No rain is good fortune

It’s monsoon time in India and being an agrarian economy after 60 years of independence all eyes are on the skies.Monsoon is delayed by two weeks.

The Television channels are blaring out forecasts and interviews by the dozens,the leaders are giving hopes,The Met department is correcting itself a thousandth time  ,The stock market is shaking,The priests are performing Yagnas,The professors are lecturing on theories of poverty,the corporates are keeping an eye on the Macro environment……….the farmer is praying for mercy,he is scared.It is business as usual.

In the morning today my 4 year old son was singing a rhyme :

Rain Rain Go away

Come Back another day

Little Johny wants to play

Like a lightening it flashed my mind,I thought about all the Little Johny’s in this big country of mine who want to play if it does not rain.I realized that they would be  chanting the same Mantra albeit with a sinister design.

No rain or drought does is not actually bad.It spells great fortunes and goodness for a variety of reason for all sections of our imbalanced society.

I would say broadly everyone benefits from a drought sans the farmer.Its just the Question of changing your attitude and looking for opportunities where ever they exist. Let’s make a list to further build upon this great Aha :

The Gods : Folks who would never bother to bow their heads in front of temples become overtly religious overnight.They offer prayers,prasadam and other goodies to the almighty and seek their favor.Going by the Geeta when Arjuna ask Bhagwan Krishna O knower of all things please tell me what do you eat ? Bhagwan Krishna replies I eat Bhaav ( emotions ) of my Bhakts       ( followers).So clearly it is a feast for the Gods.

By making sure that Indra stays at home they can continue their party.And believe me if the followers pray from the heart the food gets even tastier.

I don’t want to annoy the almighty so I will quickly move to the next one who will smile even if you throw your shoe at them.

Politicians : After gods who else ? Demi Gods.They are the biggest beneficiaries of this largesse from heaven.The best thing is that the politicians benefit regardless whether they are in power or in opposition.You must be thinking I’ve lost it.But think again – If you are in power you get yourself photographed with emaciated farmers a few times and waive off all outstanding loans to ensure that you are back in power.The Dogs have to be faithful to their masters.

And If you are in opposition you can always blame the misfortune of the current chief  minister which has befallen on the janta(public) and proclaim that the only way out of hell is to vote against the wretched man.Even the Gods don’t like him and they are punishing you for the public for his misdeeds.The opposition has a very good chance of coming back to power if the Government in power cannot arrange for the ransom money in condition one above.

If monsoon fails for two consecutive years the government will most certainly fall.

Police : It’s  hay day for them too.Drought means more fights,more andolans ( crusades),more people fleeing the hinterlands and flodding the slums,more black marketing, more crimes  and everything else that desperate people do.And desperate people also pay a lot of money to get out of desperate situations.

From the money made over the years and your unquestioned access to power you have more often then not managed vast tracks of well irrigated lands which will produce what ever the market demands.Even the Gods can’t touch the rich and mighty.A shortfall translates to premium.It is demand and supply – simple.

People may not buy clothes,they may not entertain themselves,They make stop sending their children to schools but they will certainly eat.So go ahead make money.Nothing personal against anyone.

Media – Oh my God ! how tragic is this scene the otherwise plastic face of the anchor will anounce.

A mother is mourning over the dead body of her only son.They had nothing to eat for days and they kept themselves alive by eating leaves of plants but even they dried up this season.The camera pans left and you have the dead body with a tight close up of the howling mother ,the camera pans right and you have long shot of the dried and barren landscape for miles on end.

Don’t get scared there is a disclaimer  that some of the scenes may disturb you.And you say No way.I have seen worse – Last time when you showed us that amazing video of parts of the body blowing away from a train in motion in Mumbai I  tried to calculate the speed of the train and the speed at which the parts were blowing out to understand the concept of relativity.

One mans’ folly is another man’s fortune.The adage cannot have a better example that the media.When hunger strikes , the poor will hang themselves or starve to death and both will present an unsurpassed opportunity for the media to make the most of it.

