Monday, March 25, 2013

It’s funny how freedom can make us feel contained

It’s funny how freedom can make us feel contained

Life was busy and contented with easy going. Daily routines of exhausting me in office and sleeping in weekends were now the life I lived upon. Once in a while meeting some friends or reading books were the changes I look upon. But yes, one thing has never left me alone, i.e. music. Whenever I feel sad or happy, I have listened songs of my choice. And it’s the music which is my refuge from long time.

That day was nothing new. I was getting ready for the office in the early morning when I friend of mine called and told me to book his Tatkal ticket. In India, getting RDX is much easier than getting a Taktal train ticket. I tried hard but couldn’t get through. So I left home with heavy heart of not tickets done for the friend. In this whole process of his booking, I had already missed my office shuttle. 

Now public transport was the only way to reach office. I love Bangalore’s public transport except Auto-wallas. They seem to believe in only song “Teri keh ke lunga.” But since I had no option, so took one auto-rickshaw to drop me till bus stand. The moment I reached the bus stand, I saw the bus leaving, I shouted, yelled and was again doomed by the fate. With the ipod pouring some sweet songs into my ears, I was able to keep my calm. After fifteen minutes a mini bus came, I , without wasting a single minute, jumped into it and managed to get one seat. As the bus moved toward its destination, I relaxed myself on the seat with a change in song. While I was listening this beautiful song from the movie “Tannu weeds Mannu – Rangrez mere”, conductor lady shook me up for the bus fare. I was not happy the way she asked for that. But then I again fall in the enigma of the song. Suddenly I felt like someone had sprinkle water on my face. For a moment I thought I am dreaming. Then again I felt the same. I opened my eyes and found at my spectacles; there were some droplets of water. I stopped my playlist and looked around. Just in front of me, a lady with long and wet hairs was struggling for taking the money out of her purse and with her neck tilted to keep her mobile between her shoulder and ear, one laptop hanging on one arm and a purse on the other. I cleaned my spectacles and then tapped on her other shoulder and, gave her my seat. She was so busy in phone and managing her belonging that she didn’t thank me even. I again started my ipod and started enjoying the songs. My destination was just about to come when she was done with her call and she tapped me and said “thanks for giving me the seat”. I looked in her eyes and replied “Have you listened a song ‘rangrez mere from the movie Tannu weeds mannu’? Before she could answer my question or think more on it, conductor lady told me that my stoppage had come. I got down and just looked at her with a smile.

Days were hectic in office and life beyond office was nothing easier. They say that life is about balance. That it trades one sorrow for one joy and so forth until it finds some kind of harmony. Well, I want none of it. I've never been as dead as I was when I was balanced. I don't want life to be contained. I want it unbound, inspired, alive. So was just struggling with meeting both ends meet.

After nearly three weeks, again my bad time management led to missing of my office shuttle and hailing public transport. Followed the same route, I reached the bus stand and I got the bus in a moment, I was happy for that. Again good luck favored me and I got a seat. This time I paid the conductor bus fare earlier only and now I was relaxing with the “There She Goes by Sixpence none the richer” with closed eyes and submerged in the thoughts of description of Krishna by Radha in Geetgovind by Jayadeva. Someone distracted my dhyana , patting on my shoulder. I opened my eyes and paused the ipod. Looked behind me, it was her. I unplugged my headphone and was ready to get up giving her the seat. She said “I don’t need the seat, just one answer”. I had even forgotten our last short conversation. So I got up and replied take the seat and shoot your query”. She settled down and then lift her head and saidYou don’t come very often in buses, I looked for you for last three week and here you come . Anyways, last time you asked me to listen that song. I listened it, it was a good song. But why you said such thing randomly”. I have even forget the song I had told her. So playfully I asked her “So tell me which movie was it”, to get some clues. She replied “Tannu weeds mannu”. I replied “Aaha, its rangrez mere song, I love it “. She looked at me surprisingly and understood that I had forgotten the conversation. I replied before she got angry 
Actually I was listening to that song on that day and just day before that I was reading GeetGovind and many articles on Krishna radha love kathas and you know words of Gurudev Tagore :
"O Death, you are like Shyam [Krishna] to me
You are like the dark clouds,
red is the colour of your hands,
incarnadine red are your lips,
you take away all the pain and sufferings,
you are the death which gives us immortality."

