Jun 15, 2010

Big Problem Machi !!!

The pointed tip of the dark lead traced the trajectory of a straight line, suddenly took a sharp turn and then slowly curved along to form an oval . It paused for a second and the same ritual followed .....

Lets zoom out a bit. Two tiny fingers struggled to hold the gigantic nataraj pencil while continuing the ritual of carving the cursory form of letter 'A'.

Lets zoom out a bit more . A curly haired, little boy wearing a garish red shirt sat across the floor deeply engrossed in perfecting the art of cursive writing . Boss , Can you zoom in a bit ..Holy shit..Thats me out there ..20 years back on this same day , same time , there I sat struggling to make my quivering fingers produce the perfect A . And I swore for the first time in my life cursing the 'miss' who had given me homework , cursing the big pencil which I couldnt hold , cursing the travails of going to school everyday , cursing the pain of reciting "papa black ship have u any wul..."

"BIG Problem Machi " I thought for the first time...

A few years later ...
An internet center had opened near our school . The entire school buzzed with rumours that the 10th std A sec guys had seen something in the internet . A few days later amidst the dim lights I was gaping petrified at the small 15 inch monitor . OMG should it be so huge ..A drop of sweat fell from my forehead as realization struck . Oh no...

"Big Problem machi " I thought yet again..

A little more years later...
Arun Di Caprio stood with Sabarish Winslet ,both of us resembling the pose of a scarecrow ."Every night in my dreams I see you ..." the song echoed through the rickety bus amidst the roars of laughter from our seniors as I struggled to get the 'charanam' of the Titanic song right...The ragging sessions had begun ...

"Big Problem Machi" the same thought...

In kolkata , each and every species which can be classified under the biological tag "male" had a girl ..exceptions: Ramu , Somu,Yogi, Mama , Dinku and of course me....
Finally the day had come when men would be men and as every Ramesh and Suresh we had known had inspired us with their adventures in the discotheques , it was time we had a beginning to our adventures . And what better day than the new year . We nonchalantly threw 750 bucks at the counter and walked in with excitement ...The party had begun ...It was rocking ... What a night ...At 3 p.m in the night we all stood in a circle in the center of our living room...We looked at each other for a second and the next second we all wailed together " Aiyoo poche " (Its gone)..The wails just got louder each time we got reminded of the 750 bucks , the couples in the disc , the only 5 dumbos who danced together and atlast that look ...arghhh ..that look that they gave us...the wails got stronger..

"Big Problem machi "...

The 8-in-1-rented-home days , when we have a once in a blue moon treat and of course end up with the pride of having laid to rest a a few more sacred species of Hen and finally the next day when you wait outside the only bathroom as tears start flowing from your eyes automatically while your hands are still pounding at the bathroom door...A voice from inside shouts back " Dai , enga kooda nimmathiya erukka vida mattiya ...ennada unnaku prechana ??"
(U wont let me have peace even in here...whats your bloody problem???")

"Big Problem machi " my whimpering voice struggled to come out of my mouth...

On a rainy saturday evening , I stood there on the shores of marina as her little fingers held on to mine and we slowly walked through the gentle waves as the drizzles of the about-to-begin rain fell on us . One of the softest-drops fell across my eyelids and for a frozen moment in time the eyelids kissed themselves . And the image of me standing next to her in our wedding flashed across . With a sudden jerk , I opened my eyes . Thank God it was just a dream !!!

"Big problem machi ..." I thought again...

Those screwing exams , grueling lab sessions , placement struggles , the software industry , admission grills , interviews , the monotonous lives , the ever increasing traffic , the empty wallets , sambhar sadham , power cuts , my ever increasing body width ...

Hmmm.....Big Problem Machi !!!

And suddenly I notice I have been having this BIG PROBLEM Machi syndrome throughout my life ...Right from the time I have started to exist , there always seems to be some problem ...but strangely none of the problems I had in the past seem worthwhile now..I really wonder as to why the fuck did I ever treat them as a problem in the first case ...Most of my problems in retrospect have been moments which I cherish and laugh about the most..Be it my cursive writing ordeals , or the net center debacle or the ragging blues (I still miss those guys...they were the best seniors ever ) or my sweetheart with whom I have survived for 5 years and hope to survive a 60 more!!! or my lovable roomies with whom I have spent one of the best useless days of my life ...This point in time when I am blabbering out here again I do have my own set of problems ...and boy they do look damn serious to me...What am I supposed to do??

