Category Archives: Love In The Times Of Recession

लिखते हुए कुछ ख़्वाब से – 1

love pictures

– अनघ शर्मा

” जब मोरे राजा पिया गये हैं बगीचा
भौंरा भनर-भनर होये मेरी गुइंयाँ ”
लक-दक करके दामन से झाड़ो तो अनगिनत यादें झड जाती हैं। पर ये भी तो सच ही है कि इतनी आसानी से कभी कोई याद भी नहीं आता। दिली तौर पर याद करना और ज़हनी तौर पर याद करना दोनों अलग-अलग हैं, फिर भी कुछ यादें ज़हन और दिल के बीच कहीं अटकी रहती हैं। उसकी याद भी कुछ ऐसी ही थी, कहीं ज़हन और दिल के बीच सुस्त पड़ी। पर एक कोशिश तो करनी ही थी इसे निकालने की। सो ये तय हुआ कि यादों के तोशखाने में से एक रजाई निकाली जाये। फिर रात भर कोई याद ओढ़ो। पुरानी याद की धुंधली गंध रिसते-रिसते दिल के तहख़ाने में बैठ जायेगी। यूँ एक कहानी के जन्म की बात होगी …… शर्त ये कि पैदाइश तक रजाई तोशखाने में वापस न रखी जाए।

उसकी तो पूरी कहानी ही शर्तों पे टिकी हुई थी।
पहली शर्त ये की …
“उसे उसके असली नाम से बुलाया जाये न कि लोक-प्रचलित धीमरी से ”
दूसरी ये की …….
“वो कहाँ से है ये कोई न जान पाए ”
दूसरी शर्त तो जायज़ है। पर पहली,भला ये भी कोई बात हुई,असली नाम से पुकारें। उसके माँ-बाप या हमारी माँ को छोड़ इक्का-दुक्का ही कोई होगा जो उसका असली नाम जनता होगा। सभी तो उसे धीमरी कह कर बुलाते थे, अब इस नाम में क्या बुराई है भला ?
बुराई है,यह बड़ा व्यक्ति -वाचक है।एक बार लो तो तमाम दुनिया जान जाये। सो असली नाम छद्म पहचान का काम करेगा। न लिखने वाले के मन पे ही कोई बोझ और न उसके ही मन पर।
कई बार बड़ी बहन से कहा तुम ही लिख मारो उसकी कहानी। किस्से-कहानियों में तुम्हारा हाथ सधा हुआ है। पूरा न्याय कर पाओगी उस के साथ, जैसे अनुभवी शल्य चिकित्सक के हाथों त्वचा को सिलने में टांका इंच भर भी इधर-उधर नहीं होता, ठीक वैसे ही।
सो हर बार की तरह वही एक जवाब। अरे ! उस पर कहानी लिखना कोई डबल रोटी का टुकड़ा खाने जैसा है क्या ? कि जैम नहीं तो न सही मार्मलेड लगा कर खा लेंगे। ये तो याद है, ठीक नमक की तरह, अगर स्वाद लेना हो तो खुद ही चखना पड़ता है। बाकी मौका-बेमौका, वक़्त-बेवक्त तुम्हें ठोंक-पीट कर दुरुस्त करते रहेंगे। फिर तुम्हारी यारी-दोस्ती भी थी उसके साथ सो तुम्ही लिखो।
अजी क्या ख़ाक दोस्ती थी ? असल नाम तक तो याद नहीं हमें उसका। करो, अब करो दुरुस्त ??
अच्छा याद कर जब वो कोई काम बिगाड़ देती थी तो क्या कहती थीं अम्मा ?
“एक काम भी ठीक से नहीं होता तुझसे, वही हाल है तेरा आँख के अंधे नाम नयनसुख। आँखें है या बुझते दिये, देख के भी नहीं चलती। ”
ये अलग बात है कि नज़र उसकी पाक-साफ़ 6/6 थी।
तो पहली शर्त के लिहाज़ से उसका नाम नैनतारा था।
उसकी जो सबसे स्पष्ट याद है,वही बड़ी धुंधली है। चेहरा-मोहरा, कद-काठी तो अब याद नहीं ढंग से, मगर कुछ याद है तो उसके कॉलर-बोन के गड्ढे। वो इतने बड़े और इतने गहरे थे कि मुझे हमेशा लगता था जैसे दो सूखे हुए तालाब हों, और कभी इनमें बेतवा का साफ़-ठंडा पानी भरा रहता होगा। बेतवा इस लिए की दूसरी शर्त के लिहाज़ से वो ऐसे इलाके से भाग कर आई थी,जो कहीं बेतवा किनारे था।

