Tag: life

Life changing moment in Nepal

My regular life held me back from writing this. Last 2 weeks had me all over the place. I was a slave to my work and I think the clients. Finally got the moment to write when I am back in Kathmandu to do my further bit.

Giving you a brief account of what was an experience unlike any. You read about the relief camp at Bhaktapur. It gave an account of the urban relief camp. It was now time to go to the remote. Places where access was relatively difficult. We met Naveen, a friend of Pujan, engineer by profession and humanitarian in life. He was associated with an organization called “Work for Nepal”. Run by a bunch of young guys, working in varied fields, who had it in them to take off from work for their country. They had been working in the Kathmandu valley and the villages around. Naveen had visited a village called Tare Bhir and assessing the damage there and the need of the villagers, he thought it was best for us to help them.

Tare Bhir, is a village located about 2 hours from Kathmandu. The route is particularly treacherous as there is practically no route. The village is divided in various blocks, apparently that’s how it is in Nepal. Naveen had been to two blocks inhabited by about 27 families. There were half a dozen house completely damaged and the supply of essentials were almost disconnected.

Lorene had been able to raise some funds through her endeavor on Facebook. She had received donations from all over the world. The idea was to put the money in the right use. Lorene decided to donate 50000 Nepali Rupees (500 USD) to Work for Nepal. The money was to buy basic essentials to the 27 families in Tare Bhir.

We met Naveen at 10 and drove down to the work site of Work for Nepal. Jamal (an artist, interesting soul and a world citizen) had also joined us. Stories of his life will amaze anyone. The guys at Work for Nepal were busy packing relief materials they were sending off to another village.

The materials for Tare Bhir was bought by them and we were to pack them in 27 gunny bags. Each bag contained:

10 kg Rice

1 kg Dal

2 kg Chapped Rice (Churra)

1 lt Cooking oil

1 kg Salt

1 kg Washing powder

1 lt liquid soap

1 pack Mosquito coil

1 Tarpaulin

Sanitary Napkins

3 Tooth brush

1 Tooth Paste

Other than this we had taken toys and candies for the kids and some basic medicines.

Cost of each bag was over 2000 Nepali Rupees (1200 Indian or 20 USD). The amount donated was actually less than the cost of materials.

IMG_20150519_125749
The bags with relief materials loaded in the pickup van
IMG_20150519_123723
The bags with relief materials all packed to go
IMG_20150519_131721
(Standing 2nd onwards, Left to right) Naveen, Jamal, Lorene and me.

After packing we loaded the bags in a pickup car and was ready for the journey which was going to be a life changing experience. We were in 3 bikes and Jamal was in the pickup. On crossing Kathmandu we had to ascend a mountain as Tare Bhir was on it. I am told normally people would trek but as we were on bikes we were taking the road which didn’t really exist.

The pickup van stopped at the beginning of the trail and refused to go further as he didn’t want to take the risk of driving in the rough terrain. Lorene and I had moved further, driving a city bike on a non-existent mountain road. It was dusty and rocky. We slipped once and were flat down. Naveen had managed to arrange a jeep who knew a different way and was willing to drive to Tare Bhir.

It took us almost 3 hours to reach Ward 1 of Tare Bhir. We met an old lady and she took us into the village. There was a beautiful wooden canopy overlooking the valley. Naveen and Jamal had reached with the van and the villagers were plying the bags from the van to the village. We sat down and took some breath. The view was gorgeous and the people at their beautiful best. Before we could start any discussion we were offered some freshly brewed Raksi (A Nepali homemade wine that taste stronger than the strongest alcohol). We had some Raksi and asked all the villagers to join us near the canopy. We discovered there were no men in the village. Found out they had all gone out for work or to get building materials from the city. They had a strange excitement on their face. Some thought we were from the government, well that’s what they as any other citizen expect. But we weren’t and for a moment we were the messiah.

View from Tare Bhir
View from Tare Bhir
View from Tare Bhir
View from Tare Bhir

A member from each family was called and the bags were distributed. Lorene did the distribution. She distributed the bags to about 12 families. She had to explain the women about the sanitary napkins as they didn’t know about it. We had to caution them from not drinking the pink liquid in the bottle as it was liquid soap.

I had called all the kids to a corner and gave them candies and distributed the toys with them. They were in the age of 6 to 14. The children had a strange gloom on their faces. I tried talking to them and they were all shy, a striking contrast to those at Bhaktapur. After a little talking and playing they opened up and started talking. They all went to schools which they showed me was in a mountain I could see in the valley. They would trek miles every day, something I could not have imagined to do as a kid to study. They were way ahead of us. They wanted to study but the school was closed due to the quake. We decided to help building schools as the next project as these kids deserved it.

