Monday, 22 August 2016

My Time Machine



 The wooden clock hung right overhead as I took off my shoes and placed my school bag aside. "What news today?" mom called from the kitchen. "Nothing new ma..." I said, "A few long lectures all day, and a huge pile of work to do." and I sat down for a snack. Once I felt refreshed enough to tackle the workload of the day, I entered my room.

  There it was, standing right by the window, bathed in the afternoon sunlight, showing off its glimmering brown veneer. Books, small and big, fat and thin, lay dusted in stacks, waiting to be opened and flipped over. The globe sat on the top, expecting to be twirled and studied any moment. The pink table lamp stood ready to be switched on, so it's spotlight could make it seem like the rest of the world did noto exist.

Yes, that was none other than my very own study table. My secret 'Time machine'. Confused? Worry not, for an elaboration is on the way.
I went and sat on my poor blue rolling chair, which had lost quite a few screws since I started using it. Grabbing the nearest book and a pencil, I ventured to study. Ten minutes later, the charm began. My eyes caught sight of the pen-stand right in front of me, made out of newspaper rolls. And then, my time machine took me four years back..

 "Dashy pass the fevicol!" my sister gestured to me. I passed the big bottle of glue over to her happily, while she finished rolling her paper. I continued rolling my first piece for the fourth time, still unable to perfect it like she did. "Mine's still fatter than yours! " I whined, comparing my loose paper roll with her's. "That's okay...we could still use that." my sister said. I looked at my roll with no satisfaction. "Or..." my sister continued, " You could cut out the papers and keep them ready for me." That sounded fine. So I began cutting the newspapers into equal squares. This time, our pen stand was going to be way better than the last one! "Dashy..we could stick our photos on it too!" said sissy, as if she was reading my mind. "Great idea!" I beamed. 

And I'm back to the present. My sister smiled at me from the photo in the pen stand, a younger me stood next to her. I decided to study again. This time my time machine kept me focused for half an hour. My phone beeped. Someone had turned the Wi-Fi on at home. A quick surf through my FB notifications exposed me to a status update "Off to Ootty with buddies...gonna rock! <3 ;)" My time machine now took me to the future, but it kept the time vague...

 The wind rushing past was deafening. My hair flew in random directions, forming a complete mess. It was biting cold despite the heavy jacket I wore. But it only made it all the more amazing. Sitting in the backseat of the bike, I closed my eyes. It was finally happening...our dream ride to Goa. "Daaaash!!" I opened my eyes to see my bestie grinning at me from my left. I raised my hand to hit her high-five, but it was too small to reach hers, much to my dismay while the others laughed. The three bikes were now parallel. I raised my hands up high... swaying in the wind...flying...woohooo!

I felt a tap on my shoulder. Mom had brought me some salted cucumber. She left soon enough. I closed the book on the table. They say it's good to switch subjects to escape boredom. So I took the next immediate book from the stack. Whoops. Chemistry...I was definitely not in a mood for that. So I looked around for something to engage me. The large periodic table of elements pasted on the wall looked down at me. People think I stuck it out of interest. Who knew that it was a gift from my dear sister! Right next to it was a painting made by my friend, another gift for my birthday. 'Keep smiling', it read. She'd drawn our group of ten, so I could always remember them, even if we were in ten different directions in the future...

 I was sitting in front of my PC, reading comments of my latest published book about my career life. Surprisingly, it sold in great numbers in the very first week. There was a comment from the IFS officer, "You've made it Dash! And remember, keep smiling! :) " You've made it too dear, I thought. I looked up at the wall where the painting hung, the very same IFS officer's painting. Just then my phone rang. "She got the job!" A voice screamed into my phone, "She finally got it!" I shrieked with delight, "That makes the ten of us! We've made it to our dreams!" "I love us!" she screamed back. "Party mode on!"

