Saturday, March 14, 2015

One fine day

This anecdote goes back to last year when I was suffering from Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). The disease is as weird as it sounds. Google gives you a clinical description of the symptoms but essentially this disease rendered me bed-ridden since I could not walk straight due to some dislodged otoliths wrecking the balancing mechanisms of my body. The extremities of the vertigos were such that even the medicine I took was called Spinfree. After a steady recovery, my doctor advised me to start moving. Having been stuck in bed without television or laptop for a fortnight, I was dying to catch up with my social circuit. One of my best friends lived nearby. So my folks permitted me to drop down to her place for a day. I reached her hideout and she had an itinerary laid out for me. A couple of other friends were also there to surprise me. So they decided to take me out for brunch at a cafĂ© in the neighbourhood.  The moment I got out of the residence to hop in the car, I started feeling giddy again. The doctor had advised me to gradually start with limited movements in order to avoid the vertigo from hitting again. So my friends took me inside the house and we cancelled on the outing. I was disappointed and took to one corner of the living room to recuperate from the vertigo. My friends must have caught a whiff of my disappointment on cancellation of the brunch. I had dozed off in the nook of the room and the moment I snapped out of the nap, I found my friends strutting around the kitchen. They were fixing up a brunch for me. The recipes of sandwiches and salads were being googled for and these guys were in action with the cutlery in the house. In fact, even I was assigned a recipe- Fruit Cream. I do that one really well. So I was given a bowl of fruits and whipped cream to prepare it. Finally we sat down for lunch with all the dishes laid out. We hogged over the food having starved for long. Next, a friend prepared tea and we sat down to watch our old time favourite series – Friends. I had completely forgotten about the weird BPPV in the midst of all the fun and frolic. The disease had weighed me down physically and emotionally because of being isolated for a long time. The warmth of this get together filled me with a sense of optimism. When I returned home, my parents were as relieved and happy to see me in high spirits. It was the power of being together with my loved ones that gave me an incomparable strength and I managed a speedy recovery.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The New Life

Moving from a small city in Jharkhand to Delhi in itself was a huge change for me. It was my late teens when my parents moved to Greater Noida in the NCR. Now Greater Noida lies technically in NCR, but commuting from there to my college took around 2 hours. So I spent 4 hours a day travelling on the various means of transport. It used to wear me out till the end of the day and by the time I reached home, I had no time and energy left at hands for any other activity. Having practised this schedule for two months, I was left completely exhausted and I decided to take a rented accommodation near my college itself.  This was a going to be a major step for me. A huge chunk of teenager kids move from home to a hostel mode of life at some point of time but I was this self-confessed single spoiled brat back then, used to being spoon-fed and pampered in the homegrown environment. Moving to a hostel meant becoming self-sufficient, responsible and organised. By the time I had started looking for hostel accommodation, most of the decent options had already been acquired for that session. I found a twin-sharing room which could just contain enough oxygen to sustain two. Had a third person come in, there could have been a SOS situation due to oxygen deficit. My roommate was this girl from sophomore year of physical education course. Her stance was intimidating enough for me to restrict my activities only to my designated half of the room. It was only after spending two weeks with her, I realised that she was an endearing soul. I had grown home-sick within that period and almost quit eating the oil-soaked disgusting meals provided there. She must have noticed this and she cooked a delicious  porridge for me on that weekend. This gesture brought tear to my eyes. I found washing clothes very cumbersome, but she used to join me on our laundry sessions which made the entire procedure so much fun. I was beginning to notice the change in me. I had become more organised. No more did I need anyone to hover over me in order to get up from the bed. I had a structured routine and the good part was that I was enjoying this change in me. I even picked up on a new hobby courtesy my roommate. I discovered my love for food, not just gorging over it but also reading about it and preparing some simple recipes as well. 
The sense of independence was satiating in a very refreshing way. It helped me grow out of that immature brat kid into a much better person. Though I got rid of that dingy accommodation in the next session itself but I guess that place was meant for my greater good.
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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Optimism prevails!