Kids at Tare Bhir Ward 1
Kids at Tare Bhir Ward 1

The people were unexpectedly hospitable. We were given a tour of the Raksi brewery. Well a little hut with a pot in which they brewed. We talked about the earthquake and the people were still living in the horror, but they said they had to still live and move on accepting it happened. This was something missing in Kathmandu. The men were back to work. The women were doing the work at homes and in the fields. A thing I liked about Tare Bhir and it’s the same for most villages in Nepal is that the villages are mostly self-dependent. They grow mostly vegetable which they consume. Most of them have solar electricity, water was from the stream nearby. The other essentials was what we were giving.

Naveen talking to the villages at Tare Bhir
Naveen talking to the villages at Tare Bhir
With an old lady from Tare Bhir. She was laughing on seeing herself on the phone screen.
With an old lady from Tare Bhir. She was laughing on seeing herself on the phone screen.

After distribution we packed up to go to the next Ward of Tare Bhir, our last destination of an already long day. The next Ward was about 20 mins drive downwards the mountain. We reached there to find that the village was still a little walk down. We met Shyam Lama, a resident of the village who was helping us to connect with them. Carrying the bags down would had been a difficult task so we called the villages to where the van was. The distribution was done in the same manner as the earlier ward. After the distribution of the bags we met the kids and distributed them the candies and toys. Spent some time with them. Family of Shyam Lama invited us for lunch to his uncle’s home. We accepted the invitation and walked down for about 15 mins to reach his house. We crossed fields of marijuana on our way. Opposite his house was Shyam’s house which was down to rubble by the quake. Nothing was left. Same was with 2 more houses in the village. Yet they were unfazed and their hospitable best. The women cooked us some fresh meal. Potatoes, chicken and beaten rice (Churra). We had some Raksi. We asked them out of curiosity about the marijuana, and was informed they fed it to the goats and cows as it increased the milk production.

Shyam Lama's house completely destroyed by the quake.
Shyam Lama’s house completely destroyed by the quake.
Lorene with the kids at Tare Bhir Ward 2
Lorene with the kids at Tare Bhir Ward 2
Me with the kids at Tare Bhir ward 2
Me with the kids at Tare Bhir ward 2
Kids at Tare Bhir Ward 2
Kids at Tare Bhir Ward 2
Lorene distributing the supplies to the families at Tare Bhir ward 2
Lorene distributing the supplies to the families at Tare Bhir ward 2

IMG_20150519_174459

Marijuana plantation at Tare Bhir
Marijuana plantation at Tare Bhir

After a good meal it was time to leave. We started trekking up to our bikes. The eldest lady in the village came to calling us to thank us for coming to her village. It was a beautiful gesture. We left the village around 6, it had got darker and driving back was going to be a task. Took us more than two hours to get back to Courtyard.

Sunset from Tare Bhir
Sunset from Tare Bhir

Introspecting the whole experience I got more from the village than we gave them. It felt strange that being in such a comfortable I had more complains from life. The desire and lust was stronger than life itself. These people had nothing. Living in a little village with limited means and having lost so much in the disaster they did not complain. They were happy with the little they had and didn’t lust for a glossy life. I felt so small in front of them. Realized again that money was not life but life was money. I had a different perception of life and living. Thanks to the beautiful people in Tare Bhir my life was changed for the better and the journey of giving unconditionally was ignited.

As said we wanted to rebuild schools for the little ones who wanted to study not just for studying but also to escape from the fear of quake. We have started work on it with a lovely group of young people based in Nepal and all over the world. Details will be in my next post.

If you read this post and you feel for these beautiful people then please do anything you can to support them. They need your support in this moment of standing back in their lives. You may contribute through your own organizations or to the links below. Work For Nepal and Lorene are doing great work go check their Facebook pages. If you think what we have been doing is noteworthy then you can contact me.

LINKS:

Work For Nepal: https://www.facebook.com/groups/664523693677050/?fref=ts

Lorene’s: Help me help Nepal: https://www.facebook.com/events/457672224395633/

Advertisements

Hope and smile in Nepal

We had decided to join Khusi Hona team in their endeavor to help the needy at one of the relief camp in Bhaktapur. Slept in the tent that night to start our journey the next day. Was almost a sleepless night as the thought of quake while sleeping loomed. Woke up early to learn it shaked at about 4 am (2nd one in 2 days).

Khusi Hona is an organisation registered in Florida, US and primarily working towards upliftment of orphans in the Indian Subcontinent and some parts of South East Asia. They decided to put their expertise to help the quake victims in Nepal.

