YOUR SHADES IN ME

CHAPTER 1 - AM I SURE?

 

2012.

 

I had no idea about my career, I did not even plan for one. But, the infuriating question, "What is your plan NEXT Vicky?" asked by many relatives, neighbors, and individuals who come to meet dad would make me despise most of the times. I don't need any argument to start, which would make me move out of the spot with a mocking grin.


I have accomplished my bachelor's degree in arts from Hyderabad Central University (H.C.U). My friends started their preparations for the entrance exam to join MBA, in IIM, few out of their interest, few for the sake of their parents. My dad was even-tempered, and very importantly, believes in me always, and considers my decisions. But this time, I have not planned anything, nor I am engaged in something.


​ I was sitting in my room, when dad came in, to occupy the place adjacent to me on the bed, calmly placed his palm on my shoulder, I gave a glimpse at him and took my sight off. He, taking a glimpse at the falling sun within the window, vocalized these words, "Vicky! There will be a juncture in everybody's life, where you should pick your direction much gently, your heart ought to be a definitive appraiser. Decisions taken with brain will not award you any satisfaction for the rest of your life, which will be shared by someone precious, so half of your choices are her's, it is the heart that you should give more significance at this moment, think with brain and decide with heart." I gave a brisk smile, and he left the room. I have gone missing from the sphere into my thoughts.


After a couple of days of overthinking about life and career, I received a call from Sanjay, my super senior in H.C.U, inviting me to a party to keep full stop to his 25-year bachelor's life. Sanjay was a good friend of mine than a senior, so there was no saying 'NO' to his invitation. He intimated me the time and location and wanted me to be there without fail. The place was not a long way from where I live, even the time was convenient, the party was in a pub "CRAZY NIGHTS" on Saturday, which is the next day after tomorrow. I thought "this is too early to think about the party" so, I have set that aside and was in my thoughts about my career until mom called me for dinner,


I went down swiftly to the dining space, I finished my food and interested in watching a dance show on television, the clock ticked 11.00 in the night when the show got finished, and I almost fell asleep on the divan. Before it is too late, I switched off the television, walked up to my bed, and slept.


As there weren't any commitments or responsibilities for the day, or maybe I have no intention to wake up early and be a good boy, like many Indian parents want, so I was late from my bed. when I got down from bed, the daylight was magnificent, I think clouds has drizzled some rain earlier in the morning, which made the atmosphere little frosty, those droplets which got settled everywhere in the garden are glittering and twinkling when they are kissed by the rays of sun gently, the whole garden in green glow suddenly looked like a gorgeous girl inside a fantastic golden-hued long length gown, that set up my mood for the day. Just taking my looks off that marvelous scenery, I found a couple of cars parked just next to the garden area, so I fleetly walked out of my room, went down to check who it was.


​It was Raja Gopal uncle and Suresh uncle with families, Suresh uncle spotted me instantly and gestured me to sit beside him, Suresh uncle has no kids, he treats me and Teju like his kids.


I pulled out a chair, sat next to him, he greeted me affectionately before I got an excuse to look for Teju, as I could not find her anywhere around. I was rolling my eyes all over the place and checking if she is somewhere. Abruptly there is a loud sound in my ear from behind, which scared me to hell. I immediately turned around to check who it is; it is Teju laughing out loud like a typical villain of Indian films in the 90's. I tried catching her, but she ran like a mice into the kitchen and hidden somewhere, my mom cooking in the kitchen did not give me any clue about her. I opened a cupboard, and a jug of water came flying from nowhere, made me completely wet, before I could visualize anything, Teju again skipped away from there, I got frustrated a bit for loosing to that idiot; Teju once again in few minutes. Mom insisted me to get freshened up quickly because everyone would be waiting for me for breakfast, so I went to my room, had a bath, came back to have my breakfast. There I found that idiot sitting exactly opposite to me on the table, I do not want to interrupt anyone so I quietly finished my food, brought fresh drinks and began serving, I gave the glass to Suresh uncle, went near Teju who is sitting immediately next to him, Teju was expecting that I would slip a glass of drink on her and act if that was by mistake, I could sense that in her face. But, expect the unexpected, I gave her the glass and appeared like I am not doing anything, when she is carefree I threw some ice cubes quickly in her dress, she instantly rose up hit my hands holding fresh drinks, in few seconds she had a bath with chilled beverages and looked awkwardly cute. Everyone busted out in laughter. I blinked my eye at Teju as a proud winner in the revenge game with a cunning sparkling smile in my eyes.


