Thursday, December 16, 2010

The year 2010

We are truly arriving at the end of what would be called a very optimistic year for mankind !! Yes, 2010, truly was a fabulous year. It gave assurance to a gentleman named Kasab against death in a country where he raised mayhem. It saw delayed legal proceedings against the gentleman who once promised to change the face of Indian sports arena (he did change it although, to a very sorry one) - Mr. Suresh Kalmadi as he smiled through the Commonwealth Games fiasco with a naughty boy grin. We also saw people behind online social networking or news platforms - Mark Zuckerberg(FB) and Julian Assange(Wikileaks), beating the US president, in the "Times" magazine, person of the year, thus giving the idea of the increased domination of cyberspace in our lives (i am expecting a few nightmares on the lines of Terminator: Salvation).

We saw hope of getting along well with extra terrestrials, when Lady Gaga strutted around with hideously designed weird clothing pieces. The Indian govt. also grew increased confidence in the nation's ability to take shocking scams in it's stride and move on, little perturbed by the 2G in the air, foreign athletes' woes at the games village, Kargil martyr's apartments being taken over by the our true son's of the soil - the dirty politicians and the latest, ulterior corporate motives and active lobbying which came to the fore with the Radia-tapes episode.

Ok, enough with the satire !! There were feel good things also. The Indian Cricket team, finally achieved no. 1 status and held on to it. Quite a dream for the millions of fans who have ate slept and drunk cricket all their lives. We got to watch Indian athletes winning medals by the dozen. We saw the rise of Saina Nehwal, as a top shuttler in the world!! We saw the stock markets rollicking back to the top, adding happiness with generous helpings of caution this time around amongst the investors. We saw a careful budget and a fair court order on the age old Babri Masjid issue. We even managed to warm our eyes to on the hip-shaking Badnaam Munni and Jawaan Sheila.We had Amitabh Bachchan welcoming us on national television yet again in that "omigawd-its-so-grim-n-sexy" tone that only he has, to play Kaun Banega Crorepati. We had Dolly Bindra, who reminded us of what a feel-good happy life we are leading (by not facing her in the Big Boss House). We had a whole bunch of Box office "jewels", to discard and yet, surprisingly, a decent number of good movies on offer from the Indian Film Industry.

Personally, my year was pretty good. I continued to live amongst love, fun and friendship, passing yet another year in glory. Here's a funny list of my achievements or high moments (not weed, silly!!) this year :

  1. Managed two full fledged trips back home !! (Ideally the norm is one)
  2. Managed to retain the "Single and unbothered" status (Ok, this might not be an achievement, for some, but hell, it's my list and i need to feel good about it !!) :-)
  3. Saw the Indian cricket team achieve No. 1 ranking in the world (for a boy, who followed cricket when the national side was beaten blue and black most times, this is a dream..and the best part is it continues...)
  4. Devoured an inhuman number of movies, possible in a year, in many languages, while still continuuing on a job and raising a family (ok, the last phrase sounded valiant, i know it ain't true).
  5. Saved Money !! (yes..yes..yes...Finally proud of myself....Thank you Mom !!)
  6. Struck to the same job, beyond a year (a first of it's kind, didnt happen earlier, for unfortunate "haalaats" !!, still well on course..)
  7. Started watching Plays, two infact - "Class of 84' " and "Get rid of my wife" and loved the experience.
  8. Successfully avoided meeting the frightening species of "choose-me girls" for marriage. With all due respect, will not get to enjoy this luxury for long.
  9. Managed a large all-girls team at the workplace with no issues, and surprisingly no catfights !! (I sometimes feel like Aamir Khan from Hum hain raahi pyaar ke.. remember the song.."Chikni soorat" hehe..)
  10. Succeeded in reviving this blog....despite fewest hits busy hunky dory schedule and my lack of skills in writing on interesting issues !! The motto was and will be to write for self, with an idea to entertain somebody, if he/she happens to stumble across these pages of my creation !!
I think this will be my last post for this year. Thank you 2010, for all that you bestowed. Hope for an even better one in 2011.

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. ~Benjamin Franklin

Last Pic Courtesy - The Weekday and the Weekend by Your's truly !! 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Me and Harry Potter

Fantasy has a part in all our lives. We fantasise, expect, make castles in the air, get dissappointed, move on and then fantasise some more. Over the passage of time, and our journey into adulthood, what is startlingly observed is that, our fantasies have become tangible and realistic, thereby loosing the essence of the term. As kids fantasy meant much more. From Granny's stories to Fantasy fables, there were sizeable contributions for increasing our appetite.

Personally, books have been my major friends since childhood. I devoured stories, comic books etc as a child and probably that led to inculcating reading as a habit. Fantasy, as a medium of prose in my country was very limited. There were tales about magical creatures, forbidden castles, wonder caves, but in solidarity. The more one wanted to read about, the less there was material to look forward to. I remember Chandamama, the children's magazine carrying a series of fantasy adventures, but soon lost focus and it's readers. DD TV serials such as Stone Boy, Alif Laila (unintentionally hilarious), Captain Vyom also faded away. Soon, I graduated into classics and subsequently popular fiction novels.

I was in junior college, and was leafing through a popular magazine those days - "Cricket Talk". It carried a column of Top 10 International Bestsellers Fiction / Non-fiction, and as my eyes fell upon the list i could notice 3 Harry Potter titles in the fiction list competing with the likes of Michael Crichton and other popular writers. I tried inquiring about Harry Potter from different sources ( no, googling was not an option those days, atleast not for me !!). The best i could conclude, was that, it might be a detective series a la Holmes or Poirot and I was looking forward to read them.

My mother had an Operation in mid 2001 and i was attending to her for a brief period in the nursing home in Cuttack. Cuttack happened to be the literature capital of Orissa, my state and I had access to loads of good books and authors at street side 2nd hand shops as well as the famous book stores in the city. This time too, i went about searching for good books to give me company, while i spent time at the nursing home, with Mama.

The book seller proudly showed me fiction novels and thrust in a few Harry Potter books as new arrivals. Upon gazing at the cover art, which appeared quite childish, i wondered if this would at all be a good buy and if it would appeal to the "adult" in me. However, after sparing a careful thought i did buy one of the books - "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire", little knowing that it was the fourth book in the series. Perhaps the size of the book (fattest back then) and the slightly adventurous cover art, got my goat !!

The beauty of the prose was such that i could understand the stuff even though i broke midway from the fourth part of the series. Soon i was enthralled, and picked up all the remaining parts of the series, available back then. It was sheer joy, being transported to the magical world of Wizards and Witches. I wasn't a "muggle" anymore !! The whole concept was simple yet mind boggling. The presence of wizards amongst common folk, the platform of 9 and 3 quarters, Hogwarts, Quidditch, the magic lessons and the exciting adventures of Harry, amidst all of this.

