Put your heart into your run…

…and you could surprise yourself with what you can do.

We had a lot in common. I liked her and she liked me. Period.

And that was exactly 1 year ago.

Life is what happens when you are too busy planning for it.

It was an existence. Living in the white pages of a book that I was trying to write for myself. Or so I thought. It was not bad, mind you. But on hindsight, it was the kind of numb comfort that I was in where the scars were blunted and happiness was muted. It was existence at it’s purest form.

It was just not life. As I had seen it, wanted it, and was planning for it.  What I knew, but did not count in was that life, rarely, happens by your will and control. It is simple really. Everything happens for you. Not to you. It happens at the right moment – not too soon, not too late.

We just do not see it that way. Rather, we do not want to see it that way.

Around 4 years ago, something happened for me. At that point, it seemed like the worst thing ever. I felt like I was the phoenix, who had to rise from the ashes and reclaim what I was. Yeah, pretty dramatic stuff.

And exactly a year ago, something happened for me again. A year later, I now connect the dots.

Everything happens for a reason. And the reason happened on 15th February, 2013. I still do not know how and why I came across her and felt I could talk to her. Out of possibly scores of others. And she was there on the page, at the bottom scrolling to the left as an afterthought, when my eyes fell upon her visage. A smile that seemed natural and bright even under the glare of artificial lights. Eyes twinkling with a hope and expectation for a chirpy, enthused life, that is so becoming of her.

Was it chance, coincidence, or purely the hand of fate? I am yet to figure it out.

I am not the usual melodramatic sentimental chap; at least, I’d like to think so. But I still remember the 1-1.5 hours I spent listening to her, talking to her. She seemed unsure, nervous. But little did she know that I was more nervous than her. It felt like I had been a castaway surviving in the seas away from civilization for ages. And now, here I was suddenly thrown among mankind (or womankind, in this case) and I had to learn to talk. Like it was normal for me. For most of us, confidence is not a state of being. It is a state of mind that you constantly work at; very often it seems like a facade, but one that you love having on you as a cloak. That you are always trying to drape on.

She: I still remember that day, when you seemed so shy. and vulnerable. 

Me: Was I? No, I was a little nervous. But I think I was quite confident too.

She: Ok, baby. You were confident :).

Little did she know then, that it was the cloak working. Overtime. And in spite of that, she knows and I know till date, that I was the one who was shy and vulnerable. Even 12 months later. And this is what defines this marriage for me. Where she seems to see through me, and accepts me for who I am. And loves me for who I am.

We got married in May of last year; but I still cherish the first day we met. On 15th February – our Valentine’s Day. And started the marathon that is, of our marriage.

It was not too tough for me to think of how I wanted to celebrate it. Teddy bears, chocolates, gifts – these were mundane. I did for her today what I like doing the most. Run. For her.

12 Kms to celebrate the 12 months that I have known her, loved her, fought with her, made up with her and that which made me realize that this is what I was waiting for. All my life.

As with all things in life, this too did not go as planned. But you do not stop, do you? You carry on through all the sweat and smiles.

Planned Run

This was my planned run – I charted out a route that spelled I LOVE U in 12 Kms. It was tough, mind you. With all the permutations, combinations, etc. I even took a print out and carried it during my run. It was a new route, in a location I was not familiar with, and I had planned to do this early in the morning when it was dark, and I could be running blind in alleys without street lights.

Pretty stupid. But hey, love is blind. And makes one stupid, right?

Actual run

And this was my actual run. I got lost in the dark, got chased by a dog, ran on roads back and forth thinking I was on track, got exhausted, ran, walked and ran again. This 1 year has been a roller-coaster ride for me. But I always knew I could get back to the warm comfort of my wife’s indulging smile. And in many ways this run eventually symbolized that for me.

I had never planned for this. But if you put your heart into your run, you would be surprised with the results. I could still chart out I LOVE U, in 12 Kms.

Yeah, I am not melodramatic.

Here’s to you wifey. For a lifetime of togetherness. And for a marathon marriage that goes on and on. Happy Valentine’s Day.

What the bug??

Long long time ago, there was a bug. It was called Bugsy. Others used to call it Bugger. That is because it used to bug. Like writers are those who write, bloggers are those who blog, carpenters are those who, err, carpent?, Buggers are those who bug.

