Category Archives: Personal

Game

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For as long as I remember, I have been playing this little game on my walks. Mornings, on my way to the bus stop, many a days I revisit this game, which brings a smile to my face, almost instantly. The rules of this game are simple, there are no rules. All you do is let your mind walk through some memory of yours, and relive the minute details from the past.  Here is one such day, and some of the memories which lit up my face that day.

Motorcycle rides with a good friend. Everyday he used to stop at my place on our way to our university. I stayed just 5 minute walk away from the college, but still he used to be my ride every single day. I used to stand at my window watching the street, and as soon as he arrived I used to hop onto the bike. It is funny that we had so much to talk about in those days. EB-1356 has stayed on in my memories long after it was sold, long after the window was raised down, long after my friend moved out of this country.

5 kids on the rooftop, do you need any more fun?. I remember climbing onto windows and then onto to rooftop, and creating a slide out of a bedspread, and me fearlessly pushed onto it, from the top, as not so sturdy hands of my cousins held the top and the bottom corners of a make shift slide.  I would kill my son, if he tried this, but how ignorant we were then, and how much of a bliss it was. I remember some of the best summers with my 4 cousins, at my grandfathers old place. We have all grown up and apart, we no longer share that close a bond, each one living their own lives with families to take care of, with problems of our own. I close my eyes, and remember the slide.

The day at a coffee shop, she sat opposite to me, her eyes red with sleepless nights, and swollen big with all the crying. It was the first time I was trying to console someone close to me, and I had no clue how. I knew the people involved too well, and it was tough for me not to be partial. As she spoke to me, tears rolled down her cheeks, she did not care to hold them back. I have known her for a large part of my life now, and we still get meet once in a while, but that day I felt really close to a friend.

What is better than watching a movie in a language you dont understand as a kid?, coming back home and enacting the whole thing from morning till evening. We were pretty professional about it too, we had a producer, a director, we had makeshift costumes, and to my absolute disliking a wafer thin villain, me. Being the youngest came with all bad side effects, you are the loser villain who gets bashed up by the hero through out the movie. All through one summer we played “shooting” as we called it. I remember locking ourselves for the whole day from breakfast to lunch, and then post lunch to dinner shooting stupid scenes. I truly wish we had recording our version of “jagadeka veerudu atiloka sundari”.

Studying was fun, it really was for the geek in me. More than studying, I loved my month long schedules before my semester exams. I used to spend a lot of time, preparing complex schedules about how I would spend my time leading up to my exams. I remember how they used to have plan Bs in case I miss, and how I used to love when I used to challenge myself to go faster than my plan. One sad thing about anyones life, is that you cannot go back to it at any cost.

Coded letters from my dad. what would I give to be able to get my hand on one of those today. My father used to work out of state, and he would send these wonderfully hand written coded letters to me. The backside of the inland letter would have the codes spelled out for each letter, and I had to substitute the codes to be able to really make sense of the letters. I vividly remember my joy on decoding the letter, and how satisfied I went to bed on those days, when I got his letter.

Ah the bus stop is here, and I get myself back into my kindle.

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Blame it on Principle

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Its funny how people end up crossing the line when it comes to principles and ego. For as long as I can remember, I have liked people with strong principles. ‘It does not matter what you believe in, as long as you believe in it strongly’, this has been my motto. I guess growing up in a strong middle-class family has a lot to do with my love for principles. I have seen my grandfather, my mother and then me all having similar outlook, and now I see my son developing into one of our kind.

When I was young, I sounded right to me always, I still do. however, with age, I can spot the times when I am just another stubborn alpha male, who can go to any lengths to prove to myself that, my principles are correct, and I did not lose the battle against it. Whenever there is a clash between me and my mother, many a times I see that more than the ego, it is the clash of principles and how we are not able to convince each other that we are right. The exact same thing happens with me and my son, in which case I win most of the time as he is too young to assert himself. However, I am sure, I will start to lose as he grows up and sticks more to his guns, and as I age I will continue to hate losing even more.

Well wait, did I say lose?.. this is exactly how it turns from the clash of principles to something of winning and losing and alas it has turned into a question of ego.

