Saturday, December 30, 2006

Dilemmas of being a PILLION rider!!
(Dumb yet true!)

Looking around I see an entire population rolling around on wheels; motorized and ‘un’motorized, cycles of various colors and ‘CCs’, queer little things, those ‘scooties’, ‘mopeds’ and cars zipping by, choch-a-block-ing the streets of the city I’ve adopted as my home for the last 4 years for academic purposes, what cannot go without a mention is the raucous mass of human beings spilling over into the main road from the scant foot-paths and wading their way nonchalantly through the roaring and honking ocean of vehicles. Passing by, I notice the many malls, wada-pav sellers, juice vendors, the BARISTAs, the CCDs, the LEEs and the REEBOKs, the PYRAMIDS and the PANTALOONs, the PLANET Ms and the MUSIC WORLDs and then of course, the many shapely little things walking around in groups- all the stereotypes and essentials of the 'young' city, Pune..... and then all of a sudden, the nape of a dirty neck…..a cold slap on the face!!
Howdy! I am the pillion rider!!!

“You are sure to meet with an accident, son, Pune roads are unbelievably bad and people have no traffic sense and besides….you even fell off your tricycle so many times as a kid!”,
“Your stars don’t permit you to ride those which move on two wheels, if you disobey your celestial guardians, not even divine interference can keep him from a horrifying consequentiality!”(“Can I ‘ride’ those that move on two legs then??” should’ve been a reasonable doubt, wonder why it never occured to me back then?).
“Rono you are just way too scared and nervy to ride, trust me the day you set your bottoms on a bike seat……. you’re done, brother!!!”
“Over my dead body!!!! If you even think of getting our son a two-wheeler, I shall move to my maternal place….FOREVER!!” ...concluded my mother.

Such was the encouragement that emanated from the very thought or sight of me planted on a motorcycle or even….a bicycle! Therefore I have now survived for near about 4 years in the city where even the milkman has a Hero Honda, often traversing on foot and sometimes surrendering myself to the cunning ‘auto-walla’s who would be more than happy to take anyone for a leisurely ride and even graciously give a short tour of the entire city if one didn’t know his way around; these greedy,little gremlins often carry picked Meters and phony fare-cards so during my first few weeks in the city I was shelling out three-figure amounts for short trips to the market or the bank or even to the nearest movie theatre!
But also, I am not the only one. Many such ill-fated blokes in the city like me exist, who have even had to go on dates in an auto-rickshaw!! Funny, images of my first and only date should assail to my mind…….!
Yet, the scorching envy with which my eyes have followed each ‘dude’ sprawling luxuriously on their THUNDERBIRDs and BULLETs is sure to send each and every one of their petrol-guzzling chariots to the service station at least once, with serious engine issues, or so I can solemnly hope.
Nevertheless, this matter being so extremely sensitive as to send me spiraling away from the main subject matter of this essay, I shall now solely focus and expand on my experiences and expertise on the topic of ‘skilled pillion-riding!’ Yes, I have been so many people’s ‘bitch’ there’s a lot of venom to spew! So bear with me….
Here is a brief study of a few various reasons( among tonnes of others) why I hate pillion-ing;

FIRST; Whenever you're on a long ride with the guys you are never part of the excitement, the action….the sole purpose of the trip being the RIDING!!

PRO: Sit back, enjoy the breeze, the raindrops don’t strike your face twice as hard, the slush gets your friend’s trousers first and be the wimp!
CON: Being the wimp!

SECOND; You don’t know if that hot, little fox is staring at you or your rider friend.
PRO: Doesn’t make a difference, she’ll most definitely be taken.
CON: Even if she’s interested, it’s your friend and not his ‘burden’.

THIRD; You’re always the wuss who has to be ‘picked up’ and ‘dropped off’!
PRO: Good! it’s a free ride!
CON: Constant subjection to sentences like, “I’ll pick you up at six sharp! stand outside your flat”, “How will you go back home? Do I have to drop you off?”(WHAT!! Am I your date??), “Sit behind him, you’re too heavy!”….and the other guy goes, “no-no my shock absorbers are too weak!” and sometimes, “Shut it dude, don’t disturb me when I am riding!”

