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Showing posts from 2017

The Self-Help Book

He slicks his dark black hair back with his fingers. Outside, it was broad daylight, offering his dark brown eyes a view of the western part of the city. The neighboring tall buildings remind him he is on the 22nd floor of his workplace. He finishes off the remnants of his black coffee, already cold by now. The half-smoked cigarette burns out on the ashtray. He pulls the ropes of his French window and his cabin is no longer reminded of the world outside.
 He turns his swivel chair with the support of his desk to face a laptop in front of him that wastes no time in taking him to another world altogether. The white striped shirt he is wearing with his dark grey tie match the colors on the back of his laptop that flaunt the initials “S. R.”.
* An unexpected knock on her door wakes Sheena up from her siesta. She reaches for the yellow dupatta lying carelessly on the other side of the bed, as if it was equally tired from the previous day’s work. She wears the dupatta around her neck cove…

Rest in Peace, Old Friend

Dedicated to Partha Deka, a friend I had known since I was a child, a friend fate had brought to me back this year, only to be taken away again 

Remnants of a smile on a stone-cold face
And maybe you can fool everyone again
That death isn't as painful as we make it to be...
Some tears bottled up from months gone by-
You'd say judge not how one deals with loss...
Dying dreams like drops of dew under a rising sun,
You'd laugh they don't chain your ankles anymore...
We'd cry for we wouldn't know any better
And make stories of your new whereabouts,
Playing MJ songs and laughing at your own jokes...
Or in a make-believe world of hope,
Somewhere in peace in a dreamless sleep...

The Boy in the Train

"You'll always be late for the previous train, and always on time for the next.” 
― Piet Hein

I rejoice whenever I get a window seat on Indian trains whenever it’s a chair car (otherwise Upper Berth would be my spot), more so when it is the last seat near the door, usually marked 4. There’s always more legroom for those who get the last seat. The TTE (Train Ticket Examiner) sits in the same seat on the other column, marked 1, which feels quite safe for a single woman traveller. When I need to leave my seat for a short break, it’s the TT (in short for TTE) who would watch over my luggage. When I need to ask how delayed the train was, it was again the TT, my neighbour for the journey.
However, sitting near the TT comes with other experiences too apart from the sense of security. There would be travellers without a ticket, looking for a vacant seat, who would sit on the TT’s seat itself pretending it’s theirs and later being laughed at, when busted. There would be people coming t…

Writing like No One's Reading

Write like no one’s reading. The thought came to me on a train journey I hadn’t expected much from. It was always about taking a nap and snoring the distance away for me, avoiding eating anything from the mobile vendors selling dubious tea and untrustworthy coffee. I’d forcefully close my eyes, plug in my earphones, till the point a part of my brain would give up and turn itself off.
It’s different this time- I find myself on a comfortable seat, near the window, with enough leg room to keep both my bags and still not feel suffocated. I couldn’t sleep so I read; I couldn’t read any more so I drifted away in my thoughts- a practice I had left years ago.
Like encountering an old friend on a strange road that somehow feels familiar when you see the friend smile, my thoughts embrace me back. I allow myself the freedom to let them fly away as far as they wish to. I allow myself to steal my waking time to do nothing, instead of occupying myself with thoughtless texting or data analysis work…

The Pee Journey

If you’re someone who has traveled long distances holding the urge to pee and hence, doubtful of drinking another gulp of water, you’ll probably understand what I’m going to talk about. Every time the vehicle I’m traveling in gets a jerk because of the bumpy road, I fear I’ll get back to being the 5-year old who peed her pants in her sleep.
If you’re a woman and traveling, here are some pee stories that may act as a caveat or a tip for your next journey. :-P
Mumbai to Hyderabad
I remember taking an overnight bus from Mumbai to Hyderabad which I had boarded at 8pm. By 11pm I knew I couldn’t sleep if I didn’t pee. I go to the driver and ask him to stop at a hotel I see ahead. He doesn’t. I stand near him for more than fifteen minutes asking him to stop because I had to pee but he just wouldn’t stop anywhere else but the dhaba he usually stops in. He would say we would reach there in ten minutes. I finally had to hold my pee for around two hours walking to and fro the aisle of the bus,…

The Binary Life

My car moved when I typed 1 It stopped at each 0 I type 1 and the lights were on, At every 0, it was dark again...
I look away from the perfect screen Through a glass window covered with dirt, And I see beyond the translucence A dimly lit house on the hillside, A broken door left ajar, A worn out roof that'd still let A few raindrops seep in, A man limping his way home the way he would have run if he could. I see the imperfections  Of the enormous tree Under which a child could still be drenched- One drop at a time.
I see a half-torn ten dollar bill, Lying near some worm-ridden mangoes The owner of the tree couldn't pluck on time, Useless as both could be, the way A writer would think away his time, Without words to put on the paper.
I come home late at night Another day of programming  LEDS and wheels of the tiny robot car, Coding 1 or 0, I kill my day, Only to find my night dimly lit Like the house on the hillside, Not dark enough, Not bright enough. I paint the walls of my…