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No Rhyme No Reason

no rhyme no reason

 

By Malathy Madathilezham

No rhyme no reason

Why I

Am with you

 

The pain I feel

Drives me closer to you

I realise that now

The days pass by

The fights, abuses and all

But I come back

How long,

Will go on this ?

 

No rhyme no reason

Why I

Am with you

 

The feelings the same

But something’s changed

The joy’s gone,

More of a hollow within

I loathe looking at you

But I can’t leave you

How long

Will go on this?

 

No rhyme no reason

Why I

Am with you

 

Yes, I love you still

But something’s changed

More of make believe

The thought of your touch

I shudder with fear

How long

Will go on this

 

No rhyme no reason

Why I

Am with you

 

 

 

 

Dear Lovers, Don’t Drop The Pretence

Print

By Joybrato Dutta

Love is what you assumed Leonardo felt for Kate in Titanic. Love is what burnt Troy. A fulfilled love story inspires marriages that are filled with ‘awwww’ moments, but an incomplete one inspires generations to love. As strange as it may sound but the couples by which most lovers swear by – Romeo & Juliet, Heer & Ranjha, Laila and Majnu, didn’t really end up marrying. So most lovers know how to love, but they don’t know the next step.

And then comes Valentine’s Day. A day when every lover gets the license to upgrade his or her relationship. Teenage lovers propose for love, couples in their early 20s propose for a commitment, while their counterparts in the late 20s propose for marriage. And then there are those hardcore lovers who believe in living in the present. So they make love instead of making a commitment.

But people graduate from colleges. They get into workplaces where they believe that they have matured. They believe that for lovers, every day is a Valentine’s Day. They believe that lovers don’t need a special day to express love, because with each other every moment is special.

BULLSHIT!!!

You don’t send flowers to your lover every day.

Nor do you send chocolates.

And you definitely don’t take her out on a long drive or a candle light dinner every day.

You don’t even attend her calls. Yes you can blame the frenetic times, the offices, the tuitions, the promised billiards game, and the Teen Patti, but you cannot deny the fact that you don’t make your lover feel special every day.

Which is precisely why I believe in the importance of Valentine’s Day. It gives us something to look forward to, some excitement in life, a chance to start afresh, a chance to rekindle a dormant spark. So I suggest don’t drop the pretence, send her flowers (sponsored by Ferns and petals), cards (sponsored by Archie’s), and chocolates (sponsored by Cadbury’s), because every day is not a Valentine’s Day.

P.S. – The above note is for people in a relationship. Dear stags, Happy Vaseline Day. 

The SLAP – A Short Story

slap

By Ganesh Subramanian

It was a wet evening. It always has been so at this time of the year. Puddles of water everywhere showed the intensity with which the monsoon had unleashed itself. Now after a brief respite, the dark clouds above seemed ready for another torrential downpour. Arjun was on his evening stroll in the nearby park. Birds were chirping and the setting sun was playing hide and seek with the dark clouds. The mud, the wet mud produced the pleasant smell that Arjun always loved. However, today nothing seemed to ease the anxiety that he was going through.

His mind kept playing the telephonic conversation that he had with Natasha an hour back. All she said was “See you at the park today at 6. I am afraid that I don’t have the best of the news to tell you. Be prepared”. What was she going to tell? Did I hurt her someway? Did her interview flop bigtime? Thousands of questions were running through his mind at the rate second only to the speed of light. Arjun tried to calm his mind down. But the thought refused to go away. Frustrated at being unable to control his own thought center, Arjun sighed and looked at his watch. It was 5.50 pm. Natasha should be here in another 10 mins.

