Lost for words


nervousness01Those few hours of anticipation that I felt on that fateful day were like no other. Despite the fact that I had planned for an anticipated this moment for almost all of the last year, I had butterflies in my stomach nevertheless.

While my prayers and preparations were in place, the dreaded Murphy’s Law anything that can go wrong will go wrong kept ringing in my ear and despite all the confidence that I exuded externally, only I knew the completely messy turmoil that was happening inside of me.

The fact that I was an eternal pessimist and had always used to plan for the worst case scenario almost all my life, during all the important events, didn’t help me one bit on that day. If anything it served to exacerbate my tensions and worries even more, and what was worse I didn’t even have any confidante or friend or well-wisher with whom I could confide in, if not for anything else, at least to get the load of doubts off my chest.

While the first couple of hours of the ‘event’ passed off as expected, the tension in the air was palpable. This was the first time in my life that I was completely helpless in terms of the fact that I had absolutely no control over the situation and all that was happening around me. This was one of those ‘natural events’, ‘acts of God’ which one could only react to and not do anything about, and there weren’t too many similar events in my life that I had come across which could prepare me for this one.

nervousness02As I mentioned above, while the first couple of hours went off as expected, the next few were quite nerve wracking. Despite their best efforts, the experts couldn’t do much as the circumstances leading to the end result weren’t quite conducive for a ‘normal ending’. This meant that they had to take the designated Plan B for the event and necessary preparations started taking precedence over Plan A.

Now, while I had heard of Plan B and was somewhat prepared for the same, the fact that it meant the more normal Plan A had to be abandoned made me lose my nerve a little bit. There I was, a complete nervous wreck with the situation fully out of my control and left with no choice but to pray to the entire consortium of the ‘powers that be’ both divine and human for Plan B to go off as planned.

This truly was the one occasion when I was completely lost for words, emotions, movie allegories or even abstract images in my mind to describe all that I was going through.

After all, not everyday does one’s wife get wheeled into the Operation Theatre to get a C-Section done to deliver your first-born into this world.

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This post has been written for Project 365: A post a day where the intention is to publish at least one post a day based on the prompts provided. Today’s prompt was to publish a post about a time when I couldn’t quite get words or images to express my thoughts. And the post above details some of the emotions I went through when my wife was in the labor room about to deliver my first born.

Welcome back, old friend…


Pro01I have always been accused of, and justifiably so of being a ‘serial procrastinator’ at tasks and things that I am really not interested in. I guess a combination of being an ‘only child’ and my father’s behavior bordering on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder especially when it came to things like cleanliness around the house, maintenance of clothes, books, etc meant that when I was younger I used to get away by putting off domestic chores which were assigned to me, as my father would get around to doing them himself anyway. Not that this technique came devoid of all the scolding and nasty jibes from him, but then I could take them any day when compared to actually having to do these tasks myself.

While the first two and a half decades of my life went by peacefully without this particularly annoying habit of mine causing too much trouble, things really came to the fore when I went to B School and consequently a hostel for the first time. Here I was responsible for all my own possessions and activities and had to take care of even mundane activities such as paying my mobile bills on time, keeping my formal clothes clean and ready for the next presentation in class and such like. While these two years managed to give me a strong dose of all the ill effects of my procrastinative nature (is that even a term?), it was only after I got married that it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Pro02There we were, my wife and me, in a new city, having to set up a home all by ourselves, albeit with the help of an uncle of mine. This meant that I had no choice but to roll up my sleeves, get my hands dirty and start taking on more and more of the so called ‘domestic activities’ myself. The fact that neither of us could speak the local language of the city also meant that my wife couldn’t do as much outside the house in terms of even basic stuff like buying vegetables etc without my assistance (I knew ‘pidgin’ of the local tongue, using which we barely managed). Those first three years of marriage completely changed my attitude towards running a household.

Pro03The following three years in yet another new city with the addition of my daughter to the brood meant that procrastination had to take a back seat in my life and I more than enthusiastically jumped into the fray of being completely domesticated. This was a period when almost all my hobbies took a backseat and I was more or less engaged throughout the day at office or busy performing domestic chores which were essential to keep the household running. And at this point in time I thought that I had more or less rid myself of the demon of procrastination.

But then as good villains go, the dirty demon has reappeared in my life over the past year and a half after I have moved back to Bangalore and started staying with my parents. My father and his mild OCD ensures that most household tasks are taken care of without my intervention, and this has lulled me into a false sense of security as far as they are concerned. However, more often than not, I tend to miss out on some of these things and that is when all hell breaks loose, in the form of my wife taking me to task.

Watch - later, not yet, too late, Nah not yet.Given my propensity to immerse myself with office related work or a combination of reading and blogging during all the time I am at home, means that I provide more than enough fodder for her to take me to the cleaners, figuratively speaking of course, every now and then. In fact, this post itself comes right on the back of an especially strong outburst from her. She had travelled out of town for around ten days and when she came back, found the house to be reasonably messy and things completely out of place. And the outburst from her at that point in time made me realize that yet again I am plagued by the old friend of mine, procrastination who seems to have quietly crept his way back into my life yet again.

