Sunday, 5 June 2016
We never moved on, did we?
I first met Aaditya on the third day of Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM), Bangalore; a lean thin figure, standing outside the hostel’s gate, playing with a Gold Flake Lights in his fingers. He was looking for something, and it just happened that I knew what it was.
“Here,” I said, passing him the lighter.
“Arre thanks bhai, forgot mine one in my room,” he grabbed it, visually relieved.
After inhaling the smoke deeply, he looked at me for a while. I don’t know what it was, but that very moment, I saw a reflection of myself in his eyes; I somehow knew at the very moment that we had a lot in common. Of course, I had no idea till then what it was.
“Aaditya Rao,” he extended his other hand towards me.
“Shubhang Saurav, multimedia. And you?” I asked.
“Broadcast,” he said, puffing out the smoke, “But I might change.”
I nodded. That was the first time I met him, and I knew he won’t be just another batch mate. We were destined to see a lot of things in next 10 months, even after that, together.
IIJNM was hectic, it was scary, it was exhausting…. And it was fun, it was an experience for me like never before, not even the four years of my grad college. It had been only two months and I already had some really good friends.
I liked the work here, and the professors, and the people, everything. Very soon, I was too busy and preoccupied to think of anything else outside of the place. After work, it was friends and then next morning, it was work and classes again. Life was going pretty smooth. I loved people here, they loved me back.
Aadi had become one of my first and best friends at the college. We hardly had anything similar, but still, there was an unseen, unexplained bond tying us that I hardly felt even with my old homies whom I knew for years.
Later on, Aadi and I found more like-minded people and though we never did any grouping sort of thing in college, it just happened that we started to hang out together, a lot.
One day, I can’t remember which one, we were sitting outside the college premises, on a stone parapet. I remember it was windy, with dark clouds engulfing the whole sky. There was a mystical silence, though it was just evening. I was in some deep thoughts, again, can’t remember exactly which one.
“So people move on, after the break up, right?” I just shot a random question at Aadi.
He stared at me for a while and asked, “Yes, when it doesn’t work, people are left with no other option. But what you think of moving on?
“I dunno,” I shrugged, “It means you are over the person and ready to continue the life without him or her, right?
Aadi smiled at me, “Well, there’s the problem.”
I didn’t get him, so I just questioned him, silently.
He continued, “This whole moving on thing. You know what I think of it? It is just a part of the new age trend. ‘My boyfriend doesn’t treat me properly so have to move on.’ ‘My girlfriend flirted with other guys, so moving on was the only option I had.’ ‘My life is very complicated right now and I can’t handle the relationship. Had to move on.’”
I couldn’t stop laughing at his mimicry. “So, what exactly you want to say brother?” I asked him, still laughing.
He smiled again, and said, “Beware of people who love to move on. Because usually they are the ones who have absolutely no idea what the term means and who don’t hesitate to disrespect a person for loving for them.”
Honestly, I didn’t understand back then what he wanted to say. I mean, move on or not move on, it’s a simple human element, right? Now I think of it, how wrong I was!
So life continued in IIJNM and me, Aadi and other three of our gang made a lot of memories together. We travelled to places, we laughed, we went for movies, we laughed more, we worked as the support system of each other while laughing a lot altogether.
With all the laughing and hanging out together, when the 10 months passed, I didn’t even realize. Before I knew it, graduation caps were being thrown in the air, everyone was hugging everyone with teary eyes and bags were being packed in the hostel’s rooms.
“We are going to be like this, forever. No matter whatever difficulties come in our life, no matter how busy we get with our works, we will keep meeting,” one of us five said, sobbing. I had got her luggage. “We will be best friends, forever. Promise,” I said and due to some unknown reason, looked at Aadi. He was looking back at me, smiling.
I don’t know why, but his smile gave me goose bumps. It was like, he was saying something, reminding me of something, and I was unable to grasp it.
