A “Note” Story

A “Note” Story

After a really long break from writing here I am again with another write up, amid the chaos at new work place and new town Bangalore.  Coincidentally, this instance again is from recent Diwali vacation (seems Diwali and my writings go hand in hand). This was one long awaited holiday! I was away from home for more than 8 long months, which by far was the longest stay away from family. After a goof up with my travel itinerary, panic ticket booking and tantrums at office I somehow made to home on time for Diwali. Evening was full of festivities and I absorbed every bit of happiness. Being with family is one of the best feelings one could get. The big Diwali night passed away real quick and there it was, a long 10 day holiday. I had noting on my agenda, except to catch up with a few close friends, spend time with family (especially my little niece and grandparents) and do some house chores.

Day 2! 

I met a close friend of mine and as usual we went for a ride into the town. He casually gave me a 100 rupee bill and told me he found the person who wrote a note on it and wanted me to return it to them. I on the other hand was completely clueless and had no idea what he was talking about. He slowly started explaining things and I was now able to connect the dots. I complimented him for his kind gesture and said I will do the needful to return this to the person this belonged to.

Let me take you back to where it all started. One fine day this friend of mine wanted to have some loose change and he took some from this father. While going through the bills he noticed one of them had a note in black ink. Curiosity kicked in and he immediately pulled this one out and began reading “Mummy gave me this note last time. I miss you so much maa..I Know you always with me …hai na “Thoughts started running through his mind and all of a sudden a feeling to do something about it kicked in. The message was strong, sad, and emotional and it was about a “mother”. Thoughts turned into firm will and with this began the activity to find this person who wrote it. It looked like an impossible task since we are a big country with a mammoth population and any one could have written it. Still efforts began and the image was posted online on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all popular social media platforms. Help was taken from celebrities, politicians to post from their account since they had a larger reach. People started sharing the post just in hopes that the person would see it and try to contact. After two long days 29th July 2017 one girl claimed. This was a moment of joy, it was unbelievable….it actually worked. We were able to find the person who wrote it. The hard work and effort of all the individuals paid off (I personally thank everyone who were involved in the task). It was decided to return this rupee bill but now it had to be shipped all the way to Bangalore to its rightful owner. I hope you would have figured out by now where I come into picture.

On my return from Jabalpur to Bangalore I dropped a text to her as soon as I landed and told her that I have brought the rupee note for her from Jabalpur and would like to give it back. It was a busy week ahead and we decided to meet next weekend at a place nearby. Saturday came and I had little catching up with friends to do (also ran into a confusion which is altogether is a new story in itself). Well it was later decided to meet at a nearby Starbucks. I usually go there to spend time over weekends. While I was there waiting for her to arrive many thoughts ran through my mind. I had been carrying this note for a while in my phone case (not in my wallet, I didn’t want to end up spending it), my family knew about it, my friends knew about it, colleagues at office knew about it, even the ice cream shop where I go knew about it and everybody was waiting for updates on this (hence this blog post). Even I was now very curious, I wanted to know what made her write that on a rupee bill, what was the untold story behind it. What was her part of the story? At that moment only I decided to write this blog post. She came along with a friend to the cafe and we waved at each other, we greeted and everyone got seated. I took the rupee bill out from my phone case and handed over to her. I was very keen to see her expression. She was smiling like anything and yet had teary eyes. Her friend consoled her by patting her back. The emotions were obvious. I was there smiling looking at all this. This was the moment; the deed was done, thanks to efforts of so many people involved once again. We were all happy faces. She asked me how she could thank me, I said I am just the mediator and the efforts are all done by my friend, you should thank him. We did a facetime call back at Jabalpur and thanked my friend. We were all happy faces.  Well it is after this I asked her what made her write that note as I along with everyone else were curious to know her part of the story.

Well the event goes way back to 2006. This was after her mother passed away she wrote this note. She was close to her mother and she gave her the money for shopping and all glittery stuff. There is always one either father or mother who spoils (showers love) kids like this. She had some money which her mother gave and this was part of the last ones left. She wrote a note on one of the bill knowing there won’t be more from her. She accidentally spent it, but destiny had something else planned. After 11 long years here she was holding it in her very hands back again. Only god knows how many hands/wallets this would have changed, how many transactions it might have gone through, how many places it went to, how many people read the note and spent it over and over again, before it landed into my friends hand and he decided to do otherwise “return it”. Nothing is impossible if there is will and the intent is pure. I told her even I have a half spent money envelope which my grandmother gave me when I left home to start my professional career. Emotions are price less and I could very well relate to her feelings behind this. We had a small chat for some time about home town, work and stuff, after which she departed along with her friend thanking once again for the gesture.

