24

When I said it…

“I am not ready,
I won’t say ‘I love you’,
You will have to wait,
I know I told you.
 
It’s been a few months,
And we are having so much fun.
I know you want it,
But I can’t say if you are the one.
 
It’s not like I don’t want you,
But baby, I have this fear.
Those words are precious,
And I want to be in the clear.
 
When you said you loved me,
I asked you to hold onto it.
But you said I could wait,
Till I am ready to say it.
 
I am sitting here thinking,
I miss your love and care.
You just left for Boston,
Your sister is over there.
 
It’s just been two days,
And I need your sweetness.
Your calls and Skype,
Not helping my loneliness.
 
I can’t wait any longer,
Finally have to tell this to you,
Babe, you are my world,
And how ‘I love you’.”

~

You have been gone since,
But I don’t regret it.
We took a harsh decision,
We had to just do it…
 
Looking back at the time,
When I said it,
I am glad I waited,
We absolutely meant it.
 
Remembering those moments,
Been many years, I think five.
Oh, these are not tears,
There’s just something in my eye.

*——————————-*

The xBF’s sister lived in Boston. He used to visit her quite often and during one such visit after a couple of months of us dating, I realized I truly was in love with him.

Parents were over at the east coast for a tour and they went to Boston and that triggered a thought process that atleast got a decent poetry post out. I would like to be a lovesick Devdas who drinks, cries and churns out poetry. But then alcohol=big tummy and crying=floating contact lens. #problems

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19

Pune-Lonavala-Pune

I have called Pune home since 2002. I came to the city just before starting high school and I was half-expecting to be out of there soon looking at the way we were moving every few years. My prophecy sort of did come true after 4 years, even though partially. I got into an engineering college in Lonavala and had to move to the college girls’ hostel, it being a residential college. Initial months were really hard, due to several reasons. But after 2 years and countless number of crying sessions, I found my groove and turned my life around to get the maximum out of it. I would not trade away any part of it and would do it all over again, any day. I am very glad that I stuck to living in the hostel and not outside in the city, or even at home in Pune, 1.25 hours away by local train.
 
One of the memories associated with Lonavala, besides the incessant monsoon rains, is all the traveling and commute. During my first 1.5 years, I had a boyfriend who was from north of India and was full time in the hostel since he couldn’t go back home as often. So, I would spend the weekends in the hostel itself and would go back home once or twice a month with all my laundry and to replenish my snack supply and get my fill with the doggie-doo. We used to get around 20 days of break before the final semester exams to study that were called preparatory leaves or the PL. I would even spend most of my PL in the hostel, either studying in the room or the library with the guy. Bad idea. My grades, friendships, personality, everything suffered. Soon after, I broke up with him during the second year. A lot of things changed with respect to friendship too and I switched rooms. Things got back to track, my life was beyond fun, and my grades shot up(almost 😛 ) after that.
 
My new roommates were all from Pune too and they would go home every weekend and would stay put there during the PLs as well. I started doing the same. When the college would end on Fridays, we would catch auto-rickshaws to the city train station and catch the evening local train to Pune. If we were late, we would catch the Pragati Express that would stop at Lonavala during its 3.5 hour journey from Mumbai to Pune. There was another train that stopped in Lonavala at about 7.15 pm or so, called the Deccan Queen, which is my absolute favorite train forever, and was an absolute delight whenever I could catch it. We had the morning and late afternoon trains’ schedules memorized and we didn’t even have to take out the time table from our bags anymore. We were of course keener to catch the local train because even if it was slower and more crowded, it was almost 1/3rd the price of the Express trains. Sometimes, we would have some class on Saturday morning and we would have to stay back on Fridays and that would be when we used to be on our grumpiest best, and repeating outfit from the previous week. It was not that big a deal because I literally wore the same t-shirts every week. My dating and social life was booming, but unless the plan involved friends and the girls staying back as well, weekends in Pune were not given up anymore. Also, just because us girls we lived together, it did not mean we didn’t see each other in Pune. We have spent innumerable weekends hanging out with each other, watching movies, shopping, and doing other shenanigans.
 