Arjun looked at the curly haired boy playing with his sister at some distance. He smiled to himself. It reminded him of his childhood days. He reminisced how he used to always tease her sister and make her cry. “Hey Arjun, been waiting for a long time?” The unmistakable female voice, the voice that he has been hearing for the better part of the last two years, shook him up from his reverie. He turned back. It was Natasha, as beautiful as ever. Her well toned figure evolved from regular workouts at the gym only accentuated her beauty. The black dress she wore today seemed to perfectly gel with the dark clouds above. “Hi Natasha, I came here half an hour back. So what was it that you wanted to talk about?” replied Arjun in his typical no-nonsense style.

Natasha sighed and took a deep breath unsure of how to say what she wanted to say. Summoning up the courage, she finally said, “I think this will not work out, Arjun. I tried convincing dad and mom. They are not willing to go ahead with our relationship. I also need to think about my future. Dilip is handsome, rich and well-mannered. I have decided to settle down in life with him. My parents also like him. So I am sorry, Arjun. It’s over”.

Arjun’s jaw dropped. He couldn’t believe what he just heard. Almost on the verge of breaking down, Arjun stammered for words. He prayed that he didn’t hear it. “Wh..What do you mean, Natasha? What about the two years that we spent together in love and lived for each other? What about…”. “Look here, Arjun” Natasha interrupted him “I am sick and tired of convincing dad and mom and arguing your case. Your current state doesn’t impress anyone. I have often tried to tell you to not go behind your stupid dream of film making and take up some job at a lower pay. But you never listened to me. I can’t wait any longer for you to come around.

Arjun now lost his composure. “How dare you think that my dream is stupid? All along I believed that you, more than anyone else, will understand my struggle and will be my companion in this difficult journey of mine. How wrong was I! So now it is all about money, comfort and luxury is it? You vile woman!

Natasha retorted sharply “Look at yourself Arjun. You are a loser. No woman in her sane sense would want to live with you. With you and your wild goose chase of your dream, I will remain consigned to poverty for eternity. Thank God that I took the right decision. Living with you would have never made me happy. Unless you change yourself, neither do I see you getting married to anyone, nor do I think that anyone would want to have kids with you”. The last statement was enough for Arjun to lose his temper. His anger and emotions came out like a deluge. SLAP! Natasha was stunned for a moment. Her otherwise milky white cheeks now looked a pale crimson in colour.

“Don’t you dare utter one more word, you money-thirsty idiot. Get out of my sight and out of my life. Go to your ATM, Dilip. Whatever else happens or doesn’t happen. I promise you this. I will be a successful film maker one day and I will be more successful than your corporate joker Dilip”. Saying so, Arjun left the place. The skies opened as if it was waiting for this opportune moment. Natasha was left staring at the receding form of Arjun in the distance and rubbing her cheeks.

Copyright Statement: The story is proprietary material of the author and any attempt to publish or reprint the story in any other form without the prior permission of the author will be liable for legal action.

Love in the Times of Recession – Chapter 3 – Blink

last-meet-sad-couple

The first week of October also saw a new batch of students entering the campus. They came in as a whiff of fresh air for the students of Batch 5, who were facing many a turmoil due to recession in the markets. Many new girls caught the eyes of the boys who were in their best behavior and clothes.

An informal ice-breaking session was conducted in the first weekend, to get to know the new batch. A fun filled two-and-a-half-hour session ensued where the entire batch of 48 students were asked to perform a few tasks. Towards the end of the session, Ashima walked up to the front of the class to make an announcement.

“Folks, it was a wonderful opportunity getting to know you all on a personal level. On behalf of the students of Batch 5, it gives me great opportunity to invite you all for the Fresher’s Party to be conducted in two weeks time. The theme for the party will be disclosed just a few days before.”

Ayushman joined Ashima “But before you people start rejoicing about the Fresher’s Party, let me break some bad news”

Groans were heard from all corners of the class.

“Its tradition in our college to conduct a business plan competition just a week before the fresher’s. We introduce you all to BLINK…an annual competition, where all of you will be tested on your presentation skills and innovative ideas.

