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Location: Bangalore, India

"Something that has always puzzled me all my life is why, when I am in special need of help, the good deed is usually done by somebody on whom I have no claim" ~William Feather

Monday, August 10, 2009

Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.

The End:
"He & I used to be colleagues at XYZ. He was required to phone me on official work, which he misused, and then began to misbehave with me. I quit my well paying job and moved to another office, where the harassment continued. He proposed to me. I was shocked and I refused. I couldn’t tell my parents all of this, as my father suffers from heart ailments".
This is gist of the complaint registered against him at the cop house. The year is 2009.
The beginning:
He had this offer letter to join a bank in the Emirates. He saw her, fell deeply in love with her, asked her while sipping tea on the balcony, if he ought to accept the offer, and when she simply smiled her dazzling smile, he decided against it, and didn’t get on the flight. It was the year 2001.

Life as it was:
Her parents believed that Catholic boys drank and beat their wives up. They wouldn’t relent. She didn’t want to leave them, nor would she commit to a time frame. It was always a case of "take it or leave it" and he always took it. He waited and waited and waited. It was a choice he made. He has nobody to blame but himself. Over the last few months everything had fallen into place. She decided herself that it was time to settle down. They collected the forms from the registrar’s office. They, along with his parents looked for houses for them to live in, the whole of the previous month. And then it all came crashing down.
His father broke down in the cop station. And he himself sobbed uncontrollably as he read the complaint note the cop handed him. She stood in a corner with out a flicker of emotion on her face. His dad loved her. And they had established an independent rapport that included emailing one another, texting each other, calling one another frequently, even without his knowledge. And it made it worse that even when his father broke down, she didn’t step forward to say something, say anything. When they returned from the cop house that afternoon, his father suffered a bout of chest pain and breathlessness. His friend of long standing, who had gone along, was seething mad. He wanted him to hand over to the cops, the printed copies of the email exchanges that would prove the complaint incorrect. He couldn’t bring himself to do so.
He still doesn’t know what hit him. He puts a brave face at home for his parents, as they are worried that he will do something foolish to ruin his career, and end up being behind bars. He smiles and jokes and talks. He hugs his mum every morning, and calls his dad frequently through the day.
He does not know what to do about the searing pain in his chest, in his gut. He seems to have shut it all out. He is expecting to wake up from a dream to find it just that, a bloody bad dream. He hasn’t slept, and the sight of food makes him nauseous. He hasn’t listened to music in the car ever since the dream began. He is zombie like. There is no closure.


The ‘good morning’ emails at work.
"Don’t forget to have lunch on time" texts.
"Drive home safely baba, and let me know when you get there" calls.
Arms linked while watching a movie.
The "hug spot" – the over bridge near her house, when on the drive back to drop her.
The frantic grabbing of his hand while having to use the escalator.
The glare he got each time he took a pot shot at her great love - SRK.
The funny laugh when he said something funny.
The arm resting on his hand, while the palm of her other hand rested on his lower back, gently maneuvering him towards the trial room, to try on something he liked, but was too lazy to want to test out.
The many emails when she was out of office on holiday, programmed to hit his inbox telling him "don’t think you can take it easy, just because I am not around. Have lunch NOW, and try not to MISS me too much. Three more days and I will be back"
The various times his parents and her ganged up to kick his ass during a conversation where there was a difference of opinion, while sipping on tea at his home.

The list in his heart is endless.


Not going to get to see her in the saris they had bought together for no apparent reason, but for the fact that they were beautiful.
That he never got to go to the temple or for that matter to a church with her.
They never went bowling.
They never walked hand in hand down the road.
They didn’t visit Blossoms.
They had so few "firsts".
He could never give her flowers.

There is so much he wishes he had had the chance of sharing with her. There isn't enough space to list them all down.

He will miss:

Never being able to tease her about her orange-peach skin.
Never waking up by her side.
Never being able to kiss her good night.
Not going to be able to worry her while she concentrated on her sudoku.
Cribbing about her awesome cooking – veg food albeit.
Not letting her sleep, when she is extremely sleepy,
Holding a baby that looked just like her.
Not being able to go together to pick up the Civic, she always wanted.
Never being able to fully relax when she drives, but instead bite his tongue and look out the window to keep from screaming at her, and giving her directions.
Like in the ‘pears’ advert, to wake up and not be able to see her face first thing each day.
Not doing those million holidays they had planned together.
Not seeing her fly the paratrike that he won in a contest, and which he never agreed to sell off, since she loved flying and wanted to take a flying course.
Walking down the aisle with her.
Going around the holy flame with her.
Never having their names on a plaque outside their home.
Never being Husband and Wife.
Never having the opportunity to be Father to those three girls he always wanted with her.

