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A new leaf.

A new leaf.

“I am turning a new leaf in my life”.


Once more, once more“, chanted the mesmerized crowd who broke into applause and cheers at the song that he had just sung. The otherwise already Mr. Popular singer had always taken the front row seat when it came to singing- his unique talent among many other talents. The talent was not only in being able to pitch the sharps and lows at the right time, but also in the ability to sing songs in languages that were unknown to him. What does it tell about a person who could sing in three different languages. Well, some are just born talented, aren’t they?

It was the season of the advent of monsoon and talent shows, most of them organized at office. It was his chance to take the cue and shine bright like always. There was an official notice about the auditions which ranged from stand up comedy to dance. The auditions have begun and they were at full-fledged at the campus auditorium. But unfortunately, He had already planned his trip to go home that he didn’t realize that the dates of his travel were clashing with that of the song audition date. With a little heavy heart, he let go of his inhibition to sing this time and go ahead with the actual plan of going home.

After his arrival back to office he inquired about the songs selection, whether it was already done or was supposed to be done to which they informed that he could give his audition later that day because the organizers knew what talent this guy had and hence wanted to give him a chance. As happy as he was to be given an opportunity and people having a little faith in him, he decided not to take that offer on account of the prejudiced history he had had. A year or so earlier, since he was good at singing and being a regular at singing, for competition or not, award or no award, just for fun or cultural programs, he was on the panel for judging the contestants. He felt awkward doing what was asked of him, given the few facts that he was the almost the same age and probably younger than the contestants and also on the point that how could he be qualified to judge their singing skills. Keeping those good old memories in mind, he decided not to risk it even if it meant that he won’t be able to perform. Imagine how a performer would feel like when they are devoid of the chance to perform. But that didn’t bother him much. Instead he decided to accompany his friend Ayushi, who was auditioning for dance. That is when he saw her.

The stage was brightly lit, the auditorium slightly dim and the lights focused on the people performing on the stage, auditioning to be selected as top five. But of all the people on the stage, the spotlight was on just one person, his spotlight. As he screened through the people on the stage he recognized one particular girl they all had been discussing about the other day- Neel‘s crush. That was when he saw her friends along with her in synchronized moves as the music blared in the auditorium and the seats vibrated to the bass. He stood there in muted silence as he slowly realized that he was still standing and his friend was staring at him with confused and suspicious eyes. He was excited about spotting Mirza and couldn’t wait to tell the news to Neel, but he was more lost in the moment as they finished their dance routine and took their seats. He showed his friend whom he was accompanying about the girl and the Mirza. He even asked her to get her name and phone number if possible. She smiled at him even thought her teeth were crackling under her breath as she agreed do what was asked of her without saying a word.

Akhil, the guy who never needed an introduction. A singer, musician, multi talented, charming yet hard working guy. A bit talkative, but that’s all for the best and not to mention the ladies man, of course. The singers take away all the good stuff, don’t they? Having had the company of this creature for over two years, I still haven’t learnt how to sing. You can’t blame me for poor vocal chords, you really can’t. No, you can’t judge me, now. Such intolerance, I tell you. Besides singing he is a fitness freak, and will most likely to star in one of the sequel of the epic movie starring Salman Khan. He is getting replaced. As a result, he even turned a new leaf in his life, which which he is just going to drink green tea all day, everyday and also going all green and organic. What’s more? He is the official health SPOC. There’s lot of more stuff. But all in due time.


Who is Neel? Who is Mirza? Who is Ayushi? Who the unknown lady is? What the hell is happening? Is this some kind of fiction? Or a diary? Or a series of events happening around me? I believe you never had these questions. Thank you and good. Because, I think you could help me out. I am completely confused here.

– #TheLunchBoxJournal
ak, ᴠɪxᴍᴍxᴠɪ
Project Phoenix. #Z2AChallenge

Project Phoenix. #Z2AChallenge

“Look, we brought you two closer. We deserve a party for the effort we are doing”.

