Dream Catcher

It was the last day of her extended weekend, and was she glad it was over! Her friends had been after her life since many months, clamoring her to plan a trip to Goa. It couldn’t have happened on a worse time though. Though she was the one who initiated the plan at the first place,the timing was really not in her hands. She didn’t feel like doing much these days; all she wanted to do was to snuggle into her bed and read the novels lying on her bed table, and get up only to get some more books. Talking to people and socializing, that was not her. Reading had always been her refuge; it took her to a new world, and she lived a new life in each book she read.

She was an architect with her father’s firm in Ahemdabad. And she loved it. Even in her childhood, she was fascinated by the science and art of designing buildings – taking into consideration the durability, utility, and of course, the beauty. She was polite, pretty and very soft-spoken. But she just mostly kept to herself. She was friendly, but hardly friends with anyone.

One of her reasons for fascination to Goa was its beautiful churches, the strong Portuguese influence with Mughal and Indian variations.   Add to the fact that reading on the beach was one of the things in her “bucket list”, a trip to Goa should have excited her to no end. Only, it didn’t.

She was a hopeless romantic, thanks to the endless Mills and Boons she had read throughout her life. And she felt she deserved something magical. Hence she would dive deep in every romance she had, and would often come out of them, wiser but with a heartache. Almost everyone she would get close to, complained how she kind of kept thing to herself, guarding everything about herself, almost jealously. This time, however, it felt different. He did seem “The One”, a doctor in Coimbatore.

They had met in Mumbai at a concert, and by the end of the evening, it seemed only natural to fall in love with each other. However, for a successful relationship,  love is often not enough. Distance, coupled with tiny fights, mostly about how she never shared anything, grew with time, leading to “incorrigible differences”, and couple of weeks ago, they parted ways; this time for real.

Since then she was a living mess, trying to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and dreams. She wasn’t the one to talk or share, and he had often complained how she never “let him in”, but honestly, she had wanted to. She had hoped for a future together, but how could she just leave everything behind her and go to live in Chennai with him? And why couldn’t he come to her, instead of working in that charity hospital of Mata Ambika? Ahemdabad boasted of some great healthcare facilities, but he was happy working with Mata Ambika, whom he called “Amma”. More importantly, how could she say all that to him?

She didn’t want to talk about it to someone. No one could understand, she felt. Her friends, though sweet and meant no harm, were unfortunately not as discreet as her. Neither were they organized. That’s why she almost always planned all their trips. However, she just couldn’t push herself to do it this time, and left it on her friends, who as usual, made a mess out of it. There was shoddy planning at all fronts, starting from their departure from Ahmedabad in train that almost always was late, to their bad hotel, their mismanaged trips to the beaches and almost no trips to churches. But the cherry on the cake was that they missed their flight back to Ahemdabad, thanks to some confusion as always.

As she waited at the airport for the next flight, which was no sooner than 4 hours, she took out her book. But her thoughts remained on him, how much time she spent thinking about their lives together, wondering if they would marry in the traditional Gujrati way, or the typical Tamil-Brahmin way. And just like that when she was wallowing in her thoughts, she heard a voice, “Is it the new suspense thriller everyone is talking about on Goodreads? The one where the murderer is the maid?”.

She looked up, annoyed, and was astonished to see an old woman, who looked as old as the time itself, smiling at her, kind of cheekily! The voice sounded so young, and she was surprised to see an old face associated with it.

“Thank you so much, for ruining this for me.”, she replied, sarcastically. “Oh never mind, it is anyway not all that great. I mean, the author has done better work before.”, the old lady replied, grinning cheerily.

“Are you waiting for the JetSpice flight too?”, the old lady pestered, not willing to let go of her, it seemed to her. “Yes I am. I wonder what are you doing alone here though”, she asked, really wondering how can someone as old as her grandma visit Goa all alone.

“Oh well, I usually travel alone. My husband died 5 years back, and he was very fond of travelling. He had a “bucket list” of places he wanted to visit, so I decided to finish his list for him. I am from Sweden, and it was my first trip to Goa.”, the old lady said, now siting just beside her, with her feet propped up on the chair in front of her.

“Really? Don’t you feel lonely? Or scared?”, she asked, her curiosity stoked by now. She wanted to know more about this old lady, who seemed fun to her now.

“No, not really. You see, you come alone, and you die alone. It is good to have a companion for the journey of life, but if there isn’t one, why fill it with noise? Why try to make someone fit? Maybe you are meant to do this alone. The youth, I think, gives too much attention to the drama element of love these days. In my days, love was made of sterner stuff than that. People were stronger, they took into their stride if it didn’t work out, moved on with their lives. I mean, why waste time wallowing in self-pity, when there is so much to see and do? These days, all people want to do is to share what they do, starting from pooping in the morning to peeing before they slept. And yet they don’t share what is required, like their thoughts, dreams and feelings. Why not just write out what you feel and give it away to the anonymity of the world, instead of keeping it to yourself? Why make it too hard for yourself? What do you think?”, asked the old lady, with her piercing blue eyes.