Life as he knew it, life as he wanted it came to an end, after nine long years.

Friday, May 22, 2009

"May I be the rain?"

It had been a long day at work when the cell beeped to indicate that a text message had arrived. He looked at it, and involuntarily smiled when he saw who it was from. She always brought a smile to his face. Momentarily he forgot the deadline he had to meet, the deliverable his boss was waiting for.

She said in her text, that she was craving for ice-cream. It was a chill, rainy evening. Not an evening really for ice cream. But how many have fathomed how a woman functions. Least of all him.

He didn't want to look a gift horse in the mouth. She had communicated with him on email during the day. She texted him about the ice-cream. And now there was every chance that he might get to see her.

He wasn't familiar with ice-cream parlours where she lived. After a few hurried phone calls, he found out where a good joint existed. Getting there was turning out to be a problem. The heavy rains seemed to have got traffic moving at a snail's pace. He tried hard to shut out the impatience creeping in.

She wanted litchis and ice cream. He got himself some strawberry.

He even managed to knock on the wrong door, to be quite impolitely shooed away.

Finally, he arrived at her door. She never failed to take his breath away, every time he laid eyes on her.

Her place has this lovely balcony that looked out upon the entire city practically.
On a chilly, rainy evening, looking out at the night sky, ice cream in hand, her shining eyes and 'melt your resolve' smile for company, it was surreal and dream like to him.

As he walked out the door, he asked her, "May I be the rain, from earlier in the evening?".

What she actually heard him say though was a soft "good night".

Friday, February 06, 2009


Two incidents in the space of three weeks that has me completely muddled in the head.

Incident OneA & N had their joint birthday bash in Mumbai in early December last. A couple of us boarded the bus on a Friday night and begun having fun the moment we hit their home the next afternoon. A, being a darling and always on the look out for me, had invited among others, L, who was the lady in question I was supposed to woo over the course of the night long party. I certainly did my bit. I sat in a corner. I hardly spoke a word. And when I had to fill L’s glass with some fizzy drink, it was such a task that I actually took the glass from her, turned away to bring some stability to terribly shaking hands, before I proceeded to manage to fill her glass up.

A and R, her sister, were ruthless in their effort to get L and me together. Every now and again, there would be stern looks coming my way, vigorous shaking of the head to get me to move to a vicinity that would at least be in normal audible range of L. And every game we played, A would dictate, "Noel and you are partners", "Ruth and you are a team". Then "L, D is your partner" said so sweetly it would not raise any suspicion, that something was going on. I can bet my last paisa that L had not missed any of the calisthenics of either A or R, and all the maneuvering to make me her partner in every single game played that night, or get me to sit near her, and how eventually her glass always ended up with me to perform re filling duties, no matter how far away from L or the damn bar I was at.

The next morning, I am sitting up in bed with my chin in my hands, and I see A standing in front of me with a look that translates to, "if I wasn’t brought up so well, I would slit your throat" She then whispers to me, but managing clearly in that whisper to let me know how mad she is, "L is awake in that room, you are awake here, why aren’t the two of you talking?" I mean, what is one supposed to do. L walks out and A joins her and they start talking and I listen intently. The rest of the people sleeping all around us were quite still and unmoving, pretty much dead to the world, or so I thought at that point.

Eventually everybody woke up, and had breakfast and L said bye to everyone and left. I simply waved to her from my usual corner seat. When the door closed on her, the entire room full of people turned on me and gave me the 9th degree. It turns out that nobody was really asleep and were pretending to do so, since L and A and me were sitting around and were hoping that I would have a conversation with her. Quite decent of them really, if you ask me.

The penny dropped then. The hot blooded males at the gathering hardly ever paid any attention to L the entire night or the next morning either although it was against their normal nature obviously. Strict instructions from A to all, that L was solely my prerogative.Imagine the bloody set up. Every single person there knew that L was "off limits", including L herself.