FOURTH; Your bike goes over a speed-breaker without braking, your n**s are crushed!!!
PRO: Ah well! They were of no REAL use anyway!

FIFTH; You are always the sidekick who’s made to wait and guard the bike while your friend is away cashing-out or meeting an aunt.
PRO: Well you finally have ONE responsibility.
CON: Playing Sancho Panza can often be painfully detrimental to one’s self esteem!

SIXTH; Perched at the back you’re sure to be made the mule. Jackets, helmets, guitars, amplifiers, food, booze anything, often everything is dumped on you. Fair enough!
PRO: Often reminds me of a certain 10 armed Goddess and that how comfortable she might be in certain situations……what would she do if her armpits itched?
If its food and booze you’re dumped with, mooch away!! simple, they were getting too heavy to carry!
CON: Con? What con? Don’t Coat-hangers have self-esteem too?

SEVENTH; “Parking-ticket money?? The guy in the back pays, my hands are ‘full’”!
PRO: With all the change in your pockets gone you’ll probably weigh lighter on the weighing scale next time you’re checking.
CON: Crap! Can’t even afford a gum.

EIGHTH; Your imbecile of a friend decides to do a wheelie with you sitting behind and you cant refuse him.
PRO: Good! Now you know you’re stupid too.
CON: The first to go were your n**ts, now clear the road for your buns!

NINTH; If your rider friend is wearing a helmet, it’s YOUR head that’ll need protection every time his disc-brakes break into action!
PRO: Well, ‘head-banging’ gets a cool new expression!!
CON: Apart from the obvious, what a sight it shall make if you BOTH wear helmets!

TENTH; As for the grand conclusion I have reserved the most dreadfully embarrassing experience of all, something I’ve been subject to so many times , it’s when you’re riding with a girl…… HER pillion!!!
PRO: You can put your arms around her and hope she keeps those sudden brakes going!
CON: You may just HAVE TO wear that helmet!

The message therefore stands crystal clear;
1) Whoever says sitting at the back reduces chances of getting injured in an accident is a raving madcap!
2) Well, taking that auto won’t hurt after all.
3) If you happen to be like the helpless little mule that I am DON’T ever date or go out with women who have their own transportation, it’ll only make you want to shrink to the size of a G.I. Joe
4) Putting on a sports abdomen-guard before embarking on some ‘bumpy’ pillion riding is highly recommended.
5) If your friend has gone across the road to cash-out or to irrigate the streets or whatever, having left his vehicle with you, get on it and pretend it’s yours!
6) And finally!!! Get your own means of transportation even if financing that would require you to take up contract killing……if that’s too difficult just go become an auto-walla, they have a better life!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

This is unbelievable.......6 months after I gave it all up....shux!!!!

The vapourizer takes the cake....and the cream on top.........

maybe the CHERRY too...:-/

Friday, December 01, 2006

3 weeks into Pune and I've begun hating it already, can't wake myself up before ten every morning and college is half empty.....
And I fkin hate being stared at by FAT chicks!!!! Urrrrrghhh!

Monday, November 13, 2006


It’s this time of every vacation that I start contracting the blues severely and it feels terrible, there being just one and a half more days left for these holidays of mine to end, I woke up today morning feeling utterly miserable and no less than a hopeless wreck. It is these times when everything you have done during these few days that’s even distantly wrong comes back and thwacks you on the face like a boomerang!
This entire month I’ve kept getting mad at my mother now and again for having nagged me relentlessly about my ‘unhealthy and unhygienic’ existence, she always has a problem with what I wear, how I eat, what I do throughout the day, how I spend my money, how many times I repeat my clothes and practically everything else that constitutes my way of living. Being woken up early in the morning to go buy groceries is something I have always despised and that is precisely what I’ve been asked to do on numerous occasions this vacation and I HAVE SULKED!! I’ve brooded like a selfish old man. The groceries would’ve been for my own consumption during the day and for nobody else.
Although, thankfully I have never been rude to either of my parents, but it hurts to have even sulked, I feel like a criminal.
Mom’s day begins at unearthly hours in the morning, with cooking lunch for His Highness, that being myself, getting my clothes washed in the machine and making breakfast for me. Then she hurries to school. All that effort just to compensate for my having to be alone at home for a few hours till she returns from school, more so cause I am on vacation!! And should I sulk if a little favor is ever asked of me? Is, telling her how great my vacation has been because of all that she has done for me and how much I appreciate all the hard work she has put in every single day to make sure that I live like a king, enough? I think not.
And now that the day has come to an end and I see her in bed, fast asleep due to exhaustion from the day’s work, I feel so sorry for her, feel so ashamed for having been moody, for having been such a complete loser, for not having been able to convincingly put across to her that it has actually been for her that life has been such a cakewalk for the lethargic sloth that I am.
Tomorrow and day-after are my last days at home before I board that train back to Pune, I promise, for these two days I will not be moody and I’ll not brood.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The little verandah I grew up in....

