Month: December 2018

A New Year Love Story

Tiya wades through traffic impatiently on New Year’s Eve. She’s headed to the club to meet her friends where they will usher new year and then go to a friends’ place and chat through the night over a few drinks. This has been their ritual for the last few years and she’s excited about Tarun joining them this year, she sincerely hopes he does. While the over-crowded roads, slow moving traffic and constant honking irritates her, she tries to keep her spirit up thinking about the evening ahead!

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Like every year she’s been planning this for long time. It’s not easy to get into a good place in Gurgaon on Dec 31st unless you pre-book, and of course you are over charged. While she was thinking about all the trouble she went through to get bookings for the new year’s extravaganza in this club, she suddenly remembered the quiet and simple new year celebrations of her childhood – mom would cook a nice dinner, bake a cake and they would all sit together before the black & white TV (Westin was it?) to watch the special shows. First, a look back at the year that was, a recap of the important happenings of the year passing by that was presented by the suave DD news readers. Meenu, Geetanjali Aiyer, Shammi Narang and their ilk had a class and a poise that is completely lost to news anchors of our times.

Then came the much-awaited year-ender presented by a Bollywood star, with lot of nanch, gaana, smart one-liners and jokes and Bollywood numbers. In fact, all the different shows on different Bollywood award nights that we see now are basically a modern and glitzy take on the old DD format. The grand finale would come at 12 with a big star presenting a special number welcoming the new year. Tiya vaguely remembered Hungama 85 or 89 was it? After that they would cut the cake wish each other new year and go to bed.

Stuck in traffic that is barely moving now she suddenly missed those simple new year festivities, they didn’t do much but there was so much warmth. When she invited Tarun for the new year’s party he did suggest that she could come over and he could cook her a nice meal and they could watch a movie together or listen to music. But Tiya wanted to impress Tarun with the glitzy club and introduce him to her friends. Tarun however wasn’t too excited about the club, though he promised Tiya that he would try to join.

They have been dating for a while now but Tarun is yet to meet her friends. Each time she tried organizing a lunch or an evening do with her friends, there was always some last moment work emergency due to which he couldn’t attend. So, when Tarun suggested a quiet dinner at home instead of a party with her friends for New Year’s Eve, Tiya felt he was avoiding meeting her friends and that made her uncomfortable. May be Tarun sensed that and agreed to come.

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Tiya wondered whether she could even make it to the club. Most of her friends were already there and she still has an hour to go according to GPS. What if Tarun reaches before her, he doesn’t really know anybody. Soon enough the phone rang, it was Tarun he left very early so he could be in the club on time, and now that she’s yet to reach he will wait for her at lobby. Tiya felt terrible, the unending traffic and chaos frustrated her. Somehow, she manoeuvred her way to the club and found Tarun patiently waiting for her at the lobby. He’s been waiting for almost an hour with a bouquet of flower and an old fashion New Year’s greeting card. Tiya was touched, nobody has given her a greeting card in years. As Tarun smiled shyly, she opened the card, ‘It has been wonderful meeting you’, the card read. ‘Are you sure you want to go to this crowed club?’ Tarun asked, ‘we could still go to my place and have a quite dinner.’ ‘Let’s just go to your place, cook together and watch some TV,’ Tiya said, she’s had enough noise for one night. ‘But what about your friends?’ asked Tarun. ‘I will message them, we are very late anyway,’ said Tiya.

They celebrated new year over Tarun’s home cooked meal and few glasses of beer (Tuborg strong was their favourite drink). And they talked through the cold winter night into the new day!

Princess strides into a New Year!

It’s almost Christmas and new year is just around the corner! Like everybody else, our princess, let’s call her Maya, is waiting in anticipation for the festive season to ring in surprises and cheer. May be her prince will surprise her with a beautiful gift and they will walk into the new year hand in hand with renewed hope!

Princess Maya

‘What’s new in a new year?’, she has heard cynics say, ‘it’s just another day…’. But what’s wrong in hoping? Turning a new leaf? Isn’t that what makes life beautiful, wonders Maya. Now with Vayu, her Prince Charming, the festive season would be more exciting she thinks. Though her other admirers have been wanting in the wings, Vayu is all our princess wants!

Prince Vayu

But Vayu has been busy in other pursuits. Though he’s fond of Maya, she’s not the one who dominates his thoughts. ‘She likes me too much, she will wait’, Vayu thinks as he busies himself in work or just hanging out with friends. ‘The poor chap is working too hard’, feels Maya and goes all out to accommodate him and his ways. She leaves office early or moves her meetings around just to spend a few hours with Vayu, for he’s a busy man you see. Vayu comes and goes as he pleases, calls her when he feels like, dodges her calls when he wants. At times Maya feels bad, but things will change she hopes, for Vayu genuinely cares for her or that’s what he says.

