Tag Archives: memories

The Man with the Pink Umbrella

 

sleeping-hyper-realistic-wonam

And then a large man holding a pink umbrella stood peering amicably at me. I hesitated at first, but then I thought it could do me no harm. I made my way slowly towards him, trying to avoid any direct eye contact as much as possible because I really wished he would at least make an effort to drag his eyes off me and mind his own business.

In the darkness, with rain droplets dripping from the end of my umbrella, it made my vision blurry adding to the already foggy night. I kept inching my way towards him, stealthily, hoping not to catch him off guard. He kept standing there, not moving an inch for the past one hour since the incident happened.

By the time I reached him, the rain had stopped and the cold set in but it felt comforting when I stood near him, silently. He asked me after what seemed like hours, “Are you alright?” “Yes, I’m fine”, I whispered silently, nodding my head. From the corner of my eyes, I saw him folding his pink umbrella and tucking it under his elbow. He then gently got hold of my arm in one hand, held my umbrella in the other, closed his pink umbrella and led me towards our home.

I didn’t know what to expect from him at this point in time since I felt a little shudder run down my spine that shook my body a little. With his protective arm around me, I was sure he felt that shudder because the next thing I knew, I had his jacket around me.

“Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you”, came his voice suddenly in rasp swiftness and soothing at the same time.

“Hmm.”, I said in loss for words. “But I managed to chase them off so I could be safe”, I piped in, hoping to let him know I did something by myself, but he paid no heed.

“Don’t go anywhere without me or without telling me. I’m sure you knew I was there, few feet away from you”, came that ever protective voice I had always known since I met him.

“I just wanted to give it a try. To show you I can manage on my own”, I said, feebly trying to defend myself, well knowing it would not be of any use.

His phone rings.

“John, Where are you? I called home but no one answered. Where are you, man?”, shouted the voice on the other end of the phone.

“I’m out with Melissa”, replied my better half in a calm, yet controlled tone I had always admired in him.

“Out? What do you mean out with Melissa? Did she get up again? It’s 2 AM John, for the love of God!”, the voice rambled on not knowing that I could hear it.

“Mike, calm down. She’s fine and is next to me”, John said.

There was a complete moment of silence and all I could hear was our footsteps, the light raindrops and my heavy breathing coupled with the soft creaks of my crutches.

John hung up the phone without another word that left me wondering what it was that Mike was so worried about. I used only my left crutch and John was balancing the other side of me.

“John?”, I slowly called him. “Yes”, he said.

“Why am I out in the rain?”

“You’re not. You’re just dreaming again”

“No. I know I’m not dreaming. John, tell me. Why am I out of the house? When did I come here? What is this place?”

“Mel?”

“Yes John”

“Close your eyes and sleep. I’m right here with you, alright?”

“Sleep? John, are you crazy? We are out of our house now. How can I sleep here? We need to go home now. Are we there yet?”

“Mel”

“Yes”

“Forget what happened three years ago. We’re not there anymore. We are in Seattle, hale, healthy and happy. Now stay calm and go back to sleep. You’re about to roll off your bed.”

“You’re crazy, John. Seattle? What are you..”

“Mel!”, his voice was sterner than ever and that scared me a little. I felt myself quieten down, considerably.

I settled down and felt his arm around me. I knew something was wrong but I couldn’t exactly place it.  I felt his breath on me and the next thing I knew, I was peacefully sleeping.

Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! The phone vibrates on the bed side table. It was Mike.

“Has she gone back to sleep?” the message read.

“Yes. I just put her back to sleep.” John typed.

“Is she improving?”

“Better than yesterday. She must have remembered the incident, three years ago. She was pretty violent tonight.  She started screaming, yelling swear words and brandishing her arms and kicking. All at the same time. She is unable to distinguish between real and imaginary events”

“John, schizophrenia really is a serious disorder. Mum’s ‘accident’ has affected her so much that she can’t even realize that something like that had never happened. Why doesn’t she realize that it was Dad and not Mum?  Mum has been telling Mel, every time, that it was Mel and Dad who were in the car the night before the party. Why doesn’t she still realize it was Dad? Why does she seem to be chasing something or the other all the time? John, when will all this end? I really wish to see her back to her old self again”

“Mike, I know how you feel. It’s your sister. I’m your best friend, man. You know this will end soon. That’s why we’re leaving to New York for a long weekend to take her mind off things.”

“Alright John. I’ll meet you at the airport.”

