Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Carpe Diem

Yesterday a short conversation with this gentleman at the gym seemed to set aside layers of cobwebs. So much so, that i picked up the pen again. And yes the tragedy this year still haunts. Do we realise that sometimes its ourselves that we take for granted the most..? Being able to let go is the key he said. It makes perfect logical sense. And that is a big thing for me. In my world everything must fall into their perfectly logical places. However how does one do that really? Let go?

And this is something i found today to suit the mood...

Carpe Diem quotes

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Car Diaries

Saturday, October 17th, 2009
Diwali Weekend. To do or not to do. On Friday morning trainer suddenly says ‘ Do it’. Surprised i asked, ‘Are you serious?’ He says, Yes do it now, drive really slow, worst it will take you 3 hours.” I ask Much Ado. She as usual, tells me to just go ahead. Evening AS calls. He thinks i am already home in Gurgaon. I inform him about my plans. He trashes it immediately. He thinks i am being foolish. My confidence plummets. Suddenly as i am tending my farm (FarmvilleJ ) my colleague suddenly pops up on gchat. We begin to chat. He has overheard me telling someone in office about my plans. He asks whether I am all set. He senses my dejection and gives me a pep talk. Explains some basics and tells me “I Can do it.”
Father gives me a wake up call at 5:30 on October 17th 2009. i get dressed and reach office where my car is parked. i start at 6:30 as i want to avoid traffic. As i settle into a rhythm i begin to enjoy it. i take a wrong turn , i get lost, i find my way again. But i reach home. It takes me 2 hours but i reach home without a scratch. Parents are sitting at the balcony. They cant believe it’s me. They give me loud applause. Lesson learnt: I can drive! I can drive! i need to learn how to read that Eicher map.

Monday, October 18th, 2009
I returned today. I had decided to start again very early. i started at 5:50 .a.m. i managed to turn the car around outside the house quite smoothly i thought. My take off was good. I wanted to avoid coming out from the Omaxe Plaza side where i am still not very sure whether i can hold the car on the incline when i pause for the traffic before crossing over to the other side. I took the road through South City. However something went wrong. It took me 45 minutes and almost 13 kms to reach Rajiv Chowk. But i did fairly well on the highway and as i gained confidence i settled into a 40km/hr rhythm. i reached Dhaula Kuan. After that everything again went wrong. I wanted to go towards Moti Bagh but found myself going towards India Gate. i went round and round at teen murti. i saw places i had never seen. i detoured several times. i got lost. i stopped several times to ask for directions. i finally reached home in 3 hours. The distance i travelled, i could have touched Delhi and returned to Gurgaon. I was getting terribly late so i decided to park near my house. I thought no one should mind if i parked outside their house as i would leave in 10 minutes after dropping by bags home. i found an empty space and i parked. Suddenly out popped a wrinkled old sardani. She wanted me to park elsewhere. Then out popped a wrinkled old sardar from the next house who said i should park right there. Sardarni and sardar started fighting. Suddenly sardar did an about turn and screamed at me to move the car and do as i was being told. Left with no choice i decided to move it. i found a place on the other side. i reversed. i changed the gear back to first and drove into the small space. i thought i should push it in some more. i pressed the accelerator too hard and Crash! i hit the pavement. i knew i had done it. My brand new car! Yes i have dented the bumper! No scratches thankfully and i am assured that it can be mended easily after which it should look as good as new. But there is a lump in my throat and i want to cry. Not even a month since i brought it home! The feeling will last a few days i know. Until the knowledge that i managed to drive the car at peak time through dense traffic taking several detours on busy roads, takes over. Lesson learnt: I am sorted. I can drive! But i need to drive more and begin to understand my car. And never to accelerate when parking if not sure. To get out of car, if needed a hundred times and measure the available distance before accelerating. My poor car. But writing this sure helped. :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

DO it now Woman!

i let so much of the cord roll out that it is now difficult to manage. so rest of my june trip shall have to wait. meanwhile, i have more pressing worries - the major one being this red berry coloured box like thing with wheels parked a mile away from my house which i am still too scared to move. i mean i have taken one training and a half already ... there is no reason why i should not be able to drive it but how do i know when is the right time to start? i have dreamt for so long - i had so many plans pending for when the box on wheels arrived - suddenly they seem to have dried up and i find myself inventing new excuses to delay it by another day. ...

