|| Give me back my friends
Every time I pass by that gate in Sina Mangal – now changed to look all weird and ugly – I can’t help but become nostalgic.
Red tikas on their foreheads, garlands and khadas around their necks and shoulders, tears glinting in their eyes, mum lips trying to smile, and accompanied by hordes of family members and friends – I’ve seen so many of them leave like that.
The airport, more than a place of check-in and check-out chaos, planes flying in and out, tourists pouring in and out, has somehow become a personal place in my mind over the past few years.
A place that reminds me of my friends who’ve driven through the gate, boarded the planes for greener pastures, for good, and have rarely come back.I’m not against it.
I know they have had to leave. It would be selfish of me to hold them back and I know not all of them leave forever. But the wait and the distance have been hard.
Yes, there’s Facebook, Skype, Viber but all that’s only as good as virtual XOXO. I miss laughing together without any static in the background, talking for hours without waiting for the facial expressions to buffer in boxes and taking long walks together that’s virtually impossible.
Next week, I’ll go through a familiar routine – get a gift that you hope will always be cherished and will remind the loved one of the good times, bad times, tears and joys shared, a reminder that you don’t want to be forgotten.
Then write an emotional letter in hand. The day they leave, you get to their houses as early as you can to see them busy with their last-minute packing, relatives blessing them, the usual ritual of tika, dahi, flowers, tears, and then drive off to the airport gate, through the gate, and bid them farewell.
Till we see you again! But this time, it’ll be harder than ever, I guess. How do I let go of a friend whom I don’t necessarily meet too often but always run to for what I know of as happiness, calm, release and plain comforting company? How can I think of replacing her lively chatter and loud (oh so loud) laughter with muffled sounds over the wireless connections? How can I be without my best friend?
As I start silently cursing that gate and the entire airport again, I let a conversation I had with one of my friends roll on in my mind to try and console myself.
“Stop hating that gate and that airport so much. They leave from there but then they also return through the same gate, right?” I nod.
I nod but it’s all just words and voices in my head till I actually see that gate, that airport, bring back my friends.
My passion for music
As I was clearing the storeroom of my home, I came across this huge wooden box. Eager to know what was inside, I opened it, and to my surprise, it was full of my old audio cassettes.
That just made me really nostalgic as it brought back memories of a time when I used to look forward to buying cassettes of my favorite artists.
Back in those schooldays, I had this huge collection of cassettes of alternative artists like Match Box 20, The Wallflowers, and Oasis, to name a few.
My room would always be abuzz with “Alternative” tracks, my favorite genre at that time. If I was not in my room, then I would be listening to songs on my Sony Walkman.
I even used to put so much effort to record the songs they played at FM stations, and if the songs were played incomplete, I would be so pissed off for ruining my record collection.
Then there was a time when CDs replaced my huge collection of cassettes. I still remember the moment when I got a Discman as a gift from my father.
It was my most valued possession at that time, and when on one of my birthdays my friends got me around ten CDs of my favorite artists, I couldn’t be much happier. I would just put on my headphones and get lost into my own sweet world.
And that’s how music has always been a part of me. Whether I’ve just woken up, or I’m getting ready to go somewhere, or when I’m taking a stroll or just cleaning my room, I always have some music playing.
I don’t know if it’s one of my fortes, but I was even good at remembering all the lyrics, though I never made efforts to memorize them.
My friends would be amused to see me with that talent, or whatever you call it.
My tastes in music have always been varied. From Ben Harper to Ani DiFranco and Fiona Apple, from the Beatles to Bob Dylan, I just love listening and exploring all kinds of singers and music.
But it was after my schooldays that I discovered my passion for electronic music, or “house” music, to be precise. As soon as I tune in to house tracks, be it of Edward Maya, Avicii, or Axwell, I just get transported to a different world and I call such music my ecstasy.
Call it a boon of this modern age; I can now just go online, type the name of my favorite singer, click download, and Voila!, the song is saved. And gone are the Walkman and Discman days as both have now been replaced by my iPod.
But my passion for music is all the same.
Don´t worry: Be angry!
When you’re angry, this is what I would advise you to do. Here, I’ll even guide you step by step. First, fill a plastic bottle with water and then climb up to the terrace of a tall building – the taller, the better.
