19

The ‘CURLS’ Next Door…

The ‘Curls’ Next Door…

“Mom…Mom…Mom…please listen to me…I have told you so many times that I am over it and I am not looking forward to marrying anyone. I beg of you not to talk on this topic every day. I am fed up of it. I have decided for sure…that I won’t get married all my life” were my last sentences before disconnecting the call. I was still standing on the balcony of my newly rented apartment in Chandigarh when it started raining. I quickly put the mobile in my pocket and stuck out one hand…to feel the rain drops. The weather suddenly went from dull, humid and sticky to awesome. That fresh smell of the soil…the first rain of the season…was more than enough to get the mood going for the rest of the night.

My flatmate shouted from inside, “Oye!!! Pakode and Chai ho jaye”. I was not able to see him so I shouted back, “Bilkul”. Just as I was about to go inside…God had another plans. I saw a figure emerging on the balcony of the adjacent flat. Although the light was very dim but it was sufficient enough for me to carve out her figure in the darkness. Her face was not visible…she was wiping off the rain water from her face…her hair with the help of a towel. It seemed as if she had just arrived from work. She was in formal attire. The more I gazed in the darkness towards her balcony…the more I was able to figure her ‘figure’ out. 😉 . I won’t exaggerate anything but I had a good side-on view…remember she was wet.

She was averagely built…I mean…it was not as if she had ‘huge’ asset value but was not bad either. You know that perfect kind of body 😉 . After scrutinizing her from top till wherever I could possibly see (because of the balcony wall) my gaze was somehow stuck at one point (wipe off that dirty smile of your face…). I was not able to take my eyes off her hair. The sight of her amazing hair was like…aaaahhhhhhhhh…soothing and not horny. They were curly and at the same time free flowing…less like kangana ranaut’s and more like urmila matondkar’s. That monsoon rain…that petrichor smell of the soil…those ‘Curly’ hair…for a moment made me regret what I just said to mom about not marrying anyone.

For the next few days…I don’t know how and when it became a task from a general curiosity to just get a glimpse of her…and her curls. I finally got a GOOD view of her. She was in the same organization for which I worked. She was standing, with her bunch of friends, outside the food court…enjoying a cornetto. I was hungry and in hurry but my sad and lonely ‘Heart’ got the better of my ‘stomach’…it wanted to amuse itself. I bought an orange bar for myself and started sauntering near that ‘bunch’. Unlike the other girls…for whom it took a herculean effort to even giggle…she had a terrific smile…infact laugh. It was as if she never held back once she started laughing. Her curls…her not-so-perfect round face…her never ending smile…made her face glow as if it emitted light.

Her positive attitude…her energizing smile …her ‘bubbliness’…the great aura around her made all the negativity…of anyone…disappear. Wherever she went…wherever she stood…to whomsoever she spoke…she charged them with her electrifying attitude, to an extent that I never saw anyone dull near her.

I was beginning to spend more time on the balcony than the entire time I spent in the apartment. In the mornings…I found her coming to the balcony only to hang her towel and tiny unmentionable pieces of clothing to dry. There were occasions when I wondered as if they (4 neighbours including her) only washed these clothes…and purposely hung them on this balcony just to seduce us (me and my flatmate). In the evenings…she used the balcony to avoid her flatmates when she was conversing with her boyfriend on phone. Yeaaahhhh I knew she had a BF but it was not good enough to discourage me.

I began making special efforts to get her to talk to me…to somehow become friends with her if not anything else 😉 . Every time I heard them/her lock her door from outside…I was ready with a mop to clean my bike. If she made an eye contact…I found myself unnecessarily smiling at her and if she was close enough then saying a ‘HI’ knowing that I would hardly get any response. Some efforts went in vain…some paid a little off. From a complete ‘no-no’…I started getting a smile a week or an undirected Hi here n there. I knew that it was high time and decided to make a move.

The same monsoon weather but no rain…the same huskiness to the soil…my flatmate and I were enjoying a chilled and freshly opened pet pack of coke. My flatmate saw it in my eyes that I was upto something. I emptied my glass of coke as if it was a peg of Vodka…hoping that it would intoxicate me…hahaha. I stood up and went to her door. My flatmate got anxious and started peeping from the window. I knocked at her door…and prayed to God (that she and only she opens the door).

God again had a plan this time. To my surprise and happiness…it was she who opened the door. It was about 10 30 pm and it looked as if she was cooking. In one hand she had a piece of ginger while two green chillies in the other one. She inquiringly looked at me. I, with my hunky looks and a brad pitt jaw line…naaaaahhhhh…let me write it again. I, with my boiled egg looks (that’s better) moved a little closer…looked straight into her eyes…and asked, “Will you please accompany me to a disc”?

Her face had a mixed expression…shocked…with that effervescent smile of hers. She replied, “Are you serious”?

Yes…is all what I can mutter.

