August 26, 2007
I got up at 7 am. I could hear my mom moaning very slightly. She has been tolerating a muscle pull in her lower back and she is whimpering. I am trying my best to rouse myself. I get off the cot at 7.15 am.
Parents...…..After a certain age they are worse than little kids. Gosh, I never thought I would ever feel like whacking my mom, but now I really want to do it. She has been suffering in pain and refusing every offer of being taken to the doctor. Her constant refrain “What will you all eat? … Who will cook? ... Who will dust? … “. I lost my cool. My temper that had been simmering for 2 days got the better of me and all hell broke loose.
I literally attacked my mom with all rebuttals I could think of and my mouth kept spewing the “well prepared answers” to her retorts. I told her that a bunch of 20 (odd) yr olds and one daddy could survive a day without her.
I finally convinced her, though I felt drained completely at the effort and left to work.
It’s Tuesday and one can’t excuse oneself from work complaining about Monday blues and dawdle along. The launch date has been announced. It’s the 6th of August. Flurry of activity and lots of To Do List’s to be completed. The list suddenly seems to be covering the whole sheet. I wonder where all these things magically appeared.
I mean all the while we keep coding, we do a test review after one module is complete. Still new errors keep appearing often so amidst a very terse atmosphere, the day proceeded. Even taking a break is prone to guilt pangs that I am wasting time when I could have done a little more polishing.
The day goes on………. It’s my birthday on 3rd and I know it’s going to be spent at work. I mean, a birthday is just another day; however I still wished and hoped it could have been a normal day at least.
Leaving Back Home at 8.10 pm
The long Tuesday has come to an end. I left back home. They have dug up all the roads near my office. So I make my way to the main road exercising extreme caution lest I sink my feet into loose earth or slip in one of the many holes dug up in the name of repairs. As I jump across a ditch to get to the other side, which is the main road, I notice 2 men looking in my direction.
I did not give it much thought as my mind was preoccupied with getting a bus soon. I started walking towards the bus stand and suddenly I felt my instincts warning me. Now, I believe firmly that if every one of us hears to that tiny voice in the back of our heads saying/warning/communicating anything, we will avoid a lot of unpleasant experiences. My gut instincts have always been right. And I have learned to listen to it.
Like the time, when one of my colleague immediately after dropping me home, never responded to my calls. And I felt something wrong. Nobody at work believed me when I said something as wrong. They all said he must have slept off. I refused to believe that excuse and had asked my mom to keep trying till she got him. His phone was switched off. We found out he had taken a mini van, rather than continue in the auto after dropping me home. The occupants of the mini van assaulted him and stole his cards, phone and all money he was carrying on his person and left him in the middle of the night on a deserted street. So I always listen to that tiny savior of a voice.
So I looked sideways and sure enough I saw the men walking at a pace slower than mine parallel to me, darting glances constantly at me. The first time in my life that I can recall, I was afraid. I felt fear so unpleasant, my throat started constricting and I was clutching my bag tightly.
I have had an experience before but it was different. I had been walking on a street and some 4 men crossed the road to my side and one of them did a movement with his hand as if ducking. I was outraged and I screamed back at them as to what they thought of themselves. Since I think in English, my question came out in English and I continued glaring at them. I felt no fear, and as expected they moved away from me in a fast pace. I mean they would have been beaten up by the passers by if I had raised alarm. That day too, my heart was beating, but there was a surge of adrenaline. I picked up my bottle of “pepper Spray” the next day to be on the safe side.
But today, I was quite alone and despite it being the main road, there wasn’t much vehicular movement. The men must have felt that fear because they started moving a little closer to me and I saw that they could not have been more than 30. Firstly, I decided to appear less scared despite having my heart beat so painfully against my ribs I thought it would crack. I was nearing the bus stand, and I turned back to see if any buses were coming. I did not want to wait for the bus. I saw a few men standing in the bus stand but no women. The men did not look very friendly nor approachable. I know I am not supposed to judge anybody based on their appearances, but in the state of my nervousness, I was just looking for one kind face. I noticed that the men seemed to have realized that I was afraid and were smirking. I was praying that I get a bus and I did. Another man had crossed over to the bus stand and joined the two men. He was saying something to the effect of not to scare people …. Some bus arrived and I nearly ran into it not bothering where it would go as long as it took me away from that place. I had a fleeting glance at the men who had assembled. They were still staring at me.
The bus conductor was asking me where I wanted to alight. I could not speak for 2 minutes. Trust me, 2 minutes IS a long time. Then I finally asked if it would go to Airport Road. Lucky for me, it was a direct bus. I paid the conductor my change and slowly relaxed. My palms were red with all the force my nails has applied on it. My breathing got back to normal.
