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Monday, December 29, 2008

The Divine

He stood on the bridge seeing the water flow, the boats sailing like paper dots and the canvas of the horizon turning lighter. The skies were turning grey and the wind seemed to pick up speed. The skies did portend moderate downpour, though nothing ominous. He knew he had his raincoat and umbrella kept in the car if it became necessary. The driver became aware of the weather and came out with an umbrella in hand. Today he wanted to drench himself in the rains and walk back on his own. He signaled the driver to head back home taking him by surprise. Not in usual senses will someone get wet in an Armani suit.

Man Standing at the Bridge
Man Standing at the Bridge
There are moments when you want to break the shackles and walk with no direction, no objective. Walking in the rains in the finest of clothing, sleeping on terrace floor with arms open, staring at the sky and other things which normally don't make sense. He wanted to question his thoughts, his achievements and his own existence. Where am I in this mad rush? What did I set out to do? And more importantly where did I reach?

It had been a long run over the years. People would term it as twenty years of corporate career but he would add another 25-30 years to the time frame of his starting point. It had been a reasonably good going for him his name plastered over every other magazine and newspaper. People knew him more for his passion and his odd ways and his madness of pursuing everything till the deathbed. He was dexterous, meticulous, dreamer and a showman. Everyone sees dreams but does not know what canvas to paint it on. He knew from his birth that his canvas was the entire humanity and he ought to do justice to this foresight. “Destiny’s Child” – the word he used for himself years back before his father and today his parents get the implication of that loosely said words meant.

The rains poured heavily and the winds were slapping hard on his face. He was a man of steel nerves who could not be moved by calamities that would otherwise make the ordinary mortals weak in their knees.He decided to take a stroll and be at the mercy of the nature. A sense of belonging was coming to him when he walked on those roads. His hard work had transformed lives and added hope to people’s dreams. He had given them a reason to live and an outlook to look differently. He could see through his company he had added value to the society and benefits percolated through multiple avenues.

Do i stop by and applaud over my laurels? Or should i call it a day ? Do I see a new dream? Do I paint a bigger picture? Do I sit and relax or run again?. He stood on the bridge and opened up his arms to the skies. 

'Give me an answer , you have been guiding my life'.

A light splashed and he thought he saw a faint picture among the clouds that blessed him . He bowed and closed his eyes. Years later he will stop by and again ask the divine.

Saturday, August 02, 2008


A halting screech of the wheels woke him up. He pulled the curtains and his mind’s landscape shifted from slumber to the world outside his coach window. The arms of the clock struck two in the morning. Slightly lifting his head from the pillow, he tried to make himself more aware of the scene unfolding before him. It must have been five or six degrees on the mercury and tea vendors made an explainable entry. Sipping up a cup of tea won’t be a bad idea.

'You know Aditi about the moments that give me a high?'

'No!! said she with a poignant yet receptive smile.'

'Well imagine a chilling winter night and streaks of light on the road and we both walk out to sip a cup of coffee. It would be so exciting isn't it?'

That was a discussion that took place ten years back.

Journey by Night Train
Journey by Night Train
He was experiencing the present moment though his mind wandered off to past conversations and the dreams he shared with her. He walked out of his AC compartment in the fog to brave the cold and the winds outside.

He had done pretty well in his career and was heading a multinational in the capacity of Managing Director. Swelling bank accounts, luxuries, material comforts all came as a reward for years of hard work and dexterity. Years of travels and travails had fulfilled his dreams yet till date he had a child like curiosity and eagerness for life . 

'What would be your wish list for life ?'

'Well position, prestige and money off course, but Aditi you know little acts give me more joy than these symbols of power and prestige.' She looked deep into his eyes and words were frivolous. They stood in silence and watched dusk dissolving in streaks of light.

He stepped out of the compartment and bought a cup of tea.. The station was small , empty and there were hardly any passengers to board. The only activity was from few tea vendors and insomniacs like him. Suddenly something unusual caught his attention. He was trying to make out the clear picture. A lady all heavily draped in a long fur coat stepped out from the adjacent compartment. Her persona and body language conveyed finesse and high position. She even seemed on a parallel position career wise. Her face had poise and grace yet simplicity was more overwhelming.Their eyes met and he walked towards her to exchange pleasantries

'I never knew there were others like me who would come out for a cup of tea at this ungodly hour'

'Why? Are you the only brave one? I am here to realize a thrill that I dreamt years back and on every such opportunity I relive it'. She said sipping her cup of  warm tea.

