Monday, December 30, 2013

To the land across two bridges, to meet the beauty called Kochi!! Part I

After a flight, even if it's a short one, I normally like to take a small nap if possible and if it doesn't work, try to complain about how tired I am after the flight.  After landing in Cochin, I reached home around midnight, dropped my bags and decided to take a short walk with my father towards a nearby junction.  Due to a temple festival, there were some restaurants that was open making some hot dosa.  After having a bite of delicious Masala Dosa, couple of Vada and a tasty chai, I returned home.  I couldn't have asked for a better kickoff to my vacation days than this one.  It's always about the small things, small moments....that's what matters!!

People, whether friends or acquaintances, teach us a lot. Every interaction leaves you with a good lesson.  Some conversations lasting few seconds might make more sense than those which takes hours.   Shyista, the beautiful young woman, an artist whom I sat with on my flight from Chicago to Delhi was an awesome personality.  After studying interior designing, she took up a job but left that career in between after losing her appetite for creativity due to the constant tug of war between the clients and her employer.  Shyista is quite a character, easy going, friendly, vibrant, joyous and happy about everything.  Some people leave a good mark on your lives, taking that extra time to observe you and leaving some positive feedback.. I like to wish good luck to her.  Hope her business becomes a huge success, hope her husband makes the film that he dreams about and hope, 'TSAR', her dog live long.. Only unanswered question was, who is the biggest chatterbox among us.. I will let future decide that.. I walked along with her to the gate where she was supposed to board her connection flight to Mumbai and said bye..

I slowly walked towards my gate, humming the song "Duur" performed by the very talented Pakistani band "Strings". After making a quick call home, I was trying to get some cash exchanged to pay for the call and that stroll in the airport terminal turned out to be a sweet one.  I noticed a stranger, with a familiar looking face, inside a store checking out the merchandise.  I walked up to him and asked whether he is the guy that I think he is.  He nodded his head and said "Yes". Mr. Faizal Kapadia, the vocalist from Strings was right in front me.  After a short but exciting conversation, I took couple of pictures with him, said Good bye, continued to walk towards my gate to catch my next flight.  How many times one get lucky like this?  The person who sung one of your favorite song,  one which you were humming for weeks, standing right in front of you - that was a priceless moment.   Unlike the Chicago-Delhi flight where most of my discussion with Shyista hovered around the beautiful air-hostess "Gayatri", my Delhi-Cochin leg was a sleepy affair.  All I remember was dozing off, tasty dinner and an old air-hostess yelling at another passenger to switch off her cellphone because Air India doesn't have "Airplane Mode" in their approved list.   AI needs to arrange some sessions for their flight crew to make them understand that while they were busy flying around, doing their job, world has changed for good and everything is different :)



After the walk, when I came back home, my mom was standing with an "I am not happy" face.  Turned out, she was disappointed I didn't eat anything at home but instead went out to eat with my father.  I promised her that I will eat everything possible over the next two weeks and went to my room.  Standing under the shower, when the cold water hit my body I realized how simple my life used to be before.  I had way too many things to look forward to over the next two weeks, to burst a bubble that I created around myself, to rediscover the happiness that surrounded me always.. To think properly, first I needed a good night's sleep. Lying under that ceiling fan, inside a room with a light touch of humidity, switching off the light, closing my eye-lids, I was well on my way.  Tomorrow is always beautiful because there is way too much to look forward to.. always!!

Happiness is....

Nov 28, 2013

A question that is going through my mind for the past few weeks, a question to which I don't have a ready made answer.  I don't even know where to look for answers.  For me to endure such a pain for so many weeks was quite unacceptable and surprising.  Something which I discussed with couple of my friends here, something which I don't complain about.   I think discovery of oneself happens when you go through such experiences. At a point, you identify yourself as someone who is mentally tough, who cannot be emotionally broken down then next moment you discern that things are taking a wrong turn.  Unpredictability, the beauty with which it occurs, no heads-up, no warnings.  All on a sudden, you are turned against the opposite direction facing the oncoming traffic, against the onslaught of emotions that is flowing against you.  There will be unsuccessful attempts, to sway away, twist, turn but eventually there is no better solution than to figure out how to fit yourself back into the flow, to identify the direction that you should move in..

I always wondered what happiness means to my mother.  Lost her father at the age of 7, brought up by my grandmother along with 6 other siblings and all the struggles that followed.  I hardly know anything about her entire childhood except for few stories here and there.  Since she had to endure more struggles even after getting married, most of which witnessed by me and my brother, how many times was she really happy? What were those moments? I don't know but I can bet only a handful of them exist.

Knowing her very well, I believe she finds happiness in the small things that she does - when she goes to the temple, when she takes part in religious events, all she would be praying for is our well being and I am sure she will not ask anything for herself. How does one do that? I don't know.  How many times she has offered her share of everything to me or my brother and we shamelessly took that away from her without thinking twice.  How she acts so selfless? I don't know.  As always, that's the beauty of the mother.  For her happiness is of a different kind, for her happiness is to see the smile on her children, for her happiness is making sure family has everything, for her happiness is giving up on things without much complaints, for her happiness is dealing with the struggles without letting others know, for her happiness is dealing with the pain.. How you do that mother? I don't know..

When it comes to dealing with my petty problems, easiest way out is to look back to my past.. Luckily I had a roof above my head whenever I went to sleep, my beautiful parents made sure there is food/clothes and my friends, with the little amount they earned, took me around for movies, street food and what not... Saving every rupee was my personal goal and when the amount gets bigger I will hand it over to my mom.  At that point of time, I had mixed feelings about losing those small amounts but looking back, those were the best moments of my life.  Lot of craziness around, still you always flaunt a smile and you are happy for all the right reasons.  Whatever the kids used to have those days - bicycle, gold chains, flashy dresses, latest hair styles etc, I had none of those still I was happy.

