Friday, July 29, 2011


I have been tagged by my very own soul sister "Mystical Skeptical me" or MSM as she is fondly called in blogworld.. Thanks for tagging me sis.. I enjoyed doing this.. Sorry for the delay in completing though..

. Without sharing your name, who are you?
I am the girl in glasses, sitting by the window lost in a novel.. I am the girl who walks with a purpose. I am the girl with constrains in a mad crowd and an entertainment pack in silence.. I am the girl who wouldn't wait to chitchat with you everyday but would be beside you when you need me.. 

Describe yourself in less than Five words
Listener, observer, Careful, protective and loving.

Just thought of adding a snap of mine.. completes my description!!

Do you have any special talents? What?
The list of my special talents can run into volumes!!

1. I can fall off flat surfaces.
2. I can confuse anyone :P
3. I can scribble away in sleep.. (guess what I do in lectures!!)
4. I can chat with multiple people and still be blogging.
5. I still have things to say after writing 5 blogs..
6. I have saint's patience when it comes to listening to others' story.
7. I can sleep even for 10 minutes.. 
and on and on and on..

4. Are there any talents you wish you had? What?
I wish I could read minds!! 
On a practical note I wish I had a more convincing (read adorable) personality.

5. What are your most important interests? What do you like about them?

  • Writing: It makes me more clear about my own thoughts, produces an amazing print of my life, smooths out the turbulance of my imaginations... 
  • Creating : This could be anything.. From personalizing a gift, making my own bookmarks, making greeting cards, a small book of "Our story" (Guess, Guess!!).. Feels great to see a part of you in a lifeless thing.. I love beautifying!!
  • Psychology: The mind is the most complex and intriguing system and that makes it so interesting for me!
  • Reading: Do I need to say more on this?? Books and me! Inseparable!
6. What is your opinion of Lady Gaga?
She needs immediate psychiatric care!@@@

7. If you could go anywhere this second, where would you go?
I would go to bed!! Going to do that in 10 minutes anyway ;P

8. What are your favorite foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
I m soo full right now that I can't even think of more food!
Breakfast: Love idli and chutney made by mom and my nani.. Best breakfast in this world for me.
Lunch: Vegetarians don't read this :P

Fried fish, chicken, prawns curry, ghee rice! Amazing combo.. :)

Dinner: Chinese!! Nonvegetarian ofcourse! 

9. Do you have siblings? Talk about them; if not, talk about being an only child.
I have a younger brother who is the apple of my eye.. He is 7 years younger to me.. Sometimes he is the pest in my life,  harassing the hell out of me! Sometimes he is the partner in crime.. sometimes he is the older one when I m all broken and in a mess.. sometimes he becomes my punching bag when I m mad at the world.. sometimes he is the son I had to mother ever since I assumed the role of a protector of his.. I like the way we can conveniently shift roles.. Well this could carry on so before I bore you I stop here.

10. Do you like sports? Which teams do you support?
Lets not talk about this.. I might embarrass myself with my knowledge or lack of it :)

11. Do you have any tattoos? If not, would you ever get one?
No, I don't have tattoos.. Had a temporary one but I would never come to ink myself permanently.. 

12. Have you ever donated blood? Why or why not?
Yes donated blood at the blood donation campaign at college. Feels great to know that 350 ml of your blood is going to change somebody's life or maybe save somebody's life.. As they say..
"Karke dekho.. accha lagta hai."

13. How do you like your coffee and/or tea?
I need strong tea with ginger and moderate sugar.. Coffee I like a little mild..

14. Are you left-handed or right-handed?
Been right-handed always!

15. If you are in college, what are you studying? If not, what did/what are you planning to study?
I m studying second year Bachelor in Pharmacy.. 

16. What are some of your short term goals?
Lose weight, lose weight , lose weight!! 
Second on list is get good marks..raise the bar every exam!

17. What kind of music do you like?
No particular category. I like what touches  my mood that instant.. I m one of those who pay more attention to lyrics.. I hardly listen to English songs..

18. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
Never thought of this! I guess somewhere close to my parents (atleast someplace I can reach within a day) and with my beloved.. Some place close to green and also close to a water body could be ideal.. I love twilight setting!