He ears became attentive and he quite curious. 'What dream you talking about?'

'Years back I stood with my best friend and told him of a cherished moment. In a cold winter night say at 3 AM in the morning, I would love to go out for a cup of tea with him by my side.We both had laughed and saw on the horizon our dream taking shape in the womb of time .' 

'You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. There would be so many others pinning  in their hearts these beautiful experiences.' She finished her tea , thanked him for the brief conversation and turned back.

They had realized a beautiful moment together.

Monday, June 09, 2008

American Hurricane

Today i am here to share with you a historical night. You would be possibly aware that US is a land of tornadoes and hurricanes and i got caught up with one on an eventful nights. I stay in the state of Indiana and it has been severely hit by tornadoes. Every night there are sirens ringing and tornado warning is issued. In deep sleep you don't get up but yesterday was different.

It all started around 6 P.M. The apartment where i stay is covered by forest area on one side and there is a river that flows in through that forest. There is a mesh that separates the living area from the forest. A stream of water started flowing in from the forest end and slowly the water level started increasing. And in next 2-3 hours the water was like half a meter above the ground level . Though our apartments sit high but the water level was threatening ! As would have been expected in India(n) settings the power should have gone, surprisingly in US the power conked off  too.

Night at the Relief Camp in US
Night at the Relief Camp in US

Around 9 P.M. there were police officers asking us to evacuate instantly. There were severe warning of more flooding and if inclement weather continued our apartments could face water seepage. I evacuated with all my certificates and stowed my entire luggage on a cupboard that was few feet high . In the dark i managed to collect my certificates using a lighter and even managed to grab a chapatti before leaving.

We got buses that took us to Columbus school. This was a pretty big school and 3 floor high. While i was making my way to safe basement i saw these old Americans in the front of the entrance. They were sick, too old, too obese and in too much pain . I felt pity seeing their present condition and since i had never been to an American home so it was more of a shock . We were asked to occupy a big hall  where Red Cross volunteers gave us a folding cot and blankets. There were water bottles, potato wafers and biscuit packets to eat. The sight of the place was something. So many Indian and American families all huddled up for safety. By the time everyone had just settled water started flooding in the basement. Again the caravan of 1000 people had to me shifted to a floor higher up. The old and infirm people were shifted using wheel chairs and stretchers while others gathered the relief supplies and moved up. Another hour passed and it was 12 PM  by the time we all felt a bit relieved and safe.

The trouble again started now, the entire basement had got filled with water as high as 15 meters or more and the families huddled up on higher floors with all the exits under water. This was already a scary sight and we heard an announcement that there is an eminent danger of power outage and more flooding. We have to move again.  God ! Another shifting of 1000 people; kids, women, old people with adages, some were on emergency apparatus even.  There was just one exit that lead us to the playground at the back of the college campus. The shifting again resumes at 2 30 AM and it was only by 4 AM we were transported to a safer place; another school. This time cots and other relief supplies could not be transferred along with the families.

People could manage to carry few blankets and we spread on floor and tried taking some rest. I tried catching some sleep while sitting and chair and could manage 2-3 hours of much needed rest. It was in the morning we all  were given some cereals and fruits to eat. Everyone was curious to know how the conditions in our living colonies were. There was no way we would walk back as all the entire town and the roads were were flooded . Slowly over the next day water level started receding and some normalcy restored.

Even after repeated warnings the families started moving back. I too asked for a pick up and reached home by 12 30 in the afternoon. The drama still continued ;no power no water. Without power one cannot cook as gases and microwaves don’t work. There was no option but to sleep again for 1-2 hrs. I woke up around 3 30 PM and sat doing nothing, waiting for power to be restored. Around 6 PM power came back and water supply was restored. I took a much needed bath and made vegetables sandwiches and a strong cup of tea. It is the same evening after that fateful night and i am here to a first hand experience with all of you. In the last 25 years of known history nothing like this was ever witnessed by locals in Columbus,Indiana. I think i was a witness to a historical event.

Floods in Columbus , Indiana
Floods in Columbus , Indiana