My journey with books

I remember one of the first books I kind of read..as much reading as is possible for a 5 year old. It was the story of king Bhoja who had a set of toys in his shelf. In the night all the toys would come to life, dance, and have fun. More than the story, I was fascinated by the images in the book.

I started asking for books, more for the images in them than for the book itself.  My real reading started with the tinkles and champaks. There was a small shop at the next street where I used to borrow these at about 25 paise per day. Even when Chamataka was plotting against Doob-Doob, I used to read with the anticipation that nothing evil could happen to an innocent creature like Doob-Doob, and so it used to turn out to be. The very good Kalia always helped the right and deserving at the right moment. Then there was Chandamama, which I used to read in both English and telugu-most of them when I went to Chennai, my grandparent’s place. The bhetal, who always told Vikram that his head would burst to a thousand pieces if he didn’t answer his question. And needless to say, Vikram, the wise guy always got the answer right. Even ghosts could talk and pose very intelligent questions those days.

One day, when I was about 14 or so, my aunt gave me a Mills and Boons book. Wow! What a present it had been! A kind of turning point in my reading, you can say. I was a part of a family where even if there was a love scene or anything slightly crude in the TV, my mom would switch the channel and put something like Discovery or National Geographic, inspite of the fact that I was 14 and I was not as innocent as she thought I was. So you understand what it was to be reading a Mills and Boon. I simply fell in love with the first book I read. LOVE, ROMANCE and bit of you know what :-). I wanted to read more of Mills and Boon. But I really couldn’t get them home, I mean with the kind of exotic covers they have. So, I would give a newspaper cover to the book, and read it. Very soon, I was bored of this stuff. And to add to this, one day my dad caught me reading Mills and Boon (I forgot to give a newspaper cover that time :-(). He told me,‘You are too young to read Mills and Boon’. Those days, we 14 year olds just knew a computer, and internet was not so prominent, unlike these days where some 14 year olds bunk schools and watch porn in net centers. So I left Mills and Boon, more out of boredom than my dad’s reprimand.

It was in my 15th year that I was introduced to my favorite character – SHERLOCK HOLMES. We had ‘The hound of the baskervilles’ –an abridged version of course as part of our academics. And that was the beginning of my Sherlock Holmes mania. At school, about 2 or 3 friends used to read the other stories, and we would discuss the various methods he used in the stories.  At one time, when somebody was writing and drawing crazy stuff on the school walls, we the little detectives wore a Sherlock Holmes hat and started our search on who it could be – the approximate height, an apt position, who stays after school hours, and other such things. We almost got the guy too, but didn’t want to expose him. And thus continued my saga.

Those days I used to believe that Sherlock Holmes was indeed real, and lived in Baker Street in London. I was a bit disappointed, ONLY A BIT when I came to know that Sherlock Holmes was just a fictitious character – a work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. After that, I read every story of Sherlock Holmes that I could lay my hands on. And after I finished reading the stories, I re-read them. My way of reading a Sherlock Holmes story includes – finding a quiet place where I am less likely to be disturbed, pause in between, create a mental image of London in the 19th century, horse-driven carriages, and how Sherlock Holmes would have looked like. I was so engrossed in those stories that I kind of even forgot the fact that it was fiction. Fiction appeared more real than reality itself.

Jeremy-Brett-sherlock-holmes-33590952-469-500

Sherlock Holmes played by Jeremy Brett (in my opinion, the best character who played Sherlock Holmes)

conan doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the MASTER who created the Master.

(to be continued)

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I want to write!

I want to write!!

My grammar may be bad

My vocabulary terrible

But I want to write!

 

Let people doubt me

Say things behind my back

Say I have no talent

Or say ‘my writing is not up to the mark’ (the corporate way J)

I still want to write!

 

My friends may be uninterested

My column may be empty with no views, likes, or comments

Not a soul might even want to take a peek at my writing

But I so want to write!!

 

My words flow on to my page

Out of my grief, delight, and rage

 

My writings have

The cues of my sub conscious

Floating memories

Rights and wrongs; good and bad moments

Emotions and tears

Confessions and reflections

A whole new world out of my imagination

 

A day when I am old, lonely, or dejected

A look at my writings

Will paint my memory canvas

With various landscapes, green, brown, and barren

And an assurance ‘I was something no matter how bad’

 

For it’s not about being right or wrong

It’s about being just MEEE

That’s why

I want to write!

Illusions

I was sitting in my bedroom balcony

The orange setting sun, the cool breeze, and the fragnance of roses in my garden

But a serene scene it was not!

Because I saw the bats flying at a distance!

Something bad is going to happen

I can feel it in my bones!

Try as I might, I cannot remember what happened

When I last experienced this moment

In exactly the same way!

But I feel something terrible happened

The bats started moving in my direction

Wait! They might not be bats!

They are harmless swallows!!17457-geese-flying-in-front-of-a-setting-sun-pv

What a scare they had given me!