A half orange appeared before me. "Want it?" my dad asked. "Of course!" I said, taking it from him. "It's okay if you say no sometimes you know!" he quipped. I laughed. Oh how could I say no! It was like a custom for me to eat the other half of dad's orange, whenever he wanted one. Chewing the fruit, I started working out math problems. Soon I started searching for an algebraic identity among the sticky notes to solve a problem. During the search, I noticed how the shuffled Rubik's cube did not  look neat on my table. So I picked it up to solve it. I was then taken six months behind.

 "R..U...R'..U..R..UU..R'..U...and that's how you get the cross." I told my cousin brother, showing him the way to solve the last side of the Rubik's cube. He shook his head, "I won't remember...write it down for me." I grinned. "Speed up the first part, I'll write it down after you've done that!" I said. "Right." he gave a small nod, taking the cube from me and turning the whole of his attention into it. That would keep him occupied for a while. I went back to my study to complete my homework. The sun was setting. The soothing evening rays lulled me to sleep right on top my notebook.

The Rubik's cube was done and I placed it back on top. The open chemistry textbook was staring at me. I stared back at it for a while, until I decided to close that too. Time for a break. I'll travel again some time later. 


***
An older post published again. Connecting with #MondayMusings at Corinne's :)

Sunday, 14 August 2016

A letter to Pak from Hindustan

Source : Google

Dear Pakistan,

It's been 69 long years. Can you imagine that? That long since people started calling us by different names. For a second back then I'd thought, what's in a name and a mere line painted between us?! But then it turned out to be much more than what I thought it would be. Call it the biggest fight we've ever had as siblings, but maybe it was time we started being on our own.

 You know as well as I do that things aren't as bad as it used to be. Although there is no denying that disputes, and not-so-petty ones at that, still exist. But let's look at the bright side; we're moving on and building up an identity of our own aren't we? Just like you have your problems to deal with, I have mine. And uhhm...let's not talk about how well we're doing that though.

For so long people were outright stubborn about focusing on our differences that they overlooked our similarities. So for today, let's remember that we're made of the same blood and skin, and let's bask in the glory of our bond. I know that many have a false notion about you, and to them I'd like to quote something I heard that's touched my heart - to not judge a rose by its thorns. 

Yes we're different but still one and the same. Birds of a feather, flowers of a plant? Call it whatever. That line painted between us is a merging point rather than a demarcation. It is where we meet and not separate. You know that we make a great team. And come to think of it, we're still young and only learning to deal with our inhabitants and their ways. 69 years may seem like a lot to them, but you know better than me how hard it is to control these folk.

Nevertheless, do remember that I'll be always right here watching over you, as a sister ought to be doing. And in the coming decades I greatly hope that our bond only strengthens... however thin it might seem now. 

Wishing you centuries and centuries of happiness and good will. And yeah, have a splendidly super duper birthday!

Lots of love,
Your one and only 
Hindustan
14/8/16


***
Written for Open Sky Slam's initiative #ProjectAazadi 2.0. In their own words -

Open Sky is an umbrella that brings together creative enthusiasts from all walks of life: poets, writers, musicians, comedians, magicians, artists, et al. Project Azaadi is one of Open Sky's initiative.
The objective is to bridge the gap between Indo-Pak relations and make new friends through various art forms.

For further information, visit their event page: Project Azaadi, an Open sky initiative

P.S, their efforts are amazing and worth a look. Trust me, they're an embodiment of love and energy! ;)

... ... ...
Linking with #MondayMusings 

Friday, 12 August 2016

Sisterhood


Source : Google

# Sisterhood

The fifth time over,
I'm oblivious however;
The phone alarm screams,
And she alone heeds.

"Why, jinglee, why?!"
My sister would cry
From the bed next to me,
All awake now, you see.

When the sun's overhead
We crawl out the bed,
Time for 'brunch', being noon
Less work for mum, that's a boon. :P

Now the day's plans begin;
Subway food to sneak in,
Make the chocolate kesari;
Taste of our fine cookery!
The pappathis!* chapputhapam!**
Her own recipes so yum!

