Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The night I died of a heart attack…

Well not exactly… I dreamt that I died of a heart attack and heart attack is something that has to do with lungs and you are not able to breathe…dieing due to lack of oxygen. Yes, I know my dreams lack logic but that’s what dreams are supposed to be...lack logic.

Perhaps it'd been sitting in the back of my head for some time now. It’s been months I am on unchecked drug consumption and lots of time on weekends I have reached the coma stage where you black out for 5 – 8 minutes. Time when you start seeing the dark tunnel and light beyond . Yes, I have seen it quiet a number of times it’s like touching death softly and coming back to life. Your heart starts sinking; hands, face, body go cold, you won’t be able to raise even your finger you can’t feel the touch even if someone slaps you hard and there you see the tunnel with a thin streak of light at the end of it. Then you start sweating and come back to life. Cheating death once again...

My friends always point out my food habit is total crap (I have not tasted rice or roti for 3 weeks now, living on grape juice, biscuit with lots of strong coffee) and smoke way too much! At times I wake up in the wee hours of morning in a subconscious state light a cigarette, smoke and again go back to sleep... at times I end up burning my cheeks or bed sheet.

I've also developed a dark circles which are darker than my skin color. I make up my mind to exercise (every week without fail) and I do it for a few days, until I get bored of the routine and schedule. The sheer dreariness of exercising at a fixed time makes me want to puke! Beside that like I always say “my physical fitness doesn’t allow me to do such work.”

Anyhow, that's not what I'm writing this stuff up for… I actually don't know why I'm writing this up.

Sometimes I feel as though the blood isn't flowing very well through my heart. I get the feeling that an artery is blocked… or perhaps two… Can't say for sure.

I tell my friends about this sometimes, and they tell me, “Why don't you just go and get a complete checkup done? That'll make everything clear…”
I smile and say, “That's a good idea, it will surely tell me which instrument in my body machine is about to collapse.”

But little do they know, I'm afraid of death and don’t really want to know how bad things are inside me. I love to imagine I am in best of my health and if I have to die it will be sudden and peaceful. I am afraid to accept that I need to go and see a shrink or get admitted in a Rehab center.

But again, what I'm even more afraid of is finding out that I'm going to die…There! I've gone and said it finally… I'm going to die! Nothing unusual about it… we all are going to die someday, aren't we?

When I think of death, so many thoughts race in my mind -- “What'll happen to me when I die?”

“Will I even know that I died? Or will it be like the scientists say, I simply cease to exist?”
“Or perhaps I'll become a ghost that haunts the world, caught in between the spirit world and the physical world, by virtue of some unfulfilled desire…” Is it jehannum, hell, narak or something entirely different in store for me?

I guess I'll never know till I get there... Atleast I am happy I am moving at such a slow speed in life just incase if I am going in a wrong direction...

The dream

The dream was disturbing…

I know I was dying -- I think I know how a dying person feels and senses the world around him.
I was talking to my mother; all of a sudden, I developed a piercing pain in the chest (left side).I could feel the stab and then it felt like someone is crushing my heart with lot of force.
I kept trying to control the pain and managed to keep talking with mother.
Suddenly I could take it anymore; I fell to the floor.
Next thing I know is that my mother's trying to massage my chest (trying out a cardiac massage) and I sense this darkness engulfing me, slowly… very slowly.
My senses are active but I cannot act.

Next I know D is giving me a liposuction and then the death was worth it...

Ok, Late Mr. Ashraf what now?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

FountainHead- novel by Ayn Rand

Published in 1943, the story is relevant even today having mantras which our modern day Gurus recite

A few days back there was a competition announced by Times of India, Bangalore edition. It wanted the book worms to tell about the tastiest book they had gorged on---oops no sorry, it was about the best book the readers had read and found gripping, life changing, enlightenining, unputdownable .

I sent my entry but did not make it even in the top fifty but I feel that the book I love to read again and again is really a book which is Book worm within me gorges on books. Having read many books which are gripping, life changing, enlightenining, unputdownable, including Heidi, Little Women, Papilon I still feel these adjectives were specially created for FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayn Rand's. Published in 1943, the story is relevant even today having mantras which our modern day Gurus recite. "We are poisoned by the superstition of the ego. We must destroy the ego first... Only when you learn to deny your ego, completely, only when you learn to be amused by such piddling sentimentalities as your little sex urges-only then will you achieve the greatness.

I love calling this book as " Mavericks Bible" when suggesting someone to read it.

In passionate defense of individualism , the novel presents an exalted view of man's individual creative potential. "Independence is the only gauge of human virtue and value...There is no substitute for personal dignity."

Individualistic and idealistic architect Howard Roark the central charecter of the book is expelled for his designs which fail to fit with existing architectural thinking. Seemingly unemployable he lands a job with like-minded Henry Cameron, who drinks himself to death, warning Roark that the same fate awaits unless he compromises his ideals." May God bless you-. You're on your way into hell, Howard."

Roark is determined to retain his artistic integrity at all costs. "Sometimes, he was asked to show his sketches; he extended them ... feeling a contraction of shame in the muscles of his hand; it was like having the clothes torn off his body...and the shame was that it was exposed to indifferent eyes",

Inapt schoolmate Peter Keating’s ability to flatter and please brings him instant success yet he feels empty..."he did not care so long as his clients were impressed, the clients did not care so long as their guests were impressed, and the guests did not care... Don’t allow men to be happy. Happiness is self-contained, self-sufficient. Happy men have no time and no use for you... kill their joy in living."