19. Have you ever been overseas? Where and when?

20. Have you ever been to the circus? What did you think at the time?
Yes, when I was in kindergarten.. I remember the animals,  girls doing gymnastics and I was wondering if I could take the sandwich, my teacher gave, to Daddy.. SO cute I was na?? :P

21. Are you wearing shoes right now? If so, describe them. If not, describe your socks/feet.
My feet are tiny with nails colored in silver nailpolish,clean, moisturised ( cocoa butter cream :) smells good!) and ready to go to bed :)

22. List some of the things you’d like to do before you die
I don't plan to die anytime soon.. Before I die ..

  • I would like to go on a cruise.. (someone did promise me that)
  • I want to tour the north and northeastern parts of India.
  • Tell some people how deeply I care for them. (As if I don't say it already)
  • At least make difference to a few lives.. I wish someone would say, "She was the bright spot in my life.. Someone who made a difference or brought a smile in despair."
  • Do something for underprivileged kids (something I really want to work for.)
  • Have my own library collection.
  • Marry the one I love and live happily :) Fairy tale love affair that lasts all marriage.

23. What do you prefer to write with - pencil, pen, crayon, Sharpie, lipstick, chalk etc.?
Pen for sure! smooth flowing ball pen.. I can never manage writing in crayons! Lipsticks look good only in romantic settings :) 

24. Do you like movies? What are your favorites?
I love movies that make me smile.. even if it is at the end of a tragedy.. 
Titanic is my all time favorite! Taare Zameen par, 3 idiots, DDLJ are a few favorites..

25. Do you like chocolate? What’s your favorite kind? If not, why?
I love chocolates! Dark chocolates or milder ones..Cadbury silk, Bounty,Toberlone, Five star fruit n nut are my favorites!  Milk chocolates like "Milky bar" etc I hate !! 

Hope my answers entertained you a bit and didn't sound right like my Soul sis MSM's answers! I needed to think over to say the same things in a different way! :P
I will pass on the tag to anyone who is interested to do it ! I know people I pass on to are really busy ones.. So readers whoever gets time please complete this tag.. I will name you in postscript once you do the tag..

Unusually lazy I m acting I know.. Sorry for the disappearance from blog.. Will be back soon next week with a new tale.. 

Till then keep reading and take care readers.. You have my wishes..

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Memories of another life Part 5

Read Part 1Part 2,Part 3 and Part 4         
             He had read her note several times.. Kissed it where her lip stains were..Ached for her even more..
             It was 14th of February 2002.. A day had passed since Sara left.. It was like a hundred years had flown without her for Shiven.. He desperately wished she would call him.. He wished he had never let her go back... The day never seemed to end.. It was Valentines day.. Last year he had spent this day with Sara..That was the first time they had met outside but in the confined space of a movie theatre..
            When he returned home from office, there was a loud ring from the hall.. It was his landline phone..

"Hello Shiven.." said the voice that calmed him and also gave him goosebumps..
"Sara...." he had breathed into the phone..
"Shiven..I love you Shiven..."she had said with a passion he had never heard in her voice..
"Oh Sara.. I love you too.. Sara come back.. " he cried.
"I can't Shiven.. My life is here now.." she said choking with tears.
"Sara let's get married.. Forget the religion..Forget the differences.. Lets just get married.." He had made his decision..
"How How can we forget everything?" Her very question pleased him.. it meant she was ready to consider the option..
"Sara I will get a transfer.. We will move somewhere northeast.. We have no contacts there..No one knows of our affair in Mumbai.. Your family won't be able to link me with you.. I won't ask you to convert to a Hindu.. If we are  not compatible with religion we will both change to Christianity.. It was you who said that all religions are just ways to reach God right? The God is same Sara and he wants us to be together.."
 He had said it all in a single breathe.. His mind was already working on the options he had just given Sara..Move northeast..towards the hills..or maybe Kolkata.. make a new life... with Sara..

"When?" she asked meekly.. That was the happiest moment of his life.. He loved her direct way of talking..
"Give me a week baby.. I will arrange everything.. Call me regularly till then.. Will let you know when I m ready and then I will take you away from there.. I Promise.." 
He was excited.. He had to make all the arrangements for their eloping and marriage. What was difficult was he had to do it all alone as involving anyone else spelt danger..

