Melodies in Vinyl

If somebody in your family has been a music lover, a connoisseur of music, chances are you may have been handed down a collection of vinyl records. You may have wondered for a while what to do with the huge collection – they are heavy, they take up space, and gramophones and record players have long ceased to exist. You can’t junk them because there’s huge sentimental value attached. But, thank god some good old things do come back! Yes, I am talking about the Vinyl Turntables with USB Digital Conversion audio that are now available both offline and online, making it possible to enjoy the retro melodies with a modern twist.IMG-20190125-WA0011-1.jpg

When I went home last year, I was bequeathed with a huge collection of vinyl records – a rare collection put together by my late uncle to which my mother later added, now lying locked in an almirah. “Your father wants to throw these records away, such great music,” my mother complained. “They are just taking up space, your gramophone doesn’t work, and you don’t even play them anymore,” retorted by father. “I will take them,” said I, to my mother’s great relief.

The sight of those records brought back memories of my late uncle, a music lover, an amateur poet and an actor by passion. Though he had a regular job, he was fairly well-known in the literary and theater circuits. The ‘Radior Ghar’ or the Radio Room in our ancestral home, the cultural and entertainment hub for the entire extended family, was carefully put together by him. The long table along the wall had a Murphy radio and an HMV record player lying next to each other. In a shelf the vinyl records, both the smaller and the bigger ones, were carefully arranged. The room also had a book shelf with volumes of poetry, English and Bengali classics. That book shelf was my first window to the world of literature.

My mother often talked about the ‘Radior Ghar’ and the lively gatherings in that room every evening. My uncle and his friends, many of whom were connected to the world of literature and music, would get together in that room after office. The HMV player would play yesteryear greats like S D Burman, Bhupen Hazarika, Hemant Kumar, Manna Dey, and the list went on. There would be music, poetry, laughter and discussions over numerous cups of tea. A newly wed bride from Lucknow, a brilliant singer and a music lover herself, my mother was warmly welcomed into that circle.

After my uncle’s untimely demise, the ‘Radior Ghar’ and its collections fell into disarray. Some of his vinyl records and books were borrowed never to be returned, some were broken, and many got damaged. The shock of his sudden demise was too much to bear and for a while nobody cared for his vinyl record collection. Finally, my mother took over what was left behind and added to it. Growing up I remember listening to the yesteryear greats playing on the HMV record player. My taste for music, that developed in those days, is still tilted towards the melodies of the yore.

The HMV record player one day gave away. By then there were tape recorders and cassettes, and vinyl records seemed old fashioned. Soon there were two-in-ones, the much-coveted Sony Walkman, fancy music systems, CDs and CD players. When I started working, I bought myself an expensive music system that played cassettes, CDs and FM channels, with fancy speakers and all. It was my prized possession for a while. Then suddenly one day music went online, and nobody cared for music systems or cassettes or CDs anymore. When my music system started giving trouble, I didn’t even bother to get it repaired, just gave it away to the society care taker (maybe I will regret this one day).

IMG_20190126_123329.jpgAs a music lover, I am glad for the range of music that is now available online, but listening to ageless strains of  yesteryear’s masters’  on vinyl LPs was a different experience all together, something that I had long forgotten. The very mention of vinyl records during my home trip, brought back those memories. Thanks to my new vinyl turntable and those magical vinyl records which my mother carefully kept all these years, I can now recreate the immortal melodies of my childhood!

Savouring the flavours of childhood

Tiya bit into the murir moa (laddu made out of murmura and jaggery) with delight! She was visiting home for Pujo and her college friend had called her over for Lakkhi Pujo (Laksmi Puja). Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped in every Bengali household on the first full moon night after Bijoya Dhashami. As her mom didn’t do much at home anymore, she decided to go to her friends’ place in the evening. To her surprise, her friend Piyu had followed all the traditions in her adulation of the Goddess, right from the clay idol of Lakshmi to the rangoli to making naru (nariyal laddu made out of jaggery), moa, sandesh and all the other delicacies offered to the goddess at home.

Tiya hasn’t eaten a homemade moa or naru in ages. There was a time when they were served murir or chirer (chirva) moa as evening snacks, with a glass of milk of course. She particularly liked khoi er moa or khoir er upra (sweetened parched paddy) which was no less than caramel popcorn, and far healthier. And sometimes there would be muri makha or tel muri, narkel muri (murmura served with freshly scraped coconut) or chire bhaja (roasted chirva with onion and peanuts).