There won’t be anything that is so captivating, than being in the world of Teju; she has that friskiness in her character. She annoys me often, but that’s the way she expresses herself to the ones she loves. After our fight, everybody went out on some work, I have one whole day to spend with Teju, and we went to shop something, that she need for her upcoming college fest. After shopping, we reached home around 3:00 P.M finishing our meal in a restaurant.


We were sitting in the living space, Teju, started talking about her college life, her passion for fashion technology, her plans that she made for her future. It made me a little unsettled because a girl who is three years younger than me is talking about her career goals and life, when I have no clue about tomorrow. Mom and dad came home when time passed 6.30 in the evening and ordered me to leave Teju at her place as it is getting dark. Teju’s home is just a 10 minutes ride from mine. So I kick-started my bike, progressed towards Teju’s place, arrived there in no time. We entered inside the gate, walked in the direction of backyard where Raja Gopal uncle and Meena Aunty enjoying their evening coffee, we joined them, Meena aunty offered me a delicious cup of black coffee. The weather is so exciting with those blue skies turning orange while the white clouds are enhancing the visuals. The background theme added by the blackbirds and grackle’s melodies on their way back home. Enjoying that scene’s, I have finished my cup, headed back home.


The next day around 3:00 P.M, mom reached home from her friend. I went to mom to seek permission for the party that night. When I told her that the party is in a pub, she immediately said NO, and she was serious. I sat down on the sofa in the living area with a disappointed face. After a few minutes, mom pulled out a chair beside me, started enquiring about the party and other details like, whose party is that?


Who will be attending the party?


At what time will the party end?


'Does she know about every friend of mine, every place in the city? I said to myself, answering all the questions patiently,


'mom, can I go? I uttered in a dusky voice.


“I don’t want you to go, but ask your dad, if he allows you can,” she replied,


Dad was not at home, so I decided to talk to him over the phone, dialed his number, he picked my call after 10-15 seconds and greeted me 'HI.


‘Hello dad, I need to ask you something, can I have a couple of minutes of your time?’


‘Yeah… Yeah! Vicky,’ he replied in a much hurriedly tone with a pause in between.


‘Dad, tonight I need to attend a party in a pub, can I, with your permission? I’ll return home as early as possible after the party gets over, please dad, can I go?’ I asked him and waiting for his reply breathing in and out deeply.

I think he is in some serious work because he didn’t even listen to my words well and responded “okay Vicky, no problem,” hung up the call,


I was not in a mood to get perfect permission because a simple ‘YES!’ would be enough. So it did not matter how my father’s reply was, I just jumped on the floor from the sofa, informed mom that dad was okay to allow me to the party.


Mom also a bit hesitantly said okay, so I swiftly went to my room, had a bath, and trying to trace out the outfit that I should wear for the party. Finally I decided to wear a blue-colored denim jeans and a woolen white color T-shirt. I pulled out my canvas shoe gifted by Teju on my last birthday. I sprinkled Dolce Gabbana’s perfume, which will create the perfect mood for the party; I applied hair gel of helium classic iceman, groomed my hair nicely to look chilled at the party. Clock was showing 6:30 P.M, it will take half an hour from my home, to the place where the party planned, I wanted to be on time, so I fleetly took my bike keys before mom came into my room, I informed her that I am leaving for the party. Amid she got my wallet off the desk, kept some bucks, and pushed it into my jeans pocket. I gave a tight hug and kissed her on the cheek and said, ‘I LOVE YOU MAA’ before leaving.


“Careful Vicky, come back early," she said coughing heavily,

I took my bike and reached there by 7:15 P.M. I went inside as per the directions displayed by the management till the party floor.


