Almost a talk

A series of love stories which were almost…

Days of silence between the two of us was washed out on that day when we talked for the first time, well, it was almost a talk.

… …

‘Tick tock… tick tock…’ This was one of my favorite sounds in the office in those days. I am not talking about the clock, waiting to announce the end of day’s play for us all. I am talking about the sound made by her long flat heels when she walked around in the office.

Our office was otherwise very silent. The only sound that you could hear was of continuous keystrokes made by all the mechanical humans under the roof, trying to win an invisible race. And other sounds confined to the two and a half walls of respective cubicles. Neither the sound nor their feelings or wishes or dreams ever came out of the cubicles.

It all started as an annoyance for me. In the amazing peaceful silent office environment, all of a sudden, I heard a slowly increasing sound of someone’s heel thrashing the floor. There was a symmetry in the sound, it was almost musical. But it was a disturbance nevertheless to my attentive open-eyed sleep. So I got annoyed and looked above the walls of my cubicle, and things changed.

I saw her for the first time, though I had heard the sound of her heels several times before. My ears could make out the difference between other shoes and hers. Yet, I had never taken an effort to look at the person whom those shoes would carry. And that made all the difference in my office life. From the boring monotonous life inside my rat-hole (aka cubicle), things started to get interesting for me.

As my cubicle came on the way towards the rest and refreshment area, I could see everyone in the office at least once a day when they passed by me. And that was both a benefit and a distraction for me. And after getting to know about her, it became more of an addiction for me.

I used to hear the sound of those heels several times during the day. And out of those several times, many times she would be walking towards me. I would see her, peeking above the walls of my cubicle. From my otherwise slumped back posture, I would instantly sit straight and fix my table. Everything should be at its proper place…

This went on for several days, with awkward eye-contacts and look-aways, until that opportune moment when I actually had a chance to talk to her.

That day, I was coming back from the rest area myself and just at the time, she also came out from the door behind me. And we both were walking towards the door leading to the central walkway.

I don’t know what came to me, but I held the door out for her. She accepted my gesture gracefully, smiled and replied with a ‘thank you’. And my awkward response was inaudible even to my mind.

I went through after her and couldn’t stop staring at her hair dangling like a bell. After a few steps, she turned back and slowly looked around and then at me. She smiled again and walked away. I couldn’t be any more happier…

My friend saw all that and started teasing me for her. And I enjoyed myself for all that. But things don’t stay perfect for more than a moment, with me.

That evening and night went like I had conquered the world. I danced while walking, skipped steps, and would constantly hum some good tune. You could find me smiling without any reason. I wished with every broken piece of my heart that something would make out of this particular story.

A few days later, I couldn’t see her in the office. Probably she was late, probably she was on a leave, probably she was on a longer leave, probably she went to her hometown for a mini-vacation, probably on a longer vacation… My assurances to myself grew more and more unreasonable.

Soon I understood that she no longer worked at my location. Probably some other location or some other company, but I didn’t want to make assumptions any more. I knew I was never going to find out if there was some story at all in our little conversation.

There was a trend of wearing those heels at office, and whenever people would move past me with those heels, all the memories would bring back the pain in my heart with each tick-tock sound on the floor. But I was happy, at least it was almost a talk, unlike my other almost love stories…

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Bachelorhood – Good Neighbors

A bachelor’s perspective on the benefits and troubles of having good neighbors.

… …

As bachelors, we stay either inside our house too much, or outside it most of the times. But we do not care anything about around the house. Sometimes, we don’t even bother to see what’s going on in the opposite house, unless there’s a potential subject of interest for us. 😉

We go through the painful trouble of finding a suitable place to stay, meet several crooked and disturbed minds on the way, that we no longer care about anyone but us in the new society. And that’s how they call us ‘bachelors’… Not the marital status.

But sometimes, when Mr. Fate is very generous upon you, he will shower you with really great neighbors. And that is another heaven altogether on Earth, if you are gifted the company of amazing neighbors. But there are both benefits and troubles of having good neighbors, and we don’t wanna let them know about any of the two.

Neighbors Chat (too much)

Neighbors are basically for socializing, for not letting us get bored and for keeping us company in difficult and needy times. They are our last resort on weekends when all of our friends have ditched us for others.

