Friday, April 29, 2011

The stranger

He was sitting on the park bench by the side of the tree that was shedding the last of its leaves. He was staring at none in particular. He had this calmness, a saintlike calmness on his body and yet he  seemed agitated. His hands would remain silently rested on either side of him while his eyes showed pressure. His pupils dilated and expanded continuously. He was not drunk. The man with the brown coat was observing him from the bench that was a good five yards away on the opposite  side of the street. Their eyes met. The man in the brown coat came towards him and extended his hands. He reciprocated and asked him to sit next to him. They remained silent for a while.

The man in the brown coat could not hide his curiosity and asked him, "What do you do, sir?"

"I live", came the reply.

He seemed to be giving a reaction of having given a more than satisfactory answer.

"What do you mean you 'live'? So do I and a zillion others.", said the man in the brown coat. And that was the cue for him to start listening and the other guy to start talking.

"I live. By which I meant I live in a world where the zillion others you mentioned merely exist. What do you do everyday? Wake up, brush, have coffee/ breakfast, go to work and come back. You might have a family. A wife and probably a couple of kids. You might get to hug them, everyday. You kiss your wife goodbye on the way to work. So do the zillion others. Occasionally you get to drink, for you don't seem like someone who is an alcoholic. You might smoke  five? ten? may be fifteen cigs a day. May be more. You might get some sex once, twice or may be thrice every fortnight. If you have kids who are infants or toddlers that probability goes down. For all I know you might not be married. You might have a girlfriend. You go on a dinner date may be every couple of days. Probably you have a ring tucked inside your coat pocket for weeks together now. All this could be you. You are one in 13% of the country. The remaining 87% is divided into many such similar groups of similar people doing similar things. And yet you proclaim you live. Life is not a routine. That Darwin guy? What did he say. He said life is an evolution. When you and I evolved from unicellular grime. That was because the world needed change. We have been humans since a million years ago. We will be the same. May be more learned, more sophisticated. Yet the men give into the calls of women. All a man does is breathe, fuck and multiply. You asked me what I did. I'll tell you. I wake up. I take a look out of my window. Everyday I see different people. I sit and study them. They are all similar. Sometimes I wonder how two people have almost the exact same lives. Even our fingerprints are not the same. The music in no two songs are the same. There are 6 strings in a guitar. A billion combinations. There are 60 million cells in our body, yet a handful of people. Stereotypes. You asked me what I did. I dream. I dream of a different life everyday. I break all stereotypes. How many different dreams have you had? Being rich? Marrying the most beautiful woman? Living in the biggest mansion? My dreams are different everyday. I dream about trucks. With eleven wheels, four on top in case it topples. I dream about butterflies which are changing colours depending on the object they touch. I swear I can show you a purple coloured fella. Life is finding the needle in the haystack. The mistake that you commit is you are approaching it by neglecting the wrong areas. I live it differently by approaching the right ones. Equivalent labour, more probability of success. I live"

The guy in the brown coat spots two men at a distance. The other guy asks, "Have they come yet?" 

He asks "Who?"

"The two of them. I can sense it. I'll have to go now. Start living. Search for the needle"

The two men come near, give him his daily dosage of medicine. He hallucinates, faints, lies down without any struggle on the stretcher. The van at the end of the street reads "Central hospital for mental health and allied ailments"

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bedtime story

This could've happened.

The phone rang. It was picked on the second ring. 

"I'm not sleepy", said she.

"I shall tell you a story", came the reply.

"About what?"

"I don't know. In fact I don't know who the story is about, how many characters are there or how it will end. All that I know is there was a little boy of four who lived all by himself in a castle surrounded by huge walls the size of giraffes"

And thus starts our story. We don't know if its big, small or that first line is all that he has. Lets not waste time, she needs to sleep.
There was a little boy of four who lived lived all by himself in a castle surrounded by huge walls the size of giraffes. Everyday the boy used to wake up, play and eat the food that presented itself on the big table in the dining hall. And that day, as usual he was playing and loitering around the castle. He seemed bored. So he thought he'd go to the terrace. He sat down wondering what to do to while away time. He said to himself 'If only there was someone nearby to talk to him or probably tell him a story'. Suddenly the place turned all dark. One of the clouds floated towards him and started speaking to him.

"Feeling bored are we?"

"Yes", said the boy.

"Do you know why Sun sets when the moon shows up and comes back only when it leaves?"

"No I don't" said the boy.

"Let me tell you why", said the cloud and started its narration.

" The Sun and the Moon were once happily married. And we clouds were close friends of the sun and the moon. We were the happiest when they got together. They led a happy life and as a result of their love for each other they were blessed with seven children. Years passed by and their children grew old enough to take care of themselves. They moved out of their houses and went off to stay at different places.