I remember watching the movie “Mohabbatein”, at an impressionable age when I was smitten by the thought of school romances, my mother had a very different take on the movie. She couldn’t stop crying while watching the scene where Amitabh concedes to the rule breaking Shah Rukh Khan admitting he had been wrong with his principles and discipline, and admits that the colourful happy go lucky hero has the right outlook on life. She could not control her tears, and on probing she revealed to me that, she cannot watch how the ones who insist on right things always lose at the end. I could not relate to her feelings back then, however experience has made me see what she must have felt.

People with strong principles inevitably have strong choices. We just cannot see how anyone can choose, anything else, beyond our reasons for our choice. What we don’t realize is that, every other person is a person on their own, and they have their own sensibilities and their own conviction. Some may have less conviction then others, and may be bullied for a while, however when it comes to what matters to them most, they do stand up for themselves, and when those people happen to be the ones we love the most, the hurt is beyond doubt humongous

When people lose, I guess the most common reaction is denial. The loss is never accepted, and it is always brushed aside with a hope that the loss will turn around into a win. Well life is not a stock market, where our losing stocks can turn around one day. In fact, life is not even a game of win and loss. Denial phase lasts for different periods with different people, and reality takes its own time to sweep in. In many a case, the reality brings with it a feeling that the ship has sailed, and there is no way to get back to the coast. Ego yet again prevents most of us from turning our loss to a win, as we are not willing to take that first step of acceptance.

Having said all this, I still don’t like to lose, I still love my principles, I still get hurt a lot more for sticking onto them.

What shall I say, its one thing to realise, and a whole different thing to act upon it. I guess there will be an age, a person who will make us act open our realisation. If not anyone else, time will play that role.

The hunt

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Conversations leave the fondest of the memories behind .

When I look back at my fondest memories, there are a whole bunch of them which come to my mind, the childhood summers, vacations with people I love, moments of triumph from my life, people who have mattered to me, emotions which have brought immense joy. So many. Where do conversatons fit in them?, I don’t recall the words from any of my conversations, I don’t remember many intiricate details of it, I don’t remember the time nor place of many of them. But, then why do I feel that, conversations leave the fondest of the memories behind.

I may not remember the words, however I remember the fondness, I remember the joy, I remember the emotion, I remember the person, I remember myself. I remember myself from that conversation, I remember how I went in, and how I came out. I carry ‘that’ with me everytime I have spoken since.

A conversation is not a flash in the pan, but a complete story in itself. It begins long before it actually starts, there is a build up to it, followed by the main body, and then a follow up including the aftermath.

In other words, it does not begin where it starts, and it does not finish where it ends.

In many a conversations the fodder comes from various sources, thoughts which has been in our head for years together, our views and opinions which are waiting to be heard, the books we have read, the movies we have seen, and most importantly our inner voice, which seldom gets its due. When all of what we have to say, is already inside us, what makes a conversation tick?, I wonder. The reason why a conversation clicks, is the twists the other person brings to your thoughts, how he/she is able to make you think more about what you already know and how the collective thoughts conclude into something wonderful, usually much different from what you had to begin with.

Conversations are not easy to come by, specially at this age of digital media, and cramped lifestyle, where is the time for us to converse. We dont have time to build the inner self, there is no time for a conversation to build up, and there is absolutely no time for the aftermath. The chance encounters are cut off, as we don’t give it a chance. Variety is curtailed due to lack of variety. People are subdued due to lack of interest. Lucky few conversations that we sneak in, they too are not well developed, and hardly leave a lasting impression.

Even though comments on these blogs are almost like facebook posts, which are more of a reaction, rather than a contribution, they do act as a catalyst in finding like minded people, who many a times end up having a good conversation. I have been fortunate in finding few people who have had some good conversations over lengthy emails, over a period of time.

I am sad that the number of conversations I have had, have reduced over a period of time. It has to do with the amount of time I am willing to dedicate to them, the amount of time I spend with people, and number of people whom I meet. The intimacy in my inner most circle of friends has reduced. There are various reasons for it, but who is looking for a reason.

In search of the next conversation…..