Insecure Keating instigates Roark’s social indictment. At the trial, "they were not faces but only empty ovals of flesh " Doomed Roark extols the value of selfishness and the need to remain true to oneself describing the triumphant role of creators and the price they paid at the hands of corrupt societies. Jury’s verdict-not guilty.

Vindicated, Roark designs a skyscraper testifying to the supremacy of man. "When I look at the ocean...I think of man's magnificent capacity that created this ship to conquer all that space".

Read it and you will thank god for making you literate... read it to take a journey within yourself...and the most read it to understand what it means by masterpiece a magnum opus.

Some day we will talk about "theory of Objectivism" as coined by Ayn Rand.

Mr. Ashraf, Mrs. Ashraf aur Wow!!!!!....

Year 2017
After several years of marriage, Ravi tells Aruna a story of his college days, a story where truth and fiction merge.
It was that evening, after we returned from the party, as I stood lost in my god only knows thought in front of the sofa, she said, "Imran, why are you looking so lost?"
I shrugged, "Oh! It's nothing, dear."
She continued,"Tonight, throughout the party, you seemed as if you weren't quite there. What's wrong? You weren't like this before; you would be the life and soul of the party. Always the jokes and laughs; you would tell me stories and fool me all the time. What's happened to you, Imran?"
I remained silent, searching for words to quench her curiosity, she pressed, "You have been like this ever since the Banerjees moved in here. And every time we go out and meet the Banerjees, you come back and look more lost." Then she added, suspiciously,"And I can't help noticing you when you meet her - Chris."
"Oh! yaar! Don't start off on your wild suspicions again." This is irritating. "You know Chris and me are from the same college, she was in my batch, but that was years ago. We have never met in ten years since she got married. Or heard of each other, for that matter. It was quite a surprise when we met at the Super Market a couple of months ago. You have been inviting her to all the parties, introducing her to all our friends."
"She must have been beautiful ten years ago." she continued, as if she hadn't heard a word, combing her long hair.
"Yes, very beautiful." I had to accept that.
She gave me that special look. I am used to that glance now. Better sit on the sofa, leaning back, head resting on upturned palm, looking at the corner of the coffee-table, watching memories of Sewagram years slowly go by than be a subject of your wives intense scrutiny..
"And I fell in love with her!" She mimicked me.
This is it....out with it man... "Yes, I fell in love with her."
She stopped combing her hair, caught her breath. "No! Imran, how could you?"
For a fraction of moment I regretted having spoken that word it hurts anyone...everyone. Occasion is asking for it... now or never... so be it "We were young, she was beautiful, we shared a lot of common interests. Same batch, same class, same hometown, same taste in many things rare few from Kolkata who refrained from eating fish. I thought we were a perfect match. Made in Heaven!" but there lies the problem Heaven stands for “Swarg” or “Jannat”
I was quite amused now...she was not. She wanted to know more. How far had the affair progressed? Had we kept in touch? Why had kept it a secret and not told her this all these years? I am getting quiet good in reading unspoken words.
Slowly, I vomited everything... I could feel the lightness...spoke of our years in college, my solitude, her friendship, Our letter sharing, fight, break up, her heartthrob. Soon after college, she got placed in IBM had a serious crush again and before I could react, had married a cool Bengali Brahmin chap and made her parents proud so finally it was “Swarg” for her. Now, they both were working professional well adapted to Bangalore life, I had my own share of destiny to play with. We still managed to keep one thing between us alive blogging...
"Yes, I know that!" she said icily “you were officially selected servant to write her Biography”
My better half was an expert in spitting venom in given circumstances.
I know how little she was interested in "my books". The ones I chose to read, the ones we used to choose read and contemplate. That was another thing we shared a common love for abstract Literature.
she pouted and replied, a little defensively, "Well, if you stop picking up all those heavy stuff, and bring back some light reading, even I can read, you know."
I was about to open my mouth to add that I had recently picked up a magazine of short stories, but thought better of it. After all, I still had the magazine in the drawing-room right here; she would not have realized that, too. I don’t want her to read it, do I?
But what of my affair, she asked. What had happened, how had we split up? With the curiosity of a voyeur, she wanted to know all there was to know.
I laughed. "We were friends", it can’t be simpler. "I thought I was in love with her, but for a long time, I did not have the courage to say this to her. For many months, I had planned out the words and settings and dreamt up the endings."
I don’t remember when or how I proposed her for the first time just cant recollect, what I remember much later I used to propose her daily till she passed a new law that I am allowed to propose her only once in a week.
I also remember she had been taken aback initially. She had never thought of me as anything other than a college friend, someone with whom she could talk college if I attend lectures and carry her luggage when returning home during vacations. College to her was a place where she made friends, not lovers until her dream boy came. She could not see herself falling in love with anyone like me especially outside her religion, and she had her parents to consider. They could only be pleased if the guy is within Hindu religion, Bengali is better... Bengali Brahmin is the best and that’s what she got...The best... she deserved the best and got the best. It had all been agreed; there was no chance of change.
There really hadn't been anything much to say after that, I said after a long silence to break her expectation for hearing more on Chris. Though I and Chris had parted agreeing to remain friends, she seemed to be staying away from me, perhaps to ensure that her marriage stood in no risk of scandal. I cursed myself for being so late in acting, and - perhaps to avoid facing my own disappointment and failure - had also stayed away from her. Our friendship had withered in the few remaining months prior to her marriage, and when she finally got married; we both realized how false the promises of keeping in touch would be.
"So there you are!” I sighed, "Now you know everything. My dark secret. Your suspicions are justified. But there is nothing to worry about, dearest wife - it's all over and forgotten. I guess everyone has a similar story at some point of their life"
All this while I never looked at her at all, instead concentrated at a corner of the coffee-table, avoiding her looks. But I was aware of that expression altering slowly. Her expressions had changed, from the original anger and hurt and suspicion. She hadn't said a word after the initial interruptions, and had quietly listened to my every word.
When I looked at her. She was sitting with her jaw cupped in her palms, like a child to whom a story had been told, waiting for more. The original anger had been replaced by a glint of a smile in her eyes.
"Imran, thank you for telling me all this. I really have been a fool, thinking the worst of you. I'm sorry." She was trying hard to sound genuine.
"It's not your fault, dear; it's mine. I should have told you this before, but I had never thought about it till recently."
Suddenly, she laughed. "But this time, you didn't manage to fool me. I know where you got it from this time, Mr. Imran Ashraf."
Before I can protest, she admonished me, "Don't pretend this is true or that it is an original story you made up just now. I read a magazine you picked up; it has exactly this story, let me show you."
"If you write your Blogs as well as you related this, I'm sure I will read all your articles", she taunted me as she hunted the coffee-table for the magazine, found it, and flipped the pages for the story. "There!” she said triumphantly, producing a story called “Aur Woh".
"I know you have read this and are trying to fool me with this. It's about a woman who is suspicious of her husband, and how he pulls her leg with a story that he once had an affair. The College, the Brahmin husband - it's all there! Caught you this time, didn't I?"
"I almost believed you", she said, laughing. "If you had changed a few things, I might have. You really sounded so earnest. But you went too much by the book, Mr. Nautankibaaz."
I stopped protesting. Mocking my earlier ring of truth, I pointed at the coffee-table and announced, "The Truth is out there".
She laughed, "There! You are back to your normal madcap self, always telling a lie", and kissed me impulsively.
"And please don't tell that girl. She'll kill me.!", I added.
"Okay, you are forgiven! I won't tell her, I'll just tell her husband." She teased me
"No!! Please don't do that to me".
Happy, she continued to comb her hair. I, picked up the magazine, and quietly placed it on the bookshelf, among all my journals published anonymously.