I kept up with Harry, reading his adventures as i grew from a teenager to adulthood. I introduced him to several of my friends. Imagination was getting colour by the harry potter movies that kept releasing. Daniel Radcliffe surely was the Chosen one, aprtly supported by Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Ron and Hermione, Harry's best friends. However the best potrayal of the character was and is being done by Alan Rickman, in and as Severus Snape, the almost evil, Potions teacher at Hogwarts. A few years back, the last Harry Potter book - The Deathly Hallows was released, and thus the prose came to an end. The movie franchise is soon catching up and the first part of the last book, has already hit the theatres (i saw it a week back). Very soon, next year, the last movie would be released, and Harry will fade away from our expectations, to come again. He will be cherished in the 8 DvDs and 7 books that I will treasure. I hope I keep re-visiting the memories. I also hope to pass my joy to my next generation and i hope they cherish the experience as much.

Harry Potter will continue to be the boy who lived.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Trip Back Home

Chhod aaye hum woh galiyaan....

Yes, I have just returned from a home trip.

Rejuvenated, tired, excited, happy and sad at the same time !! There aren't too many occasions when you experience these emotions all together. While i was on my flight back to Bombay i was contemplating on blogging about my trip. Not the usual holiday diaries, people post, though !! Rather a more heartfelt account of my experiences in my hometown.

I have gone back home several times during my professional tenure. Managed to live through the madness of office work, people frantically calling to check upon work, and me happily basking in the small town's laid back sunshine. Never bothered about things such as career, packages, recruitments, MISes, training, performance etc etc n blah, during those 8-10 wonderful days.

This time was no different. "I shall not be accessible on the phone" mentioned my out-of-office mail.

The welcome at home, the warmth from my kith and kin and the angelic face of my mom. The face that makes me forget all worries in life, forget any ambition, abandon any desire and just sleep with my head down in her lap while she keeps chatting about almost everything under the universe, from the 7th marriage proposal she received for me to my neighbour's cousin's career interests. Of course Dad's mock anger only enhanced our will to gossip a little more. He, although, was happy with the bunch of novels i took home. Time has a strange way of repeating itself with a twist. It seemed like yesterday, me smiling deeply because of the 3 double digest comic books he'd bought me, on his way back from business.

The awkward hugs i receive from my chaddi buddies, back home are a thing to remember. I have blended into the semi-north indian culture of Free Hugs for everything, and this has become a way of life. However things back home are still the same. A friend meeting after long, is shown the same warmth, same love, yet unspoken. And while i embark on the tradition of hugging, they share half a hug, making the shoulders to barely touch and an arm on the neck, and thus we meet !!

We sit down to discuss... and for once i am glad, we are not touching upon points of discussion such as the big corporate honchos in their respective companies and their astounding ways of success. I am not given pre feeds about the next overseas business trip they shall be going upon and our views on the next tax planning and investments for the next quarter do not matter. We do not discuss world cinema or the latest gizmos we are looking to buy. We discuss life, love, happiness, problems, how it was, when we were kids, how it is now. We discuss about other friends, we discuss our small dreams for the future (neither overwhelming the other), we joke, kid around, pull the silliest of pranks and pass off endless hours by the sea side.

I play a lot of badminton every time i go home. Good way to burn all the extra calories i gain from mom's cooking. This time was no different. Although, the guys praised my current form :D , i sincerely hope they were not trying to flatter a desk job professional with limited exposure to practice. I do wear out faster in about an hour's rigorous game-play. Cut to memories of the champ playing like there was no tomorrow during college days. I look at the trophies, cups and shields i earned from the game and the pride still gives a weak smile from deep inside.

I visit places. Sometimes with people, and sometimes alone. I steal a peep at my alma-mater, my school. Holiday time !! :'( Couldn't go inside !!
I sat by the sea, the same spot i have always been to. Memories came flying. Reckless sea baths in the salty water....holding hands.....sand castles.....the awkwardness of meeting girls near the Puri Sea Beach (understood locally)...beach football.....sand art....the setting sun.....the confused tourists...the yuppy foreigners....!!
It rained while i was sitting by the beach this time (yes it had been raining a bit in Puri). I was listening to a bluetooth transferred version of Guzaarish's title track. The moment felt ethereal. While i do share this in words now, in reality i am weirdly selfish, i wouldn't want anyone to be a part of that experienced moment.

I ate, ate and ate...yes that is understood. Coming from my present situation of self imposed diets and the crappy maid food, home is where the sorrow ends !! My roomie had mentioned once, its good that we get crappy food here, it helps us stay fit. If we were subjected to home food on a daily basis, God alone would measure my waist !! Anyways, the tastiest of fishes, the mutton, the veggies, the sweets all went inside in large quantities and every moment was relished.

I went to the temple, with mom as always. I'm not very religious and every time i pray i feel i am pleading. So i discontinued the habit. But when i enter the big temple of the greater God, every logic, every argument seems baseless.. The atmosphere is so overwhelming, that i do not mind being even a beggar before Lord Jagannath. I pour my heart out before him and realize towards the end, i have been saying things out loud and Mom is peering blankly at me having finished her prayers.

I came back to Mumbai this morning. Waved to my parents till the last sight of the visitors window while getting on the plane. I wonder sometimes if its going to be a trend that i will slog for 50 weeks in a year to have 2 weeks of pure happiness in life. Conscience is a nasty little prick, always posing the wrong questions....

P.S -
Dear Conscience, I chose this life. I have lived and loved it. And i look forward to make it more meaningful.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I have noticed a trend. Important Landmark events or dates always coax Bloggers to write. Results as i have seen could be fab and quite the opposite.
So i never stuck to Father's day, Momma's day, Valentine's day (that's a separate story eh fellas !!), Canine day or Independence day for that matter !!
Independence caught my fancy this time around. Maybe the influence of social networking had a role to play. The randomness with which people were wishing independence, was a little unnerving. It was nice to see people valuing independence but slowly when they tried going into pseudo half introspection half sarcastic mode, the comments generated were amusing to say the least if i could refrain from dirt.

"Inflation, child labour, shit, crap etc etc on the rise % x goes to % y, Govt is going to the dogs, ARE WE ACTUALLY FREE??"
"Iss se achche toh hum Ghulam the"
"Rant rant rant rant rant......100 mein se 80 beimaan, fir bhi mera Bharat Mahaan (80% corruption, yet India is great), Happy Independence Day."

No, what's your point exactly here? Things are fucked up ?? Right ?? And what are you doing to change anything over here ???

You say, slavery was better ? Did even your friggin Dad experience a life under British Rule ? Things were more organised then, eh, classy ?? Says who ??? Did you see it for real ? Did you get flogged ? Did you like it ? Bondage fun huh ?? Marvellous !!!

I tried imagining a life of slavery in current situations. In one word....Scary !! I value my freedom and all that the country bestows upon me. I do not take pride in being patriotic, i rather am happy being a responsible citizen, that being the least i can contribute to the growth of the country / economy etc etc. Yes i am selfish, as an individual in the social hierarchy. I cannot sacrifice my life in the pursuit of more glory for my country, the civil affairs etc etc the works. I lose the right to criticise those who do, there itself. I may question or raise propaganda to collectively shake the foundations of wrong doings such as the Common Wealth Games, but thats it. My government has given me the power to choose and not-choose, and i do not consider myself too small to make a difference. What if a thousand others thought just like me by coincidence and abstained or engaged from doing the right thing. Aren't we creating a difference there ?

