Sunday, July 12, 2015

Yin Yang

Standing on 400 years old cobbled road gets less of an importance every time I wait for her. My heart was beating so fast that it might just come out of my rib cage and start dancing. I could see my breath, temperature should have been close to zero and I was sweating in this cold. There was a sharp crispiness in the air, fresh yet hurting ones chest while breathing. Road was wet from last nights snow. In the midst of grey walls, grey sky and grey streets I saw her walking towards me. Moment I saw her my heart just skipped a beat.
She was wearing a bright pink jacket, an off-white floral scarf round her neck and white hat on her head and all this on a black jeans with shoes.
She greeted me with a peck on my lips and I said, You look very beautiful. Most of her Vaseline was now on my lips, she started talking, meanwhile I was getting used to the excess Vaseline on my lips.
We started walking towards the city center, imagining we would end up at a coffee shop. I could see her breath while she was talking, her lips were getting dry because of the cold, after every ten minutes she would put her hand in her jacket pocket to get a chap stick out to replenish her pink lips. I looked at her while her brown eyes travelled the length of her lips and back. We reached a junction and whilst crossing the road I held her hand. I tried feeling her palm through her gloves, it was warm, warmer than mine. We careered our way into a small alley, there were many trees in that small alley which had shed its leaves, although without any leaves it still looked beautiful.
We have been seeing each other for a while, but except for being exclusive with each other we never talked about our "relationship". I was ready to take the next step today in our "relationship" and I gathered that she was ready too, so asked her to meet this early in the morning but I was afraid to ask or even steer the conversation in that direction.
She repeatedly asked me, if there is something bothering me, she could see, I was nervous. I was distracted, in my head I was thinking, what if she says, she just wants things as it is, there is no need to take the next step now, or, maybe she's not ready for it at all, I don't know, it was confusing.
I was just making things worse in my head. Even before considering to ask her to move in with me, it's a huge step for both of us. For me, because I am an Indian, Indian men don't live with women who are not related together under the same roof unless married although times are changing, so, I was ready for it at least that's what I think I am. I was almost ready to give up on my bachelor pad and paint my walls pink. Big sacrifice! will it be worth it? I seriously have no clue but when I look at her all this seems like petty things against to the time I have spent with her. I was madly in love with her, ... there, I said it! I am ready, so, I said, You see, these trees with no leaves, they all stay together, shed leaves together and when spring comes all leaves come back. In all seasons these trees support each other and weather this nasty cold together, year on year. She looked at me puzzled, I continued, Just like these trees, who stay with each other throughout the time unless someone knocks them down, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Her eye brows narrowed, and I again continued, Before you say anything, I love you and no matter what your reply is I will continue to love you, now with that out of the way, would you like to move in with me? Would you be my Yin to my Yang?

There was a pause and I saw tears rolling down her eyes and she replied, I love you too and yes I would like to move in with you. We hugged and kissed under those naked, exposed trees. I held her very tight, so tight that I can still feel the warmth of her being there with me.

I opened my eyes and I saw a white ceiling, tubes going out of my nose, I felt very weak as if I had aged. I tried to get up but I couldn't. I looked around, there was a little kid playing on his phone and started smiling at me. He exclaimed, grandpa is up. Grandpa???

Unknown people started surrounding me, but the face I was looking for wasn't there. What is going on? I was anxious, so, I asked, who are you, why am I here. They kept repeating, can you remember your name, I said, what rubbish is this? Of course, I know who I am, I am..., I am.., I can't remember, who I am,...? I got paranoid and started yelling, this is insane, I don't know who I am!?
If I don't know who I am, who was that girl? What was her name? Was it a dream? I can't remember. I can't differentiate whats real and what's a dream. I was tumbling down the rabbit hole and I couldn't help myself.
I yelled so hard that I started kicking. I repeatedly kicked and every time I kicked there was a feeling of someone's getting hurt but I couldn't see who was getting hurt. So, I kicked harder, I was finding it difficult to breath, I had to get out of here so, I kept kicking but in vain and then suddenly there was a flow of water as if a dam was broken.

