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Passion v/s Money

Always read the Story before the review.

Part II - A review

                           Author's note : I wanted to do a review as one of my non-fiction work and could never come up with a good book/story. This intersection has helped me to tick that box off.

                        The story is set on a dining table where all important decisions of life are made and conveyed. The fun part of the story is that it makes you visualize the voice without naming any characters. The first paragraph gives a real insight into the family dynamics and I almost anticipated a bad news to follow.  Things took an interesting turn after that.

                         The conversation that follows is pretty realistic and I could relate to it from both the parent's as well as the kid's POV.  I loved the character of the harried dad and the fun part was the conversation between the husband and wife while the husband is trying to convince the kid to stay back. All in all it made for a great read in pleasure time. It also makes you root for the kid but reality could very well be different.

                       Maybe few years down the lane the kid realizes that the struggle is not an easy one and that passion and money never go hand in hand. Probably we'll have to wait for the writer to spin a sequel to this, in the meantime just for my audience here's  what a letter from passion to money would sound like:



'Ello mazuma*,

I have been chasing you all my life. Believing in all the clichés that exist in the world; I worked harder and harder to make you follow me back. But you in all your arrogance never gave me a single re-tweet.


Of course, I get poked by misery now and then, losing my confidence in this vast sea of self-doubt. But when I hang-out with creativity and my muse, life seems all rosy and fine. Till the bills gets linked in to my account. I can’t tell you how much I miss thee.


I have been struggling to close the distance between us and hoping that I am fortunate enough to have the pleasure of your company for most part of my life. But Alas! You never swipe me right nor show a flickr of interest .


Trust me, I have earnestly worked towards creating a body of work which will make you go greener with envy. They say, I am dying and without your support I'll loose myspace in the mind. Please meet me asap.


Yours Passionately,

Cleave.

xxxx




*mazuma = money (Hebrew)

Candid confessions.

This girl loves the monsoon like crazy. People close to her know that she rushes into the first shower with gay abandon. The anticipation itself brings a smile on her face. All her senses get awakened to feast on this nature’s delight. The sweet petrichor, the pleasure of having roasted corn/ crunchy pakoras …pure bliss! You just need to soak in it.


She is also a closet romantic. Cheesy gestures melt her heart. She sheds tears in movie theaters and is thankful for the dimmed lights. A good love story tugs her heart. She yearns for true love that the books talk about. She tries to find herself in every protagonist she meets. Underdogs are her weakness. She’ll root for them till the end of this world.



Daydreaming is her favorite pastime. She keeps a list of things that crosses her wacky mind. Like she wants to go bald once in her lifetime. She has thought of running away and starting a new life from a scratch more than twice. She has crushed her wishes for keeping peace and weirdly she’s never had a secret crush. To worry is her second nature and there is always a storm brewing in her teacup if only you’d care to ask.



She enjoys creating. That’s where she finds solace. The ideas that come with the nightly owl are the best ones she’s ever had. Cooking is therapeutic for her; eating is an emotional relief. You can find her gorging on a chocolate bar in situations of extreme distress. Also, she is perennially trying to lose weight with a very low success rate.



She is better at writing third person than first person; or so she says. She believes that her stories will live on once she's left. These are bits and pieces of me which are kind of true. But still, if we ever meet...I might startle you anew :)

Creative Challenge

Once upon an invincible summer,
I sat hunched over-to create a start.
A lazy sunny afternoon-
Was the genesis of this patchwork heart.


This is a story of a yarn,
Revived from the cupboard.
In the corner it had stayed,
Long forgotten since years..
Maybe, it was destiny;
I'd rather say - "It was meant to be."


The crochet twirled and the yarn twisted.
The fingers rejoiced,
A pattern was created.



It's a collage of -
Hubby's suggestion,Mom's instructions and my perspiration;
With Grandma as inspiration :)





(This was made in last two days since the prompt came up and I remembered that I had a perfect yarn for it.)

Foetal Error !

A botched up operation lead to the tumbling of foetal skeletons from the closest river bed. Nineteen in total; wrapped in blue plastic bags; left open to decompose. It took the law ten years to reach the slaughter house they called a hospital. The haunted hidden basements had witnessed more than forty murders under the guise of MTP. The vials gave testimony to this heinous crime.


It must have been the blue hour; when even the God is asleep and there is no one to witness the breach of science and the transgression of the Hippocratic Oath. The universe stood standstill mourning the existence of its own greatest creation. A homeopath had turned into a psychopath for monetary gains.


