Neha
As training and work continued, there was another aspect that needed to be taken care of - housing. Delhi was not a new city for me. While in boarding, we usually stayed over in Delhi for a day or two. With so many relatives around always, that was never a problem.

But this time, it was different. I was in the city for good. Though a few days stay at a relative's place could happen, the same could not be extended for ever. So, it was important to find a suitable place too.

Every evening, after returning from office, a friend and I used to meet property dealers and house owners. It was a task. First, we had to place complete trust on the dealer to get us a good deal. Second, finding a deal itself was very difficult; the foremost reason being that people are reluctant to let out rooms to girls.

It was an extensive search loaded with the ugliest of interviews by prospective landlords. Never before I had been confronted with questions as they would ask.

In fact, each one wanted all my visitors to carry along certificates proving that they were related to me. From being asked about our religions and food we ate, we also had to give out a complete history of ourselves and our families. Sometimes, it seemed that we'd receive character certificates from them instead of a room on rent.

We had been given free stay for a week in the company's guest house and needed to find an accommodation at the earliest. After a harrowing experience and an extended stay at the guest house, we were finally able to find a decent 2-rooms set. It had a separate back entry and was on the second floor, while the first floor was occupied by another guy.

Slowly, we started settling down in the new place. It was fun. It was liberating.

And setting up a new home from scratch is an experience you'd not want to miss.

So, we set up our home and figured out the rest for a comfortable stay. We were two girls and our shifts varied by an hour. So, either she or I would reach an hour earlier.

It was one of those tiring work days, when I returned home an hour early. After dropping me at the entrance, the cab sped off. It was summers and so, entering the house from the back entry was not an issue as it faced a park and there was usually someone around even in the late hours.

As I reached the first floor, I noticed that the room's door there was wide open. To reach the stairs, one needed to cross the door and it being wide open at that hour was rare.

Without any second thought, I worked my way towards the staircase. Just as I was about to cross the open door, I heard a sound. On impulse, my head turned left and what I saw left me totally stunned and baffled.

There lay this man on his bed, stark naked. Yes. Naked!!! And he was staring at me. That look in his eyes was unnerving.

I stumbled and almost fell.

Somehow, I gathered myself and hurried towards the stairs and without turning once, reached the door on the second floor.

As I fumbled with the keys, it fell through the stairs (iron jarred ones) and landed beneath on the first floor. I did not know what to do next. There was still an hour for my roommate to arrive and our landlord had moved away, leaving the ground floor vacant. I had to get inside my room asap and had to get those keys to open the door first.

It took all the courage within me to go and fetch the keys. I ran as fast as my feet could take me. Using the light from my mobile phone, I managed to find the key. As I sped towards the stairs with the keys in my hand, I heard a stir behind me.

I did not turn and continued to run. With shaking hands, I opened the lock, stormed into the room and shut myself in immediately.

I stood there for what seemed like eternity, shaken and shocked. My instincts did not work at all. Despite the mobile phone in my hand, I did not know who to call.

After what seemed like hours, I heard a knock on the door. I couldn't move. The knock became consistent and louder. I did not move at all.

Then I heard my name. It was my roommate. Somehow, I opened the door and let her in. She was surprised to find me in the dark room all drenched in sweat. When I told her what had happened, she rushed to check the door lock.

None of us could sleep that night. And by morning, we had made a decision. We called up our landlady and informed her that we could not continue to stay there. We had to start our house hunt again after mere 2 months of going through it all.

Yes, that was the best bet and safest option.

We knew and understood that our safety lay in our hands. There's no one we could trust in a new city. There are certain precautions we need to take at our end and the first step to our safety was a safe home. No matter what the price, that was one thing that could not be compromised upon. As before any one else, it is our responsibility to take care of ourselves.

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About the series - Blogdosts, through this series, I am attempting to share what I have learned in the past 8 years. I have broken down, then stood up, have trusted and have failed. It has been a bitter-sweet journey, which I am trying to bring to you all.