There was a feeling of accomplishment. Something good was done. There is this line in one of the video which I saw on the internet which I so wanted to write here as it really puts things into perspective. “A simple act of kindness, creates and endless ripple that comes back to you” so true. When god sees you doing your part, he will do his part and open doors that no man can shut. Life has its own ways of giving back to you. Well, this ended on a happy note and I am sure to smile when I will remember it down the memory lane. All is well that ends well.

That’s me once again signing off for now. Thanks for taking time to read, keep checking this space if you want to read more about me and my interactions with “life” 🙂 

The Destined Journey

The Destined Journey

Well here I come again with another write up from one of the recent incidence from this Diwali vacation. This also happens to be the first post which  I am exclusively writing for my new blog page. I thank you in advance for all the love and support.

It was almost mid of Diwali vacation and I was completely immersed in festivity, but back there in my mind I knew I had a task to complete in these limited days vacation. Well that task was to get transcripts for my sister from university in Bhopal so that she could apply for further education abroad. ( I will soon publish a DIY to make it easy for you just in case you also want to get your transcripts). After days of following up with friends I realized that I will have to do it myself as nobody else would be able to do it in that small period of time. So I picked up a Thursday keeping Friday as buffer, considering it may take an extra day. I booked tickets and mentally prepared myself to get up at 5 in the morning ( I am not a morning person). I slept off early that night despite being at home where I seldom sleep.

4.45 am Thursday

The alarm went off, I was struggling to find the phone under my blanket just too press that snooze button. I found it and snoozed for another fifteen minutes. The screen was filled with notifications from last night which were bluntly ignored in all that haste. I got ready in hurry ( no I did not/can not shower that early in morning) the bag was packed already. I tip toed out of the house without disturbing anybody’s sleep and slowly started walking towards a near by railway station. It was a 10 minute walk. People around were wearing jackets, sweaters and shawls and there I was just in a thin t shirt. It was not that cold for me ( I am still wandering if I was ok).

Train as expected was right on time and I boarded swiftly in no time. As I entered I noticed this girl siting by the window on my left, talking over her phone. She seemed familiar, with another glimpse I was able to recognize her as a friend, although I had only met her once before through a common friend but we are good friends now, thanks to virtual social networking. I was wandering if she would recognize me or not and in all the dilemma I simply wished her good morning followed by her name and was instantly greeting by a ” Hi Ankit”. I was impressed by the quick reflexes. The queue was building behind my back and I was almost pushed to my seat where I parked my small back pack and rested myself. As I was getting my self comfortable in my seat the phone rang ” It was from an unknown number” and I was wandering who is calling me that early in the morning. I picked up and there was a familiar voice on the other side, oh it was her calling from the back seat. We greeted again and I asked her if she is returning to college after the Diwali break, we talked briefly and I decided to join her as we both were traveling alone in this journey. I gathered my stuff and went back to sit next to her on the seat which was still unoccupied. I took a breath as I settled in my seat and back in my mind I had this thought that at least now, this journey will not be a boring one as I had someone to talk to. This was a long five hour journey. The train had already left the platform and people were still settling down. The guy whose seat I was occupying approached and I requested him to take my seat which he happily agreed to.

Then began the chat. We talked about Diwali vacations, common friends, Chandigarh, Bhopal, Jabalpur, future plans, life events and god knows what. We also surprised common friends on text and they were wandering what we were up to together so early in the morning and were taken by surprise. They were a good sport and it all summed up in a laugh. We also discussed some very serious matters like ” What are the desired qualities in a man ” and I ended up taking notes which still make me smile when I glance through them on my phone ( no I am not sharing that list here, intellectual property you see). The conversation was at times interrupted by calls from patients over her phone while she was still figuring out what excuse to make for being late at college :p We took a break to munch on the new Cadbury chocolate which I got from my sister for Bhai Dooj. In all those chit chats we never realized how time passed and we were about to reach Bhopal. I asked her about the university address where I was suppose to go and coincidentally it was on the same way to her college. We decided to go together as an auto was already there to pick her up.

The train reached main station and we off boarded. We were greeted by her fellow colleague who was also on the same train. All four of us were going towards the same direction. Yes me, my friend, her friend and the auto (PJ). We stuffed the auto with all those heavy bags ( I still wander why women carry such heavy bags), and squeezed ourselves on the seating space. After few minutes of driving there I was standing under an entrance of a medical college girls hostel. Never in my dream I thought that I would be at that college ( few of my other friends have also studied dentistry there ) and that too in its girls hostel. Life can be really unexpected sometimes.