I wondered about this man (whom I may never call a doctor) and his morals. Could he sleep soundly at night? Was his conscious dead like the infants he killed with his own bare hands? How could his wife (who is a woman first) support him? Is it true that Humanity is dead? 940 females per 1000 males - the stats mock at me. And I am dumbfounded.


I fret over it sipping my morning cup of ginger tea. Discussing about it with anyone who would care to talk. I go back and forth about the things that need to change insisting that change comes from within; till work beckons and calls for attention. By the time, I return home my mind is already preoccupied with household chores to finish before the sunsets.



Next day, the world celebrates “International Women’s Day” where women are treated as Goddesses for a day. You grin and bear the jokes as well as the privilege endowed because inherently you know it’s a gimmick and just a show.

&&&


(Link to the news that was published on 7th march :http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-19-foetuses-found-on-roadside-in-sangli-2344647)

The Umpteenth Prospect

Opening the door with my spare keys I was greeted by fake smiles and their enthusiasm unnerved me a bit. Usually, I get the “we didn’t even noticed you enter” treatment. I rushed to freshen myself. When I came back to serve myself dinner, I became aware that they were nudging each other. One look in their direction and I knew the subject matter.

My mom cleared her throat, “Didn’t you check the mails we sent you during the day?”

“No, mom. I had a busy day “I tried sounding tired while gobbling up the food at a faster pace.

“Well, the guy wants to meet you tomorrow evening.” Dad informed.

“Didn’t you’ll tell him I am working?” This was a umpteenth (random number, since no data retrieved from the memory bank) time we were having this conversation and I knew I would be blackmailed into meeting this new guy in the hope that he would be the match made in heaven.  I consented.

Funny thing about Indian parents is they never let their daughters get overtly friendly with guys or go on a date, but when it comes to matrimony they will trust any Ram, Shyam or Sunder any given time. So, for the nth (n= umpteen) time I decked up traditionally to perfection (the grade of which was decided by my parents) to meet this random guy at a convenient location.

The date went okie-dokey with the normal queries answered like-what are you hobbies, define yourself, do you know to cook, general hints to find out your pay scale, do you drink/smoke, are you a virgin,the curiosity as to why you aren’t married yet. The trick was not to lose your cool; my well-wishers had sagely informed me and so, I had reached my Zen state of never being offended about anything they throw at me, on their face. (The bitching sessions with patient friends went on for long hours later, after all everyone needs therapy ;))

You see, I never had problems with meeting guys and getting rejected. But the issue was about process that followed, just in case the guy approved the proposal.  I used to feel trapped as the whole world around me would start a celebration. All I needed at that time was “A Logical Reason” to reject the alliance.  Let me warn you “We didn’t click” never works.

So yeah, you guessed it right! This is the story of that one guy who disagrees to disagree. And the torture had begun! Parents hovered over me day and night to come to a decision. I Ping-Ponged over the pros and cons of marrying this guy; when actually every cell in my body wanted me to pack my stuff and leave for an unknown destination.


The day of decision making - it comes without any fanfare like for instance; just before leaving for work :

“So, what have you decided? “ Dad probes in trying to act stern.

“About what?”  I retort sounding irritated knowing very well where the conversation is heading.

“As if you don’t know” Mom chides and sweetly murmurs “They want to come for dinner this Sunday. Should we call them?”

“I am going out with friends that evening.” I inform.

“What do we tell them?” asks my innocent father controlling his anger.

“Take a Hike” I reply before heading out of the door and away from their doomed prediction about my life and choices.


I avoid them for few day (come home late/ take an official trip) and the storm calms down. Till....


   Few weeks later….the cycle repeats.

Write On...

                    The start needs to be good; the one that compels the reader to explore the world that you have created. Isn’t it true? And then the characters that inhabit your world should make the reader stay, get involved and take this journey with you. Are you with me on this?



        From status messages which got likes,to random poems which are still closeted; a girl began her journey. #JustForFun. (psst…she was secretly keeping a diary which  contained everyday rants.) From her browsing history the snooper FB surreptitiously introduced her to #NanoWriMo.



So, she wrote…


“There's something about the first time, it's always special, a feeling of apprehension mixed with excitement, the fear of unknown, and the challenge to make through. You know it would be a moment to remember, to brag about or be proud of or maybe just keep it to yourself hidden in your memories, to be dusted and taken out on a fine day of nostalgia.”-Nov’13 (FB post)






         Shruti; her first character was born. She was a bit like herself and more. She was proud of her creation and excited too. 35,000 words is what she completed by the end of the month. A moment which became a memory. #SmilePlease.


