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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Snide and Prejudiced

They say that you only see what you want to see and that beauty is in the eye of the beer holder beholder.. that truth is nothing but what one accepts as true and that seeing is believing.. That good or bad is relative and that we have just created an illusion of norms to make ourselves look safe and sane.. And that's just some of the many nice ways of saying we are all prejudiced.. in one way or the other.. abt one thing or another..

But what really stumps me is when someone crosses the fine line between prejudice and double standards.. that the same person takes the same things done by different ppl differently.. that right & wrong or good & bad does not depend on the person judging it but on the person who did it..

  1. If I tell her what to do, I am bossy and dominating.
    If he tells her what to do, he is caring and wants what's best for her.
  2. If I decide the plan for the evening, I am conceited and self centered.
    If he decides the plan for the evening, he is a leader who knows to make decisions.
  3. If I ask what everyone wants, I am indecisive and don't have my own individuality.
    If he asks what everyone wants, he is sympathetic to others' needs.
  4. If I have a strong opinion, I am opinionated and have a closed mind.
    If he has a strong opinion, he is sure of his thoughts and has the guts to stand for what he believes in.
  5. If I want to know why she's upset, I am intrusive and don't give her space and time.
    If he wants to know why she's upset, he is empathetic and knows that she needs someone even when she say's she doesn't. 
  6. If I am not there when she needs me, I don't understand her plight and I am cold and insensitive.
    If he is not there when she needs him, he must have been busy with something else.
  7. If I have a quirky trait, I am flawed and imperfect.
    If he has a quirky trait, it's what makes him real and human.
  8. If I care too much for her, I am smoldering her and making her dependent on me.
    If he cares too much for her, that's what is endearing about him.
  9. If I tell about my achievement, I am vain and arrogant.
    If he tells about his achievement, he just wants to be recognized and appreciated.
  10. If I stay the whole night working, it's my fault and I shouldn't complain about being sleepy.
    If he stays up the whole night watching movies, the poor guy needs his sleep.
  11. If I have a fever and cold, "I can't be that sick that I can't have some fun with everyone".
    If he has a headache, "Maybe we should all just go home and take rest".
  12. If I tell something that others don't know, I am being a show-off.
    If he tells something that others don't know, "he knows so much" and is sharing knowledge.
  13. If I don't know something, I am ignorant and dumb.
    If he doesn't know something, he is only human.
  14. If I correct someone, I am trying to look superior.
    If he corrects someone, he is making them a better person.
  15. If I claim something, it has to be proven by atleast two different non-related sources before being considered true.
    If he claims something, it is true unless proven false and even then, he should be appreciated for trying.
  16. If I speak differently, I am weird.
    If he speaks differently, he is cute.
  17. If I have a bad habit, "Its wrong and disgusting and I should change".
    If he has a bad habit, "Well, everyone has atleast one flaw in them!".
  18. If I am very helpful, I don't know when to say NO and I bend for everyone.
    If he is very helpful, he is a good person and very giving.
  19. If I am not helpful, I am being rude and uncourteous.
    If he is not helpful, he knows when to say NO.
  20. If I do something without her, I don't think of her and I am shunning her.
    If he does something without her, he has his own world and needs his own space.
  21. If I do something good, it was just my duty.
    If he does something good, he deserves a reward.
  22. If I do something bad, I am a bad person.
    If he does something bad, he didn't really mean to.
  23. If I do something wrong, I should apologize and make up for it.
    If he does something wrong, it's ok, everyone makes mistakes.
  24. If I am feeling bad about something, it's probably my mistake.
    If he is feeling bad about something, it's probably her mistake.
  25. I have many flaws and I should work on them.
    He has many flaws, but that's how he is and that's what makes him, HIM!
Why the difference you ask? Well.. Coz she likes me and she "likes" him :)

Disclaimer: These are just illustrative examples of double standards/ prejudice from the figments of my imagination and should not be thought of as real life examples. Any perceived resemblance is purely coincidental! :D

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Of let downs and betrayals..

“Trust is like a mirror, you can fix it if it's broken, but you can still see the crack in that mother fucker's reflection.” ― Lady Gaga

I am not really a fan of Lady Gaga.. or that kind of language.. but something about that quote struck a chord somewhere.. I will admit openly that I have had my trust broken by few of the closest ppl I know.. And it was always from someone I expected it the least.. But it has never pained me more than when that trust was broken by none other than myself.. Because there is no one else to blame there but me..

Imagine one of those times when you are sitting alone wondering what to do.. whether to do some important discovery, find something extremely interesting on the net or just act as if you are working.. And a small discomfort starts to well up somewhere inside you.. You wonder if it could be an ominous sign foretelling something severe.. like more work.. like appraisal discussion.. like coming to know that your company will follow Infy's example and not give any hike.. all this while secretly hoping that you are falling in love.. but soon you realize.. it's just gas in your stomach.. from that late breakfast full of masala..

As you try to recollect how much you enjoyed the breakfast and more so, the company, you can feel your discomfort rise.. And you know there is only one way out.. there is only one solution.. but you are too civilized for that.. not here.. definitely not now.. You give a casual look around and notice that no one is nearby.. and everyone is busy at their workstations.. Your mind tells you that this is the best time.. nobody will ever know.. just let it rip.. it reminds you of what you read on the net..

As you think over the wisdom of those thoughts, you begin the feel the rumble in the bronx.. And you know you have to do it.. And you let it go, hoping it would be smooth and simple.. silent and carefree.. 

But alas, it had to be the worst one ever.. it stinks so bad, even you can't breath properly.. You hope very much that the AC duct above your head will recycle the air fast enough.. you even think of risking the fire alarm and lighting a lighter or a match.. it's so hard to think when there is no oxygen going to the brain.. and while you are gasping for breathe, your manager, lead, team mate and friend, all decide to come to your cubicle with complete urgency.. And before you can come up with an excuse to stop them all in their tracks or get up and run, they have already reached your desk..

And you say out aloud "This work is so shitty, it actually stinks here!"

Image1 Courtesy:
Image2 Courtesy:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It's your life..

Meri life kisi se alag nahi thi..
Farak sirf itna tha..
Mujhe super blogger banna tha..
Aur sab se bada blogger banna tha..
Computer badla.. blog sites badle..
Nahi badla to wahi sawal - "Have I made it large?"

And as I look back at my posts and go through them, I get the answer to that question and I immediately realize "Damn! I should have taken some other Ad as an inspiration!"

Friday, March 16, 2012

The WTF diaries..

  Life has a lot to offer - sometimes good, soemtimes bad.. life tests you, surprises you, trips you, bewilders you.. sometimes it makes you go weak in the knees, sometimes it lets you show your strength.. And sometimes, it just makes you go WTF!!! Here is a tribute to some such moments - without which, life would probably have been less depressing.. but also less interesting...

