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Thursday, April 30, 2015

It's a girl!!!


“It’s a girl!” The alley thundered with triumphant applause. As she opened her eyes, compliments poured in for my family. I can imagine how my parents felt at the top of the world in that joyous moment.  My near and dear ones showered my sister with their love and blessing.

Amid all the love and care, she started to grow up.  She was the apple of our mother’s eyes. Mom never said no to her little desires. Yet she wanted her to be independent and taught her to face the world with courage, just like she had taught me. She spread her baby wings to fly and mom encouraged her throughout.  In very less time, she learnt the values of life. Our father silently stood by her in all the little tricks that she grabbed. Those small tricks earned us a living. All her life, our mother worked very hard to feed us. Our father’s firm determination and positive thinking nurtured us.
We survived on whatever my family or I could do for a living. So what if God made us that way? So what if the rest of the mankind hated us? We were born that way. In her growing phase, as she passed by in the alley, she noticed people shutting their doors and windows on her. She wondered if her presence was so much detested. Why was our community happy when she was born? Why was the human race treating her different? I had no answers to her questions. Perhaps her head was buzzing with questions that day too when she was knocked down. Somebody had attacked her. She fell half unconscious.

“Mom! I killed one” I heard a kid shouting in victory.
“Switch on the mosquito repellant machine instead of clapping on them!” said the kid’s mother as she switched on the repellant machine. My sister died in no time. I had to leave her lifeless body and flew out of the window.
RIP dear sister mosquito.

Image courtesyprintthistoday.com

Sunday, April 26, 2015

#CelebrateLifeAtIvy

#CelebrateLifeAtIvy by owning a dream home atIvy estate, an 85 acre estate with 34 acres of greenery and open spaces. Join the 1600 happy families already living here. Check out this walkthrough video and decide for yourself

The simple things that bring smile to many faces, are present around us in every shape and form. All we need is a knack to recognize them and let those simple things flow. Why wait for special occasions? We humans tend to make things complicated as we have forgotten those little wonders. What makes me happy in such Byzantine? Oh, I love bringing in back those simple things to life. In other words making others happy makes me happy!
Happiness is a whole family eating and watching a movie together. Our life seems to run on a fast track, that the joy of togetherness is long lost. A warm meal while watching a good humorous film or chatting, not only bonds the family but also brings cheer to everyone. What’s better than seeing a happy family sharing the simple moments of joy? How does one wait for a special time? This is my inspiration for a happy life.

We keep waiting for summer vacations or weekends or family weddings to break our monotonous routine and spend a happy time. My thought is little different. Why wait for a weekend. You may feel at peace in a spa even on a weekday after work. I quote my example to everybody who crib on job and no-time-for-hobby. I loved writing, so I turned my hobby into a career. I draw happiness from the work that I enjoy the most. Writing. My hobby was my passion, and now a career. So why not live in the moment and feel the everyday joys? My mother does the same. She loves plants and the terrace garden that she has maintained.  She spends time with the plants, literally talks to them and the happiness that she gets is priceless! Mom does not wait for special events to happen. She draws joys from her present! Yay! Like mom like daughter!

When I had moved to Delhi and started working, I started volunteering at animal NGOs and shelter houses. My deep concern for strays almost made me an animal activist. (‘Almost’ because my full time job barely left me with time for such service during weekdays). I started to feed the strays of my colony. In no time, I befriended all dogs. Feeding them, playing and spending time with them became my daily routine. I loved to see the dogs welcome me by wagging their tails and rushing to me for their daily treat as I returned from work. I took the sick ones to vet, medicated the injured ones and spent most of my free time with 11 dogs of my colony. I was named “The dog girl” by my neighbors. Soon they too joined me in looking after the strays. Those dogs taught us harmony, love & care. Nothing could have made me happier then. I was able to bring happiness and refreshment to the life of those innocent dogs. A mutual love and learning it was! The simple gesture of kindness always spreads joys and makes you happy. Everyday became a special day. Even today as I moved to Gurgaon post marriage, I befriended a stray and named him Bruno. A furry, brown Bruno has all the capacity to lift my mood after a bad day. As I was upset yesterday over a household issue, Bruno came running to me as I stepped out of the house. He rubbed his head against my knee, raised his paw as a gesture of hello and wagged his tail. I forgot my worries instantly. Happiness come in small packages. Big events are not required you see.

