i believe

Spirituality and religion are quite often than not, confused with each other and if not, many times seen as a couple, as if one can’t have one without the other. It is assumed that one needs to be religious to be spiritual and vice-versa.

The truth is that spirituality and religion can surely intertwine and coexist in our lives, but they can also be distinct and detached.

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His story …….. is History
Peter opened his arid eyes and stared at the sky. He could see the countless stars in the sky but his
eyes were gazing at the brightest one which was twinkling.



Peter could recognise and
distinguish the sparkle in this star from any distance. The shine with the
gleam that kept changing from bright to faint, how could he not identify.

************

Peter and Kate had been
madly in love ever since they had met one day in their office canteen. Kate was
the team mate of Peter’s close buddy Deepak and they both had struck a chord from
the moment Deepak had introduced her to him.

Friendship had grown
into intimacy and before they both even realised, it was an unending love that
had blossomed between the two.

The three years of
their courtship bloomed and flowered the understanding and caring between them
and as expected when Peter popped the question, Kate readily accepted.

************

Peter and Kate had
decided and planned every minute details of their impending wedding. Right from
the theme, the guest list, the ambience, the location and the food to
be served, everything was meticulously strategized.

It wasn’t a surprise hence,
that for the family and friends who came to bless the lovely couple who
recollected that wonderful event as one of the best they had ever seen.

Even the honeymoon was planned
much in advance. Peter wanted the most exotic locales in the world to gift the
most memorable first few days of their togetherness to his beloved Kate. What
better option could he think of than the Swiss Alps?

The tickets to the
picturesque Switzerland was a closely guarded secret since Peter knew that Kate
would have discouraged him from spending his entire savings till date on just
those few days. But for Peter, those few days were something he would spend
everything he had. He would rather trade his own life for those precious
moments with Kate.

************

Peter had never
fathomed in his wildest nightmares that it was not his own life that he was
trading but of someone else.

Kate was blown off her
feet when he informed her the wedding night that the next day they were flying
off to Zurich. Seen off at the airport by family and friends, Peter walked into
the aircraft holding Kate’s hands firmly, for the last time ever in his life.

************

Peter and Kate had
checked into the best ski resort at the highest elevation possible, surrounded
by the most impressive large ice fields and high mountains. They had decided to
indulge in a skiing activity the moment they land and so they went ahead as soon
as they checked in.

As they got into their
skiing gear, Kate laughingly joked to Peter that they may never be able to find
or recognise each other ever again fully covered from head to toe. Peter could
not have comprehended that her words would prove so true.

************

That was the last time
that Peter and Kate saw each other. As fate would have it, they went off-piste
and before they knew they were in unchartered territory. It was then that the
avalanche struck.

The warnings signs must
have gone unnoticed or it must have been triggered by some mischief by a few
travellers. Whatever may have been the cause, it was inconsequential since the
consequence was fatal.

Peter remembers nothing
apart from the screams of people around as he saw those massive slabs of snow
breaking loose from a mountainside and shatter like broken glass as they were
racing down at them downhill at lightning speed.

************

As Peter lay there motionless,
all he could see was the quick pile up overloading the underlying snowpack. He
had tried to swim hard, reach for a tree and all that they were told to do in
case of an eventuality. But alas, he didn’t realise that a human body is denser
than the avalanche debris and hence sinks quickly.

The avalanche stopped
in a while as Peter lay there frozen, waiting and hoping for a rescue. More
than a liberation for himself, he was praying hard that his beloved would be
somewhere around waiting for him to come and save her.

When Peter was rescued,
it was already too late. He was paralysed right down from his shoulder and he
was airlifted back to his country by some family members who had flown in.

Peter had no neurological
activity in his brain according to the doctors but his mind was still thinking
of Kate. Nobody ever mentioned a word about her in front of him.

