Monday, July 13, 2009

Beyond the Bend

She adjusted in her seat by the window. Her coccyx was stiff for she had not moved for hours. Her elbow was poised on the vintage desk- a family heirloom-, her ruddy palm supporting the winsome visage; her long, elegant fingers stretching to touch the lower lip; she painted a picture of timeless pulchritude. The diamond ring on her mid finger shone, sparkling, outshining the radiance emanating from her face.

It had been a long wait. The radio was the sole companion, and but for her baby boy Thomas- her darling baby, cute, adorable, cherubic, angelic baby- she cared for no one else in the immediate vicinity. The radio had sputtered a few days back, croaking as it always had during the past many years of the wait, and the Prime Minister had announced victory. “We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing”, he had declared, and ended with offering salutations to the causes of freedom and justice, for which the war had been fought. And since that very second her heart had been prancing about, leaping like a dolphin following a schooner, playing hide- and- seek with the sun, frolicking with the waves.

Her husband, her brave, heroic Fredrick Thelappil, had gone to the battlefront when the bugle had been sounded. It was a man’s duty to defend the soil that gave him his wife, he believed, and had maintained that resolutely to the end, despite the her many protestations.

With no mobile phones, no letters- Fred just wouldn’t write- and no other means of knowing how he fared, she had waited. For three long years. Three years anticipating every second. When the martyrs were called out, she had held her breath. The victorious generals of battles were felicitated and she had clung on to every name. She listened to nothing but the news, long winded state announcements of progress, battle after battle, the slow release of list the casualty lists- the terrifying agony of the wait in the endless queues for a printed roster-, and then finally, in the run up to the announcement of victory, the acknowledgement, in the face of international pressure, that there had been more martyrs than revealed. And the agonising wait for that list. No names anywhere.

Which could mean only one thing. Which was why she was by the window. Staring hopelessly- oh, how many times had she done this before- at the long, winding road that led to their house. Secluded and exclusive, Fredrick had insisted. She wanted to buy the cheaper option near the railway station, but Fred had read her mind. She was saving for the family as usual. He had taken a loan- darling Fred! - and bought this one. Angels Garden, they had christened it. But now she was cursing herself. For it meant an additional fifteen minutes wait. She adjusted her slim, diamond shaped pink Dior that Fredrick had got her on their first trip abroad. It had cost them as much as the flight ticket, but he had ruffled his hair and given her that heart melting smile and paid up. She counted the seconds fervently. Not that it helped, but any time now, she told herself. Surely the train must have arrived. He must be at the street corner. Just beyond the bend. Coming.

She had prepared for this moment so many times in her memory. A cake had been ordered from the bakery- a V shaped chocolate cake with rose petal icing-, a bouquet of roses, and an exquisite meal for the three of them. She had cut beans and made a curry out of cabbage, tomato and cucumber, an odd mix that Fred just loved. She had bottles of Pepsi stored at the fridge, the TV turned on to the cricket match that she wouldn’t have cared two hoots about, the bed all nice and warm for her hero to earn a good nights sleep.

Thomas had wanted to know all about papa, and which battlefield he had gone to. She didn’t know, but she told him anyways. One night papa was at the desert fighting the evil enemy, slaying them by the hundreds, soldiers running away in fear and awe, acknowledging defeat, surrendering to the superior combatant. The next night papa dearest was at the icy glaciers, the cold cold wind smashing his face, the frost chilling him, his fingers numb with the cold of it all- and yet fighting an enemy who seemed impervious to the clime. Papa, always invincible, forever victorious, triumphant and brave, fought the cold and defeated the enemy. She told Thomas her picture of papa, at the peak, with a gun hoisting the flag, holding it high.

And so time had passed, months came and went, and she was down to the seconds now. She had visualised everything, even of Fred in a stretcher, with stitches everywhere, bloodied and wounded, but that just made it sound sweeter. Her Fred, indefatigable, risking his life for the army. Forsaking her and baby Tom, for the country.

Tom was at the door now; his sharp ears had sensed something. Her heart leaped. Soared to the sky, Fred victorious! Fred unconquered! Fred at home! Her lips quivered, her fingers trembled. Tears welled up at her eyes- oh those years of waiting, the times when her heart bled asking for a companion, when she ached due to the sheer pain and anxiety involved in it all.