The soft sunlight played hide and seek in one winter afternoon. The wind blew softly through the trees singing the afternoon song. The symphony of the song mixed with the chatter of the people added a new aroma to the music. It was lunch time and people have just started flooding the canteen. Of all the things in the world, food is a religiously followed on time. As usual Neel was out with his colleagues for lunch. While his colleagues were busy trying to decide what to eat, he was on the lookout for a perfect spot for “bird-watching”. As they all settled in their seats around the table with their food plates, they get into conversations discussing about the office melodrama and sometimes about politics.
Under the cacophony of multitudes, an image caught his eye. As the words that left him started faded, the world went silent for him. He sunk slowly in the world surreal as his eyes trailed her through the crowd. It took a while for him to get back to real world, while the other people just stared at him blankly. He had everyone engrossed in his conversation when he just trailed off midway. He also forgot what he was telling. “What happened next?“, his colleague asked him to get him back on the series of events he was explaining. “What happened when?“, he said feeling completely confused about what they were even asking about. “I just lost her“, was the only thought running though his mind right then. It didn’t take much for others to realize what just happened. Everyone has in one way or the other been in similar shoes. He kept searching for her but she was just lost in the crowd.
In the week that followed he had seen her a couple of times and finally figured her lunch time. What happened next was the whole group adjusted their time-table to align with the new timetable. The ritual they followed everyday apart from having lunch at a specific time was  a after-lunch walk. It was important part of the curriculum. The group had not yet seen her. This one particular day while she was walking to the canteen, he spotted her and signaled the others the she was walking with her group dressed in black. What he didn’t see coming was the whole group of 8 people turned their heads to know the mystery lady who paced the heartbeats of their dear friend. That was real awkward and he believes that at the moment she realized that some guys were watching her. From that he has just tried stay casual and not to give any impression that one of the guy is hitting on her. Everyday the lunch time starts with searching her and finding a place to her, probably the adjacent table or anyone that in the line of sight.
This one day, as he didn’t spot her in the canteen, he selected a random empty table and get comfortable in his seat while his colleagues were at the counter waiting for their order. Meanwhile two more of his friends joined Neel at the table and they just started off with the lunch as they had lunch boxes with them. Meanwhile, the mystery lady makes her presence known as she goes to the counter while her friends chose a table at the far end of the canteen which is way too far from the one Neel and his gang was sitting at. While his colleagues returned with their plates to the table and realized that she was sitting at the far end of the canteen, instead of sitting at the already chosen-seated table by Neel, they just made their way to the table just next to her. The canteen was completely empty per say and Neel insisted that he won’t move over there because that would just give the impression that he had been trying to hide-not hide. The other five members sat there and they called out to Neel and the two others to join the table. With a little huffing and puffing, he put the lunch back in the box and made his way to the table. The other part of the change in table also included that he would be sitting at the far end of the table which is just beside her.
Look, we brought you two closer. We deserve a party for the effort we are doing“, said the one who had insisted on changing the table. That was the awkward 20 minutes for Neel while he ate the food with his head down. Though he didn’t do anything wrong, he was one of the decent bunch. Now they everyone has helped them get close, in some way, the next task was : Project Phoenix –  Find her name . This might sound too dumb but Phoenix is the name of the project she was working in.
because I can spell the alphabets in reverse.
Tied Down.

Tied Down.

Oh, we did have a feeling about it and we were right”
A secret can’t be kept too long. Usually, it can be. But it is not quite the same when it is playing just in front of out eyes. Many had their suspicions, but it wasn’t something one could just walk up and clear the doubts. It started a year ago. When the cupid struck Vikram had take a big step in making a choice for himself, for his life. It was a big leap from the normal routine he usually employed which comprised mostly of work then any other avocations. He proposed to the love of his life, Asha. It wasn’t easy. Because there were a few things that didn’t hit the right chords. There were differences, differences of course are what makes life interesting. Else it would be just the same, constant; a monopoly, in colors or black and white, figuratively speaking. And as friends, we were there to support him, both of them. That was our responsibility, per say. Eventually, after a few ups and downs they were set to follow a single path, thats when two roads met. The differences that people pointed out were out the picture now as they were one and decided to follow the path till the end. 
After a few weeks, they came forward and announced in confidence to the selected few, us, whom they considered friends. Now, this was a secret until everything is set right. What else was left to set right, you might ask? It is not just the two people who have to agree, there were the parents who need some convincing to do. A few hiccups, a few agreements, a few disagreements, a few meets still wasn’t enough to consider the wishes of their children. After all they are the parents and they had the best interests of their kids, no matter the consequences. So, there were not compromising on their future and were considering all options to come to a conclusion what might be in best interests for all people. A few months later, it was finally decided. Asha’s parents flew to Vikram’s house to discuss about the dates, a date to unify them, a date of their marriage, a date when they could start their own journey together. 
Now that everything was set and the things were falling in place, they felt that it was time to disclose the secret. A secret which was confined to just the small circle of friends. But it wasn’t really the best kept secret. People see things and there begins the assumptions. And Vikram and Asha were too secretive about it either, though they tried their best. It was quite evident to spot the people in love, even if they don’t want to be found they can’t stay hidden. So, a month from now, they will write their own story as one in unison, a path that they both will follow for the rest of their life. Then they will be truly together. As they were making everyone in their vicinity know about the unison, a few have had their eyebrows raised, a few had a we-kind-of-know-but-act-surprised face. But for Vik & Ash, a new journey is going to begin while they are count the days eagerly waiting for that auspicious day.
We were a group of seven friends. A little disagreement, or more like a difference of opinion trickled down to six. Gautham got a better project and moved to another building located at different part of the city. One more guy, Venky got married last month. And now Vikram and Asha are also tying the knots. This means everybody is getting married. And that leaves us two guys Karthik and I, who are single (and ready to mingle). And if you are wondering why I dwell away my weekends at the coffee shop (You weren’t wondering? Ouch!) , you have the answer right here – The married guy fancies the time with his wife ( of course) and two other guys are busy in their “world” and Gautham seems very busy with his social life with his new found buddies at his office. Well, I am not up for marriage, for at least few more years, or a decade perhaps. A year more and we might have only one single guy. 
When the two roads met.