Looking at present, whatever I have right now is something I never dreamed about.  With a job that pays me good salary, an own house back home and a car to drive around, I should be above cloud nine, if something of that sort exists.  Then I realize that I am not happy and slowly the reasons started appearing in front me.  While I was busy chasing momentary spurts of so called happiness, I slowly dropped all the virtues that was passed onto me by a lot of good people.  Then came the decisive moment, where I slowed down, looking for answers to all those things I consider as problems.  There was only one answer for my questions, Cochin.  One place where I can go back, to the ones whom I love and believe in, to the ones who gave me anything and everything, to the ones who taught me what happiness means.  I had to walk along those streets, those roads, visit those places to rediscover myself, rediscover my happiness....

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

the most awaited day...

11/16/2013

My work schedule is nothing less than insane recently.  When I thought things will settle down, everything is going from bad to worse with all the chaos at work.  Over the last few days, I am spending my free time learning Adobe Lightroom5 and editing some of my pics.. I have been away from writing and didn't feel like scribbling anything new..  I am looking forward to meeting "the very special one" on Saturday.  I don't know what "we have to talk in depth" or "I'll tell you some things in person" means.  With an engagement party and a concert in the evening, I am getting ready for an action packed Saturday.  Even though I got this unexpected text from her last Friday, I was completely out of focus due to the issues going on with my work.  But it did bring a smile on my face, something very genuine missing from my face for weeks now.  This suspense kills me and I feel like I'm at a knife point, waiting for something to happen. I don't know what the topics are and what I am going to hear, but I have decided to keep myself calm and listen. I don't know whether I want to elaborate to her anything, about what happened over the last one month or so.. Looking back, it's been a crazy few weeks and I never had my mind go out of control like this before, all over the place, in shambles..

11/23/2013

I am known among my friend circles for being someone who is always happy, fooling around with my silly jokes but surprisingly today was really stressful.  I got out of my bed early this morning with a bad headache. Couple of pills and some extra sleep didn't help much.  So instead of crawling in the bed I decided to get ready for the evening.  I don't know how I end up getting a head-ache every time I am around her.  My first stop for the day was Chaska, a city few miles away from my apartment, to attend the engagement party of the very beautiful couple, David & Angela.  I didn't want to skip that even though my mind was in a confused state.  David has turned out to be one of the most amazing friends I have met in a long time.  Someone who understood my feelings, someone who sensed what was going on, someone who stopped me and asked "How I am doing?".. I ended up talking a lot with him, especially about my past.  At times, I feel like, I am pouring a lot of myself onto him but he has always showed the patience to listen to me.  For that friendship, for that brotherly warmth, I wanted to make sure I go attend the engagement party.

For me, nothing is more beautiful in this world, than seeing a room full of beautiful smiling faces, talking to each other, sharing stories and spreading joy.  After spending some amazing time and eating some delicious food, I said good bye to everyone in the house, to go see "the very special one". (I later came to know that few of my friends at the party noticed that I am completely out of mood).  Those last moments were like preparing for the most important meeting of my life, something that I was looking forward to for the last one month.  The build up to this was really crazy and the anticipation whether I am actually going to meet her or not, was the most demanding part of it.  The excitement died down while I was driving the long stretch of 32 miles from Chaska to St. Paul.  It was an overwhelming struggle inside me thinking about all the details that she would tell me, what went wrong, where it all broke down.

I parked my car and walked towards the restaurant where she was waiting for me.  I felt a chill within me which I am sure was not because of the -13 °C temperature outside.  I walked up to the door of that Mediterranean cafe, Shish, opened it and looked around but couldn't find her (let me tell you one thing, this cafe has an amazing ambiance and I still don't have a clue how she picks up such spots).  Just when I was about to dial the number, I noticed her.  I don't know how it happens and why it happens, but my mood changed so quickly.  All the happiness that had disappeared from me, the smile that went away, everything was back on, just like that.

I forgot most of the things that I wanted to tell her. Whatever I told her, it was all in bits and pieces.  I struggled to put together my words, I felt like my sentences made no sense.  I asked her about what happened and it was heartbreaking to see her explain study related struggles with tears.  What I don't understand is, why she thinks I will be unable to help her out.  I think she lacks some moral support which I am pretty sure, I will be able to provide only if she allows me to.  The whole time, I sat there listening to her, looking at her beautiful face - I just forget my worries every time I do that.  That's a magic only a beautiful woman can provide.  I had nothing to contradict, just like our past there was no argument or fight, we just spoke.. More than anything, I was just happy that I met her again, her presence drags me to a whole new level of happiness..

She was all tears and I sat there giving her napkins, making vain attempts to cheer her up.  That tears always told me a story, gave me an indication of what is going through her mind.  I can see she still has the same love for me but she is putting up a courageous face, that eyes, they never lie to me.  I just wanted to make it clear that I still love her and I have no plans to forget her.  This is a painful part, but I am ready to deal with it because I am experiencing it for the first time, and for all the good aspects, I will let it roll.. I just wanted to make it a point that, I have nothing to prove to her.  I always gave my best to her, my intention was to make her smile and I treated her well whenever she was around me.  I always asked and listened to her opinion..

When I told her about the concert, she agreed to join me.  That hug during the concert, I know what it means.  Like the concerts I recently attended, I was not into the music but instead was standing there thinking about her the whole time.  I took her back to the place where she wanted to go and said good bye.  But I said it my way, the way she always loved.  For the person she is, beautiful inside and out, I really hope she gets better at managing her study balance and wish everything gets back to normal for her. I will wait for another moment to hear her magical voice, to see her gorgeous smile, until then back to my world, dealing with my monkey mind, my random thoughts!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mother, my amma!!

