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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Meeting and bonding with friends in 'real time'

There are so many ways of connecting/re-connecting and then staying in touch with friends in this day and age. 

Whether its on  FB, Twitter, Google, Hotmail, texting, Whats app, Instagram- its all a part and parcel of our daily lives and something which we have absolutely begun to take for granted by now.

And I must confess that like most others, I too am guilty of the sin of omission-that of taking friends for granted on many occasions and managing via all these 'alternative' modes.

But I'm convinced that there's is absolutely nothing that can replace that feeling of warmth and camaraderie that comes with sitting and having a meal/chat with good friends in real life. And I can equally understand why sitting and 'breaking bread' with friends and family has been such a recurring theme with writers and poets over many centuries.

For it really is unique...

Sitting and laughing over silly jokes, eating something everyone relishes, holding a steaming mug of coffee in your hands and then...

Just..Talking the time away....
Coffee with friends-Doesn't get any better!

Try it, if you haven't done it recently. I can guarantee that you will absolutely love it!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Life's Little Boxes

We all love them, those little boxes that we like to keep our lives organised into because that gives us a semblance of control over our lives. Or so we like to think and believe until something or someone comes and shakes us out of that belief. As I learnt to my discomfort, just the other day.

Life's Little Boxes
( Image from  the internet)

My life is planned to a very large degree and I have certain days of the week allocated for different activities that I’m involved with. Since most of them entail leaving the house by about 8.30am, the cleaner has been clearly informed that the car must be cleaned and ready by 8 am, (just in case I decide/have to leave home somewhat earlier).

And this is an arrangement that has worked rather well for some time. That was until last Tuesday when I reached the car and to my surprise found him just about starting to clean it. The time was already about 8.25 am and I had to leave, with or without that cleaning. Approaching him, I probably had a certain kind of look on my face, and he knew exactly what had caused it. So in anticipation of what I would say to him, he started to apologise, but I wanted to tell him once and for all that being late the next time was a complete ‘no-no’. 

All he did was just lift up his trouser leg and show me a huge bandage covering his foot and right upto his ankle and tell me, “Madam, Yeh chot lag gaya hai.”(Madam, I’ve hurt my foot.) I did not know where to look, let alone tell him anything more. Managing to barely mumble words to the effect that I hoped that he had shown it to a doctor, I got in and started my car. 

But not before I heard him say, “Madam, I’ll finish the job right after you return.”


Then there was this other time when I saw a well to do individual approaching his vehicle in a public parking and start shouting at a poor man cleaning his vehicle. The reason for that - apparently the man was cleaning the car with water that was not too clean. 

That moment will remain etched in my mind and heart forever. The sheer anger and contempt on the man’s face as he shouted at the cowering thin and tired man. But even more, the look of shame and humiliation on the victim’s face as I passed by... 

Life's little boxes-inexplicable sometimes and very hard to forget most of the time.

( Excerpt taken from my column 'My Take' in Muscat Daily.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A World Of Contrasts-Real Life Experiences

Money cant buy you happiness

The mind wanders and various thoughts come and go. Some which register more than the others. In which case, I try to put them down, before they go away. So here’s something which I observed during one of my evening walks.

We have a very large and well reputed Polyclinic in our complex offering a wide range of medical treatments and facilities. People of all age groups ( might I add, mostly from the upper strata) come here to have a range of treatments and follow up activities. As I drew up closer, and moved towards the outer perimeter, I saw an old Omani gentleman in a wheel chair. He was gently being taken down the specially built ramp and into a parked and waiting Lexus ES-350.

My primary observation was that he looked weak and unwell. But overriding that was another one for he also looked happy and content. Even managing a smile back at me as I gave him one while directly passing by. The reason for that happiness was very simple. You see he was surrounded by loving family members, who were there to provide mental, moral as well as physical support. There were three of them, a young man and a woman along with a boy of about 14 years of age.

So here's my take on this- At the end of the day, what are we all really looking for? Just some peace and quiet, and most of all the loving support of our family,particularly if we are weak, old and ill. For money alone can't buy us happiness in this world.


Then here’s a contrasting story. It was one cold December night of our winter vacation in Delhi a few years back had just finished a family dinner at Punjabi by Nature in Priya's Vasant Vihar Complex. and were looking for a 'paan' to conclude the eating fiesta.

As everyone wandered from place to place, looking around, I stood near a bangles and accessories pavement seller, looking at his wares and my eyes just happened to fall on an old lady, sitting on a nearby pavement bench. What particularly caught my attention was her sad eyes and an expression of sheer desolation. She looked absolutely lost and alone. The very next moment, she turned and looked at me. Our eyes met, and an unspoken communication took place. I willed her into some semblance of awareness of her surroundings.....and she managed a timid smile.

And then, something happened and which has stayed with me-till today, and every now and then still returns to haunt me.A younger woman, (possibly her daughter in law? ) walked up to her and asked loudly- in Punjabi- "Bunty Kidhar Hai? Kidhar hai Bunty?"( Where’s Bunty?)

And this one looked up, totally confused for she hadn't even realized that Bunty wasn't there. She started stammering," I don't know, he was just here" desperately looking around, for she really had no clue. All the while the younger woman continued with her ranting.

Suddenly, a boy of about six came running right up to the older woman. Then hugging her he said, "Sorry, I had just gone there... for a moment."

The lady was so relieved that in that moment, tears spilled out of her eyes. And I stood watching, having understood what I had just unwittingly been a mute witness to-total disrespect of an older person. It was obvious that she was now without her partner. And that's why the younger woman had the audacity to treat her this way.

Life took over, and I went on with my family in the next few minutes, but not without turning to look back at her. Still sitting there yet, the child was holding on to her hand.

In some of my quiet moments, I often wonder, what happened to her from that day onwards?

(This piece was originally written for my column 'My Take' in Muscat Daily)