Happiness is seeing calmness and smile on your husband’s face as he enters the house. And the reason behind that smile? You got a Sandalwood incense stick, fresh flowers in the vase, changed the linens and put on soft music. He leaves his office worries outside the house and stands by you, relaxed, rejuvenated and happy. Who said simple things don’t make people smile? Add joys in little doses and make the world happy!
Donate your old books and clothes to orphanages or shelter homes. You would notice how you added cheer & joys to their life. Those who were deprived of these basic necessities, would bless you whole heartedly. Simple and satisfactory, isn’t it?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Voting for Will Of Steel

I’m voting for (nominee’s name)’s#WillOfSteel and blogging on BlogAdda to help him/her get felicitated and eventually enabled by JSW.

You go against all odds, cross all hurdles and achieve what others could not. You need #willofsteel to do that. You need firm determination and courage to fulfill those dreams, even if that means sacrificing dear things or living in hardships. JSW presents such people with extraordinary courage whose contribution is truly remarkable. I encourage and have voted for such exemplary personalities on the website willofsteel.in. The nominee who got my attention is Rajendra Singh- The waterman of India, whom I think should be felicitated by JSW for his will of steel.


Rajendra Singh who hails from Alwar, Rajasthan, is notable a water-conservationist. In the time where we are struggling for fresh air and clean water, there are villages and remote places who do not receive water at all. Lands are turning barren, rain fall is uncertain, crops are failing and farmers are committing suicide. In such a difficult time, Rajendra Singh gave up all the luxuries of his life, fastened his belt and dedicated his life to water conservation. Singh has played an important role by helping more than 1000 villages to get water. He has also revived five rivers.
There are very few people who think and do something good for the environment. Singh quit his government service, sold his household items, started educating villagers, went on to work for the NGO “Tarun Bharat Sangh” which means Young India Association and focused on the issues of water. He did not behave like his fellow classmates or co-workers, who study in cities, come to villages for projects and return without solving the problems.

Starting from a single village in 1985, over the years Tarun Bharat Sangh has helped build over 8,600 johads and other water conservation structures to collect rainwater for the dry seasons. By 2001, they had built 4,500 earthen check dams, to collect rain water in 850 villages in 11 districts of Rajasthan. Singh was awarded the Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in the same year.

Alwar, was worse hit due to receding water table and lack of rains. Singh spread awareness and worked for water conservation. One of the forgotten ways was “Johar” which is a traditional method of rainwater storage, popularly in Rajasthan. Post much reluctance from villagers, friends and colleagues, ultimately Singh’s revolutionary work led to revival of Alwar. The water table is stable now and he continues to work for improved water conservation methods that includes check dams.

Rajendra Singh has been thoroughly involved in fighting the bureaucracy and the mining lobby. Today as Alwar is fit to reside in, the credit goes to Rajendra Singh. His NGO has also been instrumental in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. People value the traditional methods of water harvesting today and do not suffer from drought. Thanks to the waterman for his efforts, forward thinking and steel of will.
Let's vote for him and recognize his efforts for the noble work done. We need more people like him who bring a positive change for the environment and save the planet.

Cause for the Earth


Writing for http://greenyatra.org/ on Earth Day, in association with Indiblogger.in

More than 90 farmers committed suicide in 45 days in Marathwadaa. Reason? Uncertain rains, failed crops, burden of debt. 
Water problem still persists in major parts of the country. Reason? Every drop of water is a life savoir for few whereas more than 3 liters of water is wasted daily in cities.
Rising pollution level, global warming, deforestation and so on...

It's a vicious cycle where the reason and cause chase each other. We know the causes, we debate and educate people, but do nothing for it. It’s high time we fasten our belts, lest we should see dead Earth in few years. While the emission of CFC from air conditioned rooms and refrigerators cannot be ruled out, we can contribute towards a greener and better Earth in our own way. Every move counts. Do small things daily. Sharing few simple and convenient ways here-
Birds are dying. How many sparrows do we see these days? Like dinosaurs, soon birds will be extinct too. Fill in a flat base earthen pot with water every day. You can save the lives of thirsty crows, pigeons, sparrows, parrots and all birds of your society. A small move will be a blessing. More than
Save Birds

1000 birds die each year in absence of water and trees. I remember rescuing a pigeon at a metro station who was scared, thirsty and unable to fly. I arranged water for the poor bird. By the time I reached the bird NGO, it died in my arms. I cried. I was angry & upset with what trauma humans have caused to nature. A bird sitting in a corner of an air conditioned metro station went unnoticed by everybody. Those who noticed, thought the bird was enjoying the AC. The metro officials were also of no help. It was an eye opener for me and I pledged to save birds with every resource that I have. A flat earthen pot with water is the best thing you can do for the nature's delight- birds. Planting a tree is the second best thing you can do. However, you may not have space to plant a tree. So have a shady plant outside your house or in balcony, big enough for a bird to take shelter in. Place a water vessel near the plant or on the edge of the pot. Thou shall be blessed by mother Earth.
The moment I told my husband about this movement, he fully agreed and wanted to plant a tree in our colony's park.

