Author Archives: samaranao

About samaranao

I am one of those people who make life altering plans in the shower but never really act upon it. I am not dark and brooding - but I am one of those 20 something women who want a lot from life but are still unsure of what exactly they want. I enjoy most of the clichéd hobbies - I love traveling, reading (I read a LOT), engaging myself in endless conversations with friends and family. I have always loved writing - this has been one of those life altering plans that I kept putting off. Well, as we are nearing the end of 2015, I decided to start working on my resolutions a little ahead of time. I hope this sticks around for long!

Blurred Vantage Point

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Posted in Response to the Discover Challenge: Perspective

They sit on two intricately carved chairs, staring at each other’s laptop screens in pensive silence. Both are waiting for the other to say the first word. She was always the one who was impatient and in general not too bashful when it comes to expressing her views. He was always the more careful one, always speaking second. Besides, she was usually the one who had a problem to begin with and this naturally meant that she would be the first one to start the conversation.

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She stared at the white walls and her eyes were drawn to a picture of the two of them, taken almost a year ago. The words swimming in her head started gaining stronger form and she started watching her usual “law and order” style arguments forming in her head. She was still slightly drunk from the previous night and wanted this to be done with as soon as possible. She started losing patience and decided to go first – after all, he ALWAYS made sure they talked every time they had a fight or a disagreement, a quality that had attracted her to him and continued to keep her in his charm for the past two years.

Her: So, I have been feeling that you have changed a lot over the past few months. In fact, the more time we spend together, the more I see how you have changed. I am not happy about this at all.

He swallowed the last remaining bite of his sandwich. As he chewed on, he started thinking about what a great week he was having till this happened. One of his creative endeavors was a huge success and he realized that he had met some wonderful people who he could now call his friends. She had undertaken the arduous 12 hour journey to come see him. Things couldn’t have been going better for him, for them. But what happened? He looked at her and he knew she was hurt. He had a faint idea what it was all about and just like her, he prepped his arsenal because he was convinced that he had done nothing wrong. After listening to her, he decided to go for the safest reply.

Him: What are you talking about?

Her: You see the photo we took there? Remember where we took it and under what circumstances?

Him: Yeah. We took it in Seattle.

Her: Why did we go to Seattle?

Him: Because we just wanted to get away from the Silicon Valley for a while. Your parents were home and we were not able to spend much time together.

Her: But weren’t we at work together then? Didn’t we see each other like everyday?

Him: Yeah! But we did not really have a chance to shower love to each other at work.

Her: We went on a couple of dates. Wasn’t that enough?

Him: No. I definitely wanted more. And I bet you did too. That is why we both were so excited about Seattle.

Her: I was. It was one of the best trips we’ve ever had!

Him: So what’s your point?

Her: Getting to it. How often do we see each other now?

Him: We meet once a month. That I think is the best we can do, considering the fact that we are both in school now and that it takes 12 hours for us to get to one another.

Her: I think so too. But my point here is, despite seeing each other only once in a month, you are not crazy about spending time with me. You can easily get distracted by the smallest of things, by the most insignificant events and people. Your constant need to please people around you kicks in and I am left unnoticed.

Him: I think you are exaggerating a bit here. I have literally not done any other school related work throughout the time that you were here. And I have not given a second thought to people around when you were with me. I have constantly had my arms wrapped around you, irrespective of where we were.

Her: Then what happened last night? You knew I was leaving. Why did you choose to not be with me at the exact same time? I had specifically told you that I was only gonna be with you for the next 3 hours and that I wanted to spend that time with you.

Him: I did spend time with you. In fact, you were the one pulling away. We were with a bunch of people and I was always around you.

Her: Yes, we were among a bunch of people. It was never just the two of us. You had the other people with you the entire day. When were you gonna be with me? It might sound petty to you, but being with you, having you exclusively to myself for some time, really matters to me.

Him: I still continue to believe that I did spend time with you. And I am not convinced by whatever you are saying.

The argument continued, with both parties pretty much revolving around their own ideas and no one really resolving any issues. She was annoyed that she was not being taken seriously and he was annoyed that such a trivial matter had evolved into something so complicated.

