Thursday, March 30, 2006

i'll remember

Its 9:30 pm sunday evening and I am hurrying towards the chaotic ksrtc bus stand looking for my bus to mangalore. I still remember when I sat inside the bus, I could see tears falling down my mom's eyes. For the first time, I could sense myself receding away from home. However, i remained very stoic, just trying to suppress my feelings. I was all set to explore the new and tougher ways of life. I had a mixed feeling of missing my family and friends on one hand, and on the other, excitement and fervour that I would be pursuing my course at krec, surathkal.

Initially, none of us had a clue as to what was happening.We didnt know where our hostels were, when our classes would start or who our roomies would be. I could see all my classmates running around finishing up the formalities.The good thing was, during this phase, some of us already started making friends. We didnt have a choice to pick our roomies, though I never wanted to have that privilege. I knew it was hardly a matter of time for me to gel with anyone. Basically, I was known for being sloppy and unkempt. I just hoped my roomie would not be quite opposite to me. But, I discovered that Arvind beat me by a huge margin when it came to being messy!! Phew, I felt a lot relieved

Needless to say, the first thing to mention about is the hostels . Our room always reminded me of an aftermath of an earthquake, both of us lost in the debris searching for our wallets and watches. To add to our misery, the room we stayed had a leaking roof. No wonder, we used to see no one coming to our room to relax. But one thing that kept us going was perpetual music from my comp. Coming to bathrooms, our hostels were blessed with water for about like 2 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the evening and our classes used to start at 8 in the morning. One could hear constant banging of doors and slogans which were yelled under extreme conditions of suppression and endurance. It was a treat to watch only if you were not one of them. Then, we had to rush to the mess which had hundreds of satirical articles to its credit . On the positive note, all of us eventually became kind of ambidextrous trying to tear the so called chappathis, which was as tough as probably tearing a hundred page notebook. Thats one place where none of us wanted to visit, but all of us had to ;-)

I generally used to enjoy combined studies during our class sessionals and the main exams.I remember, me and my roomie used to complement eachother very well. Both of us used to read just half the syllabus and explain whatever we have read. After the exams, the kinda fun we used to have together was awesome. One room would be picked by a panel of movie buffs and a show on the latest hindi or english flick would be screened at 8:00 pm after dinner. Whether the host was there or not, there would be 10-15 of them gathered with some light refreshments too. After the movie, some ppl get to stay back for a special screening on a different genre of movies which apparently has only 2-3 characters . Trust me, i was never a part of the second screening, an honest proclamation though ;-) . Apart from this, on a saturday evening, everyone's eyes were cast on the hostel notice board. All were curious to know the movie which would be sreened that evening in the open air theatre. Watching a movie there seasoned with shady comments from all over is a experience in itself

One thing that i cant miss out is the reverberance of the sea which always gave me a feeling that one day i would be washed away during sleep. Students and faculty used to flock together at the beach in the evenings. The highlight here is the Ganesha temple, at the backside of which we can relish the picturesque sight of the sun sinking into the horizon. I remember during holi celebrations, there were atleast 600-800 students who had come there to cleanse themselves after being splashed allover with colour. Apart from this, the latenight walks around the serene campus which always used to be the best way to unwind after a hectic day. This used to be followed by hot maggie at the night canteen..... very nostalgic indeed.

It was not only inside the campus where we had the best time of our lives. I remember the trips to bekal fort, sringeri, hornadu, kudremukh, sita falls, udupi, manipal, kollur, madikeri etc,etc.. all of them are still fresh in my mind. it is not just the place, we all enjoyed the spirit of being together. We used to frequently go to mangalore only for one reason, the yummy gadbad at ideal icecreams and well maybe one more reason, catch a glimpse of the pretty girls there... very pretty i must admit. In simple words, having fun was just a thought away. Truly, those were the best days of my life !!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

heavy fuel

Its already friday evening...everyone's still busy, nobody has the time to come up with a plan for the weekend. well, not all... heres one guy who calls up promptly at 6 and asks " maga eshtugantege manege hordtaa idya?". I instantly ask him " yaaake maga? enu plans? " pretending to be innocent . Needless to say, everyone is aware of this destination popularly known as "madhusudhan house", the enciphered word for madhuvan b/r. The ambience is characterised by a canopy on top with cool breeze from all sides and ever-pervading swearwords from some sleazy characters in the neighbouring tables .

Let us usher in the first guest of honour mr.sant who is specially dressed for the occasion.He would have probably decided on that in the morning itself. the best part is that he knows ( or atleast claims to know) each end every waiter there... incase he doesnt know then, "kumara solpa illi baarappa" is the usual way of addressing . Next there are references to the occidental lifestyle with phrases like " maga california nalli eshtu pubs ge hogiddini... aadre , madhuvan nalli sigo maja chance illa..." this is followed by his mumbai escapade. Here are some excerpts of the conversation "maga, alli beach nalli avala jothe....", "maga, when i was not keeping well...." still, some part is still not known to anyone. The pandora's box is yet to open !!!

