Sunday, March 25, 2007


I got chicken pox when I was in Class 9th. My sister was preparing for her board exams which were just round the corner. So, I was grounded. For 15 long long days. I was made to lie down in one bed and forbidden to move out of that bed lest I pass the sickness to my sister. I was treated like an untouchable and nobody was allowed to come near me.

I had a strong will power. I refused to give in that murderous itchiness and after two days I didn’t feel a thing. Which left me all the more bereft because I didn’t have anything to concentrate on. A few mohalla friends would drop by for a quick hello through the window grills and tell me how much they missed me. My school friends would send me chits through my sis and tell me about the fun in school. I could only look on forlornly at the warm mellow world outside. Then my ‘best friend’ did what best friends are supposed to do – send me a lifeline. The novel Gone with the Wind.

For 15 days I lay immersed in the book not bothered about my confinement. I fell in love with Ashley Wilkes (unlike kids of today, I became aware of the ‘opposite sex’ around that age and like all, at that age I knew and understood only puppy love). I was physically transported to the open meadows and undulating land, riding lazily along with Scarlett. The mellow sun outside my window became the mellow sun falling on Tara and I could smell the red earth of the cotton farms. The optimism of youth led me to believe that I could also one day ride in such open meadows and feel the mellow sun. Now the cynicism of age tells me just how far away I am from that dream.

A few stray days of mellow march sun in this city just reminded me of those heady happy days and that deep longing. It sure has been a long journey since then.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Yo Baby!:

4 years back or just yesterday. A fragmented and disjointed group of friends, a hurriedly made plan, dashing away to Rishikesh and rafting for a day! A weekend of great fun.

My friend K. Her friend S, S’s friend A. K’s other friend SB and her husband AB. And Me.

There was warmth in those first hellos. A lot of enthusiastic talks, getting to know each other and common holds in the cool shades of the tent near the Ganges.

A day of tough rafting through roaring rapids, skin peeling sun and muscle freezing cold water chanting ‘Yo baby Yo baby”. Heedlessly jumping into the muddy river from a 30 feet high cliff. Even when you are dead scared of the water.

Sunset among the low hills, sitting near the river bank, aching muscles, lazy laughter, lots of booze and rolled up ciggies. Nobody can ever get a higher high than this!

4 years hence, the rapids of the Ganga have calmed down and the roars become less deafening. The group has become as fragmented and disjointed as before.

Time and life sails by. But that one single high remains and still holds us together!