I consciously look to vote. I have contributed occasionally to a specific NGO and am trying to be more regular at that. I haven't engaged in mal-practice or exercising social influence. I hope I do not consider these as "Virtues", rather try bettering them at each given chance.

I am a free Indian. I love my country.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Football World Cup 2010 - The Memories

The Football World Cup 2010 was here. Waka Waka....What joy !!! Much like the boys enjoyed watching the games..leaving the girls to sulk for attention or pretend to be indifferent.. it was heaven for 90 minutes (if a game stretched beyond that...twas bliss). A football world cup comes once in 4 years, and chances are, a guy would get to enjoy only 2-3 of them during his prime time, that is..after the harassment of studies/entrance exams/homework and before the ultimate justice that awaits him - grocery shopping, nappy changing and being the head of the family. Please do not hold the time-continuum arrogance against me. I am just one of those guys at the moment, and hence such statements would make me bask in my youthful glory, again and yet again. I am sure the other age groups can be as big fanatics of the game as any one else. Even women, YES (i came across a few rare breeds who actually loved football...quite so unlikely..but, what the hell...a WOMAN who loves football !! For your benefit O fair maidens...this is almost a metaphor for a guy who loves mindless shopping for hours and doesn't tire out even after your 13th dress trial and offers different sweet comments each time). So bear with me sweethearts, on this one....

So onto the football now. Yeah, this was the 4th World Cup i consciously watched and maybe followed the game most seriously this time around. South Africa played hosts to the world and although now i get to read of the aftermaths and turmoils of creating such billion dollar infrastructure, it all looked grand, the Aadivasi flavor attached. The games progressed very well and some minnows did spring surprises to start with. World Champions SPAIN suffered the first heart attack when Switzerland beat them. The New Zealand teams outing was said to be a vacation, but they proved their salt when they drew with Italy. There were cakewalk groups out of which teams like England still made heavy weather. There were fiercely competitive group like that of Brazil, Portugal and Ivory Coast, and quality football was almost always displayed.

France and Italy received the first heartbreaks, bowing down in the group stages. The French team came with it's share of controversies, and Italy paid the price for compromising on experience. Ivory coast was another star studded side and they must consider themselves unfortunate to go out in the group stages. One particular game when the Portuguese slammed 7 against North Korea, stood out. The Germans were also scoring prolific in most of their games, with a much balanced side of youth and experience. Argentina came in as a strong contender, and I stand in true testimony, that if there ever was a man most involved in this World Cup, it was their coach Diego Maradona. Jumping on the baseline, kissing the players, screaming at the refs...the little man did everything !! Spain proceeded slowly but confidently with David Villa making his reputation grow stronger as one of the best strikers. The dutch team had its stars, but were always comsidered unpredictable. However this time they were firing.

The round of 16 saw some of the minnows making name for themselves. Japan, Paraguay, Ghana, Mexico...all bowed out but gained a lot of respect. England, my first favourites had a humiliating exit at the hands of Germany. There might have been a dubious decision but now as the record books show, they lost comprehensively. Sob Sob... Time for the quarters... The Uruguay team had performed marvelously mostly being led by the most inspiring player i saw this time - Diego Forlan. Forlan did everything that a footballer could and whenever he played it looked as if the game revolved around him. Hw scored long distance goals, he scored on free kicks..he rubbished the Jabulani ball myth and he truly went into the record books head held high as the recipient of the Golden Ball. There was the young gun Suarez too who scored a lot of goals but will be remembered also for a few wrong reasons as he repeated the Hand of God - part 2 during the quarters against Ghana. Asamoah Gyan failed on the penalty, the black stars and Africa's only hopes went crashing. Heartbreaks were plenty when the dutch beat Brazil in the quarters, with the whole of Kolkata shedding copious tears that could have possibly led to a flood over howrah bridge. Joga Bonito - not this time pals !! The best game of the tournament was touted to be the QF between Germany and Argentina and then came the shocker. The fuhrer's men beat Maradona's boys, Messi, tevez and sundry all high and dry. The raw physical power and counter attack was too much to handle. Mesut Oezil and Thomas Mueller had arrived at the international stage and are sure to grow into stars soon. Old timers like Lahm, Podolski and Schweinstiger were also playing extra special, while Miroslav Klose etched his name on the WC record books as one of the most successful strikers of all times.

The 4 semifinalists weren't quite the most popular predictions. The Oranges edged over Uruguay and broke Forlan's and his countrymen's hearts. Spain benefitted with their most of their players' experience of playing
 together and controlled the ball in a frenzy and making the germans play at their pace. It was an educational game for the learners of the game. Finally a clever set-piece did Germans over. Carlos Puyol, the defender, the rockstar..had scored.

Spain and Netherlands went into the finals, both waiting to be crowned world champions for the first time. Wisdom and clever play prevailed over aggresive fouling, which was the only resolve the dutch could come up with to counter Spain's brilliant ball game. It was almost a fitting end as, Andres Iniesta..the think tank, the strategist, the MAMAjee of Rajneeti, scored the winner in the 116th minute of extra time. Espanyollllllllllllllll my status message on FB read then and they didnt dissappoint.

This World Cup, had its share of fun and distractions. The Jabulani, the Vuvuzelas, the crowd all prevailed, good and bad, and in the end Football ruled. A game most followed in the world, as simple as involving just 1 ball and a whole lot of skills and enough attraction to even move cricket crazy nations like ours sit up and take notice, truly - JOGA BONITO - it's a beautiful game.

This world cup will remain as heartfelt as this post. I am writing this so that in the future i can read this and revisit my days of youth. Those beer bashes...those cursing your mates when their team scored against yours...those victory dances...those OMIGAWD moments...shall always remain. 4 years from now will never be the same...i hope the game however will remain as awesome as it is. Brazil, a 4 year older than now man, will await you. For all the footballing moments i shared with my was a pleasure !!

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Last Conversation

I had come back from the meeting early.
The chest pain was bothering me a little. The hands felt a little numb. I couldn't understand why would my physical self ail me so much, when everything seemed all right in the external hemisphere. The merger had been successful. My clients were happy, the boss even happier. I ordered room service for a small dinner and lay down on the hotel bed. I'd thought of calling Kruti, but those were different timezones we were in, and didn't want to ruin her sleep. I thought of calling Vinny, my son. But then he must have been out partying and i wanted to save him the embarrassment of receiving a call from his Dad at 2am, while he must be high and happy with his friends.
2 more days, and i would be back home, i said to myself. Must go for a check-up this time. Must quit smoking. Hell, must go for a holiday if possible...