Dark Nights of Plitvice: Croatia, Europe

My stories of sheer stupidity needs documenting. This one needs to be a blog post for when my memory wouldn’t remind me of the glorious night that kept from an epic trip to an epic failure within minutes, this post would always be there to remind me of my experience.
It was all going well – as planned. I met Vibhor (Dhote) in the Zagreb Bus Terminal on an early morning to reach Plitvice by noon. Of course we had some trouble finding each other in the terminal because I had no internet connection and I went to the wrong shop at first, but my memory doesn’t aid me with those details for what entailed in the evening was far more chaotic. In a nutshell, we met each other just in time to catch the bus Dhote had booked. Yes, the credits of planning the trip goes to Dhote for I love it to just show up and go with the flow. I remember the previous evening at Zagreb, all I did was ask the hostel receptionist to tell me about the important spots, take a map from him and just walk wherever I wa…

Being Desi in a Foreign Country: Sweden

“I am not hungry,” he said with a visible frown on his face.  Tim was a Russian musician who was tired having traveled all the way from Bangkok to Stockholm without proper sleep that day. We both were couch-surfing at Stockholm for the first time, the way many travelers do when they wish to meet new people, and our host was out with his friends for some time. It was a crazy evening and the three of us had gone out but I had to return mostly because Tim wasn’t feeling well and he didn’t know the way back home and partly because I couldn’t afford the club we were in.
The clock had struck 12 in the midnight and I knew I was hungry. I am not sure if this is because I am a foodie, a fatso or an Indian but I simply cannot sleep if my tummy indicates it needs something nor can I imagine others not being hungry when I am. Tim was adamant that he’d not have anything, since he was too tired to get anything and too upset with the sudden change in temperature he observed between the two countrie…

Dress Up

It’s funny how one’s life goes through highs and lows
But we put some kohl and brush our brows.
We someday realize we have no one but foes;
So we sit back to paint the nails on our fingers and toes.
For that might be the way one can drop that frown,
To let not the world and its people pull you down,
For I can see my life all blue- the hue I dread
But I can change my hair to a better shade of red.
I may wake up to find a messy work life
But I can neatly braid my hair and pretend it’s all fine.
I can find my job dull or whine that it’s not fair
But I can take out a magic wand and curl my hair.
I may cry all I can, as if I’m trapped in Medusa’s lair
But tomorrow I’ll still show up with a confident flair.

Hope

My favorite color is the shade
of your cheeks
wet with drops
from the salty sea of your eyes
when you are guilty of
making an innocent mistake
like writing "writed" for "wrote"
doubting if you can still write a good quote,
calling yourself not a writer
even when the pages of your diary
are filled with a million notes,
even when you die everyday
but wake up to write
for a theme called Hope.

Embracing Change

(Article written for 2017 issue of The AECian, Assam Engineering College)
When Professor Satyajit Bhuyan asked me to write an article for The AECian I had absolutely no idea what I’d write on. What can I write for the magazine I was an editor of some four years back? What do I write for its readers that they haven’t read before?
Having found no specific answer to these questions I sit down to write just the way I blog – pouring my heart out. When Bhuyan sir mentioned “The AECian”, it took me back to 2013 when I had worked relentlessly for it. At those times the students would write articles on paper, instead of MS Word, and submit it. Imagine the pain of first decoding someone else’s handwriting and then editing it, not to mention, the typing and re-typing required by the publishers. I remember having a discussion with Bhuyan sir regarding changing the submission method so that our writers submit soft copies making it easier for both the parties. Our tech-savvy professor welcomed th…

Story of the Bitch… Face -_-

For those of you who haven’t met me in person, I must, before writing about the miseries of wearing a bitch face, write why I say I have a bitch face. I am a plump woman with a round face and I vividly remember my batchmate at MDI, Nikhil, claiming that my “default face” is similar to a sad smiley, which implied people who didn’t know me would find it difficult to approach and talk to me. Similar were the thoughts of my Capgemini FLP (Freshers’ Learning Program) mate Alakananda who had said that if one sees me from a distance one gets the impression of someone with an attitude of arrogance.


When a person is not smiling, it is quite understood that the person is either thinking something or listening or doing anything but not smiling. When I am not smiling people ask me, “What’s wrong?” I remember my first job at Capgemini when our senior Sashank would complain out loud, “ye ladki roti kyu rehti hai?” And since he would not give much opportunity to me to reply, I would just vent out a…

Writing Something New

Words engulf him
The way he gulps his scotch
One glass after another.
He grabs his pen
And writes down his love
Pages after pages.
He passes a smile at me
At times when he isn't bothered
About how he looks
When his teeth is shown,
When his hair is uncombed
And she passes him by.
He writes a note for her
Without reading
The stories I've to tell.
He asks me, sometimes,
As he drops his note
In her old letterbox.
His thick eyelashes flutter,
A gulp in his throat,
Drops of sweat 
On his forehead,
He fumbles as he utters,
"Have you written anything new?"


Nostalgia

I am often taken back to the old corridors of our previous house - the one that saw us grow old. Its windows would let the fresh air in that would blow over our text books, those trophies we won in school, the notebook our father kept- the notebook he had kept for future knowing not that the internet would soon take over and maybe obliterate its value. He would keep newspaper clippings safe of the featured poems written by my sister and by a younger me, unaware that soon we would go so digital we would lost count of the URLs that would hold pieces written by us to be lost forever and maybe, found again someday. It’s funny how we talk of nostalgia these days when we would still have a lot of photographs capturing our smiles, the places we visited, the fun we had and the people we met. For me nostalgia would sometimes take me back to those days when we used to run around in the house - all four of us, the smiles that were not captured by any camera, the momen…