Pappu is under the care of a maid, who works for "money" and who will be taking care of him on his daily routines. Pappu will get a chance to see his parents once a week, if he is too lucky. He used to wonder how Tarun's dad and mom are always with him and why is his dad and mom not to be seen at home, his little brain could not dig too much and find a reason for that, he knows "that is what it is". Sanjay used to come home only by 9:00 PM or 10:00 PM, quickly takes a shower and goes to his room and start taking his daily conference calls, Sanjana works in shifts, so most of the days either she will be sleeping in the day time or will be out of home in the night for work.
Pappu was waiting to talk to his dad and mom for almost a month now, but somehow he could not find them together, he wrote a letter to his dad and then kept it on his table saying "Daddy, I want to talk to you and tell you something, I wish you were here with me today". Poor chap does not know how to send an email and also he does not know that his dad does see only emails and nothing other than that. Days rolled on to weeks and Pappu was waiting for a reply from his dad. After a long wait, he wrote a similar letter to his mom and kept it in her handbag, again poor Pappu did not know that his mom does checks only her laptop bag and hardly uses her hand-bag.
Pappu got used to miss his dad and mom and he almost forgot that he needs to talk to them, the only time Sanjay and Sanjana visit Pappu's room is, when Pappu is sleeping. One fine day, Pappu got his dad's cell phone number, and dialed him, unfortunately Sanjay was in a meeting and hence he cut the call, unknowingly Pappu called him up again and again and since the number in the cell phone flashed "Home calling ..." Sanjay picked it up wondering who could call him from home, on the other end it was Pappu, and without even listening to what he is about to say, Sanjay replied "I am very busy dear, papa will come home and talk to you", and cut the line.
Pappu was waiting for his dad to full-fill his promise, but unfortunately Sanjay did not the time to meet Pappu. Sanjana had to go to Delhi for a conference and hence she left to Delhi one fine morning, leaving just a wet kiss on Pappu's forehead. Sanjay too had a meeting in Mumbai and he too had to rush to the airport early, so he came to Pappu's room and gave one more kiss on Pappu's cheeks and went off in a flash. It’s the maid who is now the in charge of the house. She called up some of her friends for a "party" and she was enjoying with all the other oldies in the backyard. Pappu was starving like anything and noticing that there is no one at home he decided to make his own corn flakes.
He did not know how to operate the oven, nor he has practice to switch on the gas stove, since it’s an auto-ignition, he managed to lit the fire and took a milk packet out, started to pour it into a vessel and kept it on the burning stove, poor kid did not know when to take it off, so within moments when all the milk in that container started to bubble out, he got panicked and tried to take that hot vessel out with his bare hand, hot milk splashed all over his body and face and Pappu was screaming with pain, this being a festive season of Diwali, with the noise of those occasional cracker bursts, his scream went un-noticed. Maid returned home after an hour just to witness the horrifying scene of Pappu lying in a stream of blood and all his top layer skin peeled off.
Within minutes both Sanjana and Sanjay's cell phone rang and luckily they were about to board their flights, moment they heard this news, they both rushed home. In a hurry both forgot to note down the name of the hospital where they have taken Pappu for treatment, Sanjay rushed to his room to pick the maid's cell phone number, and at that point in time, he saw the letter written by Pappu to him, the letters in that letter appeared to be blurred because of the accumulation of tears in his eye lids, he for a moment kicked him hard on his thy and rushed to Sanjana's room, where she too happened to see a similar letter in her hand bag, both of them felt the pain of not taking enough care of Pappu. Somehow they figured the hospital and rushed in.
Group of doctors were attending poor Pappu who was moaning "Daddy, I want to talk to you ... Mummy I want to talk to you ..." the furious doctor screamed on top of his throat and asked who are Pappu's parents, with a sense of fear and embarrassment both of them raised their hands, only to get a severe dose from the doctor, for leading a kid to such grievous burn injury. He told them that it’s a second degree burn and this cannot be cured without a plastic surgery, money is not at all an issue to them now, all they want is to get their Pappu back in shape. Sanjay wrote a blank cheque and put that on the doctor's feet and begged "Please save my son", the doc too knows that this is an emotional outburst. He gave him a not so comforting reply "I will try my best and leave the rest to GOD".
