Thursday, January 02, 2014

Turn The Page


I’m standing at the favorite part of the house on New Year’s Eve. I look at the revelers and wonder what exactly is that they are celebrating? Is it of about saying good riddance to the terrible year gone by or saying hello to the unknown that the New Year promises to bring? Either way the drunken boys are giving the hapless constables a torrid time at the moment!

For some, the sober kinds, the couple of hours running up to the midnight is a good time to look back at the year gone by and round up the events.  I’m trying to do the same since I’m sober too (after many years!). Looking back can be exciting as well as disappointing.

The trips were kind of exciting, well at least some of them. It might be a small world but with every new place and every new experience, you feel that’s not true. The work was exciting. I know, I know, but guess I made it to be. Another exciting part was the meals that I prepared for myself; full jugaad. Meeting friends in a foreign place and going ape shit crazy through the night was exciting. But the most exciting thing of the year has to be the news of ‘double trouble’. This was one excitement that made me shiver.

The disappointments list, as usual, was longer. I couldn’t empower anyone. I tried but not well enough. And for the third year running I didn’t pick up the six strings. I finished my “magnum opus” but couldn’t go anywhere with it. I should have watched the words. I came close to doing one of the things on my bucket list, but didn’t go all the way.  And again as usual, was disappointed of letting go of all the chances that I had to be a better man.

After doing a recap of the year, there is also a recap of all the new year’s eves of the years gone by. I try to remember the place, the people and the midnight moments.  Some of them shine out brightly like the fireworks that I see above right now, while some of them were as dull as the recent The Simpsons episodes. And some of them I don’t even remember a thing because maybe I never bothered to make a memory of them. Then you wonder which are the ones, that given a chance you would want to relive. Most of the times it’s the ones in which you were young and stupid. But there is no point wondering, as Carraway says in The Great Gatsby, “You can’t repeat the past”.

And then after all these thoughts are through, I sit up straight in the chair, look at the horizon and get ready to turn the page.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Secrets

Do you have a secret? You probably do. Everybody has one. I think we all know that. Its no secret.

But why does one have one? I guess the most common one would have to be that you don't want to hurt your loved ones. So this makes you wonder what is that secret that can hurt someone? Well it could be anything. But most probably its something bad. So we keep it in. When you think about this a little more you will see that its kept in because you don't dare to let it out. And the pretense used for this is that you don't want to hurt the people you love. Recently saw a bumper sticker of AA, "You're only as sick as your secrets". 

There is another take on secrets. There are somethings that one doesn't want to share with anyone. Not that it's bad but because its something that one believes that no one would ever understand and so why let it out and complicate life. Such secrets last a life time and in the end they just die with you. I like such secrets. But sometimes such secrets can become self consuming and start to eat you up little by little. So one should maybe go by what George Orwell said in 1984, "If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.” And then hope that one day that the secret becomes insignificant and irrelevant and dies a natural death.

Your choice.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Talking Movies

Almost a decade ago, a young director came along and made a movie that defined the mindset of the youth, which was far removed from the rustic ideology of the generations gone by. The movie appealed to the youth more since the central theme of the movie was friendship.

The movie had a lot to convey about friendship and love. What was special about this movie was that it was able to convey the above without getting preachy at any point. Sometime ago there was this e-mail going around in which someone had quite nicely compiled all the things that we could learn from that movie.

Freaking out and enjoying life doesn't need drugs or cigarettes
There are relationships apart from bf/gf, marriage, siblings...friendship that can be very emotional and true, which is beyond the understanding of many people
And yeah even though u may be the best of friends there is always a limit which should never be crossed
Improving your imperfections after you realize it...it always takes some time
You always don't need to show or prove your gf/bf how much u love or care about her/him, which can sound very boring and finally get you dumped
Believe in Love...true love will never let you down
Never be ashamed to go back to your old friends…they are there to understand your mistakes
Do not be afraid of others…always think that others are afraid of you (the Australian beggar)
Whenever you need your friend, remember that he is just a phone call away...distances can't separate friends..It's the friends you can call up at 4 A.M. that matter
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends
And finally, the only unchangeable certainty is that nothing is certain or unchangeable

One of the things that I felt was missing from the above was the character of the girl's uncle. He might have gone unnoticed due to the brevity of the role but his personality was so well etched that our elders could learn a thing or two from that. One of the best parts of this character in the movie was when there is a difference between an engaged couple, he doesn't get in between them acting elderly and doling out free advice and all. He just walks off telling that they should talk it out with each other.

