Of Home and Many Homes: A Soliloquy

The house with the thatched roof, with the old bakul tree by the gate is my home. I would pick up fragrant bakul flowers carpeting the ground below the tree and string them into garlands. Those garlands would adorn me and my little dolls on lazy summer afternoons.

In the fading light of the dusk I would run around the huge courtyard and play hide & seek with my siblings or just skip around happily. Many a night, I would sit quietly in the courtyard enjoying the calming silence. Many a rainy afternoon, pitter pater rain on the thatched roof would pour music in my ears. The cooing cuckoos in the morning, the buzzing bees, the humming cicadas at night filled my days and night with joyful tunes.

The thatched roof and the bakul tree gave way to a beautiful concrete house. With brand-new rooms in soothing hues the concrete house is my home. I would sit on my table by the window and gaze at the world outside with dreamy eyes. Lose myself in my very own world of stories and tales and poetry. Stubborn dream of conquering the world would keep me up at nights. I would spend many a quiet nocturnal hour on the terrace trying to catch a falling star or just gaze in wonder at the infinite sparkling jewels of the night.

The happy cocoon of my home that gave wings to many dreams. Ambition fired me, the world beckoned me, off I flew to explore the unknown. With fluttering wings and dancing heart, scared and excited all at once, I buzzed into the bold new world.

It was exhilarating, it was new, it was freedom, it was fun! It was long hard nights, it was me taking care of me, it was responsibilities, it was challenge!

Making my way through the opportunities and obstacles I made my home in a cute little one room set. With a mattress for bed and no air conditioning, it gave me cool comfort on hot summer nights. The lone blanket would keep me warm on long winter nights. I cooked my first delicious meal in the kitchen with sparse utensils. I dreamt of love, I fell in love, I broke my heart, I healed with love. Girly chats and sleepovers, late night movies or talking about dream lovers…

Fire in the belly, aspirations, desire to excel kept me flying. At times my wings were clipped by aching heart, snarky colleagues, meanness, rudeness and pettiness all around. But there was no keeping down the happy and wild dreams. The harder it got the higher they soared. They pushed me ahead on days I wanted to turn back or stop and take a break from the mad bad world.

The many hues of the mad mad world took my breath away. The bright colours of love, life and laughter; the darker shades of melancholy and failure; the perplexing greys that defied all definition. I faltered, I stumbled, I fell. I was confused, I was upset, I was depressed. But most of all I was challenged. I picked my hues cautiously; I painted my rainbow with many shades of life.

I made a new home with a comfortable bed and brand-new furniture. Paintings and masks adorn my walls. Tick Tock clocks tell me the story of fleeting time. Sitting snugly on my new bed I miss my old homes. The starry nights, the rainy afternoons, the singing cuckoos, the buzzing bees. The hot summer nights that fired my dreams. The anguish, the impediments that kept me going.

Maybe one day I will leave my new home for another home, far away in a softer world where I can sit and reminiscence my many homes. Ponder upon what I have won and what I have lost, do they really matter at all? The many stories that I scripted, the lives that I have lived, because at the end living is all that matters…

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!