A Man from Earth

A man takes longer to mature than a woman. His body grows just like a coconut tree; still he never realizes that his strong muscular body is incapable of giving shades to others. He stretches his arms and swings with the fluctuating human emotions just like a coconut tree bends its body when a storm or shower hits it. Still keeping memories of those fleeting moments he moves forward. He again prepares himself to live up to the expectation of people around him. Tightening up his muscles he has to act as the strength of his dear ones. He folds his sleeves to carry all the burdens and to take the responsibility life brings towards his way.

The day after the storm, just like the coconut tree again stands straight holding up its head high and wait for the sun to rise again; a man too moves on with life hiding his weakness, holding his pain and regrets as he realizes he does not have any options left for him other than being strong. For him, the day starts with hopeful eyes of his dear ones looking at him as if they want to ask him, when are you going to make it big in life? As the day progresses answering so many questions of others, looking at the hopes of his dear ones, and faith of his loved ones on him; he ends the day saying, “My life is no more only mine.” He slowly finds himself lost in the crowd where every one is in a hurry to meet the need and greed. With success and money coming his way, he finds the path is leading him to a beautiful destination. He pulls up his socks and starts running towards that destination with pride and confidence.

Time passes, calendar changes, clock tickles. No one realizes that what if coconut tree is incapable of giving shades;  inside its fruit it offers both fluid and food to get rid of thirst and hunger. A man reaches the last phase of his life. He finds himself separated from the crowd. Success, money seems meaningless to him. He starts looking at the reflection of his happiness and seeks for a moments of peace and togetherness with his dear ones. Now he gains enough maturity, wisdom and experience to realize his life was only his that he willingly shared with everyone around him. He sits on an armchair, looks at the setting of the sun below the horizon. He remembers those moments which were completely his; those memories he treasured inside him to cherish for a lifetime.

He shuts his eyelids. Tears roll out of his eyes and dissolve on his cheeks. He murmurs, “My life was mine… and I should have lived few moments just for myself.”

Publishing: I am ready to run with my Write foot Forward

It took me almost 27 years to give it my best shot while putting all my heart, body and soul in doing something. From page no-1 to page no-291 it was not an easy journey. From the first word to the last… from the first character to the last dialogue a character speaks I lived every moment of it. I used to sleep at 5:30 in the morning and the next day, I used to spend all day thinking how I would have reacted if someday I had to face the situation any of my book’s characters were facing. I lived this routine life for more than a year.

Once the editing was done, I never bothered to open that document again, to meet those characters of my first novel. I wanted to get everything out of my head. Before I saved that document on my laptop for the last time, I made sure most of my book’s readers are going to find themselves in that book. I am introvert, so I hardly express my deepest feeling with anyone while I am not writing. So I make sure most of those caged thoughts inside my head would come out in this book.

I have no doubt; the best moment for a person is when he/she finds himself in front of a mirror. No person bothers to act judgmental or critical at that very moment when he sees his own reflection on the glass surface. While standing at the other side of the mirror we all confirm how we look in front of others. I want my book to work like that mirror while it reaches hands of a reader. During the process, to the best of my ability I tried to make sure the characters would not look like caricatures to someone who reads the book. 

Few people, who read my manuscript, fortunately reacted just the way I wanted them to react. Most of them even today call me with the name of the male lead character. They feel it’s a true story based on my life and honestly, it feels great to experience it. I do not mind losing my own identity to a fictional character which I had given birth to with my words.

The journey has just started. It’s a terribly slow journey. The publishing world works slower than the Indian Government. The deadlines specified by them are as good as those red lights at traffic signals in our country without a traffic police around. But I am fortunate enough to receive good responses till now. So the journey is not over yet. The promotion plays the most vital role; so I am keeping a note of every single unique promotional idea someone offering me these days. I am no business man, but I am trying to be one. I know it would not be easy for me to write my next book, with a wallet that does not own enough to buy me everything I need to keep people around me happy. I also have a great bunch of friends living in different cities of this huge country who are ready to spread the word across. I really hope the final approval is coming anytime soon. The wait has to end at some point. 

It’s like I am down on my knee and waiting for the gun to be fired, so that I can run. I can run as fast as I can. I just hope I would be good enough to cross all the huddles coming my way.  It’s like I had to wonder randomly and aimlessly for long 26 years to realize what I enjoy doing and now I want to make up for all those missing years of my life that could have taken me closer to my dream.

***~~~~***

( What is the most unique book promotion event you ever experienced or heard of?)