The doctors operated on Pappu and he was stated out of danger. After nearly three days of waiting outside the ICU, both Sanjay and Sanjana got their chance to meet Pappu. Pappu was extremely delighter to see his parents together and the first thing he asked them was "Oh, your offices are leave today is it?", that question was more like they getting 1000 whip beats at a time, both of them hugged Pappu and cried buckets, Pappu with all his innocence said "Happy Diwali Mom, Happy Diwali Dad ...". Running a race behind money is a never ending race, you cannot reach your destination if money is your target. Life is made up of so many beautiful things and money does not get a place in that list. A balance should always be there in life, and at any point in time, our Personal life should take more precedence than our Professional life, Job is just a part of our day, but family is the one thing which makes a "day".
The next thing that anybody would do once they get their pet is to name it, Rahul and his entire family did a brain storming session and at last he named him "Tweedy", Rahul took immense care of that pup and his parents were so proud that he is having the sense of responsibility which is very good as he grows up. He gets up early morning and then takes that pup in his palms for a daily walk, as days went on, Tweedy too grew up and she is now at the stage where all puppies will get naughty. Tweedy goes to Rahul's room and then bites most of his notebooks and pants and shirts, but Rahul does not mind much about that and will never punish Tweedy for that.
He showered all his love and affection on that dog and never wanted to miss him, but as a threat to that, his summer holidays got over and he has to go to school, Rahul did not have the mind to go to school daily in the morning, as he need to miss Tweedy at least for 8 hours in a day, but after a huge struggle, his mom convinced him and promised him that she will take care of his pup very well. Rahul used to rush from school to take care of his dog and no other thought would be in his mind other than that, so the problem of Rahul going to play somewhere after school got stopped for once and his mother was very much relieved. He used to complete his homework well in advance to spend more time with Tweedy, to him Tweedy is his world.
Fate always throws surprises at everyone, similarly it threw a big shock to Rahul one day, in the form of his loving Tweedy dying in a freak accident, his mom got so nervous and she feared of how Rahul will digest this shocking news, as Tweedy is his world. Rahul had exams that time, so he could not spend any time with his dog, as he was busy in preparing. That fateful day, when Rahul came in, his mom gathered all her strength and courage and told him in a husky voice, "Rahul, our Tweedy died today morning da", and she was expecting something very dramatic to happen, but in contrast Rahul said, "Ah, that’s sad, anyway it’s ok, don’t worry, we can manage". This reply was something which she does not expect from Rahul and immediately she called up Rahul's dad and told him that he took it so lightly.
Rahuls exams got over one Friday and he came home running in search of Tweedy, he asked his mom, "Mom where is tweedy mom ?", his mom got confused and she told him, "That day I told you naa, our Tweedy died and you also said ok, we can manage", on hearing that Rahul rolled on the floor and started crying like mad, and his mom was totally shocked to see such a behavior from Rahul after 4 days. She somehow stopped his crying and asked him, "Why are you crying today Rahul, when I told you the other day that Tweedy is dead, why did you not react like this ?"
Rahul wiped his tears and said in a rough voice, "I heard it as daddy"
New York is literally freezing and luckily I have brought enough thick clothing to protect me from this cold. My cousin is staying in New Jersey, so I have a company here. I have requested him to move into my hotel as long as I am here, so he is moving in tomorrow with all amenities. The hotel room that I am staying here does not have anything other than cot and bed, good at least they have a TV. The rate for this hotel is very high as it is very near to Times Square and NASDAQ. I walked around Manhattan and figured out where my office is, it’s pretty close by but the only thing is I have to walk for 10 minutes in this cold climate.
I do feel terribly home sick and I know it will be there for a week, but once my cousin moves in with me, I should be feeling alright. I have already started my countdown to come back to INDIA, since it’s only for 4 weeks, I think time will just fly. I don’t have any great shopping plans as such, but at the same time I don’t have any plans to save these dollars as well, I will simply enjoy and come back. On the professional front I want the organized trainings to happen properly and I get the knowledge that I intended to learn from here, all certain done, that is my top priority.
I am still under jet lag, I just wanted to sleep well tonight so that I can be fit when I get to work tomorrow. Will keep you all posted with some interesting updates during this trip.
Actually this alliance has more or less created a MONOPOLY in the Indian "private aviation" sector, Its now just one airline, whether you like it or not, you have to choose only that if you prefer to fly on a private airline with some attractive chicks serving you drinks, or else you have to fall back on our every scary Indian airlines, where some 60 plus aged air hostess will narrate you the in-flight instructions like this "thhherrrrr aaarreee tttwwwooo eexxxiitttssss iiinnnn thhhheee ffffrrroonnntttt aaaannndddd bbbbaaaccckkk sssiiiddee ooffff theeee aaiiirrrkrrrrraaafffttt" with a shiver, at times I used to wonder whether she will be alive or dead before she completes those narration, most of the air hostess in Indian airlines will by some way remind your granny or great granny.