“I don’t even know your name”, she laughed. “I don’t go to disc with strangers…Ass***e” (she might have thought 😀 ) but she refrained from such profanity and handled it quite well by saying, “May be some other time…I hardly know you” (All this while she had that constant sparkling smile on her face). She went inside…I stood there for a while…thinking about those curls n smile…and then went back to my flat…took another glass of coke…went to the balcony…and it started raining again.

For all those who have such neighbours,

For all those who have a crush on them,

For all those who love ‘curly’ hair,

For all those who want to grab their attention,

For all those who love such bubbliness,

And

For all those who still want to go to disc with them…

It’s not a GoodBye…

But It’s a GOOD BYE…aur han I am still waiting for her to accompany me to a disc… 😉

MANAS “SAMEER” MUKUL

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12

HELL in the Midst of HEAVEN…


HELL in the Midst of HEAVEN

I was in one of the longest queue, to get my emigration check done at the Dubai airport. The guy standing in front of me was on the same flight i was. He was traveling from Lucknow. By the looks of it, one could easily make out that he was a person with limited resources. He was wearing pretty ordinary clothes, everyday slippers and was carrying a bag with patches stitched to two places. While I was still in the queue, he went to get some currency exchanged, from rupees to dirhams. He just had Rs 1000 as cash. When he returned…he returned with two things… only 67 dirhams…and ‘moist eyes’. He could have easily survived ten days in India with that money. I guess this was the first snapshot of the ‘Hell’ that he was about to witness in Dubai. In fact this was just the beginning. Even before he could have counted that money, he will be paying for the Taxi at Dubai airport which shockingly starts from 21 dirhams as compared to the regular fare of 3 dirhams. The realization of this fact…the money in his hand…his condition…and his coming future…made my heart sink. I really felt for that guy…but accepted the reality with a huge lump in my throat.

Sheikh Mohammad saw a dream…he had a vision to convert Dubai from a land covered with sand from end to end to a land with the best n best of everything…from swankiest buildings to spectacular infrastructure…from the tallest structure to the manmade islands. It all started some four decades back with little trade on the water body in the middle, known as the ‘Creek’. The tallest building of the world, Burj Khalifa or the manmade island, The Palm or the only seven star hotel of the world, Burj-Al-Arab…speak volumes for his accomplishment and how much he has actually achieved. His victory was that he converted every grain of sand into gold…and that too without using his own money. He has made Dubai one of the most preferred shopping destinations of the world, the biggest of the tourist destinations. Contrary to the belief, Dubai is rarest of the cities in the gulf region which do not survive on the oil. In fact tourism is the biggest contributors to its economy with oil only contributing about 10%. For an onlooker, Dubai is for sure a Heaven…but if there is Heaven…there is bound to be Hell.

The Hell has slowly but surely embarked on its journey to Engulf the Heaven. The beautiful skyline is beginning to crack under debt, ecological imbalance and above all slavery. No one ever thought that the frantic development which rode on the back of huge credits, the same thing which is the hallmark of Dubai, will be the one which will begin the erosion of their foundations. The roads once witnessed construction on both the sides at frenzy pace… now; they simply stare at abandoned half-finished buildings which cannot be completed under the current economic scenario. Frankly speaking, if Abu Dhabi wouldn’t have rescued Dubai financially…it would have collapsed long ago. Sheikh Khalifa (of Abu Dhabi) did make Dubai pay for this. Burj Khalifa was supposed to be named as ‘Burj Dubai’ but on the day of inauguration by Sheikh Khalifa…it was named Burj Khalifa…and Abu Dhabi blemished Dubai forever.

If God ever took a stroll down the lanes of Dubai…he would surely have a smirk on his face. He would have laughed at the mockery that Dubai has done to his ecological system. Plastic trees…Artificial grass…Bird sanctuary accompanied by a lake…they have made everything in a place…which was and is supposed to be a DESERT. Somehow, a place which doesn’t have a single drop of drinkable water, naturally…has enough to sprinkle it all day long on the simulated greenery. It’s like playing a game with God, in which he is the best and confronting him…head-on. And irony is…everybody knows who is going to win.

Today anyone who’s been to Dubai…has seen the so called eighth wonder of the world, Burj Khalifa and many of them know that about 12000 labors worked at the peak of construction but only a handful know what happens to those labors after they leave the construction site. These labors are stacked up and stuffed like animals into small barracks on the periphery of the city. These barracks do not have adequate drinking water, no electricity…leave alone proper ventilation and sanitation. As soon as these labors, who fly usually from subcontinent,… land…their passports and other documents are immediately confiscated by their employers…giving them no alternative to walk off. Once a labor said, “I have not urinated in three days due to lack of fluids in the body after working in the extreme conditions and tremendous heat and then staying in those barracks which at the best has the salty sea water to offer.”

