Feels weird I write this post! I'm a manager now :D Cant believe in couple of day's I'll have 30 guys reporting to me. 8 years back, I still remember my first day at office. A BPO organization based out of my hometown, Kolkata. Twinkle eyed, all I could was to stare at the glossy interiors. And after the day finished, I came back & met my childhood sweetheart. She was waiting with a proud smile near the bus stand. And I couldn't have been more happier. Everything seemed so perfect. Just out of college, that 16 grands salary a month seemed like a million dollars! Sadly didn't realize then that tough times awaited with a smile. Since I was a good communicator ( thanks to my english medium background), I was selected to be a part of the helpdesk. There were others who couldn't even say a proper intro about themselves & got selected for non-voice teams. I was flummoxed by this development! I mean how could a good performer in the technical interviews be selected for a helpdesk! :O Anyways, I moved on. But thankfully even though I was an agent at the helpdesk, I learned a lot from my peers & seniors. It was then that I learnt what corporate life meant. I picked up professional etiquette. I made fabulous friends. And in those 3 years, I learnt a lot. And then came my second adventure at Hyderabad. I had never been out of home, up & until that time. As the 3rd law of Newton says - Every action has an equal & opposite reaction. It's just that I never guessed it coming. In a couple of weeks, I had life changing experiences. Had a mini titanic scene at my flat, as the kitchen tap broke & within seconds everything I could see was flowing in water! I broke up with my five year old girlfriend. In a few weeks, I learnt she was going around with her office mate. Had a very difficult time to come upto terms with that & almost contemplated giving up. But as the saying goes "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on - Robert Frost".
It was then, when I saw what proper sheer luck does to a person. I had just come over to meet my parents & also stay away from Hyderabad which admittedly became a tough city to live in. I saw a newspaper AD that Accenture were recruiting in Kolkata for their new office in the city. Although I never had a technical acumen to go for an interview ( because of my BPO background). I decided to give it a shot. I still don't know what the recruiter saw in me to give me the job as a middleware admin! :D It was plain & sheer luck that once again I got selected for a technical middleware project. And although I had to compromise on my starting salary, I still have to thank my ex-girlfriend. She had moved in2 Bangalore & my offer was from Accenture Blore too. Naturally, even though technically she was my ex. Neither she or I could give up on both of us. Because we were genuinely "good friends" apart from being lovers. We practically spent our teens & early tees together. Anyway, I'd go on to the topic once again. So, I was at this french international complex technical project on middleware working on the latest technologies & using Unix, Ubuntu , Linux as their operating systems! I know how I passed out my engineering, so all these seemed hibru. But I got two tamilan people to thank for. BG & Muthu, you put your trust in a rank outsider. Someone who had no knowledge. Somebody who didn't know what middleware meant. It took me a while, but I slowly picked up stuff. Got myself enrolled for a in-house training program at a leading training house in Bangalore & in office I was always attending e-learning or instructor led courses. As funny as it sounds, I'd still have to thank my ex for it :D :D . Within 4 months since I landed in the garden city, she left. Apparently the guy she was dating, relocated to NCR and she left to join him there. I was heartbroken, but I put all my vent towards my job, my studies & training. There were days, when I would stay at office for 15/16 hours a day. Deep in my mind, I knew this was my last opportunity. If I let it go, I'll never get a second chance.
In five years, I get a chance to be what I always dreamed as a child. I got three wonderful people to thank for. Bharathi Ganesh N & Muthamilan Sargunaanandan Rathish Embar you put your trust in a rank outsider. Someone who had no basic knowledge. Somebody who didn't know what middleware meant. Someone who couldn't even logon to servers too! tongue emoticon
P.S - I take interviews these days & we normally don't entertain freshers for highly critical middleware roles!
Today as my first day as a Manager, I can't thank you enough for believing in me. Giving me an opportunity to be a part. I hope someday somewhere we can catch up smile emoticon
So in another 24 hours, I'll turn 30. A sense of depression grips me but I'm happy to have withstood all the tremors in my life and walked unscathed. This day used to hold a significant purpose in yesteryears, but this year is gonna be different. Very different :)
Some temporary pain.
