Sunday, July 20, 2008


There are some people I cannot bear to see go. I cannot just stand there and wave a cheery good bye and hug and kiss in the modern style, whilst advising the other to ‘take care’. It was something that had become more habitual than meaningful. Many times the people who tell you that, will definitely not be the ones around you when you really need the ‘care’. Yet, the ‘muaah’ ‘muaahs’ on either side of the cheek bear a close semblance to motherly love, care and compassion.

Having said that I should admit that I am one of the worst ‘bye’ say‘ers’ in the whole world. For I don’t exactly implement the hug and kiss gesture, but will stand there and look and if you would care to notice, you would notice my battle with my tears. I am a law graduate, and have been tutored to learn the skills of separating ‘law’ from ‘fact’. Still, when it comes to the ‘goodbye’ word, I feel like a scrambled egg, the white and the yellow, all mixed up. Someone sang that ‘goodbye’s the hardest word to say’ and if he came alive before me even once I would definitely hug him and kiss him and tell him that he could not have been more correct.

I hate to go, and to let go. Given the opportunity I would really love to keep the favourite people of my life, around me in close proximity and accessibility. But since that is hardly plausible, I am repeatedly forced like today to pack my loved one(mind you I have no issue in using the word, although it sounds a tad mushy) into an auto and then run back home into the bathroom letting myself loose, now that there is no obstacle in the way of my emotion. For a long time after they have left I will brood, an occasional tear welling up in the corner of my eye, wishing that the two days could have been slightly longer.

If this is the outcome of a temporary good bye, one can easily fathom the ‘goodbyes’ of finality. When I know there is never going to be a next time. I vouch for the fact that those are the worst, and when it has been accelerated by facts and circumstances that are simply beyond one’s control, it will have the same effect as a death by slow poisoning. (Indeed I have never experienced it to draw the parallel, but what do they call it? Literary license?) If it were in my control, I am sure I would definitely nail the person, without hurting him at all, of course, to the spot he currently occupied so as to prevent his going. But these are only wishes I can dream of, being sure without an aorta of doubt that it will never come true.

So I have had my little ‘dramas’ at places of all sorts, which I shall not publicly announce in my own self interest. Notably, I have been involved in these performances ever since I was a child, and age has not exactly contributed in simplifying things for me. The people I have met, liked and loved (and I don’t mean it in strictly the romantic sense) most often know how much they’ve meant for me. I do not however know if they understand the pain I’ve associated with the word. I relive the little moments I have spent with them. It will be always be a fresh bunch of flowers. To all of them with whom I am in touch and out of, for reasons we know and don’t, all I can say is a hearty ‘miss you’. And I mean it!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I Am Not My Master

Today was a usual morning, except for one thing that made it unusual, but even that was usual. I was battling with something, for now I will call it the desire to wake up. To me it was an ungodly unearthly hour, an hour when my sleep is the deepest and the weather outside is really lovely – a time that is so virgin, untouched by sound, smoke and severity. A time I believed that every one should spend doing they love most, and I was doing just that.

In the name of convenience or whatever it is, people have begun to assess a thing’s value in terms of the number of varied uses it can be put to. One such ordinary example is the mobile phone which is even more versatile than Kamalahasan in Dasavatharam, performing ten different roles. It doubles up as a watch, calendar, calculator, alarm, radio, camera, computer, MP3 player, torch light, route indicator, play mate, and in the ultimate analysis even becomes the soul mate to the lonely loner, who apart from his cell phone is quite alone indeed. Phew!!! Who said Babel inspired Kamalahasan? I have sufficient reason to think the cell phone did.

And it was precisely this modern day addiction that became my strongest rival each morning. Graham Bell might probably think he would have made a greater contribution to man kind by not inventing the telephone, and I tend to agree with him. Well after a great deal of playing and replaying the ring tones on my handset, I selected the least annoying one, lest I wake up with a frown each morning. Left to me, I’d say that one should wake up, and not be woken up.

This morning was no different. The alarm went off as usual at 6.30, and I turned it off. Just last night I had told myself that I should wake up and go for a walk in the morning. My body gets almost no exercise, given the work pressure at office. I rarely even stand up from my seat to get a good stretch. So this was a routine promise I made every night. The promise was to myself- by me to myself. The two are the same, aren’t they? Me and myself. Well prima facie yes, but evidently not.

And that was what made this morning out of the ordinary. I commanded myself. “Wake up!” I was almost screaming within, emanating a higher frequency than even the milk cooker which threatened to drive me deaf each day with its high pitch whistle, and which I believe was the sole cause for my grand mother’s deafness. Well I was ordering myself, chiding myself, then coaxing, then pleading, then threatening and went through a metamorphosis of emotions before I simply drew the rug over me ears, buried my head deeper into my pillow, and slept.

What strikes me is that I am unable to implement a command that comes from within. I usually have issues in complying with directions from my parents. “ Oil your hair”, “avoid junk food”, “study hard”, “wake up early in the morning and study”, “drink a glass of milk each night before you sleep”. These statements irritated me, when they came as instructions from an external source. But this was no different. I had definitely wanted to wake up. I had definitely wanted to lose weight. I had genuinely wanted to try to cut my phone bill. But the ultimate outcome of wanting it from within, pitted against instructions I got seemed no different. I did not satisfy either.

I have a strong belief in the concept of ‘will’. I think it can achieve even the impossible. I thought that ‘will’ controlled the outcome of most of my actions and efforts. But it dawns upon me that even ‘will’ is controlled by some other force, which in my ignorance I am incapable of perceiving.