12 hours later, I was born!

The day I was born was the same day my grandpa passed away - Coincidence? Maybe.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Kingmaker

Everyone likes a great speech, a speech which is clean, clear and puts the man articulating it on a pedestal as our next leader to be. He looks great, he talks great, his decision making skills is exemplary. Some want to be him and some loathe him. Everyone in the room is talking about him. He is the center of this room today and tomorrow this world. Nobody knew him until now, he has no lineage or inheritance yet he stands there with command and breast full of medals. No one needs to know what he is inside except for me, I am the one who made him. Sounds narcissistic? Yes, of course it's narcissistic edging over arrogance but shouldn't I be?
I am the choir master, I am flat on music but know how an orchestra should sound like. I am jack of all master of none. Some call me a  puppeteer, some call me trusted adviser but I like the term King maker!

I see the big picture in details, it's a job where mistakes aren't allowed. My predecessors have lost their lives in this course but I intend not to lose it now or ever. They call me friend of the King but I am no friend of any king. I like them as fellow human being but that's just being courteous, I would say. My loyalty lies to myself and the woman I lay with over 36 years. I enjoy her acquaintance but what I enjoy the most is the lonely walk near the burn. 

I don't give speeches, I write them and make it sound profound and collected. I write poetry for my King, so he can recite it to his wife and in return she gives him physical companionship and calm in their bedroom. I check our kingdom's military is in order and always on alert.
If you ask me, how did I get this job, I don't know. I just happened to be here at the right time and at the right place. However, once I was here I knew what I had to do to run this kingdom. 
I know everything, from grapevine to the treasury bills. How, you ask me? Well, that's the easy part. I speak to people. I talk to them about themselves. Everyone likes to talk. Those who don't like to talk they are either persecuted or prostituted. Either of which happens to a man they ejaculate information. Information is key in my business, at times I look at myself in the mirror and wonder what if I were to let alone every thing and move away from this but I can't. I like to see people suffer, I am an evil man, even my shadow has horns bulging out of its temple.

My last King died of leprosy, he has no heir, technically his nephew should be the one sitting on the throne but he is a nincompoop. I can't allow this kingdom to fall in the hands of some foolish kid. I didn't work hard to answer calls to a dumb kid like him. Hence, I devised a plan, Just before the late king passed away I made him believe that he has an illegitimate son. Late King was a good man but there are times even the good angel falls to the humanly temptations, ironically his illegitimate sons' name was Lucifer. Lucifer had the same blue eyes and dark black hair as the King. Late King was old and he understood his time was near and just before he died he named Lucifer the new King. 
Obviously, Lucifer was a ridiculous name so I asked the high priests to help the poor boy with a new name and High Priests were kind enough to give him the name of Late King's father, Alexander II.

There will be an uproar in the kingdom - a nobody has just become the king but when the time comes I will crush the rebel and maintain the sanctity of this kingdom.

No kingdom lasts forever and this is the ultimate truth and no one knows this better than me! 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

In Pursuit of Happiness

After a brief period of time, I always ask myself "Are you happy, Richard"? Usually the answer is Meh :/ can do better
I have always been a man with a plan although not necessarily not all my plans work. Some work to make me a better person in the society and some don't to teach me a lesson about humility.
So far this year of 2014 has been very complicated and complex at the personal front. At one end where old relations have rekindled for the better whereas on the other hand I have lost the sense of happiness to be with someone. There are so many conflicting views that at times it feels like there can be a volcanic eruption from the top of my head. When I was at such a juncture, I had to go down to London for a short meeting, stay overnight and come back to Aberdeen next morning. It was a sweet deal and I definitely needed some change from my routine. I hoped on to my cab and went to the airport to catch my flight. Soon after the meeting, I found myself behaving like an Aristocrat, tasting wines and having some deep conversation about the taste and texture of the wine, whether its a one leggy or the other.
An hour later I was in a pub enjoying a pint of lager with my fellow colleagues, cracking jokes, greeting those whom I haven't met for ages. Just to catch a breath I stepped outside and saw this...

