Thursday, January 10, 2013
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Monday, March 07, 2011
It was a lovely morning. It had rained the day before, the earth was still wet. A soothing warm wind blew over me as I walked on the wet road covered with fallen leaves. I could hear the birds chirping, laughter of kids enjoying the reprieve the rain brought to the screeching summer holidays. My girlfriend-to-be had a few days back confessed her love for me. I had a 100% pay rise a week back. It looked like a perfect day was ahead. Everybody seemed so happy, everything seemed so good. Only, I felt like the world had ended. My heart was broken to a million pieces. I had cried along with the rain. I was close to a depression, the world seemed cruel to me. No, there was nothing lovely about that morning for me. Why? Because Arsenal had lost in the UEFA Champions League final the previous evening to Barcelona. I just couldn't bear the pain. If only Lehman wasn't sent off. If only Pires had stayed on. If only Arsenal had won.
That’s how it is for a true sports fan. Especially for a football fan. You live with the club in your blood. The club is not a third party that you just like. The club is a part of you and you are a part of the club. The oneness you feel with the team is unexplainable. The happiness, the grief, victory and defeat. All of it is yours too. “I fell in love with football as I was later to fall in love with women: suddenly, inexplicably, uncritically, giving no thought to the pain or disruption it would bring with it”, so wrote Nick Hornby in his famous footy novel “Pitch Fever”. He couldn’t be more right.
My love affair with Arsenal had started in the 1999-2000 season. Like every Indian I was also a cricket fanatic while i was younger. Every other sport seemed boring, uninteresting or even unnecessary depending on how good or bad India was doing in those. One of those days I came across English Premier League. I don’t remember now but I must have been bored out of my wits that I was watching an EPL review show. And Arsenal caught my interest mainly because Manchester United were the favourites to win that season and Arsenal were the best in terms of a competition. That season I supported Arsenal silently more as a protest to everybody’s favourites than anything else. They finished second place, a whopping 18 points below Man Utd that season. But that didn’t matter. Arsenal had slowly seeped into my blood. I was a gunner before I knew it. And my love story with Arsenal had begun.
From there onwards till now, Ive been with the gunners through their every up and down. I was with them when they finished an entire season and 49 games unbeaten during what was termed the invincible era. I was with them when they scraped to finish in fourth place just about managing to earn a Champions League spot. No matter who comes in, no matter who goes out, Arsenal as an entity will remain and nothing and no one is bigger than the club. It doesn’t matter if Arsenal wins the league or finish rock bottom. I will still always stand by them. Its like your own family that you cant disown even if they turn out bad. This is a love that in my experience most who belong to the fair sex don’t really understand. I am not saying none of them follow it. A lot of them do. But the majority never really get it, and it’s just not their thing to be fair. No complaints. But as the fans of Arsenal sang to their loved ones, sitting in the stadium watching their team play on a valentine’s day… "I love Arsenal more than you".
Every pass they make, every goal they score, every tackle, every fall, every push and pull, everything they do has an effect on us gunners. I scream, yell, whine, moan (not sexually), roll my eyes, beat my head, hit the wall, throw the remote, kick the chair, bite my nails off, poke my eyes out, abuse the world, ponder believing again, sulk , sweat, run around, pump my fist, jump off things, jump on things, smile, grin, laugh, smirk and bask in glory in reaction to what happens to the Arsenal. So it doesn’t matter if a few years down the lane Arsenal cease to be a big club. I will still love them. Arsenal will still be the one for me. Loyal, dedicated and truly loving the red and white. And my girl friend thought I was commitment phobic. Ha! Come on you gunners!
Monday, February 28, 2011
And a time called soon.
This story is part fiction and part reality. Born out of boredom, a whirlpool of my thoughts and experiences intervened with imagination for convenience and sake of privacy. Any resemblance to people or events is quite possible, and I don’t really care.
Good job I would say. Especially when it was done on the eve of an examination for which zero preparation has taken place and the only thing that keeps me awake is smoking. I hope someone reads this. Thanks to any who does.
My sincere thanks go to the MG University for creating the right environment for developing my writing skills. To the Photostat shop who helped me in printing out this document. For the people who inspired me into writing this. To bombs for helping me with this endeavour. And to God for not existing.
Let me tell you a story. Like every story worth telling, this is about a girl. And a boy who meets her. But they don’t blindly fall in love head over heels in this one. That’s clichéd. That’s so the movies. No. This one is different. This is not a love story. This is something else. It’s just a story, about a guy, who met a girl, went to a place and so on. What happened to them then? I will tell you. Soon.