Anyways, Bugsy, or Bugger as it was lovingly called had two stooges. Bugsee and Bugyou. Whenever Bugsee would come, Bugsy would play the bugle and shout “Bugz aila, Bugz aila!”. We never understood why. Bugger that it was. Bugyou was well, as the name suggests bugged everyone. Maybe we should call it Bugger too!

So, Bugsy wanted to have a team of bugs, who apart from doing other meaningless things like scrounge around, scavenge for food, run here and there without getting caught, would also bug. Bugsee and Bugyou were asked to lug the bugs around in their quest for bugginess. Most of the bugs knew what kind of bugginess they need to bring to the team. They were well-trained bugs. All the bugs wanted different kind of bugs on the team – some flies, some insects, some winged ones and some crawlers. This was, so that different kinds of food could be attacked. But Bugsy and its two stooges wanted same kind of food from the same place. Bugsy knew nothing of how to scavenge for food and what all kinds of food were available.

Very soon the food dried up. Bugs started overturning and falling on their backs. Soon, Flit and Baygon spray started choking them. It was suffocating. It was painful. It was basically, bugging.

But the bug stopped with Bugsy. Even Bugsee and Bugyou would pass the bug to Bugsy. Bugsy never understood anything of what the team of bugs should be doing. But yet it had the ABS. The Anti-Bug Stopper.

And so all the bugs remained as bugs. Bloody bugging bell!

That day the bugs realized one very important thing about the world of bugginess and the 2 kinds of bugs that exist.

One  bug that understands what it does not manage.

And the other bug that does not understand what it manages.

And there is a third bug too. The inexplicable bug. The one that runs through idle brains and produces posts such as this one.

…and there is no Baygon spray for this.

Sorry bugger..

P.S. : Some of you buggers might feel that this post is a premeditated, carefully thought out direct result of the previous one where Google apparently did not have any answer to my question of “What do I do now”.

Yes. You are right.

5.so what?

When you walked starry eyed, through the hallowed portals with a suitcase in your hands, did you already forget?

Did reality slap you into what you thought was being “pragmatic”? Or did you just conveniently shove it under the carpet of your self-defined sense of rationality?

Insanity is the eccentric’s rationale. What was yours’?

That small bubble you created, losing yourself in a mocked up maze of well-dressed suits, intelligent gibberish, and esoteric phrases that you conveniently thought was the real deal.

All hidden in the garb of passionately written paraphrases and forgotten away neatly in a folder. A state of denial. Comatose.

Did you try to peel through this maze ever? Take a deep, hard look at yourself in the mirror beyond checking if the shave you just had was smooth? Or if the jeans was fitting you properly? Did you ever stop and ask yourself, why? Did you ever pause? And ask yourself the one nagging question that people journey through their lives trying to answer?

Or did you just brush your hair aside, check the tuck of your t-shirt and walk back into the maze?

I bet you did just that. If you didn’t, you must have been asleep.

A portion of your life, albeit a small one, spent running through silent corridors, into well-lit amphitheaters, caffeine induced sleepless nights, 15 minute power naps, sleeping through inane presentations, debating and discussing like you were the intelligent, final word and the occasionally frequent moments of insobriety. Or sanity, if you will. Words which serve as the backbone of businesses. You used them as punchlines. As dinner time jokes to show how “uber cool” you are. And how stupid they were.

You fought hard to look like you did not care. You fought hard to sound intelligent. You rested your self-worth on laurels won before and sought approval. You loved talking and laughing about people on moonless rooftop nights. Drunk as you were. And you loved being cynical. As if that was the latest fad. You ploughed through countless sheaves of paper and books, solving problems. You learned by rote. You learned by force. You suffered the ignominy of an imbalanced sheet. Then “bounced” back from it by posting it on Facebook. With a smiley. And then strutted around with a bloated sense of self-importance when you saw you were just five marks, and thirty comments better.

You learned by rote. And forgot just as easy.

Decimal numbers became a matter of pride. Or shame. You cared. You feared. You ignored. But you did not pause to revisit that paragraph where you had written why you wanted to be here. You went with the flow. Like you were plugged in. You pushed for every decimal point. You laughed at every decimal point. You sounded blase about it like you never cared. You kept quiet about it like it was your own little secret. But you never ceased to fight it.

