Wednesday, April 16, 2014


I was dumbstruck when I saw my annual review - by the way year 2013 ended and how things have been going for the last 5-6 months, I didn't expect a miracle to happen in my life.  Due to some reason, I feel extremely sad and disappointed tonight so like always, I thought of taking refuge in here - that virtual world which was always there to listen to my loud cry.  I shouldn't be actually sad tonight, I watched an amazing band called "Yellow Ostrich" but somehow a lot of thoughts going through my mind.  Plan is to do whatever I love to do, whatever I want to do - I am keeping up with this small plan of mine in my own humble ways but somehow there is quite a lot of motivation that I am lacking.. search is on but for how long is an intriguing question..

After spending a considerable amount of time at work last year, most of which I remember and quite a lot which I don't even remember, I learned it was not "enough" and was not up to expectations. No one explains this "enough" factor.  It is always wrapped up in an enigmatic capsule which is locked and sealed, hidden somewhere far away. Those responsible for explaining me the reasons, somehow, is playing a mysterious hide & seek game. Me, I didn't even bother asking about the reasons or any sort of explanation.  The "ego avatar" inside me, decided to take it on myself and deal it on my own rather than going for meaningless conversations where I will be told about factors which I will keep writing onto my head.. I don't think it is worth it, so decision was to hold myself back from having a discussion.  Apparently, I was told that I am a very negative person something which surprised me,  something which I heard for the first time, something which messed up my thoughts for days. I don't know where this is going to end, but there will be light at the end of this dark tunnel - if not, I am going to create one which will lead me further!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

the incomplete side of things..

I have been looking at my drafts for the past few days but somehow not able to add a single sentence onto any of them. Reason? I don't know.. A feeling of being stuck somewhere... so after creating almost 7 drafts, I finally decided to start something which I can complete and it is all about a question someone asked me few weeks ago - "were you thinking about falling in love when you were in your 20s?" I didn't answer the question then.. to be frank, I couldn't.. but this question suddenly popped up on my mind few minutes ago and I thought I can write about it in detail, not with the intention of showing it to the person who asked me the question.. I don't think the answer matters to the one who posed this question, so as always I decided to get in here and explain myself..

the story: After completing my 10th standard in an "all boys" government school, I joined for Pre-Degree science batch at a college near my home.. the excitement around joining the Pre-Degree batch, the last one of its kind in the history of MG University, was pretty overwhelming at that point of time.. PreDegree was replaced by +2, handing over an additional 2 year school "opportunity" for everyone junior to me.. After the initial days of ragging from seniors, all the "shyness" that accompanied being in a classroom of around 70 odd students which included a lot of girls was quite an experience for someone like me..  We slowly settled down and everyone started to get to know each other.. The lean, fair girl with big beautiful eyes and loud voice caught my attention but I didn't talk to her for quite a while. I don't know whether I was shy or afraid of talking to girls but somehow there were no interaction at all.  During classes and tuition hours which followed, I have glanced at her umpteen number of times. At that point of time, for that 16 year old, she seemed to be the embodiment of what beauty is all about..

I don't remember when I started talking to her but we did talk, a lot.. During some breaks in between classes, I had to sing "Neele Neele Ambar Par" by the legendary singer Kishore Kumar and few other songs by the popular Hindi pop band, Euphoria.  Though I never attempted singing later in my life, those songs did bring in a lot of good vibes in our conversations.  I started liking her but I never told her about it (something I regret till date).  One day when I entered the classroom, I noticed that someone did me a favor and declared my love for her on the black-board.. As soon as she entered the room, she glanced at the board (guess she got to know about the news before she reached class) and started walking towards me. I was shivering as if I committed an "atrocious act" and to spice things up, I had a girl in front of me who looked more furious than my mother, when she gets angry.. Luckily I didn't pass out and had little bit of courage left in me to look at her.  She asked, "Did you write that on the board?" and I said, "No", followed by the question, "Do you have any such feeling towards me?", I said "No" again... She walked towards the board, took the duster and cleaned the sentence on the black board. I thought about this situation many times, rerun the second question over and over again, till date I have no clue why I said "No" to her.  Our conversation frequency reduced though we remained friends and I still don't know anything about the "beautiful soul" who wrote that on the black board spoiling a budding relationship.