The whole purpose of living the life is bringing a smile on others face.  No matter what you are going through, the difficulties, the day to day chaos, numerous emotions but when you get in before the world, when you face it, all you want to spread and share is, Happiness..  When I was a child, I used to get beaten up all the time by my mom.  She used to whoop me with whatever she gets hold of - knife, chappathi roller, utensil, broom, stick, shoes, canes and if nothing is around then even using her hands.  In these modern days, she would get into a lot of trouble for child abuse or whatever you want to call it.  I never hated her for that, I never became angry with her because of one reason, love.  The love she had towards me is something only a mother can provide.  

There were numerous points in life where I saw her struggle dealing with a lot of day to day chores but she always had that special love for me and my brother.  She struggled to adjust the finances when my father was away for work. The paycheck which my father drew at that time was not even close to manage our expenses - his rent & expense living in a far away city, our study expenses and the scary thought of surviving the entire month.  Still she somehow managed to adjust the money here and there just to take care of us.  She ignored the comments of hatred which came from within the family, friends and neighbors.  Her only focus was to make sure we had everything.  The care that never went away till date.  I always hated to see a tear in her eyes and most of the earlier life, I was helpless and didn't have an option to do something for her.  I have seen times where she cried because she didn't have a good saree or ornament to wear (Yes, this may not be a big deal for most of the people around but for a village girl who struggled throughout her life, for someone who lost her father at the age of 7, these small things were definitely a big deal).  She could've chosen to cut some money out of family expenses and others to get a new saree or ornament.  Why didn't she do it?  That's the beauty of mother, that's the sign of a beautiful soul.

When I got my job, my only intention was to keep her happy.  Whenever she asked for something, I went the extra mile to get it for her.   If someone ask me what is the best gift I ever gave to someone, I would recall the gold chain which I gave to her 4 months into my job (she doesn't know how I scrambled to get that money, but again, it doesn't matter because my intention was to bring a smile on her face, to show her good times lie ahead of her).  It is for the same reason, I was really proud when I built my own home - All I had in my mind was achieving my mother's dream, an own home..

I am happy to carry that torch which my mom passed to me.  When I meet someone, even if its a stranger, I try to share good things.  I don't talk about my past, I don't talk about what is going wrong with my life but I try to smile, bring the positive energy outside.  Best part of giving this part of yourself to this strange world is that it gets back to you in different ways.  I don't have any complaints, I don't curse anyone, I don't wish bad things to happen to anyone.  I will keep walking away holding the torch, keeping my head held high because for someone whose only intention was to bring a smile on others, good times lie ahead..

Though my days continue to be rough, I am excited about my upcoming travel to India, the excitement around meeting my parents again, especially my mother, the excitement around giving her a hug, to sit in that kitchen listening to her stories while she prepare some amazing food... something only a mother can provide..

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Happy Birthday....

I confessed a while ago that I cancelled the itinerary that I had blocked to go visit her and the bouquet which I wanted to hand over for her birthday.  All I am left with is a pair of concert tickets which I bought for her, I am somehow still hopeful she want to come along with me to see it.  I suddenly got out of my sleep at 4:20 this morning and after few minutes of thinking I decided to send her a text wishing "Happy Birthday"..

Why?  She told you to stay away then why did you send a text to her?

I don't know, I don't want to know.  Certain things are better left unanswered like that.  I don't have anything against her, I don't hate her and I don't see any reason as to why I shouldn't wish her... Being the most beautiful person, she deserves the nickname "Sunshine".. Happy Birthday Birdie and I hope you had a wonderful day!  Your reply made my day.  Though I had another horrendous Friday at work where things kept going on and on, I was able to carry along with a cheeky grin thinking about your reply.. How much does two words and an emoticon matter to someone?  Beyond words I would say!
 
I was confused whether I should upload the video which I created for her.. I finally decided to upload it and send her a link along with the confession that I had planned a surprise trip to visit her.  I don't know whether she will watch it, I don't know whether she will appreciate it, but for me it was important to show her what I put together, to show her how much she means to me and to show her what it means to me, to bring a smile on that beautiful face.  I think, that's all I attempted to do from the very beginning.  I still wish you told me about what you were going through instead of dealing it on your own, thereby handing me a shocker, I wish you told me what was wrong.. When we spoke last, you told about "thinking", talking to your mom and others.  Why did you leave me from that list?  I don't have an answer and I don't want to send you endless texts or messages or calls to explain it me.  I am asking for few minutes just to get answer for these questions!  Will you give me those few minutes? I am still waiting here..

Last few days is a proof for how far I can go for someone I love and care about.  I am thinking about her all the time, still thinking about bringing a smile on her face, hoping she is happy, wishing her the best..  Does she think about me?  Does she have the same love for me? I don't know.  What did I do wrong?  Can you please tell me? I am sitting here waiting for an answer and I promise I will go as far as I can, to do whatever it takes....

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Struggle to find the right balance

Every day, every hour, every second seems like a constant struggle.  I strangely find myself in a compromising position when I am driving these days.  I am alert than ever before, it is just because there are many thoughts going on in my mind while I am driving. Most of them around the rights and wrongs.   Trying to figure out what went wrong.  I didn't drag myself into this situation.  So the question is around why I am here, what I am doing here, how I will get back to what I used to be?  I don't know an answer but hope to find one down the line.

I was living alone since Dec 2012 and never had any issues with being lonely.  So now the question is around why I suddenly feel that loneliness around me?  What are those factors that used to fill me from inside, which helped me feel so vibrant about everything.  I don't have much difference in my daily routine except for the fact that I lost interest in many things that I used to love.   Long hours in front of TV, watching sitcoms, news, football doesn't exist anymore.