That is the problem with perceptions – they are limitless stretching all across the horizon and they are normally unbendable. There is no right or wrong; there are possibilities, millions of them. For example, my perception is built based on my experiences, upbringing and my general attitude towards life. It is a very similar situation with everyone else. Our perceptions are constructed on a sound foundation – us. Now think about changing your perception about something that is closely associated with you. Would you do it easily? No. It is because, changing your perception would mean that on a subconscious level, you are altering your persona and nobody likes that. 

It would take a very long, very heated argument to bring about some results. But this argument would have started some other fires. Bridges would burn and feelings would be hurt. Perceptions do not normally change without putting up a tough fight where everybody loses.

The idea is to minimize losses while at the same time not lose your ground.

Her: When I wake up every morning here and realize you are not with me, I am washed away by a wave of sadness at how we distanced ourselves from each other. We were young, ambitious and foolish and we did not understand the consequences of what we were doing till the long distance started. But now, we have a chance to make amends. Try our best to stay together for as long as possible, where we have maximum amount of fun. Please stop drawing yourself away from me. The more you pull away, the lesser I will feel like holding on.

Him: I have never pulled away. I have always wanted to make sure that we were together too. I am making some big changes to my academic life just to ensure that we are together – not because you are asking for it, because I want to do it. I am done with staying away from you. I might not feel the things you do with such intensity – but that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel them at all. I am willing to go the extra mile for this relationship because it matters that much to me. You always quit on us, that is your go-to attitude towards this relationship. Yet, you don’t see me criticizing your level of commitment in the relationship.

What constantly baffles me though, is how can two people who are so clearly in love have such arguments? Do they not see it? They are fighting for love – the best cause there is. It doesn’t matter who is right and who is not, as long as they continue fighting for love. But, hey! That is my perception! What’s yours? 

Thank you 50 wonderful people!

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Thank you 50 wonderful people!

It has been quite a while since I last wrote. Over a month I believe. Grad school can take quite a toll on my life and basically disrupt everything that I like in my life!

As I am clearing the cobwebs from the creative side of my brain to make room for my thoughts to flow, I thought I would start off with a note of sincere gratitude.

I finally have 50 followers! It is a very happy moment for me and my heart swells with pride knowing that there are 50 people in the world, that I know only through our mutual love for writing. It is a unique bond and I want you all to know that I truly cherish and value your opinion. Please keep reading my blogs and let me know what you like or hate about it.

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This was more than enough inspiration for me to keep writing. Hopefully, I will be able to pull out more time to ensure that I write at least one post per week. Thank you for all the love!

Never ending dream!

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She had cried herself to sleep the previous night because she was lonely and upset over how her life had changed. She was not able to take it anymore. Being brave had hardened her shell but had eaten up her insides. She could not feel anything but pain and she finally was able to vent it all out in muffled cries and plenty of tears. She had talked to him right before she slept. He knew what she was going through.

She wakes up the next day, feeling slightly relieved but still pretty hollow. She goes about her work just like any other day, wishing that she had not allowed things to spiral down so bad. She talks to him, not completely being herself and yet trying her best to stay away from topics that might cause something bad to stir again.

Just as she finishes eating the lunch she had cooked for herself, she hears a knock on the door. It was a Monday afternoon and she expects it to be one of her or her roommate’s friends who wanted to talk about subjects and homework. Instead, she finds no one. Still not thinking it through, she says – “Who’s there?”

That’s when she sees him, standing right beside the door smiling. And just like that, even before he steps in the house, she finds all her worries evaporating and her hollow self being filled with love. So much love. Here is a man who travelled over 12 hours to see her, because he could not see her cry. He dropped everything that he had to do, just to come to see her for a day. Next thing she knew, she was in his arms and he carried her around, nursing her invisible wounds with his kisses. She vowed to never leave his arms. That was her safe place. He was hers and she, his. They walked the tree laden path of her university, hand in hand. She talked and he listened showering her with kisses and holding her tight. They worked out together, played squash and basically did everything that she had ever dreamed of. As soon as she realized this, she wondered if it was all just a dream. Was he really there or was her mind playing tricks on her? Was he the mirage of her desert? She pinches herself to make sure, but is still not convinced, despite the pain.

