School Farewell

27th February ……. a very special day and an equally special date. There are some days that remain etched in our memory bank forever and go deep down to the memory lane. This was one such day, our School Farewell was hosted with great pomp and show. Endless jubilations and some tears too. Discipline is a word that one detests in school but suddenly it made so much sense because we were now thinking of making our place outside the four walls of our alma mater. It was now our tool and a weapon to conquer our dreams. So much was said yet, so much still to say.

Father Andrews came near the dais for the usual sermon. In his deep and penetrating voice, he said…

‘Dear ladies and young men around…. I have very little to say, I have already said enough.’ We could not believe our ears, he had addressed as ladies and men and he didn’t have much to say. So, did that mean that we had really grown in stature and we were now expected to take the banner of our school far and wide….

Then in a firm voice he said…

‘Ladies be women of substance. Have grace, have understanding, have humility. It all goes a long way……

All the men out here, be men enough to own up your mistakes. Don’t say what you don’t mean and when you say something stand by it. Don’t let down people and become trustworthy.’ His last speech was a gist of all that he wanted to imbibe in us. We too wanted to imbibe it and bring glory to the name of our institution. While the eyes were numb, the shoulders were laden with a deep sense of responsibility. ‘The STARS will now transcend over different land and spread their light around.’ said Sister Fulgentia. ‘transcend over different land..’ the line kept hammering in my sub-conscious.

My heart was humming… ‘Give me some sunshine, give me some rain. Give me another chance, I wanna grow up once again’

I was fighting back my tears and holding the high tide of sentimental waves that were hitting me from all directions. We belonged to St. Augustine High School, we had not known a different land. Yet the command was given.. the demand was made. We had no option but to follow. My mind was reminded of a verse from a famous poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson -“Forward, the Light Brigade! Theirs not to make reply,  Theirs not to reason why,  Theirs but to do and die.”

Written back in 1854 and actually for a different situation, it was somehow making sense. Sense or no sense but that is exactly how I felt. Stepping out of School was almost like entering a battlefield but I was not prepared. Suddenly, I wanted to hold on to everything around me and stay on forever within those protective four walls. But the more I wanted to hold on, the more it was slipping away. In those few moments we learned a lot. We learnt that times change, situations change and people around will change too. Saying goodbye was not easy. It meant leaving the farewell hall and walking out of the campus knowing that we won’t see the same people, in the same way again. It was hard, very hard.

The core opened out, for there was a hurry to say all and know all before we left all…..

As we stood near the podium, facing a gathering of over five hundred, our entire school life flashed back as if it was just yesterday. Sadly it was yesterday, but it didn’t mean that we had to forget the past. It simply meant that we had to move on and treasure the memories. Letting go didn’t mean giving up. It meant that we had to accept that some things are predestined to be a part of the past. We wondered what life was.. we guess it is truly strange.

  • It sometimes gives you no podium and sometimes no speech.
  • It sometimes gives you the best speech but no audience.
  • It sometimes gives you opportunity and sometimes no courage.
  • It sometimes gives you courage but no moments left to share.
  • It sometimes gives you dreams but only while you are asleep.
  • It sometimes gives you sleep when you ought to chase a dream.
  • It sometimes gives you desires that you don’t deserve.
  • It sometimes snatches what you most deserve.
  • It sometimes gives you life when you want to live no more.
  • It sometimes gives death when you are dying to live.
  • It sometimes gives you dreams and sometimes hopelessness.
  • It sometimes fills you with hope and sometimes empties you within.

The final Goodbye.. was empting us from within.

We were staring at each other and exchanging blank looks. Wondering if we were just puppets and the show-time was over. May be or may be not. Or were we mere players, much like the Shakespearean idea of the world being a stage where all actors enter and exit at a predetermined time. Campus life defined our life, each day was a journey and each day added a special meaning to our existence. We had given more meaning to that meaning. We had lived life to its fullest and most importantly to our fullest. The simple joys at school and the honest friendships had left an indelible mark on our mind. The memories of school days were engrained deep in our soul. They were simple yet beautiful. Memories lived once but would now be cherished forever, joy for ever, on and on.

For the last time we sat to play ‘SCHOOL TRUTHS AND SCHOOL DARES’ in the school lobby. All these years we weighed what we said but may be the final tears that rolled at the farewell party had put us slightly off balance. We were very nostalgic and totally vulnerable. As if we had already lost a battle and were to be dethroned soon. Our land to be forcibly snatched away….

