Pune Memoirs (II) (9) Part one : Skipping exams and lafangey parindey


Pune, Second year, 2004/2005:

The exams were over. It felt like strutting out of a dream after sleeping for ages. Whatta year! I really came alive in my Second year, choosing to step out of my comfort zone, making friends for life, and participating in numerous college fests where the introverted me flapped its wings and soared into the sky. The tale of skipping an exam for the first time in my entire life took shape.

It was another story that on the exam’s eve, my Raakhi sister Ritika gave me an earful when I told her that I was planning to skip it and she came up with all the gyaan in the world. I took the paper inside the exam hall but returned it after some time. But, the invigilator forced me to sit through for another 30 minutes but the uninterested me gave back the paper.  Around that time, we had four exams in a row during April but I didn’t want to content myself to bag average marks and appearing in October would make it easier to score high marks. It was all sorted. The day before, Adi skipped his Psychology paper and guess, it would be two for company. On the last day of the exams, I took the bus to Mumbai since I had to meet someone at the airport where I reached late night. Adi joined me next day in Colaba and he made me travel for the first in the double-decker bus from Fort to Dadar.

2005 was one wacky year where I went completely bonkers. I shifted several houses from Kothrud to a PG behind FC and moving on the same road, a couple of times where a record of shuttling 5 houses in a single year was set. In one of the flats, there were 4 to 5 of us staying together and with the common friends barging in and out. They all hailed from Madhya Pradesh. There was Vivian’s girl friend, Neha who was studying fashion design and once told me how homesick she was during her initial days and cried at the bus stop.  I remember her words, ‘Mein to bohot phat gayi aur ro rahi thi.’ Ah! The feeling of being far away from home and parents can break you but friends always fill the gap for they become your immediate family. She would always tell me how she likes my sober nature and it felt good to hang out with non-Fergussonians folks for the first time.

Outside view of CCD at Law College Road.

Once a random guy came to stay with us for a fortnight but he soon got on my nerves which led to a tiff. Once, the dude brought a girl friend without informing anyone of us and the issue wasn’t about bringing a chick home but he apparently locked the door from inside. Just imagine in our house! You came as a guest but acted all smart. The entire roomies were on my side and the day he left, a hesitant smile surfaced on his face, ‘No hard feeling.’ The roomies were cool guys with whom I had a gala time despite staying together only for a short span of time. Once we went to have daaru and all of us were hanging out together outside Barista at Law College Road where beer was poured and flowed. I started singing on the middle of the road, ‘Borivali mein daaru ka adda and those guys hailed with, ‘Vishal Bhai!’

Shifting from one place to another can be quite a tiring task where you are clueless what to pack or discard. Finally, you get so fed up that you put everything in the tempo waiting for you outside.  The cupboard had to be emptied, stuffing out packages in a dabba and one ingenious trick that I always conjured was stuff things in the bed covers that Mom gave and tied them in a knot.  Of course, there are things that you need to chuck out and some that you don’t have the heart to discard. Finally, you just move with everything.

The last place I shifted to was with Aditya, Manish, and Kusum where I stayed till the end of the exams. The time we bonded like anything, particularly with Adi where Saturday was booze and ganja time for us.  He was and is still my best friend and the routine trips to his house in the Peth area was the best thing on earth where I gorged on the amazing Maharashtrian food made by aunty. I remember once when we came back from Mumbai after roaming for the whole night, we slept at his house and still remember his nice, cozy room. Later, another friend joined and he photo-shopped Adi’s face who looked funny in a mustache.  ‘Asshole.’ It was his prized reaction.

