In her I see God!

After my graduation, I took up a course in Chartered Accountancy (CA). For this we had to spend three years working under a qualified CA along with studying & giving our exams (articleship). I was just out of college & quite young. The CA office was located in the other end of town from where I stayed. Like most Mumbaikars (people living in Mumbai), I would take the local train & travel for an hour to reach my place of work. There was a direct train from where I stayed to the place I worked, but the frequency was just once in 20 mins. One particular morning I happened to miss this direct train. This meant that I would be late by 20 minutes for work. In a rush to reach office, I decided to take another train in the same direction, get off at a station midway & then take a connecting train to the final destination. This effort would save me 10 minutes. (The entire calculation must’ve taken me just few seconds then.)

Mumbai is a crowded city & many times you miss your trains just trying to wade through the thick traffic of people. To get the connecting train at the next station, I would have to climb up a bridge & cross over to the immediate next platform. Both the platforms were separated by two railway tracks. One track had trains going south & the other going north. I realised that if I have to push through the crowd, climb the tall bridge & reach the other platform, I would never make it on time & would miss my connecting train as well. I was already very late.

I chose the easier, faster & illegal (yes illegal) option. I decided to jump down from the platform I was standing on, cross both the tracks & climb up the next platform. This process would take me less than a minute. In a city where time is more important that anything else, many people risk their lives & do that. Well, there was really no risk. All you had to do was to make sure no train was approaching. The idea of being greeted by an upset boss made this decision very easy. Jump..run..Climb… so simple.. (That’s the thinking capacity at the age of 20!)

So here I was clutching my office bag on my side, wearing perfect formals, with my entire focus on the time & the railway indicator flashing the time for the next train. And then I jumped. Crossing the first track was really easy & must’ve taken me 3 seconds. There was a real narrow gap between the tracks, just enough so the trains don’t collide, but broad enough for a lean person like me to stand. Just as I was to cross track two, I saw the north bound train approaching at the bend. I had no choice but to wait for it to pass. Just then, out of nowhere, a lady appeared next to me. I was really nervous (because I was late & also on seeing the train) & didn’t look at her face, hence I have no recollection of what she looked like. She asked me if this was my first time crossing over. I nodded yes, wondering why on earth was she trying to make casual conversation at a time like this. Then she pointed to a brick & asked me to step on it & stand straight. ‘DON’T MOVE’ she said. I wasn’t in a position to apply my mind or argue & hence just followed her instructions without any real understanding as to why she was doing this. Then suddenly out of nowhere, a south bound train came speeding on the other track. Here I was, standing on a brick on a narrow gap & in between two speeding trains going in opposite directions. I froze like someone had cast a spell on me. One small move & I would be blown into pieces. I continued to stand there even after the trains had passed, when the lady (she probably snapped to get me out of the hypnotic state) said, ‘now you can go’. This entire thing must have happened in not more than 20 seconds.

When I finally moved & turned to thank her for saving my life, I saw there was no one there. I looked ahead to see if she had walked on, then behind & there was no one there too. I quickly crossed over & got lost in the sea of people moving to catch their train & then went on with my life. But, alone I was in my thoughts, wondering if she was really ever there or was she an illusion. Maybe she was GOD!

Yes that was the last time I ever attempted crossing the tracks ever. 😀

Running in Mumbai

Boom!! I hear a sound.. I am running at a slow pace with a few friends & we turn around to see a motorbike crashing at a bend. There is a cloud of dust & and a helmet flying about 50 meters ahead. Its 6 AM & there are very few people on the street. The ones closer to him rush to help, while we turn our heads around and continue to run.

The roads here are usually very safe. I have been running for about 7-8 years now & this is the first accident that I witnessed. I guess we were lucky not to be running at the same bend, else we would have been at the receiving end of the crash. Hope the man is doing well & recovered.

It is the month of May, the month when the weather turns merciless and evil. The heat rushes in at 6AM itself, warning us in advance about the arrival of the Sun. The Sun god makes its appearance well before 7 AM forcing us out as early as 5 AM for a run. Monsoon will begin next month, but for now, it is extremely hot & humid. Just sitting around can make you dehydrated & fatigued. Running in these conditions is a true test of our endurance I must say.

But we runners belong to a different world. Here, we are not defeated by the weather, but rather, have adjusted to it. So the earlier the sun rises, the earlier we start our run. Yesterday was my LSD – long and slow (distance) day & I chose a long and flat route for it. I find the rhythmic movement, the sound of my breathing & heartbeat very meditative. There is a point when my mind goes blank, without any thoughts & I enter a different world of emptiness & peace. The trickling sweat sometimes wakes me up as I continue on the long endless roads. Having company or running alone doesn’t make a difference as I seldom speak. When we run in coordinated fashion in a group, we are united by our silence & are separated in our thoughts. This space is something that gives me true happiness.

Had a happy day yesterday & hope it’s the same for the week to follow 🙂

New Page

I thought he was young,

I thought he was immature,

I thought he would grow up

& then be sure.

But it never happened.

And here I am,

on the cusp of my old age.

Should I plan my retirement?

or start a new page?

Now I am middle aged,

tired & defeated,

can we not start

all over instead?

My relationship comes with an expiry date …

And I am actually happy about it. Happy because the only other option is to be hurt or sad and I CHOOSE to be happy. I have decided to take the positive out of all situations. In a marriage you are responsible for only 50% of all the mistakes. It takes time to realise & understand that. The outcome of any situation depends partly on us but also partly on our spouse & we can’t kill ourselves over what is not in our control.

When he didn’t like what I did, he could’ve corrected me or accepted me with my flaws. If he chose to abandon me, it is the path that he chose & not my mistake. He chose to escape rather than face things strongly.

If he chooses to buy a house & move out leaving me with my son, it is the way he visualises his future. You can physically hold back a person, but can’t forcefully connect with anyone at an emotional level. So if he chooses to move away, I feel happy that he has finally decided to let me free.

I am a happy person because my relationship is about to expire..

Every smile has a story.. Whats yours?

Have you ever noticed that every smile has a story?

I have plenty of girlfriends. Sometimes I see their pictures and think how perfect they are. Each one beautiful in their own way.

A smile is not always a result of a happy feeling. Sometimes you smile in pain, in anguish, in ridicule or in appreciation. No matter what the reason is, it is like a jewel that adorns & enhances ones’ beauty.

One of my friends kept posting gorgeous smiling pictures of herself. One day I found out that she was a single mother of an autistic boy. Another 40 year old friend who looked no more than 16, was getting out of her abusive marriage. I am known for my smiles myself. What is common between all our smiles is a long story to go with it. When my son was really small, sometimes he would laugh & have tears in his eyes. He would actually be crying. Unable to express himself, he would laugh to mask the tears. How often we do that as adults?

I smile as a reminder to myself that life is beautiful, there is more to it than the pain I see temporarily.

What is the reason for your smile?