Peter realised that his
beloved could imaginably never be rescued. But he has understood that the
mortal remains of his dearest Kate must be buried somewhere deep inside the concrete
slabs of ice, but her soul is up there in the sky, shining as the brightest
star waiting for him to join her soon in their eternal journey together.

Peter just hopes to
join Kate soon to complete his beautiful story, a story which will be etched
down in memory lanes as history.

************

Epilogue:

Every night, Peter looks
through the window of the hospital bed that has been his home, his abode since
the last five years, and stares at the sky.

He has been lying there
immobile since that fateful day when Kate left him to be far away from him among
the stars in the sky.

Peter opens his moist
eyes and stares at the sky. He would see the countless stars in the sky but his
eyes gaze at the brightest one which is twinkling.

Peter would recognise and
distinguish the sparkle in this star from any distance. The shine with the
gleam that kept changing from bright to faint, how would he not identify. He is
sure, it is Kate.

Peter is “brain dead”,
that’s what the doctors have declared. Lying in a vegetative state since last
five years, perhaps, medically they are right, but what nobody knows is that
Peter is still not “heart dead”.

Every night as Peter
stares at the sky and sees Kate up there, his heart cries out loud. But his
wails can be heard by none. His screams and his moans just dry up in his still pumping
heart without a drop of tear falling down his dehydrated and arid eyes.

Peter closes his eyes
again and his thoughts take him through his painful story all over again; His
story which is now History.

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Absolute serenity with total chaos control
When I passed by Dr.
Ambedkar Road at Parel from Dadar on my way to town, I could not but resist
stopping by at this unique “Chai Ki Dukaan” at this quiet corner opposite
Chitra Cinema.


“Ek Chai Pee ke Jaate
Hai”, I told my friends with me and candidly this was supposed to be just a
quick tea when we stopped by.


Let me be honest to say
that we changed our mood the moment we sat there. The cool breeze blowing on a
sultry summer afternoon as itself a reason good enough to make us drop our
onward journey plans and spend the rest of our evening enjoying the absolute
serenity with total chaos control.


I was quite surprised
to be greeted by none other than the exuberant young owner of this joint,
Sarthak, who explained to me that he planned to change the landscape of Parel
with this first experimental venture of his.



Everything and anything
here is priced at Rs.25/- , Sarthak declared and that was enough for us to
decide that we need to savour everything in the menu that evening, though we
just had a sumptuous meal just an hour ago.
We went for the Kesar
Chai, which sent me down the  memory
lanes of Kolkatta, where I used to love drinking this tea in the clay Kulhads
during my younger days of official tour to this city.



Toast goes well with
tea, that’s a common maxim and they didn’t disappoint on this too. I went for
an assortment of four options, the Kachari Masala, The Jeeravan Masala, the
Dhaniya Chutney and the most common regular Salt and Pepper (Maska) and let me
admit each one scored over the other and I could not really bet on the best of
the four.


We really needed
coolers to wash down the toast and though full in my tummy to the brim, I
ordered for a few varieties which tingled my brains before it did to my taste
buds. Haven’t not tried much of the sherbets in milk base (I had always thought
that it is called milk shakes), I gulped down the Rajbhog Sherbet, the Blue
Lagoon and absolutely tangy Katchi Keri.


I need to confess that
I could not have enough of the Katchi Keri variety and so went for another shot
of the same, but this time in the more traditional water base.



What better way to wind
up than chewing up and paan and not required to spit it out. They had an
amazing array of non-tobacco based varieties and I tried for the Cone Paan
(Gundi Paan) and and the one I had been lamenting of not having been able to
taste for years ever since I had tried it out at Marine Lines, the absolutely
popular Kesar Iced Paan.


“Chai Pe Charcha”, that
evening was surely an advent of “Acche Din” as I sipped on the hot Tea raising
a “toast” to the lip smacking Sherbets.


“Khaike Kesar Iced
Paan”, I was sure “Khul Jaaye band Akal ka Taala”, as I walked out fully
satisfied.

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