In today’s newspaper Shekhar Kapoor says ” We are all vouyers ..” and nothing can be more gratifying than watching a man die while you finish your 4 th course and thank good heavens that the face on the Tv screen was not mine.

At the awards Ms . Dutt can walk away with all the kudos for showing the “reality” so sensitively.

I strongly feel we should have ” reality show” if it does not rain this time.

We can have ten families fight with hunger,pain,humiliation and disease every night on prime time.It will be Mega Final when finalistwill die on the stage just when he was going to get the cash prize of Rs100000 from Bill Clinton.Everyone will be crying but you will be laughing your way to the bank.I am telling you you can rake in millions with this baby.

Anyways lets move to a more sophisticated set.

Professors : Poverty strikes a chord with the audience immediately whether it is governments or corporates or the general Public.Talk about it and link it to your theories of wealth distribution and the noble prize is yours for the asking.It is important to maintain a certain ‘look’ so it seems that you are one of the impoverished souls from your doctrines; its just that you have better clothes to wear.If you can muster a tear or two while emotionally explaining the irony of the situation,nothing like it.You can tell  Dr . Singh over high tea  about your plan to do away with poverty and he will be so impressed with it tha he will make  you the Chairman of  the steering committee on Poverty and Drought relief.Its your choice the if you steer everyone towards or away from it.

Some fools may wonder that with so much Gyan(knowledge) available for free why millions die of hunger every year.But Like I said they are fools and they will not invite you to guest lectures at Harvard and Stanford nor offer you publishing rights for your next rambling”What poverty.Let’s Party !”

So don’t bother Rock on .

Priests -You stand to gain the maximum.Who bothered about doing homas and yagnas ( rituals ) in good times.Now you can really make use of your cellphones and the Mobikes chanting Gayatri Mantra from one Kalyan Mandapam to the other.God called me and said that he is very angry this time so we need to do the Koti Sahastra Maha Paropkari Yagna.It requires the sacrifice of a 100 cows,1000 kgs of Pure Ghee(purified butter) , 5 tonnes of firewood,1001 kgs of Ladu prsadam and 51 pundits chanting shlokas for 555 hours at a stretch.You can always change the merchandise mix depending on who gives you the maximum commision.

Another big source of revenue is predicting the future.It will It won’t.It may , it may not.Astrology is the best source of comfort in times of uncertainty and by saying something as vague as Water Water everywhere but not a drop to drink you can get away with either outcome.”Ghor nahin Ghanghor Kaliyug hai Bhai”

Then there are small links in this big chain of prosperity :

District Magistrates,officers and Babus – Drought relief from centre,Aid from world bank.Donations from HNI’s ( high net worth individuals).Its raining Money,Money Money !!

Engineers and Overseers – New plans for building dams and canals.Another portion of the house can be completed this year and given for rent with which you can pay the engineering fees of Munna.

Traders,Pawn Brokers and money Lenders – Who said cash crunch is bad.Its damn good.If it does not rain you can always double the interest rate from last year.And whatever mortgage is there from last year is obviously yours as no one will be able to pay up.

NGO’s – with so much coming in as donations you can finally shift to your new offices at Nariman point with a view of the Arabian see.Tell Papa I have arrived in a noble fashion.

And yes it’s time to change your old Fab India Kurta.Someone was saying you smell bad.Tell them you don’t get time to change your clothes doing community service and there is no water to wash clothes.You have to use tissue …..even though you are a Kanyakubja Brahmin.After all you work in drought affected areas.

Lastly a small business can also come to the lowest in the hierarchy the undertakers – when so many die you can up charge for performing the last rites before the body starts to rot and smell.

** Disclaimer – this part may disturb you**

But why did you read it ? I said ” we are all voyuers ‘ .Aren’t we ?

