Friday, April 27, 2007

Nothing Official About It

It is a difficult time these days for students.With the vacations coming to an end and the looming threat of returning to the routine mess of school/college beginning to peek its head,kids are irksome.So am I.I take the honor to inform you that I have just taken my admission into the Second Year Bachelorship of Arts.I am lucky to have been taken once more.But what i intend to narrate is not th admissione but the journey to get it.

After receiving the astounding and fantastically unbeleivable success in my final exams,I thought my parents would be a little appreciative of me.But all I got in return was "You sure didn't copy??".right.So much for hard work.The next two days went by in the joyful wishing of friends and neighbours.then came the D-day.Admission.The night before admission has always been difficult for me.That owes its origin to the fact that I am not the most orderly humans amongst you.Often my preparations for the documents happen in real chaotic fashion.I would dive into my dark,cavernous shelf and try to emerge with all documents from inside it.Many of them would hide themselves in the most oblivious fashion.and more often than not,my xerox copies would have been used by my mother as covers for her 'pakodas'.So after spending about 6 hrs in the previous night it would be really bad if you wake up the following morning and find out that somethingis missing.All this done,I got into the train hoping nothing would go missing on the journey to the college.

The management of the college has only one opportunity to extract revenge for the last year.Therefore,they are in the most invincible form on admission day.As i got into the prayer hall with my friends i was early.Beforehand there were certain news that we had to pay the fee in Demand Draft.I,obviously,had remained closed ears to that.I had carefully brught cash to the college in the hope that they would accept it.In the corridor to the hall,we were accosted by some of our 'long lost' teachers.Oe of them caught us by the scruff of our necks and demanded to know our results.Seeing mine,she gave me a deep incisive look.As we alked on,she was still looking at me.c'mon guys,can't a boy like me pass?Anyways,I got to the hall and joined the long,snaking line to the clerks table in order to get my form examined.As my turn came,the clerk looked up.he was a bald pated.heavily mustachioed man of fifty with a evil look in his eye.I gave him my form,hoping that it would be right.He took a long look at it.He stopped at my surname,and asked me to spell it.It is quite embarassing to spell my surname,we south indians do have quite a few miles to our name.After the dreadfully long name,he said ok.Hapily I went down to the office to pay and get myself enrolled.I encounered another long line of haggled and harassed students before me.I spent about fifteen minutes before i reached the counter.As i reached out to pay the fee,the clerk informed me of his inability to accept cash.What impeccable timing!I immediately had to rush out in search of a bank that would beleive me and offer me a Demand Draft.

The catch in the situation was that the draft would have to be issued by a nationalised bank.There are few nationalised banks around our college.One refused to allow me in saying they issue drafts only at 2 pm.I guess my mom's theory of "RAHU KAAL' is beleived ny a lot of people.I rushed to another one.before I could enter a huge crowd of students had already posted themselves at every possible counter.I decided to get in any which ways and look for the form.After a few unanswered queries,I found the right form.So i joined the queue of about twenty students .After a few days...sorry hours,I got out of the bank with the DD in hand.
I reached college.By this time,the line a the office had grown as long as Rapunzel's hair.I wouldn't have known so many people to study in my college if it were not for this line before my eyes.As slowly as the line snaked forward,my stomach began to rumble.I had left home at about 7 in the morning,an ominous time to be awake.I hadn't had breakfast,and was definitely going to miss lunch.I was not alone in such times of trouble.A few of my friends were discretely sending smelly and noxious airs from their behind into the already warm atmosphere. and conspicuously looking at each other.Moreover,the line was held up at the front by girls,who as always,get to the first and stay there for a very long time.If these troubles were not enough,we had to fight groups of 'friends' who would arrive and try to displace you,or bribe you to take them in the line.It was almost as if we were fighting a war on our empty stomachs.

By the time i reached the counter,i was paining in all places.right at that moment,the PC went kaput!!Boy,did a commotion rise from the students corner.But then it was soon silenced with a simple word - rustication.Well,whoever wanted to get rusticated before being enrolled?I waited there,silent as a charlie chaplin movie.after a endlessly long wait of 20 minutes, my form was accepted and I was finally a student of this college.As i was venturing out,the clerk shouted behind me " check the office out.You won't be here for a long time from now!!" Was he right!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Strange Encounters With A Stranger Kind

It is often that i meet strangers whose names i do not know.But it is not very often that i meet a 'pretty' stranger whose name i would like to know,but still do not know.Yesterday was one such occassion.I got into the train as usual.After a while of haggling and harassing,i moved into the calmer confines of the compartment.I took my place between the first row.My front seats were occupied by only three people instead of the usual four.I guessed the inevitable reason for that was a pretty girl sitting right between her 'brother'(optimism) or boyfriend(bad luck).I hoped it would be the former.She was busy reading a news paper so i tried to occupy myself with a fight going on the outside.

