Saturday, December 24, 2011

The familiar fear

Given a rank for different feelings in me, no doubt fear grabs the first place, miles ahead of any other feeling, in the race.

I lay asleep, woken up startled by cries of a pitiful girl. I don't have to strain my ears since the sound seemed to reverberate from all sides of whatever I'm in. This might be my first encounter with the 'fear'. After few more cries I realise its my mother having her birth pains. As the time elapsed her cries intensified till I was out in the world, then the environment back to normal again, in fact a blissful mood after an utter terrifying one.

Fear has become so familiar to me thereafter, right from my childhood, or rather I would say it accompanied me in every walk of my life.

There I was then a four year kid, my parents leaving me in the school. School for the first time, open to the selfish vastness that's lurking out there, which I have to endure, a vastness I wasn't aware of, fear gripped me, this means that my routine from now on sees less of parents and more of others. As years grew some of those others became friends and life was easier, a lot better.

When I was small I used to fear a lot of things like wildness, darkness, rudeness, fear of getting caught doing a wrong thing and many more things.

There I was still a kid but a little grown up, going to reside in hostel, hostel for the first time, this would mean that I wouldn't be in my nest even for the nights. Everyone waved at me, while fear winked.

I happened to learn about wars in my course, world wars in specific. Till then I knew only of mythological wars in which the good unequivocally thulped the evil, which meant the death of only bad guys. But the modern wars of world I came to know was entirely different, pictures of piles of dead bodies from concentration camps, which sends forth a cold shiver in spine even today. But even then I didn't understand the fear of death exactly. One day it happened, my dear & loving grandpa died. Then I realised one of the intensified forms of fear, fear of death, fear of losing loved ones.

I was in eight class, and a big tsunami hit the coasts and devastated the places which I know in great detail, got to understand natural calamities.

I grew, and I was in teenage and then I came to know and got to understand much more horrifying events, came to know of terrorist attacks, scams, corruption and filth in the world.

Now I'm a grown up and my childish fears are gone, but now I'm an adult and get to decide for myself, should form an opinion. Every time I make a choice the familiar fear seeps in, saying what if?Every time something good happens it triggers the fear in me, how long this happiness is gonna last?

As I grew I started knowing the world, in detail, every time I learn something good about the world, there used to be much more of something frightening, wicked and vacant about the same world.

The more I grow much fewer are my fears, every time I let go off a fear much acute and brutal fears grip me. Now I'm not frightened by darkness and wild figures, but I'm feared off people, feared of fear itself. I'm frightened that something is wrong, I don’t know why.

By now its much familiar a feeling to me and I feel as if it is sitting beside me whatever I'm doing.

But each and every time fear incessantly taught me something invariably. It imparted me with some knowledge about the world and seasoned me. It told me there is darkness and I should accept it, it showed me there is defeat and I should taste it , taught me there is pain and I should endure it, and depicted me about death which is inevitable.

I still cant say whether the 'familiar fear' is my prized companion or an arch-enemy, because it was with me at odd times, times when and where no one could have accompanied me, and taught me things which no teacher can ever portray.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya

Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya East Godavari District. For me its the second most wonderful place on the earth, first being my mother's lap. I started perceiving life from a different corner here, how it is to be always with friends, how it is making things on our own, how it is managing my own mundane things. Though my home is just a five minute ride from my school, the school rules don't allow a day-scholar routine.
And the routine goes like.......

Obeying seniors and having fun with juniors were a part of day to day life. Getting up reluctantly(I don't remember ever getting up eagerly) at 5 in the morning more out of fear for PET sir than habit, and those sprints around that abysmal ground half of which are done with eyes still closed. Mass Bathing at the tank with just undies on, having boost (in plates) and rushing out to the Assembly by 7:00 AM. The usually assembly session with attendance with usual all present, OD (On duty), NCC, and sick and rare absconded (yeah, I just happened to heard it twice during my 5 year stay.) and usual after assembly headcount by House masters (wardens) as a check.

