Sunday, April 19, 2009


“Shiela. Help me find my laptop” Shouts Anand. The domination in his voice evidently shows he is her husband.

“It is your laptop Anand! You must have kept it somewhere. Search…” Replies Shiela.

Anand feels someone kick him. He walks around the house in redundant path-ways throwing everything that comes his way in a random direction. He opens the shoe rack. He shuts it off. He bangs the cupboard door hard. Scatters Shiela’s clothes all over the bed. The search gets violent with time.

Shiela notices everything. She does not give up on enjoying her book. She slides a little down into the couch and increases the volume of music on the deck. One of her hand is on her little dog. The dog is sleeping lazily. Sheila is wearing Anand’s T-shirt which is very long for her. Just that. Her hair is let loose. She lies cross legged. She looks beautiful. The rays of morning sun falling on her legs through the glass roof make her look radiant.

Anand walks to her briskly. “Help me out, god-damn-it! I am struggling to find my laptop. I needed to finish my presentation yesterday. The boss is on my head for it. You dint let me do it last night. And those friends of yours. What a nuisance it was! Are you even listening?”

It was a party in Shiela’s house last night. Her college friends and their girl friends had come home. It was a wild party till late night. Anand did not have a good time. He was worried about his presentation. However, he put up with the mood of the night and postponed his work for the morning. He did this for Shiela. Because he loved her. But here she was not even helping him find his laptop this morning.

He feels guilty for what he said. He shouldn’t have said it…

“Anand. It is a Sunday, and I want to relax. Please do your work yourself. And about my friends – I invited them, and we had a nice time. I did not expect you to enjoy anyways.” She said before going back to the book.

Anand seemed to have recovered back into his senses. He pulled himself into a jeans and wore a black T-Shirt over it. Poorly dressed Anand finally found his car-keys in the mess and left the house. He did not tell Shiela where he was going. He dint even tell her he was going. He just left.

Sheila was alone again. In a big house…

 Sometimes, everything changes but still life seems to remain the same. How much life changed after college! She got a job. She started earning. She could now afford expensive clothes. She no more had to ask her dad’s credit cards. She could buy any book she wanted. She fell in love with Anand. She got married to him.

But she is still alone.

 Anand had been a nice guy to her. But she was still not able to fit into the marriage. She felt nostalgic about all the freedom college life gave her. She was always striving to drag that element into her current life.  She dint try to understand that every phase of life is different and there is no point looking for one in another.

Anand had seen four more years and a few more girls in his life. Shiela was not his first love. He settled into marriage with her because he was twenty seven and she liked him. He liked her too.  But now, he was more ambitious about his career. Life has taken him on. He now dreams of power. Shiela is only that part of his life without which everything else is incomplete. He calls it love. He loves her.

This morning was just one morning among the hundreds since they were married. They were both confused about what each meant in the other’s life. They dint even know if life was happy together. Both tried to bring in everything they could from their past life. Except the girls Anand dated. Anand also dated Shiela before marriage. Occasional coffee shop visits and candle light dinners. He longed for them. Women in life were very interesting for him. Like the spice in everything else that was blande. But now he seemed to have got used to it. Life-was-better-before feeling takes on him.

Shiela wanted a life partner. Partner for life – that is exactly what she meant. Someone to live with, because living alone was not a possible case for her. She found someone who was old enough for marriage, dated him for a while and finally married him. And now, she happily reads books and works. Fights for her freedom and enjoys it. Longs for Sundays. Drinks coffee.

The phone rings.

She attends. It is her mother.

“Ayioo papam Anand. You dint make break-fast for him? And he is gone to office on Sunday? What kind of a wife you are. I pity him. How bad will your mother-in-law feel for him?”

Anand’s mother used to boast that her son would marry a girl of her choice till one morning she discovered his love. Shiela. Then she stopped telling people. Later, she married them off.

“Chinni. Today is krishnasthami. Pray for chinni Krishna that you should have a son like him by next year. A cute little boy. Make payasam. And cook a nice dinner for Anand tonight. Pavam Anand, he dint even eat his breakfast. He is a good boy. ”

“Kids?-Now!!- Sari amma- I will do it- Okie okie- Aba amma! Okay I will wear pavadai- Okay now stop it!”

Shiela disconnects the phone.

She is in no mood to go back to the book. It is another one on love which looks so screwed up in reality. How beautifully they portray it in books and movies. It only builds expectations. It is a delusion. She calls off on the peace of morning and heads to clear all the mess Anand made in the morning.

She says to herself – “My life was better. It was much better without him. Unmarried Shiela was happier! She could do whatever she wanted to.”

She takes a bath and changes into a pavadai. She remembers her childhood days when she used to make footprints of lord Krishna all over the house. She does that in her newly married house too. She makes payasam. She cooks a good lunch. She waits for Anand. He doesn’t turn up. She eats and sleeps.

