Thursday, November 03, 2005

All my bags are packed...

All my bags are packed and I'm ready to go.
I cannot belive that the time has finally arrived for me to leave. I remember thinking in june that I had ages left, and I was all ready to enjoy a much needed vacation. But good times never last and mine's just gotten over.
All these days I felt I was still a carefree college go-er, in my tattered jeans and a tee. And now its like saying goodbye to me and hello to a whole new person. All my junk gets left behind here. New formal clothes take up the bulk of space in my luggage. No more kolhapuri chappals and cloth bags: look out for formal heels and handbags (yuck!!).
But I would be lying if I said I wasnt looking forward to this. Its a new beginning, albeit with a few old faces, and a natural progression from the college years. I mean, isnt this why we go to college in the first place?
I am guessing its also an opportunity to shed the excess baggage, the kind of stuff one tends to accumulate over college. Friendship now takes on a whole new avatar. Its no more about hanging out at a coffee shop, talking inane stuff that matter to absolutely no one. Its now about keeping touch as different people go defferent ways. I guess its also the crossroad where some decide its time to leave while some decide its time to carry on being friends.
As for me, this is yet another stepping stone to get to the bigger picture- that distant goal which hopefully gets just a bit closer now. I am hoping for a good career here, of course, who wouldnt. I am hoping, more importantly, to acquire new knowledge that will help me long my journey. I am also hoping that I am a different, better person when i emerge from this phase.
Hopefully, i'll be able to chronicle it in my blog, time permitting.
On that note, this blogger goes into hibernation.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Coffee Break

Man’s thoughts consist primarily of memories. It may be those of people he has met in his lifetime, or places and things; of books he has read or news he has heard and even conversations he has eavesdropped upon. I guess it is safe to say that even the past minute is a memory, stored in the vault in my head along with other such previous minutes, to be dredged up sometime, I don’t know when, maybe even a time when I am least expecting it. But as long as it is there I am safe; because without my memories I am just a hollow shell of nothingness. Just as you would be without your memories.
Having spent the majority of my childhood in Calcutta-I refuse to call it Kolkatta now because when I knew it, it was still very much Calcutta- I made friends that remained in my memory long after I left the city. I kept in touch with the closest ones, and with the others, I followed their progress through the various levels of life upto adulthood, sometimes even establishing some sort of a communication with them. In those times there was a lot of excitement, on my part at least, I don’t know how it was with them, as so much would have happened in the intermittent years, so much news to share. I would always be left with the feeling that old friends were friends for life. The feeling persisted through all the friends I made in all the other cities I lived and left. The same cycle would continue but yet the first friends, the ones I made in those carefree kindergarten years were the ones I looked upon most fondly. When I struggled with being a loner through teenage years it was of great consolation to me to know that my friends were in Calcutta, miles away from where I was at that moment and this distance was the cause of my loneliness- I even told myself that the only reason I was unable to be as close with the people I knew at that point was because just as my real buddies were from childhood, theirs too were of a different circle. Thus each of us had no space or inclination for new friends in our lives.
It was,therefore, a very joyous moment when a childhood friend from Calcutta turned out to be based in Chennai, which I currently inhabit. Of course, the plans were made. We had to meet. It would be our first meeting in twelve years- we went through lower kindergarten to class four together, were in the guides together and were even in the same house! Hell, we even shared the same surname. In fact that last factor had brought us together way back in Lower KG! And finally the day came when we were to meet. In a way it was a symbolic day that we chose to meet- I was attending my very first Durga Puja in over five years, and so meeting my friend was only another reason to look forward to the day.
When we set eyes on each other the first time that day, all I could think was that it was like seeing her in Carmel High School, Calcutta all over again, in class 4! And all she could say was, ”How much you’ve changed!!” I think I underestimated that statement at that moment but in retrospect I realize that so much had changed, most of all, me! The change went beyond the obvious, it was so much deeper.
After spending time chatting up about the years that we had missed out on in each others’ lives I introduced her to some of my friends here. That, I think, was the moment that the truth hit me that day.
As I observed my two friends, albeit from totally different phases of my life, interacted with each other I was aware of how out of place one was with the other, like somehow the scene before me didn’t belong. But the person most of place there was none other than me! I felt like I was stuck in between time zones, one from the past and one from the present, and sadly for me, they both couldn’t meet and couldn’t live together.
I came back home that day, feeling more confused than ever.
I found, much to my disappoint, that both of us had changed so much that the present day me had very little in common with the present day her. She grew up to be the type of person I had always known she would be, but I never expected to feel so disjoint from her. All we had between us were the memories of our childhood, which were slowly being replaced by memories of more recent times. I was disappointed because my belief that my true friends were the ones from my childhood had been misplaced.
On that day I learnt a very important lesson. There is a time and place for everything and everyone that walks into our lives. A few lucky ones cross our paths again, but not to continue a relationship from where it was left off, but rather to take that relationship to an all-new level. I guess there is nothing wrong with that. I look forward to an altogether different kind of relationship with my friend now, one that has firm roots in our childhood but whose branches are more relevant to our present day lives. I know, now, to give more into my present day relationships, because I realize there is no point in holding back- I am only denying myself a good friend! Of course, the old friends remain, to discuss life and times gone by over a cup of coffee!
I remember reading about this kind of thing many years ago, in The Telegraph newspaper of Calcutta, in a column called “Coffee Break” by Pakshi Vasudeva and my mother had ,upon reading that piece,urged me to read it too. Its funny how I remember it so vividly even though I haven’t read that newspaper in years! Perhaps because I understand only now the true meaning of what that columnist wrote so many years ago, and why my mother had wanted me to read it.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I have become comfortably numb...