People sometimes fainting out of weakness and getting it compensated by an ORS in the medical room (and many times for the tasty ORS).
Classes till break for breakfast at 9:00, again after breakfast by 9:30 running to classes which is sometimes delayed by call to parents through the coin phone that hung in front of the temple while PET Sir is waiting outside with a cane in his hand, and want to avoid shoes ? get in to classes before 9:30 risking the occasional surprise checks by PET Sir.

And the round of classes go on till 1:00 in the afternoon, and yep done with the classes......
Afternoon 2 to 4 study hours where you can do lot of things like sleep, play, gossip, read novels and when u r really bored out of all these things, can try something different - studying.

Evening again PET sir reappears ( there's no escaping when it is PET sir, the one who can instill fear even without looking at you) with the cane making us sprint a 20 rounds on that vast playground and snacks (the best part) and then games. And after a delicious dinner again a study hour of one-hour where most people like meditating with their heads being supported by the wooden benches.

And this rich routine jeweled by marching NCC cadets, scouts, cultural programs, cluster games, CBSE events and things like the sick guys (as a matter of fact you should convince the medical incharge aka compounder that u are ill (intelligent faking works)) who need not attend classes and who get the tasty ‘bread & boost’ combo on demand, awesome rumors on love stories, the colourful dresses (*wink wink*) during extra classes, night-outs to decorate classes for competitions on Independence and republic Day, Saturday community work and moon light dinners, once in a while movies.

And usual customs, legends and folklore which is passed on to younger generations, to name a few - the stories regarding the nearby graveyard & the cashew garden, art of balancing and rotating plate on a finger, protesting unfriendly mess-incharge, the bets on night chapathi, optimised use of Ujala blue (liquid fabric whitener), the funny nicknames.

And the seeds of friendship which start in our nascent hearts as we enter as a ten year old kids, develop into gigantic trees in those five years with greetings, tussles, arguments, jokes, crushes, bunks and many other trifles each of which serve to strengthen the bond.

JNV taught me, hugged me, prepared me, punished me, cajoled me, cared for me and gave me my identity.

No matter whatever language I use I can never put my love towards it into words. I hope I can again be the innocent kid who starts into its vastness after the sign at the student-log at gate. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Circar Express a country side train

Most people tend to dislike the Circar express, for it crawls trough the country side stopping at each station long enough to get acquainted with it, taking 17 full hours to reach destination starting from Chennai Egmore, While my other option the Howrah mail is so dutiful and purposeful that it takes a maximum of 10 hours, at a dead of night.

A typical countryside dweller whose nest is linked only through Circar, shows sheer grit when others hold forth on the way Circar goes, though he himself finds it sluggish.

The irksome cruise sets out at scheduled time 17:20 and from the get-go it creeps through all the stations making a familiar incessant rhythmic noise which one will stop taking note after sometime, but a new noise starts, noise of the population inside.

And one checks the time its still 18:00 hours, Ah how to kill the time. Most everyone surrenders to the most common habit among youth, texting to friends. Once you've settled there arrives the coffee which you can't miss, for Indians are known for their ardent love towards coffee.

Then a friend calls and if he/she happens to be of same gender, one speaks for a couple of minutes and say “Ok re, I’ll call you later its too noisy out here.” This call triggers you to call your friend, most of the times friend of opposite gender (And if you are a female you tend to receive call rather than calling yourself). Information transfer is best possible between people of opposite sexes. From the place where you are you run and reach the entrance of train. It’s a strange experience facing strong wind and talking on phone with the one we like.

And for the first time you feel like why this train doesn’t stop anywhere, allowing you to talk without noise. There you are, lost in the call for a long time despite the noise, while perching precariously on the footboard, thanks for the hands free it allows us to talk while clinging to the handles on the either side of the threshold. Then a person shows up and asks to vacate the place for he wants to smoke there as he’s not allowed inside the compartment, this makes you realize you in fact were talking for a very long time and the call ends

And again the solemn issue resurfaces ‘how to boil down rest of the time’. Well now it really differs from person to person, while some people who are interested in reading may take out a book/ novel etc while rotating a pencil or pen between fingers. And some may feel like writing and if one doesn’t have a blank paper the reverse side of IRCTC printed ticket serves a good purpose to put down ones ideas. If you ran out of paper you look for an orthodox looking guy whom you think will definitely have blank paper.