  1. Even though I like to write loooong posts, to keep my readers alive (all 3 of them), I will stick to only 2 stories..
  2. The event descriptions may have been exaggerated a bit for your amusement (or to disguise my actual embarrassment).
  3. If you take this out in public EVER, I would, in all probability, just feign ignorance and claim all this is just a figment of your imagination! And somebody will get hurt real bad...
Story 1:

I was in my 10th Std and my friends had decided to watch Gone in 60 Seconds. The theatre was just 15 mins from my home and so it was my duty to book in advance (this is a time more than 10 years back when online booking was not yet introduced.. heck, we only had dial up connections and that too 36.6kbps!!!) Anyways, being the loyal friend that I was, I went ahead to book the tickets for myself and 6 of my friends.. And as I was leaving, my brother said he wanted to go too.. (which was quite a rare thing.. he prefers to watch movies alone and even if he "has" to take company, he definitely doesn't want me.. partly coz I am never quiet during the movie.. but more so coz I was too young and used to bug him to tell me what was going on.. in my defense, I would like to point that I was in 10th and though I loved watching English movies, it wasn't really my forte.. then..) Anyways, there I was, 20 mins before the show time, tickets already booked the previous day for 8 ppl - 4 of my class mates, 2 building friends who were 2 yrs younger to me and my brother only to learn that one of my friend S was running late. It was almost show time and he still hadn't come.. As always, I volunteered to wait and my friends stayed back too. I sent in my bro since he didn't want to miss any part of the movie..

Finally, with 3 minutes for the movie to start, S came running in.. we all moved towards to entrance only to be stopped by a moustached guy.. he took one look at me and my friends and immediately asked "Which standard are you studying?" And being the naive innocent guy that I was (and looking back now, I think I was pretty dumb too), I proudly announced "I am in 10th". The guy pointed at the poster and said "you can't go". My first thought was that I got the tickets to the wrong movie. Until I realized that he was pointing something specific in the poster - A.. with a circle around it. Looking at the confused look on my face, he said sternly "A movie hai. Tum allowed nahi ho" My face was already filling up with redness (part anger, part embarrassment) and while I was still stunned, he looked at my other friends and asked the same question. fortunately for them, 2 of them were tall for their age - around 5' 10" and one of them was already having a stubble.. which left only one slightly plump guy around my height.. the question was directed at him.. he looked down and after a full minute replied in a meek voice that he was studying in 11th.

I was thinking that that was stupidity. If he had the presence of mind to lie, he should at least have lied better.. he could have said 12th! 11th still meant he wasn't 18.. the guy asked him "ID dikhao".. bad lie and no proof.. I knew that did it! but his presence of mind persisted.. he boldly looked up and said "Why would I get my ID card to the theatre? In fact I don't even have my wallet!" As I was smirking inside for his feeble attempt, silently taking consolation in the fact that I would have company, the moustached guy said nothing more and let them in.. YES, you read right! except me and the 2 younger building friends, he let them all go... I know.. WTF, right?

The moustached guy (turns out he was the manager) instructed the security to not let us in and went on.. as I stood there seeing kids half my age going in unnoticed, there I was.. standing like a fool with 3 tickets in hand, not knowing what to do.. I was almost in tears.. The security looked sympathetically and said "Sorry, I can't disobey him" And in an attempt to keep what was left of my dignity I said "Waise bhi tumse bhik maangke nahi jaana hai.. I just wanted to know tickets ka kya karun?" After complaining at the ticket counter for selling me the tickets in the first place and then convincing some ppl that I was not selling my ticket in black, got rid of them and walked gloomily back home to my surprised parents..

Ofcourse, just to get back at the theatre guys, I got the DVD of the movie that weekend and watched it, only to find it didn't even have one scene that could be considered too indecently objectionable (compared to the other English movies/ sitcoms that I had already seen) which angered me even more! Aah well.. bad luck on my part.. and good luck on my friend's part who got away with a silly lie.. But it does explain why I insisted on sporting a moustache ever since and on seeing movies with A ratings ;)

Story 2:
This is just 3-4 yrs back.. I had gone to my hometown for holidays.. My parents had moved in back to our home only when I joined Engg. Till then, our home was rented out and we were roaming all over the place thanks to Dad's job profile.. Now, just 3 houses before ours there is this family which has an Alsatian dog wolf with deep black and brown fur.

A not so ferocious German Shepherd
And he looks way more ferocious than the pic above.. more ferocious looking than I can describe here.. And this dog is so well trained that anyone who comes within 3 feet of the house gate would get such a welcome that half your bodily organs would have come out of your mouth while other things would come out of other parts.. And unfortunately, this house is half way on the road of houses and so everyone gets a dose of it now and then.. well, I had gotten over the barking once I realized that the dog doesn't try to jump out of the gate and attack..

Back to story.. So there I was at home.. relaxing and whiling away time.. it was evening.. around 4.30.. and the sun was about to set.. and since it's not often that I come home, my mom decided this was the time to get me to do some chores and asked me to water the plants in our garden.. slowly as I dragged myself and finished up the watering, my mom reminded me that there were some samplings just outside our house compound.. So I obediently stepped out with a small bucket of water, all the while talking to my mom when she started to slowly walk towards the gate and close it.. This action perplexed me since I was just about done and called out to her to tell that there was no need to close the gate.. until I noticed she was looking not at me but at someone else to my left.. When I turned to my left, I saw the same dog standing half a feet away from me looking for something on the ground.. My mom had closed the gate to save herself.. leaving her only second son, out in the open with that monster.. thaaya pullaya irunthum, naaya pullaya nu varum pothu naayu dan mukkiyam nu thonichu**

There I stood, horrified and rooted to place as it approached nearer... feeling betrayed and wondering how many parts I would be torn into.. I even contemplated hitting it with the bucket and making a run for it.. but the gate was closed.. I wouldn't have enough time.. while I was still thinking my escape route, the dog was sniffing at my knee.. I slowly extended my hand in to appease the monster and appeal to the "man's-best-friend" within it.. And quite unexpectedly, it looked up at me and licked my hand.. it took me a couple of seconds to understand it wasn't going to do anything more.. it continued to lick my hand and I started to pat it's head and ruffle it's fur.. it immediately sat on my foot and let me play with it's fur.. Too afraid to move, I kept patting him and called out to the aunty.. She came out and gave those affectionate look
Neighbor (N): "Aaww.. he likes you"..
Me: "Likes me?? Pls just take him away!"
N: "But he is like a kid! he doesn't do a thing"
Me: "ya right! he doesn't do a thing to you coz he is your dog! just take him off me!"

And with a sad look the aunty took the dog away.. while I slowly stepped into my house, closed the gate and gave that "how-could-you" look to my mom.. She defensively said "But that's such a huge dog and you know I scared of dogs! Besides, there had to be someone to take care of you in case it bit you!".

** Equivalent English translation: When it came to choose between the fear of a dog and the mother's love for her son, she chose the dog!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Of mumbling martians and murmuring earthlings...