A different sun rose every morning in Park Circus, CIT Road.
From my earliest recollections of those days, the scant images that materialize timidly to my mind are those of beautiful early mornings that I had spent with grandma or mom, standing in the little verandah of our little two-bed roomed rented apartment, waving out to dad or Jethu leaving for office. There was certainly something magical about that atmosphere, something immensely fulfilling. Maybe it is just the rosy, dreamy haze with which we tend to enfold the images of our earliest memories, making them appear more beautiful than they already might have been, but the unrelenting thought that there might have been after all something more to those sunny mornings makes me want to keep thinking about them. There’s a special feeling to it, it’s only me to whom it occurs and it is me alone who derives a certain comfort out of it, a strange comfort resulting out of an odd chemistry between happiness and poignancy.
I was brought up till the age of 4 or 5 in that old rented flat till we all, my dad, mom, grandma, grandpa, my baby sister and jethu, dad’s elder brother and my best friend decided to vacate it and shift out, for good.
Memories of that dark, tiny flat sit heavily on my mind and I often think about the many Saturday winter afternoons I’d spent squatting alone on the sun-warmed floor of the verandah, right next to the potted creepers, playing with my jarful or marbles and those colorful, tiny plastic animals that came free with the little boxes of ‘Tit-Bits’ mom used to get me from the marketplace very often, am not too sure if you’ll know or recollect what those were. Tit-Bits were my favorite, tiny, sugar coated candies. A box of Tit-Bits would come shaped as a joker with a mouth that could be opened by pushing up the red lolling tongue of the jester into a tiny slot glued below his nose, the sweeties then could be shaken and jerked out of the mouth.
But it wasn’t the candy that I desired, candy after candy would roll out of the joker’s mouth but that long awaited sight that would lighten me up with pure, unadulterated rapture was that of a tiny red, yellow or blue tail or head of a deer or a tiger stuck between two or three Tit-Bits near the mouth, ready to be liberated in a shake or two!! So whenever I got the slightest inkling that mom might venture out to the bazaar I’d run to her and hug her sari tightly with my tiny arms spread out as widely as possible and she’d instantly get the clue.
The other afternoons would be spent sleeping right next to my grandma, with all four of my limbs on top of her; I was so tiny I could hardly ever get my arms fully around her; she was a tad big too. I remember, in CIT Road, evenings would be heralded by a resonating namaaz read from a mosque situated just two houses after our’s. The namaaz used to be propagated through large speakers fixed atop the roof of the mosque and every evening our neighborhood would wake up to that slow and haunting recital, I always wondered what the words chanted in the namaaz meant…no one at home could tell me much! The namaaz, breaking out through the cool darkness of the evening and the eerie silence thereafter used to have an strange intoxicating effect on me and I would abandon all effort to try and get up, BUT obligations at home had to be heeded too, mom would drag me out of bed and wash all the afternoon siesta off my face and sit me down for the evening puja.
Evenings were what I used to look forward to eagerly for the reason that dad and Jethu would be back from work. Jethu ALWAYS bought something for me on his way back from work without fail, but what I especially looked forward to were those big chocolate bars called ‘Fudge’ that he used to buy me very often, they don’t sell it anymore these days. A bar of Fudge used to come with free stickers of He-Man and his beefy lot, and much to my mother’s displeasure most of them would finally end up adorning grandma’s expensive dressing-table mirror and what tantrums I used to throw if mom was ever seen, so much as even proceeding towards the mirror with a wet piece of cloth!
I often managed to tick Jethu off too, I remember this one evening when I’d created quite a stir in the house when myself, having caused a large tear in one of the pages of an expensive photography manual he had just purchased and brought home, leaped off the bed where it was kept and made off, on being asked where that ‘rippling’ sound had come from, I intelligently blamed my ‘bad’ stomach. I came so close to being walloped that night I can never thank my grandma enough for having managed to pull me out of that pickle. I realized that evening, that I was a free bird in the house as long as I had grandma backing me up.
The evenings in CIT road used to be somewhat special, while I practiced Math or handwriting with mom coming by from the kitchen every half an hour to check on me, Jethu would play soft ghazals on the stereo in the room adjacent to the verandah, sit by the verandah, chatting with dad over a smoke, sometimes there’d even be whiskey flowing, with mom replenishing the plate of snacks every now and then and myself hovering around, assisting and sometimes even outdoing dad and Jethu in consuming the contents of the plate, till mom would grab me by my ears and force me back to the other bedroom, back to my books. Grandpa would just sit in his room and grumble, “Urrgh…. the music!!!”