I was sitting and analyzing later why it happened. Why was I not in control of the situation as before?. I realized that the men (by not doing anything), but just intimidating me had violated my space. I am better armed now and I have emergency numbers of cops and squads. I will learn Martial arts too.
However I am disappointed. It will be August 15th in a fortnight and things still feel the same in the actual sense.
I believe true freedom will come when any individual (especially a woman) can walk on the roads without having any fear.
July 29, 2007
Few days back.......I cross the road to get to the bus stand on the other side. Not before a car has almost crushed me to death and a two wheeler knocks the wind out of me. I miss the bus by a minute. And this is normal. On days I come early, the bus would also be earlier by a minute. The next bus comes after half an hour. Trying to look for an auto is also pointless as they are always occupied. I wonder "Are there so many people in Bangalore?".
The bus I get into is leaning to its left because of the weight of the people in it. I climb in and find myself lost. My purse, slung across my shoulders is moving to the right. My dupatta moving left seems to strangle me as people are constantly pushing it and my neck entwined in it, twists into weird angles. I can’t even curse under my breath as the very existence of it is being squeezed out of me.
Its 9.30 am. The bus has not moved an inch and I am still stuck in traffic. The bus is so jam packed with people that I can sense that the lady squashed against me is a regular pan eater. The smell is very strong. Her hair smells of coconut oil mixed with sweat. Poor lady, she is also in the same mess as me.
I am feeling claustrophobic. I look through the windshield outside. I see more than 40 yellow colored hoods & a generous sprinkling of cars. Mostly white - I think these are the call center cabs. And trying to get ahead amidst this pile of automobiles are the two wheelers. These add color to the otherwise prevalent white and yellow.
I notice a man sitting pillion on a Splendor bike. He is knotting his "red with blue diamonds" tie with unwavering concentration. It amazes me that something so normal could seem so out of place in all the mayhem. He finishes knotting it. It’s a well done "double knot". Neat.
Meanwhile the crowd in the bus is dispersing. I am looking to find a seat. That’s wishful thinking. Then I do the second best thing I know. Look through my trained eyes to spot people who might be alighting soon.
It’s simple actually. It’s all about keen observation. People who are leaning forward in their seats are the first lot of possible candidates. They are either peering to see if it’s their stop or know for sure that its time to move. In the former case one might have to wait an additional stop to get that seat. In the latter one has to be quick to slide in :). The second lot of candidates will start adjusting the bag straps and put their phones inside (this is not a definite sign as people are so busy they continue talking while alighting). Others might put their books inside.
There is a woman shuffling her feet and leaning forward in her seat. My seat looks promising. Aah……….. I bagged one :).
April 23, 2007
Firstly the bus stop is mobile between "Chef Residency" and the "Home Store". I am calling it mobile because there is no one place the bus stops. And it definitely does not stop where I am standing. I hate it. I detest it. I abhor it......... And I cant help it.....
To cross that road to get to the other side is so maddening.......... You might see me sometimes trying to make a dash zig zagging between all the vehicles who dont stop when I show my index finger and beseech them for one tiny little minute so I can move. But No. Everyone is in a hurry. Most of the times, I wait 20 minutes just to cross that blessed road.
On one of those rare occasions, the policeman would be standing. Once he steps in, we pedestrians sigh ......... With the raise of his hand, traffic comes to a stand still. And those times I feel like GOD.
Yesterday, I was walking towards my mobile BUS STAND, betting with myself as to where the bus would stop and whether I would be able to make it . This is important because I do not run after a bus. I never have and I dont intend to start doing it too.
Reason 1 : I hate looking desperate for the "KSRTC"bus
Reason 2: I wear high heels and do not wanna trip and make a fool of myself
Aah.......... I like to dress neat to work. I sometimes wear skirts(knee length) and wait for the bus. Often auto's come and stop near me. I shake my head with a smile and they smile back and drive away.
Why cant a person who dresses neat(read never vulgar coz showing legs can be classy when u carry yourself well), travel by bus. I dont understand this importance to clothes and judging people. My friends say "You dont look like the sorts who has to travel by bus". Look at the irony. It is my means of transport. I see nothing wrong in taking the bus. Petrol is still an expensive means if I take my car to work. So I am on my saving mode :)............. Hail KSRTC (Except on all those occasions when its so crowded , I can feel the perspiration of the next person .........
So as I was saying, I was walking towards the bus stop............. I looked to my right. A man and a woman were talking. Nothing strange about it except that he suddenly caught her neck. And he pushed her away. I was appalled. I am not talking about a man and a woman and the strength factor though I strongly feel about it.
What gives an individual any right to physically invade the space of another individual. I am ashamed of myself because I did not do anything. I saw it, observed it, felt bad for her and walked on worried when my bus would arrive, where it would stop, how long will it take for me to cross the road. I wanted to go sock him for treating an individual without respect. But who am I ? Saying so, Convincing myself I had no right to interfere....................I walked on.
