing with her face…embraced her nicely…looked into her deep dark eyes…made a promise to them that no tear of sorrow will ever hug them…all your worries are mine now…and…would have asked, “Will you be my Dance Partner for Life”?

For all those who were back bencher,

For all those who were first bencher,

For all those who still can’t convince her,

For all those who had a brat as their best friend,

For all those who never had any,

For all those who love her smile,

and

For all those who want her as their dancing partner for life

It’s not a GoodBye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE…aur han Happy Women’s Day to her and all the women out there as everyone is special and beautiful in their own way. Cheers!!!

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

6

A Tale of Malabari Chicken Curry and Two Tomatoes

A Tale of Malabari Chicken Curry and Two Tomatoes

‘Bhaiya it’s my birthday!!! Please make that special Malabari Chicken Curry for me na…Please’. My cousin was after my life. Ok…ok…don’t do this Emotional Attyachar…I’ll prepare it…but I am only doing this because it is your birthday.

I poured myself an extra large of ‘Kala Kutta’ (Black Dog) and took out the necessary two tomatoes from the fridge. He again started, “Bhaiya!! No one in your family consumes chicken…so how come this knowledge of ‘Malabari’ Chicken Curry…hmmm…bolo bolo.” He immediately sensed it that I was not at ease with this question. The best I could manage was a smile…emptied one (more) large in a single go and began…

Few years back…

‘Ladies and gentlemen! Our next performer is surely going to take your breath away. When she moves…even her eyes dance with expression…and please get hold of an armor…as her smile is for sure going to stab your heart and take your life away ;). Please put your hands together for our very own Malabari Tomato’, the anchor announced. Actually, I was the one who gave her that name as every time I looked at a tomato…they always reminded me of her pink chubby cheeks. (Sorry can’t mention her real name)

He disappeared behind the curtains. Slowly the lights faded…the huge maroon curtains, which were hiding her from me, sluggishly began to move apart. She didn’t have a clue that I was a part of the audience…not even to this day. Several spotlights began to bathe her in various colors. It was a scintillating sight.

The music reached our ears…it was a malayali song and my Malayalam being so awesome that apart from that I could not make out what a single word meant. Some other guests told me that it was a mallu song…otherwise I didn’t have a clue 😉 . She was at her graceful…stunning best in a blue sari. She had this uncanny ability of carrying off a sari from her school farewell days. On those particular days…elegance…poise and grace became her best buddies (read biggest virtues). She was the one who in stored my faith in the fact that a girl can look her superlative in a sari too with the perfect spice up of seduction.

She commenced. Her moves…her dance…made it appear as if she was effortlessly floating like a mermaid. She was glittering more than all the jewelry she wore…but it was her big brown eyes that outshone every jewel. Every time she smiled…it gave an instant kick…with a high that lasted longer than any intoxicants. It was literally impossible for me to take my eyes off her…actually no one was able to. That very instance a thought whispered to me. If ever I am going with a dancing partner…she should be her, if ever I am going to marry anyone…she should be her and if ever I am going to love anyone…she should be HER. My heart without informing anyone…even me…was now already in love with her. But I could never muster the courage to let her know how much I loved her pure soul…that had the innocence of a nine year old and maturity of someone way beyond her ages. To add up to my woes, I knew she was already in love with someone else. He being a mallu…I gave myself no chance and hence never confessed my love to her. I was just content cherishing the friendship that we had.

Dancing Tomato

Dancing Tomato

Years flew…

By now, she had a blog…sorry two blogs. One was dedicated to her cooking and the other – for her real self. I feel that these days’ urban girls are more of a food blogger and less of a cook (no offence to anyone). There was no chance in hell that I was not following her on them, as it became the only medium to get to know about her after college. She was like that old coffee addiction…no matter how many times you have had it…the addiction never fades away…and yeah…I was addicted to her.

One day She wrote a poem…a real heartbreaking one…a rare tearjerker even for the Joker. I immediately guessed it what the reason could be. But me being I…again was ditched by confidence and courage to man up myself and walk up to her and let her know that I have always loved her and I am always there for her in any and every sense she wishes me to be.

A year later…

The moment my flight landed…I switched on my mobile phone and messaged her, ‘I am in your city’. I literally had to dig deepest inside me to find this much mettle and character to make this day actually happen. I had to meet her…I had to tell her how much I care for her…how much I love her…how much I need her…before its too late.