But sometimes, we bachelors just do not want any of that. We just want to be left alone, not cared for and ignored both virtually and physically. But that is not possible when you have good neighbors. They will come and talk to you no matter what. You may have come home after a long, tiresome day, or late at night, or with a date (the worst case), but they would want to talk to you. And that will go on and on, unless you find a way to stop that.

Neighbors Talk (to your mom too)

Neighbors have all the senses given by God. So, they see, hear, smell, understand and even talk. They will talk internally with other neighbors, and also with your mom. (Yes, they have a direct line connection with your mother.)

They will keep a sharp watch at your house, to save you from probable perils of the society. But in that process, they sometimes watch too much, things that we bachelors don’t want anyone to see.

And yes, they remember, very well. They will remember what days you came late, what days you brought over your friends, what days you didn’t come home at all. Well, this helps, if you forget to note your daily time sheet, you can ask them, not otherwise.

But when all is noted, they blabber it all out in front of your mother, pressing the matter when someone of opposite gender had turned up at your house – forget what relation.

And forget about giving your mum a surprise… She already knows.

Neighbors Share (occasionally)

Staying in a neighborhood is great as our family just expands beyond the walls of our home. We live together and share all of the great moments with everyone to increase their intensity exponentially.

When there’s a birthday, people will pull over from all around to wish them. People will share any new (or rare) dish prepared at their home. And that is the heaven for us bachelors – we just love when someone gives us food.

But at times, we have more than one good neighbors, and they all want to share. And then, that increases our work – we have to remember which plate was of which neighbour, we have to fix dates for them so that they do not clash, we have to even manage our hangouts with their dates. And sometimes, we just do not want it from them as we don’t like it. But can we say that to them? No… Just gracefully accept it and throw it all away.

Neighbors Help (and interfere)

Neighbors are great as they are our first place to go-to when we need some help. And as a bachelor, we often face difficulties in our day-to-day lives. That time, their help is all we need.

But at times, help is often misunderstood. Help is generally initiated by one who needs it and then acted upon by one to whom it was asked. But being good neighbors, they sometimes act upon help themselves, without being initiated by us.

They help us with their opinions and their contacts, which we may not be willing to accept or approve. But being good neighbors, we cannot just decline their offer. We have to mend our ways and include their help in our work, without their help helping us.

Neighbors Expect (unreasonably at times)

Being good neighbors, they do good things with us, they take care of us and be there when we have a dire need of someone. In return, you be good to them. You respect the elderly, you play with the ones of your age and take care of the younger ones.

In doing that, neighbors build a blueprint of your behavior and expect you to be like that all the time. Once in a while, you would move out of that behavior which you did just as a return for them being good, they will not like you anymore. They might even get offended. They might even stop being good to you.

So working with good neighbors is a tough job, heavy expectations to meet, especially when you try to be something you’re not. (Obviously, that’s the reason they are good to you… We never show who we are to the older generation, as they won’t like it that way.)

P.s.: It is definitely good to have good neighbors around your home. But it is like marriage. The benefits often weigh more than the problems. For some at least…

