Saturday, June 30, 2007


Me, Myself and Harry

It’s decidedly passé to say that you’re a Harry Potter fan. Everyone reads the book, but is almost ashamed to admit it in public. It’s like something you have to do, you’re made to do but would rather not do. It’s like riding a Scooty. Fun, but you don’t want to be seen on it. To me though, Harry Potter books have meant a lot more than just books. I’ve always shared a sort of kinship with Harry and somehow feel as though I’m reading about myself. When the history books are written, I guess I’ll be called a kid of the Potter age.

Most people, after having seen the first movie, said that I looked a lot like Harry. Or Daniel Radcliffe to be precise. However, I knew it way before that. I knew it when I first read the Philosopher’s Stone. It was like reading about myself as Harry was described. It started on my friend’s birthday, way back in 2000. Everyone was busy playing Carom. I’ve never been a sportsman. A great sports enthusiast, yes. An expert on the intricacies of most spots, yes. A sportsman, no with a capital N. The statement can be exemplified by the following incident. A schoolmate of mine, seeing Lefty in school way after dismissal asked me what in the name of Aishwarya Rai I was doing there. I looked her directly in the eye and said without the slightest hesitation, “I had to stay back for sports practice.” An incredulous look was followed by a “You, sports!” and a demand to know exactly which sport I was pretending to excel in. I murmured “Chess” and was met with an “I should have known” before conversation drifted on to other things. But this should give you a general idea of why I chose not to play carom and instead grabbed a copy of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ and began my journey into Harry’s world.

As soon as Harry began to be described, I felt I was back in the 1920’s and was reading aloud my passport. Short, skinny, really black untidy hair that grew really fast and refused to lie still, knobby knees, round spects (my glasses were round then)- the whole package. Even our birthdays were almost the same. Just the difference of a digit. Harry was shown to be quite fast later, and despite my unflattering achievements in the world of sports, I was pretty speedy in my heydays. I even almost won a race once, but that’s another story. However, the most amazing part regarding my resemblance to Harry came a couple of months later. I’d always known that I looked just like my Father. I had grown up on considerable doses of visiting relatives from near and far who would take one look at me and exclaim, “Why, he looks just like his Dad!” So one day, I casually asked my Mother who’s eyes mine resembled. Unaware of tremendous importance of this question, Mamma calmly said, “Both you and your sis have exactly my eyes.” A guy who looked just like his father but had his mother’s eyes. Need I say any more? Sure they’ll be skeptics who’ll dismiss all this as co-incidence and bring to light other details like green eyes and the et cetras. Frankly my dears, I don’t give a damn!

I’ve totally grown up with Harry Potter. And literally too. I used to be really short. Just 4’10’’ on my 14th birthday but have become taller in a very short period of time. I took my Boards in 2003, the year in which the highly forgettable Order of the Phoenix was published and Harry took his O.W.L.’s the wizarding equivalent. We had our first crushes at around the same time (To tell you the truth, I don’t honestly remember when I had my first crush, but I can always give myself the benefit of the doubt). And so I’m grateful to the lady born in Chipping Somerton to have made this journey possible. I’m grateful to the train she traveled in and the cows she was staring at when Harry just ‘walked into her mind’.

Harry Potter has been synonymous with one phase of my life- my teenage. I had just turned 13 when I started reading the books. And the last book is set to be released to the world on 21st July 2007, the day I turn 20 (Twenty, sob!). The earlier mentioned skeptics will undoubtedly dismiss this again as co-incidence. I may be a die-hard optimist, but I will refuse to see this as anything else but Rowling’s ultimate gift to one of the greatest Harry Potters in real life.

PS- Please Ms. Rowling, don’t kill me!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007



Bloggiversary. I know. It sounds really stupid. But I couldn’t help myself. Its my bloggiversary today. Lefty’s Blog just turned a year old. Applause. 365 days, 12 months, 19 posts. I’d hoped to have 24 posts by this time. Two for each month so as to speak. But as the left side of this page would tell you, I was unable to achieve what I had hoped to. Aalas factor won out in the end. Nothing unexpected about that.

Summer interns are in full swing. I never thought this day would come, but I’m actually busy with work. A complete dilettante in the world of meetings, trousers and reports, I find this ephemeral phase in my life really weird. Leaving home when the clock shows 10 and coming back to be greeted by the same face of the clock is not particularly enjoyable. And to think that people do this kind of thing everyday. Even though this is probably a great learning experience, I’ll be glad when the 6th of July comes. Lazing around at home has never held such charm before.

The beginning of the internship put me into a lot of turmoil. I didn’t enjoy what I was doing at all. If this was what the corporate world was all about, I figured, doing an MBA doesn’t look like such a great option. Academic pursuits and intellectual satisfaction having ended the day I set foot at R, the future looked bleak. Hazy, obfuscated, uncertain. I went around asking for advice from the high (represented by the admirable KR) to the low (represented by…?). OK, I only went around taking advice from the high. Consolable words and better days at office later, I find myself pacified and not so saturnine anymore. But I’m still uncertain about what I want to do. I was supposed to know it by now, but haven’t a clue. The work I’m doing during this intern isn’t too bad. I wouldn’t mind doing this for a living. Even though it would mean the 10 to 10 thing that I thoroughly despise, I’d still do it. But it’s not something I’d really like to do.