Ok, I ll admit... the title is just coz it seemed to sound nice.. this post doesn't really talk abt murmuring earthlings.. But it does say something about martians.. The biggest question of whether we are alone in this universe and whether there is indeed life on Mars has finally been answered.. Well, not exactly.. but hey, I did find a Martian.. and a mumbling one at that.. and she is on the loose here on Earth..

Without further ado, let me introduce you to the Mumbling Martian. A blogger who writes the way I would have wanted to {given a chance to restart and start all over and all that.. but you get the point}.. Inherent humor, a good command over the language and the most appealing part - the ability to laugh at one's own shortcomings/ miseries without invoking pity or sounding lame..

Here's to Paru - the new entry in the blogosphere; Hip Hip Hooray! You are gonna create quite a storm soon!

All the best and keep writing! :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

My First Love...

Like an old photograph
Time can make a feeling fade
But the memory of a first love
Never fades away.
-Tim McGraw

As Valentine’s day approaches, I can’t help but think back on my first love.. memories of the first sight, the first touch, the first ride together.. The thick and thin that we have gone through and the way she has always been there for me.. when I ignored her.. when I hurt her.. even when I thought of cheating on her.. But the love is still there.. and that love is what will hold us forever..

It’s been a 6 yr relationship (including the initial 3 yrs that I yearned for her which she was completely oblivious to it), but I can still remember the day I set my eyes on her.. It was love at first sight – something that I used to joke was just a more decent way of saying lust.. but that day changed the definition forever.. I was in 3rd yr BE at that time.. it was like any other day to college.. and I was standing at the bus stop waiting for a vacant enough bus to board and that’s when I saw her.. in all her majestic look.. her glory.. and what a beauty she was - slightly dark in shade but beautiful nonetheless.. my friends could see the way I was gaping open mouthed and they all laughed.. knowing me, they knew I probably wouldn’t do anything abt it.. more than that they were sure that it was just another crush.. that I ll soon forget her.. and at the back of my mind, that’s what I thought too..

But this time it was different.. this time it wasn’t just a crush.. it wasn’t just a longing.. it was an obsession.. I wanted to see her more often.. and seeing her daily at the bus stop just added to the fire that was burning inside me.. I wanted her.. I needed her.. but I knew she was out of my league.. I was still studying.. this wasn’t a time for all that.. I needed to focus on my studies.. coz I knew that having her would only make sense to me if I knew that I deserved her.. a year went away with me trying to ready myself.. to make myself worthy of her.. as I finished my final year, I was placed in Bangalore.. Joining in the new company, meeting new ppl, learning to work.. for some time there, I almost forgot her.. till one day, I got up feeling the hollow within me.. the emptiness without her.. and I knew it was time now.. time to get serious..

It was also the time to get my parent’s approval.. but I was afraid they’d think it was too early.. that they would feel she didn’t suit me.. that they would think I am going to hurt myself in the end.. but I couldn’t sit around doing nothing.. I couldn’t stand not having her with me.. I approached my dad.. told him abt the 3yr longing.. abt why she was the one.. abt why I must have her.. and asked his approval and blessings.. as expected, both my parents were skeptical.. both of them felt I was doing a grave mistake.. my dad didn’t feel the family background was good.. or their history.. and he wanted me to look at other options.. options more suitable to me.. but I wouldn’t have any of that.. I didn’t give a damn how or where she came from.. I knew that they were just looking out for me.. but I couldn’t just get over her and choose someone else.. this wasn’t something that I could let my parents decide hoping that I would fall in love someday with their choice.. and maybe I would.. but I knew my true happiness was with her..

And I knew I couldn’t convince them on my own.. if it’s someone that can convince them , it was K.. I needed my brother’s help.. but it wouldn’t be easy.. he would help me only if he himself was convinced that she was right for me.. And there started the toughest job ever.. of saying why I liked her.. of saying why she was apt.. of saying why it had to be her.. K wasn’t fully convinced. But he could see the conviction and determination in me.. and that’s when he decided to support me.. with K on my side, convincing my parents was easier.. the final tip over happened when K pointed out “If it makes him happy, let him do it. It’s his life; his choices”. With still some doubts in their mind about my choice, my parents gave their approval.. And my brother came along with me to go get her..

When I think back, it feels like yesterday.. I still clearly remember the first time I laid my hands on her.. the beautiful titanium black color… the shape of the headlights.. the position of the handle bars.. the alloy wheels.. she was so beautiful, I could almost cry.. And that’s how I feel every time I get back my Apache from service.. it’s like falling in love all over again.. every single time..

“The future for me is already a thing of the past -

You were my first love and you will be my last” 
― Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan: Love And Theft 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Things I have learnt..

As the new year rolls out and everyone is talking about fresh starts, new beginnings, re-planned endings and learning from the mistakes of the past year, I couldn't help but look back at the past years altogether.. And I realized that directly or indirectly, life chooses to teach us some lessons, whether we want to or not.

Over the years, seeing different ppl in different situations and sometimes going through some of them myself, I have had the opportunity of observing this chaos called life.. Not that it has readied me enough to handle anything.. but atleast when something sud-suddenly happens, it amuses me rather than bewildering me as it used to.. or hurting me as much.. or maybe I just stopped caring..

So, as I wish HAPPY NEW YEAR to the world, I think it's but appropriate to share the things I have learned along with the wishes.

 that life is full of lessons to learn!

Anyways, here is an (incomplete) list of things laws (in the order that it came to my mind) that I have learnt from experience - first, second & third hand.

