Sunday, May 27, 2012


Disclaimer: Dude, completely fiction. 

I was taking a 2 week vacation to visit my sister and brother in law in Bangalore.  With exams behind me, I felt like taking a break to go to another place and try to figure things out.  Career, relationships, which direction was life moving in.

It was a 2 hour flight, and another two hours to reach the city from the village where Bangalore airport is situated.  I checked in my baggage and asked for a window seat.  I usually prefer aisle, but today I wanted to see the sunset and the clouds.  One of those days when looking into distance helps in sorting things out in your mind.

The security check was a breeze.  Not many people taking a flight out at this hour on a thursday.  There was only one common line for hand baggage screening.  After picking up the laptop from the tray, I walked over to the coffee day counter and picked up a coffee.  Having skipped lunch, I was surviving only on a mug of milk since morning.  Coffee wasn't one of the best ideas, I guess.

Finally, boarded.  I had my copy of Immortals of Meluha in my hand but I could not concentrate.  Mind was way too preoccupied with other things.  The uncertainty of chartered accountancy exams and the vicious cycle.  It's interesting how some people have their career all sorted out and planned.  Even if I clear the exams this time, I have no clue what I want to do after that.  When I see people around me with chalked out career paths, I feel stupid.

And then the relationships.  How come it is always that the person you like ends up liking someone else? Why can't the cupid strike the two of us together? Am I the only one with messed up relationships? But then, I have realised, over period of time, that those who appear all calm and composed are more messed up than us, who are actually messed up.

I did not realise when the two hours passed by and we touched down the Bangalore airport.  Another two hour bus ride before I reach 'home'.  Ow, I was starving.  Unpacked the stuff I got for sister from Ahmedabad.  As my mother likes to call it, it was a Ram-Bharat milaap, where I am the faithful Bharat who cannot bear to hear anything negative for elder sister.

While sister and brother in law called it an early night, for having to go to work the next day, and I was not sleepy, and was watching tv, and turned on the laptop to check mails surf internet. I turned on the laptop and the login screen came up. I don't have my laptop password protected.  Strange.  It said, username: vikjain. What new hell was this, I wondered.  Who is this vikjain, and why is his name the username? Oh my god.  The laptop got exchanged at the Ahmedabad airport.  Where is this vikjain who has my laptop! how in the heaven's name am I supposed to contact him! Panic attack.

I looked blankly at the login screen with no thoughts crossing my mind. Few minutes later, my phone rang.  It was an unknown number.  I picked up the phone, "Hello?". "Hello? Am I talking to Shreya?" said the voice on the other end. "Yes", I asked, "who's this?" "Hi, Shreya, Vikram here, I think we exchanged our laptops at Ahmedabad airport" he said.

A thousand questions ran through my mind.  "Oh, wow, how did you get my number? And where are you? I mean, I am in Bangalore, which city are you? How will we exchange our laptops back?" I fired without a pause.  "Surprisingly, I am in Bangalore too", he said. I could hear him stifle his laughter.  "Let us meet tomorrow and exchange it back?" he asked.  "Yes, let us meet first thing tomorrow", I added.  "Tomorrow morning I am a bit tied up, what about evening? Around 7ish?" he asked. "Okay, tomorrow at 7 pm, Kalmane coffee at Forum Mall?" I suggested. "It's a date", he said.  I could almost hear him grin.  What was so amusing? Does he lose his laptop so frequently not to get panicked by all this?

Next day, I reached there at 6:45 in anticipation.  One of the few things I lack is patience.  7:00 and no sign of him.  Fought my urge to call Vikram to ask his whereabouts.  At around 7:10, a tall guy with a mop of dark black hair walked in.  He looked familiar.  Of course he looked familiar, we took the same flight the previous evening.

"Hi, Shreya", he said, "here is your laptop", he handed me my laptop from his bag.  I returned him his laptop.  "Coffee?", he asked.  "Umm. Sure", I said.  We ordered our coffees and sat down.  "So how did you get my name and number?", I asked. "Your laptop is not password protected, and your resume is on the desktop", he grinned. 'How dare you go through my files without my permission', I thought. "I figured at least that would have some details about the rightful owner of the laptop", he smiled, as if reading my mind.

Our talks over coffee lasted for over two hours, and would have probably continued further had my sister not called to ask my dinner plans.  Since it was Friday night, we had planned a quick bite followed by the new men in black movie that was released that day.  I had completely lost track of time.

We checked laptops one final time to ensure there are no goof ups this time.  After an awkward handshake, we parted ways.

Five minutes later, I got a new message alert.

"Vikram: Coffee tomorrow?"

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Father

So there are these Gauri vrats and Jaya Parvati vrats the Gujarati unmarried girls observe.  It's for a good husband.  Each vrat is of 5/7 days, and are to be observed for 5/7 consecutive years.  Girls dress up and eat dry fruits and other fasting food, which is typical to this fast.  All my cousins and friends used to observe this back in school.  (usually these fasts are kept by school going girls, mainly cos they love dressing up and eating dry fruits)

I, on the other hand, didn't observe these fasts.  Well, I once tried it, when I was in 1st standard, and all my friends were observing the fast.  I just wanted to feel like one of them.  I fasted for 3 days, and I hated the fasting food.  I don't like dry fruits and other "fun" stuff girls apparently loved.  That evening, the dinner was hosted for all the "fasting" girls at naani's place.  She had invited all the cousins, and it was to be one big happy dinner.  Just that, I was sitting in a corner, because I didn't like anything that was cooked. (c'mon, I was 5)

Dad came from his office to pick up sister and me.  He saw me sitting in a corner, having lost all the smile from my face.  He asked me if I had eaten anything.  Apparently, I hadn't.  He took me to this south indian food joint, and I ate a rava dosa and broke my fast.  He never let me fast again.