I am searching for other things which will remove that loneliness that I feel inside me.  I am somehow starting to find that young myself who used to dig deep into the pages of any book that he gets hold of.  I am reading a lot these days, a lot of articles, blogs, watching a lot of videos.  Stories inspire me, they tell about situations that I find myself in.   I hear about people who overcame difficulties, who cruised through rough times and found happiness.

I am a believer.  I believe in miracles. I believe certain things will happen to me down the line, maybe it is just about waiting for the right moment.  I am becoming a fan of Albert Camus - I find his quotes inspiring and meaningful.  I love the "absurdism" involved.  Makes me want to know more, read more..

“I had been right, I was still right, I was always right. I had lived my life one way and I could just as well have lived it another. I had done this and I hadn’t done that. I hadn’t done this thing but I had done another. And so?” --Albert Camus, The Stranger

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Spread joy, happiness and smile... expect nothing in return..

After my engineering, when I joined the Indian IT giant - all I had ahead was a green patch, something I was looking forward to, a future to look forward to.  But after 7 years, multiple countries and two relationships later, I stand here totally stressed out and wondering what is going on around me.  I am pretty sure I am not the perfect one, but I gave my best in both the relationships that I had since I started working, still I was asked to walk away in both instances. really? Did I deserve it?  I don't know..

Did I do something wrong?  No one told me anything.  Did someone ask what my feelings are?  Did someone wanted to know about my thoughts, at the very least made a moderate attempt to walk in my shoes?  I don't think so.  I was just told "Its time, just walk away".   There must be a reward waiting for me somewhere down the line.  Even though my every move was towards making other person happy, I was disappointed every time.   Falling down in the Dallas airport, another fall and gasping inside the flight after a horrendous run between terminals in Dallas, a narrow escape from death after sleeping off during driving etc maybe all worthless efforts.  Maybe all the attempts to bring a smile on that face was worthless.  I should say I'm disappointed about all this.

I have decided to forgive one and all, there is no point carrying the bag of anger, bag of hatred, I never had one and never wanted to have one!  That is the single reason why I made hundreds of friends wherever I went!

Still, when I close my eyes I see only your face.  It must be the magic of love which my "Monkey mind" cannot handle, that magic you spelled on me from day 1.  I will still go around and spread joy to the beautiful world around me. Bring a smile on the faces of many that I come across.  That randomness, attitude I grew up with, that will be my focus going forward!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Testing your limits and that glimpse of happiness

"Without frustration you will not discover that you might be able to do something on your own. We grow through conflict." - Bruce Lee
Just like the past few days, I started the day with lot of confusion and kept asking myself a number of questions.  Dealing with my "monkey mind" is a tricky situation because most of the times it will be difficult to control those thoughts, your body reacts in a weird way and you keep searching for a lot of answers.  People sometimes completely lose it.  Many just consider it as fate, few others who doesn't want to do anything towards it and there is a small percentage who just gives up.  Everyone does a lot of things to find a grip over their problem.  For me, like always, it was about dusting myself off, clear up my thoughts and getting ready for the next lap.  I took my problem head-on and bravely took a lot of good decisions which helped me cruise through the last 24 hours.  Beauty of life is recognizing and appreciating the small things in life, those small things which brings a smile to your face, those small things which creates a circle of happiness around you! 

Dinner at Home vs Eating outside:  Quite strangely, I debated with myself for quite long about what I want to do with my dinner last night.  Since I have stayed away from the drive thru's over the last couple of weeks (I believe, the longest stretch after I came down to US), I was quite determined not to do that.  After spending close to 32 hours inside the room, most of which I spend watching TV, Movies, videos etc, I wanted to get out and have some human interaction.  I think "WE" play an important part in keeping this place, our earth, beautiful.  How we look at others, how we smile, how we talk, how we behave, how we respect, each and every move of ours has an impact on this world.  Maybe I knew this before but I never realized the power of until recently.  Instead of going to the place that I planned to go, I took a detour and decided to try some Greek food.  I had an interesting conversation with the kid at the counter.  He basically explained "the importance of lighting" inside that restaurant.  How that light sets up the mood for their customers, sets up the character of the whole place. After 15 minutes of wonderful conversation, I left the place with some food which smelled, should I say "Heavenly". I agree, "Heavenly" is bit too much.  Let me just say, "Good food".

What is going on at work?:  After so many days, I shrugged off my laziness and got back to work, with more determination and focus.  When we know success of so many things revolves around your team, one cannot stay low and let down an entire group of amazing people.  So along with some interesting conversations, day at work went without much hassle.  When you got a bunch of people who give their best, day in and day out, I think it is an easy job being their boss. 

India - well, a change of scene was always in my thoughts over the past one week or so and I was seriously contemplating where should I go to recharge myself.  A getaway which will bring in a lot of peace to my mind, which will take away all my thoughts and will help me find answers to lot of my questions.  After thinking about various places within US, I finally decided to go back to my hometown in Southern part of India for few days.  I believe it will be perfect for me to go spend few days with my family and my friends.  If you ask me if there is any solution for a problem - I would say, just pack your bags and leave.  Since I didn't want to escape out of my current responsibilities I decided to postpone it for few more weeks.  So a random thought finally became a decision! Cochin, see you soon!

Uppercut - I met Heidi in my old apartment gym few days ago and she was training another guy in there.  When I asked for some suggestion, she was kind enough to give me her card which took me to Uppercut boxing gym.  After an Intro class on Saturday morning, I decided to sign up for the regular classes.  Today was my first session and it took me hardly 10 seconds to recognize that I am not even close to being fit.  With all the treadmill running, soccer during summer and weights in the gym, I thought I am good enough.  But when I was asked to use the rope, I realized that I was wrong.  After an hour of tough training which involved a lot of crazy exercises and boxing, I am sitting here enjoying that slight pain all over my body.  When you are determined, we push yourself and when you push yourself, one march towards something that you never thought about.  I left the place with a firm decision to go back tomorrow, with double the strength, double the energy and quite a lot of passion..