  • Whenever you boast/ talk with pride abt some ability/ capacity of your's , the total opposite will happen within the next few days.. and that too, to the knowledge of the same ppl to whom you boasted.. (This has happened every single time that I have boasted abt my resistance to cold or my driving abilities)
  • When you expect the worst, all you get is bad which sort of feels good. (also applicable for movies.)
  • When you are eagerly awaiting some instance to occur, it will happen at the moment you lose your patience which would make you miss the enjoyment of the moment.. or it will happen - but at an unexpectedly low level so that you will surely feel dejected... or it won't happen at all..
  • If you keep talking negatively abt something, sooner or later it does start to go bad.
  • The more you try to hide something from others, the sooner they will get to know.
  • Every person that you trust a lot, will at one point surely break that trust.. atleast once..
  • When you tell someone a secret and ask them to keep it a secret, it will go to atleast two other ppl.
  • When you help a friend in need, they will remember you again when they are in need.
  • No matter how good your intentions or actions are, if the other person wants to look at it wrong, they will find a way to do so.
  • Every person who gives you an advice will frown at you when you give the same to them. (Corollary of the same - No person will readily follow their own advice.)
  • A person will list quite a few number of qualities that they expect from their partner.. and then fall for one who doesn't meet most of them!
  • Just coz a person likes you doesn't mean they will love you.
  • Just coz you love/ care for a person, does not mean they will love/ care for you back.
  • If a person isn't looking for love/ care from you or is looking for more love/ care from someone else, no matter how much you do, it is gonna remain unnoticed.
  • Something that you have always joked abt someone (who has taken it sportingly) will one day offend that same person for no apparent reason.
  • When you most want someone to be there for you, you will be abandoned. Conversely, when you least expect it, you will find someone supporting you.. usually, that someone would also be the last person you'd expect it from..
  • It's always the small things that matter.
  • You can be with a whole group of friends and feel all alone. Conversely, you could be all alone at the top of a hill and still feel connected.
  • If you keep looking optimistically at things, you will soon reach a point where nothing seems that bad.
  • What impression others have of you usually depends on the last good or bad thing that you did that affected them directly or indirectly.
  • When you pray for simple/ small miracles, they will come true making you wish you had asked for something bigger/ better.
  • You can spend a couple of years with someone and still not know them.
  • Ppl will be nice to you as long as there is even a slightest chance that they may need you.
  • When you are trying to prove a peculiar instance to someone, you won't be able to reproduce it in front of them (Slightly twisted Murphy's law).
  • What you have achieved with great difficulty and effort, someone else would have/ will shortly achieve the same thing easily or achieve more with the same effort.
  • When you think you know everything, you will find one person who knows more than you. Conversely, when you think you know nothing at all, you will find one person who knows less than you.
  • When you are happy abt the situation you are in, you will find someone in a better position thereby reducing your happiness. When you are in a sad situation, you will find someone in a worse situation thereby reducing your sadness.
  • No matter how bad things look like, they will surely get better.
  • Ppl will more readily accept what kind of person you are from others than trying to find themselves. Ppl who do try to find for themselves, usually turn out to be good friends.
  • When you have been trying to remember someone's birthday/ anniversary/ imp day for a whole week in advance, you will forget it on that day.
  • If you have been meaning to call/ contact someone for quite sometime, they will contact you before you contact them, thereby making it look like you didn't remember them.
  • Right when you think you have covered all your expenses and you have the right amount of money left, you will find something that requires you to spend that money thereby going into debt.. Additionally, the month you decide to save a lot would also be the month that you spend the most.
  • When you do something for which you are eagerly waiting to be appreciated, most of the ppl around you would not even have noticed that you did it. Inversely, if you do something that you don't want ppl to notice, you will find that more ppl than you are comfortable with, would have  noticed it.
  • When in a group of friends who are teasing you, the person who supports you will soon do something to pull your leg more than the topic for which they supported you.
  • If there is deadline for a piece of work,  you won't remember/ get time to work on it, till the 11th hour.
  • An easy job that you held up till the last minute will take longer than you expected.
  • Whenever you are in an hurry to get some work done, you will come across a large number of improbable distractions that will shorten your time considerably.
  • A work that you did hurriedly and not to your own self's full satisfaction will get accolades from everyone.
  • Everyone except the person you have a crush on, would know about it.
  • The person who never reciprocated your feelings would do so after you have moved on or stopped caring.
  • The girl that you like very much will be either a. married, b. much older than you, c. very highly committed and that too, almost always, to an undeserving guy.
  • Even if you have not heard of Murphy's law, it or one of it's numerous variant will surely affect you at the most critical time.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

Disclaimer: I started writing this in the first week of Jan2011 immediately after coming back from the trip.. But then, I went into the writer's block and got distracted.. And then I lost interest in recollecting stuff and penning them down.. But as my friends leave today yet again for another happy new year at Goa, I  can't help but think back on the last time.. Now, my memory of things that happened is more dream-like, but the trip still deserves a post, nevertheless! Like they say, better late than never...

Warning: Humongous post (I know all my posts are, but this is dinosaur sized! even by my own standards!).. to know the story in short, just go thru the pics in S's FB profile 

Note to self: Never keep a post for too long in drafts... especially the long ones.. 

I know the title sounds very cliched but I cant think of anything else to describe the recent trip to Goa... New year @ Goa.. For a non-smoker, non-drinker and eggetarian person having two left foot (that's me.. I know m multi talented :P), New year @ Goa might have been the last idea.. actually, most would wonder if one such person can actually have fun (not just during new year and not just in Goa).. but hey, I did.. I had loads of fun.. mostly thanks to the group I went with.. 10 very dysfunctional friends in Goa... different ppl bugged by different things in life, having different priorities coming together to one place at the right time...

Anjuna Beach, Calangute Beach, Dona Paula, Vagator Beach, Cabo De Rama, Chapora Fort, Fort Aguada, Dance@Paradiso, Breakfast@Brittos, Party@Titos ------ These are all the places we didn't go and things we didn't do...  And yet, we had the best fun ever... So what did we exactly do, you ask? Read on...

As is my usual way, I will start atleast 2 days before the trip started and give a bit of background... This trip was initially planned for atleast 14 ppl out of which 2 had agreed tentatively and true to their tentativeness, dropped off at the end... two more (who I would say were the main reason for us to plan this trip) had to drop off due to personal problems... so with a heavy heart and hopes of spending the last few days of the year at Goa and entering the new year with pomp and fair, the rest of the 10 of us were readying ourselves - Me, A, P, S, R, U (alias P), D, M, K & N... 

Day -2

Our train was on the last tuesday of the year and it was sunday already.. and no shopping done... none of us... so we all decided to meet at Brigade to do some shopping for Goa... And since I had no idea what to get, I just tagged along hoping the others would steer me to the right things... after doing very fast random purchases of shorts and t-shirts amounting to 1.5k for self, I decided that I no longer needed the steering committee.. went along till the others were content that we had no time to do any more shopping and in the process got sun glasses for as cheap as Rs.120.. seemed a good deal and I always wanted shades (no matter how cheap!).. finished dinner, went to S's place to sort the dresses, came back to room and slept off

Day -1
Monday was a holiday for all the people in our Proj, except for me and P who had to finish some pending work before going for the leave.. so came on Monday morning (our morning is usually early to late afternoon but hey, we stay up late and finish our work on time, so its ok :P) [** Bursting with pride at how cleverly I covered by bases**] Anyways, by evening we realized we still a have lot to shop for and went and bought slippers, some more tees and inner wears (u wudn't believe how much those cost now a days!).. after a hasty dinner and packing feverishly, managed to sleep by 3AM...