April 2, 2007
This happened on 31st March………. I had been sick the first half of the week…down with viral. And all the TV channels must have known it because they conspired to ensure that all movies telecasted sucked....... well most of them sucked [:(]…………. So TV watching was out.
When you are sick, this wretched tongue seems to want Italian delicacies , Spicy soups and what not ……… and the stomach is just waiting to churn them so bad you feel like there is milk curdling inside …….
Well after a self imposed exile, I went to “The Forum” on Saturday and had a Burger at Mc Donald’s (I prefer KFC) with 2 of my colleagues and I bumped into my sister and a family friend there.
My colleagues bid adieu as it was nearing 9. My sister and I were calculating how much it would cost to take an auto back home as our friend had come by bike. We wanted to have dinner, so my sis and I decided to walk till the restaurant and he said he would meet us there.
To get a table in the smallest of eat outs is difficult was proved that day. We were waiting for what seemed like eternity………. Waiting sucks especially when your tummy keeps reminding you how it’s being neglected.
Without realizing what I was saying, I said lets skip the food here. Lets go to Pizza Hut on Ring Road (very near Domlur- my place) - all three of us on bike and laughed at the absurdity of the whole idea ..ha ha ha
When I realized my words were actually making an effect on my friend and sis, it was too late to take them back . My friend and sis were already planning who will sit where and which were the safe roads to take to avoid being caught.
I hate breaking traffic rules and I was firmly against it. Also one guy and 2 girls, well everyone would laugh and it was not safe. The counter argument to that was: When a family can go as 4 why not we 3?
Ha Ha Ha ….I was tensed initially and thinking what was I doing this mad thing for? I was breaking free (voluntarily) which is so not me………. I am more composed a person. I get mad very rarely and this seemed to be one of those mad moments.
I sat last, my sister in between and we went. The Enticer/Enfield.They both look the same. something like it bike had plenty of space. The wind on my face, with lots of my sister’s mane in my mouth and people staring……..God, It was strange but risky fun. I would never do it again for the fact that it’s not right. I m very happy no untoward incident occurred too.
But it left me with a goofy smile on my face and my mom was smiling when we retold the day’s event……….
On a secret note, I might do it again.... Why remove the possibility of it happening and not bask in that sunshine of happiness till then ? [:)]
January 27, 2007
Post Graduation was very serious unlike under-grads where there was loads of fun and loads of studying too. College will be another blog...I seem to be going back in years in every blog :)
Ok coming back to the Sports Day.......... It was a very bright and sunny morning. I got up very early at around 5.30 and was ready by 6.30. My classmate came home to pick me up. We were going by car to the venue where the events were to be held.
We had packed water, glucose, a change of socks and towels........
I had worn red track suit and cute socks, the ones which come till my ankles and New Balance Shoes (quite fashionable an entry I made)
U might have guessed by now, I had not planned on taking part. I was going there to cheer my other classmates. Most of my classmates had come and the ground was looking colourful. The track was empty and people were in various forms of excercises, some jogging, some sizing up the ground, others running.
There was this 40(i m guessing)year old guy ,looking in the prime of his health ,running tirelessly. I was starting to feel ashamed that I could not muster up as much energy as he did. I ran on the tracks for a while competing with my classmate "A". He beat me easily saying i rolled rather than run on the track.I stopped running. However the sight of the 40 yr old man continued to move around in my head. Constantly reminding me of what I could do and yet did not.
I am not an anti-sports person. I had run my fair share of school races , was an active high-school "Throwball" player. Somewhere along the line, the idea that "I look clumsy while running" combined with my need to win always took precedence and I had not been in any of the races ever since then ie after my 10th STD.
There were nice stalls with water containers and loads of glucose.The inauguration started 8 am on dot. A large crowd had gathered to watch activities.
Not many of my friends were participating and I felt good .............Well, I had company didnt I? However that niggling thought of that man kept creeping back and reminding me what a loser I was. It didnt care I had company.
Now I have a problem. When there is something I need to recover from my databank(head) or find answers- my mind goes full steam till I solve the issue. And this thought just did not go away as I had not even Plan B for it to stop chewing my brains.
There were the usual 100 m, 200 m and 400 m for the guys. 100m and 200 m for the girls. Relay. Long Jump and High Jump. Javelin throw for the men. Women were given a heavy ball.