It all started in a monsoon season. But owing to global warming, it was not raining. The guy, let’s call him, well, the guy, was a stranger to the city. It was a new beginning for him, a chance to start over new. Lost in a world that was bizarrely intimidating and dull at the same time, he was cursing every minute for the decision he had made to come to this place, which we will call “the school”. He didn’t want to make new acquaintances. He didn’t want to blend in. He just wanted to go back to familiarity. This baffled him, because he was the one to ram into any group of people and stake claim to acceptance. Nevertheless it wasn’t to be so here. Not yet.
His haphazard attempts failing, he continued to be a spectator of a life where everyone was having a ball, everyone knew everyone else and no one knew about his existence. It was like sitting through a trigonometry class full of math geeks where you are the only one who is going insane and think this is injustice. Ah! The pains of growing up as a student of math. He stayed in the hostel with other familiar strangers, sharing the room with a rather nice fellow, whom we will call “roomie”. Slowly like everyone else he started hanging out with a group of people who became his friends by the mere coincidence of seating arrangements. The group, bunch of friends, were unlike him in thought and action, but he settled for it. Changes would happen. Soon.
One of those days, he walked into the school cafeteria, to make up for a missed breakfast caused by a late waking up in turn caused by a late night of mindless internet browsing. He saw his bunch of friends going about greeting other people and sharing laughs. He stood there in the middle of the cafeteria, drowned in his uneasiness of not belonging there, looking around for anything that might keep his mind occupied. There, across the table, he saw her. A pretty sight made up of a cute face, a disarming smile and very feminine features. His mind searched for a suitable adjective, for future reference. Cute? More than that. Pretty? Not enough. Angel? A little too much. Finally he settled for sexy, because in the end, you don’t have to worry about being politically correct inside your mind. No one is going to sue you for disrespectful behaviour for your dirty thoughts and wild fantasies.
She was talking to some guy (not our guy) while scanning the crowd, probably looking for something more interesting. She saw him. For reasons unknown to mankind, she smiled at him, with her eyes blinking, like she was telling him that she was looking for him. The moment passed and she continued her 180 degree environment scan, smiling at others, mouthing hi hellos and finally settled for the person she was standing with. He was happy that day. Later that evening he went drinking, with his bunch of friends and roomie and the familiar strangers of hostel and told them about the girl he saw. Things changed from that day onwards. A new purpose filled him as he moved around talking, making friends, cracking jokes and being noticed. It is safe to say that he was sort of popular, in no time at all.
Then on a day of spring, while it was raining (global warming again), the guy walked into the auditorium actively scanning for an ideal place to sit, which by definition is in the midst of girls. He saw her again, and as luck would have it, sitting with one of his friends, with a seat right behind her vacant. He could almost read a ‘reserved for’ sign with his name hanging on that chair. He sat down like it was normal, greeting those around him. He spoke to her that day. He made her laugh that day. He liked her even more that day.
Like every guy true to his heart will tell you, friends from the other gender increases your self respect and social acceptance among other fellow guys. The guy soon had his gang of friends, dominated in numbers by females, notorious for their irreverence and lively for a dull school. Days passed, months passed and eventually a year passed. Days of ups and downs, glory and shame, victories and failures, love and heartbreaks, drunkenness and sobriety. He earned his fame with great friends. On the other hand, the girl was always popular. She had famous and in demand written on all about her. Influenced by the presence of other attractive girls, and lack of attention from the girl, he started forgetting about her. Or rather, not actively thinking about her. But somewhere inside him, in the dark corridors of fantasies and day dreams, she poked her head now and then, pleasantly reminding him of that smile in the cafeteria. But first impressions not withstanding, he thought of her as a spoilt rich kid with an attitude of a snob to go along. She was rich, she seemed to have very cool friends and she was always the well dressed and well to do kind. They kept their distances with each other, nothing more than acquaintances. His attempts at flirting with her never really took off. They shared a good vibe, but remained friends who hang out but don’t know anything about each other.
After summer break, school was back to being dull. Too many things changed. Too many friends committed, busy with other things, everyone by now used to being away from each other. Classes became much more than just boring. On one such day the guy walked into the class, a few minutes late and instantly spotted the girl and a vacant spot next to hers. For the first time they sat together and spent the three hours of that class talking endlessly, about things ranging from public news to private thoughts. The guy told her about the crush he used to nurse for her. He expected the girl to react like it happens every day with her. But instead the girl was surprised and in a way glad to find out that the guy would like someone like her. Mutual praising followed with promises of to make up lost time, to get to know each other more and have all the fun they missed. At the end of that class for the first time in his life the guy wanted to scream, “once more”, to the faculty.
