Sunday, 21 February 2016

Two Ears

The phone, supported by my hand, was stuck to my ear. A monologue had been going on for about half an hour. The worst part was I had to pepper the conversation with appropriate responses at appropriate moments. I took the phone away from my ear and the volume decreased. I heaved a sigh of relief. But then before the one at the other end could make out that I was missing, I quickly brought the phone closer. I managed to make out a few syllables and grunted in response. The caller was no less smart. She wouldn't continue unless she received a confirmation of the fact that I was clued in on the conversation. I had to employ my greatest powers of concentration and multitasking, and ultimately succeeded in giving myself a headache. By the time the caller had her fill and finally took pity on the poor being that is me, I was reeling under conversational duress, if that is even a term. The #impact of it was such that my mind was heavy with heaven knew what. I felt as if I was undergoing lobotomy. Although I have never had to undergo any such procedure (thankfully!) I assume the feelings would be quite similar, like that of a drill boring into your brain, deactivating and weakening your gray cells.

Is it that easy to disarm people and spoil their ability to think and reason? Is all that is required is concentrated babble or focused balderdash? In that case, we have much to fear from long-winded calls, blaring loudspeakers, cacophonous music, uproarious gatherings, tooting horns and whatever comes within the perimeters of noise pollution. That call I had just been liberated from was not at all unfriendly; on the contrary, my dear unassuming guileless friend was merely recounting her experiences of the day before. However, my arrant disinterest in her affairs sort of contributed to an effect that amounted to psychological stress. That one call had managed to ravel my nerves and entangle the wires of my sanity, thus manifesting itself in a splitting headache and a lasting allergy to any long conversation, ( by long conversation, I mean one that is a conversation only by name and is actually a monologue gift wrapped in a paper with conversation written all over it )

It is like a vicious circle, someone bores and jars you with their constant nattering and your cells respond to the stimulus by throwing a similar verbal missile at someone else, thus continuing the chain of conversational torment. I was actually pretty shaken by the #impact that a phone call with a good friend had had on me. Is it the electronic equipment that’s worsening things or would a face-to-face conversation have the same effect? But I remember having two-hour conversations with my best pals and enjoying every minute of it, hoping for the call to never end. However, this call was not just a wake-up call but a wake-up-and-bang-your-head-on-the-wall call. I realized it was so because I didn’t get to say anything on the phone. She talked and talked and I listened. And that is not what a conversation is about. It is about listening to the other person as well. The word conversation begins with ‘con’ or together. Unless we listen to the other person, a conversation will easily turn into a drilling grueling soliloquy like a lecture except the former will have nothing to offer in the form of value or comfort. I decided then and there to listen to the person I talk to before I speak, instead of waiting for him/her to finish so I can start speaking. After all, we have been blessed with two ears and one mouth for some reason. I suddenly had new-found respect for the ones who work at customer care centres and BPOs. Those guys must be ready to kill at the drop of a syllable.

#Impact #TataZicaMarathon 

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

The Trial

( Winner of the Odd-Even Short Story Contest by Readomania )

It had been about four weeks since they had started going to work together. Arjun would drop Jaya off at her workplace and then go to his own. Jaya had slid into her new lifestyle with a determined air. She clearly remembered how she had opposed the match the first time it had been proposed by her mother.

“I am not going to marry this man!” she had declared.
“And why, pray tell us?”  her mother had countered.
“He laughs way too much. And unnecessarily. He is much too gregarious.” Jaya had complained.
“Oh good lord! Your father didn’t so much as smile at the best of jokes! He didn’t have any sense of conversation. Did I just reject him then?” her mother had shouted. “Here you have a well-to-do man, who is amiable and friendly, looks great and you have a problem with his smile??”
“If she doesn’t want to marry, why are you forcing her?” her father had said in her support.
“It is not about marriage, it is about her high-brow attitude! Who does she think she is? Queen Victoria??” her mother had reached her temper. “She has rejected men outright without even meeting them once! And I wouldn’t have cared had she brought a man of her own. But no! This girl lives in a world of her own! She wants to die an old maid!”
Her mother’s face had gone red, her voice dangerously quiet.
“You do it for their benefit and they shout back at you. This is how today’s children repay their parents.”