Monday, June 25, 2007

“Papa’s boy”

" Papa's Boy"???? Am I???

A humorous take on Shayan Munshi's attempt to leave the country for his honeymoon, accompanied by his dad.

Finally FinOne of my old acquaintances got married last week (I am not gonna take names of anyone anymore; don’t want to be skinned and salted alive at this age)… And marriage it was!!! I was there attending his baraat; the groom was riding an elephant for a change problem occurred during the return of the baraat when the bride in question refused to mount the elephant. So it was the Elephant owner, my friend and his 10 year old nephew riding on the journey back. For around half an hour we all followed the elephant but then it got quiet boring and slow so everyone instead thought of moving on and wait for the groom at his place.

But we are not discussing his elephant ride here what was interesting for me was that he took his dad for his honeymoon – “My daddy strongest” or “Momma knows it all” kind of sons and daughters are not that rare in India they come in all ages, shapes and size. I have friends whom if you ask “yeh tera baap hai ??” they will retort all fired up “ Woh mere baap nahi mere papa hai”.

I know them and I accept them as useless gifts of god, the groom in question is one of them. but what still intrigues me is why he took his dad along for the honeymoon. I can understand that it was his dad who first explained the mysteries of the birds and the bees to the son – though, going by my experience with nowadays cosmopolitan son, the son would have done a better job of explaining this to the dad. But why do you need your dad on your honeymoon? Hasn’t he got to be the ultimate kabab-mein-haddi?

I can imagine the first night in the resort when the happy young couple are enjoying a romantic dinner – somewhat spoiled no doubt by the presence of the aged father trying to become part of the décor, whenever the young wife tries to seduce her husband. After the wonderful dinner, lubricated by vintage wines made from contented grapes, the young pair repairs to the bedroom. The door closes.

We cut to the bedroom scene. The wife has demurely draped herself in her sexiest nightwear; she reclines fetchingly on the bed, with a come-hither look in her smoldering eyes. The husband is torn between two desires – joining his wife on the bed and turning the lamp down low; and running to the door from time to time, and taking advice from his dad, who is dutifully crouched on the other side of the door, with a sheaf of notes in his left hand, and a ear-trumpet in his right.

One can almost overhear the conversation between father and son.

“Right, dad. We have been kissing each other and doing what you called… foreplay, right, got that word finally. So, we have been doing this foreplay thing for some time now. And now the time has come for the real thing.”

“Right, son. You have the condom with you?”

“Yes, dad. Now I have opened the pack, and I will put it on.”

“Make sure you put it on your… you know. Not on your thumb, like you did during your practise run before marraige. You got that?”

“Yeah, I think I got it on right? Papa ek baar dekhoge? You wanna see it to check?”

“NO! You stupid fool! I just hope you have got it on at the right place – (stage whisper: I thought the young kids knew better than having to ask about that, and on their honeymoon too!)”