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This post has been written for Project 365: A post a day where the intention is to write at least one post a day based on the prompts provided. Today’s post was to talk about the harshest, most difficult to hear, but accurate criticism that I have ever received. And this post was an attempt to highlight how I continue to procrastinate on essential everyday tasks and chores which don’t interest me too much.

The story of my toys


By now most readers of the blog know that I am an only child with no siblings to play with and therefore as a child, most of my playthings and games involved playing outside with friends and the occasional cousins who used to visit Bangalore. Being actively engaged in competitive sport such as gully cricket, badminton on the street, soccer in the ground meant that in terms of playthings, I used to play with equipment related to these sports. And given that I used to ‘play to win’ in those days, most of these used to take quite a beating when I bowled a bad ball, missed a six and got caught on the boundary, missed an easy drop shot in badminton. My father, being the nice parent he was, ensured that a near endless supply of replacements were made easily available to me. But this situation also ensured that I really couldn’t have a ‘favorite plaything’ from any among these given my propensity to throw them around and destroy them in a fit of anger.

comics001The next best playthings that I had as a child were my books. Ranging from Tinkle, Amar Chitra Katha (both from the Uncle Pai stable) to Indrajal comics (Phantom, Mandrake, Flash Gordon), from Tintin to Asterix, from Archies to Commando (usually WW-II stories), from Franklin W Dixon to Alistair Maclean, from Enid Blyton to Agatha Christie, the list of books I read (or actually devoured) simply goes on and on. I still remember Tinkle being the first comic I had and my dad claims to have the first issue of the book printed safely bound away and stored in an attic. I have to get around to reading it all over again one of these days when I decide to get my three yr old daughter to start off with some serious comic reading. What’s more I remember ‘Five go to Smuggler’s cove’, part of the Famous Five series by Enid Blyton to be my first novel and it still rests on my bookshelf waiting to be read by my daughter one of these days. Books, reading them and maintaining them well was something that my dad did (and still does) quite diligently and I am quite proud to admit that it is a habit that I continue as well.

comics002Now, all this reading had to translate into a really active imagination, and all that imagination had to find its outlet somewhere. Coupled with my love for movies over the last decade or so, all those wonderful stories that I had read and all the wonderful movies that I have had the pleasure of viewing result in my occasional bursts of fictional pieces on the blog. Do hop over to the Fiction category on my blog [Link] to read some of my fiction. I know it’s been quite a while since I have written anything in this category but it remains an active passion of mine for sure.

comics003Another important contribution that reading has had on my life is that it has helped me develop a healthy attitude towards Indian mythology and the stories in this genre. Regular readers of this blog will know that from time to time I put up stories from the great epics (Mahabharata and Ramayana) and the Puranas on the blog. And given the overwhelmingly kind response from readers, I guess I am doing a good job of retelling some of these stories from Indian mythology. Stories of Shiva is the one area that my blog lacks and the next few months are going to be devoted to filling this gap here.

comics004Today, reading continues to be an important part of my daily schedule and apart from voraciously devouring recently published Indian fiction and publishing their Book Reviews on the site [Link], I also pull out time to read English translations of various Indian books such as the ones mentioned above and retell stories from the in an easy to understand manner.

Thus, books which were my permanent ‘playthings’ during my childhood have left an indelible impact on who I am, both as a writer and as a person.

It would really be great if you could let the readers of this blog what your favorite playthings as children were and what impact they have had on the person you have become now.

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This post has been written for Project 365 : A post a day where the intention is to publish at least one post a day based on the prompts provided. Today’s prompt was “What was your favorite plaything as a child? Do you see any connection between your life now and your favorite childhood toy?

Shoes I have walked in


Shoes

I still clearly remember purchasing two pairs of Adidas shoes with my first pay-cheque. Not that my first salary was substantial, but that probably was the only time that Adidas ran a Flat 50% Off sale in Bangalore J

Of the two, the one I really liked was the one with a primarily black-grey background with reflector silver strips all over. In the nights, when any vehicle’s headlights hit the shoes, they looked like zebra-skin on my feet, and at that age (I was all of 20 yrs old, highly impressionable, and desperately trying to make an impression of being a ‘hep guy’) these shoes were ‘god-send’ for me. And the other pair, well they were a little simpler in comparison, a navy blue background interspersed with white stripes.  I well and truly loved both these pairs of shoes.

Back then I led quite an active lifestyle, with either basketball or cricket making it to my Saturday early morning schedule to which these shoes became a permanent fixture. Coupled with some other outstation trips which involved trekking in hills in Chikmaglur, some on and off jogging stints, some stints at the local gym, these shoes saw more than their fair share of wear and tear in their day.