For the first time in three years, Tom went out of her sight, he ran, threw open the gates, and out to the road. The sun was just rising, and in her excitement, she noticed the apples- the fresh new apples from the apple tree at the orchard, the daffodils that had sprouted in the garden- Tom was running now, yells of delight- he ran further down the street, towards the bend- she got up from her seat, tears welling up more fiercely now.

There was the tinkle of the bell, a bicycle! Surely Fred hadn’t come by cycle! Or had he? In his impatience had he skipped the bus and borrowed a cycle? She ran to the door, too confused to think and opened the latch.

The postman was coming.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Post the Hiatus

Its a long time since i rote and rambled: the last was the summer, and now its winter (we call it for want of another word), and typical to the travails of time, so much has changed. and i wanted to fill you in. For this post wasnt meant to tell you how much i miss college, or when i last turned psychedelic as so many posts are nowadays. its just a stop- gap one, to fill you in.
and how.

the past summer was hot (torrid, tepid and dull) and through mesmerising May, I discovered the bliss of nothingness (this you all know). June was different. In short, I changed continents, and went to America (for you it maybe the land of the Capito(a)l- ist, for me it is the haunt of uncles, aunts and cousins, and far too many at that). one month, of new yorking, washington-ising myself, and discovering the perils of a boston slang in new jersey was wonderful. and there was some lovely whale watching too. oh, and i saw bush in the passing- not HIM, but his outline as the motorcade sped into the white house.
If may was for the bliss of nothingness, june was nothing but bliss..
September, and Trichy beckoned- the first year of studying 'core' engineering. the last year was useless we were told, it was all just the crust. now was the real thing. and yet, amidst all the all- encompassing reality in my core years, i had no core labs. apart from being prosaic and quite rythmic, it is also true. in my first semester as a chemical engineer, i had mechanical, civil and electrical labs.
College as always, was a blur. A nice blur, the one that you can reminisce about, but a blur nonetheless. From mass bunking class, to persuading others to bunk, to bunking when everyone else attends, the plethora of play is overawing. And there were new professors, nice ones, and the not- so. There was the college culturals, the Festember with an F, and an inter department culturals where I played an Oscar winning role. I am not being encomiastic, many renowned critics will agree.
And it went on. And like all good things, I was back at home. One month of the loveliness of holidays, this time, with a three lettered acronym called ipt. at iocl. cpcl, manali. it was, in retrospect, enlivening. but that was it. it isnt worth a paragraph here at any rate.
i am now reading the much revered V S Naipaul's Bend in the River, and wondering if i should give the publisher a prize for reading the first draft fully. But thats about it. for this period of nothingness isnt very sprightly. its like a warrior after the battle thats over. He's done with it, and theres a quite contentment over how things have gone, and an assurance, that when things come back, he'll be ready for them.
The warriors tired now. For the massiveness of the Void is overwhelming. 40 days of holidays isnt merely rhyming, it takes courage to see it through.
What now, you will ask. it was a Hiatus for so long. a sweet, cuddly pause.
and amidst all the clamouring, the warrior, who wields a pen, trudges back into the niceness of nothingness. back into his hidey hole. into the warm wintry comfort of himself, home and holidays (three words he waits months for, and then wonders why he did so). Till next time then... Bloglubber!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Of HolyDays and Of Nothing