I went back to my room and had a dreamless sleep

Driving all the way

I started getting ready for yet another freaking 11 hour-day in office. I wrapped myself in two scarfs-one to cover my head and hair, and the other to cover my face, just leaving only my eyes uncovered in my head, which eventually I would cover with my Fast Track shades after some time. My 3-year old nephew who sees me stares at me as if seeing a monster, and tries to stay away from me. I myself am taken aback for a moment when I see myself in the mirror, and no wonder my nephew, neighbours, and others look at me as if I were a weird species.

But if you are a girl travelling by auto all alone from Kondapur to Hitech City, you might understand my need to over-cover myself. With the speed with which the auto walas drive, your hair would be flying in all directions, and bathing in smoke and dust, which eventually would lead to hair loss, dandruff, and all those things that no girl wants. And, most importantly to mask yourself from auto drivers – surely you do not want to trigger their conjugal senses, and get raped!!

I finally manage to catch an auto, pay the auto wala whatever he demands, for I am too tired of negotiating, and get down in front of my office.  My company ABC Ltd (of course, name changed for obvious reasons) is another freaking-and-sucking place. Ok, if not my company, at least my department is. Our company has quite a market standing, has employee strength of over 2 lacs, and is listed as a great company to work for in Forbes, and many other magazines. A population of 2 lacs surely has its share of psychopaths, and unfortunately the topper of the psychopath list, landed in our department as our manager.

I literally feel like tearing my hair and shouting at people who say ‘You are lucky to work in ABC Ltd’.’

‘Can you tell me..What is luck here..reporting to a manager with whom the conversation goes this way:

‘What were you doing at 11.45 a.m. on the 24th of September, 2015’? she asks.

I ask confused, ‘I don’t know…but we are already in Jan 2016, and why are we talking about September 2015 now?’

She says, ‘So, that is what you are…you easily forget things. You went for a tea break when I asked you to fix issues in your storyboard’.

I ask frustrated, ‘What issue was that?’

She says, ‘You missed a period at the end of the sentence in the storyboard’.

Dejected and depressed, I ask, ‘But that was three months ago, and just a period!!!’.

She says, ‘It speaks of your attitude towards work, blah blah blah..and finally she says, ‘What are you looking at my face now? Go back to work’.

Can you beat that? I am sure even Vivekananda and RamaKrishna Paramhamsa-like would be frustrated too.

Frustrated, I go back to my desk. And continue working, only to be disturbed by another manager who says, ‘How far are you done with your work’?

I look at him without expression and say, ‘Well, but I started just now..’

‘But it is 12.00 noon now. What were you doing until now’?

Inside me I am screaming, ‘WHAT? THERE WAS A SILLY STATUS MEETING FOR AN HOUR. AND THEN MY OTHER MANAGER LECTURES ME ON MISSING A PERIOD IN MY SB THREE MONTHS AGO, AND NOW YOU ASK ME THIS.’

Somehow I manage to put up the face of a Buddha and say, ‘I will report the status and send the bugs by 4.00 P.M’.

‘Ok then, will catch up again at 4’, and leaves.

I make another attempt to resume my work. I sense somebody behind me. I close my eyes, and pray this time that the apparition, fed up with standing for so long just goes away. But it just doesn’t.

‘Hi’ the apparition, err my team lead says.

Now, I really have no choice. I turn back again and look at him and say, ‘Hi’.

‘So?’ he says.

(My team lead has this habit of speaking in phrases and expects you to make a ton of sense!)

‘Yaa’ I say.

‘What’s your plan’?

‘Plan for what’?, I ask again.

‘Ok, let’s catch up with Venkat then’, he says.

Venkat is our department head.

‘For what’?, I ask frustrated+tired+hopeless. I am using these two words for the second time in our conversation now.

‘Come over to Venkat’s cabin’ he says and walks away.

‘Me, my team lead, and our department head together discuss again all the things already discussed in the meeting we had in the morning that day. I give rehearsed answers (as I am giving the answers the second time!!). And finally get back to my seat.

‘Let’s go for lunch’, my friend and colleague Swetha asks me.

I tell her my situation. She nods in understanding, without me having to explain much. We are all trying to make the best sense of this utter chaotic place. She pats me and goes off to lunch.

Its 1.30 P.M. Two meetings-one lecture-four people trying to manage me!!

Well. So you got it! That’s how my life went about. I desperately wanted some light to shine on my existence!

__________________________________________________________________________________

My friend, Santosh and I got my new car from the showroom, with me in the driving seat. Every now and then, he had to steer away from me hitting some guy who has this sudden-urge-to-cross-the-road while I was driving, or pull the hand brake. Driving can be quite trying, as trying as my office people.

My driving lessons start with Santosh coming to my house at about 7a.m, with me driving or rather he controlling my so-called crazy driving, with steering away, hand brakes, and a few ‘sorrys’ to a guy here and there, who, if it were a good guy would eventually understand, or give a disgusting look, or even show his middle finger at times.