The Sun and the Moon decided that they'll  visit their children once every week. And split the seven days among each one of them. It continued for sometime and then came the fights. Winter came and the Sun would oversleep. He would go to bed early. The Moon was growing old too. She did not like it. The Sun missed visiting the kids on more than a few occasions. And then it grew big. They quarreled, stopped talking to each other and they split.

We clouds cried so hard. We were very close to them you know, we couldn't bear it. Then the seven children decided they should get together and do something about it. So Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red came together and made a rainbow and bridged the Sun and the Moon together."

The boy had slept.


He held on to the phone for a whole minute. Heard her breathe into the phone. She was sleeping. He was smiling.

This could've happened.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My little girl

It was an ordinary day. Cars moved, men and women woke up and went to work,  children went to school, stocks crashed, flights took off, birds sang, flowers blossomed and fruits ripened.

He did not feel ordinary. He had the widest smile, tears were running down his cheeks. He was holding her in his hands. His own, his daughter.

6 months:

She was smiling at anyone she could spot. He came near her. Tickled her, turned her smile into an hiccuped laughter that made his day. She made a faint sound. Opened her mouth in a small 'O' and tried to imitate him as he was speaking to her. A muffled 'Pa' came out of it. He couldn't sleep that night.

4 years:

It was July and the rains were slashing hard. He was sitting next to her by the bed. She was shivering beneath the blankets. His hands could not keep her warm. Her temperature was shooting up every fifteen minutes. The doctor had promised to come as soon as he could. He was cursing the none in particular for having spared him and decided to hurt his daughter. The doctor arrived. It took three days for her to return back to normal. Three of the longest days he was ever through. On the third day, she held her hands and smiled. That moment he knew he'd never leave that hand.

7 years:

They were walking through the market. She suddenly stopped by a window. A teddy bear, pink in colour. All that she wanted was that and he couldn't get her. He promised her "I 'll buy you everything in here someday" Another sleepless night for him. He was the reason she cried, he was the reason she didn't smile.

10 years:

He used to take her for walks after dinner everyday. That was a busy neighborhood. He had plenty of stuff to tell her everyday. They discussed his work, her school, his colleagues, her friends. They were yet another dad-daughter one will find but in the world of theirs there were only two people and they had each other.

She used to run with him, walk on the side of the road where he wouldn't want her to. He'll chase her and persuade her to walk on the safer side. She'd smile, laugh and ultimately refuse.

He'd tilt his head, smile at her and say, "We can't play catch on the road" She'd retort back saying, "Yes we can"

Yes we can, three words to hear which he'd climb a million mountains and swim through a thousand seas.

12 years:

His daughter was not a 4 year old anymore. He had to make his stories less sillier. She started asking questions. She was growing up. She was making him proud. While being daddy's little girl all the while.

16 years:

It was her birthday. Her day. Her dad wasn't home yet. It was late in the evening. The phone bell rang. It was her dad. He asked her to check if there was a file on his table. Before she could answer the line got cut. She went into his room only to find it filled with all the things that she asked for when she was 10. The teddy bear was beaming at her from his desk. He had kept his promise.

25 years:
He was struck by pneumonia. The doctors lost hope. She was sitting next to him, holding his hands. He tried speaking, his voice was faint. He had a few minutes to say what she meant to him. It was like asking you to describe every beautiful thing on earth.

"I won't be able to get you gifts for your next birthday. I'm leaving you with the hope that I have given you all that you asked for. But what's so painful is deep in my heart I know that even too much is not good enough for you, my princess. My little girl"


PS: Thanks to blog adda this post got picked as one of the spicy saturday picks :) 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

One short

'Sachin's on 99 international centuries' 

This news has been on air for a while now. The whole world of cricket fans come to the edge of the seat whenever he comes to bat and hopes beyond all doubts that he'll score it in that particular match.

Well, I, though am one of them million( read gazillion) fans of SRT who are waiting for the 100th 100, recently a certain other 100th something has grabbed my attention. Yes, this page has grown in size, boredom and levels of facepalmness and would soon be playing host to my 100th post. As I have been posting in milestone posts about what the milestone is and there by losing the opportunity to give the readers something worthwhile to go through, here we go.

What started as a fancy just because everyone had a blog has now become an obsession, a prized treasure. I have been speaking stuff like how awesome a career in writing would treat oneself. That joy when someone likes the link when I post in on facebook, its priceless. 
Twitter made a revolution to my blog. Brought in readers only because the twitter celebrities retweeted the link. The number of page views never fail to make me smile.

After all these changes, improvements in my view, there are still a few things that remain unchanged:

- Few people without whom the blog would not be what it is today. You, the one reading it, you know its you.