For a smile - While scrolling through Facebook yesterday, I saw a comment from the "very very special one".  I could see that she was unable to get tickets to go see her favorite band live since it was sold out.  So I started searching for tickets to surprise her but none of the resellers had it on sale.  Now I took the next crazy step, something which I never did before.  I wrote a message to the band and the venue on their Facebook page.  Though venue responded that they are unable to provide any help, I am hopeful that band will get back to me with something which will surprise her later. If I had the tickets somehow, I would have taken a flight to Austin just to see her smile :)  I end the day, knowing that she somehow managed to get inside the venue for the show (Yes, I broke my promise and messaged her, because sometimes you have to go with your monkey mind).   Though I was unable to get her a ticket as a surprise, I know that she is happy now, flaunting that gorgeous smile on her face.  

What a day.  Carpe diem

Saturday, November 2, 2013

How much space is required for that kid from Cochin?


I was born as the elder son of Rema & Gopalakrishnan, a couple who struggled to make their ends meet.  Since my father never owned a home, after marriage he took my mom to his parents house just like any other Indian guy would have done.  They started setting up their life in that house, inside a room which was hardly 6 meter in length and 6 meter in width.  A house where my father's parents, 3 younger brothers and 2 younger sisters stayed.  If you think this was a "chaotic situation", wait till I complete my story.  Months passed by, my father's first sister got married and moved away to her husband's, I was born followed by my younger brother couple of years later.  Years down the line, my fathers two younger brothers got married and brought their wives to the same home.  My other aunt got married and moved away.  Few more years later, the same house which had 4 small rooms and a kitchen, started getting filled with kids - a total of 5 from the production house of my two uncles.  All the running around, arguments, fights (adults too) created such a pandemonium, as if there is a boxing match going around all the time.

Years went by, my lovely grand father passed away, my fathers youngest brother got married and his first sister ended up coming back to the old house due to issues at her husbands.  At the age of 15, nothing changed around me.  From two adults, the 6m x 6m room now had two teen boys sharing the room with their parents.  My luxury was having an amazing father and mom, who struggled to deal with their day to day life because of my fathers "job situations", my extravagant dine was to sit on a small chair inside the tiny kitchen eagerly waiting for my mother to prepare the yummy dosa (crepe), my "king size sleeping space" was the slot that I squeezed on the floor in between the cupboard and bed frame, my "air conditioning options" were convincing everyone including my brother as to why I should sleep right under the ceiling fan, open the windows of our room risking mosquitoes and cockroaches from entering the house, my fights were with the rain drops and cockroaches that came down through the roof and the wooden planks underneath the roof, my focus was on making sure the small plastic cover on top of leaking roof patch doesn't fly away during rain.

After an year, my father went out of state for his job and the joint house situation went from bad to worse due to the silly and illogical internal arguments that always happened within the house.  This "fancy" ride went on for few more years until we moved to a new place for rent, Finally!!  I remember getting out of there for the last time, all teared up and emotional.  I never felt any kind of suffocation inside that house but if you ask me whether I was frustrated at times, my answer would be an obvious "Yes".   Later, I had to move to a different city for work and hardly stayed for more than 4 nights at the house which we had rented.  I never went back to a situation similar to that of my childhood at any point of time after that.  The learning from that experience was immense and knowing my roots definitely helped me to stay humble.  If you have ever noticed me saying "It's OK" in response to a "space crunch" situation, then I really meant "Come on, we have enough space, lets do it".

Question - Why I want to write about my story which I never shared with anyone before?  A recent move of apartments from a spacious 1 bedroom to a studio, a move which took away a good amount of free space, a move which compensated me with a saving of $250 per month!  Though I was initially hesitant for the move from an apartment/building filled with memories to another one, what I would save if I make a bold move helped me easily reach a decision (money, as always, which everything comes down to). A small flashback into my past definitely helped me out and took away lot of minor concerns which I had in my mind before end of the month.  For that young kid from Cochin, the new house plan was still luxurious when compared to that small room where he grew up in, big enough to deal with his issues, big enough to contain all the wave of emotions that he is going through because when I look back, as a young kid I was always optimistic about what future has in stock for me.. a better and brighter tomorrow!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Long confused day and the two drunk girls

I was wrapping up my move to the new apartment by putting some last boxes inside my car.  When I saw this girl running out I thought she might need help.  So I asked her whether there is some help she needs from me.  She blabbered quite a lot of things through which I connected the dots and understood that "she was locked out of her apartment".  Later when her friend came down, I realized that both of them doesn't live here but their friend does, who apparently passed out in her apartment leaving the doors locked.  I was told that she buzzed them in but didn't open the door (a good friend indeed).  The magic of alcohol.   I helped out both the girls by letting them inside my apartment so that they can charge their dead cellphones.  At 1:45 AM after quite a lot of blabbering and a couple of calls to 911, they finally left my apartment.  I really feel sorry for the 911 call center because they have to deal with such careless drunkards who end up in situations like this.

I am moving my things since morning but this place just doesn't seem to clear up. Multiple trips and I have moved most of my things and a final clean-up which I can hopefully complete tomorrow morning.  My sleep was cut short by the number of calls since morning. I don't know who is pulling these strings but when I am not working, everything goes insane.  Since I wanted to focus on completing this move, I continued with my activities.  I was bit mad at the new apartment office since they earlier rejected my request to move things over weekend instead countered it by some pro-rated offer which baffled me.  I was adamant not to pay the extra amount and proceeded to take up the single day plan which took a toll on me. Even though I am the so called "Pluviophile", I hate rain for spoiling plan for the day and my bed/couch got slightly wet which I hope gets dried up tonight since I left it with no plans for overnight usage. With Nizam's help, I somehow managed to move the bigger things like bed and my couch.  Thanks to him and Sharmin for giving me a delicious dinner.  I will definitely miss you both and all the great food that you prepared over the past few months.