Then her eyes had suddenly shone as she came up with a new argument.
“Mark my words!” she had looked at her husband. “This girl cannot live with anyone! She is a loner! A stuck-up old fool! A complete fool to reject a perfect man like Arjun! I don’t think she even deserves him!”

That had touched a nerve in Jaya. Before her father could handle the situation, she had blurted out, “You think I don’t deserve him?! You think I can’t live with a man? Let me give him a chance as you say. I will marry him. If he is able to win me over in three months, then great. Else the burden of a failed marriage would lie on you.”


And that’s how Arjun and Jaya had been married two months ago.

Today, however their travel routine had to change. There was some new scheme about ‘odd-even’ doing the rounds. Apparently, odd numbered vehicles could ply on odd days and even-numbered on even. However, women had been exempted from this rule.

And so the second weekday of the year saw her at the wheel. Arjun stood outside, his smiling face framed against the window of the passenger seat.

“See you in the evening,” he waved and began to walk away.

Jaya put the car into gear and started the engine. Very soon, she had crossed the street and the bus-stop. She saw Arjun standing there. He waved. She smiled back curtly.

Should she ask him to take a cab or something? 
No need. He was a grown man. He knew what to do. And it was no fault of hers that he had to take the public transport. Blame the government. She had no business feeling sympathetic for him.


Tuesday promised to be a normal day. Arjun was at the wheel again and Jaya sat beside him. Despite herself, she felt a little less guilty today. After all, yesterday, the poor guy had to be jostled to and fro in the buses. Today, he could go as usual.  

“What are you thinking?” Arjun asked her, noticing her creased brow.
“Nothing,” she said, putting on her polite mask again.


A week passed and Arjun saw Jaya off at the car again.

“Drive safe. Take care.”

His words seemed to have unseated her. She felt a little uncomfortable.

“Ye--es.” she said.

He started walking away and she quickly blurted out, “You take care too! And tell me when you reach.”

Arjun looked at her, pleasantly surprised. “Yes, yes, I sure will.” he said and waved to her.


On Friday, Arjun left a little early since he wanted to try a new route.
When Jaya got to her office, she wondered whether Arjun had reached. He had taken the metro that day.
As if he had read her thoughts, her phone rang.

“Hello!” she queried into the phone, her heart beating strangely.
“When did you reach?” Arjun’s voice filled her ears.
“A while ago,” she replied.
“You?” she was quick to ask.
“Just. I thought of calling you because there wasn’t much petrol in the car. Did you stop at a gas station?”
“Umm no.”
“I think you should get the tank filled on your way back. Just in case.”


Arjun had a habit of taking her out every Sunday to a new restaurant. When they went this time, Jaya decided to wear the black suit she had worn on Friday. Arjun hadn’t seen this one. He had left for office early that day and she had reached home before him.

They were at the traffic signal, waiting for it to turn green. It turned green thrice and went back to red.

“Phew! Are we never going to get there?” Arjun wondered aloud.

Jaya looked around them. The cars were kissing each other's sides and whatever space was left had been claimed by bikes.

"I think you should plan outings on weekdays now," she said.

"Would you like to have this?" he pointed towards the golgappa stall.
Much to her own surprise, Jaya giggled at the inanity of the suggestion.  

“You know it would be felo de se for me to have a) stuff whipped up from the street grime b) something that would directly hit our throats in the chilly winter.”

“A felo de se! Hmm I see…You dying for my sake? I must be the luckiest man on earth!” he grinned.

Something in his smile caught at her heart. She was surprised to feel a thrill run down her spine and more so, when she gladly acquiesced to his outrageous suggestion.

“All right! Let’s go your way this time, you nutter!” she said in a tone lighter than Arjun had ever heard her use. It brought a warmth to his heart and made him jump, pop-eyed at her #peppy demeanour.

“Are you sure?” he asked, a trifle doubtful.
“Well, do I really have a choice with this hopeless traffic?”  