I don't remember dozing off really (as if anybody does!!). But what woke me up was a shrill noise. A noise i had never heard before, a noise that made my ears go numb and i couldn't pick up any external sounds after that. My chest pained again, this time with a stubbornness. I clutched my heart with both hands...and i saw a figure in front of me. Certainly not the room service, i thought.

The vision cleared and i found a person in black and yellow robes sitting besides me on my bed. He looked aged, he looked wise and seemed to exude an eerie charm from his hollow eyes.
I felt cold. Not the sort of cold, that you feel on a winter night, a deep setting chill, that seemed to arise in me from within.

Excuse me, Who are you?
Me ? why dont you take a wild guess ?
I dont know, you certainly dont look like room service !!
The man lent a hollow laugh...Room service !! ?Well, i certainly have been confused for worser professions, but no..i'm afraid, your guess isn't correct !!
Did you sneak into my room ?
I dont sneak into rooms, Avinash, i sneak into life. Now before you keep straining your already weaker self, i will tell you who i am. I am your end.
Is this some kind of a joke? Do i know you at all? Please lets get rid of this nuisance, i really am in a bad condition to entertain reality TV goofers spoiling my sleep.
OK, then let me make it more "REAL" and evident for you. With these words, the man did something i could neither explain, comprehend or disbelieve. He changed his form into 5 of the most eerie visions i have ever experienced. The Satan, The Devil, Death, God...whatever it was here !! And it was staring me in my face !!

What do you want from me? I was clutching the blanket now.
He had returned to his former self by now. "I didn't have a choice Avinash, but I had to make you believe me. A lot of people i meet pass away after this exercise is done, making my work much easier. But you are a brave man i must say.
What do you want ? I repeated
Well, what can i want ? I obviously havent come here to explain the new promotional campaign we have organised for a new health plan i would want you to invest into !! He smirked.
I have come for you, my friend. Your life. Lets depart...
What? Me? Now ? Why?
Well, so many questions... i wont want to answer all of them...but all i can say is It's time !!
How can you say that ? I just have a mild chest pain, I am 48 and i have a lot to do..what about my family?
The man/Death had a serious expression when he said this to me - "I, as you can see, do not wear a watch, my friend. I could be as delayed and as alarmingly early as you could possibly imagine. Think of your wife's great grand dad or your cousin's newly born. Tell me, would i have an answer if they asked me the same question ?
Why now.......? tears wet my cheek. There was so much still remaining to be done. I had to complete my book, i had to reach the CEO's post, a task i had set for myself in the next 3 years, i had to go for that Greek holiday i had so eagerly awaited, i had to see my son graduate from IIM-A, i had to see him get married, have children and Kruti, how can i drift away from her. She'd been my soul mate for the last 20 years. My mom, how would she feel..what about my friends...??? Too many questions....

It seemed as if he was looking right through me.

I know it's hard. Believe me, contrary to my work, i have the deepest sense of sympathy you would ever experience.

"I was there, when you had an inkling of a thought of jumping off the cliff, when Kavita dumped you in the school picnic. I was there, when you were staring emptily at the ceiling fan, having been unable to make it to the IITs. I was even there when you were speeding off at a 110kmph on your motorbike on the highway and managed to escape the truck by half an inch. I was there when you had lost your first job and thought your career was over and were walking drunk on the empty railway tracks near your rented flat."

I was there Avi, I was there...all the time....I never asked you this question, "Why don't i get you now??"
Because the strangest thing this world shall ever experience is - Time. You might try to capture it in a clock, in calendars, in years...but you shall be clueless as to how finite or infinite it can possibly be.

Therefore my friend, i tell you now, "It's time"

"It's time" - I had heard this so many times, from mom, trying to wake me up early, during the ending bells of examinations, from girlfriends wanting to move on, from bosses asking for end of year reports..... and all of that became so vague in comparison to what this person told me. I was dying. It was going to be over. I wanted it to end with happy thoughts...i started visualizing my life from as early as i could remember. Dad's cricket sessions, the university medal, the new motorbike on the day of the results, the first kiss with Sarah, my first paycheck, Kruti's face when i first met her, our awkward honeymoon in Shimla, Vinny, his tiny self in my hands in the maternity room, the hug he gave me on our holiday on top of the Eiffel tower, while shouting "My Daddy's the besttttttt".........The lights started to fade. They will be fine...God, bless them with a happy life.....

He placed his hand on mine. We left.

Image courtesy: Camille on Death Bed, by Monet

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Incredible in India

"Can you at least move your armpit away from my face ?"
"Yes Sir, i am talking to you, thanks a lot for your keen power of observation, which failed over the last 15minutes."
"What ??, No..what exactly will you see out of me at the next stop?..No..please explain !!"
Suraj would have gone on and on, if it wasn't for his colleague standing next to him, who intervened with a swarm of "Sorries" and "Chod naa yaar".
Travelling in Mumbai locals was an adventure everyday. Or so was told by every fellow mumbaikar, who chose to dab Davidoff over this stinking everyday experience of his life. So many people to observe, so many activities that keep happenings everyday, so many discussions, share bazaars, kirtans, The green card !!
Ask Suraj. If he was in as bad a mood as he was today, chances are he would have removed your molars with just a minor hand effort.
Any ways, getting back to today. The day started with a call from the in-laws announcing their arrival by next week. The wife got so engrossed in the telephonic, she forgot all about breakfast. Not one to complain, Suraj made haste for office. Time was precious, headcount kept increasing in the bogies with each passing local, and you had to be early to earn your 3inches of floor space inside one.

Office happened. The boss shouted. Twice. Okay not that bad a day, will rank within top 100 bad days in office maybe.
"Suraj can you see me"
5minutes of obscene abuses followed by 15minutes of pep talk. Okay this makes an entry to the top 10.

He glanced at the calendar, 26th !! 4 days to meet the target and two clients had backed out already. Not a pretty situation. Maybe he should apply for a few more openings on naukri dot com. Oh damn the office firewalls.

When Suraj, started out here, he was the star of the team. He was good at presentations, charts, and was often praised for the virtue. Nowadays it acted as a bane for him. As fate would have it he had to make two of them for old Snooty senior, the super boss, before he wrapped up the day. He kept waving bye-byes to all the colleagues from the back of his head, as one by one exited. The day was coming to an end finally....or so he thought.

Suraj lit a cigarette and started out his hurried strut to the CST (Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus - the hub of central and harbour line railways for Mumbai locals). The watch suggested 9pm already. Another late worked up day. How much is he going to be able to take. The wife had called thrice already, but he was in no mood to entertain her. The family planning exercise was entering the serious stage. There had been a heated exchanges on that off late. In his mind, Suraj also was suspecting if his in-laws were coming in to gang up against him on the issue. Hell, it wasn't fair !! The only thing his side of the family was concerned with is how much money he sent home religiously. That was beginning to get difficult too. The dip in the stock market, made way for salary cuts, severance and things actually did look very bleak. Hell 2008, why wouldn't you end faster !!! It looked as if the whole universe conspired against him.