We met Geet from Khusi Hona who was leading the team to the relief camp. They were going to buy relief materials and then head to the camp. We decided to join them straight at the camp. Drove to Bhaktapur. The camp was setup at a school called Zenith English School in Bhaktapur. It had I think about 20 odd families. Khusi Hona had created a list of the families living at the camp and were going to distribute the materials to them. There were a team of about 6-8 people and we and another couple were joining them.

Relief camp at Bhaktapur
Relief camp at Bhaktapur

On reaching the camp Geet gave me a box of candies and some toys to take care of the kids while others will distribute the material to the families.

I called all the kids to one of the tents, luckily Hindi helped. Asked them to ‘Basun’ (Sit in Nepali). There were about 20 kids, the youngest was 18 months and I think the oldest would had been 12-13. The kids were excited about the fact they were going to get their treats. They had an excitement on their face and for a moment me and them had forgotten the devastation that had struck them and the despair caused to them. Seeing them no one could say they were recovering from a calamity.

Kids at the relief camp
Kids at the relief camp

Distributed them the candies and got to know the little mischief. They were not hesitant from singing for us or doing a lil gig. All of them used to go to schools and were a confident bunch. I tried taking a selfie and everyone was over me. We didnt feel we were strangers a moment before. Lorene had joined me in playing with the kids and the kids were as comfortable with her even though she had a language gap.

Selfie with the kids
Selfie with the kids
With the mischief bunch
With the mischief bunch

While I was distributing the candies a few old women asked for them. I told them it was for the kids. They responded they had a kid in them. A fact of life most of us forget as we grow. They were in sync with life.

IMG_20150518_140308
Lorene with the kids

The rest of the team were distributing the materials ranging from basic food supplies, to medicines, sanitary pads to the women, hygiene products like tooth paste, brush etc. I think they were a little disorganized. They had a list of the families and they were distributing the same things to all families. I think they should had packed everything in a bag for each family and distributed the bags. Would had been easy for them to store. Also a few things like they were distributing sanitary pads to old women rather than the teenage girls. Well its just a matter of perception.

Khusi Hona is doing a good job. However, I feel the people at the camps at Bhaktapur are over fed and well looked after being in the city and being taken care by a bunch of NGOs. There were some people who had joined the team that day that felt more like a photo op and I think they should avoid such people if their intent is, which I think it is, to do some genuine relief work. I still would urge people to donate to Khusi Hona, their intent is right and they are doing good stuff and for Nepal as they need them. Check the link to their facebook page for more info: http://www.facebook.com/KhusiHona and their website: http://www.khusihona.org

The experience at the camp left a void in me. I felt I was more traumatized by the quake, not even having experienced it. The people had a smile and calmness in them which was lacking in me. They had hope and confidence unlike the people I met in Kathmandu. I could feel they were ready to move on and get back to normal soon. It was a striking difference to the people in Kathmandu. I realized the more knowledge we have it adds on to the burden of recovering.

We got back and had another visit to a neighboring village fixed for the next day. Wait for the next part, the village trip was my moment of waking up.

It was a satisfying day and made me stronger as a human. I thought for once its everyone’s duty to get to Nepal and do their bit. Get a little karmic and do your karma guys. As I write this I have already planned my next trip to Nepal and help a few more people stand back and get started with their lives.

Nepal Quake – Hell in Heaven

Nepal, a neighbour that’s ngoas Indian as India can get, yet a character unlike India. It’s a place that has a special place for me and the reason I have been here for times unknown. Struck by a natural calamity that was one of the most devastating in the recent age.relie

Oindin 25 April when the earthquake hit I was at my home in Delhi with my parents. I sitting on the bed and felt the tremor. Told my mom. It was a strong one and lasted for ages. At that very moment I had the thought, considering the magnitude the epicenter must have been anywhere in Nepal, Afghanistan or southern India. I hoped it was not Nepal as it would be devastating knowing the topography and preparedness. Checked twitter and found the quake was of 7.8 magnitude (some people say it was 8.1) and the epicenter was in Barpak in Gorkha district about 70 km off Kathmandu. I knew that the fury was unfurled. The first day news said around 600 casualties and some damage to property. I knew it couldn’t be true and the reality will be known in times to come considering the remoteness of villages in Nepal.

My fear came true. Nepal was shattered and taken further years back in comparison to us. Read about it and saw pictures of the devastation. Couldn’t fathom what it would be like in Kathmandu and Nepal. The distinction as I believe Kathmandu is not even half close to the gorgeous other part of Nepal. I decided I had to do my bit.

On 16 May we took a flight to Kathmandu. The route from the airport to Courtyard made me think did they really exaggerate the quake? No damage was seen. Reached Courtyard and saw cracks in the hotel walls and stairs. People were sleeping in the outside and they had a fear unknown to me. I still didn’t understand the devastation. Went for a walk in Thamel (the main tourist locality in Kathmandu). Everything was shut. It was like a dead city. Got back to hotel and had a quake measuring 5.5. The scare continued.

