Radio


I start the year 2015 with some creativity. This is a story that I have had in mind for some time, but only got around to writing now. Do let me know if you like it

“Dear Veena,

I listened to your show again last night, and it was splendid as ever. Every time that I listen to it, I think it just gets better. Your voice becomes sweeter. Your words sound like music to my ears. It’s like our own version of a romantic date. I wish I wouldn’t have to wait a whole two weeks to go on these dates.

And this is why I have decided to marry, Veena.  I want to meet a beautiful, nice young girl from your country, just like you. I want a girl with a melodious voice, who sings to me when I am sad, speaks with the most beautiful accent, shies away when I approach her – just like in the movies! I want a gentle-hearted, cheerful and honest young girl. And I think the only place in the world where I can find a girl like that, is your beautiful country. Will you help me find one?

I look forward to your next show.

Love,

Alexander”

This is when he started looking for a girl to fall in love with. To marry and settle down with. He had been alone, in a big, busy land for a long time now. And now he said he wanted to find peace. He thought he could find peace in a woman he loved. He wanted to marry someone from my country- a land that he believed had only beautiful and honest people. Because that is what he heard from us on the radio. Every weekend, he would turn the radio on at 10 o’ clock at night, and as he prepared for bed, he would listen to stories that we told him about our land. He would listen to folk tales of young love, stories that we tell little children before bed, legends about wondrous palaces and gardens throughout the country. We would play songs from old movies, and songs about festivals and frolicking. Oh! What a happy picture we drew! Reporting about the wars, the politics, and the corruption wasn’t our job. We were there to make people feel good about the beautiful things in the world after a hard day of work.

And that is exactly what he heard too. He would listen joyfully to the stories and laugh at every joke we made in the middle. He would come back from work, turn on the radio, and listen to our show while he cooked himself a meal. After his meal, he would get into bed, turn off the light, and fall asleep listening to the music from the old movies. This is what he did every single day.

Or at least this is what he told us through his letters. He wrote every other week. One of our most dedicated listeners, and a special fan of mine. Never missed a show. I did the show at this time every alternate week. Lata and Mani, my co-workers, did the rest.of the weeks’ shows.

All three of us were

But he never wrote to them as diligently as he did to me. Lata and Mani would often tease me that he had a crush on me, and said if I wasn’t in a country hundreds of miles away, he would probably have asked me to marry him by now. Well, they did, until they read this letter.

It definitely had us a little puzzled. But then not so much after a while. He seemed to be a lonely young man. Taking the time to write a letter to someone you never met, every week, wouldn’t be an easy job if you had a family, would it? He had a shop that sold knick knacks so I am guessing he didn’t make much money either. But he seemed to be a happy man. A little dreamy, but happy.

Anyway, so we decided to do something for a devoted listener. We decided to look for a girl. Well, I did. I started a small matrimonial segment on my show. For five minutes, I would appeal to all the singles in the world (or whoever was listening to us) who were looking for love, to tell us what they liked. And I put them in touch with each other by giving them another suitor’s mailing address.

The segment became more popular than I expected. We started getting flooded with letters, from young and old men and women telling us what they liked and who they were looking for. Sometimes we got pretty interesting letters from long lost lovers who were looking for their mates from years ago. We even got a letter from a man who asked us to announce his marriage proposal to his girlfriend on the radio.

But the real flood of letters was, as expected, from Alexander. He started sending us bi-weekly letters, first thanking us, then describing to us what he was looking for in the girl that he wanted to marry.

Such obsession with finding a foreign girl to marry was strange for us. Alexander had taken no time to become the butt of all our jokes on account of the frequency of his letters. But now it even got more ridiculous, with his long, eloquent descriptions of his dreams of marrying an innocent, young girl from a land he had never been to and perhaps would never be able to visit. How were we supposed to find him a suitable match, sitting miles away from him over the radio? You couldn’t even see the person you were talking to, or talking about! Such illusions, the radio manages to create, is something I realized every single time I read Alexei’s letters.

I found it slightly adorable that he wanted so much to marry. It worried me a little, but what could I do? I continued with my search for the perfect girl for Alexei, writing to him about different girls who wrote in to us, also looking for a suitable young man. Much delusional and naïve like Alexei himself.

A few months later, after a long series of conversations about dates with these women and how they never seemed to be The Right One for Alexei, we got a letter from him saying that he had met someone. A girl from my country at last. She had walked into his store looking for trinkets for her friend and Alexei and her hit it off.

Soon we started getting letters from him talking excitedly about how beautiful and how lovely she was and how much they adored each other’s company. Lata and Mani’s jokes by now had changed too. They said I was like his walking-talking personal diary. A pen friend that he confides in but can’t confess his love to.