Sara had kept her part of the deal. She called him everyday in the evening when he returned home. It was slow progress but he  progressed nevertheless with their plans.

She called him on 21st February.. The plan was on its last leg..
"Shiven.. I cannot call you for sometime.. I m going to stay in my joint family.. All these days I was staying with my grandma and my cousin. I don't know when I will return back to this place.."
"Sara we would have to move anytime.. How will I let you know?"
"Ok..  I will try to call you somehow.." she said but with a doubt.. His heart sank..He kept his hopes thinking about their future in a few days..

HE was getting frantic as she hadn't called in 5 days.. Then on 27th February she called..
"Shiven... I m scared.. "she said with a stifled cry.
"Sara..are you alright? " he asked..
"Shiven they are talking about my nikaah.. with Aftab.. a family friend.. Shiven I have no more courage to hold  on.."
"When is he coming to see you?" Shiven asked.. A rage filled him thinking about Sara with anyone else..
"1st March.."
"Ok first March you will meet your future husband.. But not Aftab..It will be me.." he assured her..
"How Shiven?" she asked innocently between her sobs..
"Listen, go back to your grandma on the pretext of visiting her before the nikaah keeps you busy.. That will keep you out of the scrutiny of your extended family.. Call me tomorrow evening and I will tell  you what time I will reach Ahmedabad on 1st.. We will move out of Ahmedabad on 1st itself and don't carry much luggage..only the essentials and your documents would suffice.. Be careful honey.. I love you Sara.. Trust me Sara I will take you with me and keep you happy always."
"Shiven I love you for this darling.. I trust you. I will always be with you.." She felt assured..

On 28th evening he waited for her phonecall but she didn't call.. He had her Grandma's address and phone number.. He rang up even there..All lines in this route are busy.. Anticipation was replaced by worry.. He paced about waiting.. He boarded a bus for Ahmedabad.. When the bus was barely 5 kilometers from the outskirts of Ahmedabad they were stalled.. The city was under curfew. Hindu Muslim riots had broken and shattered the city.. The bus was made to return.

He lodged himself in the lobby of a motel.. He had to meet Sara.. It was 1st March..He had to fulfill his promise..
A tv set played the latest news from Ahmedabad.. The Hindu mob had attacked Gulbarg Society in Chamanpura suburb of Ahmedabad. This was a Muslim housing society.. 
His heart rate increased.. He was sweating profusely.. He pulled out the small chit of paper he had scribbled her address on, hoping that he would be wrong.. 
But he was not..
She had gone to her Grandma who stayed in Gulbarg Society.....................

The next few hours were the worst hours of his life.  His calls to the hospitals, police stations, Sara's relatives in Mumbai, her familial home , her Gulbarg residence...nothing brought information about her.. Added to it was the curfew in the city.. No one could enter the city..

The following days brought in more news of the riots..more massacre.. more shootouts...
He sat huddled in his motel.. without swallowing a morsel of food.. barely living.. He was helpless.. He pined to hear about Sara...

The morning of 5th march brought him the news he dreaded to hear.. Sara was on the list of people killed in the riots..

He watched her burial service .. In the crowd that surrounded the place, no one took notice of him.. 
She was stabbed they said.. bleeding to death... Her face was peaceful as they lowered her into the ground.. Her face same as the one he recalled when she had gone to sleep on his shoulders the first time they met.. A pristine quality of her innocence radiating even in her death.. 
Sara who would have been dressed in a bridal outfit..Who would have lied beside him..Who would have given birth to his baby.. Who would have grown old with him and sat on the porch of his house to enjoy the rains... Who would have loved him..who would have lived.... He saw it all going in the bosom of the earth... 

He had gone to visit her grandma who was critically injured in the riots..
"You must be Shiven.." she said as she swayed between conciousness and sleep..
"How did you know?" Sara hadn't told anyone...
"My child... Sara child..." she lamented..
"She was going out.. I asked her not to.. She said Grandma this is about my life.. Last time I ask you to support me..  I asked her if there was a man.. I know what love is ,Shiven.. I understood her the best.. She had blushed and said your name knowing that her old woman would never open her mouth.."