Day 0
Our train was in the afternoon on Tuesday at around 2 at Yashwantpur. So obviously we didn't get up before 10AM.. hurriedly checked that everything is packed and called for a cab to pick myself, P, A and U.. D, M, S, R, K & N had booked 2 cabs on were already on their way.. we reached on time and boarded the train.. D had fever and yet managed to come.. And It was M's first train journey so he was very excited about things and kept looking at everything with a child-like awe and curiosity.. And the others realized that we were quite humgry.. fortunately for us, D & M had a wonderful chef at home who had prepared poori and aloo sabzi for all of us.. and man, were we hungry, we all dug in and ate like crazy.. and then D felt he needed to take some rest of he had to enjoy the next few days.. Our seats were a bit far apart in the same compartment and since I was good friend (atleast in these things :P), went along to give him company in sleeping.. we slept till around 5 after which I let D sleep and went to the where the others were seated.. a game of UNO had already started.. and I started helping out K, M and U who were new to the game.. we were having quite some fun just whiling away the time.. in between D woke up feeling much better & came to join us.. And then it was time for dinner and we ordered some meals.. some of us felt like drinking tea so we all had some tomato soup (coz we had already tried the tea in the afternoon and it was so bad that I didn't think it was fair to mention it here) well, it started out with just 3 soups and in the end everyone ordered one.. the meals were (surprisingly) better than we expected..  soon, it was time to get down at Hubli and take our next train to Madgaon... we got down and started eagerly awaiting for the train to come.. till then, I took some pics on my N8 while P ran to get the very famous Dharwad Pedas... We kept talking about what we would do in Goa and soon our train came.. we hurriedly boarded the train and found our seats.. Just then some people dressed in coats came and asked for our tickets.. we casually showed them our tickets.. and then one of them asked for some id proof.. from each of us.. and that's when we realized our folly... T who had booked the tickets for us, had canceled it for G & Su.. but evidently, something was wrong.. and we realized one of us had been canceled while G's name was still on the ticket.. and U's pet name was used in the ticket for which he didn't have any proof.. after a bit of arguing on how it's mentioned that if only one had the ID proof, it was enough & things like that and haggling on the number of offenses (if you missed it, these were the squad and not TT) the squad person said that the max he can do officially is to consider 2 offenses instead of the 3 (One ticket less travel and two under different names).. that's when a very pissed off S tried to spoil the haggle by saying that if they were going by the book, they should just book all the 3 offenses... but we managed to save any damage done.. and after cursing the adventurous start of the journey (might I remind that it was M's first train journey, so he was actually having quite a lot of fun with this even though he was one of the persons traveling under the wrong name - ofcourse, can't really mention how he ended up traveling like that :P) everyone felt sleepy and fell asleep.. after all, we had to get up by 5 or so..

Day 1
Reached in the morning at the expected time.. (within the tolerance of railway standards that is) and called up our guy - a Mr. Phani (pronounced funny.. I know, funny name!). We found two sets of wheels waiting for us. loaded up everything and reached a small lodging near the Benalium beach. We had already booked a 4BHK apartment where all of us were planning to dump ourselves.. 20k for 3 days & 2 nights.. seemed a bit steep at first, but having a whole house to ourselves sounded too lucrative.. so we had already contacted this funny guy and made an advance payment.. so when we landed at goa, we needn't worry about lodging at all. What a great plan!, you would say. Might I again remind you that it's us I am talking about and you already know what happened in the train. So, as luck might have it, we found ourselves NOT getting the house. Seemingly the owner would give it to only 4 ppl, not to 10.. So there we were, still groggy from sleep stranded near a beach in goa with no idea for accommodation and no backup plan.. we obviously did the most rational thing and came down on Phani like a ton of bricks.. I know what you are thinking.. if we pissed him off and he just returned our money, where would we go? but hey, let me see you able to reason things at 6AM in the morning after a long train journey when you have come to relax thinking everything is set!! Anyways, we argued a lot and finally accepted the alternative lodging provided that were way below what we had imagined.. no it doesn't mean it was bad.. it actually turned out to be exactly what we needed and it was lighter on the pocket.. we all settled down, got ready one by one and went to Phani's shack which was at the beach. Had a very tasty Goan breakfast and decided to go to Colva beach first which was just 2 kms away. And since we were planning to go to different places, it made more sense to get bikes.. we ended up hiring one old pulsar and some 4 activas for all of us.. with everyone ready to chill out and most of us dressed to kill (one way or the other) we went to Colva.. Spent time till evening.. had lunch there.. and by 4PM decided it was high time to see the sunset at one of the forts.. some 20km away.. so, with our mission set ahead of us, driving like crazy in the traffic filled routes that we weren't sure of, we reached near to the place at around 6PM.. after the sun set.. and the fort was closed.. and it was just 2 of us who reached so soon.. so we waited for the others so that we could return back.. and then God thought, "nah.. this isn't fun enough.. I should do something more.." And so, just to make things interesting, one of the bikes stopped working.. it wouldn't start and we were almost at a top of a hill fort.. arguments and verbal abuses started and we started realizing how indeed diverse we were.. but fortunately (God must have felt he ll torture us another day) we found a mechanic shop and gave the bike to fix.. some 1 hour later,  with some tea and biscuits in the meantime, the bike started working again.. we all were so tired that we just wanted to reach back and sleep.. but we were disappointed too that we had missed the sunset and wasted a few hours doing nothing.. While coming back in this gloomy state, we found that the last boat ride at Panaji was about to leave at 9.. it was just 5 mins for the deadline.. we hurriedly parked our vehicles, got the tickets and boarded the the boat just as it was abt to leave.. And we were so excited in salvaging our late evening that we didn't even mind the fact that this was just a boat and not a cruise one like the "Casino Royale"..

But there was Goan entertainment for time pass.. two dances by the troupe there followed by dance floor opened for children first (which attracted by uber cute kids) followed by only ladies dance which finally ended with couple's dance.. where we forced P and A to go dance on stage.. the ride was over in 20 mins.. but our spirits were rekindled.. we drove back enthusiastically to our Phani shack for dinner... being the hard core non-veg that some of us were, the theme was sea food with the highlight being lobsters.. the shack cook had kept the lobsters uncooked just to show us that they were fresh..

they quickly prepared the dishes and served them hot to all of us.. everyone was having a sip of some alcohol to go with the food.. and mood.. all except P who was not feeling well and didn't eat much either.. we trudged back to the room and dragged ourselves to bed and fell asleep immediately..

Day 2
We were supposed to get up early and go to the Palolem beach, so obviously no one got up on time and we all went for breakfast around 9.. which is where we heard the pretty interesting story that had happened the previous night.. after everyone had gone unconscious for the night, U had suffered a major allergy to something in the lobster.. the result was hugely swollen face and lips.. but he was lodged with D and M both of whom were heavy sleepers.. in the end, he had to come wake S up who took him to a hospital.. S had to get Avil for U which costed rs.2 but had only 100 rupee notes.. in the end, looking at U, the chemist gave the tablets for free and by morning U was finally back to his unusual self :P the only thing better than a french breakfast is a french breakfast with a good story.. having had fun at U's expense and realizing that we were pretty late, we rushed to Palolem beach - the beach that has an island nearby.. Reaching the beach, we found it to be bigger and more crowded than the beaches that we had seen the previous day.. and the water was deeper and warmer.. and D started teaching me how to float in the water (I didn't know swimming even though I had P at home, who is a district level swimmer.. but thanks to that effort by D then, we have managed to somewhat learn to swim by now).. learning to float was unexpectedly easy and very liberating.. we spent a lot of time floating around.. and then U and I went for a walk along the beach to "look" at the "natural" beauty.. by the time we were back, the others had ordered some starters and were busy applying ample amounts of sun screen... while most of us just lay there mimicking the foreigners by looking casual but feeling very worried abt getting tanned, D haggled over for a boat to goto the island.. we decided that try as we may, we couldn't be as casual as the foreigners abt getting some sun on the skin, so we might as well go to the island.. on the way to the island, the boat man was saying that if we had come a bit sooner, we would have seen dolphins in the water.. ever hopeful that we were, we still tried finding some of them in water, but all we got were shadows..

