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Smruti Bodhi

A_Biophile

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Personal Experiences

Stranger On The Beach

Somewhere in January, I went for an interview in Juhu area. As the interview finished sooner than I expected and as I had some time to kill, I went to this mesmerizing beach I have always been fan of.

It was around 2 in the afternoon but the weather was cloudy, my favorite. I was walking on the beach alone, thinking about things, smiling to myself. For more dramatic effect, I unclutched my hair. Now cool breeze was piercing from between my locks, pace of my walk slowed down with the song “O re manva tu kya sochta hai” in my head, imagining myself in a music video I would never be in (don’t judge me, every girl does that). Just then, I felt two taps on my shoulder from behind.

I turned back and saw a guy with a bright smile looking right at me.

“Umm.. okay?”, I asked.

“Hi, I have been looking at you from a while, now I don’t mean to creep you out but I saw you walking here… engrossed in  your world and how your hair were waving in the air… it just… can I sketch you??” , he said.

I was startled, like what the heck!

Now some background information, I studied in a Girls School, went to a Girls Junior College and the number of guys I saw in my UG and PG years were as good as studying in a Girls College again. So, you see, I had no clue or experience about handling situations like these. So I carried on by having a polite conversation.

“Sketch me? Haha, why?”

“Umm… you know, sketching is a lot about feeling. You see someone and feel what they’re feeling and that is what drives you to sketch them. In this case, You! Don’t get me wrong, this is like my hobby. I have sketched many people before, some of them had been published in bla bla magazine.”

and he started showing me his sketches. His hands were shivering.

I took a good look at him. He looked like a regular guy. Average height, average built, age around 24 or 25 and decently good looking. He looked like a guy who has a younger sister and they daily get into a fight on breakfast table over futile things. I thought maybe he was just nervous for approaching a stranger like that. But still it was bothering me, why he wants to sketch me? Now I know I’m pretty good looking, but definitely not “Lemme sketch you princess” kind of good looking.

He observed my expressions, how I was still skeptic, so he tried to develop an interesting conversation on how he’s relieved that I simply didn’t shoo him off like other girls with ‘backward’ mentality. He also mentioned how it was easier for him to sketch girls in U.S. and how hard it is to find an ‘open-minded’ girl in a country “like India.”

 By now I was counting the blackheads on his nose. Can’t help, no regrets, there were plenty. He also added that this is just his hobby and that he works at Deloitte. Back then I was living in Elphinstone and I knew that there was one around which I read as ‘Dettol’ initially.

“Like in Elphinstone?”, words slipped from my mouth.

“Yes, actually I also live there so… it’s kind of easy you know. You live there too?”, he inquired.

“No… no-no, B..baldlapur.”, I stuttered as that was the farthest I could imagine. A little trigger and I might as well had thrown myself in Pune.

“Oh that’s far… I guess your boyfriend doesn’t mind that you travel this far alone.”, he asked expecting I would deny one and smiled creepily.

“Aah! No he doesn’t, he’s really nice. Great that you reminded, I actually had to call and confirm if he’s back from office as we have some plans”, I replied, hastily taking out my cellphone, hoping he would disappear at least now.

“So the sketch? C’mon it would be fun, it won’t take long.”, he insisted.

Seeing no way out to out-throw his politeness I agreed smiling meekly.

“So…” I said scanning his shoulders for an artist jhola, “where’s your stuff?”

“Oh, that? Actually I have a small studio across the road. We can go there and I assure you it will hardly take 45 minutes.” , he said with his hand half stretched in the air quite impatiently.

“So… you have to sketch me and for that you will need me to come to a studio with you? Sorry, I don’t think I’m that ‘forward’ (read stupid). I hope you can understand my hesitation in a country “like India”.

I just stared at him with a fake smile on my face also for a final confirmation of his genuineness but his annoyed face and grinding teeth simply confirmed.
He left. I thought I would feel better now knowing how years of reading crime news and watching criminal minds finally came to some use. Might even gloat! But no. Nothing. It actually saddened me a little. Knowing how easy it is to fall prey… how easily many people might have already fallen for this, but I can’t be sure… maybe that wasn’t the case whatsoever. 

Sometimes you take your chances, Sometimes you make your choices.

In any way, you have to assess your situation. 

Why does a mediocre sketch artist (hobby) needs a studio near a beach? 

If he’s genuine, how can a guy just ASSUME that stranger girls will go with him anywhere rather than bringing his tools to the beach in order to lessen the awkwardness? 

But no, why?

At the end of the day, we make a choice and always choose to stay firm by it. I make mine , I hope you do yours as well.

Mumbai… a place you’re destined to fall in love with.

Mumbai… a place you’re destined to fall in love with.
The only place I never wanted to go was, Mumbai.