Appraisals can make or break companies

Going through the humiliation of the Appraisal Process one wonders why they needs to be subjected to this barbarous act with tyrannical overtones in which personal dynamics or organizational realities are charaded  as performance measurement.

The above  can be aptly demonstrated by picking up the data of Good,Better and Best ratings of the last two years.Do employees who were “best” until last year have suddenly lost it to be rated as just OK or even poor this year.It is not the employee but the economy which is under  performing and wants to loose excess baggage for a tough uphill climb.

Having been through the grind from either side of the table for a number of years now I have realized that while the purpose of a performance appraisal is to”motivate” the employee for performing better in the coming year it most often  ends up as  a fault finding mission in which your boss frames you for crimes uncommitted for justifying a rating already conceived.

Data is twisted beyond recognition.If you are blessed , only those numbers will get highlighted which are in your favor and if you have rubbed the powers that be on the wrong side you may suddenly notice that the bars are smaller,the trend lines have a downward slope and you are falling behind everyone else like never before.

Before my motivational speech turns into a personal rant I would jump to the obvious question What’s the solution ?

To answer this we will first have to look at the cause of the problem.While organizations lay down seemingly fair ways of performance appraisal clearly defined by systems and methods it is ‘people’ who have to execute the process.We have to realize that organization is nothing but a group of people and people are humans who will have all the limitations of being one.They have egos when it comes to subordinates,jealousy when it comes to peers, and malice towards anyone who can take up their slot in the short run.I will give you a few examples to demonstrate why and how the system fails :

1.The rating of a yes man is always better than those who speak their own mind even though every official publication will talk about innovation and new ideas.Remember ‘The boss is always right’ .

2.Every time your boss recommends a promotion you come closer to becoming him especially if he is not moving up so he is perfectly justified that you are frozen in time too

3.The organization is visibly owned by nobody and so there is no point in putting too much premium on performance. Underachievers consistently  demotivate their team members to under perform  so they can never come close them in the hierarchy.Very difficult to prove but easy to to get away with.Appraisal happens once a year but the bosses can slow poison everyone around them every day.

So what should be done ?

OBJECTIVES  HAVE TO BE AS SPECIFIC AS POSSIBLE

METRICS HAVE TO BE AS NUMERICAL AS POSSIBLE

APPRAISALS HAVE TO BE AS OBJECTIVE AS POSSIBLE.

The process has to be fair but more significantly it has to APPEAR to be fair.

It is very important that an employee understands the rating process and agrees to his rating.Unless they own their performance the whole purpose of conducting an appraisal is defeated.It is even more important that the areas of improvement and gaps in performance are well identified and specific measures are outlined to make sure the next years rating can be improved.You are successful as an appraiser only if you can get enhanced results from the Appraisees in the coming year.In fact there should be a penalty on those bosses whose teams ratings keep falling each year.

To ensure the above progress needs to be reviewed every quarter to take away any surprise element at the time of final assessment.

An appraisal that’s fair and well conducted will most certainly inspire the employee to do better.On the other hand an appraisal badly done can ruin the employee as well as the organization.

Some organizations do exceptionally well than the others – now you know why.

It is the Appraisal.

Would leave with parting lines from Marcus Aurelius ;

A man has to stand up straight,not straightened.

I have no friends or enemies

कोई दोस्त है न रकीब है,
तेरा शहर कितना अजीब है.                               Hong Kong.php

यहाँ किसका चेहरा पढा करूं,
यहाँ कौन इतना करीब है.

मैं किसे कहूं मेरे साथ चल,
यहाँ सब के सर पे सलीब है

वह जो इश्क था वह जूनून था,
ये जो हिज्र है ये नसीब है.

तुझे देख कर मैं हूं सोचता ,तू हबीब है या रक़ीब है,

तेरा शहर कितना अजीब है

There are no friends or enemies

How strange is this city of yours

Whose face should I read now

I have no one who is close to me

Whom should I ask to come along

All of them have their own cross to bear

The affair that I once had was an obsession

This longing which I have now is my destiny

Looking at you, I can’t make up my mind

If you are really a friend or may be an enemy of mine

The Ghazal has always been very close to my heart but for some reason it has been the top of my mind these days.