Shiven felt a hundred knives stabbing his heart..

"She came within fifteen minutes..running and fastening the bolt.. frantically trying to shield.. They were 5 men Shiven.. She was no match.."

His blood boiled thinking that 5 bloody men had lusted for her and followed her home.. 5 men from his very own religion.. who had made her struggle for her life..

"My child.. she would prefer to die than in disgrace.. She rushed to the kitchen and grabbed the knife.. She tried shoving them away but they won't relent.. I tried to help , they stabbed me.. Knowing that there was no escape Sara stabbed herself multiple times... They left us there to bleed.. My young Sara died leaving her 75 yr old grandma to struggle.. What would I do even if I live? " she wailed..

He was appalled  thinking of the scene.. Thinking of how his lovely Sara had killed herself than be used by those lusty men.. How she had preserved her dignity with her life.. Sara didn't deserved such a gruesome death.. She didn't deserve death at all at this age.. He hated the God whom Sara trusted so much..
 He had come to visit her grandma again because she was his connect to Sara.. The person Sara spent her last moments with.. The next day when he visited, he got to know that the old lady had passed away...

For years and years the horrific memories of that week haunted him.. He couldn't breathe in Mumbai.. He had left Mumbai and shifted to Mangalore.. Sara had wanted him to be happy, to move on..What she didn't know was how difficult it was for him without her..

He lived in the guilt of leading her to death.. If only he had made the plans early.. If only he hadn't asked her to move into Gulburg.. If  only he hadn't relented to let her go to Ahmedabad again..  If only he had the courage to make his marriage plans earlier than that.. his Sara would have been with him..

He had betrayed her trust..made her cry... left her unprotected..  The guilt of that betrayal ate him bit by bit.. In a way he was dying everyday... On the surface, the storm had calmed.. He married, had a child, fulfilled his social obligation,but deep beneath he died everyday...

Meera for the first time understood the depth of his love..his sufferings.. his guilt..and a new sense of respect was born in her heart..for him..for his love..for Sara..

"She never left you Shiven.. She said she will always be with you.." she quietly patted his back..
He looked at her.. Meera too was crying..

"Shiven she is with you through Tamanna.. She is with you through the love I give you.. She is with you through smiles you spread.. You named our child Tamanna.. She would have been happy  knowing that.. Knowing that you have the child she dreamed of.. She will want you to give all that she wanted to give her child.. Sara will always be in your life and she is to be remembered not hidden.. Remember what she said about the girl child Shiven? You can keep her alive what she wished for lesser fortunate girls. Channel your grief into something positive to remember Sara by. Start with working for the girl child..."

Shiven looked at Meera.. She was nowhere similar to Sara. She was a practical minded, worldwise woman.. She had enjoyed the liberal upbringing.. But her sense of acceptance and solution for his guilt made him proud of her.. She was right.. Sara was with him through the love Meera gave him... For the first time he experienced a comradeship with his wife.. He hugged her tightly and that was the last time he cried so badly.. He had found someone to share his life and thoughts.. He felt the burden on his soul lightened.. Maybe he had finally moved on.. 

Her idea of keeping Sara alive won his respect.. They work together on weekends with NGO and plan to open a wing which would work for upliftment of the girl child.. They plan to name it Sara... Sara lives in the smiles of those girls who get the opportunity to fulfill their dreams.. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Memories of another life Part 4