It’s the same FC Road! Roaming like a ghost every day and night at our college hang out, Savera which became home to us and be sure to find the usual suspects at any time where I made the best of friends. The first puff of Ganja happened on FC Road that stood witness to most of our stories and our home, Savera made sure we were thrown one sunny Holi when our faces were sprinkled with colors.  There are Amol and Chanda who became the pals and the entire Science gang I hang out with every single day to whine time in Savera. Amol would always greet me with, ‘Hey! Dude! ssup!’ I became friends with him for the first time during our biggest college fest, Oorja, where all the volunteers were meeting at a flat in Shivaji Nagar. Smoking and cutting chai outside broke the ice and discussing films. Boom Shiva Boom! That’s him. Of course, there were dudes conversation on that day and it’s not something to be discussed in the open. Face palm.

Oorja and crushes. Of course, there was R. the curly hair and my senior on whom I was fida. One day, I and Adi were at the tapdi for tea when he signaled to me that a curly chick was looking at me.  She stopped and just told that she was leaving right now. Loved how R would sashay confidently in college or move casually around the campus, decked in her Kurti and holding the helmet in hand.

The call center interviews that I went for was quite a pain in the ass with all the stupid rounds and sitting there for the whole day. It’s another story that I never took any of the jobs since I didn’t want to miss the fun of college days, whining time on campus, hot chicks and friends…after all, we were lafangey parindey and not hunks that women would gorge on.  The Monsoon was such a blast, getting drenched from top to toe and shivering during the entire lecture. A new pair of shoes was needed for the existing one bore the brunt of the rain. Hot chai always saved life.

During that time, I remember Mahesh Murthy visiting college for a lecture on a Sunday when I woke up quite late. I dashed from Kothrud at Paud Road where I was staying by bus and hopped a rickshaw later to college. I saw my lecturer at the gate who told, ‘You are already late’. But, I managed to reach there at the end of the lecture but the enriching interaction went on for another hour.  I remember him telling us how he refused to give his son money without any reason and plainly directed him to earn it. Of course, it makes for an interesting discussion with half of the class were divided.

The evening walks inside the lush and sprawling Fergusson College campus and wading leisurely at night soothes the soul where, surrounded by the huge trees where breezy wind, cool breeze and the cooing of pigeons wafted in. It’s quite energetic. Of course, there were a couple of people walking in the late evening that makes it a beautiful sight to watch and bringing so much serenity.

Life was flawlessly perfect. Of course, on Saturday evening, sidling towards CCD down the road and there was a chance meeting of spotting the crush K dressed in a colorful sari. The slip of the tongue happened. ‘You look like Rekha’. Adi told me it was quite a sexual thing to say but dunno how he built this theory. The film dreams were kept alive in the second year during my stint at the FTII.

Happy reading and nite.

Much love

V

 

 

Lost echoes


Possessed souls,

spirits and djinns scything in the dark,

shrieking to break the cage,

a litany longing for freedom,

unfettering the claws,

a city lies in ruins,

shattered lives,

decrepit walls and wails,

choked by the lost echoes,

voices buried and dug in the pit

tapestry of rainbow shrouded in distant dreams,

seeker of unblemished love,

soiled by prejudices and hatred,

a land where humans swear by the skin’s color,

no home for children,

losing the battle,

it’s no fancy tale or wonderland,

crushed aspirations,

ghouls wearing the cloak of humanity,

travesty of sentiment,

empty stomachs,

massacre of innocent hearts

Love

V

 

Fiction: Footprint of love


A fiction tale that I am doing after a very long time. A love story that I have tried to write in a different way set against the backdrop of Monsoon, and something that I have perhaps never tried before. Hope the readers will like it and looking for honest feedback.

Footprint of love

The water see-sawed from gentle to violent and roiled into a storm to reach a crescendo high and the windy breeze blustered its way past the Arabian Sea. The Monsoon has reached the shores in the evening and it became dark everywhere.  A feeble blip could be spotted on the buildings that sprawled in the city.