And these words were echoing in my mind when I heard that song

Rangrez mere do ghar kyun rahe, 
Ek hi rang mein dono ghar rang de, dono rang de,

And in between all this, water droplets from your wet hair broke my solitude. I told you to listen that song to image when a person is in such a meditative mood, how he feels when something distracts.”

She didn’t know how to react on this, Good or bad expression. She just burst into laughter and said “its hell lot of thinking and I didn’t get much of it “. And suddenly I realized my stop had come and so I said her Good bye and left. While getting down from the bus, thinking about her laughter I just prayed God bless her so that she can keep her laugh always”. Moved to office and that day was just flying in office. It was as if something touched my soul and I was refreshed and happy.

Days and days passed and live moved on. Then one day I received a mail with a heading “How is Radha Krishna love going on”. I opened the mail and my heart was beating with double rate , don’t know why .She wrote

“ I got a glimpse on your office card on that day so googled your name , found that you are all over internet and getting your email was not at all a difficult task. So how is radha krishna’s love going on. Never saw you again in the bus, so thought of dropping the mail.”

I went for an espresso shot; I really needed that before replying her. After getting kicked by caffeine, I replied

Thanks for goggling. Your mail brought a smile on my face, but Radha Krishna story has taken a twist. First let me tell you some part of Krishna radha story which I loved:

We should not cling! A plague upon fundamentalists and literalists! I am reminded of a story of Lord Krishna when he was a cowherd. Every night he invites the milkmaids to dance with him in the forest. They come and they dance. The night is dark, the fire in their midst roars and crackles, the beat of the music gets ever faster - the girls dance and dance and dance with their sweet lord, who has made himself so abundant as to be in the arms of each and every girl. But the moment the girls become possessive, the moment each one imagines that Krishna is her partner alone, he vanishes.
With time Krishna fall in deep love with Radha, whom he used to meet every day on the river bank and they used to spend lot of time in just talking to each other. Kansa, krishna’s uncle who was trying hard to kill him, decided to make a plot to kill him. So he invited him to Dhanush yajna. While Krishna was about to start the journey to Kansa’s palace, He saw Radha standing in a corner looking forlorn. He told her,”Don’t worry, Radha. I shall soon return and make you my queen”. Radha looked at him and smiled with tears in her eyes. “I know that will not be possible, you were a living the life of a cowherd. I am a simple country girl and would die in the confines of a palace.. But promise me two things”, she said, “Ask and they are yours” replied Krishna. “You must always reside in my heart,”said Radha. ”And what is the second promise?” he asked. “Let people know that the way to reach you is through me. Let our names be used together in perpetuity” She said.
It was for the first time Krishna was able to feel the pain of the milkmaids.
Sorry if that bored you, but such fantastic pain of separation is well described in Galib's words ". Woh jo ishq tha woh junoon tha, yeah jo hijre hai ye naseeb hai. " 
I think its enough for you to declare that once in a bus you met a crazy software engineer, who talks about philosophy more than engineering. Will like to see your response on this.

I was expecting a response of my mail but its been a week, she never responded, hence I dropped her from my thought list J . Days went on and on and now I had moved from Krishna’s love life to Lord shiva’s love life. After a long customer call , I just opened by facebook account and say the first post as

Us roz darwaza to band kiya tha maine
Khirkiyan bhi tab se kholi nahi hai
Phir kyun yaadon ke darichon se jhaktey ho tum
Main dur jitni bhi jaun....kyun mere piche bhaagte ho tum

I smiled at it thinking it’s so true about life, the more we run away from it, the more we entangled in it. Without any thought of her, I opened my mailbox and saw her response. She replied back

