Monthly Archives: July 2012

A walk to remember…

A walk to remember…

 

 

The sound of silence slowly creeps around me. The wet road snakes ahead, seductively flaunting its voluptuous curves.

 

A solitary walker, I tread softly lest my footsteps shatter the peace of the hour.

It is an early hour…ten past six on a day the world observes The Sabbath.

 

I walk on, flanked on both sides by a burst of green.

Blades of grass sway in greeting. Dew drops wink.

I smile a thank you.

 

I hear my breath. I feel my heartbeat. I haven’t felt it for a long time. Strange, I am suddenly aware of the sound of my heart, a sound that goes on incessantly in me, a sound that keeps me alive.

 

The road gently rises to hug the mountain on its bend.

My pace slows, my breath heavy.

As I come around the bend, I hear bells. The sound comes from afar. First faintly and then loud enough for me to catch the melody.

And then they moo, befitting an orchestrated crescendo.

 

A few steps ahead, I see them huddled in the middle of the road – ruminating on an interesting piece of gossip.

 

The smell of fresh dung rushes up my nostrils, stoking nostalgia for all those early vacation mornings spent with Granny as she went about collecting fresh dung in the cattle shed.

I fondly recall the flood of emotions…first disgust, then curiosity, then the sheer joy of getting my hands dirty. And all this, while eavesdropping on Granny as she jabbered away to the kind-eyed bovines.

 

Then, holidays meant getting your hands dirty.

 

They stop their deliberations as I approach them. A lazy glance is all they offer me, before they go back to their chewing. I walk past, breathing in deeply as if to store the earthiness of the moment for later retrieval.

 

The road flattens out.

I begin jogging, my feet thumping the ground rhythmically.

The wind whistles past, gently whispering sweet-nothings in my ear.

 

The sound startles me.

It comes from right above me. I stop jogging. I look up.

The branches above me are heaving and swaying.

That barking sound again! Then I see them. The two monkeys are wangling over something. A third one appears out of nowhere and clambers up the tree trunk in a trice.

I freeze.

 

The closest I have even been to monkeys is with a cage or a car windshield between us.

 

City fears begin closing in on me.

My loneliness suddenly stands like naked truth in front of me.

The green thicket casts dark shadows on the road.  I feel raindrops on me. The silence around is menacing.

My solitude scares me.

 

I am petrified. I cast a glance over my shoulder.

I want to see people.

Even unfamiliar faces.

Please someone, please anyone, come.

 

My fervent prayer is answered. I see an auto come gasping up the sharp incline.

I wave frantically.

 

“Monkey,” I say to the old man hauling up the auto. I am gesturing animatedly at the trees.

 

“Oh! they won’t do anything,” he assures.

“I will blow the horn, that will scare them,” he reasons. “Anyway, there’s a big group of people walking up,” he informs.

 

The shrill horn pierces the stillness of the wilderness.  The sound warms my cold-with-fear heart.  I feel at ease.

 

I walk beside the auto as it huffs and puffs its way up.

I feel safe.

 

My senses ache for human company. Minutes later, I hear voices behind me. Male voices…and a little later female voices, too.

 

I sigh in relief.

 

Forty minutes later, I reach my destination.

I have walked in great comfort. The laughter and chatter behind me had kept me in good stead. I am happy with the accomplishment.

 

But, my heart is not singing.

 

I am afraid to admit what I know.

 

The ecstasy of childhood has succumbed to adult fear.

Assumptions and apprehensions cast aspersions on innocence and faith.

 

A successful trek behind me, yet, I do not feel like a winner.

 

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Babu Moshai ….RIP

Babu Moshai RIP

He nodded his way into my heart.

He often adorned my adolescent fantasies, singing in an open jeep, as I sat by the window in a rolling train, swaying to the tune of his “Mere sapno ki raani.”

One of my early constructs of passion is a hungry Rajesh Khanna seducing an appetizing Sharmila Tagore as he extolled, “Roop tera masthana.”  I didn’t care about the fire burning in the background. I had to douse the flames within.