The Jamun and peepal trees warped in a half circle and the leaves splayed like glue on the wet pavement. Black umbrellas were pushed by the thunderous force and human bodies jolted and wavered to balance their steps.  She was caught in a storm and the body lay erect and stiff like a statue on the cement concrete and unfazed by the maelstrom of fury. No power on earth that could make her bulge away from this position. Everyone skittered to safety. The water splashed on her face. The sticky white dupatta and Salwar were drenched and the Kohlapuri chappal sat like a glove on her soft and flawless feet. She longed for his sight.

After all, they met for the first time, held hands and kissed voraciously on the parapet at Marine Drive before he left her to defend the nation on the border. He had to go. She couldn’t stop him. Tears were filled to the brim. Her soul has already died but the lifeless body was adorned like a bride wearing shiny attire and a bindi applied on her forehead as she sat on the parapet to wait for her prince every night. There was nothing on earth that could make her see reason.

The slim boy empathized with the Didi who bought a single rose and bunch of flowers from him every evening and his eyes became moist looking at her state. She tied the flowers on the bun and imagining that it’s the hand of his prince adorning her hair.

The last time he walked with poise in his army uniform towards her and warbled into her ear on a Monsoon evening. She loved how he bent on his feet and kissed her hand like a gentleman of royal lineage. He held her hand slowly and took off her chappal, as they trudged the rocks to sit atop watching the water flowing down. She bit him on his ear and not giving damn to the world.  It was just him, her and their universe. Thrusting her legs to stroke his ear and jumping within inches of his waist, he held her as she smacked his lip and swayed to the tune of intimacy, the love bites flew deep inside her soul. He untied the lace of her blouse and kissed her, running his finger deep inside her body. It started raining suddenly. They traipsed their way downstairs and walked on the soggy path together, clutched to each other by the waist and unmoved by the roving eyes.

It was the dreaded phone call that wrecked their world. Emergency was declared. He had no choice. After all, he had to urgently report to his post in Ladakh. She became furious like the stormy sea water.  She roared like a tigress, scratched his face before pushing him away. “Go! I don’t want to see your face,” she sniveled. He held her tight and pushed his tongue inside her mouth.

It’s been a year. The war has stopped. No one heard about Major Vikrant. He never sent a letter home. He pretended that she never existed. Perhaps, he found someone in Ladakh. Mitali was blinded by his love. She made the trip every night and waited for his footsteps in vain. But, the human instinct could never fail her. She knew that. The voice of reason of her loved and closed ones bore no impact on the soul that was drowned in his love. The tears have stopped. She has ceased to be human but a lifeless robot, anticipating that one day Major will wait for his Mitali at the parapet and pick her in his arm. After all, their love can never die. The mountains and the sea listened to her shriek at night. The dead soul was hanging by a thread and a faint hope like the dim light in the city was the only reason that kept her alive.  The chubby girl slowly lost her spark and the dark spot on the face echoed the bruise of a heart shred into pieces.

Thunder roared. Lightning struck. The grey sky and cloud slowly turned black. The rain slathered every space in the city. There was not one soul or animal wading on the parapet that wore a desert look.

The violent wind shook her off and ruffled the crumpled hair like a rush of divinity lashing on her.  It jolted the half dead soul that suddenly stirred to life after days, nights and months that felt like a life time. She slowly upped her face to stare blankly at a car. The door slid open. A powerful but unknown force dragged her inert body to life and Mitali wheezed towards a wheel chair rolling its way on the parapet. She stopped the wheel chair with all her force.  She felt dizzy but hanged to the human flesh that sat like a corpse. His eyes lid moved slowly and a feeble smile surfaced. It was him. Major Vikrant twitched fingers touched her skin. Stream of tears ran down on her face. He was inert like a stone but the facial nerves were moving. The love of her life was convinced that he will find his Mitali in the nest where the love once bloomed. It was written in the stars. Together, they will conquer love and brave the storm. It was a matter of time. They never lost faith. It started raining again and water sprinkled on them as she tightly held to his hand.

