Nick Second Life

The Story of an MBA grad in Recession times.. as told by Nick!

Posts Tagged ‘Mumbai’

Someone Listens to your Heart!

Posted by Subhendu on December 15, 2009

It is amazing how life keeps changing. It is amazing how there are so many things in store, yet we don’t know anything in advance. It is like you just see the next step but you don’t know where the staircase leads to or how long would it turn out to be. During this journey, when you feel at some point in time, that there is no one listening but you want yourself desperately to be heard, to share out your feelings, be rest assured there is someone who is hearing you. And answering to every question of yours. Listening to your heart!

It was a Saturday. Wrong day of the week to wake up early and be on your way to office. Many people grudge about it. I too did. On the way, I parked my Pulsar in front of the local betel shop near Truptee for a pack of Gold Flake Kings. Brushing past the crowd of people, I made my way to the panwala. The faces near the shop were all familiar, thanks to the habit of mine. As I watched the circles of white smoke circle up in the air after the first puff, I overheard Raghunath.

Raghunath, a chain smoker in his late sixties always had a lot of stories and his stories always had a lesson. Frail body, bald, shriveled skin, white moustache with a Wills Flake between his shaky index and middle fingers, Raghunath smoked in a hurry always. He took in large puffs of smoke in one go and wanted to feel all the smoke everywhere in his respiratory system.

Prayers

Pray with your heart

“I was reading in class 6th. At home there always was a shortage and scarcity of food. In 2 days we could not afford even one meal of rice. 5 kids, 2 parents, in all 7 hungry mouths. One day, I was getting ready for school. There was nothing to eat at home. My mother had some wheat flour collected. She put some hot water and salt over it, mixed it and served to me and my brothers and sisters. I was so hungry that ai just tried to drink up all of it. But I could not bear it. I vomited as soon as the hot porridge touched the first taste buds of my tongue. I could not eat any longer. I just could not stop crying. My mother hugged me tight, her eyes wet. She wiped my tears with her saree and barely could utter, unsure.  “Go to School. When you are back, I will have lots of rice cooked for you.” As I opened my eyes to look behind my mother, I saw my brothers and sisters hungrily eating the food which I left off. And fighting amongst themselves. I could not bear the sight and I fled from the place. On the way to school, I was praying to God – Would this ever be over? That day in the school prayer hall, I just cried and prayed.  In the lunch break, when other students rushed out to play and eat, I just was crying and was alone in the class room. Just then the peon came over and said that the headmaster was calling me. I trembled.

I entered the room and the headmaster was sitting in the room surrounded by around 12 teachers. He started- What have you eaten in the day? “Wheat flour porridge” I said and waited to hear everyone laugh. Surprisingly, no one did. They all were looking at me in sympathetic eyes. My headmaster pulled me closer to him. Hugged me and said. “Here are 231 rupees Raghu. Because of your excellent performance in Class 5 exam, you are being given a scholarship of 231 rupees.” He put the money in my pocket and made me sign a form. I was so happy. I had not seen a one rupee coin ever and I was given 231 rupees in one go! I felt so happy. I ran home, breathless.

When I reached home, I saw my mother in her torn saree, with hands on her forehead. My father had not yet reached home with the food. I gave all the money to my mother. We then bought rice with the money, and even after eating, we could re-sell and get going. After that, somehow, we managed and never ever had to go hand to mouth again. So from that day till date, I believe in God the most. And I believe that when all doors close and you feel that no one is listening, there is someone who listens.

My cigarette had ended since long. I was just waiting for the story to finish. Raghunath had had a tough life. Now he owned 5 apartment buildings in Mumbai, had 2 chains of retail business and his sons are doing good in life. The wrinkles on the old mans hands and forehead actually told many such stories of his struggle in his lifetime.

I started my bike and left the place. It etched my mind that when called with a pure heart, God does listen. Suddenly, Mumbai is teaching so many things to me.

10 more days to go!

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The Fish Wali Case

Posted by Subhendu on December 1, 2009

Tuesday. Mumbai.

It was a busy street. But still people stopped and poured over the area. There was a pungent smell in the area but I did not pay attention to my olfactory cells. I pushed my way in. She lay motionless, but I could sense her soft breathing. It was as if she was trying to breathe in the last of her breaths. It was as if the world was going to end for her. Her body had lost its shine. She lay wounded, on the stone. I looked around, curious faces but none paid attention. This was perhaps routine. I had been to this place for the first time. I looked at her eyes – crystal clear, glass like. I spread my hand forward to touch her, to feel if she is still warm.

Kya dekh rahe ho.. Mari nahin hai. Abhi Taazi hai! A shrill feminine voice echoed.

Go Buy Fish!