A few minutes later, when they plopped the crunchy balls full of masala-laced stuffing and spicy water into their mouths, Jaya wincing at the spice spreading its effects all over her throat and Arjun looking adoringly at her, he knew that finally, something had struck home.


“You know, we could let the car be and actually help the cause of reducing pollution.” Jaya said the night before the fourteenth.
“Don’t be idealistic. I don’t want you to face the dust and grime. Not another felo de se! Thank you very much!” he joked.
Looking at her face, framed by tendrils of black hair falling over her forehead, he had an irresistible urge to take her in his arms and express all he had felt for her since the time he had seen her at her house. 

It had been love at first sight. He was just relieved that she had accepted him. But however much he felt for her, he knew she was different. She did not like him as much. Something separated them. 

Now however, he felt it coming loose. Things had finally started to fall into place. It was just very recently that she had started being herself and he could see chinks of her true self shine forth from her armour of pride. He had promised to wait as long as it would take for her to get comfortable, to feel at home with him. 

Jaya had a feeling that Arjun wouldn’t let her take the metro when there was a car and she was even more astonished to realize that she wanted to accompany him at least on the last day of this bizarre scheme that had wrought such changes in her and made her feel things she had not felt before.

The next morning, when she had dressed and was readying herself to leave, she made sure the keys were safely in her drawer. When they reached the car park, Arjun turned to wave her off.

“Oh! I forgot the keys!” Jaya said dramatically, half smiling to herself.
Arjun looked at her, a twinkle in his eyes, “You know you are a bad actor. Don’t even try. Why are you suddenly all bhartiya naari types? Wanting to partake of your husband’s joys and sorrows?” he asked, a laugh in his voice.
“I want to test you, mister. Whether you are capable of taking care of me or not. Whether you are fulfilling your vows or not.”
Something gripped Arjun and he couldn’t help pulling Jaya to himself.
“Testing me, are you?” he quizzed her, his hands around her waist.
“We are at the society carpark, dear husband. Aren’t you forgetting your place?” she asked, her open voice #peppy, giggling and pleasantly inviting.
“You are such a temptress! Forgive me madame! Your charms have made me forget my place!”

At the metro, they stood like college lovers, leaning against the barrier separating the women’s coach from the general one, talking to each other over the bobbing heads of chattering boys and girls.
The disembodied voice announced the approaching metro station.

“Goodbye for now.” Jaya said to Arjun with a smile. The train halted and there was a commotion. But Arjun didn’t move.
“What?” Jaya asked incredulously.
“Let me drop you off first,” he said.
“Don’t be silly.”
But he didn’t move.
“You are such a total nut.” Jaya said, laughing.
“You know what, don’t go.” he suddenly said.

The next station had arrived.

“Have you been to ‘The Garden of Five Senses’?” he asked her as the train began moving again.
“Umm no,” Jaya said, wondering what he was getting at.
“Then let’s go see it.”
“You are out of your mind.” she said, staring at him.
“Oh! Come on! A single day won’t wreck your career! Let’s go, seriously, it will be great.”

Half of him knew that she wasn’t one of those who took on-the-spot decisions or was game for anything and everything, throwing caution to the winds. But the other half wanted to try his luck. Especially now when she had opened up and was willing to extend her hand for friendship.

“And what will you say at work?” Jaya asked softly.
“I will say it’s Cupid calling. Sorry no can do!” he winked.

A spark that had been flickering within her since the past few weeks had now grown into a full-fledged fire. When she allowed Arjun to take her arm and they made their way out of the metro together, she knew something had changed within her. She knew things would never be the same again.

That weekend, they visited many other places that he had wanted her to see, places she always delegated as ‘couple’ places.

“I really can’t believe I am one of those people,” she said while snuggling into him. “Those mawkishly sentimental people who go to mushy places and put up icky selfies.”

But as the weekend drew to a close, she found herself updating her profile picture- a snap of the two of them sharing a chocolate.

So soppy. So sugary. But weirdly she found herself loving it. Whether the odd-even trial had any #impact, she couldn’t say, but the trial she had put Arjun on had stood the test of time.

