We Have Moved…

Henceforth, find us at https://ashishandradhika.wordpress.com/

Cheers,

Ashish

Comments from the past:

fullhyd.com
9 Mar 2008, 4:24pm

Hey Ashish,

fullhyd.com is coming out in a new avatar in about 10 days, with a much slicker blogging section. Why not continue here? Please send your email address to webmaster at fullhyd.com, and we’ll give you a link to the beta of what your blog looks like there, and the control panels to see all you can do. Cheers.

P. S. I tried to post this on your other blog, but it doesn’t seem to be allowing commets – I was getting a HTTP 500 Internal Server Error.

For Her… written on April 8th, 2005

Its her birthday tomorrow. My best friend, and also the one I am about to marry this June. I have known her for three years now. Its been an interesting phase in my life. My first year of MBA, the monsoons had been in full swing, drenching the landscape with wet greenery. We had a busy schedule at college… but whenever things got too much for me to handle, or when I simply wanted to be alone… I used to go out on long, long walks.

On one such walk, as aimless as it had been purposeful; I found her. Not that we had not met before, we had… but we never really progressed beyond the “Folks in the same class” kind of nodding of heads.

That rain swept evening; we decided to walk together, for just a while mind you. I was supposed to be a taciturn guy, I suppose in some ways I still am, but that evening I found myself telling her all.

It was not ‘Love at first sight’ .. no, not at all. More so, because I had been involved with someone else then…. And she was too concerned about her career to even think of an idiot like me.

But we did find a lot of common interest. Fans of P.G. Wodehouse, both of us and Oh! So totally. Come to think of it, a Comic writer probably played a major part in bringing me and her closer. Reading is a great hobby they say…

So it went on…. Two years of college, lectures, assignments etc etc… then one fine day, I found myself a part of my college team participating in a management festival, she too was there. I been a last minute entry for Western Solo… she spent the entire afternoon selecting a song for me and hearing me practice. I sang, “I Can Go the Distance” by Michael Bolton. Won the first prize, and as she tells me.. maybe moved her a bit as well. Thanks ! Mr Bolton.

Then came the most anticipated and dreaded phase of an MBA grad…. Placements !! I did not make it to the first company I was interviewed for… trust me guys I was shattered… I had always believed that no company can ever reject me… well the first one did. She had been around…. Worried about her own placements yet found time to reassure me.

Then I got placed.. in one of the finer companies… She? Well she never even applied to 99 % of the companies. She wanted only.. Advertising/Brand/Product Management… I was skeptical, openly so. Anyway, since I was placed, I was free to go home.

It was then I realized, that I was missing her, and then it struck me, through a haze of drunken stupor on 31st December 2003, I was madly in love with her… She complains about my drinking, but I guess I did one sensible thing when drunk!!

So I think for a few days, and realize that I was sincere enough. So I meet her, take her for a walk (again) and tell her that I miss her in a way I never realized I could… The world ‘Love’ was never mentioned anywhere.

She lapsed into one of her deep silences and two days later, her smiling voice on the phone confirmed what I already believed in.

Then she got placed… and the lady proved me wrong. She is now a Product Manager, and Boy ! Am I proud of her !

Last year, her birthday found me broke as the Berlin Wall, hope I do better this year. Am off to Bombay tonight to be with her tomorrow, trust me…. Sometimes… life is beautiful

Marriage…why! … written on February 23, 2005

What is marriage….is it a longlasting commitment to another person…is it a social requisite after one acquires a certain age…is it a security blanket for life… various things to various people. Also…is marriage really necessary: Going beyond what the neighbours next door will say for a moment…lets think…is it really necessary…maybe not is it, atleast not the way it is socially defined.I think its perfectly ok to live with my fiance had it not been for my parents (I dont think he will agree to it though:)
Most people will think I am mad.They will say its the age.Shake their heads at the “young gen”.My mom would think i just want to rebel, to be ‘different’.Even my friends would find it blasphemous.
That is what i find a bit tough to understand.Marriage, to me, is a deeply personal thing.My idea of a perfect marriage is a quick function solemnising the marital status supported by very close family & friends. Simple, straightforward & practical.Quick & inexpensive.Probably thats because the ceremony itself is not very important to me, but what comes beyond. …We seem to have made a practice of hailing the birth more than the life itself…

I am getting married this June.I am going to marry my batchmate,my friend, my love. Right now, I seem to only be involved in perfectly pointless arguments about my hairdo during the ceremony, the timing-the food-the dress- the ritual- the guests…its never ending.Especially if the guy is from a different community. And has different views on everything from SRK to alcohol:) There are fights between us in the family.THere are fights between my fiance and me.Is this what i want : no!Why should all these decidedly inconsequential things take precedence over the fact that I am going to get to live with the person i love the most in life…and be able to share my life,my love,my dreams with him …

We seem to have mastered the art of impracticality so much so that to be practical, is to be impractical.To be realistic,actually, is to be idealistic. Am i being idealistic…..i dont know…

But then what does one do: there must surely be people out there who feel like i do…but in the end you give in to what your mom and your dad and your fiance want because you love them so much…
After all, if this ceremony isnt so important to me in the first place, I shouldnt fuss about how its done right!So this is what i am doing..or atleast trying to do…

Here’s to a new beginnning..literally!