At a point you do realize the relativity in relationships and the fact that the only thing  static,absolute and changeless about you is yourself.

मेरे पेड मेरे दोस्त

मेरे पेड मेरे दोस्त

हर रोज़ सुबह                                                       My green tree

जब मैं घर से बाहर जाता हूं

अपनी हरी पत्तियों की मुस्कुराहट लिये

तुम मुझे छोड्ने के लिये खडे रह्ते हो

सच पूछो  तो बस तुम ही एक साथी हो मेरे

क्योंकि तुम मुझे समझते ही नहीं हो

मेरे साथ बांटते हो मेरे सुख और दुख

जब मैं उदास और निराश होकर

अपनी कार का दरवाजा बे मन से खोलता हूं

तो लगता है कि तुम भी खडे हुए हो चुपचाप

और जब मैं जोश से गुंगुनाते हुए

कार के शीशे में अपने आप को देखता हूं

तो तुम सिर हिला कर कह देते हो

हां भई बहुत अच्छे लग रहे हो

मज़ा तो तब आता है जब देर रात मैं

नशे में चूर कार में चाभी नहीं लगा पाता

और तुम मुस्कुराकर मुझे चिढाते हो

लेकिन सच केहना मेरे यार

कल रात जब मेरे पैर लड्खडाये थे

क्या वो तुम थे जिसने मुझे

गिरने नहीं दिया था …..

My tree My freind

Every Morning when I go out

You are there to see me off

With your smiling green leaves

Honestly you are my only true freind

you not only understand me well

but you are always there for me

To share my Joys and my Sorrows

When I open the door of my car

with an indifferent mind

You stand there in silence

When in a cheerful mood

I hum a song and take look at myself

in the rear view mirror

you smile and tell me

It’s Ok you are looking just great !

In the middle of the night, Inebriated

when I struggle with my car keys

You scoff at me and I laugh with you

Don’t lie to me my dear friend

Tell me the truth

yesterday at night when I stumbled

and was about to fall

Was it not you who reached out

and did not let me hurt myself.

(We’ve) Lost that Loving Feeling

In the year 1977 my father traveled to Europe.He had been awarded a scholarship by WHO to do research at a lab in Malmo,Sweden.I was just 6 years old at that time.It was a 1 year project but I believe he wrapped up a bit early as he was sick of living all alone in a strange land with no one to talk to.Looking at foreign microbes,sashaying along air conditioned corridors,staying in a 15×12 hostel room at the medical college and eating boiled food was not his idea of success ,I believe.

In the year 1978 he returned home.He came back with suitcase load of goodies that he had written about on picture postcards that were handed over to us by the postman day after day and week after week.We were not sure if we were more happy at Papa coming home or with all the gifts and Toys that he had brought us.I remember I felt lucky that we had both.

In his Baggage was strange equipment to play Music.We had so far seen only a tape recorder and a transistor but this thing had all three play back modes available at that time together.It had a transistor,a tape recorder and an LP disc player.We christened it the “3 in 1″.We had a few cassettes that Papa got along with him and the transistor played Vividh Bharti without any options.The problem was the LP player.With a round turntable and a needle to go with it this was the most intriguing part of the 3 in 1.Even my father did not know how exactly it went about churning notes from thin air as the Vinyl disc rotated in circular motion atop the turn table with the silver needle scratching its surface.

One of the songs that Papa had recorded perhaps on a  lonely night in his hostel room was a song by Righteous Brothers.It was called   ” You’ve lost that Loving feeling”Even though I did not understand the meaning of the song I liked it a lot for some strange reason.The voice of the singers was deep and laden with sadness,the notes were perfectly arranged and I just loved the Saxophone , the drums,the cymbals and the bass guitar which made its presence felt in the background….Tum Ta rum Ta rum Ta rum.