Sequel to Memory

A couple of days earlier, I watched a movie called, “Before Sunset”. It’s a sequel to a movie called, “Before Sunrise”. I haven’t seen the first one yet though.

The movie goes like this; a young American man (Hawke) and a young French woman (Delpy) meet on a train and spend one night in Vienna. Nine years later they meet again. They spend one afternoon together in Paris. It’s a beautiful movie.

Starting from the locations, to plots, to characterization to scene settings… everything is just perfect. But after the movie ended I was left with a simple question in my mind, “How could two people meet so comfortably nine years later… as if nothing has changed? How could they start from the same point where they left nine years ago possible?”

Few days earlier I met an old friend of mine. We were really close friends at some point of time. We did not have to look at the clock while calling each other on our cell phones; we were never afraid of cracking a cheap joke at each other as either of us knew, one’s word can never hurt the other.

But after six years, when I met her; somehow I was happy yet uncomfortable. I wanted to talk to her for hours, but could not find just the right words. There was something which was missing. May be it was the love, trust, faith or compatibility we were sharing at some phase of our lives with each other. I do not have the answer and I did not bother to dig too much into that well of past to extract what made us both behave life two strangers although we are not really.

I believe every relationship, be it love, friendship or anything else… keeps two people together with an invisible bond. Somehow time looses that bond. We can’t pause a moment as far as a relationship is concern… and return to that same moment being the same people after a certain time. That can’t be possible.

Benjamin Franklin, very rightly quoted, “Lost time is never found again.” The world is so crowded that, in absence of a person other person finds plenty of reasons and ways to keep himself or herself busy. During this whole process, somehow that person intentionally or unintentionally changes. Just like William Gibson once said, “Time moves in one direction, memory in another.” May be during this journey we meet people who leave their foot prints in our lives and memories. Still when we move forward in this journey we separate ourselves from those few people who were specials to us at some point of time. This is the trend of life, and it’s also the harsh reality of every relationship.

Time does not change any of us, but it unfolds different shades of life in front of us each passing day. We may not realize the changes those occur within us as it’s a very slow process; but for someone who meets us after really long those changes in us proved to be much bigger than what they occur to us and others who meet us on daily basis.

I believe that is the beauty of life, it always gives us a chance to start it all new. It does not compel us to move forward from that point where we left at some point of time carrying all the past baggage.

Another Year ended!!

I wrote this one, a couple of years earlier. All those people who read my book, “I wish and hope” must have read this one… as the book starts with this one.

After two years… I find nothing much has changed in this planet. I thought of sharing this one with you all one last time, before 2013 ends and 2014 starts…..

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*******~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was the night of 31st December 2011.  I checked the time in my cell phone.  There were few hours left before the last digit of the year would change and ‘1’ would turn into ‘2’ and the year 2011 would end. But it was nothing new. Since my birth, the last couple of digits had already changed 26 times. Each year, I used to celebrate the last day of the year with family and friends with the hope that, the coming year would bring more happiness and success.

But this time it was completely different. I was standing alone in my balcony waiting for the arrival of New Year, a new beginning, and for the first time I was not there with my family and close friends to welcome a new year. Instead of celebrating I was busy fighting loneliness.

I had nothing much to do so I switched on my television to see the celebration that was going on across the world. People were dancing, singing and partying hard. I could not have celebrated alone, so I thought it would be better to watch these people, and be a part of their celebration. However after some time I realized that, watching those celebrations was hurting me more. So I tuned into a news channel and I came to know that, the cyclone that had hit my country few hours earlier had claimed at least 30 lives by then. Then I turned off the television and decided that, I would call my Mom. I talked to my Mom, who was more than a thousand miles away from me. She tried her best to convince me that she was not missing me and I also did the same.

Those last few hours made me realize something. All of us live in one world. We consume oxygen from the same atmosphere. Yet each one of us has different problems to deal with, each one of us has different reasons to celebrate, each one of us has different priorities in life, each one of us has different encumbrances and each one of us has different expectations from life.

That day I saw people from a different part of the world busy celebrating the New Year which had already arrived in their country. There were some people in my country who were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the New Year so that their celebrations would begin. Then there were some people who were worried about what had happened to their family members after that natural disaster. Some were mourning the loss of their dear ones and some were trying to rebuild their homes.

Maybe this is how the world, we live in works. We are so busy looking for that reason to celebrate our own achievements, our own success that we forget what is going on elsewhere. We limit ourselves to a very small region; by dividing ourselves and by creating borders.

