New-Year Makeover

Finally, after two and a half LONG years of blogging, my blog gets a makeover. Not just a new theme (from tic-tac to Minima dark) but even a new title (‘Apocalypse in the cliché factory’ now is ‘I chose the red pill’). For those who’ve failed to notice the tiny about-me pic, there’s even a not-so-small pic in the header image! (Now, that’s enough déjà vu stuff for people who see me on road! :P).

Reasons behind the ‘makeover’? Plenty of ‘em, actually. When you’re bored, jobless and desperately stuck at home with nothing else to do other than to pay a (deaf) ear to the rants and ravings of your parents who apparently have forgotten all other words in their lingo but for ‘STUDY!’, your mind gets rejuvenated beyond imagination. Besides, I’ve been yearning for a change-of-appearance too. Some introspection in a jiffy, followed by a rather challenging experimentation with colours and a rendezvous with Photoshop did the trick. I FINALLY chose the red pill.

Now for those who are intrigued with the title. Haven’t you people seen ‘The Matrix‘? Well, I have. About 49 times! I’m a great fan of the trilogy: the philosophy, the storyline, Smith’s cold dialogues, Neo’s repartees, Morpheus’s matter-of-factly explanations and above all; the stunts, especially the bullet-time! There’s this scene in ‘The Matrix’ where Morpheus invites Neo to join his fight against the malevolent machines who’ve made life on Earth an elaborate façade. After succinctly explaining to Neo about the Matrix, Morpheus gives him a choice between two pills: A red pill and a blue pill. If Neo eats the blue pill, he’ll “wake up in your bed and believe what you want to believe” and if he chooses the red pill, he’ll “stay in wonderland, and I’ll show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Needless to say, Neo chooses the Red pill, joining Morpheus’s crusade…

Check out this video to catch a glimpse of the scene:


My choice of ‘The red pill’, hence signifies a quantum shift from dreams to reality. Aw c’mon, that doesn’t mean ostensibly longer and dead-serious posts! Just a slight inclination towards realism. A sojourn of sorts from Dreams to reality. Hope you people find the makeover interesting. Expecting your valuable comments. Happy reading!

P.S. If you haven’t noticed, there’s a poll by the side. Do vote! 😀

Writer’s Block!

Writer’s block is a phenomenon involving temporary loss of ability to begin or continue writing, usually due to lack of inspiration or creativity.says Wikipedia. Considering the fact that I trust it more than my good old Dad, I can rightly say I’m afflicted with the ‘disease’. Wikipedia goes on to say: “Writer’s block can be closely related to depression and anxiety, two mood disorders that reflect environmentally caused or spontaneous changes in the brain’s frontal lobe. This is in contrast to hypergraphia, more closely linked to mania, in which the changes occur primarily in the temporal lobe.” Yeah. That, precisely is the reason behind the scanty amount of posts in my blog.

Ah. Does that mean I’m depressed?? At the moment I’m not, but broadly speaking… Yeah, I am. Have intense problems at home. Fights with parents are so common that it’s almost part of the routine to have one on a daily basis. My dad, being the quintessential, hot-tempered professional ‘relieves’ all his office-tension on to me. Which means, my vocabulary of the choiciest swear words (in English & Malayalam alike. My dad is a learned man!) has quadrapled! Being an absent-minded person of sorts, I’m an easy prey to my perfectionist-dad’s abuses, who feels it’s sacrilege if the TV remote isn’t placed ‘on its place’ after usage among other things!! I found this rather weird passion for perfectionism baffling, considering the fact that his own room is the messiest I’ve ever seen. (And I regularly get scolded for not keeping my room ‘arranged’!)

My mom’s not bad either. Thankfully, she’s not as perfectionist as my Dad. However she’s pretty anxious about my academics. Can’t blame her. The University Engineering Rank holder she is, she expects me to tow along the same lines. So, the only word I hear from my mom when I reach home is “study!”. Nothing else. She apparently feels that my creative pursuits hinder academics, and asks me to cut down on my ‘extra-curricular reading’. Her objection on me taking a British Library membership was so vociferous that I had to consult a good-hearted cousin of mine, who lovably doled out the money to help me in my endavour. (Love you sis!!)

What I’ve just mentioned is merely the tip of the iceberg. I’ve got literally zillions and zillions of problems plaguing me. But these days, I choose not to think of them. For, ignorance is bliss. The more I think, the more I tend to go nuts. These days, I can hardly read anything. I can’t stay focussed. I can’t just sit down, close my eyes & meditate. Even the Yoga lessons that my grandfather had painstakingly taught me years back seem to have failed me. I’m helpless…

Pessimism, I know is no plausible option for me. Hence I choose not to think of my problems. I try to look ahead & move forward. Like the phoenix that rose from its ashes, someday, I’ll have my day of redemption. I’m waiting for it to come.

Oops! The guy @ British Library just gave me a pat on the back telling: “Basically, we don’t permit blogging, emailing & stuff. So please clear out!!”

Aaaaaargh! Where else am I supposed to go when I don’t even have a solid ten-rupee note to browse for half-an-hour in an internet cafe’ and I have STRICT PC usage restrictions at home??

Signing off for the moment. Will be back soon. Adios!!

An Onam well-spent…

Ever since I’d started a blog, I’ve been toying with this idea of doing a photojournal on something. Even though I was a Photography-freak, I didn’t have a camera of my own! Besides studies kept me busy. Now that I’ve got plenty of time at disposal, and a Kodak EasyShare z650 Digital Camera for myself, I decided to put up a few shots I had taken couple of months back, during Onam. I know it’s too late to post an Onam photojournal now. But I’ve been postponing the task for a long time. Better late than never!

This Onam was very special to me, since it was a reunion of my maternal family. All my uncles, cousins, & second cousins settled around the globe, in places ranging from Bangalore to Toronto dutifully took leave from their high-flying jobs and hopped onto 707s to reach my native place (place called Kunnikkode, between Kottarakkara in Punalur in Kollam District) just in time. All of them tired of the sky-high aspirations of city-life ere ready for a welcome warmth of the countryside. And they did enjoy it to the fullest!