Moving on, as we were leaving to the bus stop to get the bus back to Bangalore, that evening, A gave me L’s number along with a pre written text to send her – imagine the faith A and the rest have in my abilities to get things right – which I did once we had begun our return journey. To my surprise I did receive a reply and a sweet one at that. So the text messaging continued late into the night. L even admitted that I was much better on the phone than I was in person. I shall take what I get, and won’t get too greedy.

We reached Bangalore. And I text messaged her to let her know that since she had asked me to do so. There was no response. After I got home and later rushed to work, I sent another text asking if I could get her email. No response again.

The following day I checked with A.

A said that I was a "stalker". And that I should have left L alone. That I shouldn’t have communicated so much. Imagine my state. First I get battered by all at the gathering for not communicating. And then when I simply replied to texts from L after initiating only the very first one, it constituted "stalking"!!!!!!! If that was the case, why did so many questions about my bloody life come my way from L?!!! And what about all the history she voluntarily offered about herself?!!!!

In any case, that was the last of L. Thankfully A and N still continue to be my close friends, although the vigour with which A looks out for me, isn’t the same any more I can tell.

Incident Two - A few days prior to this New Year, one of my MBA mates who resurfaced after almost 10 years, introduced some of us to her other friend circle. The usual conversations followed and eventually everybody wanted to know what everybody else was doing on New Year eve. One lady got talking to me a little more than the others. And eventually I was told that since neither of us had anything planned why not plan something together.

On 31st, she called me while on her way to work. And we decided where we would head out to, to usher in the New Year and what time I would be collecting her later that evening. Once that was settled, although I was itching to either call her or text her, I had learned my lesson from just a few weeks prior, and so did not communicate at all.

Around 8 in the evening I called the lady to her intimate that I would be coming around as we had planned. She goes, "oh, I have made other plans for the evening. Since you didn’t bother to call me during the day, I didn’t think you were interested in meeting me"


Conclusion – There is no conclusion is there?!!!!!! I am not even sure what lessons to pick up. Do I communicate? Do I not communicate? If so, how much do I communicate? Is it polite to not reply to a question thereby fulfilling the criteria of not being a "stalker", or do I keep a conversation going to show that I am interested?

I have these two great pals. Both of them have known me for ten years or so now. Both are married and have lives of their own, but manage to fit me in to their schedules whenever possible without too many complaints. And they tolerate me. And I shall simply stick with them as long as they will have me.

Simply trod the tried and tested path, and screw the road less traveled.That’s the perfect lesson to be imbibing.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Then....and Now..!!!

"Here I am sitting in office…and it just occurred to me...

How it changed from a maverick college life to a strict professional life…..and to think that we used to occasionally at least feel rebellious about the "discipline" required to attend classes, study for exams etc etc...

How tiny pocket money changed to relatively huge monthly paychecks
but then why it never gives me the same level of contentment….

How a few local pairs of jeans and colourful tees changed to a new branded wardrobe
but then why there is less excitement in wearing them...

How a single plate of samosas (usually fought over by more people than the number of samosas!), changed to a full pizza or burger at any given time
But then why there is less hunger…..

How a bike always in reserve fuel changed to a car always in full
but then why there are less places I want to or have time to go to…

How a small, local coffee shop changed to the myriad Cafe Coffee Days/Baristas/5-Star Coffee shops
but then why it feels like I have to "make" time to "do" coffee…..

How a limited prepaid card changed to a paid-for-by-company-postpaid package
but then why there are fewer calls that I WANT to make...

How general class train trips changed to flights
But then why there are less vacations for enjoyment….

How an old assembled desktop changed to a new, branded laptop
but then why there is less time and even less inclination to switch it on, other than for work……….

How a small bunch of friends changed to a much bigger number of office mates
but then why after 6 o'clock it always feels like we're getting late….

Life just changed one day it seems....and bigger somehow didn't add up to better. Ironic."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Blond, Beautiful…and gone forever…!!!

She came home 9 years ago, this 2 month old flaming orange bundle of energy. And promptly began chewing up everything in sight. She was teething.

And 9 years later, she left us all forever.

Mum – who always followed the ‘see but don’t touch, don’t get too close to me’ with any pet, could not watch television without Wendy lying under her feet. When the crackers went off and Wendy trembled uncontrollably, she held her close until the noise stopped and the trembling subsided. She woke up and went looking for Wendy first thing, trying to figure out in which corner of the house she was curled up fast asleep. She wept silent tears sitting in a corner when the doctor called to say Wendy was no more.