Its holiday time.. Two months of that rare period in the year when we are (or at least, i am) wondering what to do instead of what not to... When man (and the occasional wo(e)man) is left to their own free enterprise- to ponder, procrastinate and proselytize to the limit of their imaginations. When we can freely, and without the faintest touch of guilt in our conscience, reply to a question on what we are doing, NOTHING. Yippee!
And yet, there is that rare, but consistent flock of people who insist that holidays shouldn't be long. Not this long at least. (2 months for me). They say they become jobless, that their academic faculty is put to rest, that boredom grips them, that tv is not interesting, and that the world is torrid, tepid and dull, that life loses its meaning during hols which are THIS long.
I say, God save them. The queen is in pretty safe hands at the moment. At least she's old. These people are Young, and are on the brink of insanity. I ask you, How can u get bored when u have NOTHING to do? I mean it.. How many times in the year do u do NOTHING? When there's college, we chat, listen to music, watch tv, eat, then chat, go to the occasional class (which the professor doesn't bunk), sleep (there), and then repeat the cycle many times. So in college, we do many things. We don't do NOTHING.
And in the holidays, we go to the cinema, we roam the streets of our motherland admiring the wonders of the civic drainage which so beautifully condescend to give u a live demo of their internal functioning, we listen to music, orkut, surf, chat, chaat, play, (and ponder, procrastinate and proselytize).. and of course, we also do NOTHING.
In the road that stretches itself out for us, where companies, and salary checks glitter at every turning and speed breaker, every day we bunk is treated as an opportunity missed, a client betrayed, an organisation let down, an enterprise failed, a nation whose potential is reduced by one. So we cant (or at least, don't) bunk. We again have no time (in the midst of family, music, friends, chat and chaat) to do NOTHING.
And so, back to today. Enjoy. The only time you'll get. And fling yourself free and jump till your shadow stretches beyond the horizon and the Earth pants for your feet have battered her, and gleefully proclaim, that its your earnest desire and profound wish, that you want to do NOTHING.
W H Davies once said,
What is this world so full of care,
That we have no time to stand and stare...
If he was me, he would have had two full months to do it!

Friday, September 15, 2006


One thing i felt this blog was incomplete without was a few (tweeny-meeny, i assure you!) details of my college.. NIT Tiruchirappalli.. at least i think thats the spelling.. or are there two "ch" s and only one 'p'.. or two of both? anyway.. i wouldnt mind calling it Trichy (though i daresay a few noble guardians of our Tamil pride presitge and honour will feel quite revolted to think that such a noble and iconic name has been reduced to something quite practical and pronouncable).. i daresay it would suffice for the time being to leave the name aside and delve into deeper and more interesting things.
the first notion i had of college.. for i had never actaully SEEN one before i had entered this.. was of sprawling grounds.. forests (okay.. thickets) here and there.. gardens.. well a sort of a well maintained though not as posh and grand, palace. okay, the college impressed me.. the hostels were huge.. but then.. i was quite mistaken about the gardens.. there were ferns here and there.. there were ponds (i mean, they appeared when ever it rained) and artistically arranged grasses (lots and lots of it here and there..some untended to for ages.. well why cant we have modern art in gardening too!).. oh and trees.. i do remember seeing one.. or was it two?
the second.. and this a bit more realistic.. notion was of the library.. it had to be a/c.. (come on! this was a national institution!) and i imagined, book-mad as i am, poring over piles and piles of christies and ludlums and wonderful new authors who greeted me everytime i walked past them.. and well (sigh) the reality was pretty different.. the only thing nearest to "literary" was.. well.. (blush)..(blush again).. Champak! yes.. that was the only thing there for anything other than academic pursuits (apart from the latest edition of The Week magazine.. the "late"est edition in the shop that they could put their hands on!) i donot read comics.. well.. champak at eighteen does seem odd for anybody.. but not even a decent book to read for leisure? hello? are we on Earth? so there i was.. saying Hi to Kandasamy and Thilagavathy everytime i enetered the portals of the storehouse of academic knowledge.. the college library!
well.. i wont bug you more! (or startle you!), but there was a question that struck me when i was star gazing one night.. one has heard of people cursing their school by calling it a concentration camp.. well then i want to ask them, what is a college? are we humans in a college? or just.. nameless faceless creatures that have two legs.. etc etc.. that walk in and walk out of class rooms at regular fifty minute intervals... what else can explain the fact that noone.. and i mean.. NoOne calls us by name! (sighh) i have become quite used being called by my roll number everytime the teacher takes the roll call.. and there are NO teachers who wish to waste time recollecting your names.. its i there.. "the fellow in the third last bench".. or "Answer your call please.. 003,021,034...") only the inhabitants of gulags were asked to forget their names!

but then, i guess its sooo easy to rave and rant absurdies and absuses at our colleges.. (and we tend to make maximum advantage of that!) that we forget the plus points! PLUS POINTS OF A COLLEGE? well er... er... there are plus points (blush) in a college! but then i guess thats going to be for a later date!