Few minutes later, comes our raja..he is probably 10 minutes late, but very much acceptable.Its not his fault, afterall whenever someone tries to reach him on his mobile, a sweet voice saying "neevu kare maadida chandaadaararu....". but let us thank our stars the news has already reached telepathically if not telephonically and his presence is already felt there. The initial smell of alcohol is enough for this man to start his high decibel words of wisdom. A tight hug is the first thing his good old buddies expect when they see him . Then, after a few updations on whats happening with everybody else, he remembers something and says "misse illa.... nange ondu large vanilla with sprite and some ice cubes". There wont be a single day where he wouldnot have had encounter with a stranger who fortunately or unfortunately happens to be a babe and this man wouldnt have started off with a conversation. He proudly announces " maga u know wht i met this girl at my office and the first thing i said was said ur eyes are lovely" I bet he wouldnt even remember her face, forget the eyes!

Please make way to our swift and not so stout ritz who is persistently engaged on his ngage. I just notice him the first time he comes, the excitement on his face is beyond description. But what happens to all his energy after sometime? Infact, he is popularly known as the man of gadgets. A new mobile last week and a worldspace radio this week. i must admit that the new swift he bought is awesome... but as the saying goes like every thief leaves behind a piece of evidence, I have always noticed hairbrushes and earrings fallen down the front seat. He confesses "howda? next time i shall give it back". After sometime none of us even realise he's around. He is spotted somewhere with his gestures similar to mr Saif's futile efforts trying to convince the other person in DCH ! A few seconds later, he says" maga solpa problem aagide, will be back in an hour " Then the guy whom i introduced just before screams at the top of his lungs "This is wht i hate about having gf's, che... eee hudgiru decent aagi kudiyakkoo bidolla". But, this man is not even around to hear the comment, he has already fled the scene....

Its time for me to introduce the future Branson... but there is a difference on one count... i think Branson was not a virgin at the time he started his first youth mag called student ;-). This guy has the potential, but not the patience. He starts off, "hey prash, nice shirt for a change, but please change ur hairstyle". He then continues "u know wht, i met this guy who is just around 26 and he owns an e-class, mann wht style and confidence he has !!". I'm sure you are gonna own own soon. The problem is this guy has too many options in life and sometimes even having so many options is not good.. especially when you are hitting on 2 girls who happen to be sisters and you are not able to decide who is better...btw, last week when we met at the same place, mr. suraj, u said it was the younger one! now, wht happened all of a sudden?

By this time some of us have already realised we are missing vat and rags... vat for his plethora of one-liners ( believe me, he has not repeated them even once) and mr. rags as a dumb observer, who comes up with stories about each guy's dialogues the next day. This guy has fun at other's costs... afterall, its good to have fun without drinking too...

Its half past the last call for alcohol and right from corruption to music to bollywood to philosophy to girls to nostalgia , almost all topics have been given due justice . At the end of the day, wherever our discussion heads, we end up realising all of us are correct and conclude how unique our group is. All of us have our individual commitments, professional resopnsibilites, yet nothing can stop us from this rendezvous... All I can say is we rockkkkkkkk!!!

PS: Hey, did I talk anything about myself ? ofcourse not....its my blog !!!!!

stairway to heaven

It was indeed long since i had the been in person to seek the blessings of the "rich dude" as some of my friends call it, but last week i felt rejuvenated when me, along with my family had been to visit the "permanent resident" of the sacred hills. This was not the first time I had been there, but each time I set my foot on this place, its a different experience. I was flabbergasted to see millions of spirited people who had come there, leaving aside their ephemeral joys and sorrows. I must say I forgot life for a while.

I remember that we had almost reached there at midnight and I happened to see towards my left the splendid hill, with lights along side the steps decorating the hill which I may call as the "Stairway to Heaven". After a while, I was in deep slumber and was raring to hit the sack. Right from the hotel reception to the room boy, to the shop keepers and taxi drivers... everybody looked still busy. Indeed, "the city never sleeps !!".

This time around, we didnt go on foot to the top of the hill, but last time when I did, I realised something. The climbing of the hill gives us the snapshot of our very own lives. Initially, if we observe, the steps are a bit high and tough to climb. The first few steps gives us feeling of fatigue and loss of energy. This is because most of us think as to how many more steps are remaining to reach the destination. It is certainly a turn off when someone says, "hey cmon, there are seven more hills to climb". This is the mistake i feel we generally make in our lives. We have one eye fixed on the destination and hence we can only spare one eye for the journey. As long as we know we are heading in the right direction, if feel we should not be constantly bothered about the end result. Then as we climb the hills, we breathe cool air and feel a lot more energetic seeing the picturesque places around. We even get refreshments of our choice to quench our thirst. Again, this is the reflection of our own lives where these refreshments around are like worldly pleasures. We should not get carried away by this. We shouldnot forget the path we have come so far and the journey which is yet to be travelled. It is not wrong to savour the taste of these pleasures of life as long as we dont lose track of where we are heading.