And after sometime everyone succumbs to the famous habit of listening to the music, and this habit is time limited, coz you fear that you may drain the battery unless u have a music player or an iPod.

Suddenly the girl across two seats seems to bestow a amiable smile once in a while and you do the same, and if you are courageous enough you may go further to talk with her and there’s no need of any other idea to kill the time for this is much more fun than any other occupation (and believe me, you’ll run out of time, no time for music/ novels/ msgs or calls, calls just giggling in your seat while talking to her). By the end of the journey you would have exchanged your mobile numbers and emails (or rather fb names), but if you are not so audacious a back smile is what you can accomplish at most.

The night dinner you ordered when you entered train comes after a long time after you have completely forgotten it, the ‘most awaited dinner’.

While you unknowingly sink into depths of sleep suddenly a heavy drum beat wakes you up and you realize it’s the heavy metal band being played through your headset. Then you consider switching off the music player and most probably setting alarm for next day morning.

Next day you wake up and sometimes it happens like ‘Oh! Shut forgot the paste again’. So you gargle with water and take a bed coffee thinking ‘bed coffee once in a while is not bad’.

The train almost approaches your destination, it seems like just 30min more, but it can take any time driver want 30 min to 2 hours, for the driver has knack of stopping the train few km before the station, situation where you feel like getting down and walking the seemingly short distance.

All these travails of the long journey perish once you get a chance to sit beside a window while crossing the mighty river Godavari. A person in his teen or mid 20s laughs to himself when one tosses a coin into the river and recollects his childhood days when he used to do the same. And if he is a typical theist he adheres to the same tradition and makes his children toss a coin into the river.

The Circar starting at 5:20 pm offers you many details, since there’s no sleeping till night 9:30 at least, implying interactions with different people and places. In earlier days the houses and streets were so designed that people used to have a lot of interaction. Even a puny trifle that happened elsewhere travels all the way till you through the word of mouth. But the growing individuality in the budding suburban leaves no room for the interaction and the native folklore is lost. Its good at least if an old train can contribute something to goad the public interactions.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why not the obvious headache

Headache is the masterpiece of all the indispositions. An author once said, “Headache is a boon to the mankind, an illness which can be told to open public without any fear or shy”. Not every individual possesses the blunt courage to admit that he’s suffering from illness like stomach ache etc, or to say that he’s not just feeling like doing anything. Headache, in particular, has been a close friend to the student community from ages. But nowadays not many people are able to see its vitality. Many institutes are not happy with this friendship and are very harsh towards this friend ‘The Headache’. This is an alarmingly untoward situation.

Gone are the days where you miss (or bunk) a class with the obvious reason headache. With heavy dose of compulsory attendances and strict medical certificates the good old reason has lost the charm (I personally know a friend of mine who woke up late & missed a lab session, running around the insti hospital with a hope of getting a medical certificate). ‘I don’t feel like coming/ attending, so please don’t bother me’ can be redacted as “I’m suffering from a headache”. Not having any foolproof method to calibrate and scale, it was and is the readily available choice to most of us.

Headache has many forms and manifestations: A headache to compensate previous night’s late sleep; A headache to pack the things for the weekend trip; A headache to roam around & bask with buddies;  A headache to search one’s lost priced accessory etc, and in many other ways.

Besides the native attendance rule followed by an institute, it should also consider some allowed number of headaches per person per month, to let a balanced mental environment exist.

These days the moment you announce that you have a headache, your father spanks you, teachers twist your ear, friends laugh, and the doctor from whom you are expecting a medical certificate tells you “Go and attend classes, that’s the remedy”. And the only ones showing due respect towards the headache is the pharmaceutical companies.

Let us not tarnish the importance of the headache which has been through ages and generations, even before you and I are born. Headache is another way of being polite instead of saying 'What the fudge, please leave me alone'. But these days the politeness is not being rewarded. And it’s time the institutions wake up and understand the sobriety of the situation.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Whats your style...

What’s Your Style

What’s your style is as rudimentary question as what’s your name, where we always try to attach ourselves with some emerging trends, patterns and persons. Let’s start with writing style. So what’s your writing style is the big question for a modern writer. Every writer or everyone who writes something ponders upon this question at least in his initial stages of writing. While some people who are nerdy and callous towards the literature may think ‘You got a style for your time waste!’ On the other end the literary freak thinks ‘Oh! Poor fella’ and some may even go the edge of arguing.