A period of silence follows, punctuated by amorous sounds from the bride. The dad has a look of relief on his face. Then, he hears a gentle knock on the door:

“Hey, dad! You there?”

“Now what?”

“Well, I got it in all right – she seems to know quite a bit about it you know, that really helped. What do I do next?

“Whaddaya mean, what do I do next??! How many times I have told you – remember what I told you about the car engine and the piston moving in the chamber? Well, that’s what you gotta do, you idiot!”

“Yeah, right – I completely forgot!”

What follows is guaranteed to make any fond father think lovingly of the virtues of human sacrifice.

“Vroom vroom! Vroooooooooooooooom! Vroom!” – accompanied by the sounds of a car changing gears, as done by a small kid.

Let us end our eavesdropping here. Let us draw a veil on the old man sitting on one side of the door of the honeymoon suite, with his head buried in his hands, and a look of dull despair on his face. Let us also draw another veil on the young bride, who sits on the bed looking in growing desperation at this creature that runs between the bed and the door on this most special of all nights. Let us draw one more veil on the young man who sits happily on the bed emulating the sounds of a Ferrari going round Monza during a Grand Prix like the way papa was trying to say.

We draw the curtain on this unhappy episode in the life of all your newly weds wives of these kinds. May god relive these damsels from the urge to kill their brand new spouses on the very first night.


Mitthu: A Five-Year-Old

" Mitthu- My Parrot Boy"

Tattered clothes, white turned into grey by overuse, Laddakhi lepcha boy with green eyes. He is a frail figure, the eighth kid of the family -- father and third brother dead and missing respectively. This boy, Mitthu, must be fifteen now, but my story is set in the summer of 1997, and he was only five then. My school Don Bosco High School has a compulsory NSS requirement: you are supposed to complete 100 hours worth of social service. Having done almost nothing for the whole year, I got this special make-up assignment that included teaching the alphabet to illiterate or semi-literate kids in May in Don Bosco welfare workshop.

Here began my discovery of the life and times of a few fellow residents of my nation's Business capital. For today, read on the true story of Mitthu.
Father Orville our school vector introduced me to the kids.

Catholics and social work well that’s a different story to be told some other day…

Mitthu at once caught my attention for he was the youngest of the lot, unique for his green eyes and the most active one. Within minutes I saw him running around the chawl shouting "nawa teacher yela: aaj class hoenga". Within fifteen minutes, ten kids were all around me, sitting with notebooks and pencils that were provided by Father Orville.

"Don Bosco High School - Alma mater"

Evidently I was not the first teacher they had, beside Don Bosco High School welfare workshops conducted regularly they told me stories about another teacher, much elder in age to me who used to come on a Hero Honda and used to eat in the expensive hotel on the other side of the road. Also they asked me the question, "Sirj aap kab tak rahenga." I felt a bit guilty for I knew the only reason I had jumped into the activity was to get the NSS hours and maybe spend some quality time with my vector.

We got on with the alphabet and arithmetic. Mitthu turned out to be the brightest one. While some senior students were learning multiplication, he caught on fast, and soon was doing it faster than eight and ten-year-olds. In just a couple of days, he really sped from multiplication tables of two to twelve. Day after day, I would reach the Chawl, and find Mitthu the first one to meet and greet me, and within no time he had all his friends languidly walking or running breathlessly, all at their own pace. Slowly, I became an outsider to whom these children could tell all sorts of stories of their lives, and Mitthu my favorite, was the one who spent the most time with me.

He was the eighth in the family, had three elder brothers, the third was missing, and four elder sisters: three were my students. His mother was a frail woman, wrinkled more by the troubles than time, all skin and bones but perhaps iron bones that supplied her strength for waging the unlimited struggle called life. She did some odd jobs, worked in some houses, had sold papad and was very good in keeping accounts. But her condition allowed her to work in only one or two houses for around 200 rupees per month.
I asked him how they managed to survive with just 200 per month.

"Well," he said, "both my brothers, who are sixteen and fourteen also work."
"In a roadside hotel, for 250 and 200 per month. Elder brother got a job in a press, and it was really a good job, they gave him 1500. But one day he went to a friend's marriage, and drank a lot of local liquor. When he came home he vomited blood, and was ill for a whole month. By the time he recovered, the job was gone, and the money was mostly spent on his treatment. Now he works really hard throughout the day, and mummy always gives him the biggest portion of food."

One day Mitthu was unusually sad. His elder sister, who was perhaps thirteen or fourteen had beaten him. She rarely came out of the house and I never got to see her. Mitthu then narrated his sister's story: She was married a year back. Her in-laws demanded a huge dowry that they could not afford. They wanted a TV, a pressure cooker and lots of gold ornaments among other things. After the marriage her husband beat her, kicked her, pulled her hair, slapped her for every possible excuse and hit her with red-hot iron rods. Her back still carried the marks of those beatings that sometimes even left her senseless. Then he and his parents, on occasion refused her food and hurled endless abuses at her. She came home twice but they sent her back.
"But then someone from her Chawl told us that if we wanted her to live even another week, we must bring her back. They brought her home last month. She only sits at home and cries and cries and shouts at everyone. When she cries mummy also cries. The jeeju is such a devil and we are on the girl's side: so we cannot do anything. Going to the police only means more trouble and they would help only jeeju for he can bribe them. So my sister will now stay here for life."

