Monday, June 18, 2012

The Story Behind Our Song (Part 2 of 2)

Continued from here.

Dear Dishy,

I am writing this letter sitting in Jenny Auntie’s café. I know you don’t like summers but I wish you were with me right now, enjoying this beautiful May afternoon with me. There is this huge Jacaranda tree opposite to the café. I can see it through the window next to place I am sitting. It seems as if someone has sprayed a deep mauve color into the sky.
Dish I can see our future, as I sit here. I imagine us getting old together. I imagine retiring with you on a farmhouse. I imagine talking walks with you under the warmth of the sun in winter afternoons and under brightly lit sky in the summer nights. I imagine looking at our grandchildren as they play in the rains. I imagine barbeque parties in our garden. I imagine a house full of photographs. Photographs that tell our story. The story which began long before we met. The story which won’t end with us. The story which will continue with our children and their children and then their children. And the story, which the whole world will read one day.
There was no rhyme or reason behind this letter. Just one of those moments when I wanted you near, when I wished I hadn’t waited for so long.
I am sending you few photographs I took near the café, to let you feel the beauty of the Jacaranda tree in full bloom. And I am sending you a few smiles to make the coming few months easier.

Love always,

That was the first letter he had written to her. The edges were now frayed and deep creases were marked where she had unfolded and folded the letter a hundred times. The only thing that was touched by just the two of them, she would read the letter whenever she miss Harit. Though they had shared more than twenty letters over the past six years, for some reason his first letter would always remain precious to her.

The captain’s announcement broke her thoughts.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we have just been cleared to land at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. Please make sure your seat belt is securely fastened. The flight attendants are currently passing around the cabin to make a final compliance check and pick up any remaining cups and glasses. Thank you."

This was not how she was supposed to come back to India. She sighed and put the letter in her pocket. She was supposed to be feeling edgy with butterflies fluttering nineteen to a dozen, instead she felt queasy and jittery as every moment passed.

The phone call had come at 5’o clock in the morning. Groggily she glanced at the number. She pressed the receive button quickly and muttered, “Harit?”
It wasn’t Harit on the phone. She couldn’t recall half of what the caller had said. All she knew that he needed her, that she had to leave for India today. He didn’t have much time they had said.
The ride from the airport to the hospital seemed longer than her 9 hours flight. Disha enquired about him at the reception.
Harit Shah. Room no. 402.

He turned his head towards the door as he heard it open and smiled wide. Too weak to sit up, he stretched his hand towards her. She smiled back and walked towards him. Her throat was tight, but Disha didn’t want to cry. She would remain strong for him. There would be plenty of time to cry when… she couldn’t think further. She knelt near his bed, holding his hand in her palms. They gazed at each other, making up for the lost time, for all those years spent far away. She wanted to take in as much as she could, she wanted to create a memory that would stay forever within her heart and not on some paper or mails or photographs.  The way his left cheek dimpled when he smiled, the cut on his forehead, the way he blinked before looking back into her eyes, the way his nose crinkled as he smiled.

It wasn’t how either of them had imagined it to be. It was supposed to be a scene right out of a movie and not in a hospital room. But it still seemed perfect. The way their hands fit together. The way her smooth palms warmed his cold hands.

After a while, he motioned her to pick a notebook lying on the side table. She flipped it open, and read the five words written in his hand, “The story behind our song..”

10th May, 2009

Disha smiled as she got of the phone with the editor. He had loved the book. Harit was right, summers are beautiful, she thought, looking up towards the bright summer sky. She got up from the bench and plucked a flower from a low lying branch of the huge Jacaranda tree. And placed it next to their photograph inside his notebook.  Their only photograph together. As she looked into his smiling eyes, she whispered, “Our story will continue Harit.”

Pictures from herehere, here and here

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Story Behind Our Song (Part 1 of 2)

31st March, 2009

The bells on the door tinkled as Disha entered the café. The place was exactly like he had described it to her, and exactly like she had imagined it would be. He would sketch an image in her mind, just by his words and make her feel the ambience even through all the distance. Everything that surrounded her was new and still very familiar. The sunlight streaming through the skylight onto the bookshelf. The maroon armchair, from where he had spend countless afternoons, talking to her, laughing with her, fighting with her, listening to her, crying with her. The huge windows on the south. The big Jacaranda tree opposite to the café. She even knew how the tree would look in full bloom during the summers.
The aroma of freshly brewed coffee made her yearn for one. She ordered a latte and smiled at the owner, Jenny Auntie, as if she was a regular there. She moved to the bookshelf, while waiting for her coffee. She found a few of the titles familiar. He had made her read every book he liked. When Jenny Auntie called her name, she collected her coffee from the counter and settled into the maroon armchair. For a moment, it felt like he was holding her in his arms. She smirked at herself for the thought. After all he hadn’t ever hugged her. She set her mug on the table nearby and turned on her laptop. She was meeting his (and now her) editor today. She wanted to be sure that he would be interested in their manuscript. It wasn’t just a manuscript to her, it was her story. Their story.
 November 10th, 2006