But you’ll get over the pain,
it will eventually stop hurting.
Now maybe the stain ruined
your favorite pair of jeans,
or maybe it was
nothing special that was ruined,
but either way
the stain remains there.
And with time,
it will begin to fade,
but it will always be there,
a permanent reminder that you,
too, once fell.
Why is it whenever
I try to find love
they all laugh?
Why is it whenever
I try to love
they turn away?
Why is it whenever
I find love
they leave me
and say it was never meant to be?
I have found the paradox
that if I love until it hurts,
then there is no hurt,
but only more love.
When you can't remember
why you're hurt,
that's when you're healed.
A lie that draws a smile
or the truth that draws a tear?
I guess we all make mistakes sometimes
But you were my biggest.
The deity of goddess Durga standing tall with those fascinating eyes, the scent of flowers, burning ghee & incense sticks, dhak-beats, people dressed in their best clothes, delightful dishes, pandal hopping with family and friends, hot khichuri bhog, brilliantly decorated lights – indeed these are some of the memories that keep coming back every year around this time - Saptami, Ashtami, Nabami, Dashami - Four days of the year, when Durga Ma pays us a visit. To me, Durga Puja is that ocaasion when we forget all pain & sorrow and are at our happiest best. In spite of the sad feeling during visarjan, we chant out loudly “ Bolo Durga Mai ki – Jay..Asche bochor aabar hobey !” We spend the rest of the year in hope & patiently await the advent of Pujas.
To begin with, my affinity towards Durga Puja as a festival doubled up, when I realised during my early days that this was a time of the year when I got my annual quota of new clothes from my parents and close relatives, a custom which to this date is quite common amongst Bengali friends and families. Rewinding back to those days, Puja shopping was an event in itself as families like ours would save up all year to indulge on giving its members and the household in general, a yearly makeover. As October drew near, there was a sense of newness and merriment. One could sense an imminent sign of the Pujas being round the corner. Those days, with the absence of shopping malls in Kolkata, puja shopping was restricted to Gariahat, Ballygunge AC Market, Treasure Island or Vardaan Market. It was hilarious to be a mute spectator & watch those bargain fights between the customer and the shopkeepers where both parties were hell-bent on not surrendering even an inch which used to be an intense encounter. It was nothing less than a live bargaining tutorial & I credit my bargaining skills to those very days.
Initial Puja Parikramas or pandal hopping started with my family. I had a great childhood with my siblings & cousins. We were a gang of seven. Even though there was a difference in age, the fun factor never deserted us. Nearly every year on Ashtami night, the Biswas clan would leave the Ballygunge residence on a hired taxi for the most awaited ride of the year. During Durga Pujas, the nights of Kolkata have an uniqueness of their own. Almost the whole city is out on the roads. The houses are decorated with electric lights & make the roads look beautifully illuminated. The plethora of people wouldn’t deter our spirits & we wouldn’t mind queuing up at Mohammed Ali Park, College Square, Maddox Square, MudiAli, Jodhpur Park, Babugan, to name a few. It also meant lots of eating stops in between. The ice golas, rolls, popcorn, chocolates would keep us interested all the way. My later days during my college years & initial corporate days was centered to a very special friend. We would be simply hopping from one pandal to the other, meet up friends & clicking pictures merrily. It was also that time of the year when she would easily cater to all my wishes & demands. I distinctly remember our first night pujo parikrama. We toured the entire city on my bike, watching pandals, clicking pictures, sipping tea & suddenly the world had come alive. It wasn’t until the very early hours of the next day morning, when we reached our respective homes. Although times have changed since then, it was an experience that still brings a smile on my face.
The best part about the Puja nights at Kolkata lies in the undying spirit of the people. Even the folks who prefer to stay indoors, are mostly awake till the wee hours of the mornings…Some would have their respective family/friends coming over for a classical adda session, while others would lounge on their balconies or by their windows and spend the night just watching the masses parade past… all in all, indoor or outdoor, the city never sleeps…
As I patiently await the next three weeks to pass, I’m overjoyed deep inside at the opportunity of spending this Pujas in Kolkata. This year I shall visit pandals, try out the tasty dishes, click pictures , write my experiences and celebrate Durga Ma’s arrival with joy and enthusiasm.