And then epiphany struck. Natural numbers and nattily dressed suits. The next program in the matrix was loaded. Being basic was passe. Talking big was the norm. You forgot to look in the mirror. Except to check for the crease on your suit. And you fought hard for those numbers. Ironically, every additional zero seemed to keep you afloat. And you did not bother to see that you were riding on a balloon. All it needed was just a little pin prick. You rode high and floated above all. You had a smile on your face. And you forgot why you were here.

You became Jack’s bloated sense of conceit.

You never stopped to question. You never stopped to ask.

What do you really want?

You conveniently forgot. Like a piece of crumpled paper. And drowned it in the sweet taste of sin that very night.

You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis.

You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.

P.S : Last few lines are Tyler Durden’s. I might just be a paranoid schizophrenic.

Chronicles of Boredom

Disclaimer: Slightly longish. Read if you are bored. Read if you are not bored. You should care about who Tyler Durden and Jack are. At the least, get to know about them. Google or Wikipedia. Happy reading.

Boot laptop. Stare at it for 2 minutes. Sometimes 3.  Till it cranks up. Unwilling. Unwitting. Like the “old hag” syndrome. Myriad “Tyler Durden-ish” thoughts run through while that happens.

This is your laptop. And it is ending every minute. I am Jack’s virus in my system. Need to do something about this. PCTools? Kaspersky? Iobit Security? Will buy a new one when I join work. What kind of laptop defines me as a person? A really cool, gaming laptop? Sony Vaio – the professional types? Windows 7 with a Debian Linux – double boot? He was right. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession. It’s all going down.

Legs start to shake. Involuntarily. As if to wake me up. Alright.

Windows Outlook, Mozilla Firefox. And? Ah, a computer scan as well.

Which one? Intelliscan, Deep Scan or Custom Scan. Hmm. Let me see. While I think about it, Turbo Boost On with Advanced System Care. Ha! Good. Reading Technology section of ET in the loo has its benefits.

Ok. Deep Scan it is.

Forgot. DC++ as well. Peer-to-peer movie downloading software. Leeches and seeders. Peer networking. Read it on B-school websites, right? Well, this is the actual stuff. Look for Mephisto, Burra. Damn, they are offline. Will download later. Close.

Windows Outlook 2010 loading up. Loading Add-ins 1-8. What the hell are these add-ins? I don’t ever use them.

Mozilla Firefox up. Facebook loaded. Gmail loaded. What else? LinkedIn loaded.

Windows Outlook 2010 loading up. Loading Add-ins 1-8.

Check Gmail Inbox.

  1. Cleartrip – Save Rs.2500 on flights and hotels.
  2. iimjobs.com – jobs posted today.
  3. Crossword bookstores – eWords for the month of March 2011.
  4. MakemyTrip Alert – Honk Kong’s buzz and Ladakh’s serenity. Take your pick!
  5. Exciting Lives – Naughty gift ideas!
  6. Simplymarry.com – Connect us with Facebook, talk to your partner in private and get 20% discount on premium membership!

Facebook. Forgot! No messages. No wall posts. Check “what’s on others minds”.

“Some lives are connected by the vast expanses of time and space and they will be embalmed in the callings of the ancient where the echoes of the ticking of a clock will reverberate throughout the ages…”

WTF. Next.

“I know my heart yearnssssssss for youuuuuuuuu. I am waiting my dearrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!”

Ugh! I think I just got a dose of diabetes. And sugar as well. I am Jack’s asinine Facebook update. Is that what they call Keyboard Stutter? Next.

“All Indians – dys is a must watch. Or else what! Next.

Ok. Gmail check again. Refresh…………………..Refresh again. Spam (3). Check Spam.

  1. C S Account Services – You are a weekly winner. Redeem your ticket now!
  2. Does your Mr. Winkie need upgrading? Our offer will interest you.
  3. Preethi – Your special one is waiting for you.

Okay. Delete Spam.

Windows Outlook 2010 loading up. Loading Add-ins 2-8.

Check Facebook again. Refresh, refresh. Nothing. Zilch.

Now what? My head again. A steady high pitch drone around me. Drowning every other silence. Numbing the senses. Numbing the mind. Comfortably. I know my eyes are open but my mind’s steadily drowning itself. In its own nothingness.