         Read Part 1,Part 2 and Part 3

    Dear Shiven
       How do I ever tell you how grateful I m to you for giving me those beautiful memories which will remain cherished in my heart… For those laughters, those rainy afternoons, those carefree outings, that respect and dignity with which you treated me..  Maybe after this day I would never get to see you again.. Never experience the kind of love you gave me.. Somethings I want to share with you before I leave..
        When I met you the first time I was taken by your charm..your hair that flopped on your forehead and the way you set them back..Your wandering, lost gaze.. Everything pulled me closer to you..Your easy smile won me in the very first meeting.. I didn’t want to come close to you because I knew somewhere that I couldn’t bear to lose you. I wanted to be away from you so that you are safe from hurt.. But my heart wouldn’t agree and finally we had to be together.
        I used to wonder how life would be with you. How we would be if we married. How would it be to touch you, to kiss you.. Forbidden thoughts.. How it would be to live free from the constrains of religion. How it be to have your child..Somehow I always pictured you, me and a daughter..Our daughter.. I would pamper her all I can. A girl child deserved as much as a boy and much more than that.. I would give her all.. I would name her Tamanna.. our Tamanna… Ofcourse it is all childish.. We could never get married..
       Shiven move on in life..I would be very happy knowing that you have achieved great things in life..Shiven you always called me an angel..But you are my angel..My source of pure love.. Be happy my love.. Our love will live.
         Distances between us might be miles,                                
         But I will be with you through all your tears and                       smiles..
You have a part of me Shiven..You will always have sara..
                                                                                                                      Love  you always, 
 His hands trembled so much that he couldn't hold the note in his hands.. Feeling weak he sat down on the bed.. Tears strolled down his cheeks..
His wife, Meera entered the room with a cup of coffee for him.. Seeing her husband crying silently, she quietly kept the cup on his writing table. She sat next to her husband, who seemed oblivious to her intervention. 
Through the years she had seen him wipe away tears when she came near him. Today he broke down..not strong enough to wipe away his hide his feelings..his pain.. She knew something troubled her husband..Something that was such a deep and raw wound that he wouldn't share it with anyone.. None of his friends knew what was wrong with him..

There was another girl in his life she past.. What had happened nobody knew.. She had waited patiently all these years for him to get over it.. Other than his silent weepings, he was a perfect husband..a doting father.. a teetoteller.. a responsible son.. 
Today curosity took better of her and she wanted to know what was that which created a wall between her and her husband..

She saw the note in his hands.. 
"That is why you insisted her name be Tamanna..." she said in a soft tone.. The intensity of Shiven's pain didn't get unnoticed by her. She knew Sara was someone integral to him and his life..Inwardly she was jealous and regretted the position Sara had made in his heart..She coveted the same place in her husband's life.. She wanted to please him.. She wanted him to forget Sara and give her prime importance..

To be truthful, Shiven had never denied her anything.. She led a comfortable life. There was a mutual understanding between them.. She herself was once madly in love when she was in college. She knew the pain that comes over when a loved one leaves.. Her boyfriend had ditched her for a better life in the US.. She had married Shiven 2 years after that.. She had pined for love but that had been overcome after marrying Shiven.. He respected  her decisions and opinions. Encouraged her to pursue her studies again.. Helped her with the household work and even done all the work himself during her exams.. What more could she want? But she did.. Now she was in love with Shiven... She had his baby.. She got pampered and loved as a wife could be.. But she wanted to be his lover..his soulmate... all that Sara must have been.. 

He had looked at her with reddened eyes when she asked.. 
"Meera.. Please I can't talk now.. Please leave me alone.." he pleaded..
"Shiven.. I m your wife.. I want to know what is it that hurts you so much... Why you don't sleep peacefully.. Why you cry even now.. She left you and that is all over.. Why don't you move on?"

"She never left me Meera... She never left me... I left her..." 

He broke down..

"What happened to her Shiven?" She asked waiting with bated breathe for the answer...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Memories of another life Part 3