Rebellious grin

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Dreams are what keeps you up, he was told

You don’t need coffee to pump you up, he was told

There is no shortcuts to hard work, he was told

Winning should be fun, he was told

Studying hard cannot backfire, he was told

A good (earning) job is a great accomplishment, he was told

You don’t need coffee to pump you up, he was told

Dreams are what keeps you up, he was told

He woke up, Ah! Freshly brewed coffee, he smiled in bliss.

 

Mind Capsule on my 37th birthday

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On my 37th birthday, I want to leave a note to myself, that which I can visit in later part of my life. It is never later to leave a note to yourself, it is not a necessity either.

When I look back at myself of today, I think I have changed some, more mentally than physically, or may be that change is the one that matters. I may want to visit my mind of today, when it has become that of the tomorrow, as today, what all would I give to visit that of yesterday. It is almost like a time capsule of my mind, for me to come back to, whenever I think I have travelled way too ahead.

  • It is okay, that you dont enjoy the relationships in the same way, that you enjoyed with the same people a while ago. They grew, you grew, and the world did too.
  • Abandoning things which you no longer enjoy is perfectly fine, intact it is not just fine, but really good. It does not matter, how much you have enjoyed it at one point of time, what matters is that you no longer do.
  • Finding new people with whom you share common thoughts is going to be even more difficult than it already is. Infact meeting new people in general is a difficult thing, It is not that you are not going to ‘meet’ new people, believe me you are, much more than what you wish, however you will not ‘meet’ them.
  • When you hear about how universe is ever expanding and ever contracting, you did not think it mattered, but you know what, it did. You expanded over the years and contracted too, both figuratively and literally. So when you think that, you have become too stagnant, wait until you see yourself expand, before you know you would contract too. [Refer to a whole bunch of loose clothes in the boxes, and the old blog posts up here]
  • Theories of life are interesting, and you love to discover some. Trust me, they stop at being theories. Like all those statistics and surveys that dont make sense and do at the same time, the theories too will make sense and won’t, all along. What remains, is the journey of discovery, both of it and off it.
  • When it gets too familiar and boring, when you make that extra effort, in vain, to overcome your familiar familiarity, wait a bit more, in all probability you will fail. Familiarity is not that bad, it will help you soothe the novelty, and remind of the days you have craved for it.
  • Your taste in life change as fast as your taste in clothes. Greys turn into browns, watch them turn into bright red, and settle into earthy shades of olive and maroons. When you look back, I am sure you will spot the patterns, just the way you always do in everything, and trust me you are going to be one satisfied fellow for being able to spot them. You have seen it go beyond ‘Identiti’, experimented with the ‘Big dogs’, developed into a better ‘Wills lifestyle’, upgraded into the ‘United colours’, downgraded into an oblivion of un-brands, until you discovered the comforts of ‘ether’, well your dream is ‘life is good’.
  • Subjectivity drives life. What would you be if you were objective all your life, that is no fun. You are going to enjoy your reasoning, only when it can make a difference, if all it does is prove a fact, it is no fun. You might enjoy the decisiveness of being objective, but its boredom will kill its own joy.
  • Doing what you like is going to remain fun irrespective of what you are liking at the moment. If you have missed the point of the previous sentence, let me make it a little more explicit, it is about how you are going to change w.r.t what you like to do. You will move on from one to another, and even though you feel awful at first for not spending enough time on what you had once loved doing, you will realise it is not a big deal.
  • To sum it all, it is ok to get back to your exes, be it people who you have trusted, people who’s company you have enjoyed, activities you have loved, books you have sworn by, movies that you thought would never go out of fashion, or pure pleasures which you treasured indulging in. There will be a time and a reason which has lead you to outgrow them, but there will be a moment when you get to go back to them.

What have we done?

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Newspapers are full of this, and yet no one seems to mind. There are a bunch of people celebrating, and another bunch lamenting this, however who I am worried about, are those in between. No I am not talking about Karnataka elections, and no I am not talking about RCB losing yet another year, I am not talking about the united front trying to fight the might of Mr Modi, nor the noisy unruly media trying to be senseless about all sensitive issues. I am talking about numerous board exams, and innumerable toppers shining in those exams.