Business plans are decision making tools. A good business plan can help to make a good business credible, understandable and attractive to someone who is unfamiliar with the idea. Preparing a business plan draws on a wide range of knowledge from many different business disciplines.”

Ashima chipped in “The entire class will be divided into 6 teams of 8 each. The common ground for all of you would be e – business, with respect to specific domains that will include Auction, e – learning,  Entertainment, Investment, Kids, Matrimony, Real Estate, Social Networking and Sports”

“The terms and conditions for the contest along with the list of groups will be mailed across to your group ID. Any clarifications, you people can always reach out to me,” concluded Ayushman.

At the end of it, Ayushman heaved a huge sigh of relief. It had been one hell of a ride to convince the class to adhere to the tradition at the campus. Because of the placement scenario, which was nowhere close to satisfying, most of the Batch 5 students were least interested in conducting the event. They wanted all their energies to be focused on the placements.

But Ayushman was different. He wanted the contest to happen and had his selfish reasons as well. Ayushman, by nature was hungry for fame.

He lobbied hard and managed to get them interested in the event. Ashima on the other hand worked hard in the girls’ hostel to make sure the fairer sex understand the importance of the contest being held. Finally there was a consensus on everything. From people sitting in the class to attend the contest, to the topics that were to be given to the juniors, everything was agreed upon.

A lot of ego-messaging was done to get the guys and the girls ready and Ayushman and his team made sure they leave no stone unturned to make the event one of the best ever held in the history of the college.

12th October 2011, the day of the BLINK dawned. The judges for the evening were Mr. Sainath, a former alumnus and a financial analyst, and Mr. Krishnan, a software engineer from Microsoft. Ayushman and Ashima were the unanimous choices for hosting the event.

This day was going to be the turning point in the life of Ayushman Bhatnagar.

Ashima was looking very pretty that day. Dressed in a white salwar kameez, she was dressed to kill. As he walked towards her, he saw her talking to Rahul. She was pretty, he thought. And when he finally joined them, she looked his way with a pair of hazy eyes that kept on coming.

“Hi,” she said as she offered her hand, “I m pretty nervous. I hope you aren’t. Hope we do a good job in there.”

But as he shook her hand and met those striking brown eyes, he knew before he’d taken his next breath that she was the one he could spend the rest of his life with. She seemed that good, that perfect…Ayushman was completely bowled over.

Ayushman and Ashima started the proceedings and each of the 6 teams proved their mettle, vying for the first place. The judges had a tough task in deciding the winners as every team tried outdoing the other.

After the event the judges spoke a few words of encouragement for both the batches. They said they understood the difficulty the seniors would have gone through coming up with the contest especially because the placement season was on and was impacted by the ongoing slowdown.

They saluted the resilience shown by the students of Batch 5 in these times of distress. Unfortunately not any of them knew that this show of strength was fading at a cancerous speed with every passing day.

All through this, Ayushman was absolutely quiet. He was so smitten by Ashima that he couldn’t peel his eyes off her.

“What is happening to me?” he wondered.

Later that night, Ayushman was very restless in his room. He just couldn’t take his mind away from Ashima. As much as he tried shutting her out of his mind, she kept flirting in absence.

He dished out his mobile from under the pillow and re-read the message she had sent him last week.

“Tomorrow, at 6 in the evening. I shall meet you in Barista,” he replied back.

This Book Is A Copyright of the author. Any Infringement or usage on any other website will invite legal action. 

The Photograph above has been taken from http://www.facebook.com/taylor.maries.photos. For more such pictures visit the wonderful page. 

Love In The Times Of Recession: Chapter 2: Tough Times Ahead

last-meet-sad-couple

The month of September crawled to an end and the students of Batch – 5 faced a daunting task ahead of them, from October onwards – to get placed in a reputed firm!! The students had still about 3 months left but there was a constant fear in all their minds. Big multinational firms were filing for bankruptcy across the world; multitudes of people were losing their jobs, layoffs became the order of the day. With a grim situation in every industry, what were the chances of getting placed, wondered the students of the batch.