Then one day, when Vayu doesn’t show up as promised she gets upset and confronts him, for she feels belittled and humiliated. They have a big fight and Maya decides that’s it! But Vayu promises to make things better and wins her over with affectionate words. Maya gives in and things do get better for a while, but soon Vayu is back to his old ways again. He changes plans and often doesn’t respond to her calls. ‘Oh, I would have called you back (at some point)’ is the only response she gets. Maya has been waiting to make new year plans with Vayu, and now that it’s nearing, she wonders in despair if it would be yet another lonely New Year’s Eve!

But she need not be lonely, for new years are not all about ‘Prince Charming’! Our princess Maya is a popular girl and she has many friends, some who would want to be more than friends. In fact, she has been dodging her admirers carefully not to offend Prince Vayu’s sentiments. But ‘where is Vayu when I need him?’, ponders Maya. ‘Maybe I am getting it all wrong, walking into a new year and turning a new leaf is more about me and not him’, realizes Maya. ‘Vayu can do what he pleases, he will come when he comes, and I will see him when I see him’, decides Maya.

Soon Maya is lonely no more! She makes Christmas plans with her friend and her little daughter and gets busy browsing recipes of Christmas cake which she plans to bake for the little girl. She plans to meet her friends over a drink and maybe she will watch a movie on New Year’s Eve. For Maya realizes that finding Prince Charming is not the be all and end all of life; it’s just another option amongst so many others that make her happy and fulfilled. Our princess will stride into the new year with new dreams and hopes…with or without prince charming!

Ushering festive cheer with Greeting Cards!

Christmas cardIt’s Christmas time again and then new year, parties to plan and dos to attend!  As Tiya busies herself planning the festivities she suddenly remembers the Greeting Cards that used to be central to festive seasons and special occasions. Christmas, New Years, Birthdays or Diwali celebrations were never complete without greeting cards. Tiya remembers spending hours in Archies & Hallmarks stores browsing through the cards, carefully choosing the ones with the right image and text (needless to say very ornate most of the times) for each friend and relative. Then came the part where she would take out her best pen, address each one and write a few lines in each card before stamping the envelopes and posting the cards.

There was a greeting card for every occasion – festivals, birthdays, anniversaries, father’s day, mother’s day, teachers day and what not.  There were cards for friends, special friends, husbands and wives, for every feeling and mood, separate sections devoted to each. Tiya remembers spending hours in the card stores browsing through the cards. She would sometimes glance through the sections even when she didn’t need to buy one.  She fondly recalls giving and receiving carefully chosen cards to her friends and loved ones.  Tiya treasured the greeting cards people sent her, she would often take out the old cards and go through them again and again. The words (that seem a little silly now) meant so much then!Picture3

Then one fine day, before Tiya could even realise, the card stores were gone. People switched to e cards, GIFs and what not. Birthday wishes are sometimes just HBD, and Diwali and New Year wishes are mostly WhatsApp forwards. It seems folks today have no time for personalized greetings.

Tiya chanced upon an Archies store at the metro station recently and walked in to see if it bore any resemblance to the card stores of her childhood. Though the card section is far smaller now with only a handful of cards, she was happy to see them holding their own. May be this New Year she will send personalized cards to all her friends to remind them of the ‘good old greeting card’ days!

The Post Man

Postman

In a small town surrounded by hills there lived a postman named Shyam. Without fail, rain or shine Shyam would go out on his bicycle every day to deliver letters and mails. For there were many eagerly waiting for a letter from their loved ones. Dropping letters in the letter boxes outside each house and clearing the post boxes of the neighbourhood on the way back was his daily routine. In those days people would write to their friends and relatives living in faraway places and drop those letters in the post box, it was Shyam’s job to collect those letters and take them back to the post office to ensure that they reach the right person.

Whenever Shyam’s bicycle passed the neighbourhood people would peep out of their windows hoping that he had a letter for them in his bag. A little girl Tiya would come out running at the sound of his bicycle and ask him sweetly he has a letter for her. Sometimes Tiya would run to the post box with a letter in her hand while Shyam would be collecting that day’s mail with a smile and a request to send her letter to her grandparents at the earliest. Yes, for Tiya Shyam was the symbol of her connect with the world outside the little town. He was the one who carried her letters to her grandparents, cousins and relatives in far away places and brought back their letters to her.