So coming back to the question ‘what’s your writing style’, most people try to identify their works with a limited set of authors called as classics. Many people and even the critics themselves always try to correlate a newbie’s works (anyone other than a classic can be called a newbie) with that of classics. Here comes one more question ‘what is a Classic’. There are types of classics: classic (past) and modern classic. Oxford dictionary suggests the definition: Classic = judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind.

One reason people give for comparing is that some people got inspired by these so called classics which supposedly dragged them into respective field. Surpassing the diplomatic questions and answers for time being moving into the mindset of typical suburban writing newbie who has managed to get his hands on some of the ‘popular’ novels might be something like this as I know.

Anything that is swadeshi humor the first thing that occurs to my mind is works of RKN, I mean RK Narayan. And something that shows some ‘political’ aspects may reflect Mulk Raj Anand, and something that is non-fiction swadeshi writings related to some studies might bring Chetan Bhagat into the frame, I would daresay that he’s a new classic who rose to classic with his very first work beacause of it being one of its kind in our country, well if its got anything magical Tolkien used to come into the picture until Rowling managed to grab the position. While the detective stories try to throw light on Conan Doyle and if those contained anything related to some ancient cults or beliefs it’s definitely Dan Brown this time. It is Chekhov when the characters make you feel very real and where the routine shows up with their happy and sad fates entwined. A rich prose and early modern writings immediately take us to Shakespeare.

To how much extent this comparison is good or beneficiary is always a statement of doubt. This comparison is not only just in the field of writing, a newbie in any field is sure to do the same comparing himself or being compared to so called classics. Its like someone who shows great skill in cricket compares himself to Sachin Tendulkar or if he happens to be a bowler it might be Glen Mc Grath, Shane Warne, or I would say that funky hair style Malinga managed to come onto the platform of the ‘classics’ after his excellent game in IPL. Similarly for someone attached with chess it is Viswanath Anand, and Roger Federer and Rafel Nadel would grab the classic tag in tennis, well the fans of them still fight about one being greater than the other (I personally place Federer above Nadel).

For a new director there is classic for each genre like sci-fi has got matrix, back to the future (Avatar and Inception are latest counterparts) and related to violent horror ‘saw’ has got no competition (My knowledge of horror movies is limited so I can’t talk more).
Einstein, Gauss, Newton, Galileo etc might do it for physics.

There are global classics and local classics as far as I understand it. When you ask someone to describe anyone, for each character or trait they say, you get a picture in your mind, the so called classics.

Local classic can be explained as Classic in a small neighborhood whose existence may be time limited, for example if u r trying to attempt JEE the one in your neighborhood who is now in some IIT is classic from your parents point of view I would rather say he/she has been presented as a classic to you by your parents and teachers. The existence of his classic tag ceases when another person in that neighborhood gets a better rank, where the new person effectively replaces him.

Though the set accepted as classics internationally is limited it’s an ever growing set of which you could be a part if your work and heart are driven by same desire.

So finally is it good or bad ‘the comparison’ is statement of debate. Well don’t worry so much on it you can’t help it life is like this. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011


After enjoying a heavy two day weekend, playing, watching movies, ‘gen gossiping’, going to Ascendas, to the food courts, shopping, and of course snoring for good amount of time, you get up on the Monday morning with the thought ‘I wish all weekdays are weekends, what a wretched Monday'.

Your first thought is to deceive yourself by complaining of the illnesses and alignments which barricade you from attending classes for that day, while the conscious part of you which recognizes that you are already at the edge of winning a ‘W’ grade (lost almost 15% classes) warns you or rather demands you to attend the class, for it knows that you are not going to get a medical certificate for your make-believe illness.

Sleeping till 7:45 A.M., and most probably after brushing you drag yourself to the class and if your luck turns out bad, you might have a very dry and boring class at that time. There begin all the travails. While the ‘maggu’ part of you urges you to listen and concentrate on the lecture, your heart contradicts and you end up doing things that come under this big list.