“You seem to be more in thoughtful about love than experiencing it. It was nice of you to write me such a story, which I more or less understood. So tell me about yourself. Let me start, I am Nitasha deshpande, working in Accenture as a business consultant. I don’t like philosophy, but the way you mixed philosophy with romanticism I enjoyed it. I love playing tennis, listening rock, watching movies and doing window shopping. I liked reading management books as I want to climb up the latter faster. I have a family with one younger brother and family settled in Mumbai. I have a boyfriend who works in ANZ. I can dump him if I find a better option :p. That’s all about me”

I read her mail twice and thought of immediately responding to her. But then I decided to give it a thought before I respond. Responded her after one week, not because I needed that much time but just to make sure that she feels the same I felt for one week not receiving her mail. I replied:

“Sorry for the delay response. It’s nice to know a lot about you. I am all on internet and there is nothing different I can tell you about myself. Yes, in context of your writing, I don’t play any games (not even computer games: other than packman, which I play when I get stressed with work). I do like rock music but I have a varied taste, I listen everything from Yo Yo honey singh to Eric Clapton, from Korn to M.S.Subbulakshmi and nothing stays with me, I keep moving in music and with music. I like watching movies but at my place, with my headphones in place and with subtitles so I can understand what they are conversing. I don’t do window or door shopping, and I think its ok for all men. Management books are a bit scary for me and I am not ambitious for climbing the corporate ladder but to some extent, my ambitions lie in spiritual pathway. I have two sisters; one elder and one younger, elder one married and younger one rebellious like me. I don’t have a girlfriend as in terms of modern world, but I do have many good friends who are girls.  Chalo, I have to leave for a meeting so see you next time. Bfn.”

Some part of me wanted that its better that she won’t respond this time. And I had enough work in my office and life to do. Sadly this time she responded on the same day. And I kept scolding myself for seeing her reply at that day. She responded:

“So you seem to have varied taste in music and in living a life. Can we meet for a coffee today evening? Else tomorrow sometime if it’s ok for you. “     

 I saw her email and then downloaded Brain Damage of Pink floyd and started playing it in full volume with my headphones in office, with my legs stretched on the table and head leaned on the chair. I took a power nap in my cubical when one of my team-mate came and muted my music. I woke up within minutes after music was turned down. My teammates were laughing looking at me, one who muted the music said “you wake up within minutes after I turned off the music, was it a lullaby you were listening”. I replied “I didn’t wake up because you stopped the music, I woke up because everyone voice in office started disturbing my thoughts in sleep. Music shuts off everyone’s voice and I enjoying submerged in my thoughts. Music and noise are nothing different, they both have the same origin ‘notes’ , just that music has those notes synchronous to each other and noise has those notes in random order” Anyways, now I started finished up my official stuff and decided not to respond her for few days. 

After three days, she mailed again

“Hey, you don’t want to meet, its ok. I am not going to bite you even if you meet. And you could say that you are busy or something to buy time. Anyways, I just wanted have an advise from you. I trust strangers more than friends & family for some things. My boyfriend is from Tamil Naidu and I have lived most of my life in Mumbai or in Bangalore. He is thinking of settling down in Chennai with family. I am confused on Chennai thingy. I don’t know how that place and what kind of people are there. . That’s the reason I wanted to meet you on a coffee and talk about”

I thought of again not replying her, I never wanted to participate in someone’s personal life. But I couldn’t control myself. I replied:

Let’s meet on Thursday, evening at 6:00pm at CCD near Ecospace.

I was pretty much excited to meet her and respond to her query with my philosophical acumen. I reached there on time but no sign of her till 6:30pm. She came in and I stood up. I don’t like when someone come late for meetings (whether professional or personal meetings). She sat down and without exchanging any words she just called the lady serving coffee and asked for water. I asked “everything fine ma’am”. She looked at me and nodded her head stating yes. Once she gulped the water, she said  I have a client call at 6:30pm , and I told my manager that I am not well and will leave for home early. He called me and told that he is waiting for me in the downstairs and will drop me at home”. So he took me home and then I came driving my cycle from home here and on the way I think I killed a cow. I laughed at her and said “killed a cow by your cycle, good god. So will you take some hot coffee or something to cool you down”. She said have I gone mad, how can that cow was killed when it was me who fall on the ground

I replied, “you reminded of a scene in Alice in wonderland:
The Mad Hatter(Johnny Depp) : Have I gone Mad?
Alice: I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. ALL the best people are. 