Dishi10: Where have you been? I’ve been waiting since an hour and a half!
Harits: I had to meet these pesky clients and they weren’t leaving me. I even told them I have to go to the hospital for some tests.
Dishi10: What tests?
Harits: And finally when I started holding my breath so that my face could turn red, and they would believe I am actually sick.
Dishi10: WHAT TESTS??
Harits: That’s when they let me go.
Dishi10: What tests you idiot?
Harits: No no, no tests honey, I just made an excuse. So that I could talk to you for a while.
Dishi10: The while’s going to end in 15 minutes now.
Harits: I know I am sorry, next time if I am going to get late, I will text and inform you.
Dishi10: Did you check for the tickets?
Harits: Oh..
Dishi10: You haven’t yet?? Only two weeks left!! What if you don’t get any?
Harits: Then I’ll charter a plane.
Dishi10: Aww.. my hero, you don’t need to do that. You can come here when I am old and haggard, living in some retirement home
Harits: Okay okay, I’ll book the tickets right now. Please show up when the flight lands.
Dishi10: :)
Harits: What?
Dishi10: Two weeks!
Harits: Yes, two weeks baby! I love you.
Dishi10: I love you more.
Harits: Hey, Jenny Auntie sends her love. And now she wants to meet you.
Dishi10: Tell her that Harit is a coward and doesn’t want to meet me in India.
Harits: She says she’ll kick his ass for you.
Dishi10: Thank you Jenny Auntie. Harit, I am leaving for a meeting now.
Harits: See you love..
Dishi10: in two weeks.
Harits: :)
Hey luv, 27 Nov ’m coming 2 u.

Will u recognize me?

U’ll b d 1 wearing d biggest smile ;)

U bet, I will!

26th November, 2006

11:37 am
The number you are trying to reach is presently out of coverage area. If you are an airtel subscriber…
Disha cursed him, “Darn it Harit, where are you?”, fed up with hearing the audio message again and again.

12:10 pm
Trying to call you. Your cell number is unreachable. No one is answering your home number. Cold feet??!
Message sent.

5:00 pm
Your flight leaves in two hours. I will kill you if you don’t board it.
Message sent.

7:00 pm
The number you are trying to reach is presently out of coverage area. If you…

More than angry, Disha was anxious. This was not something Harit would do. He won’t back out like this. Even if he wanted to, he would tell her first. No, something definitely must’ve gone wrong. She called up the airlines asking whether there had been any cancellations. “I’m sorry Ma’am, there has been no cancellation under the name of Mr. Harit Shah.”
“Can you tell me if he boarded the plane?”
“I am sorry Ma’am, I am not supposed to give out any information. It is against our company rules.”
“Well thank you very much.” And she slammed the phone down.

30th November, 2006

The number you are trying to reach is presently unavailable. Please try again later..

Three days had passed since she heard from Harit. She had even gone to the airport, hoping he would surprise her.

To be continued...

Note: Pictures from herehere

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Eat to live!

“When I’m PMSing, the only thing that can cheer me up is a big bar of chocolate!”

“I can only enjoy a movie, when I have a big bowl of butter popcorn for company”

“It’s been long, we need to catch up! Why don’t you come over for lunch?”

“I’ve got a huge craving for mom’s food.”

“We have to celebrate this dude, let’s go out!”

What is one thing that’s common in all the above statements? You got it, Food!

The old idiom was, “Eat to live, but don’t live to eat.” I don’t agree with it. Food isn’t a chore; it’s not something like brushing your teeth or doing laundry, something that just needs to be done. Food is a huge part of our lives, we eat when we celebrate, we eat when we are sad, we eat when we are happy, and we eat to while away time. We enjoy eating with family on the dining table. We enjoy eating straight from the bowl sitting in front of the TV, we enjoy eating roadside food, we enjoy eating sitting in a swanky restaurant, we enjoy eating at weddings, and we enjoy eating home cooked meals. So then do we just eat to live? No, we eat to celebrate life, I’d say!

Pictures taken from herehereherehereherehere, herehere, herehere, here and here.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Of book fairs and book reviews

The Delhi Book Fair was almost two months ago and I didn't think I'd actually blog about it. Until now. When I'm done with all the books I'd bought there. Well they weren't many actually. Just four. I went with a friend who's equally or more mad about books, so I had the best company as I browsed the stalls, the books and the knick-knacks. From book marks to book mugs to book bags to book badges. It had everything to cheer up a book lover. A second friend met us there and who seeing me bursting from excitement quoted, ''You look as happy as a kid in a candy shop!''

And I was :)

Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult

I love Jodi Picoult. The story lines. The characters. The plots. The research behind every book. The emotions depicted. The relationships portrayed. Her way of putting it all into words is absolutely beautiful. Picture Perfect was no exception.

It starts off smoothly and it is difficult not to fall in love when the two characters fall for each other. There is a third guy actually. But no it is not a stereotypical love triangle. It is not a stereotypical love story. No overflow of mush. Like the girl, you won't be able to stop loving even in the end. The story travels through two worlds. The glamour of Hollywood and the humbleness of the Indian reservations. It'll tug your heart, it'll make you keep reading, it'll make you dream a picture perfect dream. And in the end, it'll wake you up.

