Of starry nights and summer skies

Starry skies croppedAnd this too is precious. Friends dozing off at your place, after a day of eating too much and walking way too much. There’s a quiet humdrumness in the air, the sort that comes when you’re comfortable enough to sleep in someone’s presence.

We have met so many times since parting; in different cities, over different seasons. We are different people each time, and yet in fifteen minutes we find our common ground. Continue reading Of starry nights and summer skies

A morning at the terrace

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(Wrote this quite some time ago. Still love mornings. 🙂 )

“What makes you truly happy?”

Somebody posed this question to me once. It’s a question we should all have an answer to, a Happy Place where life seems a little easier. Eventually I decided on this: “The smell of earth after the first showers… and watching the sunrise from the terrace.” Well, there are months for the rains to arrive, but the sun comes out every day!

I love my mornings on the terrace. Since the sun peeps out at five o’ clock in this part of the world; it’s like putting aside an extra hour just for yourself, that would otherwise have slipped by under the blanket cover. And so I traipse up two flights of stairs to greet the dawn. The air is chilly, the silence so stark you can hear your heart’s whisper. Some sounds come alive at the crack of dawn; crickets chirping, a hundred different bird songs. The birds are always there… mynahs, sparrows, pigeons and parakeets. On lucky days, you can spot leaf-birds and blue kingfishers in the trees.

The enchantment starts from the moment the night sky pales. You wait, and just as the chill seeps into your bones, the first rays of dawn spray over the horizon, spreading a tingling of warmth through your blood. Before your unsuspecting eyes, the grey pallor of the night sky melts away into an azure blue. The sun jostles through the clouds in a subdued shade of crimson. The chirping starts, first timidly, then louder; till it’s a cacophony of sounds. A new day has arrived.

You can see the lake from up here, it’s still waters reflecting the morning’s calm. Of course, the lake looks prettiest when the sun dips into the waters. It’s a sight so beautiful that it can take your breath away. But I’ll leave the sunset for another day. Today, let’s celebrate the morning. A time to mull over the day ahead; a time to ponder over the purpose of life. Because you’ve just been given another day to do something glorious, something so satisfying it could be worth all your yesteryears put together.

The magical moment of dawn break is over. The sun is astride and getting in my eyes, in fact it’s so hot that drops of sweat have begun to trickle down my forehead. Too soon a journey from the bliss of dawn to the fierce sunlight telling you, “Off to work!” Like my childhood days that are now up, leaving only the glare of youth upon me, urging me to do my part, before my sunrises are up and gone forever…

Yes Ma’am, No Ma’am, As You Wish Ma’am

(Written during my final year of college…)

7.30 pm, 26th July 2006. We were all bundled into a room and given a hair oil massage. How generous, you might say. What I mean is that oil was dumped on our hair (“hair in oil, not oil in hair”, being the motto); along with a barrage of do’s and don’ts. Don’t talk in the mess, don’t look a senior in the eye, etc etc. What followed was a month of pure mental torture. We were not allowed to question seniors, nor refuse to do anything, no matter how embarrassing or difficult it was. It was just “Yes Ma’am, No Ma’am, As You Wish Ma’am.”

The funny part is that if you ask any of my friends about those days now, they would grin and say, “Those were the most unforgettable days of college life.” In fact I pity my juniors, who never had to face such an ordeal. They have never known a hostel like we did, where every senior was your big sis. Because after that initial bonding, our seniors really spoilt us. We got treats anytime we caught them at the canteen. If one of us fell sick, all the seniors would come to see her. They would take us to the doctor, and scold if we did badly in the exams. I’d like to fuss over my juniors too. But they don’t even smile when I meet them somewhere outside! I can’t blame them. They probably know little more than my name.

Most importantly, my first year taught me a lot.  I learnt how to stand up for myself. How to not wilt under pressure. Trust me; a pressure cooker bursting at the seams is calmer than a mass call! And I imbibed all the traditions that make me what I am. The point is, I moved from school girl to college woman in that period. And all those memories we built! Even today, if you get one of us started on about our ragging days we could reminisce for hours. About how we would cook up excuses to wriggle out of assignments, banging utensils outside each room to wake the inmates at five in the morning…

I know how ugly ragging can get. No one can possibly condone hospitalizations and ear drums ruptured from incessant beating. But have we erred in doing away with ragging altogether? A little disciplining is needed to maintain decorum. It could be about basic manners, like waiting for everyone to finish before leaving the dinner table; to helping out for the college fest. That’s how things work in everywhere: as juniors you learn the ropes; and later on take on the onus of managing college affairs.

Today the rules scream, “Seniors should not be seen interacting with the juniors.” How sad! Most freshers are away from home for the first time. They need someone to teach them the rules of the game, to tutor them, and to basically look out for them. The first meeting with seniors often sends a message to know your place and to know when to shut up.  But guess what? That introduction also says, “Well, hello! Welcome to the family!”