Blue sky. The vast expanse. A crow flies by. Alights on the window grill and cocks its head inside. Eyes lock for a brief moment. Recognition? Mockery? It looks away with a measured, dismissive nonchalance. Then flies off. My eyes rest on the grill. I know I am alive because I can sense my chest heaving. Slightly. The drone starts to fade away. Not too high. Not too low. Just there…………………legs start to shake again. Involuntarily.

And then a shrill harmonic interruption. Ground Zero.

Is there a class today? Don’t know man. I don’t think I’ll attend. Just the one anyways.

The sunlight beams on to my face. I look up with a glint in the eye. Something starts to hum in the head. Sunshine, on my shoulders, makes me happy. I am Jack’s irrelevant song in my head.

Windows Outlook 2010 loading up. Loading Add-ins 6-8.

Damn you Windows! Mozilla Thunderbird was much better. I had themes. I had colors. AND I was seen as different. Geeky. Cool. Good times.

Anyways. I always had a short shelf life for things that interested me. They called it a paradox.

Wow! Now that is a beauty. An original thought. Very Jack-Nicholson-in-The-Departed types. I think I should post that on Facebook. Oh yeah, can post it on Twitter. I have a Twitter to Facebook integration. Face beaming in self-pride and gloating. Who are “they”, by the way? Never mind.

1:00 PM. Yep. Lunch. Not much. Just a little to take care of the growing girth. Strange. Never heard of anyone putting on weight in a hostel! Well, it is not the food i guess.

Windows Outlook 2010 loading up. Loading Add-ins 8-8. Opening.……………………………………………………………………

No emails. Yeah. That figures.

2:30 PM. Yep. Sleep till 5:00 PM. Tea, snacks. Placement talk. Crap talk. MBA talk. Look bored.

What am I really doing? With my life, i.e. An earth-bound misfit. It is like a world I created and entered by chance. Not choice. Lost opportunities. Stumbled upon some. Misguided decisions. Half measures. Lost love. Cliched life.

Oh hell! Do not open that door.

Walk back to room. I need to blog. I am good at it. I think I can become a writer. I am good at photography too. I have so many likes on my Facebook album. I mean. That must count for something, right? I think I can become a journalist maybe. Yeah. I like traveling too. Yeah. It all fits in. This is more me.

That is what the good-looking lady in pants told me too.  And all good-looking ladies in pants are right. Even if they are wrong, it is a question of choosing more of the wrong that is right. Right?

Well. That can go up on Facebook too. I mean, Twitter.

Reality Check. Please.

Just because some good people read your crap and say it is good, doesn’t mean you apply to Asian School of Journalism. Or dream about being Chetan Bhagat. With a good-looking wife. Well, good-looking wife, I can dream about. That is alright. A good-looking wife in pants. Yeah! I am Jack’s …. Ok Forget it.

And Facebook? Well, if the “Like” button were not there, you would be a nobody. So, rest it.

Alright. Back to the room.

A movie? Whose Line is it Anyway”? A novel? D:/Term IV? Pending assignments? Look at shelf of books. Look at D:/Term IV/Project Management. Assuage guilt for a while.

“Whose Line is it Anyway” it is! Yay! I am Jack’s irreverent memory.

9:00 PM – Dinner. Placement talk. Crap talk. MBA talk. Look bored. Come back. Finish the rest of Season 2, Whose Line is it Anyway. It’s getting over man. Damn!

11:00 PM. Sleep. Wake up for a jog at 5. Wake up for a jog at 5. Wake up for a jog at. Wake up for a.Wake up fo. Wake up. Wake. Wa…

8:00 AM. Bright and sunny. Sun streaming through. Yet again. Damn! Ok. Get up. Breakfast will get over.

Boot laptop. Stare at it for 2 minutes. Sometimes 3.  Till it cranks up. Unwilling. Unwitting. Like the “old hag” syndrome. Myriad “Tyler Durden-ish” thoughts…………………………………………………………………………………

The Chronicles of Boredom. Continues. Pretty much the same. 

I am Jack’s bored blog. What’s that smell?



The FAQs

Why do some people just stare at you while you are with them in an elevator?And I am talking men! And that too at 6:30 AM in the morning!

Why do they keep staring at you even when you look back at them?

Why do some people look at you while singing? I mean do they want appreciation for every line sung? Or are they just concentrating?