She decides to not worry. They eat together and sleep in each other’s arms. He has to leave the immediate next day. She doesn’t cry because, deep in her heart, she thinks this might still be a dream and in her dream, she can make him stay. She is in his arms. Slowly, reality sets in. She knows he has to go. She kisses him repeatedly because she is desperately trying to hold on to every last second she has with him. As he turns to leave, she flies into his arms and doesn’t let go. He holds her tight and promises to be back soon. As she watches him drive away, she realizes it was not a dream. Not a dream at all.

But you should understand her predicament. She is justified to be confused. You see, she is one of those very few people in this world who are truly blessed. She confused the wonderful 23 hours for a dream because she believes that God stopped making perfect men like him soon after he made her father. But he belonged to that elite bunch of men along with her dad. They are among those who do not hesitate or think twice before doing something for their loved ones. They are selfless and pure at heart. They are the kind of people that authors and screenplay writers obsess over and write about. Being his girlfriend is like living a never ending dream. One where he is enough to alleviate pain, grief and monotony. His presence spreads a rainbow in her otherwise dark and clouded heart. He brings sunshine with him. He sounds like a dream doesn’t he?

Well, if this is a dream, then I do not want to wake up.

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It is our cross to bear!

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Posted in response to The Daily Post Challenge: The Road Less Traveled (Pinpoint a moment in your past where you had to make a big decision. Write about that other alternate life that could have unfolded.)

Imagine a life where you have everything

  • a job that, although is monotonous and sometimes mind-numbingly boring, pays you well
  • a newly budding relationship which is just so perfect that it baffles you
  • you live super close to your family

You are drowning in all the love and affection being showered on you. This is your first job and you are a strong independent woman, enjoying life, visiting places, enjoying long road-trips, eating at some of the best places in town. What could anybody possibly do to screw this up?

Anybody? No. You choose to screw this up. You decide to quit your job because it is not catering to your intellectual being. You come to a country ten thousands of miles away from your home and your loved ones. Everything begins to change. You have tons of friends but you are lonely. You miss your family, your boyfriend. Long distance relationship comes with its own set of problems and you start battling it out as a couple. On the one hand you get stronger because you faced so many issues, but you did not escape unscathed. There are scars that are reminders of what the issues were, wounds that still need to recover. This is accompanied by nights of tears and helplessness where you start reflecting on how you chose to exile yourself and distance everything that made you happy. Some cope with distance better than others, some move on and stop needing you as much as they did previously. You are shocked at this change – you are desperately trying to cling on to how things were previously but everything is naturally slipping out of your hands.

For the outside world, you have a very stable job, you will soon have an engineering degree from a reputed university, you are in a very happy relationship and you have a bright future ahead of you. On the inside, you know that your job has nothing to do with your degree and you might as well have never done Masters to begin with, you need to go through another 2 to 7 years of long distance and the future looks bleak without your family by your side.

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Now, think of this world.

You never left. You stayed at the mediocre job, grumbled about Mondays. But you were genuinely happy otherwise. You wouldn’t miss the wedding of your best friend of 20 years, you would be there to personally congratulate your college roommate after hearing news of her pregnancy and you would not be missing the engagement of your friend of 10 years.

Your family. You would personally see your baby sister grow into a beautiful woman who starts fending off guys on her own. You would stand by her side, watching her face hurdles as you had and come out stronger than before. You would help her sneak into the house when she came in late after drinking with her friends. You would meet her friends and her crushes. You would spend hours on the balcony, talking about love, life and everything in between. You would be there for your mum and dad. You would be their pillar of support, not only financially, but also emotionally. You would visit places, take tours, visit the home store and plan the home decor for that ideal house that you would soon have, while your sister rolls her eyes in exasperation. Your relationship with everyone would only grow stronger.

And your relationship with your boyfriend. Given how happy and compatible the two of you were, you would have bloomed into something much stronger and happier just because of the fact that the two of you were together. You would have countless date nights where you would stare into the impossible depths of each others eyes and realize how truly lucky you both were to have each other. You would go on fun double dates with friends, maybe workout or go for a swim together. Both your families would get ample time to get to know each other and see how great we are as a couple. You would be able to go on that coveted Europe trip a lot sooner than you expected. Two years since March 2014, would have transformed you two into stalwart supporters of each other’s dreams, two people whose fights were typically about who does the dishes and our opinions on religious leaders.

i-dont-want-a-perfect-life-i-want-a-happy-life-quote-1You would slowly stop complaining about your job, because you would eventually realize that by being in a software industry, you can easily switch from one company to the other and keep at it, till you retire. You start taking joy out of other things in life. You volunteer at a pet’s shelter or an old age home. You start teaching during the weekends. You write a lot more. Do a little bit of freelance work of your own. You see how much of happiness can be gained out of small things. One day, as you head back home from your best friend’s engagement, you start thinking about how foolish you once were, to head to the United States like the millions before you, to turn your dreams into reality. What was the old you thinking? All your dreams were always by your side waiting to be discovered.