After a few stops,i got a seat right opposite her(Must've been my lucky day).I tried hard not to keep staring.But on the contrary,I found her stealing glances at me.Now that almost killed me.All my life i've spent as an 'Use and Throw' piece.Girls only came to talk to me if they had an assignment to do or to make their boyfrieds jealous.This was a first for me.Unfortunately,i did not have any prior experience in how to commence friendlies.That task was made even more difficult by the muscular young man sitting right next to her.I decided to throw in my best shot.I have always found that a good book attracts more peope than glib talking.I picked my book("The Last Mughal") out of the bag and started reading.But still those secretive looks kept coming.By now I was thoroughly bothered.

I mustered enough courage to say 'Hi", on the most optimistic hope that she ought to know me if she kept staring like that.fortunately for me she blinded me with a huge smile.

"I almost thought you didn't recognise me",she said.

Dammit."Of course not.How are you?Long time no see?"

"Oh yeah.We have moved to Thane.That happened after school.",she solemnly replied.

Right,when did i see you in school."Oh! so what are you doing nowadays.seen any of our schoolmates."

"Oh no!Been very busy.Am preparing for the exams...Engineering.Haven't had time to do much socializing."

beauty with brains,now those are as rare as they come;-).

" So,what are you doing?"

Just wasting time."Oh you know,just this and that." very suave,houdini.

By this time,the jock beside her had his face contorted between a smile and a clenched jaw.
she turned to him and said,"This is Houdini.He was in my class in school.Houdini,this is my brother."

Great!!why do girls have to have somebody in accompaniment when they talk to me.BFs,GFs, and Brothers.Do I have the look of serial killer that they do not find it safe to talk me alone."Oh HI.what do you do?"as if i care

" I am dong my MBA".he spoke.

EMM-BEEE-AYE.so smart ain't he." Hmm.That i s good.Your future looks mint-y fresh,does't it?"

Unfortunately,he did not get the joke."Which college are you in?",he asked.

"KJ Somaiya."

" Doing what??"

what is it with you? I am not answering an interview here."Arts."

"any future plans",he wisely questioned.

Heavens,I ain't asking for your sister's hand in marriage for you to find out my economic prospects." plan to go into journalism"

"that sounds exciting",this time she said.

By this time their stop had arrived.They silently got up and wished me good luck and all other proprieties.I said the same."Call me some time.",they said.

call you what,miss..." Sure.I will"

As she went forward her brother turned to me.Now,I was a bit apprehensive.How could you not be with a guy who is 6ft tall,has the built of a bull-dog and wears a tshirt that says 'Don't Mess with ME'

He stuck his penetrating red eyes on to my face and said in a slow,hushed voice,"You didn't know her,did you??"

Now what should I have said then...."Of course not" or " You're right".

All I said was " see ya later." That was the most honest thing that I had said that hour.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

In The End

So I woke up yesterday and found out that my results were coming out.Grumbling,I got out of bed and looked up at the watch.It showed a skewed time of 9:30.dammit!why is it that whenever you want mom to wake you,she is busy.I rush to the bathroom and do my morning chore.I looked into the mirror and was stared back by a unruly haired,unshaved dervish.I would have gone anyways to college,but mom came back and stared at me with such dangerous eyes.I know her,and in such times it is better not to mess with her.

I called up my class mate on the way and asked him if he knew what today was.He was clueless.After i informed him,he was on his way to college.I caught the train,fought my way hrough the crowd and reached college by a quarter to 11.I was dumbstruck to find that the results were coming out by 3 to 5 pm in th evening.There i stood .sweating like I had just been to colombia,outside my college entrance with all other students comfortably roaming round with their Gfs and Bfs.I was pissed off,real bad.Before leaving ,I called up my "On the way" classmate to ask him where he was.Looks like he was still in bed.he had a valid reason.Who wants to see a bad result,and anyways i could check out for him.He gave me his roll.I told him it was on the NH list."whats NH!??",he asked.I screamed back,"NOT HERE!!!"

I went back to lounge at my cousin's place nearby.I am lucky that people have houses nearby.At about 3:30,when my cousin decided if I didn't leave now he would call the police I left.I reached college by about 4 'o clock.I spotted a few dorks hanging around.I carefully ventured up to them and asked if their fates had been pronounced.All I got was a blank look.Some people are more stupid than they look.After a little time,the notice board announced that the results will be here by 5pm.Gr88!!extend it for a few more hours and i will have a day more of enjoyment.

It was 5 and te crowd outside the college was swelling by the second.The entrance almost resembled a railway station.Suddenly,the peons came out with two small,rectangular notice-boards.The rush was inevitale.For the first time,i realised people are interested in knowing their results.There were students,all over the place.Screaming,kicking,crying....well,not crying but with various expressions.My friends stayed back for the moment.I could not.I had to ripp my result off the board before somebody else sees it.I entered the crowded ring.I don't have much strength or muscles on me(unless you count 5 cm biceps),but I have travelled on crowded trains for ages now.I pushed and scratched and bit my way through.As I reached the board,it said "FYBCOM" in big capitals.Now people revenged,i was thrown out like Saurav ganguly from the indian team.But like the name,I made a comeback.Seeing a crowd on the other end of the gate,I rushed in again.I realised too late,that the high-pitched screams tearing my ears apart were from the feminine gender.I was staring at the girls results.before I could be accused of something and end up in jail,my mates dragged me out of a clawing and murderous crowd.