Those eyes looked like they could see through her soul, her doubts, her insecurities, her continuous quest for the “magical love”, when really, all she wanted was to be happy. She looked down at her handbag, uncomfortable in that steady gaze. She pretended to fiddle with her bag. When she looked up, the lady was gone. Just like that.

She couldn’t believe her eyes. The old lady was nowhere to be seen. She asked the man who was sitting next to that old lady earlier,”Excuse me sir, do you know where the old lady sitting here went?” “Old lady? Young woman, there is no one sitting here from past half an hour. I think someone left here something though.”

She picked it up, it was a dream catcher. It was beautiful and it looked like it wanted to be worn. She wore it, took out her laptop, and started writing everything – her life, her fears, her dreams, and her ideas. She found WriteUpCafe.com, liked it, and submitted all her words in a blog there. This was probably the most whimsical thing she had done, and somehow, she felt at peace, after sharing her everything with the world. It was appreciated, and it soon became one of the more popular blogs.

The girl who never shared anything with anyone, finally shared all her feelings with the world.

What was the last whimsical thing that you did? Did it feel right? Share in the comments below!!!

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This post is part of the contest Spin your Story on WriteUpCafe.com

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7 Most Misleading Indian Advertisements

Advertisements –  they are one of the most powerful media to catch the attention of the consumer. They are all over the place – big billboards across the city, newspaper ads, TV, Internet. Of course, we all use Ad-Block on YouTube, but some advertisements do manage to “spill over”. While many of them are quite catchy, there are some that are misleading to the point of lying to us! They will sugar-coat the harsh truth, promoting products that are totally bull-shit, and are yet done so appealingly, that you will almost always fall for them, till you uncover the nonsense behind them.

Here is my list of 7 most deceiving Indian advertisements ever:

7. 2-minute Maggi

Now I love Maggi, there is absolutely no doubt about it. But, I and you both know for a fact that Maggi almost always takes more than two minutes to cook. It actually takes at least 10 minutes, and for years Maggi-makers Nestle have fooled us with the “2-minute Maggi” concept, adding to kitchen-woes of mothers to clamoring children like me, who believed the commercials, and even the packet. But then, 20 or 2 mins, Maggi tastes so good that we can actually forgive them, can’t we? *Goes to the kitchen to cook her Maggie in ahemm..20 minutes*

6. Surf Excel : Daag Acche hain (Stains are good)

Surf Excel must have got a lot of children beaten up at home for this horribly enticing commercial. Dear kids, no stains are good. Trust me, if you want to go out to play ever again. *winces from her own memories of how evil stains on uniform were*

5. Kelloggs Cornflakes

Lara Dutta in the past, and Deepika Padukone in present have sworn by it, but between you and me,

1. No sane person can take up this challenge just to fit into a saree. Maybe it is my Punjabi blood speaking though.

2. Does Deepika even need to do this? Isn’t she already thin enough? What kind of pressure are they trying to put us in, when a delicious bowl of Maggi is waiting for me?

If Deepika needs to do it, I might as well not even attempt it. Epic fail, Kelloggs.

4. Thumbs Up

So are you trying to tell me that Akshay Kumar, a billionaire actor, can’t go out and buy a bottle of Thumb Up, instead of risking his life to get it hand on one? No seriously, you think we are that crazy to believe that? “Aaj kuch tufaani krte hain”, yeah sure dude, let’s go and jump on vehicle tops. If it was shot in Bangalore, pretty much believable, since there is no space to walk and the traffic sucks.

3. Axe commercials

Now I have been in two minds for this, since even Wildstone was a close competitor. But I will give you exactly three reasons why I chose Axe for the list:

1. The Wildstone advertisements, though seem like an intro to a C-grade flick, are still better than Axe’s, which are just plain stupid.

2. The Wildstone men are actually good-looking, so the advertisements can be ever so slightly credible.

3. Wildstone focuses on a single woman, while Axe apparently attracts the whole town’s women.

2. Garnier Long and Strong Shampoo

I don’t intend to single out Garnier when there are others like L’Oreal, Pantene and Sunsilk, but this advertisement is the MAA-BAAP of all beauty product advertisements. We have seen people turning fairer, getting shinier hair, applying makeup to look like film-stars, but this one just takes the cake. It is worth watching just to admire the audacity of the ad-makers and the swag of the model.

