Evening at Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, May 2015
and so does everything around... the situation, the people, the perspective, the needs.... and we too change.... the wise and courageous seek change.. because only change is constant!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

169. Honesty

Do we really value honesty?
That is what I kept wondering about when I happened to listen the conversation.

I was in the Saphal outlet to purchase some fruits.  Delhi has this chain of  Saphal and Mother Dairy Outlets in every nook of the city. 

Three people – probably father, mother and son entered the outlet. The son was in his 30s and parents in their 50s. They wanted to purchase watermelon.
“Is it sweet?” father asked.
The man on the sales counter answered, “Sir, I cannot assure you. If you are fortunate, it would be sweet, otherwise it won’t.”
“Oh! Stupid! What has fortune and fate to do with taste of Watermelon?” the son exclaimed. “Why can’t you keep only sweet watermelons?” He added irritably.
The sales man just smiled. He politely said, “Sir, how can we do that? We try the best of the watermelons, but it is nature’s gift, we do not have control over these things.”
Now the woman spoke, “But in some other shop I saw the man tapping the watermelon and identifying whether it was sweet or not. Can’t you do that? “
“Oh! Madamjee that is just a trick, a trick to satisfy you. Was the watermelon thus tested always sweet?”
“If you don’t know, don’t teach us  ...” the father was now angry.
“Ok, let us go, let us try at some other shop” the woman said and they all stormed out, dissatisfied.

“Why did not you try to play the trick? Don't you know it?" Some other customer asked the salesman.

“Oh! I never understand why city people do not have patience with uncertainty. Why don’t  you people value honesty?”
He looked at me.
I had no answer.
I will never have one to this question.

Monday, April 16, 2012

168. Trigger

Life has been too busy lately.
By ‘lately’ I mean for many years now.
Every morning I wake up with the thoughts and ideas of the work I have to carry on that day.
Every night I sleep with the experiences of the day and the life that I have planned for tomorrow.
This assumption that ‘I will wake up tomorrow and will be breathing and living after (say) 24 hours’  always amuses me.
However, I have spent most of my life with that assumption – taking life granted is integral part of me.
Sometimes I realize that this assumption has become a trap – assume, run, assume, run and assume again to run further and to assume again.  Not exactly never ending chain; it has an end but when that end would happen is completely unknown to me.
What will happen if I stop assuming about life?
Well, with all imagination – I can’t experience my death. After seeing so many dead bodies and experiencing loss of many friends, I know death in a way is very normal – it is pretty routine happening; innumerable people die every moment.  Nothing very significant is going to happen to me or to others after I die.  As I assume life, I assume death too. I see and experience death around. I technically know that I am not going to be here forever. But this thinking is all on ‘intellectual’ level; it no doubt creates wisdom and understanding – but it is still not an experience. It never will be – I fear sometimes.
Maybe if I stop running, would I find another aspect of this complicated truth?
I tried.
I stopped running for a while.
And I realized that desire, want, aspiration – none of them is the real trigger. It is not because of all this I live. It is actually the other way round. It is because of life desires happen. It is because of life, wants occur. It is because of life aspiration arises. It is because of life, I dream and breathe and run and think.  
Life is the real trigger and everything else is secondary.
The uncertainty of this trigger called life is the real pleasure. Nothing else really matters now as I have experienced this truth. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

167. That Last Night

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 26; the 26th Edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The topic for this month is 'That Last Night'.
I am busy with my computer when Bahadur enters my cabin.
“When did you come, Madam?” he asks.
“Oh, just now, a few minutes ago.” I answer without taking my eyes from the screen.
Then I realize that he is still standing there.
I look at him questioningly.
“I was at the reception and I did not see you,” he complains.
“Maybe I came in an invisibility cloak,” I joke but he does not smile.  He goes out reluctantly.
After five minutes, he returns with a cup of coffee.
“Madam, at what time did you leave yesterday?” Bahadur pretends to be casual but there is something funny about his question.
“Bahadur, you know better than me that we have a definite time to come in, but never for leaving the office“, I am getting little irritated. I have a report to complete and this guy is asking stupid questions early in the morning.  “Now, go away, I have to complete this document. Then I will answer all your questions,” I almost order him.

Fifteen more minutes and Kapil enters. “Madam, Sirjee is calling you.” He tells me. OMG, the boss is already here and I am still in the midst of the document. But no excuses! I will have to bargain for at least an hour.
“Savitri, Yes, where is the report?” boss asks without any formalities.
“Sir, just give me an hour. I am giving final touches to it.” I say politely.
Boss looks at me with surprise. “But you were to complete and email me the report last night.” He barks.
“Sorry Sir. Just 60 minutes and it will be perfect.” I add apologetically. I am the Project Leader, so he knows I am the best person to write this report. He nods and I start leaving.
“By the way, last evening why did you not pick up my calls?” he asks.
“Your calls?  Sir?” I am surprised.
“Why did you switch your cell phone off?” He looks sternly at me.
I pull out my cell phone from the pocket.
I am bit confused. How come my cell phone is switched off? I think fast.
“Sorry Sir, the Metro does not provide charging points and the battery was almost over, so I switched it off,” I am telling a complete lie. He too knows. He is asking about why it was switched off yesterday.  But he looks concerned.
“Are you telling me that you traveled by Metro today to reach office?” boss asks.
“Yes Sir, as usual,” I am happy with the change of topic.
“Have you lost your mind? Since yesterday evening, Delhi Metro is not running. There was a bomb blast at Rajiv Chauk station. Don’t tell me you don’t know that. If you want to tell a lie, at least be smart enough about it.” Now his rising temper is visible. I am clueless.
Raina, my colleague helps out, “Sir that blast was on Dwarka line. They have restored the Huda City Center line today morning. Savitri must have taken an auto from Central Secretariat.”
I am indeed thankful to Raina.