- Me wanting to write a post. Though I knew I'll come up with something as lousy as this I didn't stop myself from writing.

- My hundredth post has already been drafted in my mind. Yes, one of those rare occasions where I plan and write stuff.

- This point has been added just to keep the game going.

So see you all on the other side of the century. And yes, just like you are hoping for Sachin to score his 100th 100, do hope for more posts to come :) A big thank you to everyone who has landed on this page. You guys are awesome.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

First time

He felt strange in that new place. He had no reason to feel comfortable. He had always stood outside, watched people enter and leave the place and was curious about what happened inside. There were so many movies and stories from where he had gained an idea about the place and what men and women do inside but he wanted a first hand experience. He went inside, the lady gave him a look which meant nothing to him. He was puzzled. She took his hand. He gave into her. This was his first time. He wanted to make it count. The lady marked his index finger with the ink. 

Monday, April 11, 2011


The room mate was away. She was out shopping.  He decided to surprise her when she returned back. A prank has been long due and he decided this was the perfect day to carry on with it. It was a cloudy evening, would probably start raining by the time she is home. He started making the arrangements. Turned off all the lights downstairs. Lit a few candles. He wanted to make things creepy but didn't know how. He had this long cloak which was a reminiscent of the graduation party.

She was at the supermarket walking through aisles of groceries and cereals. Being a chocolate lover, she filled her cart with more chocolates than daily food. The evening sun started setting. It was turning dark. A cool night after a long and dreary summer. She walked out to her car. Got in and turned on loud music and started towards home.

It started drizzling. The transition from the drizzle to a smashing rain happened like a crescendo. It was as if the clouds were wanting to rain. Like that of someone who wanted to cry for long but couldn't. It was creepy in a strange way. 

She parked the vehicle on the drive way. He saw her walking towards the door from the window upstairs. She found the door to be unlocked. She entered, still humming the song that she last played in the stereo of her car. He quietly tiptoed towards the door of his room. The silence was eerie.

She reached the bottom of the stairs. Took a detour to the fridge. She wanted some cold water. Having found a bottle she turned. Only to find a face, pale and blank. It looked almost dead. She heard herself scream loud inside her head. But no noise came out.

He remained locked in the room upstairs.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Why success stories are inspirational

The web is full of videos and articles that narrate the success stories of great men and women who have been through a lifetime of troubles to reach the place they are at. And we, the not-yet-successful lot watch those million videos and think "where am I going wrong?" 

The answer is, nowhere. Those people did not know where they were right on the journey. They simply met the right people and took the right turns after learning that the other road hits a dead end. Success stories are framed, written and narrated in such a way that they seem like the product of all the misfortunes that ever happened. Success stories are exaggerations.  They seldom contain truth. These people try to connect the dots backwards. Every single person who says he failed in history at school coating it with humour would've cried for hours thinking "What am I going to be?" But today, all we know is that they did not care about failure and they kept working.

They say when Edison's dog screwed his works which were a product of weeks of hard work he didn't mind. He didn't shoot the dog because he was either insane or did not have a gun. Simple. When a pack of cards drop one worries about the falling card but not the one that is at the end of the row standing tall waiting for its fall. 

Success stories never guide you, all that they do is make you feel guilty. 'Chasing your dream' s the term every narrator uses. If only it was as easy as that. Half the scientists wanted to be cobblers. Some of the best economists started off college wanting to be home makers. Life is clueless and you fail more than you succeed. Only thing that was common to all successful people is the fact that they did not give up. They had 24 hours just like you and me, they decided to sleep less.

Remember, today's successful people are the ones who failed yesterday. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