We walked to Durbar Square. A big school was razed and temples severely damaged.

High School at Durbar Square
High School at Durbar Square
Temple at Durbar Square
Temple at Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square

Was late at night sitting with a bunch of people discussing their experiences. Some were in Kathmandu and one was at the Everest Base Camp during the quake. There was a strange calmness, the one that gives you a chill down the spine. That’s when I realized what the quake did. It had shattered the people more than the structures. Made them believe how tiny we are when it comes to gods fury. People were waiting for something bigger and more devastating.

We drove down to Bhaktapur the next day. It’s one of the ancient city of Nepal. Famous for its durbar square which houses some beautiful temples and monuments. We passed through relief camps built in public parks and even at the Kathmandu Golf course. Hundreds staying in tents living on supplies by the government and the NGOs. Read an article in the local newspaper, someone at a relief camp termed life at the camp as a picnic yet the thought of future scared her. Bhaktapur was not the same this time. The beautiful Durbar square was broken. Ancient temples got razed. Monuments were down and those still standing have been marked as unsafe to enter.

Street at Bhaktapur
Street at Bhaktapur
Warning outside a museum in Bhaktapur
Warning outside a museum in Bhaktapur

We went walking around Bhaktapur. There were lanes were 7 out of 10 houses were down. People had lost their houses and families. They knew nothing about how they would stand back even closer to where they were before. There was a strange sadness and gloom. Was driving back and saw people smiling and waving at me. Realized the sadness was my inner introspection.

I was ready to walk out and meet people. Walk out of my comfort and know the reality. Help them with whatever I could. Walk out to a learning I never thought I would get at a calamity struck zone. Walk to a new life for them and for me.

Met a bunch of guys doing some humanitarian work through an NGO called ‘Khusi Hona’. They sounded true and invited us to join them in aid distribution at a relief camp at Bhaktapur the next day. It was the start.

Loosing my twitter virginity..

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

I was with my family for a change on the New Year Eve in 2009, yes for a change because on NYE I had always been with my friends. The reason was the screwed up life I was facing, it was at its lowest best. I was optimistic and tried to believe that there is no further low that life can achieve so its time to see the light in the gloom. So spending time with family was the best option, they always appreciate you and make you feel lively.

This post is not about my low life or the 2009 NYE, it’s about my hooking up with twitter. So as I was home my brother was trying to tease me for being active and known on this cool community known as Twitter. I told him even I had an account and tried to tell him that the bloody thing sucks. Yes I had an account, which I had opened sometime in June 2009 after all the twitter buzz in the media. Sent some random tweets and sat back hoping that people would reply to my tweets, without realising that it was not a chat channel. With no responses I made myself believe that the whole jing bang on the media is a paid promotion of the website and this thing does nothing but Suck. The account was abandoned.

So I told my brother that there was nothing to feel proud about being active on some frivolous website. He asked me what was my handle, I was like WHAT? Then was told that the id on twitter is known as Handle. Hmm ok, yes the sucky website had its own lingo. Told him the handle was Karmic @KarmicThoughts. Nothing Bond about it.

Why @KarmicThoughts? I was thinking of keeping it @alwaysready till i realised it sounded more like the handle of a whore . Thought and thought till I noticed that I am saintly and an ardent believer of karma, so my thoughts would be karmic thoughts. Saintly? Well apparently my name was also the name of some ancient famous saint. Senseless? I know, and now no more questions about my handle.

It was the night of 29th December, with no friends and a few bot followers my Twitter account was almost Virgin. Almost as it had indulged in some one-sided foreplay before. My brother @kp1200 added me and screamed out loud on his timeline, MEET MY BROTHER, FOLLOW HIM. Then he asked me to check my account and start the journey. I checked my Timeline and saw it blank as always, was then told I need to check the mentions, damn this new lingo, considering I am bad with languages I was up for a tough ride. My mentions had a bunch of messages from some wonderful people who then became good friends. Well honestly, thanks to my goldfish memory I dont remember who all were they, but can surely guess who all it could be. I had lost my twitter virginity.

I was given a crash course on the lingo, hugs was called Twugs, CLT = Currently listening to, RT = Retweet and some more. Bro told me a tweep of his is following me, and I thought he meant someone is weeping coz of me. Damn WTF was I thinking, but then I had thought I need to put a T before any word to make it a part of the Tweet Lingo.

The journey had started, over the next few months followed some lovely people, made some awesome friends, learnt about follow friday, gave and was given recos (made me feel special seeing people writing goodness about me), attended tweetups, celebrated birthday on the road with a bunch of great tweeps, twitter was now an integral part of my life. Recently heard somewhere “I may look lonely but I am never lonely” well I could relate to this phrase to the core. Twitter was on 24/7, it grew on me like an addiction and yes I was addicted to this life changing experience.