Contrary to my routine, I woke up early in the morn, on the Thiruvonam day. After a quick bath, I donned my Onakkodi: A Park Avenue Shirt and A mundu. Half-appreciating myself for adapting to the mundu so fast, I went down, only to see my Cousin sisters crouching on the mosaic floor in the verandah of the house, making a Pookkalam! It was pretty impressive, considering the fact that its Chief designer was actually born & brought up at Canada!(She speaks kick-ass thara malayalam with a slight Trivandrum accent, btw). Though It was I who put forth the pookalam idea a few days back, I’d never expected them to be so excited about it. It was one of the best pookalams I’d ever seen…

For starters, we decided to avoid TV for the day. Since all the ‘adults’ didn’t do anything special for onam, we decided to freak out a bit. After an hour of tree-climbing we managed to put up an amateurish oonjaal. But no one would dare swing on it! (As a matter of fact, none in our horde weighed less than 60 kilos!) By now, the inspired-enthusiasm of the morning had worn out. Many of us realized lately that, It was exactly the time for a nice movie. And, everyone cozily settled down before the Home Theatre watching the DVD of Rang De Basanti my Bangalore-waali cousin had shopped on a bargain from Music World. I was left tired, by the tree-climbing experience & terribly depressed. Onam meant nothing but 3 holidays when a mallu is supposed to eat packaged junk food renamed sadya!

I had to rethink when it was time for the Sadya. The assembled 40-odd guests sat cross-legged, ceremonially around the wide dining room with vazha ila’s placed in front. The sadya was the most eventful part of this year’s onam. It was a welcome relief. Everything was spic ‘n’ span, thanks to my Grandma, who also doubles as one of the best cooks in the world! Everything from parippu & Pappadam to sambhar were awesome. The vermicelly payasam was icing on the cake.

Finally it was time for the Photo-session! Armed with 5 cameras (of every model from Kodak to Nikon), we took snaps of everyone present. Countless 640×480 videos were shot until our memory cards & batteries were famished. I alone took a mammoth 423 photos & 3 videos in my 256 card & a borrowed 512 card. My favourite was the Group photo, which has just arrived from the printer’s elegant & beautifully framed. After a long time, since our 11th standard excursion, I enjoyed down to my heart!

Deprived of all energy we finally settled for the telly & caught the final scenes from the Onam flicks on TV(despite our resolution against that) and had a sound sleep reliving every moment of one of the most eventful days we’ve ever had…

FAREWELL

(The content in this post is heavily borrowed from my diary-entry on the 18th of January, ’06: the day we bid farewell to Loyola School. Yeah, I know it’s not actually hip to write about an old ‘farewell’, but still… felt this diary entry was too ‘good’ not to be published! There’s another reason, but I think I’d reserve it for the ‘Post Script’.)

Having been rudely woken up by the ‘ultrasonic’ (for want of a better word!) wake-up alarm in my Nokia 3310 at 4.45 in the morn, my mind didn’t register for a few minutes that it was the farewell-day. When it finally struck me some 5 minutes later, my initial reaction, quite surprisingly, was joy, even exhilaration; let alone sadness!!

My enduring mom had already woken up and was preparing my lunch. I quickly dressed up, and carefully packed my ‘farewell outfit’ among other things. I had tuition at K.K. sir’s place that day. Since Dad was on an official tour to Delhi, I made it to his place with my friend & classmate Deepak, well, ostentatiously late! (My friend is quite ‘famous’ for his punctuality!) Sir had instructed us to do a worksheet of sorts with questions from Quadratic Equations. My mind was so full of farewell that I could hardly do twenty problems in those two harried hours, depressingly-slower than my usual ‘rate’. After class, I caught a packed city bus to Sreekariyam with Deepak. No sooner did I reach Sreekariyam, I literally ran to ‘Hotel Anand’, bidding a quick good-bye to Deepak, who was off home to change. The sumptuous Ghee-roast at ‘Anand’ literally opened my eyes. Enthralled at the prospect of the farewell, (and FORCED by the lone 10 rupee note in my purse) I chose to traverse the kilometer-long path to school by foot.

Sidharth & Speedu (Deepu S.) had already checked in with their mundus firmly (well, at least, so they felt!) in place. Donned in my farewell-attire (A Dark blue Park Avenue Shirt & a mundu with green kasavu) after a quick, behind-locked-doors rendezvous with my class, I felt like my screen-idol Mohanlal! (A visibly-thinner version of the star, that is…) Soon fellow mundans (or rather, soon-to-be once-upon-a-time-classmates) trickled in. By nine-o’ clock each and every one (excluding one rather er… elusive guy) had assembled by the sides of the school-day auditorium in the school-quadrangle.

It was a rather funny sight to see the 100-odd plus two students in mundu(for non-mallus: mundu is Malayalam for ‘dhothi’). Some people looked jaw-droppingly handsome, clad in the traditional mallu attire. Others, due to their visible lack-of-experience with the mundu, were rather embarrassed, gingerly lending a hand to the ill-protected clothing so as not to make fools of themselves. As usual, Lakshya was the laughing stock of all, with that crazy way he’d wound himself in that cotton fabric, which he called ‘mundu’. He’d even brought a ‘fun-camera’ along. It was quite a sight to see him clicking away clad in that piece of clothing! Arun ‘Akri’ Kumar had the brains to trade his ill-fitting mundu for a pair of jeans. Meanwhile a few of us (i.e. the singers amongst us) were practicing the customary farewell song. This time it was ‘Pal – The Indian Idol edition’. We’d sung the same song for Chris Gala and had secured the first place. The song was touted to be a sure hit, at it did become a phenomenal attraction. (After all, I was among the lead singers!!)

The ‘Farewell assembly’ began at around 9.30. We were to walk into the quadrangle from the left & right sides (ISC guys from the right & HSE students from the left) of the school-day auditorium and seat ourselves in the steps in front of the basketball court, under the very eyes of 1200-odd schoolmates & teachers. (If you didn’t quite get that, I guess, the accompanying video-grab should explain). The rest of the day was typical farewell-stuff: speeches by Pindi,oops… our ‘rather’* revered Principal Father Varghese Anikuzhy, Rakesh (School Leader), Anand ‘Ambi’ A, Albenia Madam & our Juniors. Raku’s acknowledgement of the invaluable contributions made by different people in our lives” was good, albeit a tad not as spellbound as those tear some, mind-blowing speeches by his predecessors Vishnu Dattan & Arun Andrews. Albenia Ma’am’s speech that followed actually made the whole audience a bit dreary. Ambi’s pointed speech bordered on his attachment to the school, subtly training his guns on Pindi (for ruining Loyola! Why else?) In-between, our ‘Indian Idol’ rendition took place. Our juniors also did their best to put up a good group song dedicated to us. On the whole, our ‘in-the-open’ farewell assembly wasn’t quite up to the mark, but we’d expected that. The ill-fortune of our batch had, after all, extended unto the farewell!