Well, soon we were in different cities and I completely forgot about it. I talked with Aadi often, though it used to be just on the telephone. Meanwhile, I continued getting closer to one of the five from our group as we both happened to be in the same city.
Aadi was alone, I knew it. He had no one in the city where he was. But I was too busy being happy with the other friend and mostly I ignored his calls, never paying much attention to what he was saying, or whether he was troubled by something. I mean, c’mon, I had a job, another person in my life and something to look forward too. I couldn’t have always been there for him, could have I?
As they say, the wheel of fate keeps rolling. In few months, where I used to be one of the happiest person on the earth, several circumstances compelled me to turn into a depressed, sad man. All in a matter of few effing months. She left me, I had troubles at job and found myself all alone; no one there for me.
After days of suffering, I finally managed to make peace with myself, thanks to one of the other among the five. She was always a constant support and made me realize that there are some who just never leave your side, no matter whatever happens. It won’t be wrong to say that I am more than grateful to have her friendship with me.
Miraculously, Aadi shifted to my city. He had got a job here. It was a huge relief. I still felt alone and sad and depressed, but at least, he was there. We both had different work shifts at different organizations. Hence, we hardly used to get time to talk for much long. However, his presence helped me to recover significantly.
It was a Friday and it was raining heavily. Looking out of the glass wall from my office cubicle, a thought suddenly hit me. I called Aadi immediately.
“Let’s go to IIJNM tomorrow? It’s Saturday,” I asked.
He didn’t say anything, just an “OK.”
We reached the college by afternoon next day. It was heavily clouded, with good signs of rain. Entering the college premises, I habitually ran my fingers on the railings of first floor staircase. The building was the same, the corridor was the same and the trees outside the campus were same too. But something had definitely changed.
All of a sudden, Aadi started to sing. It was a song named “Khamoshiyan” from a movie of the same name. I had never heard of this song, but the lyrics, teamed up with his voice, left me speechless. It was an intense moment, and for the first time in months, I realized I was happy for a while. Why? The college, this very college, my own college, it was here for me, it will be always here for me, whenever I will need its embrace. It will never leave me, nor did a few friends, like Aadi and that another one from the five.
That very moment, I also realized something else; I never moved on. It was shameful. Moving on is the need of time, to progress in life, to be successful. How come I didn’t move on? Does it mean I was a failure? Does it mean I was a weak-willed pathetic excuse of a human being?
Lost in these thoughts, I exited the college premises and unknowingly walked towards the same stone parapet where our conversations used to happen over a cup of tea and cigarettes. Aadi was following me, walking slowly behind me.
It was windy, with dark clouds engulfing the sky. With a shock, I realized it was like the exact day when we talked about the whole moving on thing. I looked at Aadi, and unsurprisingly, he was looking back at me, smiling.
After staring at the sky blankly for a while, I said, “I didn’t move on. I feel like I still belong to this place. It’s just like a year ago.”
“And why you think you haven’t moved on? Any particular reason?” Aadi asked.
“Well, so much things happened after leaving this place. But still, now I am here, it seems like none of them happened. I am still the same happy guy.”
“Do you feel happy?”
“Yes, of course. I am actually feeling happy after ages.”
“Then you have moved on.”
“But I miss…”
“Doesn't matter, you are feeling happy, right?”
“Well, you surely have moved on.”
I stared at him. Had the guy gone mad or what? What was he blabbering about?
Looking somewhere in the distant, Aadi said, “You see, for most of us, moving on is just like a fashionable trend. These days, people love to flaunt the trend of moving on. They look forward to even tiniest of reasons to move on. It makes them feel cooler about themselves, it gives them a fake pride of self-control and self-respect. They don’t care about other people involved while moving on. The level of selfishness is so intense with such people that for them, nothing can be more important than their own life issues. They don’t even care about those who want to help them, who want to be with them, who want to share their burden. No, all they just want is to follow the trend blindly, without ever grasping the real meaning of the term.”