My Jethu used to be my best friend of sorts and I was as afraid of him. He was the one buying me all the Fudges and the Citras (a bottle of which I could never manage to finish, he would never even scold me for wasting it), and later on all the He-Mans and Gi-Joes had also come from him, Jethu would always take me out to wherever one could drag a toddler around and I hardly ever came back empty handed. The first movie I ever went out for was with him, we’d watched Indiana Jones together! Jethu was also the first one to buy me a bike and of course, introduce me to sausages!! It’s been eight years since I last met him. Mom so very often tells me that I have all his traits, the love for music and for food and that I somewhat even look like him.
No matter where the rest of my day was spent, at home assisting mom in ‘cooking’ (carrying spatulas, spoons and forks and laying them by the plates) or shopping or in Kindergarten, my early-mornings were always spent in that tiny, sun-washed verandah of ours, that’s where my day began. That has been the battlefield for so many of my skirmishes, mom chasing me around with breakfast desperate to send me off to school with a full tummy, the make-believe enemies I used to mow down with my Leo gun, the little cats I used to chase around and of course exploring the big, wooden box kept away in a corner.
That particular box used to be of enormous interest to me; made solely out of planks of wood it stood higher than me, stacked away in a corner with cobwebs growing all over it forming a fragile, translucent canopy off which the morning sunlight would sometimes reflect causing a strange and somewhat fascinating glitter, with ghosts of the past peeping out from the dark inside, through small gaps between the wooden planks making up the box and dark and ferociously ugly lizards scrambling in and around the box, it assumed a highly mysterious appearance. What could possibly be inside it? Why would mom warn me never to get near it? All that she had told me was, someone very bad was trapped inside! On many an occasion I had managed to scrape together all the nerve in me to go and try to open the box but the very sight of those slithery, hellishly hideous reptiles and the fear that some hairy, clawed, growling entity might leap out to assault me, quite effectively kept me miles away from it. I was very much at hand when one afternoon some coolies were brought to open up the box and empty the contents, grandma complained it was taking up too much space, hold you breath for what emerged from inside!!!……..
Boxfuls of old documents, a few of my grandpa’s old army daggers and a bunch of his thick army uniforms, so much for all the suspense and tales mom and grandma had woven around it to keep me off it.
No philosophy here but that old verandah acted as my eyes to the outside world, since I wasn’t allowed to venture out much, standing on my toes and peeping outside was a luxury I was allowed. Why men emerging from the mosque wore white caps was way beyond me and why a haggard, filthy looking man downstairs kept wishing strangers ‘good morning’ and ‘good night’ and made funny gestures looking up at me also went over my skull, but it was all okay and fun!
Considering the amount of time I’d spent staring at the street across and even at the main road on the other side through which most of the heavy traffic passed, I had acquired a reasonably good idea of who passed on the streets and around what time, there was a rubber-tanning factory somewhere nearby, it gave off a peculiar smell everyday during a particular time, the smell, if not offensive wasn’t too inviting either and I knew exactly what time during the day that smell would start coming. That was the profundity of knowledge I had attained spending countless afternoons standing all alone in the little verandah and peeping outside from there.
It was also in that little space that, probably for the first time I had witnessed the true horrors of a massive fire, this one had a catastrophic potentiality, one morning an LPG gas transportation truck caught fire in the street right across our house, the cylinders immediately started blowing up one by one, the smell was unbearable and so were the deafening explosions, each gas cylinder blast sent chunks of metal shooting off everywhere, the firemen went berserk trying to bring the situation under control as cylinder after cylinder exploded sending roaring echoes everywhere, the flames rising from the truck went sky high disappearing in a plume of black smoke rising higher and higher, I’ve never, till date, ever seen a fire that big and I still do have the images fresh in my memory. I remember being in the verandah, in mom’s arms, seeing people run wildly everywhere screaming and rubbing their burning eyes, it was the gas! Even our eyes burnt but we still had to see, later we were dragged indoors. It was all very amusing to me in a strange way and I felt totally secured in mom’s arms.