I come back to my cabin and concentrate. The doubts can wait for a while; the report is the topmost priority now. I am good at focusing, so I complete the report and send it to the boss. On this final report the remaining 20% fund release will happen – so this report needs to be perfect. However, as I am working with this international funding agency for a decade, I know what they want and I have done it without any kind of exaggeration.
I press the bell and ask Bahadur for a cup of coffee. Now I can entertain his questions. In the mean time, I switch on the cell phone and see number of missed calls. It seems that all the people from A to Z in my contact list have called. I have to call back at least some of them But when did I switch off the cell phone and why? I also find it surprising that there is no call from Shaunak. 
With Bahadur, comes in Raina. Bahadur waits in the corner. Raina asks in a conspiracy tone, “By the way, how did you come to office today? You should have called me and I would have picked you up somewhere near your residence.”
“You know it, you told it to boss, and why are you asking me again?” I feel uneasy.
“To tell you the truth, not a single Metro line is yet restored, I said so to save you from wrath of boss.” He says. Is he joking? My head starts spinning.
Diya comes in – bubbling with enthusiasm as usual.
“Are you not well?” she asks.
“Why, I am fine. What makes you think so?” I am not at all polite with her though she is not at fault.
“No, your clothes are not ironed today. Oh, look, you are wearing the same set of clothes that you were wearing yesterday. Is something wrong with you?” She starts laughing initially and then sounds worried.
“Oh, just did not get time to iron it. But I had washed it yesterday evening.”  I say casually. I make out a story – that after bomb blast I took a cab; I was caught in traffic jam; the network was temporarily stopped by officials and I stayed with one of my friends. In the mean time the battery was down …
Neither Diya, nor Raina nor Bahadur are convinced. They exchange looks hoping that I have not noticed it.
They leave but I am sure the discussion continues outside.

Is it all a dream and actually nothing of this sort has ever happened?  It is only that my office colleagues are playing a mischief with me? Let me check about the bomb blast first – whether it is right or not.
I open e-paper and the images tell the true story. The Metro as Raina mentioned is not yet running. I open my purse. My debit card, I card, entry pass, cash – everything is intact.
I make few calls. Everyone shouts at me for switching off mobile and not calling them. After the news of bomb blast, everyone is concerned about my safety and security. I repeat the story. They are angry but happy that I am safe. This continues for more than an hour.
The Tiffin lady (who delivers home cooked food to me) too calls. “Deedee, you did not come in the morning. Yesterday night too Bipin said that the house was locked so he brought the Tiffin back.” I explain again and ask her to send Tiffin today night.
Now I sigh. Something is absolutely wrong here.
When did I leave yesterday evening? Why don’t I remember anything about bomb blast? How did I reach home? If I did not go there, where was I the whole night? Why did I switch off my cell phone? Why did I not complete the report? Why I am wearing the same clothes? Why Bahadur could not see me coming in? if Metro is not running, how did I reach this office?
Questions after questions.
“Am I dead?” I ask myself.
No, it can’t be. My heart is beating, I have taken two cups of coffee since morning, I have done a quick report finalization job, I can breathe, I am anxious. If I am dead, I can’t be doing all these things.
Was I drugged? But then my body and mind both seem alright – no scratches. Did I sleep in the office itself and nobody noticed? But then I would have remembered that. And Bahadur always checks the whole office before locking.
Was I kidnapped by some aliens? That seems to be the only possibility – I say sarcastically to myself.

Cell phone rings. I am surprised to receive a call from Avinash. He is Shaunak’s friend and Shaunak you must have guessed rightly is my husband. Why is Avinash calling instead of Shaunak and at this hour?
“Savitri, here is a good and a bad news for you. Which one you want first?” he asks. He seems to be in a good spirit.
“Where is Shaunak?” I ask.
“Don’t worry, he is absolutely fine. “ Avinash assures.
“Where is he? Is anything wrong with him?” I demand.
“Savitri, listen. Shaunak had a bad accident yesterday, must be around 7.00 PM India time when it happened….”
“What?” I shout before he completes.
“But nothing to worry. He is completely out of danger now. I called you because he keeps on telling me a funny thing and he wants me to tell you that immediately.” Avinash sounds little confused.
“And what is it?” I wait.
“Well, it sounds weird. But Shaunak keeps on repeating that you saved his life. It was you who fought and brought him back from the clutches of Death.”
I smile.
Now I understand the mystery of that last night.
No time to think about it. Maybe I will be able to put the pieces together when I meet Shaunak. 
However, that will come later. Now  I will take the first available flight and see Shaunak. This is my top priority today night . How would I explain that last night to the world, will always remain a problem. 
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