Monday, 26 April 2010

The Talisman

Yesterday, I witnessed something remarkable. It is something which, so strangely, could eclipse the jubilation of watching two of my favorite teams win and go on to etch itself deep into the cells of grey. And even while my mind was swimming in that idyllic lake of Blue and Yellow as I drifted away into sweet oblivion, I knew that I had witnessed something truly wonderful. Once more.

There are times in life we feel hopeless and desperate. Depleted that we are, we yearn for that one magical twist, that one last burst of force, which will transform a tragic story into a fairytale. Rarely does such a thing ever happen, but Hope has a funny way. To believe is something which we all want to do in the most unreasonable situations. While all logic and even half-sound cerebration will suggest the contrary, all of us desperately want to believe in Adidas' "Impossible is Nothing".

There are, of course, those happy times and plentiful periods when we the word "impossible" quickly disappears from our dictionaries. These are times when the steadfast flourish and stability and perfection become the ultimate goals. SRT will bisect the off-side field so beautifully that the opponent team is ripped in half and MSD will smash an in-swinging yorker for a straight six. But these are the prosperous times and as they say, class is permanent. This class shows.

But then, there are dark times; there are times when the infinite is grey and 'silver-lining' is just a fanciful phrase which appears in proverbs. These are times when Class stands hopelessly, it's head bowed in dejection, in front of massively unimaginable odds. The Universe has conspired to kill and priceless blood will be spilled by the end of the ordeal. But then, protecting our icon for the savage, incessant rain of innumerable poison arrows from the sky is a single magic shield: A shield which has not the backing of consistency and reliability. A shield which hardly boasts of triumphs against powerful foes and one which would be disdainfully dismissed as ineffective and impotent had it not been for the fact that each one of us believes that this plate of silver armor can repel the almighty onslaught, parry each blow and carry our heroes to glory and beyond. The shield is a talisman; a talisman which feeds on faith. And delivers each time.

Yesterday, Keiron Pollard (a question I'm still proud of answering, at Dela's last) was that talisman. The effect he had on the crowds was stuff of legend. He arrived at a comically hopeless situation and six balls was all he took to make people believe. And tremble in fright. Each time I look at a talisman, I'm left in awe. It's not what they do as much as what happens when they appear. Everyone starts working, the cogs start clicking away flawlessly and suddenly, the painting is a whole new one! I'd put ManUnited's Macheda (who I dislike and admire) in this category... And Luke Skywalker. Napoleon is said to have had immense faith in his Imperial Guard even as he stared into the abyss of death. These are our shields. These are amulets which we trust in our hour of need. For me, I guess it's Mom.

In the end, it's never true that this magical trinket will take you to safety every single time. There are times it will fall. But that's not the point of life, is it? Most importantly, it makes us believe.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Chequered Flag

I do not understand whether it is with the jubilation of accomplishment, on the completion of the omnipotent list, or the fear of humiliation from actually making this a blog-post that I begin typing at an unearthly 0445 hrs, a phenomenon which is becoming all too common lately contributing wonderfully to my languishing battle against the mighty seventy-five. But today is special. I checked the last Bhawan off my list.

Many before have dreamt of making the magical number Nine, but people have fallen aplenty... While most battle valiantly and end up just two short, there are a few (who are not-so-few in absolute numbers) who get to see the chequered flag. And since not everyone can garner the trust of Chief Wardens and acquire passes, people resolve to a magnificent array of novel-tactics. Some even get committed (this tag has been removed for the author's safety). Others, of course, have sections where it is a deplorable crime to not invite family and kinsfolk; exile and banishment are rewards for declining aforesaid invites. A few, of course, get invited over for a number of varied reasons which GenPop isn't able to comprehend yet. But they all do arrive with unsolicited punctuality, dressed impeccably in Armani, Versace, Nike and Petrol, to sweep their maidens, who might just feel a few kgs heavier and a few inches thicker, off their feet. A few however have the dubious distinction of being invited over, wanting to go and then choosing chicken over everything else. After all, Winner winner, Chicken dinner! Who can argue?

A heartwarming sight did greet me in MI-254 at 6:30 p.m. when the India-quiz was attended in full-strength; LitSecTM never fails you. While I had all but submitted to a strange fate, of ending up with so weirdly with Eight-Bhawans, before anything began, harboring but a tiny notion that someone would, in fact, call me - the call came from the most unexpected source. Battling words of discouragement (which I was later told- was secret envy) and those goading me to attend the event in Shorts, I ambled along to SB in grossly inappropriate attire, with Career Launcher getting free publicity. Add to that my maddu inability to dance (swinging arms and shifting feet simultaneously, and that too synced to the music, is something I will never pick up) and presto, the clown for the night! Oh well, leaving aside the gruesome details and the fact that women ranged from gorgeous to garish to ghostly, and the fact that you might presently be concluding that I am a chauvinist, the night went off well... With the benefit of hindsight, it's something I would never have missed. After all, I've mastered magic number 9 now!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

The Quill of a Narcissist

My blog is largely a personal diary. It's strange really; the way I put into words some of my most latent feelings here, by simply imagining that this is some private space - much like the loose bundle of faded A4 sheets relegated to the corner of my very cluttered drawer or like the back page of my shiny-new semester-old "Renewable Energy" notebook. While, all along, I know that this is all but private; throwing my mysteries wide open to the very public I so meticulously hide them from and giving tangible form to certain cerebrations which I try desperately to hide from the cognitive part of my brain. It is something I simply can't avoid.

