This would have never won the “Best Ode” entry.. so i didn’t bother to post it for the competition!

[AS THE CURTAINS RAISED]
“… And then the Prince & Cinderella waltz away the entire night. The following day they got married and then … THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER!”

FLIP! … shut the big-pink-fat-book of “Fairy Tales from Across the World” and my father stared down at me. I stared back with my round eyes,( as round as if drawn to perfection by a compass!) with oodles of questions waiting to be shot. As he ruffled my hair, I snuggled close to him and opened the Pandora ’s Box…
“What happened to Cinderella and the Prince after that? Did they have kids?”
“Boy or Girl?”
“A little baby girl… made of sugar and spice and everything nice… just like you”
Giggles.Cuddles.More Giggles.
“Did the little girl also find her Prince and live happily ever after?”
“Yes she did, and now my little girl will sleep”
“Will I also find my prince and live happily ever after?”
Exhaustion, exasperation creeping in… but the smile and the warm glow of love on the face of my Baba was intact.
“Yes. Definitely… you are a nice girl and you’ll definitely get a prince.”
Giggles.Cuddles.More Giggles.
“What will he look like? You?”
Rolling of the eyes and a small chuckle.
“Hmmm… okay… you go to sleep and I’ll ask Ghoom Pori (Sleep Fairy) to send your Prince in your dreams. Then you can tell me in the morning whether you like him or not and what he looks like. Okay?”
Satisfied… I slipped under covers… as my dad tucked me in… with the belief that I’m a nice girl who deserves all good things… the face I saw that night I don’t recall… there were fairies and dancing I know for sure…. Coz the childhood was an overdose of fantasy for me, but that face I guess was never clear… not even after 20 years when I tried to search it within a few set of faces I thought I had seen that night!
… Mere bachpan ka who khawab , geet ka who mukhra tha jiska antara kabhi likha hi na gaya.. Kuch nayab geet adhure hi reh jaate hain! (My childhood dream was the first para of that song, whose body was never composed… some masterpieces are always left incomplete!)

[… FAST FORWARD 20 YEARS]
As a kid I used to play a strange game… where I competed with a fictitious friend… who was in turn my alter ego. I succumbed to the game once again today.
Sitting in my car, while my mind and body ached for my bed at home.. the ego v. alter-ego game was a bet on 1 pack of BnH + 4 Dunhills
Condition: If I could call up a single friend who supported my theory of my wayward life I drive on.. live on… else I turn around call up Baba and say that I indeed like X uncle’s son, who apparently was seeking somebody to spoil his life! And close all *tsking of tongues at each social gathering of how a nice girl like me deserved a nice boy!!!
By the 6th light, I knew my alter-ego had won. I had driven too far beyond the safe limits of the city and it was too late for any mobiles to be in the “sane-switched-on” state!
The call was never made… the road was hazed… Qiwam makes my eyes water!

…. Teri Awaz ki ek boond joh mil jaati kanhin, aankhri saason pe hai raat.. yeh bach jaati (Had it received even a drop of your voice, the night which was breathing its last, would have been saved – Javed Akhtar)

[…REWIND A MONTH AGO]
I tried to play the “marriage” game, in the process I tried to kill the me I awed and loved… but then again I should have known than better to try… so I’m still the nice girl who deserves a much better guy 🙂
Bedoshta hoon aaj toh ilzaam kisko doon? Kal maine hi buna tha, yeh mera hi jaal hai. (If I’m helpless, whom shall I accuse today? The web in which I’m caught, I wove it yesterday – Javed Akhtar)