Life changing as I could speak anything and was not questioned. I could ask anything and was answered. I was getting information before it was flashed on new channels. It made me feel I had some sort of power, like a super hero. I could bash Chetan Bhagat and would see people joining me. For a change I had met people who were smarter than me. Twitter was the new google of my life, google with a ‘personal touch’.

Lately things have changed, yes changed as my thoughts have started being questioned which kind of kills the whole idea of being myself on twitter, but then who cares 🙂

Today after a year, with over 28000 tweets and over 760 followers, and realising how wrong i was in saying that it sucked, after finding that every social media is not like facebook, I am still hooked to twitter, it’s an affair which doesn’t seems to be ending anytime soon. Thanks to my brother that I have company even when the world surrounding me is fast asleep.

UNCHANGE THE CHANGE !!

Change, one word which is connected with us from the moment we open our eyes in this weird world. From our inception all that we are asked for is to change, all that people expect from us is to change. We too are a part of the gentry and we too keep trying our best to change everything and everyone around us to suit our own comfort and convenience. But what we always forget is that the same force is working on us, even we are being changed in this changing process. We all believe that change is good, after all this is what fuels the process of evolution. But somehow we don’t realise that this change is mostly not for good.

Its said love should be unconditional, and true love always exist. I think its true and it does exist as its true only when we be what we are and let our partner be what they are. But most of the times we end up changing ourself or our partner and then fall off love. Fall off because the person we loved doesnt remain the same, change takes its toll and so it’s not possible to love this new person who emerges after the changing process.
If we start being ourself and we stop expecting the unexpected from anything and anyone things would be less wrong in life. We all are right in our own ways, in our own perception and understandings. So we should try to understand what we think to be wrong is right for the other, give it a hearing before coming to a conclusion, maybe what you believe to be right might actually be wrong. It is the bit of innocence in us that still keeps some love and smile alive in this rigid world. I always thought that a child is life in its purest form, unfazed by anything good or bad, for the child everything is good and nothing is bad, till he/she learns it or is taught about it.

Change is needed and we can’t live without changing, after all we move to a new day with every step of ours. But we always try to change others and let others change us, I believe that if we try to change ourself and let others change themselves then we surely would love this change as it would be for the good, after all nobody knows you better than you.

EXPLORING THE UNEXPLORED !!

Writing about the glorious past of my life and trying to be short is an impossible task. Still trying to be as short as I can, and this is the shortest I can be in sharing the phase of my life which taught me about life. So in continuation to ‘Meeting my loneliness’, its time to share when I explored the unexplored. I know its a bit long, couldnt make it any shorter, but I am sure you all would enjoy every bit of it.

I had made friends and got down to being busy with the endless schedule of the school, the loneliness had disappeared. Things were all happy and nice. I was learning how to do things on my own, without the comfort of mom. Was washing my clothes, cleaning my room, polishing my shoes, attending a morning 4 to 9 routine. Learnt reading books, got better in yoga, went to the doctor on my own, so a lot of firsts were happening and I was enjoying life. Mom, dad and dodo would visit me often and I would always see them off with a happy smile. A year had passed, I was more used to the life in the school than with my family by now. Mom told me that soon Dodo would also be joining me and I need to play the role of big brother more than I have done before. The day they came to drop Dodo, he was happy for the fact that he would be finally living with me, and I was sad for the fact that no one would be there to take care of Mom and Dad. I cried for the last time.

They say rules are meant to be broken; I broke rules and learnt that blasting and shattering the rules gave more sadistic pleasure than breaking. Had started to bunk classes, sneaking to the out of bound domains, stealing fruits from the orchard, breads from the bakery, bunking sleep, and a lot more. Learnt about the theories of life and death, sex and self pleasure. Was shocked to know how birth took place, and for the first and the last time thought I was lucky to be a man.  Had discovered the pleasure magazines, was reading Sidney Sheldons and Eric Segal than Enid Blyton. That was me enjoying my growing from a boy to a man. Was told man because I was now enjoying the so-called adult domain.

Four years had passed, by now I had taken part in the literary activities, was debating and reciting, was acting and teaching, yes teaching as I had been made the captain of the school yoga team, was told that I was the youngest to achieve this. Was made the prefect of my house, well it was something prestigious, the juniors were always scared and the batchmates envious as the I enjoyed some privileges and had a sort of prefectory immunity.