#Peppy #Zica #Tata #Fantastico #Impact #TataZicaMarathon 

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Some Impact

Some people create history with a single act of theirs. And some with a single book. Harper Lee was one of the latter. A humble tribute to her.
The only author to win a Pulitzer Prize for her first and only novel- ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, she was named after her grandmother Ellen (she was named ‘Nelle’ –Ellen spelled backwards). Her first novel that secured her place among the literary stalwarts – ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ was loosely based on her own life and the kind of goings-on she saw in her neighborhood. Her father, a lawyer had once defended two black men accused of murdering a white storekeeper. Both clients, father and son, were hanged. That apparently was a watershed moment in Lee’s life. The #impact of that incident and its gravity pressed on her young mind, turning the tomboy in her into a deep thinker. And that’s how she gave us TKAM.

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.

These words of Atticus Finch in TKAM never fail to strike a chord within me. True, true and a hundred times true. To stand up for something you believe in. When there is no one on your side but you. That’s courage. You go ahead anyway. That is it.

She had started writing the novel as a series of anecdotes. Though the piece was brilliant, her first draft was not accepted by the publisher. Eventually this first draft or ‘Go Set a Watchman’ was fine-tuned to ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, which went on to create records.  

“I never expected any sort of success with Mockingbird. I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers but, at the same time, I sort of hoped someone would like it enough to give me encouragement. Public encouragement. I hoped for a little, as I said, but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I'd expected.”
-Harper Lee (1964)
Every author’s fear and every author’s dream. Both quite extreme.

Harper Lee’s friendship with her childhood friend and neighbor Truman Capote was a well-known fact what with her assisting him in an article that eventually turned into his best-selling book ‘In Cold Blood’. The character Dill in TKAM was inspired by Capote. On the other hand, Lee has found her way into many screenplays and novels by Capote.

After her first, there were novels she had started working on like 'The Long Goodbye' and one about an Alabama serial murderer, but they remained unfinished. The release of 'Go Set a Watchman', essentially a prequel to TKAM in 2015 was brought about by Lee’s lawyer, Tonja Carter who while re-examining her safe deposit box, found the old manuscript for GSAW. Carter then sent the manuscript for publication and almost years later, Harper Collins came out with it in 2016.

Leading a private life, Lee died on 19 February, 2016 at the age of 89 in Alabama, where she was born and raised. One incident. One book. And yet, the #impact was worth a hundred. Hats off to her! Sometimes I wish the passing away of authors was given a tad more coverage on the tabloid and media.    

“Atticus said to Jem one day, "I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird." That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. "Your father’s right," she said. "Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

Beautiful, isn’t it?

#Impact #TataZicaMarathon

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

A Fantastico Surprise

A muted protest. Subtle symbolism. To show you that it's here. And it's here to stay. No more shall the likes of Alan Turing and Oscar Wilde have to veil their realities. The new age has arrived. Or almost. 

I woke up a few mornings ago, and as my crappy habits go, reached out for the phone. But distinguished from other mornings, this one was pleasanter. 

Why you ask?

No, not because of the 1000+ odd messages from 20+ odd groups awaiting me. I have no patience to scroll up, join the dots and try to figure out some odd ‘unfunny’ story amongst unrelated chats and inconsequential chitchat on the groups. And no, no sweet messages awaited me either. It was just that someone had changed a group icon and installed a new emoticon instead.

I know it is no matter of vital importance but I am a sucker for emoticons. I still have a  soft corner for toys, bunnies, teddy bears, in short anything which reminds me of kidhood. I can still pass a day watching Cartoon Network or Pogo. Trust me, I can. But that wasn’t the #Fantastico part either. What made me rejoice and do a tango in my head was these –

Courtesy of my Whatsapp toolbox

Yes, these new batch of emoticons joining the WhatsApp bandwagon. Many months ago, I had found colored faces on WhatsApp looking at me. Faces, thumbs-up, fists and suchlike. From a dark-skinned thumb to a pale one, there were a couple of shades in between including a golden one. 