13-ஆம் நம்பர் வீடு

அது மார்கழி மாதம். காலை பனி கூட கலையவில்லை. தெருமுனையில் நின்று எதையோ தேடிகொண்டிருந்தான். குளிரில்  அவனுடைய கை காலெல்லாம் உதறிக்கொண்டிருந்தது. மெதுவாக தெருவுக்குள் நுழைந்தான். இதுவரை அவன் பார்த்த வீடுகளிலெல்லாம் மார்கழி மாதத்தில் கலர் கலராக கோலமிட்டிருக்கும். இந்த தெரு அவனுக்கு புதிர் போட்டது. எந்த வீட்டிலும் மனித சாயலே இல்லை. தெருவை அடைக்க வேண்டும் என்பதற்காகவே வீடு கட்டியிருக்கிறார்கள் போல என்று நினைத்துக்கொண்டான். அரை இருட்டில் அந்த தெருவுக்குள் அவன் நுழைய, அடி வயிற்றில் ஏதோ செய்தது அவனுக்கு. மெதுவாக நடந்தான். பனிக்காற்று எச்சரிக்கும் விதமாக எதிர் திசையில் அழுத்தியது. மூன்று வீடுகளை கடந்தோம் என்று விரல் விட்டு எண்ணினான். நான்காம் வீடு மூன்றிலிருந்து குறிப்பிடத்தக்க தூரத்தில் இருந்தது. நடுவே வெத்து நிலம். நேற்றிரவு மழை பெய்து ஓய்ந்ததை தேங்கிக்கடந்த தண்ணியை பார்த்து தெரிந்து கொண்டான். நாய் ஒன்று சத்தமில்லாமல் உறங்கிக்கொண்டிருந்தது. எழுந்துவிடுமோ என்று பயந்து வேகமாக நடந்தான். சிறு வயதில் நாய் துரத்தியது ஞாபகம்  வந்தது அவனுக்கு. நடப்பதை தொடர்ந்தான். 7-ஆம் நம்பர் வீட்டு  வாசலில் ஊஞ்சல் ஒன்று ஆளில்லாமல் காற்றில் ஆடிக்கொண்டிருந்தது. பின்னாடி திரும்பி நாய் பின் தொடர்ந்து வருகிறதா என்று பார்த்துக்கொண்டான். தொடர்ந்து நடந்தான். பத்து, பதினொன்னு, பன்னெண்டு, வாய் விட்டு எண்ணிக்கொண்டே வந்தான். பதினாலு. பதின்மூன்ரைக் காணவில்லை. சுற்று முற்றும் பார்த்தான். என்ன செய்வதென்று தெரியவில்லை. காற்றில் ஏதோ அசையும் சத்தம் கேட்டது. எதிரே உள்ள காலி இடத்தில் இடி தாக்கிய மரமொன்று துணை தேடி நின்று கொண்டிருந்தது அவனைப்போலவே. திடீரென்று ஒரு கை அவன் பின்தோளில் கை வைத்தது. சடார் என்று திரும்பினான். 

அவன் இடுப்பு உசரத்தில் ஒரு கிழவர். 
திக்கி திக்கி, "பதிமூனா நம்பர் வீடு..." என்றான். "நீ தான் அந்த புது பயலா? கொண்டா" என்று கையில் இருந்த செய்தித்தாளை வாங்கிக்கொண்டு மறு வார்த்தை பேசாமல் சென்றார்,எதிரே இருந்த வெத்து நிலத்தில் ஓரமாக ஒரு ஓலை குடிசைக்குள்.
மனதில் அடையாளம் குறித்துக்கொண்டான்,  பதின்மூன்றாம் நம்பர் வீடு.    

Sunday, April 3, 2011

When in India, be a cricket fan

Its been an hour and half and I'm still not sure how to celebrate the greatest Indian accomplishment I ever witnessed.

Curses, praises, screams of joy and swear words were all that I came across when the Indian team was up on the field battling for the holy grail of international cricket. I remember 2003 world cup, probably the first world cup from which i have memories. 2007 was a disaster and I couldn't catch every single match due to the time zone difference and all that. Coming back to 2003, the tourney saw the complete wrath of the man I worship, Sourav Ganguly. He was remarkable and I was believing he could bring us what Dev and his men did years ago. Sadly, it never happened.

This year, at home, almost everyone of us believed we could do it and we did. For Sachin, for Yuvraj and most importantly for 1.2 billion people. Imagine, its the world cup! I remember almost ever single ball, savouring  the match with my dad. Complaining, scolding and losing hopes more than once when Sehwag walked to the pavilion without as much as a single boundary. Sachin disappointing yet again and when Gambhir seemed like he was struggling. After the 30th over every fog of doubt got cleared and there was this comfortable red carpet that led us to the cup of glory.

That catch Sehwag took off Tharanga's bat, the dive that I saw of Yuvi at backward point after a millennium, the way Harbhajan and Yuvi hugged each other and cried, the saint like expression on MS's face after he scored the winning runs. Every single moment shall remain deep in our hearts. Every single player upon whom doubts were cast played today. I bet even though Sachin has a million other innings to remember and cherish, this would top his list. That medallion which reads "winners-world cup 2011", will be wet with tears of the great man himself.

I have been giving my opinions on how Sachin is overrated and all this god worship. But today, I tell you, one needs a quality to be overrated and he has it. Cricket truly being the religion that we proclaim it to be has united Indians across the stands of the Wankhade, across towns and cities, across the country and across the globe. I'm pretty sure the celebrations have not ended yet.

Every year it needs 190 plus countries to discuss world peace and unity and today we showed the world that a sport can unite a nation.

Eleven men to rule them all, eleven men to find them, eleven men to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

I'm proud to say I lived when India won the world cup. I'm proud to say as a result of today's match, I lived.