Will come back with more. Till then, take care and stay precious :)
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Neha
I know you all have been waiting for the surprise. And I won't disappoint you either. But there sure is some disappointment for those who thought some other good news was brewing up.

I hate to tell you all that, but I have no such news to share with you all yet. So this surprise is definitely not related to my doc in any way.

In fact, this one is really close to my heart and was not supposed to happen for another two years. But then, we thought it was about time now.

Blogdosts, I proudly present before you my nephew's blog. It's his birthday and he turns 8 today.



Let me tell you all - every word on this blog comes from the writer - Armaan. Though I will manage it, no editing will be done to the stories and write-ups. They will be as they are written by him in his diary. Not even grammar check or edit.

Let's welcome this little writer to our bloggers' world. He'd love to know your views on his stories. Good or bad, let them come. And I'm sure, you will all give him the same love that you have showered on me.

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Neha
This will be short and exciting!

On Tuesday, the 10th of July, I will be bringing a big surprise for all of you. In fact, I will be introducing you to some one you will absolutely fall in love with.

This surprise is a special gift from me for someone I love. And the gift is for everyone to see!

If you'd like, go ahead and guess. Come Tuesday and all of you will be the winners!

Happy weekend blogdosts :)
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Neha
Dear Dadaji,

I don't know where you are just now. Just that, I do feel you close to me. You are there, somewhere.

Not so close. Yet, not too far away either.

This is your 3rd birthday without you. This day has always been so special for us and for you too. For you always liked celebrating the day and would get upset if we didn't remember it.

It's been a little over two and a half years since you left for a better world. To say that we miss you will never encapsulate what we feel without you.

I miss you, dadaji. It's difficult without you. I know you are still there very close to me. I feel you. Yes, I truly do.

On days, when I need you the most, I dream of you. And it's truly magical how you know exactly what to say even then. Every morning after, I tell Pushkar I dreamt of you again. He smiles.

Sometimes, I feel life would have been so different had you been around with us... physically. At times, I feel lonely, dadaji... too lonely. For me, you were not a grandfather... but my parent, my guardian, my best friend and guide. With you gone, there is a void. A void that will never fill.

When I go home, even after all this time, I look for you. In some corner of my heart dwells a hope that you will be waiting for me there. And when I don't find you, a part of me breaks.

The truth is I fear going home now. I fear having to face it again. I fear that pain and anguish of not finding you there.

I know what you'll say to this. You will explain to me that death is an inseparable part of life. That it comes. It must. To every one. It is a truth that we all must learn to live with.

Dadaji, I have not been able to come to terms with it. And may be I'll never be able to. I have seen it before. When Mumma left us. But it was different then. May be I was too young to understand it then. Yes, I'm older today. Yet, I don't understand it even now.

Why did you have to go away? Why?

That question will always haunt me.

Life has moved on. Today, I lead a married life. Married to a person who cares for me and loves me just the way you wanted my spouse to. Every girl looks for her father in her future husband. But in Pushkar, I found you. And may be that's what made me love him so much.

Yet, there's something amiss. It's you. My life feels incomplete. There's not a day when I don't think or talk about you. You were and still are the most important part of me.

Yes, I know I must learn to live with it. Time heals. But every day, I miss you even more. I yearn to talk to you, spend my mornings with you, listen to what you have to tell me.

I miss it all.

And above all, I miss you the most, dadaji.


Happy Birthday! I will still celebrate this day for you. Of course, I remember all that you love to do on your birthday. The children will get sweets and biscuits like always. And it will be South Indian food followed by an ice cream.

And amidst all this, I will look for you. Your smiling face. And I know you will be there...

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Blogdosts, it's Dadaji's birthday today. A part of me is crying, while the heart tell me to go out and celebrate it for him. Yes, I will always celebrate him and the life he lived. That's how he was. No temples or pujas (religious ceremony) for him. Instead, children and family.

Please take a moment to wish him. He will love it. Even more if you tell him I told you to do it. He will be happier to know I remembered... like always.
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