The One Who Walked Away

It’s not about him. It’s about me.

And the moment I realized that, I owned the pain. Like my own. Guarding it fiercely from the world.

“You protested when I said that the purpose of life is to be happy. YOU wanted to experience the plethora of emotions, ranging from longing to ecstasy to sadness to deadness. So, here you are.”

“In life, there are some things which you cannot understand. So, you shouldn’t even try to. Just think that you were to go through this.”

“You will never know his reasons. Only your reactions. Manage them well.”

“You would have kept looking for a sign, and there would be none. Because sometimes, things just happen. And you are not supposed to know why or how. You are just supposed to live through it.”

“Know that you did the right thing. And rest, you don’t anyway have a control over.”

“What he did was his Karma. How you take it is yours.”

“Don’t beat yourself up for giving love a chance.”

5 events that made me a stronger person in 2013.

So the birthday month is here again. The last year has been a roller-coaster ride, with many events helping me become a stronger person than I was earlier. Five of them which had the most impact on me are listed below, in chronological order:

  1. Getting back with an ex. Always a great idea. Reassures you of the decision-taking ability. And leaves no scope of regrets and what-ifs. If it had to work out, it would have worked out in the first go. But good to be sure. No hang-ups or remorse that “oh, maybe I didn’t try enough!”. Also, a wonderful reminder of what you don’t want in your life!
  2. Playing a bridesmaid. From sneaking the groom in the bride’s room before the ceremonies to playing the gatekeeper; from taking care of bride’s outfits to holding her hands while mehendi is being applied; from feeding the bride to dancing non-stop; from distinguishing the buas from the chachis to demanding shagun from the groom; from weeping inadvertently at the bidaai to making sure bride’s mum doesn’t shed many tears – it’s all just so much fun. And the fact that you can’t feel your legs at the end of it only makes you appreciate the hard work that went in making of the fun.
  3. Losing a loved one. Jimmy taught me to love. Before he came into my life, I hadn’t experienced the pure emotion of affection for a nobody. He arrived, and things changed. He would sleep beside me, wake me up with his soft nudges, motivate me to be fit by demanding a brisk walk every morning, eat from my hands, wait outside the washroom lest I disappear, hug me silly on my return from classes, ride on my Activa with me, cry when my bags were being packed, stop eating when I was away, wait in the balcony when he knew my visit was due, spread his silky hair all over my wardrobe and be characteristically himself. But he gave in to a fatal lung infection, and we had to put him down. I will always remember him as my green-eyed lover boy, teaching me to be generous and selfless in giving love and affection.
  4. Facing death. And having the narrowest escape. Enough has been said about it, won’t repeat it here. But undoubtedly, the most scary, scarring and life-changing experience I’ve had till date.
  5. Moving back in with parents. After almost six years of being on my own. Too early to comment on it, as I’m still coming to terms with it. But can very easily say, it’s difficult. Too damn difficult to cohabit with folks, when you’re used to a resounding solitude.

Time to pack up. Not.

Wrapping up my work for the day, I sighed and thought to myself, “time to pack up”. But that was not to be. It was not the time to pack up, as yet.

It was around 7.20 when I left my office. I walked to the station, and called my flatmate Sakshi on the way, letting her know that I would be home in about half an hour. Reaching Khar Station, I got into the First Class Ladies compartment in a Slow Churchgate local. I like to stand in the train, and as usual I stood on the footboard. Mentally chalking out the to-do list for the weekend, I realized that I had forgotten to make an important call, and must do so. I do not like talking on the phone in general, in trains even more. So I thought for a split-second, let me not make that call right now. I shall reach home and then think about it. But then, I called my friend nonetheless. She did not pick up. I disconnected. As I was about to put my phone back in my bag, a text popped up. I had just unlocked the phone to check the text, and next I knew, I was flying out of the train, landing on the tracks, in the middle of nowhere.

It took me a minute to understand what had happened, as I saw someone erstwhile perched on the top of an electric pole on the tracks, climbing down and running away with my phone. I was conscious, thanking the heavens for little mercies. I managed to stand up straight. With only miles and miles of railway tracks in every direction around me, I felt like a headless chicken. And thinking about the rape incident from previous night, and seeing the phone-snatchers running away in glee, I panicked. Not knowing what to do, I started to soak in the information. I had been pulled out of the moving train by a person perched on an electric pole. I had fallen down, and I was alive. I had escaped hitting the pole by a few centimeters, and the loose rusted track grids by a few millimeters. I had lost my phone. I had my handbag with me. My laptop bag was still in the train. The train had left. And I was all alone, on the tracks, with no clue of what’s next. I started walking on the tracks. I saw a train coming towards me from afar. With no other option in mind, I started waving frantically, hoping the motorman would heed and halt. And indeed, he did. He asked me what happened; I narrated the story in broken sentences. He asked me to get on the train. I did. I got down at Bandra station, looked for the railway police, and informed the on-ground officials about the laptop bag. They helped me calling the helpline, and I was assured that the bag would be found.