There was a time when her mom and grandmon would make moa and naru in the afternoon. She remembered the whole process of melting the jaggary to the right consistency, putting muri or chirva in the hot jaggary and mixing it well. She remembered them shaping the hot mixture into round laddus, their palms would at times go red. Her mom continued to do these alone for a while after her grandmother passed away. She probably she stopped after Tiya and sisters left home.

Mom would even make samosas at home, phulkobi samosas were her speciality, and green pea kachori (puri stuffed with green peas) served with aloor dum. Tiya remembered as a child her family would rarely eat out. Her mom made delicious food at home, there was always such variety. Even pickles and jams were all homemade. Her nani also made aam padad and chiki at home. The homemade moa and naru served by Piyu brought back the almost forgotten delicious flavours of her childhood.

poppins

Who eats moa and naru now, lost in the world of candies, popcorn and burgers do today’s kid even know what they taste like? When Tiya was a little girl she was so much easier to please, few orange toffees would make her day. Yes, round wrapped orange toffees that you rarely see now. Parle did try their hands on it but it wasn’t the same. And there was Poppins and Gems that came in different colours. Then came five stars and milk chocolates that were more expensive, and Tiya and sisters were allowed to indulge in them only occasionally.

The pink bubble gums came next. Tiya remembers chewing those gums endlessly till her jaws ached and blowing them, most of the times they would blow up on her face. Those chewed gums created lot of mess in the school – she would find them stuck under the desk, in the books, worst was boys sticking those gums in her long hair.

As Tiya grew up and went for tuitions with her friends they would occasionally indulge in chanachur (Bengali mixture with onion, mirchi, nimbu & stuff) or the roadside mutton chops. Tiya and her friends would walk to the tuition classes, saving on the rickshaw fare so they could feast on chanachur and mutton chop on their way back.

Probably Tiya’s generation saw the advent of fast food or junk food with the launch of Maggi, it was such an instant hit. Tiya still remembers looking forward to Maggi as school lunch or Sunday breakfast. When she left home, she was introduced to the world of pizzas, burgers, pastas, wraps, rolls, tacos and what not, and the humble narus, moyas and samosas were soon forgotten.

Once Tiya started working and living on her own she started cooking, in fact started enjoying cooking, but not the typical Bengali stuff. She would dish out international cuisine, sometimes Italian, sometimes Lebanese. She started baking and her cakes became quite a hit with her friends and colleagues. Looking at the array of traditional home-made delicacies laid out by Piyu, Tiya suddenly felt a twinge of guilt mixed with nostalgia. It’s time to dish up the traditional flavours and surprise her friends with naru, moa and jhalmuri and kachori!

Waking up to ‘Yeh Akashvani hai’

‘AIR to cut cost with shutdowns,’ I looked incredulously at the news clip in Sunday’s TOI. It opened a floodgate of memories. As a child I woke up every morning to ‘Yeh Akashvani hai’, my father would turn on the radio at 6.30 a.m. for the morning bulletin and that was our que to leave bed. Ameen Sayani’s Binaca Geetmala and various other music programs that my mother would routinely listen to, plays that were aired on the weekends and of course the matches. Be it test cricket, or Mohan Bagan vs East Bengal football matches, the AIR commentators brought them alive. We could feel the excitement in the air!

murphy radio

For a long time, Radio was the main source of entertainment and information, TV came only in mid-eighties. There were many AIR stations available at different frequencies airing variety of programs. I vaguely remember there was a room assigned to Radio back then – Radior Ghar or The Radio Room. The room had a table with a Murphy Radio plugged in. The whole house would gather in that room for important bulletins or football matches.