Friday evenings were the best, because we had the anticipation of going home. But Monday mornings were evil. We had to catch the 6.40 am local and that meant waking up at 5.30 am to reach the station on time. N started from the previous station or the point of origin and would catch seats for us. I got in on station 2 and Ani on station 3. We were always in the women’s compartment so it was easy to spot N and for Ani to spot us. Then our college decided to mix things up for kicks and changed the timings to start an hour earlier in the mornings and thanks to that, we had to catch the Sinhgad Express going to Mumbai at around 6.10 am. Now, that was murder! But I am very happy to say that I never missed a train. My obsession with time and punctuality saves me from such headaches. My dad had to catch that train on Mondays because he worked in Mumbai during the week, when I was in high school and then after high school, he had to come to drop me every Monday. It was our running joke how his Monday mornings are always going to be painfully early. But the last time he dropped me for my last week in Lonavala, I don’t know who was more emotional.
 
Another fun part of the commute was traveling with my dad sometimes on the way back. He would go to Mumbai for work at times on Fridays and while coming back he would tell me if he took Pargati or Deccan Queen. I would wait back for those trains to be with him while going back to Pune. He would stand at the door when the train would pull in and wave his hankerchief at me. I used to be so embarrassed but so amused with that. He still does that at times in crowded places to pull my leg. His office was in Chinchwad which fell between Lonavala and Pune. If I was in the local train, I would call him up 15 minutes before Chinchwad and if he was done and ready to go home, I would just get down there and we would go home together in his car. It used to take around 45 minutes, but I thought that time was precious. Otherwise I would get down at the second last station in Pune, say bye to N and catch an autorickshaw home where dad would pick me up half ways.

Such fun times have been had in the trains. On Monday mornings, we would always talk about how sleepy we were as soon as we sat down, tried to sleep for exactly 2.875347 minutes and then would start talking. Around exam time, we would come armed with books in hand to try and study but everything else happened like staring outside the window, chatting, my texting with the then crush, food, clothes, all this with the book open. We have had very interesting fights with other people in the trains regarding capturing seats and specially window seats. I have a vague memory of someone sitting down on me and me pushing the said person away. Most of the regular commuters sort of knew each other. I used to see a short-haired lady get into Sinhgad Express from my station till Mumbai and she would head back in the same train in the evening, every single weekday since almost a decade. She used to know when our exam time was depending on the amount of books open in our hands and would wish us luck. Someone had tried to snatch our seat once and she had spoken up for us. We have even been fined for sitting in a higher level compartment on a lower level seat ticket and it was not fun to meet Ani’s dad for the first time when detained by the Railway cop. It was not our fault and we had no idea we were doing wrong. Hmmpphh. Even waiting on the station for the train to pull in was fun. Whiling time away at Lonavala station was awesome because of yummy Bangalor Iyengar bakery products like cakes, muffins, puffs or Maganlal’s fresh Smaosas and the fried green chillies. Wait a minute, let me wipe my drool off the keyboard, be right back. Now, Pune station on Monday mornings was also fun.There were stray dogs around and the ones who lived there were particularly big and strong for some reason. They ate protein regularly due to the kind train station folks who owned stores there. It used to be funny when the big dogs would randomly stop by dad and I, and start sniffing our ankles and legs, catching on Moony’s scent. My dad would freeze and I would find that very amusing. One big event on Fridays, was trying to get out of the train in Chinchwad. It was a red zone with respect to crowd during peak office timings, and I had to shamelessly use my drawing sheet holder and backpack to push the crazy ladies out of the way to get out. It was a ‘you snooze, you lose’ sort of a deal.


How I miss all that. If I get to go back to the college for a day, I would start that right from a Monday morning, waiting at Pune(Shivajinagar) station and end it with a ride in Deccan Queen with the best chai in the world. For now, I have to be content with the memories. *Sniff* Damn you, allergies!

22

Pseudo-memories

Let me start by saying that I have a great memory where I can embarrass an elephant into invisibleness. I can remember small things and details and bring up age-old incidents during fights and arguments. I remember important incidents of my life vividly, and my many firsts!