I was silent for a while. Why, every single word of his was true. My mind was still absorbing the fantastic speech it just heard.
“So, what is the true meaning of moving on?”
“What you are doing right now, it’s called moving on,” he said smiling.
I didn’t answer.
“Well, it is all about happiness. If you learnt to make peace with it, and you cherish the good moments of past rather than dwindling upon the bad ones, that’s when you move on. People who are keepers know the real meaning of moving on. And you my friend, are a keeper,” Aadi patted my back.
I didn’t completely get what he said, but it was soothing. I think he was right. People like us never move on, at least not in the way that most of the world defines as moving on.
We are happy and proud. Though we miss the gone ones often, we regret nothing. Besides, IIJNM is there for our likes who refuse to change, always…
Thursday, 2 June 2016
“Papa, I finished 3rd in the essay writing competition.”
“That’s nice Abhraus, congratulations.”
What is it son? Is something bothering you”
“Umm, I’m, I’m not…”
“Speak up Abhraus, is everything alright?”
“I’m not feeling happy papa, even though I went on the stage and everyone clapped and I got to shake hands with the chief guest, I am not feeling happy at all.”
“Isn’t it weird?”
“Well, you will have to wait for it son.”
“Wait for what papa?”
“The happiness of course, it will come to you. All you just have to do is to wait…”
Shubhang Saurav presents
I called the bookshop guy third time this week, and got the same answer for a third time this week; The Fountainhead was unavailable and I will have to wait for some more time.
I don’t know why I remembered this particular instance always. But I know how I remember this particular instance always; it had the word “waiting.”
I never actually understood what it really meant. For me, the world revolved around tiny materialistic elements, till the age of, umm, I guess 19? 20? Yeah, somewhere near that.
An artist, a writer, a designer, a harmonica player, a poet…. Sounds cool right? When you imagine a person doing all those stuff, you picture someone really, really cool and adorable and liked by everyone, right? Well I was that person. I mean, I still am. And no, trust me, growing up doing all those stuff and spending a major part (read all) of all your teenage days with it, not cool sir, not cool at all…
DISCLAIMER: This is supposedly a love story (kind of), if you are wondering what the hell is it. Just “wait” and have some patience.
Cutting the bush, let’s come to the straight point… yes, points can be straight. So, hi, my name is Abhraus Bashuhng. I know weird name. Well, my origins and past is equally weird too, but let’s not get into all those things.
You already know who or what I am… I have written it in one of the above paras, in case you forgot about it. Hence, you might have assumed a little bit about my nature.
Yes, I am an emotional, sensitive, caring and loving person who can be an asshole to you in no time and for no reason at all of a sudden and can leave you flabbergasted for hours, days, months or even years while you will keep boiling your head thinking of all possible reasons why I treated you in that particular manner and still you won’t come out with any plausible answer, neither you will get it from me because well, mostly I have no idea why I behave like that. So, yup, don’t expect any explanation from me. “Deal” with it. (Phew! That was some really, really long sentence).
So I was emotional and I was in my early 20s and I was just off to college and I was looking for? Bingo! Yes, getting started with my love life! Well, frankly, I was not looking for anything like that, but c’mon, you can’t deny what a young man wants.
So, well, it all started with me finding an old schoolmate of mine on Facebook, because going for a girl from your batch and college is too mainstream. It started with just the casual chat thing and then one thing happened after other and one fine day, when the sun was yellow and sky blue and clear, I realized for first time in my life that I was in some deep love!
Now, how you know it is love and not infatuation and attraction? For me, it was very simple; it is love if you start worrying your head off whether the person with whom you are in love with is taking her meals on time, whether she is OK or not or whether she is laughing enough or not. It is absolutely not love if you are dreaming of seeing her naked one day, doing, umm, things with you…
So yeah, I was in love. For the first time in my life. And god, she was beautiful. Seriously, I never thought the feeling of loving something alive, with eyes and ears and hair and all thing human, would be so wonderful. For me it was always video games, books and movies. But it never felt like it felt now. This was the love on a whole new level. Needless to say, a few minutes with her on phone were enough to make my days bright and full of life.