The Great Indian Mall

A visit to the Shopping Mall… No it is not an essay that I was supposed to write at School. It was a visit that I was supposed to take. … … I call myself a weekender. Or at least I pretend to call myself that. Because a true one travels during the weekends to new places, while I sit at my place and let my mind travel to new places. But weekends are different when your parents visit you, especially your mother. It all starts, in my case at least, with your mother and your neighbor, Mrs. Someone, talking to each other about a new mall built at some place. And then, they see you slumped on the couch, watching a series, and an idea sprouts… “Hey beta! You’re not doing anything… Why don’t we all go to the mall?!!” someone will announce. And that will be the start of doom for your weekend. Hardly it is the other way that we visit the mall because we actually have a list of things to buy there. My first question to this announcement is always “What do you want to buy?” to which their absurd reply is “We’ll see what’s available there…” And I’m like ‘Every thing’s available there!!’ But that expression doesn’t count very well to them. This made me think about it that why the malls have been an instant success, replacing the local specialized shops in the market? And to find this answer, I took them to the mall, to let my observation out in the open to let it do what it does best. The structure of a good mall is very clear and organized. Each category of products is clearly separated and stacked so that one can easily find items of their choices. So one would generally look for the category and walk in that direction to find their item. This way, our purchase would be organized, even when we have a properly crafted shopping list. However, this is not the way people actually shop. They enter the mall and start analyzing the first item they see in the first category nearest to the main door. Then they move on to the next item, and the next category, unless it is the end of the mall. If you think about it, the mall has almost killed the concept of ‘a shopping list’. People no longer look for the item they intend to buy, they look at the item and decide their intention to buy. And we are often very bad at making such decisions, resulting in overbuying. Then there are some people who just love to look at different available products. It is a fun time for them. They just go through the whole list of items available in the mall and look at the size, ingredients, material, tags, price, quality, brand, discounts, design, etc. for all of them. Although, they want to purchase none of them, still window-shopping, as they call it, is fun, at least for them. And for people like me, who are there only to drag the shopping cart around them are the most traumatized victims of this approach. And that day when I was accompanying my mother and my neighbor to shopping, I was one of those victims. I used to ask her before that what quantity of products is she going to buy, so that I can decide whether to take the cart or just the hand-basket. But with my experience, I know their answer is always an under-estimate for both the quantity of items bought and the time taken overall. The mall’s tag line is ‘We have something for everyone!’ Something for everyone… Be it kids, teenagers, adults, love-birds, newly weds, newly parents, workers, artists, elderly people or aliens. The mall has something for all of us. Isn’t it cool? No… Not for people like me! I got past the security check faster than the ladies I was accompanying. So I went ahead of them and walked around the mall. The entrance of the mall had two sides, one for groceries and consumables, the other side was household plastics and utility-wares section. I skipped both of them and moved on. At the kids’ section, several little devils were playing with stuffed toys and different sized balls. It was a mayhem, but no one cared. This section was not built for shopping, this was so that the kids allowed their parents to shop in peace. I saw a little boy, dressed in adorable baby suit and baby trousers, bring a red-plastic-rose from somewhere and present it to a little girl, dressed in black frock. She accepted it and smiled at the boy. While the boy went zooming around the area, dancing and skipping on his way, the girl gave the rose to another boy sitting next to her, who rejected it by throwing away the rose. The girl sat there in despair, while another boy picked up the rose from the floor and presented it to an adult girl in her twenties. She awed at him and kissed him on his cheeks, to which I felt really jealous of. Moving on to the next section, fashion and accessories, I saw people of all age group seriously analyzing the items on display. While everyone liked what they saw, but half of them were in dilemma that the things won’t look as good on them as they look on the dummy doll with chiseled abs and perfect muscles. I saw an elderly couple looking at new trends in fashion. The elderly man was trying to convince his wife that the tees would look nice on her on their Goa trip, and that she shouldn’t wear a saree on the beach. But it seemed he was having a hard time convincing her. In the books and magazines section, I found all kinds of weird people. Some were so engrossed in the covers of the books that I thought of selling just the covers to them and give away the books to actual readers. While some were just scanning first page of the book to decide on their buying, some people just turned all the pages of a book, probably looking for pictures. I wondered when will motion pictures will be the new books of this age. In the household corridor, I saw several newly web couples trying, pathetically, to accord on a particular design of the crockery that will best match their home. While, a bachelor group of guys just picked up things nearest to their hand’s stretch in less than a second. They even made a poorly portrayed sexual joke on the round handle-less bowls. While a particular area was filled with several ladies, resulting in a jam. Each one of them was examining a particular product, its price and other attributes, probably detailing it to the molecular level of metal. Then I reached the upholstery section, where long and maze like shelves covered both the sides of the path. One could easily hide in these sections, and it was the least crowded area of the mall at that time. I turned at the end of a shelf and bumped into love-birds. They were roving through the tall display galleries, playing their games of brisk touches and teased eye-contacts. I let them play at peace and moved on. After several other sections and such observations, I reached back at the starting of the mall. It would be a bewilderment for me if I had not been accustomed to this, but it was not. I casually parked my cart just behind where my mother and her friends were looking at some plastic alternative of some household product. I had walked around the whole mall, while they were still stuck at the very first shelf of the very first section of the mall. I sighed. But then mother looked happy, so I let them take their time. God bless me, I said… of course in my head. 😛

The “Perfect Time” Trap

A trap of waking up at the rounded up time in the clock.
… …

The “Perfect Time” Trap is that when one decides to wake up at a time which is a round figure, they tend to never wake up at any time as they always mark a subsequent time as rounded time compared to current time.