Synopsis of Kabab Ki Haddi…


“Shruti, 32, a self-confessed coffee addict, was born with one purpose in life or so she believed, and that was solving people's relationship issues. She didn't believe in relationships herself, but that didn't hamper her from giving good advice. “I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it" she used to quote Lewis Carroll, when someone asked her about her relationship status.

Weaving through various relationships and their up and downs, would Shruti be able to find her own ground? Would she be able to get over her fear of commitment and turn into a believer of love? Find out more, right here!”- Goodreads.





           And then, there came a phase where she knew not what to do. She entered random contests; never to be selected. (Getting published is hard, I know.) And months trudged on. Friends were really encouraging. (Here I would like to thank- DJ, Rocky, Anu, CCF, Shafiq ) She started blogging her thoughts. Monthly musings was the cheeky name of the blog. #amwriting


At the crossroad…


She stood at the Crossroad, observing the chaos that lay around. Pondering as to which road to take and whether the road would choose her or would she get to choose the road. Looking back she sighed ‘It was an eventful journey’...and still the road to the past was open, beckoning and tempting her with the familiarity of the path...with no hurdles or ditches in sight. She could easily run back into its strong arms. But something in her resisted this urge....she looked to her right...”- Monthly Musing.




               On March 3rd 2014 (Yup, I had to check the date) the last chance to participate in LJ Idol season nine opened up. And with it came the amazing and enriching experience that I have had. Thanks to each one of you who have read, voted, given concrits and shared the love for writing with me. #NoRegrets.





Alice
-LJSignUp


This was my journey and where I’m from…What about you?

                                                                  &&&

Periodical

                 
                           
                                          My first impressions are always duh! A chubby, casually dressed female who looks lost in her own world. You can call me shy. Though I would love to be this hot girl who everyone wants to befriend and all; but mostly I keep to myself in a group. My one on one interaction is better. I am a great listener, a good adviser, a keeper of friendship and secrets. I am a happy go lucky soul to be frank.





But, this soul has a dark phase which only the near and dear ones know about. Just like the moon, I wax and wane from brightness to darkness. It’s periodic, predictable and painful. I used to blame it on my Sun-sign during my teenage years. After all, Linda Goodman prophetically stated that the Crabs are moody. And aren’t all teenagers supposed to be bitchy best? So, here I was; secretly wishing for clear and glowing skin, while using self-depreciating humor as a tool to preserve my self-esteem. While everyone found me cute, I was calling my body ugly!




These transition happens every month. And how I wish that I could turn into something magical like a fairy or a princess, or if it has to be dark - a werewolf or a vampire. (How exciting that would be!) But, nah that requires a visa to the dreamland I am told.  So, now you know why I became a writer; to bust these stupid myths about mythical creatures. And before I digress,(and you realize that I have not even started working in that direction) let me come back to the point. Yeah, it's all scripted and that too with perfection which only Nature /God (if you believe in him/her) can achieve.




So, I should have mastered this script and the drama that ensues, right? Well, No; Nada; Never have I ever felt totally in control of this wretched feeling that takes over me. It always (yes 100% success rate, can you believe?) takes me sometime to realize that I am “PMSing”. By then, I have almost pissed off half the world in vicinity. And you better not be around when this ‘Heel Turn’ happens. I can pick up an irrational fight like a pro trained for years and make you feel sorry for it. A plethora of emotions run through me keeping me frustrated,tired,irritated and not to mention moody and bloated.





This show (down) has been successfully running since puberty and has always received a standing ovulation. Well..er...I am punny, and I know ;)

                                                                             
                                                                                 &&&

On Love....

“Love Hurts”


We were basking in the sun after climbing the rickety stairs which took us to the top of the water-tank. It was our space, away from the maddening land-lady. Occasional breeze would send shivers down our spine and we would giggle like school kids. The place hopefully still keeps our secret rendezvous safe in her granite. We had our midnight parties, silent sobbing, philosophical banters, singing aloud with no reason or rhyme, getting drenched in the rains; all the silly stupid things that comprise of hostel life. Sometimes I miss those carefree moments.