World weary, Suraj entered the big structure called as the CST. When he started off in the maximum city, he was too excited to see the CST. This is all they showed about Mumbai, in the old movies, and that scene made an impression on millions of small town kids like Suraj. Not now. The look of the crowd irritated him. As like everyone else in the crowd, he hated the crowd, not realising, he was a part of the crowd himself !!

He needed to take a leak before boarding the train. Suraj made it towards the smelly rest rooms. Just as he was about to enter the corridor, he bumped into a teenager. Bloody teenagers, always on the run, caring a damn for anyone else. This was different but. Something in the youngster's bag poked into Suraj's ribs and it hurt real hard. Ok...he couldnt take it anymore...the frustration had to give way..the anger had to pour in..and unfortunately on this guy......."Hey, Andhaa hai kya bey (are you blind)??" shouted Suraj seizing him from his backpack, that the kid wore.

The "Kid" here was a twenty something in a dark tee and cargo pants with a backpack on, and as he turned back, he tried  removing something furiously from another bag, clutched in his hand. This "Thing" looked black and quite resembled an equipment Suraj had seen in most of his favourite action movies.

It would be hard to describe the bundle of emotions that seized Suraj at that very moment. He was sure this was no ordinary teenager. He was surprised with the sudden revelation of what could be a fire-arm. He was taken aback by the cold eyes, once the teenager turned back and stared at him. But out of all of them, what was most imminent was anger. Anger that was pent up since the morning. And that found vent first. The other emotions started falling in place while the anger was being physically demonstrated by our man.

The resilient eyes, instigated further hatred in Suraj. He caught the lad by the collar and blasted two hard slaps across his face. The kid was taken by surprise and made a mad dash at getting something out of the bag he was holding. Anticipating it to be a fire-arm, Suraj grabbed the guy down on his back and sat over him. Suddenly there was this loud deafening sound of gun shots. Suraj saw people from the lavatory running past him helter skelter. A sudden jolt with a spring like force threw Suraj quite a distance. The "Kid" surely knew his combat well, and it was only a matter of time before he would recover.

It was as much of a surprise to Suraj as it was to the teenager that he landed on his feet rather than his back, after his adversary had flung him in the air. The automatic Machine Gun was almost brandishing in full view now. The only other clear vision Suraj got was of the slowly departing train from the platform. Amidst the noise and commotion, he made a mad rush for it. The words of the "Kid" echoed from behind, "Abu Bhaai.....aage....neela shirt......maar".

The train had picked speed. Suraj caught on to an extended hand by an elderly but strong person. This hand came from heaven. Nothing mattered, the commotion, the blood, and he had already faced away from the view of the platform. The crowd inside the train was surprisingly calm, maybe nobody could think of a conversation, maybe they were all afraid, or maybe they all felt a little guilty of cheating death from so close, while witnessing a part of the massacre, that they left behind them. However they behaved well, almost as brothers, brothers united by a reckless attack. Suraj felt his pants. They were wet. You could not attribute fear as the cause. The body reacts differently to violence, to calamity. And these are rare cases in a lifetime. Hence nothing mattered.  

The wife was in worse shape, than our man, who saw it all. She was angry at him for not having picked up her calls. She feared something worse had happened to him, and almost went into a shock. Suraj, had no time to retrospect, or normalise himself. He hugged her, comforted her, cooked themselves a dinner and after answering a thousand calls from anxious relatives, sat down before the T.V. It was 2 am. There was no office for sure tomorrow. Mumbai had shut down to terror. The news channels were showing several clippings of a young guy in a t-shirt and cargos walking into the CST with firearms along with an accomplice. Suraj's eyes went wide. The news focus shifted to a cafe in Colaba, where some firing had also happened and then the major gunfire at the Taj and Trident. Suraj contemplated calling the police. What use would that be ? Who would believe he fought with a gun weilding terrorist and lived to tell the tale. And more importantly was this information really required at this hour of calamity ?

Over the next few days, news channels dominated the idiot box. Suraj had the expression of a person who had a lot to share but was kept quiet to respect the gravity of the situation. As if it wasn't strange already, the "kid" was the only terrorist caught alive by the Mumbai police. Maybe Suraj's bad luck rubbed over the golden boy of cross border terrorism.

4th May 2010, Evening.

Suraj, kept the office bag on his sofa. He carelessly switched on the television. "Hangman or Not - Ajmal Kasab's case to be decided tomorrow." The dumbfu** news jockey kept repeating himself loudly, purely because of lack of content and stipulated show timings. The wife emerged, visibly angry.
 "I should have got his throat that day, bloody terrorist !!" Suraj roared in mock anger, pointing towards the TV screen. Clearly, wifey wasnt amused one bit. Suraj bit his tongue. He had to keep the volume low, so that the baby doesn't wake up from his untimely slumber. After the usual exercise, they settled before the T.V while having dinner, and Suraj as usual sacrificed his viewer ship to "Baalika Vadhu".

The Facts

Mohammed Ajmal Amīr Kasāb (Urduمحمد اجمل امیر قصاب; born 13 July 1987) is a Pakistani Muslim terrorist who was involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.[3][4] Ajmal Amir is the only attacker captured alive by police and is currently in Indian custody. The Government of Pakistaninitially denied that Ajmal was from Pakistan, but in January 2009, it officially [2] accepted that Ajmal Amir Kasab was a Pakistani citizen. On 3 May 2010, an Indian court convicted him of murder, waging war on India, possessing explosives, and other charges.[5]He was captured on CCTV during his attacks at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus along with another terrorist, Ismail Khan. Ajmal Amir reportedly told the police that they wanted to replicate theIslamabad Marriott hotel attack, and reduce the Taj Hotel to rubble, replicating the 9/11 attacks in India.[3]
Ajmal Amir and his accomplice Abu Dera Ismail Khan, age 25, attacked the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) railway station.
Source: Wikipedia

The Fiction
Whatever you would choose not to believe. Whatever sounded incredible. Whatever happened and whatever according to you might never have happened.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Holy be your Name !!!

“What’s in a name?

For a Rose with any other name would smell just as sweet…” blurted out Shakespeare

How wrong was he ? Names have such an important role to play in the daily scheme of things we encounter in our daily lives.

There is a theory on behavior patterns about familiarity. The famous proven experiment shows an animal behaving in a likely manner, in a conditioned atmosphere. See Pavlov.

We human’s aren’t any different. We are slaves of conditioning too. Familiarity, is a good thing, but can be a vice at times too. Sample this out – What if you went to smoke a butt at a local paan tapri, got all chatty with the guy selling paan-beedis, and happened to ask his name, and got an answer – “Hamaar naam, Ambani hai, Kishen Ambani !!” ????? Was that you raising a brow ? Or did you leave your mouth gaping wide open ??

Understand what I mean ?? Anyways we move away from stereo-types ! Let’s move to the wretched and the troubled.

Let’s move to my name !!!