We continued to talk but I was somehow hesitant to reveal how much I liked her.  Days, weeks, months passed by and I continued to have conversations without making any progress, slowly slipping out of focus on the goals I had set for myself.   The whole freedom which I got in the college, my father's transfer to a different state, I slowly went out of track and studies became my last priority.. Though I was aware that my mom scrambled the amount to enroll me for engineering entrance coaching, I still didn't give much priority to anything related to studies.. I continued to skip classes and went for watching Hollywood movies instead, at one of my favorite cinema theaters in the entire world, "Sridhar" located near Marine Drive in Cochin (I somehow get a weird grin whenever I think about those days - I do remember all the movies that I watched in the cheap front row seats but hardly remember anything about those coaching classes).. I think that is the beauty of life, we tend to remember only those moments which surprised us, those moments which made us smile, those moments which we shared with the ones whom we love, those moments which left a mark forever..

I was unsuccessful in getting a seat for engineering, I somehow got a seat for Bachelor's in Physics in the same college after a horrendous two years of Pre-Degree where my percentage plummeted surprising the entire family.  My idea was to finish my degree somehow and pursue a Masters in management but my father was not ready to understand this.  I had to listen to my furious father continuously when he came home for an annual vacation and literally broke me down at one of his friends places, kicking off one of the worst years of my life (Looking back, I find all these funny - the percentage of marks which doesn't stand as any recognition for the value of a student, the way parents try to enforce their dreams onto their kids, nothing makes sense, nothing)

Back to love - Once I knew that I won't make it to engineering, I decided to go back and join for bachelors.   I later realized that the reason for picking same college, course was not my love for physics but the knowledge that she is also enrolled in the same class. I continued to talk to her but noticed that she is hanging out quite a lot with one of my classmate.  That two and half year old "one way" love came to an end, after I came to know that they are dating.. I did find myself in a sad & gloomy situation for quite a while since nothing worked out for me and no one to blame but myself. I decided to dust up the entrance prep materials and after some effort got into engineering the following year.  Though I liked another girl during the physics course, couple others during my engineering days, I never went ahead and said "I like you" to any of them until I met the very beautiful 5 ft tall feisty.  After hanging out with her for a month into my job training, I asked her whether she want to be my girlfriend.   I said "I love you" to someone for the first time, to someone who believed I was one big mistake, someone who hated all aspects of my personality, someone who came up to me for the first time to reveal how much she hated me..

Now the question is "why I didn't go up to those whom I liked and tell what I felt". No, its not the absence of guts - being brought up in Cochin, guts and courage to do something is never a question for me.  It was a mix of various other things - I had basically nothing with me at that point and the fear of being involved in a relationship with nothing to offer might be one of the reasons why I dragged myself away all the time..  I now realize that there is more to love than flashy clothes, money and numerous other materialistic aspects but for that young guy, his inferiority complex would have played a major role in holding him back.  The obligation to pay back my parents for all the sacrifices that they made maybe a reason or the sense of responsibility to build something on my own maybe another reason.  I do regret the decision of not revealing my love at various points and always wonder where it would have taken me if I did - takes me to an intrinsic complicated world of possibilities, what I would have gained, lost..

Even though I give very little significance to the date, coincidentally it is another valentine's day around the corner and I don't know what I should expect from the one to whom I said "I love you", for the second time in my lifetime. What should I expect from her?  What else I have to do to prove how much she matters to me? I understand the constant struggles that accompanied my relationships, there is a beauty in enduring such pain.  People tell me about thousand reasons why sometimes love will not work - differences, likes, dislikes, distance, money, priorities, career, family, society, religion, caste, culture, this and that. I believe love is the idea of finding a spark that unites one to another, to find that one aspect and build on it, once you focus on that everything else becomes irrelevant.  You slowly build a bond that takes you forward.  I don't know whether time will prove me wrong but for now, this is what I believe in.. I am left with broken links on all occasions, with no one to blame but there is hope.  There is a spark waiting somewhere to weld everything back together but for now, my wait continues..

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

the leaning tower of 6/334 and the big fat Onida

I went to sleep after slowly placing the TV on top of that stand, which I adjusted by placing some paper under it, with a hope that it will not fall on top of the person sleeping under.  For that night, it was my turn and sleep was not an option.  When a lot of unwanted reels is running inside your head, when you are filled with anguish, sleep is a tough thing.  I rolled over that mat for hours, on which I slept every night, that "one man space" luxury available between the cot and cupboard.  I don't remember what time I fell asleep, but the tiredness caused by the earlier ruckus and the drama slowly pushed me into sleep.