I was reading some stories on Reddit, and lately I have been obsessed with those. Some comments made me very nostalgic. I could feel the rush of my childhood in my mind and heart. But some part of it was what I call pseudo-nostalgia. I could feel that warmth and the feeling that ‘that’ has happened, but I, for the life of it, could not remember that incident or the moment when that haze of a memory was created.

I have an amazing father. I have written so many times about him and that I am very close to him. We have an odd thing going on with us right now and some distances from my side, which will hopefully go away soon. He has done a lot for me since childhood and has been a wonderful daddy. One thing that comes to my mind is how he has picked me up while walking when I was tired. But I can’t remember when he carried the asleep me to bed from the living room. I am sure he has done that. I wish I remembered that.

But what I remember is the absolutely goofy look and glinting eyes and the lopsided tongue that a very young puppy, our Moony, used to have when any of the three of us would carry him like a baby around the house and talking/singing ‘Majhi rani beti, majha raja bachcha’(My little prince/princess). Then he grew super heavy. 🙂

My mom told me this super cute story the other day when we were driving to San Diego. I used to love going to the zoo. Mind you, the zoo in Indore was rather crappy, and after a few years I lost total interest in them and in circuses and I grew more aware and repulsed by them. Eventually, now I am one of the many signatures demanding releasing animals from circuses and better habitat in zoos. So, we used to go to the zoo on my dad’s Bajaj scooter standing in the front. I would be dressed in my best summer frock and I would insist on a small picnic. Many times it would just be me and my dad. I would insist on carrying this small rectangular picnic basket and I always had a water bottle and hat in it as well. Because I would want to eat something rather than actually getting hungry, my mum would pack exactly 4 homemade chaklis, which are these fried spirally snacks. Yet, I would ask for something or the other at the zoo cafeteria. Every single time. And my dad had to buy some sort of soda or snack to shut me up. In fact, this habit is legendary where however well fed and watered I was, if we went out, I had to buy something and so it was nightmarish for my dad to take me out. Now I remember the zoo time, but I don’t remember these details that I really want to!

The other memory I want to have is how I felt after I wore my first pair of glasses. I had really, really screwed up vision. I used to do quite bad academically because I could not read the writing on the black board and had nothing to copy down. I would have incomplete writings or nothing to write down for tests. When we moved to Delhi, my class teacher in Grade 1 noticed my constant walking to the blackboard and notified my parents. They took me to the doctor and I can remember having an ice-cream after and my parents being very upset. They did not have glasses until the regular age related reading issues. And when my bad vision was detected, I was already at -3 or -3.5, which is quite a bit for most myopics. I shouldn’t even mention my prescription now, when I am almost blind without glasses or contacts. I have heard of stories about people saying “Oh, the trees have individual leaves!” or “Wow, the clouds have shapes!” and even “The stores have names on them!” after wearing their first glasses. These are not exaggerations. If you don’t wear glasses, you have no idea how fukin’ minblowing things can be when you can see sharply again. I just wish I could remember my moment of clarity!

Guys reading this, you may feel a li’l awkward although you shouldn’t and if you really don’t, I am happy to see some normalcy. I can’t remember the time I actually, for reals, got my first period! I remember the second day because we had a school picnic to a water park and I resisted for a long time and then just said fuk it, I am getting into the water. I am sure I wasn’t too shocked because I was in 8th grade and I had had plenty of sex-ed and menstruation lectures by then. It was just like Uh-oh, so finally it has happened to me. But it became way worse after the first cycle because then I started getting horrible cramps that feel like death. Something more embarrassing about getting my menses was my mom telling my dad ‘PB badi ho gayi’(PB has grown up) and him laughing. I wish I could have disappeared.