When the two roads met.

It wasn’t an easy step for Vivek to have taken the high road. He wasn’t sure of the what might have happened otherwise. But it was the risk he was willing to take. He always had a thing for pretty women. Well, who doesn’t? Unless, of course the stereotype is different. And then the pretty thing happened to be the girl from the same office, same friend’s circle. But who would have thought. Love. Love happened. When did all this happen, how did all this happen still linger to be quite a mystery. And who would that lucky lady be? 
It the middle of January when we heard the news of a friend, Sameera’s sister’s marriage. As a formality she had invited this little group of friends for the marriage. I wasn’t sure about all this since the person in question is an unknown person and we going there might not look good, may be. But anyway as the day neared, we planned a small trip of 3 days. And obviously, someone had to bail out. So, Karthik bailed on us just a few days before the planned trip with the sole purpose to meet his brother who was coming to the city that very weekend. So, that left us with four people with Asha being one of them. If I were in her shoes, I would have given it a pass, but she didn’t. Well, the reason was obvious, but we weren’t sure.
The night saw the busiest of the traffic and the darkest of all nights. I am usually the insomniac, a noted one. But journeys aren’t my strong suit in this aspect. So, if I don’t have a laptop or a book, the obvious thing that I do is sleep, of course. Who wouldn’t, right? But for the next 2 days, I was the guy who slept the most. I was seating comfortably in the rear, while Gautham was in the front to guide the driver as he knew the way better than we did and also the fact that we were going to his hometown, his home. That was the plan for the first day. I slept like a coma patient, totally unaware of what was happening around me unless they stopped the car to get something or the destination arrived. And from that onwards, they mock me whenever it comes about journeys and sleep. Believe me, I can go for 3 days in a row without sleeping. You would probably black out after day 1. 
The car silently took the curves as I lay indulged in some creepy dream of sorts. Asha and Vivek were sitting beside me, while Gautham was fiddling with the Google Maps in the front seat of the car. The chemistry that was building up beside me was not a bizarre thing. We always had an idea of what was happening, but we couldn’t be so sure. Why because Asha is  elder to us except for Gautham who is the eldest of us all. So, why pinch the sleeping tiger and mess everything all up. And we were quite about all this even though the progress was visibly visible. After two days of long tedious and tiring journey where I enjoyed the company of a curled up sleep and crazy dreams while the chemistry bonded over 500 miles of journey and a lot of talking and talking. If it weren’t for that trip, Vivek wouldn’t have been so forthcoming about this to her and vice versa. And if it weren’t for this trip, we wouldn’t have to see these couple cosying up in the office or any place as a matter of fact. If it weren’t for this trip. If it weren’t for Sameera’s sister’s marriage. If it weren’t for Sameera to persuade us to come. 
But what happened in the past month, God could only imagine. Sameera, Asha, Vivek and Karthik are on bad terms. Really bad terms. Sameera thought it was better to withdraw herself from whatever was happening. And the rest of the people kind of agreed to the excommunication. I am stranded in the middle still dipped in a sea of confusion of what had just happened and could that be that great/big of a reason to break. It started off with Sameera and Vivek and Karthik reeled in a second later. And then Venky had to add the fuel. No, he wasn’t the main reason but when it came to pointing fingers, one did momentarily. Truth be told, I have no idea what the freaking hell was happening. And since Vivek is involved and the front runner of all this, Asha took a stand along with him. Of course she had to, or not. It was her choice to make. The result was drastic, one I could never imagine. 
I could get glimpses of Asha passing comments on Sameera every once in a while, about what she does, did and was doing. They were good friends before all of us. And now, not quite so. If letting go was one thing, stop complaining or passing comments and most importantly stop referring to people as third person. They have a name, either use it or stfu. Well, whatever. Moving on. Seriously though, I could never move on until this is resolved. Or is it resolved already. Has the differences set everything straight? I chose not the believe this, no matter how true it turned out to be. Once a friend stays a friend, am I wrong? I probably am.  
The roads, now merged as one travelling to the destination unknown. Hand in hand, syncing their songs of togetherness they walked down the trodden road, exploring and beheld with questions of what was in store for them. Everybody, Vivek and Asha , simply inseparable !! 
P.S.: I guess it didn’t turned out the way I wanted it to. I don’t know. I got carried away but the ticking clock, may be. No, not exactly, I am just finding excuses to make me feel better. But anyway, hope I don’t get people running away.
Falling into place.