That’s a line form one of my all time favourite songs. It was running through my head all of yesterday evening for an entirely different reason though.
I am scared of dentists, to say the least. I’ll agree with you when you say that it’s the most common of all fears. But here, in my case, I go a little beyond that. Because I am totally petrified of dentists. I am scared to even accompany a family member to the dentist because it reminds of all the work that is pending on my teeth and I cant wait to get out of the building, and put a safe distance between us- the dentist’s chamber and me, that is. I am scared to grin too broadly because my dentist once suggested that maybe I should think about having braces!! So imagine my plight when I was informed that I needed to have my wisdom teeth removed, the keywords here being teeth and removed!
This was suggested to me oh about six months ago, but the smart me managed to postpone it until I didn’t have to get it done, or so I thought. The teeth had a different plan for me, it turns out. I came down with a bad tooth ache and so, with no other option left and with a heavy heart and even heavier feet, I dragged myself to the dentist to have it examined. Of course I needn’t have bothered. He informed very cheerfully that I just had to have my tooth extracted ASAP! Ouch!!!
The day dawned bright and sunny, outside my window, but inside my head it was all a blank. if you are aware of Calvin’s reactions to the word bath then you know exactly what I was feeling. I bid my goodbyes to my friends and spent the better part of an hour bidding adieu to my tooth in the mirror.
As I lay on the chair, I was reminded of how much it felt like a coffin, not that I would know what that felt like but still… my feet grew cold, my fingers began to shiver, so much so that I had to clutch at my sleeves to keep the shivers from showing. And then He said, ”Lights!” and my world went dark. I screwed my eyes shut so that I couldn’t see. All I was aware of was that my heart was beating wildly. The gentle purr of the AC faded into the background. My last conscious feeling was the needle of the injection piercing my gums and then, it all went numb. Like a flash of light in my head, the strains of the song began playing…. “Ok, just a little pin prick, there’ll be no more…”
And then, “There is no pain, you are receding”. As feeling left the right side of my cheek and lips, all I saw, when I dared open my eyes for just a sliver of a moment, was the blinding light and the sound of something drilling, and the feeling that a huge machine of some sort was working in my mouth, its vibrations reaching all the way into my head. Yet all I felt were the vibrations and no pain. I closed my eyes, happy with the escape that the numbness offered.
Before I knew it, it was over. I saw the little bent needle and the black thread and knew that this was not at all what I had imagined. Only the bloody tooth was evidence of the last twenty odd minutes.
And then came the tough part- no talking he said. At this point I must tell you that since all was numb, I actually felt no pain. And therefore I assumed all was normal. They forgot to warn me that the anesthesia would eventually wear off only to be replaced by the searing pain, the very one that dentist nightmares are made of.
So, that night no one got any sleep. Ice packs and ice creams are obviously part of a dentist’s evil plan- his way of saying, sorry for the pain you’re going to be feeling, so here, stop crying and have an ice cream! Painful truth: It doesn’t work.
And today, I am dumb! Not numb, mind you, in fact far from it. The throbbing pain is making even drinking water a task. I cannot talk. Its weird, but I cannot help thinking to myself, thank god for free sms!
I don’t know how long this pain is going to last. Frankly I don’t even want to know. I know I will sleep well tonight… because I have just conquered a fear- my fear of dentists. I hope it stays this way until next week- that’s when I’m getting another wisdom extracted… er… did I mention that I have to have all four of them removed?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

4 years vs. 4mins… is that all it’s worth?