Time Pass .. written on December 11, 2004

I always used to think that blogging was what worthless loafers or internet junkies or bored IT professionals used to resort to…..I added the last category, coz it was my fiance who introduced me to the same,and he is in one of those seriously high flying IT jobs with an awe inspiring designation that mystifies you completely as to the actual nature of the job.(Now i know wat he does 🙂 anyway i read his entries, and found that it could actually be an interesting thing to try out.So, here i am, making my first attempt at writing a blog! i wonder what prompts people to write blogs…I mean do all bloggers feel that they have something of great import to convey to the world?( I should stop right now if so !) I don’t really write regularly even though i like to…nor do i maintain a diary…i simply put down words as and when i feel like on whatever i can get my hands on at that moment- the last page of an economics notebook , a scrap of paper, whatever.Somehow a blog could never contain one of those spontaneous off-the-cuff thoughts that cloud your brain and refuse to go until you pen it down,can it? A blog is more of a write-to-let-it-out thing, an examination of inconsequential things that happen in your daily life.Or is it?Is there a feeling of release that you derive from it?After all i am simply a first-time blogger.
It seems blog is actually derived from weB Log.It also apparently is going to be added to the Oxford & websters dictionaries by the year 2005, probably alongwith CTM (Chicken Tikka Masala… really !)
This is enough for a first entry i think…(i can hear whoops of joy!) ..so until next time…(ha!)

The Slamming Door….

The slamming of the door had never been  so welcome before…

The concrete pavement outside was hot, burning in the afternoon sun… a stray dog registering the banging door with a twitch of its tail…

The auto veered towards her in a drunken lurch, the driver taken by surprise by her appearance, its not usual for a woman in a cocktail dress to be wandering the streets of Pune.

Her nails were still edgy from their trail across the walls, long red talons, chipped and cracked at the edges, plaster still clinging underneath, like an unwanted memory… painful, gritty and hard to ignore…

The hot wind blew circles of dirt on the road, swirling in their own crazy dance of abandonment… her black dress streaked with creases of dirt…  the auto driver staring repeatedly at the rear view mirror, craning a lecherous eye for a better angle…
It had been a special day, 2 years back, the day when they, classmates at college, got engaged… no. Not the exchange of rings… it was the day he promised her his heart, his life and so much more… and in a swirl of flower petals and scented candles, she promised him all she had and ever would… with no witnesses and staid ‘I dos’ they had agreed to live their life as one…

Months later, the families got involved… and the rules and procedueres of the game were firmly established… it was us and them, as her parents said. ‘We’ need to make sure that ‘They’ do not take us for granted, you can never be too sure about such things… and she solemnly nodded her head, firmly ignoring the little voice that piped up inside her head… taken for granted? Him, and me? Yet she nodded her head, more vigorously the second time, attempting to be on the good side of her parents… to help them see the match in a better light. Didn’t he say, it is important that our parents agree to the match.. after all, we are all they have…

So a date was fixed and the caterers booked, invitation cards distributed and curious questions warded off…’Love Marriage hai kya?’… arrre, it is ok now… whatever had to happen has to happen.. times have changed’…

A precarious minefield of rituals… a crossword of traditions…’Us’ and ‘Them’…

The wedding went by in a series of ceremonies and camera flashes… till the two of them went away to the mountains… leaving the increasingly complex mechanisms of relatives and rituals behind…

It could only get better from this point on… they thought, happily ensconsed in the comfort of the other’s presence… comfortable in the safety of plans far enough in the future to seem possible…

She was working then… happy and successful at her work..a combination so rare it made her an anomaly in their circle of friends…

She went numb the day he asked her to quit her job. It was for the better he said… we need at least one of us to manage the house… the parents, the kids to be… me

She thought, and believed and in her immense trust in her relationship, she quit her job. Her colleagues were surprised…and then understanding. We will remain in touch, for sure.

After the first couple of months, when the trickle of phone calls from her ex-colleagues altogether stopped, she was scared to sleep alone at night.

He kept going away on work… to different places… Its hard for me too..he said… i too miss being at home.

She was sure he was right… ignoring her urge to say that she wanted to get out of the very place he missed when he was away…

So she stood guard over the symbols of their relationship…. a hall and two bedrooms… and a bathroom with tiles grown dull with age and chipped at places …like her own self image…

She paid the bills and ate solitary meals… and looked after relatives when they came around… ‘He is at London right now’, yes it is a 3 month assignment, yes he is doing very well in his company, got promoted this year.

He, defined her.
Yesterday night, her friends invited her for a girl’s night out… Just like old times… You, me and Manisha.. lets paint the town red babes….