Had reached class 8th and moved to the senior hostel. We had one junior hostel and three senior hostels. Though I had moved to the senior hostel but became a junior. The ragging phase in the hostel life was about to start. I had always been in good books of the teachers, they all thought me to be the kind of model student, did fairly well in studies as well as the other activities, this status always helped me in my escape route when I did the wrong. The ragging had started, works of the seniors were being delegated to us, from doing their homework and practical works, to getting water and washing their clothes. Then a shocking thing happened, one night I was woken up from my sleep by a senior and asked to follow him to his room. Was asked to kiss him and touch him, felt like the moment before the rape, had to hit him and escape to hiding, this is when I got to know that homosexuality was existing in this all boys school. I was beaten up the next day for not doing what I was asked for, but I was happy for the beating as I didn’t have to kiss and touch that ugly bastard.

Class 9th was the time when we knew that we were getting close to power. Yes, power because we were heading towards class 10th, which was the dominant and breaking free phase of every boarders life. In the last semester of class 9th the students of 10th and 12th clashed after being instigated by the lie of one of my class mate, some of them were hospitalised, police was called and the school was declared closed sine die. Learnt that one lie can actually affect the life of 800 others.

Finally reached class 10th, the time we all had waited for from the day we had joined the school. Walked into the school after the summer vacations with the heads high, collar up, eyes open and ears closed. Was greeted by the juniors as sir and the teachers would not raise their voices (I know it sounds too filmy but that’s how it was), and a big change was that I had money in my pockets for the first time in my life, we never needed money before as everything for prepaid.  We were now doing things at our own wish and time, the school time-table was a piece of shit and it we had our own time-table which the school would follow. It was a Sunday, me and a friend had sneaked out of the school campus after beating and threatening the security guard who had tried to stop us, we headed to the city to buy a cake for a friend’s birthday. I saw my first porn movie in a stinky theatre, later realised where the stink came from. On our way back to the school we saw a wine store and thought of picking some beers, afterall we were adults now. Picked 4 bottles of beer, which had turned hot by the time we got back, drank alcohol (hot beer) for the first time hiding in the toilet,  thought I can never drink it again, good I didn’t follow my thoughts, else would have never experienced the meaning of the quote “the world looks more beautiful when you are high”.

By the time I was about to finish my hostel life I had smoked my first cigarette, learnt reading books, tried my hands in painting, had excelled in yoga, sneaked out to the highway dhabas to eat and drink, sneaked in VCR players to watch porn movies in the hostel, beaten up some teachers, kicked some asses, made bed under my bed to escape from attending classes, featured on the list of blacklisted students of the school, gave a shock to the Principal by being on this list, I stood confident and independent, able to handle anything in life, and many many more things which were the firsts of my life and which had paved the way to my glorious future.

We were in the last day of the school and the feeling of going back to home was the same as I had felt the first day I came to the hostel. I was sad yet happy and I was all set for exploring the new part of my life. I knew that the friends I have lived day and night with for 7 years would go invisible forever, didn’t have the social networking sites to keep in touch with them. But then I was excited to see the world out of the bounds of hostel, which was so far inexistent in my life. I still cherish every moment I have lived in the hostel and truly thank my parents to have been strong and sent me there. What I am today is all because of these 7 years of adventurous life.

MEETING MY LONELINESS…

I had been thinking of what to write, and finally after a lot of tussle with my thoughts I decided to share the phase of my life which paved way to what I am today. It’s too difficult to share it in such a short space, can actually write a book on it, so I would be brief and would write it in two parts as I don’t want you all to go through the pain of reading it all at once :).

Was seven when Mom and Dad took me on a drive to a school which was in the outskirts of Ranchi, it had a massive campus, dad had told me its spread on 200 acres of land which I definitely didn’t understand at that time. I just liked the fact that it had huge playgrounds and lots of kids playing. Later realised that Mom and Dad were preparing me for my life changing experience.

1991:     I was 9, looked 6, was driven down to the same school again, everything was same as the last time except that I was wearing the school uniform as I had seen the kids wearing and had a big steel trunk loaded with clothes and things. I was exhilarated and happy about the fact that I would be staying at a place which had so many kids and I can make lots of friends and play all as much I wanted. The idea of being away from the family had not struck me yet. Reached school, I was given a roll number, 842, this was going to be my name for the next 7 years, yes we were called by our roll numbers and not by names. Infact I didn’t even know the names of some of my friends by the time we had passed out of the school. I was shown the room, it had 3 beds and wardrobes, there were no door and windows, it was just open spaces. They said it was not there to check the students from doing anything wrong. Wondered what wrong could I do? Yes I was at my innocent best at that time, unfazed by the good and bad, I was all good and bad didn’t exist for me. I was introduced to my housemaster Mr. Mankad, who was also the school yoga teacher, was the beginning of an informal relationship as I was eventually set to lead the school Yoga team. Mom had organised my wardrobe, made my bed, gave me the last most advises, and it was time for them to leave. I saw them off with a smile; mom had red eyes and was trying to be silent, Dad and Dodo (that’s my bro) looked sad, and were forcing themselves to smile, they left and I kept looking at the car till it had disappeared. I got back to my room, relaxed, met some guys from my batch, had dinner, slept. This was my first day of living alone and away from my family.