Dad and I have frequented the fairs and exhibitions that happen in the city.  We go, check out ridiculous stuff, interesting stuff, and come back, usually with a bottle of organic rose syrup.  We would observe people, and have conversations on what would they be talking about.  He would also point out strange looking women in the crowd and ask, 'doesn't she look like your mom/sister?' (depending on who was with us, and we would high five each other.)  Two days back, we went to this book fair.  Neither of us got any books, but well, we did eat a vadapav there.  On the way back, while I was driving, and he was sitting next to me, he was generally talking about how he is proud of his daughters.  He said he is glad he has brought up well, and before he could appreciate us any further, he changed topic and talked about Govinda in Sandhi Sudha plus ads! He's like this, he has never appreciated any of my achievements.  Maybe he is not the kinds who can express himself well, but then, for any daughter, the validation that matters the most to her is from her father.

And then, it's the sense of humour.  I think I'm funny. Random, yes, but funny too.  It is the Mehta gene that makes us like that.  I guess, only we find ourselves funny, but then, that's okay. :P

Sample this conversation I had with him few years back while I was getting my passport renewed.

Me : But Pappa, wasn't this police inquiry thingy removed from the passport procedure? I
applied with Didi only and she got her new Passport without any inquiry!
He : Perhaps you are having some kind of criminal record.
Me : hmph, Perhaps my father has some kind of criminal record.
He : Did you see they had the kaachi jail for the first time offenders?
Me : No. You should have shown me! I never saw a jail!
He : Don't worry, you might just get a chance to be there!
Me : Pappa, please! I am your daughter!

Needless to say, not many people get our jokes. :P

But now, the thing is, he has probably not yet fully accepted that I have grown up.  Or if he has, he is in denial that I can take decisions independently, without involving him all the time. And that I could drive on the highway, for over 300 kms, while he sits in the backseat. That the roles have reversed.

We fight, we argue, we throw tantrums (oh, yes, fathers can also throw tantrums).  We may not tell sorry to each other, but after that one argument we have, dad brings home my favourite chocolate cream biscuits from this bakery, and slyly asks mom to put them in my room, just to break the ice.

And just like that, things are normal, till the next time I bring up a revolting idea to him.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

what's my kind?

So today I've been asked what kind of guy do I get attracted to?  This made me wonder, "what's my kind?"

I have always been attracted to guys who write.  My first online crush was on this guy who wrote hilarious movie reviews on this website,, back in 2004.  And then on this blogger from IIM Calcutta, who wrote incredibly hilarious blogs.  I eventually went on to become good friends with both of them, and the more familiar I got with them, I realised, I cannot hold a serious conversation with them.  It was all about Alok Nath references and Ranjeet dialogues. I quickly got over them. (also, I think one of them was gay, and there was no point in pursuing him in that case)

I have also been attracted to geeks. (do I hear you guys go d'uh!)  No, really. This one guy, sent me these winzip files everyday, where I had to guess the password to open it, and inside it were these wonderful letters he wrote.  He called it "Message in a Bottle".  It was very exciting, the whole process of waking up to an email everyday, with a hint of mystery attached to it, trying to guess the password based on the talks we've had the previous day.  Always made me smile.  There is something about the beauty of the written word that makes you fall in love with the writer.  Of course, few days later, I guessed the password of the file I was supposed to open after we meet. And rest, as they say, is history.  I haven't heard from him in 4 years, and well, I still don't know what went wrong.

I like a bit of arrogance too.  And why not? For someone who thinks Fitzwilliam Darcy was the most romantic character ever written, and swears by Pride and Prejudice, a bit of arrogance is something that is too hard to resist.  And when arrogance is coupled with a hint (or loads) of mystery, it just adds to the excitement.  Of course, when you come across such characters, chances are, they are either taken, or they *friendzone* you.  You end up being their best friend, their confidante. [i'd still fall for Darcy anyday - go watch bridget jones' diary - colin firth - he tells rene zellweger, "i like you, just as you are" - though arrogant, i think that's the most awesome line ever - i'd go weak in knees if my darcy tells that to me!]

And then there were the eccentrics.  They talk about psychology and finance with equal passion.  Oh, and they also are premier B-school grads and are strange in their own way.  Perhaps the fact that they've been overachievers all their lives have made it difficult to accept emotional failures, like love.  While they want you to confront your fears by using psychoanalysis techniques (which they have acquired after reading dozens of books), they themselves like to stay in denial and don't address their own feelings.  They will also vanish mysteriously, leaving you wondering, what went wrong.

So what exactly was about these guys that got me attracted to them at different stages in life? They were so different! Maybe it was the smile they brought on my face, or the times I laughed so hard to myself while reading some of the things they wrote, or the piercing gaze into my eyes while asking me about my fears, or the very fact that someone took efforts to do something special, like writing a letter (and password protecting it) just for me.  They all made me smile.  They all made me feel special at some point.

As I re-read this post, to bring a suitable ending to it, I don't really know what to write.  Or was there any point in writing it at all.  Maybe I just wanted to talk.  Or write.  Or hope someday, these guys read what I've written about them, and smile, because they made me smile, at some point in time.