So they all dressed in their best, she wore her cocktail dress, the only one that still fitted her, with a slit up her thigh scandalous enough for him to raise his eyebrows…well he was not expected back till today morning… and she really wanted to let her hair down this one time…

They went to the same old college hangout their cirle of friends frequented when they were at college.. the bartender recognized them… and offered a drink on the house…and they still played ABBA on the dance floor….

Before she knew it, she was drunk and grooving away to ‘Dancing Queen’… and when the waiter took the last order she realized she was too drunk to drive back home

In the morning her friend’s husband dropped her home on his way to office, she smiled when he saw his car parked in the driveway….

She got into the house calling out his name, and stopped short when she saw the menace in his eyes…

He silently took in her dress and the sound of a car revving off their driveway…

‘you bitch, So this is what you do when I am away?, guess I should I have known it all along…you spend nights with other men while I slog it away to feed you !’

She stared at him, suddenly too tired to really care if words really mattered at all… if all the nights spent alone on an empty bed really had any meaning…or if the promises she had made for a lifetime could help her tolerate the man in front even for the next second…

She slapped him and left, her nails dragging along the walls of the lobby… the door banging in her wake…
The slamming of the door had never been  so welcome before…
 

Just a story…

Have you noticed how different a string of electric lights on a misty cold evening can be? If you are with a crowd its …its probably a party, if its just the two of you, the lights form a pool of sleepy stars, slow, languorous and undulating

And if ,like me, you found yourself sitting alone on a balcony in an empty house, with the railing edged with electric wire and yellow lights, it can also bring memories that sting your eyes.

The table in front of me is filmed with dust, the glass makes a scraping sound as put it back on the table , the moisture down its sides trickles to form a circle round the base.

There is now a wet pattern of circles on the table, some intersecting, and some alone, and some so close to each other that its hard to tell them apart, their boundaries smudged with intimacy.

A few hours ago they carried the last of the Ganpati’s away. I watched them all pass by, one by one. Standing in my balcony, I saw them all being led away, tamely to their watery end, surrounded by dancing teenage boys high on religious fervor, or maybe something else as well.

She used to love watching the processions go by. Every year, through the night, she would sit at this very balcony and wait for her favorites to pass. “ Why should I visit all the Ganesh Panadals? The Ganpati come to my doorstep !”. 

I would normally sit inside, annoyed with the noise that invaded my street annually, trying to convince her to close the door to the balcony and come inside. After all, all this revelry really did not fit in with my scheme of things. So much of money wasted, burnt and squandered. Every Pandal set to outdo each other, the devotees bent on redeeming their sins with a shower of bank notes. No, such a gaudy festival was definitely not mine.

While she would sit in this very balcony, eagerly awaiting the next procession to go by, the interludes interspersed with steaming pakoras shared enthusiastically with the neighbors who would gather in our second story flat to watch the processions, crowding me out as I sat in the hall, unhappy with the ruckus, and angry with her for putting me through this year after year.

She would call me, again and again, “ Come Now, it’s the Shankarshet Ganapati !” “ At least see the Tulshibag Ganapti, its made of real Sandalwood”

I would pretend not to listen, and glare at her silently, ensuring that everyone around was aware of my disapproval and her scant disregard for my wishes.

Each year, as I lay next to her at night, hours after the last of the procession had long gone, and the last of the pakora eating guests wished away to their houses… she would sullenly complain, “ You could have come at least once, I called you so many times. Mr Sharma even took his kids to the roadside, you should have seen how Krishna was laughing with him”

And I would listen to her, searching for my cold victory in her sadness. My pride somewhat mollified for having taken away at least some of her enthusiasm… I had proved that I was stronger willed than her.

And last winter, she died. Suddenly and without warning. They placed her in the hall on slabs of ice. Trails of water streamed across the hall as the ice melted, and found their way into the balcony where they collected in a puddle. Her forehead was red, smeared with Sindoor, and she seemed more beautiful than I ever remembered her to be.

I sat next to her, for an entire night, trying to fathom her face for a million answers. In the morning, they covered her face with a lotus bloom and we carried her off down the road to the riverside.

They handed me a staff to break her skull as she burnt at the pyre. That was when I cried.

Its been six months, and I have become used to having an empty house to return to from office. Every evening as I unlock the door, the silence greets me with an unsettling familiarity.

I still find long strands of hair when the maid moves the furniture for cleaning, or swabs of cotton with her perfume in the almirah….bits of cloth in a bag sorted away to make a quilt for the next winter, or an unfinished embroidery.

This year, I sat in the balcony, alone. Not too many people visit me these days.

They have decorated the society with strings of yellow lights, which blink with sudden brightness in an unforgiving pulse.

I watched the Ganpati’s go by, all seventeen of them. I gazed at the lights and breathed in the incensed air. Tried hard to detect some familiar sensation, or a smithereen of memory being carried away down the road.

The crowds have dispersed now. The street seems unusually wide in its emptiness. I rose to go back into the house.

They should switch off these lights now…