Woke up at 3 in the morning and for the first time in life felt what loneliness was, for the first time felt what luxury of being at home was and how much I loved my family. I had tears in my eyes and felt breathless, wanted to cry aloud but couldn’t. I wanted to run back home but knew it was impossible, so wished I could lock myself away from the eyes of everyone, I wished I was invisible and unheard. I didn’t feel like even going out of my room, but had to get into the school routine, which added to the pain. In the afternoon mom, dad and dodo gave me a surprise visit, brought me smile with tears. Later got to know that my room-mate had told the housemaster about my crying, so Mr. Mankad had called my Dad to inform that I was being a cry baby, and they should come and see me. Mom and Dad asked me to be strong and learn things and make friends and asked me never to cry again as they were always around. That was the second last time I cried for being away from home and started the journey of endless adventure and learning and the inception of my new life.

SELF PLEASURE …

I love myself more than anyone else, I think I am always right, I feel I don’t commit mistakes, I am above all. That’s my self obsession, ME ME ME. Was asked if it’s same as self centered? Hmmm after thinking a lot I answered that it was not being self centered. Why? Well even though I was supreme, I somehow cared for others more than me. I know I am talking about a flaw in me, something which I never spoke openly before, something which is irritatingly wrong. Was thinking once and a question came in my mind, isn’t self obsession like enjoying Masturbation more than Sex. Whoa couldn’t really give an answer to myself. I always tried to prove the wrong right just because I couldn’t be wrong. I would want things my way for the reason that my way was the right way even if it was wrong. I then realised that somehow I have got good in convincing people over the time and always succeeded in convincing the one who was right to do my wrong.

I never really met the one who would not get convinced by me, who would stand by his or her obsession. I was getting good in being right always, but then I was getting worse within as I was losing myself in this ordeal. But the ME in ME was so strong that it was difficult to be wrong. But I still had some good in me left somewhere, the little Mr. Good in me, who made me realise the mistakes I commit due to my obsession, and who made me accept my errors. So I would always accept it if I was wrong and would somehow sometime try to realise my mistakes, punish myself, though I would be a little extra liberal in the punishments.

So why am I writing about this, trying to bare the hidden faults of me, making myself vulnerable and porous. Because I realised that all this was making me the Villain in the movie of my life. That small hero in me wanted to execute me, to be brutal with me. Though the tussle between the good and bad in me gave me a kind of sadistic pleasure, as the tryst between the good and bad was often, after all good is always attracted to the bad, I wanted it to end. Why can’t I be good and good, hmm I think we need some badness in us to balance and realise the worth of the good, so there has to be some bad in us, but only some, the good should always be more than the bad. So here I am, trying to change myself, to make my good stronger and be able to make the good and bad in me friends. I have been changing now for a while, I accept more NO’s than YES, I don’t turn my back when I am rejected, I don’t make a sad face when my shot doesn’t hit the target. But why am I writing? As I thought that I can’t succeed alone, after all you all have been my partner in crime, so I need you to get me better. I want my I to change to You. So stop getting conned by me and start telling me my wrongs. Ah yes don’t do it in one go, would kill me, be a little generous on me, after all I am not that bad 🙂 As promised I am barking myself out. WOOF WOOF !!

THE BLACK AND WHITE OF MY LIFE !!

I was always asked what made me become a lawyer, once when asking back why was I asked this question by everyone I was told because I am a first generation lawyer and had entered a profession dominated by the families and was passed on in inheritance. I had thought about the answer initially and didn’t really get an answer to it. So I always replied I became a lawyer because I liked wearing the black and white. Though the fact was that I did miserably bad in my class 12th boards and sat for the entrance test of a famous Law School and somehow got through it. Now after 5 years of being in the profession I realised how much I hate black and white. All the while I was in the law school I didn’t really want to be a lawyer, had always thought of using my new found legal acumen in the family tradition of business. Was always told and believed that being a Marwadi, business ran in the blood and that’s why a course in Business Management was not required. All my beliefs were defeated, I did an internship in the wee end of my Legal Education, only when I realised that I never actually got any education, that’s when I actually wanted to be a lawyer. Yes yes that’s me the confused mind, trying to discover something new all the time, and living in my false beliefs. Finally passed the law School and the world was colourful for a moment when I sent a sms to dad signing it as Advocate Kaushik Poddar. Was a proud feeling and felt like the king of the world, the feeling of being above the law, yes above the law cause they said I was now legally allowed to interpret the insane Indian Laws as I wanted. Insane cause we were told that if a man was raped then he had no legal remedy under the laws. Yes I was expecting that to happen with me and was further expecting that I would be looking for a legal remedy. So that was me after retiring from the law school.