The mens 100 m event started first. It was a tough finish. Two people were extremely fast. My classmate "A" whom I had come with in the car, and another junior. The junior came in first. The arenalin that surged inside me as I watched the race cant be explained. All the races I had run in the past came in front of my eyes and that thought just kept getting stronger and stronger. It had started speaking to me. Now my thought better have a name as it plays a vital part.Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm I will call it "Sparky"
Next it was the 100 m Womens event and Sparky was goading me now. What a pest. I did not take part. A girl in my class came in third. The top 2 positions were taken by juniors, the twin athlete sisters. They were brilliant.
Next was the 200 m Mens and 200 m Womens. I continued ignoring Sparky who was getting on to my nerves now. Heck I could not even enjoy being the spectator. The long Jump for Men was a great event to watch. People pitting against one another and themselves. Thats what I admire and always strive for- to better myself and pushing myself. I was understanding that sports and life was not much different.
It was an enjoyable event. "A" won the first place and the junior who beat him in 100m won the second place. There was a small break. And i was catching up with my friends, getting them water and glucose.
The womens event for Long Jump came and went with more men than I had seen in the college in totality also :) :)
The womens event of throwing the ball came. Sparky was head on and I said what the heck let me try it. I was practicing before the event to see how far I could throw it. Many an attempt later and I could throw relatively well. People all along warned me against attempting this as I m a small person. But what no one knows I m very strong mentally and that makes up for my small frame. I have helped a friend shift residence moving beds, showcases and cupboards(some filled with clothes) from downstairs to upstairs using narrow stairs as other friends watched in awe. My mind can do things my body never dreamed of.
The warnings just served to fuel me. I work better when the odds are against me. And I took part in that event. I didnt win, but I felt good. I had taken part in an event, enjoyed lifting my aching arms and throwing the ball, not winning and having a smile on my face :) I was feeling calm.
The last events of the day was the 400 m relay. The twin sisters and my classmate who won third in 100 m were on the lookout for a fourth one. Everyone wanted to be on that team as it was a sure shot to the 1st prize. I looked at them as they waved aside many a "probable good runner" wanting only the best to be a part of their team. They finally teamed up with another good runner and assembled their relay team.Two other good teams also got assembled.
3 (not so bad) runners were on the lookout for a fourth person to join them and there was no one. I have run 100 m in school and I was thinking if I should join. Sparky was quiet. Probably letting me take the blame on myself if I agreed and did not win , so he could come out and keep reminding me of a bad choice i had made. Thats what i thought of Sparky. He was dead silent.
They were looking disappointed as the Relay requires 4 members. I offered. They were delighted. I was wondering If I am giving them false hopes. They said they just wanted to run because they enjoyed running. They beleived that they would not win and that pissed me off. I told them, we might not win, we might win. But we should never be negative about it. They were listening eagerly. I was wondering if I could push them a little bit to believe in themselves.
I was excited. My heart was beating. I asked them how good they were and they said they could run fast, but could not beat the twins for sure. I told them to stop thinking of the twins. I said I would take the last position as I am a fast runner. I could not beleive I said that. I had won 100 m races in my schools. I wondered if my legs would be that fast now. I have an athletic frame but 5 years of not much excercise ????????? Was I being over confident ?
One of the girls said she would take the first position. Now in the Relay race, if the first and the last person are fast, they can make up for lost time and stand a chance. Here we were 4 teams. There were going to be 2 prizes. We could attempt.
The team was charged up. I told them two things. Hold the baton firmly and pass it on carefully . And run like u have nothing to lose.
The relay began. My classmate "A" wished me all the best. He siad u guys can take them on. I said I was running for myself, not to beat anyone , but just to let go of my stupid notions and ideas.
The Relay event started. We took our positions. I sent a prayer to GOD. I just said let me give it my best. Sparky that pest was nowhere to be heard. The whistle went. The race was on. The first girl of my team was very fast........... I have goosebumps writing this......... She passed the baton like a dream to the second girl. She ran pretty ok. And the third girl took the baton from her. I was waiting last. The moment i got the baton in my hand, I ran like a I never have. I felt I was one with wind. I dont mean I was fast coz I didnt know how fast I was. Just that feeling the wind on my face in that speed was wonderful. I didnt mind whether I looked clumsy or whether I was going to win. Running was exhilarating. And I crossed the finish line. Everyone around was clapping and cheering. I didnt know why. The team came and hugged me. We had come second. The twins team was first by 3 seconds.
I was stunned. We looked at one another with astonishment. II nd was unexpected. We didnt speak but the eyes conveyed a lot. I just had made them believe in themselves and whats more................ We had come winners with the odds stacked against us.........
It was this Sports Day when my classmate "A" hurt his foot and could not drive back without wincing in pain........... which sparked my "Car Driving"
Sparky was contented................ So he remained silent for the rest of the day.....I was feeling light-headed, as if all the tensions within me had broken down. It was a lovely ending to a lovely day.
Sparky comes up once a while with different thoughts and I always make it a point to give him a hearing....................