Coming back to the saga of "firing and hiring", moment the media started speculating that this will lead to a "monopolistic" competition and before that reached the ears of our "Aviation" ministry, Naresh sparked this "turbulent" news and all the sacked employees staged a teary protest outside the airport, it was a feast for the media, all of a sudden some good looking steward's and air hostess have become guests to "News channels" and they sounded too amateur when it comes to sitting in front of the camera, in fact one air hostess was applying her lip stick, when the camera started rolling and in turn she gave a teary interview about she being sacked.
Just because "Aviation Sector" comes under the central government, it still does not mean it’s a "government company", it’s a private sector and the management has got all rights to hire and fire people, I felt that the JET employees have gone just a bit too far, the same kind of thing can never happen in our IT industry. It’s actually sad to see those good looking girls frying themselves under the hot sun and screaming from their bottom of the throat saying "WE WANT JUSTICE, WE WANT JUSTICE", but unfortunately my LCD's audio output was not that clear and for a moment I was hearing "WE WANT JUST KISS, WE WANT JUST KISS", and I was shocked to see that there were no volunteers to kiss those good looking girls. ;-)
Ah, as expected Naresh Goyal succumbed to the pressure when the media showed mathematics of how much they would save if they sack these low paid employees, and as a typical CEO he too was forced to say that his employees were his "Extended Family" and he cannot seem them in pain, blah, blah, blah. If they are his extended family, oh man, he has got some gorgeous daughters ;-). Anyways the JITTER WAVES created by Naresh is now ok and it’s back to its BETTER WAYS.
"I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life…"
Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living.
It was a cowboy's life, a life for someone who wanted no boss.
What I didn't realize was that it was also a ministry.
Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a moving confessional. Passengers climbed in, sat behind me in total anonymity, and told me about their lives. I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, and made me laugh and weep.
But none touched me more than a woman I picked up late one August night. I was responding to a call from a small brick fourplex in a quiet part of town. I assumed I was being sent to pick up some partyers, or someone who had just had a fight with a lover, or a worker heading to an early shift at some factory for the industrial part of town.
When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation.
Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked. "Just a minute", answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.
After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
"Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.
"It's nothing", I told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated."
"Oh, you're such a good boy", she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, "Could you drive through downtown?"
"It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly.
"Oh, I don't mind," she said. "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice."
I looked in the rear view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.
"I don't have any family left," she continued. "The doctor says I don't have very long."
I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. "What route would you like me to take?" I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I'm tired. Let's go now."
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
"How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse.
"Nothing," I said.
"You have to make a living," she answered.
"There are other passengers".
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.
"You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said. "Thank you."
I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.
I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.
We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware - beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.
Raghu on the other side was kept in dark, Sindhu slowly avoided talking, emailing him, even if Raghu calls her up she used to fake a silly reason and cut the call, Raghu too is smart enough to understand that something is fishy. One fine evening he called her up and as expected she did not pick his call, so he sms'd her saying, "I wanted to meet you, if you have time", she too decided to close this off for the one last time, since both of them were in the US and that too in the same city, New York, it wasn't a big deal in meeting him in person. Sindhu sms'd him saying, they can meet at 5 in the evening.
They met in one of the famous meeting point in NY, Starbucks coffee shop. Raghu seem to be cheerful and the same cheer was missing in Sindhu's face, Raghu asked her a straight forward question, "What's your problem Sindhu, you seem to be confused and changed?", Sindhu did not know how to open the topic and was sweating in that 15 degree temperature. Raghu asked her to relax and requested her to feel free to share her thoughts which are bothering her. Sindhu was a bundle of emotions at this point, she asked herself 100s of questions, "Is this a valid reason to reject a guy whom you like so much ?", "What will he think of me if I reject him over the reason of those anonymous emails?", "Am I really doing the right thing here?".
The hot cup of mocha was served on their table and a sip of that really made a world of good to Sindhu. She just did not want to be there anymore at the same time she wanted to tell Raghu that she is not interested to continue any further. Raghu too could not withstand this silence, he decided to open the issue, "So you are confused about the emails, am I right ?", Sindhu was shell shocked and could not sense who come he would have known all that?. Sindhu gulped a bit of saliva and nodded her head in a way of saying "yes". Raghu asked her, "So what have you decided ? Do you believe in that ?", Sindhu was speech less, but she broke her silence and asked Raghu, "How can somebody not believe those emails, it’s my life."