I bid good bye and thanked her for the nice time and continued my journey towards the university. Took another 15 minutes to reach there. I started of with the procedures as soon as I could and started filling up the transcript format on my laptop while siting on the floor at university hall way. This was my first visit ever there although I myself have graduated from there. It was chaotic as it was already past lunch time and students were getting impatient to get their transcripts claiming they had trains to catch as they came from nearby cities and there I was trying to fill those formats as fast as I could, hoping to get work done on the same day. Took around an hour to complete the forms and then I had to take an auto to a near by printing shop to get the prints. These were expensive print outs. The shop owner was putting his monopoly to full use to make money, but his jovial nature overshadowed the excess price. I took a lift on my way back to the university and submitted the document for proof reading. It was already past submission time window but the already stressed officer on the other side was kind enough to accept my request and took the documents. I was now certain that this will not happen on the same day and I will be required to come back again tomorrow to get this completed. I cancelled the train tickets and booked for tomorrow. I was starving, as in all this chaos I did not have anything to eat, although I got a follow up call from my friend asking if I have had anything but I lied and said yes. Liar Ankit !

I called her again and told her that this would take another day to complete and I would have to stay in Bhopal for another day. She got free from her college and we decided to go and eat out. There was this chicken tikka sandwich that she mentioned which I so really wanted to try now. Poor hungry fellow. I took a cab and picked her on the way it was already sunset and the lights were up. We reached the café, it was a sweet little place with ambient lights and modern seating. I could see that Diwali crowd, people who came back home on holidays and were catching up with friends and family. Sweet.

The order was served and we munched  on food over random chat. There was this mall on other side of the road which I wanted to visit ever since it was built but could not as I seldom visit Bhopal, so we decided to visit there. My stay for the night was uncertain and I was given some real crazy options which I can not write here :p but I also had to visit my sister in Bhopal and decided to stay there for the night. It has been real long since I went to her place. We went candy shopping at the supermarket for two of my little niece, one of them is a candy collector. Chocolate makes everyone happy. After having few doughnuts and ice cream we decide to leave as it was getting late. After dropping my friend at her hostel I headed for my sisters place and thanks to GPS supported by my brothers intellectual map skills I was able to reach spot on. Everyone was all smiles and I greeted them, both the niece were asleep by now as they had school early morning. We chatted over dinner for sometime and then everyone went to bed. I summed up the day in my head and geared up for tomorrow as I fell asleep after a tiring day.

Morning

As always I was in bed till late. One of the niece had already left for school and Jijaji left for work by the time I could get up . I took a shower followed by a really nice home cooked lunch. I chatted with sister for sometime and played some “selfie selfie” with my shy little niece. Around 11 I bid good bye as I was again uncertain how much time it will take at the university and if I would come back home. I booked a cab and reached the university where after some close follow ups and effort I was able to get the transcripts. The task was accomplished and I was happy all inside. I was not this happy even when I got my own degree :p . I felt accomplished.

I called a cab again and headed straight for the station to catch my train. On the way I called up my friend and informed her that I got the transcripts and was heading for the station to catch my train. It was on time and boarded to reach hometown Jabalpur.

These chain of incidences inspired me to write this blog post, not because I wanted to write about the trip but to share the message which I got in these two days. How small things can make you happy, make you feel that someone is always there and how beautiful friendship is. Sometime just a phone call in new place from a local friend can bring in such joy and assurance that at least somebody is there who has your back and you are not alone. Those simple ” how are you?” or ” have you had your meal ?” can have such a positive impact on your day. I recall this incidence from Thailand where 3 in the night I went out to have these banana pan cakes and there this old lady selling them asked me how I was doing and how my day was. It has left such an unforgettable mark on my memory. I never knew people could be so nice and how their simple gesture could add so much of positively to your day and your overall experience with human interaction. It all sums into that be nice to people around you, help anyone if you can and there is always some one who is having your back, so ask for help.

That’s me signing off for now for this post.

PS: It took me quite a long to finish this blog post, if you could calculate time between Diwali 2016 and April 2017 to be precise. I started writing this when I was in Aurangabad and finishing this after moving to Bangalore. Thanks for reading and keep checking this space if you want to read more about me and my interactions with life.