One thing which has kept me awestruck is the role of the TTD management, who in my opinion is doing an awesome job. They have to accomodate lakhs of devotees everyday and provide them with adequate food, shelter and timely darshan . Even the quality of laddoos is stupefying to the core. There is no way that something like this can be made anywhere else in the world. I have heard that the coca cola secret formula is patented for hundreds of millions of dollars, but I can vouch for it that this beats it !!!

We stood in the queue finally to fulfill the purpose we had come there for. I looked with awe at the people around me who had flocked together. But I was really disappointed at this time when I saw some people trying to break the queue discipline and move ahead in haste. Some others who were irked by this started swearing at them in their own languages. I know we are all in the rat race back home, but havent we come there to forget life for a while ?? I am sure everybody there gets to see the God and nobody comes back disappointed. This kind of incongruous behaviour leads us to nowhere. God is fair and just to all. This being the case, why do we have to do all this? One incident that really disturbed me when a young boy wanted to relieve himself took the help of his parents who took him to a side which was right outside the sanctum. I dont blame the boy, but elders atleast should know that the whole purpose is defeated. Where are the basic values? Slapping one's face incessantly while seeing the God definitely wont help. I know some people who say that they have plans of visiting Tirupati if their daughter gets married, some people go just before their exams or results. Some just see God as a granter of wishes. Others come there to thank him for getting some favour done. Why do we have to treat him like the way we treat our fellow human beings?

Finally the wait was over. I could hear the resonance of "Aum" in the sanctum which literally gave me goosebumps. I had reached the place which was the effulgence of all eyes abode by the Supreme. The moment I saw the God, I was on top of the world.. I was just staring at him like a confused kid staring at a toy shop who doesnt know what to ask for. I didnt want to move from there, but few seconds later, I was pushed out like as if someone was saying "Hey buddy, u cant stay here.. please make way !! ". My time was up and after I came out, I instantly forgot the long hours I waited. I must say, it was much more than a visual treat. While returning back, I felt that I would rather go through all this for hours rather than go in and come out like the Bachchans or the Ambanis. After all, its not only the end that matters !!!

18 till i die

This article is the result of an introspection on the journey we have travelled so far in our lives, the kind of transformations we've been through, the impact we've made on others and vice versa. But, somewhere I feel we have forgotten our basics. We don't have the time to thank God for the wonderful parents, teachers and friends he has given us who are collectively responsible for whatever we are today.

I happened to ask a few people as to which phase of their lives they would want to revisit again and the obvious answer was their teenage or college days. Its not that they have all been failures at present. They have been thriving in whatever they are doing. But, I feel that there is some empty space that we are not able to fill. All of us try to do a variety of things to unwind ourselves from the mundane job we do the whole day. But, even this variety has lost its spice. We try to emulate the so called happening people around. We want to play bowling in amoeba, go pubbing in pecos, do some shopping at the garuda mall or catch a flick at pvr cinemas. We hardly find time to meet our best buddies. We shoot mails on Wednesday regarding plans for the weekend, spend hundreds of rupees in calling and fixing an outing, but still the trip stands cancelled cos 2 of them are working over the weekend. One of my colleagues was telling that he used to spend more than 2k every weekend and he was known to be happening. I feel, we have been forced to enjoy what is recommended by the so called connoisseurs of hedonism.

Going back to our younger years, we all have our fond memories locked up there. I remember during my college days, I didn't have a single penny in my pocket, yet my heart was full. We had no idea of where the happening pub was nor we had seen a bowling alley. We didn't have mobile phones to stay in touch, yet we were closer to more people than we are today. We had the privilege of meeting people from different backgrounds and interests. I used to live in the glory of inspiring and getting inspired. The cultural fetes, competitions, class socials, picnics, they provided all opportunities for us to work together, share our thoughts, know our strengths, identify our soul-mates, etc, etc. I was not bothered as to how much I would be earning in future, whether I would get a beautiful wife, when would I buy an Aston Martin, or a villa in Ibiza. We used to find utmost happiness in each and every trivial thing.

But now, the times have changed. We have become more self-centered. We are no longer concerned about the people around us. "I want to quit my job, cos my friend's friend who hardly got 60% aggregate in his college is getting twice my salary. I want to go to the US to realize my dollar dreams as fast as possible. I want to buy the fanciest mobile and the smallest ipod in the market." These are the thoughts that keep running at the back of our minds always. We hardly speak to any person just as an individual. We identify him on the basis of salary, qualification, how often he changes the mobile handsets or the car he owns. I remember a person who was referring to people as " my IBM friend, my Motorola friend". We are attaching unnecessary tags to every individual due to which less important things are taking center-stage This is just the beginning. Let us relive those days again. Let us not forget how fortunate we are , let us stop complaining and set an example to the next generation. Let me end this with a wonderful phrase by John Lennon which goes like this..."You may say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one... I hope someday you'll join us and the world will live as one".