Even after so many years, we give this movie a watch whenever it’s showing on TV. And its still, simply awesome!

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Day I Bunked Office

There are days when you get up in the morning and tell yourself that you don't want to go to office. I know I'm talking about pretty much everyday. But there are a couple of days in a year when you actually don't go.

So you just get up from the bed and soak in the unheard weekday silence for a while in absolute numbness. Then the beloved newspaper to which you never had any quality time to spare gets all the attention with some reggae music in the background which gives you a fleeting feeling that you are in a tropical island. Later you turn on the TV and hope there is that movie playing, for which you couldn't spare any time on one of your mundane days. And of course, it wouldn't be. So instead, you watch Discovery and learn that Tokyo has the largest metropolitan area in the world and by law the French can't be forced to work more than 35 hours a week!

After you are done with the TV, you just sit and stare at the objects around. There is dust on the cupboard. The pickle bottle was used as a candle stand. The door has a large key hole. The Belgian wood on the floor seems to have a couple of permanent footprints on it. There are too many wires crawling on the wall.

After looking around, you start looking in. It all looks very hazy. Not really clear. And then you see a labyrinth. You seem to be lost in it. You seem to have lost the purpose. Maybe you haven't lost the purpose but it’s just that you are tired finding a way out. You think you shouldn't have gotten into the maze in the first place.

The doorbell snaps you back but you are still in that maze. Anyways, the "dot" reads "hot" and so you eat. A full stomach and a story about liberation cause drowsiness. After sometime you are waken up by the vivid vibrations of the cell. By now you've reached the end of day. But your mind is still where it was, when the day started. A day spent in sheer vanity.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Here Today Gone Tomorrow

There are some songs that you happen to listen at different phases of your life. What didn’t appear as a good song then turns out to be a great one now, like this one by the BOSS. It’s a very sad song. But so calm and mellow it really gets to you. The lyrics are interesting and depressing at the same time. One of Springsteen's best. Plug on your headphones and give it a listen.
An emotion I wish upon no man, but the strength I wish upon all.

I was bruised and battered and I couldn’t tell
What I felt
I was unrecognizable to myself
I saw my reflection in a window I didn't know
My own face
Oh brother are you gonna leave me
Wastin´away
On the streets of Philadelphia

I walked the avenue till my legs felt like stone
I heard the voices of friends vanished and gone
At night I could hear the blood in my veins
Black and whispering as the rain
On the streets of Philadelphia

Aint no angel gonna greet me
Its just you and I my friend
My clothes don't fit me no more
I walked a thousand miles
Just to slip the skin

The night has fallen, I’m lying awake
I can feel myself fading away
So receive me brother with your faithless kiss
Or will we leave each other alone like this
On the streets of Philadelphia

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Inevitable Question

What is that makes one truly happy?

Whenever I sat back looking at life, this is one question that I've asked myself over and over. I guess everyone asks this question themselves at one point or the other. So is it a dream house? A dream job? A dream car, perhaps?

I guess, the answer could be all or none. It keeps changing as we grow older. The things that make us happy are harder to come by as we grow older. Probably that’s the great trap of life. The pursuit of happiness is designed in such a way that we are never meant to arrive although there is an impression or a passing thought, that we have, like a dog chasing its own tail.

So what's really the answer to this billion dollar question? Is it just making peace with whatever you got? Or as someone said does the answer lie within? Or is it just out there blowing in the wind? I guess I'll never know.