That day I realized that we need to break that barrier and connect with each other irrespective of our origins, religion or beliefs. We need to give someone else the freedom and the time to share his pain or happiness with us. We need to make our shoulders strong enough to carry a person who can’t walk on his own. We need to value what our heart says.

C’mon US!!

Since Thursday, The government, the media and the people here have started showing their displeasure over the arrest and barbaric treatment of India’s diplomat in Newyork. The news headlines suggest, she was strip-searched, kept in cell with drug addicts.  Being a leading country of the world, no one expects such behavior from its officials. By any means, it does not set a good example in front of the world. Now this has somehow generated anger in most of us Indians. If people of my country are capable of protesting against injustice for women in India, then also they are capable of doing it when something similar happens anywhere in this planet.

None of us enjoy when we hear the idol of our generation, who is a scientist and also ex-president of India, was frisked on board the aircraft, and had his jacket and shoes briefly taken away at a New York airport in the year 2009.

There is a long list of famous Indians of various fields who were detained at various airports in US for no reason. We justifies most of those cases, by saying, it’s fine if US is doing so to protect its people. The celebrity and VIP culture is so deeply rooted in India that, the actors, singers sometimes expect the same celebrity treatment across the globe. But that argument surely falls short when we consider cases like what happened with a women diplomat last Thursday, or like what happened with Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam long back in 2009.

Somehow I feel episodes like these, send a wrong message about US. Today while we were having a chat, one of my close friends asked me , why the hell people go to US, if these things happen. His question was simple, yet it opens a whole new argument. I did not argue. But my personal experience with people living in this country is just wonderful. I find those people honest, hardworking, and straight forward. But people who have never gone there or have never met any person who belongs to that country create their own perceptions with instances like these. Just like there are many misconceptions about us Indians. Instances like these give birth to a general perception on the arrogance of US officials; which is a wrong thing for sure as they represent the people living in that country too.

Most of my blog readers belong to this country; so I know I am risking my readership by writing this. But I also have lots of faith on intelligence and humanity of people living in that country as I feel they can judge if this was right or wrong keeping their nationality aside. I am sure their heart and conscience would surely tell them to not appreciate this behavior of officials which hurts sentiment of so many people living in another country.

Crisis turning into opportunity

“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger–but recognize the opportunity.”
― John F. Kennedy

I never realized how these words of John F. Kennedy hold any truth in them, till last month. How can someone turn a crisis into an opportunity; does not matter if he is a Chinese, Indian, American or any other national. But what I have been experiencing and seeing around me since the natural disaster affected my hometown, has surely made me realized Mr. Kennedy did not express his thought without checking its validity.

Now my situation best described by the great American romance writer Susan Elizabeth Phillips in her book Breathing Room, which says, “I finally figured out that not every crisis can be managed. As much as we want to keep ourselves safe, we can’t protect ourselves from everything. If we want to embrace life, we also have to embrace chaos.”
As most of you know, Phailin played a devastating role at our place. Although the cyclone had no direct impact on my hometown, but next day we had to face the worst flood that affected our place so badly in last few decade.

The flood water entered most of the Godowns and shops. Most of the businessmen in our small town were clueless on how to deal with such crisis.

In next few days, we saw some people selling their products those affected by flood waters on huge discounts. Like always discount matters a lot to us Indian, as we believe we are born street smart. So it was a great deal for most of the people, and in few days only all the products were sold. The discount sale did not end there. It continued and it’s still continuing… but this time they were selling all those old stock which were nothing but garbage for them before the flood. And our intelligent people are forgetting that, the sellers too are Indians and they are also street smart. People are buying those shoes, clothes which they have rejected long time back.  And It all due to that mindset of us customers, which makes us believe the difference between Rupees 999 and Rupees 1000 a huge one.

The businessmen are not the only one who turned crisis into opportunity and made a profit in thousands selling goods which were tired of waiting for someone to realize their worth. Few among the great politicians too used this crisis as the opportunity too. The relief that reached our place, helped them in wooing the voters, as election is round corner.

We somehow forget that we live in an opportunistic world; where things are measured using the parameters as either Profit or loss, advantage or disadvantage. Be it in a crisis, or in good times, we all search for that small ladder that would help us to move one step up….

“You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” -Rahm Emanuel

Now I wonder why we always take our personal crisis too seriously as if it was the end of the world for us! We need to see, a broken relationship providing us a chance to get into a better relationship, losing a job as an opportunity or need to find a better job or start a venture that is our own. It’s all there in… how we see… and how we think.