Two hours later I was standing outside her home. I rang the doorbell. From behind the door I was very easily able to make out her childish squeaky voice. ‘Who’s there’, she shouted. With no response…she opened the door. For seconds she wasn’t able to recognize me as in these years, I had gone from a Hrithik Roshan (Hair wise) to a Anupam Kher. She was taken aback…the moment she realized…or I should say…she recognized me. Fighting hard with her emotions and trying to resist her tears…she finally gave in…and gave me the warmest hug ever. Time did not have any effect on her eyes…on her cheeks…on her hair…on her fragrance…on her smile…even on her mallu accent…every thing was just the same. For me… time simply stood still

After catching up with some college ‘gupshup’ and what she was up to these days…she immediately remembered that she hasn’t served me anything. She forced me to have lunch and then go back. She even tempted me by saying that she was going to prepare my favorite malabari chicken curry, which she always got for me during college days. I questioned her, ‘How come the recipe for this is not on your blog?’It’s a secret recipe which has been passed on for generations in our family’, she replied. I pleaded her to share it with me…and to my surprise she agreed today. She gave me two tomatoes of average sizes and told me that to get that perfect taste one needs to put two tomatoes of these sizes.

The moment I took the bite…the years started rolling back…tears started finding their way from my eyes to cheeks and to the plate. I confessed why I was there…and what I felt for her over the years with utmost honesty. She simply smiled through her moist eyes and said I knew this all along…but I guess it’s too late. Her eyes guided me to her marriage portrait on the wall at the bottom of which was inscribed, ‘who needs a prince charming when I am already married to a soldier’. I looked back at her…couldn’t swallow any more bite…the lump in my throat was eating me from inside. I was trying desperately hard to hide behind a teary smile…my stupidity…of not noticing that portrait the moment I entered that room. I was too mesmerized to be in her presence that for a moment forgot a world still existed outside this room.

She moved close to me…way too close…held my face in her hands…trying to wipe off the salt water at the same time. She said ‘Hold me…close to you’. She leant forward…our tears met…our eyes met…our lips met…and we met. She shattered me back to reality…before my hands could ignite anything in her, by saying, ‘I am a loyal wife’. My already broken pieces of heart were now further broken…

Life again made a mockery of me…Destiny again was laughing at me…God again was playing with me…and the joker again was smiling through me…

Every night just wanted to sit next to her…be invisible (if given a special power) and see her type the chats…see her expressions…see her big eyes move more than her lips…remove those strands of hair which disturbed her while she worked…listen to her endless talks in her childish malabari accent…sleep with her head on my chest. The next mornings prepare for her, her favorite coffee before she gets up…give her a forehead kiss before I leave for work everyday…and simply be a part, however small it may be, of her life for the rest of my lifetime.

Today when I miss her…I pour myself endless pegs while I m cooking the same Malabari chicken curry with two tomatoes. Read her blogs…look at her graceful saree pics…her eyes…her smile…her hair…mixing the salt on my cheeks with the bitterness in my mouth…till I the time I start seeing her…and…simply go numb.

For all those who love to dance,

For all those who love tomatoes,

For all those who love Malabari chicken curry,

For all those whose love is still hidden in them,

For all those who have confessed it to their love,

And

For all those who still go numb…

Its not a GoodBye…
But it’s a GOOD BYE…aur han…this one is purely fictional 😉

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

 

5

MADE for EACH OTHER

Made For Each Other

The screeching ringtone of my Nokia 3310 rattled me off my sleep…I disconnected and went back to sleep. The phone rang again… this time I made an effort to check who it was. With one eye closed and with the other one half opened…I tried to ogle at the name in the fluorescent green background. It was mom. I sprang up and sat at ninety degrees to the bed. I checked the time and it was 5 30 in the morning. I wondered why mom was calling me at this time. I answered the call… mom’s voice was shaking. “Please come to Ambala…he wants to see you”, was all she muttered in a feeble tone. I immediately realized that now is the time to go as his condition was very serious.