My thoughts went on a little bit more. When even my own will does not influence my own actions, how easily I had expected it to control another’s actions. How stupidly I assume the whole world should play by my rules, live by my standards, meet my expectations. I am not even my own master. I am a slave to something or someone I am not even aware of.

Questions, they rise and fall,
They zip past, they crawl,
They fly, they float,
They sizzle, they soak.
Suddenly light, then for days at end
I live in a blackening den,
I surface for a momentary breath,
And then make my home the sea’s depth,
I know not truth from false,
I know not the devils dance,
I know not the angels sweet face,
I know nothing, I am dazed.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


I caught a glimpse of her from across the road. She was sitting in an autorickshaw, lips moving as if in prayer, but her facial expression continually changing to confirm that she was engaged in a conversation with herself. Through the passing traffic, the noise, the dust, the smoke, smelly pedestrians in the humid summer heat of Madras, there was little I could notice. But, having a world of time before the signal turned green for pedestrians my eyes were rather riveted on noticing her. She could have been pretty. There was plenty of scope for that. But her lovely curls were combed back with an excess of sticky oil, and tied at the back. She must have been tired, but through the distance between her and me, there was not much room for details. She sat holding her laptop case as if she was clinging on to the last remnants of her life occasionally checking to see if the signal had given a go. She did not seem to be hurry. She had stopped her conversation, and was looking distant, chin held high in the air, as if she was teaching herself to be brave. And I had been nearer I had a strong feeling that I would have been able to see her expressive eyes well up, and if I had been even more proximate I might have even been able to catch a drop of her tear before it fell to the floor.

I wondered what her worry could be. The signal had turned green for both of us, and it was time for us to move. But I still wondered what the tears could have been for. To me it felt like she was losing a part of herself with each precious drop…how much more of her had gone?

I checked my own phone for the time. With the coming of the mobile phone I never felt the necessity to wear a wrist watch. Back home my grandmother had always looked at my bare hands each day as I left for work, staring rather disapprovingly. I did manage to purchase a pair of gold bangles as a respectable investment, but never got around to adorning myself with it. The time was closing in on seven, the sun almost down leaving the city like a pre-heated oven. I was in no particular rush, as I did not think I had to put in effort to push the globe by a few inches. Things had been rushing past me, faster than the seemingly slow traffic driven by impatient drivers. Everyone seemed to be in a great hurry, as if they had Cindrella’s dead line to meet. I could not fathom what they were racing towards. My own life was racing past me. It was eight months since I had joined my first job, my prize possession. I had acquired it of my own. And I had relished every moment since I walked into the impressive building on Nungambakkam High Road. But the days rolled into weeks, then months and now my day had become rather mundane. I even took the same route home everyday.

The day had been tiring and as I neared home I had to sing aloud to keep myself awake. Soon night would fall, followed by the rising sun. It amazed me as to how without an effort, the entire globe went a full circle.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


See I feel a sense of achievement right now, a sense that I did not even have when I got two marks more in math in the class 12 board exams than the girl the math teacher expected to score a centum. Imagine if she had scored a centum, then what my score would have been! I would have created history in the records of the Central board of secondary education. But fortunately or unfortunately, that was not to be, and I had to make do with creating a record in the history of my technological advancement.

Truthfully, I’d have been happier off with just pen and paper. Mind you I have accepted change enough to think that feather and ink are too complicated a way of writing (not to mention my acquired fear of birds and feathers).

When irony strikes, it strikes in a way that makes things all the more ironical. I bought a laptop in November 2007, and did a great job of maintaining it without even a fingerprint until recently. One fine day, I read an old friends blog, and decided that even I had amazing talent which I should not waste. And so I decide to utilise my talent at the cost of using my laptop, which is going to depreciate in value anyway. I did enough research to get an internet connection. I finally got one based on cable. I wish to believe I am possessed with all the information I ought to have. After all the right to information has become a fundamental right, and one to which I dedicate most of my working time. And so I asked the fellows marketing it a million questions about the product they were selling, though I really did not understand much of the speed details they were giving me. 256kbps sounded like a good figure, and more fun than a 1000kbps…ummm..that would become 1 mb right? See I am improving…And they gave me answers politely enough not to scoff at the time capsule in which I was stuck.

Despite my clear instructions explaining to them that they should not come to do any installation work during the convenient hours of the day, in order to avoid my grand mothers growing inquisitivity about what really the internet is,(she kinda thinks its like alcohol- its immoral whether you do it before 18 or after) they still landed up exactly when I told them not to. But they managed to do the work under her prying eyes. Poor thing she must have thought it as bad as bringing an egg into a good Brahmin household, but see technology seems to have had its effect on even her.

We then set to the task of finally having the internet on my laptop. I’m sure even she (my laptop) feels like a complete woman now, make up et all. Must have felt so barren without the world wide web accessible to her. Everyone speaks about downloading movies and videos and games and music. Ha!!! guess what my first download was? Not such a tough question after all. It was a phokat anti virus package, and that’s what gave me the inspiration to write this, even though I don’t know how to type, without searching for the keys( so the inspiration must have been considerable). Which moron said that money was of great value? He should have met me. He would be amazed at how I manage to be inspired by the worthless…ahem…I stand corrected…Priceless, it is. But ah!!! the download complete window on my screen, felt like it was extending its hands out to give me a trophy in appreciation. I had done it!!!