God give me strength and any of you who read this, if you drive, share your initial driving experiences. Thankyou Ratika for telling me its ok to make three mistakes - that its ok if you hit a rickshaw a couple of times. I need someone to tell me that if i reversed into another car while parking noone would mind. That i will always find a parking attendant at every place i go to. That i will not press the accelerator instead of the break at a signal. That if the engine stops in the middle of traffic i will not be bullied. That it wont be very long before i know the delhi routes.... That it wont be long before i can park my car right under my house.....

Maybe i will just take it out the next court day and then see what happens. And stop listening to trainer and AS who tell me not to do it alone. How the hell am i going to find someone everyday to sit beside me. So both of you can take a hike. Just be around by my bedside if i do land up at ..... the sight of that shattered grey santro still haunts....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The curved line moves again. III - Arrival at Bangkok.

i hate dealing with authorities and i had tried to postpone it for as long as i could. i thought getting visa on arrival at Bangkok would be quick and easy. But others had thought the same. The queue, when I joined it, had already developed three long loops. It took me close to two and a half hours to get my visa in hand. Suvarnabhumi airport certainly can improve its visa services.

Meanwhile as i waited for my visa, my sister waited for me at the lounge and not being able to spot me, she somehow managed to get past the arrival lounge and into the prohibited-for-non-travelers-area with the result that when i finally reached the exit gates there was no sister to be seen. i remember i felt a thought forming in some part of my mind which went something like – what if she has left, i don’t even know how to reach her house - but faced with my conviction that KD would wait till sundown, it didn’t have a chance. :P

While at the visa counter i had eyed the numerous public phones, but not having any thai coins i had not been able to call KD. Now i managed to get change but i could not figure how to use the phone. Is there any particular reason why thai public phones are so complicated to use? Finally a lady taxi driver came up to me and offered her mobile phone and charged me 5 bahts for it’s use. KD was contacted and you can imagine my happiness and relief when i spotted her familiar figure from almost a mile away (Suvarnabhumi is huge!) coming towards me. i had finally arrived and the vacation had started rolling!

We exchanged news and traded insults and got into a taxi and headed home. At home, KD announced that she had a meeting to attend and the venue was very near two big malls – Carfour and Robinsons --, did i want to come along and wait at the malls till her meeting got over or did i want to rest? Of course i wanted to come along! After sis had showered and i had changed, we hailed another taxi from our doorstep which took us to her venue. Sis instructed me on how to reach Carfour and disappeared into the hotel and i found myself walking down the street of Bangkok. :)

to be continued...

Friday, August 14, 2009

The curved line moves again. II - The Flight.

" Please come to the side and let others go. You cant go in. You have already missed your flight". I look at the guard outside the entrance uncomprehendingly - it's still just 9:45. He explains impatiently, "Look at your ticket. Your departure was at 12:05 a.m. and the date of departure was 12th June. That means your flight took off this morning." I understand. I had clarified that aspect with makemytrip. "I know what you mean. But look at the the time of arrival at Bangkok - it is 5:30 a.m. on the 13th of June. Surely it cannot take me more than 24 hours to reach Bangkok by flight!". "Why should I look at the date of arrival in Bangkok. I am only concerned with your date of departure from New Delhi!"

i begin to lose my temper. i pull my cart with a jerk. i want to get it out of the way so that i can get closer to him and make him understand simple logic. i hit his shin with the cart. i lose my case. He squeals and then glares. "Don't hold up the line. If you have anything to say, go to the Indian Airlines office", he dismisses me roughly.

i have no idea where the Indian Airlines office is. i have a vague feeling of depression beginning to envelope me but i push it away. i am in a state of inertia - of motion - therefore i cannot stop. i run to a counter which looks like an India Airlines counter. The attendant tells me it is not but gives me directions. i dash to the building that he points out to me as best as i can with a loaded cart. i run into a corridor and find the office.

i open the door using all the force of my muddled emotions. i cannot enter as i cannot push the cart inside and i do not want to leave it outside the door. So i stand at the door and petition to a shocked officer that the guard would not let me in. He looks at me uncomprehendingly and requests me to come in and calmly tell him what is wrong with me. i am almost at the brink of a second explosion. His calmness and unconcern pushes me a step further. i show him my ticket and tell him that the guard would not let me in. He does not understand. He does not understand my simple logic either. He supports the guard. He does not understand what is best for him. "Theek hi to bol raha hai woh. Apki flight to ja chuki. (He was right. You have missed your flight)". Just then, i get a call from my sister- KD. She does not yet know what I am going through and calls me only to make sure I am performing as per her check list.