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Closing.. Closing.. Closing.. CLOSED!

Hey all ! It’s been awhile since I posted anything here! Feels great to be back. Anyways, I have a pretty good topic to talk about here and I’m sure, at least some of you would approve of it.

You have been in your neighborhood for some time now and you know the shops, malls, smaller kiosks, schools, teaching centers etc etc around your home. I’ve been in Bangalore for about 6 months now and I see the surroundings utterly different from where I actually come from,Chennai. (Btw,I’m always a Chennai-ite) Anyways, the thing is, even though I’m a shut-myself-inside-my-home kind of girl, I know that some places, will always be there, however harsh the society around changes. One such place that I always love to go to, is MY LIBRARY.

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Around my neighbourhood, West Mambalam, I know about 6 to 7 libraries that open at 9 in the morning and do not close until 10 in the night. Just passing by a library, even if I don’t have to borrow a book, feels so good and comforting. One such library, or say, a bookstore (that’s what they call), is about to close permanently and shift to a better place (I hope so). This is not a good news. NO. Not for people who love the rustic ambience, the feel of old yellow pages, its tattered corners, the racks and racks of books and journals that beckon us to stay close to the shelves, the tables and chairs that has people pouring into the pages, smiling unknowingly and sometimes, small outbursts like banging the table.. (Yeah, we all know that feel!).. No.. It sure is not a good news.

Here in Bangalore, I have not seen yet, a library or a book store that gives such an ambience, like the Landmark in Nungambakkam (about to close,sadly) in Chennai, Higginbothams in Mount Road, all the book stores in Airports (Oh, how I love those places.. I’ll come to that later). Amidst all the hustle and bustle in Chennai, with the sweatiness in this summer, there are few people who make it a point to stop by these places of comfort, just to buy a 10 Rs Kalki, Ananda Vigadan and the like, and the 7-8 Rs Archies, Tinkles, Nancy Drew’s and big novels! But in Bangalore, I’ve seen people with ipads and tablets and kids making a racket in libraries.. even the librarian shouts at the top of his voice, trying to bargain with customers for the borrowing price of the books.. Ufff, the irritation! The whole point of visiting a library is defeated. And they try (very hard) to stay quiet and sophisticated in crowded malls! Double ufff,the people here!

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So, just a news of a small book store closing gives people like me the heebie-jeebiees. With the world spinning around with ipads, mobiles, kindles on its axis, real and genuine shops like these go into oblivion. Big shots have to understand that there are people who still prefer paperbacks to digital versions and bookstores and libraries, most of all. However old they get, the bond and the memories and the feel come back gushing to them in places like these. Friendships made in libraries, I’ve heard, lasts the longest and strongest. I don’t know how far this is true, but I like the thought. If one starts, the others are bound to follow suit and before you can realize what’s happening, there won’t be any places like these to talk about or to go to. How can elders tell us to teach our kids to read more books and visit more libraries, when none might exist when they actually come into the world ? Surely we cannot ask them to read from electronic kindles and e-books at the age of 5 for bed-time stories.

Recently I went to Chennai and to my good old library near my house, to just, pay a visit.

The librarian there asked, “Where have you been all these days ? Aren’t you gonna borrow books ? Doesn’t Amma want the latest edition of Kalki ?”

I said,” Anna, I have cancelled the membership with your library because I have moved to Bangalore for my higher studies. Your assistant closed my account.”

He said,” Oh no! I have lost yet another regular customer. (He’s not a money-only-in-mind kind of a person). Do you want to buy any books today ? I can order it for you, if it is not there, so you can collect it the next time you come here.”

I didn’t know what to say. I never knew he knew me so well with the kind of  books I and my mom buy. Whenever I go there, I feel a sense of solitude, a sense of calmness and how ever long I stay crouched beneath those shelves, my library Anna knows exactly when I would leave with what sort of books. He would also give me few extra books for free, if I buy more than 5 or 6 novels. So, tags along my favorite Archies, for which I rarely pay!

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There are so many memories that a bookworm like me has with book stores and libraries. I really wish the others don’t follow suit of Landmark, Nungambakkam. Let’s all join hands for more book stores and libraries to come up and maintain and cherish the old one’s for Pete’s sake!

I’m done for now. I have 2 books to complete now, which I have no faintest idea as to when I would finish. Curse my college routines! My to-read shelf is bursting.