I was happy, happy for the simple fact that I was a part of the city not so long ago and I still cherish those moments. This is me who travelled, worked hard day in and day out. Made my blood and sweat count for the place where I stood and clicked this picture. There was a sense of ownership, liberation and pride of achieving something that couldn't have been dreamt by a boy who knew nothing about this world.

After feeling so happy and proud of myself one of my favourite colleague/brother took us to another nearby pub. This was no local pub, just to get inside this pub on a weekday one would have to pay £5 and indeed I did. The ambience was just like any English pub but with a small difference there were too many good looking men and women practising Salsa. Now, those who know me, know how bad I am at dancing of any form. Although I have won a dance competition long back in school but that doesn't count when you're about to put yourself through something so intimate and equally awkward.

I took the cue from my colleague who happens to be Asian and a brother from another Mother who yelled at me in Hindi "Unless you try you'll never get it" (both women and dance). I set myself adrift and yes, I did ask a total stranger to dance with me, to my surprise she said yes and we danced! It was 

My hands were numb and I was sweating profusely which was visible on my forehead but what kept me going was fear. The fear of rejection, it sounds strange and negative but it actually helped me to come through. It was one of the best night out I ever had. It was the sheer joy of being able to see others enjoying something else other than drinks.

The night got over and I was up for my return journey. I was sitting in a restaurant of the Heathrow airport Terminal 5 looking over the beautiful Orange Sunrise where me and my colleague started talking about families and how his kids are growing up and the changes that happens when you go from a Single man to a Married man. Mind you, I get to hear a lot of these talks, because I am most of the times the youngest person in any team who doesn't live with his Girlfriend/Wife/Partner. However, out of all the things that we talked about there is one thing that I want to leave you with tonight which also touched my heart. He mentioned, how kids these days feel awkward in kissing their parents in public, sometimes they don't even want them to be dropped in the school instead they would like to be dropped a street before the school. I leaned forward and was listening carefully, he continued, "I have a father, I don't care what the world thinks of me, but when I go out with him I like to catch his hand and walk on the streets. I like to show my love and respect to him by kissing him, by saying Thank you for everything he did for me in all the possible way he could do or afford. People on the street might smirk at me but he is not their father, he is mine and I have the full right to display my affection"
It was not even 48 hours before I asked myself the question and here I was about to ask myself it again, "Are you happy, Richard"? I didn't have an answer until I reached Aberdeen and got a moment for myself, I called my Parents to say how much I love them and said Thank You for everything! It's the simplest things in life which actually gives one the utmost peace and happiness and not to my surprise it always begins with Family.
In the midst of all this materialistic things we always forget what's the most important thing in life is, it's not a plush apartment or the latest Jag, it's definitely not your Apple iPhone 6 or your Rolex watch. It's the most important people in your life because of whom your sheer existence rely on!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Common Man's Ordeal

Indian common man is least bothered with Globalisation  I thank globalisation for bringing the world so close but its impact on this common man has been rather harsh.
I was thinking of the Indian Airline industry and how competitive the market is? With the emergence of budget airlines everyone is undercutting his competition. Some airlines manage to keep the price up by stating its premium service over treated as a cattle class with other airlines.
Mind you, in last 24 hours the only people I have seen are either in an airplane or in an airport. Hence, my encounter with this supposed common man is heavily biased on this encounter.
I am waiting to catch my final flight to Trivandrum which will depart from Mumbai in next 2 hours, am done with security check in. Whilst I wait for the boarding call, my wandering eyes stumble upon various signboards of restaurant menu. Before stumbling upon the rate card I did see  The prices are so atrocious that I wondered how the common man will actually pay for this.
One Sada Dosa for 130 INR and Masala Dosa for 150 INR comparing this with the UK standards anyone would buy this but I don’t remember paying this amount for something as menial as a Dosa?! I am sure the profit margin on this one is humongous.
Cappuccino costs 110 INR for a small cup now this is clearly exploitation. Remember I told you how the airline industry has become very competitive and when an industry becomes competitive generally there is a price war to demolish the competitors and also to raise barriers to enter for new players. Prices are low so, the consumer market grows which gives opportunity to the middle and the lower middle class to travel via air!
Entering the centre stage is our common man who has caught a local train from Vangani to Ghatkopar and takes bus number 342 to reach the airport. He has a cheap ticket in his bag but no extra money to eat. Budget airlines don’t provide food anymore, speaking of which BA or Virgin both don’t provide food between London – Aberdeen which actually pisses me off, that’s a story for some other day. This common man comes to the airport and loses his appetite, needless to say why. I sit here and talk about this common man, however, I, myself is very cautious about not spending but I see there is a wave of change. Except for our common man, everyone else is enjoying the morning sip of coffee by paying 110 INR. I do want to have that cup of coffee, but it’s too expensive for the worth of money but what I don’t understand is how people are able to enjoy this, don’t they realise that it’s expensive? Or is it like we develop fake appetite when we come to such places like an airport?
Common man sees all this and understands how this world rolls and since, he has no means to go for it, he leaves the idea and continues to travel to his destination.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Back home!