Falling into place.

“The trick is to take the risk.”
It is not always a trick to make the dominoes to fall into place. Yes, the key factor is dedication and not to mention the precision and or the hard work, if I could also put into this picture. There is no guarantee that the first construction would make the dominoes to fall into place. It takes several tries, and I guess we all can agree to that. But it was as easy as pie for Vivek when it came to placing the dominoes. And boy did they fall into place when he finally met the love of his life. There are complications, sure, but isn’t that love all about. So how did all this happen? And who is this mystery lady?
It was long before the dominoes fell into place. The way that he used to talk with her was quite evident and among a group of seven, umm including me, it is not rocket science. When the conversations long laster or when they still continue at the odd hours of the night, which is the the usual time for people to sleep. But we were never sure that this guy would really take the risk of placing the dominoes and expect them to fall into place. Well, I was always kept out of their discussions as of what happened when our guy doesn’t have lunch or seems too upset. I guess he already placed the dominoes and took the chance and by his behavior it didn’t turn out to be good. His supervisor who is another creepy guy also seemed too conscious of his behavior and inquired about the reason for his dullness. We kind of know the reason, but didn’t knew for sure. So, we didn’t had the chance to console or give us our opinion. 
It was another dull afternoon in the office when I learned that Vivek had to rush home due to some family emergency. I wondered what it was because I had a cousin’s marriage coming up and I was thinking of a good reason so that I could get leave from office. I could just tell that it was my cousin’s marriage and be good with it, but I already had told the same the last two times, one for the engagement and the other for the other cousin’s marriage. Anyway, I did cook up some good excuse just like this family emergency thing to attend the marriage. So anyway, he was on his way all of a sudden and our fair lady in the group summons me. And to state the obvious, I wasn’t having any work at that time, I mean literally no work at all. But before I go there, there is something else that happened just two days before this. I went for a training to which Asha also came along. And while we were waiting for the session to begin, we were having a casual conversation, when a question pops up. The question being my opinion on the guy Vivek, and how he is, about his character, and whether I would consider him if I had a sister? Again, it is not rocket science to figure out what was happening. But to be fair, I knew about that already. So, as usual I had to play dumb as if I had no idea what was happening. I gave her my piece of mind about him. So, I was dead sure that what I had anticipated was true after all. 
So, she calls me to the canteen and tells me the story of the dominoes falling to place and that he,Vivek was on his way to convince his parents for marriage. Whoa, steady there brother! So fast? I was literally shocked at the speed this was going. And the she continued saying that she has to take this matter to her home that weekend. Wow. I was like really WOW! No words came out of me. I don’t know whether they thought about the future or not, or even the present, or the consequences or anything. I don’t know. All I know is that it was pretty fast and the dominoes falling into place, is that the right way? 
P.S. : I am hoping to do much better justice to his though my words. May be next time. I had to get the kick start in writing. Though, this didn’t turned out the way I wanted it to turn out, but still. Anyway, I should have stayed as the voice that doesn’t take form of a person. Well, I hope to do that from next post onwards. 
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