Mom was in her maternal home, Ambala. He was struggling with his life after a serious of paralytic attacks and prolonged illness. Mom didn’t talk for long but it was clear that the time had arrived for me to be there in his last days. I was at home in Lucknow during Holi break of 2005 and it was due in another three days. My father was still out of station. I informed my sister about the conversation with mom and told her that I will have to leave immediately. I, without even getting confirmed reservation…boarded a train to Ambala. It took me twelve long fretful hours to reach there.

My parents had parted ways some three years ago…and hence it became more so important for me to be around him in those days. As soon as I reached Ambala…mom came running towards me…started crying…hugged me…and immediately took me to his room. I saw a longing in his eyes…as if he was waiting for something…or I should say ‘for someone’. Mom told me that, “off late he has developed this habit of looking towards the entrance in anticipation of your father”. “He is really worried for me and wanted to see you before he finally rests in peace”, she continued. “He thinks that your father will have a change of heart and will surely pay him a visit in his last days”, she added. The doctors had given up any hope of recovery and they informed us that he barely had a week with us. He was my maternal grandfather.

The next day as soon as I woke up… I was at his bedside… and decided to spend all my time with him. He wanted to speak continuously but because of his medical condition he was struggling with words. I advised him not to talk a lot but he kept on insisting. His eyes guided me towards a packet of candies which was kept on an old small wooden table near the bed. He told me that he distributed candies and sweets every day without fail to kids after my maternal grandmother had passed away. People made monuments…wrote books…donated money…did many extravagant things in their lover’s memory…but this was his way of remembering and paying a tribute to his love, my grandmother. I was moved by his love…and don’t know how but ended up blabbering, “How did it all start between you and grandma”?

He glanced towards me and then turned his gaze towards my grandma’s picture that was hanging on the opposite wall. With flickering eyes…trembling hands…quivering and broken words he began…

I was born in Plassi village near Nangal in Punjab on 28th august 1932 to Sardar Shyam Singh and Kushal kaur. My father was a railway engine driver. We were financially quite well off compared to other fellow Indians in those days. We had a good home accompanied by large farms and real estate properties. My childhood was decent and got educated up to eighth standard, which was considered fine especially in the pre-independence era. It was not long before I was asked to marry, as the practice of child marriage was very much prevalent in those days. I was just eleven years old when I married your grandmother, Bibi Charan Kaur.

These days you people have all kinds of communication mediums, from telephones to computers…from emails to SMSs. You people at least meet each other…get to know each other…try to understand each other… before you get married. Can you imagine my plight, a boy who is yet to reach his teens…who is yet to even understand what is right and what is wrong…who is in sixth standard…who doesn’t even wear any undergarments (he told me frankly that he didn’t wear any undergarment till he got married) is asked to marry some stranger. Honestly, I didn’t feel anything…I was too small to. I was simply delighted to get the amount of attention and pampering that I was getting and the sweets and the ‘laddoos’ that followed. Everything happened so swiftly that by the time I realized what was actually happening, I was married to a girl whom I had never ever seen before.

I don’t remember the exact date but I recollect that it was around 9:30 am on a Thursday that we got married in a nearby ‘Gurudwara’. I was not even dressed properly for such an occasion. I was wearing an off-white shirt with brown vertical lines and dark brown trousers with a turban of the matching colour. She was dressed in a dark pink ‘Patiala Salwar-Kameez’. Her face was not visible but from her hands I was able to guess her complexion. “I was actually fairer than her”, he said with a naughty smile. If today I have to describe her then I would say that, even before her adolescence, she was looking very pretty and cute as if she was a ‘Punjabi Barbie’.

She was about eight years old when she tied the knot with me. Till today, I don’t know what was her exact birth date…all I know is that it is somewhere around 1935. She was also from Nangal in Punjab. Her father, Sardar Bachint Singh, was a ‘Lambardar’ (a term that doesn’t exist today but in those days it was related to panchayat). She was the lone survivor of the thirteen children that her mother gave birth to and hence she got lots of love and affection from her parents. The first time when I laid my eyes on her face, obviously after marriage, I saw that she was very naïve and innocent. As the days passed by I noticed other virtues that she possessed. I felt she was very tender and caring. She was a very hard working and dedicated family woman. She was brave and courageous but at the same time she respected everyone and obeyed everything what my mother ordered. She was an awesome cook too and prepared meal for the whole family without any help. I loved the ‘Gulabjamuns’ that she specially prepared for me.