Then there are all kinds of laws…which can make any person go insane. There are people who have been staying in the parking of airport just because they lost their job and the visa was cancelled by the employer without even providing any kind of monetary support. In one of the articles I read, there is a woman who stays in one such parking because her husband was arrested as he could not repay the loan and her visa too was cancelled…leaving her stranded in Dubai. There was a recent incident where a blogger wrote such kind of stuff against the officials…the blog became popular and he was taken into custody. I guess that’s the reason why I am writing this after leaving Dubai.

It’s not that I am trying to highlight the negatives only…there are positives too. For example; Dubai is the biggest live example of Globalization with only 7% of local population, the cheap electronic items that one can buy, the most amazing of shopping festivals that the city offers and the list goes on n on. But somehow I feel the positives are less yet visible…and the negatives are far too many…yet ignored.

The irony is that people do not want to know all these things…and even if they know…they tend to look the other way…without giving it a single thought. Everyone tries to hide behind the glitz and glamour of the city that never sleeps… no one dares to step out in the Sun ‘n’ Sand and face the harsh realities of Slavery and Suppression.

For all those who have been to Dubai,

For all those who love Dubai,

For all those who hate Dubai,

For all those who like the sand,

For all those who hate such ideologies,

For all those who ignore such facts

And

For all those who aren’t ignorant enough

It’s not a GoodBye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE…aur han do visit Dubai once in your lifetime.

MANAS “SAMEER” MUKUL

12

When GOD went WRONG….

When GOD went WRONG….

To commence with, this composition has no prattle about love( for a change) as my last two pieces of writing were on those lines….. The mere mention of this title to the reader would spring in an obvious thought and that is “Has he lost his sanity……what has the recent string of failures done to him”…. But the truth is my friends in all medical conditions my mental state is perfectly balanced. The point of colloquy today is God and his Justice.

No one has seen HIM…and those who have are not alive to narrate their chronicles. Different regions … various communities and several beliefs in the world have given HIM numerous names, but they all postulate and acknowledge that there is a FORCE that is omnipresent…. There is something that controls everything…which governs everything. Let me elucidate the thing that I do believe in GOD and his power but there are some doubts which have emanated on the surface (atleast of my thoughts) which are left unexplained.

The more you live life ….. The more you experience it ……the more questions there are. How many of us have felt that someone has got more than what he DESERVES. People say that it’s the fruits of your deeds from previous births and the same people also add that one goes through HELL and HEAVEN in the same lifetime. I think only one can be valid at a time.

You are at the venue of your first placement….eagerly waiting for your results….the HR comes with the list….announces names….and tragically your name is not there….but what’s more appalling is, that the one who only has 60% of marks gets through….and you end up tearing your resume which boasts off 80%….and your final words out of the venue are,” Saala deserve nahi karta tha”. And here is my question: where was God during all this? Or Was this justice?…..

A billionaire who owns a company worth Rs. 5000 cr….gets caught in a scam at the age of 55….the court takes its own sweet time of ten years to convict him…at the age of 65 he gets jail…which has all the best facilities of the world as he is a royal personality….and then he dies at 70….My question here is: Where was the HELL he was supposed to go through….65 yrs of HEAVEN to 5 yrs of HELL….fair enough.

The most technologically developed and advanced country of the world….is completely ravaged by one of the most severe earthquakes and tsunamis of our times….people say it’s the deeds of the bad people for which GOD has punished them….And what about those Good people who had total faith in him….what about those little kids who were yet to discover the absolute difference between good and bad and end up losing their lives to the ALMIGHTY’s justice….And my question is: if he is supposed to punish the wrong doers, Isn’t he there to protect the good ones….what about their prayers, worship and good deeds???

A woman marries her love…..she worships God regularly….she dedicates and devotes all her life to her husband, household and GOD…..her husband comes home…hands her a paper….which ends her 25yrs of marriage…..my question goes like this : was she rightly rewarded by God for her Love, devotion and sacrifices that she made all throughout her life? To GOD……Did she deserve this???

Everywhere you see there is pain, suffering, tears and poverty….when God is also there. Why doesn’t he eradicate poverty….atleast he can do enough to feed everybody once a day. It seems as if the GOD’s court of justice has a judge as blind as our court of law…that in the end punishes the sinner but forgets to reward the worshiper. Wake up God!! Time to do the balancing act right.

I am not questioning his authority… I am just asking him to be more authoritative, taking control of the situations. I hope he is reading this as everyone of us has a God inside us….its high time GOD….punish the sinners…make them suffer but more than that, Do take care of the ones who LOVE you, PRAY to you, BELIEVE in you and WORSHIP you or they’ll end up asking IS THERE ANY GOD??????

For all those who believe in GOD,

For all those who don’t believe in GOD,

For all those who pray to HIM,

For all those who worship GOD,

For all those who trust HIM with their lives,

For all those who have dedicated their lives in search of HIM,

And

For all those who have found GOD….

It’s not a GOODBYE

But it’s a GOOD BYE……..aur han JUST KEEP PRAYING…shayad koi sach ho jaye.

MANAS “SAMEER” MUKUL.