First of all you'll become ‘prof-deaf’ that is you'll not be able to hear anything that professor utters no matter where you sit, while perfectly attuned to those other sounds ranging from a pin drop to plane going somewhere. Your gaze will focus exactly on the board but you won't see anything, while the professor seeing you thinks you are following his class.

Few minutes passed, you start fretting in your place, and then waiting to see who is more sluggish than you to walk in after you; then you feel like counting the heads that attended the lecture while simultaneously segregating them as ‘magus’ and ‘non-magus’. You couldn't resist the impulse to check the time for you feel a great deal of it has been elapsed. You notice, however, that the crucial hand of the clock has only bided 5 minutes since you last saw it: unbelievable. In order to confirm, you check your neighbor's watch but it betrays you similarly. You most probably repeat this action once every two minutes thereafter.

You would probably check your cell if your loved one has wished you ‘good morning’: this provided you are not sitting in the first bench. When you get bored of these, you might start comparing the ‘S‘s the way you write with those of professor's, or trying to connect his accent to that of someone you know. Oh, but suddenly you see a friend with whom you planned something that weekend, but he/she didn't turn up; you feel like going across the class to him/her and saying “Dude, where the hell were you, your phone was dead.” But you can‘t do it owing to your classroom manners.

Meanwhile your brain projects a HD 1080P video of a movie or a match you saw that weekend, may be with small modifications (Sometimes you might take place of a character in the film or match) on to the blackboard. You might then take some interest in electrical lines in the class and think of moving to a seat beneath nearest fan. You wonder how others are able to copy that crap into their notes loyally. You don’t understand why the professor wants to make the blackboard white with his scribbling.

Suddenly you see ‘her’ (your crush) adjusting the strands of curly hair that fall between her eyes while she takes down the notes, and wonder why she never takes note of you.

Here Monday morning is just an empirical term, say you had that Monday a holiday due to some reason; the Tuesday will take up the place of ‘Monday Morning’. More generally any weekday might be called a ‘Monday Morning’.

By the time lecture ends the ‘maggu’ part of you decides ‘I will definitely follow this class from tomorrow’ but in most cases it happens that the lag continues and you'll never get a chance to work on it in the midst of your busy schedule until the day before your exams when you rue the fact that you never took care of your academics. Worse still if it is followed by a “bad exam” day – you'll feel the remorse till you sleep again. You wake up the next day and, bewilderingly, the routine continues 'The Monday Morning Routine'.

pic credits: EveryDark

Monday, February 14, 2011

And The Grain Is Never Ground

The grain is never ground, the grain is never ground

I start to mill, to grind the grain

Oh! It’s already noon, let me start it tomorrow afresh

I come the next day, and notice that the stack has strengthened

Making up my mind I start to mill, my neighbor yells to me

Ahoy! It’s the festive day, come let’s enjoy

Musings, gossips and party, and no work for the day

I come the next day, and notice that the stack has strengthened

Determined to grind the grain, I start to mill

But I lose to the global home, travelling in its length all around

Meeting my old friends, and having useless talks

I come the next day, and notice that the stack has strengthened

I start to mill unflinching, the mistress shows up and smiles

Her words reaching me without a stay, with gentle caresses within the words

I return to mill, but realize that day star took my license with him

I come the next day, and notice that the stack has strengthened

Forging a stubborn spirit, I start to mill

But heavenly seas carry me to the foreign lands

Making all my fantasies come true, while I reel on my couch

I come the next day, and notice that the stack has strengthened

Single minded I start to mill, to grind my grain

But my black box blocks my feet, and buzzes in my ear

And shows me the worlds in it, and I realize it’s difficult to come out

I come the next day, and notice that the stack has strengthened

Hell-bent on grinding my grain, I start to mill

And then twig it’s a weekend, and revert

For I believe, weekends are meant for zest

I come the next day, and notice that the stack has strengthened

The lonely chill seeps from within, for the fear of the grain never being ground

I see myself in a barren city, alone and unattended

For I ran out of the grain and see no reason to survive and thrive

The weekday begins and the cycle continues

I come the next day, and notice that the stack has even more strengthened

The grain is never ground, the grain is never ground

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