Its a beautiful song.In case you really like it and wish to sing along Pls follow You tube video :

30 years down the line I know exactly what it means when your partner does not close her eyes when you kiss and how the tenderness in her fingers is lost.

Innocence is a great gift and even the most painful facts of life can be enjoyed if one does not understand their ugly nature.I guess that is what keeps taking us back to our childhood.

I wish I never loose that Loving feeling but the years keep adding up and something beautiful keeps dyin‘  within me.

The song is also sung wonderfully by Elvis Presley.Later Westlife came up with their version too.

And here’s the one by Tom Cruise in Top Gun.

Beautiful Miss Grover

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell, where his influence stops. ~ Henry Brooks Adams

Gautam was confused like all other boys in the class.But like all other Boys in the class he never shared his doubts with anyone and pretended to know everything about being a ‘man’.At 16 he was struggling to find his place in the world and everyone around him was denying just that.When he wanted to play as he used to do when he was younger, he was told “till when are going to jump around like a monkey.Grow up,be a man.” And when he wanted to share his thoughts with his father or other elders he was shot down ” Don’t try to act over smart.This is not the age for you meddle in our affairs.Go and play with your Friends”

There was an unstoppable urge to prove himself.He was full of energy and enthusiasm,of new ideas and ways of doing things but no one seemed to notice or even bother to know what he was thinking.Even when he tried hard all that they would do is mutter a cursory “Yes,Yes I think its a great idea” all the while looking busy with something or someone else.

Suddenly he felt he was getting pulled by the opposite sex.The same silly things that girls did and he had made fun of intrigued him now.His idea of beauty which was earlier limited to Flowers,rivers and mountains expanded to include female of the species too.They were special among Gods creations and he wanted to look at them more and more.There was a strange mystery that enveloped everything that the girls did.Did they dress up to cover themselves or to reveal something exotic,Did they hide their smile to avoid other people knowing that they were amused or they wanted other people to entertain them so they can hide their smiles,Was the girl next door interested in him or she just found him ‘interesting’ ……

He had so many questions but no answers.He did not even know whom to ask.Being in a “boys” school had further complicated matters.Boys schools are typical places – everyone wants to know but no one wants to ask.Everyone does it but no one tells.Every one is afraid but no one will say.After all they are all Men !

One morning it was announced by their class teacher that she was leaving as her husband has got transferred to another town and very soon there would be another class teacher who would be taking charge.It makes no difference to me ,Gautam had thought.Few days passed and one day the Principal announced that Miss Grover would be their new Class teacher.She would be joining on the 15th of June which was a week from now.

It was another dull and boring day ahead in school and Gautam was  preparing himself for the drag.Just then he felt as if there was a very sweet smell that was filling up the room.He looked up as he was busy arranging his books as per the days schedule.There was a women in her early thirty’s wearing a pink saree standing in front of him.She was beautiful – like the river that comes down from the mountains and nourishes the tree that bears the fruits and flowers.She personified his idea of beauty and answered many of his questions without saying a word.She asked in a casual tone ” Busy??” .

Gautum stood up in a hurry and noticed that all other boys were standing.

With a sorry look on his face he answered “No,No Mam not really.I didn’t notice when you came in.I am very sorry.”

She kept looking at him and asked “There is nothing wrong with that.You did not notice me enter the class as your mind was focused on what you were doing?”

Gautam was dumbfounded.He kept staring at her.

She turned around and addressed the class” When you do something,make sure you give it your complete attention.Focus on it  even if it means loosing sight of everything and everyone around you.This is going to be my first lesson for all of you and we must thank Gautum for helping us understand this great idea.”

How did she know my name ?Gautam had wondered and kept his curiosity till the end of the class when he checked with Arindam his neighbor.

