Monday, 30 November 2009

EMS Paper, the flower story

EMS Paper today.

I had (or perhaps we all had) this antaryaami feeling that Suresh Jain sir would give us a rather weird looking flower shaped incomprehensible that standard "explain BRIEFLY with a DIAGRAM" question.

Last night as I prepared, fighting my sleep and my boredom, I stared at a slide. It had Four circles, overlapping each another. At the centre was a box. Said something about arbit stakeholder management gyaan. The four circles had these written:

Ok, I knew what CSR was (haven't the seniors and teachers harping on how everyone is deeeeeply into CSR these days?).

In case you wonder (Corporate governance, Corporate Sustainability and Corporate competitiveness).

I rattofied (or tried to, because I couldn't understand a word of the flower). The Four CC's were good. So were the Four horizontal and vertical arrows. But the diagonal arrows? What the hell did they mean?

Ok, what was the title of the diagram? What was it that I was reading?

Today, I told DDT (or Aditi), I have this feeling that flower diagram will come in the exam. "So do I", said Aditi. She continued "But I tried to learn it, and I remembered your words of wisdom during the IIA exam. There's no point in trying to rattofy something when you know it will just not enter your brains. So I dropped it."

Great, my words of wisdom!

Classroom, before the exam

Priyanka "This arrow has @#$$@$%^&^%$#@#$%^%$#"
Tarika "No No I think$#$%%^%$##$"
Priyanka "Then what did the words below that arrow say?"
Tarika "..........."
Kopal; "Arey, what was the topic of the slide?"

(I still couldn't figure out what the arrows said!

The question paper... Question 5 (or was it 6?)

Explain "The 4CR multi-dimensional corporate responsibility perspective" using a DIAGRAM.


Answer sheet: Four circles and four arrows.

Suresh Jain sir "Paper to easy tha na."
Me: "Haan sir, pata nahin, papers to easy hi hote hain"
Sir: "Direct questions the"
Me: "Sir woh 4 CR wala nahin aata tha, pata tha aayega, par nahin aata tha"
Sir: "Woh to kitna easy tha"
Me: "Easy to tha sir, aur gole banaye bhi hain, par galat hain"

Saturday, 28 November 2009

A crush, a kiss, a story

The results were out. My name was right at the bottom of the list. At least I had made it!

A game of truth and dare, I chose dare. "Ask him (pointing at the smartest guy in school) to give you a lift home." As school ended, the entire class was looking at me, sure that I would fail, yet again. I bit my nails during the last class, biting too much, and the pain slowly filling me.

"Abhishek!" He stopped his two wheeler. "Ummm.. I uh, I was wondering.." He looked on, that patient look that I see only on my dad's face. "You want a lift?" I was stunned. How did he know? Those asses of the boys in my class must've told him! "Well, ya, only if it is ok with you, I mean I could go in the bus, but these guys asked me to, you know, well, I.." (He let out a slight laughter)

"Come on, these people do this to almost every new girl". So I wasn't the only one they had done this to? Did this mean the bike of his had seen many other girls getting a lift? All those daydreams I had of him dropping me home, him getting mesmerized, inviting me for a cup of coffee in the evening were shattered. For some reason, he did not seem so appealing anymore.

I went on and sat behind him. The ride was silent, with the occassional honking and two of my class guys following us to see where we end up. Finally they gave up their chase, I was home. "You're rather quiet." "Yes, I guess. I really do not talk to strangers much" He was slightly taken aback, probably because he expected me to go all shy and say well..hmm..ya..(I was so annoyed!)

Auditions for a play and I was selected. So was he, but his was a major role. I was just one of the many who had two lines to say, towards the end of the play. Everyday I would wait for my turn, wait, get irritated, speak, and go home. Someone spread the rumour that I could sing, and I was out of the minor role and doing the singing! I was paranoid. What would everyone think? I sang only for my ears.

Abhishek came up to me on the final day of rehearsal (I had been avoiding him every day). "Why do you run away the moment I come? Have I done or said anything wrong?" Everything you've done is wrong! You broke that "amazing first crush in a new school" image that I had harboured since it was decided that I would go into a new school!