Commuting in Delhi was a tedious task before the Metro Rail came into service. Buses and autorickshaws were what one had to rely on in absence of a personal conveyance. Back then, I had enrolled in a summer training programme at a hospital in South Delhi. So every day, I used to commute from Greater Noida to South Delhi, switching buses and autos in two hours to make it to the destination in time.
On one particular day, my experiments ran till quite late in the evening. By the time, I was about to leave, the weather gave way and it started to rain. It was 7:30 p.m. already and I could not find a single auto or bus nearby. It had started to get dark and the ticking of the clock was raising my anxiety levels.  There was this other lady standing next to me as well who was also looking for an auto. Tall and elegantly dressed in a handwoven silk saree, she looked quite a damsel in distress amidst the pouring rains. Suddenly I saw an autorickshaw heading in my direction. I started waving at him emphatically to stop. He did stop but that lady approached him before I could and after a fair bit of negotiation, she hired the auto. I stood there in utter disappointment watching her get inside the autorickshaw. I decided to call my Dad to pick me up which meant that I would have to wait in the rain for another two hours.
While I was dialling the number, I heard someone call out “Hello”. I looked up and saw the lady peeping out from the auto. She was waving at me to come to her. I went there and she asked me where I needed to go.
“Greater Noida”, I said. She asked me to hop inside.
 I asked her,”Where are you headed to?”
She said she had to go to some place in East Delhi which was in a different direction from my destination. Assuming that sharing an auto with her would not make sense, I turned around. 
It was then she said, “Hop in. It is getting dark and getting another auto is almost impossible at the moment. I’ll get down somewhere in Noida at a bus-stop and you can ride home in this one."
  I was sceptic at first as she was a stranger but then considering the necessity of the moment, I got in. On the way, I learnt that she was a visiting professor at the medical institute. Finally when we were about to part ways at the bus station in Noida, she got down, asked the autorickshaw the fare to Greater Noida and paid him before I could say anything. I was taken aback by this and tried to return my share of fare to her. She did not accept it; instead with a calm smile on her face she said,”Someone helped me in a similar manner when I was a student and today was my opportunity to return the favour. Do the same when you can.” I could not say anything after that. We exchanged goodbyes and I left. 
That moment embarked me on a road to optimism and hope. The relief in my Mom’s eyes to see me reach home safely only added to the feeling and I realised that optimism can be found all around.
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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Befikar Umar Bhar

I am a huge fan of Morgan Freeman and I religiously watch almost all his movies.  So among his 107 actor credits listed on IMDB, it becomes difficult to pick out a favorite. Yet there is one that I never fail to scroll down to in my list of evergreens - The Bucket List. It is a tale of two terminally ill cancer patients who decide on hitting the road to accomplish their to-do list of wish things. This idea led me to compile my own bucket list. Now the moment I sat to think of the things I would want to do before I die, my head was caught in the white noise of a zillion wish things rushing in. So I decided on maintaining a brevity on this list and prioritize the top five things I would do,  given the liberty of shedding all inhibitions and constraints.
The first one on this list is a trip to the country with the highest score on the Happy Planet Index – Costa Rica ( . This sun-kissed nation seated in Central America has kept me intrigued since I was a sixth grader glued to Globe Trekker series aired on Discovery Channel. Apart from offering an amazing blend of nature and culture, this tiny nation is also home to several eco-tourism, archaeological and World Heritage sites.
The second item on my list also conforms to my love for travel. Travelling comes with an added pleasure and satiation when there is a purpose added to it. I learnt this when I happened to teach voluntarily for a few days at a school on my trips to one of the rural villages. The exchange of ideas with the kids there and making them aware of the world outside their little hamlet somehow added more meaning to that trip. I wish to take it up in a more organised manner and draw more experience out of those places apart from the touristy bit.
 I like writing and have been trying my hands at Hindi poetry but I want to take a step ahead to Urdu. With ample time at my hands, I would love to read and learn Urdu so that it enables me to reflect in that beautiful language.
I have a deep rooted love for water-bodies and the only thing that keeps me away from it is a fiasco that happened in one of my swimming classes. After an almost near-death experience, I developed a fear of water and I really wish I could overcome it to be a water-baby again.
The final one on my list has to be a fulfillment of my love for gastronomy. I can easily rate myself on the list of an avid food enthusiast. However, when it comes to cooking, that art yet needs to be marveled. I want to study the molecular gastronomy of food and use this science to work on my culinary skills. Of course the wish for access to swanky kitchen accessories for the purpose goes unsaid.
The  IDBI Federal Lifesurance offers insurance plans that can help one accomplish their wish items on the bucket list.    

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Becoming the Great Indian Litterbug

Right from the day I was born, my folks took to the self-assigned task of deciding on what should I grow up to be. Considering the fact that I have an extensive family, quite a number of exemplars qualified as options from amongst my list of 112 relatives. So now the decision was whether it should be a doctor like my Uncle, an engineer like one of my elder cousins, an investment banker like my grandfather’s sister’s son or a scientist, artist, lawyer or something like someone particular in that list. Midst of all the confusion and discussion in which I had no say per se, I stuck to the only possible option I had – Observation. Now multiple visits were paid to my house by the kinfolks listed by my parents as prototypes for my future self. So using my actively growing grey matter, I started taking note of the traits of each of these prototypes. Despite all the torturous cheek squeezing and chirpy giggly sounds that were a pain to my ear drums, I tried hard to maintain my unbiased take on making my selection. After the rigorous phase of observation and contemplation of each one’s actions, I struck on a prudent idea. I decided to become something what all these ideal exemplars had in common which was littering. Doctor Uncle used to chew paan and paint the bland white walls of the house in bright red. The scientist was in the habit of chewing gum and sticking them here and there in the house almost giving the walls a polka-dotted print without shelling out any moolah to the paint and texture companies. The artist cousin went scribbling and sketching around the house with her sheets and the rough drafts were thrown right out of the window on the street. I wondered what those containers called bins in the house were for. They tossed away so much outside the house, that they appeared to me as philanthropists. So I decided on becoming the Great Indian Litterbug. The best part was that I did not even need to await the process of growing up to become one. I started then and there by coughing out phlegm right on my Aunt’s face. At the age of four, I was taken on my first official visit to a historical monument. The squiggling and doodling on the ancient sandstone walls seemed like a major effort by the Great Indian Litterbug to add his artistic tinge to the this marvel of the past. The sprawling surroundings of the monument were spotted here and there with plastic bottles and empty packets of wafers and biscuits as if the titbits were an offering from the modern junk culinary to the ancestors buried in the tombs beneath the monument.  Finally leaving the place, I found a group of these litterbugs urinating on the walls of this monument and could not fail to acknowledge the superlative degree of greatness they had achieved.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