So stop thinking and have something now. She was bit of relived now and we ordered two Aztec with double shot of caffeine. She started the conversation” So Mr Thinker, what do you think about love? Is it madness or something really to be experienced? “

I started my reply with a small story:

I was reading a case study by a psychologist few days back. He talked about his experience when he was the head of mental asylum of New Jersey. One day few people called him in his office telephone and told him that there is a person sitting in central park, wearing a long white sheet and quietly muttering “gibberish”. His very presence threatened the certitude of sanity of the community at large. Under the pressure of people, I sent few workers from our asylum and brought that old man into our asylum. This person was damn normal, just that he doesn't talk with anyone and keep on mumbling “I am son of the God and I drink blood of jesus”. Mayor of the city called me and patted me for our prompt action in bringing such person in our center. Two days were over and then one morning that old man asked me for making a phone call to his friend. He talked with someone over the phone. That morning twenty other people wearing white sheets arrived at hospital. Equally strangely clad, they were also equivalently incomprehensible to the psychiatric staff. It turned out that these men and women were all members of the same small rural church sect, a religious group who define their identity in part by clothing themselves in the purity of white cloth, and by the being divinely inspired to talk in tongues. The psychiatrist in this case, being a practicing Roman Catholic ( who weekly ate and drank the body and the blood of Jesus Christ) thought they were a queer bunch indeed. The mayor of the city called me and asked me release that person immediately as they were considered as higher spiritual religionists.
Moral of the story, One such man is a lunatic, twenty constitute an acceptable and sane community.

Before I say anything, our coffee had been arrived. And she looked at me and said 

“Don’t tell me you think being love is same as that lunatic person”. I smiled and continuing sipping my coffee.

 Once coffee is over, she said “since you have frantic views about love, I think you have never experienced it and now I don’t know how you are gonna help me in my question which I mailed you

I replied
“Do you like Calvin & Hobbes, let me show you one

So its upto you, whatever you think will make better memories is good” 

  This was something which she enjoyed and I could see smile on her face as if she has now trust on my capabilities on answering her. I don’t know why I was trying to impress her by my capabilities at that time. She asked,” So what you do think, what should I do? Should I continue or tell Abhimaniyu about my feelings”

I replied So its only Chennai which is hurting your relationship or more than that.” I knew that its better not to dig deep but I just thought of making it clear before commenting anything.

She replied “Currently its Chennai only”.

I replied “If you have time , I will tell you a very short story which I was reading few days back.
You must have read about Sati and Lord Shiva. Its Lord Shiva’s first wife who did self-immolation and lord shiva carried her body to Mount Kailasha. But there is folklore in norther Himachal Pradesh about her. Her name was Nanda or Gauri and she was born in a palace. Being born and brought up in the palace and then her marriage with Lord shiva, whose body was always covered in ash and had matted hair and was always in Meditation in Mount Kailash. Her whole life changed when she moved to Mount kailash where it was always snow and no trees or flowers or folks to talk to. She had a very difficult life there but all she was satisfied was that her husband, lord shiva, loves her and respect her very much.
The lord Shiva and Sati’s love story is an example of eternal love.
If you know that person loves you, then I don’t think place matter for you.

She was silent, trying to grope words for further conversation. I thought I had asked more personal stuff than I should have and said more personal stuff that I should have. I looked outside, it was getting dark and she had come on a bicycle so I told her to start for home and I also got up in the bus and reached home.

Next morning I checked my mail, it had her mail with “thanks” and that’s all. I was expecting a bit more but then knew expect the unexpected funda so got busy in my office work.

Days passed by and no mails. Then after nearly two weeks she mailed again and asked for meeting again. I replied humorously about the agenda of the meeting to which she replied “Let’s discuss about Calvin and Hobbes latest edition

Calvin: Isn’t it strange that evolution would give us a sense of humor? When you think about it, it’s weird that we have a physiological response to absurdity. We laugh at nonsense. We like it. We think it’s funny. Don’t you think it’s odd that we appreciate absurdity? Why would we develop that way? How does it benefit us?