"Uh? no. Not really" "I love it when you sing" "Thank you" (I was blushing like a maniac). "How about a cup of coffee?" What? after six months? "Ok"

We started dating. He told me of the six months he spent wondering what he'd said wrong that first 'lift' day. From what he told me, he had never given a new girl a lift on his vehicle for a dare.

The second thing I would dream about, after getting the guy on whom you have the "amazing first crush in a new school" to ask me out, was the first kiss.
My parents were out, and had left me alone for the first time. I picked up the phone and the quintessential "Umm, My parents are out.. Do you want to come over??..."

I closed my eyes, the first kiss had to be magical. Otherwise I would end up hating every romantic movie I had seen. We kissed. Am I doing it right? Should I keep my lips closed, or open it a little? Should I hold his hands? Ah maybe like this. Three seconds and it was all over. The questions took ten seconds and the kiss a mere three. I was numb, wanting to kill myself for ruining the first kiss. He was smiling like a new born who had been just tickled to death, pulled me close to him and kissed again. My mind went blank, the bell rang.

I was in my shortest shorts that day, hoping to give Abhishek a chance to admire my legs. And as I opened the door, my dad stood. He'd left something important and had come home. "Thanks for the notes, Shreya" He vanished! My dad was quiet, took his 'important stuff' and went away.

This continued, stolen glances, holding hands while lunch-ing, playing footsie.
And this footsie got me into a fix. One day as I went on with the usual ritual of looking at him shyly, and pulling up my chair closer to the table so that my feet would find his, I got the wrong guy. Anirudh looked at me. I was oblivious and I continued. Abhishek was smiling that wicked smile of his and I knew something was amiss. Anirudh kept calling me each day, his mother was the chemistry teacher and I couldn't not take his calls. Abhishek did not like it much.

Boards, and everything went haywire. Abhishek's mom banned him from meeting his friends, mine forbade me to go for tuitions without my brother doing a check on where I go, who I interact with..

For days we would not talk and my crush-turned-love-affair was crushed.

A new college, a new beginning? I met many guys, but they had that I am a dilli wala, 'I am a stud' aura which I detested. And two years later I got a mail. This is how it read.

Dear Shreya

How are you? Things are going good for me. I am in NIT Trichy, third year and having an amazing college life. I heard your parents shifted to Chennai, and I assume you would be coming home sometime during your breaks. I hope you do. I will be interning at a media firm this summer, so if you do come, we could meet up, that is, if it's ok with you.



Two years, and he remembers me now? I will not meet him, for sure.

"So, how's college life" "It's decent" "How's Delhi" "It's decent" "Ok, how's the love life?" "It's decent" "What about you, Abhishek?" "I don't have any" "Oh, I lied too" "Why" "Just.." "Ok" "Ok"....

He professed the 'deep rooted love' he had for me, and I said I was never in love with him, and I was merely using him in school to get the other females jealous. I had always meant to dump him, humiliate him, and dump him...

Well, no, I did not say any of that.

"I wish to kiss you, may I?" My goodness, why was he being such a super gentleman and getting me all nervous? But I was ready this time. Three articles on "how to be a good kisser" and one "things not to do when you kiss" and I was ready. A friend's place in Chennai, with the friend out to get some stuff to eat, this was the best chance. My eyes closed and I waited. Nothing. "Hello" (AAARRRGHH that irritating phone call!) Rashi came back. I was upset. The next day I went out with him and gave him the cold "I will answer only in monosyllables" attitude.

We sat on the beach, Rashi uttering nonsense about some arbit movie she had recently seen. "Look, that lighthouse, something's wrong" Abhishek pointed. Rashi turned the other way to look. Abhishek turned my face towards his, and kissed....

"What Abhishek, there's nothing there" I was blushing like crazy! Finally that kiss, the kiss I had been waiting for all my life

Thus, the story ends. The Kiss, and happiness ever after...

(This work is entirely fictitious. Any resemblances whatsoever to any person living or dead is coincidental)

A random walk...