During one of our wisdom filled conversations, Sajal and I touched the topic of what we wanted to do. Sajal made one of his occasional sagacious observations. “All I really want to do, Lefty, is play AoE,” he said. I enjoy AoE too, but it would be too monotonous for me. Which brings me back to where I was. I like quizzing. I wouldn’t mind doing that for a living. Maybe even go ontro on the path that Ashu Bhagwan illuminates. It’d be something I’d enjoy. But I’ve seen the level of quizzing and right now, I’m definitely not there. One day, I aspire to be. And whether I reach that level or not is something that scares me. Do I have a chance in a place where there are already such brilliant people? It’s the Computer Fest Syndrome all over again. In school, I was a pretty good programmer and a decent tech quizzer. But visits to the ubiquitous computer fests brought me face to face with the geeks that existed and made me decide that there was no way I was going into computers. It’s true that there will always be someone better than you everywhere (except in case of Ash who is definitely superlative when it comes to beauty), but in the Comp Fest Syndrome, I didn’t particularly want to reach that level of technical geekdom either.

I still haven’t found an answer to these questions, but I guess someday I will. Mankind hasn’t found an answer to Life, the Universe and Everything either (42 doesn’t count). An almost overconfident belief in my ‘talents’ and Ke Sera Sera should be enough to see me through. So till then, I’ll just enjoy my Bloggiversary. May there be many more.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


Six feet from the edge, and thinking…

Most people spend their entire lives without ever being on the edge. The feeling of adventure and the pumping of adrenaline that it is accompanied by eludes some forever and they end up leading peaceful existences. I don’t know if I’m lucky or unlucky, but after my last post, I recalled another time when I was, if Lazy Labrador permits it possible, even closer to the edge. The adventure I described previously was no extraordinary one, but this one will be. It’s fantastic, but still the Gospel truth. Difficult to believe and seemingly specious but the unedited uncensored reality. With a few minor exaggerations, of course. Lefty’s blog would be incomplete without those.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away (popularly known as Laluland till a couple of years ago) there lived Lefty, who would later grow up to be the slightly demented creator of this page. One fine summer I was given a highly clandestine mission- assist my Mausi and little cousin in picking up Mama from the city’s international airport. The words ‘city’ and ‘international’ may raise a few eyebrows. To the first set of skeptics, I would mention the phrase ‘poetic license’. As for the second, the information about a flight going to Kathmandu from the same airport might prove satisfactory. The mission kicked off on a happy note. I remember little of the drive to the airport, but enough to know that it was an enjoyable one. I hummed a few bars on the way and might even have gone so far as to actually sing a song. Of course, all this was before that fateful day when me mum forbade me from singing in public.

I’d always had a great fascination for airports. It might have stemmed from my childhood ambition of being an astronaut or, if unsuccessful, a pilot. Glasses slightly thicker than the Great Wall of China since age five put paid to all those dreams. But coming back to airports, one hardly got to go there, and it was therefore a novel experience which had to be fully appreciated. The chocolates sold always seemed more sophisticated and there was a cool shop which sold old books at throwaway prices. The frequent checking lent an air of both importance and secrecy to the sojourn.

Once in, we came face to face with increasing similarities between Indian Railways and Airways. Mr. Yadav was still the CM of the aforementioned galaxy and had therefore not brought about the railway revolution. The flight, it was announced, was a couple of hours late. I spent a few happy minutes watching planes taxi on the runway before we remembered that my Chacha, an airlines ground engineer, was posted at the airport for a couple of days. So off we went to his office, bang on the runway.

There’s an adventurous streak in me. It’s always been there and will probably always be there too. Like the brook. Men may come and men may go but the streak will go on forever. It’s probably why I’ve been on the edge twice. Where other guys would have been content sitting in the office eating biscuits, I decided to venture out into the unknown, and dragged my little cousin with me. Being 3 and 2 feet high respectively, it’s not a surprise that our disappearance went largely unnoticed. The fireworks started when Chacha started getting messages that two kids were roaming around on the runway. But by then, Lefty’s destructive juggernaut was already on a roll.

My cousin and I were on the side of the runway opposite the main airport building. Suddenly one of those small yellow cargo planes took it upon itself to land. As it decreased in altitude, my heart descended in fear. People got hit by cars, I knew. It seemed I was about to create a first of sorts by being hit by an airplane. Despite having had extraordinary intelligence from the day of my birth (I warned you there would be exaggerations), I did not comprehend that I was actually in a safe place on one side of the runway and the plane would never even touch me. My immature mind had earlier seen planes make 180 degree turns and argued that should this one choose to emulate its siblings, my sweet little cousin and I would certainly be Done For. I therefore shouted to her, “RUN” and started crossing the runway to get to the familiar safer side. Holding her hand while she started bawling, I took off (no pun intended) towards where the airport authorities, who had by now assembled in alarm, shouted encouragement. The short dash across the runway will continue to be one of the longest paths I’d ever traversed.

I tried really hard to come up with a nail-biting climax for this post, but was unsuccessful. The fact that I’m here ebulliently blogging proves that we made it in time. It was not a Hardy-Boys-last-chapter-end type of escape but was close enough. The plane couldn’t have crossed more than five seconds after we’d got to the other side. My cousin cried for a long time after that and continue to curse me for having convinced her gullible mind to be a bit adventurous. I got a thorough dressing down from everyone present and from many who were not present later. All’s well that ends well though. Mama’s plane ultimately arrived and the original mission was accomplished. My cousin believes in ‘forgive and forget’ and I’m still her favourite Bhaiya. Yes, that relative continues to be ubiquitous. Everything remains unchanged, except the fact that visitors are now banned inside airports after the Quandahar hijacking. And considering what some visitors can do, it’s probably for the best.

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