I looked sheepishly at them,trying to hide my embarassment."Lucky you!!" a friend winked.Right!!But where in hell's name was my result.By now,I was streaming in sweat.Hell would have felt like home.suddenly one of my classmates turned ro me and said," Have you tried that one out yet??".I hadn't noticed a smaller crowd near another column of the gate.I went there,hurt and tired.nothing could be worse now,i thought.I searched minutely for my number.I found it.A look of terror came acrss my face.My bowels had begun to revolt.I had a nauseating feeling .My friends couldn't beleive their eyes.

I had passed "FIRST CLASS".I didn't beleive it.Neither did mom and dad when I told them.They still wat to see that marksheet before lending credibility to my account.Unfortunately,I do not have that proof in my hand.I will only get it day after tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Past,The Future And Me

Together they made a very strange picture.Almost as if they were in a dimension between to worlds.A 3yr old boy standing,crying besides his sleeping grandmother.It would have made an award winning photograph.The boy;his little hands clasped together as if holding an imaginary candy bar,tears running down his dirty cheek into his wide open mouth;and his grandmother,who looked no different than the rags she wore,sleeping on the pavement.

I don't know why the li'l guy was crying.Maybe because he was hungry and his granny was carelessly sleeping.Or maybe because she was dead and he didn't know what to do.I didn't know which one was it.My ears couldn't take his bawling,which according to me would have shattered the glasses in the coffee shop in which i was sitting.But it hardly strained into the ears of this city basking idly under the scorching sun.In that moment,I had a view of the demented world that we were living in.

My eyes searched the road for any sign of his parents.All i found was an empty road.I don't think they would have been in the cofee shop.Maybe they had gone to work in some under-construction building nearby.Or maybe,they had left this world in search of a better one.whatever it was,i was worried.After a while he stopped.His bawling changed to sobs and then subdued to sniffles.Maybe he realised the futility of it.For a while he looked around not knowing what to do.He went back and sat down besides his granny.I watched him,as he innocently played with his grannys sari.I wondered whether he knew about this world that he was born into.For a second,my thoughts connected with him.I noticed a lost,confused look in his eyes.They had a glazed look caused by a permanent state of worry.

I felt sorry for him.But he contradicted me.His face broke into a wide grin.In my keen observation of the kid,I failed to notice that the lump of rags beside him had arisen to a wrinkly old woman.I smiled feebly as the child rushed into her arms and got enveloped by a warm embrace.

I watched them walk away,hand in hand and dissolve into the ever innocent crowd of shoppers.The past and the future.Then it hit me.There was something amiss here.The present.Where was it?? I slipped into introspection.I had been so engrossed in scanning my past and worrying about my future,that i had lost my present.Every innocuous moment that had slipped by was now lost forever in the throes of time.But now,I realised.I had to make the most of the moments i had.In them i had to work,live and enjoy.As i rose from my table,the child inside me smiled.He took me by my hand into his future.His present happily followed his future.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Going Down In A Blaze Of Glory

Every single day they rise and go on with their work.They are ordinary people,like you,me,everyone else.Not much differentiates us.Just like us,they too have families to feed,parties to go to,friends to meet,and bils to pay.They say their prayers like many of us.Maybe more sincerely than many of us.They belong to someone,or are somebody.They might be be somebody's only love,A father's only hope.The two eyes of their mother.He might be a hardworking father,worrying about his child's future.A mother who puts her two kids to sleep,saying that she would be with them forever.A loving husband wanting to fulfill every one of his wife's whims.A young boy waiting for his friends to come out for the next game of cricket.

They have undergone much pain.A lot more than some of us can bear.And maybe,will suffer even more.They have dreams,many of which will never see the light of day.They still fight on.trudging through the murky waters of life's tragedies.Almost every single one of them knows,that their clocks are timed.It is a matter of a few more....minutes,hours,days and maybe,just maybe,years.Every night,they lie down on their mattresses with plans of what they would do tomorrow.Though one of them might never see the sun.Ever again.

They live life.Without Fear.For them,these moments are to celebrate life;not to mourn death.they have one more move to go on their 64 squares.One last attempt to checkmate their opponent.Look around you.They are everywhere.Behind you,In front of you,with you,maybe,even you.In the train,hanging on the door,working in the office,sharing your lunch,driving your car.They know life better.Better still,they know death.Not as an hovering enemy,but as a friendly stranger.but they aren't ready to let him into their houses.Not yet.They have one last task to accomplish,one last thing to do,one last move to perform,one last chance to prove.Then,they can go down in a blaze of glory.