This is bliss.

 

Learn to let it go

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Posted in response to the Daily Post’s Challenge : Shape Up or Ship Out

Dear control freak,

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I know how difficult it is for you. I know that you don’t understand what people mean when they say – “If you love something, set it free.” You constantly worry about the people you love, maybe a little too much. You are left angry and hurt when you see people making the same mistakes that you had warned them against. What you probably don’t understand is this – every time you try taking control of someone else’s life – a part of you is bruised badly. When a friend or a loved one comes to you with an issue that needs resolution, you normally go through these phases:

Phase 1

You: Suggest/question the sanity of the issue. Struggle between whether to tell your loved one your frank opinion on the subject. You ALWAYS tell them what you think.

Loved ones: Agree and promise to change or disagree and support their claim

What happens to you: You are constantly of the opinion that you know everything. This causes issues.

When your loved ones agree with you, you are happy and hopeful. You think that they saw reason to your arguments and decided to do what you said. Your ego receives the pat it deserves and you are left beaming (what you don’t know is that your loved one knows your weak points and said exactly what you wanted to hear to soothe your ego. They do nothing that they said they would and they will drag you into the next phase)

On the other hand, if your loved ones disagree, you are immediately angered. One thought runs through your mind – what kind of an idiot is he/she? Why can he/she not see what I am seeing? It is crystal clear. What is confusing them?

You ask these questions to the loved one and that only makes matters worse. No one likes a patronizing know-it-all.

Takeaway: By the end of the conversation, you love them less and they love you lesser.

Phase 2

You: They do nothing after Phase1. You are angry and you try verbally convincing them using logic and rationale.

Loved ones: They agree vehemently and do nothing or disagree passionately.

What happens to you: If they agree vehemently, you know very well that they will not be able to do whatever you suggested because there are a lot more complications to the story than you understand. This makes you angry because these people are asking for your opinion without telling you the whole story.

If they disagree passionately, you find yourself at the receiving end of a heated argument where the person is telling you that you are “stifling” them. This leaves you hurt and weepy because you had only their best intentions at heart but you were not able to express it right.

Takeaway: If people are hell bent on doing something, rationale and logical thinking is not going to help you make them see the right way.

Phase 3

You: Try taking control – pressurize them into doing what you think is good for them.

Loved ones: Rebel – no one likes to be told what to do.

What happens to you: You are left confused, hurt and very angry at how unfair everything is. You then step into  a downward spiral of self-pity and bursts of tears that were never meant to be.

Takeaway: A rift between you and the loved one.

The sooner you understand this the better it is. People do not like being told what to do. Irrespective of how close you are, people will ultimately do whatever they want to. It is all about free will. All you can do is “suggest” your side of things. This way you are letting them take all the shots. Worst case scenario, where a loved one takes a decision that backfires on them and they are in distress, you can do what you were always supposed to do – stand by their side and help them recover.

The more you let go, the more you are freeing yourself. Control your urge – stop thinking that people are stupid (even if they are!). Your boundary ends right after your express your opinion.

I want you to work on this because you desperately need this. I know that I can tell YOU what to do! You know why? Because we are one.

Love,

Me

 

Love conquers all!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!! I hope everyone is having a wonderful time with their loved ones. Although Valentine’s day has become more of a commercial event now, we should celebrate what it has always stood for – love! 

Love is such a powerful force – it has the ability to transform the toughest of people into hopeless romantics. I was out with a friend yesterday – this is a person who, according to me, is very guarded, supremely ambitious and not the kind that I would peg as “willing to fall in love”. Yesterday, I found out how wrong I was in my analysis of him! He told me (quite unwillingly, mind you) that he was in love and wanted to buy his girlfriend something for Valentine’s day. I was supposed to help him choose a present for this girl. I was so happy for him – I could clearly see how smitten and how serious he was about her. I later found out that, he had even altered his professional plans so that he could be closer to her. Towards the end of the evening, I was humbled – I thought I had him all figured out, but I realized that in the face of love, all bets change. 