But anyway, that didn’t bother me so much. I was happy for him. Our segment on matrimonials was also seeming to be quite a success. Everything was good in the world. One of those days Alexei even wrote to us that he planned to propose to his now-girlfriend Nazmi. He was in love with her, and she was all that he had been looking for.

And then his letters stopped.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Well, they ceased for a bit. This was very unlike Alexei. From writing almost twice every week his letters reduced to zero? And suddenly!

At first, we all assumed he had married that girl and was busy in his new life. Then we got a little worried. And then, we forgot about it.

But three months later, we got a letter from him again. His handwriting was slightly different this time. Slightly shaky, not as clear and composed as before. It looked like he had written this in a hurry, and not taken his time with it like he used to.

He had written to us, (all right, to me), saying that Nazmi and him broke up. As it turns out, she was already married. Alexei found out the day he asked her to marry him. She got panicky and confessed that she had been seeing Alexei behind her husband’s back all this while. She said she could not choose between Alexei and her husband.

Alexei said he was heart-broken. He broke up with Nazmi – she had lied to her. But he couldn’t stop thinking about her. He stopped going to his shop and lay in bed till he ran out of food, and till his water supply and electricity got cut off because of unpaid bills.

But now, he is trying to get back on to his feet slowly. He has started going to his shop again. Business is not that good anymore but he is making do.

I wrote back to him saying I was sorry for what had happened, and he was a good man who didn’t deserve it. But what more could I say? I told him that there was more to life than girls and he must find another purpose in life now. And if he still was looking for a girl, then the matrimonial segment was still on and we would love to help.

He replied just once, and with one word – Thanks.

And then we never heard from him again.

…………………………………………………………………………………….

Life moved on. But some things changed after Alexei’s last letter. We stopped the matrimonial section altogether. I am not sure whether we stopped it because we felt guilty, or because it had started to wane in popularity anyway. Mani left the radio and started her career as a stay-at-home wife. I got married and had a little girl in the next year. Lata still comes for the show, but now she doesn’t seem so interested in a show she has been doing for the last 5 years.

I often wonder what happened of Alexander. Did he look for a new girl? Did he find one? Or did he give up on them altogether? Did he get back on to his feet after all? What happened to his dream of a foreign girl to marry?

I have often thought of writing to him. But I can never bring myself to it. The show is still on. Maybe someday he will write to us himself…maybe not….

Untitled


You’re a breath of fresh air
Oh no!
You’re the wind
Tulips and roses
Will just have to bend

You don’t stop for anyone
You’re like that distant star in the sky
Looks best when admired from afar
Burns when you get too high

You’re a comet
You’ll burn
And then you’ll run away
You’ll leave bright memories
For those left behind
But you’ll be far gone
Way ahead
In this race of time

Have You Ever Felt This Way?


Love means different things for different people. Love could be that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach – those butterflies you feel going wild when you see the person you love, when they smile at you. For some, love may bring peace, for some love brings longing.

I don’t really know what love is. I think its meaning changes with every person I feel strongly for. I think I have been in love once or twice before. At that time it was an intense attraction, a desire for attachment, a desire to be smiled at all the time, a desire to hold their hand. But I have felt a different kind of love and a different kind of heartbreak each time it happened

But this time, I don’t really know. It feels similar to how they label ‘love’ in the movies, but its different. It’s similar to how I have felt in the past, but its nothing like I have felt before. It’s not a desire to hold hands, not a desire for sex, not a desire to be appreciated, not a desire to be loved in return.

It’s just a desire to be together. It’s a desire to be around.

Have you ever felt like a jolt of electricity hit you the first time you saw someone? Have you ever felt, that from the second you saw that person, they were someone you wanted to approach, someone you really wanted to talk to, to find out about them, to listen to them? It’s not because that person was beautiful or supremely attractive. But because a little molecule in the air whispered in your ear, “Go meet him, explore”. Has that molecule, that tiny particle of dust ever pushed you to look into someone’s eyes like you could look into their soul? Have you ever felt like something was pulling you towards that person and there was something you needed to know, and that moment has finally come in your life when you will be told a story you always wanted to hear.

Have you felt like just being around that person? All the time! Have you ever felt like being a part of their life? Have you ever felt the intense desire to make them part of your life? Have you ever felt the desire to be a part of them? Make them a part of you? To have your souls entwined, like they were one, so that no one could ever tell them apart, not even you.