I dreamt of going to Pune, Delhi, Kerela, Dharmshala the whole effin North-east… but not Mumbai, nah never!

National geographic was our default channel at home. Every now and then they would telecast a very disturbing documentary of Mumbai. They showed how people traveled there, talk to each other, a very vivid gap between poor and rich and the problem of garbage… uhhh GAAR-BAGE, my first no-no.
Well, circumstances changed in such a dramatic way that I was left with no option but to rush Mumbai. Traveled from Vidarbha Express, nervous for my admission somehow I reached. As the train passed Kalyan station, I saw what an ideal hell must look like. Train was moving slowly and all I could see was colorful plastic bags and stinking garbage in its worst form outside. Try to understand, it was hard for me; I never experienced anything that extreme. Continue reading “Mumbai… a place you’re destined to fall in love with.”

Munni…

Half day, Saturday.

Tap tap tap tap, fingers running on my office keyboard and suddenly my mind sparked *BING*

MUNNI!

I should call her, I thought.

Took my cellphone – Tap on Contacts – Tap on Search box – Types M-U-N – “No search found”.

What???


Munni… a friend as immature as her name, an eccentric personality, a weird relation. This creature had beautiful brown straight silky hair… I loved them but hated her brown, never-to-be-trusted surma filled eyes. She was basically Kareena Kapoor from “Jab We Met”, just subtract the hidden logic and sensibility. Continue reading “Munni…”

Beef & Me : Tale of a Wannabe Vegetarian

6th std. Passed my term-exam. Celebration time.

Yay! Papa brought Biryani!

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Mmm…. this is SO good! Biryani from Mominpura, always tastes SO good! It’s different from the rest you know… I mean, meat is comparatively way more juicy, I love this.”

My parents exchanged looks, smiled to each other.

I kept licking my fingers innocently.


7th std, To my Grandparents village

After a few hours when we reached, my grandfather brought a Hen. White one. I liked her, she was beautiful. We all like anything which is white, don’t we?

For some reason she was bound in the backyard. Seeing me play with her, my grandpa suggested me to feed her, feed her well.

I did.

That hen and I spent the whole afternoon and evening together. I was trying to mimic her voice, just then my grandpa dashed in with some weird looking knife, grabbed her by the neck and slit its tiny, soft neck smoothly in front of my eyes. Blood dripping from the incision he made. Continue reading “Beef & Me : Tale of a Wannabe Vegetarian”

A Sight Of Blood

Visualizing blood and confronting it for real are two different things.

It’s not watery thin as shown in some low-budget T.V. shows, it’s also not muddy thick or bright red like ketchup…

It’s Red.

Red with a shade of orange, a yellowish tint… and that is what’s the scariest characteristic of blood is. That is what makes it Real.. a real blood of a living being.


Usual route.

Thane Station.

Listening to my “Upbeating” playlist, dancing in my mind, elbowing people whoever came in my way, I was cheerfully headed to home.

Missed my 6:30 pm FAST local, Shit!

Looked up.

Indicator on Platform no. 4 blinked with 6:34 pm local.

Shoving earphones in my ears I walked hastily towards the downstairs.

*4 baj gaye lekin party abhi ba….*

Song got interrupted.

As everyone was looking down at the platform… my gaze followed theirs.

Eh.. nothing, again! Somebody must have fallen from train… and as always, I’m late.” , I thought to myself.

I hardly descended 6 stairs when I saw a group of people on the platform yelling words like ‘police’, ‘hospital’ hovering something.

Damn! It’s for real.


Between the space of people around him, I caught a glimpse of a BLEEDING HEAD.

His blood was running down the slope, a thin streak it was, but scary.

I could smell it… once again horror of having an hypersensitive nose made it worse.

I hate that feeling, it’s almost as if I could taste it.

“What to do?” , I thought to myself anxiously.

Police la bolva”, yelled a woman.

Some people ran for medical facility, some just stood there watching this man wiggling in pain.

Hawa soda!!”, again yelled the same woman, who by this time was holding his head.

Her voice broke my not-so-helping anxiety and I almost ran 9 to 10 feet away from him.

Train Halted.

And the pictures of people hurriedly getting down from train, running and pushing each other… yes, their “innocent” rush-hours behavior swam in front of my eyes.

Aey Uchhlaaaa….” , screamed people, complete terror in their voice.

They lifted him up and somehow managed to drag him close to the wall of the staircase.

People who were getting down from train looked concerned and hesitant. They were very careful while walking to the stairs.

*Phew! The images mind shows you sometime…*

As I said, train halted, but I did not feel like to get on it. I felt as if I was abandoning someone I shouldn’t , so I stood there… rooted.