“.She kept standing there and you did not notice.Then she asked me your name .What do you think,the Principal told her about the brightest student in the class Mr Gautum ?”sneered Arindam.

Gautum smiled sheepishly and cursed himself for being so absent minded.

School was not such a bad place after all these years.Gautum realized that he
had started looking forward to each day so much that he felt bad if there were holidays.It was a pain for him to pass the a day and a half when the school closed for the weekend on Saturdays.Miss Grover looked even more beautiful with every passing day.She had an impeccable dress sense and she always matched her accessories with her dresses which were mostly Sarees and Salwar suits.She had big brown eyes which she always accentuated with eye liners.Her long dark hair complimented here flawless skin tone perfectly.She was simple but still very attractive.Gautum used to think.He kept looking for a word to describe her and had settled with “beatific” though he felt she was better than that.

English became his favorite subject and Gautum worked very hard on it.He learnt all the poetry in the”Radiant English Reader” by heart and would borrow only poetry books from the school library all the time.Keats was his favorite poet.He liked him so much that sometimes he thought that he must have been Keats in his earlier birth.Keats gave expression to all his emotions attraction,love,longing,desire and failure.

Gautum confessed to himself that he was in love with his teacher.But he did not know with whom to share this forbidden secret.He just studied hard and kept working on his English.It was the only way to get close to his “special friend” as Miss Grover used to call herself when she was talking to Gautam.He would have given anything to be close to her and when she would pat her back or ruffle his hair for getting the highest marks in class he would be in seventh heaven,in a world of his own creation.

Books,Poetry,Studies,Songs and Miss Grover were all part of this voyage of self discovery..His friends who were his closest pals till now were a bunch of fools goofing around doing nothing.He thought of them as insensitive,unintelligent beings who did not have a heart for love or a mind for poetry.They were immature.His friends rebelled  and called him names – Bookie,Teacher’s pet even Miss Gautam!! But Arindam was different.He was Gautum’s best friend because he was sensitive,smart and intellectual or may be he was all these because he was Gautum’s best freind.Whatever the case but  they got along quite well.They studied together,watched movies together and read books that they recommended to each other.Sometimes during exams they even stayed over at each others place at night for co – study.

During one such stay over Gautum had shared his deep secret with Arindam.He admitted that it was wrong for him to think like this but he just could not help himself.He asked Arindam if he thought that she liked him more than the other boys in the class.Arindam said he wasn’t sure as she was quite friendly with all of them but she did seem to have a special place for Gautum in her mind.They had concluded that teachers do have ‘favorite students’ and it did not mean much if Gautum was one of them.Miss Grover was like a Goddess of beauty and love and Gautum was just like any other slave who could secretly wish for her but would be condemned to death if someone found out.The heart melted with few nights of tears on the pillow and gave in to the  reasoning of the mind.The “Secret” was dead and buried.

Both Arindam and Gautum passed out of the Centenary Boy’s school the next year.Gautum had stood first in School closely followed by Arindam.They had remained chums ever since.

40 years later Gautum was a highly respected Journalist and Writer.He had written several books of poetry,short stories and besides being the editor of a national news channel he was working on his first Novel.It had been quite a sensation when a leading publishing house had offered Gautum 1.5 million dollars as signing amount for something he had just begun working on.Life had not been so kind to Arindam and he had chosen to stay back in the city where they spent their childhood.He worked as the editor of a small local newspaper.

Gautum was visiting his home town and had spent the evening at Arindam’s place staying back for dinner.He had some meetings in the morning so he had moved out early morning to get ready at his hotel.Gautum  planned to fly out in the evening after the work he had was done.

It was around noon when his cell phone rang.

” Hi Gautum.What time is your flight back to Mumbai?”It was Arindam’s familiar voice on the other side of the phone.

“It’s at 4 PM.Why ?” said Gautum.

” Can you come to my house as soon as possible?It’s kind of urgent.”

“I will be on my way in 5 minutes.What happened??”