Well easier said than done ..Though I really have no idea on how these bloody problems would get solved or as to how in the world will these current problems turn into chershable memories ..All said , I realise one thing for sure ...we shall always have some problem or the other always .."such a pessimistic thought" I must say..But probably if we ponder a little more over the simple statement "we shall always have problems " what a refreshing perspective it brings...

If I have problems so do you . So does everyone in the world . Probably the intensities would vary ..while I have a big problem today u might have a small one , but tomo u might have that same big problem while I am left with the itsy bitsy ones..But irrespective of that if everyone one of us have problems , why should I feel sorry for myself that I am the only one whom life treats unfair..

I cant believe it took me 24 years to realise this !!! problems are just a normal part of this beautiful journey called life ...So my dear problems , I am all set to have you by my side all along the journey..but I am sorry u wont be getting the importance which u always got from me previously..rather next time u r there I would rather say "watha , vaada machan my dear problems"...

Problems have been raping me so far...
Its high time I lay back and start enjoying sex !!!!

May 23, 2010

The god of small things ...


Dabbling between preparing the steel sector report which I had to submit the next day and answering the highly intellectual questions from my 8th standard cousin athulya was no mean task . "An ant and an elephant went swimming. But instead of swimming together, they took turns getting into the pool. Both were never in the pool at the same time. Why?" she continued ..

As usual I put on my act of thinking by bringing in a few variations of lines across my forehead and tapping my forefingers in slow motion on my cheeks..and after a lot of frantic efforts to think I gave in and retorted with the usual "PASS"...

"They had only one pair of shorts"... The roar of laughter broke through the room , with my 5 th std brother and his gang of friends solely responsible for the 'roar' part of the laughter.

With a sheepish smile I got back to my report " Indian steel sector contributes ..." and before I could complete "Arun cheta , do you believe in god " ...

I didnt know why she asked me that all of a sudden but without a thought I replied "no"..

And what followed was a huge gasp by all the children and there were a lot of whispers and hustles . I was too busy to think and it was a spontaneous answer .

"But how can that be . Why dont you believe in god ???" she immediately asked ..

I was in no mood to give an insightful answer which would go about and bring about a profound change in the children and anyway I didnt believe even if were in the best of moods I would be doing that .
"Why do u believe in god ??" I replied without a thought continuing to type the report .

"Umm ...because he is there everywhere and he helps us......." the reasons kept coming with each and everyone adding on to the chaos ...

The clock struck 1 as I tiredly switched off the computer and waded my way across the darkness of the room with the cell phone light giving me a reason not to trample the little hands of my brother and the not so little hands of my mom hugging him tightly . A few careful steps and there I lay peacefully across my bed .

Just as thoughts across my mind were getting shutdown , one little thought creeped up ..
Does god really exist ??

An image of a man lying across the ghostly white sheets , with several pipes going in and out of various parts of his body flashed across ...those unspoken words that I heard as I stood there ...Those locked up tears which hid themselves amongst my smiles for a very long time finally had a reason to bid adieu to my eyes and landed on the strewn prayer books across the floor..Those screams and cries which strangely I seem to never hear.....and slowly his eyes closed ...the nauseating smell of medicines spread through the room as I felt a strange darkness...My eyes closed for a second and for one last time I whispered "I love you dad"...

"God doesn't exist " the inner voice overcame the pain which I felt yet again and I slowly closed my eyes and drifted off.

It was yet another sunday and my brothers gang had arrived for they had an important cricket tournament today . As usual our hall became the cricket ground and I took the responsible role of the-neighbourhood-mama-who-scolds-children-for-breaking-his-window-pane with the sole aim of protecting our TV screen and gave them stern glances and warnings to which of course no one gave a hoot ...

"Dai , pradeep ...ennada romba naala kaanom..." I asked pradeep the 4th std grandson of our neighbourhood maid . ( Pradeep , what happened to you ...you havent turned up for a long time )

"ella na ...summa thaan " he smiled ...(nothing bro , just like that )

The match had started and soon the struggle of protecting my TV screen got aggravated with the additional role of the umpire controlling the tempers of the warring cricket legends .

The day passed by and it was the evening time and as I was deciding on which biscuit to choose from , in the kitchen ..."Do you know what happened to pradeep " the familiar tone of my mom echoed ..

I lay there motionlessly across my bed staring across the twirling fan which induced strange emotions ..Pradeep's father had left his mom long back for another woman .. And she was working in a garment factory to make ends meet and make him study ..and she did manage to put him into a decent school in our locality..but soon fate had some other plans ..a guy lured her into the acting industry with a promise of giving her an acting chance in a serial..what followed was little bit of manipulation...she did get a blink-and-u-will-miss portion in a serial and along with that a few videos taken secretly to blackmail her ...
Last week she had decided to sleep for the last time but this one was on a railway track....