What really helps this is that you wake up at any time in the clock, your definition for a perfect figure time changes.

If you wake up at 6:37, you wanna wake up at 6:40. When it is 6:40, you wanna wake up at 6:45, a more complete figure.

If you wake up at exactly 7:00, a rare scenario, you will take several mins to see the clock, which will again be a non-rounded time, say 7:09. Now you wanna wake up at 7:30…

I go through this everyday. And somehow, I have to let go of my desire to wake up at a perfect time…

First of all, I’d be dreaming about some weird thing which will wake me up early than the time I had expected. So I’d think of a better time to wake up and go to sleep again. Again, all sorts of weird dreams will come up. I’ll somehow get out of those, but it will be too late and the time would have ran way ahead. Desperate to wake up at a perfect time, I’d dig inside the blanket yet another time, this time half awake and counting the time. If I wake up on time this time, I’d still not be happy because anyway I wanted to sleep more.

The only way to come out of this is to wake up at whatever time you open your eyes without seeing the time. Taking another nap for a few minutes more is nothing but a trap. Don’t fall for it… The sand in the hourglass never forms a flat surface on its own.

I say this to me every night and do the same thing every morning. As if, in the morning my mind is not in my control and forgets all my talks from the night earlier. It starts functioning on its own wishes and the result is that I’m always late for everything in the morning.

And now, it has become so normal for me – to wake up late – that the day I break from the trap by waking up at exactly a perfect numerical time, I feel accomplished! 😀

So have you been waiting for a perfect time to fo something? A perfect time to start that book, to leave that sucking job, to propose her, to give that guy a tight slap, to start that new business idea or to start something you really wanna do?

Then do it… There’s no perfect time to start.

Till then, I’ll just get on with that extra 5 mins of sleep. The perfect time to wake up is right now (for you), never (for me). 😉

P.s.: I was waiting to publish this on a perfect time… I’m so obsessed with perfection that doesn’t matter! 😛

Small Bites with Family: Accidental Booze

A series of funny and interesting incidents that happen with me and my family.

… …

Previous posts under the same series:
This time it’s gonna be about the time when you accidentally drink infront of your parents…
What happens when someone offers you a vodka shot and you take it openly, without realizing that someone is watching you… 😛
… …

Now for those of you who found this title weird and think that what’s wrong in doing this, kindly consider that I come from a dry state and here no one would have ever seen me drinking before.

So this happened when I had gone to a different state for giving my presence in my sister’s wedding. This state doesn’t have restrictions on drinking and it’s very normal for people to drink.

It was sangeet night, the night when there’s open battle of dancing between bride’s side and groom’s side. Battle is namesake, everyone just wants to enjoy and dance.

We were on the dance floor and we almost had forgotten where we were and who all were watching us. Our concentration was mainly on dancing and impressing people in nearby vicinity.

But then suddenly, someone from our group comes with a bottle of water and offers it to everyone while drinking it himself. Being from a dry state, you never suspect a water bottle and humbly accept it with gratitude. So did I while taking a big gulp from the bottle, till that person took it away from me.

But as the vodka drains down your throat and every thing it touches heats up, you know that it’s too late… In my case, I came to know it a little later when it has successfully landed on my stomach bed.

I ignored it and kept dancing. Good thing is that a few gulps doesn’t do any harm / good to me. I stay sober nonetheless. I didn’t see anyone around me. But back in my mind, I knew that everyone had seen me drink from that bottle.

When my eyes accidentally met my mom’s, she immediately gestured me to come down the dance floor and talk. And I knew it will be a serious talk.

I somehow managed to keep a calm face, innocence on it. As I didn’t suspect the water bottle to contain anything else than water, so I couldn’t be held guilty, I thought.

