The Catch

Have you had a girl in your life?One you can describe as 'The One'? Well, though the best part of having one of those, is having itself, it comes with this deliberate and distorted fear of loss. How can you prevent her from falling for someone else, just the way she fell for you. The lies you said, the cheap gifts you bought and the lousy stories you fabricated to justify the worthlessness of the piece of junk and how anyone else can do all of that much better than you. leepless nights that you would rather spend talking on the phone with her just to make sure she ain't talking to no one else, than catch some well earned rest for all the wooing to come. Well so save myself from all those things that can ruin your health, I went and got myself a bike. Well, she is never too different from a girl. I still have nightmares of her being stolen from our car park. Recently I came home after spending close to a month and a half away from her. Eager to get united but absolutely worn out from the travel, i just threw her a glimpse and walked indoors. The thing in living among friends is that you tend to stay into the night having fun and throwing riots and when you suddenly enter the nakedness of your house, it feels like you have nothing to do. So here I was trying my best to fall asleep, but accomplishing nothing but a sore back from tossing myself about in bed. Having not sat on my bike for what can only be describes as an era of the dry butt, I wanted to replace it with an era of the 'Sore Butt' from riding her. Here I lay, dreaming of all the places that lay ahead of me, gleaming in the early morning sun, waiting to be explored by me and here I was, not allowed to ride coz' my mother felt I was over my head in this. All the while this was running in my head, I was still struggling to lay my thoughts to rest and sleep my journey off. Finally when the thoughts seemed to subside and I was slowly, but surely drifting into sleep, I heard it. I was not going to be rash and rush ahead, so i waited to confirm the reality of the sound. I opened my eyes and shook my head to shake the sleep off. Within seconds, there it was, again, unmistakable. It started with the clang of the gate's chains against the steel bars of the gate. It was shortly followed by a hand driven rotary say running intermittently. The steel chain used on our door was as old as the house we lived in. This meant that it was going to give in easily. The next few minutes were agony. I was praying, "leave the bike!!!!Take my dad's car. He never uses it!!!!". I hoped there was a telepathic link between the two of us. Precious time was passing. I knew I could scare them off if i opened the window and shouted. So here I was, nervous and sweating, walking to wards the window. As I approached the window, i realized the sounds were subsiding. Fear gripped me. I tried the rust consumed latch of the window, when the sounds resumed. What nerve to be stealing my, MY, bike???Just as I inhaled to let out a bellow at the thieving rascals, I heard the cutter going again. Something hit me as being out of the normal. I turned to get my dad's help and there he laid, snoring like a saw cutting metal. I caught his nose to stop his snores and kicked myself back to sleep!!!!



Some people are scared stiff of heights. Some are terrified of confinement. Some fear the dark. I remember watching a video that had a woman who has been terrified of making a left turn in her car. These are phobias – fear. It means, all these people have one thing in common – they love the comfort of safety and are content with the normal.

I am no hero. I have my share of qualms. I shrink at the very thought of it. I can still remember being accosted on a train bound for Calcutta. Calcutta holds a very special spot in my heart. The street food in Calcutta is something unique, not just for its sheer abundance, but also for its brilliant flavors. I never regretted indulging even though I had to stop the entire tourist bus to addend nature’s cries of anger. The buildings, the buses, the tram, the people, the food - it’s all an amazing haven for a traveler or a photographer or a foodie. Now I won’t tell you how bloody brilliant it will be when you belong to the ‘all of the above’ category. College road was where I was first introduced to the idea of movie CDs being sold for Rs. 20 out of a hand woven jute basket that in most of south India, would have housed a dozen neatly stacked oranges to be sold to heads that popped out of a bus that is almost always parked too close to the urinals. Maidan market was a sea. A sea of thieves that understood your Hindi but refuse to acknowledge it while you struggle to dominate them while haggling. Belur mutt and the Kali temple, I don’t remember much. But I will never forget the food - the mishiti doi and jaal modi that accompanied me wherever I went. It was the first time in my entire life (until then that I had gone a week without touching curd rice). I was in my mid-late teens.