We were too little to understand friendship or love of any kind leave alone the whole concept of marriage. But I must admit she really helped me through this. We started spending time together…began to know each other…I shared whatever I did in the whole day…she listened to whatever I had to say. She never complained about anything…just carried on with her daily chores with total devotion and then had an ear for me whenever I needed her. My mother never used to like her…she had a sense of dictatorship to her and she was always tetchy about one thing or the other. She was abusive and sometimes even hit your grandma…but a lady like your ‘Bibi’ (we all used to call her ‘Bibi’) enriched with virtues…suffered through everything…swallowed every abuse and punishment that was dished out at her without even uttering a single word. No one ever heard her raised voice against anyone…she didn’t even share all this with me then and it was when she was about to leave me for heaven that I came to know about all this. Soon we became friends…good friends.

From day one, my mom was extremely cruel to her. When I now think of it…I end up smiling as there were some incidents when your Bibi got the better of her, without even taking a single step against her. Bibi was incredibly fond of tea but my mother always deprived her of that too. Just to cope up with her addiction Bibi used to swallow tea leaves and sugar and consume hot water after that. This maddened my mother even more. It was normal for women to be confined and restricted in those days… but my mother was simply too much for anyone.

I still remember clearly that day…I guess two to three years into our marriage. I was done with my studies as my mother wanted me to take care of farms and help in farming. We (Bibi, my mother and me) were at one of the farms and working. It was late in the afternoon after the lunch that my mom started abusing her on some issue. She kept on hurling abuses at Bibi and her family but she didn’t even say a single word. This infuriated my mother even more. Before I could intervene…In the fits of fury she got hold of a thick bamboo and thrashed Bibi’s head with it. There was blood everywhere…her head was busted…and soon she fell unconscious. I, along with other farmers, took her to a nearby medical facility. This event was the biggest twist in our love story…actually you can say that this is where the seeds of our timeless love were sown.

(Just about then my mom entered and asked me to have lunch with my grandfather. She thought this way he will have something substantial for the medicines, as he was not having proper meals due to illness. He barely managed to have one chapatti. I asked him to take some rest for a while. Around 5 in the evening…he again continued from where he left off…)

Her parents took her home along with them after that incident. They wanted to end all ties with us because of my mother’s never ending brutality. By this time we developed a special bond between us and we were beginning to understand each other. I became a kind of rebel and revolted against my mother. My father loved me very much and was always supportive of your Bibi. He motivated me to leave the home…get a good job… and become someone of reputation on my own. I decided to leave home and go to Ambala in search of a livelihood and to try to get her back with me. When I was moving out of my parents shadow, I never realized that my biggest test…or I should say our relationship’s…our marriage’s…our love’ biggest examination was yet to come.

She decided that she was not going to leave me alone in this battle and made up her mind to support me in whatever manner she possibly could. Her parents were adamant not to let her go this time, so it was all left up to her to help me save money. In order to cut down on my expenses… she stitched clothes for me with bare hands, I hope you know that sewing machine had not yet reached Indian homes. She made suits, shirts, trousers, sweaters and what not… all without anyone’s help…with her bare hands. She tried to save every single penny that could have been saved.

There were days…and weeks…and months when we were not able to meet or hear from each other… and then there were seconds…minutes…and precious moments which we did get to spend with each other after all the limitations that were put on us and especially on her. My friend, Karam Singh, and her friend, Karamjeet, helped us a lot during those struggling days. With Karamjeet’s assistance she came to one of her farms… and waited for me… sitting on a tree for hours ‘n’ hours. When I did finally arrive, Karam Singh and Karamjeet kept a close careful watch to make sure that we were never caught. It was during these seldom meetings that I began noticing how beautiful and wonderful she actually was. I never really mentioned it to her that during these instants I literally thanked God for actually making my parents marry her. She was an illiterate but she was still as brilliant as an engineering graduate today with abundance of boldness and commonsense. During those days only I realized that our unique bond was now tied with ubiquitous love which made us inseparable.

By then India was granted Independence but our country was left in a very corrupt state. I decided to go to Delhi and stay with my cousin and look for some job. You won’t believe when I’ll tell you that I walked barefoot two hundred kilometres from Ambala to Delhi. There I applied daily for various job positions but since I had nothing to pass under the tables or anyone to vouch for me, I returned empty handed every day. One fine day I was noticed by Hari Kishan Shastri. He walked up to me and asked me about my whereabouts and my purpose of everyday being there. When I told him about the entire situation… he understood… and took matters in his own hand. He made me meet Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri, who was the railway minister then.