The question propped up "Do you believe in god ???"

The smile of young pradeep which hid the scars his heart carried flashed across...What did god find so evil in him that he wanted to take that little smile away from him..
The glimpses of the two children who were playing across the rohini signal jumping across each and every car window and spreading an orange cloth and pleading to buy flashed across...and that little smile they had which mocked at the hot afternoon sun as their sweat shone across the dust laden faces ...the small kid who taught me there is so much joy even in the simple art of selling sundal...the old abandoned lady who sipped through the 2 rs tea enjoying its warmth and comfort as I stood there watching.. the images of numerous ppl who struggle across the streets as they fight for each and every day of their lives against the street dogs , against the soaring sun, against the hunger ,against the bruises, against the feelings of being left out and at last against the us ....the us who never had the time to see them ...

Do you believe in god ??

Well , yes I do ..

But its not found in those statues . Its not found in those hilltops where people throng in herds to find him...Its not the one whom I blamed for all my troubles ...Its not the one for whom people kill each other..

Its rather right there amongst that little smile that pradeep had ... amongst that little joy which those kids across the signals had ...amongst that iota of happiness which every sale of sundal brought to the boy...amongst that little smile which signifies human spirit...that spirit to keep standing up each and every time we fall and put up that little smile...

God is really not something I cannot see ..its right there ...right across the different faces which have only one religion...the religion called "human spirit" ...a few are lucky to be smiling now...and a lot who are not so hope to do so one day or the other....Each and every one of us go through a lot of struggles . For some its comparatively easy , for some its hard , for some the pain is unbearable ...

At the end of it , this too shall pass .. and so does each of our struggle...but that little smile that we find at the end of each painful period we go through...that is where I see god...

So maybe next time before you drop a ten buck note into the coffers of a so-called-powerful-temple , probably you can feed a hungry stomach...n probably bring that little smile ..

and who knows , you might even get to have a glimpse of god too in the deal !!!

May 15, 2010

Ta..na..na

My eyelids were about to kiss themselves , as the cozy sofa provided the perfect settings for a lazy sunday afternoon..ta nah nah ta na nah na na .. a thean-vanthu-payuthu-kathinile ( honey-coming-attacking-ears ) kind of soothing music slowly ventured into my ears and slowly moved through the various long-time-no-use parts of my brain and along the path it went on to trip a few nerves which brought my just-about-to-kiss eyelids to the wide-open state . The eyes traced the origin of the music to the 22 inch plasma screen across the room . It was the new tanishq ad for the wedding jewellery collection . Watch it below ...

. video


Beautiful ad I thought . It was so subtle , poetic and somehow stuck a chord with me...But soon the highly anticipated kissing scene between my eyelids replaced the ad and soon I was fast asleep...

Ta..na ...na..tha..nah na nah na...

"Anushka ....good girl ...good family ...why dont you meet her???" my father hinted..

"Not Interested pa" I smirked.

"Settled in St Jose ...
America " the story continued..

"Not interested " I replied nonchalantly .

"Do you have a girlfriend .."
I gave a stern glance...

"Then what marriage is a good thing ..." he was about to start again if not for the abrupt shout by my mother..

"Stop here " she shouted ..." I need to eat . You both continue . I will be back......".

Soon we were sitting inside the hotel .

"Is this the time to eat ??" my father quirked in an irritated tone.

But before the arguements could continue the waiter placed a huge chicken leg piece on my plate . The leg looked juicy and reddish hot with the aroma of the different spices fighting amongst each other to enter my nostril ."Aaahaa " I exclaimed as the smell took over to my head while the reddish brown leg piece gleamed with its reflection originating at the centre of my pupil and slowly spreading out . Then came the biriyani . The leg piece seemed to peek secretly from the midst of the biriyani rice seducing my already starved lips .

Ta..na ...na..tha..nah na nah na... the music kept playing.

I slowly took the piece by its leg and felt a vicarious tingle already ascend through the taste buds .
But suddenly the waiter realising something , asked "are you the mappilai ??" ( are you the to-be-bridegroom ??)

"Oh ...so this is the kalyana special chicken biriyani..mmm...We are not interested . leave it arun . Lets go " my mom quickly remarked and got up.