On another day, Mitthu remembered his missing brother who had learnt how to repair a bicycle and had gone missing three months back. He fell in bad company and used to take smack near railway yard. They tried hard to stop him from taking that and then one day he stole whatever was worth stealing and ran away never to come back.

On my last day I had a few kids giving me well rehearsed farewell speech along with a souvenir, Mitthu stood away in the corner. Infinitely sad. His eyes showed pain, and yet somehow he just kept quiet. I shook hands with him. He walked down to the road with me. I asked him to study hard, not stop going to school, and to stay good and away from any bad habits.

My words sank in, but he kept moving softly, silently and waved miserably when I left him. His forlorn face is still embedded in my memory, and I wish I could have done more.

School…junior college…Engg college…

At times when taking my daily dosage of codeine I think did my words that day was of any use to Mitthu… Someday I will visit Mitthu... If I am able to kick this addiction... maybe Jammu, Sharad, Chandan & Kali will join me then.

At her majesty’s service...

No… its not Chris / D or anyone you know… She is someone lost very sweetly in time

A short story. Versified for brevity, recommended for levity:) Of falling in love, and how a dinner determines destinies

Our acquaintance began with a staged coincidence.
Perceiving her pretty eyes, I changed my course to collide with an old friend and he was kind enough to have an inconsequential talk with me, and my efforts at wit, produced a smile and an inquiry from her. He introduced me as an old friend, and hurried away without
mentioning her name. No again I know what you are thinking, it never happens with me…He didn’t go alone he took her with him as a precious trophy and I was left without knowing her name with just a hope that she will remember my name…

A week later, I was stirring my coffee, when her smile flashed before me.
Without my friend about her, she made words that were music and comedy at the same time.

The shimmer on her nosering, the mole at the root of her neck and her hand movements
made an impression, an impression strong enough for person like me to put it in his amateurish words.

When she left, I realized, I had missed a job interview. The job was meant to help
me pay for my cigarettes, it was to help me stop manipulating the grocery bills and shamelessly stealing those precious ten dollar bill from my mother.

Yet I was happily in love with the idea that she not only remembers my face but my name as well. She made me feel I was no longer a invisible bum in the beautiful maidens world. They do stop and notice… they do notice me!!!

Our conversation moved through trails like lost desert storms.
Her stories began to behave like grains of sand in my eyes.
I soon realized that the mirage of her eyes now stirred no emotion in me. Within ten days, my first impression had turned into my intellectual embarrassment, and of course,
like a true old friend, I helped that guy, in winning over the woman, I guess I went bit too far… he was the first guy on whose behalf I wrote a love letter.

People ask me why I spend so much time in these pursuits….why do I write love letters for others.

I tell them that there is merit in learning from ones own follies and understanding how the unexpected rules the events related to those magical moments in general.

Its been many years now…

The girl remarked, that it was splendid for her husband to have such an honest
and dedicated friend like me.

I smiled and pretended that I was delighted to be of service.

( no names taken… whew)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Should they call it quit ? Whats your say...

He is shy, introverted and a passive aggressive individual. She is an intellectual, well spoken, extroverted and a very assertive woman.

Their marriage was probably doomed to start with. But when opposites attract, passions are strong and common-sense flies away. They married and began their journey of many stumbles.

Within 2 years of their marriage, she had overtaken him from a career perspective. Lets say her incentives were equivalent to his salary. He assumed the role of the supportive husband. they shied away from each others payslip...every month. His passive-aggressiveness grew in directly relation to his failures. Her assertiveness grew in direct relation to her successes.

Their first big crisis hit at the 2 year mark. He lost his job. He grew depressed. She felt alienated and helpless. Enter another man - she was vulnerable and developed strong feelings for the other. Cozy dinners and barista trips followed. Our husband for her affections, won that battle, and the marriage continued. But he started with mild drugs to maintain his sanity without her knowledge.

Their second big crisis hit at the 6 year mark. He was diagnosed with a medical condition. Change in lifestyle, medication adjustment led to an irritable temperament, loss of sexual appetite, instability in the career. All this was compounded by some other family troubles in his extended family. She rebelled against all this change with insecurity and had an affair with another man. This time a fiery one with a super pervert guy who loved having sex in cars, fields, jungles, terrace in open. Driven by the guilt, she then returned motivated to fix all the troubles and commit anew. The marriage continued. They have separated their beds and then the bedrooms.

Their third big crisis hit at the 8 year mark. A series of bad investments led to serious financial losses. They had to restart their respective careers. He spiralled into depression and could not cope. She had to take on the burden of re-establishment. To get company loans many discussions took place in a dingy motel room or at her bosses bedroom. No guilt...No complaints just living life.

Now it is two years after the third crisis mark. She has managed to re-establish finances. He continues to be depressed and languishing in self-pity. She can't seem to get him out of the funk. She wants to be able to live again. Smile again. She wants to finally leave him - for the sake of her own sanity.

And thats the point when she met me...

Should she leave him?

Note to readers: She is a friend. While I know the husband, I know her better. She has come to me for advice. I find myself too close to the situation to make an objective observation. Thoughts? Suggestions? gateway?

You are like my brother

The story of why some people never get to celebrate Valentine

A short story


She smiled as she came out of the lift. He smiled back. He looked at her admiringly as she walked slowly toward him, reading a paper in her hand. He looked at her. Does she know what effect she has on him, he wondered? Her blue duppatta hung lazily on her shoulders. She adjusted it and then moved her hands over her hairs, pushing her hairs away from her face. In no time, the hairs were back on her face, just a streak. Actually they looked beautiful on her face that way. Was it a style or did they naturally hung over her face making her look even more beautiful? He never knew.