Hobbes: I suppose if we couldn’t laugh at things that don’t make sense, we couldn’t react to a lot of life.

Calvin: (after a long pause) I can’t tell if that’s funny or really scary.

I sent a smile and asked when and where. Response came “same place , same time”.
This time she came on time and we ordered the same Aztec with double shot caffeine. We talked for more than two hours and she talked about her upbringing, her family and friends and how they enjoy on weekends and how is her work on weekday. 

Initially I was a bit hesitant but then once I start, there is nothing to stop me :p. After saying adios, we decided to meet again over the weekend.

Now the place and time has changed, we met in an ice cream parlor and sat for more than 6 hours. I had to tell a lie to my roommates that I am going to office and was praying to god that they shouldn’t come to this parlor today.

...time was not just was turning in a circle...each time we meet; it looks like we have just started talking to each other.

Intrigued by that enigma, I dug so deeply into her sentiments that in search of interest I found love, because by trying to make her love him (her boyfriend) I ended up falling in love with her.

Now every weekend, I used to meet her for hours and hours and on weekday, we chat for some time. Office things were getting pending, but not too much as I have devised some efficient ways of finishing my work earlier. Sometimes we were so engrossed in our talks that we preferred death to separation.

One day while on the evening coffee, one of my teammates asked me “how is she”. I was shocked and choked as I had not told anyone. She told me she saw us on last weekend, so I had nothing to hide from her. I told her to swear to God not to tell anyone and I am happy that she respected that privacy pact.

She asked me “So are you in love with her”

I shook my head and replied Love is so simple that most of us start treating its simplicity as delusion.”

Actually I was in a dilemma that I love her or not, I liked her as a good friend and I hope same was for her. She already had a boyfriend and I was never ready to accept any new responsibility in my life so I thought it better not to tag this relationship with any name.             

Then it became a habit of spending weekends with her and I had lost the fear of being found with her as I deep down in my mind had clarity of thought that she was never mine and I had no intentions of making her mine too . I enjoyed her company. Each time we meet, I used to tell her many stories and she used to laugh at them. All I wanted is capture that laughs of her and live with it.

One day she mailed me during office hours to send her my phone number so I exchanged my number with her. She called me at that moment. I was in a meeting for my project so I cut the call. But she kept calling me relentlessly. I came out of the meeting and picked it up. She yelled at me “Where were you, I am trying to call you from past half an hour and you were cutting my call. All said and done, come to your building exit, I am waiting for you”. 

I wanted to tell her that I was in a meeting but she didn’t give a chance to speak. I told my manager for urgency, he knew me from past five years so he didn’t question me anymore. I reached near the exit with many thoughts flooding my mind. Saw her waving out of a car and she called me to join in. When I reached near the car, she said “Come on, why are you so lethargic at times? Meet this is Abhimaniyu and we are going for marrying in court. You will sign for us, one from my side we have got and one Abhimaniyu will arrange, now come on, and get inside the car. The court will close by 5:00pm and it’s already 3:00pm. If I will not get married today, then it will be never“. I entered the car and shook hand with Abhimaniyu, he was a stud kind of person. He started driving the car and I was looking outside when he said “I have heard a lot about you and your stories. Mostly all our conversation has some stories from you. So can you tell us some story now, I have never heard from you so I would be great.

I thought but not for a while and said

“It’s not a story, it’s something that happened today. I was ordering my food in our cafeteria today when I saw a child staring at the pastry. I asked him why he isn’t eating it. He replied apprehensively that when the pastry will end, it will make me sad and hence I am unable for me to eat it.”
I gave it a thought for a moment and realized that he is right and indeed it is a universal truth. We all start thinking about the end even before we begin .In every beginning there is an end. Happiness and Sadness are a part and parcel of life but we have to begin to experience it”

The story made the environment silent and thoughtful. In order to break the ice, I asked him to switch on the radio.

On radio, the RJ said “This is the last song of my show today , its from the movie ‘Tannu weeds mannu’ and the song is “Rangrez mere”

Aditya Deadpan