Shubho stood looking at the mirror; confused, apprehensive and excited. He was so nervous; almost over the edge with it. Was the off white shirt good enough, he thought? Antara liked shirts, especially the suave ones but that was ten years back; what if she didn’t like it anymore. For a brief moment, he looked at himself. For the first time in years he missed himself, somewhere down the line he had stopped being the Shubho that Antara had fallen in love with.
He sat down on the sofa & started recollecting of the days gone by. The wrinkles were prominent, her face showed the signs of aging. It was a long time ago, since they had met in a busy metro station for a passing moment. From a distance it seemed, she was no longer the girl who was vibrant and always happy. At the same time, the ten long years had taken a toll on him as well; he hardly could be himself or even if he did it was fake and not uninhibited. All he did now was work, eat and sleep.
He opened up his old personal drawer which still had those old letters, gifts & pictures of them together. Despite feeling infuriated & having an irrepressible urge to burn them all down at times, Shubho just couldn’t do away with those. His eyes settled on an old picture of them that had the beach in the backdrop. They had been to Shankarpur – one of their most memorable trips. In the picture they looked happy but that was years ago. That was when Shubho & Antara loved each other truly, madly, deeply.
Shubho suddenly felt tears in his eyes. It wasn’t the first time. Since that fateful evening when she had walked out of his life, he had cried himself silently on numerous occasions. He felt imprisoned in the house where everything reminded him of those days of love, commitment and passion.
The grey colored cupboard in his bedroom, still had one of her T-shirts in one of the wooden shelves. He just couldn’t get himself to get rid of that. Shubho remembered how they had exchanged tees before she left for her studies. Right next to it lay the brown envelope. It contained what she had written for him before she left home. Some old moments, instantly flashed - On a number of occasions Shubho would sneak up to her while she would be busy getting dressed. He would hug her and caress her as if to promise a life of happiness and togetherness. He would stare into her beautiful kajal laced eyes & she would feel shy & move away. But it had been a decade since that had happened. He had a quick look on his watch – it was 6.30 in the evening. It was already dark outside. In an hour Shubho would be at the same bus stop where they had first set eyes on each other. Shubho clearly recollects. She was wearing a yellow kurta & jeans and standing right in front of the western union money transfer branch at Rashbehari. Hello Beautiful! I’m Shubho. Did I make you wait long? - Yes that was what he had said on that evening after they had gotten introduced to each other on the web.
Antara had to leave for his parents. They just seemed not to accept her at all costs. Shubho had left home instantly & somehow managed to survive through that day every second of the past ten years. She should have stayed back or was she right to leave him; the answer evades him every time. She hated him for not standing up for them; for what they had. Sometimes it seems futile to stop loving & missing her. Sometimes, he despised himself for not being able to let go.
He tucked his shirt neatly, wore his best perfume, picked his car keys and left towards their rendezvous point. They had spoken on chat after years & decided to meet one last time. As he continued driving through the city streets, he quickly remembered what he had missed. Yellow Roses! Those were her favorite. Fortunately, he could locate a florist & picked up a bouquet. He was in such a mood, that he didn’t even bargain with the shopkeeper. The words - keep the change seemed to come out automatically. The shopkeeper smiled as Shubho stepped out. As he neared the destination, his heart beat grew stronger and faster. He felt thirsty and his feet grew numb as he saw the bus-stop from a distance. The same western union money transfer branch hoarding seemed to greet him.
The moment of truth was now near. He parked his car and impatiently waited for the signal to turn red for him to cross. As the signal turned red, he adjusted his specks and started to walk. There was a bus just infront of the stop.
He kept walking; the view of the stop was thwarted by the bus. As he reached close enough the bus slowly started moving. His heart sank as he could see the bus-stop was completely vacant. Maybe she wouldn’t turn up he thought. Maybe, she would have a different life now. Maybe he was simply silly to live each day of the past ten years in anticipation of this defining moment.