TV stand:
My father started working as a site supervisor for a palm oil company in Willingdon Island and was one of their first employee.  So when the construction for their oil tanks started, he became friends with the contractor assigned to building tanks and their employees.  My father became so close to the contractor that we even went to his house to have lunch with his family.  So along with a gate for the house, the contractor agreed to build a TV stand as well.  Finally TV stand was delivered, two thin disks welded together to the edges of a small pipe.  The all metal 'thing' looked like a weird mold which can be used by a 15 year old to bench press. When placed in position it had a small tilt which we had to adjust using few pieces of paper. So it became our own mini version of "leaning tower"...

Television was a big luxury for most of the Indian families back in 90s and it was no different in my case as well.  As a kid, I remember going to neighbors house to watch sports, movies etc.  So when the TV at our house died (or taken away, I don't remember what exactly happened to that box), the viewership levels at our house went down drastically.  The women in the house were sad that they were not able to continue watching the soap serials/dramas that aired during that time (unlike today where they plague channel after channel during prime time, there were very few that I remember from back then - Good times huh?).  I was sad that our options to watch TV disappeared and had to go watch sports or basically watching what is 'ON' that time, at one of our neighboring houses.  This went on for years, I continued to watch TV at other houses which I picked based on what I wanted to see.  My father had to leave Kochi after being transferred for showing "over" respect to his general manager. From what I heard, he addressed him as "Kutta" (Hindi word for dog) instead of Gupta.  Poor guy, I'm pretty sure it was a slip of the tongue..

During the final stretch of his "life mission" to work all across India, initially posted at the company site in Haldia, West Bengal then at Jamnagar, Gujarat and finally at Ludhiana, Punjab - my father bought a TV.. So before one of his annual vacation trips back home, he listened to our cries and decided to bring back home the big fat Onida 'boombastic" (or whatever name they gave that model due to big side speakers on the rear).  I remember taking the TV box out of the train compartment - suddenly the pathway inside the compartment, it's door, everything seemed smaller than usual.  After a strenuous effort, we bought the TV outside and took it home.  Due to the weight of the box, I thought there was something else inside until "boombastic" came out.  We slowly placed it on top of our very own "leaning tower" and watched it for few minutes to make sure it doesn't collapse.

Furor inside house # 6/334:
 What we saw over the next few days was good times.  We get to watch all the sports and music, father watches news and others also got limited opportunity to watch their favorite TV shows.  After a month long vacation, my father went back to Punjab for work.  Now the real drama started - the rumblings of discomfort and annoyance around not able to watch the TV, favorite channels/programs started popping up slowly.  I believe, my grandmother was at the helm of boiling this up.  So one fine night, when the youngest uncle came back, he started yelling and shouting at us (I would be interested in knowing what brand of alcohol he guzzled that night - I will not describe the abuses that was hurled at me, brother and my mother) for not letting others in the house watch their favorite channels.  My argument was, TV came home based on our request, so others should be happy that they get to see something.  After an hour long debate, which involved adding a lot of new "words" to my personal dictionary and collecting quite a lot of "real life" experience, I decided to take "boombastic" and leaning tower back to our small room from the common space in the house. Though I was around 20 years old and felt like a ball of anger, I gave up on the argument with my uncle. So in one night, we added a TV and bumped up the luxury of our 10x10 feet living/bedroom (where me, my brother and mother slept) to five star.  My uncle continued to shout near the bedroom door followed by the big statement by grandmother to my mother, "You are not going to get this home - don't stay here hoping for that".  Before heading to bed, I went to my grandmother,  smiled at her and told that we don't need the house or anything from her.  End to an eventful night!!

I found it funny that my grandmother was staying at "my home" when I left Cochin after a short vacation few weeks ago and my uncle visited our place couple of times.  Looking back, though I was filled with a lot of anger and disappointment over this whole commotion, I am glad that I don't hold any grudge with any of the characters involved after so many years and very happy that I got a great story to talk about.  We all live only once so let us make it a beautiful one and to quote Swami Vivekananda "all differences in this world are of degree and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything"

P.S. - I am pretty sure, with his 'Kochi' attitude, my father purposely called his general manager 'Kutta'!! Yes, I lied earlier about "slip of the tongue" - hey, someone had to support my father right?