Our world was now drifting away. It was hard to believe that school was over. No morning assemblies, no bells to be heard, no school bus to board. The place where we had spent almost fourteen years appeared cold like some foreign land. No attendance register would bear our names. The familiar corridors and the classrooms had an air of silence. Everything around us was strange and awkward. Something was hurting us deep within. Our hearts were sinking like the unsinkable titanic and we were desperately holding on to each other. The buildings, the lawns, statue of Mother Mary were all adding to our nostalgia. While passing through the church in the morning, I read the quote written on its display board, “We collect things because our hearts are empty.” I read it like I would ordinarily read the quote on church wall every day but before long, I knew there was much more to it than those simple words that I saw upon the first glance.

For a moment, I was motionless. We had been going through a reflective and stressful phase in our lives. We were preparing ourselves to say a good-bye to our alma-mater and the heart and mind were in constant conflict. There were examinations ahead of us but we had still spent a large chunk of our time in getting autographs, clicking photographs, remembering phone numbers and jotting down addresses. The albums were made and moments were being preserved. Maybe we were destined to meet again and maybe not. Would the farewell photographs be the last picture clicked together or were we going to be like a boomerang or a yo-yo – that strikes back to its original position again and again.

But strangely and truly, this phase was very captivating. I felt low, as if is there was nothing substantial in my life? Is it that despite spending fourteen long years in school my heart was unquenched? Was there some emptiness inside? Did I need to fill it.. more and more of such thoughts clouded my mind. I wanted to clear the clouds before they would make my eyes numb. Were my relationships short and shallow? Did I thirst for long lasting and strong bonds? I was gripped in a maddening realization that I had done too little and cared too less. Then, suddenly my thoughts wavered in different direction and I said to myself, ‘If there were no relationships and strong bonds, why did I have such sentiments?’ And I got the answers to all my nervousness and the confusion.

There was panic because there was fear of losing something. We collect things to refresh our memories, give us joy and solace. How can a human heart be empty? For there were memories, memories all the way. Some of them may fade away but there are some that shall cling to us whether we are sad or happy. And this non-futile affinity of associating and holding on to things, to memories will enable us to smile in a sad hour. Even in the best of our times, it will make us humane enough to shed a tear for our fellow-men in pain. Thus we shall be reminded that good and bad times are not forever, it is only the situation that makes it so. We collect things so that our hearts never get empty.

Ask and tell….. then part ways and move in different directions. Our relationship was precious, it was special. We wanted it to last till eternity but for sure the roads were now different and a golden era of our friendship was over. Time was gone.. tides were high.. the hearts were sigh. The future was unknown, the first inning was over.. about the second we had no clue.

I found a friend

A precious possession,
who always stays around.
To laugh and cry.
Celebrate or sigh.
But never part or say goodbye.

The frenzy of maddening media and an ever-evolving circle of friends both new and old marked the month of October. Little did I realize that the glitz of glamour and the new-found glory had to be handled deftly …..

I was among the top three finalist of the ‘STAR TV National Talent Hunt’ coveted competition. Winning the title meant enormous cash prize and an enticing trophy. This ‘trophy child’ had the burning desire to study abroad and winning the show was the sole key to unlocking my dreams and fuelling my ambitions.

My heart was pounding; I was dancing light feet and building a vast virtual world. This chase, this chaos led to a swarm of strangers engulfing all around. Amidst it all, I was referred to RJ John, my official dance-partner for the final round. In face of the amazing mystery that surrounded him, he became immensely important right from the first phone call and the first ‘Hello!’. Unlike others, he hadn’t praised my talent, rather he doubted and quizzed. His questions, his queries opened a plethora of scattered data-bits in my mind. The answers needed deep speculation and reasoning. He wanted to know it all and he was in some haste to find out… my relation with my friends, my intentions, my objectives. He had to chisel carefully and create a conspicuous variance to pre-define a winning edge. I was keen, keen to answer & keen to learn.

All this was happening on the digital media amiss the tete-a-tete. I had called him on his official number but within minutes he had jumped on my whatsapp sharing his mobile (a rarity amongst people of this profile). I was glad since it was an indicator of having made an excellent first-impression and that affirmed his attention. He advised freely and helped openly. He was subtle in suggesting and beckoned carefully but corrected immediately. He had become my self-acclaimed guru who was friendly and blessed with a perfect sense of judgement and precision.

Within a fortnight, he was spying me on my facebook through a legal friend-request. Quite involved, he would call at his convenience, talk at his leisure and work patiently to choreograph the dance-sequence. We were exchanging numerous messages, anecdotes, quotes, pictures and videos. Did the ease of media dwindle the line of control?… Was he a friend?.. Was it mutual?..

