May 28, 2012

Wind Beneath My Wings - VI

With that he left on his journey, to win over his love. He gave up everything he owned, leaving everything behind,  and went in search for his beloved Rosalyn. It took him four days to track her down  – unlike earlier when he had all his fathers’ resources at his disposal, to track people, without having to worry one bit. That’s when he had all the privileges and powers to find information as and when he wanted.

 Doing it alone was rather difficult. But love conquers all fears and hardships alike.
He walked the busy streets of Kolkata bumping and jumping, skipping and hopping – and it felt great. He had never imagined love would make him so relaxed. So spectacular, so illogical – that even in the middle of a maddening traffic and chaos he found peace, in the middle of heat and sweat he found serenity, in the middle of hustle, bustle and jostle, he found space. And in the middle of a small cubicle in a small dingy office, he found Rosalyn tucked inside.

It didn’t take long after that to track the path to her residence. He was always on the lookout for a perfect opportunity to meet her and let her know of his feelings.

This is where I come into the picture. Why you ask ? Who am I you ask ? You ll have to wait just a little longer till the boy and girl story comes to a conclusion. Till then hold on to your wild horses.
You see ,without giving away my side of the story, I can only share one thing – that time was most critical in my job. Albeit I was unsure, it was upto me to remind the boy that he had little time left to win over his love. The date was pre-decided as February the 14th and time was 10:10PM. Its another matter that before I could do that someone else did.

Today was February the 14th and it was already 9:44PM.
He was already inside the train, as he spotted her from the window, rushing in to the platform.

As he turned around to expect Rosalyn enter then compartment, he saw a strange man, dressed in a pristine white suite sitting beside him. He was startled. It was a new feeling to be jolted out of the blue, and yes it was scary. A feeling which rarely or never occurred to him in the past.

The man sitting next to him seemed strangely familiar, but he just couldn’t place him – when or where did he see or meet him? Though what distracted him the most was the three piece white suite on a week night. Lets call him Mr.White for now.

 Suddenly Mr.White spoke - ‘Its time and you need to know’ he said calmly looking into his pocket clock.

He was puzzled, dumbfounded. Why would a rank stranger say that to him? He managed to gather his thoughts and regain composure.

‘What do you mean?’ he blurted.

‘Look you don’t know me, but I do know you, and you have to believe every word I say, in the interest of time’ – suddenly there was a sense of urgency in his voice.

‘Do you know what time is it?’ he asked.

He looked at his wrist watch and it read 9:46PM.

‘You have precisely 24 minutes to let Rosalyn know you love her and get her out of the train before 10:10PM.’ Mr.White said hurriedly.

‘W-what do you mean?’ He wondered why time was relevant?  Well the obvious was that the train reached Kalighat station at 10:10 PM.She would alight and he would have follow her till he found a right moment, perhaps at “Gazebo” the katti roll shop – so it was fairly covered – or was he missing the point somewhere?

‘Look I cannot share much but this is your chance – I know how much you love her – so don’t waste any more time to think – just do it.’

The boy was petrified now. His heart was pounding harder than a blacksmith hammering his horseshoe. His head was spinning and the world around him was going in circles.
Before he could ask another logical question, Mr.White– the stranger was gone.

That’s when he decided to walk up to Rosalyn.

The sliding doors opened and she hopped on to the train. She held on to the handlebars & moved back towards the last compartment as the train moved forward. Rosalyn took a moment to gather herself, her bag and sat down comfortably.

It was 9:48PM. 22 minutes to go.

The boy snapped out of his stupor and came back to the present – when she interrupted loudly.

‘Excuse me mister – please leave me alone else I would need to call the police.

‘Sorry b-but please don’t misunderstand me, I just need a few moments to explain’.

‘I am sorry but I am not interested to listen anything from a rank stranger’ she protested.

He looked at the watch again – 9.50PM.Mr.White’s words were ringing his head.

There had to be some way he could get Rosalyn to believe him. She looked annoyed and he looked helpless. He stammered, stuttered and mumbled before finding clarity in his voice.