Post assembly, it was time for an array of photo-sessions. There was the quintessential farewell-pic with everyone gathered around pindi – one of the most memorable group photos ever… The pic remains a personal favourite (despite that man’s ghastly presence!) Countless flashbulbs burned & many a CCD recorded some of those unforgettable Kodak moments…

Dreary-eyed, having been subjected to those blinding flashbulbs, we’d decided to rest ourselves awhile putting off an action-packed football match. It was then that Ambi instructed everyone to proceed to the IT lab. Everyone happily obliged, but he wouldn’t drop a word about what was to happen. It was the ultimate mouth-opener at the I.T. lab. Ambi had made a recording of sorts, dedicating a song to each and every person. It was the pinnacle of hilarity!! Though lack of time allowed him to allot songs for the first 30 roll numbers, the whole idea was quite refreshing and fun-filled. The most memorable dedications were ‘Omanapuzha’ to Alan & ‘Chentamara’ to me. After an hour of Ambi’s ‘recording’, we were left teary-eyed, thanks to a fit of non-stop laughter!!

It was then our juniors’ turn to treat us. The indoor games stadium was the make-shift venue for the treat. Probably the only person in town allergic to ‘biriyanis’, I politely refused the biriyani, only to gobble up meaty (pun intended!) portions of other items in the menu!! If my classmates are to be believed, the food was one of the best they’d had in recent times. Well, from my point of view, whatever I ate satisfied my slightly-oversized tummy!!

Gleefully thanking our kind-hearted juniors for the hors d’ oeuvres, some of us settled down, talking about whatever that came to our mind. The topics ranged from impending board & entrance exams to old-time crushes!! XEVFUAN** was indeed a topic of widely-publicized discussion. It was around that time that the cat had got out of the bag! Others, energized by the sumptuous feast decided to sweat it in the football ground for some time.

After an hour of whiling time away, we were summoned to the Sutter Hall for the final leg of the farewell ceremony. The ‘assembly’ in the morning was actually the informal one. The best was always reserved for the last. This final ceremony was deadpan-serious and was actually quite a discreet one, comprising of the outgoing plus two batches and all the teachers. I had the opportunity to catch a glimpse of this assembly the previous year, when John Mathew, Roshin & I were assigned the task of ‘volunteering’. From an outsider’s point of view, I gathered that it was a bit tedious. But, when it was time for our farewell, I realized how starkly wrong I was!! On a more honest note, it was one of the MOST moving ceremonies I’d ever attended…

By about 2.30, everyone made it to the Sutter Hall (the school-auditorium that regularly is the venue for LA Fests). DP briefed us, instructing us about the ‘Lighting the Lamp’ ceremony & all. It all began in the usual solemn manner, with pre-written speeches by teachers. On a regular assembly, such speeches would have attracted nothing but brickbats from a harried audience, but today, there was pin-drop silence! For the first time, we collectively listened to speeches, pensively analyzing and reflecting upon every single word mentioned. The teachers’ group songs that followed were seraphic, to say the least. Especially, the ‘Jab deep jale aana…’ number crooned by none other than our own Jerry sir (The music teacher at Loyola), whose voice then seemed to have a remote resemblance to that of Yesudas. This rendition was later followed by a soulful ‘Kanner poovinte’ by Mahesh & John, which on completion found everyone staring at each other, tears in their eyes!

Maithri Madam’s touching speech at the farewell will remain firmly etched in the minds of all who’d assembled there. It brought back a plethora of memories of her fourth standard Hindi classes! Thomaskutty Sir, DP, & Prabhu Sir (discreetly veiling his displeasure with our batch) wished us all the best in life. Thomaskutty sir even sung a self-translated English version of a popular Malayalam song. Then it was the turn for the students to recall the memories associated with their lives as Loyolites. Roshin & KC spoke of how they related to the school many degrees higher than their previous schools. People like Ashish also tried their hand at a final parting speech. Gokul SG was literally driven to tears before the completion of his speech while a suddenly-perked-up Siddharth gracefully assured Maithri Ma’am that he wouldn’t opt for a trodden career in Medicine or Engineering and that he’d do his level best to cross the gates of NIFT (and yes he did!).

The candle lighting ceremony was arguably the most solemn ceremony any of us had ever been to or seen. As we approached the teachers with lighted candles in hand, and as they wished us all the best in life, the ominous realization of parting with the school stung us! Many of us (myself included) were on the verge of tears. Unable to hold back, we cried openly (like we did when we first entered the portals of the institution), tears streaming from our eyes, sobbing uncontrollably, hugging each-other. It was so painful, the pangs of leaving one’s alma-mater to face the cons of the big-bad world! We finally realized, albeit a li’l late, what comfy lives we lived… It was all over! We weren’t children! We’d come of age!! We were grown-up fully-blown MEN! We had to leave school…

Though the hours-long football match at the school grounds that followed was filled with fun & frolic, the realization that it was all over couldn’t be dispensed with. Walking back home clad in shirt & mundu, holding the Loyola crest & the candle, that famous Malayalam verse by O.N.V. Kurup, which our teachers had sung for us came to my mind:
“Verutheyee mohangal ennariyumbozhum, veruthe mohikkuvaan moham…”
[‘Tis true that there’s no point reminiscing, still (I) feel like doing so…]


Footnotes:

*rather – Well, Reverend Father Varghese Anikuzhy S.J. is SO fond of the word that he makes sure there’s a ‘rather’ in every sentence of his! ‘Rather’ occasionally doubles as a nick-name, btw. (Hey smart-alecks, it’s just a coincidence that ‘rather’ rhymes with ‘father’!!) It’s not that he’s poorly trained in English or something… It’s sort-of a trait, actually!! Sample these ‘statements’ of his:
“Aye you, I’d RATHER tell you to come here…”
“I would RATHER tell you to shut your mouth…”
“It would be good if I RATHER say that LA Fest 2005 was an unqualified success!!”