” I will tell you when you are here.I need to fix something’s fast.I have no time.I will wait for you”said Arindam and kept the phone down.

Gautum asked the Hotel to arrange for a cab immediately and rushed towards Arindam’s house.All the while he had terrible thoughts running through his mind.He did not wait for the car to pull over and stop completely  and jumped out as soon as he reached the house.As he stepped in he saw Arindam talking to someone over the phone.He looked animated and worried but calm.It gave some respite to Gautam.

“What’s the matter ?What happened? shot Gautum as he placed himself next to Arindam.

” You remember Miss Grover?.I just found out that she is in the hospital and there is no one there to look after her.I was speaking to the Doctor and he said that there is very little chance for her survival.”

“Yes I do.” said Gautum conscious of not letting his blood gush to his face and ears.

” She suffered a stroke last night.Her brain is half dead by now and there is a small chance that she might pull through if she gets to see something or someone she really likes or loves.I have asked the Doctor to do his best.The problem is that she has no one in the family.Her husband died a few years back and they never had any children.I do not know anyone else in her family and even if I did who would bother about an old dying women in a hospital.”ended up Arindam with a sigh.

“Lets go and see her.” said Gautum without an expression.He was trying hard to fight the tears which had swelled in his eyes by now.

Arindam had already arranged for shifting the patient from the Goverment Hospital so they rushed to Apollo.Incidentally the head of Neurosurgery was Dr.Gupta or” Gupt Gyan” as he was fondly known in their school  due to his mastery of the subject of Sex.Arindam had informed Dr .Gupta already and when they reached he was standing next to the bed on which Miss Grover was.There were all kind of medical entrapments attached to her body monitoring every move.The problem at this point was that there were none.

Dr.Gupta shrunk his shoulders before he held out a hand towards Gautam.He seemed to be pleased to be meeting an acclaimed author more than he was at meeting an old friend.Gautam held out his hand and said “Hi” glancing over to the bed which was placed along one side of the room.

“Is she responding to anything” checked Arindam.

“No.We have tried our best.It is only a matter of time.Let us hope for a miracle”

Gautum had reached the bed by now.He was looking at the tired old body of Miss Grover.Her hair were almost all white,her skin pale and yellow and her face was devoid of any expressions.But there was something in her eyes that was not letting Gautum pull away from her.It was deep ,very deep.He could almost hear a voice “Gautum.I am proud of you.I can bet with anyone that one day you will be the biggest author in the country and all of us will read your books.Don’t worry what everyone says just keep writing.I am there.”

The same mouth was speechless, the same lips were silent,the same body was lifeless.The spirit which had inspired a 100 Gautum’s was going to let go into oblivion.

” We will take you home.”whispered Gautum as he bent down and came close to her ears.He was looking straight into her eyes now.

As he  gazed at his dying teacher in a trance like state.He wanted to tell her “Look who is here.It’s Gautum.You always said that I will become a great author and I have become one.Wake up Mam.Wake up and tell me which one of my poems did you like my most,which character of mine you fell in love with,Which story brought tears to your eyes and shook your heart.”

He wanted to relive the past and ask her “Wouldn’t you get up and pat my back and ruffle my hair once more.You just can’t ignore me now.Tell me if I have made a good impression on you.Tell me that I deserve all the fame and success that I have earned.Tell me that I have made you proud .Please ,Please don’t fail me another time.”

Gautum held Miss Grover’s frail hand as these thoughts ran through his mind.He did not realize when he broke down .Arindam and Dr. Gupta looked at him with surprise.They did not understand what was happening although Arindam had some idea.

Arindam walked towards the bed and kept a hand on Gautum’s shoulder.He looked up at Miss Grover’s face.She was looking at Gautum with love in her  eyes.For a moment he felt that her face had changed and she looked the same as she used to 40 years ago.

He saw an eyelid flicker as he went closer to headboard and  wondered if the instruments were showing any signs of life …..