They named me - “SOUMYA KANTA SINGH”. Right since birth. The name remains. The interpretations have changed and continue to do so.

I think I must have been a toddler when I asked my Mom, the meaning of my name. She’d said it’s another name for Lord Indra, the God of the skies. As I grew up, I realized there was no connection up there. Soumya – meant “Beauty” and Kanta – meant “master of/ husband of” (don’ t hate me yet, Shobha De, I bought your silly garb in paperbacks !!). The name coherently put, suggests “Beholder of the beautiful” !! I guess Mom, was either ignorant or too coy !!

Add the surname as “Singh” and you have got yourself into a royal mess boy !!! {“Oh jee tussi Punjaabi ho ? Nahin jee, Rajput hoon !! Rajput ? Khoon kitta tussi, Bakre ki Bali ditta tussi??”}

It was very early that I learnt the distinction of private and public schools. It was the way they pronounced my name. While in my formative years I was referred to as “Soumyaaa KantO” , I soon lost the extra vowel (be it “A” or “O” as if I cared !!) when I stepped into Sacrament. I was cool, I was hip, I was “Soumyakant”. Soumyakant, A la, Rajnikant, where the name stopped right at the “T” !!! I silently resolved to do away the extra “A” in my name, a resolution I still follow. However documentary evidence kept eluding me, Birth certificate, Voter card, Pass port…..all welcomed the “A” !!! Once a “KANTA” always a “KANTA” !!!

As we grew up, the names started to shorten. I was known as “Soumya” in my gang. The females in my gang, took to me really well, they pronounced my name with an elongated “yaaa” as in “Soumyaaa”. I was their best buddy, they felt comfortable around me, and one of them even asked me out for SHOPPING !!! Mom used to get bugged, every time one of them called on the telephone, “Aunty, Soumyaa achchi (around) ?? “ “His name is Soumyakanta” Mom would correct. I put the blame back on Mom. “You named me, remember ??? “

College days were even greater !! My circle developed notoriously as one of the most infamous groups in the city. They didn’t spare my name. Someone came up with a derivative, that I be called “Chumma” !!! I fail to translate this even now,

I mean, how can somebody explain SOUMYA  SOMA  SUMA  CHUMMA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They consoled me, they said it’s cute. I remember trying to hook up with a hottie, after winning the university badminton final. I was the champ, I had it all, I was working my way out, my magic was happening, she was falling for it, maybe she wanted to get along, who cares, she is hottt, whats my next move gonna be, “Chummaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” yelled my “friend” !! “POOF” she vanished !!!

College was great. The variations were nice. The middle name “Kanta” took a beating too. From the famous “Kaantaa Lagaaaaaa……………….” Till the Homo-phobic “Kantaa Ben” from the movie “Kal ho naa Ho”, I heard it all.

The professional life began. The NAME !! Yes the implications were amusing and disgusting.

I have lost count on the number of first-time-meetings I have walked into, and surprised the guys.

Yourself ?

Soumya, Soumyakant Singh, Human Resources.

Oh !!

(Oh what Motherfucker ??!! Say it out !!!)

“We were expecting a girl/lady by the name of Soumya !!”

(Ooohh, did I disappoint you?? just give me 5 minutes, I’ll quickly change into my fake boobies, and a cocktail dress, do a cabaret and then you can seduce me till death, you last breed of testosteroneosaurus !!!)

No worries, I get that a lot, lets resume, shall we Gentlemen ??

South Indians, generally gracious at names, had nice follies, “Somyeah Kanthhhh” or sometimes identified me as their own kin by calling “Swamykanthan”

Soumya, was a biiiiggg hactress in South India, do u know her Machaa ??” (Yes, and she is dead. Do u wanna meet her anytime soon??)

Bongs – “Shomo” “Somaa”.

“Shomokant Singh, what do you sing??” (I sing death metal, asshole, weird chants, and my next rendition shall be over your dumb-corpse)

Anyways, I end it here. I have never thought of an affidavit yet. My name gives me due and undue attention. Guess I have learned to live with it.

“Hallo, main Bharti AXA life insurance se bol rahi hun, meri baat Soumya Madam se ho sakti hai ??”

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Writer's Block

The Author -

He's breaking into my thoughts. This isn't a coincidence, no ! This has happened for the third time now. Isn't it me who's supposed to be the master ? Why is he coercing me, to change things ? I DECIDE, its always going to be that way. I may pick up a story, i may finish it. I might not finish it !! Who cares ??? As long as the finished product doesn't make it to the book stands. Yes, I write, i write for a living, not exactly though. I am successful, my reputation precedes me. I cant make this vagabond win. No it cant happen. Doesn't it become all cliché ? I WILL let satire rule here. People need to read a definitive ending. Hell, they would want him to die.

Masterpieces get created that way. They appeal to our inner demons, and the conscience makes way for emotions to be chucked out and pathos makes the judgement, deep, underlying and ever lasting. What is stopping me then?

I am not revising the book again, not for the 16th time, no, i am not !! I am not trying to roughen up the edges here. I am not trying to eliminate the similarities Aditya bears with my past life. They just HAPPEN to be that way. Well, why am i aching then ? Why do i want to give this sonofabitch all that he deserves? All that maybe at a point i thought i deserved ? Fellow sympathy?? Compassion ?? Towards a fictional character ? For God's sake Soumya, he is your creation !!! Deal with him in the manner he will benefit YOU the most. You have already thought of his end. Whats stopping you ? Are you trying to play God here ? Raise, fulfill, nurture and cherish ? eh, is that it?? You are a WRITER !!!

He is influencing my judgement. This is my 7th sleepless night. Every time i close my eyes, i see the bright young bastard, hopelessly in love, aimless, free riding from unknown destinations without a worry in his heart. I will not retrospect, no i wont. I wont think about the resemblance, i will not ponder on what went through my mind when i actually created him on paper.

You will die, a death of glory Aditya. Forgive me, forgive my jealousy. I am mortal. By killing you, i fulfill several of my desires, my dreams of accolades, my craving for recognition, but most importantly I satisfy my inner demon. A demon which was an Angel, 18 years ago, and got transformed in the influence of several potions of tragedy innumerable pangs of loss and countless disappointments.

I am sorry my friend of 11 months. We met on paper, but this bond is unexplainable. I might not get convicted by this act of mine, but i know deep within i have sinned, and this shall stay.........

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hindi Cinema - 90's

Lets talk cinema !! Not the Scorceses, not the Spielbergs, lets not even venture till Almodvar or go back in time till David Lean. Let Coppola rest in peace, and lets not even tingle Woody Allen's wit.

Lets concentrate on our movies, lets look at the most under-rated golden era of Indian cinema, the late 80's amd the 90's (i have a reason for this dissection) !!

I am a self confessed movie buff. I happen to pick up any conversation on cinema and my friends are often amused when i can identify the 2nd henchman of the villain or the latecoming cop, mouth his real name and his filmography. Its something that i grew up with, i had an entire generation of movie buffs, my aunts and uncles to look upto. Besides my Kakaji also had a video parlour so i ended up watching my favourite movies as a toddler, multiple times.