       Read Part 2
           "Shiven be rational.. Isn't this how we wanted it to be?" Sara questioned him.
          "It was Sara.. but now it won't.. You don't have to go back Sara.." he made futile attempts to persuade her.
           She looked into his eyes and sighed. They were sitting across each other in Mc Donalds. He was aware of the eyes hovering Sara. She was wearing a polo necked ,full sleeved , baby pink colored top and light blue jeans. Her lips glistened with a transparent gloss that she wore (she didn't need colors!). Her hair tied high brought attention to the large rings dangling from her earlobes. She mesmerized every one in the room. He felt pangs of jealousy even thinking of those eyes that devoured her beauty. 
           Sara had been elusive after their train encounter. No contact number, no email address nothing. The only way to reach her was to keep patrol at her college. He knew she was in second year degree. He tried to contact any (mind you any) person who might be knowing her. Even then he was frightful of using a male messenger lest he spoil his chances. He had bunked his own lectures and practicals and whiled away hours at the university entrance. He had almost given up hope when he finally caught a glimpse of her. She had avoided him and that had hurt.. 
           He had a clear picture of her schedule at college then and he waited for her every Thursday when her college left early. Accompanied by a group of female friends, she never took notice of him. He had decided he had had enough of her. He wasn't a stalker. He didn't wait for her on Thursday only to continue on Friday. HE couldn't be without having a look of her.. But Friday she didn't come long after her classes left.. He wondered if he had missed her when a gentle tap on his shoulder followed by a sweet voice said,
"Hey come near the lake.." She hurried into the campus and he followed her like a puppy. She looked back at him and gave a shy smile...  Aww where would he not follow her!
She sat at the bench near the lake. Her head covered, wearing a grey hijab.. Gently pulling her bag closer to her.. 
Shiven sat next to her at a distance..
"What is it that you want Shiven?" she asked him in a hushed tone.
"I... umm.. nothing.. I just want to be with you.." he was enchanted by her..
"That can't be possible Shiven and you know why.." she said in calm way.
"What are you talking about Sara?" He asked knowing fully what she meant..
"Shiven I know you like me.. I m also fond of you.. But Shiven I m not like you and you are not like me. I have restrictions.. I came here to get a good education. My parents were liberal enough to let a girl pursue her dreams in another city..They trust me never to go against our tradition. But rest of my clan is not like that. My parent's have gone against all to make me avail of this opportunity. At this stage knowing and befriending a male..that too a Hindu..could be perceived in many ways.. Its not good for either me or you.."
Shiven had liked her straightforward and pratical approach. 

"Sara I know our relation is not possible.. I am not asking you to betray your faith and come along with me.  I cannot promise you big things. I want to spend time with you Sara. Whatever beautiful times I can collect with you.. I want to cherish it and remember you as an angel that touched my life.. You are like that angel I can't have.. I can only love.." He had said things spontaneously.. without thinking if it sounded offensive.. All he wanted was Sara..

She had taken him by surprise by replying in affirmative..
"Shiven you have to be careful.. Please don't loiter around here much.. We will meet every Friday here near the lake.. " She had smiled and left him speechless.. What she really an angel?

Friday was all he lived for. They met near the lake. Shared their week..He was amazed by her knowledge about religions other than her own, her interest in philosophy, her passion for poetry, her gentle ways of explaining him about Islam. He learnt how the sects in Islam were divided on the basis of the successor of Mohammed they followed.. Shia and Sunni muslims.. She was a Sunni muslim and according to her a lot better off than that the condition of the Shia.. Sunnis were the majority population. They had better chances at education. She was happy in whatever restrictions imposed.. That was her way of life..
Sometimes she brought him food cooked by her.. He knew she had to wake up really early to get them made and he adored her for that. He tried giving her gifts but she refuse them flatly. She didn't want anything that could raise suspicion. It was strange how a guy's eyes would wander all over girls but when he finds the one he loves, only her face can send thrills.. Her love was the nectar he was living on.. 

If someone had asked him what the happiest moment of his life was, it was the day Sara had hugged him.. When he had landed a job with a company of a very good profile. There was an uneasy silence which followed the hug.. He had wondered if this could lead to a more tangled involvement...

With his job and her final year studies, it had become difficult for them to meet. They had become bold enough now to meet outside. Sometimes in outlets like Mc Donalds, Cafe Coffee Day etc. She would sometimes come without her hijab.. It was afterall her last year in Mumbai.. "Might as well experience this freedom" she used to say. Those days he had a 100 watt smile on his face knowing that he was the envy of every other male in the room. Her slender frame, graceful poise , her contagious smile and her soft sweet voice filled the air with happiness.. Her childlike innocence warmed and won hearts..

When they would meet in open places like the beaches, Marine Drives or National Park she would fully cover herself, revealing only her eyes.. Yet she would hold his attention.. 

Back in Mc Donalds, he was upset that it was her last week in Mumbai. She was called home by her parents. A danger loomed over his head.