IF is such a powerful word in our lives! dont ask me why, but i just had a sudden urge to delve into it! i mean, look at its aura. it can transport you to a completley different universe! What IF Osama was born in Kentucky? and IF Enid Blyton was male.. IF i had a good chemistry teacher.. IF i had holidays the whole semester.. IF i lived in a world where there were no exams.. if.. if ..
the other day i had a premonition.. a wonderfully bad sort of a premonition.. what IF there was a massive international conspiracy surrounding us? and all we do and know is the result of our being hoodwinked by them.. let me elaborate..
there are ten people (wonderfully, superbly famous and influential media barons..) immensley powerful.. and they get together and start planning..
its a wonderful plan they have.. one suggests, lets call someone Bush and say hes the prez of the US.. they agree.. and the next moment.. Bush is the president! suppose Al Gore actually won the last election.. but our collaborators declared Bush the winner?
like our dear old chem prof used to say.. (DID YOU go and check who the President is.. DID YOU see if the wtc had collapsed.. DID YOU see Dr Singh become PM... everything we do is a result of their joint planning!
hey! all we know is because of the press.. tv, print, radio.. and these people are barons after all.. and in our free world.. they control the news we hear! so WHAT IS THE TRUTH..
i know it is far- fetched.. very! but DO YOU have proof that it is wrong? nope! then how come you're so sure i'm blabbering!
after all if Al Gore actually won the last presidency, without the media how would anybody know? impossible! so Bush is the president.. and in a picturesque Hollywood set with the White House as a background he waves every now and then and a few technicians (sorry, dedicated Republicans.. cheer on!)
DID YOU see the Hollywood set? no!
so what IF the entire world we know.. was.. was.. (i cant bring myself to say this but here i am just about to spurt it out..) Was.. FAKE.. everyone we know in the lands so far and distant, was actually a result of the hyper-active imaginations of the barons out there.. what IF all the history we learnt was wrong!.. and the geography too!.. what IF Somalia wasnt the horn of africa.. and Ivory Coast was! what earth shattering details will emerge once the conspiracy is exposed by the illuminated minds of the youth? will the world CHANGE?
we must act.. it is imperative..
so, "All citizens of the conspiracy ridden world.. my call for you is to rise.. Knowledge is our birth right.. so let us wake from our slumber and trek on the road for illumination.. it concerns YOU.. you have been hoodwinked.. rise.. rise.. rise.. (yawn)"

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Price Of Money

A question that struck me recently was, Does Money give joy?.. A wonderful question.. Are there any answers?
To find them, one must, as always, start, at the very begining. What does money provide. It provides a roof.. a roof to cover your house.. it also provides a roof.. a roof to bar your view of the night time sky. (hail to contradictioning apart, this is quite true).. i would rather prefer a night time sky with neptune, and the now disowned Pluto for company, with the flutter of the owl for a breeze, to the buzz of the ceiling fan and the scenery of Asian Paints.
Money buys you cars.. fast cars.. that get you places.. it also buys you cars.. and you zoom past, failing to notice everything that matters.. What is the point, i ask you, to whistle past a perfectly serindipitous, scenic setting, with
an angelic cow chewing cud,
a squirrel ninbbling a nut,
a butterfly peeling a bud
and dogs playing on mud,
with your music player in full blast, sunglasses on and the a/c blowing on your super-cool(ed) face failing to notice any of these settings? a pity in the city? truly!
The list that money can buy is endless. it starts from pens and ends with police officers.
The list that money can not buy is also endless.. it starts from happiness and ends with a yearly aniversary reminder that men seem to forget with amazing ease and rather disastrous consequences.
i am not going to quote the tag line, money cant buy joy, but it can get you a Master Card (well, there i have quoted it), but ceasing from trivialities, i must hasten to point out that the price of money is always over- estimated. Money is not everything. One of the only things the Almighty didnt create along with this world was bank notes. So we can do without it.
The infinite pleasures of man will not be deemed any less if he doesnt have a few coloured pieces of paper for comfort. All he has to do was look around.
and discover the earthy Heaven around him.