Now moving from fiction to reality, I was to meet Mr. RJ at an award ceremony. So, as soon as I reached the prestigious auditorium I dialled his number, the only known face person in that august gathering. He greeted me warmly and signalled to usher in. I entered, pushing the heavy door and began to glance at every eye-ball trying to figure out who RJ was. He had very few and dubious pictures on facebook and I was utterly lost in the attempt to match the ‘still’ with the ‘real’. Reality of course was even stranger, Mr. Stranger was strangely missing from the scene…… I was surprized yet hastened my steps to occupy a corner seat close by. Was he busy?.. Had he got stuck?… well, whatever, even if RJ was missing, I had to sit through the show since Ms. Jevani had sent me a personal invite.

Positivity of thoughts doesn’t always mend your mind and I was indeed feeling low. My phone which was already put to silence-mode started flashing some bright light. ‘Light in darkness’ is always a good omen. And Hey! wait, that was RJ calling, I immediately looked near the entrance. How silly I had been, he too must have had trouble spotting me. But the voice on the phone indicated something different…. He was spelling out instructions, ‘look to your left, extreme left!….. come right here!!..’…

So the lonely lady was graciously welcomed by this warm gentleman sitting in the fourth row at the extreme end of the auditorium. Indeed very hospitable! (sarcasm intended!!). Nevertheless, I paced my steps and reached the other end. Surprisingly(!), he also stood up, walked a few steps, smiled and shook hands, ’Hi! Chanchal…..’
‘You have come alone?’ He was asking the obvious. Nonetheless, I answered and I was totally intrigued by his smiles and friendly overtures. Within minutes I was addressed as ‘tu..’ and he seemed like some long lost childhood pal. New friendship, new connect. I enquired about his life, work…. and the conversation spun a yarn of goodwill around us. We sat through the show smiling, listening and clapping. The icing on the cake was his impeccable wit and utterly smart one-liners. I was completely at ease.

It was his arena, his people; media and other RJs surrounded us soon after the show. Quick assumptions are made when any lady is spotted next to a man. The confusion was grave but he wasn’t ruffled a bit, and politely corrected everyone. He was too mused but quickly turned around and said, ‘hey, you stay at a distance…. this will be trouble.’

But friends don’t create trouble, they create bonds. We were bonding. He was my host, comrade and friend for the entire evening. He courteously took me around and we cheerfully mingled with all. A streak of fun, laughter and pranks laced his persona… To him, my I-card sounded like an invitation for dinner, my media coverage was hyped and I was labelled a poor-company who avoided hard beverages and heavy food and was supposedly thriving on air and water. Little did he know that I thrive on friends & relationship. A lot of interesting topics were debated & interesting tales were narrated. Impressions were captured and time was beautifully spent. The conversation went on and on, making it tough to wrap up and leave for the day. In this ‘fight-for-first’ fiercely competitive world it is indeed a challenge to find two strangers who would compliment and praise each other. We, from the very onset, were praising in plenty. Good relationships can start at any point; they are not defined by age, name & gender.

The next few months were exhilarating, I was happy to have found a real pal. He indeed was. There were discussions, arguments, jokes and a surprise element always up his sleeves. Surprizingly we had loads of similarities yet there were few and marked differences. But a strange telepathy connected us and we could read each other’s mood-and-mind. There were ways to balance both aggression and depression. This connect rejuvenated our spirits. And this was no short stint of friendship, it was for keeps and I truly believed that we are never-too-old to make new friends.

Good time flies, it flew. Next morning was the final round and RJ’s bouquet reached even before the dawn of the day. I was to face the judges for a question-answer round. The required information was meticulously fed, and the right tone, pitch, intonation and pronunciation were repetitively rehearsed. The day was indeed immaculately planned to perfection, the dance sequence enthralled one and all. The applause was thunderous, the blueprint of my success was hand-crafted to reach a pinnacle whose radiance shone like diamonds in his eyes.

The next day………….. I waited for the usual messages and call……… but it all disappeared… RJ vanished and I was alone, all alone…….. in isolation, in illusion, in delusions..

My Blue Saree






‘In search,

you live your journey.
It ceases to matter,

whether you find or lose.
For in losing and in ruins,
you find yourself and the treasure.’

A turquoise-blue saree adorns my wardrobe for the past 14 years. My entire family takes great pride in this six-yard fabric. Indeed there are reasons for it. It is eye-catching, detailed and very impressive. Crafted by my maternal aunt, it is probably a unique piece in our family treasure and truly matchless and priceless. The extensively embroidered rich long fabric is further embellished with beads, stones and stars. Stars also glitter in my eyes when I reminisce the making of it. Yes, I watched it all along… really, I did.

