In the wake of the morning,
In between and after class
Jogging down two floors below
Through peeking windows I pass
Enter the doors, browse the web
The barcode, shelf count, cupboard number I get
He jogs to one of the aisles
Then hands me it
I smile my brightest;
On my regular chair I sit
Perusing through it, ten pages I score
Sucking, filling, it’s calling for more
Again and again I manage to go
Every day, so much now so
That before the shelf count, cupboard number I tell,
He smiles, then says, “Biology by Campbell?”
In the wake of the morning,
It is the same drill everyday, or everytime I go outdoors; which is every once in a while because of constant bickering from loved ones- fetch a black-yellow rickshaw, the most amusing thing I ride, satisfying, too.
I have a love-hate relationship with rickshawalas. For instance, the other day when I get on one on my way to college, the rickshawala is a decent looking man until he starts to mess with the side mirrors- adjusting the mirrors until he can view my face, then all of me and my stuff. All this while, I wriggle in my seat, placing the bag from the seat onto my lap, from my lap to my front; everywhere. Legs stiff, then folded, then crossed; wrapping the dupatta tighter around my face and body trying to be shapeless, faceless, identityless! Or the countless times when I want to wipe the smirk off of their faces with a slap, I don’t. The many ‘keep the change’ times to avoid the filthy accidental brush of fingers that make my soul shudder.
Then there are times otherwise. I fetch a rickshaw on my way home. The guy is rigid and awkward. I cannot refuse to get into this one for I might not be able to find another at this hour. A police gypsy stops on our right and he fumbles. It’s odd, he’s sweating more than normal. As the ride proceeds, I talk, so does he. He confides in me how he accidentally ran over 3 people, killing them for he was half asleep. He tells me where he lives, where he has lived before, about his brothers, about those that helped him escape. He seems guilty. I cannot help but smile as his shoulders relax. I peek out from the open sides, wind gushing, I wonder how many have their secrets unleash in this little carefree space. I do too, sometimes. I am myself sometimes, someone else at times; someone I know of, someone from my imagination. I stay quite only filling the tiny gaps between his words to keep it from getting awkward and ask him to take the longer route home.
It’s a love-hate relationship with rickshawalas. But I know, I know that when I go out and see one of these black-yellow rickshaws with two open sides that fill your lungs with air on speedy roads, and hop on gravelled ones, those that make you confide in strangers your darkest, deepest secrets, or ramble with enthusiasm your daily struggle, or a fragment of your imagination made so believable; when I see one of those, I will bend down to see the rickshawala. With a quick evaluation of his face and shirt and so to decide if he’s a creep, a freak, a sadist, a thief, a pervert, or a storyteller, a philosopher, a breadwinner, a counsellor, a dreamer, a gentlemen, or what, I will indeed take the damed rickshaw.
I don’t voice out my affection, but if anything, my actions would do the needful for you. That is because I sit and hear you talk. You make so much sense all the time, I listen and absorb.
You are so pragmatic, it keeps you away from all the senseless stuff our times offer. You are head strong and hard working. You don’t even glance at someone else’s patch of grass to see how more or less greener it is than yours but do best with what you have. That is how confident and secure you are with yourself. The way you intimidate people without having to try because of your low tolerance to bullshit makes me smile. It’s true, I have seen demeanours change and people be on their best behaviour on encountering you. Your aura demands respect and people offer you no less.
With subtle features, luscious hair, and ample of beauty, you are self motivated and fierce, knowing well what needs to be done when. Most others and I will always recall you first for being the amazing person you are, and later for your tiny waist and tall frame. If I’m sure about somebody doing extremely well in the future, it’s you. You are going to be a breadwinner and a homemaker, a manager and sustainer. You are going to excel in whatever you do. No wonder you’ve been named after one of the greatest women in history.
For being always so helpful, soft spoken, caring. For being so ladylike and conquering things like a women, I adore you.
As I write this, I feel your dark, kohl clad eyes guarded by thick glasses stare back at me. You’re probarbly wearing a sarcastic graphic tee, or something with stripes; there’s always something with stripes, or that red hooded jacket you wear when you need some emotional comfort, or a denim shirt; you wear those a lot. And those smug blue jeans that make your legs look so fit and some flip flops or sandals that you ordered online. You order so much stuff online, it’s amusing. I have known you for not more than 10 months and have grown to like you so much, it’s so unlike me.
You have so many friends, it makes me cringe. But you’re so good to everyone so, ofcourse you would. I can feel you asking me to go out more and talk to more people. I feel you talking in my head a lot, it’s crazy. That’s how much your presence simply has influenced my introverted self. I even miss you during vacations. That is so unlike me, too.