After a while, corporate life caught me by the jugular, but these shoes didn’t lose their sheen or importance in my life. They were a regular fixture on all my weekend outings to restaurants or pubs and also followed me to various resorts at Coorg, Munnar, Goa and other local team offsite events organized by my first employer. Even after I quit my job and started pursuing my CAT coaching classes, these shoes adorned my unemployed, struggling feet.

They then came all the way to Indore with me and made numerous trips on the winding road of the hill, Hanuman Tekri on which the IIM Indore campus is located. All those midnight walks down to the gate, and back up the hill to the student hostels; these shoes were a constant companion whether I was in a good mood, bad mood, pensive mood, reflective mood or just plain and simple, drunk.

The first pair, the one with the reflective strips finally saw their demise after having walked an approximate 5 kms per day for 25 odd days in the sweltering coastal Tamilnadu summer of 2005 during my summer internship with a confectionary company. I was involved in a marketing project which involved me trudging the ‘markets’ of coastal Tamilnadu and these shoes stood me in good stead during all those long, sunny walks in that one month.

The other pair of shoes came all the way back to Bangalore when I finished my B Schooling and got back to the corporate groove of things. Once again, they were a regular fixture on my weekend outings and the occasional Fridays when I used to wear t-shirts, jeans and sneakers to office.

These shoes saw me getting married and shifting location to Hyderabad, and what’s more they also came with me across continents all the way to the US of A. They saw their first international airport outside India at Frankfurt where they walked with me for almost all of a kilometer and a half between the transit gates there. And that is when I guess they decided to give up on me.

I wonder if it was that long walk at Frankfurt International Airport that did it or whether it was their first sight of those lovely sneakers arranged on the racks at the Sunnyvale Walmart that did it, but finally, after 8 long years of being my constant companions, this pair of shoes decided that enough was enough and they just died down on me. I finally had to abandon them back in the US of A where my friend promptly picked them up and threw them in the trash, given that I couldn’t bring myself to do that.

Even today, when I think back of all the experiences that I have had wearing those two pairs of shoes, there is just too much nostalgia involved for me.

Am sure all you readers have your own favorite pair(s) of shoes as I had with these two pairs. Go ahead and share your experiences in the comments sections and enthrall all of us with your experiences with footwear.

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This post has been written for Project 365 : A post a day where the intention is to publish at least one post a day based on the prompts provided. Today’s prompt was to write about my favorite pair of shoes and where they had taken me.

Guest Post : When I first saw her


Today my favorite Guest Author takes us on a walk down memory lane where he narrates his experiences when he first saw his wife. This is a lovely little nostalgic post, enjoy…

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tambram001

My wife and I recently celebrated the 13th anniversary of our ponnu paathufying (seeing the probable bride). It’s time for a flashback. Join me as I go back to the past. The marriage proposal had come from an aged relative who knew both the families. I had firmly decided to turn down the proposal. I had come visiting only due to tremendous pressure from my uncle who had come all the way from Kumbakonam for the occasion. My (future) father-in-law had gathered his entire clan. All of Triplicane TP Koil Street was looking out of their balconies as I got off the Maruti 800 to enter my future in-law’s house. It was so embarrassing!

My (later) wife strategically had a rather chubby looking cousin seated next to her. The law of comparison kicked in. She also had her two close friends attend. Both seemed to be taking furious notes of all that I was doing. I looked at the wall and the ceiling fan and I was wishing I could disappear. My wife then offered to play the veena. I come from a rather tone deaf family and I thought that this will be the deal breaker. Instead, my mother surprisingly agreed and we were subjected to the veena recital.

tambram002

When did things turn? I was served lip smacking bonda and kesari along with piping hot coffee. It was prepared by my mother-in-law. I seriously reconsidered my situation. I asked to speak privately to the girl. This was unusual in those times. I explained to her that I was earning very less then (and actually even now) and that my job was transferrable. She promised to live within our means. She wanted to know if she could continue her dance performances. I had no problems with that. These moments of honesty don’t seem much now but they helped take a decision. I said ‘YES’ but put a condition that the marriage needed to be scheduled after 6 months. I should confess that it was to give the girl an exit path in case she didn’t want to proceed further.

Years have gone by. Here I am – married and a father of two loving daughters. My mother-in-law stays with me these days and I get a ‘maapillai’ treatment every day. Things have a way of working out though it didn’t seem so then.

I grew up when chances of boys and girls meeting were not that many. Arranged marriage was a way to link a suitable girl to a suitable boy. These days, boys and girls are far more networked and perhaps that’s why we see more love marriages these days. Love marriage or an arranged marriage is merely a means to an end. If it leads you to the person who is the one for you, the means should not matter. In my clan, every generation is more progressive than the previous one. My younger brother is married to a Singaporean. I think even if we had looked for a girl for him, we would not have found a better one for him. Will my daughters marry from outside the community? That’s fine by me as long as they are good boys.

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So, do you readers have similar stories to share. Go ahead and type them out in the comments section 😀