               Coming back to that day, we all were lying down lost in our own thoughts, when 'A' uttered those ominous words. Why would she say that? I wondered looking at her for explanation. When she gave none, I reiterated with “No.It doesn’t, if it hurts it’s never love.”

“You’ll know,” she replied sagely. And I tossed it as yet another philosophical bullshit before we moved on to better things (eating cream and onion potato chips).

o o o



“If you truly love someone; set them free.”


Tears blur my vision as I see his smiling face across the computer screen. If he is happy, why ain’t I? Is this what true love is all about? I analyze and counter argue with myself. They say when you are really happy; your smile reaches your eyes. I needed answers. Where did I go wrong? Why was this happening to me? Lost in thoughts, my jittery hands dialed the number that stole my heart.

“It was my marriage for God sake! How do you expect me not to smile?” he said. The world came crashing down and few friends helped me to build it up back again. The experience took something away from me and replaced it with a belief that I could survive a storm.

                There are always two sides of a story; this is mine.

o o o



"When they say that the Universe is conspiring.....it's mostly your friends and family brainwashing you!!"


The whole 'Arranged Marriage' scenario is a hilarious circus which you can enjoy only from the spectator's seat. Firstly the girl and guy need to approve each other, then the parents need to get along together, plus the horoscope needs to be matched to perfection. And finally when all the parameters are met then and only then is “Love” taken into consideration.

                  Yes!  Of course, I have known people who supposedly “clicked” with the first guy/girl they met and are happily married with kids. I wasn’t that lucky. It was years of meeting Mr. Wrongs and yakking about it to my concerned friends and family that I realized that maybe I am not at all marriage material. And what I was looking for was never to be found. Because, he was already married? Nah!

      But yeah, I wasn’t ready to risk my heart this time around. It was going to be arranged marriage or nothing!

o o o



"Love...something which makes you see SIGNS even when none exists!!"


He noticed me at this crossroad of life, shopping for happiness. It was plain unadulterated fun; the one that doesn’t ask for validation. Chatting with each other was the best part of the day. Nonsense was respected and it took off the load that life was throwing at me. I was avoiding love at all cost and here it was right in front of me tempting me to give it a try. Did I?

              Well..er..heh…yes. I confessed my feelings. “But we are just friends.” He responded. “What about those signs?” I inquired. “Which ones?”  He seemed totally clueless. All right! Time to shut up.


Rejected. Dejected. I decided to move on. We stayed friends and also kept chatting.

o o o



“Fear is the heart of love.”


I got married in about six months of dating him. The ‘why not?’ got answered with ‘let’s give this a try’ and it worked. I still pester him about what made him decide on me after friend zoning me. “It took me some time” is all he says. So, should we call this love? I really don’t know. All I know is he cares and so do I.

              Marriage comes with its own share of doubts especially when you see them falling apart day in and day out. On television and in real life. He thinks I have trust issues, a baggage that I carry from past experience and I think he doesn’t share enough. The argument continues till wee hours of morning, till we both get tired and go to sleep.

               Each experience in life teaches you something new,this love (if I may call it that) is way different from the first one I experienced. I do fear the safety of my heart and I know that people fall out of love and sometimes it deters me from enjoying what I have right now.


“Love Hurts. It does.” And sometimes, it leaves scars behind.


O O O

Much Ado About....

         
                 
Life is an equation in which the only thing constant is the variables.




And yet, I fail to learn this simple statistics. Yours truly is a planner who plans ahead of time. Are you wondering, “What’s wrong with it?” Well, as Franklin Jones rightly noted that ‘The trouble with being punctual is that nobody’s there to appreciate it’. Most of my plans die a natural death as soon as unpredictable circumstance rears its ugly head. Blame it on Murphy; I say!







“Take it easy, babe.”

“You need to let yourself loose.”

“Too much planning ruins the fun.”

“Just live in the moment”



             
Yes! I get them a lot. Not that I don’t try. It’s really difficult trust me. I need to know where I am heading (in life/love/career); how long will I be there (so that I can boost my morale if the situation is bad or cherish it as long as it lasts if it’s good); and possibly predict the outcome (everyone loves to have a superpower, I am no exception ;)) Come to think of it most of my plans end with “And I lived happily ever after…”




Sigh! If only they worked as planned !&#!





             
So, when the great Wayne Gretzky said, “I don't skate to where the puck is. I skate to where the puck is going to be." Maybe he had a mind I own. And since evolution favored the puck; it has a change of heart in my plans and takes an altogether different trajectory. And I am left fuming like dry ice.