I knew exactly how I would feel once I stepped out of my swanky Virgin Atlantic VS354 aircraft. It was surreal to come back to the same city after a gap of 2 years and 8 months to be precise. ‘Amchi Mumbai’ literally translated as Our Mumbai greeted me with combination smell of petrol and rotten eggs. I was very pleased to know that the outside temperature was just 27° and I felt the same once I was out of the aircraft. My expectations with the newly built terminal 2 were exceedingly high and I must say it surpassed all my expectations with its sheer opulence. I was so touched to see every wall on the right towards the immigration center depicting varied range of art collaborating with today’s modern technology to paint magnanimous picture of ever loved Maximum city. It seemed as if it were celebrating the melancholy of golden peacock era. The thing which surprised me the most was the tribute to Bollywood in which they featured Raj Kapoor and Nargis..Impeccable, I said.
After enjoying a brisk walk of 20 odd minutes philandering through the best collection of art I finally reached the immigration center. My passport got stamped in a rapid 3 minutes. There was a sense content on the faces of fellow brethren, a smile which said we are happy to welcome you back. Something I have never seen on a public servants face before, optimistic how things have changed made me feel proud of the whole situation. However, the skeptic in me surfaced much sooner than I expected as I reached the baggage reclaim. Nothing particular happened while reclaiming the baggage but soon after collecting my 2 heavy bags I was descending to the customs and I was approached by a middle aged gentleman dressed in a lilac colour shirt with an ID card attached to his breast pocket which read Nandkumar Shinde. He very calmly asked me where are you going? I pointed to the customs to which he asked me further “Are you travelling after this” I said “Yes, to Trivandrum”. I was approaching the customs queue soon so he wrapped up saying, “why don’t you give me £20 and I will make sure you don’t have to go through customs and after which you can straight away descend to your domestic transfer coach”. I very politely declined the offer and stood in the queue. My new found love for the system sunk to the deepest oceanic trench.
I reached the Air India counter to check in my luggage for my third flight which was not due till next 5 hours. I had ample amount of time to go through the bureaucratic process of paying for the excess baggage. Wonder, why I said that? Don’t be startled, when I say I had to spend 45 minutes with a security professional who denied me and airline officials access to the departures gate where excess baggage is paid for.
Domestic airlines only allow you to carry 15 kgs check in baggage and I had almost 36 kgs of baggage which means I was supposed to pay for 21 kgs @ 250 INR. If you do the math then it’s more expensive than my flight ticket but the guy sitting on the check in counter turned out to be nice lad and asked me to pay only 15 kgs instead of 21. Bless him!
Again in high spirits I cruised to catch my coach to the domestic airport terminal, where for the third time I went through a security check in. In all honesty, I have never removed my belt so many times in a day for receiving or giving any favours: P Soon after that I caught the coach and reached my destination. Once I entered the terminal it seemed as if they were out of business. One of the police guys mentioned in Hindi, come back at 4.00 am that’s when you can go through the security check in. In my head I was thinking of completing this last bit and feasting on some amazing calorific burgers from KFC but unfortunately I have 2 more hours to go for that and I have been asked to sit in the outside lounge and wait. By the time the security gates open again, mosquitoes can feast on me and meanwhile, I thought of penning this baby down J

Monday, April 7, 2014

Why do we hate our parents?