After a few days of learning to drive, I felt like giving up. I was so tired. In spite of Santosh doing his best to teach me, I guess I was not picking up. I envied all the chaps who bought a car on one day, and just drove the next day. And after a few more days, I started regretting my decision of buying the car. I spent 3 lacs out of my hard-earned money in getting screwed up at my office, and am even more screwed up now as I am just NOT ABLE TO DRIVE. Huh!

A small ray of light to my frustration came one day when I stopped the car at a signal. Beside me, Santosh was saying, ‘Ok, when you move, one final rule – the engine should not switch off. It’s like the nth time, I am telling you’.

‘I will try’ I sigh.

As the signal turns from red to yellow, my adrenalin accelerates. ‘Let the engine not stop this one time’ I tell myself. And then it turns green. And my car just moves – with the right speed! And I was able to drive in neck-to-neck moving traffic. And not once did the engine stop!! I think I kind of got it. I felt good about myself.

From that day, my driving improved. After a few days, I was on my own. A bit scared at first, but managed to get over it.

My little metallic grey machine was working on my personality too!!Probably I slowly was shifting from the I-am-ruled-upon phase to Maybe-there’s a way phase  – when you are stuck in neck-to-neck traffic, you have no other option than to pull through it. Getting pissed off doesn’t just work although you can’t help it..nor does swearing and saying ‘shittt’ a number of times! In other words, you can do nothing except-wait for things to move by themselves, and doing your bit along the way.

May be I felt it so, or it was really happening – I do not know, but office started getting better. Every time I came across a new problem which made me feel like gritting my teeth and tearing my hair apart, or make my manager eat her skull, I managed to refrain from the temptation and keep my muddled head straight for some time, and think ‘maybe I can overcome this..lemme give it a try’..

__________________________________________________________________________________

Love Me Back

 

I get up in the morning with your thoughts

These thoughts, I seem to find no respite from

I look at your empty chair

Living and re-living the moments we spent together

Recollecting every word you spoke to me

With you sitting on that chair and me beside you

Every time my phone beeps, I run to look at it

Only to find that it is not you

And in those moments my tears are uncontrollable

The grass over which we had walked together..

Somebody else is sitting there now..

Until a few days ago, I was a happy girl

With not a single worry

But these days, all I seem to do is long for you..

For a million times I think of you

Don’t you think of me atleast once dear..

Were all those sweet nothings you spoke to me

Just a bunch of lies?

Nothing ever seems to fill this vacancy in my heart

I keep telling myself ‘you fool..he doesn’t love you back’

My heart knows this fact to be true

But doesn’t know a way out

I certainly may not die

But am not living either

 

Wait…a lot of unexpected happens in life

With a smile and optimism, I finally hope “Can’t you possibly love me back?”

 

Blogging phobia

Ever since I came to know about blogging, I always wanted to blog. But every time I set myself to start the first blog, I realized I had butterflies in my stomach. I would write a few lines and then close the document, saying to myself things like blogging is not for me or some other day when things are fine.

And that fine day would never come. Maybe I was afraid that people might not accept me or that I might get negative comments or worst of all people might remain indifferent. This inner conflict continued for quite some time now. So, why am I able to do it today? Maybe it is the energy of the new job, or maybe I managed to convince myself that some day has to be the first day, or maybe Taru’s encouraging words worked, or maybe the angels and stars are just right and are working in my favour today.  Sometimes you arrive at a juncture of life where you tell yourself enough is enough. Do it right now. I guess this is one such day for me.

Hurray! I managed to write so much without closing the window. And am posting the blog also. I need to CELEBRATE!!

The girl with a limp

It was not my day. Things were pretty frustrating. As with every bad day, I held God responsible for everything that was going bad.

As I was going home, I witnessed something which added to my grudge against God and this unfair world. The road to my home was bumpy (having been recently dug up God-knows-why). A little girl of about 10 was walking. She appeared to be walking with a limp and gave an impression as if every step she was taking involved a huge effort on her part. My heart immediately moved towards that girl. And my anger against everything resurfaced. Now, what God would give a little girl such ailment when she should be running around and playing with her friends?

With nothing else to do, I kept watching her from the other end of the road. Awkward as it was, there was something methodical in the way she was walking.  She seemed to be placing her left foot directly in front of the right and vice-versa. It didn’t take me long to realize that I had been mistaken about her. This little girl was not walking with a limp. She was doing or rather trying cat walk.  Since the road was bad with a lot of pebbles, it was not easy for her. But somehow, she was persistent in her efforts. She continued this way for some time and having finally given up, walked normally for some time and then ran to her home.

I smiled without effort for the first time that day. All the way to my home, I was giggling with little worry as to what the others on the road thought about me. Is there any learning in this incident for me? I do not know. I went home relaxed and happy.