If it is the latter, why cannot they close their eyes? Or why cannot they look at a mirror? Or why cannot they look at the sky? Their pants? Arms? What am I talking about?

If it is the former, why don’t they stop singing when you smile back? Is that not appreciation enough?

Why do some people ping you on chat, say just a hi – almost a dry, nonchalant, no-exclamation, doing-a-favor-on-you kind – and then, when you reply immediately with a complete opposite “Hey! How are you?” ,do not respond for an eternity?

And when they do, why do they say any or all of these – wassup / kya chal raha hai / aur bataa / hi / hey / / ? The last one was no response – eternity continues.

Why do some office colleagues come inside your cubicle when they want a break, and in spite of the fact that you are on a break yourself listening to some music with your headphones, will start a conversation with you about how the zipper on the company-gifted office bag, is actually of low quality? And then look at you for a response? And then when you have removed your headphones (out of courtesy – professional or whatever), will look at the monitor and ask which song you have been listening to?

Why don’t they take a hint and keep ambling around your cubicle trying to think of some vague topic to talk about, while you keep your headphones around your neck waiting for that nick of a chance to cover your ears?

Why does my subordinate keep calling me “Sir” whenever he passes by my cubicle, despite the fact that I have asked him not to? A million times!

Why do some people park their bikes, scooties, scooters in the area meant for my car? And why does the society watchman not watch all this? And why does he just smile back when I ask him to get off his chair near the society gate, take a stroll around and make sure that such mistakes do not happen with others as well?

Why do some people put their hands in their pockets and dance in front of a mirror while knowing that there are some people who may be watching them? And then pretend that they are dancing for the “love of it”?

Why am I starting to sound like Kareena Kapoor in the Airtel ad?

Why are you reading this post?

P.S : If you are reading, please do answer the question above by commenting here. Please do so, even if you aren’t.

P.P.S : I should thank all my reader, my innate sense of human behaviors, and that paper guy in the elevator who was staring at me while I was returning from my morning workout in the gym, for inspiring me to write this very introspective post. I only wish it was that girl in the pink sports T-shirt, instead, staring at me. I think I have fallen for her – spent 8 days already in the gym. 3 more months to go! Kamaan!

P.P.P.S : Why have I been using the P.S so frequently in the last few posts?

The Chennai Times

A long stretch of a well-laid out tar road. Well-lit, well-used and mostly abused, taking a beating incessantly, from blaring four-wheelers and speeding 2-wheelers to the ubiquitous “share autos”.

A road, named on one of the oldest religious places in Southern India, and what is today called a “Information Technology Highway”. Dotted with sky-rises and glassy exteriors on the one side and coconut trees with thatched roof huts on the other, lungi-clad fishermen on cycles to professionals in swanky automobiles, a posh shopping mall stands comfortably next to an unassuming wine shop – One of the great social levelers as one of my close friends had once put it – you would find feet clad in a pair of Nike’s as well as cheap worn-out rubber slippers in there asking for the same, sweet taste of sin.

Old Mahabalipuram Road – almost a conundrum in present times and yet comfortably stretched out, accommodating all it’s peccadilloes.

Amidst all this, sharing a small piece of land on this stretch, is a pink colored apartment. Yes, don’t rub your eyes; you read that right – Pink. Well, actually, it has 2 colors, but if you were to stand outside of it and stare at it for sometime, you would get the pinkcture. It is called “Best Homes”.

That was were I spent a time of my life.

A whirlwind. A tornado at times, a pleasant breeze otherwise.  Standing on a plateau. Greenery around. Arms flailing, free-falling to the ground. Comfortably numb, and sometimes uncomfortably dumb.

Some day I hope my vocabulary gives me the perfect word for that.

Downloads

And amidst all this, a motley crew – characters I stumbled upon by chance and some, by choice. Characters I had never expected to come across. And yet, I did. As cliched as it is, it’s strange how life gives you what you need, when you least expect it. Mired in the chaos around, it’s only the dots that we do not see joining themselves for us.

Generous, fun-loving souls, each with a bone that sets them apart. One that is food for another post!

A crumpled 100 rupee note you find in your back pocket when your wallet is empty. The rusted key you find to the lock of an old trunk. A glimpse of sanity you find in a corner of your head.  Serendipity.

That was the time I had. The Chennai Times.