The cinema i was exposed to in my formative years was in the late 80s and 90s. Pure bollywood at its best. Something that a large part of the indian audience is despising now, in the quest of "different" movies. But back then, when they hadnt had that over dosage of heroines running around trees, fancy villains' hideouts, heroes avenging "doodh ka karz", "dost ke maut ka badla" or just kicking bad-asses for the pure fun of it, everybody loved it !!! The song sequences shot at cheap foreign locales just for the heck of it, the comedy track which bounced in completely out of sync with the movie's plot, the 1000 odd extra dancers swivelling behind the leading men and ladies, the two reels of car chases, the bootilicious "item" girls, the hero's side-kick who almost always got killed...whoaaaaaaa...the list is unending !!!

I will never be able to categorise the best of late 80's and 90s, create a top ten or twenty. What i would rather do is churn my brain cells and list out movies that have remained etched in memory, forever.....

Tezaab, the name came almost immediately comes into my mind, when i think of 90's cinema, heck it was in the late 80's but who cares. Tezaab, till date is the most complete movie i have ever seen in our tinsel-town. Its a script writer's wet dream !! "Kya nahin hai iss story mein Sir, Action, Drama, Romance, Comedy, Tragedy, Superhit Songs !!" This was as good as they came. Anil Kapoor at his cocky best, excellent support cast, Chunkey Pandey's best role in his lifetime. Superhit songs, the ek-do-teen is folklore now !! Johnny lever and gang in superb form. Annu Kapoor, as my favourite character from the movie, "Guldasta" !!
Speaking of Anil Kapoor, the actor is the last of the living legions of hindi cinema who saw it all then. The 90's where the Khan's came into the reckoning, but it sure did have the reigning kings then. Sunny Deol, was a rage, be it the "Taareekh pe Taareekh.." of Damini or the angry Commander with a necklace of grenades marching towards the Pakistani army in "Border", apna Sunny Paaji  was in top form. I am yet to see a pair of more expressive eyes, from a leading man, in scenes apart from romance. Ghatak, Ghayal, Ziddi, Salaakhen, Vinashak.....he did get typecasted, but never forgotten !!

When he was far away from Gandhigiri, and a litlle from the TADA case, Sanjay Dutt defined the word "Stud" in India in the 90s. Watch Sadak, Daud, Aatish, Yalgaar and you shall understand what i am talking about. People credit Shahrukh to bring about the revolution of the "Anti-Hero" syndrome in Baazigar, while Dutt's Ballu Balram in "Khalnayak", released in the same year was equally competent !! The movie i feel was one of Ghai's best till date (heck he makes duds nowadays !!). Sanjay Dutt in the fancy white coat with a stick in hand, crooning devilishly to "Nayak nahin...Khalnayak hun main...." Superb !!! I'm not even going towards the "Choli ke peeche" rage !! Dutt Jnr. went ahead post his debacles and made "Vaastav" India's answer to "Scarface" !!

90's also saw the advent of the Macho Men in the industry !! Ajay Devgan, launched in "Phool aur Kaante",
 was the true action hero, before maturing into a great actor, see "Zakhm" to know what i am talking about. Sunil Shetty never really did mature, but his initial days of glory shall be worth remembering, Mohra, Anth, Rakshak, Vinashak etc....the jail fight sequence in Mohra between him and a muscleman, the wrath of Shetty in Anth are as raw as stuff can get.

Before Akshay Kumar was killing audiences with his stupid, brainless "Welcomes" and "Singh is Kings", he used to be India's best action star (heck he still is). He round house kicked his way into bollywood, from Saugandh till the Khiladi brigade. The daring stuntsman, Akshay was most remembered for " Main Khiladi Tu Anari" with Saif, "Mohra" with Sunil Shetty, All the Khiladi movies he did alone, Saineek, etc. Remember the billiards table fight scene in Khiladiyon ke Khiladi ? Pure magic !!!! Akshay was also really good in his cameo in Dil Toh Pagal Hai, and a stupendously balanced performance in Sangharsh.

Aamir Khan, continued to win hearts, from Qayamat se Qayamat tak till Ghulam, Sarfarosh. My favourite memories are from Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, the exhilarating climax - "C'mon Sanju change the gear...........TOP GEAR !!", the loveliest of songs...."Jawan ho yaaron yeh tumko hua kya?......" . One movie that i continue to love is "Akele hum Akele Tum" the desi version of Kramer Vs Kramer. I am too emotionally connected with this movie, dunno for wat reason. The dad-son camarederie was fab, i loved the songs, each one of them, even the recording room wala - "Chehra gulaabi, nazrein sharabi...zulfon ki tauba..tauba yeh samaa.."
 Salman Khan was the hottest thing that happened to bollywood in the 90s. We did have to wait, until "Veergati" though.Then came the rippled muscles, the chiseled looks and the string stare. They said he was 6th on the world's best looking men list....The dream followed...Judwaa, Pyaar Kiya toh darna Kya (the bare chested O O jaane jana creating furore), Jab Pyar kisi se hota hai (Salman never looked better).....they just kept coming. Acting ? Most noticeworthy were from Bhansali's brand.."Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam", a restrained "Khamoshi" apart from a superb Cameo in KKHH, or Salman teaming up wid Aamir for the best comedy of the decade "Andaz Apna Apna" !!!

The 90s however did see the advent of King Khan - Shahrukh. He came, he saw and he conquered. From the best of romantics in our generation to playing the dangerously obssessed lover, Shahrukh did it all. Screen Magic followed from DDLJ and went on till KKHH and Shahrukh was sitting strong. Often criticised and compared to Amir for lack of variety, Shahrukh did stick to a genre - Romance, but made it his Genre for times to come!! The most under-rated movie from Shahrukh was "Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa". The sore good boy loser was never more adored..

I understand the post is getting Hero specific, but those days Hero-worship was in fashion !! Anyways, Nana Patekar comes into immediate reckoning, for brilliant performances in most under rated movies, Yugpurush, Yeshwant, Prahaar, Krantiveer or the most rivetting "Parinda". Jackie Shroff was good in its n bits...there were occasional memorable ones from him as well, including "Parinda", though his best i believe was "Gardish", a heartfelt story of a good man gone wrong. Bobby Deol was quite the rockstar with "Soldier" and "Gupt" (Gupt being the best thriller i have seen in hindi cinema, apart from "100 days"), but faded away soon.

Hey wait i havent mentioned any leading ladies. Madhuri rocked in the 90s, maybe the only actress to carry movies on her shoulders, loved her in Dil Toh Pagal Hai, Mrityudand etc.

Mani ratnam made his entry with such rare gems like Roja, Bombay, Dil Se. The Bhatt camp continued strong, they introduced such good music to our cinema.....Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aaayi....Aashiqui are almost legends now. RGV created milestones with Rangeela and Satya.

So far so memories live forever....i still have a feeling i have left out some brilliant ones...will add up when i remember.  