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People change, lives are transformed when in love and it is a wonderful thing. I consider myself blessed to have someone who has transformed my life into bliss. I look back on how things have changed for me and I am truly grateful. The ride might have had a its fair share of fights, misunderstandings and long-distance in it, but the absolute happiness and freedom that I have gained from being in this relationship eclipses everything else. You know who you are and I just want to say three things:

  1. Thank You
  2. I Love You
  3. This little piece I stole from Sam Smith (plagiarism is allowed in love!) 

You lift my heart up when the rest of me is down
You, you enchant me even when you’re not around
If there are boundaries, I will try to knock them down
I’m latching on, babe, now I know what I have found

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GOP Republican Debate – tricks and shushes

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At 7:00 pm yesterday (I live in Texas, so CST not EST!), my roommate and I huddled together before my Mac to watch the GOP Debate. For the nosy ones, we are students and yes, we do not own a TV – our Macs/laptops are our world!!

This was the first time I was watching the debate live – I used to spend the precious 30 minutes that I would find during my other mornings to watch the videos of the previous GOP debates. I was super excited to watch this one! I believe that GOP debates provide the forum for the public to touch base with the problems plaguing the world and to find out what the political leaders are intending to do to resolve the issues. Given the fact that the only bias I had was against Trump, I was keen to know the other Republican candidates and their say on, well, everything that matters. After almost three hours of entertainment, I realized the following –

  1. Trump is a MUCH bigger bully than I thought him to be. Boos from the audience don’t shake him and if people don’t agree with his views, they must be the opponent’s donors. I mean, think about it, how can a person with even a small amount of sensibility not agree with his maniacal thoughts?!!
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    “Quiet!!”

    Haven’t we all evolved beyond shushing? Disrespectful and oh-so-juvenile!


     

  2. Everything that Trump claims, needs to be followed by the quintessential question – HOW?
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    Yes, you talk a lot. But you never really get into the nitty gritty details of how you intend to carry out your promises. Intelligent public needs details Mr. Trump. 


     

  3. Nasty tricks will not always go unnoticed Sen. Ted Cruz. You really need to get your facts right. This is the fastest way to lose voters – deceit is not taken lightly anywhere in the world.
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    Reporter – “Sen. Cruz, people think you have no heart”. Sen. Cruz – *giggles*

    For more on the matter, check this out.


  4. Marco Rubio – This was supposed to be your night. But Chris Christie put a damper on that. And how!
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    Lesson for the future – please don’t parrot a bunch of words over and over again. Underestimating the intelligence of your opponents and your audience is a grave mistake.  


  5. Ben Carson, John Kasich, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush – I would have liked to hear more from all of you. It was a pity that could not happen Maybe not so much from Jeb Bush, since Trump wants him to stay silent! But in all seriousness, I was happier with the Governors talking as compared to the “others”.
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    Why doesn’t anybody let the man talk?!!


  6.  And then this,
    • Disturbing views on illegal immigration and waterboarding.
    • Unclear tactics of handling with ISIS and North Korea.
    • Do not dance around pro-life and same sex marriage topics. We are in the 21st century and it is time we act it. We should change with time or we stand the chance of rotting forever.
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      He’s got the moves like jagger!


  7.  Finally, I was left wondering if any one of these people have what it takes to become the next President of the United States. Will one of these men rise above all the confusion and cheap tricks to the tremendous responsibility of governing a nation of diversity?
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The master has spoken.




 

Remove the safety net!

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Remove the safety net!

Let me begin and end the blog with the same question –

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Before we begin, I am sorry. I have had absolutely no time over the last week to write. I would fully blame myself for this – I was being unbelievably lazy and all I did was go to school, work out, come home to Netflix. The physical and mental exhaustion takes over you and you are left doing nothing when you are free. I found this interesting picture on Tumblr and couldn’t help but share it here! This is pretty much my life right now!

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Here I am, writing on Monday morning 20 minutes before my class. This is what college does to you!