The Forbidden Door

 

The Forbidden Door

A fine evening, I saw a bunch of twigs, leaves and dry grass interlaced, which appeared as if it has been deposited by the wind in my already messy balcony and was lying right over the rain water drain hole, blocking it ! I instantly sprung into action to clear as I knew monsoon was nearing. It took me moments to clear the mess but I was taken aback when I saw a small egg under the so called “pile of dirt” An instant feeling of guilt ran through me and I stood there thinking that unknowingly I have ruined a poor birds nest which she built for her unborn chick. I was there helpless as I knew if I touched the egg, the bird will not accept it back. I had no option but to leave things on destiny, I went back inside and closed “the door”.

Next morning started as usual , I got up and was rushing to get ready and leave for office, last night incidence almost slipped out of my mind. Day passed away as usual and evening I came back home and that curiosity to find out what happened to the nest made me rush towards the balcony. I slowly opened the door just to find the nest was reshaping again. I took a breath of relief. Somewhere deep in my heart I unknowingly promised myself that I will not be a reason again for trouble to this poor bird and her egg. This bird was a pigeon.

Days passed and the nest took shape, the egg was no where to be seen. I was now checking daily on the build status. Then time came and I had to go home for a long awaited visit and to attend a close friends wedding. I left for a week. All this time I was busy back at home with almost no thought of what was going at the corner of my balcony at other home. Time at home just flies very fast and I now had to return back. The thought of this bird came on my way back and I was again curious to find out what happened to the nest. I rushed to open the door which was closed for a week now and stormed into the house. I opened the balcony door and this bird just freaked out and flew for her life “I never meant to scare her, I didn’t realise she would be there”. But all of a sudden my eyes went to the nest and there they were a pair of small, shiny white eggs 🙂
The bird was now seated at a distance looking at what I was doing. I immediately closed the door and started looking through the door creek. In minutes the bird was back to look for her eggs and sat over them while still looking at the door. She looked scared. I immediately decided that I will not open this door again till the egg hatches and the birds fly free. This was now the “Forbidden Door”.

Every day after office, I was now finding myself standing over the kitchen platform peeping through the window, lying on the floor having a glimpse from under the door, trying to find out what was going on the little corner. I was obsessed. The eggs and the bird were now part of daily conversations with a bunch of selective people whom I speak with daily. The late night what’s app chat now had these eggs as a major part of discussion. They were now know from Pune to Neemuch. I found myself googling to find how many day it will take to hatch. A very close friend who was expecting a baby( she is blessed with a baby boy Kiaan by the way) ensured to remind me  every time we speak to not harm or trouble the bird. I could very well understand her emotional feeling as a mother. The feeling was mutual. One fine day when I returned back from a near by town after a weekend getaway I could find that one of the eggs have hatched, there was now a little bird tucked under the mother bird on the nest with one egg still to hatch. I was happy to see the bird. The mother bird would fly away leaving the little bird if I tried to peep through at any point during  day light, however after dark it would just sit there even if I opened the door and went all the way into the balcony, however it would get scared but would not leave. I am still amazed on this change in reaction during day and night.

I was now monitoring progress in growth of  little bird every day, I even sprinkled some grains in the balcony for mother bird to eat but it would just not touch anything. I still don’t know the reason. The other egg was still there, it would just not hatch. The little bird kept growing every day, I could see feathers changing colour and growing into wings. It was truly marvellous to see a tiny creature grow. There were nights of stormy weather with thunders and heavy rain, I still remember 3 in the night with no power at home checking on the birds with my cell phone light to see if the rains didn’t trouble them, they were just fine. Days passed and the bird kept growing. From a tiny chick it now grew into a pigeon with purple feathers, it could not fly though but would now stand whenever I peeped through the door. There was a lot of staring back.

All this time there was this other egg which just didn’t want to hatch, it kept lying on the nest. It seemed it was the same egg which I disturbed in the very beginning. The feeling of guilt in me was gone though as at least there was one bird now. But anyways, that’s how life is. Poor egg.

There was this evening when I came back home just to find this little bird sitting high on the pipe staring back at me. Now that’s some quick progress rang immediately in my mind . The other egg however was now lying broken on the floor which eventually was carried away by winds in a day. Time passed by and the little bird could spread its wing and finally could fly. I was happy to watch it fly. I immediately wanted to reclaim my balcony. Such typical mean human like feeling. This day marked the end of me being locked out of balcony and now I would go and stand there not bothering if the bird freaks out. The nest lies at the same place to date and I am just too lazy to clear it.