The Way We Were by Elizabeth Noble

The review on the cover says, Impossible to finish without tears running down your face.

Ahem. Well yes, it was impossible to finish. About the tears, they would've eventually come if the book hadn't ended when it did. And thank God it ended when it did.

This one was a big disappointment. Biggest I have experienced in months. The story is so jumbled up. It's like the author couldn't decide what to keep and what to delete and in the end keeps everything. Even if it's not in a flow. The story revolves around the life of Susannah who if I may put it frankly, was a loser at forty. She has a good job. A loving family. The perfect best friend. But an unsteady life, an unsteady mind and an unsteady love life. She's weak, confused, pathetic and at times unbearable. It's like keep things going wrong her entire life but she doesn't take heed. It's not just the miserable plot it is more so the way the story rolls. Weird and abrupt sentences. Makes me wonder if the book was actually writer by a ghost writer suffering from attention deficiency syndrome. 

P. S. Here's the goodreads link to the book.


                     I want to. So. Very much.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Other Side Of The Story

We all have a story. A story that is interlinked to many other stories, stories of our friends, our family, our teachers, our colleagues, our neighbors or even strangers. And we all have a different way of narrating our story, don't we?

That is what this book is about. About three girls, about how their life is linked to each other, yet separate. The reviews that are on the book are indeed true. It makes you laugh. Out loud. I used to read it on my daily commute to work and some parts would just make me giggle out loud. (No, I did not pay attention to how the fellow commuters reacted to that). Another thing that made me love the book was the way it talks about writers, authors, publishers and their world. Not that I am any one of them yet, the book kept me glued till the last word. When I did reach the last word, I turned the last couple of pages to confirm whether it has actually ended or not. It was that good. 

The book is quite a fat one though, (528 pages) which I recently discovered could be a deciding factor for readers when buying a new book. As for me, the fatter the better!

P.S. Click here to head to the book's page on the author's website.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

It's that time of the year!

Yea... It is. That time of the year when you feel proud of surviving the winters, when you shove away the memories of gluttonous weak moments in some untraceable imaginary trunk, when the temperature's a little higher and the days are a little longer. When on a weekend, you finally gather up courage to store the warm garb for another winter. When you shed away jackets and boots and mufflers and warmers. When you put on t-shirts and cotton pants and spaghetti tops and shorts and flip flops and sun-tan lotion. THAT is when you realize that you turned into a PIG in those cold harsh months.

When those summer clothes don't fit you. When you realize you are out of decent clothes to wear at work. When you feel you need to shop every week. When you stand on the scale and miss a heart beat out of shock. When you look at the pics from a year back and yearn for that younger and slimmer you. THAT time of the year is here. Unfortunately for me.



Friday, February 24, 2012

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

I'm clearly a person who judges a book by it's cover. And I do not hide it :)

The Memory Keeper's Daughter starts off beautifully. Kim Edwards has this way of describing things so delicately and intricately, that it gets easy to flow with the story, turn one page after another. The story holds you so strongly right from the first page. But alas, as the story neared the end, I got a bit disappointed. 

Usually when I finish a book I like to carry something from it, a memory, a thought, a quote, an idea, something that stays with me long after I have forgotten the story. Something that makes me feel sad that the story has ended but something that also makes me feel good about the ending. 

Personally I believe that 'something' was missing in The Memory Keeper's Daughter. It was a beautiful story, but it ended. And it just did that, a blank stop without any lingering memory. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Have a Little Faith: A True Story

Once in a while, you read a book which makes you feel like you're listening to a close friend. It makes you giggle out loud. It answers your questions even before you ask them. It makes you want to say, 'Yes, you are right!'.
That is what Have Little Faith by Mitch Albom did to me.

I've not been much of a non-fiction reader, but when I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down. There's one thing about Mitch Albom that I admire, it's not just the amazing people he meets, it's also how he puts their story in such a beautiful style that it makes you feel as if you're too a part of them.

The story is about hope, about how bad people can turn good, about how goodness is still alive in the world, about the life force that guides us, keeps us secure and keeps us together.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I wish...

Yeah, this is what my computer told me. I'm guilty of neglecting this blog! :(

I wish you the courage to be warm when the world would prefer that you be cool.
I wish you success sufficient to your needs;
I wish you failure to temper that success.
I wish you joy in all your days;
I wish you sadness so that you may better measure joy.
I wish you gladness to overbalance your grief.
I wish you humor and a twinkle in your eye.
I wish you glory and the strength to bear its burdens.
I wish you sunshine on your path and health to carry you on your journey.
I wish you peace — in the world in which you live and in the smallest corner of you heart where truth is kept.
I wish you faith — to help define your living and your life.
More I cannot wish you — except perhaps love — to make all the rest worthwhile.

~ Robert Ward

And I wish the same to you. Each one of you. People who've touched my life. People I'm yet to meet. People I live with. People I cannot live without.


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