Love

V

#QuotedStories6: ‘Losing everything is not the end of the road’


This post is written as part of ‘#QuotedStories linky party #6′ and on the quote, “Sometimes It takes losing everything, you have to finally grow and find yourself’ given by Upasna. The prompt is hosted by Upasna and Rohan. It’s a piece of fiction but which is a reality bite in it for all of us. Thank you Upasna for the inspiration and Rohan for encouraging us to beat the block. You folks rock.

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#QuotedStories6: ‘Losing everything is not the end of the road’

‘Stop running. You are not a rat,’ the seer told me. ‘You have come to me so that I pacify your heart and tell that you shall overcome everything and rise from the ashes like the Phoenix film star beating dozen villains on-screen. What if I told you that you will fail and will be stuck till your dead-end?”

I stared at the religious man. He smirked at me. “You are seeking validation, right now. Fooling oneself is the mark of cowards. All odds are stacked against you, I agree. The truth is that your soul is tired and cannot accept failure since you are wearing the blinker of past success. The only miracle that you deserve is a good kick in the bum.”

The baba is hallucinating. He must be snorting cocaine, I was convinced. He gently held my hand, “No son, I have not gone bonkers. You are angry. I can see it into your eyes. Your past is haunting you. The present is making you a coward. The feeling of the future slipping away from your hand is a sign of insecurity gnawing every thread in your body. Be truthful to your own self. There is no need to seek validation from the world. Bury the past. Have the guts.”

He was firm but filled with compassion at the same time. The wind fluttered. A smooth breeze ruffled my hair. I could feel that things are changing. Suddenly, I feel a dash of positivity. There was an inherent conviction that I have been doing things the wrong way where my soul is tired and battered.

“Where are you?, the holy man asked. “Prisoner of your thought. The past relationships and rejections are hurting you because things are not going your way. We don’t have the power to flesh things in a planned structure.” It was the truth. I knew that. The guiding light is shining on me. I loved and lost. The entire blocks that I laid to be successful were crumbling like the bricks from the sky rise and washed by the heavy rains. I am this building constructed with pain and it is being slowly wiped off the ground. The time is now to do things differently.

He read my thought. “There is a change in your body language. It’s the call of the soul which is giving you perspective of things to unfurl right in front of you. Change is happening. You are the light. Be the warrior of change. In the past life, your ship was wrecked and you swam against the tide but the stormy water claimed you. There is a reason why every day, you come and sit here by the sea here. It’s the same water that took you away. You died a hero as the ship’s captain.”

My head was spinning and the body twirled off the shaky ground. I felt a jab on my chest and collapsed. Water sprinkled on my face. I slowly opened my eyes to see the slim spiritual man, twitching his mustache and smiling tenderly at me, “Son! You are blessed and got a second life. Value it. Start all over again.”

“Sometimes it takes losing everything, you have to finally grow and find yourself,” he walked away from me. I slowly got up and trudged towards my destination. I was going to start all over like a new-born and forgetting everything that occurred to me. I have given up living in the past.

Love

V

The Queen who touched hearts but never said bye


A drop of tear,

languishing on the futile existence,

fickle,

O’ death! You are silly and stupid,

Life! The monster that creates out of dust!

Thousand questions in the mind’s bubble!

Claiming someone so young,

why put them on earth?

Trials,

Suffering,

struggle,

to fight inner demons,

pain,

But, Goddesses have to go back to rule their kingdom,

angels touching our hearts with the wand of beauty,

They must return to their abode,

to give happiness and joy

fellow traveler struts her way,

where she is needed,

sweetness to touch the skies and stars,

Fiery,

gentle,

giver of joy,

she shall stay alive forever,

celebrating her womanhood in all its form,

spirited,

a queen,

making every second matter,

death is not for her,

good souls never go anywhere,

she ruled supreme over ordinary mortals like us,

ah! those conversations,

it belonged to another universe where she now belongs,

words of encouragement spurned like magic,

selfless,

never saying no for it wasn’t in your dictionary,

touching lives,

substance is your name,

forever alive,

for you never went anywhere,

it’s just that you didn’t say bye,

soulful friend,

departed in the prime of youth

you shall be missed.