Lunch dates and outings followed. Birthday gifts and late night phone calls happened. The girl found him to be really sweet. The guy found her to be irresistible. For him, she was the one of the prettiest, sweetest and most interesting girl he had ever met. Shopping was never his hobby, but it soon became his hot favourite. He wanted to impress her. She didn’t have to. They shared the loudest laughs and wildest dreams. After a few weeks he asked her, if she wanted to come with him to a place, which we will call the place, to just hang out and have fun. After a million changes she finally said yes. And they went. The beach, the coffee shop over looking it, the home made cocktails, the vast starry ceiling, the groovy black music and the two of them. It was the best few hours he ever had in his entire life. It was magical. The girl and the guy could never stop talking about it. They couldn’t stop reminiscing and smiling about it. Their conversations on the phone became longer. They just couldn’t get enough of it. They couldn’t resist holding hands, blowing kisses and looking at each other.
They stopped and asked themselves and each other, what’s going on. After much deliberation they accepted that they are not in love. It was a special place that was in between love and friendship. The grey area of uncertainty that brought both the warmth of friendship and the feeling of belonging. Something special, something undefined. Bad? They didn’t know. Good? Definitely.
The guy was in a selfish way overwhelmed with all of these. He couldn’t believe his luck. She was awesome, in the true awe inspiring sense of the word. And she wanted to be around him. She would call him, tell him she misses him, laugh at his jokes, and say he is special. He never expected her to like him, leave alone like him so much. One day she said to him, “I hereby declare you as the best thing that has ever happened to me”. That was the single greatest thing he had ever heard about himself. Anything that made her happy, he took a note of and tried to do it again. Things went on like that for a few weeks, with a plan to visit the place once more. He learned a song to sing for her while holding her hand at the beach, waves caressing their feet. He made plans on what to do, where to go, how to spend each minute of it, in detail. She was excited too. They would go there again. Soon.
One day, in summer, when it was hot and sunny, as it should be, although we can still blame the global warming for it, he came back home from a busy day. He called her up to catch up on things, but she didn’t pick up. Thinking she must have slept off, he let it be. He called her again the next day, no answer. He continued doing it with the same result. He sent messages and mails, all of which were ignored. He went crazy. After a week he met her in school, ready to get angry if she had no reason for such behavior, ready to forgive her if she did have a reason and ready to apologize if the reason was he. She looked a mess, red eyed, stain of tears that ran down her cheeks still visible. He wasn’t ready for that. The next few days were hell for both in different ways. She had lost a friend to a fight, which broke her heart and opened her flood gates. She couldn’t believe he would do something like that and blamed herself for the misery that had befallen on her. He wasn’t sure what he should do. He tried to be around her, comfort her, make her feel better, by talking to her, taking her out and being with her. All of which failed as she went into a shell of self defence to pain. The guy would have done anything to make her happy, but she didn’t want to be happy. “I am not the girl you knew before”, she said. He didn’t know the consequences of this statement then. But he would learn. Soon.
He tried to tell her the friend wasn’t worth it. He tried telling her that she was more valuable than she thought. Her self respect went down the drain. He wished she could see herself through his eyes. Wished she could see how good she was. Every attempt he made to get her out of that self imposed sole imprisonment met with utter failure. Some cold responses began to get him scared whether she would think of him as just some one after her for selfish reasons. He kept his distance because she asked for it. A distance that only got wider with time. His ego got better of him at times, only to give in a little while later. She is in pain; give her the support she wants, your ego is not worth it, he kept telling himself. He was angry at her friend who would, for whatever reason walk away from a girl like her. She was too precious for that. Ironically, the friend who walked away got all her attention. The guy who was with her was practically non-existent. The girl was ready to do anything for that friend, to make him happy and bring him back to her life. The guy was ready to do anything for that girl, to make her happy and bring her back to her cheery self. Only, the guy didn’t know where he went wrong. He hoped things would be normal again. Soon.
As time went on things got better for her, she began to smile genuinely again. Her friend came back to her life, her happiness along with him. But the guy was stuck in the same place. Not knowing what his next step his, unaware of his current position and with no idea of what his role in the picture is. He couldn’t help but think that she had forgotten all about him. Every time he went closer to her, she went farther away. He was turned down again and again for previously cherished meetings. His phone calls were answered with lesser frequency, call backs even lesser than that. Messages were unread or unanswered. Every call, every message he got was answered and checked with a hope it was her. Was he imagining it all up? The guy confronted her and asked her. She denied. She gave umpteen reasons for everything that he thought was going wrong. But it was a tedious loop which kept on repeating for him. The magical time was never mentioned again, the sweet flying kisses and winks never came.
