A day without my cell phone

I woke up on a Friday morning at 11 am.
Sounds strange? Shouldn’t I be at work or at school or doing whatever I do? Well, this happened when I was in class 9. It was a warm day in mid-feb and my grueling exams were approaching. They started as soon as Monday and our school had been generous enough to give us a preparation leave on Friday-to study. Most of the students whiled away their prep leaves on the phone or on facebook or doing everything but studying. I happened to be one of them. My parents were at work. I had all the freedom I wanted.
So I woke up on Friday morning and with my eyes still half shut and with all intentions of going back to sleep in not more than a few seconds, I unconsciously reached out for my cell phone.
My hand felt the cell phone cover on the bedsheet and picked it up. It didn’t feel like it usually did. It felt so light and soft and..uh oh! This was the point of time when I opened my eyes and saw a sticky note on my empty cell phone cover.
Dear daughter,
 Today you shall study while your cell phone goes on vacation. Don’t bother opening the computer either. Facebook’s blocked for the day. A day without these distractions will do you good.
Happy Learning!
Mom and Dad
PS: Outgoing call service on land line is deactivated. In case of emergency, use neighbor’s phone
What will you do next mom and dad? Rip out my lungs and tell me that a day without air will do me good?
Needless to say, I wasn’t going to be getting any more sleep today.
I wanted to write back. But our postal services were probably cut off too!
This system didn’t really work for me. I knew there was no way I could unblock facebook (how I wish I’d paid attention in computer class) or activate the outgoing calls on the landline. So I decided to tackle the cell phone problem. I started the hunt. I had nothing better to do anyway!
 So I started by looking in my parent’s bedroom, in their cupboards, their medicine cabinet, their bathroom, under their bed sheet, on their workstation. It was like playing hide and seek. It would have actually been fun if it wasn’t my cell phone which was hidden!
By the time I finished with their bedroom, it was 2 pm. It was time for lunch. But hunger was the last thing on my mind. I decided to keep looking.  I looked in our dining room, kitchen, living room, guest rooms, everywhere! But with no luck at all.
It was 6 p.m. by now. This was the time I sat in my room with a book in my hands in order to welcome my parents home!
I heard the key turn in the lock of our front door! They were early. I rushed into my room and grabbed my science book. Ugh! I despised science. I hadn’t paid attention in class or opened my book throughout the whole year. But right now, there was really no time to choose! I opened my book on a  random page, noticing how colourful our science book was.
 And something slipped out and fell on the floor. It was my cell phone!. My cell phone! In my room! In my biology book!
Before I had time to even feel baffled about the situation, my parents who had been standing in the doorway watching me for I don’t know how long went into fits of laughter.
“Oh, I get it! You guys put it in my science book, cuz you knew I would never look there! HAHA! Very funny! I looked for it all day! I couldn’t even eat. See? I didn’t study at all. Your loss!”
They continued to laugh. I didn’t find it funny at all. Infact, I didn’t speak or even look at my parents for the next one week.
Now, 3 years later, when I look back, it actually was pretty funny! They knew I’d never touch my science book. Or even in the wildest, dream of my cell phone being hidden there.
Well, atleast one good thing came out of it!


Bunking School

The cool breeze, the beautiful clear sky, the empty roads.

The freedom you have to go wherever you want, to do whatever you want, the knowledge that no one really knows where you are, the thought of having fooled your teachers, your parents and those foolish children who sat inside school studying.

It was the most beautiful, amazing, marvelous, remarkable, incredible, extraordinary, spectacular thing I knew of. The feeling of Bunking school gave the most heavenly feeling anything ever had..until that day. That day, I learnt one of the most important lessons of my life.

It all started when mine and one of my best friends, Aishwarya’s section got split up in 11th. We just never had enough time to talk! And those 20 minutes of break were just not enough for us!
One day Aishwarya said, “Hey, lets bunk school tomorrow! We can go for a movie, it’ll be so much fun!”

“Bunk School? Hmmm…Oh! you evil genius!”
We had a unit test. And people were allowed to leave the school very easily after a unit test, on account of being sick, or having to go elsewhere, or whatever other excuses you could think of. And since Aishwarya and I were in different sections, no one would really get suspicious!
So that was that. We got out of school very easily. I had dance rehearsals, and Aishwarya was sick. Pretty genuine right?

The minute we were out, we were jumping, shouting, yelling, screaming! We were bunking school. And at that time this idea for some reason really fascinated me.

That day we really wanted to go for a movie. And it wasn’t just something we wanted, we CRAVED it. You know the kind of cravings that you get in the middle of the night for brownies and icecream. That kind.