Pool in- People residing in an area commuting to same working place can contribute by car pool in. My colleagues go for car pool in and their efforts are praise worthy. Not only they save fuel, but also reduce the pollution levelsave money and parking space. Getting each other's company and bonding is an added advantage. A small step can make a big difference. Encourage others to do the same. Applause to those who have started doing it. You are the guardians of nature. Be responsible & sensitive to the environment!

Save water- It has been reinforced several times to save water, but nobody pays heed to it unless they face a scarcity of the same. Irrespective you stay at
top most floor of your multistory building or a remote village, water is a valuable resource for all. Summers is the time you realize the importance of water, isn't it? So, close the tap while brushing teeth or shaving. My family does a wonderful job of saving as much water as possible. We utilize every drop. If guests leave water in glass, we pour the remaining in our plant.  We don’t take bath in showers. We bath with a bucket of water, ensuring no wastage of water. The muddy water from the mopping bucket or after washing clothes, we sprinkle it on the dusty roads, to settle the dust. We do not waste fresh water for the purpose.

We eat daal and deserts in the same bowl. One bowl less used means one bowl less washed, hence saving water. As we eat out in restaurants, we ask waiters to serve deserts in the same dish. We do not eat with fresh spoons for separate food items. Once the restaurant manager asked us why. We told him “Less utensils mean less water wastage. That’s our way to contribute for the environment”

Collect rainwater in open vessels on your terrace or roof tops. Use it to water the plants or wash the staircase of your house.

Collect waste water from air conditioners or RO water purifiers, and use the same to wash your verandas, terrace, stairs etc.

Re-use/Recycle- Hard shells of coconuts, wooden planks, dead bamboo shoots. All these natural and bio-degradable things can be
Recycle organic waste
effectively put to use for nature. I have created bird houses with these organic waste items. You can do the same. Broken wooden frames, irreparable wooden cots etc are usually burnt during holi or sold to a kabaadi.Be creative, and make something useful.
Consider the environment before taking large number of print outs at work. You have all the liberty to make a notebook from waste papers with unused sides. Do not trash them unnecessarily.

No to polythene- Small things in daily life can make a difference. For example when you visit kirana stores or grocery shops, carry your bag with you. Ladies can stuff the purchase in their handbags, instead of asking for a carry bag. People who buy single packaged item, can carry it in their hands, can’t they? Why ask for a poly
Say No To Plastic
bag
 even when you buy a single item? Excess use of polythene lead to a ban in many states of India. A small hill station like Dalhousie has been banned the usage of plastic. People should stop using plastic on their own, before it’s too late.

But small time vendors started opting for cheap polythene that are more harmful, which in my opinion should be penalized. Ultimately these polythene bags go in the bin from where strays end up chewing poly bags. Thousands of strays die due to polythene. Death of cows is a painful example of the same.
Better to use paper bags or cloth bags, which major retail giants provide. To carry your own bag is most advisable.

Save electricity- Rise in population has lead to more demand of electricity. However our power plants and efforts by the Government are unable to meet the huge demandAs the corporate hotshots and metro city residents enjoy the well lighted air conditioned facility, there are many places where a basic facility of electricity is absent. Every power button button that you switch off can benefit the needy. My bosses at give an excellent example to us by switching off the lights before leaving their rooms/cabins, even if they leave for meetings as short as fifteen minutes. In spite of the unlimited power supply and generator backup, we do not waste power, so that those deprived of the need can benefit from the small move of ours. Do the same at home. Turn off the lights, fans and AC when not in use. Water turbines have immense pressure to generate electricity. Do you think the turbines can fulfill all needs when the demand shoots sky high? Lets curb that demand and do our bit for the Earth.
Years later, when you would look for a green place for yoga or trek, you wold find none. Preserve and care now, to make the coming generation see a green beautiful Earth.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The ad world

Barkhurdar, padhenge nahi to bheekh maangege aap. Maths mei zero, English mei andaa, saraa din chicks k peechay bhaagna, ye kahaa ki tameez hai?