"Am I late?" She smiled. Her smile could make a thousand lamps light. Was he getting poetic?

"No! Not at all. I have just been here for 2 minutes now." Of course waiting for her was never a problem even though he did not like to mention the remaining 33 minutes.

"I am sorry to call you down. But I guess I didn't want to talk about personal matters in the office" She said as they both walked out of the office to the nearest tea house.

"Oh! I understand. You know you can trust me."

His heart was beating faster. Was she going to acknowledge her feelings? Was she going to propose? It was not her job. It was his job to propose. It’s already been 6 months since they met. He knows her quite well and the reverse was true as well. I guess she understood what was in his mind but he did not know what was in her mind.

He ordered two teas like he always did. They both sat at the corner table like they always did. She was fidgeting with her hairs.

"So, tell me" He started sipping the hot tea.

"I have known you a long time now, I guess six months?" She started. He nodded. He knew the months since the day she had joined her project to the present days. He had the habit of counting the days when he was happy.

"You are my best friend. The one friend, I can open my heart to. I want to trust you with a secret and need your help" She continued. He smiled. He waited with bated breath to what she wanted to say. Was this going what he always hoped for? Was this going to be a realization of his dreams?

"I am getting married to my childhood friend"

Without reacting at all to the news and smiling as always, he blurted out "Congratulations"

The smile never left his face. His face had no connection to his heart. He heard glass breaking somewhere or was it his heart? He kept smiling but somewhere deep inside he wanted to shout, he wanted to cry, he wanted to run away from her. No he wanted to stand and see how much pain was there in the offerings.

You are like my brother. That’s why I wanted to break the news to you." She continued.

Don’t! Please don’t do that" His brains screamed inside Please stop! Not the "B" word, not again. Please! God! Not again. Why? Why every girl I like has to make me her brother? Why?" Screw you Mr. Raksha bandhan!!!

"My parents would not agree for this wedding so we are going for a registered marriage" She was still speaking "I would love if you stand as a witness from my side"

"Of course! Anytime, anywhere! Just tell me where to come and if you need any help with the marriage, I am there" He smiled enthusiastically. She smiled knowingly. She knew she could trust him. She knew he would help her.

By the time they came out, she had planned a lot of things. He went through the whole thing with a smile. An hour before he was happy, an hour later the world just seems different

Some people never have a love story


2 Months Later

"Congratulations" He wished them.

"Thanks! It would not have been possible without you."She was happy.

"Actually it wouldn’t have been possible without his signature" Her husband chipped in.Here speaks the super dumb and he expects all to laugh....

They all laughed...

Oh! The act of rubbing salt on wounds.

After a round of customary greetings, the groom and the bride left for their home. He stood on the pavement waving as they moved away in the car. He stood there looking at the direction they went. Another chapter ended. Another girl gets married. Another chance of being the Knight in shining armor, the only difference was the princess is married to someone else and he is left with the best man’s tag.

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride

He smiled and rephrased it, Always the Best man, never the groom


6 months later

"Do you have time?" She asked from over the cubicle partition, smiling. He smiled back.

"Give me 5 minutes" He told her.

This girl had joined the project after she left the project and the job, when she moved with her husband to another city. She is sweet and a nice girl. As he worked in the same module as her, they interacted a lot, especially the last few times they talked, when their talks moved beyond the boundary of office work.

He finished the work and locked his laptop. It was almost the end of the day with no meetings now. People were a little relaxed. They walked toward the cafeteria

"Thanks" she said as they walked toward the cafeteria

"What for?" He looked at her. He was beginning to like her, especially since the last few days. His heart was beginning to heal from formers loss. Had he moved on?

For listening to me. I mean, it’s been days since I had a heart-to-heart talk with anybody. Not even with my closest of close friends"

He just smiled. There was nothing he could say. Actually this was the first time in months since he had talked, actually talked with anybody.

"I feel I can talk to you for hours. Like you are the best friend I have" She said as they reached the cafeteria.

This was good. Actually this was turning out to be really good. She was kind of accepting that she liked him. This may turn out to be positive after all.

"Coffee? He asked as they neared the serving counter. She nodded.

He motioned her to have a seat. As she moved toward the corner seat, he ordered one tea and one coffee for her. She liked coffee while he hated it but it didnt matter much. He kept the tray in front of her. She sipped coffee and looked around. Nothing in particular but lost in her thoughts.

"It was getting unbearable for me to keep all these feeling inside me, like they were choking me" She explained. He nodded as if understood. His mind had started building castles in the air. Here was the girl of her dream, again. One he could connect.

"It’s like you are like a brother I never had" she dropped the bomb. Somewhere in the cafeteria, somebody dropped a plate. A loud crash was heard. She looked in that direction. The person who dropped the plate looked at the broken pieces and shook his head as if not believing what just happened.

He sat there facing her, looking at her with tea in his hands. What crashed now? The plates or his dream? The castles vanished into thin air.

"I am so lucky to have you as my friend and my brother"

"Of course! Anything! Anytime! You need help, you know whom to call?" He smiled at her. "Listen! Why don't you head back to work. I will join you after I complete a small task here." She agreed. He got up while she started toward the door. He looked at her, smiled at himself.

It’s true! Some people never have a love story!