But all my mental visions of Calcutta are mostly blurred, not by time, but by another vision. It was on the train. I was standing by the door to the compartment, enjoying the wind slapping my face and blowing my "wanna be rock star hair" from all over my face and into the back of my head. When I turned back, I found my self the center of a semi-circular group of clapping, singing, cursing, bitching and demanding set of people. They were not calling for attention. They received it. I never saw them beg. They always demanded. They were an extremely loud, raucous and supremely confident set of saree clad people who intimidated me. I could not help but shiver. I was not comfortable. I was never comfortable when someone wanted some money from me, as I never had much. But now, I was demanded to produce cash. I was demanded to procure atleast Rs.10. I was more disturbed than I was angry. I talked my way out of that group and headed to the sanctum of my bay and curled up under my sheets, shaken.
This little scene is the start and with every start, I always need an end. I was recently riding in a thickly populated street of Chennai on a weekend an as the story should have it, I was surrounded by a group of very much similar people. The difference being that this new group was accosting me in tamil while jeering amongst themselves at my suddenly stiffened muscles. I winced and reacted by withdrawing my arm when one of them made an attempt reach for my elbow. She was wearing a tight and bright red tank top and a matching skirt. Yakka, ivan nelyarartha paathiaya??(Sister, do you see him squirming??). They were right. I was not going to be arm twisted into paying them anything. Even if they said the donation would bless me with a beautiful wife. I sent an upper cut in the form of a sarcastic retort flying back as they all joined in to laugh at my qualms. The air around us became so thick I could hardly breathe. I realized none of them were laughing anymore. Most of them detached themselves from the group and settled themselves on the steps of a building while one of them turned to me and said none of us wanted to do this for a living, but no one here offers jobs for people. I did not have a quick retort for this. I was defeated. More importantly, I felt bad for hurting a person. I still feel queasy around them, but I can now sympathize better.



I need a marriage man! Its late already. I have already started holding my head high in crowds, to save people from seeing into my extended fore-head. Its getting too late. You know how efficient I am at both work and home. Please, I need you to vouch for me. My expectations are not too high. At this point of time, any girl is fine by me. Just for my parent's sake, make sure she has a solid background in bot the religious and the financial front.

I wondered at this statement, if this bugger is yearning for company, I should be too. But then again, I am not him, am I? So i took it upon myself to get this fool a suitable mate to hold hands and soothingly say in his ears, "No, honey!!! You are not even close to being bald!". My first experience as a mediator. I was marching in tune to the orders that ran down from up high in his family. As a personal friend and a friendly boss to him, I had been with him for over 2 decades. We were not exactly the thickest of friends, but we were friends, nevertheless. I was mentally making a list of a few eligible candidates. Ones that were equally desperate, were more for the picking. At least I had a start. The first person I went to was an aunt and like all aunts, a directory of worldly wisdom and truly a goddess if what you need is matrimonial salvation. Pick and choose was going to difficult with the options she threw. I had enough sense in absolutely avoiding any possible relations to my family tree as, in matrimony, you tend to step into virgin waters without realizing that all that blue is whale shit.

The hunt was feverish. Photos of the bride and the groom were exchanged faster than blows in a pub. Initially a lot of the eligible candidates were rejected. I have to mention here that I was not the sole provider of bread here. I was part of the heard that was clearing weed and pooping manure for the will of one man! Not only were girls being rejected left and right, but this bugger, that was now my incurably insomniac, junior at work, was steadily being subjected to the "THE GROOM LOOKS OLDER THAN MY FATHER" treatment. Until I saw his bio-data, I was under the impression that it was his looks that bore deep into the women's decisions, for, in point number 34, under section c, this moron had written, I smoke one cigarette a day and involve myself in occasional social drinking. The blatant truth took me by surprise, though I can't fathom how I got to that part of the Iliad. I was impressed and slightly dejected that I did not propose any of the palatable candidates from my family. One fine weekend, his parents call me home. It had been decided that a "WHEATISH-22 YEAR OLD-VADAGALAI-BHARATHWAJA GOTHRAM-COMPUTER ENGINEER-WORKING IN BANGALORE-8lpa-AFFLUENT FAMILY" bride-to-be, had been decided upon and I was invited to judge her. The photograph was absolutely brilliant. But the girl would have been better in the background. I abridged my judgement to "she is good looking".

Don't kid me!!!She is not pretty. I accept it. But you have to know that she lost her parents young and had to be raised by her grandparents.

I was looking at a person I missed from making my best friend. He was outspoken, something, among a lot of other aspects of him, I had apparently been missing at work. I was going to take him into my wing from now on, I vouched. I was going to observe him better at work! She is going to be lucky, this dark puny thing, somewhere in the photograph.

All that I missed in him before, I realized he was a cleaner person than the environment personified him to be. I was spending more time with him. Giving him tips to pick himself up. Encouraging slaps on the butt and stuff of that sort. He was changing the person I assumed him to be. I liked him doing the change himself.

With the betrothal done and barely 10 days from the D-day, he took off from work and I was not bothered about the slip in the application for leave. I did him a favor and filled his online forms for until a week after the wedding. 3 days into his leave and not so much as a peep from him, I called on his house to find the door locked. The scene suggested unuse. After some tongue wagging with a neighbor and a cigarette with another, it turned out that the family had vacated the house after he was remanded with a few others, charged for abetting prostitution.