1. Idea Internet Network (IIN)

At the top of the list is of course the very special “IIN, I am from IIN”. Now initially it seems a little unkind to make fun of these commercials, because all Idea is apparently trying to show people is the power of Internet. But a closer look reveals a much more sinister lack of logic; how does a student with no money for Hotel Management open a roof-top restaurant that requires way more investment? And why will someone join a course with Biology major if they are interested in Economics?They conveniently skip the fact that Internet is also full of many sources that offer incorrect information and it is more often wrong than right. So basically Idea wants you to believe in the power of Idea Internet, as if it has a patent for the World Wide Web. It is a shame because Idea came up with some good advertisements in the past.

Do you have your own list of misguiding advertisements? Share in the comments below!!!

I am joining in on all the Pepsi IPL action in my own style with the #CrashThePepsiIPL activity at BlogAdda

This Pepsi IPL, it’s not just about cricket. It’s time to crash with your own created ad! Make your own Pepsi ad & if it’s chosen, it could play on TV during Pepsi IPL! And hey, it doesn’t end here… Even if you’re chosen as a finalist, you stand a chance of winning a prize amount of Rs.1 lakh! So what are you waiting for guys?

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Soul Sisters

It was 2008. She was new to the class. She was the good-looking girl who had switched her branch from Mechanical to Electronics, and probably had her own set of friends she used to hang out with. She seemed sincere, always taking down notes and listening to the teacher, while the rest of us were busy whiling away the time, hoping for lecture to get over soon. She joined almost at the end of the term, and was trying hard to learn everything as soon as possible; she had just a little over a month to learn everything Electronics had to offer, in order to appear for her end-semester exams.

I was in 3rd semester, and while I was (in)famous, I was not very popular in my class. I was known for all wrong reasons – the Ms.Fresher who didn’t deserve to be, the girl who fought with her hostel room-mates over seemingly non-trivial things, the girl who fought with the Warden and numerous seniors over ragging, and so on and so forth. I knew what everyone thought of me, and while I pretended I didn’t care; I actually did, and quite a lot. But I was a little too headstrong to try and be friends with anyone else, and would therefore arrive late to the class often, and just head to the last seat, because that’s where those who didn’t know anyone sat, in my class.

It was a bright, sunny, but cold day. I had no money, it had been a while since I had been to the ATM. I knew there was one right inside the BEL campus close to the college, but it felt unsafe to go in a rickshaw. The area was all industrial and it wasn’t really good idea to travel alone in a cycle rickshaw carrying loose cash – the area was known for robberies. Then I got to know that the new girl lived close by, and though the ATM was not exactly on her way, her dad worked in BEL and she had a Scooty.

So I asked her, if she would be kind enough to take me to the ATM sometime, since I was out of cash and there were still some days before I went to my relative’s place or to my home. She gladly obliged. I wondered if that was a good idea, I barely knew her. But she seemed like a decent person, had definitely scored more than me in the semester exams, and I had trusted so many weirdos over my short tenure at college, it would only seem fair to an outsider to give her a chance too.

So off we went, the new girl and me, on her Scooty. I withdrew money, she dropped me back to college, and went home. We undertook several such trips, and despite our initial hesitation, we started talking and sharing. She told me about her life, her family, her friends, and I shared more of me to her. It felt good to talk to her, and despite my initial doubts, I never felt like holding myself back with her.

Soon the exams for 4th semester were on our heads, and after my disaster in 3rd semester, I really wanted to do better. And this time, we became exam buddies. Initially it was a little odd, possibly annoying, I was not used to someone calling me, of all the people in the class, and asking or clarifying something. But she chose me. And thanks to her, I ended up reading things I hadn’t bothered to read carefully, and just for her sake, I started reading my books a little closely.

Right in the middle of semester exams, another fight/confrontation beckoned me. It was the usual hostel politics, people saying things they shouldn’t have, people revealing things they shouldn’t have. It affected me, annoyed me, hurt me. And I had no one to talk about them to – till I remembered her. I called her up, she listened patiently, gave me sound advice, told me to get back to my books, asked me some more doubts.

After that semester, we became firm friends. I finally had a friend I could call “my own”, and she too probably felt the same way. Somehow, having each other in our lives, made us see things clearly, and we both got rid of friends and people who shouldn’t have mattered at the first place.

7 years down the lane, when I look back, I realize, how far have we come. Things changed, we moved to different cities, started doing varied things. And yet, something connects us. Our religious and cultural differences never mattered, all that mattered was how each of us could see what the other wanted to show. We accepted each other with our countless flaws, and love each other unconditionally. Someone has rightly said,”Friends are family we choose for ourselves.” If I had to name a “best friend for life”, I will name her in a jiffy, but it would not do any justice to the beautiful relationship we have – we aren’t friends, we are “Soul Sisters”. It was a small gesture that afternoon 7 years back, that probably made her feel nice too, about interacting with someone of her class, but it grew into a magical friendship, a beautiful bond, that is here to stay, today and forever.

A long time back..
Once upon a time, when I was too fat 😛

I am participating in the #DilKiDealOnSnapdeal activity at BlogAdda in association with SnapDeal, and this post is my entry for the same.

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