In the dead of the night

It has been almost three weeks since I am living alone. Three weeks since my room partner has gone back to his native place. It’s always a problem to live alone. Nobody to talk to, you eat alone. But my biggest problem was sleeping alone in that big house. I did not have any problem when my partner was there in the other room. But now it’s that eerie feeling you have when you are alone. It’s like you always feel you are being watched when you are alone.

Actually its frightening that there may be some burglar, some ghost lurking somewhere in the house, just waiting to pounce on you, A dead body left in the middle of the dark room for you to find out. I am practical person and for all practical purposes, I know that ghost, giants, witches, vampires and other dangerous creatures do not exists. Although burglars do exist but they are not so frightening and dead body don’t climb steps to 1st floor. But in the night, it’s different. You are super high on codeine and at times your brain play games you imagine things at times you hallucinate. All that you know practically suddenly become void. I just hope that, I tire myself so much that I sleep the moment I lay on the bed and to accomplish this daily task I slog in office for 16 hours walk from all sloshed with codeine and pills. Peace at the cost of health and sanity not a dime more not a doze less.

It’s amazing how many sound you can hear during the night. The swoosh, the whoosh the tinkling sound and my favorite, the sound of footsteps. Amazing, just amazing. Even your eyes start to play games with you. The harmless tree outside your window does look like something very scary. The statue kept in the corner, did it move in the dark? Why does the clock have to make so much noise? Is someone moving outside my bedroom? The curtain moved, was it the wind or somebody behind it? Did anybody just went in the toilet? And how come you will always remember the horror movie you saw a long time ago.

According to Discovery Channel, in the night time you tend to be more jittery. Especially, when you are alone. The slightest sound can make you jump. I completely agree to it.

When I was in 6th standard, I saw my first horror movie. It was "Jaani Dushman" (Sanjeev kumar in a bear Suit). I was terrified and could not sleep the whole night. The next day mother warned me against watching any horror movie. The same fear gripped me again three years later when I saw "Woh Kaun Thi?” I strongly believed in ghost and supernatural then. Now I have grown up and do not believe in ghost. But the abnormality of the night still terrifies me. I still get up in the middle of the night in cold sweat, my heart beating faster. The sound of silence in the night strikes fear in me. At times if you have taken less than the daily doze you see weird dreams I have seen my mother burning me up, pigeons pecking on my lifeless body, rats gnawing at my feet…

You can call me coward or just living to my natural instinct, but I am afraid of the dark. So, now I get up in the middle of the night, put on all the lights in the house and sit in front of TV watching the news channel (I dare not watch anything) where somebody is still discussing whether Saddam had weapons of Mass destruction. Chuck it world, leave him alone you just hanged him.

And I survive till morning. Nothing happens. No ghost, no vampires hunting for my blood. I really hate my old landlord at times. Why does he have to get up in the middle of the night and go to the toilet making all the noise with his feet moving around? Can't he do everything before he goes to sleep? Old people at times are super pricks irrespective of whether they are your family members or not.

Or is there really something out there? You never know!! And I don't want to know!!
I am scared of dead and at times I am scared of things alive.

A couple of problem.

I have been single for a long time now. Almost 19 years(Leaving those 6 years with Chris). That’s the whole of my existence. Then I was a part of being a couple. Now after her, I am back to being single.

Being single is not a problem really, except the loneliness and the never-ending hours of boredom, and the fact that there is nobody to share your life with. Otherwise I should say I should be just happy the way things are going. Instead of being addicted to love or the Queen Bee I am addicted to better things... things which you can buy in black from nearest drugstore.

On Sunday I went to see a movie. My friend who was supposed to come did not come. I ended up seeing the movie alone... nothing new for me. But my other colleague came along with his wife. After the movie, they met me outside the theatre. Since I had nothing to do and it was really rude to say that I had to go somewhere, I tagged along with them. No! Don’t get me wrong. These are nice people. Newly married, funny and easy to mix with. But it’s is also a fact that, two’s a company and three’s a crowd.

So I tagged along. But it becomes difficult to tag along with a couple and that too who are in love with each other and share a life together. You are the odd man out. They have their moments, their secrets, their affection and their chemistry. You are just like an extra chemical that tries to blend in. You are like an extra ingredient that could really make a very good dish go real bad. Although how much they try to make you feel comfortable, you tend to feel more uncomfortable.

Like the glances they might steal at each other. For no reason they may smile at each other and you are wondering “What? What? What’s the joke?” They suddenly begin to talk about the last time they went somewhere and how much fun you had. And you just stand there like a stupid and smile. What are you smiling for? You were not even there.

If you get a chance, you will run and run so fast that you are thousand miles from them. Let them enjoy each other’s company. But no! You just have to stand, sit and roam with them like a super prick. Never to know what to do.

It’s better if you know both of them. If not then it’s the worse. Especially when the person you know leaves you with the person you don’t know. What? Don’t they see I am stupid? Why do I have to open my mouth and confirm it? You don’t know what to speak. What to say? Well something personal, maybe about the stock market index or something interesting like what is the exact temperature is required to melt steel or iron or plastic or any damn thing that melts or maybe something about them. Believe me it’s a golden opportunity to make an ass of one’s self. “So, you both are in love?” What? What the hell was the question? Didn’t you have anything to say? Ofcourse they are in love and that’s why they are together. No you have to mouth the most stupid and dumbest line.