‘I’ve come a long way to meet you Rosalyn – I have given up everything I ever had, or ever wanted to have. I have left behind my family, my friends, my job, everything – just so that I could spend my life with you.’

‘What are you saying –I am not sure I understand’ she said in a relatively concerned tonality.

‘Ever since I saw you at Gerald’s funeral, I ve been watching over you, taking care of you every now and then. Trying to protect you wherever possible.’

‘What – you’ve been stalking me?’ she interrupted.

He could’ve protested, but stopped.

‘Listen, you’ve got to believe me, I don’t think we have much time – lets get off the train in the next stop and I will explain everything.’

‘What? Are you crazy – that’s not where I get down’ the anxiety was back in her tonality.

‘But we have very little time.’ I insisted.

‘Ok now hold on a second mister…’ she paused.

‘Who – are you?’ she implored sternly.

‘I – my name is Gabriel Osborn Daniel’ he said politely.

Rosalyn’s look softened a bit, not because she liked the name, but the fact that  she was a bit confused, yet he could sense something inside her was connecting to what he’d said.

Gyanban Thoughts -   Part VII tells you why Gerald is desparate to takr Rosalyn with her.

Read part I
Read part II
Read part III

Read Part IV

May 25, 2012

Wind Beneath My Wings - V

Read part I
Read part II
Read part III

Read Part IV

The boy’s story goes back a long way. He fell in love with her ever since he saw her  standing quietly at a funeral four years ago. Odd place to fall in love you might think, but believe me, when love happens it does not look at time, age distance or location. It just sucks you inside this massive whirlpool.

He lived in a world that had everything. Best wine, women, luxuries, opulence and led a fantastic life, or so he thought at the time. People appreciated his intelligence and sharpness. He was well built, did his job so well that his adversaries feared his presence. And on the other hand he had a loving father and some good friends. People loved his father and respected his opinion so much, that it surprised him sometimes on the blind faith they had in him.

Though most loved him out of fear for who he was – such an oxymoron isn’t it? How can fear and love co-exist? He always questioned it – and landed in some argument or the other. Father being gentle, never stretched an argument, which does not imply that he agreed, in fact he would make simple comments which bothered him no end, something like  “son – you will realize it one day when you are in love and will know the fear of losing your love”. But he dismissed it off. He was Mr.Practical.Mr.Priority. Love for him was perhaps an overrated wasted indulgence which he could have at any time anywhere if he really wanted it.

His destiny had a slightly different take on that though and realization came sooner than he had anticipated.

One day, as he was on his way back home from work ,he saw Rosalyn. He did fall in love…with Rosalyn against all his logical belief system. As days passed by, he grew restless with this contradiction of his heart and mind. It took his sleep away. And ever since then he couldn’t take his eyes off her. He even forgot his close friends and only thought about her.
Being so vulnerable was new to him, and he felt quite nervous, and more so being illogical was not his forte. So why did he fall in love? Why her? He liked to keep his life black and white.

This dilemma began taking a toll on his work and everyday life. He lost interest in everything he did so well till now. His inconsistency at work affected the immediate world around him and the  people connected to it.

Seeing his son in pain, his father decided to pay him a visit. He walked into his house and said ‘Son – I see you are suffering – what do you want  - is there anything I can help you with? You do realise that I’d help you in any way I can right?’.

When the mind is occupied, simple things become complicated.
He got irritated at his fathers remark, because he thought that his father was aware of the state of his mind or rather his heart so why taunt him? He wondered if his father wanted him to bow down before him and seek help just like millions did everyday. After all this was yet another victory of his philosophies.

Somehow he managed to not retort but he ignored him.

His father waited for sometime and then went back , leaving him to make his own choices and realize things, as he had always done before. He had never forced anything on to him beyond a point. He had taught him to take his own decisions, and also bear the consequences – which he sure did.

Not to say he made all the right choices in the past, but the stubborn lad he was, he stood by all of them. He never regretted any of his decisions, one of which was leaving his fathers house at an early age. Father had supported his decision even then.

