A Girl who had my WhatsApp Back

I love meeting new people but am also a staunch believer, “Not everybody is your friend”. However, with two long years of college at hand and uncertainties of a global pandemic at play; you ought to make some new friends. But even as we begin to befriend online friendships, trust remained out of question for me.

“How do you trust people online?”

TBH, I don’t. She just naturally became a rare exception. And, since writing is the only one way I know of unapologetically expressing my affections and gratitude; here is a small dedication for the friend who finally made me feel at ease in the true sense.

To put things in slight perspective, I had joined the course, after an year of almost isolated environment (limited to my selected few friends and a couple of colleagues and PG co-habitants). Finding myself in a new group that too on my smartphone, unsurprisingly, would trigger the over-thinker.

Having been that annoying front bencher all my life, I had vowed to behave better this time. But, with all these dynamics in play, I didn’t really realise I had unconsciously begin over-compensating with a best version, that was too nice and naive to reflect my real self that also held many flaws and rough patches.

With all of my selected group of best friends in their new jobs, I felt lost as I found myself in a brand new dilemma, struck between my journalistic passion and UPSC aspirations.

So, yes it came as a breeze of fresh air when she generously offered to have my back and begin to understand bits of my case even before I had told. It might sound cheesy but she simply earned a special place in my heart when she went on to defend my case in the group in my absence and politely explained, how being too nice isn’t always too great and I needed to draw certain boundaries as well. I was genuinely overwhelmed with her genuine sense of care that day. In the large group of apparent friends and batchmates, I felt I had found one true friend I intended to keep as she showed that she was one person I could trust to point out my errors and flaws when the day might require.

Surekha – The girl who had my WhatsApp back

In the first week itself, from being one of the first individuals to initiate class conversations to also being the first person to complement my writings, her name was conveniently among the first few I remembered.

Then, one day as we jokingly talked about the perks of having many friends; this fellow specky did struck a chord as she ended up unintentionally hinting that she was among the ones to instead go for those few genuine ones.

She is one girl, I believe I have finally come to trust in the last one month. It might still be too premature to claim a lasting friendship. But, to her credit, she has definitely been a friend to constantly have my back in all these virtual days.

So, yes I don’t shy away from the fact that even when we get to our offline lives sometime and I, insha’Allah, manage to find my way to the studious chambers of our library; she is one of the people I hope to keep on my list of entrusted friends for a long time.

Befriending Online Friendships in the Times of Corona

Many had warmed up to the idea of Facebook friends several years back. Yet, there are also a few of us, who continue to find the entire idea of online friends, a little dicey. Our skins can instantly look flawless with the Insta and Snapchat filters and so can our personalities, behind the shield of chats and online conversations.

But, as Benet Wilson would have probably advised in the pandemic, “Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures.” With the backdrop of COVID-19, finally it was time for our tribe to get comfortable with the idea of befriending some online friendships.

SCS Welcomes It’s 2020 Pioneers

Our, Class of 2020 became the pioneers of online beginnings in the School of Communication Studies at Panjab University; as we got lucky to get our way into the department without the drill of entrance, GDs and interviews. Some came back from jobs to upgrade their résumé while others included the group of freshly wounded graduates, having recently tasted the bittersweet feeling of online farewells. What we all shared in common was the desire to get offline and probably meet each other in person.

Source: Internet

Being an year into the pandemic, we could hardly ride on the high hopes. With the awkwardness of online orientation and broken dreams of magnificent welcome, we slowly began to settle in. It almost felt like, we quietly fast forwarded our journeys from being mere classmates to a large bunch of friends; with the quite hopes to travel backwards with our offline arrival sometime.

Our classroom chatter largely stood limited to selective chats at the unofficial group before everybody slips back to their work, chores and blankets. Our shared memories largely dominated by the jokes cracked on WebEx and WhatsApp and teachers trying their best to make us feel at ease as we all continue to try to get a better sense of each other through our distant conversations.

But, as is the norm, the initial free breeze of our online first semester too has been hauled up with the students’ arch rivals called assignments and study mode is expected to take a front seat probably within a month. While many of us are betting our hopes on the second semester, uncertainty continues to remain our only probability.

But, in the process, we promise to keep up our promises of warmth and friendship, with or without our offline classrooms, as Promise Day 2021 passes us by….💞💞💞

PS – A Special Thank you to Dr. Bhavneet Ma’am for inspiring this series of heartfelt notes and celebrations of friendships.

Figuring Out The Dilemma

In the new found confusion
She stood to lose her

A daily choice to fit in
Let those pages sink in

A chance to make it big
Dwell in with the new gang

A dream just discovered
Demanding a focus marathon

With a racing time trap
Lot to gain, more to lose

Not wanting to be rude
Not wishing to be naive

Losing & finding her track,
Everyday confronting the same

A path showing a sure mid way
Risks worth lifetime of goals

A weird fear to be outcast,
Still learning to be nice yet curt

A fresh resolve every night
Same thoughts next time

Dreams demanded her time
Born to aspire, she remind.

