Happy Friendship Day!

Dear friend,

They say, “A man is known by the company he keeps.” I won’t mind being known as a jovial, little weird, and an optimistic by being in your company. 🙂

We have spent countless time and thoughts together.. People wonder, how come we are so deep friends? We are different with our choices, lifestyles, and so many ways.. but I think these things don’t matter much. What matters is, accepting each other, standing by each other, and most importantly; sharing the same set of core values and virtues of life. 🙂

We showed each other our own worth when we realized the other one was at times forgetting it. At times we drove each other mad but we also inspired each other to what we should become.

I never had to pose or be diplomatic when I am with you. My ‘no’ meant ‘no’ and ‘yes’ meant ‘certainly’. I didn’t need to keep my house clean and tidy all those times when you were going to visit because I know you visit me; not my house. 😀

Friendship

We have helped each other, been there, done that.. We brought one another to our true self when we found ourselves somewhat lost…

I want you to keep knowing all my vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Because I know I can express my true being to you and my emotions are safe with you. And you know, I still need a partner to do with and say to all the little stupid things. 😉

So let’s promise each other not to change ever.  😀

Happy Friendship Day!

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Soni Ajji and Sontakka

After a large number of years I came across this basic beauty, Sontakka. Generally all white flowers are found to have intense aroma. Though I like each and every color the mother earth displays and my eyes can see, I like white flowers more like Jasmine, Jai, Jui, Sontakka, and Raat-Rani: due to their modest dressing and extraordinary aromatic qualities.

Sontakka-White-Flower

Yesterday when I saw the fresh flowers of Sontakka with shining raindrops still adorning them, I bowed down and inhaled their sweet smell to the full content of my heart. While my eyes were still closed, they took me down the memory lane with my Granny, Sumati Aajji or Soni Aajji, sometimes we fondly called her.

She looked gorgeous in her youth and even when she was aged. She was a staunch farmer. She had planted Guava, Custard Apple, Indian Gooseberry, and Jackfruit plants. She also had planted Drumsticks, Indian Beans, and Black-eyed Beans. She used to weed, prune, and water all plants by herself around the house.

She was a generous person. When it came to giving fruits, vegetables, or flowers to any passer-by or a guest, she never held back her hand.

Soni Aajji also had a good hand in tailoring and good understanding of musical notes. She liked to sing and listen to Marathi songs… We both used to sing some songs together. 🙂 She could follow the notes of the songs accurately. Yet another common thing in both of us was she had an appearance, gaze, and the diction of a straight-forward person just as I have now. 😀 hence her concern and caring nature often used to get masked under her straight words though for me, she always used to be soft-speaking and overtly loving. 🙂

One of the most important common traits between us was, we boh liked Sontakka. 🙂

I got introduced to Sontakka first at her doorstep when I used to spend my childhood weekends at her place. My grandfather himself had prepared a flowerbed just below her room’s window. The pink and yellow lilies, white roses, Mogra, Aboli, and Jai.

The Sontakka plants used to get drenched in the rains during rainy season as she had planted them little away from her flowerbed. Their butterfly-shaped flowers used to release an immense fragrance all around the plants.

Sontakka used to hold my attention as long as I used to be there at Granny’s place and long time thereafter.

At times we don’t come to know who left mark on our life till that person is away from us. Soni Aajji is far away from me. She is with God since long ago. I am happy she was a part of my growth. 🙂 The fragrance of Sontakka reminds me of her hidden sweetness behind her sharp persona.

The Matter of Time

Today I and my teenager son Nishant were having breakfast as usual. I always look forward to the breakfast time with him. It is the time when we sit facing each other. Though briefly, we can get to spend some quality time and involve in a friendly yet meaningful conversation. He often exchanges his life-observations that time and I get to know a bit of how he is growing.

He took a rice dumpling in his plate and said, “You know Aai (mom), yesterday in my class a boy proposed a girl to be his girlfriend. He requested all of us but the girl to vacate the classroom and gave her a large chocolate while proposing.”

I was startled to hear what he said. I had witnessed a couple of calf love stories taking place around when I was a schoolgirl. The teenaged girls often used to get into it by mistaking infatuation as love. By the time I adjusted to my helplessness to the fact that class 9 students are engaging in the distracting activities while they are still in their student shoes, Nishant threw another line:

“But I don’t think their relationship would last long.”

I curiously asked him why did he think that their relationship would not last, just to know his viewpoint.Love and Time

He said by finishing the last piece in his plate, “Because at first place it took so short time to form.”

He finished his breakfast, picked up the bag and told me to hurry up while descending the stairs.