P.S: I mentioned the Airport book stores above. Oh I just love to spend my waiting time there. Obviously and sadly, I won’t have the money to buy a book but I just go there to update my to-read shelf and listen to reviews from other waiting passengers. The usual tired-of waiting feel vanishes and the feel of hushed voices of parents deciding to buy children’s books for their toddlers in their trams, youngsters filling their bags with newly purchased books, guys sitting in waiting lounges and reading the newly-bought book, sets in.

Ummm.. Gotta run! I hear shouts from the other room!

And oh, I almost forgot. That feel when you sit by the window, legs pulled up, and you ease behind with a paperback, listening to the occasional dog barks, smell of earth indicating immediate drizzles and downpour of rain, dry leaves gushing into your room through the open window and sometimes you’ll use it as a book-mark.. Heaven-on-earth feel!

I should REALLY go now! Curse you,reality! (pounding fists madly in air)

Buhbye! Long live books and libraries!!

Cheers! Until next time!

 

 

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The Unforgettable 4 years…

This is my first post about my college life. So it will go on for a while but i’ll try my level best to keep u interested… 🙂

I still remember my first in college. The funniest moment in my life. Just like all 12th passed-out students, I had great great expectations that my college life was going to be amaaziing.. Awesome-green campus, beautiful architecture of buildings, cool buses, big canteen with yummy food, pretty gals with lovely new dresses (minimum 50 to max 100 will be required) 😛 that they might have bought especially for college life (repetition strictly not allowed), and guys zooming across on their bikes to.. uhmm.. impress girls?! Obviously 😛 HAHA just kidding ! 🙂 Anyway, I DID have those expectations but it never was like what I have mentioned above. But it was fun though..

First day : Our new college bus was packed with freshers and their parents with anxious faces about how the college was going to be. But I sensed none of those similar feelings on the students’ faces. Not in the bus. Inside the college, Definitely YES ! Lemme get to that shortly.. So the Orientation day was over with great “inspirational speeches” by few famous heads.. (I still don’t know who they are. I probably never will !) and we had great food that made my happiness linger till I got home that evening.

Second day : There’s a saying “Good things does not last long”. I had the same feeling. Me and my friend entered my college, heaving our bags full of books needed for that semester ( childish right ? :P) and marched straight into the canteen without having a care in the world as to where our classroom might be. We dint even care to make friends or to even recognize the faces we saw on the orientation day. We had 2 dosas each and a soft drink and the next few minutes, we spent on “gazing” at the beauty of my college “campus”.

There was one building and we thought there would be more somewhere close by. And that’s where we were so wrong. There was just dry land as far as my eyes could see. It was hot that day yet we tried looking for “the campus” but we just couldn’t find any.! Just that one building with few trees growing nearby.. rest all was sand.. just sand !

Third day till date : The classroom was filled with chitter-chatters. Complete with girls and boys I was then completely a stranger to. We both filled the 4th bench in the middle row. We were spanked by a row full of other girls on our left and two rows full of boys on our right. That moment, I have to say, was truly awesome.! I thought,”WOW, I’m a college girl. I’m actually going to be a typical college material ” We chattered on about our orientation day experience, shared our names and phone numbers and I actually took a very long time to register the names and faces. I dint know my own classmates’ names thoroughly until I came to the 2nd yr 4th semester. ( especially the boys). Introductions of our names and our whereabouts were made to all the teachers that came in. I was excited. I really looked forward to how my college was gonna treat me. It treated me well. Really well !

Keeping aside the pleasantaries, our classes started much to our despise. I thought I had to study hard only till my 12th to get a good college and I was wrong again. The subjects they took were completely greek and latin and I take about the entire semester to get the names of the subjects I read, right. I still don’t remember the subject names let alone what I studied.

Leave academics. LIFE : I learnt a hell lot otherwise. Right from the beginning of my college life, I had a few rough patches with one of my friends whom I was (still am) really possessive on. That incident completely changed my life. My life took a rather unnatural, unintended and yes, unexpected turn that I learnt to live with now. I am going to be 22 now and I am actually able to handle big changes in life however hard its gonna hit me but back then, 4 yrs ago, I was just turning 18. I dint know what to do and what not to do and how to handle things and people. And so that incident struck hard into my delicate heart which really is tough to forget about.

FRIENDS : Probably the best I could ever get. As a kid, I never mingle freely with people. I look at someone new, automatically I take a step or two backwards – both physically and emotionally. But with these friends, I was myself around them. I felt completely different. At school, I used to roam with just a handful of friends. I was not used to being with “gang friends” but I came into one eventually. And I loved that ONE GANG. We didn’t keep any gang name but I call it “OUR GANG” .We had fun TO THE CORE I can say, with them and with the rest of the girls and soon we became ONE.

