Jeannie the Caterpillar

Have you heard of Jeannie the Caterpillar? I’m not sure if you have.
In any case allow me to tell you a short story about her, guys.
Jeannie was a happy go lucky, a very bubbly larva.
Staying in a lush-green forest of Peru, South America.
She loved everything about her life.
Waking up early to a warm sunlight & sauntering through dry leaves on fat old tree branch.
In search of insects smaller than her and the ones that seemed yummy & chewy inside.
She was super-content living her everyday monotonous life.
Every bit of it, she liked & felt that was that entire Universe had to offer.
Until one day, when it began to change.
Started with a tingling feeling in her stomach.
Hardly had she understood, but there was so much that was changing now.
Bright blue cells in her body had showed up before the other old ones.
And what did the other cells do now?
Hated these good looking, all charming and new cells so much.
Conspired against them, planned and attacked them all.
Told them that they did not belong here and Jeannie did not need them at all.
Bright blue cells were told, she was happy with what she had.
Bright blue cells who were few in number were the ones that did not give up.
They were the ones who stood tall, against an opposition so mighty and strong.
Bright blue cells stayed composed and fought back.
Guess what, they won.
So here our Jeanie with the help of bright blue cells, wore a gown made of soft velvety pupa.
She relaxed back inside her pupa and closed her eyes.
A few days later that she opened them and stretched out her newly gifted wings wide.
A cocoon broke apart and she inhaled in air so fresh and warm.
Looking up, Jeanie fluttered her wings now and took off.
Since that day, Jeannie kept flying, fleeting from one flower to the other.
Admiring the beauty of it, which she could not even dream of.
Had she been content of dead dry leaves on the bark.
Had the bright blue cells not fought against the ordinary ones around.
Jeannie was now a beautiful butterfly. For she chose to dream…for her dream she chose to fight.

Monsters under the bed

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It was easy for her to be hard boiled about things in the daylight. She found it simple to toss around those worries-laden memories from one clock hour to the next. But at night it was another thing. At night those thoughts would swirl around in her head, in a priority set by herself long back. The memories that she diverted herself from in the bright sunny day became monsters under her bed; every time as the night drew in.

And at night as she put on the shorts, tied her hair and lied awake in her bed; she did her best to chase those monsters away, and to turn them into a cloud of mere thoughts again. And when she did so, she knew from inside that the monsters were not dead. They stayed secretly dormant in her head…in an ambush under her bed. Because they were her own thoughts, her past and present.

She got up and opened the glass window wide and let the cold breeze walk in. She let it crawl along her naked arms, all the way up to her neck and freeze her senses with thousand kisses. Standing there all by herself; she gazed at her town at night with an aesthetic sense. City was bathing in the serenity of night shimmered with dim street lights in distance and faintly lit up box sized windows of rectangle shaped buildings standing close hand in hand. She looked as far as she could and tried to capture most of her sleepy town in her eyes. She looked at the part of it that sat undressed by the lights exposing it; while the rest of the city was clothed under the darkness of night. She stood in her balcony watching helplessly; how her city was falling against the advancing army of darkness and it conquering one house after another stepwise.

She secretly envied them in her mind: them who slept so easily in those rectangle shaped buildings. She wondered if they knew a secret to lock their monsters in a safe compartment somewhere far away. She questioned herself whether her monsters were mightier than theirs, or whether they themselves were trying to battle them as well.

A faint moonlight made its way to her, shining a ray of hope on her lips; as she pursed them into a smile. She felt she had found an answer. She realised that we were all secretly dealing with our troubles and worries at night in our respecting hiding places. But then there’s always something to cheer for; something that every day gifted us all: him, her, them, you and I – a revived hope, a new reason to smile for. And that shall be enough to calm our monsters away.

So putting aside her worries and loneliness, she tucked herself in bed and retired to sleepy world with a happy face. She slept like a baby and let monsters under her bed wait for yet another night to arrive, only to be defeated by her smile again.

Parellel Universe

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Dreams are bridges. They are getaways to the worlds that we create or the ones we want to go to but cannot.

Last night when I fell asleep in my warm cosy bed, I had one such dream. And in there, I had bought myself a ticket to a whole new world. It was a pretty long journey across the galaxy…with me traveling a mammoth dark world, passing stars & planets…until I had to get down at the last stop. A ‘parallel universe’ was waiting for me out there.

A lot like our world. A lot better in some sense and a lot worse in other. But then the only person that I had to meet was ‘myself’ from there.
And I met him. As expected, ‘he (me)’ was expecting me.
“Hi, I’m…” we both said at a time and did same pinch to each other.
We had so much to talk about – about ourselves. So we decided to go out for a drink.