The party hasn’t started yet. Sanjay was in the middle of a group chilling out, laughing little louder, I could recognize some, they are my seniors and classmates of Sanjay, but I didn’t know many of them, they all are looking stunning with holding pleasant smile on each of their faces. Sanjay spotted me and asked me to join him; I went closer to congratulate him for the occasion and future. He introduced me to his cousins and asked them to accompany me to the party. The fun started at 8:00 P.M, everybody has gone into the party mood in a quick time, everything is dark around me, there are few disco lights which will only create the party environment and build confidence to move my feet on the dance floor. The DJ’s music beats are adding that exciting dynamism to the party. It was such a fun, which I have missed till today.


Everybody is holding a glass filled with some drink and dancing on the floor, forgetting the world around them. I was having my glass of coke and enjoying the party silently until I heard a loud voice of a man, I could detect that, because I was at the door, he was scolding someone. I couldn’t trace out for what he is scolding. I was a little curious to know about the issue. I have followed the tone which lead to an area behind the kitchen, where a person, looking manly with tiny gray-colored beard. I could sense from his outfit that he is one of the head chefs at the place, scolding his junior, who has committed a mistake in his work. There were other junior chefs, who have no dare to say a word against the head chef so, remained silent. I wanted to walk up to them, ask for an excuse, and save him for the day. I was about to take a step towards them, before a guy elder to those junior chef’s came in a hurry. He is looking smart with little beard and well-excised body, with a chef’s cap and apron, he is quick in convincing everyone to get back into the kitchen to get on to their works as it was getting late. When everyone else left into the kitchen, he spread his left arm, placed it on the left shoulder of that junior chef, asked him why did he do like that.


But, the guy was in no mood to answer, anyhow the other person convinced him to speak out from his heart.

“I never wanted to be a chef, I love aeronautical, but because of my dad, I have been into this field which have no enjoyment or anything satisfying. If I do something without any interest, how will it be perfect? Even my father has no idea why he wanted me to be a chef, except that he is also a chef, that’s why I did it willfully to let him understand what I am feeling like.”


Before he completes his words, there was a tight slap on his left cheek from the head chef who was scolding him earlier and shouted, “how dare you talk about my decision to make you a chef?”.


I could only understand then, that the man scolding him, was his father, who is pretty concerned about his son’s career.
Mr. Jayendra Sharma, the name of the other chef, which I found out later, interfered between them, asked the chef to get into the kitchen to do his work in a mild tone. The person agreed and went into the kitchen. Then Mr. Jayendra Sharma started talking to that guy Akhil Ram.


“Come let’s have a drink,” Mr. Jayendra Sharma asked for a drink from a waiter passing over the place, after taking a sip, he started.


“See Akhil, when you have no other option to go with, choose the best from what you have. Yes! You love aeronautical, but you have already involved effectively in cooking. And never say that there is no enjoyment or anything so satisfying being a chef, always remember that there is no other art to touch hearts that can be made wholly with hands except food. We chef’s handcraft the ingredients and give it a perfect shape of art form by enhancing the deliciousness of their flavor. Cooking is always LOVE; it unimaginably shows the amount of love you show on someone you love. Just look into the eyes of the person at the moment when he has the food in his mouth that you have prepared, you can see the magic you have created in their eyes. That will light up your face like a 10,000-watt electric bulb. If you feel the magic, you will enjoy the job. I never wanted to disappoint you, but, do you know, what Thomas Keller, an American chef said about being a chef and a great chef, it is not about passion. Passion is something that we tend to overemphasize, that we certainly place too much importance on: To me, it’s about desire. If you have a constant, unwavering desire to be a cook, then you will be a great cook. So Akhil, try to create that desire in you or I’ll talk to your dad, then you can decide what to do. But remember, anything you take up should be loved from the heart before you take it as your life."


After that, Mr. Jayendra remained silent, Akhil haven’t slipped a word out of his mouth. I was observing everything from some distance. I was eager to know how Akhil Ram reacts after those words from Jayendra Sharma. It’s been 5 minutes they have not spoken a word, Mr. Jayendra tried to walk out of the place before Akhil stopped him holding his hand and only said: “HELP ME!”


