Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Sapling & Her Mother

I first woke up
I was buried deep
In her loving embrace
A fall enough to shatter her
For me she acted strong
With time I found my head and heart
Slowly sought to move
Hands outstretched towards the Sun
I dug my feet in deep
She gave me food
Gave me water
She held me close at night
When winter winds cornered me
She made sure to hold on tight
Her watchful gaze, she saw me grow
I took from her so much
I can never give back enough
Tall and strong I became
Her walls began to crack
Tired, battered, she fought on
Fought all the evil in this world
Until one day someone decided
To pluck me from her arms
As I found a new home
With others my kind
I’m sure she feels vacant
For so long she has nurtured me
Keeping me from harm
She gave up her dreams
To fulfill mine
She knows no other life
I write this today
To let you know
I’d give away my most precious jewel
To go back in time
And be the sapling that opened her eyes
In the warmth of her mother’s love
The humble earthen pot

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Honestly, I have never watched any stage plays. Well, just a couple maybe. Never had the luxury, never had the time. But in the past few months, I’ve been witness to two productions by IIMACTS… and trust me, I’m hooked for life. No brownie points for guessing that they are the theatrical society at IIM A. Their latest production, Ilhaam, which roughly translates to 'Inspiration', got me thinking…

The story of a middle-aged man, known to the world as Bhagwan, the play beautifully portrays the constant tussle between myth and reality, order and chaos, the said and the unsaid. The play must’ve meant different things to different people. For me, it symbolises the travails of being different, of not confirming to society, of finally achieving the enlightenment one only hopes and prays and begs for. It symbolises the greatest irony of our life, when even though we profess uniqueness, we are infinitely scared of everything that is different.

Simply put, the play depicts the constant struggle of the mind to be free of all bounds, yet its fear of letting go… The play had it all, it made me cry, it made me fret, made me fear contentment… I sank to the ground with Bhagwan, I danced in step with him.

Ilhaam also gave me food for thought. I could identify with the protagonist at so many levels. Have we never taken decisions that would help us fit in with the crowd? Are we not afraid of looking at things anew? Afraid of challenging what is established? From deciding on what to wear, right up till what profession to choose… all our decisions are dictated by the societal norms. I’d be lying if I claim that these choices have never been thrust upon me. Though choices make us feel like masters of our own destiny, but are we really free to choose?

One of the most poignant moments of the play was when Bhagwan loses his ability to communicate with the outside world. He is happy as long as he inhabits his own utopia… he lovingly chides a bird, has heart-to-heart conversations with a speech-impaired beggar. However, his sheer frustration and fear at not being able to talk to his family, at not being able to get his message across, at seeing his own kids run away from him with terrified shrieks… it is enough to make even the strong-hearted cry. His agony is beyond words. Have we never felt the same helplessness? Have we never felt as if we’re being pulled down under… a leaden weight tied to our ankle… pulling us in the murky depths of the plain and the ordinary? Has our soul never thirsted for the novel? Mine has… and it has felt the same anguish as the protagonist did.

The scene where he takes his “medicine” tugged at my heart. He knows that it hurts him, knows that it numbs his true senses… but he still bears the agony. His love for his family is his sole guiding light. It is his motivation, his destination. The way he reasons with himself over why he needs to take that medicine is akin to how we pacify ourselves when we let go of something that we truly desire. It is how we fool our mind into believing that All is Well (Yes, 3 Idiots).  

However, the one thing that I’ll forever remember the play for is the protagonist’s dance. The slow foot movements, with the sudden jerks up towards the sky, as if the soul wants to break free from all shackles of society… it made my heart melt. It was in that one moment that I truly understood what my struggle is all about.

As I close this post, I find myself humming it…yet again.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Testing the Wind

That first leap...

Feet outstretched, sitting on the steps
I look up at the blue, searching
The cloud farthest from my perch
No end in sight, I feel petite
In nature’s vast mystery

Endless hours I’ve burdened
These steps with my being
First when I’d seen no more
Than half a score summers

Today I’m lost, wondering
If this is the last moment to be
Will my flight across the oceans
Make me lose my tree?

I’m nervous, I’m scared
Never flown in the open sky
Always sheltered, I’ve lived
A fairy tale life

Yet the welcome drops
The gentle breeze
Spraying me with delight
Hold out hope
A little optimism
For the glories of this flight

A little smile plays across my lips
As I think of the days to come
I dream of the life
I hope to have
Dream of the things that will be

Emboldened, encouraged
Honest and brave
I’m taking that step
Towards the edge
From where I’ll test the wind
For the first time

Looking down in the depths
Apprehensive, but not unaware
Of the challenges that lie ahead
I flap my wings free
Looking back at the home
I’m leaving behind, I say
I’ll make a mark
In nature’s beautiful history…

Friday, May 22, 2015

CSE Rockers

It’s really funny. I spent the past four years cursing my college. We cribbed about everything from the laboratories to the lavatories. Not a single day went by when we didn’t call down the wrath of the Universe on the institute. Off the record, we wished for any and every calamity that could make our heritage building collapse. Well, none of that happened. And four years flew by. It is only now, when it’s time to leave, that I’m really coming to realize how much this college means to me. I believe I’ll be speaking for each one of us in the Class of 2015.

After DPS RKP, a girls’ college was honestly a cultural shock for me. I distinctly remember how I’d almost run away on the first day of class. Seeing so many girls in one room gave me strokes of every kind. I couldn’t imagine four years here (ok, I might be exaggerating just a bit there). But today, on the day we gave our last practical exam, I finally seem to have a sense of making it through, and making it through well.