You are not someone who would instantly brighten someone’s day, my day. You don’t make my pulse quicken, or make me anxious, or nervous. To me, you are consistency, stability, calmness, a home to come to. You make me want to talk, and argue, and think. To go on walks with and talk, to forward links to videos and blogs, to build my vocabulary with, to get breakfast with, to try DIY scrubs with, to discuss music and books and words and religion and global issues and men. It’s scary to find myself opening up. You make me smile and giggle a little too often, and think; constantly making me think. I take pictures and videos of you and pull my phone out for pictures with you only to find myself smiling at it later that day. It feels so wierd, but, I do it nevertheless. I’m always learning when with you and smiling and frowning and debating and smiling even when I lose. You’re so strong yet humble. I couldn’t even track myself growing so fond of you. I feel myself growing with you without having to try; it feels beautiful and safe.
I would want to marry someone like you. Someone who can make me think, bicker on petty issues, learn with, offer warmth and calm with their sheer presence. I can picture your hand gestures as you narrate events to me and feel your eyes brighten when something intrigues you. You are simply adorable and I adore you.
To every human I’ve encountered before,
Don’t you fear oblivion
For people like me, the observant ones
Dont forget the mildest of your gestures
I’ll remember if you smiled at me; an assuring one
Before an exam as I bit my nail in nervousness
When you, a random guy shielded me
As I stood in the middle of a busy road
Contemplating on continuing to cross it
You, who complimented me;
On my hair, my work, my smile, or speech, or so
If you ever bought me a present, or
Offered me food,
If you sat by me, hearing me ramble;
Or shut me up and rambled to me,
If you made me cry; or let me cry on you
You made me dislike the human race, or
Made me laugh till I snort my food
If you held the door for me, or
Gave me a grateful smile when I did for you,
As long as my head is sane and memories
I can recall,
I will remember you and
Then some other would.
My morning began with me trying to gather all my things, making sure I don’t miss any and give my professor an open opportunity to humiliate me. At 8am I sat in a luxurious chemistry lab in my college with classy instruments, well arranged chemicals, and even clean sinks! It was the lab that third year students use- much different than what us first year and junior college students do. At 8.30, I stood in front of a grumpy looking, obnoxious man, on the verge of turning bald. He kept firing questions at me, real difficult ones; even after my multiple failed attempts at making him understand that this chemistry is out of my league and my basics are not clear.
Finally, he asked me ‘how do I identify if an organic compound is aromatic or aliphatic?’ And I stood there writhing my fingers, momentarily opening and closing my eyes hoping somehow I could just disappear because at the table now was an audience of three. My teacher in charge questioning me, a professor who recently joint, and a senior teacher- Pawar Sir. He had taught my class only once before and had impressed us with his calm demeanour and patience. He kept looking at me while I tried to search for the non existent answer in my now nervous brain.
Then he said, “Bachcha, you’ve done it every week for the last six weeks. Think about it, it’s got something to do with flames.”
“Through the ignition test?”, I muttered knowing I was right.
“Yes. See, with an aromatic substance, you will have a sooty flame or chars because it has high carbon content hence, difficult to burn. With an aliphatic compound, the carbon content is comparatively low so it burns giving non – sooty flames.”
“Oh”, I said dumbfounded by his gentle voice and simple logic.
He simply smiled and proceeded to move out of the room.The rest of my oral exam seems like a blur memory even though I pen this down about 15 minutes after the incident because I spent it smiling, clouded by giddiness. My teacher kept scowling, somehow managed to certify my journal and dismiss me.
Now, when I think about it, I feel like nobody influences a person more than his/her teacher. Some teachers bring out the best in you by their sheer presence, while some intimidate you so bad, you lose all of you. They can single handedly make or break you.
Pawar Sir, you might probably never read this but if you do, just know you’re awesome.
I ascend on the podium, posture erect
A myriad pair of eyes watch me
Face warm in contrast to
Fingertips so cold
I swipe my palm across my skirt;
The wrinkles bother me,
Buckle my hands in place,
I start to speak, and, a feeling
So divine envelopes my gut
The blood in my veins dance to the
Rythym of my own voice passing through the microphone;
With every round of applause, blood
Gushes all over and
I feel my cheeks stain to a darker shade of red
Like I’m about to fall apart
My buckled hands stay put no more, and
Fingers itch to move and coordinate
With my words, get my point across the room
And when I finish, I’m left with
Just the right blend of triumph
And desire- like last time
Anticipating for the next time, for more,
The adrenaline rush makes me discover
Maybe, just maybe, my stage is my lover.
If there’s someone I tend to stop and think about in the most difficult of times, it’s my father. What would he say if he were here? What would he do if he were caught up like this?
He has taught me a whole lot of things and corrected me on them time and again. Some more precious than the others- those that he taught me without saying them out loud to me.
He taught me that the strongest voice isn’t the loudest voice in the room, it isn’t the most sensible one, it is indeed, the most convincing one.
Battles can be won and lost by the sheer tone of speech and less by the words used. The mildest of words with a stressed tone would ruin you; the harshest of words with the correct tone will do you the needful.
Knowledge is everything. Everything.
No part of your education will ever get wasted. Even if you don’t make a career out of your degree, the things your learn will always get you out of tricky situations.
Always steer clear of conflicts. Get your work done without creating one, without fueling one.
Your confidence doesn’t have to be loud and showy to be visible, it can sit in a corner and still be at its best display.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 690 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 12 trips to carry that many people.