17 May 2012

How I jumped out of a lift and other adventures

Since I last blogged I have managed to ride in the Airport Express Metro, meet up with a friend after 11 years, design a book cover and jump out of a lift that got stuck between floors. Life, in a word, is HAPPENING! As I'm sure you would all like to know just how I managed to do all this, here are some pertinent details.

Rehaan's summer holidays have begun and so he wanted to go out "Somewhere" and so I decided to give him a ride in the Airport Express Metro. The train and platforms are totally "Sufi"(to borrow Darshi's terminology). The ticket for a ride from one end to the other is 100 bucks. And I was told later that you get some discount if you show them your dependent card, which I did not. You can collect your metro tokens from a vending machine that swallows your money, or if you are more comfortable with a human being, over the ticket counter.The ride is smooth and till the end of the line takes about 45 minutes. There are just six stations and the train stops for five minutes at each station. The time between trains is 15 minutes. That is a long time to keep a child occupied!

Another sad part was the lack of scenery to keep Rehaan distracted. Except for the part near Dhaula Kuan where the train come above ground, the rest of the line is underground and has zero cell phone connectivity. Which explains why I had message after message for missed calls shooting through my cellphone as soon as the train surfaced. The New Delhi station has a good connect to the regular Delhi Metro yellow line. You don't even have to leave the building. I was not too keen on venturing out to the regular railway station side so don't know how far that would be. Still from what I'm told it cant be too far although with a couple of suitcases it may seem more of a distance than it is.

Catching up with old friends is always great and here I am in Delhi with any number of people in the city I did not know were here. 11 years ago I used to play with her kids and her son was in KG then and now I have my own boy in 2nd. How time flies. The book cover ideas were for my uncle's 3rd book. Its all about the Abbottabad incident and I had a nice time looking into ideas that would make an effective cover. Then it was in the lift in uncle's building that I got stuck. The lift was already full of people two guys and two dames, I thought about waiting for the next one, but since they held the door for me I got it. And then the door shut, thelift moved and then stopped.  Suddenly there I was, stuck in a lift full of strangers.

Panic is not quite the word since I knew I was not all alone, still it did offer me some bad moments. I called up Uncle and he called the security guard. Thankfully the lift was stuck between the ground floor and first floor midway. So once the guard managed to open the door we all hopped out of the lift by sitting on the floor with our legs dangling out. Not an experience I want to repeat no matter how much excitement it generated. It probably contributed to the upset tummy that I have now. Hopefully that won't last too long. Well, that's all folks, see you next time!

02 May 2012

My Chicken Soup Article

Tears to Cheers
At the age of 15, life as a fauji brat had taught me to make friends fast as I would lose them within the next two years to Dad’s next posting. I did my 12 years of schooling in 11 different schools. It was not possible to get emotionally attached to anyone or anything in a place because we were always on the move. I had already learnt to keep my friends at a distance because that way, when we left, it would hurt less.

I was always a bit of a tom boy preferring to play games like “Army Training” to “Ghar Ghar”. So it was assumed that I was the rough and tough kinds. I even had a favourite sticker which said “Anything Boys can do Girls can do better.” That is why it was a bit weird to be leaving the fold. To move away from the fauji way of life, the only way of life I had ever known. And I was petrified, not that I showed it but I was more scared than I had ever been in my entire life.

After I completed my tenth class from the worst school that I had ever studied in, I made the most  momentous journey of my life. One which took me out of the Army Cantonments that I had grown up in. Away from the regiment and all its Uncles and Aunties who were like a second family. To a big city called Pune. To a strange experience of living away from parents for higher education. The mere thought was scary and challenging and taking me on a roller coaster of emotions.

At the Babina Railway station my father, who naturally did not get leave to come along, said one sentence to me before the train rolled out. I think he sensed the insecurities that were rumbling in my heart and head as we held hands with him standing on the station platform and me on the train. He said, “Remember you are less than nobody.” For a man who is known for his measured words and quiet persona it was quite a statement.

It also became my mantra for survival when I was surrounded by elder and more sophisticated cousins who had the big city all figured out. Thankfully I had continued in a school which had its own share of Army Kids, KVSC. So I was not a complete fish out of water. I put my heart and soul into all the sports and co curricular activities wanting to prove to the world that I was indeed less than nobody.

Each time I missed home I picked up yet another activity to try and excel at. I turned 16 and spent a year pushing myself to my limits. I was insecure about how good I really was. I missed my home, my parents and my familiar way of life. I was tired of having to look after myself and not have that warm hug at the end of the day from my mother. Emotionally I was all over the place and physically I was exhausting myself with all the activities that I had taken up. I was growing up faster than I ever had in the space of one year.

Finally by the end of eleventh class I was emotionally worn out and just burst out crying in the middle of the SUPW period. To say that my classmates were shocked would be an understatement. I howled for no reason apparent. Just sitting there and letting the tears rush out. I wasn’t thinking at all and the physical release of all that pent up emotion felt good. I calmed down, took deep breaths and felt rejuvenated.

Then I came back to the present and saw everyone staring at me. It was mortifying. The lady who taught us was a fauji wife herself and she took me aside and wiped my tears. When she asked me what was wrong, I said nothing. I may have lost it temporarily but I was back in control. A good cry can really help you release emotional stress like no other device I know. Of course it would be better to do it in a more private place.

The next big event in school was the selection of the school prefects for the coming year. I was confident enough of my position as one of the House Captains and thought no more of it till my Biology teacher called me to the Lab. There she asked me if I would have a problem becoming the School Captain.

The School Captain is usually chosen from those students who have been studying longer than a year in the school and I had never even entertained the idea. After the interviews were done I was selected the School Captain. The only thing I wanted to do was tell my parents. A deed easier said than done because STD had not yet reached the little town of Babina at that time. It took me the better part of 6 hours to patch up and finally get connected to the army phone at home.

When I managed to speak to my parents on the phone my mother was overjoyed that I had been nominated. Her excitement mirrored my own and then she handed the phone over to my father. I quickly announced my news to him. My father said just one word, “Good” but I could hear the pride in his voice and I could hear the echo of the words that he had said to me “Remember you are less than nobody.” I felt that I had validated his statement and his belief in me.

Author Bio – The writer is an Army Daughter and an Air Force Wife. She is also blogs at www.cashlash.blogspot.com. After working as a Travel Agent and an HR Trainer she is now a WAHM (Work At Home Mom) who does freelance writing projects.