 So many good memories at this place and it hurts to leave with all that in mind. I had some of my happiest moments and conversations with her in this very apartment.  But time to move on to the next apartment, hopefully she will be back to brighten that place as well.  It's been a week since I spoke to her, a week.. I just keep asking myself so many questions - did I do something wrong?  did I do something which she didn't expect me to do?  I want to talk to her and yesterday I almost bought a flight ticket to go see her.  I still miss her so badly and the love haven't gone down a bit.  I hope to get another chance to be with her, another chance to hug her, another chance to make her smile, another chance to listen to her stories, another chance... another chance to regain what was snatched away.

I am so tempted to pick up my phone to text/call or to email her.  But a big piece inside me wants me to respect her decision and plan.  If this separation gives anything positive to her, then let it be.

I am still searching for my sleep and waiting for that magical hug. for how long?  I don't know....

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dear sleep, where have you gone?

"So Sgt. Pepper took you by surprise
You better see right through that mother's eyes
Those freaks was right when they said you was dead
The one mistake you made was in your head
Ah, how do you sleep?
Ah, how do you sleep at night?
" - John Lennon

Sleep seems to be the most difficult thing to achieve over the last one week along with all my other struggles.  A confused & disturbed mind along with lack of sleep seems to be the last thing I need when I have so much going on at my work.  But irrespective of my attempts, I am unable to get any sleep until early morning hours.  I tried getting to bed early yesterday but after rolling around for close to 4 hours, I finally slept only after 4 AM.  So many thoughts, a lot of emotions seems to pile upon me when I am in the bed.  I wrote another email but decided not to send it.  That decision to send it or not to send it, is causing so much of distress inside me.  I am jealous of the entire world that sleeps around me and I am sitting here listening to songs, watching the drizzle for the past few hours. I still believe that I will get another chance because life is beautiful for the optimistic ones.  I always gave her the best of what I have inside me, strived to bring the best laugh out of her through all possible ways. 

Time to make another attempt at sleep for the night.  Tomorrow is a big day, moving out of Louisiana Oaks to another cave!

P.S.  I miss you so badly!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Airport, little bit of love and the "very very special one"

 A motorcycle ride at 120 kmph to the airport, you reach the gate but what will KF airlines say to you, "sorry, we can't let you onboard because you are late". What will you do?? I don't know what you would have done.  It depends on many things including the purpose of your trip, urgency, financial status or in extreme cases "How crazy you are?".  When KF crew said "NO", I begged to them with no luck, so I smiled at them and went to the adjacent Spicejet counter.  Bought a ticket to the same destination, for an amount which was more than 4 times the original price of KF ticket, an amount at that time was more than half of my monthly salary. Why?  To keep a promise, to be present for a special birthday. Out of pure love? maybe.  For me, a promise is always a promise.  Whether it is my family or my close friends, I only make those which I can achieve, which I can at least get to, even if it means stretching myself a bit.

So this is how the story began - before I went to sleep the previous night, I noticed that "wherever you go our network follows" network suddenly went out of range.  Since my cell phone time was in sync with network, I was afraid of the worst and it happened.  Airport taxi came to pick me up, he called my phone with no success and I kept sleeping like a king until my roommate pulled me out of bed (I don't know what you want to call a mat with a pillow and bed sheet on top of it).  At first, I was surprised to see him and asked "what is wrong with you" until the word airport came out of his mouth. I scrambled myself, wearing the first underwear that I found, one of the fastest packing ever (the first of the many last minute packing that I did in later years) and begged my roommate to drop me at the airport which ended up in the aforesaid story.  Anil did risk both our lives by hitting those speeds.  But he wins the "Best friend ever" tag for that epic ride with me.

Then I bought a ticket to visit the "special one" again, this time from US to India, to decide on a future, to decide what is next.  But this time, after couple of months, "special one" told me that she has decided to succumb to parents pressure to marry someone from her religion.  so religion which always talks about the importance of love in every sentence, killed that love.  Religion won, Love lost!  A relationship which went like a roller coaster ride came to an end.  A relationship which involved multiple switch between cities for her, flight/train rides for both of us and a lot of confusion created due to her mother's fight with breast cancer (which I believe they used at some point of time, along with numerous other factors, to blackmail their daughter out of the relationship). I am pretty sure she has her own excuses and reasons for why this whole thing didn't work out but somehow I found all those topics difficult to digest since it came down to religion (or in extreme cases, family sentiments) most of the time.  Given the big pure heart she always had and the unbelievable support which she gave throughout, I wish "special one" good luck and an amazing life ahead (hopefully she got married to the "Salman Khan" that she always dreamed about).  Two months later, I set out for my amazing vacation trip to India which I will remember forever because by that time I fell in love again, but this time with a "very very special one"..

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween Costume party and the good decisions

After much thought I decided to accept Mike's invitation for a costume party at his place.  I felt it was the right decision to go out (rather than sitting alone at home) and see people dressed up in crazy costumes. Mike's house was dominated by people with Mario Kart related costumes. Though unrelated I had an Afro and a glass.  Last two nights when I wore this Afro, most of the guys gave a thumbs up, showed signs that it was really cool whereas girls wanted to either touch it or wanted to know whether it is "real".  Someone used the "n-word" which was bit annoying.  Even though I am not black, I think it is pretty "dumb" and "out of class" to use that word in the present world.   I had some really good conversations with many people. Initial plan was to get drunk and I started it by gulping 3 cans of Grainbelt but decided not to take it any further. Driving down some drunk guys to downtown and back was fun because what comes out of a drunk mouth is pure gold.