Friday, January 1, 2010

Dead Idiots

"Likh Likh ke padaa hatheli par alpha beta gamma ka chaala, 
 Concentrated H2SO4 ne pura...pura bachpan jalaa dala...."

Is there an idiot in all of us ? Well, in most of us? Have you ever had a stupid urge to do something out of the ordinary...something that is not quite you...something weird ...something wild... And ended up realising that your naughty innocence wasn't quite appreciated !!!

I realised it quite early that the term "REBEL" looks great in ancient stories of independence or funky psychedellic bands !! Nobody cared a shit about how to take the term seriously. In the formative years, you needed gigantic balls to question the system, and lets say even if u had them, the metric system punctured them sore !!

What metric system? Ohh, cmon we've all been through that..... social prejudices, comparisons with batchmates, comparison with 1st-2nd-9th cousins, comparison with eminent figures in the family, pencil thin-narrow outlook (a blessing for all small town hoods), the rat race had it all !! And we SURVIVED !! We are unscathed...have managed to make something out of the lemons life threw at us. But that idiot, that innocent idiot within each of us took a large share of the beating.

Let me tell you my version of 3 idiots. The resemblance might be coincidental, and i wont care for the questions put in !!

They were 3 of them...the idiots...we'll call them Goat, Moose and Chomp. The friendship became thick...largely coz of the fact that they discovered each other early. They shared the same agonies of pressure and performance. They were average really...if you consider the rat race i'd just talked about, but each had a jest for life far more than the sky could accomodate.

Goat was the jolliest of them all, the adventure freak. He had the wackiest sense of humour, he could liven up the atmosphere in seconds and there wasnt a soul on whom goat's pranks wouldnt have worked. Goat was an athelete of great talent. He represented school in 4 variety of sports. His report card strived really hard to better itself almost every time, most intended to please his academician dad, feared and respected by all.

Moose was the moody poet. He was interested in literature at an early age, and his taste in forms of art was commendable for a boy of his age. He loved the duo not because he saw any likeliness in them but because they were so different from him. Their company changed Moose from an outcast to someone more acceptable. The teachers always looked up to Moose, and it was a staff room discussion that this boy is meant to excel in life.

And then there was Chomp. Completely non-existent if you ask the teachers, but there was hardly a soul in class that didn't like Chomp. Chomp strummed the six strings like he was born to do it. Otherwise, he was the definition of average, studies,sports, luck all alike. If there was any flash in the pan, it was Chomp who would be more surprised than the rest.

The board exam results was when it all began. The hard work, the comparisons, the expectations, the turmoil. The boys had seen off the pressure with enough valour, but now the result threatened to stare them in the eye...........

10 years passed off...... Dont ask how......they wont remember !!!!

He opened his latch and stepped into his flat. The laptop was carefully removed and kept on the table, so were the access card and VOIP number generator. He looked at his watch, a present he still wore everyday though the emotions with it had withered off long back, along with the woman who couldn't dream anymore with him. It was 11.40pm. Just 7 hours more before the Project Manager sits on his head again for scrutinising on the deadline extension. His eyes fell on the copy of "Ulysses" in the bookshelf. He'd bought it about 3 weeks back from Crosswords, but hadn't managed to go beyond page-2. There was a photo frame resting next to the pile of new-unread books. 3 unruly boys with the most virgin expressions of what fun meant to them, atop a hillock !! Moose smiled. The pain of the software coolie was giving way to fatigue and drowsiness as he lay on the bed.

"Moose had scored perfect in school, maybe a little too perfect for his dreams. He was coerced into the best boarding college for Science students in the state. Moose broke to the pressure but somehow managed a near perfect escape from the hostel (eventually the cops getting him home after a harrowing 12 days search) and 1 failed attempt at suicide during exams, which forced him to drop a year. He managed to complete a state university education in Computers and after repeated walk-ins made it to a big MNC. Its been 3 years for him now amidst the complex codes, the madness for on-site assignments and the stale coffee vending machines staring at him late in the night"

        All is Well                            All is Well                      All is Well                       All is Well         

The Blackberry curve was an efficient machine. It reminded him of all the important meetings he needed to speed thru the day and the protocol mails he had to reply to. What it had failed to remember was Jan 16th was his Mom's b'day. Now on a late night flight to Singapore, it struck him. The Rolex signaled 11.40pm. The air-hostess had already asked him curtly twice to switch off the cellphone. It was no use anyways. His parents were early sleepers.What he needed to concentrate more was the client presentation he had to give the next morning. What did the soul say? Well he had killed that thing a long time ago. Chomps sighed, a sigh which had a feeling, more of vindication than guilt.

"She was my best friend Goatee, i mean apart from the two of you (boys never state their best friends without embarrassment, though today was different). I have never imagined my world without her. And i ended up playing matchmaker for her with that swine Roshan. You know where he proposed her? At my place !! What was i doing, apart from getting snacks for both of them? Well i was   ensuring she got the best and was happy? Roshan is smart,rich and a man of the future. What have i got really, besides gifting her cute key-chains and strumming the guitar at her request?" Chomps' tears had vanished into Goat's black tee as he hugged him tight. 
Chomps modest background surprisingly made it easy for him to choose a target. He wanted money and shed all inhibitions for it. He went through a management program and took to sales immediately. The six strings gave way to six figure salaries. He changed jobs in a hurry for growth, and his days were passed with constant anxiety of meeting his numbers. The positions changed, the insecurity remained. At least this involvement didn't allow him to look back a single day and repent on the cold hearted beast/professional he had turned into.

    All is Well                            All is Well                      All is Well                       All is Well         

The eyes appeared hollow as he checked himself in the mirror. Surely medical interns were allowed to have deep hollow eyes when the AIMS test was approaching. The doctor he was assisting to today hadn't been kind and had referrred almost 29 patients to him for common sickness. The thick entrance preparations book lay on the table. Deep inside Goat knew it that he will not be able to clear the test. Only a handful did and he certainly wasn't one of them. His friends had started getting settled, married, established, and here he was, nothing but a QUACK still striving hard for the practitioners degree. The table clock showed the time as 11.40pm. He opened the book and went back to that page in his life.

"Service to mankind is service to God. It's a noble profession we have chosen for you to pursue and you would do better to prove our faith in you." Dad's voice echoed. Nobody had cared about what he wanted, for the greater good of mankind. Goat had been missing the mark more than he could remember. Life never decided to show a bit of mercy, and he understood this is how its going to be ever since the donation laden medical school seniors ragged him into near death situations. The jolly, jovial guy had turned into a stone. He hardly spoke to any of his friends and off late had started avoiding calls from home leave aside cancelling home trips since the last 2 years, with the fear of facing his father. Not this life, he'd tell himself. Meanwhile the fake drug prescriptions helped ease the pain....

    All is Well                            All is Well                      All is Well                       All is Well         

The song that inspired it all....

Give me some sunshine, give me some rain,
Give me another chance, i wanna grow up once again !!!!