If you have read my last few posts then maybe you're saying this guy has lost it, he definitely needs to see a shrink. Rest be assured I am fine and it's just that I may or may not have a different perspective than you. Hence, no need to go to the doctor yet :P

Moving on, Parents, really, why do we hate them so much?

When we're young, like 5 or 6 years old, we want them in every part of our lives, school, birthday parties, friends parties, someone who makes us feel special always. It's like there is always someone looking after your back. it's like they are your shadow always with you, in happiness and in sickness. As we grow up we start having our own parties, friends, no more parents-teachers meet and they're no more your shadow. In case if your dad follows you to your college then it's very dodgy and you need to help him see a real shrink for sure (just a word of precaution)! By this time we call ourselves grown ups, we want to take decisions on our own and own our mistakes if any. Achieve something and be proud of it, slowly and steadily our lives are way different than our parents. We have technology on our side, the time is moving faster than ever. No sooner you realise that you have thousands of Rupee/Pounds/Dollars being credited in your account every month. No more reason to stand in front of Dad and ask for pocket money. No more you have to ask for permission for different things that you want to buy or do. Later you get married, then very soon you realise you're going to be a father/mother. This is the point where self reflection begins, this is the very moment when you think of your childhood and consider few questions in mind, something you either never thought of or thought about it but ignored it. Questions like, what kind of father I want to be? Do I want to be the same as my own father? or can I be better than him? More the time spent on the previous question you start doing a bloody SWOT analysis on it.
Eventually, however, your father was great you want to be better than him to your own child. In order to achieve a hypothetical/ imaginary target you start painting an ideal picture about it. When you're child is born you leave no stone un turned, you're ready to fulfill all his wants and desires. Hence, bringing back to the circle of life. The next stage is where you compare yourself as a Dad to your Dad. Now, you have pointers to let him know how unproductive he might have been.
You blame him for not doing as much as you are doing for your son, sometimes it even extends to your siblings.
We start finding faults in our parents judgement based on what we see today, though, we forget one simple aspect that when we didn't know how to even walk it was your parents who taught and motivated you to walk. It was always one of your parent who was awake the whole night to make sure you slept properly.
I don't want to brag but when I was young and used to go to school, my mum would make lunch for me before she went to work. She would come back from work with both her hands holding 2 big bags of fresh vegetables to cook dinner for all 5 of us.
These days when I sit back and think, how can I repay her? Whatever I might do, I won't be able to do so.
On the other hand my Dad was very cool with all 4 of us, to be honest he is one of the coolest guys I have ever seen in my life. His level of understanding towards things of today is impeccable. I sometimes underestimate the fact that he has seen more life than me and he knows better though I have the knowledge of today but that knowledge just makes me wise for today but the wisdom he gave me over the last 26 years of my life is insurmountable.
Next time, when you want to ask what your father and mother did for you, think about your childhood, if you might have suffered because of tough times still its not a good enough reason to blame them. If you have suffered that means they suffered too and its just that you still don't know their part of the story.

I don't want to bring any religion into this post, as it looks very biased of me favouring something that some may not believe in however; having followed christian faith (partially) its impressive to see one of the ten commandments is - "Honour thy Father and Mother". As a young catechist I was taught that this one commandment is the most important one because whatever you learn about faith or even the man you become tomorrow is from this commandment.
It's very unfortunate to state this but the above mentioned commandment seems to me like a no brainer and in spite of that many of us forget it and and pass rude judgments against our own parents!

If you're a grown man or a woman how about you turn the tables for once and go back to you parents and say how much you love them and be sorry for not being nice last few days. If you have been an amazing son/daughter kudos to you and keep up the good work.

By the way Karma is a bitch, be bad to your parents and you will get the same treatment from your son/daughter!