I totally loved it. No, it was not a fairness cream advert. Far from it. It was a choice. I so felt like raising a thumbs-up to those techies for doing this. 

Talk about inclusion. Talk about challenging stereotypes. Like Shrek did with the ugly ogre and fat princess. Perfect imperfections. Inculcating it right from the start. Princesses are not just fair. Like. Like. Superlike.  

And today I extend another kudos to them as I see newer emoticons - that of a girl-girl peck, a guy-guy kiss in addition to the regular guy-girl thingy. What's more, there was a whole new family emoticon as well – a brood of two girls and their two kids, another of two guys and their little ones, all besides the regular guy and girl family.

Subtle. Sensitive. Powerful.

You see how intelligent this is? Symbolism is that powerful. Minimalism can be this effective. It takes just an idea, nothing more. Just an idea that can transform ideologies and make you think. Beautiful, isn't it? Oscar Wilde would have been proud. #Fantastico, I say!

It has been 11 years since Brokeback Mountain created waves in Hollywood and won a string of Academy Awards. Since then, we have had our own adaptations and versions of gay rights. I Am, Aligarh, Angry Indian Goddesses, Margarita with a Straw etc. created a new strain of cinema at the box office. Among Bengali movies,  Rituparno Ghosh’s creations like Arekti Premer Golpo, Memories in March and Chitrangada brought about a revolution in cinema regarding sexual orientation. Then there was Naanu Avanalla...Avalu in Kannada that had the actor Sanchari Vijay winning the national award for playing a woman. In the Malayalam film Mumbai Police, Prithviraj is shown having a secret gay past. Shridhar Rangayan’s film Yours Emotionally has explored homosexuality in a different way, exploring the lives of older gay men.

Michael Kirby, a distinguished former Judge of the High Court of Australia and a former President of the International Commission of Jurists who delivered the 2013 Tagore Law Lectures, themed ‘Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity — a new province of law for India’ had publicly shared with the world that he was both homosexual and HIV positive. The effect he had was electric.

Soon enough, Section 377 was decriminalized. Although now we are at another point and many changes are wanting, there is no stopping the world of art from blaring out the truth. We have Shab and LOEV coming. Change is here. Slow perhaps, but sure. Queer is not queer anymore. It's #Fantastico. The changing icons tell the story.

#Fantastico #Zica #Tata #Impact #TataZicaMarathon

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

If Music be the Food of Love…

If music be the food of love, play on.

The words rankled in her mind and painfully clutched at her heart. She quickly started the engine and put the car into gear. She couldn’t stop his voice from echoing in her head. He used to quote Shakespeare whenever she asked him if her #music bothered him.

“You know, my parents used to get fed up of my constant playing. From the guitar to the harmonium to the violin, I would try my hand at everything. And when you don’t know how to play something, the #music that results is just plain horrid! I remember my parents would shout and protest about my unearthly practice timings- sometimes at the crack of dawn and at times, in the deepest nights and then finally beg me to stop.”

Saying so, she would start giggling and he would pull her close to him, take her hands and kiss her fingers one by one.

“You can play as much as you like, as badly or as well as you like,” he would say, making her heart leap like a frog out of a well.

“You haven’t heard me practice, you have only heard me sing. When I practice, I practically bray.”

“Your voice is #music to me. And if #music be the food of love, play on.” That is when he would quote the Bard.

It had been two years, a mere two years since they had met and known each other. It didn’t take them much time to realize that it was a forever thing. And it was during that period that her #music had jumped up many levels. It is often heard that when in love, the art and the #music in you takes a boost and suddenly, life attains a rosier tint. That is how her passion had seen refinement and she had come up with one of her best pieces that had helped her bag her first contract.

Life seemed as if it had finally fallen into place. He was sure that she would make her mark as a great singer in the playback industry.

And that very day, she saw it. Parked in front of her house was a sleek and shiny thing. The #Zica stood there, proud and modish, cute and classy. She had squealed at the sight.

“Oh my God! What is this?”  
“It’s yours,” he had said simply, handing her the keys.
“You are such a total blockhead! You don’t seriously mean it! It is not even my birthday!” she had cried, thrilled and disbelieving at the same time.
“It’s a big day and you always wanted a car. Now go ahead and drive!”