IGIT (and not IGDTUW) made us study a lot. “Who has exams almost every month? Two minors… you have to be kidding me! No winter break?” We heard this every single day. Yet, it all brought us together somehow. The endless last minute discussions (Isha and Garima, case in point)… the mad rush to at least get to know the syllabus (You were my first and last resort Prachi)… the ‘We’ll make the file in one day’ attitude (Disha, in the same boat!)… All of this taught me a lot. It gave me some of my best friends here (Roll number 30, what would roll number 29 do in the exams without you?).

IGIT helped me understand people who were very different from me. Ritu, who somehow helped me appreciate the beauty in life, Barleen, all the sugar in the world...Megha, with those intelligent eyes… Varsha, with that meticulous manner of doing things… Kajal, who smiles through everything… Garima, who never ceases to amaze me… Anupama, with her strong belief system… Devisha, with the smile that took away all my worries… Aditi, coolness personified... Sonika, the techie... Neha and Gul, with their calm demeanor, Balpreet, the permanent CR... Mansi, my coordinated travel partner! I owe you guys a lot!

While I’m on the sentimental road trip, I might as well talk about the dance team. Hypnotics changed the way I looked at life. It taught me to take each day as it comes, to stand by my friends, to help and accept help. Swar, Astha, Shagun, Lipi… I love all of you! With you people, it never mattered whether we won or lost. A brilliant performance was all that mattered! And we sure did rock the stage! Cheers!

I don’t even know how many people I’m missing out on. Please don’t be upset! And please, don’t beat me up! I bonded well with some of you, less so with the others. But I’m certain that all of you are brilliant people in your own right.

But honestly, with just three more exams left, I’m sure I’ll miss college a lot. Now that all the farewell parties are done and dusted, I’m really seeing what all the love in the air really is. It’s just about a bunch of girls spending their last few days together.

I know it’ll be insanely difficult keeping in touch. I know meeting up again will be infinitely tough. Nonetheless, I hope and wish that all of us stay connected.

I wish all of you all the good luck that there is in the world. As we step out into the bigger world to chase our dreams, I hope these four years at IGIT always remain our source of endless joy and inspiration.

To CSE Rockers, Class of 2015… Lots and lots of love…

P.S. Please pardon the grammatical errors in this one

Friday, April 24, 2015

When Dreams Come True

After seven long months of a self-imposed exile I’m venturing out of my cave again. The seasons have changed, the cool breeze transformed into the warm caress of the wind. With the winter firmly behind us, I’m squinting in the bright sun. Nonetheless, I am happy. Beyond happy…This is what it feels like, when dreams come true!

I have talked about this before, when I got accepted at Microsoft. But this time round, it is something much bigger, much better! Yes, I’ve been offered admission at IIM Ahmedabad…the institution most of us just dream of. It’s been a week since the results came out and the feeling is just sinking in.

Contrary to the impromptu dance most people would expect me to break into these MBA admission offers just left me numb. They left me numb with relief, numb with joy, numb with contentment. I was at the local grocery mart, picking out tomatoes, when the first of the results came out: IIM Bangalore. I’d filled in my login details with shaky fingers, unsure of what to expect. I’d been praying and wishing and longing for it day and night. And when I read the word “Offered”, I didn’t believe it at first. I double-checked, triple-checked it, rubbing my eyes in disbelief. But yes, undoubtedly, I’d made it.

The next dawn brought the most awaited result of the season: IIM Ahmedabad. Most of you wouldn’t know it was my birthday on the day of my interview, March 2… And honestly, (I’m messing with language here) it is the best-est birthday gift I have ever got. And yes, this time round I was jumping and dancing and squealing with delight. I shed a tear or two in private later.

The gamut of emotions I felt that day can’t be constrained by words. The congratulations started flowing in. Everybody seems to want a piece of me. Parents gushing in their joy, teachers dizzy with pride, juniors flocking around for advice… It was everything I wanted back in my life. But somewhere down the line, after having lived a rather anonymous life in a rather anonymous college, I’ve become objective in the evaluation of these celebrations.

Having been to the other side, I know this stardom lasts only as long as your success does. True, it isn’t as bad as our cricket team’s failure, where, if they lose a match, people burn their effigies… but one misstep, one failure is enough to turn all these people off you. It’s here today, maybe not tomorrow. If anything, I feel humbled by the magnitude of the achievement, the opportunity that has been offered. I hope I can make the most of it.

I can't thank my parents enough for believing in their girl when most others dismissed her. My brother, in his usual irritating self, proved to be my biggest source of motivation. Their criticism, their praise, their scoldings and their support, it always kept me going, never letting my step falter. It's true, success stories are seldom written alone. It takes team effort to make good things happen. I finally understand why the Family is considered to be so when I'm about to fly away from our little nest to explore the deeper forest.

That being said, I’m finally at that turn in life where only good things can happen, where the future seems bright. True, our tuccchas (that is what we call our seniors at IIM A) have been scaring us with the trials and tribulations that lie ahead. But I’m more than sure that they are surmountable. I’m preparing myself for a new chapter of my life. One, on which, I hope to take you along. With apprehensive optimism, I’m hoping it’ll be as fulfilling and joyful as the last, if not much better!

P.S. I’m still wondering how I got through IIM Calcutta as well, after having been in a war of words with the panel.