I changed my focus. The FishWali (fisherwoman) was barely 27. Of Course Maharashtrian. The street lamp about 30 meters high was showering all its light on her. She was glowing in the light. Hair neatly combed, colorful bangles on both her hands, she was wearing a crumpled cotton sari till her knees and was ready to see my lips move. She was full of anticipation like a robot. Ready for the next instruction. To cut the fish into pieces and wrap them up in the black polythene. I turned to her left. There lay a kid, barely a year old, naked, covered up in dirty yet thick but torn clothes, crying intermittently. She looked at her child, caressed her a bit, then picked up the stick to shoo the cats/dogs near her business capital. I normally don’t eat fish. I love prawns but had convinced myself long back that prawns are not fish. The Fishwali was not selling prawns so I had no reason to be at this place but somehow I was meant to be here today.

As I stood looking at the mother and son, I could feel the same love and affection. The one which makes the father and mother pigeon birds on my window pane sit hours together on their eggs.

I had been to a hospital where someone in my near family was admitted. While I was attending him, I turned to look at the side bed where a middle aged man, barely in his 50s was attending to his wife. Curious, I asked him about what happened and why they are here. The man said – She is my wife. Our only daughter had both her kidneys infected so had them removed. Now my wife is donating one of her kidneys to her. That is the reason we are here. I was speechless, moved. Never ever had I thought that someone could donate something from their body for someone else. But this is what is love, this is what is affection. Parents can actually do all measures to see their children happy. I could see the same love and affection in the Fishwalis eyes.

She was getting impatient. All this while, she was blabbering something. I could see her lips move but my inner voices were so loud that I could not hear her at all. Then she said, Aap ko lena ho to lijiye, warna jagah khaali kijiye! I could hear that somehow.

I asked her to pack 500 grams. As I uttered these words, I could see the smile twitch on her lips. She was excited, and picked up a large Rohu and sliced it clean. When I walked back holding the wet polythene after counting the smelly currency notes from her, I could notice that she was smiling of satisfaction. I felt contended too. Chemistry! The child also stopped crying.

Back in the 11th floor of my apartment, while I was wondering what to do with the Fish, since neither I knew how to cook, nor I loved fish, I struck off another day in the calendar. Threw the fish in the trash.

15 More days to go!

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Rains are mischievous

Posted by Subhendu on November 19, 2009

It was a rainy day and it was pouring as hell. I had seen 6 summers by then and loved the smell of the first rain drops on the soil. The aroma of rain drops on the parched land intoxicated me. I inhaled a deep breath wishing to breathe in all the scent in one go. I just loved the scent. It was all over, near the window pane, near the open door and everywhere.

The door is open. This is all I wished. I was so short that I could not reach the door latch. It was plain luck that I could now do what I wanted to. And all I wanted was to dance in the rain, get wet, dirty and keep on dancing in the mud. And I did.  I did not notice the bullock cart which came trotting from behind. When I saw it, since I was not mischievous, no idea struck me. So, I just climbed on to the bullock cart silently by a rope hanging at the back. The driver obviously did not notice, unluckily! The cart kept on trotting and I was enjoying the rain and the free ride. Boy, did I know the concept of free and paid that time!

When I suddenly could not recognize the streets anymore, I could not see any way how to go back home. God told me to cry. I obliged. The cart wallah had the shock of his life seeing me hanging to the rope at the tail of the cart. He asked me a lot of things which I never answered, I was good at doing one thing then, crying and I did not want to get diverted. That guy had some tough time it seems, he returned in the rain and kept asking the shopkeepers on the way if they recognize me. LOL, no one knew. So he kept returning back on the way he had went. When he reached near my place, I suddenly stopped crying and jumped out of the cart. Landed at home safely. I could hear the guy shouting at my back, but then I was good at doing one thing at one time. I was running inside and I did not want to get diverted.

Its 10 AM already and the rain just does not subside. Strangely, I don’t love rains anymore. I love the scent of the rain nevertheless. Somethings just don’t change. I checked the rice grains on the window pane, still there. May be the birds had their stomachs full or I had been overgenerous yesterday. I looked down from my 11th floor. Dots of blue, yellow, green each accompanied by a black dot started from somewhere in the ground floor of my apartment and ended at the school bus on the road. After the bus moved, the black dots returned to the base of my apartment. Children look really beautiful when dressed in these colorful raincoats. More beautiful than the rain. Mothers, as always, are a caring lot. Even if the black umbrellas would be swaying in the windy rain, still they would stay with their child till it climbs up the bus and waves its hand from the window.

The rains continued till afternoon. All day I was thinking about the countdown to my new life which is 20 more days to go. Saloni came in from school when I was just closing the lift door in the ground floor. She was a mirror image of mine. Dirty as mud personified, wet as rain, barely able to carry her overloaded bag on one shoulder, she was enjoying her ice-cream! She is 12. I was better. Much better than her. I never ate ice-cream in rains. On the way up, she just blabbered, kept on with it and licked her ice-cream in between. Her mother, my neighbor, saw her state when the lift opened up on the 11th floor. She opened her mouth and Saloni hid behind me, tight-lipped. Amazing chemistry! But one thing I admired, Salonis calculation – she was done with the ice-cream when the lift opened.

Tomorrow is weekend.

As the evening entered through the window in form of darkness, I striked off one day more in the calendar. 19 More days to go for the Bhubaneswar Pani Poori.

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