It went on for almost a year and a half. Oh yes, I never proposed to her. But then, I proposed her. And it all changed. That’s when I learnt why loving books and movies and video games was different altogether from loving her; they had no other option than to love me back, unlike her.
Initially, I was broken. But as the elders always say, “You are young, you shouldn’t be disappointed. If you want something or someone, you get it no matter whatever the hurdles are!” (There came a time later in my life when I was one of those adults and that’s when I realized not all adults are serious and caring; sometimes, they just want to grab a bucket of popcorn, sit behind and watch the show).
I was young and I was disappointed, so, I decided to not be disappointed anymore. I started to strategise with all the options I had to get her. I worked for months, trying to get in shape, quitting bad habits, acquiring more skills to impress her and do whatever I could have done to make her realize how much I loved her and cared for her.
And after months of hardship and efforts, which included me almost being kicked out of college for flunking way too many classes, finally the big day came. I went to her city. I dressed as gentlemanly as I could have. I met her. And looking into her eyes, I held her hands in mine and came a little closer to her, a bit closer than the average space between two communicating human beings.
I could smell her perfume, or deodorant, or talcum, whatever it was. It was nice, sweet. Just like her. I knew it was my moment of triumph. All those months, when I worked hard to make myself eligible for her, came in a slideshow in front of me.
Now, I don’t know who said that, but I remember, a wise man once said “At your moment of glory, your victory, you see all the efforts you have made in order to achieve it.” That dude was one wise guy, can’t remember though.
So, yes, there I was; close to her, holding her hands, staring into her big, innocent looking eyes. Finally, I gathered the courage, and said the three magical words – “I love you, will you be mine?” OK, those were not exactly three words, but to hell with that. There, I did it! My head was floating with such happiness that can’t be described in words. She looked at me, smiling…
And she said no.
I stared back at her, as if I didn’t understand what she just said.
This time, she was a little bit louder and clearer; “No.”
I blinked. No. Can’t be happening. I am the perfect guy. No, who the hell invented that word in first place? No, why for god’s sake my heart was beating like a machine gun? Can’t those smartass scientists do anything about it, with all the medical advancement available nowadays?
No. Yes, it was a no.
So while I was still pondering on all the mysteries of universe and how the heck the thin kid sitting next table of the food plaza of the mall where we rendezvoused was eating a triple-decker burger all by himself, the girl decided to elaborate her no.
“Abhraus, we already talked about this. I like you, but not in that way. I mean, you are a very good friend of mine. But that’s it. I know you must be hurt. But that’s why I told you beforehand, because I didn’t want to hurt you. But it seems you are hurt nevertheless.”
Aarrgghh! Too many buts! She said a couple of more things and when I didn’t respond and acted like a vegetable, she put her hand on my head sympathetically (or pathetically) and left, while I fantasized about ways of butchering the damn wise man who told me that stupid shit. Who was the moron anyway? I wish I could remember.
Anyway, that chapter closed here and I moved on gradually. No, that “gradually” didn’t include numerous sleepless nights when I had to resort to a balm or some similar ointment or me crying for hours like a new-born baby or my friends trying their best to stop me getting a fourth beer in one go. None of that happened, nope, not at all.
Just like the Bollywood movies, I buckled up and focused on my career, with only one aim in my life; to acquire the world with my passion and skills! To show the world who I was and what I was capable of! To rule my field!
Then I went to another college for some more studies.
At this point of my life, I had literally became indifferent. Oh, that dog looks sick? Fuck that. Oh, are you sad? Fuck this. Oh, you think I missed a punctuation there Fuck you. That was the summation of my life in this new college.
At this point, I had also discovered one incredible thing that had left me flabbergasted; god loved to screw with me often. It was like his fun game. I don’t believe in god and all, no seriously. But then, I am the guy who knows for sure that if something idiotic is happening for no reason at all, it must be god. I belonged to that class of atheist, I still do.