Brother – He wrestled the 40+kgs gal more often than not to the floor. Pinning her to the ground, not letting her move, and to watch her pretend to give in, only to fight back when he relaxed his grip on her, all the time seeming to have a smile on her face. He carried her up two flights of stairs when she could not walk any more. He went into his room locked the door and sobbed when he heard the news.

Dad – He bathed her, in the process having a shower himself every time she did the ‘rain dance’. He fed her. He drove her around. Walked with her. Brushed her teeth. Rubbed her head when she rested her face on his knee as he read the paper, or watched some television. He was the one who saw her alive for the last time. He got the call giving him the news from the hospital. He was the one who had to tell the rest of us. He was the one who had to keep up the brave front.

Wendy – she became the mascot of the surrounding flats. The kids adored her, and she adored them more in return. The couple living in the flat below, ‘borrowed’ her for their walks. Their child adopted her, and in return Wendy took her, under her wings. To watch them both together was a joy to behold.

Lasting impressions:

The way her ears cocked when her name was mentioned during the course of a conversation any where in the house.
The way her head hung out of the second floor window, surveying the street.
The way she rushed to the window each time she heard dad’s bike, or my brother’s car. And then from the window to the door, waiting for who ever it was to enter the house.
The way she kept mum company in the kitchen when she went about her chores.
The way she alternated her time between mum in the kitchen and dad where ever he was in the house.
The one and only time she growled - Dad lost it with mum for some reason and was giving her a mouthful in the kitchen one day. Wendy walked in, stood between them facing dad, and let out this low growl. Don’t think dad has yet forgiven her that, nor has mum ever loved her more than, that day.

Her whole life is an impression on all of us who had the privilege of sharing space with her.

Where ever she maybe, I hope she is happy and misses us as much as we miss her.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Many moons ago while in college, there was this particular day when a session went on for 3 hours without a break. There were many a bladder full and waiting for release and nirvana. The lecture finished, and there was a mad dash to the rest room. The ones who could actually walk/jog/run without looking like something unpleasant stuck up their posteriors, made it there first. There was a collective sigh of relief, and AM’s voice piped up…

Maaann!…this is better than sex…!!!!!”

At that point in time, it was quite a statement to make. I am assuming that for most people in that rest room that day, it would have been slightly difficult to relate the two, since they would have only experienced nirvana from release of the bladder, and not the other bit.

He became a hero to some…and ostracized by the “OH MY GOD, HOW COULD YOU!” types.

While on the subject, I have come to notice two stances that men seem to take while doing the dew.

First – looking down. At what I can only imagine. Leaves me wondering if it is some form of a water fetish. Trying to figure out where the gush is coming from, like one doesn’t already know? Like one HAS to know? Or is it more the, “Oh, it’s still there, Am I glad or what?!!!”

Second – Looking up, head tilted to the heavens, with eyes closed. One is thanking the Almighty that HE/SHE got one to the restroom in time to avert an accident? Ideas seem to hit just at that precise moment? Or simply the self assurance that “I am complete and everything is where it has to be..!!!!!”

I, look straight ahead, and say a tiny prayer that I don’t splash my trousers, do the needful and get out with pants and pride intact.

Nirvana accomplished.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

When Perfect isn't good enough

Sunday was good. Woke up bright and early. Especially after an extended session of liver bruising liquids and laughter the previous night. Gave mum quite a shock, when she heard that he was going for Mass. Mums are Mums you see. Walked up to him, and asked,
"So who is it?"
Stupid blush happened.
He replied "Nobody"
She nodded and "hhmmnnned"
So he takes off all shaved and smelling nice, to pick "nobody" up. Upon sighting her, his heart skips a beat. Can't look directly at her. He is just glad that seats don't face one another in cars. They head to this famous old church in the middle of the city. Her fragrance is quite not the thing to be inhaling if one has to concentrate on the road. Manages it somehow. Finds parking and starts the walk to church. It had to be the best feeling of the entire day by far.
During Mass, she leaned over and whispered something in his hear, and he was certain she was smiling. He could sense it. All though the words just didn't register. She was standing too close to him.
Mass done, they head out for breakfast at this landmark eating place for appams and stew. They do a lot of talking. About everything. About nothing. They finish breakfast. She wants to go on a drive. He suggests that they drive out to this multiplex on the peripheral of town, and see if they manage any tickets, being a Sunday. They manage a movie. He is careful to sit leaned to one side. The side away from her. Doesn't want to be giving off any unwanted ideas. Movie got done too. The drive back home was made even more pleasant by the unpredictable weather. It rained. She was all excited.While staring out the window, she unconsciously rested her hand on his shoulder. He had trouble breathing.And then he could breathe again.The hand was off.
He dropped her off at her place, and drove back home replaying the entire day in his head. He felt it went quite well.
When his mobile beeped to let him know that a messaged had arrived. He looked at it when he reached home. It was from her.
"If the day wasn't as perfect as it was, I would have met you again.....!!!!!"