A recent couple of years back mom and I paid a visit to our then- landlady, she’s old and ailing, we had been her tenants for very long, my grandma and her were good friends and she knew us well, she wanted to see us. Her house in CIT Road was located right behind our’s. In her house I discovered that the glass windows by the stairway leading up to the old lady’s room offered a clear view of what was left of our erstwhile residence, the part of the house that could be seen through those windows was the passage that connected the kitchen and the bathroom outside to the rest of the rooms inside. Mom kept climbing on but I stopped.
A short, chill flash of pain cut through my heart as my eyes caught the very visions I had grown up seeing, through the dirty and hardly transparent glass I saw a faint image of that very kitchen where mom and grandma had spent innumerable evenings cooking and chatting with Jethu tip-toeing in and out of it carrying something to go with his whiskey, the little room right next to it where dad, mom and I used to sleep, the very room where mom used to sit and teach me nursery rhymes during those long summer afternoons and tell me stories about her younger days and dad taught me and my baby sister how to bat, the very passage up and down which I used to race, being chased by either dad or Jethu or even my sister…..but that’s all these windows would permit! But I was desperate to see the verandah; unfortunately it was totally on another side!!!! I felt weak in the knees and staggered upstairs. Where was my verandah?
Amidst all the; “Oh how grown up you are!” and “It’s been so long…where do you study…how many more years left to go??….”and so on and so forth, my mind kept wandering away, there was only one thing on my mind, I craved and yearned to take one long, last look at my old little dwelling, my sweet little verandah, oh how I craved!
Gathering up enough courage I requested the old lady to let me out to her terrace so I could see our flat properly, she obliged immediately after I fulfilled her condition, that is, of devouring two extra rasgollas!
My being lead upstairs to the terrace triggered off a hushed conversation among the womenfolk in the house to the effect of, “Oh how sentimental the boy is….oh! Just look at him…he just couldn’t forget…after all who does?!”
The terrace was disappointing and all I could see was the roof of the house, something I’d never seen during the entirety of my stay there and am sure neither did dad or anybody else. Finally, after a long examination of directions and their corresponding windows in the house, I was lead into a room that had a lucid view of my tiny little flat.
This is where the final bludgeon fell on me. Our kitchen was broken up and renovated from the inside; the new owners had made it into some sort of a store room!! The little bedroom next to it was now a mass dining room and looked nothing like it did before! And the passage was renovated to make a hallway replete with carpets and chandeliers, a servant told me that the place had been turned into a hall for conducting Muslim weddings. But where was my verandah!? Why could I still not see it? Evidently, there was no window in the house that could show me my verandah.
While leaving as we passed by the old house I stopped the car and got out, the verandah looked just as it used to, from the outside, unpainted and with creepers growing all around the outer wall. A lump appeared in my throat as I realized I was standing in the very same spot where the haggard, old mad-man used to stand, about 10 years back, looking up and making faces at me. I looked around for him; he was nowhere to be seen. CIT road was a different place now; it wasn’t the CIT Road that I had left behind.
My little verandah kept drifting further and further away as we drove away, one moment it was there, the next moment it was gone.
“If wishes were horses, beggars would ride!”, they say. Quite right, this beggar could’ve owned a stable as huge as those in English farms, drumming with Japanese Taiko drummers, kicking out Hugh Hefner and taking his place, owning an entire winery, driving my own Lexus, being named the next potential Booker-bagger after Kiran Desai, name the steed and my stable houses her.
No philosophy here again, but am so prepared to let them all go, let them leave me dream after dream, but only in exchange of one dying wish;
‘Take me back to where I came from, I don’t like this world cause it is too cold here. Let me go back to that very tiny, sun-warmed universe of mine where I belonged, all alone with that mysterious wooden box and the lizards, the small plastic animals and the creepers surrounding me, let innocence and love prevail in that world and in that microcosm of my childhood let me stand tip-toed, peeping out, waiting for a new sun to rise!”