Thoroughly moved and pleasantly surprised, she got into the sleek and zippy #Tata #Zica that stood stylishly in front of them.
The breeze had never felt sweeter as she drove the #Zica all over the city, loving the feel of the steel beneath her feet, the smoothness of the steering, the plush seat hugging her back. She felt as if she was a five-year-old who had been given a free permit to an amusement park. Instinctively, she had landed a kiss on his cheeks drawing stares from the traffic police at a red light.
But then it is probably life’s purpose to remind us that forever is just a delusion.
And so like a flash of lightning, it had happened. When the news of the plane crash reached her, she had dismissed it. It took her a week to accept that her fiance had been in the plane.

All of a sudden, she found that she was alone. He had gone. Left her as suddenly as he had come into her life. The dream life, she had just gotten used to, had shattered like a million shards of glass. She had been left stranded, bereft, completely alone. Without him, she felt like a cipher.

Since then, a mad restlessness had caught hold of her. She could think of nothing but him. All through the subsequent days, she could do nothing but drive madly on ahead. The #Zica felt like the only connection to him- his gift, his love.

The #Zica moved to her commands while her mind followed a path of its own, her eyes raining tears. She let the winds whip her hair into a mess. She let the speed go up to 120. She could hold it no longer, she had to let it loose. His words rang on in her head. Her lips began to move of their own accord, words issuing forth, words buried deep within her, #music trapped in the confines of her being. The notes of her grief rang loud and clear, trying to drown his voice in her head.  

She parked the car at a spot they used to visit together. Opening the door, she let her legs dangle out of her seat and began to strum the guitar. For many hours, she played and sang, the #Zica her sole companion in her solitude.

Her second contract came a few months later. The #music went viral. But she had lost all sense of ambition. All she now cared for was the car that remained a symbol of their love and all the memories of him that had accrued during their happy times together. Now it was just her, the #music and the #Zica, wallowing in his memories.

#TataZica #Music #FantasticoZica #TataZicaMarathon

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Monday, 15 February 2016

The Z Factor

I saw her on the big day. I had heard she would be there. Guys were raving about her, acting frantic. All butterflies and excitement. The way it always happens. There is always a new entrant. Somewhere or the other. And excited whispers are the usual precursors to the debut. I was used to it all. There were always newbies and always the wannabes looking for hot freshers. But this time there was some extra stir. You ask why?
A) It was to be a debutante – a SHE than a HE  
B) She was supposed to be from among us and most importantly,
C) She shared my initials.

My peers couldn’t stop lionizing her.
“Incredibly sexy.”
“Just too hot.”
And worse-
“She is a Z. too!”

I blushed a deep blue, if that could ever be possible.
B. had taken it upon himself to cause me as much chagrin as possible.
“You seem to have a straight claim on her, you sly Romeo! Or Zomeo should I say?”
He tittered. Somewhere within me, old flames flickered.

“She is just like V.” A. said and my head immediately jerked up. 

V.’s name had caused a current to pass through me. While A. kept on about the new-one-on-the-block Z.- her amazing figure, her mind-numbing capacity, her charm, her oomph factor, her sex appeal, I had already lost interest. I was transported to my days with V. 
B. and A. both knew about her. I know A. was just trying to help, trying to make me forget about the mishap and create some interest in me, make me feel alive again. But she would never understand. And I was determined not to be affected. No one could be like V., no one. Whatever A. or B. may say. Whoever this Z. was, she was nothing compared to what V. had been. V. had been the only one. My only one. There would not be another like her.

V. and I had grown close together. We had met in the factory and our love had blossomed in the expo. I still remember courting her in multifarious showrooms. She was beautiful- purely angelic. There was no one like her. 

So, perhaps it was not just fate that she had to go first. I had expected it. She looked better, she was better in almost all aspects. I knew between us, she would have her first shot at employment. That was not what had caused me the shock. What had destroyed me was when a week later, she had been brought in, seriously injured and almost beyond repair. For days, she was operated on. Specialists came and tried but to no avail.