[…PLAY]
I’m to write about a woman who has awed me the most… an ode sorts for women’s day! Last year I had written about my mother, this year they want a contemporary female who’s awed me. I didn’t need to think far, the self obsessed me just looked into the mirror and found the answer, I would write about the female who was my Gibralter’s rock – me!
As a teenager I was the carefree butterfly who didn’t know what ‘destination’ meant, to her the world was the landscape she wished to roam. Light, careless I fluttered around. It was during my early twenties that I picked up the habit of collecting rubbishes from across the world. Baggage people told me, was what I came with. It was then their excuse that although I was a nice girl, the baggage wasn’t too light to tug around! As a result I got bogged down with more weights. But then again, today I realize that everyone I meet now on has some sort of baggage and that it’s ok to have the same. Today I too openly admit that yes I have a baggage. Whether it’s a broken heart, or a preconception of what a relationship should look like, it’s all relevant. But it doesn’t make me bad… I’m still the nice girl who deserves a much better guy.
I still belong to the league of girls, who are out there to prove a lot to their own selves than to the world. Girls, who are caught up in their own Neverland to be even bothered to the taunts of the world calling their lifestyle juvenile.
Girls like me spend hours pondering over what happened and why it happened rather than simply passing on the blame to somebody else – for we have been taught that when things go sour, it must be they that are doing something wrong.
Yes like me they too don’t like playing mind games, don’t think unbuttoning a “little bit” in the front is the right channel to getting things done, will never spend hours fixating on their looks, and will never probably mind if her heart broken friend puked on her when she had after a long time dressed up – and will probably patiently hear the heart break story over and over again amidst hiccups, a thing she’s heard before, but will again. No, girls like me don’t do this coz we are the “true friends”, but because we know how it feels to cry and pass out all alone with “don’t call me when you are drunk” sitting in their inbox!
Girls like me often wonder why Hypocrite was born? They wonder it aloud too at times, when they see guys lamenting over not meeting ‘nice girls’, when in reality they know that all they want is a bit of charm, flirty smiles and meaningless touches for the night. They also know that if the next morning these same “nice” guys were to receive a call from one of them and she in her truthful, loyal, intelligent and straightforward nice girl fashion, were to tell him that she finds him intriguing and attractive and interesting and worth her time and perhaps material from which she could fashion a boyfriend, would he not immediately call his friends to tell them of the “easy-leech-chick” he’d met the night prior, who called her and wore her heart on her sleeve and told the truth? And would he not after a conversation that begun with “Look you are nice girl but..”, refuse to make plans with her, speak with her, see her again, and once again return to the bar or club or party scene and search once more for this “nice girl” whom he just cannot seem to find?
While other girls would have picked up cues and changed their ways, made themselves more hard to get and flirted around with head thrown back in laughter, I belong to the league who would hug herself and go to sleep for she still holds on the slipped away sand in the clutched palm and believes that tomorrow is a new day when somebody would read through her disguise!
She’s me if she understands that office pressures can soar up so high that calls can wait for weeks to come, and that if others say that they were called it was more out of work she explains herself, just like I do. She’s like me if she doesn’t mind the sweatiness, if after rigorous gymming the aching muscles need a shoulder to be carried back home! And you say I’m being self obsessed if I think I’m in awe with myself?
It is the present me who after a grueling day of managing the house, of tucking others kids to sleep, of making sure that the daily quota of quality time is given to all older generations, would probably stay up a bit longer smiling when a call comes to ask her why has she changed, or subtly demanding the door mat they had once back and then instead of wondering as to why when she has moved on with her life…the exact thing she wanted and couldn’t have a year ago falls into her lap and realizing that if it took them 9 months to realize her worth, whether it is actually worth being with them, she miles and tries to make their day for one last time. And while she explains herself that living for others and being a Gibralter’s rock is a nice thing, she forgets that the ‘one last time’ for her never actually made sense.
But then again, are you filled with pity for me and the like? No please don’t coz this is not a pity post, this is how I awe myself. Because somewhere I know that I have outshined all those cat calls with my head held high. That somewhere with each of the snickers behind my back I have emerged to be a winner. If there were times I was subtely told I had two left feet, I have now been asked as to how I sway in my four inch heel and waltz to perfection! If there were times when my poetry was pinned up in the animal farm, today someone tells me I have inspired him to write.
I dunno if I’m weird, I dunno if I’m self obsessed… all I know is that I’m not perfect .. but still I’m nice… I would go an extra mile to save the face of humanity, I will not teach my kids merely coz they have to score good marks… I’ll teach them so that they can educate others, I’ll not be with my man coz the legal papers I have signed demand me too, but coz I know if I didn’t he would be feeling as bad as I did when he deserted me.
I might be an idealist, but I haven’t let myself down till now. Yes I haven’t done anything to be held up the pinnacle of success or even perhaps not made a difference to anyone’s life, but then again I give hope to the girl I love the most and make somebody smile even through tears, isn’t that enough a reason for me to dedicate this ode to me? Or is it to be called my self-obsession and self pity still?
I love the skin I’m in… too bad if you have other views 🙂

Gira do pardah ki dastaan khaali hogayi hain…
Bas ek ehsaas ki khamoshi hai – gujti hai
Bas ek takmil ka andhera hai –jal raha hai!
(Let the curtains fall, now that the story is over. Only there’s a feeling of silence – that screams through. Only there’s a fulfillment of darkness – that burns on – Javed Akhtar)

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