Soon days passed into months but the restlessness inside him kept on building. And then one day something happened to his sense of rationale – it probably had snapped. He had matured and shades of grey had crept into his black and white life. As he tossed and turned in his bed feeling restless something inside him screamed for some action.

It had come to a point of no return for him – he had to do this and get it out of his system else his mind would probably explode. Finally, he decided to get up and do something about his misery, his dilemma. And yet again a radical decision awaited his judgment. Just like he had done many years ago. That very moment, he left everything behind, quit his job, left his friends and family and decided to pursue his love and win her over. Before leaving he went to his father’s house.

‘Welcome son’ – his calm baritone was always a little unnerving, but he never showed his nervousness.

‘Why aren’t you ever surprised father?’ he queried like an annoyed child.

Father just smiled and gestured him to speak his mind.

‘Father, I have decided’  -he started to speak hastily, and then stopped.

‘ That you have to go’ .Father completed the sentence.


‘You do know the consequences – right?’ His father was now looking and talking to him without any inflection in pitch or deflection on his facial muscles.

He was already tensed and now, he became impatient and irritable.

‘Wait a minute I don’t understand this – when I never believed in love you taunted me ,and said some day I would learn my lesson, that some day – is today father, today is that day. Now that I have learnt my lesson, you say there will be consequences? Why?’ He ranted.
There was  so much pent up emotion building up inside me – ready to explode, tears perhaps.

A first glimpse of the hazards of falling in love.

His father was calm as ever, and said –

‘I have never taunted you my child – your tonality of interpreting my compassion does not make it sarcastic you know. Look at the bright spots – we all learn some day, and your day has come today, but learning also brings in awareness and responsibility.’

‘Love brings responsibility of your thoughts translated into action. You have to own your decision and know that you cannot back away from it. There are no trials in true love. It’s a one-way street.’

He nodded in agreement.

‘Besides someone has to do your job – have you found a replacement yet?’ his father’s practicality took him by surprise. He spoke just like he would have. I mean why wouldn’t he?
He was after all his father. But they were so different, or so he’d thought all along.

‘Uh – yes father I have a replacement in place to continue the business as usual.’ He replied quietly.

‘You do know the gravity of the situation you are going to be in right? None of my resources would be accessible to you, you are pretty much on your own’ his baritone interrupted his thoughts again.

‘Y-yes sir’ he mumbled.

‘Well then its done then. Come here, and give me a hug’.

They embraced each other after so many years, he felt wonderful, as if he was waiting for this one hug from him all his adult life. Yet, ironically, it was because of his beliefs that he’d never cared for his hugs in the past.

Something in him knew it was perhaps the last time he would hug him in long while.

Gyanban Thoughts - The story races ahead in part VI - What's in store for Gerald and Rosalyn ? What is their destiny?

May 20, 2012

Wind Beneath My Wings - IV

Read part I
Read part II
Read part III

Time was running away from him, and he had to catch it before it was too late. After all he did not come all this way to go back empty handed. The task at hand was rather bizarre – he had to make a girl fall in love with a rank stranger ,like him, before it was 10:10PM that day.To be fair he did not know about this fine print until much later in the day.

Love was perhaps the last thing on her mind, much like the last compartment on that train, or maybe that was just a co-incidence I noted. But something had to be done, and done now ,lest this time might never come back again.

As the train moved, he thought about it for a moment, reassessed his credentials in his mind. He came from a well-to-do family, was well educated and should I say, well travelled. He was family oriented and women found him attractive…or so his father told him ever since his mother had passed away when he was a child. He dressed well and had good manners as a part of his family tradition. So what more could a woman like Rosalyn want or ask?

But he was in for a surprise.

The train had now picked up speed, he glancing over his watch, and decided to make the first move. He went and sat in front of her in the opposite seat. She briefly looked at him and then looked away nonchalantly. His heartbeats grew louder. He managed to gather some courage and blurt out -
‘Errm excuse me, ma’am please don’t misunderstand, but I –I do think we need to talk’.

