I called him when I saw him on the internet. Rather I found his name and phone number when I searched for him. The best part was he was looking at hiring people in his design firm. I couldn t believe my luck. I was so excited as I made this new discovery. I did not wait to think.I just went by my heart.Mind was left behind. I called him. There was no plan of action of what I will talk. My chances of getting caught were nil. He was too much of a gentleman to call back some strange girl on the same number.
I asked him for a job. There was a lot of nervousness in my voice. it just made me sound more like a job applicant. I had never done this before or dont remember it for sure. I asked for the job. Lied a bit and a bit of truth. He was calm personified. He actually sounded like a gentleman on the phone. This was going to be fun. He asked me stuff about myself very patiently. He actually gave me time to come off my mumblings and give answers. All this not in person that too on the phone. He is a hotshot at what he does or so I think. Had won a few awards in his field. Here I was telling him I dont have a clue about the work but would like to work with him. He did not say “Call during working hours” as it was saturday evening. He did not say, “speak to my secretary”. Not even that “send your cv on e mail and we ll get in touch”. He just patiently heard me out as if I was taking my first step in this big bad world of business and he was willing to hold my hand and help me take the baby steps.
I was so thrilled that he spoke to me so nicely. Now I had to send him my cv. I did not know whether to spill the beans that time or wait and take the game forward. The mood I was in I would ve flown to his city for the interview and surprised him. Then again, would he be shocked ? Did I believe I could shake his calm demanour into shock or surprise. I dont know if he hides his feelings beautifully or he doesn’t believe in wasting the feelings by expressing it. I kept thinking of ways to take this forward. My courage was failing but there was this innate excitement which I had not experienced in years. Was it about him not knowing me or about me liking what I saw.
Nargis Khatoun was my best friend in school. She came in the same bus as me. Her bus stop was at a masjid in Dighwadih. Her house was right next to the masjid. Green colored makaan single storied. She lived on the first floor. The staircase was outside the building from the road to her house balcony. We always saw really bright coloured clothes drying in her house. She had a round face, big forehead, wheatish complexion bordering dusky, brown eyes. Because of her, a large forehead got associated with Muslim girls.Now I see Katrina, Dia mirza all justifying my discovery with that big forehead.
I was one of the non English speaking girls in the convent and Nargis gave me company. We d talk about all our relatives and analyse all the school friends. We d sit and say which girls were best friends etc. I was extremely fond of her. Then, we had a maths test. In fourth std so we were into long multiplications. I got full marks in the test. Those days the answer sheets were given to you to check. That time girls would be very guarded and ask for everyone s answer sheets if they had good marks. For me, this was a the first time I had done well in my entire school life. She asked for my sheet and sat with it for the whole period.Just when the bell was about to ring, she went to the teacher with it. Nargis told her about all the mistakes i had made. The teacher saw the paper, reduced my marks from 100 to 58 and went away. I was shattered. I had thought she wanted my answer sheet to copy the correct answers. I could not believe that the teacher could did not find all these mistakes when she was correcting. The Teacher could not have missed out on so many of my mistakes.I thought she had changed some numbers in the answer sheet. I could see the eraser marks but I could not prove a thing. I had no face to show to my class mates. I had done my exam well, I had got cent percent and suddenly forty plus marks were deducted.
Nargis made new friends after that period and left school in a year s time.
I never trusted friends after that.
I wake up in the morning and I cant bear to look at the newspapers. If I see stuff in the morning, it plays on my mind the whole day.
Photographer Shadab Khan got a prize in some competition because he clicked a foetus lying on the road of Mahim. What’s the big deal ? As a child, we had a nursing home which had come up near our house for a short while and we used to see this kind of stuff all the time. Sometimes even a dog chewing at one, as the garbage was dumped outside the nursing home. If clicking gross pictures of death gives one awards then this is the time to go to Japan.
Scary to hear how we kill the girl child in the womb. I had always read Haryana n some northern states of India having a skewed boy girl ratio. Now Mumbai is in the same category. I would have thought that Mumbai has educated people and a huge population of working women. Atleast one of the couple must be tenth pass and would think differently. They’d pray for a healthy baby and sex of the baby would not be important. Feel sad that it is not so. Even mothers of my generation or young Moms all want a baby boy. I have yet to hear someone say I want a baby girl as my first child.
There are gynaecologists who advise you on how to have a male offspring. They dont just get their fees but baksheesh worth lakhs of rupees for providing a waaris/heir to the family. The poor living in the slums also want a baby boy for their own reasons. Crimes against women keep increasing inspite of women being bread winners, educated etc.
Just where are we heading towards? Do we as a nation have a vision ? Sovereign, Socialist,Secular Republic are just words in the Preamble of the Constitution. It does talk of equality of caste, creed n sex. Then why are women so keen to abort their girl child and have a son ? The father who sleeps with a women , whose mother is a women, eeven he doesn’t want a women. The grandmothers n grand aunts all women themselves are so vehement about having a son.
What is the bra burning feminist doing ? So called bohemian artists who attend charity events what charity do they do ? For that matter , what am I doing ?
There was a small temple at the turn of the street. I prayed there whenever we crossed it which was almost everyday. This temple was under a peepul tree. It has a banyan tree behind with the prop roots providing shade to the near by area. People from the opposite chawl which had now become a building, took care of it. They had also put potted plants on the pavement. The green patch had the small Shiva temple. Slowly, their Shiv ratri function started getting grander. The hoardings of a politico son came near the temple. He would come for darshan on shivratri. The temple turned to pure marble. Next year they put two marble steps from the road to the pavement where the temple is. Then on festivals, the ferry lights started covering half the street.Free snacks were provided to all who went for darshan on auspicous days. The snacks became sabudana khicdi, badam pista milk, kaju katri wafers etc. Now, they had uniformed caterers providing the snacks.
Then the tree which covered the temple was cut. the potted plants from the pavement were removed. The banyan tree behind was completely chopped in the name of pruning.
This Shivratri when I went for darshan, I asked the guys making receipts for donbations, about why they had cut the tree. They said that it was a risk to the people living nearby, as it was falling down. I told them I had seen the tree every day for ten years and it was not so. They said they would never cut it other wise. They set me to eat snacks to pacify me in the name of prasad. They also promised me , the tree will grow back.
God s green cover was gone but I will wait for the tree to grow back.
Why are trees being cut on the highways ?
Why are the RTI activists being killed?
Why is Binayak Sen in jail?
Why do the people living in chawls seem to be having more celebrations than my building?
Why am i envious when I see yet another wedding in the chawl? Another night of festivities, lights, crackers?
Why I loved the film Band Baja Baraat but dont like it happenning around me?
Why I did not enjoy my own wedding?
Why do I love all wedding movies like DDLJ, Hum aap ke hai kaun , Kal ho na ho and still not enjoy my own wedding?
Why I fear the weddings of my children ?
Why do I have fear of the life partners they will choose and the life they will choose?
Why do I love attending other people s weddings ?
Why do I get upset when friends dont call back?
Why do I get upset when I still have friends who never call me?
Why do I want to be friends with people my Mom warns me about ?
Why do I not write when I am so full of thoughts wanting to come on paper?
Actually, who writes on paper these days?