So since select citywalk was walking distance from our school, we decided to go there. We got there, having already decided what movie we wanted to watch. But when we reached there and walked up to the entrance, the guard said “No, NO. Uniform. NO NO.”
What? Not allowed to enter the mall just because we were in our uniforms. What happened to democracy? Anyways, we tried to talk the guard into letting us in, but that didn’t work out too well. He was one of those migrants of delhi who couldn’t speak hindi and spoke very little English. Only they know how they survive here.

Anyways we turned around, thinking of what we should do next. We decided to go to PVR Saket. So we found an auto and off we went to PVR Saket.
By this time, we were already dreaming of nachos an ice teas, which happened to be a regular at each one of our outings. Anyways we reached PVR Saket, and walked towards the ticket counter. We found their movie schedule and decided which movie we would go for. The movie was scheduled to start half an hour from now. Until then, we would go to Planet M and shop for DVDs.  And maybe step into McDonals for the Ice Tea.

So I went upto the ticket counter. 2 tickets for Bounty Hunter please.
Maam, sorry, but that’s an adult movie.
So what? We’re adults!
That was when Aishwarya came up behind me pulling me away..”umm..Payal..we cant lie today about being over 18. We’re in our uniforms!”
Oh crap! I’d completely forgotten about that.  Now since there was no other show for any movie that we wanted to see soon enough, there was no point in hanging around at PVR Saket.

So anyways, we had to decide what to do next. So we thought why not go to PVR Priya. We could still make it there in time. We had time till 2. If we could rush there and find a show that started before 11:30, we could still catch a movie!
Again the déjà vu. So we rushed to find an auto. Right into PVR Priya Complex. To the ticket counter. The movie schedule.There was a show at 11:40. That worked too.
So I asked “Excuse me, 2 tickets for … 11:40 show”
Yes maam, That would be 500 Rs. Aishwarya and I looked at each other and grinned. We got in! We once again started dreaming of the movie, the nachos, the ice tea!

I turned around to take the tickets. But instead of giving me the tickets, the guy said “ Sorry Maam, We cant let you in during school hours. PVR Policy”
Policy? Really? Who the hell came up with this ridiculous idea? Being a student these days was beginning to feel like being an untouchable. And if movie halls stopped serving to students, especially during school hours, then they were kind of losing out on a huge client base there!
So anyways we turned around again, heads hung low, ashamed of being students. I was going to suggest just hanging out here and then going back in an hour, when aishwarya said “What if..we take the metro to gurgaon! They wont have any of this policy there..hopefully!

Yes, lets go to gurgaon. So once again we rushed, another auto ride, another metro ride and another rushing into the mall, rushing upto the ticket counter. By now, it was 12:00.
We both stood there quietly, side by side, looking at the movie schedule, calculating which ones we could go for.
Then we looked at the ticket counter. None of us felt like going up to the ticket counter and being told once again that we couldn’t go for a movie in our uniforms.
So this time we just turned around and left, with dignity in other words, without having to be sent away!

Friends, I learnt two lessons that day:
            Firstly,  There are some things that are not directly in your control. Being born in the 21st century, we have become used to having the remote control of our life in our hands. But when you do encounter these things which you can’t control no matter how badly you want to, be it other people’s emotions or PVR’s policies,  take a step back and think about what you’re doing before you start trying to find ways to find the remote control again. I believe that everything happens for a reason. So maybe all the PVR guys refusing to sell us the tickets was a way of reminding us to rethink our mind-set and realize that there was really no cool factor in bunking school.
            Secondly, If you ever decide to bunk school, do carry a map of the city. It’ll come in handy.


Cluttered Desks, reckless shelves, drawers which look like dustbins..
Shouting parents, maids in a futile attempt to clean your room, sleeping on one side of the  bed with books shoved to the other side..familiar?
Face it we’re too messy, Our desks and dining room tables are piled with things; our  cupboards are bursting with clothes and old things. And with the ethical system telling us to be neat and clean and organized, we feel really bad about being messy.
We feel the need to straighten that mess to distinguish ourselves from animals, or so that other people don’t think of us as animals, whatever the reason may be!

But then again, consider this: 

1.      Humans, like Garfield are messy by nature. They aren’t robots programmed to put things where they found them. Tell me one thing, when you come home from school or work, how many of you actually go and put your bags neatly inside a cupboard or on a table? I’m guessing most of you just dump it the first place you see and then go hunting for it the next morning, My point is that since it comes so naturally to us, we really shouldn’t try to battle such strong and powerful forces of nature.