But our momma pipes in;
Chores in plenty to bring. :(
So we settle with our jobs,
Watching FRIENDS with laughs 'n' sobs.

All too soon, the sun's down.
Now the talk's of pretty gowns-
The dream wedding in our ways...
All the good, wishful days!

Surprise cards, painting cookers,
Drawing games, eating snickers...
Paper penstands, brownie cakes,
All we make for our own sakes!

And past supper, back in bed,
Our pillows now no more dead;
With harmless pokes and nudges...
Simple spats without grudges.

And so ends the day,
Peacefully, I say
Until the alarm goes
The time the sun shows.

Then we're back to square one,
When her sleep isn't done.
Again, "Why jingles, why?!"
My dear sister would sigh.

_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_

*Pappathis - You know how chappathis turn out to be crispy like pappadams? Yep, that's called a pappathi. (Sadly she's learnt to make proper chappathis by now)
**Chapputhapams - This is a combination of chappathi and uthapam (dosa with toppings of onion, tomato etc.)
*** 'Jinglee' would be my name according to my sister.

P.S - This comes with the small guilt of not getting my sister anything for her birthday this time...especially since she's going abroad for five whole years soon (that's a lot of time no?). But then, you know how when someone is close to you, getting them anything at all will feel like it simply isn't enough? So uhmm...consider it that way ( and I forgive you too chechy in the case of my birthday :P )

On #WritingWednesday's prompt, I would love to write a memoir based on her. ;)

Last year's post on what it's like To Have A Sister still tops my most visited list.  It is indeed a blessing to have her. I was thinking of maybe writing something like a sequel for that...but then decided against it. Because you know, some things simply cannot be described in words, and some things are better left unsaid.

Nevertheless, this is a dedication to her. Lots of love to you chechy! Our chapputhapams will have to wait. 😁


***
Linking with Vidya Sury's blog on #Relationships

Saturday, 6 August 2016

A piano story

Source: joytunes
My turn was five minutes away. Clutching the sheet music in hand, I could feel my fingers trembling. Once again I tried to reassure myself. It was only an exam after all, why this tension?

Piano music. I'd experienced the feel of floating fingers on the keys, I'd melted with the melody of the tones, and I'd blended in with the music itself. If listening to music was like magic, I'd say playing it was the zenith of it. When I first laid my fingers on a harmonium, I knew nothing of my journey ahead. I hadn't known that I'd shift my home so soon. I hadn't known that I'd go on to study a synthesiser from the new place, and end up being upgraded to the piano classes. 

From Fleur Elise to Rondo Alla Turca, I loved every single piece I learnt. I enjoyed it thoroughly, until one day I was called in school to perform for a group song. I agreed, provided that I had enough time to practice. But it was a last minute call, and I was pressurised to play.

Forget the feel or emotion, I merely jammed a few keys as instructed from the stage and made a fool of our own team. It couldn't have been more embarrassing. Of three teams, ours was the third. I hid the certificate I got that day...because I didn't want something I was ashamed of.

I knew then that I had no sense of music. People could compose songs in just a few months of learning, while 2 years had gotten me nowhere. All I knew was that I enjoyed playing the piano, but I decided to never go onstage again.

Then one fine day, my tutor introduced me to the Trinity Guildhall exam, one that grades our professional musical talent. And so half a year was spent in preparations. Playing on the spot, identifying particular tones, and beating time to the music...it was all too theoretical and confusing to me. But playing was primary, in that lay my love and excellence. And so came the certificate of 'Distinction'. 

The girl who barely listens to music, who is too embarrassed to sing with her own voice, who can't make out the seven basic tones...got a distinction in music? Was that even possible? Surprised as I was, I wasn't ready to go to the next level. I was afraid luck wouldn't favour me a second time, I was afraid people will know how bad I am. But I was compelled and brainwashed into it. I believed my tutor when he told me I'd do fine. Only, this time he was terribly wrong.