**XEVFUAN – An old, long-time crush. Blew my heart away in a Maths Tuition class during my 11th standard days… For details, refer ‘Crushed’ in this blog.

POST SCRIPT:
With this post, I positively & imperatively intend to bid a ‘farewell’ (Rings a bell, doesn’t it?) to Loyola School in this blog. Okay, there’ll be references, still no more full-blown posts dedicated entirely to ‘Loyolish’ content like this one. I’m sure the long succession of ‘Loyolite’ blogs seem obnoxiously boring, with every other Loyolite starting a blog proclaiming ‘Loyola School is great!’ Well folks, if you didn’t feel the pinch yet, you will soon. ‘coz I hear at-least a dozen of such blogs are in the pipeline!

Which simply means: Brace Yourself!! The best is yet to come…

Do keep visiting & Adios Amigos!!

Crushed!

I don’t know about girls, but every (normal) male born, wailing emphatically into the vortex of this big blue planet is supposed to be physically attracted to someone of the opposite sex. And these new-age teens have even given this attraction a name. Crazy it may sound, but when you find a girl rather ah… attractive, they say, you’ve got a crush on her! I’ve often wondered how this ‘temporary love of an adolescent’ (to borrow a definition from the Merriam Webster Dictionary) got itself associated with such a heartless term. Perhaps it could be due to the intense emotional crush undergone by the love-struck teen pursuing the travails of his heart. Or even because of that crushing sensation our neighborhood teen gets to ‘enjoy’ after a male relative (in most cases, a dear sibling) of his ‘subject’ decides that enough is enough & goes on to crush our guy-next-door!!

Almost each and every (male) friend of mine has admitted that he has/had a crush on someone. The subjects of their crushes are far and wide. From that low-waists wearing hottie in the tuition class (being products of a boys’ school, tuitions were our only outlet for ‘exposure’!) to the quintessential Condom model, no ‘sexy’ girl would escape their prying eyes! But such crushes would be momentary; just enough for a random ‘arousal’ or in extreme cases, the topic of a heated debate after lunch. Nothing more. However, many have even had rather serious crushes. Some have even garnered courage and proposed to their lady-loves, only to hear I’ve-only-seen-you-as-a-brother’s or Let’s-be-good-friend’s. A couple of them could however manage a ‘yes’ from their female objects-of-attraction. And, If what I hear is true, those relationships are still going strong!!

Speaking of which, I’m reminded of my own story, or rather, stories. Yeah! I’m no saint either! In fact, the number of crushes I’ve had is almost equal to the number of days between 2003 and 2005! To be more specific, I had a staggering crush-rate of one a day!! In the midst of day-crushes, I also had some 5 serious crushes (the lattermost & final of which almost changed my life, literally that is). But, such day-crushes would be momentary, just lasting for a 500th of a second, or once in a blue-moon for a whole day if the subject was so extraordinarily er… ‘appealing’. Being an introvert of sorts, I never used to share my crush-stories quite unlike my loud-mouthed friends, which obviously gave me a saintly-aura!

Most of my crushes were STRS/STCS girls. I’m a big fan of the St. Thomas School girls’ uniform! I mean, it’d make even an average looking girl look quite smart. So, every girl donning the St. Thomas uniform assuredly had my second look 😉 (Santhomites & once-upon-a-time santhomites please excuse. I’m in now way trying to downgrade your school!! Please don’t sue me for this!!! I’m already in grave financial stakes…) Even today, my ST girl finder hormones haven’t lost much of their old zing! I still can spot out any Santhomite girl from a crowd…

Holy Angels’ (ISC) girls also topped my crush list. In fact, three of my five ‘serious’ crushes were HACites. There’s been this talk of the ‘fatal attraction’ between Loyola School & Holy Angels ISC for long. Most Loyolites scoff at it, but I’m a frontrunner! Being the only Boys’ & girls’ ISC schools in town, this so-called ‘fatal attraction’ was just too obvious. From time immemorial, various tuition classes (or rather, entrance coaching classes) in the city have witnessed countless proposals between the two. And, yes, many such Loyola-HAC relationships have survived the tide of times!! It was only the other day that I’d heard about the marriage of a Senior Loyolite to an ex-HACite. It was actually a relationship that had bloomed in their good-old tuition days. And, by some quirk of fate, both landed up in the same college (CET) in the same class!! And, the rest as they say is… (Oh come on!! Don’t wanna repeat that cliché again!!)

Coming back to my story, I’d begun my serious-crush-saga in the vacation prior to the commencement of the 10th standard. The intense coaching for the ‘demanding’ 10th standard topics would begin right in the vacation. Like almost every one of my classmates, parents forced me to go for mathematics tuition to a certain famed Sir (who tutored almost 75% of all ICSE students in the city). It was the third of April, 2003, the first day I’d stepped into a tuition class. The class was more like a beehive, bustling with activity. 80-odd boys & girls were squeezed into a classroom the size of a slightly-undersized regular-drawing room. Since I’d come late, I took some time to spot my classmates who’d seated themselves in the second bench, chattering loudly about everything under the sun.

The bench was too crowded, so I had to seat my then-65kg frame onto the left edge of this already-full bench. The girls’ benches were exactly to my left and were perpendicularly-placed to ours. So, I could get a clean view 😀 Still, I didn’t dare look at that side for fear of being taunted by my friends. When the class almost over after about one hour & 45 minutes, I managed a quick glimpse of the left side. It was then that I noticed this girl wearing blue salwars. She had a cute-round face, adorable eyes, and silky hair which could even make a Sunsilk-model shy! The goddess-like beauty of her face was a bit marred by her slightly-protruding teeth, but still, she had a grace in every movement of hers’. I thought about her the whole day. That night, I even dreamt about talking to that girl. It was the beginning of my first serious-crush. ! Let’s call her ‘L’ for conveniences’ sake. I also learnt later that she was in Holy Angels’ ISC.