Such is life, how a little incidence could have a lot of effect on what happens next in your life. It could literally change you in ways you would never expect. Just for example this tiny little incidence made me create a forbidden door which I was not allowed to open by myself and inspired me to write this blog post. I know it was a bit  silly but thanks for the read.

Originally posted on ankitbhagoria.blogspot.com on Friday, July 29, 2016 at 09:21 pm

Life on the other side

 

Life on the other side

A nice cozy winter morning, I off boarded my train at a nearby connecting station to catch another for forward journey. With four hours on hand and absolutely nothing to do I killed some time in boredom sitting on a bench observing what people around were doing,how the station master flagged every passing train and waved to the driver and the guard. He would then go just to come back again to wave for another. There were morning greetings, the attendant handing over their shifts, A tall lady dressed in a black saree with golden zari lining, filling up a huge railway register. Everything looked usual. The trains came they went off, people off boarded, people on boarded. A typical Indian Railway station scene.

I decided to take a walk around the station to relax my back which was all sore by this continuous sitting and moved towards the platform where I was suppose to catch my train. My attention was caught by a bunch of children and middle aged men and women on the other side of the track. There were 6 children scattered in two groups and from what appeared to be play on first sight, was actually work. A young girl aged around 10 was filling up a big metal water tub with a mug from a water source underneath the track. A young boy aged around 5 was playing with water she was filling which resulted in small quarrels as he spilled water on the ground. He would then sit on the track and make fun of her. This was a track which was not in regular use, I could tell that by the absence of human excreta on the ground. Their mother would yell at them occasionally from a distance to keep the fight at bay. A few steps apart was another group of two young girls and a boy, they appeared to be doing some serious business. The had a pile of disposable plates, the ones with silver foil on the use end. One girl would take some water from a half cut mineral water bottle and clean the plate with encircling motion and would then flatten it over a concrete girder to let it dry. The boy fetched water continuously to help the cleaning process and the third girl would arrange dried plates into a deck. A voice in my head played ” The next time you eat something on a plate like that, think where it came from”. I felt disgusted, but in another instance a thought came to my mind, What was the motive behind this rework ? The answer came almost in a flash “Money”. It is important to have money in life, but when you are poor, all your efforts are focused around it. I was no longer blaming these children as it was their misery which was compelling them to do so. Hunger makes you do a lot of unlikely things and these kids were being programmed right from their childhood to address it.Life is tough.

My eyes moved further to a group of three middle aged men who had a tightly packed sack. They were segregating plastic and other things they collected in it. They would occasionally have a talk and would laugh over a joke while continuing with their work. There were disposable plates, bottles, empty packets and a lot of other trash. Then this happened which left me baffled, one of them started eating from a plastic box filled with left over rice with absolutely no expression of disgust on his face. I think hunger supersedes every other feeling. He finished his “breakfast ” quickly and started working again. It seemed so usual to them, indeed it was. I was the one who was new to it. This was reality check. The oldest of them with a long hanging beard found a bottle of cola half way filled and gave it to the kids cleaning the plates. They took out plastic cups from the same sack, rinsed them with water and after a small quarrel on how to divide and who gets to drink how much they finished up the drink. All smiles. It was a party.

Out of everything sad which was happening right in front of my eyes there was one thing common, they all had smile on their faces. Despite all the adversity they were happy. I think that’s how life is. These were three different age groups and I could clearly see what these children would grow up to be.I looked at them for sometime and then moved as my train arrival was announced. I left the place but I carried a thought with me. Sir/Madam If you are reading this consider yourself lucky as life has bestowed you with luxury and other comforts in life. Be thankful for it.

 

Originally posted on ankitbhagoria.blogspot.com on Saturday, February 06, 2016 at 08:25 am

Difference a Tomato can make

 

It all started with an urge to Eat, Eat and eat. Few days back I started something which I always said I am never going to do….. “Cooking” and boy I must say I have started liking it. All of a sudden those urges of eating my favorite Non-Veg food and filling myself to the neck were coming true, but something was still missing…… that taste…… that special recipe that mum used to cook …… that simple chicken with that simple gravy. I tried Masala, temperature and technique in various combinations, made some good stuff….. but again that cliche taste was missing. One fine day (today) I somehow decided that I will do the unthinkable, will add tomato to the recipe (cooked tomatoes make me sick) and voila it worked like chemical X from the Power Puff Girls. I was now able to replicate that same taste from home and I summed up my cooking with only one thought in mind ” What great a difference a Tomato can make”

Originally posted on ankitbhagoria.blogspot.com on Friday, September 12, 2014 at 01:32 am