"What will I do here Shiven? I m here for last 3 years. Abu jan hadn't sent me here to settle down." she said.
"But Sara, what if they fix your marriage?" he had asked and droplets of sweat formed on his forehead. 
"So what Shiven? He will do what is best for me.." she said without conviction..
"Sara... Sara I love you.." he said in desperation.
"I love you too Shiven.. But that doesn't change things.. We cannot be together.."  was her curt reply.
"Don't go Sara.. What will they do ? Kill you?" He asked trying to prove his point.
"They can.. You don't know my bhai jaan.. They can kill me if I disgrace the family.Even you." she said with her eyes filled with tears.. He had held her hand softly but failed to give any reassurance.. 
He watched her leave for home..
In the next week he had seen her off for Gujarat.. Hugged her the second  time.. She was putting on a brave at Nandiad station.. She entered her compartment... He watched her settle down and turned back to leave..

He hurried into her compartment. She looked as if she was anticipating his return. She hugged him tightly. For the third and the last time and he breathed in her sweet fragrance.. She reached his cheeks and gave him a light  kiss.. He leaned in and slightly touched her lips... She smiled again.. A mature, knowing and retiring smile.. She thrust a note in his hand..

"Sara... oh Sara.. Please call ok.." he whispered... A lump formed in his throat as he battled for words..
"I will... Shiven I love you.." she said as he alighted from the train..
"I love you too Sara.. I always will.." he said as the train began moving..

He stayed there a long time even after the train had long departed a station and watched her figure becoming miniscule till it disappeared... What could he do? He was just a 22 year old Hindu in love with a 21 yr old Muslim..

He slowly opened the note Sara had given him.. Wrinkled and ironed several times over the years.. He traced the page where once her dainty loving hands had moved.. The page which had held her gaze as she must have scribbled away her feelings.. The blots on the paper where she might have stopped to think or brush aside her silky hair or maybe playfully wind her fingers in her hair.. The edges on the page folded when she might have hidden it away from anybody's view or when she had so meticulously placed it topmost in her bag.. The stain where her tear might have fallen....

His hands shook as he unfolded the note.. It felt the same way he had felt when he had first opened the note 9 years back... The feeling that had altered his life...

(to be continued)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Memories of another life.. Part 2

      Read Part 1
           "I need your help.. Please.. It's urgent.."

            He gave her a perplexed look. They were at the Nandiad station. The Gujarat mail had set off from Ahmedabad at 10 pm and was scheduled to reach Mumbai Central at 6.45 am. The train prior to Gujarat mail had derailed leading to their delay. The train had earlier made slow attempts to move on but was stranded at the Nandiad station since midnight and they were still a good 400 kms away from Mumbai. Shiven had plans to board a bus first thing when the day breaks. That would roughly be 2 hours from now..
             Here a number of passengers had strolled aimlessly within the compartments. The second class was worst hit as the rains began lashing on the windows and the Indian Railways train windows, true to their reputation, gave up.. The second class was practically flooded. He couldn't have a moment of peace in his 2Ac compartment due to the constant complaints of ladies and the never ending cries of the children they carried. Men looked around helplessly, while some thought smoking and suffocating the co-passengers was a better option. He had stepped out into the platform to find a cup of tea. He regretted it the moment he put his foot into the muddy waters that ran deeper than he thought.. 
              "Yes.." he replied back.
              " I need your help to get down my bag.. "
wow that was some emergency.. He thought.. Before he could say another word she had taken to her heels and headed into her compartment. his compartment.. He wondered why she hadn't asked anyone else to get her bag.. There were so many others and as he thought this his jaw dropped. The compartment was deserted..
              His immediate response was to get his bag first. He pulled on his windcheater and put on his bag on his shoulders while she watched him.. He then headed to her compartment and tried pulling down the bag.. what did she carry? Rocks??
             "Where has everyone gone?" he asked her.
             "Didn't you hear the announcement? The railway is providing transit bus to take all passengers to Surat.. From there we will get another train to take us to Mumbai.."
             "No.. I didn't.. What were you doing till now then?" He asked her.
             "I was sleeping.. The lady next to me woke me up while she made her way out..Everyone was rushing.. You were the first one I saw on platform and so I asked for help" 
             "Ok, let's take you to the transit bus.. " He said as he managed to get hold of her heavy suitcase. In addition she had another bag and also a handbag.. she must have carried Ahmedabad with her!!
             "Oh no!! The buses are so crowded.. Come on run before the bus goes away.." She panicked . She could have ran but she only took hurried steps as that was the speed of Shiven's run with her heavy bags.. 
             "You have to wait for the next bus lady.. This one is crowded!" said the officer in charge of the transit..
             "Come on! The bus won't topple with just one more passenger!" she tried reasoning.. She looked calm and for a moment Shiven felt the officer was intimidated.
            "Tell you what? The bus may topple with the number of passengers we already have on board.." He winked at her.
            After some convincing and his rebuttal, she finally asked him.. "So when does the next bus leave?" 
           He looked at her and then at Shiven. Shiven wondered what the officer might be thinking was the reason of their delay.. 
           "We just left 8 buses.. It may take 2 hours for more buses to come.. Don't worry the transit train won't leave till all passengers are on board.." he tried consoling her.

