Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Happy Place

Everywhere I look I see people leading complicated lives. Some are battling what life throws their way; others are creating a whirlpool of mess around themselves just to feel challenged. I travel. Sometimes I take trains, buses, boats, autorickshaws, airplane etc. to reach my destination. On other occasions I let my mind wander and I visit places while sitting in front of my laptop in office or while cooking in the morning before leaving for office. My travels, real or imaginary (I don’t really care for that word too much), take me to places where I am happy.

I am right now in a village. The comforts I am enjoying here are more in number than those I have experienced in big cities. But I am not here for comforts. Nor can my happiness be attributed to the comforts alone. I am happy because I am free. Free of responsibility, worries, the mundane life I sometimes feel bogged down by, and the expectations that people around me load on me. Can you believe no one has asked me when I plan to marry in the last 5 days. This is the longest that I have escaped that question since I crossed the age of 25.

I am sitting in what should in a clich├ęd manner be called the lap of the Himalayas. There is a fire roaring in the fire-place. The peaks surrounding our cottage are covered with snow and low-lying clouds are rolling all over them since the afternoon. I can constantly hear the gurgling sound the stream is making somewhere in the vicinity. For most part the only other sound is that of me typing on the keyboard. I need no music. This is music.

My hands are cold. After all the walking I did on the snow-covered mountain roads that were dripping wet with the snow-melt, I am sure it will take a few days for sensation to return to my feet. But my heart is warm.

My friends are sitting on different sofas in the living room. Everyone is doing his or her own thing. But even in doing our own thing we are together. The silence interrupted only when one hums to herself, or one chuckles while reading something, or one just says ‘wow, amazing!’ is golden because of the interruptions.

This is my happy place.

Monday, January 20, 2014

How She met Him

While waiting for Him, She read in a book She had picked up, ‘Every broken relationship turns into a story.’ This should have been the first sign. She was too busy laughing and chatting as Delhi glowed in the golden glow of the winter sun to notice any signs. They had met for lunch. Her eyes had widened when He had said, ‘Eating is a waste of time.’ Her first reaction was to scan the room for hidden cameras. Her first thought, ‘Is this a prank? I keep saying the exact same sentence to my friends.’ Before She had gathered her wit He had said something else. And She had replied with more laughter, interspersed with a few words. The waiter had already visited their table twice to remind them that food needed to be ordered. Reluctantly, they had paused the entertaining conversation and ordered small portions of Chinese food. They spoke about school, family, and friends. They shared stories of car accidents. She grudgingly admitted to herself, His story was more entertaining.

He spoke of his love for driving. She could not stop herself from talking about books and movies. Each bragged a little and at other times tried to come across as humble. The waiting staff at the restaurant hovered around at their table. The table was an embarrassment for the chef I guess. Their plates had hardly any food and the serving dishes looked like they had hardly been touched. After nearly half and an hour later, they were ready to leave the restaurant. They did the ‘cheque dance’. She insisted that She would like to pay. It was after all only fair since He had travelled for more than 18 hours just to meet Her for lunch. But He had scored more points by arguing that paying for lunch was the only chivalrous act He was capable of. He had won among more laughter and the staff at the restaurant seemed more than happy to see them leave.

Following their lunch, they walked around Connaught Place, one of Her happy places. The nip in the air even as the sun shone brightly after what seemed like months but was just a few days ensured that the walk was pleasant. They continued to talk and laugh. She was amused with the fact that there had not been a single moment of awkward silence or nervous laughter. However, there was no dearth of hearty laughter. They had teased each other with a familiarity that only old friends can experience.

They completed a round of the Connaught Circle. He walked her to her car. They shook hands and she told him, ‘It was really nice meeting you.’ She smiled on the drive back to her house and then smiled some more late into the evening when as she met her friends for a small party.