She jerked back with a sharp look, and stared right into my eyes. It paused his world for a few moments. Everything around him had come alive. It made him wonder how beauty could be so illuminating, glowing, even the glaring lights in the compartment wondered in amazement. The fans thought of giving an extra effort so that those silken locks could swing rhythmically to the beat of the wheels.

The mute photograph beside the door pined for just one glance, while the handle bar was perhaps the most fortunate to have been the only one in touch with her. The doors tried looking away, a case of sour grapes perhaps, but couldn’t help but rattle and make a noise expressing their frustration.

As for the rest of the heartbeats in the compartment, sleep had cloaked their sights, and such ignorance was bliss for him. His heart  pounded, sulked and almost jumped out. While the  mind fought a tough battle to keep it from leaping out. The fragrance from her body surrounded him, words struggled to find a structure, pattern or meaning, and thoughts ran like wild horses. A few strands of hair arched over her forehead and danced in front of  tender eyelashes, which had their own story to tell.

The shy lips were ever so slightly parted, perhaps feeling uncomfortable from the obvious gaze, they moved in perfect harmony swaying to the perfect symphony created by the master Himself.
The incisive right canine bit them into reality. The dangling pendant on her lovely neck, watched all those unleashed imaginations passing by, guessing what lay beneath. The light pink handkerchief clutched in her perfectly conical palms, felt warm and secured, it bore the imprints of those tender lips.

The rogue overhead speaker system jolted him out of his stupor, as he realized those moments what seemed like an eternity, were just a few seconds old. She was looking at him intently while his diluted eyeballs came back to focus on reality.

‘You see this might seem odd to you, but you and I need to talk about history –  a past from a long time ago. Well we actually know each other from a long time. He paused and then said -

 ‘And I have been waiting for the last four years.’

A barrage of questions followed.

‘Four years? You know life is good – get one for yourself’.

‘Why me? Why now ? And who are you?’

‘Uh-umm I am …’ he hesitated not because he had forgotten his name, but because his mouth refused to listen to his mind – it was too busy gaping at her. Before he could go on further, she interjected.

‘Ah yes, I know, you are Mr. Romeo and I am Miss.Juliet’ she snapped sarcastically.

He was dumbstruck for a moment. He had to do something to grab her attention and make her believe his story. Though to be fair it was just the beginning, she had no clue about who he was or where he came from.

His life was perhaps near perfect. And there lies the catch. Near perfect and being perfect, has perhaps the deepest pitfall. He should’ve known, but he didn’t see it then. They say love is blind, and he was perhaps going to become the leading example of that expression.

But before we move on to what happened in the train that night, I need to tell you a little bit about the boy.

Gyanban Thoughts - Part  V  has a new dimension coming up.

May 18, 2012

Wind Beneath My Wings - III

Read part - 1 here
Read part  - II  here.

It was exactly four years ago that Gerald her fiance, had broken her heart. He had drunk one too many, and met with a fatal accident in spite of her repeated pleas to not drive rashly. The strong breeze and helmet muffled the pillion riders voice from behind as Gerald sped on his Yezdi motorcycle completely ignoring of the oncoming car on his right. She had miraculously escaped death herself, but Gerald couldn’t make it.

 At his funeral, she stood still, emotionless, without a tear. Being the sensitive and an intense type of a girl, she had got into depression over the next few months. She didn’t eat ,sleep or do anything. The scene haunted her over and over again. But life had other roads planned for her.

Their difficult financial situation played a perfect conduit for her to get back to normalcy. There was no choice but to work ,to keep her family running. That’s how she took up a lowly paid ,but secure job, in a computer-training institute as an executive assistant to the MD of the company. Not that she had multiple job offers, just that she had to get out of her depression and move on in life.

So, that day, Rosalyn reached office quite late – late by almost an hour. Which meant, her exit from office would get delayed as well. Mr. Boss quietly gave her a stern look, careful not to  overdo it, yet get the message across. His expectations from her had grown over the years and he often cited her example to the other late comers at work. Today was not to be that day.