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Tiya loved writing letters. At first, she wrote because her parents asked her to, then she started enjoying it. Letters were the only means for her to stay connected with her cousins and relatives and learn about what’s happening in their lives. Though they had a telephone at home making STD (outstation) calls were expensive then. She could only call occasionally and had to keep the conversation very short. Those were the days before emails and mobiles. People had no idea that something called ‘digital revolution’ would take their world by storm. Of course, digital revolution has many positives, but we are talking about Tiya and her letters here.

On lazy Sunday afternoons Tiya would pour her heart out over letters. Writing about how hard she’s been studying to her grandparents, telling her cousin about the boy she likes in school. She would post the letters and look out for the post man Shyam everyday eagerly awaiting a reply. And when she would finally get a letter, she would read it several times over before putting it in a box where she carefully kept all her letters. Post cards or inland letters from her grandparents, stamped envelopes from her cousin and sometimes a picture postcard. Shyam would fondly hand over the letters to little Tiya, smile indulgently at her request to ensure that her letters reached her loved ones soon.

One day when Shyam went for his daily rounds he could see Tiya no more. She wouldn’t peep out of the window or rush to the post box with her letters, for Tiya has finished school and left the town to pursue higher studies. She was staying in a hostel now and would write back regularly to her parents, letters that Shyam would deliver to them of course not knowing they were from Tiya.

Tiya finished her studies and picked up a job in a big city. She had a telephone now and an email account. In few years she got a mobile. She would now call her parents and relatives and email her cousins. Soon there was skype and WhatsApp and she forgot all about those long letters. Messages have now become short and sweet and nobody had time to indulge in the eloquence of letters.

Then one day when Tiya went home she chanced upon the almost forgotten box of letters. Going through those old letters with faded ink she felt the same rush and excitement that she used to feel as a little girl. She asked about Shyam, oh he must have retired she was told. And anyway, the new post man was hardly to be seen for people didn’t write letters’ anymore. Everybody has a mobile, it is so much easier to call. And the younger generation has moved to WhatsApp and Snapchat and what not.

Letters that were so important to her growing up are now gone, thought Tiya with a sigh. May be the generation next will never know the joy of receiving a letter. Letters that had once been an important part of our lives have also been central to many a great works of art and literature – Tagore’s masterpiece Strir Patra (Letter from a Wife) or the acclaimed play Tumhari Amrita where the protagonists’ read out the letters that they have received from each other – Tiya wondered whether these will make any sense to the gen next!

The Princess & Her Tinder Tales!

Little princess

Once there was a pretty little princess who grew up in her little kingdom where everything seemed perfect. Though loved and pampered by her family and friends, little princess was not a lazy girl. She worked hard and planned a perfect future in which she would conquer the world and live happily ever after with her prince charming!

The little princess grew up to be a fine young lady and one day met her prince charming, or she thought. Enamoured by the handsome and intelligent prince, the princess gave him her loving heart. But alas, he carelessly tossed her heart away! The princess was shattered for he was the one, her true love, she had believed. She cried for months and hoped he would come back, but her prince charming was gone for good. Finally, the princess wiped her tears and went on a journey to conquer the world. The journey was lonely at first, scary at times, there were times when she felt alone. At times she missed him and wept for her prince, but he was just a memory now.

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As the princess moved on the journey became exciting, challenging and beautiful. She conquered many obstacles, touched many milestones and made many friends. She ruled her world, was loved by many and was not lonely anymore. But at times she would miss that ‘someone special’. Go find him, her friend whispered. So, she looked for him in the garden, on the road, in every city and town, but alas he was not be found. But did you create your Tinder account? her friend quizzed.

Though the princess didn’t know much about tinder, she lost no time in creating an account. Just swipe right and swipe left it’s that easy, or she thought, and she was wrong again. In no time our princess was matched with many a young and handsome men. Then sang her praises and wooed her their intelligence and charm. The princess was flattered and happy, sure of finding her special one among her many matches.

But her happiness was short lived, for some of her matches were already ‘happily’ married and looking a ‘good friend’ or looking to network. Some were looking for casual intimacy, some confused not knowing what to look for. Though our princess was no prude she was shocked by the direct overtures of one-night stands and no strings attached intimacy. No not for me she thought, I am happier on my own!

Then one day out of her nowhere, one of her forgotten tinder matches reached out to her. Let’s have coffee tomorrow he said. Not expecting much she agreed out of sheer politeness. On a rainy winter evening she walked up to him waiting outside a coffee shop. He was charming and polite and as they started talking it was as if they have known each other for a while. So, they kept meeting and talking and meeting again and felt very happy to have found each other.

Nothing’s perfect and there are no ‘happily ever afters’, the princess now knows, she’s not a cynic though! She will take each day as it comes and make beautiful stories’ as she goes along!