This post is not about me or any friend of mine!Its a post from sheer exasperation and a simple fact that judgments can be wrong. So please judge me all you want!, I don't care, but just don't bother me with it! I am tired of why you think I do what I do!!!


Change is good!!

Monotony...This is a fairly simple term to begin with, but a disgrace to the human race!!

I remember the day I switched from Backstreet boys to Aerosmith. The day I left school to join College. Change has been good. The day I rode the Bullet instead of The Max 100R. Change was excellent. There are so many examples that can be cited here. I am sure I can vouch for the change that came to replace Bush. A change that got the whole world to exhale. Most of my friends who are now working, are thankful for the work they are in, a change from college. Cyclic changes also feel good. For instance, the Tamilnadu Govt., Chief Minister Karunanidi to C.M. J.J., to C.M. Karunanidhi to C.M.J.J. A jump in the digits of bank balance in the beginning of the month to the negative signs before the mobile balance, all is for good. The death of a cast of some Mega serial in Tamil, to his re-introduction as his own evil twin. Horrendous humidity an heat to mystifying rains and sensuous breeze. The incessant nag of a stupid elder sister to her first salary, man this is an awesome change. Changes that are personal are all the more welcome. I remember how I got transferred from being the solution giver to all the petty issues in all the projects, to being the Designer. Change is a warm welcome. It is the only thing that can break the heavy shackles of monotony. Change is expected to bring good. Its never always for the better. I can't forget the second girl that I went out with, for all the wrong reasons. Any change here would have been good. She made me laugh every time I thought about it. There is always some thing good even if the change in itself is not too good. Mom, can you remember when we shifted from Madurai to Coimbatore, it was a very good change. Change is good......

Phew....!!!!I am sure I am justified for wanting a change....Off on a week long holiday!!!!!!!!!!



Well, as the usual saying goes, “Hats off to you!!!!”. I am proof for the fact that you have accomplished a feat and none the less, reached acme. You are beyond the goal that you intended reaching and I sure feel its time to slow things down. Well recent events are still smoldering and I can see your hand in all of what’s happened. Quick, responsive and hitting where it hurts the most. I saw you stain the show with your mark. A gift you have developed and honed since the day you took to speaking aloud. Well, I can sympathize with you at this juncture. I know first hand, how it feels to not feed a restless mind. And I can imagine the gravity of the situation when the relentless energy you possess is not channelized. I am reminded of the saying, “An idle mind is the Devil’s workshop”. But, bless God, you are here, proof for the fact that this is, but a myth. I am sure your surreal activity is quite contrary to anything that is even slightly synonymous with idle. I am in full appreciation for the legacy behind you. The legacy that was sermonized, almost worshipped, by legends, as the alleviation to the sores of the modern society. You stood by them, during their hour of darkness, casting upon them, a ray of hope. They took to you as they were aware that you, unlike us, are not bound by the shackles of time. Not even dimensions. Your very existence, today, is proof for the dreams of the ancient founders of the modern today. Trust was what they laid in you, more as an example to the world, than as your foundation. You were to uphold their ideals for life. I see you today, tainted by a plague of sorts. A shadow, in place of the halo, that was to lead the society. Recent history has seen your omnipresence more as a nuisance than the intended source of confidence. Smile fades when I see the fear you spread. I visualize a sadistic smile of pleasant victory wrinkle the skin on your face. I am disgusted!!!

The latest pull has been the best one yet! It has taken you not more than a couple of days, marathon sessions of arguments, debates and un-necessary advocation, to get a whole nation to scramble on to their feet, mask their faces, clearly not masking their fear, and cry out in frustration at the lack of specialization in the Nation, against Swine flu. I doubt if the flu will spread half as fast as the fear you spread!!!! Is this why we created the media? I can’t see what has plagued the media!!! I am forced to believe it is TIME itself.

Please let the girl rest in peace. I am sure her parents know what to do!!!