She asked me did I drink anything that anyone else offered? This was a truth test. I passed. I told her what happened, exactly as it happened. She warned me to not accept anymore drinks from anyone as there it was normal for those people. I silently obliged…

I went back to the dance floor, handled the repercussions of the vodka on my body and danced my heart out. Again, everyone around me was a bit drunk, and ditzy. Whereas, I was sober, as far as dizziness is concerned. We all danced like maniacs, but the thought came to my mind afterwards that people might have thought that it was vodka that made me dance crazy…

When I came back from the dance floor, ready to leave the party, I felt thirsty. I grabbed a water bottle from a nearby waiter. My mom instantly snatched it from me and tasted it herself to check that it was actually water. I smiled at her while taking back the bottle, but I was thinking… How different people see a particular act, when they come from a different background and environment!

Anyways, the night went well, and vodka gulp didn’t have any visible effect on me. Fingers-crossed…

Shopping Blues

Not all of us love shopping. Some of us suck at it, while some of us even get scared of the thought of it. So how does someone like me feels when it comes to shopping… Let’s see.

… …

First of all, when it comes to purchasing something, I’ll just explain myself that I don’t need it. Then after several days or months of finding ways to survive without those things, I’ll finally accept the fact that I need to buy that thing.

No no… This doesn’t mean that I’ll just go there and buy stuff. No. I’ll add that thing in my shopping list. That’s it for now.

Then finally my shopping list will be large enough to call for a day, probably weekend, to go out for shopping.

No, I don’t go shopping here either. My weekend will go finding other stuff to do, trying to persuade my mind that those things are more important than going shopping.

I’ll search on online websites for the products that I want. Scroll and scroll and scroll to find a perfect choice, but then again, there are other websites, which might have different price. So, I’ll just search again on other websites, and again the cycle will repeat. Even if I find a good choice, I’ll just not be able to add it to the cart.

Finally, working without the things becomes difficult, I will not be able to take it more, or probably as someone else has forced me, I’ll go for shopping…

Sulking as it was the shopping day finally, I will just do whatever I can to delay the process. But in the end, I’ll have to go to shopping that day.

Now the first task would be deciding the place to go shopping, deciding on the list of shops. Based on the product that I intend to buy, the options available will be plenty. This is supposed to be a good thing, but not for someone who hates shopping. So, I will pass time asking several friends and strangers about good shops.

Finally I will narrow down to a list of shops where I would set out for finding the products. I will plan my route of transport and will start the journey… preparation for the war actually.

And as soon as I reach the first shop, the war begins…

With so many options and different prices for each options, I will start comparing and evaluating options based on several criteria. Actually, such an evaluation solves the problem of choice for people, but for me, it narrows down to a few favored options. And choosing between them is the actual war. And know that, for me, that’s not easy…

Not just the choices of products, I will even start visiting several shops. This will add more choices to my list, thus complicating it more.

And to add to my problems, I have no idea what do I want actually. What looks good on me, what makes me happy or what do I like out of all the options – I will have no answers to all these questions. And thus, I will not be able to choose from the options.

All these problems combined makes shopping the most difficult task for me. Dilemma from the problem of choice, anger due to lot of options and being unable to choose any, and melancholic feeling from the whole process of shopping makes me feel miserable in the end. Due to this, even after buying something, I will hardly like it as it took a toll out of me while buying that.

At the end of the day, I’d sit in one corner and mope about the purchase that I made, and feel sad for the loss of money that happened. And that night, it will take me great trouble falling asleep.

So, these were my shopping blues…

A Walk On The Road

Dreaming reality, while on a walk to some destination, narrated by an out of control mind…
… …

Just five more minutes of morning sleep… And you have your schedule delayed. As that five more minutes turn into hours of extra sleep. And as you know, the things we have to do in the morning cannot be skipped. Hence, only option we are left with is to get late.

This was one such morning for me. After the fight with all the things in my house, which were trying to make me more late than I already was, I entered the lift to go down to my vehicle. The boring music in the lift didn’t help better my mood at all. But that reminded me that my vehicle at the mechanics’ garage and I had to take some other means of transport. Damn!