2.      Being organized is time consuming. Don’t your parents constantly tell you not to waste time? Well, what is the point of tidying up your room, when its likely to be in the same condition in another few hours? Now isn’t THAT a waste of time? Would you believe that people who keep their desks very neat spend an average of 36 percent more time looking for things than people who keep a fairly messy desk?

3.      Neat people are humourless and inflexible prigs.They’re people who seem to have nothing better to do than to spend more time organizing their things than actually using them! On the other hand, messy people signify happiness and contentment and aren’t so crazily obsesses with keeping things in order all the time.

4.      Messy people are more artistic, not that they see the mess on their table and say “oh what a beautiful painting this would make” But they generally have a more artistic sense than people who are neat and organized and prefer having things in order.
5.      Albert Einstein said “If a cluttered desk signifies a cluttered mind, what does an empty mind signify?” Albert Einstein
      wasn’t exactly the neatest person in the world either. This is a picture of his desk
       at Princeton. This just proves that genius=messiness. Now if Einstein, a genius who probably worked more in a 
       day than any of us have worked in our entire lives, could find all his crazy scientific formulas in such a mess, I’m sure our mess is worth keeping. Sure we have more formulas these days than Einstein did in his days, but still!
6.      Did you know that a book has been written called the perfect mess. Even the New York Times had published an article about it. 
       You know how hard it is to get books published these days. And the New York times featured it!  We must give it SOME credit and respect.
So look at the facts. There is no point trying to fight against nature. They are less time consuming. Messiness is a sign of a contented and an artistic mind. Einstein was messy. New York Times published a book on how mess is good.
So tell your parents/spouses to stop feeling bad, there are more urgent things to worry about. For instance, the end of the world in 2012, extinction of the polar bear and global warming. 
Now it is up to you to decide whether you want to clean up your rooms and tables or just remember what I said and say YES TO MESS!


Can you recall the most memorable day of your life ?

It was October 4th, another Sunday, and I was peacefully asleep past noon. my mom was trying to wake me up. On her 50th attempt, in vain she tried, “Today is the last date of registration for the Airtel Delhi Marathon. Sleepy head– did you listen”
To her utter surprise I jumped out of bed.
All charged up!!! I was ready to Go!!!
My parents were in a state of shock and disbelief – My dad said, “you can’t even run 7 steps, let alone 7 kms”.
There were basically 3 reasons that I wanted to go for this marathon.
First, I wanted to prove my father wrong. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than proving my parents wrong.
Secondly, I wanted to be on TV. I knew that there were going to be a lot of cameras there and I had a good chance of being on TV if I went.
Thirdly, there was a best dressed contest award. The best dressed person would get an enormous amount of Rs 20,000. I could already think of what I wanted to do with the money.
I immediately called up my friend, Aishwarya and my brother Anmol called up his friend Ishaan to join the run.
The four weeks flew by and it was Nov 1
I knew the objectives of the day – the 3 things I had to achieve –First things first – sh!!! Sh!!!. Actually I had no intentions to run, not even walk if things turned out my way – yet had to prove my dad wrong.. My Dad wanted me and my friend Aishwarya to stick along with him, but we had better ideas. We just had to get him off our back, but he would not leave us easily.
Just as we were making our way through– my brother and his friend were lost. My dad started calling and looking for them. This was the perfect chance for us to slip away. He called and called on our cellphone but obviously they were on silent.
We knew we could have more fun and enjoy without him – we kept running and gave him no chance to catch up. The only places we paused to catch our breath were TV cameras.
We made it to the finish line. Yes, I managed to run 7 km.
Now to my 2nd goal – I glued myself to the big TV camera – as it would turn so would I, of course my picture came on the same roll as Shah rukh, taken by the same person who took SRK’s picture and even by the same camera.. I got it all here with me and I was on TV. In case you are wondering –“Why I look familiar”, it would be because you saw me on TV that day!
I managed to achieve my 2nd goal but going from camera to camera made me really tired. I sat down to catch my breath. I donot remember when I fell asleep. I dreamt that the marathon was over. It was time for the award ceremony. Everyone was gathered around the big stage and names were being called out. The best costume award goes to “Payal Lal” – I was being handed over the cheque by Priyanka chopra and hundreds of comera man were jostling to click my picture. I was famous. I was on cloud 9. Just then, I was suddenly shaken up and my father woke me up.
Everyone had finished the marathon – it was time to go home.
Friends, it was the most memorable day of my life. Till then, I did not believe that I too could complete a 7 km run – success is about audacity, determination and luck – I had the fortune of all three at the same time because of which I successfully met my goals– in reality or in dreams.