Rosalyn sulked and slumped into her chair feeling miserable.Realising that she felt miserable, her colleague sitting close by, sent a funny chat message to her …
‘Its better to be Miss Late, than Late Miss…,so chill.’

It was the first time since today morning that she smiled.

Her perfect set of teeth, their impeccable setting, smooth texture, the faint stain of lipstick and a breath of fresh air from her mouth greeted the first customer with a warm and charming energy.

She wore a black top under a grey suit, quite unlike the flower her name closely resembled. The hint of fashion came in the form of a pair of pearl earrings. She did look breath-taking.
Which is what caught my imagination and attention that day because it was a similar combination dress she was wearing four years ago.

As the slant morning sun reached the middle of the sky, things began to pile up, and suddenly she had more work on her table than usual. So much that she missed her evening cup of tea as well. As the busy late afternoon rolled into a loaded late evening, her work seemed to have a never-ending tag to it.

She glanced at the watch and it read 9:30PM –and the last train from Park Street to Kalighat station left at 9.45PM.  She had no choice but to rush, leaving her computer on a standby mode instead of waiting for it to shut down. Rosalyn dashed out of her office to catch the last train in time.

The metro station was not crowded that night. Rosalyn Gonsalves briskly walked into the station just in time and glided past the ticketing machine swiping the, now renewed ,monthly pass.

The train was entering platform number one, sharp at 9:44pm.The sliding doors opened and she hopped on to the train. She would need to alight from the last compartment, since it was the closest to the escalators at the Kalighat station, which would bring her to an exit closest to her home.

She held on to the handlebars & moved back three compartments through the interconnected tube, as the train picked up speed to move forward. She found a seat easily as the last compartment was rather empty as compared to the morning rush hour jam. Rosalyn took a moment to gather herself, her bag and sat down comfortably.

The train left the Park Street station and plunged into the dark tunnel with the occasional tube light rebelling against the darkness. A cold breeze gushed through the compartment and Rosalyn’s face turned sideways to let the breeze caress her hair.

That was also the first time their eyes met actually.
He looked at her beautiful doe shaped eyes and realized that his four year long wait was finally about to get over. Today was the day he would declare his love for her. After all it was the day for love  - February the 14th and what better way to celebrate Valentines day than to propose a life together to someone he had so intensely loved for the last four years !

However as the popular saying goes, man proposes and God disposes! 

Gyanban Thoughts - In part IV get to know Gerald. 

May 14, 2012

Wind Beneath My Wings - II

Read Part - 1

Her family was small, a retired mother, and a younger brother still in school. Her father had passed away and since then the Gonsalves family led a quiet, almost reclusive life in a small rented house fifteen minutes away from the Kalighat Metro station. Her mom, a teacher at Loreto, had requested an extension at the school, but was refused. The entire pressure of running the household was on Rosalyn.

The best years of her life were running away. Marrying someone in the community didn’t work out for her. Besides she didn’t have too many examples to rely on ,either the one at home, or her close friends. Most of them had either broken homes or were in a living hell and some of the good ones, were either taken or dead.

 Rosalyn was never late for office,but today everything got delayed quite uncannily.
Usually, Rosalyn always reached work by 8:00 AM -just before the boss arrived, and left by 8:00pm - just after boss’s exit. The metro station was located below her office and just beside her residence, so both ways she depended on the convenience of the underground travel. Also, it was one major reason she stuck to the company for the last seven years.

She got up late that morning, completely ignorant of the missing cacophony of sounds from the neighbors. The geyser switch did not work, she got delayed having to heat the water on a gas stove. Her breakfast was not the usual cornflakes and toast, instead her mother served two sunny side up’s bursting with joy. The intention was noble but time consuming.

Then she hurried down to catch a cycle-rickshaw to reach the metro station, but just missed it by a whisker, someone else got in ahead of her. As she frantically paced towards the metro station, the clumsy  ignorant shopper blocked her way, sprawling those dresses and shoes right in front of her path. The usually helpful local crowd was strangely absent, everyone else went on with their lives as if they were in a daze.