Children observe. They notice more than what we think they do. It was good to find him taking right notes. With a feeling of contentment, I picked up my bag and headed towards car parking.

A Treasured Valentine’s Week

That was the mid-February of year 1996, the month of a shoulder season in Pune. The winter was diminishing and summer was taking baby steps. The intoxicating aroma of mango blossom and jasmine had started wafting on the air.

I was studying engineering. My younger brother Yogendra (all his near ones call him Yoga) was a youth of sixteen. My elder cousin sister Nayana, who was studying medicine had come to our place on vacation.

As Valentine’s day was nearing, I was longing for some letter from my beloved, though each casual letter otherwise was also a special one in our long-distance relationship. My parents knew about my love story since it started and Yoga came to know about it little later due to my exchange of letters with my beloved.

A middle-aged postman whom I called Datta uncle, used to deliver letters in our area. Whenever I crossed path with Datta uncle, I used to stop and collect my personal incoming letters from him before they landed up in Yoga’s hands. The reason was obvious: on getting hold of my letters, he often used to make me run after him from one room to other while teasing and return them only on bargaining something in exchange such as my best piece of stationery. His behavior used to agitate me at times but then my life would have been very boring if he were not so playful! 😀

I tried to call my beloved on Valentine’s day but my calls went dematerialized. He had not called either. We couldn’t communicate, which was quite upsetting. The history repeated on the following two days. I used to attend college, do all my due submissions and practicals, study, and come back home by evening. He used to be on my mind as usual.

On the evening of 17th February after spending a usual college day, I returned home. I was tired like anything. As soon as I headed for the jasmine plants in the backyard to get some fresh scent, Nayana and the granny gathered around me. Nayana handed over to me five large beautiful cards and they both couldn’t hold the curiosity flowing to the rims of their eyes. 😀 My waiting had come to an end finally! I felt like I had met him in person. 🙂 My granny enquired about the card sender’s details keenly and Nayana listened to my answers with twinkling eyes.

They say if you tell a secret to a woman, it no longer remains a secret. And I had to tell my secret to two women! 😀 I told them everything as it was and of course it did not remain a secret then.

On the same evening, Arun called me on phone. Then I came to know that he had posted those five cards to me in such an order that I could receive one card each day so that we both celebrate a Valentine’s week rather than a Valentine’s day. 🙂 But most probably, the postal service didn’t operate daily from MP to Maharashtra then and that is why I had received five cards on the same day just a little after Valentine’s day. Receiving a bundle of cards from my Valentine was a feeling no lesser than winning a lottery. 😀

All of us have some everlasting memories. The time changes so does our belief system but those memories don’t fade. Today, when enough number of years have passed to be able to look back, I think we don’t require any specific day to express our love. Now each day of togetherness is a Valentine’s day for both of us. But yes, that planned Valentine’s week I have treasured in my stash forever. 🙂

Reliving the Nostalgia

It was a cloudy and humid noon of Saturday when I was at my mother’s place.

It was as warm as an oven! The fans also didn’t help. I changed my thought of turning on the AC and went up onto the terrace to get some fresh air. It was warm outside too.

The sky looked grey and the clouds had masked the Sun completely. The birds remained quiet. There was hardly anyone on the road. The clouds growled frequently with the streaks of lightning. The trees stood so quiet as if they were punished to stand still. Especially the erect Indian Cork tree at the corner of the house caught my attention… How tall it had grown all these years!! It was adorned with the bunches of long creamy-white flowers. The women folk of our house could create long garlands of those flowers without using a string.

A sudden cool wave of breeze brought an immense shot of petrichor from elsewhere. It must be already raining somewhere. I closed my eyes and inhaled as deeply as I could.  Something familiar and amazing happened.

The Indian Cork tree swayed. Its long flowers glided down swiftly to the ground. I descended the stairs almost running and went under the tree. My childhood moments were around the corner. 🙂

It started drizzling. Now, the mother will call me while collecting the clothes from the clothes string for she fears the lightning, the father will collect the coconut-halves kept on the terrace for drying, and they both did.

I paid deaf ears to her call and took the opportunity to pick up the Tree Jasmine flowers till my both hands could not hold anymore… The flowers and a few yellow, lemon-green colored leaves rolled on the ground due to the wind.

The Flower Shed

I waited in the drizzle for a little while holding my bunch of flowers till I could feel a chilled raindrop straight on my tongue. My age, social status, and location became insignificant to me for that moment. A couple of ladies passed by hurriedly holding their flat folded bags overhead. They gave me a dirty look, which didn’t bother me. Then I rushed into the house before getting drenched.