So, this college was comparatively more fun. I made cool friends. The course was cool. Girls were pretty, and they talked with me. Why, they loved to hang around with me! Now this was something to which I was somewhat new. Most of the time, I used to be invisible among the girls. But this college was sweet.
With great responsibilities, come greater, deeper anal probes. I know that sentence doesn’t make any sense. Ignore it. So it just happened that after a few months, I was in love again, desperately. But I was shit scared too. I don’t think I was ready to go through all the trauma once again.
However, one day I decided, to hell with it. If I won’t have anything to gain, I didn’t have anything to lose too. And I proposed to a girl who was a good friend of mine. Though I didn’t make any efforts and I didn’t dress gentlemanly and I wasn’t that nervous, this time, the girl said yes.
I was the happiest man on earth that day. I promised to myself I will do everything for her. I will make her the happiest girl on the planet and she will be grateful for having me in her life and she won’t ever think of leaving me alone for any reason.
The one year that followed was a pleasant one with her. Though I told her beforehand we might not be together forever, she cried and wept and made me promise that we will make it together, no matter whatever happens. So before I knew it, I started to change, and when I fell in love with her blindly, I didn’t even remember it.
Now I think of all those days, I think I was thinking very loudly and god must have heard all of it. And he must be like “Woah! That guy! How come he is roaming around with that happy grin on his face for such a long time? He needs some spanking, alright!”
And unsurprisingly, soon it all was taken away from me. The girl left me for no reason at all, all of a sudden, without any ultimatum or warning, not even giving me enough time to grab a beer this time. She said, “It is not happening. I can’t carry on.” And she left me.
On a second thought, she actually left me for several reasons, most of them idiotic and stupid of course. Before I knew it, caring and loving became being over possessive and nagging and hence, one day, when she realized I am just another guy in her life, like her many other male friends, she chucked me out, like that.
So here I was; a writer, a poet, a harmonica player, a designer and now, a sort of philosopher too, standing in middle of nothing, feeling like a vegetable again. But things were different this time, I was not that much broken or shattered. I guess the immunity strengthens with every experience.
So, I buckled up once again, focused on my career, held my head high and… wept like a new-born baby. Ah, this vicious cycle, never ending. Yes, I was hurt. No, I didn’t give any shit like the last time. Even though I tried to convince her, it was only half-heartedly. I mean, who wants a girl in his life who runs away the moment you get in some difficulties? So, now I think of it, it happened for better.
And here I am, back to ground zero. No idea where it would lead to now. Friends told me to buckle up and focus on my career, saying she was just a part of my life whom I gave the amount of importance that she never deserved and it was good she left me. Seriously, why these guys have to be high as fuck all the time? Part of life? Well, that part of life screwed me badly!
No, please don’t get me wrong here. I know this story was cooler before I started the whining, but trust me, it is still cooler. So, here I am, as being named by one of my friends, “jack of all trades.” Good things are still going on with me and guess what, there is someone new!
On one hand, where the frequency of having a girlfriend has increased with time, the frequency of my emotional swings has reduced significantly. Now, I just go with the flow. There are people out there who won’t leave my side in my darkest of hours, even if god tries his best with an extra-large bucket of popcorn. And that’s all matters to me now.
So why this story? If you are wondering why you spent a quarter of an hour reading this, remember; god still has got the popcorn bucket. He will keep sending morons in your life to make you feel moronic about yourself. But at the end of the day, it is all about your strength. No, I am not talking about that strength, you idiot.
If you are going through this or anything similar, remember, the waiting is crucial, the waiting is the need of the time, the undefined dimension of the universe. If you master to learn its secret, it will yearn fruitful results, in form of people, profession or something else, that will make you happy, because isn’t it the summation of life? The pursuit of happyness? (Yes, that’s a Will Smith’s movie’s reference. No need to point your finger out).