Back to the blog – I am currently sharing an apartment with two other people. My previous roommates graduated and moved out and I am still getting used to the new ones. So yesterday, we finally started talking while cleaning the kitchen. I found out a lot about my new roommates and I must say, they are both very interesting people.

One of my roommates is an agri-business major – coming from a country that has a majority of engineers and doctors, her choice of profession intrigued me. That was when she told me that everyone in her family (all of them are Indians, mind you) chose the “non-engineering” path. Her sister is studying English literature and most of her cousins are in varied fields of arts. I was particularly interested in one cousin of hers who is an amazing painter and a model. She was showing me a lot of pictures of her and that had me evaluate my entire life (we all have such days!).

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At the age of 32, my roommate’s cousin is a self-made woman – she lives on her own in the beautiful city of Pondicherry – a city in India that is equivalent to New Orleans in the US (French colonies and all that). She has refused to get married till she finds “the one”. She attends a lot of art conferences all over the world and in short, lives life to the fullest. Her best friend is into pottery and that’s how she makes a livelihood.

Here’s a picture of Pondicherry – it is one of my favorite cities in India!

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When I hear or see the lives of people who chose the path less trodden, I suddenly feel bad about my choices. I do enjoy being an engineer, but this was a safe bet. Everything has always been about stability and having something to “fall back on”. There have always been Plan B’s and Plan C’s. I often wonder, if by being so careful about everything, have I lost out on the various opportunities to discover more about myself.

Anyways, after yesterday, I have decided to not let my mind be clouded by always playing safe. It will be difficult to get out of this groove that I have comfortably sat myself in, but I will be starting soon. I need to go out there and do things that scare me. We all do. Everyone who is too scared to move out of their comfort zone – take the leap. Get rid of the shackles. The world has so much to offer – you cannot see all of it if you are working behind a computer screen for 80 hours a week.

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Kudos to those women and men, who are sticking to their guns and living the life that many are afraid to even dream of.

Now, think back and tell me –

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Stranger 3 – Divided we fall

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While I was chatting with Tamara, my Brazilian counterpart (Stranger 2), a girl with a thickset body, with long black hair tied in a bun came to us, looking worried and asked us if we had any pain killers. Tamara had one in her bag and was looking for it. Meanwhile, the girl, let’s call her Rupa, started to talk to me. She was clearly from the Indian subcontinent and she started telling me why she was at the airport at 2 in the morning.

Before I start, here’s a little bit of2 history for those who don’t know – India achieved independence in the year 1947 but the country was partitioned and Pakistan was born. In the years that followed, there was a huge exodus where a lot of Muslims moved to Pakistan while many Hindus moved to India. Many people lost their lives and livelihoods in this process, but now time has passed. Although there has been some bitter relations between the two nations, I know I speak for the citizens of both nations when I say that there is no animosity in our hearts for the other. But after extensive media brainwash, I know that doubts have been sown in many people’s hearts when it comes to peace between the two nations.

Anyways, back to the story. Rupa told me that she and her mother had come to the airport to send Rupa’s 90-year old grandmother to Chicago where Rupa’s uncle was going to receive her.  Shortly, Rupa’s mother, Saira, came back asking us if we found the medicine for her mother. That was when I noticed her, lying on a couch – she was a frail, fragile woman with wispy hair- all bones and she looked like she could collapse at the slightest touch. She was not able to sleep on the airport couch because her back was aching pretty badly and thus, needed the medicines. Tamara gave her what she had and in the midst of this, I told Rupa that I was headed to Chicago too. As it turned out, her grandmother was flying to Chicago on the same airline as mine to meet her son. She asked me if I could help her grandmother if she was lost or unaccompanied at O’Hare and I readily agreed. I was ready to do whatever little I could to help her. As soon as I did, the mother and daughter duo immediately started talking to me in Hindi. Since I understood and spoke the language fluently, I was able to hold a conversation with them for quite some time. They were very happy to have someone to talk to and halfway through the conversation they asked me where I was from. “India,” I said.

Rupa replied, “My grandmother is from Gwalior! She moved to Pakistan after the partition.” Now before I could react to that statement, her mother, Saira, interjected, appearing worried – “She just as much an Indian as anyone else. She keeps thinking of her homeland.” This was followed by a barrage of statements all emphasizing the fact that Saira’s mother was a lot more Indian than she was a Pakistani.