Recent Mentos TVC (2015) grabbed eyeballs with the hilarious script and voice over of comedian Sunil Grover, who dubs for an angry rooster. The rooster is seen scolding his chick, then his wife and eve teasing, supposedly a sexy hen. Audience fell off their chairs watching the witty ad. I really don’t mind watching this ad, even if it interrupts my favorite movie or TV show. Super comical interpretation of rooster in a brand like Mentos, got a good brand recall. But did that enlighten the customer about the brand message? Apparently No. The message got lost and the audience almost forgot that Mentos is now bigger and softer. Just like this message did not get effected the rooster, the audience overlooked it too. The brand score card? 50-50 (50 for innovation and newness, negative for lost messaging)

There are funny ads, action packed ads and emotional ads. And then there are no sense ads too that fill the channel with junk and moralize, traumatize and terrorize the audience. Don’t believe me? Watch the Chaini Khaini ad or Pataka Chai ad starring yesteryear's starsMalaika Arora Khan and Urmila Martondkar. These hurt, alright! The brands could have made posters or web ads, considering their huge budget to fit into electronic media. Please spare the TV audience for God sake. These are useless commercials similar to movies like “Deshdrohi” or “MSG” with no audience or sense.






There are commercials for which you need brains and ‘eye for details’ to notice the alphabet formation that ‘makes you click’. I am talking about Canon powershot camera, starring Anushka Sharma. It was innovative and very creative indeed. There is a lot that goes into photography, from capturing emotions to getting the right environment. True, anything can make you click, as the ad starts with A- Anushka Sharma, B for a pair of spectacles and so on in an alphabetical order. The Canon ad balances it beautifully. Anuskha Sharma was a rising star at that time with quite a few blockbusters to her credit. The brand cashed on the popularity and freshness of the actor and went on to make a catchy campaign. Who does not like clicking? Canon Power shot nailed it. Yeah, I sound like an ad guru, but I am not.

Ads that I have loved since childhood are of brands like Boost, Complan, Parle-G biscuit to name a few. As a child I adored the Lux bathing bars advertisements featuring Madhuri Dixit, Karishma and my favorite Juhi Chawla. The brand endorsed itself as a luxurious one. Surprisingly, I loved the ads more than the TV serials, given that we did not have many options to watch in the absence of cable TV. Liril ads generated a stir in the market with its freshness! Come summers, my sister and I would jump into the shower, humming the Liril “la la la la”. Liril signified freshness & fun. The ad showed bubbly girl who would enjoy in the waterfall singing, dancing and playing virtual instruments. My sister & I loved to mimic her. Good job done by Padmasee and Lintas indeed! Preity Zinta made a storming entry into media with this ad. The newness worked well and Liril did not change the hum for more than 35 years. It’s the TVC I miss now.

However, in a nail biting match between India and Pakistan or World Cup Finale, ads are only a break to grab a glass of water or take a leak. Nobody really cares about these ads. But, ads keep the show running. So even if you hate them, you can’t ignore them.

Ad which I never understood was ONIDA, where a green faced horned monster scares the audience. It took me years to grab the essence “Neighbor’s Envy”. Frankly, it was a little mature ad for the Indian audience at that time. Had it been me, I might have given a simpler punchline like “The pride of every house”. Not that creative, but simple to understand, right?

Commercials these days have become difficult to understand. Body Spray ads resemble condom ads and the latter feature porn star, making it look like a promo of a Blue Film. Strange is our world!

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

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Snapped the deal

The simple things that bring smile to many faces, are present around us in every shape and form. All we need is a knack to recognize them and let those simple things flow. We humans tend to make things complicated as we have forgotten those little wonders. What dil ki deal does one strike in such byzantine? Oh, I love bringing in back those simple things to life. In other words making others happy makes me happy too!

I went to a salon few days ago for a foot massage. In the middle of the therapy, I asked the guy about the foot relaxation points, techniques and from where he was trained. Calmly answering my questions, he looked worried whether or not I was happy about the service. And then I asked him his name.
“Suraj” he answered, as it brought a smile on his face.

I realized, very few people ask their names. My question made him feel special. I had left an appreciation note for him in the visitor’s book and thanked him in person. Like others, I could have availed the services and left, as he was just doing his job. But I managed to get a smile on his face. Little gestures like this, does magic.