Mohan Bagan vs East Bengal matches were a big draw then. People would either bunk office or leave work early to listen to the live commentaries. Hailing originally from Bangladesh, every member of my family was a staunch East Bengal supporter. We kids were made to offer flowers to the Radio with a prayer for East Bengal’s victory. The excitement and the tension in air during those matches is something that I haven’t witnessed even in stadiums. My father, uncles and sometimes uncle’s friends would sit together to listen to the commentary – the Radio would be playing at full volume, the shouts and the cheers whenever East Bengal scored a goal, the tension and the dejection when East Bengal played badly or lost, are integral part of my childhood memories. The atmosphere would get further heated if relatives or friends from West Bengal (Mohan Bagan supporters) were visiting during those times.

philips transistor

Then came the battery operated and portable transistors (Philips I think), one for my grandmother who was hooked to the plays, and one for my mother for her various musical programs. I developed quite a knack for the plays and would sneak into my grandmother’s room on Sunday afternoons to listen to them. Those plays were really well made, the actors bringing the plot and characters alive just through dialogues. There was a special show for children as well – Shishu Mela where children would perform, recite a poem, sing a song – that we would religiously listen to every Sunday morning. There were informative shows like talk shows on agriculture and farming. My father who was a senior official with the state agriculture department would be invited often to talk on those shows. Sitting around the radio, listening to out father’s voice reverberating in the room, we would feel no less than celebrity kids!

Growing up, I found the world of radio or the world behind it enigmatic and magical. Those voices in the air – sometimes deep, sometimes sonorous, sometimes sweet and melodious – transported me to a magical world. I would try very hard to give them a physical shape, to imagine what my favourite anchors and commentators looked like.

Then one fine day there were televisions, and music systems and VCRs and what not and Radio lost its place of prominence. My father still listened to the AIR bulletins and my mother to her select music programs. When I left home, Radio vanished from my life all together, the only form of Radio that I now know is the music system in my car that plays the FM channels, and also a few AIR stations that I rarely tune to.

But All India Radio still holds an iconic status for me, the news of AIR downsizing is like an era coming to an end. I really hope AIR uses this opportunity to reinvent itself and connect with the millennium. Waiting for the day when the tech savvy urban Indian will say, ‘Shut up Alexa, I am tuning into AIR!’

The Fountain and the Pot Affair

Pinky lived happily in her comfortable little box. Every morning she would go to Tutu the pot for a little chit and chat and to get her fill of the royal blue warmth that she would keep pouring out through the day. Over the months the friendly chit chat became more loving and earnest, Pinky would look forward to seeing Tutu every morning, they would hug each other affectionately and talk lovingly about the day ahead. Tutu would gently urge Pinky to script beautiful pieces with her royal blue fill and not to spill in the wrong places. For if Pinky spilled in the wrong places like Tiya’s textbook or her white shirt, Tiya’s mom would be really annoyed.pen & pot

Soon Pinky and Tutu’s affair hit a rocky patch, for there came Payal the pilot who was forever vying for Tutu’s attention. Payal was smart and witty, quick to take her fill of the royal blue warmth that she would never spill out wrong. Though Tutu would tell Pinky that she’s the one he wanted and hug her affectionately, Pinky could sense that his affection was clearly divided, sometimes more tilted towards Payal. Tutu’s eyes would light up moment Payal would walk in, he would laugh happily at her witty one-liners and compliment her for being so smart. Pinky would sulk standing in one corner feeling ignored. And to make matters worse soon there was chic and haughty Impy the parker.

IMG_20190104_130843.jpgImpy the parker made even Payal very uncomfortable. Impy was sleek, with a steady flow that never spilled, and Tutu was forever gushing over her and sometimes even failed to notice Pinky. Though he still affectionately hugged Pinky and apologize for the oversight, she would feel slighted and hurt. And not just Tutu, even Tiya started choosing Payal and Impy over Pinky. Though Pinky was Tiya’s first fountain pen and Tiya adored her even though she spilled at times, upon her mother’s insistence she started opting for Payal and Impy more often. ‘They write better and don’t spill, please stop using the clumsy Pinky,’ her mother would tell Tiya again and again.

IMG_20190104_130721.jpgThings went downhill with ball point Kim and cello Jill joining the fray. In fact, now even Tutu was worried for Kim and Jill didn’t need his fill. And Tiya preferred them over the rest as they were convenient and easy to use, she didn’t need to fill them every day, they lasted for weeks. Though Pinky, Payal and Impy wrote better, who cared about handwriting nowadays. Tiya had a lot to do and she had no time to spend on silly old fountain pens. Arch rivals Pinky, Payal and Impy were now boxed together finding solace in each other’s company. For Tutu it was even worse, he stood dusty and neglected in one corner of Tiya’s study table with no one to turn to.