He looked towards the metro exit gate which was partially hidden by an auto in the front. There was a lady with a little boy, perhaps six to seven years in age standing at a distance. As he looked carefully, the lady looked familiar. She looked beautiful with a cotton yellow saree and that customary kajal on her eyes. The boy was cute with a chocolate in his hand. It didn’t take him long to figure that it was Tora – as he would fondly call her. She was looking at him too and their eyes met for the first time in years.
‘How are you Tora?’ he asked.
‘Not bad, but I missed you.’ she replied calmingly.
‘I still love you and perhaps someday in a different world I will prove that to you Tora’ he looked apologetic.
‘Oh Shubho, I know. I have known it all along. Sometimes there is more to love than being together’ she said.
As they kept looking at each other intensely, the little boy suddenly called out to Antara.
‘Aunty lets go home’.
It was as if they were in a trance which was broken by the child’s voice.
‘Oh, I’m sorry meet Rohan. He is my life now’. She introduced him to the little boy.
‘How are you Rohan Babu? Here is something for you’. Shubho gave him the crackle that he had got for her. Antara smiled.
‘And here is something for you’ said Shubho to Antara as he walked up to her and handed her the bouquet of roses.
Antara took it and their hands touched. They felt the same emotions jolt their souls; that of love, sorrow and passion.
‘I guess I need to leave’ she said looking up towards him and then turned away.
Shubho stood there as Antara & Rohan walked towards home.
She opened the piece of paper stapled to the bouquet and it read,
‘I’ll never say our love is imperfect,
For I still love you,
In some sense we are still entwined together.
Yes life has been unfair and we did what we thought was right at that moment,
I know you are lonely and if anything that I feel guilty for is that I left you alone,
But know this I am alone too for Shubho needs Antara.
But my love I know someday we will be together, one day beyond this world’
As the car picked up speed on the Byepass, Shubho had her in his thoughts. Perhaps, they would be together again someday in a different timeline. He knew one thing for sure and it was that his love for her was so strong that letting go was neither an option then nor it is now.
Just a thought - People are successful because they struggled and persistently worked hard.
But most of them complain that they have made so many compromises in their life to be successful or be at this top of the pyramid structure.I wonder why?
Our human emotions are built in such a way that we like to sob and still state that we are successful. It's funny to be identified as a martyred hero for the decisions we take.
Lets not get down, discussing whose phase in life have been more difficult. Each one us have our own share of tough time to deal with.
I have also made few decisions in my life which were tough for me to take. Yet those tough choices I made are not the compromises. They are neither settlements nor were any kind of sacrifices. They were tough decisions to shape up the current reality then, based on the circumstances which were not in control at that point. Perhaps circumstance can never be controlled, and we often deny completely to understand this simple fact.
Some decisions were for, "firmness of purpose"; some for only a "sense of purpose"; some were "resolution"; and some decisions were simply "conclusions".
There is a series of priorities in one's life and we need to list them, scroll them to and fro, rank it and perhaps implement them in life. That what is life and that what we are made up of the progression of integrated priority. Warm up have a flexible approach and keep exercising it to excel further.
“I heartily respect and appreciate when people say their life is quite eventful. There are chapters in the book of life. Some chapters interests people and some grab only our attention in simple little stanzas.
Some choices we make for people around and some decisions we take for thyself! Perhaps, still if you call your decisions a sacrifice since they were taken for other's sake, then sure those sacrifices at the end made you only stronger.
“Let's, "give thought to"; "give priority to"; "pay attention to"; "be devoted to" ; "be dedicated to" be the words chosen by you when you are admitting that you were made alone by the choices you created in life.
Reflect on your past decisions, good or bad, easy or tough, learn from the mistakes made and never forget to celebrate on your triumph too as "Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions." - Mark Twain. Pat your back for being strong and sailing away calmly during the hurricanes of life. Cherish your decisions!
What I have learnt in life is that,
What we are today, are not the compromises or sacrifices we made in life.
We are the product of passion in priorities we make to enrich our as well as other's life. Indeed, you are only growing and evolving in your life with your tough decisions.