           They went back to the platform. She slumped into one of the chairs in the common waiting room. He dutifully carried her bags there. She looked up at him.. Shivered a bit.. He now had a clear view of her.. Her fair oval face with deep brown eyes.. Long lashes that whipped away what was going to be a tear.. Her high cheek bones which accentuated the rosy cheeks she had.. Her eyebrows were arched in a natural fashion.. not like the way women got them done in beauty parlors.. Her nose sharp yet not arrogant..Her delicately shaped light pink lips which she wet with her tongue every now and then.. Her lips trembled.. 

          "Should I get you some coffee or tea?" He asked. He knew she was scared out of her wits. She was probably travelling alone for the first time. She put on a brave face and he liked her instantly.
          "Shukriya." she smiled faintly.. 

He turned around to walk to the tea stall when her cellphone rang..
          "Walaikum assalam.." she said softly.. 
Someone just dashed him and he was about to say something to that person when she put a finger on her lips and made a soft gesture for him to keep his mouth shut.. He carried on his way without hearing anymore..

          He had failed to realise earlier that what he thought to be a scarf wound about her head to protect from the rain was actually her costume.. What he thought was a trench coat was actually a modernised hijab... She was a Muslim..
          what was so upsetting in that .. Something had stirred within him.. Knowing that she was a Muslim..

          When Shiven returned back, she looked composed..
"Are you going to wait for 2 hours?" He asked only knowing that it was the most reasonable thing to do for a young girl travelling alone.. 
"Are you going to go anywhere else?" she asked.
"I just enquired with the people at the stall.. They say a private bus leaves at 4 from here.. That would be an hour from now.. Very few people travel in that bus he says.. Even if we wait for 2 hours we won't be sure we will get space in it.." 
She considered his suggestion and then asked.. "Where does this bus leave us?" 
"Borivali.." Shiven  answered.
"But I want to go to Jogeshwari! How do I go there with this luggage?" she said pointing at her bags..
"Ok now Borivali is only 4 stations away from Jogeshwari and only 20 minutes distant by local train.. We will get down at Borivali and then I will leave you at Jogeshwari carrying all these bags.." He repeated her gesture in a childish manner and she giggled.. 
"Ok.. We will go in private bus.." 

They had climbed on the private bus and caught a seat. She leaned her head on the window.. 
"By the way.. I m Shiven.." She giggled some more..
"Oh I m Sara.." She was too tired yet she managed to fill him with some details on her life.. She studied at the Mumbai University.. She was originally from Gujarat and stayed with her uncle and his family at Jogeshwari.. It happened that the big suitcase she was carrying contained all the goods and gifts sent by her extended family in Gujarat for her uncle and family.. She herself was carrying only the small bag and handbag.. 
Shiven had only told her that he was in final year of engineering and was about to begin to say some more when he felt her head lean on his shoulder and she slipped into a deep slumber.. Sara, who had been alert and cautious, slept like a baby..without a worry.. on his shoulder

He was warmed by the trust she had shown in him.
 He knew it then that he would never break that trust.. Never make her cry.. Never leave her unprotected... 

Strange how he had done all of it...        

(to be continued)