I was taken aback – it really looked like Saira was trying to appease the “Indian” in me, under the fear that I would not agree to take care of her mother, just because she was a Pakistani. That was when I had to put my foot down. I made it very clear that her mother’s nationality meant nothing to me. She was a woman who was in need of help and I did not see anything beyond that.

It still saddens me when I see people putting country borders or religion over the greater good. It is a matter of virtue to help without being parochial about race or sex. I don’t blame Saira for justifying the mother’s citizenship. I blame the people who let that feeling creep up in the first place – the media, the corrupt politicians and those wielding the money, arms and power who would benefit from our constant squabbles. The governments of India and Pakistan or the cricket teams and their rivalry do not represent the feelings of the masses. For us, an ailing Indian is the same as an ailing Pakistani and we will rush to their aid if need be. Yet again, this is not a problem localized to India and Pakistan. This is a widespread epidemic between many nations and I believe that it can only be addressed by the masses. ip6.jpg

 

Stranger 2 – Main Act

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My Brazilian Counterpart (Main Character)

If you remember, we last saw Ms. Senorita storm off to some unknown destination and it left us all baffled (On Stranger 1 – Act 1). Once Ms. Senorita left, the woman sitting to my right (the one who lent her the charger) turned to me and asked – “Whoa! What is up with her?” I noticed that she was wearing an off-white blouse and jeans and was all curled up on the couch, keeping a watchful eye over her luggage which consisted of two suitcases and a bag stacked unevenly on a trolley. “Is she coming back for my charger or not?” I started laughing because one could never tell anything with Ms. Senorita.

Ms. Senorita came and left like a hurricane with mass destruction and an abandoned cell phone charger behind her while we were recovering! That was when I met Tamara – I’d like to think of her as my Brazilian counterpart.

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The topic of Ms. Senorita got us talking. I found that Tamara was also a 20-something girl who has led a far more independent life than I did. I admired and even envied her life! She completed her undergraduate studies in Brazil, where she spent a year in London. After this, she moved to Mexico for a few months and for the last 4 months, she was in the US as a tourist. She took up an English course in Massachusetts and used her undergrad degree to land a job with HP. When she was talking about what she wanted to do with life – travel, discover herself, just live life like it was meant to be – I was impressed. I saw in her, a girl who was dancing to her own tunes and was craving to explore more of the world!

We spoke for hours. Initially it was all staying in the USA, visa status and all the related conversation that immigrants have!! Then it turned into something more serious and personal. She was just getting out of a toxic relationship and she said this – “I had to get out of the relationship. My boyfriend was leading a stagnant life and was ‘dying inside’. That is not how I want to be. I want to soar and I cannot do that if he wants to be deadweight.” She was sick of being taken for granted and that got us talking a lot about how as women, we tend to easily give up the first priority spot to someone else. Evaluate yourselves and if you feel the need for it- take back control over your lives, ladies! We have a lot to accomplish on our own – without any support from anyone.

Then we got back to talking Philosophy! Like me, she likes to be in control of her life – any kind of uncertainty would shake her off. So, when I told her that I was in a phase where I did not know how my life would turn out in the next three years, she was extremely sympathetic and genuinely concerned. We kept making plans of what we would do in the future, how things would turn out for us and all that. We spoke like we knew each other for ages! We started off as strangers and departed close friends. This experience has been one of a kind for me. So the next time you get a chance to talk to a stranger, take the opportunity. For all you know, you might find your Tamara!

Here’s a letter that she left for me before she went to her flight!

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As you’d have guessed, we became friends on Facebook and now chat regularly. Although, this story had a Happy Ending, I need to still tell you all about what happened to Ms. Senorita. But before that, I will need to segue into a third story – a story which is wretched and tugged at my heartstrings.

Let me give you a brief introduction of what happened – as I was talking to Tamara, a girl with a thickset body, with long black hair tied in a bun came to us, looking worried and asked us if we had any pain killers. We were immediately concerned, because it is not good to fall sick at an airport without anyone to help out. So we started rummaging out backpacks to see if we had anything to offer and that was when she started telling us the reason why she needed the pills.

For more, hang on..Stranger 3 – Divided we fall, will be out soon!