‘It’s plain bad puck!’





Therefore, this New Year; I have planned to not plan. How’s that for a resolution? What’s yours?



                                      &&&

Mumbai Meri Jaan !

“Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Jeena Yahan, Zara Hat Ke, Zara Bach Ke
Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan"1



Living in this city for more than two decades has made me realize that I have unwittingly fallen in love with it. I may crib; I may rant; but at the end of the day I’ll stand up for the “spirit” of Mumbai and blend into the crowd to be proudly called a “Mumbaiya.” #

                    The first brush with the city can be quite intimidating; especially if you have arrived from a laid back town of leisure and pleasure. The bustling crowd which you feel is heading nowhere; the never ending traffic where every honk has a distinct shrill; the congested slums with infection thriving at every nook; it certainly make you balk and dash for a home run. You feel like a drifter in the middle of an unknown game trying to bail out yourself. It also makes you wonder about the “secret” that lies with these crackerjacks.







“Next station Bandra; Pudheel station Vandre; Agla station Baandrah”2



I don’t know whether I am a quintessential Bandra girl (she’s a pearl which can surprisingly turn into a curveball over a cup of coffee); but I grew up in the suburbs of Bandra. Nostalgia resides there now and I do visit it often.

                      Local trains are the lifeline of Mumbai. Their serpentine network runs throughout the city which never sleeps. These overcrowded bogeys magically make space for one person more. It’s a mini-world inside, comprising of the vendors selling household stuff;  a female group gossiping in the corner; someone cutting vegetable on the go; youngsters with their headphones synced to their musical world; and if you are lucky/early enough you might end up listening to the bhajans (hymns) on your way to work/home. Or better still witness a catfight that you can re-tell by including all its gory details at your clubhouse.







“Vada Pav/MisalPav/Samosa Pav/Cutting Chai malai marke.”3



“Let’s have a pow-wow over vada pav” would sum up my entire college life in Mithibai. I developed a taste for Chai in my graduation years. Leaving home at 5 am and returning back after sunset; I would have plunked, if it wasn’t for that Samosa pav to pick me up.

                    The street food of Mumbai is something every Mumbaikar # will swear by. The mouthwatering pani-puri, spicy and kicking Misal pav and of course the staple diet of every homeless guy on the pothole ridden road our very own Vada pav. There are famous Khao gullies (Eatery Streets) which people visit for their well-known delicacies.Mumbai boasts of places which are open far into the night.








“Cricket,Calamities and Celebrations.”



I have seen them all. Be it winning the Cricket World cup of 2011 and people cheering for team India at Shivaji park and Gateway of India. Or the common man picking up bits and pieces of his life after the 7/11 Bomb blasts and travelling in the same local train the next day wondering if he’ll return back to the safety of his home at night. The city nurtures a Muslim taxi driver who celebrates Ganeshostav; a Christian mother who fasts for Navratri; a Hindu boy who will keep roza with his friend and gorge on biryani to commemorate Eid.

                     These 3C’s unite the people of Mumbai into a cohesive bond. We call it “The Spirit of Mumbai.” A place where madness, chaos, humanity, serenity, love, riots all co-exists in a meshed up platter.  Where each one is trying to make it a perfect game; an inning they’ll be proud of. This is the place where dreams come true if you work hard enough and take the strike in your stride.



                                                                          &&&







# Mumbaiya / Mumbaikar = a moniker for a person living in Mumbai

1 “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Jeena Yahan, Zara Hat Ke, Zara Bach Ke ; Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan”  
 O gentle heart..life is an uphill struggle. Be alert, be streetwise; This is Bombay, my love


“Next station Bandra; Pudheel station Vandre; Agla station Baandrah”
It’s the announcement made on local trains for passengers to know. It’s repeated in English followed by Marathi and then Hindi. I choose this specific station because I used to live there and also because it is pronounced differently in all the three languages (As if one place has three names.)


“Vada Pav/MisalPav/Samosa Pav/Cutting Chai malai marke.”
   Various street foods of Mumbai.

Vada pav = Indian version of burger.
Misal Pav = a spicy curry made of sprouted moth beans mixed with fried gram cookies and peanuts to be had with bread (pav)
Samosa pav = Potato stuffed pastry placed in between the bread (pav)
Cutting chai Malai marke = Half a glass is called cutting , chai = tea, malai marke = addition of extra cream.

                             
                                                                                                  &&&&

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