Tuesday, November 26, 2013

the most awaited day...


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..


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!