It is four in the evening. The door bell rings.

She opens. It is Anand.

“Hi darling. Have you been sleeping?” He asks her.

She smiles. “Yes honey” She says as she adjusts the pavadai which had got distorted in sleep.

“You look beautiful. So does the house.” – he says. She smiles tiredly. “Did you have lunch?” He asks.

“Yes. Yours is on the table” She says. He walks to the table. He eats and eats. He is happy about the good food.

Shiela switches the television on. It does not interest her, but she is watching. He is eating and she is watching. Nothing else is happening.

He finally finishes eating and walks to her. “Want to go out for a drive?” He asks.

“Yeah. In the evening. May be you could first have a bath” She suggests.

“I am sorry for what happened in the morning darling.” He says to her. “You know, Ive been busy this week and the party tired me out. You know I dint mean it right?…” He says.

She smiles. He goes off.

People fight. But when one tries to put a genuine effort to make up, it looks beautiful. Life suddenly looks more optimistic. Shiela is again happy about it.

They both go out for a dinner that night. The morning to evening experience does not affect the night. They enjoy the dinner, count the stars and walk on the sands of the beach.  They drive and drive and drive all night. Talk everything from boss to ambition to life to philosophy. They talk till her make-up dries. And finally come home in the early hours of morning.


Another Monday morning waiting for both of them.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Campus Blues

This blog is the result of a funny conversation with a friend.

It is eight in the night. I am walking back to my hostel after some hair-oil-and-bread-crumbs shopping. I am poorly dressed and taking rescue in the anonymity of the dark night. The road is poorly lit. I think the dim tube lights separated by extra large spaces filled with bushes were specifically designed so for the merit of the large number of couples sitting on the road divider and doing whatsoever. I don’t care about what they do. Talk or further enhanced forms of romance. Whatever. All I care about is that they look up to me and wait for me to walk by them impatiently to resume the activity they were busily engrossed in. And unfortunately, there is an old couple walking in front of me. The old man has been a professor in my first year and they walk as though the road is one in the back yard of their bungalow at a pace which is extraordinarily slow. They fill the space between them with an aura of silence which makes the sound of my heels awkwardly loud.

Life on a small campus with little number of girls can be painful. This evidence is little, trust me!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


It was warm that afternoon in October. I could smell a coat of sunscreen and moisturizer on me. The chiffon fabric on me was not comfortable for the weather. I was on one side of a heavily crowded road. My mother was still wondering if she had to wait till I crossed the road. She drives me almost everywhere. She also offered to help me cross the road. I refused. She finally made her mind to drive away. I felt free for a second. But my eyes were back on the flowing stream of cars that I had to navigate across.

I stood for almost ten minutes. I wanted to go to a book stall that was just about a hundred feet away from me on the other side of this never ending fleet. The road was neatly partitioned into half with one half escalating as a fly over. A well defined concrete pavement separated the two.  I decided to walk onto the pavement and then cross the other half of the traffic stream. As I almost neared the pavement, I could not sense what happened to me. For a few seconds, everything around me was dark. A few sounds and a couple of nervous screeches is all that fell over my ears. My hand hit against the divider and I could sense pain in a few seconds.  Blood was wetting my dupatta. My eyes moistened with tears. I felt really bad.

I saw a man emerge from his new car which was on temporary registration. He had not even cut the ribbon of it. The mighty H of Honda was scintillating its bonnet.  He was dressed in a grayish trouser with a blue formal shirt. He looked handsome through my glistened eyes. He walked down to me nervously and said—

“I am sorry Ma’am. I could not make up my mind whether to use the flyover. ” I could hear shrieking horns by then. “I will drive you to your destination. Please Ma’am. Let us get out of here.” He said. I looked blank in anger. I was still on the road and the pain was increasing. May be I had to call my dad for help. But this man was no where sensing the anger in my eyes. The traffic was getting congested, and I was standing fine by then. I felt I could help myself to a clinic or home. “Well, here is my identity card.” He said flashing a card across me in a hurry. “I am a doctor. Apollo Hospitals. You could trust me with a ride.” He said and smiled trying to be confident. By then, I really wanted to get out of the place. Every one looking at me with a so-sad-she-was-hit look was the most uncomfortable thing I could think of. I said yes. I got into his car as he drove it over the flyover. One of the longest in the city. I was still in pain. The traffic cleared out and I felt better.

He dint say a word. He was really nervous. I was also nervous to death. I have never been in the car of a stranger. Further, I was alone. I carefully summed up the courage to look at my dripping hand. It did wet his new car. He must have felt bad for it. I tried wrapping the wound with my dupatta to protect the stranger’s car from being tainted by a girl’s blood. I was pale in shock. The flyover was too long that day. It ran across the city’s biggest shopping malls, cinema halls, jewelers and what not! It finally ended. The guy indicated a left, drove aside a less densely populated place and switched the engine off. He dint say a word. He opened the dickey and hurriedly rushed out of the car. I got down too. It was difficult for me to stand. He paused on the mining activity he was doing back there, and instructed me in gestures to be seated in his car. I did it. He was in some kind of a hurry. What the hell was this man doing? I was not supposed to be here. I should have asked my mother to drop me off at the shop. What the hell happens to me every time I get arrogant to her feelings?