I don’t care about the rest of the boyfriends to worry about their memories. But I can’t pinpoint the exact time when the xBF and I actually mutually knew we had fallen for each other! It is such a big timeline between September 2010 and January 2011 when things took flight between us. I remember sharing moments, that turned into ‘Shit, I am falling for this guy!’ to spending time with him and stolen hugs and kisses. While leaving for India in Dec 2010, he gave me a quick and secretive peck on the cheek and I don’t know if our friends saw that. That was also the time I was mentally and emotionally very unbalanced and immature because of losing a friend, which in retrospect was a really good thing that happened to me, and I should have handled it better, but I gained the xBF after that upheaval. So good riddance to bad rubbish! But oh dear Lord, I wish I could remember the precise moment when both of us thought that yep, screw friendship, we are more than that!

So many such incidents, that I know have happened and I have a foggy idea. But how I wish I could see them clearly.

Memories are like clouds,
Shape shifting treasures.
Some very clear and some blurred,
With bitter-sweet pleasures.

8

Of San Diego State, past life and ‘Kardashan’ business…

Whole of last week, I have been sick. I discovered that I am allergic to the smell of roasting atta(wheat flour) that my mom was prepping to cook something. In 5 minutes, my throat started closing down, my nose got blocked and I developed a sore throat that resembled a cat post after the kitty is done filing her nails. Ugghh. I went to work on and off. On Friday my dad texted me if we could go to San Diego on Saturday to see the University. I had already thought of going to either LA or San Diego for a day trip, so it sounded great. Except, I was still sick and feeling like death. Sheesh.

But when I woke up on Saturday morning, I felt great! Except for the coughing, I felt fittum-fine. And then we headed to San Diego at 11 am and then we hit horrible traffic making sure that we took 2.5 hours to finish our journey of 1.5 hours. But we had carried homemade paratha and potato fry (Indian tacos to the rescue for non-Indians!) to calm our hungry tummies. What was intended to be a picnic food at San Diego State was consumed in the car like road-tripping!

We finally reached University and I could feel flowers blooming inside me when the campus came into view. It still looks and feels just the same. 🙂 Wave upon wave of nostalgia hit me, but it was all good stuff. I could see me yelling at Brian to put his shirt on while walking to the International Student center(It is California and people walk around shirtless in summer, even at school). I could see the East Commons where lab peeps and I sat eating our lunch boxes and Adam accusing me of eating cat food/porridge. There were the famed golf carts around that groundkeepers used, which the xBF also used to trim plants, to change trash can liners, and to give me rides. Not kidding, he has picked me up from engineering building, just to show me giant snails in the gardens, because I love looking at slugs(Go Figure.) Once he was working in flower area with his older non-desi co-workers and he cut up some fresh roses and tied them up with Aluminum foil for me. His buddies teased him about his ‘moves’ to red hot embarrassment that day! And of course the library! Where I studied less, and took naps more/ watched shows/ collaborated on assignments with Karen. Then there was Educational Opportunities Office, where I worked for 2 years as a tutor to undergrad Mechanical and Civil Engineering students, that helped me ease the burden on my parents and enabled me to pay for rent and school.

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The iconic Hepner Hall…

It was a Saturday and I was not expecting anything to be open, leave alone Professors being there. But I took a chance and we went to see my Engineering building. Surprisingly, the door was unlocked. We got in and I took my parents to the Department, showed them the lab from outside, and even my first classroom! On a whim, I walked into the faculty area and ran into Prof. B who taught me a couple of classes. He recognized me right away and met the folks too. Being a true Indian, his second question was if I got married?! And then he went on to tell that parents need not worry, I will find a great boy. Haha! He was super nice and he offered to show them my lab. He said he will let Prof. M know later. Ooh we even spoke about our current mutual friends. 😉 You know who you are.

By a giant stroke of luck, he also let me know that Prof. M was at school today since the Research Symposium was on. I have participated in that when I was at school so I knew Prof. M would stick around till the last talk and key note was done. So, after we were done with the lab, we headed towards the library  where I was looking for the presentations. I saw a girl in a business skirt walking across the campus and I decided to ask her if the Symposium was still going on. She told me that the key note had just ended and it was at the Student Union. We almost ran there as I kept my eyes peeled. And sure enough, I reached the stairs and Prof. M was coming down! He stopped, did a double take and got mad excited to see me. 🙂 We spoke over there for almost half an hour, took pictures and then said good bye.