He felt like it was a sweet dream, with a bad ending. Was good while it lasted, maybe too good for it to have lasted any longer. Things could have gotten worse. But then again things could have gotten better. Or remained the same. The guy always wondered; how is that he will make her see, what she means to him. How is that he will let her know that he doesn’t have any other intentions? That he is not in love with her, but he does love her. That she was indeed the best thing that ever happened to him. That he does not want any favours from her. That there is no hidden agenda. That there is no hope of benefit. But that he only wants that place in her heart, for that special friend, which belonged to him, the loss of which keeps bothering and haunting him. Every fucking day. Every fucking hour.
Then one day, of some unknown season, he walked into his mind. He looked around him at a crowd of known strangers and lost friends. Alone in company, drowned in his uneasiness of not belonging there, looking around for anything that might keep his mind occupied. There, across the path he saw her. She was looking around, assured of her bearings, passively observing the sea of people around her. The moment her eyes met his she smiled. The disarming, seductive smile. The moment passed, and with a slight wink of her eyes and a sigh she looked away, at other things to smile at. But the guy would bet on his life, that the smile she had for him was different from all of the others. That the wink meant much more. That the sigh implied something. He couldn’t prove it, not even to her. But was it that easy for her to look away. Didn’t that smile and wink they shared, though only for a short moment mean anything to her? Was the guy so easy to be erased? Sigh! The dream was over; good while it lasted, too good to have lasted any longer. Would things get better? He hoped it would. Soon.
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Everything was dark. A thick peaceful silence. I was in pain. The air was chemical. And I was in chains. I opened my eyes, but I was blinded by the sudden rush of bright light into my retinas. I closed them and opened again. This time slowly, adjusting to the light both welcome and disturbing at the same time. Everything I saw was white, pure white, like milk. I tried to sit up but I couldn’t move. I was in chains.
My dazed vision could only see a blurry image. It was just plain white. I tried to gather my thoughts, my brain working with an unpleased half approval. “Where am I?” I was lying on something soft, fluffy and white. Like a cloud? I was drowned in it. “What is this? The Milky Way? Or am I in heaven”, I wondered. In the pure, serene and plain heaven, sitting on a cloud. It couldn’t be. There is no heaven. Even if there was one I certainly wouldn’t be there. A fog started filling up the place. A thick white fog, getting thicker and heavier and then suddenly everything was dark again.
After an unknown time period, I opened my eyes again. My vision was still blurry and I was still in pain and chains. I saw something moving, a silhouette of a person. I tried to focus. A lady was standing there dressed in white. On her face was a concerned, tired and excited smile. Over her head I saw a white ring, a halo. She was beautiful. I saw her lips moving but there was no sound. Something was moving on both sides of her ribs, like flapping wings. “Is she an angel? Is this heaven after all ? What heaven? No heaven. No angels. They are all fairytales and make believes”. I look at her again, to make some sense out of this mystery but she was not there, shewais gone. Vanished.
An eternity of time passed and my foggy eyes saw people walking. They were coming towards me, lead by a tall, fair and well built man, followed by the angel I met before and another lady, all dressed in white. I looked at that man with a face yelling authority and confidence, radiating assurance and kindness. A black and shiny snake was curled around his neck, like on a demon god. He moved towards me while I struggled to cast a defence against those strange looking strangers. He lifted the twin bodied snake from his neck. With his one hand he cleared the cloudy cover over me and placed the snakes open mouth on my bare chest. Even though it had been years since I had taken the path of rationality, ditching the gods and myths of my upbringing, I started praying again. For the first time in years my belief in disbelief was shaken. I closed my eyes and braced for the painful encounter with the fangs while I mumbled names of Hindu gods.
But it didn’t bite. The sudden fear cleared my head. The adrenaline, pumped as a survival mechanism, cleared my dazed vision and focused my thoughts. I looked again desperate for an explanation to all the madness. “Wait. That is not a snake, I have seen it before”. Then it all came to me, like the realisation after a dream, that it’s just a dream, sometimes saddening, sometimes relieving, and every time kicking in the sense of reality. The bloody snake was a stethoscope. He was a doctor not a crazy demon god accompanied with snakes. Heaven was a damn white and tidy hospital room and my cloud was a fucking sick bed.
“How are you feeling now?” The demon god doctor guy asked me. I parted my lips to answer but nothing came to my head, so I just smiled. The doctor turned to the angels and mumbled something I couldn’t decipher. He turned to me and said, “You are fine” like he was answering his own question on behalf of me. He pointed to the bandages and said something about fractures. Bandages and fractures, which explained the chains. He turned to the angel and again mumbled something and walked off the heaven. The nurse walked towards me and without any courtesy one might expect in heaven, forced a thermometer into my mouth, without even asking me and started preparing the BP apparatus. I started my thought factory, which was working on overload in no time.
