Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A disjoint Melange

Moments of truth
laid bare,
me -
out of nowhere.

Tumultuous waves
of emotions
carve the imminent
from the immanent.

The divinity of love
fear rules the world -

Love misunderstood
breeds fear,
quest to possess
repels my dear.

Clouds of thoughts
never pour into oblivion,
constant reinforcements
of mortal impediments
empower the haze,
obscure the azure

to create a disjoint mélange.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

777 - When my parents became kids

I had called my parents from Ahmedabad (where they live) to Pune (where I work). I had a big surprise in store for them. It took a lot of convincing without divulging the real surprise especially because the plan of action involved my parents making a sudden overnight trip – a clearly uncomfortable proposition at their age - and that too for less than a day since I was to start for home that very evening.

I went to receive them at the Pune Railway station on Friday morning. They had a puzzled look on their face with a question mark on their foreheads covertly asking me what the hell was the surprise. I loved the moment when all they wanted to do was ask me that question again but their age-old wisdom had given them enough patience and faith to control their feelings and take things as they come. The knowledge of the fact that their son was going to give them a surprise also meant that it was going to be a pleasurable experience was also instrumental in their playing to my tune. I had told them that I was to leave on Friday evening for Ahmedabad. So after taking them home and arranging for their lunch, I left for office only to return early in the evening. By then they were all anxious to know the surprise and worried as to what I was up to. It was then that I revealed that I was taking them to Ahmedabad the next morning by flight. "Their first flight experience."

Being from a middle class family, we never really had the privilege of flying. Thanks to the software Industry, I had my first flight experience a few years back and I was now eager to witness someone undergoing this experience. And who better than my parents? Until now, their closest brush with an airport was when they had to wait at the arrivals and departure gate at Ahmedabad airport to receive or drop me. Everytime I'd see them waiting at the railings waving at me, a deep sense of urgency would rush through my blood to help them cross the railings and show the airport from inside and then gift them their first flight. It was this surprise that made their sudden train journey worth its weight in gold.

We woke up early Saturday morning and reached the airport. Their eyes glistened and face lit up as we reached the main entrance to show our tickets to the security, who let us in after inspecting our tickets. I was gently guiding my parents from behind as they crossed the 'dotted line' for the first time in their lives. They immediately started looking around observing the insides of an airport from within its walls. Their lifelong dream of flying was to turn to reality and I was so proud of being a channel for it. I was telling them about the procedure on our way to Kingfisher Airlines check-in counter when a pretty ground staff dressed in smart livery interrupted us and gave us the boarding pass from her hand-held. My novice parents were pretty pleased with the way she complied with a smiling countenance to my request for a window seat and the way technology had developed to ease our lives – oblivious of the fact that this industry sets much higher standards for customer service. My father promptly denounced the Indian Railways and wondered whether it’ll ever attain those standards. I mildly smiled at him knowing the yawning gap of standards between the two.

Post the security check, we entered the waiting hall from where we could see the planes parked on the tarmac. That was the first time my parents saw a plane from that close. They were amazed at its size, shape, look and magnificence. They were looking at everything around them with the inquisitiveness of a kid not able to understand a thing around and yet trying to comprehend the world.

As we boarded the flight, the airhostess working at the galley got up and wished Good Morning to my mom. My mom – taken by surprise by this sudden gesture of the lady – started blushing as I noticed how happy she was. She just couldn’t hide her excitement while my dad was still a bit subdued. I made my mom take the window seat, dad the middle and I took the seat by the aisle. We all were living our dreams that day. They were looking at the world from the window of the plane for the first time curiously observing the wings, the ground crew loading the luggage and the airport from the other side and I was observing them trying to internalize the moment and etch it in my permanent memory.

As kids, while traveling in the Railways, we used to rush to the window seat and curiously observe the outside world. How sweet were those days, when the dogs barking, the cows grazing, kids waving and the train turning were all reasons to celebrate with excitement! I realized that the life had turned one full circle as I took the place of an adult with my parents turning kids once again; this time, however, in front of their son’s eyes.

As the plane took off, I egged my mom to keep her eyes open inspite of the fear and the pressure. But she eased into her seat as the plane rose higher and she got used to the height. Even my dad – generally measured in reacting – would pull himself up and bend towards the window to see what mom wanted to show him; pretty much the way we kids used to rush to the window to see the engine every time the train took a turn. Mom then showed him the clouds. For a change, they were looking at the clouds from above. Having so gotten used to seeing clouds blocking the sunlight, they were really startled to see that the view from above was uncomfortably bright.

And finally as we were landing, things at the ground changed from minute to life-sized. My parents breathed a sigh of relief as we landed safely at the Ahmedabad airport in 50 mins, a drastic reduction from the thirteen hours of train travel.

We thanked heavens as we left the plane with both my parents beaming and proudly smiling at the indifferent world.

I let out a silent prayer of gratitude for helping my parents see this day. The day that I call 777 – 7th July 2007