The folks and I got some coffee from the Aztec market and finally sat down. What had started off as a generally mundane Saturday had turned into an extremely fruitful visit to San Diego State. My professor, who is never at school on Saturday, met us, we saw the Lab, and we saw my old spots where I had left tiny pieces of me behind. My dad says visiting the University was at the highest spot in his list. He was very overwhelmed with emotions. SDSU is truly where it all started as far as my career is concerned and we shall be forever grateful.

I also successfully managed to put my finger into the Koi fishes’ mouth. Just like old times.

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Topping off the evening, we headed to Abhi and Nish on our way back where I learned Pav can be made from scratch and can be more scrumptious than store bought ones. After a fabulous meal of Pav Bhaji and tawa pulav and avocado custard, we set off for home. Mumbai ki galiyon se(Off the streets of Mumbai) should be Nisha’s kitchen’s name till she decides to open her food business.

I learned about another thing on Saturday night while watching TV at home. My very Indian mother who has been in the US for only one and a half month recognized this picture below as the person who is ‘Kardashan’ husband, father of North, insulted a blonde girl and is CRAZY! I think we have hit apocalypse and some magazine stories need to be banned.

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This generation is screwed.

25

Us cool, Orkut kids

I think I have been on Social Media ever since the concept started. I want to say that I have an inherent need to please everyone and I constantly need social acceptance to ‘fit in’. But, even if it’s partly true, nope. I do not get into those arguments where people curse Facebook for all the social evils in the world or for narcissism and vanity. I am on FB, and very actively share dog and cat videos. I can’t help it if anyone thinks its perverted. Plus, it’s a great stalking tool.

I associate my college life with a very popular social media tool that was such a big hype till I finally moved to FB in 2009. I am talking about Google Orkut. I remember feeling very cool about having an Orkut profile and having lots of ‘Friends’ and ‘Fans’ and ‘Scraps’. 😀

Back until 2009, I used to have endless arguments with new FB users on why FB sucks in front of Orkut and how I will NEVER delete Orkut because I found all my childhood friends there, even if, we excitedly said hello and exchanged messages on Day 1 and never spoke again.

So when Google decided to shut it down, me and the best friend Shibz got very nostalgic about it. It was an important part of our friendship, our lives and a very important medium of avoiding studies. I have archived my Orkut account and you can do it too until Sept 2016. It will be saved in your google drive. The best part of my Orkut profile? The testimonials! Oooooh, the English, the fonts, the sms language! Sigh, we were such cool cats. I am putting in a few of my Testimonials here. Yes, I am that awesome.

This one below is by my absolute best friend Shibz. Back in college, his style could be described as of Abhishek Bachchan in Jhoom Barabar Jhoom. Including his behavior. I have told him plenty of times that if Inhad met him on the street, I would have gone ‘Ewwww!’ And would have never spoken to him. 😀

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This next one is by one of my first friends in San Diego. We were a group of 3 guys and me doing everything together. There was huge drama around this and our friendship pretty much got ruined because he fell for me and got very jealous. Sheesh. 

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This one is by Hazra who I am really close to. Shibz, he and I make a very stupid team. We were the nutjobs back in college and we still are. Such a simple message but he has always maintained that. ❤

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This one is by a classmate in Lonavala. He has tried to be so cool that it’s hilarious!! He was such a simple guy. We got along pretty well. 

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This is by Ani who is one of the BFFs and a general visitor on mine and Moo’s blog. She used to comment earlier but is trying to be pricy now. We have had a mad relationship in college where we did the nuttiest things ever. As for the last line, it is true. She almost hates me.

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14

Raining over me…

Little wet droplets,
or spheres of light,
Shining through the darkness,
twinkling through the night.

Sprays of moisture,
or flood of memories,
Cutting through the cages,
like a flock of canaries.

As I reminisce,
the thunder growls,
my lips let out your name,
while the wind howls.

The clouds have unlocked,
our love is the key;
Drenching my soul,
its raining all over me.

PS : Its raining. After a long, long time. He loved rains. Mumbai rains.