Culture · Europe · Letters · Paris · Travel

Dear Seine(Part 2),

Locked in love
Locked in love

While Tinni was walking back from the river and wondering if she was really a hypocrite, she came across the bridge filled with love locks. Names of couples written on the locks were hanging on the bridge. ‘Oh my!’ she thought. ‘I bet half them will end up in a break-up. But this will make a great picture’. She stood there clicking photographs so that the picture was perfect with good lighting. She was trying to create love through her camera. As she stood there, she saw a woman putting a lock with only one name written.

She saw her staring at her. She smiled, “Wondering what I am doing?” Tinni was embarrassed. She was embarrassed but she was caught red-handed. “Do you hope of love?”

“I am cynical. I don’t really believe in soulmates”

“That’s not cynical. But do you hope of loving? Loving anyone, with complete heart which is continuous and never-ending.”

She was pondering if this is actually possible – feeling endless love for a friend or mother or even someone special. It was awkward for her. She avoided people who were into sentiments of love.  “I think it is rather taxing and sad. I think we like someone and then focus on building the relationship and nurturing it. It’s simple.” ‘There a good and conclusive answer’, she thought.

“Then why do you like someone. Do you really think that we like someone because of our upbringing or our past? Have you not wondered if you did not have a past, you wouldn’t like the same set of people?”

“I think we have few habits which are innate. For example I am a foodie. I think I always be that way. But I don’t like Death Metal probably because I have not grown up that way.” By this point Tinni realised that she was completely clueless.

“Say you do like Death Metal because of your friends, there wouldn’t be a slightest chance of liking the same people you like now. Even love, would there be no chance of falling in love with the same person?”

Tinni thought for a moment and finally answered, “There will be a chance of liking or loving the same person, but sustenance depends on the past and the environment we live in”

She smiled “Finally logic. Well then stranger let this lock be unnamed. I shall name it the day the relationship has been built rather than having a relationship”.

The sun was setting down. The faint yellow rays were falling on the love handles. She thought it was a perfect moment for a photograph. But some moments can’t be captured just like people who cannot be taken. Not a friend, family or even a foe, people are there, people are everywhere. All we have to do is meet them.

Culture · Europe · Letters · Paris · Travel · World

Dear Seine River, (Part I)

siennIt was one sunny evening when Tinni decided to do nothing in Paris. She had no one there. She had no friends. She went to Paris only because it was her dream to be there one day. Yet, she still had no idea why she wanted to go there. When Tinni saw you, she was not too fascinated by you. You seemed so meek and piddling compared to others present where she came from.

She was sitting and looking at the tourists and some locals sitting and reading a book. A woman approached her. She was old and fragile. She sat beside her and she spoke in English, “You are Indian”, she said in thick French accent. “Dam!n Do I still look Indian? Why couldn’t I look Spanish?” she thought.  “Yes, I am Indian”. When Tinni looked deep in her eyes, she looked a loquacious kind of person.

“Yes, I can tell because a man passed by you, your feet touched him by mistake and you touched your head”. I have never seen anyone else do it. I visited Delhi 20 years ago. I will tell you one thing though, you were not even sorry when you did that gesture.”

“It is a habit I guess, like most other habits we have in our culture.”

“But your habits are governed by tradition and culture. Most of them have lost meaning today”.

“I think most habits do not have meaning. Like I when go to the States I hear ‘Thank you’ from so many people. Rarely do they mean it. It’s just a habit. However, I think the mind is more complex than we think. It knows that it needs kindness and deserves compassion.”

“My child, habit without reason is dangerous. Most of your habits are sanctimonious. Why do you need to be so hypocrite?”

Tinni had rarely met someone who could really vex her or get her riled up. She looked at the calm river. She remembered Joan of Arc, her ashes and thought it was better to be polite and not judge people by just one encounter.

Suddenly, everything around became white noise. She saw the river still and quiet. It was a beautiful sunset. He was calling her to enjoy the warmth. The old lady might have many complexities like the city itself.

But, she is Ganga and Ganga is compassionate yet proud. She realized, she did not have to hear the woman anymore. “We touch our head when we brush our feet accidentally as a sign of apology. It is good to question a habit or tradition but to say they do not have meaning is wrong. Each day we are breaking and making tradition as time changes. But you and I are bound by logic which keeps us moving. Apology need not be loud. Thank you need not be compulsory. But they are essential. I have a sunset to catch. It was nice talking to you”.

She might have been rude. But should Tinni have let it go? She couldn’t. But she started thinking – Am I really hypocrite? She walked by the river looking at the sun set. The night was going to be unfolded, with new thoughts and new people.

India · Mumbai

Dear Carter Road,

Carter Road

Carter Road

There are many times I have been at the brinks of your shore. Most of the times, I would be having coffee or would be chilling out with my friends. It was two days ago when I sat on the chair with my best friend and we looked at the sea. While looking at the sea, we saw people, people who were walking, sprinting, running, dragging, people who were old, young, pregnant, angry, hyper, poised. All of them had one thing in common. They went on and on like a routine which was compiled by the long stretch of  the road. While looking at the sea one of the glaring similarities were the youth. There were the typical high-end breed, the pretentious kids and the shy suburban minorities. Everyone who passed by us spoke about the same things, but in different lingos.

Scene one: An extremely pretty girl passed by us- short skirt, hair tied up and sleeveless shirt. She was jogging. She was a complete diva without an ounce of make-up. A group of guys just sniggered,’Ladki bomb hain’. There was another group who passed and said ‘Man, looks good’ and finally few professionals who passed by just looking at the woman with the corner of their eye. And in a fraction of second, she disappeared and all the boys continued with their normal unchanging lives. The girl probably must have not lingered in any of their minds. Maybe no one would have recognized her if she walked the second time.

Scene two: The girl came back turned around for a second sprint. The group of guys had changed but the comments remained the same. She went back and forth and every time the men around simply commented.

Scene Three: By this time women in their thirties had also started walking faster when they saw the girl. We could see the insecurity seeping in the older women. In general most of the crowd in Mumbai does not care. The women on few benches with their boyfriend started either romancing with their boyfriends more fiercely or simply stared at her. Only one element on the street was disturbing the entire schedule of people around her.

Scene Four: Finally a guy had the guts and started jogging beside her. Everyone secretly looked to see the next move. The guy stopped and said, “Hi, new here?” By his expression we could understand he was expecting rejection. We all assumed she will have thick accent. An accent developed by Indians which is neither British, nor Indian and definitely not American. She stopped and stared for a while. She made a sign language, ‘Can’t speak’. She was mute. The guy looked at her apologetically. “Sorry. I am so sorry, and he disappeared. The girl again continued jogging.

Scene Five: For the next fifteen minutes, whoever had seen the incident had some new-found respect for the girl. The girls with their boyfriend looked at her sympathetically. The older women spoke about her in hushed tones. Everyone seemed to now love the girl. No one conversed with her, no one smiled.

Scene Six: We got up from our seat and thought of having some yoghurt. We passed by new bunch of guys. “Dekh teri bhabhi ja rahi hain”.The girl was still running ahead. Life at carters still unchanged.