Four years ago, a few men carved a niche for themselves in history books world over. Their planning, timing and their ruthlessness changed the way the world lived. They managed to implant fear of the living into every mortal alive: 9/11 happened… and the world would never be the same again.
And now four years on, nothing much seems to have changed. The perpetrators of that ghastly carnage roam scot free, the families that suffered losses are still trying to come to terms with their loss, and politicians, not just in America, but the world over are still talking about wars on terrorism and the like. On the surface a lot has changed- hurricanes have come and gone, wars have been fought, genocide and destruction continues in other parts of the world: each country is grappling with its own problems. But beneath the surface, nothing has changed. The pain is still raw, the memories still fresh, and the reminders are all too present… and of course, as it is in every such historical landmark, if 9/11 could be called that, commercialism has been the first to kick into action. Books have been written and money has been made. Memorabilia have been sold and money has been made. Strikes, protests, peace marches… and money has been made; someone has become famous, someone has been promoted, some one even became president, and of course, money has been made.
Now on the fourth anniversary, the customary editorials are written, special issues of magazines are published, news channels send correspondents to NYC to cover Ground Zero as it is today.Interview a few families, a few poignant words and pictures...
Declare holidays, or better still, observe silence. The USA observed 4minutes of silence to “remember the victims of 9/11”, as they put it. As though those 4 minutes will ease the pain, if only for today. That day of death, destruction, fear, panic and loss, and just 4 minutes to remember it all. 4minutes to remember the anguish of families who have lost loved ones, or to imagine the feelings of a man trapped in that ill-fated aircraft, knowing he was about to die and take scores of others along with him, and feeling as helpless as a newborn, or the pain of never really knowing what exactly happened in those last few minutes before this incident was etched into history for eternity.
And as if this mockery is not enough, the government wants to build a Freedom Center on Ground Zero. What freedom is the monument going to stand for? Freedom from fear, when terrorists still run amok in our countries today? Or freedom to live in peace, as hunger and poverty ravages parts of the globe? And most importantly, freedom of its people while the country wars with other nations?
Those grieving are demanding for a memorial to be built on Ground Zero to stand as a permanent testimony of the tragedy that befell their nation on that fateful day, so that the world may remember for time to come, how all the carefully built seemingly impenetrable can fall in the blink of an eye, and without a warning.
Ultimately, this whole episode has been reduced to an endless fight between two parties for what is a piece of land, and nothing more. It does not seem to matter to the warring factions that this ground is not just the final resting place of many a citizen of the world, nor the fact that this whole exercise is making a mockery out of something as tragic as what happened on 9/11. Somewhere in the recesses of the mind springs a spark of fear that perhaps the world has forgotten the enormity of the tragedy, not entirely but just beginning to fade along the edges. Soon all of it will become too blurry to be lucid anymore. The fear lies that these people, who are stuck in a seeming time- warp and who have closed their minds and eyes to the bigger picture of it all, will need another 9/11 to jolt them from their slumber. Perhaps even then, this war will wage on with results too far away to be of any solace to anyone, victim or otherwise.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


I finally gave in to the temptation and decided to start my own blog. I guess it was also on popular demand, and not just peer pressure. But the only factor that made me take the giant leap, so to speak, was that it would be another channel to express myself… in the hope that some one, jobless enough, would read it… guess I wasn’t aiming too high, I mean, afterall, you are reading it right now…
As is the done thing in all blogs, at least in the ones I have seen so far, there usually is an introductory blog of sorts.. I figured why break the tradition, so here it is: the introductory piece of my blog. There is just one problem here. What do I write here? How do I introduce this? Read my blog, its my way of practicing my English? Or, read my blog, it’s my opinion of anything and everything? I cannot commit to anything. Simply because I wont keep that commitment. I cannot promise entertainment. Nor any form of profundity. I cannot promise that you, the reader, will gain anything useful out of the time you will spend reading this blog.
This blog is just my opinion, my view on the things that occupy space in my head. It is based on my experiences or of those around me. This blog is like a window that offers a small peek into my world, my thoughts.


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