Friday, November 03, 2006

Looking back

Putting down in words one’s ruminations on life can sometimes be one of the toughest and most boring things to do, especially for a person like me.
I think too much!! No matter how insignificant something might be, or how formless it may be, I often find myself comfortably day dreaming and pondering upon such fleeting thoughts. To add to it am a bundle of contradictions and much to my own amusement I, more often than never find myself contradicting my own thoughts and opinions and arguing against my OWN SELF!! Wont quite work to my advantage as a lawyer, would it?
Therefore you see I have too many conclusions for one thought. And now if I am to pen down what I think about life or how life has been to me so far, there would be way too many conclusions and no doubt exists that wording all of it would be an epic task and finally, by the grand end of it, quite surely, I’ll end up disagreeing with myself upon every single line I’ve written and in a fit of irritation expunge what might’ve taken me hours to produce. Such a thing can be quite a pain in the backside when you have a particular fondness for writing. But nevertheless I shall proceed to describe how my life has been so far in this post, without of course meddling much with the philosophical aspects of things or by the end of it, there shall be no post at all!
This is going to be somewhat extensive………
My earliest recollections, as far back as my memory can stretch, are just blurred images and sounds, incongruous and broken; images like mom looking down at me, then grandma, then mom again, and then grandma again, then comes grandpa, uncles and aunts and then a fearfully dark and hairy face (quite presumably belonging to a servant, my lineage would obviously have had better complexion, it could also have been Rupa aunty!) stuffing a large spoonful of some gooey matter down my throat and then suddenly picking me up and started tossing me about in the air like a tandoori roti, singing loudly, I do clearly remember how dad was imitating her standing right behind her!!. I remember when she finally stopped, I looked up at her and……..
There’s the memory of the time, when an older me, marched straight into the kitchen one fine evening and grabbed a bottleful of kerosene thinking it was water and took generous swigs before realizing that water would never taste that offensive….the last thing my fainting eyes could perceive was mom charging at me screaming.
Then there’s also the memory of my first day at school, it was raining cats and dogs that morning and mom had walked me all the way down from home to school, we walked under one umbrella. ‘Little Angels’ was a nursery school and was quite reputed for being really strict, it was the first day of my life that I was to spend without mom, how I cried hugging her, no I wouldn’t let go of her. No matter how much the ayahs tried to drag me away first by cajoling then with force, I clung on to her sari…. finally I had to let her walk away on being promised a chocolate, which was of course never given to me. I don’t remember much of my nursery school days except the large and colorful wooden blocks, toys and number charts, inflated rubber clowns, the water bottles that were hung around our necks and the ID cards and a particular girl whose arrival at school I used to await with unabated breath. Don’t remember much of her…..
My ‘proper’ school life started in Dayanand Anglovedic School, Kolkata which I joined, I suppose when I was 4 and studied in till I was in my 5th standard, DAV was a long voyage of unpleasant experiences. It was in DAV that I was first slapped, struck hard across my face by my Principal, for ‘running in the corridor wildly!!’, then our Vice-Principal, for having been ‘naughty’ and finally our class teacher/math teacher for having failed in Math for the umpteenth time, Math, the subject, that pretty much shaped and defined my school life in the years to come!! It was in DAV that I actually started developing a slight stutter which developed into quite a predicament; I had to jerk my arms and shoulders to get words out much to the amusement of my classmates and even some of my teachers, am not using this post to spew out the pent up venom inside me but this one little incident I’ll never forget; once on being called out to read a passage from my book by my English teacher, I started jerking and stammering ridiculously in front of the entire class and amidst the huge uproar of laughter stood my English teacher IMITATING every desperate move of mine trying to express myself!!! She stood there making fun of me! Then she rebuked me for my infirmity before the entire class. Gosh I so wish I could give it back to that wretched soul!! That was DAV, Kolkata.