Finally she reached the metro station, rushed down the flight of stairs towards the ticketing machine to swipe her ticket, only to realise,her monthly pass had expired. She forgot to renew it earlier than the expiry date. The serpentine queue at the ticket counter maintained a droopy look welcoming her at the end of the queue.

So instead of the usual 7:40AM train she had to take the 8:40AM train to reach her office. The train was seemingly moving slower than usual. Rosalyn’s blood pressure was on the rise. She mentally rehearsed the reasons to give her boss for her first delay in so many years. As the train moved on in slow rhythmic oscilations,she couldn’t help but think of how her life was headed into a dark tunnel just like the train she was on.

 Her thought chain got broken when the overhead speaker system announced the arrival of the next station. Just then a passenger standing in front her, unfolded the newspaper. Her eyes ventured on to the headlines and then the date that read Feb14th.

Gyanban Thoughts - Rosalyns story takes an interesting turn.

Read part - III here.

May 11, 2012

Wind Beneath My Wings - 1

If love is a trick, it would have a beginning and an end, but what lies in between is magical.

Come to think of it, his love story was rather simple. A girl falling in love with a boy, how difficult or complicated could that be? Not much I thought at the start, its just that the circumstances surrounding it, skewed the gravity of it all. Although it might be fair to say, not everyone experiences this magic, but this story had no dearth of it. To begin with the name itself fascinated him and then when he saw the accompanying work of art with it, he really fell in love hook line and sinker.

I am talking about Ms.Rosalyn Gonsalves. Let me take you through a day in Rosalyn’s life,well not just  any  day, it was a special day, where it all began,and perhaps ended, where her routine and predictable life met the charm of unpredictability and perhaps a shock of reality. I guess morning never shows the day.…

Rosalyn did not look thirty-two at all. Her tall yet curvy figure was a perfect distraction for most in the office, except her boss who perhaps swung the other way. She was a simple good-looking woman from the Kolkata Anglo-Indian community. Well mannered, educated, did her masters in communication and schooling at Loreto Convent, yet a little change in style, could make her look dramatically glamorous, something like a butterfly effect. There was an element of serendipity or perhaps subdued aristocracy in her.

With every sunshine came the regular morning cup of lemon tea, in the same stained porcelain mug, the familiar noise from the neighbors balcony, screaming about the empty water tank above, or the eternally stationery traffic lights, mute witnesses to the perpetual stream of cars and the discordant lives within, or the timeless wait to cross the tramlines, where life had its own pace and existence, meaning and purpose.

The same faces of the nameless voices, running somewhere she didn’t want to know. The same old grill-cage elevator, gingerly latching on to the lonely cable, going up each floor with yawning repetition, and as it went higher her enthusiasm ebbed lower. Though she felt boxed, trapped and stuffed inside, the choices outside the elevator, were hardly uplifting.

Not that sundown brought any greater relief, the morning routine repeated itself with a weaver’s perfection. As I watched her closely, a single drop of sweat glided down from the forehead, then stopped to think at the interruption of the dimple on the cheek, then shedding all inhibition, leapt on to a heaving breast. A soft exasperating pat of the ‘kerchief was all she offered in resistance. Afterall, horses sweat,men perspired and Rosalyn glowed.

The reminiscent Yardley died a slow death as the pungent nicotine and vibrant mint engulfed the environment. The tube light, streetlights, flashlights, headers, dippers, neon’s looked just as tired, yet doing their job just like everyone else. On her way out of the Kalighat station a small katti-roll shop “Gazebo”, made the familiar chicken-egg rolls, which she sometimes carried home, walking slowly and wondering what new challenges lay ahead in fifteen minutes.

Gyanban Thoughts : A mini series in the offing.This is the first episode, stay tuned for the next shortly.

Read Part  - II

Fade away

and then, just like that, one day we will fade away, aging books on empty shelves, receding memories of ourselves, sail away l...