It may surprise you that it took three long years some three decades ago to decorate and create this awesome piece. Well, I date back to a generation where it was customary to spend summer, winter and all holidays in ‘nani-house’; So it was only inevitable that I watched a major part of the saree getting done as my maternal aunt graced the six-yard fine fabric with silken threads, sharp needles and oodles of patience. I can still recollect her beaming face when she first showed the cloth and flaunted the traced design which ran like a serpent from one corner to the other.

This is too elaborate,” exclaimed my mom, a lady who always believed in simplicity and is a big saviour of time and energy.

Bai ! I love it,” my multi-talented aunt wanted to take up the herculean task and as expected she did.

She had a neat hand, a burning desire and definitely some spare time around. So, equipped with all this, she set out like a brave warrior to accomplish the mission impossible possible!

All afternoons she remained engrossed and lost in it, her back curved and head bent low as she meticulously laboured to finish the intricate pattern. But despite her dexterousness, the pace was sluggish and very slow.

I wish to quote a verse from the Bhagawad Gita, where Krishna coaxes Arjun to perform his duties, ‘Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshou kada chana.’ which means that one must perform one’s actions, but not await the fruits of our doings.

Probably ‘karmanye vadhikaraste,’ kept her going but there came ample moments yearning for ‘phaleshou.’. ‘Kada chana,’ I sensed was too bookish and hard to swallow. Over the years, I saw her desire fade, her excitement dwindle and her new-found joy lost its charm. The fabric was unfolded and folded each day, many months on and on. As it was spread out, the saree received a multitude of adjectives ranging from ‘Pretty!, amazing!, elaborate,’ to ’slow and boring.’ The elaborate design enthralled one and all, but novelty fades fast and people get anxious and impatient to see the outcome. The early compliments therefore slowly gave way to comments, and then criticism. The six-yard also began to trap moisture & dirt and lost its newness and sheen.

On one particular visit, I didn’t see the saree and on enquiring, my aunt fetched it from the cupboard and handed it to my mom.

Bai, you keep it. I can’t even look at it.” The wait-and-watch had worn down the wish to witness victory but ultimately the multi-coloured pattern did emerge to its full bloom. It was akin to darkness taking over the clear sky for the stars to sparkle. It was bliss to be engulfed in its untouched beauty and pattern which was beautiful and perfect. But nights don’t last forever and stars can’t shimmer forever… Labour laments in loneliness and loses lustre. Do dreams begin to drain and darken if the dawn gets delayed? Did the delay turn the six-yard into a denial? Did it become something like the many jobs, assignments and responsibilities that completely drain us that we even lose the charm of celebrating and rejoicing the final achievement?…. Was it destined to turn into a masterpiece and then quiz me for as long as I lived?

My mom didn’t like the blue saree in particular but she quickly grasped the pain and emotion behind it. Needless to say, she genuinely valued the effort.

”What happened? You wear it, it will look good on you.” My mother tried convincing my aunt. But there was no love and fondness in my aunt’s eyes as if it was all consumed in the making of the saree. It was then I realised that though she had tirelessly laboured she was now completely exhausted. I understood that while there is no hurry, timely gain ought to be the aim.

‘No!’ she didn’t budge an inch. She had the craving to accomplish, the preparedness to perform and the strength to prove. Yet in this moment of parting with her years-of-labour, all I witnessed was detachment, indifference and a strange relief.

My mother never wore this six-yard and years later it was passed on to me. I am awestruck at the very glimpse of this splendid saree that I rave about but have never draped and can’t ever discard. It will live longer than me with a treasure trove of memories and many moments of our lives, the story of our family, scripted in thread and art, embedded in its yarn.

Did my lonely blue saree, fresh and untouched, become a metaphor for unquenched desires? Or is it a vista of life that depicts the epitome of desire where even longing loses its lustre and the ultimate moment of victory is sometimes so drenched in pressure that the long-awaited pleasure is lost… in pain… in vain?..

Know your destination - You are the driver of your life!

Life’s Solitary Ride
I am the driver of my life!

For a simple introduction, I am a big attention seeker who loves spot-light and adulation. I am an easy going, lavishly loved and a much pampered soul. But today I am making an honest confession, baring my heart & acknowledging one of my inadequacies… a tough revelation indeed.

Well, I am bad with roads, really bad and all instructions given to this effect fall flat on my deaf ears. It isn’t that I haven’t tried but despite decent efforts, I haven’t gained an inch of knowledge or experience. So, I remain what I was at birth – naïve and novice. And truthfully speaking, I am really-lousy and seriously-sloppy. Strange and contradictory.. but precise and correct.