A random walk, a day's work well done
I see the eyes, the ruffled hair,
in an attire fit for a laugh
Everyday a glimpse, and a repulsive thought
Growing in her belly a life, or maybe two

A random walk, a day's work half done
the belly bigger, her eyes smiling,
those soiled hands reaching out
The repulsion wearing off, growing on it, perhaps sympathy?
Sitting on the pavement she laughs

A random walk, a day's work still half done
the sight of pandals, the bells,
the songs in praise of goddess Durga
She sits on the pavement, seven months after
the night which ripped her innocence

A random walk, a day's work incomplete
children run, priests sing, women gossip
the belly grows, chest bigger,
waiting for that one glimpse of hope
I pray for mercy, and her well being

A random walk, a day's work well done
the belly a gentle flab, hair still wild
a newborn smiles
lullabies fill the nights, laughter shines
an ngo snatches away her only piece of pride

A random walk, a day's work done
the face marked by the innocent smile, probably a laugh
unruly hair spills over
Sitting on the pavement, passersby glance and snigger
Will there be another such night?


I take a sip of the steaming cup of coffee I hold now, and wonder about:

1) Where will I be in two month's time?
2) Will I be doing what I really want to? AM I doing the right thing?
3) Should I be doing what everybody is doing, earn a fat paycheck and be happy? Will I be happy then?
4) That one CWS mail. Did it change anything in me, for me?
5) Why do I keep going further north, when all I want to go is down south (read Bangalore).
6) I hope my life turns out the way we saw it together.

Sunrise tomorrow, a new day. These are confusions I'd like to get rid of, or maybe not.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

And I'm back

I lost the inspiration to write. But it's back now :)
Courtesy nobody. However, I need to go back to what I was. Music, writing, and art. Things I had let go off for some reason,a nd it was just yesterday I realized that when I have nobody, these things will make me live my days happily.

Exams from tomorrow. Sigh. So I end it here

I see you

I watch from the balcony, the workers screaming at each other, a load of cement passing from one hand to the next. I watch that one robin sit on that one branch of an almost naked tree that stands in the middle of the road on the divider. I tilt my head to listen to the sound of the next squirrel running up the wall with a tuft of dog hair in its mouth, probably to cozy up his bed on this cold winter day.

My life is one of a dog. Nature’s almost given up on the beauty she once possessed, so I make do with all the tiny little tid bits she has left for all of us to savour one last time. I am four and a half years old now, and I have finally started communicating with the humans I stay with. But they coochie coo me and more than often fail to understand that all I want is to share the happiness I feel in the world. They cry, they scream, they lose their temper over a car cleaner not doing their jobs well enough. But I see the young 5 year old boy down the street playing with a piece of stone and using it like a bomb and screaming, “I am Kasab”. What was the term that’s become so popular these days? Oh yes, “slumdog millionaire”. I have a feeling this little child will grow up to be one for sure, probably not by virtue of being a contest winner, but surely as a politician of the country. Ah yes, my human owners. I often see the unhappiness in their eyes. A boyfriend’s not talking, the daughter’s being rude, the husband is not the greatest conversationist, yet I stay by their side, knowing that the next time one of them turns hysterical because of another petty reason, I can calm them down.

A year back, terrorists took siege of the best hotels in Bombay (and yes, I will use Bombay and not Mumbai). I heard about a dog being shot at the CST and it being rescued and now being well taken care of. Since years and years, terrorists have taken siege of the environment. But the dogs, cats, and minks being shot are seldom rescued. We’re shot each day as the temperatures rise, as the SO2 in the air rises, as the smog in the winter mornings blur my vision and sense of smell. But I’m a part of the terrorist world too. I feed on Pedigree, a branded food for dogs, when I should be perhaps eating what has naturally been provided by Mother Nature. But what has been provided by Mother Nature? Hasn’t this been the question we’ve not answered yet? We’ve had many answers, but each answer has been the selfish claim of one man or one nation to ensure that the gifts are his.

The world realizes today it’s a huge mistake to turn a deaf ear to all of this. But realization and words are as good as the promises the tom cat in my alley contesting the alley election makes (which are sometimes better than the human politicians I must say). I will probably live for another 6 years, or maybe 7, or maybe 8 years more. But, I do know that the day I can see the horizon, the stars, the moon, the crickets, the bats, the owls, the mice, the sparrows, the kingfishers clearly, without anything blocking my vision or smell or hearing power, I’ll die a peaceful dog.