For another half year I learnt nothing more than three pieces that I needed for the exam. I was worried about my lack of progress, scared of failing, and unhappy with what I was learning. I missed learning new pieces, and struggled to stay focused with the exam. 

There I sat with the sheet music, waiting for the call. I tried to keep my head calm, but ended up making it blank. "Darshana Suresh" they called. I walked over to the room, and was pleasantly greeted by the examiner. Sitting before the piano, I began my first piece. Blank. Never before had I been so completely blank. I let my hands do the work, not caring about the staccatos or connecting tones or highs or lows as given in the sheets. Even worse, my fingers managed to trip over the keys twice. A bead of sweat ran down my cheek and all I knew was that I'd lost it.

I don't recall what happened for theory, what with having little to no hope left. I was ashamed as I came out the door, ashamed to face my tutor, ashamed to say that I'd learnt any music at all. I ran home before anyone could spot my tears. In a month the results came. I had failed.

The girl with a distinction had failed. My tutor was wrong, his disappointment was immense. But he told me to try again nevertheless, this time with extra preparation. I knew it was time to put my foot down. Yes, I enjoyed music and can play a piece with practise...but that doesn't make me a musician. I'd accepted that, and I didn't want to see him disappointed again. You'd say we could develop the skill with time and practise. But all I wanted was to enjoy the small music I can play. There were things I'd rather do otherwise. But my tutor simply wasn't ready to hear it.

I never showed up in his class again. To this date, I feel guilty of abandoning it midway.

 I do wish that some day I'd get to play a little more with the piano in my home, for I am still fond of it and the little music that I do know. Failure did not snatch away my love for it. But as of now, my piano days remain a road of the past that I may or may not revisit some day.

Write Tribe
Connecting with #FridayReflections and #WritingWednesdays

Friday, 29 July 2016

What I cherish #CBF16




Dear diary,

Remember when we first met in 2010? Onam in school? The war of flowers?The white uniform smeared with petals?  The mess in the classroom followed by the principal's chiding? And our mission to clean up the mess... emptying our water bottles to the floor while scrubbing it with the day's leftover newspapers!

 That was my first entry to you, MD, and soon I was obsessed with you! I hadn't known then that life would get so interesting. I was all of twelve years old, hesitant at first to tell you things in fear of being read. But soon enough I was pouring my heart out to you. Oh yes, you knew everything, and still do.

Everything, MD. The excitement of getting my first 'real' friend request in Orkut (other than my family)...the times I sneaked to go online and chat with that someone...the first proposal...the secrets...the rumours...everything!

You know about the spats I had with that stubborn round eyed girl who ended up being my best friend, you know about that popular gal gang I hugely admired which I ended up being a part of, and you know about that secret group we made that broke up and patched up time and again. You helped me appreciate my life which I would surely have missed otherwise. You listened to my woes, my silliest thoughts and my naive questions. And dear, you grew with me.

Each day mom saw me rush over to talk to you, curious as a mom would be. "What do you write so much about?" she asked me once, "Do you have a boyfriend or something?" and I had a look of utter surprise as I responded with a "Whaaaaat?! No way!" while she just left the room with a chuckle. Remember that, MD? Mom had gotten me thinking, and of course you know what happened later.

You know all my embarrassing moments, my frustration and fear, my dreams and fantasies, my every single thought. Sometimes when I was away from you, I missed you so much that I wrote in chits of papers and stuck them in your pages later on. So by the end of the year, you would've gained more weight just like me. A best friend indeed!

I know school didn't let me meet you much in the past year. You became like those friends ebbing away from my busy life, something of the past that I occasionally recalled fondly. But it didn't take long for me to realize that I needed you yet again. Because nobody else could understand the inner turmoil in me like you could.

But MD, I promise you that you will always be close to my heart. Even if the sun stopped rising or the birds stopped flying ( I don't care if that sounds cheesy), you would remain my most cherished. After all, you are but my reflection...my past, my present and all that could be. MD. My Dear. My Diary.
...


Connecting with #CherishedBlogFest 2016

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