Her prayers… her efforts… my hard work… my knowledge… and our love did pay off and in the spring of 1954, I was appointed as a train clerk in Ambala for a meagre salary of rupees 60 by Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri. It might sound very less but it was more than enough for me to get my life… my love…my Charan back.

Time flew and few years passed by…

By 1960, she had given birth to our third child. I knew that it was time for me and my salary to get a raise… but for that I needed some decent educational qualification. She encouraged me to go for studies but to leave the job at that time with three kids would have been like committing suicide. She came up with an idea. In those days there was a new concept of night classes. She got me registered to one such class and made me sit with children half of my age. She was the sole motivation for me to study further and I did. With the help of those night classes I successfully cleared tenth standard. I know you will be laughing after hearing this…but in the sixties, just to pass tenth standard or to be able to put a signature in English or moreover to even understand English was considered an achievement and it surely fetched me respect in the society.

Difficult times lasted longer while merrier times just came in short spurts but they surely existed. We were huge fans of the movie ‘Mughal-e-Azam’. It was an epic in itself and the kind of romance that was portrayed in it surpasses the best what today has to offer. I am not sure but I would have watched it more than twenty times with Bibi. I used to go the cinemas even at 4 am just to be the first one in the ticket queue and still found people standing there earlier than me. But let me assure you, none of the shows would have been so much fun and joy if she wouldn’t have been there with me in them.

I didn’t speak to my mother for twelve years but during each of Bibi’s pregnancies I always wished her to be there. I cannot even describe what all pains she took to raise my children… to take care of them… to take care of me. She gave birth to a child in the morning… then by the evening she was again busy with the daily chores. Whether good or bad, my mother received every news about us through our relatives but somehow after all those years… her hatred towards Bibi never shrivelled.

(Mom brought the dinner but he refused to have it and wanted to continue telling me the story)

Five more kids later and some ten years down the lane…

During the 1971 Pakistan war, I simply saw a different quality in her. I knew that she was valiant and fearless but I could never imagine that she could go to such an extent. Because of an emergency she had to travel to Nangal. It was a four hours train journey from Ambala. I was astonished and shocked to see that she travelled all alone in that train as people refrained from using public transport vary of the Pakistan bombardments. It, even to this day, gives me ‘Goosebumps’ just to admire and accept this feat of hers.

After the war in the early seventies everything went quite smooth and okay. But destiny as always had some other plans. In 1975, I was transferred to Bhatinda. I was the sole earner of the family with a loving wife and eight kids. She asked me not to go to Bhatinda and stay with them. I was suspended for not obeying the orders. She said we could start something of our own but you don’t have to leave us and go to Bhatinda. She purchased two goats and started selling their milk. The money was slow but sure. In few months time… we had a herd of cows and buffalos. I was not contributing much; in fact I became a reason for most expenditure and because of me they kept on increasing. I fell severely ill during the summer of 1976. On her own only, she kept me and my family going. I realized that my love towards her increased several folds… and I actually began respecting her which was not how women were treated in those days.

In 1977, due to some turn of events and our good fortune I got my job back and that too in Ambala. I married my daughters and invested in my children’s studies. We went from strength to strength. From a struggling poor household we now had good income sufficient enough to fulfil each and every of my child’s dream.

His eyes began to glitter…and suddenly they turned moist (I saw). He continued, “I guess it was 1987 or 1988 when she suffered from an unknown disease”. No doctor was able to cure her; they even failed miserably at identifying the disease itself. Her body became dead from below the waist. Her legs became numb forever (and the tears touched his pillow). It was as if God wanted me to take care of her and do my little bit for what all she gave me…and did for me. I read newspaper to her…washed her clothes…bathed her…fed her…and did everything possible in human limits to make her feel alive and cheerful. But I guess it was too much for her, she had suffered enough. She was born just to take care of others…love them…make them strong and above all believe in themselves. Her love gave me courage…was my support…and strengthens me even till today. If it was not for her…then I would have died long back. On 8th July 1992, she left me all alone forever. You know, till the day she was alive, she made it sure that we had dinner in the same plate and that is the reason why I hate having dinner without her.