Have you ever felt the desire to just listen to them talk? Like all you were meant to do on this earth, in this life, was to listen to them? That is what you were born for? To hear them talk about their dreams, hopes, troubles, moments of joy, their fears. And all you wanted to do is sit in front of them, look at their face while they talked, admire the contours of their face, study the way the light fell on their forehead, listen to the melody of their voice, and gauge their feelings from the changes in their tone, their volume and how steady their voice was or wasn’t. To ravish in the words they speak. So much so that you wanted to touch the words that came out of their mouth, and ask them “this land you come from, how beautiful is it? Tell me about it”. You ask the words that come out of their mouth to tell you a story. You ask the light that you see in their eyes to show you their world.

Have you ever felt this way?

Have you had moments when you felt like they were a part of you after all? Like a tiny piece of you popped out of your body and is standing there grinning at you, towering over you…..or slouching over you, sheltering you, and reminding you that you are a beautiful person.

Or maybe it was me thinking they were beautiful, and wanted to make that beauty a part of me.

Have you ever seen a halo around someone? Invisible, yet so bright that you felt compelled to touch them, to see if they were real or not? I have. And after realizing they were real, have you ever touched yourself, just to make sure, only to find out that you are real too, and that moment when you two are sitting together is as real as it gets….making you gasp with surprise! HOW could this be real? How could I be here sitting with someone so divine, so unearthly that I could feel the heat emanating from their aura.

Have you ever felt the desire to just be around this aura, this energy, this person all the time? To spend your life with them. You want to hold them, to embrace them, to feel their skin on yours, but you don’t really need to.Their presence is enough. Them sitting right beside you is enough for you to last a little longer. That is all you need.

Have you ever felt like a flame went out somewhere inside you when they left the room. Have you ever felt an intense fear that the walls around you will crumble and crash down on you, with you crouching under their burden, all alone and wondering where That Person is, and why couldn’t you spend your last moments alive with them.

Of all the times I have been in love, I have never felt this kind of energy around me. Is this love at all? I don’t know.

If it isn’t, then what is it?

I Want to Celebrate This Valentine’s Day With Myself


This year, I am single on V-day. But am I sad? No.

Am I pathetic? No.

In fact, this year, I can finally do another scene from my imagined movie Single In The City (mentioned in an earlier post) and celebrate V-day as I want. I have no silly expectations from silly, immature boys. I have no silly fantasies about pink balloons and red roses and cheap gifts from just any random person.

This year I want to celebrate V-day with myself. I want to celebrate my own singledom and my freedom from all sorts of ‘love-ly’ tangles. This time, I want to celebrate me- something I have always longed to do but could never decide how to.

So this is my list of things. Things that I will do to please myself and noone else.

1. Walk around in street markets or malls by myself. Browse the stores for make-up, jewellery and books.

2. Watch a rom com and not weep about my single status but laugh at all those who are still struggling to deal with their crappy relationships.

3. Eat lots of ice-creams and chocolates that I will buy myself, from my own money.

4. Browse the Internet for all the coolest songs by the Rolling Stones, Beatles, and Santana!

5. Finish tasks I have been delaying for a long time, but really want to do asap…like downloading my fav movies, books, and drawing some new graffiti on my bedroom wall.

6.  Write letters to all my long distance friends I haven’t talked to in a while. What better way than this to spread some L.O.V.E?

7. Bake a new sort of cake…something I have never baked before…. like caramel sponge cake, or coconut mocha cake.

8. Learn something new on the TED videos.

9. Hang out with my gal pals and chit chat with them until we have nothing more to say….but how is that possible??

10.  Also hang out with my single guy buddies and show the world that this is not just a day of couple love, but friend love. And a guy and a girl CAN be friends!

11. Dress for myself. Usually that means a wacky combination of colours and accessories.

12. Read read read!!!



Young Love


Like the little school mate in the school yard
We’ll play jacks and uno cards
I’ll be your best friend and you’ll be my Valentine
Yes you can hold my hand if you want to
‘Cause I want to hold yours too
We’ll be playmates and lovers and share our secret worlds

-Fergie

I was listening to ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’ after a long time and the song made me nostalgic. It made me think of the time when we were little kids and nothing was so complicated as it is now. We had no qualms about who we loved and who we should love. No shame, no future planning to do. Just to enjoy the presence of that secret crush and that feeling of bliss everytime that person held our hands.

So, I couldn’t help but  write my own poem about young love.

I miss the innocence of childhood love.

That purity of the peck on the cheek

The fun in the games we played in the park

That coy laughter when we shared a secret

And knew that no one could ever find out what we were talking about

No commitments

And no liars

No cheating

No drama

We knew we were happy

Just with each other

Didn’t need anything else to discover

When we had our own secrets

Our own stories to tell

Our own stories to believe in

We knew it wouldn’t last

But that didn’t bother us much

The present mattered the most

The future would hold a lot

I miss that innocence of the past

When there were no heartbreaks

Only joy and laughter

There would be no goodbyes

Only love that would last