The batch had pitched themselves in front of companies, in 6 metros across India. Presentations were made, brochures handed over. Most of the companies promised to come over to the campus during the placement season, but none did finally. Day 0 of placements kept changing to suit the needs of the companies but to no avail. Tempers were running high, the management promised to do the needful. Empty promises….the fate of 40 students was hanging in mid air!

On a daily basis the management came in for fierce criticism from the students.

“They shouldn’t waste our lives like this. If they can’t give us placements, they should have asked us not to join the college straightaway while we were going through out admission process. At that time it was all about flowery promises, and look at it now,” Rahul fumed.

Ayushman sensed that this was trouble. As the head of the college PLACOM student’s body, he could not let a rebellion situation to arise. Students were in favour of Rahul’s current statement but Ayushman took control. “See at this hour we should back the authorities and see that action is taken. I have myself been talking to the PGP chairperson and she has promised 100% placements.”

“We should also understand the market scenario, it’s just our sheer bad luck that we are graduating in these tough times,” ended Ayushman and soothed the atmosphere a bit, though in his inner mind he knew that if the situation does not improve sooner this frustration can lead to something big and disastrous.

Every computer in the lab had either Naukri.com or MonsterIndia.com page open, with students searching through the openings advertised in them. Mails with covering letters and resumes attached were being sent across. Numerous telephone calls were also being made to companies by the PLACOM members huddled in a small cabin right outside the PGP office. Excel sheet databases were open, with constant updates at the end of every call. Smiles on faces were replaced by frowns and scorns and most of the students were bordering on depression.

Ayushman had interned in a big multinational during his summer training and he was keeping his fingers crossed about it. He was also thinking of calling them and asking if he had any chance of joining them. The associate director of the company was impressed by the work put up by him and had asked him to call up during placements.

Ayushman though wanted something to happen without him asking for favors.  He by now had sat for three interviews but nothing had come out. All the time the companies would select him only to inform later that recession has forced them to delay recruitments.

The ever chirpy girl’s hostel also saw a lot of gloom. A constant frown was plastered on all their faces. Skipped meals, sleepless nights, dark circles under the eyes, the girls were an absolute sight.

Even love didn’t seem to prosper in these tough times. Heated arguments over the phone, followed by break – ups, girls crying copiously, boys nursing their bruised ego…everything spelt doom!!

Ashima was no exception to this. Her relationship with Rajiv started having cracks. Rajiv had changed over the last one month. He was hardly there for her these days, days when she needed him the most. She sensed that Rajiv was moving away from her.

Rajiv was a “classic” personality. His charm lay in the exuberance of his spirits and positive energy. He was Ashima’s super closest friend, more like a watch dog. He had been her confession box, her critic, her “keep – your – head –screwed – right – in – place – missy” lecture giver, her punching bag…oh she could keep going on!! But he had moved on. She was alone…once again!!

As Ashima was brooding all by herself in the balcony, she saw a lone figure walking up the road. It was Ayushman. What was he doing all by himself? Where was Rahul?

She decided to call him.

“Hi. How come you are all by yourself?”

“I needed a break so I decided to take a walk! How do you know that? Are you following me?!?”

“Look up and you would know”, she said and cut the call.

Ayushman looked up and saw Ashima waving at him. He waved back and after a brief exchange, he continued with his walk.

At the spur of the moment, Ashima messaged him

“Can we meet for a cup of coffee at Barista?”

This Book Is A Copyright of the author. Any Infringement or usage on any other website will invite legal action. 

The Photograph above has been taken from http://www.facebook.com/taylor.maries.photos. For more such pictures visit the wonderful page. 

Now…Love!

A beautiful poem by  Aditya Kavangal!

couple-holding-handsOur  love shall die
At the blink of an eye
Dreams burnt to dust
Memories will rust
Time is the witness
For our doom and bliss
Let’s not pretend
About our inevitable end
Now, we have a moment
Before we are spent
To be here, now, with you
Before, I bid adieu
To hold your hand
Walk on the sand
Before dawn and after night
Between shadow and light
We are born again
Without glory or pain
In this, we are young, Now
Without any end, My love