Days, weeks & months passed. The first terminal exams were over. I couldn’t even manage average grades for the exams. It was constant turmoil at home. I was sad, desperate, and hopeless about my academics. Yet, Tuesday mornings and Saturday evenings were most awaited. I could at least get to see her. I’d complete all my Maths tuition assignments right in time & spend sleepless nights preparing for Tuition-tests, just to impress her with my marks(However, I’d never secured more than 70% for any major test, while ‘L’ never got marks less than that!). But, apart from a few glances few and far between, she’d never even noticed me! Still, I didn’t lose hope…

One fine Saturday evening I was joyfully walking to the Maths class, humming the ‘Girlfriend’ song from Boys. To my delight, I saw L’s father dropping her, right in front of me! I was on top of the world!! Finally, I’d got my opportunity to talk to her… Lady luck, it seemed wasn’t actually that inclined towards me. A few batchmates of hers’ materialized from nowhere, and soon, they were off together. Cursing my fate, I reduced my speed and mutely followed them, maintaining a safe distance in-between. Though L and her friends were somewhat ahead of me, I could clearly hear their hushed sing-song voices. What I heard, thanks to my ‘elephant’ ears, almost gave me a shock!! They were talking about me!!!(Apparently they hadn’t noticed me walking behind them) L’s friends were constantly teasing her, speaking about me, about how I kept staring at her all the time and that I had a crush on her. I could hear her, angrily retorting, saying how I looked more like an E.T. kinda’ freak and all… Looking back, I can still say, It was one of the WORST days of my life…

I mean, from the day I was born, I was under the impression that I was quite unique in terms of looks. Almost every adult, who’d seen me when I was I child used to remark how cute I looked. When I was termed a ‘freak’ and that too, by my first crush, I was shattered. There couldn’t have been a better way to bruise my ego. I couldn’t listen to class that day, and was unforgivingly scolded by sir. (I could see L’s guffaws from the corner of my eye, when I was on the verge of tears). For a week or so, I was actually not on Planet Earth. The realization that I was a freak caught over me, spreading over my body like a disease. I was beginning to hate myself, and was even toying with the idea of suicide!!(Mind you, I wasn’t even 16 years old then!!) Thankfully, an hour long rendezvous with God (in our Puja room, one Saturday, when parents were not at home) brought me back in action… I vowed that I’d never even look at L again, and that I’d concentrate on my studies.

After the L incident, I’d cut down a lot on my mouth-looking(translate that to Malayalam). I finally managed not to keep staring at L’s ‘adorable eyes’. And, I can rightly say that It WAS a turning point in my life. If L hadn’t said that, I wouldn’t even have secured a meager 80% for the 10th boards. Post L I’d decided to take studies (somewhat) seriously. The overnight preparations to impress L also boosted my aptitude for Maths. So, the once-most-loathed subject became the most-loved one!!(It still is, as a matter of fact and, I need to thank L wholeheartedly!!) And, last but never the least; I was relieved of the misconception that I’m passably-handsome!! 😉 However, till date, I’ve had this burning desire to talk to L at-least once about the whole fiasco and it hasn’t happened yet!!

They say, Laws are made to be broken. So are vows. After about two months of self-imposed ‘celibacy’ and a trip to Sabarimala, It was back to basics. This time, I’d learnt to restrain myself, though. I already had this L thing like a splinter in my mind; so, I’d decided that I wouldn’t be too ah… ‘serious’ the next time. My next ‘target’ was an above-average looking STRS girl. I also went the ‘marks’ way this time, studying hard. And, I could clock neat 80 – 85% for some tests. I was almost about to hook the STRS girl, when I finally heard her voice one fine Tuesday morning. It was appalling, almost resembling a croaking frog! I began to loathe her from that instant.

After the STRS crush, I’d remained decent for about a year or so. The pressure of the 10th board exams left me no time for ‘crushing’. I’d even taken a break from routine day-crushing sessions. It took some time to get going again, that too, after the commencement of the plus two. It so happened that due to my impressive 10’th board exam marks, parents decided to send me to the same famed – Sir for tuition (I had many classmates for company this time also…). Sir’s class actually paved way for my ‘final’ crush… This happened when I was in the 11th standard. Sir had this habit of questioning every student about the topics taught the previous day. The seating arrangement was the same as in the 10th, and I was sitting intact in the second bench. However, there were a few girls’ benches this time about two rows behind us.

On a fateful Wednesday morning, Sir was asking a few formulae from Progressions. Having answered my question, I was sitting peacefully, nonchalantly eyeing a few passably-cute HAC girls on my left, while Sir had proceeded to the back-benchers for questioning. It was then that I’d heard that jaw-droppingly cute voice. Almost as if in reflex, I turned back, only to see the girl, who’d be my longest-standing crush & who’d upturn my life altogether…

She was the most-beautiful of the tuition-girls & towered over her classmates with her 5’7” tall body. Her face was gracious, almost resembling a Michelangelo Sculpture – the pinnacle of perfection! Those alluring eyes had a definitive aura about them. Her almost-waist-length hair lay over her shoulders in two plaits, as required of her SV school uniform… For a moment or so, I was in heaven, you can call it a split-second nirvana!! It was as if Goddess Saraswathi had allowed me a personal visit…

I WAS IN LOVE!!!

From that day, not a single waking moment passed without her thoughts interrupting me. I could never forget that angelic face. I’d be dying for Wednesday and Saturday mornings. (Let me call her ‘K’ this time for conveniences’ sake.) I did my best to inquire about ‘K’, as discreetly as possible. I came to know that ‘K’ was actually much in ‘demand’. She’d already received countless proposals, but had laughingly rejected every single one of them. To my dismay, a pleasingly ‘cute’ classmate of mine also had a crush on her!! (If rumours have their way, I think he’s still inclined to her…) From my previous experiences with L, I’d decided to moderate my impulses, and focus on studies. And, I’d daresay, I was a bit successful this time. I could manage decent 70% – 80% marks for tuition-tests, despite gaping at K whenever I got the opportunity.