“खतों का सब्र और स्मार्टफोन के यार”

एक वक्त वो था जब हफ्तों बाद मिलने वाले खतों के सहारे भी भरोसा बिना डगमगाए जीता रहता था और रिश्ते उन्हीं पन्नों पर जी जाया करते थे। बिछड़ चुके दोस्त हों या सरहद पर डटा मां का लाल; खत आना ही गनीमत थी और सब्र एक जरूरत।

इस टेक्सटिंग की FOMO वाली दुनिया में कोई थोड़ा सब्र हमें भी सीखा दे। अब तो बात Chat पर शुरू होकर फोन पर ही बंद हो जाती है। Status पर, “I don’t care what you think” तो दूसरी ओर वो क्या सोचेगे; मेसेज करूं या ना, ये ही सोचने में अक्सर बात का वक्त निकल जाता है।

WhatsApp की सेवाएं 24*7 उपलब्ध रहती हैं पर कुछ को इस पूरे वक्त में केवल मेसेज और reply की ही शिकायत रहती है।  Digital detox की आदत वाले भी इस कोरोना काल में परेशान है। Group chat की daily dose अब उनके लिए भी अनिवार्य है। फ़ोन ऑफ करना निषेध है, पर इस मैसेज – रिप्लाई के खेल में डटे रहना कुछ मुश्किल।

हमारे लिए ये मजेदार tech भी आज मुसीबत है, उनके लिए हफ्तों पुराने खत भी एक गनीमत थे। उनकी जेब बड़ी और मैं छोटी थी। आज बात करना आसान है पर क्या करें ये उंगलियां सही गलत की इस दुविधा में खुद ही परेशान हैं।

ए दिल! तू न प्यार कर।

दर्द अंधेरों की चौखट पर
क्यों ठोकर खा भी न वार कर
ए दिल! तू न प्यार कर।

रंजिशों के घेरे में,
क्यों उलझनों के फेरे में
ए दिल! तू न प्यार कर।

खुशी में भी रूआंसा-सा
क्यों नामुमकिन की बंदिश-सा
ए दिल! तू न प्यार कर।

बेईमानी-सी चाहत में
क्यों अनजाने ख्वाबों में
ए दिल! तू न प्यार कर।

बेपनाह बेशक, पर इकतरफा
क्यों फ़िर यादों ने झीकझोर दिया
ए दिल! तू न प्यार कर।

सही-गलत की दहलीज़ पर
क्यों चाहत भी बस दर्द भर
ए दिल! तू न प्यार कर।

Paving Her Way

With a bruised ego
She paves her way
No more drop of tears
No waiting for texts

Finally she has got
One drop way ahead
Yet as time waits
Before she forgets

Finally giving in
To what all say
Stop saying it all
Ego is back in play

Triggered memories
With some old wounds
She says it no more
Rather just writes it off.

दोस्त अजनबी न बन सके

Even if they sound ridiculous in the present, writings from your younger self always have a special place. So, here is a throwback that has been particularly special for a really long time and is an ode to my beginnings as a writing maniac –

Old friends or strangers?
Can Friends Turn Strangers?

“अजनबी दोस्त बन गए
पर दोस्त अजनबी न बन सके

दोस्त दुश्मन हो गए
दुश्मन दोस्त बन गए
पर दोस्त अजनबी न बन सके

उम्र खत्म हो गई
ज़िन्दगी मौत बन गई
पर दोस्त अजनबी न बन सके

दिन रात हो गई
रात रोशन हो गई
पर दोस्त अजनबी न बन सके

हम बदल गए
ज़माना बदल गया
पर दोस्त अजनबी न बन सके

अजनबी दोस्त बन गए
पर दोस्त अजनबी न बन सके”

Getting wiser than these words was probably one of the most heart breaking moments of growing old.

वक्त की बाजी ने परखे सब रिश्ते

वो भी शिद्दत से निभाए थे रिश्ते
जो आज रेत की तरह फिसल गए

वक्त का खेल है, न तेरा न मेरा
राजा का आया था, रंक का आएगा
जो कमाया था सब यहीं रह जाएगा
कह कौन सी कमाई साथ ले जाएगा

ना दिल से लगाऊं ना पीछे हटाऊं
वक्त के आंचल में खुद ही समाऊं

कुछ रिश्ते अपनी अनकही में सिमटे
तो कोई बिन मतलब ही ठहर गए
वादे न बदले तो मायने पलट गए
दोस्त फिर मोड़ पर अकेले ही रह गए

न तुझसे शिकायत, न गीले ना शिकवे
वक्त की बाजी ने परखे सब रिश्ते

A Goodbye; Long Due

My world was fallin’ apart
Yet you were all I starved

So, as I promised to give my all
Your place was the one we start
Listening to Grande on repeat
Burning down little memory piece

Your story was a distraction
Lookin’ back all there was were lessons

Chasing goals was only worthy
Chasing you was a mistake so cheesy
I knew you didn’t care a bit
Yet lookin’ at you made me wish

My world was fallin’ apart
Yet you were all I starved

A blow that waited for years to come
Finally hit as I lost my way
But, I couldn’t be more thankful
There was nothing more to say

Your story was a distraction
Lookin’ back all there was were lessons

PS – Inspired by Ariana Grande’s Song Thank You, Next

फिर अकेले ही कायल हुए

जो मुहब्बत ना नसीबों में थी
तुझ में फिर कुछ कैद सी है
मेरे हर अश्क का दरिया
तुझे में यूं ही सिमट रहा
वो पन्ने आज यूं राख हुए
पर तुझे संभालना सही लगा
जिन के लिए करी थी दुआ
वो अपने रस्ते निकल चले
इन पन्नों की तहनाई में
फिर अकेले ही हम कायल हुए