“Successful people recognize crisis as a time for change – from lesser to greater, smaller to bigger.” -Edwin Louis Cole

Judging a book by Author’s picture

Some people say, “Never judge a book by its cover.” I agree. But then, I confess I do… I really do judge a book by its cover. And I also believe many of us do. What if I would say, “Never judge a book by its author’s photo on the back cover!” How many of you would agree to me on this.

How you look…. how much it matters! I believe it matters depending on what that person wants to do or which profession he wants to choose. This question never appears in my mind while I wrote more than two hundred fifty posts in my blog, or even when I self published my first book.

This question only came to my mind, only after I decided to go with traditional publishing for my first novel. It’s only then I realized some publishers want the author’s photo as part of the proposal. That left me wondering, why is it so important to check, if the author’s face is presentable or not. After all he is not an actor or a rock star. His work would never be judged considering how he looks in front of the camera while giving an interview or how he carries himself when he marks his presence on stage.

But then after talking to many people I realized these are all part of the process for the next generations of young writers; who have to promote themselves and their books on the social networking site, who have to visit various Engineering and Management colleges to create an impression in minds  hearts of those hundreds of people present inside that podium. And yes, it’s quite impossible to create an impact with just 140 characters on a follower or to make your presence unforgettable in front of hundreds or thousands of people with just a ten minutes speech. This is when the face value matters. And it was my mistake to categorize those publishers as fools who ask for photographs of the author.

I was actually a fool who never realized what some great brains working in publishing world caught so easily. How could I forget once I too bought a book just by seeing the female author’s picture on the back cover! Then I had a huge crush on her and I am still unable to get rid of that. I was about to type the name of the author for you all ( I consider you all my extended family… you people know that ;) ) …. But then I pressed the delete key few times, until I erased her name completely from here….

Here’s another thing I have learnt and implementing in my life these days. Now I am bit cautious on what I say or what I write on a public domain. Who knows someday, I would find a small empty space to fit in that list of next generation of writers. And I do not want someone else to tell that lady, I have talked about her in my blog. Some words sound better when you tell them with your own mouth to that person for whom they are intended.

Have you ever bought any book, just because you found the author good-looking or smart?

Moving on…after Phailin

Cyclone UNA
Cyclone UNA (Photo credit: Arthur Chapman)

12th October 2013, Cyclone Phailin hit my state. It was expected that the storm would bring wind of up to 136 Miles/hr.  The fear in faces of more than one billion people overshadowed the dark clouds floating over our head. The news channels both local and national, reported from the ground zero.

Reports said, Phailin would landslide at 6:30 that evening. Just like us Indians, it too did not reach its destination on time. May be Phailin too was aware of the fact that, we Indian do not encourage punctuality.

It was also the day that marks the biggest festival of our state; the  day on which our people worship Goddess Durga.   But somehow for the first time, when I left my home that evening, I saw roads were empty, darkness covered everywhere and not many people dared to come out of their houses. We were 150 Miles away from the place where the destruction was predicted. Still the nature’s roar did not fail to reach the place where I was at that time.

Next day, was my grandfather’s death anniversary. I bought few things those required for the rituals. Before I could return home, Phailin reached its destination. That night, I sat in front of my television set and reporters of those 24/7 news channels shared every details of what they were experiencing at that time. I wondered why the hell that reporter was trying to show his unnecessary heroism, by standing on a roof top, while the back ground was too dark for the camera to capture anything. In the meantime, It was bit funny and irritating that, another woman reporter sitting in the studio informed us viewers that, we must guess the speed of the wind by seeing how the wind blew hair of the other reporter, who stood in the place where phailin had started showing its characteristics.

The rain continued all night at my small town and at 3AM the electricity went off.

After more than one year, my first novel’s complete manuscript was saved on my laptop. Copy edit was done. I wanted to send my proposal next day to all the leading publishing houses. I thought it was purely coincidental that, just a day before my grandfather’s death anniversary the project ended. I always feel the urge in me to write has a connection with my grandfather. I do not remember his face. He died when I was only one year old. I did not have any memories of him with me. Still what I heard from others, he was a great writer and he has a great command over this foreign language in a time where India was ruled by some people speaking that same language. His work never got published nor did he get any recognition for his work. He was a reputed man in our small town; but after two generations that reputation too lost its presence in the society.

 Next day morning, when I woke up, I heard there was not much causality due to the cyclone. But it had affected badly so many town and villages like ours. Due to heavy rains, and sea not receiving water from the river due to the cyclone; the over flowing river water had now entered to the houses and streets of our town. In past twenty eight years I had never seen such a flood before.