I look at my 5 year old son, and I am worried. I hate the fact that we have bought him into an environment which reminds me of the novel Hunger Games. He is going to be one of the tributes in this dangerous game, and unfortunately this does not have just 2 from each district like the novel, but thousands of young kids cutting each other’s throat in an attempt to win a lottery called survival. He got the taste of it already, as he had to compete with age, religion, caste, money and lineage to make his first score, ‘admission’ into pre-kg. There used to be a time, when money was the biggest evil, the one holding the bight future away from many of the bright kids, and it was thought of, as the most evil thing that mankind has seen. Man, where we wrong.

I remember my father telling me, how an average student he was, and in his own sweet words trying to explain how being average is no longer enough. This was in the early 90s. I did not realise how difficult it would have been for him to expect and request his son to score a seat in the reputed college to make sure I make a decent living in the future. I did not see a big fuss in that, all my father was asking of me, was to make sure I score good enough to get a seat, my aim was much higher, I didnt care about scoring high, I wanted to score high enough to be able to go top school, the school closest to my house so that we don’t need to spend more on my living expenses. How outdated my struggle sounds.

What do I tell my son now?, let alone 10 years later when he is truly going to come to face the first big battle. Above average is going to make you a failure?, 95s are not enough?, your budget in terms of losing is 1 to 3 marks in the grand total and then hoping that all his competition slips a bit and looses 5-6 marks?. Getting marks is just a thing which he can control,  however he should also hope that his dad keeps his job and makes enough money to be able to pay for his college without having to sell his kidney?.

I have never been afraid of competition, infact it has always made me fight harder. The taste of every small win, has egged me on to make a bigger sash in trying to carve a bigger chunk of my share of the cheese. I really want our future generation to be able to breathe, and not really gasp all the time. I want my son to play his way through education, and not really run a marathon through this stampede. I would like him to believe that he is in a race, where he can win with pleasure, if and when he plays straight. I don’t want him to start seeing how this is a race where no one wins, and every one is here to lose.

I hope we abolish this hunger games. We don’t need our children to be tributes, no not in our capitol.

 

 

Many

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Relationships have always fascinated me, and it appears that they will continue to do so. As a an awkward nerd, I have had years of experience when it comes to fantasising and daydreaming various aspects of a relationship, ranging from the initial meet, to an intimate affair. Years have left me with bits and pieces from my life, which in retrospect have taught me such wonderful aspects of human interaction, which have ended up gracing various relationships in my life.

Being a foodie has left me with some wonderful moments of sharing my favourite food and beverages with people I like. Nothing better than that cup of coffee to bring out those deep thoughts, and nothing like that mug of beer or any other drink to loosen up my restraint with people I have cared about. I have always known within few minutes of these sessions, if it is going to be just food or anything beyond that. It has been fun to revisit many of these sessions with the same people over the years, and see how we have changed.

Books have played important part in many lives including mine. When it comes to people, taste in books have been as unique as their own persona. Over the years, I have shared my taste in books with very few people, and only a handful of those have actively contributed in building my taste in books. They have come from corners of my life, from where, I did not expect any sort of a meaningful contribution. Few of them have stayed in touch with me, and few have just taken off.

For a person who is extremely opinionated about each and everything, people have passionate ideologies and firm philosophy have intrigued me. I may not agree with their thoughts and opinions, but they have held me captivated by their passion. Topics did not matter, be it feminism, Indian mythology, language, technology, or even routine work stuff. I have been blessed with partners who have had a ‘loud’ say when it comes to matter close to their heart, and eventually mine.

Many of my cherished relationships have been with people who are shy and reluctant both physically and mentally.  It has just made the progress slower and more enjoyable. A touch has lasted longer, and the feel has turned into a memory. Strangely many of these permanently etched in my mind, are still lovely to get back to. With time, many of these people have faded away into an oblivion, but these moments of reluctance have remained forever.

A movie I watched recently had an interesting observation that once we get married or fall in love with someone, we put an insane amount of pressure on that one person, to provide all those things which have received from so many different people in our lives. It is completely unfair on them, and practically impossible for any one person to do that. It made me think of what I love about my wife, and what I love about others in my life both past and present.