Personality tests jeer at me as they tell me that they are unable to place me as an 'Open' or 'Closed' person. 'Extraversion' is a greatly pursued quality and I'd be a terrible liar if I told you that I don't admire the kind who can do just about anything without giving it as much as a moment's thought. These are men and women who don't mind opening their lives out to the world and can remain all so comfortable despite all those prying eyes. These are the few who will not shirk a responsibility, shy away from hardship or run away from problems or even run around them. Head on - that's how they'll be taken down. These are people who can talk to anyone, anyone at all - be it a beggar, policeman, colleague, salesman, lecher, mayor, professor, lawyer, thief, boss... I hold these people a cut above the rest.

While there is no name which comes to my head when asked 'Who do you hate the most' and a very few come up as answers to the question 'Name your loved ones', I wonder if I really have the emotional capacity of a soap-strip! 20 years and only a half dozen names?! Now, really! But then, a quick revision allays these fears and gives birth an alarming number of new ones - Ones which makes my world a living purgatory. Because the outside world is left dancing blithely to the joyous tunes of a spring afternoon while the insides are tormented by the most vile and vicious wraiths; ghosts which will not leave.

I've often been told I think too much. I perform the process of thinking several times over, each time slightly varying a hypothetical stochastic variable, before the process of rethinking begins. In the end, the results are largely desirable. No one gets hurt. There is absolute control. There is no impulsiveness. The meagre changes which happen in life are feeble and they decay. But in the end, no one is hurt. One thing I can't bring myself to do is - hurt. To the extent that it often requires holding back desires, impulses, drives, urges, thoughts, dreams... While it hurts the self, no one else is hurt. And that's good.

I can talk to pretty much anyone. I can talk within that cage I have constructed for myself, with new bars apparating every now and again as newly formed barricades. I can open myself up to the world and be as extrovert as you want me to be - but you'll never really know me. I will detour around a possible threat and get a job done. Mind you, I'll do the job... even if it requires traversing a hugely convoluted path! And I will never let anyone know that I love someone or if I hate them, least of all myself. No wonder the damn Personality Test is confounded.

I've rambled on enough already... And even though I'll probably look at this and laugh tomorrow morning, I've decided not to think too much for once. I'm hitting 'Publish'. Cheerio.

Friday, 9 April 2010

The Call

I can broadly divide my life in R into two segments so far; one - an idyllic life with quaint pleasures and undulations, lackadaisical joys and soft sorrows, and the other – a violent onslaught, a race against everything worth racing against, bitter pain, gushing bile, infinite chaos and ultimate jubilation. While a timeline which I have carelessly doodled over Ms. Gandhi’s face on Hindu’s first page can hardly tell me which month of which year such a transit happened changing my Zion of freewheeling disorderliness to an imploding passageway of incessant chaos, I have a nagging feeling that I know when, what and how. That cognition doesn’t end there, but goes on to tell me that perhaps the halcyon days are back, after that wonderful, wonderful odyssey.

For I feel a lot stronger after taking blows on the chin without getting KO’d, a lot wiser after leading a myriad underlings to the finish line letting them believe that their halfwit overlord knew more than they did, a lot more impervious after acting like a clumsy clod on the line of duty and giving two hoots to the world as a whole and a lot more outgoing by the sheer compulsion of having to talk to every random person I’ve had the fortune of coming across, to some whom I still might and others who I never will, I relished the trip. I’ve been there and back again. And I know for sure that Experience is the greatest mentor.

But even a legendary mentor remains silent about certain intricacies of the trade. It didn’t take too many of my grey-cells to realize that Cognizance 2010 was part of the latter period of the aforementioned classification, not the period in whole but an indispensable part. And most of my job in Cognizance was to sit on an exorbitantly priced, obscenely comfortable and universally pursued black chair and push buttons on the thoroughly scratched Nokia N sincerely hoping that the person on the other end had enough money to spend and wouldn’t be parsimonious about going ‘All In’. In the end, one just fervently prayed that the bloke receiving the ring hadn’t had a row with his wife over the breakfast table. But nothing deterred those calls. And I believed I could talk anyone into anything.

Things have changed. My fabulous superstructure, it seems, was built upon a crumbling, half-wet foundation – and the castle won’t stand. The fact that I could once talk people into letting their money gallivant didn’t help when that phone call was made. All I wanted to do was to walk back to the crease in style for the second innings! Strike, strike, strike!! and I’m out. Thank you!

I’ve never really been a good phone-person from the days I can remember. But this was the height of frustration. When the normal howdy-whadoyoudo’s ended, I found myself hyperventilating. I tried unfastening the collar which I never wore and hopelessly tried freeing my trachea from that pretzel my imagination had deftly inserted. In the end though, logic prevailed in my utterance and I’m sure that the lack of Video communication would have made me sound fine on the other side. Until then. The conversation appeared to be taking a general route through the hackneyed happenings and mis-happenings of the past decade or so, mildly detouring through Nebuchadnezzar and Idi Amin – but ever so ephemerally that it was hardly discernable, when suddenly there was a lull.

A deafening silence which followed was rather unnerving. The worst part was the lack of any effort from the other side to soothe my nerves as I looked despondently for help. ‘Coupling’ came to mind and even ‘Friends – with Monica’s Cousin’ but I remembered none of them well enough to ape my way out. Then I coughed. Then I clung on to the lifeline and discoursed my way out, talking about the changing weather and susceptibility of even the most robust immunity system. My jokes had gone from ineffective to disquieting. I reconciled to the fact that a man like me has no hope. I dragged the conversation on for a few more minutes, but I was huffing and puffing in the end… turning purple by the effort it was taking.

Then, I gave up. I don’t remember how that happened though. The last lines I remember were directed against Alexander Graham Bell.