Still the rituals performed at my place; while water kept on entering many of my friends’ homes. The communication to their place was broken. It was impossible to reach their place. From first floor of their houses, they kept on looking at water entering their ground floor and destroying their goods. By evening water reached to the first floor too.

 There was no help from any official, so they did not have any way other than waiting for the water level to go down by its own.  It was scary. That night after doing enough damage, the water level went down. I remembered I had some plan with my manuscript. But there was no electricity; and I could n’t hope of my wish of knocking at all the publisher’s mail box with my proposal on my Grandfather’s death anniversary getting fulfilled.

The calendar hanging on my room’s wall took me to the next date with the sunrise.The condition still remained the same. No electricity, no water supply. The evidence of destruction could easily be seen on the streets of my small town. Properties of millions laid in front of the shops damaged; houses were broken; accessories were floating on the water; no smiling face anywhere around me.

In next few hours, we got our power supply back. The small town lit up with artificial brightness once again. People again crowded the narrow streets joining every locality of my small town. The place now much looks like what it was before the flood. The mark of destruction still left everywhere around us, but people have started moving on.

I too sent my proposal to publishers, and started preparing for an exam I have few weeks later. The nervousness and anxiety of getting close to a dream, that I have lived with since so many years now helped me in getting rid of the fear of the natural disaster.

Does not matter how much big the crisis is; it’s us humans’ hopes, dreams and aspirations those help us to move on…..

Word Play

IMG_0043

Love,

That gives the strength to breath.

Break ups,

That remind us the value of faith.

Win,

That rewards the pain.

Lose,

That teaches us to stay in the game.

Relationship,

That wraps up our soul.

Need,

That provides us a goal.

Money,

That values our strength.

Poverty,

That tests the values we have.

Humanity,

That takes our soul’s test.

Goal,

That asks us not to rest.

Dream,

That warns us to get up the moment we rest.

Hope,

That sparks inside and waits for its visibility.

Happiness,

That last in moments.

Peace,

That enhance a soul’s beauty.

Loneliness,

That helps finding the answer “Who am I?”

Arrogance,

That confuses others “Who actually am I?”

Ego,

That hurts most heal least,

Self respect,

That creates a bridge to cross the most difficult street.

Confidence,

That raises the bar from inside.

Passion,

That gathers the courage to stand against the high tide.

Another year ends!!

I was writing my book, and as I am getting closer to last few pages of it my mind has started screwing up little bit. I logged into my WordPress account and it showed a picture of an award as a notification. I am no fool, so I did not waste my time guessing that might be I was freshly pressed today. No it’s not that getting freshly pressed is something that is not my destiny; but it’s just because I do not deserve it.

untitled

Then I wondered why that alert was still showing up on my account and after clicking on it I realized my blog has grown up a year older might not be stronger than before. Somehow I felt my love for my blog has faded. The excitement I had on its first anniversary was no more there. It was like when a person is in a relationship, he celebrates his girlfriend’s birthday with joy and after break up he remembers it with a glass of wine and after few more years it remains a day just like any other day.

3

But then something that keeps me and my blog connected. An invisible force still binds my virtual world to my real world through my blog. If not so, then why after so many day, today only I felt the need to login to my account. There are few things which we need to keep away from logic and facts, might be my bonding with my blog is one of them.

Two years earlier, sitting on a mat without any prior knowledge about blogging I opened this account with the help of a friend. Being a not so good Software Engineer, it did not take me more that couple of hours to figure out how things work. Then I met some wonderful and talented people and the journey was beautiful and it still is. Might be meeting these people from whom I learn more than I learn from people living around me in real world is my destiny.

But as one of most favorite romantic movie, my sassy girl ends with a dialogue that says-

“And as for the question of destiny, it can’t do alone… all I know is even when destiny really wants to accomplish something, it can’t do it alone. You still have to go to restaurant… you still have to show up… You still have to build a bridge to the one you love….”

These two years, things in me or around me did not change much for the people who meet me, who know me or even who think they know me. But when I look at myself, I feel things have changed a lot.

May be I am not as connected to my blog as I was a couple of years earlier… may be writing a book fascinates me more than writing a blog now. Still my blog would always stay close to my heart, after all this is the only place where I let my heart to speak. Sometimes long distance relationship works better and I believe this is that phase my blog and I are going through….

I hope next year I will remember when my blog was born…. Thanks everyone for such a wonderful 365 days in blogosphere last year and all your love and support. Love you all!!  :)