The so-called turning point came at the start of the 12th standard. It so happened that I’d switched my Physics tuition. The previous Sir’s classes were a bit, err… above my head. So, I’d decided to go to the other famed sir(whose name is synonymous to ‘Physics tuition’ in Trivandrum these days…). K also was at this sir’s place. Due to the change of timings, my chemistry tuition would be disrupted, and consequently I’d to change over to a different batch. To my pleasant surprise, K was also there with me…

By now, you might’ve guessed the ‘turning point’. Sorry folks! Better luck next time… I DIDN’T propose to her!! (In fact, I haven’t had a word with her in person till date…) Having got the opportunity to see her everyday, I kept gaping at her all the time (By then, I’d almost unanimously, but unofficially, won the mouth-looker of the year trophy!!). I can easily say, sans exaggeration, I kept thinking of her EVERY MOMENT. Studies were totally messed up. With the arrival of LA Fest (for dummies: It’s the insanely-popular interschool cultural festival hosted by Loyola), in which I’d an important role (which incidentally made me famous and gave me an additional nickname: ‘Chentamara’), I never even got a proper glimpse of my study room for two months or so. Still, by some quirk of fate, I could still manage neat 70%s, In fact I actually topped a physics test at this new sir’s place.

But, my academic ‘excellence’ didn’t last for long. Marks soon were on free fall. Failing in tuition tests had become an experience. I couldn’t manage to learn a word of anything! I kept thinking of K all day, and all night! Last-minute study sessions bought me pass-marks in School-exams, but that was it! I faced the wrath of parents & teachers alike. Meanwhile, board exams were fast approaching, and slam books kept pouring in!! Fresh from reading the Da Vinci code, I wrote K’s name in the ‘Your Crush’ column in a friend’s slam book, using a simple cipher scrambling, confident that no one’s goanna guess it. But I was wrong! The would-be IITians didn’t need more than a couple of seconds to decode it. The cat was out of the bag!! Everyone knew about my one-sided affair with XEVFUAN (that was what I’d written in that God-forsaken slam book…)

Time moved fast, Models, boards, entrances all got over within a flash. I’d managed a measly 81.5% for the boards (Still can’t figure out how I could get at least THAT mark), and a 2000+ Kerala Engg. Entrance rank. Even after letting a crush ruin my life to such extent, I didn’t lose hope. I heard she’d got a 4000+ rank & that she’d mostly join the college which I was planning to join. I met her through orkut & we often chatted through Y! Messenger. But, her ‘tone’ was always distant & cold. After the much-postponed Engineering allotments (that took place in September end), I was allotted a seat in Govt. Engg. College Barton Hill TVM, while she was to study in a college at Kollam. That was the final nail in the coffin!! I decided to leave her…
Looking back at the whole God-forsaken-mess I’d made of my life, I realize that I’d just ignored my life & my parents just for a girl! (Note this line, It might be of use in future!!) Even so, I hadn’t even conveyed her my love. I’d crushed my life, pursuing a crush! So, what did I learn from this?? Just one thing… Teenage love is CRAP(Not just CRAP, it’s MEGA CRAP!!!) Don’t go by the impulses of your heart. If you think you ‘love’ a girl, go to hell dude…!! Tell yourself that you’ve got better things to do in life. You can do enough ‘crushing’ after you secure your future… Otherwise you’d end up like me…

Alright, I know I’ve got to put up a final full-stop to this obnoxiously-long post. And, all I’d like to do is to reiterate my final point. Friendship is loads better than what you people called ‘love’. It’s not bad to have relationships with members of the opposite sex. They’d be buddies for life. So, if you feel for a girl in the your teenage years, there’s no other go but to control your emotions. They’re just ‘temporary constructs of your feeble human intellect’ (Yeah, I know I stole that line!) There’s nothing like perfectly-true love in the 21st century. That doesn’t mean you desperately need to end relationships with one-night stands! After a lot of contemplation, if you STRONGLY feel that what you have for him/her is true love, go for it!! But, when you’re in love, make sure you aren’t desperately obsessed with the relationship. Even if it breaks, you need to have the will-power to smilingly come out of it, unscathed. ‘coz, to quote a self-edited version of a Bon Jovi song, “It’s your life, it’s just now or never… Just wanna live for ever…”

P.S.
The story is not over yet. You’d remember me telling about the five serious crushes I’ve had. I didn’t speak about the two minor crushes that’d taken place in-between.  Both were HACites. And, I’m friends with both of them now!! I’d met one of my ex-crushes a few months back, and we contact each other regularly. She’s one of my best friends now, and actually inspired me to write this post (I’d told her about the crush thing, and she had an hour-long fit of laughter!!) 😀 I occasionally chat with the other person in orkut.

The THUNDERBOLT is back!

Okay, okay… I know this post is goanna be really clichéd. Almost every guy/girl with a weblog in his/her name will have passed through this situation. But, not updating your blog on a daily ah… at least in a monthly basis isn’t a crime, is it? When your blog finds no footprints of yours (save those of the readers, if there are any, that is…) it has a more than 90% chance of being extinct. I’ve seen millions of interesting blogs wither away into the realms of eternity with the author even forgetting the username & password of his blog!

In my case, well, disinterest wasn’t the problem. In fact, I pragmatically used some of those boring periods in college to cook up the bases for new posts. But, when your parents outrightly refuse PC usage, what are you supposed to do? You can’t write your posts and simply upload them into your blog through airwaves, can you? Okay, okay… I know what you’re thinking right now… And I did exactly as you thought, only to be caught once again. (Fell prey to my father’s advanced snooping techniques for the umpteenth time!) And, Achan is now staunchly against the idea of re-taking DataOne (I’d run up a broadband bill of Rs 1850/-, and you can imagine what happened at home!) until S3. To make things worse, the phone line near my PC suddenly went dead!

With no-net, I was almost like, half-paralyzed. Had it not been for the BH Library, I’d have even deleted my orkut profile. But problems didn’t stop there either. The admin soon banned Orkut there too!!:( It was then that my gaze fell on Achan’s IBM Thinkpad. If there weren’t any presentations in the vicinity, it was mostly unused and safely rested in Achan’s shelf. Though the Thinkpad was over a year old, it had a DVD RAM Writer, 1 GB RAM, Bluetooth, and what not! Thankfully the manufacturers had thought about people like me, the Thinkpad even has an internal DialUp modem. This meant, I could use another phone-line to get connected. (Provided my parents weren’t at home – and that regularly happens every Saturday!)