I tried my luck with public transportation and private auto, but as the distance was not that much, none of them seemed to agree at an affordable price. So I had to take a long walk in the warm and soothing light of the global-warming-pissed-off-sun…

It was just a 5 minute ride from my home to the place I had to reach. But when walking in that heat, it would take more than 15-20 minutes. I had totally dropped the idea of getting a lift from someone, as people usually do not help strangers walking on the road, no matter how well they are dressed or look, as recent news stories are rather scary…

To make my “long short walk” less loathed, I started playing by myself while walking. I measured the maximum distance I could cover with my legs stretched fully. I made my each leg compete each other as to which could break the maximum distance covered in one step. People work more rigorously while they are competing someone, they say. And that was working… I was walking faster than I would usually. I was walking in my own mood, swinging my arms and waving my head, like a seven year kid would do.

(But while doing this, I didn’t notice that it would have looked totally ridiculous walk to others. But I couldn’t care less… :P)

A gear-less bike slowed besides me, the girl riding that looked me walking ridiculously and then laughed and stopped the bike ahead of me.

I immediately corrected my walk, rather tried walking in a more “cool” way. But I think it didn’t work out, as she started laughing as soon as she saw me again. 😛

“Yeah I know that was funny. But that helped me walk several hundred meters in this pi- angry sun.” I justified myself, while carefully choosing my words to not swear. 😀

“Yeah! The heat is totally f**king us today!” she agreed and I felt relaxed to know that she was of “cool” nature.

“Hop on if you need a lift. But you have to promise me one thing…” she offered.

“What?” I wanted to say ‘Anything, ma’am’, but controlled my urges.

“You have to promise that you won’t behave like those needy weird jerks that I meet all the time.” she said.

“Well… Would me doing things like I was doing just when you came count in those weird stuff those jerks do?” I played with my words.

She laughed again, and said “Definitely not. That’s… well let’s just say… tolerable.” She laughed again.

I hopped on her bike and she drove off.

“So where to?” she asked.

I said my destination and came to know that we both had to go to the same destination. It was a relief to me and to her also. We don’t trust strangers these days, be the lift-asker or the lift-giver.

She applied a sudden brake and, if you know how those gear-less bikes are designed you would understand, I slid directly onto her and had to hold on to her waist tightly to not fall off from the bike.

“Sorry.” She said in her childish tone.

“It’s okay.” I said. After a while, I added- “From when girls started doing these tricks on bike? To play with the backseat person?”

She started laughing again. “No no…! It was not like that! There was a squirrel on the road. Seriously!” she said justifying her sudden braking. “Although, you gave me a great idea for next time.” she added, and then giggled, while looking back at me through the bike mirror.

I smiled plainly. (Although inside I was not just smiling… I was jumping! Leaping! Crazily waving my head and hands and shouting my heart out!)

“Don’t get your hopes high…” she said “…yet.” Again she played with me and I enjoyed being played that way. 😀

We reached our destination rather quickly than I thought. She was driving fast. Another thing that made me like her more.

“Thanks. You saved my day from ruining.” I said while getting off her bike.

“Yeah? How’s that?” she asked.

“Well, if I had walked all the way here, in this heat, I would have had a very bad mood. And then when that boss would shout at me for his own mistakes, I would have shot back at him and said things which I shouldn’t have. I would have then let out my anger on my friends, just because they let me to. And while going back home, due to the events of the whole day, I would have skipped my dinner and taken my miserable self directly to bed, where I wouldn’t be able to sleep due to hunger and anger together.”

“Wow! That… That was… Well. Thank you.” She said.

We parted at the entry gates, I was walking towards the way to stairs, and she was walking towards the elevator.

“Sure you don’t wanna take the lift?” she said, teasing me to take the elevator with her, winking “Lifts are good, aren’t they?”

“Yes, they are great. But there are some walks which are better than that.” I replied teasing her back. “Not all walks are bad.”

“Sure. Would you walk me back home tonight, after we have had our dinner together?” she said and smiled. I need not say anything, we both knew my answer. I walked up the stairs and she went on with the elevator.

—–

Well, I walked up the stairs, but not in the similar fashion. The paragraph above which I said would have ruined my day had happened in real. There was no lift, no girl, no talking and no nothing.

In real, I walked all the way to my destination, without any lift or any help from anyone. I was filled with sweat, exhaustion and irritation when I reached the place.

But an out of control mind made up this story to divert my attention from the reality…