I gave a long look at the chicken piece...I got up and slowly walked out not before turning again for one last time and gave a desperate sigh . A
sigh which if I had the authority to amend the English language would have added a few more 'h's and made it sighhhhhhhh to explain exactly what I felt..

A few minutes later as we steered across the traffic , I casually asked " What was the name you mentioned ???"

"Anushka......"

The same background music ...Ta..na ...na..tha..nah na nah na...

My dad got a message from my mom...

"Its been 25 years and you still don't know that our son is a theeni pandaram !!!!"

( I beg your pardon...please dont ask me to translate )

Ta..na ...na..tha..nah na nah na... Biriyani that makes you marry ...

AAArrghhhhhh ....the shout of my bro slowly echoed across just about a few windows ,a few homes ,a few trees , a few streets and finally just barely managing to reach and disturb the peaceful sleep of the stray dog lying on the last street.

I lay there across the bed innocently with my bro's arms instead of the leg piece in my mouth .
After listening patiently to the not so likely-to-be-expected-from-a-10-year-old-swearing words , I innocently asked still amidst my dreams ,

"Where is my leg piece..Am I not married , yet !!! "

Apr 16, 2010

Now , I know the answer ...

Feb 18th ,2009

Amidst the bantering of the bangle selling lady who had finally decided to take rest on the path near the door of the train's compartment , amidst the wails of the child which rubbed through its flowing nose , amidst the face of the old beggar which held those untold stories , amidst the gushing water across the tap with the gargling sound from the uncle's mouth supplementing it , I sat there on the doorstep motionlessly still with the mirage of trees , barren lands , electric wires ,transformers sketching across the endless horizon... It was yet another assignment as a part of my job and there I was on my way to Edappal , a small village in Kerela .

The same question cropped up "Why do I need to do this ??" .
One question which haunted me for two years and as always the answer was the same . "My salary is getting credited day after tomorrow " the inner voice spoke . The same salary which the first time bought my mom a diamond pendant , the same salary which bought my girlfriend the gold ring , the same salary which bought me my pepe jeans , the same salary which bought me cold cofees at coffee day ....

but there was one little insignificant thing which it never bought me ....

Happiness....

A lot of such train journeys had passed before I finally had the guts to call it quits and finally follow my heart ...Its been a year . Have things changed . Have I learnt something . Have I really earned my smile....

July 10
th , 2009

A new life had begun . The grinds and grills of an MBA had begun , the assignments had begun , the presentations had begun , the screwing ups had begun ,the friendships had begun , the dreams had begun , the journey had begun .... As all these began , there was this sudden excitement towards which committee you had to be in . As every B School proudly says we are run for the students , by the students and of the students , it is these committees that actually do the above stated ...

Having been existing for 24 years , if there is one thing that I am completely sure of me - its the fact that I can easily beat anyone to the top of Forbes worlds most laziest people list .

So obviously to join no committees was my first motto but as fate had to play its role (I reserve that story for some other time) somehow I ended up in one of the committees - placom (the placement committee).

The entire batch after those mind boggling classes had a sigh of relief as they sipped through the hot coffee , guffawing and rambling about the various rumors and grape wines of the college . At one lonely corner of the college , "Mam , this is arun calling from....can we get an appointment for a corporate presentation for our execs placements " ..The calling had begun for fixing appointments for making presentations the next month to corporates (yup the same place from which I had come )..One month had gone by and so did lot of coffees and interseting gossips .I was missing all the fun and somewhere deep inside it didnt feel great... The planning had begun for the presentation at delhi ( I was in the delhi team !!) , the brochures , the cds , the list of companies , addresses , hr nos , train tickets , stay ...the list went on...

Soon I was walking across the streets of
delhi , trying to find out where the offices of the companies were situated . As always I ended up walking several miles, thanks to my 'ek gaon mein ek kissan ' hindi speaking skills .This became a routine as the mornings were filled with work and the evenings were filled with bird-watching sessions and tandoori chicken . With a hectic one week all the presentations were made .

And then finally came the DAY ..The first company was coming to campus the next day . Its 2 P.m in the night as I took the final printout of the resumes of the students who had applied . And At 2.30 p.m I went to the guest house to welcome the recruiters to the campus( they had a delay in their travel..a pretty loooong one ...phew) and showed them around their rooms and finally went back to my room at 3 P.M . Just when i thought I had just slept , a call woke me up "Arun , what would they be needing for breakfast " . The clock needle seemed to quiver around the number 6 as I woke up and soon I was running across in my blazer accompanying the recruiters for the breakfast . The process had begun . There were several last minute corrections in the resume , several queries ,and several anxious faces ...