Raghu said, "If I were you, I would care a damn about that, I dunno how can someone believe all those, I thought you are a matured female", Sindhu decided to keep quite rather responding to that question. Raghu knew that she needs his support and affection at this point in time, he took out all the email printouts he got from Sindhu's ex-boyfriend, which had some snaps Sindhu took with him, Sindhu was shocked to see those snaps which she took with Ravi, her ex-boy friend, her eye lids gave way for those tears to roll out, Raghu went her side and said into her ears, "I believe in person than papers, I don’t want to know anything about your bitter past, I like you based on your present and not on your past"
Sindhu thought how foolish she can be, how can she believe those anonymous email which does not have any evidence, she just could not say anything other than tears and comfortably placed herself on Raghu's shoulder and cried buckets, It took Raghu, a kiss on her forehead to bring her back to her senses and their started a new relationship, a new hope, a new life for Sindhu.
I went there by 10:00 and with absolutely no experience in standing in a queue for a long time, I chose to stand a bit deviated from the main queue by excusing myself from those huge mass of ladies, I could see everyone standing in that ration shop looking me differently, later I realized that my Blackberry is the center of attraction there, so I kept it back into my holster and continued to give a blank stare on the floor, time crawled to 10:30 and I noticed that most of the people who were standing behind me have already gone ahead of me. I somehow managed to find a slot in the queue and by 11:15 I reached the billing spot. The same evil guy who used to threaten me 18 years back, still with the same ferocity barked at me "Enna venum sollu", I whispered "Rice 10KG, Palm oil, Thur Dhal and Keroscene".
He asked my ration card and the moment he saw the color of my ration card he threw that on my face screaming "Idhu adutha counter, kannu irruku la, number paarthu nikka maatta?", it took a while for me to get over that insult and I seriously don't know which queue to stand, as there were no signs or board which would indicate my queue, I yelled back at him "Endha counter la nikkanum nu enakku enna josiyamaa teriyum, enga yaa poturuka en queue idhu thaan nu ?", the fearing college boy is no more in me, this is a 31 year old "Performance Architect". I think he has not got back a furious reply from anyone for years, he stood up from his chari and closed all his bill book and went off, saying, he is not ready to bill anymore, as I have insulted him.
The entire gang standing behind me looked at me as if I did a big crime, I yelled back at him "Yov, ippo enakku bill podaati, ration officer kitta complaint panniduven, mariyaadhayaa podu". He came out of the room and looked at me like "Nambiyaar", I retaliated with a look like "Rajinikanth" ;-). He took me to a counter where they have pasted a small piece of paper which says "Mylapore - 3" and asked me if I am educated enough to read that. I gave him back by saying I am educated enough reading that, but the size of the board is more like "Kosu kusu vitta size la irukku", there was a roar of laughter in the ration shop including the guy who is sitting inside the "3" counter.
After this drama, I stood in the new queue, which is relatively empty. I asked him the same list of items and he prepared the bill, and finally he asked me 88.35, I was for a moment baffled after hearing that amount and produced him a 100 rupee note, he told me that he has no change and he asked me to tender the exact fare, I told him that I don't have change, he then asked me to wait till he gets the change and asked me to stand aside, I for a moment felt the needless use of all my credit cards, debit cards, cheque books etc etc, none can pay me that 88.35 rupee bill. I stood next to an electric meter which is well protected from shock by multiple layers of spider webs and there was an ugly big lizard which has its tounge stick out to catch some insect :-(
After nearly 20 minutes of waiting, the guy gave me the change of 12.50 paise, he has swallowed 15 paise by then. I proceeded to the next half of the building where they deliver the goods, I gave him my bill which read 10kg Rice, he pinned my bill in that traditional bill hook which has been the same way for 18 years now. It has a sharp needle such to a wooden plank and its edges have gone blunt. The guy placed a un-marked weight on the right hand side and poured a tin of rice on the left hand side, I asked him what is the metric of that iron weight, he gave me a nasty stare and told me "I don’t know", that answer really pissed me off and the "Anniyan" inside me came out, I shouted back at him asking "Weight evalo nu teriyaama thaan nee velai pannariyaa ?, Idhu enakku 5 kg maadhiri irukku, nee enna daa naa 10kg nu sollara, naa unna eppadi nambaradhu ?"