En route Bangalore!

This write-up could not have come at a better time than this. In fact I landed in Bangalore today itself after a long and tiring train journey from Delhi. I have to make arrangements for my temporary move to this city for work. I will be stationed here for around six months and I need to build my temporary hide-out since I cannot live out of a suitcase for such a long duration. While in Delhi, I had conducted ample research on obtaining my necessities for my Bangalore stay. In the process, I came across - Quickr’s Bangalore community with a vision of catering to the buying and selling needs of the Bangaloreans in the most convenient way. The range of products they offer for transactions is simply amazing. With around 13 categories and 170 sub-categories of products, they have almost anything and everything to suit one’s necessities as well as luxuries. Hence I decided on using for making my arrangements for the Bangalore stay. The first step towards this was looking for a property on rent. I wanted a 1BHK for myself, as near to my work-place as possible. They had numerous options listed in the given range of my budget. There were categories of unfurnished, semi-furnished and fully furnished rooms. Finally I zeroed in on a property around 5 kilometres from my work-place which was finalised through the newly launched feature of this online classifieds - Quikr Nxt. Using this feature, I was able to negotiate and finalise the deal via chat with the seller on the chat window of the website. Next, I wanted a mode of transport to commute to work and courtesy the sluggish traffic conditions in the city, I was advised by one of my colleagues to opt for a two-wheeler to move around the city. Under the category of scooters, I found a couple of options suiting my budget. I will be finalising the purchase within the next two days, once I have settled my luggage at the newly acquired accommodation.
The avid shopper that I am, the diversity of products on this website leaves me spoilt for choice. Next queued on my list is a television. Since I have no acquaintances in the city currently, I plan to rely on the idiot box to keep me company. Also I have my eye on the community and events section of the website. I would not want to waste my weekends in this vivacious city, sitting idle. The exhibitions, music and dance festivals and theatre events would serve as the perfect way to meet new people, socialise and learn all the more about the new city. At the end of it, my sheer motive is to imbibe as much of the city spirit as possible and just made it simpler for me.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

As true as it may taste

 It is since childhood that the ethics of honesty being the best policy are enthused in us through various means and measures at home as well as school. However, no matter how intricately is the integrity of honesty stitched in our thought process, one cannot deny that the ease of owning up the truth is guided by the consequence associated with it. Yet the guilt of being dishonest is way more. The Kinley ad reminded me of this episode from my childhood.

I was in the tenth grade at school and we were out on an excursion to a national park. A bunch of thirty kids can be quite a handful. So we had been strictly asked to follow our team leader’s instructions and any deviation from the said set of rules was punitive. It was a three day affair and each day we were taken on a nature trail from the base camp. On the final day of the trip, we were taken to the track the migratory birds of the area. On the previous night, we had a gala time at the camp bonfire singing and dancing. A friend of mine, Sarita, was allotted the responsibility to wipe out the fire before everyone retired to sleep. While I was clearing the empty food packets from the camp area, Sarita moved to get the jug of water to wipe out the fire. However, I stopped her from doing so, since I wanted to spend sometime completing my day’s write-up in the journal by the fire. I assured her that I would blow out the fire before going to sleep. So I sat by the warmth of the bonfire and completed the write-up. My eyelids became so heavy out of the day’s exhaustion that I moved to sleep without wiping out the fire. There was a strong wind blowing at night which carried a lit splinter from the bonfire to the food storage area. By morning most of our food source was charred to dust. Our team leader saw this and he lost his temper. He called out for Sarita in anger and started yelling at her for not blowing out the campfire. I was aghast seeing him so vexed and stood there quietly while Sarita was muffled up with tears in her eyes. After a while, we started with the nature trail and our team leader became busy with the preparations for the day. I was not able to garner the courage to face Sarita for my cowardice of not owning up my mistake. I kept to myself, the entire day and skipped lunch as well. When we returned in the evening, I could not bear the burden of the guilt and went to our team leader. I confessed my fault and also apologised to Sarita for the episode. She hugged me tight and our team leader punished me by boycotting me from the final day’s bonfire. Though I was saddened a bit by the punishment, yet it was a relief to get rid of the burden of dishonesty.