Downtown bar scene was hilarious - Lot of Mario Kart, minions, lot of punk/rock bands from the past and numerous other costumes filled the bar.  Most of the bigger costumes struggled to find their way around the bar. Walked up to the counter and instead of ordering beer, I decided to get some water.  Hopefully my first step towards something very good. I did see a disturbing sight inside the bathroom. A guy was urinating into a beer bottle hoping someone will take and drink it thinking it is a beer.  Another guy dressed up like a marine said it was not right for him to do something ridiculous like that and I supported the "marine" guy.  Finally he admitted that it was wrong of him to do that though he was drunk and had ADD issues.  Good thing, he emptied the bottle of urine and walked out saying "Sorry".  Later the "marine" told me that he also suffers from ADD.  I thanked him for standing up against the drunk guy and saving some random person from the horrendous experience of drinking urine.  I still believe alcohol shouldn't be an excuse for doing things which will bring hardships to others around you.  Though my childhood decision was to stay away from drinking and smoking, I ended up taking my first drink 8 years back.  I intent to get out of this ongoing circle of activities and try something new, a good way to test my patience and my will power.  Whether I achieve my goals is something only time will prove.

I have drastically decreased my intake of fast "JUNK" food and I feel pretty refreshed.  Hopefully all this is a pointer for a bright time ahead and a small step towards getting that light back inside me.

Changes - they don't wait for your permission, they just happens

While going through the drafts, I found out this excerpt which I wrote few weeks back.

"It's an absolute bliss to feel silly about what you are thinking - well, that's me for the past few weeks. Am I happy about it?? 150%. There are few things which I thought will happen only once in a lifetime.  I am not sure where this is going and how it is going to end, but I am going to close my eyes and enjoy every moment because I want it to be etched in my memories for a very long time! If you go back in time and ask that young lean kid from Kochi what future has in stock for him - you would have got "nothing" for an answer, he never dreamed of a future like this.  Given the opportunity to visit a lot of places, make hundreds of friends all along the way there is nothing to regret about and if I am given an opportunity to go back, I would love to live my life the exact same way!"

Apparently everything is changing around me since my birthday.  The same things which always brought smile to my face moved away from me.  My smile and happiness as well.  Now I smile because the world wants me to.  Hopefully moving to a new apartment will bring an end to the changes happening around me. This place, Louisiana Oaks, brings back a lot of good memories about my stay in US.  Only good things happened here whether it was apartment 400 or 315, some personal moments which you will carry till the end of your life.   Since I came down to US I had some amazing roommates, met Ryan Shaughnessy & Mark Metaxas and all the good people that I met through them.  All the gym related tips from my gym buddy Shaun did help me stay fit though I have a long way to go to achieve my fitness goals. Maybe a change of lifestyle helps and I want to definitely work towards that.  I am leaving my sadness and worries behind when I move to the new place. This might be the jump start I am looking for, a change of scene, a scene that currently defines happiness for me.  Fingers crossed!

"Where do we go nobody knows?
Don't even say you're on your way down, (when)
God gave you style and gave you grace
And put a smile upon your face" - Coldplay

Saturday, October 26, 2013

night and the poet

"I feel these things
close to me,
yet I can't find them.
I can't hear the words
that whispered from your lips,
the touch that made me shiver
in the summer heat,
Elusive
are all these things,
for elusive are you"  - an excerpt from the poem Elusive by Vernon C Patterson..

When me and my friend David met Mr. Patterson on the street today, he asked us whether we want to listen to some of his poetry.  After a good conversation which involved his poems, personal life, KC Chiefs football team etc I decided to buy a small booklet of poems from Mr. Patterson.  He sounded like a person who had way too many dreams during his younger days and somehow he failed to achieve that.  It is always inspiring to see someone on the streets who overcame a struggle at some point of his life, in his case drug addiction.  Glad that he overcame his issues and leading a clean life now. I truly wish him the very best as he sounded like a very genuine and honest person.  His scribblings are fun to read through, now that I know why he wrote them in the first place.

Mr.  Patterson brings in front of me the importance of "present", what I want to do right now, what my priorities should be.   I dont want to be at his age thinking about what  I could have achieved if
I had taken care of my present.. I think I am doing pretty good at this time even though my favorite option was always to remain patient, calm because whenever I stayed that way best things happened to me.

I'm blessed to have friends like David who took the time to ask about my well being and showing all the patience to listen to what I had in mind.  I think it is always helpful to have an open discussion with someone about topics which you always keep to yourself.  After watching all the antics of drunk on the street after Figure & Crizzly concert, we finally decided to call it a day.

On my way back home traffic lights continued to turn green as soon as I approached them and I am not surprised. Optimist inside me sees hope, like always!

the emails that I never sent

I stand here in this darkness realizing the name "sunshine" was for a reason.  that 30 minute phone call took away the most important thing from me, YOU! Everything changed so quickly around me and I feel stranded, dragged far away from everything.  All that I wanted to say stayed inside me because I just want you to be happy, I just want that smile back on your face, I just want to see that beautiful eyes without any tears in it. Given all the difficulties which I faced throughout my early life, most of which I never told you, I thought I was strong enough to handle this situation but somehow I feel weak day after day.  So when you told me about what you want, I accepted it because it is that attitude that I fell in love with, that attitude which makes you who you are, the will to do "what you think is right".