I was taken aback by my own reaction to a crisis. I was unpleasantly surprised with myself for taking immediate refuge in the easy path of faith, albeit helped by my physical and mental conditions. I finally realised why, even when Reason stares at their face, Logic tells them otherwise and Evidence points in a different direction, people still hold on to their faith, instilled in their child hood assisted with fear and magic. It’s easier to do that. It’s much more comforting to just believe in some unknown power than to leave our life to time and fate, to chance. It feels better to believe, even if it’s without conviction, that some god will take care of everything. It does not take effort to disbelieve. That everyone can do by default. But it takes effort to discontinue believing in something. The path of a sceptic is not an easy one. Conflicts of interests and childhood indoctrination can prove to be too much of a blockade. But if anything, I realised that reason and science has a big fight in hand. My doubt was stronger, my disbelief deeper. I found out my enemy’s secret weapon. Fear of the unknown. I will be better prepared.
My thought train was broken by the nurse who retrieved the thermometer from my mouth and stared at it for a few seconds. Satisfied with whatever she saw, she smiled a half smile and walked away, promising me that she will be back later. “Excuse me!” I stopped her on an impulse. Not knowing what to do next, I asked her rather sheepishly, “what is your name?” She smiled and replied, “Angel.” I looked at her in amazement. She seemed to be offended by my stare and quickly turned around with her over coat flapping about like wings. The nurse cap of a halo was still on her head.
There goes Angel. Walking, not flying.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
But WTF is not the point here. Asking questions is the sign of an earn for learning. To learn new things, to make new discoveries and to irritate the hell out of people. The first one to put this idea into my head was my teacher in school Mr. Satheesh. Now he was a gem of a person. One of those rare personalities who can talk for an hour and say absolutely nothing. He used to preach about the importance of asking questions.
Mr.Satheesh - So class. I am what I am today and in this poistion because I asked a lot of questions.
My idle brain - ( point to note down...never ask questions or you will end up like that)
Mr.Satheesh - If you pay attention and ask questions you will certainly succeed in life
My idle brain- (Contradicting Statements)
Mr.Satheesh - So start asking questions. who has a question here
Me Me Me - OK. So what the fuck are you talking about.
I consider to be thrown out of the class as an honour. And from Mr.Satheesh's class its a privilege and gift.
All through life we come accross a parade of questions. The thought provoking, "makes u feel ignorant", intelligent questions. And then there are the people asking the most stupid and silly questions. And when u dont know the answer follow the Dilbert principle and confuse them with a list of unanswerable questions ( If u want a list of unanswerable questions, my entrance question papers are still with me)
All said and done, to ask a question is a basic right of every human being( this doesnt include asking girls for phone numbers and asking the Govt. for anything) When u have no idea whats going on dont just sit and wonder, ask around. you may feel dumb but i bet atleast half the people around you have no clue either. Nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain.
Now lemme go and ask my next question to boss. When do i get my next pay rise? I know the answer already.....What the fuck.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I wake up, sit on my bed and I wonder
Look around me, why the hell did I even bother
To walk out of my sleep
My façade of solace and peace
I don’t even know how I am supposed to feel
Or if I understand their cries fears and pleas
Not that I can’t understand what I see
But it was me who made them bleed
In the name of senseless creed
What they say, I don’t even know what it means
But I’m still alive, that should make me smile
So why? Do I just sit and cry?
So if I tell you I didn’t want to
Would you believe my truth?
That I was told to
Protect the lie
I’m not fighting my fight
I just want to survive
I kill, because I don’t want to die.
Everybody looks at her face, but can’t see through her
Everybody knows her name, but nobody knows her
Like a deep mystery, love lost in a blur
Like that teasing face of a poster girl
She takes you on a ride, merry is her middle name
Will be the comfort, the sweet song in your pain
And when sorrow leaves her a gloomy rain
Still shines on, a blazing eternal flame
The eyes, the lustrous eyes of a magical romance
Leaves the heart, breathless in a dance
Like the fairytale of a mystical glance
A moment, the world lost in a trance
There is truth in her words, love that flows
Pretty as a princess in legends of long ago
The kid in her who refuses to grow
A heart as pure as snow
Her smile like a wild flower, unmoved by the storm
Her laughter, a riot of joyous intone
In her world, crazy is the norm
Sigh, calm like a bomb