Reached Delhi, was told it was from where the power flows. If Bombay was the financial capital, Delhi was where the power was. Power because this was where the laws were made by the Legislature and interpreted by the Judiciary. We witness it often how our so called rulers make the laws, I feel if it was left all on the parliament then most of us so called general class citizens would have not even been able to get quality education in this country. So this is where the Judiciary alias The Supreme Court of our country comes to our saving, playing a big role in efficient ruling of our country. In the time of Judicial activism practising in the Supreme Court was like being in the middle of the power play.

First day in the Supreme Court, wearing the black and white, felt good in the black suit, neck-band and the robe. Was always a fan of harry Potter and the robe did give the feeling of being in the fantasy land. The feeling stayed only till someone told me that the neck band depicted a snake’s fang. It was the symbol of a lawyer not being anyone’s friend and can bite you which could be fatal. Damnnn, it somehow shattered all the proud feeling. Back to the Supreme Court, it felt like being in Antarctica in the middle of herds of Penguins, sans the chill. I was requested by a senior if I can go to the Employees Provident Fund Appellate Tribunal to seek an adjournment on his behalf. He told me that I can mention before the court that the counsel appearing in the matter was on his legs in the Supreme Court (on his legs meant that he was standing and arguing before the court), so he could not be present before the Tribunal, as such the case maybe adjourned. Tarikh pe tarikh is what came in my mind, Sunny Deol was all I could think of, till I realised that I didn’t have a dhai kilo ka haath to break the table. So I reached the Tribunal and mine was the 2nd case in the list. The lawyer who was appearing in the case before me made exactly the same prayer what I was told to make, though his case was adjourned I could see the Judge was not too happy about it. My matter was called and I was speechless before the court. I was repeatedly asked to start my case, and after a moment of silence I spoke, “My lords, the counsel who has been appearing in the matter is suffering from viral fever, so he could not be present before the Hon’ble Court, therefore it is requested that the matter maybe adjourned for a short date”. It was only after I had said that I realised I did something wrong. The Judge spoke, “Viral fever?? Even I am suffering from Viral Fever and I am attending the court, if I can be here why can’t your lawyer be?” I honestly had no answer to it, was standing dumb, first appearance in a court and I was being royally screwed. The Judge then asked me to start the case as he would not adjourn it. All I could say quietly was ‘What the Fuck’. But after a lot of pleading the Judge told me that he would adjourn the matter but only if tell him what the case was about. So the bit of reading of the file that I had done helped me, told the court about the case in a cracking voice and the matter was finally adjourned.  Was also given a nasiyat by the Judge that I should always be prepared for the case even if I was seeking an adjournment (follow this even today). Felt as if I had conquered something, but realised I was actually raped and I had no remedy. Told the lawyer proudly that even after all the ruckus I had managed an adjournment. He gave me 500 rupees, my first income from the profession. I wrote the date and his name on it and thought I would keep this forever, still have it with me.

From that day till now, after numerous cases the cracking voice has gone, the eyes now meets the eyes of the Judge, though the feeling of conquering still remains, the black and white had started feeling hot and heavy. After being a part of the profession day and night, I met the good and ugly side of it (I can say its more ugly than the good). Had clients who touched feet and thought me to be god and had clients who said that they had killed by mistake and would pay anything to escape punishment. They say it has become a money-making business and didn’t have the nobility attached to it. Tarikh pe tarikh does exist but there is no Sunny Deol screaming and breaking the furniture in the court room (I just realised I am getting obsessed with Sunny Deol by mentioning him in all my posts). It is way more professional and refined than those in the movies, and hindi doesn’t exist in the court. Thats another irony, we being primarily a hindi speaking nation, been ruled by the English, its English which is the official language for the working of the Apex Court. What I do is interesting and has a special respect and aura attached to it, but at the end it does gets monotonous and sick. Yes sick cause I know deep in my heart that what I do is always not good. Does feel like running away from it sometimes or to do something else, but the madness of this profession pulls me back. It is like impossible to get out of it. But the restless me would find a way out if needed, but right now the exits are closed. Had heard this joke in the college, ‘arguing with a lawyer is like mud wrestling with a pig, in the end you realise the pig actually enjoys it’. So now it has also got difficult to argue with myself, never get a conclusion yet I enjoy it. Woof Woof !! 🙂