2 minutes passed, but due to this accident, the train won’t leave. I saw people with first-aid kit running to my direction. Feeling quite relieved and retelling myself how I’m no help; I finally got on train where ladies were already talking about this incident and incidents related to it. Some yelled solutions like “Don’t give him water” etc and then cheerfully bragged about it among their friends. I got a middle seat from where I kept looking outside the window, him, squirming.

Finally train left and weirdly, I felt quite relieved and tensed at the same time. As the train caught speed, we saw him having a seizure and all of us gasped, doing nothing but see him disappear from our sight as the train sped up.

Some women on the door were still enthusiastically sharing their experiences looking more than amazed.

I looked concerned but the girl sitting beside me, miserable.

A fair-complexioned freckled woman in her late 20’s, who was sitting on the opposite seat facing us tried to look worried too, but after 5 minutes, when I still looked engrossed in my thoughts and the miserable girl next to me, who by now had sunken her face deep in her scarf; she probably decided it’s better to shove earphones in ears and resume her movie than joining the “devastated team”, looking rather guilty.

I was thinking something… probably to write it down because what I was feeling was too intense.My head would implode I thought.

But Why? No idea.

By the time we reached Ghatkopar Station the atmosphere inside Ladies coach had changed completely. A random middle-aged aunty started knitting; coeval girls had their heads dumped in cellphones; an eunuch with his annoying “de na, de na” chants and forceful blessings was hovering people and a familiar “5 ka kilip, 5 ka kilip” sound of a female vendor was audible enough to get distracted… everything went back to normal, so normal! (except the girl beside me, she was scaring me now)

I felt unsettled.

Now I’m not this sensitive usually but today was different.

“Somethings not right!”, words kept flashing in my mind.

This is not how it should be, how should it be then? I didn’t know.

Guilt for a crime I didn’t commit.

Anger for people who didn’t deserve.

Compassion for a guy I didn’t know.

Hate for situations I had no control on.

In an irritable mood, I walked to the door… holding the pole… when suddenly I drew myself back, almost in a shock realizing the heck I was doing!

Keeping a safe distance, I stood away from the door. Hard wind from every direction was blowing my hair, the moist scent of drizzling rain… it was refreshing!

Just when my eyes caught her sight. The “miserable weird girl”, as I had been addressing her in my mind.

She had pulled up her face from her cottony white scarf, eyes red from crying, lashes drenched with tears, her soft sobs… and gaze fixed out of the window. Why? I wondered.

Perhaps it reminded her of someone she knew.

Somebody with the same fate, just not lucky enough to get the medical facilities at right time.

Lucky enough?

How can I be so sure? So sure that he might have made it.

I don’t know that. I honestly didn’t.

She was still looking outside the window…

Her pain was immense. I didn’t ask her but somehow knew that sniveling was the cause of some personal loss. Someone close to her.

Close?

I also have people close to me. A few, but people who will surely be devastated if I die. Oh god, really.. I can’t even imagine how they will feel… seeing me like that, on some station, twitching and turning with excruciating pain…

If I die, after some time, they will look like her, labeled by some random smart-ass like me.., won’t they?

One thought,

one smile,

and I retreated back to my seat slowly nodding side-to-side.


What I want to say?

I don’t want to say that people who fall from train are always to be blamed… but I do believe that it’s mostly in our control.

  • May be the irritability I had was on that guy as his current situation probably could have been avoided.
  • May be those running thoughts were nothing but introspection, a closer look at self.
  • May be, agony of that girl was a lesson I needed to learn.
  • May be that sight of blood was a check on reality, a dark one.

 

No wind feels as better as our healthy breaths…

No place is late enough to reach than our never moving dead body…

and no rush is exciting enough to be bet on tears of our loved ones…

Dangling near door is not an act of courage, it’s reckless, senseless, thoughtless and a proof of foolishness.

Kindly avoid being a fool.

Funerals… Mourning or Mockery?

An event where your can SEE what people ACTUALLY are.

Incident 1

Back to 2005.

My mother died.

People were mourning and my supposedly “best-friend” stood fa…..r from me; outside her house with bunch of other people who were carrying a piteous look in their eyes, every now and then would make this “tsk-tsk” sound and mumble the same shit, rephrasing every time to each other.

After crying for straight 8 hours, which could have been lesser to be honest, but every time I would try to calm down…well, my relatives made sure that I DON’T!

You know, that typical Indian ‘Rudali’ sound, a minute of which is capable to shut down all the laughter clubs in the world, along with nonsense questions to a 11 year old, “Ye kyu hua, ye kyu hua” (Why did it happen? (as if I knew))  was something they kept doing. I was miserably stucked! Continue reading “Funerals… Mourning or Mockery?”

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