PS: This poem is dedicated to my blog and FB friend, Pariknitha who passed away last week. We never met in real but our occasional conversations on FB and blog felt like a life time of memory. There are souls like her. Gifted! They make you feel so amazing and have a life long impact.

Love

V

 

 

 

Movie Review: Jagga Jasoos is a wonder tale


Film Review: Jagga Jasoos

Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Saswata Chatterjee, Saurabh Shukla, Sayani Gupta and Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Rating: 3.5 stars

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Image credit: Google

A film dragged and stuck for years, release date constantly postponed is bound to lose its freshness and crisp narration over time which, in turn, makes the viewers lose interest. At last, Jagga Jasoos hit the theaters and one must laud the makers for bringing to the fore a unique concept that has not been tested earlier. The distinct story style like in children’s story book makes Jagga Jasoos the winner. The film finds its distinct voice that ensures that it knows its audience by heart, the young children but also woos adults. In short, Jagga Jasoos has its soul in the right place where it beautifully blends Charlie Chaplin, Raj Kapoor’s Mera Naam Joker and Tintin. A joyride and an honest attempt to tickle the funny bone steered by the versatile Ranbir Kapoor upping his act and delivering flawlessly.

The first half is wacky and zany where the narration takes us to the childhood days of Jagga, his school and detective adventures which hold the rhythm and the scenes are concocted in a delicious manner, be it the chasing scenes or his meeting with journalist Shruti Sengupta(Katrina Kaif). Jagga stammers in the film while Shruti is prone to mishap, and together they uncover arms trafficking, traveling from India to Mombassa in Africa.

Unfortunately, the second half of the movie starts at a sluggish pace, losing track of the build up that was set in the first half, something that the makers should have worked upon to tighten both the screenplay and narration. But, thankfully, Jagga Jasoos gets back on track where the audience is treated to a tacky climax that sees Jagga uniting with Tutti Futti.

Ranbir Kapoor is riveting, effortless and sublime in showcasing his versatility and the charm that he lends to his character elevates the film. He plays a college student with utmost ease and the scene where he cries his lungs out waiting for the postman warms the heart. There is no limit to the various shades portrayed by the actor and the display of acting histrionics shows that a superstar worth his name is at work. Sadly, Katrina Kaif fails to perform despite having an author backed role and runs short of expectations as the hero’s sidekick.  At times, she is expressionless.

Saurabh Shukla puts a decent act but by now the characters that he plays has become tedious and too repetitive, a hang over from his Tehkikat days on TV. Saswata Chatterjee lends credibility to his character Tutti Futti and brings the endearing quotient that complements Jagga with ease.

Of course, what stands out in Jagga Jasoos is the brilliant hue of color palette displayed by the Director of Photography, S Ravi Varman that gives shade to the novel concept espoused by the film, thus, making it a sheer delight to the aesthetic senses. The songs that Tutti Futti teaches Jagga as a child brings to the fore the chemistry between the two and lights up the moments which are deemed essential in this genre of comedy. The good thing is that the film offers an experimental approach that makes Jagga Jasoos a distinct fare.

The flick suffers from glitches in the post-production that slackens the pace and it seems that the makers were in a hurry, leading to botched up scenes.  First, the dubbing of Katrina Kaif’s voice bears a terrible impact, moving from her original voice to the new one and again back to square one, leaving the audience confused. The two back-to-back songs hold the story flow and after some point,  the narration loses steam, It could have been tightened by slashing the movie to make it 2 hours entertainment rather than veering towards three hours.