They couldn’t save her. V. perished and with her, I had plunged into an abyss of despair.
It had been a year since I had confined myself to the darkness of the factory. I had lurked in the recesses of the showrooms, praying not to be seen, not to be chosen. I no longer wanted to live. I wanted to be in the factory with her, with whatever had remained of her.

And so I have been here for a year, brand-new, unemployed. Perhaps whoever looked at me understood by the looks of me that I was a lost cause. It actually came as a surprise to me when I was selected to go for the expo. It was usually for the new entrants. But I guess I was still new or unused in any case…


I was with my kind, next to B., who was next to A.. I was trying to block B.’s constant rant about Z. and her killing features.
“How many times do I tell you that I don’t want to hear about this damned Z.! Will you PLEASE FOR MAN’S SAKE STOP?” I cried, my temper at the nadir of my patience level. 
B. and A. piped down immediately.

And then it happened. 

I saw her. 

Z. She had been put on a pedestal and I had to turn slightly to look at her. 
Something flared within me. I looked elsewhere. But the picture wouldn’t go. Her #impact was unnerving. She was pasted on my mind. There was something unique about her, a freshness, a vibrancy, a certain brio in her that set my fuel on fire. It popped into my head the instant I looked at her. I just couldn’t get at it. What was that word? I scrambled around for it. What was it?

This new Z., a part namesake of mine, was chattering excitedly. My heart lurched unexpectedly. She was just so full of life, so very bubbly and perky and…#peppy, yes! That was the word! #PEPPY! She was #peppy, young, zippy. She was full of zest. That made me smile. #ZEST, shit, she had in spirit what I had in name.

I looked at her for a long time. She was surrounded by eager onlookers, ogling eyes, desirous faces. Some of them were her future drivers and some of them were my silly lovesick companions. Okay, I must admit Z. was pretty. She was young, stylish, smart, beautiful, zippy, #peppy…yes…#peppy obviously! Her infectious energy and enthusiasm had imbued me with a strange feeling.

The next few days saw me chattering animatedly with her. She was nice to talk to, a #peppy chirpy soul, a lovely compatriot. A. and B. couldn’t stop giggling. B. was definitely singed to his metal skeleton. Fumes would probably emanate if his bonnet was opened and checked. I smiled to myself. I was Z.’s best companion as of now, leaving B. and the rest green-eyed. If I now went to them, I would be teased like hell, I knew.  

Being with Z. was so invigorating that I was almost afraid of falling for her.
And then it happened. What I had always feared. She left.

One fine day of the expo, someone took a mad liking to her and she was sold. My panes were beginning to gleam with tears as the ribbons on Z. shimmered. 

Despite myself, I had fallen for her, knowing it was highly probable that she would go. She was the star of the show. It was her launch, after all. And yet, I had the imbecility to fall in love. 


The ribbons were cut and she was driven away, leaving me stranded, empty once again.


“I want this one. It looks sturdier, you know.” Mrs. Gupta was telling her husband, pointing towards the blue #Tata #Zest.
“So you don’t want the new #Tata #Zica?” Mr. Gupta queried.
“Obviously I like the #Zica but I think it’s more suited for Rahul. Why don’t we give it to him?”
“You sure you want this one?” Mr. Gupta’s interest had now shifted to the #Zest.
“I think so, yes.”
The salesmen had now predictably begun to extol the virtues of #Tata #Zest.

In another world, four cars waited with bated breath to hear the verdict of their futures. #Aria and #Bolt looked on while #Zest and #Zica were endlessly debated and discussed.

“I think we better take both of them.” Mr. Gupta said and signed a cheque while four souls nearby rejoiced.

The outcome of it all was that both the cars found their way into the Gupta garage.

The end of the expo saw #Aria and #Bolt waving the new couple off to a blissful life. They were glad that #Zest had finally overcome his grief over #Vista.

Some love stories do end on a happy note. Like the #peppy #Zica with the bold #Zest.

#PeppyZica #ZippyZica #FantasticoZica #TataZica #TataZicaMarathon

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.