I still remember one day where I was caught red-handed with a spoon of fried rice in my mouth by my DPSD mam. The moment she turned her eyes away from me, I gobbled up that lump making me unable to even smile at the friend making fun of me next to me. 😛 That was fun. And the time we were shifted to the green building with full A/C and the fun we had playing hide and seek during lunch time. And yes! Culturals and sports day. How did I miss that!

The highlight of our college life was these culturals and sports day events taking place every even semester. I sung solo songs and group songs every cultural and we had ultimate fun. We used to decide what dress to wear and what matching accessories we could use. We had our first batch of seniors then so our fun was immeasurable. Yes. We were only two batches of students when I was in 1st yr so there was nobody to stop us ! We used to whistle and scream hard during dance shows and we used to get free grape juice every sports day. A combo of sweet and a samosa would be given to us on culturals too!

 

And the trips I should speak of. Those IV’s we went for to Pondicherry, ISRO etc was terrific fun. Especially inside the bus! The class dances we have during lunch breaks. We also gave Gangnam style a try and it came out fantabulous. I still remember the day – April 11,2013. Those lab hour chats, corridor fun ( I remember one day tripping over a non-dust rubber and falling head-first on the mosaic floor in the green building. the GRUDGE EFFECT CORRIDOR as I often call it 😛 ) Our occasional, most of the time, regretful visits to the main campus for training classes for placements. Those walks on the newly-paved footpath to and fro buildings (now 3 in number :D) where I often trip and fall down. The recent trip to beach and city center mall with my classmates is worth remembering till the very end. Those sleepy seminars we had in the conference hall. Those fan-fighting moments I had with my friends. YES! I was made the fan operator and I never got air whatsoever. Ironic isn’t it ?! Those endless photo sessions we used to have both during class and during outings. That MGM trip I had with my gang of friends. We also saw a movie EPIC-3D with friends and that was pure fun. I could go on guys cuz its college life…! Ok Fine. Not to mention semester days. I dont really remember study days because I hardly ever study. And those after-effect days of results of our exams. I hate that feeling. Just hate it. But everything was worth it till the end…

And now.. today..

We started experiencing rifts among us friends. People started fighting for silly things. Ego was at its peak. First, it was the seniors farewell. It really was a tearful one because I still feel we had THE BEST seniors EVER any juniors could get. So helpful and so fun filled and yes.. some of us who literally attached some of their feeling to seniors, had a tough time letting go of them. And that was when our so-long-divided-class got re-united. I can say that was THE BEST MOMENT in my college life. Unforgettable. Then the juniors came but I couldnt see the fun any longer. No offense to anyone but I just couldnt.

Post exams and placements, we started giving out emotional speeches in our class as to where we would see ourselves in the next 5 years. That was so not good. I couldnt bear to see the people I love the most leave permanently. I hated that void feeling that creeps inside me when I miss a person so badly. I knew this day would come and that is why I wasn’t too attached to my friends. Once I did, they will surely leave me at some point or the other. This change is eventual, I knew, but I didn’t want to take it into my heart. I couldn’t handle it.

 

But that day came too…

 

I went to college today only to find one of my friends leaving to her native. I knew. That moment was forever. She introduced us to her parents and her relatives and that they were leaving that afternoon. Friends around me started saying, “Keep in touch ya. Dont forget us” and the like. But I didn’t know what to say. I suck at expressing feelings so I just stood there doing nothing but to just see her wave us goodbye. Then I knew the moment had come.. the moment I dreaded! Parting ways… I’m not going to write beyond this..

Those 4 yrs.. those yrs that I would never ever get again in my life.. had ended. I regret I didn’t make the best out of it but I’m happy for what it all taught me. Both inside and outside the campus. With friends both inside and outside campus. Yes. I’m happy for how the college has made me what I am today. Yes. I’m happy for all the memories it created for me – good and bad and the WORST. Yes. I’m happy extremely for all the life lessons that I have learnt so far and now.. It has made me ready for the lessons I will be learning in the near and distant future…

And now I’m talking to u my friends.. my college and classmates.. and all other mates out there !! U people better keep in touch.

And with all these mixed feelings, I sign off!

#written-right-from-my-heart

Cheers guys 🙂

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