When I had moved to Delhi and started working, I started volunteering at animal NGOs or shelter houses. My deep concern for strays almost made me an animal activist. (‘Almost’ because my full time job barely left me with time for such service during weekdays). I started feeding the strays of my residence colony. In no time, I befriended all dogs. Feeding them, playing and spending time with them became my daily routine. I loved to see the dogs welcome me by wagging their tails and rushing to me for their daily treat as I returned from work. I took the sick ones to vet, medicated the injured ones and spent most of my free time with 11 dogs of my colony. I was named “The dog girl” by my neighbors. However, my landlady was against the whole act of kindness. She hated to see the dogs huddle near the gate waiting for me. They tore the door mat at times or pooped on the roads. She warned me to keep the dogs away from the house lest I should search for a new accommodation. Against all odds, I followed my heart and continued to help the strays. At last I got a notice from my landlady to vacate her house. The news spread around and neighbors were shocked to hear that. But they helped me search a new accommodation in the next lane promising me to be by my side. Soon they joined me in looking after the strays who changed the lane after I changed my residence. Those dogs taught us harmony, love & care. Nothing could have made me happier then. I was able to bring happiness to the life of those innocent dogs as well. A mutual love and learning it was! The simple gesture of kindness always spreads joys. It was a perfect dil ki deal for me which I struck after following my heart.

Happiness is seeing calmness and smile on your husband’s face as he enters the house. And the reason behind that smile? I got a Sandalwood incense stick, kept fresh flowers in the vase, changed the linens and put on soft music. He left his office worries outside the house and spent time with me, relaxed, rejuvenated and happy. Who said simple gestures don’t make dil ki deal? I added joys in little doses, make him feel special and what followed was magic! After months of hectic schedule and frustration, I saw my husband smile & calm. He drove us for dinner to his favorite restaurant.

In another instance that I remember, I strongly followed my heart, bypassing all official regulations and mind. It was my first month with my new employer post MBA. As an intern, I was bound by rules and strict no-leave policy. My best friend Atul, who was my colleague, had gone on an emergency leave for his dad’s heart surgery. The week passed by in his absence. On the day of uncle’s surgery, I happened to call Atul. He was stressed and I found him sobbing. Needless to say, any child would feel the same under such circumstances. I managed to calm him down and disconnected the call. My heart was bleeding. I cursed myself for leaving my best friend in the hospital alone, but thought about the no-leave policy.

“Damn the policy” I murmured to myself as I packed my bag to leave from office.

“It’s an emergency. My uncle needs me. He is in hospital,” I told my senior who stared at me. I might have lost my job for an unplanned leave, yet I chose to follow my heart. The thought running in my head was that I would get a new job, but not a friend like Atul who really needs somebody in the hospital. The moment I reached hospital, Atul broke down. Uncle was in the operation theatre, with few more hours left for the surgery to end. I stood by him, assuring uncle’s speedy recovery and well-being. The emotional support that I extended to Atul at that point in time made him stronger I guess. My reporting boss called to demand an explanation for the uncalled absence in office. I did not lie to her and explained the entire situation. Surprisingly, she approved my leave. By grace of God, Uncle recovered post operation soon. The day still brings tears to my eyes thinking of the incident when I followed my heart over my instincts to be with my best friend.

I am participating in the #DilKiDealOnSnapdealactivity at BlogAdda in association with SnapDeal

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Dil ki deal

I am participating in the #DilKiDealOnSnapdealactivity at BlogAdda in association with SnapDeal

It was my first job and my first stint in Delhi, alone, away from my family. What was it to stay alone was a new experience. During the job induction, it was made crystal clear to us to refrain from taking leave for the first six months. My heart fluttered, mind toppled and eyes welled up. The following month was Diwali and the thought of being alone that day struck me like a thunderbolt. I did not even know how to conduct a full-fledged puja on such occasions, let alone celebrating it with people. Plus I had no friends In Delhi who would accompany me or ask me to be a part of their family on Diwali. After all, Diwali in India was a family celebration. The HR manager continued to enlighten us with the company policies while I swallowed the lump in my throat and pretended to be normal.

Days passed by and I breezed through my training period. One part of me was excited and eager to explore a new city, while the other part of me missed my family. Every day either of my parents would call me asking me if I was okay, had my meals on time, attentive to my job or not and a never ending list. Indian families are emotionally bonded and I understood the value of the bond then.
“I have made sweets & namkeen, but I don’t feel happy without you. I wish you had an off on Diwali” my mom said painfully one day over the phone. I felt helpless as my job did not allow me to take leave for the next 6 months. My training batch mates discussed shopping, sweets and crackers, while I had no idea where and with whom to go for shopping. I stopped thinking about festival and tried to concentrate on my job.
Days approached quickly with Diwali being just three days away. Within a month of joining, I cleared training and waited for the "on the job training", popularly called OJT, where-in we would learn while working with mentors. My mentor David, half French half Indian, guided me. “All well?” he asked as he noticed me feeling low one day.