But even those feisty hours, or rather minutes (I say feisty, because I use NetOne – the free internet connection provided by BSNL 😀 ), I spent with the thinkpad, just gave me enough time to reply to my scraps and chat with a few people. And, like Me pursuing 'back-breaking' study schedules...bolt from the blue came the much-preponed series exams. Needless to say, with my ‘back-breaking’ study-schedules, I didn’t get time to log on either…(That, obviously, was a joke. Hope you got the sarcasm)

Now that the damned series is over, time is on my side. And, that translates into more orkutting, blogging & photography, thanks to Achan’s thinkpad! So don’t be surprised to see me online most-often. So, keep connected. And, ready your eyes for a treat of sorts, hopefully by tomorrow!

The Inheritance of Loss

Quite an ‘inspiring’ post to adorn your blog with, eh? Well, there is no element of fiction in this one, so to speak. What I’m about to write is an absolutely-authentic account of what happened to me yesterday, the day before my 18th birthday. I might as well put a ‘statutory disclaimer’ right here for the ‘elite’ who prefer displaying their goodies(to be more precise, their N70s, 6680s, w700is et cetera…) They might ‘crap’ this post about this guy cringing over the loss of his puny 6030…. Oops!!! Damn!! I spoke it out… Anyways, don’t mind my previous sentence; just read on if you’re interested… 

It was a typically ordinary day at college. Had 3 periods in the morning session, followed by a 2 hour break and the unceremonious workshop. There was a ‘formal’ announcement that a few people from Kairali TV would drop in to ‘interview’ our class-reps(For God-alone-knows-why). But, even those soon-to-be-celebrities didn’t find the idea of getting themselves ‘interviewed’ remotely amusing! At the end of the day, the ‘Kairali’ people, well, almost kept their word. They slugged along idly in a decade-old ambassador, 4 and a half hours after the said time of 12!(Sitting idly in a desolate island for four hours is heaven considering the #$%^@!# these people show on TV!) The college bus had to wait till the whole damn ‘interview’ got over. We got the hang of it. Ranjith(my buddy… Need to dedicate a whole 3 page post to him), me & countless other batchmates @ GEC Barton Hill decided to walk the 2 km road downhill to PMG. It was around 5 ‘o’ clock when we finally reached PMG. Ranjith had to meet his Dad, so he bid me an ‘Advance Happy Birthday’ and left. I was left with Deepak(a Kollam-based guy in Mech). Quite soon, he too got fed up giving me company and went his way. I was alone(er… with some 45-odd people I’ve never seen before, that is). All buses to Sreekariyam were packed. So, I had no option but to wait. It was then that I made the decision I’d regret all through my life…L I decided to call my mother using my 3-day old Nokia 6030 just to inform her that I might be late!! 


.The Phone I'd owned once...                                      The 6030 was a er… birthday gift. It was actually meant for my mother. Amma actually got her old Nokia 1110 drowned!(That phone was a gift from my Uncle to me, but eventually Amma laid her hands on the booty.) One fine Sunday morning, it suffered a 3 minute ordeal in our IFB Front load washing machine, enough to render it’s display out-of-juice(Don’t ask me how it went inside…) After an hour-long ‘advising’ session by Achan on how to safeguard a mobile handset(His hard-earned MBA is showing itself off these days…), amma decided to allocate some 4000 bucks for a new handset. Being the only ‘Mobile Maniac’ in the family, the task of choosing the right handset was assigned to me. I didn’t need much time to propose the 6030. I’d recommended the same model to Pashu(Prasanth, one of my best friends, I owe him a gigantic post too!!), and he’s jumping with joy at the moment over his choice. But Achan wanted a better model, so I introduced him to the 3230. He too, it seems was quite exasperated with his year-old 6020 and was planning to get himself a new phone with Bluetooth. And pat came his deal. Achan gets the new 3230, Amma gets his 6020, and I’m left with my 2600!  I was quite okay with it. This was the first ‘purchase’ of a cellular phone among us. Having got 4 handsets as ‘gifts’ we’ed never come across the idea of actually buying a mobile phone before… 

The visit to Planet Nokia was awe-inspiring. I spent about an hour there ‘testing’ all models (including the N91). The sales rep. was about to kick us out, forcing a 3230 upon us, when Achan suddenly changed his mind. He just said “Enikku ippo 6020 mathi. Nyaan ninakku oru 6030 vaangichu tharam. Ninte phone ammakku koduthekku! Irikkatte ninakku ente vaka oru Birthday Present!” For a moment or so, I was left open-mouthed! For the first time in my life, I got a Birthday Present from my ridiculously-frugal father. Yipee!!! I nodded humbly, trying to put on a that-will-do-I-don’t-mind look, striving hard not to shout with joy.  Achan gave 4000 Rupees, to get a Nokia 6030, 1 rupee(They weren’t actually bluffing about the 3999 thing), and a box with fireworks(Deepavali offer!). Within no time Amma learnt to use my 2600, and she was quite happy with it. Stereo headset intact, I was grooving with ‘Ananthapuri FM’ in my 6030,  & logging into Y! Messenger using its XHTML browser. Finally I got a GPRS phone!! I was on top of the world!!! 

 Coming back to PMG, (It was the 3rd day in the the 6030 almanac), I gingerely took out the 6030 from my Jeans-pocket and called home to announce that I’d only reach home by 5:45 since I had to go to the library to return a few books. Then I saw this red KSRTC bus coming toward me. It was literally empty and the black-in-white board announced in shabby letters: “Sreekariyam”. I quickly ended the call, put the mobile in my shirt-pocket and hopped onto the bus. It was then that I ran into this dark man wearing a reddish check-shirt. I quickly said ‘sorry’ and jumped in. I gave a ten rupee note to the conductor, took the change and put it in my shirt-pocket. It was then that I noticed what would later ruin my birthday. There was no mobile in there!!

 This usually happens to me. I might hold the mobile in my hand and check my pocket for it… But, this time I was dead sure. It wasn’t with me. I quickly informed the conductor. A lady kindly offered me her Nokia to call my phone. But, just as I had expected, I got the reply: “The subscriber you’re calling is switched off. Please try after some time…” Someone had stolen my 6030!!