Or maybe there isn’t such a thing as true happiness at all?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Times They Are A-Changin'

There is once in a while that you hear a song and get totally swept off your feet by the sheer brilliance of the song writing. I'll bet on that everytime you hear a Bob Dylan song. This particular piece from one of his classics is simply brilliant. Its as relevant in today's brave new world as it was in the rapidly changing 60s.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
You old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get ou of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Second Chance

All through our lives the toughest thing has been living up to people's expectations. As a kid it was your parent's expectations to beat the crap out of your classmates in academia. Growing up it was the expectation of your friends to be a true pal. Then parents came weighing in again, pushing you to get a stellar job that they could brag about with their friends. Then it was the girlfriends not wanting you to be like all the other men and so on. The heavier the pressure got, the bigger the magnitude of failure.


All the while, all you ever wanted was someone who would believe in you. Someone who
could have your back and tell you that you could do it.

Nobody is perfect. Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody deserves a second chance. A lucky few get a second chance. But sometimes they just don't see it and let it pass by. In the sober light of the day and after the dust has settled, all they can do is look back in vain.

Friday, December 31, 2010

The Year That Was

This one is more out of desperation to shore up the numbers, to keep up to one the promises I made sometime during the year. So I sit here, with a glass of 'black' scotch, a burning stick in my hand and the ipod firmly plugged in playing oasis, to look at the year gone by.

Here it is, the record making post!


The year began with a strong conviction. I decided I was gonna fight for her. It wasn't going to be easy. I braced myself and threw in the gauntlet. And so the war began. I wasn't exactly a veteran at this, but I was gonna fight anyways. After a lot of 'bloodshed', melodrama, ruined weekends and walking in the rain, it was over. They gave in. We obliged.


I moved up a li'l, professionally. It wasn't much, but its gotta be one of the best years at work so far. Learnt a few new things, unlearnt a lot of old things. First time in a long time felt at ease and in control.


A friend went out. Although we weren't exactly weekend friends, but do miss her. I still haven't watched HP7.1

A friend came in. Thought me that impossible is actually nothing and trying is the least you could do.


A few parties with the colleagues. Discussed the political standpoint (at work), ex-flames, new flames and why in the lord's name is she so annoying.

A galore of house parties with the usual suspects. Nothing like partying with them. Its actually kinda easy when all of them have the same thing on their minds :)


And there were a lot of things I hated and a lot that I loved.

Hated the summer heat. Loved the rains. Hated the commute. Loved the conversations. Hated being alone. Loved the social networks. Hated Despicable Me. Loved Toy Story. Continued to hate pasta and love pizza. Hated running. Loved the walks. Hated the certainties. Loved the uncertainties. Hated the fights. Loved the fights.


So here I'm at the fringes of a new year, a new life, a new home and a new roommate. I'm excited. I'm scared. But I think I'll survive.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Stand By Me - 2

Continued..


M. Met him graduation. A very genuine guy with a big heart, a guy whom you could count on anytime. But he was also a kinda guy, much to his undoing, who would wallow in self pity always. So naturally, we were like chalk and cheese.

He was very helpful when I entered a totally different phase of my college life. We became great buddies in pretty quick time. Then there was a girl (Dammit there is always a girl!). So some people used this and his self pitiful nature to make him walk away. It took as many as 7 years and a few shots to clear that difference. He apologized for his behavior. But like with all 'great friendship gone bad fixed after a long time', will never be the same again. Its still nice to have him around without any hard feelings.


S. She is probably the closest friend I've ever had from the fairer sex. She had my back when the chips were down. She stuck up for my good and helped me fight. But it wasn't always like that.

We got off to a very bad start. But time helped to get rid of the prejudices. She was there when I needed a friend pretty badly. She was there when no one was there. She was just there whenever I had to laugh, cry, celebrate or confide. She helped mend my broken heart. I can't ever repay her for all that. But I guess thats what friendship is about. You don't have to worry about keeping an account. When I look at her family now, my heart fills with joy. Guess, karma took care of my repayment. Just can't wish her enough.


R. More popularly A. Sometimes you meet some people and tell yourself that you are never goin' to be friends with them. And sometimes you are wrong. And those times you are glad you were wrong.