In the meanwhile, some people in the train which I fell from had reached Bandra station, and informed the station master about the incident. Before I reached Bandra, a team of police officials had already left in my search on the tracks. The officials who were helping me out with tracking the laptop bag, started talking to me. I told them what had happened, and at the same time they received a frantic call that no one was found on the tracks. They put two and two together, and realized that I was the same girl who was being searched for. All this while, I was thinking of ways to inform my friends of the incident, as I did not recollect ANY phone numbers, and the phone was stolen. I just remembered my dad’s number, and I did not want to call him. There was a sudden commotion on the platform, as the senior police team came looking for me. I was taken to the police station, my complaint registered, my laptop bag retrieved, while being constantly prepped by a lady constable and a police officer, who were by my side throughout the whole situation. I was then taken to a hospital.

While I was waiting for the doctor, I rummaged through my bag in the hope of finding someone’s contact information. But all in vain. I had no numbers. Suddenly, it struck me to check my wallet, for I might have some friend’s business card. I searched the wallet. All the business cards were of either clients, or of odd pop-up shops owners. But I had my business card with me, which had my office landline number. Expecting an office boy to answer, I called up office, thinking at least someone will know that what has happened. A colleague answered the call. Amidst tears and choking, I managed to tell him enough for him to be landing in the hospital in the next fifteen minutes, accompanied by two more colleagues. After numerous tests, X-rays, sonography and dressings, I was taken back to the police station. After completing a few formalities, I was allowed to go home. Reaching home, I dug out the numbers of friends from Google Contacts, and called a few to tell them of the incident.

Sleeping between nightmares through the night, I had so many reasons to be thankful to the higher powers. Everything that could have gone wrong had gone wrong. Yet, everything was so right. The bruises pained, but the relief of being alive acted as a big painkiller. The shock of what could have been is great, but the thankfulness for what did not happen is greater. It was not the time for pack up yet, after all!

A Note From The Universe

In the middle of a rant-y, cranky and generally pissed off mood, I got this note from the universe:

Behind your greatest fear, Neha, lies your greatest gift.

And your greatest gift will be the example you become.

 

You’re welcome,

The Universe

 

And I have been smiling now. :) Thank you, Universe!

Twitter Influencers

So today morning, I got a call from a friend who manages a big brand.

He wanted to invite me for his brand-sponsored invite-only party, happening soon in Bombay. And then he told me more about the party, and brought up that they were inviting a lot of ‘Twitter Influencers’ too. He took some names, and my smile turned to a chuckle to a hearty laugh on hearing the names. So many names on my TL were spoken about as ‘the list given by our agency’. Then he asked me the inevitable, “Howcome your name doesn’t feature on this Influencers’ list?”

It was all so amusing for me, forcing me to think how half of my timeline has made it a part-time career for themselves. So much so, that being active on twitter brings with it an assumption that it is the sole reason for one to be there – to be a Twitter Influencer.

Fun times!

Aankhein

Aankhein dekhi toh main dekhta reh gaya

Jaam do aur dono hi do aatisha

Aankhein yaa maykade ke woh do baab hain

Aakhein inko kahoon yaa kahoon khwaab hain

Aankhein neechi hui toh hayaa ban gayi

Aakhein oonchi hui toh dua ban gayi

Aankhein uth kar jhuki toh adaa ban gayi

Aankhein jhuk kar uthi toh khata ban gayi

Aankhein jinmein hain quaid aasman-o-zameen

Nargasi nargasi… Surmayi surmayi…

-  Afreen Afreen  (Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan)

That kind of a day…

…When human beings disappoint you.

When you realise that your life is yours and yours alone.

When you promise to yourself never to expect people to be ‘there’ for you. If they do, that’d be a bonus.

When you appreciate the genuine concern and care some people have for you.

When you stand up for yourself without letting someone else run over you.

When you snap out of the doormat mindset.

And oh, when a dog that you’ve never ever met before stops mid-walk much to the chagrin of his companion walker, on seeing on you on the road and insists that you spend time with him.

 

#CLT: Pyaar Hua Chupke Se