“Ya all well, just missing my family. Won’t be with them during Diwali for the first time,” I replied as I was almost on the verge of crying.
“Oh Diwali! Yes I have heard about this festival of lights. My mother often told me about it when I was young. Why don’t you go home then?” David asked me.
“Trainees are not eligible to take leave on Diwali David. I joined a month ago,” I replied in the most unenthusiastic voice.

“Chill! Who will mentor you when your mentor is not present?” he winked.
I squinted my eyes at his face.

“Arey baba, go home. I am taking off for 3 days. No company will penalize you when you take leave. They would only deduct your salary. Choice is yours.” He resume to tap the laptop keyboard.

I could not sleep the whole night. David’s words kept ringing in my ears. I got up in the middle of the night to shuffle my luggage. Next day I reached office with a small bag stuffed with clothes. David smiled at me and gave a thumbs up. I did not inform my parents about this little surprise. I left from office in the evening, bought a box of sweets on the way and boarded a bus from Interstate Bus Terminal for my home-town.

I reached my hometown on the morning of Diwali. As I rang the doorbell, a stream of thoughts choked me. I had actually rebelled in my first job! I had followed my heart to see that smile on my parents face. I braved the harsh company policies to be with my family on Diwali. I gave a damn to my job. Special thanks to David to guide me on the HR policy know-hows.
I snuggled in mom’s warm embrace as she sobbed with happiness. A box of sweets with my first salary, a wonderful surprise on Diwali and moments of joys. It was magic. I still remember that sweet day of the year 2003.

B: Blink


The platform was crowded as usual. The usual hustle bustle of the daily commuters, the loud whistle of the train's engine, street vendors on the platforms and passengers waiting at the platform for the last local train, seemed to be a very regular. The lazy dogs slept in one corner near a group of elderly men playing cards. As the last local arrived at 7:40 pm , students rushed towards the train. All seem to be familiar faces, except him. He caught my attention and my eyes stayed glued to him. The white platform light fell on his face. Almost 6 feet, the slim guy had long brown hair. He blinked his eyes fast. . Dressed in blue denims, white tee and a bag pack, he came across as a student to me. I stood towards the end of the platform staring at him.

From the past four years, I traveled daily from Mandi House Railway station to Ghaziabad  in the last local train. I had seen students and working professionals like me, daily at the same time. Many a times I befriended students in the train guiding them the routes or discussing about the latest course books. My friendly attitude was perhaps why many students treated me like friends instead of a teacher. After college time, I used to coach students from financially weak families. Among them, was a very bright student Raghu. His financial conditions did not allow him to study full time. He worked part time as an accountant during the day and studied in my evening classes. Tall and slim, Raghu also blinked his eyes very fast. He was my favorite student. Last year he died in a road accident, leaving his family alone. My eyes welled up as I saw the tall guy at the platform; Raghu's look alike.

He glanced at me as I managed to keep my tears from rolling. He walked towards me, blinking his eyes very quick. I pretended to look away. “Excuse me sir. Is this the last train?” he asked me in his husky voice.
I nodded my head unable to speak at that time. “Where are you headed?” I asked him swallowing the lump in my throat.

“Sahibabad” he replied.
We hopped onto the train together making our way through the crowd on the platform. We stood near the entrance door, holding on to the support handle.

“Sir, do you travel daily?” he started a conversation, with his eyes blinking fast.
“Yes. What about you young man?”

“I am new here. I started commuting today.” His eyes blinked swiftly.
The train sped through the Yamuna Bridge and screeched to a halt suddenly at a small junction. Somebody might have pulled the emergency chain. The lights inside the train went off.  The tall guy lost his balance and I felt him lean over me. Few more passengers lost their balance to tip over each other, hurling abuses at the train. The confusion, clutter and noise prevailed for about few minutes. The train moved, lights were on, people were back to their places. But the tall guy was gone. He might have got down at the platform, I thought. “But he fell over me. Why would he leave suddenly?” I thought as I rubbed my back which had hit the seat-rest. My hand moved to my back pocket. My wallet was missing. I checked in my other pockets and looked around. As the train left the platform, I saw the tall guy disappear on the platform within the blink of my eye.