He was there without actually being there during one of the bad phases. Not giving up on me till I was back on my toes. I think its times like these you realize the true worth of a friend. You will rarely come across such guys. Someone who can make you laugh as well as laugh on themselves. You can ignore them, despise them and take them for granted. But they will always stick around. These are friends for life.


D. We'll never ever talk about the friendship that we share, with each other or with anyone. But I believe we have been great friends in a very not-so-obvious way!

He is probably the closest to what I am. We have a very similar outlook towards life. Just love all the conversations we have had when downing the drinks. Even when in the same room in mute mode we are conversing. Thats because we do think pretty much alike. And of course, watching Simpsons has never been better!

A guy with a very clear heart, unselfish and a great partner in crime. Can't make any bones in telling I miss him.


At the end, all I can say is, I've been very lucky to have had such great friends to share this life with. I might have not been a great friend to all these people as much as they have been to me, but I hope I do better.

Everyday is full of tests. Some tests of character, some tests of fortitude and some tests of friendship. And if you are lucky, you'll pull through with flying colors.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Men Will Always Be Boys

I was at a menswear showroom the other day and was reading one of their in-house magazines which carried an article on how men will always be boys. It was in great humor and guess every guy can relate to it in a way. I did, in entirety!


A lot of stuff has changed in the past 10 years..you've found a job, maybe changed a few by now, you have your own bank balance, own set of wheels, possibly even your own pad and a steady girlfriend..but there are a lot of stuff which hasn't..


..the fact that you'll never be able to resist anything that moves on wheels...and that most of the time you're trying to look more serious than you're feeling because there's always a good joke lurking around somewhere...and yeah, you could give Keith Richards a run for his money, if you wanted to...you're always smarter than the next guy...saying sorry like you mean it is still a tough one...and nothing, i mean nothing, lifts your spirits like well, spirits...you really do love her but commitment scares the hell out of you...you know what they say, the only difference between men and boys is the size of their feet and the cost of their toys...the attention span is still very less when an household chore is being explained...you believe that the bedspreads have to be used on both the sides and a pillow cover isn't a mandatory accessory to have a good night's sleep...


...even after all these years, the boy inside you has just refused to grow up. Maybe it is meant to be that way ;)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

You've Got (e)Mail

e-mails are everywhere and have become a big part of our lives. It has lent a great deal of "voice" to our non-verbal communication. So naturally the e-mail service providers have given us enough "real" estate to "converse" and keep those tens of thousands of mails. But in my inboxes, I keep only the ones that I feel are really interesting (repeat value) and the ones which can cheer me up or make me reminisce when I look at them a few years later.


A few days ago, I was going through my inbox reading through the oldest to newest. It was like traveling time and revisiting my past. I was quite amazed reading them. As I went on reading, I could feel me "growing up" over all these years.

What one writes is a good reflection of one's personality. The words chosen, the tone used et al serve as useful parameters to gauge oneself. Probably if I wrote it today, I would sound a lot different.


Those mails took me through a spectrum of emotions. Some were cheerful. Some were exuberant. Some were filled with bonhomie. Some with hatred. Some with love. Some with despise. Some with melancholy. Some with introspection.

And found a couple of mails which have been life altering, each in its own way. I read them over and over and tried to comprehend them better. I tried to relive that moment in my head and understand what really prompted me or the other person to write whatever was written. But failed.


Maybe somewhere deep down we really don't want to know. Maybe because it's very hard to discover hard things about oneself.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Stand By Me - 1

Friends have always been a very integral part of my life. Some of them have them have always been around through thick and thin. They have been like family. In-fact i've confided more often with them than I have with my family. This has not always gone down well with my family. Though, it feels nice when friends and family click. But it hasn't really being so in my case. Maybe I just didn't make it a habit of opening up with them. Maybe I wasn't ever in the comfort zone with them. Maybe its just me.

But this isn't about my family feeling hard done. This is about all the different people who have been very close friends at different points of time in my life and how they thought me a thing or two along the way.