The calmness in KD's voice finally pushes me over the brink. I explode for the second time that evening. I do not explode at KD. I explode to KD. Officer does not understand me perfectly as i explode in Bangla. But he finally understands that i am dangerously distraught and he thinks KD is in trouble. "Madam, Madam please sit down. Why are you scolding her (aap unko kyun daant raheen hain)! Wait let me check." And he logs in to his database.

Officer checks the list of passengers for 12th June 2009. I AM NOT IN THE LIST. He checks the list for 13th June 2009 and finds my name. " Here you are. You should run now. " He looks pleased and i think, relieved, to see me smile.

At the door i suddenly remember. "But please make an endorsement on my ticket ." "That's not necessary" he says. I remember the guard and panic again. " But your guard was not letting me in then, why should he trust me now!" " Kis bewakoof ne aapko andar jane nahin diya (Which idiot did not let you enter)!", he says and he makes the endorsement! I bite my tongue. It is best to praise the Lord and get back to motion as fast as i can.

Its now well past 10:00 p.m. i still have to change money, clear immigration, check in, and go through security. But i face no further problems that night.

The curved line seemed to have meandered through all obstacles in her path on the 12th of June 2009. The line was now curving through the skies towards the Kingdom of Thailand where a sister come to receive her, would wait for over two hours and rack her brains and try to think what more could possibly go wrong between take off lounge at New Delhi and arrival at Thailand. Nothing would occur to her until she would get a call from a strange number....

to be continued.....

Monday, July 27, 2009

The curved line moves again.I

i sat on my 'settee' and dreamt. i sat on my settee and planned. i boarded a flight and alighted on the land of my dreams

However, it was not as smooth as i had planned. And how could it be! Remember the curved line?

"Madam, I am at Rajdoot Hotel, please give me directions to your house." That was the driver from Easy Cab calling me at 7:40 p.m.. My flight was at 12:05 a.m, i had called the cab at 8:00 p.m., four hours in advance. I gave the directions. I was not unduly perturbed.

7:50 p.m., and no car had arrived. i called the driver. "If you were at Rajdoot, it should'nt have taken you more than five minutes to reach my home. Where are you now?" "Madam there is so much traffic, I have reached the church now."

8:00 p.m., and still no cab. "The church is just a few yards from my house. Where ARE you." "Madam there was some problem with the car. I am coming."

Finally he arrives at 8:15. My landlord loads my luggage! i see new respect in his eyes. i am going abroad!

We start. We reach Nizammuddin. "Bhaiyya, why is the AC blowing hot air? is there something wrong?" i ask. "Let me see Madam." He stops the car. He goes out and peeps into the engine and comes back to collect two bottles of water. In the next 10 minutes he pours water.

It is 8:30 p.m. when we start again. We reach Pant Nagar. He breaks the news. "Madam I tried to cool the engine but it has not worked. The car will not go much further. You have to make other arrangements."

i explode, i scream. However, soon i realise that he is just a driver working in a faceless enterprise running a fleet of cars which invites its customers to repose total faith in them. i vow never to call for an Easy Cab when i have a flight to catch. i call Easy Cab again and ask for replacement as i do not know whether i can locate a taxi stand. It is not easy to get myself heard. i am caller No. 10 in line even though i have already booked a cab and am about to miss my fligth!

Finally i manage to call for another car and explain the urgency. The car arrives at 9:00 p.m. My new driver is sympathetic. We race as i decide that its either do or die for me now. How can i come back and tell all the people who already know, that i could not even catch my flight!.
I reach Indira Gandhi International Airport at 9:20 p.m.!

to be continued.....