I got up wiped my tears…wiped his tears…kept my hand on his forehead and requested him to please go to sleep. I don’t remember when I, sitting next to him, fell asleep.

Ref: 123greetings.com

Ref: 123greetings.com

I felt a hand rubbing my hand. It immediately brought me to senses. He asked me what time it was…I replied it was 3 am…I enquired if he needed anything? He gently smiled…took a pause…and whispered… “Ikk Gulabjamman khila de” (get me one gulabjamun). I resisted…but his weak eager eyes made me get one for him. He had it like a six year old…wished me ‘Happy Holi’… looked at Bibi’s picture… and with a smile on his face… fell asleep. At about 4:55 am on 24th march 2005, he left us for heavenly abode to be with his love…his best friend…his everything…his Charan.

For all those who love their Grandparents,

For all those whose grandparents have such a story,

For all those who have grandparents still with them,

For all those who don’t have theirs with them,

For all those who miss them,

And

For all those who want a story like this for them

It’s not a GOODBYE…

But it’s a GOOD BYE… aur han go to your grandparents and ask if they have such a story to share with you.

Manas ‘SAMEER’ Mukul

12

Surprise…Surprise…Surprise…

Surprise…Surprise…Surprise…

“You know tomorrow is my first presentation ever”, she said nervously to me. Her voice was shaking and none of her friends were able to infuse enough confidence in her to make the presentation work. She rehearsed…rehearsed…and rehearsed…to the point that she began to forget everything… at least she felt so. It was left upon me to get that confidence back going for her. I reminded her, “Believe in yourself and think of how good you are and what an awesome presentation you are going to deliver tomorrow”. I knew that my words have a calming effect on her, but this time it was not going to last.

I decided it was time for me to make her feel that I am always there for and I just don’t simply say that ‘I will be there for the smallest of things’. I immediately called her back and broke her heart (for that moment) that I have a company visiting my campus tomorrow and I will have to switch off my phone through the entire duration of the seminar and there might be a possibility where I would not be able to give her a call before the presentation. I checked the tickets and asked my ever so sweet sister to get the tickets done for me (don’t forget me being a student these days was unable to afford the price just a day before 😉 ). She managed to get one booked for me.

The next day I had an early flight to catch and she was still sleeping. So the best I could do was to text her, “All the best for your presentation sone, make me proud, phod phad macha dena, I am going for the seminar muah muah muah forehead”. I landed by 10:30 a.m. and her presentation was supposed to begin by noon. I gave a call to her best friend and told her about my plan to surprise her by visiting her just before the presentation and say, “All the best of Luv ‘n’ Luck to her face”. I knew that girls can’t be trusted when it comes to keeping secrets and her friend proved me right by spurting out every bit of my surprise. The news made her extremely happy as if she won a lottery. It was a complete turnaround…she was brimming with confidence…and in the process completely nailed the presentation and answered each and every question that followed.

She knew which hotel I (we) stayed in every time I visited her city as this would have been my fourth visit in the past four months. As soon as she was done with the presentation she didn’t even wait for the teacher’s response…immediately took an auto and reached the hotel. She enquired at the reception…took the spare keys in an effort to surprise me instead…and came running to my room. She was puzzled not to find me there. She tried my mobile but was switched off. She made a call to the reception but could not get any info on my whereabouts. Her face which was glowing with confidence and courage…now suddenly had an edgy and worried look to it.

There was a knock on the door…she opened…anticipating that it will be me she shouted my name. Less to her surprise and more to her shock it was police at the door. She was beginning to panic. The police informed her that a guy was crushed by a truck this morning and they recovered a bag from the accident site with a printout of booking of this hotel room with your name on it. She opened the bag only to find out ‘a Barbie’, ‘a box of Soan Papdi’ and ‘an envelope with confirmed booking for two days and two nights for a couple at the Marriot’.

She remembered, how, since her childhood she never craved for anything except for a Barbie, she had had many delicacies but it was the ‘Soan Papdi’ that made her taste buds go crazy and she visited many places around the globe… rested in many resorts but it was the Marriot which was the closest to her heart. It was all a part of the surprise that I had planned for my bestest buddy.