His Andaz was irresistible.  He got the best leading ladies…and the best songs…

A gloriously bedecked Mumtaz vying for his attention as she croons, “Bindiya Chamkegi”.

Or, a poignant and serene Waheeda, as he sings to her “Woh shaam kuch ajeeb thi…”as they cruise gently in a canoe.”

He endeared to me as the Bawarchi who brings semblance and order to a family breaking apart.

I don’t remember him for any 6-pack body. Neither do I recall his valour in fighting 20 goons single-handedly.

But, I can never forget his vulnerability and the child-like charm as he held aloft a clutch of balloons on a sandy beach, seeking answers from life as he sang, “zindagi kaisi hai paheli…”

Media reports his death, and in the same vein, talks about his unsuccessful relationships…long past and the recent past…What a mockery! They talk thus of a man who said, “kuch toh log kahenge, logon ka kaam hai kehena…”

The pathos with which he courageously proclaimed, “Anand mara nahin karte” still echoes in my heart.

He hated tears. So, I shall shed none.

Do I hear the refrain….?

Achcha toh hum chalte hain…

Steven Covey RIP

Steven Covey RIP

 

 

The news of Steven Covey’s death gave me a heavy heart and an unwillingness in the mind to accept it.

 

It seemed unlikely that a person who taught the world to live life to the fullest, could pass on from this world?

 

For years now I have been living Covey’s 7 habits. His weekly planner is a way of life for me.  It is from him that I learnt the invaluable lesson of setting goals for each of my roles in life. If I am living a meaningful life, doing all the things that I always dreamed of doing…I owe it to Steven Covey. Begin with the end in mind, he professed. And how well that has worked for me!

 

His 7 habits urged me to move on from efficiency to effectiveness. Then he presented to me the 8th habit, where he showed me how to elevate myself from effectiveness to greatness.

 

Sharpen the axe, he advised. Take time off to reinvent yourself, to make a more effective comeback, every time. His lessons jolted me up from a slumber that I had sunk into in my juvenile years.

 

His writings always spoke of putting first things first…family and relationships were the cornerstones in his formula for personal success. He coaxed the world into value-based and principle-centred leadership. Sadly, not many have emulated his teachings.

 

But, what touched me the most was to read that his family of 9 children and 52 grandchildren orbited around him all the time.

 

All nine children and their spouses were there with him during his last moments. A life well-lived, a man who practised what he preached.

 

Even in death, he taught me a lesson…synergize.

 

Dear Steven, you shall remain immortal in the good habits that define who I am. Thank you so much.

 

 

 

Unplugged at 45

Unplugged at 45

 

 

45 is not the new 25.

45 is liberation at all levels.

At 45, home is a secure retreat…needs, wants, luxuries all met. Gizmos accumulated over a tedious struggle that began at 25.

Baby diapers are history, and all that grovelling before nannies and babysitters.

Adult diapers, still a far cry.

 

Baby is now 18…grappling with the woes of adolescent crushes, and crushed by the enormity of performance pressure at every teen turn.

Ha, ha! At 45, there’s no guilt under the quilt— non-performance gets away scot-free.

 

45 is the age of globe-trotting.

With a now-bulky Provident Fund, sowed and reaped on tight purse strings and austerity measures, the world is for the asking!

Spoilt for choices…

 

Fashion diktats bounce off disappointed.

Comfort, practicality and maturity are the designer labels of the 45.

Late nights are no longer at the mercy of kids’ sleeping times and parents’ curfew times.

Movie watching is an uninterrupted affair. No more tugging along a haversack with feeding bottles and pacifiers. No awkward 10 year olds to deal with as the hero and heroine get into compromising positions.

 

Post-dinner strolls are a prerogative at 45…mortification at 25.

 

Those years of searching for personal space finally result in transcendent discoveries at 45.

Finally comfortable in your skin.

Life is now lived on an inner radar, rather than on the approvals of intrusive eyes.

 

At 45, living life by choice,

A new grace and elegant poise.

A sprinkling of naughty spice,

And it’s all there to rejoice.

 

Happy birthday to me!!