 My instinctive reaction was to break down, but I didn’t. I remained calm, and tried to think. It was then that I remembered my collision with this dark guy. It was him!! One old man had seen him collide with me too… I got out of the bus, and hitched an auto back to PMG. ( The bus hadn’t gone far, I thought I could catch up with him). I searched everywhere… but in vain. This man was a pro!! I’m done in…  

For a moment or so, my mind was blank. But I didn’t panic. I was still calm, (I think I’ve mastered the art of remaining calm, thanks to a measured daily-dose of yoga) but still desperate. The 6030 was my birthday present. It was more of a body part than a mobile phone. I could still vaguely remember that slight tug in my shirt pocket. I felt like I had lost an arm or a leg, or rather… someone had amputated it!! 

I boarded the next Pattom bus. I needed to go to Achan’s office.( located at Vydyuthi Bhavan, Pattom. My father is Deputy Chief Engineer, TRAC, KSEB).  Within two minutes, I reached reached Pattom, and the bus stopped right in front of his office. The guard let me in(He knows me, I guess… I’d come here before many ‘a’time for various reasons.). After a minute-long ordeal with the lift, I reached the nineth floor(The floor that occupied Dad’s office). Achan was busy with a bundle of files concerning some upmarket steel firm. I stormed in and announced what had happened without skipping any detail. I noticed his expression worsen as I went on with my explanation. Then, all of a sudden, he gained his cool. I still can’t figure out how I managed to say that so openly & calmly to him.(again, kudos to the Yoga lessons & my grandfather who had painstakingly taught them to me.) I thought he’d fire me, but surprise-surprise, he didn’t!!(Has the world gone topsy-turvy so fast???) 

An hour later, we were on our way to the Museum police station. I had called the BSNL Call center and the sleepy customer service executive advised us to lodge a police case, and sent the FIR. He said, then they’d think about deactivating the SIM. However Pashu told me(His mom works with BSNL, and that too in the mobile department), that all  I had to do was to get an acknowledgement from the Police station (the police-station in whose limits the incident happened), and I’d get a duplicate SIM with the same number after I pay Rs 112. The balance would also get carried over. After some 15 minutes of drive in the rain that was gaining strength exponentially, we reached the Museum Police station.

 

I’d never been to a police station before. My first image about police stations came from good-old Malayalam movies, where the SI sat behind a desk in a small room with a lock-up and all. There would be a photo of Gandhiji neatly framed on the wall,  a dark telephone & a decade-old globe resting in anonymity on the desk with millions of files strewn all over. When I actually got to see a Police station (The recently inaugurated Sreekariyam Police station, opposite to my school) my image was kinda’ shattered. Everything looked so modern; perhaps the Indian cops were at least trying to be like their foreign counterparts.

 

That day, I entered a Police station for the first time. It was a two storeyed building with some 100 or so odd-two wheelers shabbily parked all around. I didn’t take much time to realize that these were seized for traffic offenses and their owners didn’t even bother to get them back. It was guarded by two sentries. There was even a ‘reception’. We went inside and briefed the ‘receptionist’ about what had happened. The man gave us an is-that-all look and directed us to go inside and meet the SI.

 

This SI guy was a 30ish man with neatly combed hair. His name was Mohammed Iqbal or something. He seemed exasperated when we got inside, like someone had woken him up from a sound sleep. The room was the exact opposite of what I’d expected to see. There was no Gandhiji pic on the wall. I couldn’t find the globe either. However there was a brand new PC with ADL connection. Everyone’s on the high-tech way, it seems. Even the number of files on the desk(which proudly bore some four different telephones including a state-of-the-art Panasonic Caller ID phone & a brand new Sony Ericsson w810i) were bare minimum Achan politely told what happened and gave the typed-out complaint. He quickly read it and instantly remarked: “Sho… ee PMG il ninnulla moshanangal koodi varikayaanu” placed a call to my number in a jiffy. He slammed the phone when he got the switched-off message and called a plainclothed guy( I think he’s the appointed Mobile Phone theft-watcher) who politely brought us outside the room and asked us to wait outside until he gets all the paperwork cleared.

 

Waiting in a police station for even a miniscule 3 minutes could be an ordeal, and I learnt it the hard way! There were a couple of ‘undercover’ journalists sniffing around for information. I also spotted a few people in the lock-up. All were 20ish youngsters with Charles-Sobhraj kinda’ looks. Even their stares could bring up a chill in the deepest of your bones. However, thanks to the promptness of the mobile-phone-watcher, I didn’t have to spend more time in that ‘fortress’. He politely settled us off, giving us a ‘certificate’ showing that the concerned Nokia 6030 was stolen. Now we could apply for a new SIM.

I half-expected a riot to break out at home, considering the fact that  we were soaked down to the skin pursuing the travails of the 6030. Lo & Behold, I was spared again! Thankfully Achan sensed my despair on having lost a birthday present. However I had to silently attend a crash course on ‘How NOT to get your Mobile Phone stolen’ conducted by my all-knowing father! 

A visit to the BSNL office at statue the very next day solved the SIM card blues. Even BSNL, it seems, had decided to move on with the tide. Within merely an hour, we got a brand new SIM with the same talktime & the same old number, reassuring my already strong faith in ‘Bharat ke sabse bade door sanchar seva’.  All we had to spent was Rs 112/- for the new SIM. I was back with my 2600 again!

2 Weeks have passed since I last placed that call on my 6030. I’ve got adjusted with my 2600 again. I enjoy playing ‘Bounce’ and ‘Mobile Soccer’ during the hour-long lunch breaks. I’ve managed to keep control over my ‘finances’ using the Spreadsheet application. Above all, I keep composing hot new ringtones (which, as always, are always on demand!)

 

So, do I miss the 6030?

Yes. I DO  miss it. I feel like kicking my butt everytime I see the now-abandoned cover, still religiously occupying a dignified corner in my bedroom. Occasionally I read through the Owner’s manual to relive my 6030 memories. The stereo headset is never off my ears… These days, it’s always plugged to my ears when I’m home…

 

Still, Past is past…  Alright, I’ve reported the IMEI number and all, but will I get the 6030 back? The chances are outright slim. However, I haven’t lost faith. Whenever I hear the ‘Celestine’ announcement of a call in my frugal 2600, I half expect it to be the vigilance officer proudly announcing that a mobile phone thieving ring has been busted & they’ve got my phone too… And that’s the last thing I can expect, practically speaking!

So, hey you self-righteous show-off freaks out there: Alright, you’ve got a flashy new handset, But why risk the chance of getting it stolen? Stop showing off & live a happy life!!