We reached the island in sometime and it was superb.. totally deserted except for 4-5 ppl who had also come on a boat and completely lush.. we spent time roaming around and taking photos (by which I mean we roamed around while S took pics on his DSLR).. soon we were starting to feel hungry and returned back to the beach.. changed dress and had a hearty meal.. the food wasn't that great but we had stopped caring long back.. we were slowly losing ourselves in the aura of goa.. it was 4.30 when we realized we should have left alteast an hour before to catch the sunset at the fort.. so yet again, we missed the sunset and decided to while away some time doing nothing.. then starting to feel a bit tired and not wanting to be late for dinner like the prev night, we left and came back to our rooms.. planned for a camp fire alongside dinner just near the water, on the beach.. music, drinks and food kept flowing till wee hours with all of us starting out with full vigor and slowly becoming lazy and getting closer to the fire & a lot cozier.. when the fire could no longer keep the cold away, we left back to our rooms and had an uneventful night.. for a change..

Day 3 
It was finally D day.. the eve of new year.. we got up lazily & reached the shack as was the recent ritual.. we started walking along the beach while wondering which beach we should go for the new year.. we were still at Benalium and we wanted to go to the most hip and happening beach.. but we hadn't made any bookings and we had heard new years are always pre-booked in goa.. and we still hadn't tried any of the water sports.. so while all the others were brooding over what to do, D & I, being recently bitten by the water bug, went into the water.. the water was feeling just right and the tides seemed gentle.. and just as we turned to call the others in, WHOOSH! we were both underwater.. after swallowing huge amounts of salt water, we both came out of water.. not knowing what hit us and gasping for air.. and that's when we realized that the "gentle" looking small waves were actually pretty forceful.. and that started off an whole hour of competing to stay against the tides and playing with each other.. by the time we were mastering the waves, we realized another thing.. there were water sports right here and it would probably be cheaper than the ones in the coveted beaches.. And boy, are we glad we decided to go for it.. it was just pure water pleasure.. 3 rides - banana boat, double float and single float with the motor boat guy singing "My name is Anthony Gonzalves.." before making a sudden turn with the boat and whisking the floats from under us so that we would fall into the water.. I had never thought that getting pushed into the water, being shoved overboard and trying to drown could be so much fun!! After feeling all bruised up by falling so many times in the water, we had a quick breakfast and went to our rooms to get ready for the new year party.. which we had finally decided would be baga beach.. the traffic was a killer thanks to new year but riding a two wheeler has its advantages and so we reached by 5..

The beach was pretty crowded and we started looking for a shack for the new year party.. finally found one that said we had to make a bill of 15k with an advance of 5k.. with very little time left and no other choice, we took it.. but we had the presence of mind to get a bottle of JD on the way to the beach.. we soon found another shack that agreed to give us starters while we drank our own drinks.. and that's where we saw the sexiest dance by a girl who was just grooving sensuously.. soon a whole bunch of ppl gathered around to watch her dance with grace and style.. until we found out, it wasn't a she.. well, it took us time to recover from our shock but whoever s/he was, that was the best dance ever! That weirdness was the sign from above to drink which everyone religiously followed.. with night approaching and the time nearing the party time, the guys started trying to finish the drinks faster which resulted in D drinking a couple patialas.. the end result was a bunch of ppl high before the party started.. and since everyone was high, we decided its time to shop (ya, we are one rare bunch of ppl).. went out shopping and I was amazed at the bargaining skills of D which seemed to have increased in proportion to his high.. D conjured some weird addition concepts that would astonish even Einstein and managed to convince the shop keeper that adding 240 to an amount will only increase it by 170.. or something like that.. I still don't understand what he did but he added 3 "final" prices that the shop keeper agreed to and came to a much smaller total which the shopkeeper just couldn't argue on, even though it was wrong.. after laughing our heads off and doing small purchases here and there, we entered the designated shack for the new year party..

To preserve the dignity of the ppl involved, I will stop here instead of describing what happened.. Let's just say that M and I enjoyed it more than the others with M and a few strangers being wished happy new year a couple of times by one of us. But the highlight had to be the sign board which said "Credit Cards" accepted.. there is a whole story to it, which I ll maybe tell later :)

Anyways, after a few fruit punches, even I was starting to feel high and after watching the kids fashion show and trying to dance with 2 left  feet, managed to slump down and fall asleep for sometime around 4.. most of the others were already unconscious from the high..

Day 4
We all woke up at around 6.30 in the morning with a huge hang over.. had a train to catch back home.. so we hurriedly tried to settle the bill and leave for our rooms.. and in all that commotion, the guy at the shack forgot the 15k deal and just went with the bill which was way cheaper and considering we had already give 5k, turned out to be the best new year party deal.. feeling happy over profit, we started the long ride back.. and that was the worst riding experience ever! full drowsiness, head ache and an almost "out" U falling over me on an Activa.. reached back by 8 and slept for sometime.. got up, got ready and went for breakfast.. it was already quite late and we had to reach for the train in 40 mins.. I & D told the rest to wait at the shack while we a got vehicle and loaded it with luggage.. we got one car to agree to come to station and went to the room to pack the bags.. we also sent an auto to pick the others from the shack.. unfortunately, all the sleepiness had ended in mis-communication with the whole group waiting at the shack not knowing that an auto was waiting outside.. the end result was that we missed the train which unusually left exactly on time.. and had to take 2 cabs to Londa, which was where our connecting train to Bangalore was booked from.. reached well ahead of time, this time around.. had some chilli pakoda and tea.. played some fruit ninja on apple ipad.. and finally boarded the train.. which was ironically late by an hour or two.. I guess that's fate.. 

Well, the coming back to Bangalore, reaching room and sleeping a lot was comparatively uneventful.. But the time spent in Goa is just unforgettable.. even now.. And what made it special was the total ad hoc-ness of things, the (mis)adventures, the diversity of each beach, the dresses we wore and the photos that S released very slowly over the next few couple of weeks after we returned.. A hearty thanks to the group of ppl who made it memorable.. even to a guy like me :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Life is a giant jigsaw puzzle...

... and I am missing most of the pieces..

That seemingly innocent, philosophical sounding comment, just manages to sum up my whole life in one sentence..

Off late, I have been "given" the opportunity to be on my own.. to think.. and to analyze.. and what I found, is as disturbing as it is profound - I have not had a life of major hurdles, though it hasn't exactly been smooth sailing either.. that I am not wilting away, but I am not growing either.. that I seem to have everything I need and yet there is this huge hole within.. Yes, I know I have talked about The Void before.. but for once, I seem to understand what is missing. or I think I do.. And for all the people who know me, no.. it's not a relationship that I am talking about.. that can wait.. things are far more grave..