The day went on and on and slowly the filtering was done with the final 10 ready to enter the interviews. The clock showed 11.30 p.m as the final candidate went in ..
I stood there outside with my knees starting to ache and my tired eyelids desperately wanting to kiss each other...

The same old question dawned "Why do I need to do this ?"

But before I could really think the door threw open and the last candidate was out . Soon I went inside after a 10 minute hiatus . The HR's seemed to be in a very serious discussion and finally the gave me the names . Two of them had been selected . Quickly I dialled their nos and said " Hey , congrats you are selected "....

And that one single moment that followed . I will never ever forget. ...that strange inexplicable feeling ...that little flutter across my heart ...that subtle joy ..that final taste of that little thing which money never bought me ...that little thing called Satisfaction... .I guess the guy on the other line said thanks but I
don't remember . And it didn't matter . In a few minutes I could see shouts of joy "machan I made it " ,clenched hands punching the skies with ecstasy , smiling faces reaching out to their near and dear ones sharing their joy .

At one silent corner ,as I watched all these the question cropped
"Why do I need to do this ?"

A few meters away from me I saw that joy on his face . That smile of conquering everything .That joyous voice over the phones shouting "ma ., I am placed " . That expression which spoke of victory and that some thing which I will never be able to explain.

And a silent voice within me spoke " This is why you need to do this !!!"

Months of hard work ,those missed coffees , those cribbings, those from-where-the-hell-do-they-crop-up problems ,those never ending planning , all those pains which went to it , my aching knees ....None of these mattered....

I slowly dropped into my bed .. I smiled ....

April 15th , 2010

The year had ended . I stood there near the door of my train compartment on my way back to Chennai from Trichy. There were times when I worked for money . And now these are times when I work for free , and I bet on my life that sometimes I have worked much more than what I actually did when I was paid . And honestly it feels great . To know that you worked , not for money , not for your personal gains but in order to bring that little smile on someones face .

And now I realize the problem was not my job but....

the person for whom I worked ...money..

I gave a smile as the winds brushed through my face and ruffled hair .

The same question but.....

Now I knew the answer ....

I kept smiling ...

Sometimes these simple experiences go on to teach us the biggest lessons in our lives...U keep searching for that 'something' everywhere and all of a sudden it just comes so unexpectedly , just like that chill breeze on a hot summer afternoon , nothing dramatic , nothing mind blowing ,but just hidden amongst the casual yet-another-day-of -life....So lets stop complaining and start relishing these simple experiences for what they have to offer and do our small part to bring that little smile back into people's lives...

Smile ...come what may !!!!

Feb 15, 2010

Last-ing moments !!!!


The First love ,the first kiss ,the first job , the first paycheque ....there is always a lot of nostalgia and feelings attached to those "first"s in everything .

But however we strangely seem to have forgotten about the last drop of petrol which miraculously saw you through till the nearest petrol bunk , the last one rupee in your pocket which got you the rasna which you savored all along your way back from school ,The last glimpse at your friends answer sheet which you got you that 1 mark which passed you , the joy of watching the seconds hand cover the last minute of the most boring lecture , the last iota of vision before your eyelids close themselves to the mystical chants caled lectures , the last day at the job you hated the most ,the last drop of the chocolate milkshake which dances across the rim of the glass before it lands on your lips , that last time you saw that beautiful stranger who gave that little smile which made you gasp "Wow !! I am in love " , the last time you held her hands before the train left , the last drop of tears which fell across her pink cheeks as the train kept moving as I stood there still watching her dissapear , the last time my father smiled at me , the last time you met your college gang , the last phone call which eventually continued for 4 years and still continues , the last 50 paise balance which just lasted as you spoke the words "oye , I miss u..." ,the last milestone which said chennai 2 Km as I drove the last lap of my 350KM ride from trichy to chennai , The last time someone came and told you "Hey you are looking awesome "(Though seriously ,I doubt whether there was a "first" time this happened leave alone the "last"), The last walk across my college corridor , the last Photograph which had all of us together ...hmmm

Well , irrespective of whether they are the "firsts" or the "lasts" there is always the joy and longing whenever we get reminded of these . We all have our own stories where these "lasts" did matter .And unfortunately these lasts never got their due so I just decided to take some time to recollect mine as I suddenly remembered its a long time since I LAST wrote my blog .. And no wonder these were truly last-ing moments !!!!

Now its time for you guys to cherish your "last"ing moments , and while you do that I shall make a move ...and as always

Do Keep smiling , come what may ...