And then they have to be intimate with each other, hold hands or just hold each other. You meanwhile would try as hard to look the other way. It’s not polite, isn’t it? You try to find anything that distracts you from them. Not that you like to see how much passionate they can become. But for god’s sake you are with them and where else to look. So, you try to look everywhere else except them. Oh that’s a nice building out there. How come I never saw that? Ah and that’s a wonderful piece of dog shit there on the footpath. What wonderful design it has made when somebody has stepped on it. Oh it looks like my shoe design. Shit!! I am the one who stepped on it.

It becomes worse when all three have to sit somewhere and you can’t even escape from there. You smile, read the menu for the hundredth time, appreciate the décor or just wonder did they serve you what you had ordered or just eat blindly trying hard not to show your non-existent table manners

It’s not always like that. I have had many good times with friends and many couples. It’s a problem when I am alone in a couple or the worst, more than one couple. Each couple thinks that I am with the other couple and completely ignores me, which brings me to where I started, alone.

Being uncomfortable with couples rest on the fact that I don’t like crowd. I would rather sit with my junior Orang and trip on cuppis and then watch some movie. But I think I have learnt to make my way out of such situations like the other day I preferred to walk for half hour to avoid meeting his girlfriend with him. OK! Not a smart thing but a logical thing to do. I have to learn more.

Till then I continue to be trapped between couples and admiring the most irrelevant and beautiful things around me like that cloud really looks like bugs bunny

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Nothing Really

It’s cold and gloomy in Bangalore today, it’s been 2 days and it always feel it’s gonna rain madly right now. Almighty above makes me feel like he is that kind of drunken dog who is gonna puke any moment. The temperature has gone down to I don’t know to what degree Celsius. It’s Tuesday and still 3 days before weekend arrives. I don’t feel like working today. The time is crawling. Outside the office it’s cold. It’s so gloomy. Its one of those days when you don’t feel like doing anything. I am yawning endlessly much to my own embarrassment. I can’t help it. The climate makes me sleepy. And maybe, just maybe also for the fact that I was lying awake till 6:00 AM today watching “300”.

I would like to tuck myself in warm bed between warm sheets. A cup of tea and yes, some nice hot pakodas. That could be great. I could watch a nice movie on the DVD or just doze off. But it will not happen. I am in office where I am supposed to work. But work is so boring today. I need to complete my task but there’s always tomorrow. Even James Bond said “Tomorrow never Dies”

My eyes are sleepy. People around me are furiously typing on their keyboards. They have work. They have deadlines. But it’s unusually quiet around. I like to think in times like this. Sometimes I got to use that brain of mine. Looking around there is so much to think. But all in all it is a very boring day. Even writing this can be boring. Aaah now I have a new rule to play with I cant use any names in my blogs many have objected to it not even the X’s or pseudo names…fine I will dance the tune I don’t mind it, I love them any how whether I write their names or not.

The mails are hard to come by. It makes me wonder, are the email servers of Yahoo, Gmail, hotmail, Rediffmail, Indiatimes, Sify etc working at all? Even my official mail id has received only one mail from morning (touch wood!!) and that too FYI. I am refreshing my browser window frequently. Nope, no mail yet. Even the ever dependable forward mail from Panna and Ani about the different so called “facts of life” PowerPoint presentation with those wonderful quotes and pictures of scenic beauty is absent today. Is everybody sleeping? I could might as well use this time to send that chain mail to 100 people and see if my life changes. I don’t believe in them. At times I really hate them send this to 10 people and she will come back in your life; sent it to 10 and she married someone else#@$$#^$% This is purely for research purposes. Why some people play such games when they know we Indians are such emotionally shattered lot???

Send me your email ids. I don’t have 100 email ids in my address book.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Hedo (Hero) What Do you want Eh?

That’s a very familiar sentence I often hear from D…at times I thought it was a sign of insecurity and distrust from her end. A Bachelor dog like me trying to mingle with a married woman… with want intentions in mind??? Then I started feeling its more of a needy question… why don’t you want anything… aaah is it true or a very beautiful extension of my dreams…

Whatever Lets say I want… secrets unvealed....

1) I want you to want me more than I want you. I want you not make it apparent but show glimpses of it through the things you do for me and not through the things you say to me.

2) I want you to live longer than me and die only after I am dead.

3) I want you to be familiar with everything about me and yet pretend as though you don't know anything.

4) I want you to scrub my back during bath and then dry me up… and then ask the same from me.

5) I want you to hold on to me when I am sinking and I don't like the feeling but let go of me when I like the feeling. And I want you to recognize the difference.

6) I want you to not hold me back when I am trying to run away and I don't want you to go looking for me because I'll come back eventually as you will leave me with no other option, so keep the candle lighted and the chair empty.

7) I want you to be a non vegetarian like me; fight with me to share the household chores like washing utensils and tidying up the room. I want you to come with me for brisk walks in evenings; go for jogging with me…go for trekking…long drives… jungles trips during weekend. I want you to share cigarette with me and yet be health conscious.

8) I want you to understand that I take back more than what I give, always. I want you to give it all to me and still ask do I want more.

9) I want you to be conscious of the truth that I am worth all the trouble just as I am conscious of the truth that you are the only one worth all my life.

10) I want you to hug me and ask for a hug from me. Most importantly I want you to keep this magic alive forever and ever.

I dont know why I have to stop t10...I want you to ask it again... what do I want?