Though in my case, I personally have to make do with the terrace of my two-storey house. I would like to use the terrace of the six-storey-high structure in my neighborhood but I don’t think those residing in that particularly peaceful building would appreciate it if I barged in fuming and shaking with anger.
So I refrain from doing that. I might be angry but I’m not inconsiderate and selfish. Not even in my worst moments, I’d like to believe.
Well, let’s get back to the point. I got carried away, as usual. After you’ve reached the terrace with the bottle of water...well, if you’re thinking I’ll tell you to drink it now, oh, you’re so naïve.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, smash the bottle down as hard as you can. Whoa! This is one crazy girl, you might say, but trust a mad girl just this one time. I guarantee your anger will vaporize the very instant the bottle breaks into pieces and splashes water all around. I speak from experience.
It’s a very liberating feeling – this breaking of the water bottle. And it’s very symbolic, too. When the bottle breaks and the water gushes out, it’s like all the pent-up anger and frustration you have within you gets a release.
You might be shaking your head and saying, “She’s a lunatic and belongs in a mental asylum.” Even my Mom says so. But try it when you’re angry and you’ll be Facebooking me your blessings.
I get angry for the tiniest of reasons, and so I must’ve spent half my earnings till now on water bottles. Believe me, I’m not exaggerating. I’ve always been an easily upsetable kind of a girl.
But this will come as a surprise to most of my friends and colleagues because they’ve always seen me rather calm and composed. And that’s probably because I’ve broken countless water bottles.
I don’t hold grudges and am a “forgive and forget” sort of person. I can’t fight a long fight and nor can I stay mad for too long.
I’ve realized that while my bottle-smashing tendency might seem preposterous to many and you might be silently judging me, based on my not-so-secret-anymore way of handling anger, the trick actually works to keep me in a good mood despite constantly being surrounded by personal and professional issues.
It’s good to let it all out before your anger consumes you. I’ve seen people who’ve kept their anger bottled up inside and vented it at the wrong time and the wrong person.
The least I can say is that I don’t do that. And if you’re still judging me, I have a friend who has to break something that’s made of glass when she’s upset. No wonder I’m so twisted.
They say you are the company you keep. Just
blaming it all on her now to simply to redeem myself.
Gadgets for kids?
On a not-so-busy afternoon this week, I went to Civil Mall’s food courts with a couple of my colleagues for lunch. After making rounds of the food stalls, we took a table on the terrace.
The table on our side had three kids, possibly in their early teens, their heads down in one particular direction. Just then, a colleague said, “Do you know, guys, if we total the sum of all the gadgets those kids own, it might come out to more that three lakhs?”
Then the conversation for a while went on about how hard it is to bear and rear a child these days.
In one recent family gathering, my cousin was constantly pestered by her four-year-old son. He denied the company of any other person in the house and was sticking to his mother’s side no matter where he went.
After an hour or two, my cousin was not only embarrassed but exhausted and she found an easy way to deal with it: her iPhone. She just handed it over to him and there he sat in a corner and got hooked to the device.
It was, however, not the first time I had seen parents or any other relatives charm a kid with their gadgets. The talking Tom, Dick and Harry have been the favorites of almost all the kids in my family circle. But before these i-devices or Android phones and tablets existed, there was only one thing parents offered their kids to end their mischievousness: computers.
I have a cousin who has completed his entire childhood sitting in front of a computer screen. He used to be very impulsive as a kid. He could not sit in one place for a split second if he was not offered anything he could destroy in a few minutes or was offered a computer game.
Years passed and still his best friend and the only company is the screen that he can stare at without blinking for hours and his fingers moving in a certain rhythm.
He shuns any family gatherings. He does not even like to talk, and if he is forced to any conversation, he seems as though getting into immense pain.
But my point isn’t only about kids turning un- or anti-social. With the frequent exposure to these phones and tablets, they are not just hating to go out, make friends and play in open but missing all the things that make your childhood a memorable one.
I see a flock of neighborhood kids, those whose families survive in one-room homes, playing a game of marbles in a narrow lane to the backdoor of my home. Whenever I take the track, I need to navigate my steps carefully not to disturb the game. It is just fun to watch them, smiling, communicating, fighting.
Someday, the companies might develop some apps of marble games. But will kids ever know the charms of playing it in the open, be it even along dirty narrow lanes?
||FROM THE DESK
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