Look, I am not solely responsible for this inherent or manufacturing defect, you have to give due blame to my gracious elder brothers, caring husband and a large circle of magnanimous friends who meekly remind me yet chivalrously cater to my needs. Needless to say, I also blatantly ask people to escort me instead of guiding me to the destined destinations.

So this was about me, my flaw and my cover-up. But God has his ways and he carves out a perfect hurdle race for each individual to try, stumble, rise and fall. Probably, it was my turn to take his test and therefore an important meeting was scheduled about 58 Kilometers away. His plans are immaculate and as luck could have it, my chauffeur asked for a day off at the very last minute. His excuse was legitimate, thus leave had to be granted while I candidly instructed him to check the fuel, tyres and gear-oil. Seemingly all was set, only I was upset… the steering wheel was staring at my timidity and every passing minute was adding more nervousness to my already anxious nerves.

Actually, the fear of unknown and our false apprehensions are the biggest road blocks. We can easily track any road provided we have the basic preparation and preparedness to take on life’s challenges. We just need unfailing will-power to unfold the mysteries that slowing and eventually resolve with a little effort and time. I knew it all, yet the heart was thumping and the pulse rate was dropping.

By the way, I have a legal driving license. (How?.. From where?.. are questions you should refrain from asking) But, just for your benefit I wish to disclose that may spot this bundle of nerves driving distressful at all odd hours. So, you better find out my car number and watch out for personal safety!!

So, as you know, I have driven before but I only enjoy the narrow congested roads full of traffic not because I love claustrophobic spaces but because it gives me the chance to drive on second gear with minimal speed and maximum maneuvering. Needless to say, it also helps to create an impeccable impression. Good impression was made but then, the broad and well laid out roads scared me, as if they would engulf me in their vastness and the expanse of speed weakens my senses. Well, I am a bird of small flights. The small-bird was burdened to rise like an eagle and soar to success.

Am I confusing you?.. Did you only know of people who could either drive or not?.. Does this variety surprise you?.. It may, I can understand, for I too have lived on this near-borderline threshold of driving skill for years where I can’t decide to either give up or owe up. The only obvious choice seems to hone more skill, refine and accomplish. I am at it, so as expected, I googled the location and zoomed endlessly to understand and remember each road, by-lane, all buildings and milestones. ‘Get-set-go’… and I was off to this solitary ride.

Was it tough?.. Did I manage?… no wonder I have opened your mind to these curious queries and kept you guessing for more. Well, it took me 148 minutes and though I worried, I panicked and even stopped for directions, I eventually reached right in time realizing that life itself is a travelogue, where we wish to zoom and capture the future but life is a mystery and life’s myriad hues slowly bloom and blossom along the way.

This was the most memorable journey and the sheer pleasure of reaching, exploring and venturing made me a hero in my own eyes. The age old axiom, ‘persistence pays’ was revised and I re-invented the thought that if you think you can, then, you can..


‘The roads also travel
And you might marvel
At their length
And their strength
For they are truly unending
Real and never pretending.’

Butter makes Bitter life, Better life!

Schools as they are responsible for the academics they are also in the platform to motivate the students and keep them certain about their successful future. Motivation is one of the toughest aspect where in the factors of attitude and the understanding level matters. Further, facing live positive and understanding the struggles and the feeling of various emotions, perseverance, annoyance, frustration and much more which is touch to explain to with a sense of courage and positive attitude. Here’s a sweetest poem illustrating life by Dr.Anshu Arora


I earnestly want to churn
Fresh and sweet-smelling butter
From the free-flowing cream

It is a simple deed indeed
Then, what do I ponder?
Whipping cream with the blender

Sometimes it’s temperature
Sometimes consistency
That gravitates procedure

But butter is my dream
Buried inside the cream
dollops, I wish to skim

It lies at the core
Wanting patience galore
To show and then roar

Cream is concoction
Mix of life’s moments-
Lazy, waste & precious

Butter is our destination
Centrifuged by determination
It’s our ultimate salvation

Excuses forever delay
And efforts eventually pay
As labour toils each day

If there are chunks of butter
they will manifest and glitter
And slowly get better from bitter

You just sail through the tide
Holding time by your side
Keep trust, it may be the last strife

Butter has to coagulate
Buttermilk will separate
That is the final fate

Neither babble nor rattle
Just show your mettle
Make ‘butter’ & win life’s battle

-  Anshu Arora