Friday, 22 July 2011

Hasta La Vista

"I'll be back" - Arnold Schwarzenegger, 38th Governor of California (during his prime)
"Hasta La Vista, Baby" - Also Arnold Schwarzenegger (shortly thereafter)


It's not often that I read a blog-post which I think I could so easily have been the author of, but given the state of affairs over the last few months, it's not really that surprising: Any 'Goodbye' post I read seems to srike a chord.

I absolutely detest those lingering moments at the door, before you turn your back, knowing that you may never see a person ever again, but leaving prematurely is probably only worse. At least, this way, there is some closure.

It's really weird that in a world which we claim has grown so small, it is easier to lose touch with people than it was in the feudal age.Of course, people will argue that with the telephone and the internet, one can never be cut off from friends, but let me assure you that it is not the case. The aforementioned devices are but cheap virtual substitutes to something which is very real - much like the food-pills in SciFi world... Oh, one can only hope GoogleBelch doesn't become a reality!

The break-up with Roorkee is still fresh in my mind, and although it doesn't hurt now, it alarms me... When something stops hurting you, complacency sets in. And this is the beginning of The Drift. Soon, the person just becomes a red/green name on your GTalk friend-list, and you can never ping them again. But you won't delete them either. It's rather irritating, and I'm sure you've faced it too.

The only way out is never to say goodbye. There must be no permanence in absence, and one must endeavour to make this real: As Murty keeps saying, 'au revoir' is the way out.


In Tamil, it amazes me that there is really no word for 'Goodbye'. We simply say 'poitu varen' or the shorter, more colloquial 'varen' - which means 'I'll be back'. It simplifies things.

For nine long years, Bessi has played home to a bunch of people who had nowhere else to go and absolutely nothing else to do. This is not goodbye. There will be so much more 'nothingness', I assure you!

Na varen.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


It's an average afternoon and you're terribly bored. When surfing frustrating channels on the television has finally bored the crap out of you, you decide to walk up to the kitchen-cabinet and grab a few quick bites. Tossing the remote onto the sofa, you stagger towards the food in semi-siesta-mode. That's when it happens.

The sharpest corner of your refrigerator door finds the softest spot on your little toe, managing to break the nail in half. Off-balance, hopping on your left foot and trying to stem the flow of blood, you try not to cry out in pain. Spotting your sofa at the distance, grinding your teeth and keeping blood off the carpet, you attempt to walk the unfathomable distance. With great effort, you finally make it there and plonk yourself on the sofa, only to realize that you've sat on top of the TV remote, which rips cleanly through the seat-cushion!

You are filled with deafening pain and a blinding rage, but what hurts the most that it's nobody's fault. If only there was someone to blame, to curse, to slap or bludgeon! You cannot swear. You cannot hurt anyone for inflicting hurt on you! That's when you curse Him.

That's why I cannot be atheist or agnostic.

Monday, 4 July 2011


Long before side-wheels became popular and when India was still in the nineties, under my mum's able tutelage, I began learning the art of balance on two wheels. She would constantly hold the handle-bars and run alongside me, refusing to let go. It all came back to me today, in one of those black-and-white flashes we're all so familiar with, thanks to Nolan: the first day I rode my first cycle, all by myself. Strangely though, it wasn't my mom at my side on the day it happened. It was grandpa.

Like a loose rock causing a landslide, a barrage of memories come back from the forgotten corners of the brain. I vividly recall that day, in Bangalore, when I tripped and fell, thus knocking out my first milk-tooth. It wasn't the pain which had affected my that day, but the sight of blood. Beyond that, I only recall staring into the sky as grandpa carried me home...

It feels strange to acknowledge that the very man who once used to carry me with consummate ease - someone who would, in those days, boast about his days inside battle-tanks and his travels across the globe - has waned in strength. Time is a cruel taskmaster. But one realizes that there are certain things that even Time cannot take away from us.

We talked at length that day about the culmination of my four years at Roorkee and life in the offing. Mentioning 'Schlumberger' as an 'Oil-field Service Provider', as I have so many times in the past, I ran him through the job-profile the company offered - to the extent I knew, that is. Most people don't understand what a barrel of crude is; few people know how a rig-functions and some people are quite baffled when they're told that oil comes from underneath the earth's surface.

But that day, I watched grandpa sitting on the sofa by the window, bent-double, uncomfortably picking at the mango with his fork, as he explained to me, in detail, what the oil-industry is about and what kind of rugged life a field-engineer must expect - eliminating a few doubts which have been growing inside my head. Having thrown in a bunch of stories from his work at Houston and Vancouver to supplement his facts, and having finished his mango, with some effort, he finally rose from the table.

At this age, he was not nearly as big and powerful as I once knew him to be, but clearly he was the tallest person in the house.