Vivekananda Mission School was where things sort of improved; I realized that I could make up for my lack of Mathematical faculty with my growing prowess in English and the latter became my only shield against constant ridicule and criticism for my inability to comprehend that ever-elusive subject pertaining to numbers.
It was during my Boards exams that I actually pulled off miracles of sorts to the utter bafflement of my teachers and colleagues, first there was the school second highest of 97% in Technical Drawing in my Xth standard exams, a subject that I’d taken up one year late and Second, passing in Math with reasonably good marks in my XII th standard exams, where most students considered ‘good’ in Math had flunked!!!
It was also in VMS that I learnt about the birds and the bees and why girls in our school never had pockets in their uniform shirts!
Home was always my safe sanctuary, and I enjoyed an extremely exalted position at home till my grandma was alive. Till the very day she was alive, ‘thamma’ used to make sure that I always had my pockets full and jingling and that no one ever said so much as a word to me or got anywhere near me if something went wrong. Not that my sister was discriminated against, she got her share too. How I wish she were still around. Home was a little bit too protective therefore, that I might have to be sent outside my hometown for college studies after school, was being considered by my parents right from the time I joined Standard XI.
Finally, in the June of 2003, I joined Symbiosis Law College and arrived in Pune! Pune was the best thing that could’ve ever happened to someone like me. From the ultra-conservative environ I was growing under with all its taboos, dogmas and superstitions; Pune was a shocking and most welcome change. It’s in Pune that I first realized what it felt like to be studying in a class full of people from different corners of the country, totally different in attitude, behavior and outlook, rather than a class full of neighbors! It was here that I first saw a REAL mini skirt, that too in college premises!! It was here that I realized that studies alone doesn’t make a man, that friends sometimes matter more than money and that social drinking doesn’t necessarily make you a ‘naughty boy’, something else does!! Pune caused so many ‘firsts’ in my life it’s actually creepy!! The first joint I ever lit, the first peg I ever downed, the first time I feel deeply in love, even the first time I got chased by a mongrel or a drunk, all happened in this blessed city !! Finally, Pune gave me Ehsaas, my first band!
At this grand finale of my 21 year old, somewhat stable ride through life, in spite of all my stupid self-contradictory notions, unrelenting confusion regarding almost everything, extreme laziness, impulsive idiocy, affinity for empty vessels and by-the-minute infatuations….. I feel have learnt a great deal!
Although it’s tough to put my finger on it, but I do feel somewhat matured now! It was facing life alone, having strong friends (…and weak ones) that helped me figure things out and set things straight.
I’ve learnt that things have a way of rectifying themselves only if you want them to, only if you want them to desperately enough. I’ve learnt to care two hoots about nay-sayers, wannabes and pretenders and follow my heart, to shed my inhibitions and sing out loud… keep fighting for what I think is right and what I think is mine, not to be ashamed to tell your parents how much you love them, to make my voice be heard, to be who I am and to be proud of being ME, to take a strong stand when needed, to know that I have lifted those drumsticks in the air only to bring them down hard on the skins, to make those cymbals shiver all around me and to pound on till the last drop of energy in my body burns out, to believe that it is entirely rightful stare at a pair of gorgeous bottoms IF you are standing BEHIND the possessor. Finally I’ve learnt that if you’re in love, let her know or you may lose her forever.
Am fighting, am fighting everyday against myself to make me a better person, believe me its tough. I recognize my inadequacies and also know what’s right but you see there lays an ocean of difference between what’s known and what’s done…but what the heck…I am 22 long years old and there’s lots and lots more to come…..

…….when she finally stopped I looked up at her and BARFED out all the slimy goo I was being fed, on her face! I was making a stand!