Let me start off with a bit of background and where I believe the problem actually lies.. The problem is.. I don't have any problems.. at least nothing big enough to keep me worried or my mind occupied. I may not have the most love-showering family but they are the best in the world for what they are and what they have made me.. plus they are always there if I need them.. I may not have friends who would be there 100% of times when I need them, but they take good care of me and make me feel needed (which is what matters to me, in the end).. I may not have a very high paying job, but the pay isn't pathetic either.. I may not work on cutting edge technologies but it isn't mundane and boring either.. I may not have girlfriends but I have friends who don't let me feel I am missing an anchor.. I may not be the most loved person, but I am not hated by anyone either (atleast none that I know of).. To come to think of it, I am pretty known wherever I am.. And all of you would say "Congrats, You are officially nuts! Stop whining you lucky B******!!" Maybe I am nuts.. But give me a chance to explain...

If you notice, I seem to be living a life of mediocrity.. No, I don't mean my standard of living.. What I mean is.. I don't have any earth shattering lows.. but I don't have any spectacular highs either.. I have somehow managed to remain just above average.. nothing traumatic.. but nothing remarkable either.. Fortunately or unfortunately, I have been given the opportunity (in the forms of friends) to observe a wide variety of lives.. a lot of things that has happened to a lot of people.. a few good.. mostly bad.. and though I always feel bad that they are having to go through so much, I can't help but notice that I don't have anything like that.. I first noticed this in one of the many drink parties that I attended. When all my friends would drink and share their sob stories, I remember sitting and consoling them.. but deep down, it bugged me that I didn't have a story of my own.. The worst that has ever happened to me include paying for a management seat in 11th std., 2 backlogs in BE, two of my best friends no longer talking to me and at times, feeling like a complete stranger in my own group of friends.. And that's about it.. nothing that bad if you think about it (though the last two was pretty painful personally)..The more I write this, the more I feel I am making less and less sense.. So, let me try this way..

All the people that I know that have problems ranging from small & medium to large and even extra large, have something to fight for.. they know that whatever situation they are in, will improve once their problem is solved.. they have something to look forward to.. something good.. something positive.. the end of all their problems.. and that motivation makes them go through whatever they have.. It's what makes them get up in the morning and go through the day.. The hope that things will some day be better.. What I mean is, they have a purpose - a reason to live! And that is where it bugs me.. that I have reached my pinnacle.. There is nothing to look forward to.. There is nothing I can fix to make things better.. there is no purpose, no direction.. You may argue that all I need is a goal.. something at a level higher than mine.. and some motivation to reach that.. and then life would just be a cycle of setting goals to achieve and improving in the process.. easier said than done.. but then the question is, what should those goals be?

If goals are what I need, why am I bothered about not having problems, you ask? Coz, having a problem makes it easier.. I don't have to worry about what my goal should be, what needs to be done or whether it's the right thing to do.. maybe that's the wrong way to look at things.. And maybe I should be careful of what I ask for. But all my life, I have been doing things as they come my way. I agree that I have been good in what I do (touchwood), but then, there isn't something that I always wanted to do and never been able to do it.. with the exception of playing the guitar, it's not like I wanted to be a doctor and became an engineer.. It's not like I wanted to do MBA and ended up working.. It's not like I wanted to live a posh life and I am living a sub standard ones.. it's not like I wanted to live freely but I am tied down with responsibilities.. It's not like I wanted a girlfriend and never found one.. It's none of that.. I have all I need and I have never wanted something very badly.. In cases that I have, I have either got them or gotten over them easily.. it feels as if I had a bus pass and just took a random bus.. I have no idea where I am going.. there is no specific place that I want to go.. I don't how I am going to reach where ever it is that I am going.. and I don't know why I am in the bus that I am in... but just sitting in that random bus, not knowing anything is.. unnerving.. and feels surreal..

Sometimes, it just feels like a dream and my mind tells me, don't be bothered.. and at other times, I have this sudden urge to just get off the bus.. I don't where I ll get off.. or where I want to go.. or what I ll do next.. but I want to get off.. I don't regret anything that has happened to me.. but I am unsure of all the things that happened.. clueless about the things that are happening.. and completely uncertain of things that needs to happen..

I wish I knew where I wanted to go,
I wish I knew how I should grow,
I wish my life had a little more direction,
I wish I felt somewhere a connection..

If only I could find a reason to get up,
So I don't feel confused when I wake and sit up..
I wish I could find, all the missing pieces,
pieces of this jigsaw.. this jigsaw called life..

Oh well, I think I ll just go to a Swami and ask for the answer!

Er.. On second thoughts, maybe I should just Google it myself ...

Monday, August 29, 2011

past TENSE!

I have been asked this question a couple of hundred times.. And I have always managed to get away with gibberish.. And the million dollar question has been: When I did 9yrs of schooling in Mumbai, then why, oh why, did I join an engineering college in Trichy???

Well, I believe it's about time I told the whole truth.. Not because ppl are still asking but because I want to get it off my heart.. And because, I finally know that letting the cat out of the bag won't hurt me.. or the cat..

So here is the unbelievable-but-true, the too-good-to-be-real-yet-possible, the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction sort of story, of what really happened and why I made the move from way west to way south..

It all started in my 10th std. I used to go to my school in BMTC bus which was usually a 20 min ride from Shindevadi to Ruia College stop, both in Dadar. On the way is the great Dadar circle. One fine busy day, as I was on my way to school in bus, we were stuck at the traffic at the Dadar circle. I reached school a bit late but everything was as usual (This specific reference to that incident will be clearer a bit later). That weekend, I got a call at my land line at home (Only my dad had a mobile at that time and the call rates were so costly then that if I had used a mobile then, as I do now, I would surely be one kidney short by now). The caller claimed to be Aishwarya Rai and said she wanted to meet me. I was immediately sure this was some prank call from one of my friends trying to get back at me for some mischief I would have done in school. I chuckled and said "Ya, right!" and I was about to disconnect the call when she said, "Please Vivek. Meet me once.. just once.. At Taj hotel. Today evening 6PM". Even though it sounded incredulous, something in that voice made me agree. So what if it turned out to be a prank call? I get to go to the Taj, right?

That evening, I lied to my parents about meeting some of my friends and went to Taj at around 6.30 (it was completely the traffic's fault! But then, I wasn't that keen in getting laughed at by a bunch of friends so I ll admit that I did take my own time too). When I reached Taj, I was escorted in by the smiling guard at the entrance.. I was feeling good as I walked in, until the manager came and looked at me as if I was a leper asking for some assistance in scratching my back! I told my name and said I was being expected. The effect was immediate. From disbelief evident by the raised eyebrows to astonishment and finally amusement. He smiled and led me in and gave me directions to one of the tables. From where I was walking in, I could see someone already seated at the table with their back towards me.. And I was instantly sure it was no friend of mine. She was taller than any of my friends and looked.. mature.. I just went ahead to the table and was about to sit down.. and I glanced up to see who it really was.. Bolt out of the blue - it really was ASH! The great Aishwarya Rai herself! The lady touted as the World's most beautiful woman!