What I mostly wanted to talk about & ‘me’ from there wanted to ask was – about the stories that we wrote, about ‘Arsenal football club’, about ‘her’ and how far we had gotten together.

“So have you published anything by now?” I asked myself from that universe and hoped to hear yes.

“Yes” him replied and teased me about him being ahead of me out there.

“Haha’’ I nervously laughed at myself and asked him about her.

“Well, we are together’’ he said with a straight face.

And I laughed at him for a while.

“hahaha at least somewhere I’m leading myself from this universe’’ I said with a proud face.

“No, you are not’’ he said with a compassionate look before continuing – “You’ll get back with her again!”

And then I made a sad puppy face and started crying before saying, “I thought in future I’ll be with someone else.’’

Him or myself from other universe comforted me saying, “Don’t worry ultimately we’ll find the right person to be with.’’

Then we drank, laughed and talked in length about our awesomeness.

We talked and talked and fell in love with each other until we realised that we are not gay.
And I realised that it would be pretty weird to be in love with myself.

So, I caught a train straight back to our universe – a better or worse but still our own and waved goodbye to ‘myself’ from the other planet.

Next morning that I got up, I went and brushed my teeth, took a bath and made my hair.

I looked at myself in the mirror for some time and life has been pretty awkward since then –

As I don’t exactly remember which one of us from the parallel universe last night, got back onto that train.

Time-travel

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I can time-travel. I do it most of the times. Give me a pen, a book, give me a song that makes it to the ‘most played’ on my phone’s playlist and that is all I need. Sitting by the window, reading Hemingway describing the Golden age of arts and headphones playing Lifehouse lyrics in my ears – that shall be it. That shall be enough to make me almost walk down the streets of Paris; as the train comes whistling down the track in my mind and takes me away. It takes me away to the place I want to be at.

I will be awake in the long hours of that chilly night. I will be scribbling on the pages of torn notepad on the desk…trying to keep myself warm in the faint light of table lamp. I will be awake and glued to the chair listening attentively to the rain gently ridiculing the serenity of sleepy town…my forehead hair will be dancing rhythmically with the gust of wind coming through the half shut window inside. And it will be carrying with it; a scent of wet blossom of trees from the lands afar.

I will be awake for there is a drafts folder in my heart where untold stories are waiting to flow out on the paper. I shall join the pieces of memories to those of thoughts and we’ll have our jigsaw puzzle finally solved. I shall produce words that may heal your wounds, which time could only promised to. Those words shall build a bridge and I shall run with all the energy in my feet, since I know you will be at the other end of that bridge with waiting arms. That bridge shall give me a fleeting yet a chance-nonetheless of making it to you.

I will be building my time machine late in the midnight with the ingredients of words, books, memories, our songs and my thoughts. I will be waiting for the same train to arrive and check my watch to be on time to hop onto it.

I will be strolling late in the wide streets of that town in my utopia. I will be walking into late hours of night, until I bump into the sunrise and the cruel morning wakes me up. But I shall not give up because I know the night awaits…and that is when I shall finally finish building my time machine. I believe I can.

~Delhi-ride

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With a mind conquered by perceptions and biases towards this new town, I looked for my bag on the conveyer belt at Indira Gandhi International Airport. A journey of not more than three hours had somehow been really stressful thanks to the extra halt. So being a perfect gentleman, I lend my hand to help a fairly good looking fellow traveler to pick up her heavy suitcase off the belt. Then I tussled with a man who picked mine thinking it belonged to him.

As soon as I stepped outside the airport, millions of body cells died with air conditioning being suddenly replaced by scorching heat of Delhi summers. It was just a beginning. And it began with me arguing with a taxi driver over fare. Ultimately we decided to settle for an amount much closer to what he had quoted. It gave me a pseudo satisfaction. That’s Delhi for you. This town is mostly about outsmarting each other. Be it a cab driver, a colleague, an auto guy or someone you thought was a good friend. You do have a choice. To let them win the argument and flaunt a white flag, but that’s what you come here for. This town teaches you a lot more than that.

A metro is its lifeline and one of the best things you can come across. But its youth is what drives this town…it is what makes Delhi so vibrant and lively…through day and night. Guys – with their collars pulled up as much as they could and Girls – making it big against all odds in a town that is known for anything but safety; they can outwit you even before you know it.

Fights, struggle, hope, dreams, money…these paint Delhi into a young colourful canvas…if you have the eyes to see it.  From gullies selling Parathas to a fleet of shopping malls…from Steamy Momos to Hookah and Beer mugs clashing at one of the hundred packed lounges at Central Park…from freshly graduated crowd of English literature of best of universities in our country to people tapping their feet to the tune of any random Punjabi rap song…Delhi is a joy ride that’s completely up to the traveler’s discretion.