“One second Ma’am.” He says as he suddenly opens the rear door and reclines my seat. I try getting support onto my spine but fall to the back rest in pain.

“Let me get some first aid for you.” He gets back to the driver’s seat. He quickly covers himself with a white towel and gets some cotton chunks in hand from the establishment he landed in the rear seat. I feel drowsy to the blood loss. I say “Well, that’s alright. I am fine. You could drop me off; I will take care of myself.” I was curt in the way I said it.

“I will surely do that.” He says and smiles. “Stretch your hand first. I am a qualified doctor. I promise I will do you no harm.” He says and jerks my hand to position in authority. What gives doctors this authority over us? They can do anything like pulling your hand or looking into your eyes without asking you. I turned my face away in pain. He was nothing like gentle. He scrubbed my hand with those miniature bits of cotton wildly. I nearly fainted in pain. I jerked the hand off from his custody and yelled – “Just leave it now. I don’t need help.” I could feel tears in my eyes. It is probably the first time I did before a stranger. He was still smiling. He was no more nervous and I was all the more.

“I am sorry.” I said regaining myself. “It was really painful, so…” I blurted a semi-finished statement.

“I should.” He said. “I am sorry I caused you the pain. I am not-so conversant with the driving routes in Hyderabad. I’ve not been here lately. I really dint know if I had to take the flyover to jubilee hills.” He said. He carefully removed the bangle I was wearing on my hand and gave it to me. He made me stretch the hand twice to ensure there was no fracture. He was then bandaging my hand with white gauze while he was talking. It was still paining but I had to be attentive to his speech. “I did my schooling here. I later moved to Pondicherry to do my medicine. I went on to do a Masters in Neurology in the States. I came back to be my parents medical practitioner for a while. It is after about seven years that I am driving on these roads in Hyderabad. It seems but-natural I bump into girls like you” He narrated his autobiography. “By the way, I am Dr. Anand Vishwanath, a shot of tetanus and you will be fine!” He said, as I looked at the hand on which red was replaced by white. I dint know what I had to say. Courtesies were not defined for such moments.

“Thanks a lot for the help” I said, as I summoned the hand bag and prepared to leave.

“No no. Wait. I will drop you off where I knocked you down. How will you go home? Do you want me to call someone?” He asked. “No I think…” And he was already adjusting his seat belt and starting his engine. “No. They will get nervous. I can go myself.” I said. “I am anyways late for the day. I could offer dropping you home.” He said. “No thanks” I replied as he was getting into the main track of traffic.

“So, what do you do?” He asked me. “Engineering final year.” I said.

 “Engineering! Wow!” “So how come here at this time? Not at college today?” He asked me.

“I came to buy for myself a few books. I don’t study here. I am here for vacations.” I said.

“Which college?” He asked me. “Indian Institute of Technology.” I said.

“Wow!” His statements were excessively wowed. ” That reminds me something. I was great at math. My parents believed I would end up being an IITian. Those thirty five and forty five rank types. They even wanted me to. I could have done it.” He said. “But here I am a doctor. And now struggling for a MBA in India” He said pushing into the fourth gear and accelerating.

“MBA?” I said. I was here looking for an MBA which would give me a fat pocket. But this guy was already driving an Accord. He was consulting as a neurologist at Apollo which means money. And why the hell does he need a MBA?

“I don’t know how it works for these IIMs and ISBs in India. It has been nearly nine years since I came third in the JIPMER entrance exam.” He said. “I am again wanting that experience of cracking a national level exam in India come back to me. It is like running a marathon of forty kilometers or doing five hundred push-ups which say back to you – hey, you are still young dude!” I smile. People write competitive exams for the kick of succeeding in them. Weird. I was silent for a while.

“It looks to me you in the MBA race too young woman. Am I right?” He asked me. Is MBA or CAT written all over my face? How could this guy guess I wanted to do an MBA? And what is this calling me young woman. It was funny. I smiled over it.

“Yes. That was a smart guess. And here is Walden. I’ll get off here.” I said.

 “Want to go back to Walden?” he asked. “I advice you don’t. I’ll give you some pain killers. Take one before you leave for home. I could home deliver books if you want” he said. I smiled finally. I felt I could pardon him for what he did to me. The pain felt better.  I said bye to him and found myself a way to get home.

I was still wondering, what is this whole MBA craze about? Our country needs doctors more than managers. And the fever doesn’t even spare doctors?