I was frozen in mid seating posture. Back arched with my butt a few inches off the seat with my eyes bulging out of the sockets! She smiled and asked me to sit down. I just nodded and did as asked. Because of all the shock, I don't remember her exact words but the crux of the matter was, she saw me sitting in bus in the signal and she immediately felt this huge crush and in her words "I think I am in love!".. disbelief was replaced with panic. This can't be true.. I was half expecting someone to jump up from behind and scream BAKRA!! But a couple of mins passed with none of that happening. Just her.. looking at me expectantly.. I swallowed hard and drank a bit of water with trembling hands.. the water was just too cold.. but it helped get my head a bit straight. I looked up at her again. Smiled and with a dumb look on my face said "Excuse me?" She told me again that she thought she loved me and wanted to give it a shot.

This was getting out of hand now.. I told her that I wasn't sure of what to say.. that I was still doing my 10th.. that she was a good 10yrs elder to me.. that my parents would never agree for a love marriage.. that I couldn't even think of the status gap that we had.. (ofcourse, I didn't mention that I had always liked Sush more than her).. but she would have none of it.. she gave me the usual crap of age doesn't matter as long as two ppl love each other, that we can wait till I finish my studies, that she would convince my parents and that she didn't care about my status as long as I loved her, etc.. But I knew I was in over my head.. I didn't want my life going crazy!! or public! I said "I am sorry, but I can't" and left..

A couple of days later, right when I was starting to get back to normal, she called me again.. She said she thought about what I said, but she could just not forget me.. That her love is true.. and that I should at the least give her a chance to prove her love to me.. Hearing nothing from my end, she added that she would wait till 7pm at the Gate way of India and then jump over if I did not come.. It was weekday and I knew there wouldn't be that many ppl there.. and from her voice, it sounded as if she really meant it. So I did end up going there.. this time, on time.. but I waited some distance away.. wanting to make sure.. but there she was.. heavily dressed up so it would be hard for others to identify.. at 1 min past 7, she climbed on the railing.. and kept looking back.. as if searching for someone.. I couldn't risk it anymore.. I went to her.. she looked at me and I could see she had been crying.. and then she laughed, ran towards me and gave me a tight hug.. we went back to her car.. I set down my terms.. we would never meet in public. She would not call on my landline repeatedly, we would wait till my studies were over and we would marry only if both our parents accepted.. she eagerly nodded yes to all.. she gave me a kiss on the cheeks and dropped me near my home..

And that was the beginning of a roller coaster relationship! I came to know Sallu got pissed that she dumped him for me.. When he "chanced" to meet me, I was half dead with fear.. but he just warned me not to hurt her.. and left.. and that's when I saw that behind all that anger and muscles was indeed a man good at heart.. grossly overlooked and grossly misunderstood.. I have developed that deep respect for Sallu ever since.. even though we never met or talked after that..

Ash was a completely different thing altogether.. she was sweet, breathtakingly beautiful (at that time and at close proximity), intelligent but also possessive and a bit whimsical.. she would call me repeatedly on my landline and ask me to come and meet her near my home and threaten to come to my home if I didn't agree.. to avoid being seen by others, we would just drive around in her car talking a lot about ourselves.. I could sense a void within her.. a want to belong to something.. that in all this media glitz, she had lost who she was.. and I actually started liking her.. my parents started getting suspicious of the numerous calls I was getting.. She got me a mobile that I hid from home and used.. we spent hours on the phone.. of course, she paid the bill..

I couldn't concentrate on my studies.. my grades took a beating.. I blamed it on cable tv and video games.. I had a bit of trouble finding a good junior college but finally managed to get into one of the then lesser known junior colleges.. and then things went from bad to worse.. she started getting way too possessive.. she would somehow know of all the girls I talked to in class or in lab.. and she would question me about it.. in the beginning, it felt good to be "wanted" by someone so badly.. but with time, the relationship became a chore.. with my regular classes, coaching classes for 12th and her shooting schedule, we ended up fighting more often. By the time I was finishing my 12th, my grades were just average, my life was miserable and I felt suffocated.. I had to break free.. but I didn't know how.. I knew it wasn't the right thing to do.. but I really felt that I had no other choice..

That's when my dad unknowingly became my savior.. He took a VRS from the bank he was working in and was contemplating going back south and settle down at our house in Salem. I showed my total support to that decision. But I knew she knew about our house in Salem and that would only make it easier for her to track me. But my luck shone for once.. I hadn't written the CET and so most of the colleges were out of question.. Until I got an offer from a college in Trichy. A free management seat. I jumped at the chance and within a span of 3 days, left Mumbai and came to Trichy.

It was difficult getting used to Trichy. Not that it was bad.. just that it was very different from Mumbai. In every aspect.. I had told only my closet 3-4 friends about my moving.. so it was harder for her to track me.. but I heard from my sources that she searched a lot for me.. for months together.. she even tried contacting my friends anonymously to get any info about me..

Eventually, she couldn't take it anymore and hooked up with Vivek. Probably she wanted to spite me.. probably she thought some Vivek is better than no Vivek.. But obviously, that didn't help her get over me.. the more she was with him, the more she was reminded of me.. And ppl were starting to notice the change in her behavior.. So to get over me completely, she decided that it had to be someone with a high profile.. so that she could convince herself that she had the best.. and everyone knows that the most high profiled family in Bolly ville is the Big B family.. That's how, she finally hooked up with Small B and married him.. And I was the happiest when I heard about her marriage coz I no longer had to carry the guilt for what I had done to her..

And that is what happened.. that is how I ended up doing my schooling in Mumbai and studying BE in Trichy even though my parents were in Salem. That is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.. I know you think this is incredulous.. but other than her affinity towards younger men, here are the collaborating facts which cannot be explained by anything but what I have revealed:

  1. Ash dumping Sallu
  2. My grades taking a dip since 10th
  3. Ash hooking up with the other Vivek
  4. Ash dumping the other Vivek
  5. Ash going for Small B
Now I heard she is going to have a baby. And I am really glad she moved on and recreated a world for herself where she is happy and content.. I don't regret what I did. I just wish there had been some other way to do it.. She may no longer be a part of my life, but those memories (which had remained a secret till now) will always be a part of me.. The experience with the fast lane was something that taught me a lot... And I ll always cherish them..

Ash: I am sorry I told the truth out now. But I am sure no one will believe it anyways, so you don't have to worry. All the best for your career, life and your kid. Thanks.. And sorry.. for everything...

Small B: You don't know how lucky you are. She is worth every trouble that you might face. Always cherish her and never hurt her in any way. Coz if you do, Sallu won't be the only one after you!

Sallu:  Sooner or later, ppl ll see the gem of a person that you are, behind all that machismo!