All I did for the last many months was to keep that smile on your face and when you asked me to walk away, I hope I was able to bring that smile back.  Every part of me want to see that beautiful face, listen to that charming voice but I won't contact you because of the promise I made to you. It's been a crazy last few days - sleepless, anxious, stressed like never before and all that I see around is you, only YOU (you never told me how you spell that magic on me).  I never expected this to happen to me.   I wish you asked me whether there is something that I could do to help with this situation.  I feel like every text, call, email that I receive is from you and that absence is making me hate my phone. Attending random concerts, getting lost among the crowd did help over the last couple of days but I want to figure out a way to cope with the sudden loneliness that I am feeling right now.  I wish life is similar to the 4 AM drive where every signal that you approaches turn green, just like that.

I am going through my day the way I always presented myself to the world, talking around and bringing smile on others through my silly comments and jokes.  I wish someone stopped me, asked me whether everything is alright because all I need right now is one big hug.

I am still waiting even though it spilled out of my mouth first time, I still sincerely love you peach!



11/16/2013

It's about time I wrote my second email to her.  Just like the first one, I have no intention of sending it.  Do I want to send it to her down the line?  Will I send this blog to her in future?  To be frank, I don't have an answer.  I did break my promise and contacted her - Two text messages, first one after knowing that she got in to see her favorite band live (I was all excited to see her update after I made an unsuccessful attempt to get one from the market or from the venue), second for her birthday and third one asking her for few minutes.  I did get a reply on each occasion.  I did send her two messages through Facebook but I didn't get a reply for the video which I made for her birthday or the concert tickets which I bought for her. I don't think it is strange, maybe she want to stick to her decision.  But this snub, I am not sure whether I deserve it. I don't know what conclusion to arrive at.  Given that I completely lost interest in TV, I find myself having a lot of spare time which I am using to go through articles, photographs, books and other informative/interesting aspects of internet.  I am listening to a lot of music these days exploring artists that I used to love before, seen live, heard about or those which my friends follow.. Since the silence evokes the thoughts inside my monkey mind, I keep asking myself a lot of questions and you are the only one who can provide me with answers.. so here you go...

"How are you Sunshine?  Before I started writing this one, I thought of being politically correct but that will defeat my purpose, the main reason why I started writing again.  Please let me open up and speak my heart out, I am just asking only for a few minutes of yours.  Something you haven't given me since last time we spoke.  I keep thinking about our last two conversations.  When you started the conversation that day, I got the impression that something was wrong but not even in my wildest dreams I thought you will drop that bomb on me.  Did I deserve it? I don't know

After that conversation, I was so overwhelmed for the next 24 hours, that I didn't know what to ask you.  What did I do wrong birdie?  Trying to make you laugh was a mistake, wiping out that tear from your eyes was a mistake or is it something else which you never told me?   Why was I left out dear?   You mentioned to me about the discussions that you had with friends, family and others.  Why not with me?  All those friends of yours,who "pretended to be my friends" never bothered to reach out to me and tell me what was going wrong, didn't bother to tell me that you are struggling? Why didn't you discuss about your struggles with me?  I would've helped you, I would've gone to any extend to make things right for you.  All I needed was a word from you which I never heard.  I just want to let you know that this is not plaintive cry to win you back.  Because if you made that decision then whatever I do, it will not be enough.

We never had an argument, never had a fight.  Whenever I started fooling around you, I always knew your tipping point and tried to let you know that it was a joke.  Then why this had to happen to me?  I never wanted to let you know about my troubles, my problems but instead I tried to cheer you up all the time.  Still I find myself in this position, why?  My love for you haven't gone down a bit. I think I love you much more than ever before.  Even though I have no idea about what you are thinking or what you decided, my intention is to have my heart open for you..

I feel like someone held my fingers, took me to the edge of a mountain with a promise to show beautiful sights but instead pushed me into a dark abyss.  What changed between us in few days?  I am feeling lost, lonely with no one to talk to.   Did you ever try to walk in my shoes?  If you did, then you should've asked me "How I am doing?".  Where is your hug when I needed it the most?  I wanted to escape out of this chaos, go back to India and spend some time but, I somehow felt like staying back for few more days was the right decision.  Not for me but for those who entrusted certain responsibilities on me, for those who still believe in me..

But I started to think about going back to India.  My only interest, reason for being in this country was you and when you decided to pull that curtain, a lot of aspects turned dark around me.  I am going for this vacation, for a breather, to find some answers, to find myself again. I sincerely hope you give me a chance, to see your smile, to hear your voice, two weeks from now.  I am sitting here with a pair of concert tickets in my hand, with the hope that you will text or call me.. will you?  I like to think "YES".... I love you peach"

Before I could post this, yesterday she send me a message telling that she wants to meet, talk about some things in person... I am looking forward to have another chat with her but this time around I won't feel like completely lost..  because I already lost myself few weeks back!!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

that tree

I see this tree everyday and I have noticed the various phases it has gone through.  At the peak of fall season it was glowing with the beautiful red leaves as if telling those passing by "Look at me, Am I beautiful?". In few more days, the remaining bunch of leaves will be gone with just the dry branches left. Then the wait begins for another season to regain its lost glory, to regain that charm which catches everyone's attention..

In someway this tree is a pointer towards the procrastination inside me.  I always wanted to take a snap of it all round the year but I just keep pushing it for the next day even when it was covered by red leaves.  When I took this picture today, I was sad that I missed the glorious days of my favorite tree and I am not sure whether there is another chance.  I truly hope there is one.

I believe this tree also represents the cycle of life.  A point of time where you defeat all the odds, get up on your feet, run along with the world.  Then turning into a big glow before fading away slowly, followed by the wait to start it all over again.  Only difference being the amount of time everyone spend at each phase of this cycle.  Hopefully the happiness phase is longer and the other miserable phase is shorter, as short as possible!