Then one day the lid of the box opened, ball point Kim and cello Jill were dropped in. Pinky, Payal and Impy glared at them angrily and pushed them in one corner. ‘How dare you come here? You are the ones who boxed us?’, they growled angrily. ‘Please spare us, it’s not our fault,’ pleaded Kim and Jill, ‘It was Tiya all along.’ ‘She picked us over you, coz we were easy to use. And now that she has a fancy tablet and a laptop, she doesn’t need us anymore. We pens are out of fashion you see. Tiya prefers the use and throw kinds for her occasional scribbles, and smartly keys in the rest in her fancy gadgets.’ Pinky, Payal, Impy, Kim and Jill sighed together, held each other’s hands and lay down quietly in the box.

 

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.

inland letter

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.

Princess 1

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!

Love Notes

Frog Prince or Prince Frog – Fairy tales inverted

frog prince

Didn’t we all love the story growing up – A princess magically transforms a frog into a prince with a kiss. As a girl I remember reading the fairy tale over and over, completely enamoured by the story and the images… the princess finally garnering enough courage to kiss the frog… kiss of true love, and the prince (frog) who promises to be true to her forever…

As I grew up and went looking for my prince imagine my disappointment when my fairy tale turned upside down. Each time I would meet my prince and greet him with a kiss he would turn into frog and hop away, leaving me alone and heartbroken…

Perhaps life is all about realizing that fairy tales are not meant to be, but that’s all right. We make our stories as we go along with real people!

First crush

Tough one! The dreamy grey-eyed lawyer who used to pass our house every day on his way to the court, or the tall 10th standard boy from my school. I was just 13 then…shy…reserved…, never had the guts to talk to either of them and don’t even remember their names now. They were my ‘dream dates’, literally…

I grew up in a small town where everybody knows everybody, anywhere you go you meet somebody who knows your dad or uncle making it very difficult for me to pursue my romantic interests.

Had a heart-breaking encounter with my lawyer when I went home last year – My dreamy-eyed lawyer has metamorphosed into a pot-bellied 50 something…tried very hard but couldn’t find a trace of his former romantic self….or, may be the romance was all me… influenced by Jane Eyre and Gone With the Wind it was my quest for Mr. Rochester and Rhett Butler.

Around that time, I also had a crush on a certain Pakistani cricketer …so much so that my mother was worried. His posters were all over my room… I imagined myself to be his ‘true love’ and I was confident that we would get married some day and bring an end to the Indo-Pak tensions…

First crush…funny, silly, seems utterly meaningless now… did make growing up so much more exciting…

Growing up, falling In and Out of love

I loved my student days. I enjoyed all the attention I got – those stares and longing glances, scribbled love notes, fumbling love yous. But at that time boys my age didn’t impress me, I fancied Rhett Butler! (Do kids still read Gone with the Wind?)

Love note

Our times were much slower. Months would pass before side long glances would graduate into a ‘hello’ and then may be rendezvous in between classes, holding hands occasionally. There were love notes and roses and mushy greeting cards professing everlasting love. Those were the days when we believed in ‘true love’ and ‘forever’. We reveled in the idea of love and romance, we believed in Platonic love. Physical intimacy came much later, sometimes never but that didn’t take away anything.

Hostel life offered more opportunities for romance. Dates in the college canteens, long walks in star lit nights, bouquets of wild flowers and of course lovey dovey greeting cards. That was the time when I could go out for a movie or a dinner date with my college boyfriend. That romance continued for a while even after I moved to Delhi.

Early years at work was more like an extension of college life. There were lot of young people around and we would hang out after work. Life somehow was rosier then, everything seemed possible. We would go all over the city in a DTC bus, hang out in Dilli Haat, stand in long ques for the Rs. 10 movie tickets (front row was available for 10 bucks in those days), McDonadls or Nirulas for dinner – funds were limited but life was perfect!

It wasn’t difficult to find someone you would like to date or hang out with. Blind dates were set up by friends which sometimes turned into sweet romance (which I then thought would last forever!). I fell in love, broke my heart and fell out of love. Then suddenly I got busy with my job and there was no time for love or romance. Finally, when I decided that it’s time to meet someone, love and romance had gone digital and there is Tinder!