My first close friend was V. This guy was around during a significant part of my childhood. From kindergarten to tenth grade. He was a part of all my adventures and misadventures as a child and I was his. He was a smart chap and he helped me look smart. He used to think big in that tender age and would encourage me to do the same. But as we grow older, our egos also grew and so did the distance. He tried to rekindle the friendship after a few years but then I was comfortable with how things were now than how they were then without any hard feelings. He got married last year and I didn't get an invite. I wish him well.


I met T in the most exciting times of a young man's life, the teens! This guy was an eternal optimist. He was super cool about everything. At a time where everyone was seriously making plans for career and life, this guy would sleep! That's because he would be tired cycling to college and back home! He always said that one shouldn't be too serious about life and how it would all fall into place with time! He is a doctor now :) I haven't met him in a long time. But I think I'm gonna see him soon.


The next one, S, was the least emotive among all my close friends. We had carved out an uncharacteristic friendship quite unknowingly. He opened up about things to me that he normally wouldn't with anyone, even under the extreme influence of booze! He was a very hard working person with his priorities cut out like the ten commandments. Seldom is one genuinely excited about a friend's success, but I really was when he got his first job. I knew how much it meant to him. But it all started sliding downwards soon after. He thought I squealed about something he had told me that was close to his heart. Things got nasty and that was it. We reconciled after a few years and we meet often now. But sometimes, when things change, they are never the same again.


Next, another S, is probably the sweetest guy I've ever met and he is the person I've been most rude to! His smile, naivety and weight is totally disarming. He is the kinda guy you don't have to sweat to be good friends with. He was very much there during my teen 'tragedy'. He is a great guy, with whom friendship is just waiting to happen. And even today, after almost a decade of knowing him, he still continues to amaze me with his goodness. We might not be as 'siamese' as we were doing college, but we still haven't lost the beat.


(to be continued..)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fluttering Butterflies

I'm just staring at something. Its been a while. I want to close my eyes. But scared. I wish there were some words. I take a step. And then two back. AmI sleepwalking back again? I feel numb. I try to wiggle my toes. I hope something happens. I don't want to be left in an emotional limbo.


I've forgotten a few things over the years. I want my whole life to flash in front of me once. Maybe I need a free fall. Maybe I just need to switch off the lights and stare into the soul. I hope its not too dark out there.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Sound of Music

A few days ago there was a band (Thermal & a Quarter) playing in our office. Listening to them was sheer joy. I lost trace of time. It kind of made me sit back and think about my passion for music over the years and how it’s been an integral part of my life. The passion hasn't changed, only the medium has.

I've been fascinated by music from quite a young age. But it really got to me in my teenage. I was influenced by my uncle who was a big music buff himself. At one point of time, his collection had reached at-least a 1000 tapes. So when he moved out, he passed his whole library to me. My joy knew no bounds. I remember sitting among the pile of tapes and trying to sort them out by genre. But it was all ROCK. So I sorted them out alphabetically and prepared a catalogue, which was borrowed by one of my friend, never to give it back. Grapevine has it that he used it to impress the fairer sex!

At one point of time, I used to save all the pocket money I could, to get a tape recorded, after planning the playlist meticulously. In the later years, as soon as my savings would reach Rs.125, I would rush to the old music store to buy the new bon jovi or the NSync album (Yeah, NSync indeed! In my defense they were a pretty popular boy band and I was really not that embarrassed to listen to boy bands then). I used to listen to all kinds of music ranging from ACDC to BoyZone. Janis Joplin to Madonna. Beethoven to Enigma.
My parents and friends would say that it was really frivolous of me to spend so much on music. But even then I did it, because it used to make me very happy.

As I sat there in office that day, listening to the fusion rock the band was playing, I started thinking how much their life is different from my life. The lead vocalist/guitarist told us about the places they've been around the world, the cultures they've experienced, the people they've met, the passion that they've witnessed. Wow, all that must have thought them a thing or two about life.
I looked at each of the guys and could see how much each was into whatever he was doing. Be it the guitarist, bassist or the drummer, I saw a great deal of joy on their faces. Their work was bringing them happiness and satisfaction.

As I walked back to my work, I wished, if only I could feel the same.