There are days when God gives you signs or omens which tell you what is going to happen and then there are days when even the Gods get confused what the omen says.

The police told, “The Guy was wearing this shirt” and handed it to her. She straight away recognized it to be my shirt as it was the same shirt in which she slept the last time I was there. Tears started rolling down her cheeks. The blood on the shirt made her scream…scream…and scream. There were flashbacks of, how every night before we went to bed, I always called her to say how much I loved…cared for her and will be there with her forever n ever n ever. She reminded herself of her decision to tell me that how much she loved me…and wanted to spend the rest of her life with me. She cried uncontrollably…gasping for breath…her shrieking voice made even the policemen feel her loss…her pain…her regret of not telling me just for once that SHE LOVED ME…

There was another knock at the door…one policeman opened it. To everyone’s disbelief it was me who was at the door. For a moment she thought she was seeing me just because of the sheer love for me. Without even caring for the standing policemen, who were themselves astonished, I started… Bubu…as soon as I landed…my bag was stolen…last night I wasn’t able to charge my phone’s battery…hence it died…but what’s this…why is police here and above all why are you crying guddu????

She stood up…ran towards me…grabbed me by the collar…started slapping me…kissing my face all over…saying I Love You…I Love You…I Love You.

For all those who believe in surprises,

For all those who like surprises,

For all those who like giving surprises,

For all those who like getting surprised,

And

For all those who will go to any extent to say that ‘All the Best’

It’s not a Goodbye…

But it’s a GOOD BYE…aur han go out there and give surprises…your loved ones actually love it and a HAPPY DIWALI to all of You…enjoyyyyyyyy.

Manas “Sameer” Mukul

7

KOI MUJHSE PUCHE…

KOI MUJHSE PUCHE…

wo pata hai bahut hi bahut hi khubsurat hai…
kash koi meri ankhon se puche

wo kitna maasum hai…wo kitna sacha hai…kitna seedha hai…
kash koi mere dil se puche

wo mujhe kitna samjhata hai….wo mere sath hardam hai…
kash koi meri dosti se puche

uski jalan me jo pyar hai….jo wo sabse chupa k rakhta hai….
kash koi mere mann se puche

uski ankhon me jo umeed hai…uske hothon pe jo haya hai…
kash koi meri ankhon se puche

uske hath me jo mamta hai…uske seene me jo apnapan hai…
kash koi meri atma se puche

uske chehre me jo kashish hai…uske hathon me jo tapish hai…
kash koi meri rooh se puche

uski baton me jo bachpana hai…uski hansi me jo shararat hai…
kash koi meri khushi se puche

uske jhooth me jo sach hai….uski har ek naa me jo han hai…
kash koi mere zehen se puche

uski hansi me jo mere jeevan ki khushiyan hai…uski baton me jo meri sansein hai…
kash koi meri dhadkan se puche

uski maang me jo mera sapna hai…uski mehendi me jo apna hai…
kash koi mere jeevan se puche

uski sanson me jo thandhak hai….uske ansuon me jo namak hai…
kash koi meri sanson se puche

uske khoon me jo mere kann hai…uski uljhano me jo meri bechaini hai…
kash koi meri bebasi se puche

uske chehre pe jo masumiyat hai…uski mehek me jo kasak hai…
kash koi meri hansi se puche

uski nazdiki me jo duri hai….uski duri me jo nazdiki hai…
kash koi mere ansuon se puche

uski god me kitna sukun hai…uski mehek me kitna chain hai…
kash koi meri neend se puche

uske mathen ki rekhaon me jo mera kal hai…uski achayi me jo mera aaj hai…
kash koi meri burayi se puche

uske hathon me jo meri lakeerein hai….uski ragon jo mera khoon hai…
kash koi mere akelepan se puche

uske pairon me jo meri kismat hai….uski ek han me jo mere jeevan ka maksad hai…
kash koi meri ankhon se girte in ansuon se puche

uski ek naa me mere jeevan ka ant hai….uske ruth jane me jo meri maut hai…
kash koi meri ragon me behte uske nam k khoon se puche

uske hath me jo gulab hai…uska khat jo mere hath me hai…
kash koi meri laash se puche

uske ek akhiri bar mujhe chune me jo mera MOKSHA hai…KASH KOI MUJHSE PUCHE

MANAS “SAMEER” MUKUL