Mr. Jayendra was happy to hear that from Akhil. He gave enough smiles, patted his back gently a couple of times to make Akhil understand that he is okay to help him.


I couldn’t recognize that even I was having a smile as my face pack till I was in front of a mirror in the restroom.


I thought that was something impressive. There were so many things that can be taken positively apart from looking at it as a mess. There is a responsibility of a father, emotion of a youngster, and how it got affected to be good, by his father, and there was a contributing hand of a friend in complications. All these points did shoot me directly at my heart. The time was around 11:00 P.M when I came back on to the party floor, but was in no mood to chill out, so I fleetly started searching for Sanjay all over the area, couldn’t find him anywhere so just walked out from the place and headed home.


Mom was waiting for me; she was a bit annoyed because I wasn’t out of the house till late nights any day. She got settled only after seeing me.

     “How was the party Vicky?” she inquired,

     “It was fun maa, really great place to be”

     “Did you enjoy beta?”

     “Yeah maa, a lot, I am tired actually,” I replied walking into the house,

     “Okay, you can sleep after having food.” She said arranging the dining table

“I already had my dinner maa, let me sleep now.” I moved towards my room, ignoring her words,

 

Morning:


Dad has just come from jogging, took a seat in the middle of our garden to go through the daily newspaper. I took my time to complete my morning routine, came down around 9:00 A.M for breakfast. Dad and mom already started having their breakfast.


“Have you planned anything about your future Vicky?, At least do you have any thoughts?” dad asked me without looking at me, while mom, beside him, serving him the breakfast suddenly took a smile on her face. Even she isn’t looking at me.


“Dad, I was about to talk about this with you and mom” I replied him looking straight at, and was bit excited, that somehow this topic has come up at the right time,


I was about to elaborate the conversation before dad stopped me and said “we will talk about it in the evening Vicky Your mom has an appointment with a doctor,”


“Okay dad,” I said and inquired why the doctor's appointment is for,

Before dad spoke a word, mom interfered and said: “Throat infection Vicky, there is nothing to worry about, we will be back by evening,”

“Why do you want to be at the hospital for so long till evening for just a throat infection?” I asked,


“Dad has been invited for lunch by one of his friends, so we will go there after visiting the doctor,” Mom responded in a rather low tone,


I was okay with that, shook my head; mom and dad finished their breakfast, intimated me that they are leaving.


Now I am alone at home, not alone truly, but surrounded by a bundle of thoughts to get an idea to tell my parents about my decision in a convincing way. I don’t know whether I want to be a chef, or did I only get inspired by Mr. Jayendra’s motivational session to Akhil.
AM I SURE? I questioned myself

I do not know, but I am excited about cooking so, it was yes for me

I was watching a show on television when I heard a car sound, I went in a hurry till the main door, with a tremendous smile on my face, mom got down from the car and looked blushful on seeing me like that. Dad also put on a smile on his face seeing me and mom with such bright faces.

“What’s the matter Vicky?” dad asked,
“Nothing dad, just come in” I welcomed them inside the house with a smile

They couldn’t understand what I was, because I was never like this.

Before mom tried to ask one more question I made her clam by saying “Please MOM,”

“Dad I want to join the school of culinary, please,”

I shocked mom with my decision, and her questions marked ‘what?’
I tried to convince my mom, but she was a bit disappointed with the way I am taking my career, but finally, I did it, I made both of them accept my decision.

Dad spoke nothing because he was okay with my choice. Mom settled after some time and started saying many things about cooking and kitchen while helping me eat. She became my first teacher in a culinary course like my life.
I believe it was around 5:30 in the evening, I was in the drawing-room, checking my mobile, when Suresh uncle came to meet my dad. Dad said about my decision to be a chef, Suresh uncle was happy about it because I have up to do something. He patted my shoulder, asked me about the college that I want to join for the course and other things; I said I have no idea, so uncle insisted me to call a number giving me a visiting card, the only thing I could understand from that card is the name of the chef “Mr. Anand Raj”