This argument brought back that old evil billing guy and he asked me "Enna prechana pannarathuku kadaiku vandhurukiyaa, unna thooki veliya potuduven, ozhungaa kdukaradha vaangikitu po, illaati avalothaan mavane", I told myself that he is digging his own grave, "Nee veliya thooki podarathuku naa enna un pinju pona bill book nu nenachiyaa, magane mela kai vechu paaru, apporam iruku di unakku kutcheri", usually I raise my voice when it comes to "fighting" which I am not used to very often, suddenly the in charge of that ration shop came to me and then inquired what happened, I explained him the sequence of the events and he gave his employees a nice dose and he himself gave me the things I wanted.
I warned that billing guy saying "Innoru vaati customer kitta ippadi karaaraa pesina, apporam un velai ku naa guarantee illa di, paarthu nadandhuka" even though I don’t have any contacts in the govt sector and I cannot do anything from my purview, I gave him this "udhaar" and came off running to my house, I got scared that he might gather some gundas and attack me :-)))))), see how bold I am ;-)
Media persons thronged the market to feast its auidence with those gory images of blood stains and bodies which were lying all over the market. Tanvir is still standing in front of his mom's body with a hope that his mom will get up after sleep, to him death is nothing but sleep, but little he knew that his mom has slept for once. When people around him were crying for help, a little puppy drew his attention, it got stuck inside a shop where the bomb actually went off, amidst of those hot and fuming rumbles, this little pup was alive and was barking for help, Tanivr ran towards it and did his level best to save that little one, the tongue of those hot flame kissed tanvir's hand many times, but he was pretty determined to save that little one, and at last he dragged that puppy out of that rubble and took him to his arms.
He was a bit too late in rescuing that little puppy and as a result his mom's body was moved away and he has no clue where she went, he thought that his mom would have got up from sleep and has gone home. The hurdle of a motherless child starts here, he waited in a bus stop to go to his place and once his bus came he tried boarding in, immedieatly the conductor chucked him out of the bus and pushed him on the road saying that animals are not allowed inside the bus, he cannot show his anger to the man who slapped him a 500 rupee note for a Rs 2 ticket, instead he showed it on Tanvir, both Tanvir and his little pup were on the mud, Tanvir helped his little pet to dust off the sand from his body and he decided to walk.
He reached his village and still could not understand the reason why there is a big crowd in front of his house, he decided not to go to his house and hence he took shelter inside a nearby mango grove, he has his friend Rohan there, who always feeds him with a mango whenever he goes there, Rohan is the landlord of that mango grove, he was shocked to see Tanvir walking all alone when there was a bomb blast in the city, he rushed to Tanvir and asked him the reason for he coming all alone, Tanvir narrated the scene without missing the innocence, Rohan understood the fact that his mom his no more, he took Tanvir to his arms and decided to have him forever, both Tanvir and his little puppy got a shelter.
Next day the city was calm and people have not got out of the fear of the bomb blasts, the roads were empty, little Tanvir and his newly named "pintu" were on the roads, happily playing. Tanvir saw a colorful bag which had a "Teddy Bear" image printed on it with flashy colors, he happily took that with him and he saw that there was a alarm clock ticking inside it, he showed "pintu" the new "GIFT" he got and he took the same to his mango grove, there goes off a loud thundering sound and a flash of light ...
With the text "Lets stop terrorism, lets spare those innocent Tanvir's" flashing on the screen, the movie got over. Gulbar got a call on his cell phone and his son screamed at the other end saying, "Dad, I just now found a colorful bag which has got a alarm clock in it, you come home I will show that to you" followed by a thundering sound, "terrorist" Gulbar who placed that cover bomb in a nearby locality before coming to the theatre has blasted and the next call was from his boss who congratulated him for his successfully completing the plan ... Gulbar's scream and cry was more than the thundering sound of the bomb.
Soumya was shot dead while she was driving her car back home at around 3:40 AM in the morning. Initially this was registered as a case of road accident, but the post-mortem report revealed the fact that she had a "bullet" which was piercing her right skull. Not even in the wildest of dreams one could have imagined such a fatal end for one of the most loving human being in the Headlines Today news room. The interviews given by her colleagues were heartening and they way Avanthika Singh and Nida Khan presented it today morning was quite evident with the fact that, they felt it as their personal loss and not just a colleague to all of them.
I pray for her soul to rest in peace and GOD has plucked that wonderful flower from earth and planted it in his garden, though she is not with us today, her good work and the mark she has left in the field of journalism would always remain forever with us.
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