Living in a Muslim area has exposed me to the strangest of sights and smells. Sundays being the worst. Its like the skies opened up and the clouds decided to fart on the world. The stench can be so appalling that suicide can not be eliminated for an option. Not being a fan of either the Onion or the Garlic does not help the situation a bit. Times can be hard. Sundays are the only days I tend to sleep in. Waking up in the wee hours of the afternoon, you can’t decide who the winner of the battle is - your moldy breath or the next door’s “Bai Kadai Aattu Kaal Biriyani” with “Meen Kolambu” to go with it. Its like a fawn’s first day. The moment you fall on your fee you have to scramble to safety. Shut all the windows and seal all possible crevices till the holocaust has died down. Sometimes, like today, the stench is so strong that its like the whole country is cooking the same damn thing. Run to the window and slam it shut. Double check all the handles and re-shut the door. Valiantly walk back to the bed for your afternoon siesta. Some routine. When this does not work, its time for one of the two things. Either believe God does not need Agarbathis for the next week and light them all together or look the stench in the face and battle it with the strong aroma of the infamous Vathakozambu with Manathakkali Vathal. I have found from experience that option 2 is so much better that option one for
1. With all the doors and windows closed, the Agarbathis lost track of their purpose in killing only the stench and almost killed me in the process. Bloody insane sticks.
2. There’s just absolutely nothing to beat the good old Vathakozhambu.
So clearly, seeing no point in lighting the incense sticks, I got up, brushed and bathed and set out to fight the damn stench. It was amazing how you can stand without pukin’ when the air smells like a freshly filled sewer. The stench wading into your nose and hits your brains straight. I was moved. I had to act fast before I was killed. I light up the stove and put the frying pan on. The aroma from the frying spices is just a step shy of heaven. More spices. More ghee. Ah!!!!! Slowly the stench was being ousted from the room. My brain, though refused to see the two smells apart. Now it smelt like someone had flushed an amazing pot of really good Vathakozhambu. I was so frustrated I took off to give my neighbors a piece of my mind. I was phrasing the most sarcastic words to slit their tongues with. Well, sometimes you just have to be stern and tell others that the world is to live in. Teach them that you only fart after you eat and you do not eat what you fart!!! I ripped my door open and caught sight of something sickeningly grey in the corner. I had stepped into muck from the sewer the previous night and there was nothing secular about the smell from my shoe and sock.



Well, when you work for 13 hours a day on an average weekday and depend on the Saturday night for all the lost sleep, it is hard to comprehend what goes on around you. My life is chocking-filled with my work and I rely on the Saturdays for all my free time. This week end, however, I was feeling different. Having been as close to home as a martian stuck on Earth, I was not feeling too great about the situation. Too much pressure form all my friends, boasting about the great times they had during the weekend. And here I am, sleeping till 12 on Sunday, a straight 15 hour sleep, no breakfast, little lunch and only Counter-Strike to keep me engaged from 3 until 7 in the night, eat and hit the sack again. Well, I thought this was a little lame. I decided to gather what was left of my college friends and freak out for the night. I had it all planned.
1) A buy one get one free at SUBWAY. My friends buy one for each and I get the other one free.
2) An awesome movie (Angels and Daemons had just released) - preferably at a theater.
3) Crash in my friend's room with his air-conditioner blasting over my head and the fan freezing the moisture in the room.
4) Wake up late in the morning, eat and leave for my room to crash again.

What I as not thinking then was that, we were a gang of 4, my puny frame counted for a FULL-ONE, and I was the only one who had any interest in the A&D movie. The rest fell out the moment I let the cat out of the bag that there were not going to be any "scenes" in the movie. So it was decided. The new hit in the golden screen of Tamil Cinema had to be the movie of the day (or nigh, in this situation). I tried to talk them out of the ruddy idea. Any Tamil movie that has a single syllable for a title had to be 100% reasoned before even contemplating on the idea of watching it. I had to give in. One of my friends had a really cute cousin who vouched for the credibility of the movie. I now realize I missed the drool on the side of his mouth when he wanted to watch no other movie. I had managed to entice in their Tamil brains (its really hard to alter the minds of a tamilian) that SUBWAY was the way to eat on a Saturday night. I managed to get them to drive to the theater next to one of the city's SUBWAY outlets. The movie was at 10. We reached the theater at 9.25. We were ready with the tickets by 9.45. No time for a SUB. "THORANAI" starring Vishal and Shreya (Droooooooooooool). We walked in to a blind trap. The movie was the best thing that happened all night, for my sub had already been traded for a "thattu-kadai" dosai. The story line was simple. Hero-Villain1-Villain2-Heroine. Villain1 and Villain2 are arch enemies. Hero finds out from his permanently-crying, god-fearing mother that his Elder brother ran from home, never to return. And what do you know, Villain2 is the elder brother. Villain1 and hero fight. Villain1 and Villain2 fight. Hero wins. Mother happy. Hey...wait a minute...I haven't made any space for the heroine or the comedian. But to write about 15 songs (if you can call them that) in two minute intervals, that would not sound out of tune if played end-to-end and a few side-line same-old-sickening comedy, would take unwanted time. Well, at this point of time I had got my plans for the weekend all confused. I started off on a part of point 3 half way thro' the movie. Man it was easier to sleep than to follow the damn story. But in the end, I realized I had not missed a damn thing, after all. The best part of the whole expedition was that we stopped the car on the top of one of the bridges and caught up on old times, at 2 in the night. I woke up at 8.00 on Sunday. No where near my "wake up late" plans.

To start off with, this was Plan - B. I wish I had picked Plan - A and made it to Bangalore and actually freaked out. Darn my work!!!