Shot majorly in Manipur, Jagga Jasoos bears an uncanny resemblance to the earlier Ranbir-Basu collaboration Barfi and despite the glitches, Jagga Jasoos deserves to be watched for bringing a novel concept on-screen. The story telling technique, goofy acts and Ranbir credible performance where he lends his personal touch in the role experimentation makes Jagga Jasoos an endearing film. Such a film must be encouraged that will pave the way for more makers and actors treading on the unexplored path to bring joy to the audience. A daring act. Don’t miss Jagga Jasoos for it will kindle the child in you alive in this wonder tale. It sends a strong message: Children don’t need guns but sweets.

Love

V

WoW: When love lost….It was my last day in the city


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

When love lost….It was my last day in the city

It was my last day in the city. My city. It was a Sunday. It is a Sunday. The wind blew from the Arabian Sea in the evening. I scampered on the busy road to meet her. Love didn’t triumph on that day. It failed me. The place would take off at midnight. The heart was heavy. My soul and heart shred into million pieces. I was dying at every second. It seemed that the dock of life has stopped. I cursed. I ran. A seesaw of emotions choked me inside to reach every breath taken. What’s the point, I wondered. Our fate has been sealed. Stupid love. Stupid religion. I choose to run away from the city that I have stayed long enough to call my own.

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If only I could stop the trail of time by conjured magic. It wasn’t meant to be. A matter of hours when we would go our separate ways and will probably never see each other. We met and fell in love in the city. The breeze, monuments, and stars in the sky witnessed the pure love that grew on us. The city embraced us in its cradle. Her name is S. The city that I loved so much suddenly suffocated me. The susurration of a broken heart. I was dying at every second. Love is second to none, they say. How can it happen to me? I didn’t have any choice but to leave everything and go back.

Woe betides me. We wanted to make the most of it by spending the last day together in the city. It mattered to us. I woke up early on that fateful day and stormed my way to Barista at CST, ordering Latte for the love to flicker like sugar steered and disappearing in the coffee. The love didn’t filter inside. My life fell apart. Time was moving fast. I didn’t want to leave the city. What I would do without the city, the selfless embrace that it gives and holding me in its womb, the monsoon, and the blustering echo or scything to explore every single path and wide roads.

The heart break is no fiction. I lost on love. I was the vanquished. A dejection that pushed me to the brink to abandon everything. I had to get away from love, longing, monsoon and the city. I was calling her Jaan. I was counting the minutes between shuttling to the room, shopping and locking the baggage. We met after six pm. The same place that we first met and fell in love. It was the iconic library where we studied together, laughed, fought and held hands. The pain bellowed. We sat on the same white bench. She promised that we will meet some day. I didn’t nurture hope. It’s better that we don’t speak or reason on what could have been. There was no point. No words expressed on our break up. We walked together to Fab India for she had to exchange the gift I gave her. The Kurti didn’t fit her. We spotted a celebrity. She gave me gifts that I have preserved till now, the CD and card where her words flew like lyrics that couldn’t quench the thirst of love. The first time that I lost. We hugged and traveled for the last time in the local train, sashaying our way on the crowded platform at CST.

Not all love stories have a happy ending. Pain can be empowering and define one’s journey. The time for take off approached. I fastened the seat belt. I stared at the sky and stars to make a wish for them to fulfill. It was her. The plane rifled in the sky and in the fleeting minutes, the city disappeared from my gaze like a dream that flitted away in an invisible manner to never become true again. I visited the city after ages and every step taken reminded me of her smile and gaze. It was closure. I shall be back with a vengeance to carve new memories and live every second one day. Love for humans is an illusory attachment. The love for the city remains eternal. Someday, we shall unite for time has stitched the heart that lost on doomsday. A story of love nurtured and took shape in the city. There is a purpose and meaning behind everything. It wasn’t meant to be. The city is capacious like a home for every lovable and lost soul warbling the song of love and pain.

PS: As I was writing this post, I received a terrible news on the sudden passing away of a super talented, fashion and travel blogger, Pari Knitha Urs who was a Facebook friend that I never met but who was always encouraging, kind and never shied to help. May God bless her soul. She was blogging on The Wanderer’s Diary.

Love

V