Now, the mother will scold me a little for getting wet, the father will take my side, and they both did. 😀

I overlooked what they argued among themselves and I made her sit next to me. Then emptied my wet palms in front of her and held both her palms on my cheeks to feel the warmth. I tried making a garland of the Tree Jasmine flowers without using a cotton string while she brought a dry towel. After a couple of attempts, I realized I couldn’t…

Now, the mother will demonstrate the beautiful arrangement and I will carefully watch her twining the flowers one-by-one, then I will hastily take the garland halfway from her to complete, and we did.

The Flower Garland

I had found it. I had relived it. 😀

Think Good, Get Better!

Sometimes we get better than what we wish for.

I and Arun planned to take a scooter for me. I already have a car but a scooter would save me from Pune’s congested traffic during busy hours to some extent. After a lot of homework, we decided to buy TVS Jupiter ZX: A flawless mix of beauty and power. We both decided to go for the glossy wine color.

Soon after the following couple of days, I went to the TVS dealer’s showroom near my office to book the scooter of choice. The sales lady asked me if I would like to go for a fancy number. I knew that the Regional Transport Office (RTO) conducts auctions for giving a fancy number one wants for the new vehicle. People can choose the vehicle numbers they want but they have to pay an extra amount of money.

I: “I don’t want any fancy or choice number such as 8055 that looks like the word BOSS when printed in a particular font, or the number 4040 that can be calligraphed to look like the word YOYO… But, can you get me any number, which could be memorable easily…?”

The sales lady: “I can definitely, but you still need to pay extra fees because even if I mention on paper that you want any memorable number, the RTO will consider it as your fancy number requirement.”

I thought for a while and decided that I won’t mind going for any other number that the RTO issues for my scooter.

I: “Okay, then leave the column for special instructions regarding the RTO number empty.”

The sales lady: “Okay, I will call you once your permanent number arrives. It will take a week’s time. Till then we will give you a temporary number and try to process your order as fast as possible.”

Thus, I completed the transaction of booking the scooter and stepped out of the TVS showroom.

The next day I received my brand new scooter with a temporary number. For the entire following week, I was busy like anything. I thought about the permanent number occasionally. I was not anxious about it, but I was curious. After all, it was going to be with me for next good number of years. I just wished I should get a good one.

In the following week, I received a call from the TVS for informing that the permanent number for my scooter had arrived from the RTO and the dealer would now fix the number-plate with the permanent number on the scooter.

I took the scooter to the dealer. I seated at the TVS customer-waiting area browsing through the e-newspaper. No sooner than I waited for ten minutes, the dealer while handing over the key to me told that the scooter was ready.

My week-long held curiosity came to an end. TVS ZX Deep WineI went to the scooter and saw… What a surprise! 😀

I got the number 7075! What’s more; the first half of the number depicted Arun’s birth year and the other half depicted mine!!

I had only wished for good but I received better! 😀

 

A Guest in the Backyard

Winter is settling down in Windhoek. Days have shortened. Early mornings and evenings bring cold winds. At times it blows really hard to bring down the wires of electric fence or dry branches, and to create loud banging music by slamming open doors or window panes.

The other day, the windy morning was quite agitating. I went in the backyard as usual to access the clothesstring. While I was putting the wet clothes one on the string, I heard some rustling noise in the nearby bushes. I stopped for a while and tried to follow the sound. But as I kept quiet, the rustling also stopped.

After a long pause I continued my work and the rustling started again. Someone was surely there around. Could it be a snake? I knew the snakes also liked basking in the morning. 😮 The thought of having a snake nearby brought goosebumps on my neck. There were some clothes still in the bucket waiting to go on the string. I left them as they were and moved back as slowly as I could. There was no rustling for a few minutes. I decided to wait.

Rock-Dassie

The rustling started again and this time I could follow the direction of the sound. All I could see was a little wondering face behind some succulent plants. 🙂 I had never seen him before in the backyard though I had seen numerous birds and a couple of mongooses there. It was somewhat like a hare and a rat. Thank God, it was not what I thought to be!! It appeared slowly from behind the plants and I understood it was a little Rock Dassie 🙂 It went to a stone and sat on it to bask in the warm morning Sun. It was staring at me with all the curiosity in the world gathered in its glass-bead-like pair of eyes. It was the first creature I found super-cute while staring!! 😀 Yes, only while staring.

When he yawned, I could clearly see its sharp incisors. Then I decided to keep distance from it. I stood there for some time. It must have become tired of sitting there. It went towards the fence, and climbed the wall. The neighbouring dog started barking as he must have noticed the Dassie on the fence. He jumped into the yard of neighbouring house. He must have managed to escape the ferocious dog as the barking stopped and the rustling of the dry leaves too.

I couldn’t see him again for long since then.