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The death of a crush

Dusty looked up from his computer as he felt somebody's presence in the passage way in front of him. He saw this woman. Straight hair, clear skinned and on the heavy side. In a very long time, he felt butterflies in the pit of his stomach. He felt it so much, that he had to look away, as he felt his face flush. He was one of those who blushed very easily. It had been his bane since his time began.

In college his pals used to take bets on who could make Dusty blush the fastest. And they'd look at him and say, "blush", and he'd be blushing.

It probably showed so much on his face, that BJ sitting a little away from him noticed it. And queried, and the blushing face gave it all away.

Being the good samaritan that BJ is, she spoke to Pretty Lady and let her know that there is this crush-lorn chappie, who'd love to simply say hello to her.

And Pretty Lady replied (as reported by BJ)

"Who?!!! Him?!!!! Forget it..!!!!!"


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

He moved from Mumbai to Bangalore with his company. He was joining a global team that did work across the globe and his geographical purview was the whole of the Asia Pacific.

This though did not have any bearing on the fact that he had no place to sit in the offices in Bangalore. "We are 100% occupied", he was told. He was given some space in between sales callers, and collection callers. The din was unbearable. His boss based out of the UK didn't have much sway over the power brokers in Bangalore, and so he was of no use in such a situation.

Out of sheer frustration, he scourged all the floors of the building in search of a place, and eventually found the perfect spot. It was like a cabin, sans a door. It was perfect. And he was given permission to sit there by Mr.AR. Thrilled to have this new perfect seat, he walked in on the Monday. And he walked in into a power struggle. Little did he know that the seat he was graciously offered belong to Ms.KS who had smoke and fire coming out of her nostrils, wondering who this punk was sitting right outside her cabin, in a space that belonged to her. Mr.AR didn't have the authority to grant office space that didn't belong to him.

Poor chap. He studiously avoided Ms.KS eyes through Monday and Tuesday. Sat in his 'perfect' seat with trepidation. Not knowing when he would get thrown out of there.

The office was empty. It was only him in his 'perfect' seat, and Ms. KS in her cabin. She walked out of her cabin, walked upto him, stuck out her hand and said,

"We haven't been formally introduced. I am KS."

He was petrified. He was certain he was going to be asked to not sit at this seat going forward.

With all this running in his head, he managed to mumble his name. Surprisingly she lingered around and asked him what he did and why he moved back to Bangalore. Then the killer blow where she said, she'd want him to move very quickly from that seat since she was looking actively to recruit somebody to her team.

While she was speaking, he had switched off. After the initial apprehension, when he realised that he had to go if he was ejected from that seat, it suddenly dawned on him that she was very nice looking. When the fear left him, he could appreciate the beauty that was in front of him. He noticed a nice smile and amazing skin. He blurted out while she was still speaking.

"Am I allowed one personal comment?"

She went quiet. Her eyes narrowed and she nodded slightly.

He simply said, "You are beautiful".

She blushed. Smiled. Looked everywhere but at him and said,

"You can sit here for as long as you want".

Thursday, August 23, 2007

What if...

he had accepted that job in the emirates all those years ago.

he hadn't quit his first job when he did.

he hadn't gone looking for a job in the emirates and wasted his parent's hard earned money.

he had gone against his parents and stuck with the girl he was friends with since school.

he had chosen to pursue the sport he was good at instead of wanting to be a priest.

he had opted to continue his priestly studies.

he had pursued a masters in communication like he always wanted to instead of doing an MBA.

he had not moved out of Hyderabad when he did.

he had not moved out of Mumbai when he did.

he had reciprocated the sentiments of the woman from the big apple.

he had met the woman who sat up straight in the passenger seat of a car coming from the opposite direction to get a better look at him under diffferent circumstances.

he had not passed out cold during a socialite party in front of 200 people.

he had moved out of his parent's home when he could have.

he had died when he so wanted to.

he had lived life differently.