Saturday, August 23, 2008


Love is in the air

It’s not really spring at the moment. Matters of the heart, one would be led to think, would manifest themselves upon the unsuspecting public keeping the seasons in mind. Wrong. Romance, apparently is impartial to the solar cycle. Or maybe autumn touches more heartstrings than one thinks. Whatever be the reason, Coupling, minus Jeff Murdoch, is in vogue at R at the moment. New players have entered the field, old favourites have returned from snowy Scandinavian stints and rose-tinted glasses (actually a necessity here) have become all too commonplace. From classroom benches to tennis courts, smiling sunshine to mellow moonshine, phone calls to IMs, the romantic sphere of influence has become an ever expanding Chandler Bing from season 4 to 8.

All of this is very pleasing to observe. It is even more pleasing to write about. Few things give me as much satisfaction as seeing good kind souls hobnobbing with better kinder ones. And when one’s Hand of God has been instrumental in making two hearts beat as one, it’s difficult not to think too highly of oneself. There are times, however, when your good works tend to turn on you and you wish there was an escape route. This evening was one of them.

Sporty Hunk, having unsuspectingly executed some exuberant dance maneuvers in front of an admiring Lefty, left for his rendezvous with Woman of Substance. Good old Rapsy Dapsy was 200 kms away in the National Capital, preparing to prove to the nasal nitwits of North America that his knowledge of the English language was better than all of theirs put together. Two of the lousier louts declared their intention of moving to the library to indulge in, and I take full credit for the word about to follow, Catting- the ubiquitous pastime of all Gentlemen at large these days. Since I abhor going to the library, I was in what intellectuals call a dilemma. The truth is that I probably bolt as fast as His Speediness when confronted with the option of going to the library to do some constructive work. It is one of my wiser sayings that “people either study or go to the library”. If I have to do some Catting, I’d rather I do it in the friendly comfort of my own ground floor room. It was then that I was told that Good Boy’s good bye, which I had interpreted, erroneously, to mean that he, that is to say Good Boy was about to waddle off, was supposed to mean that we, that is to say the not so good boys were waddling off, while he, that is to say Good Boy, was, as the saying goes, staying put.

A word on Good Boy in particular, and in my defense in general here. As I had mentioned, love favours no season. Over the summer, Good Boy had joined the coveted League of Committed Gentlemen. It took him three years, but when one has a brain that large, it is bound to take its toll on the rest of the body. So it had become the norm rather than the exception for Good Boy to go toodling off in fine weather. Hence, my earlier erroneous assumption.

Hearing that I was to have company in the Farmhouse after all, I what-ho’d with glee and hopped across to confirm that the Committed Gentleman would be with me through thick and thin that night. Affirmative came the answer, right-ho said the self and I hopped right back to confront problems of complicated routes and shadowy sports seeds. An hour of grappling with the best, and stomach dear said that enough was indeed enough. Very well, said the obedient self, and toodled across to 3 Doors Down to enquire if Committed and Uncommitted stomachs felt the same way.

“O, friend since Bachelor Days,” said Good Boy, “it gives me great pain to say this, but at the moment, it’s not just my heart but my tummy too that is fully occupied.”

“Very well,” said obedient self once more, “I shall wait, and while the wait for the heart to be free might be long-ish, the same for the stomach I trust, shall not be more than an hour. We shall toodle off to the new and improved canteen then.” And with these wise words, it was to familiar nine square that I returned.

The hour I spent doing this and that, notable of which were rejecting the Lazy Labrador’s invite to eat out, and once the clock struck 12, I went 3 Doors Down once more.

“O, friend since Bachelor Days,” said Good Boy, “tonight’s dinner you shall have, but you shall be able to play solitaire when you do, for the night is young, the moon is full, the wind is calm and Lady Love beckons. To be precise, I am going for a Walk.” Being the epitome of courtesy he added, “would you care to come as well?”

Having had Grooming Classes every Thursday in class IX, I had been taught how to take the elusive hint and not say Right-ho, and at that time of my test, I proved that I had never been caught napping. While my groomed self celebrated a victory, the groom leaving meant both solitude and hunger, never an exciting prospect.

“Very well,” the self thought for the third time, “I shall return to the 70’s and find two and half men to spend the evening with.” A frantic search for heavy media ensued, MiM and his ilk were cursed for being careless and of no use, and finally the least lunatic of the minions obliged with 250 gigs of pure digital pleasure. Take a bow, you two. A minion in need is a minion indeed.

The cycle, the grand welcome of the hero at the library, the 2 lousier louts and Mittle, the Canteen of the Urban Wasteland, the Mouse’s lappy and the Goat’s room, Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome and Mr. Tall, Fair and More Handsome, the unexpected Gift of the 2nd “The Sun rises in the East…”, the doubly unexpected loss of the same to the Wild Bore and at the stroke of midnight hour, when committed people were coochy-cooing, Lefty awoke to the true meaning of life and newer sitcoms and movies.

The End?

P.S.- A fair number of people will not be too happy to see this post. I hope that a fairer number will be happier to see it. However, being an Indian, it is my duty to pander to the idiotic claims of a small minority and I shall add the following disclaimer:

“The events described above might or might not be true. Any resemblance to a living character(s) is a result of good writing and the author feels honoured. In the very good probability that the events described are true, there’s an even better probability that they are exaggerated.”

P.P.S.- I really hate adding all these footnotes, but 13 August was supposedly Left Hander’s day. A belated Yo to all fellow Southpaws.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Writing Under Influence

I drank tonight. And not water or juice or any of the other beverages. The real stuff. And not mere tasting or surreptitious sipping of the Blue Label that everyone at home was raving about. I drank to the point of feeling light in the head. It would be too harsh and decidedly untrue to say I was drunk. But it would also be stretching the truth to say I was completely sober. I was in the condition where I certainly shouldn’t have driven. But I was in control of most of my faculties. To confirm the same, I cycled to and fro a bit almost in a straight line, gave a near-flawless rendition of ‘Johnny Johnny Yes Papa’ and could recall that the capital of Chad was N’Djamena and that of Burkina Faso was Ougadougou.

I’ve held out against alcohol for quite some time now. However, unlike smoking against which I feel very strongly, I never saw the point of being a teetotaler. No harm in socially drinking. Plus you miss out on a whole world of liquor tasting if you choose to abstain. And I’m always one for new experiences. Moreover, the alcohol in question had been thoughtfully brought from Europe by bosom buddies and you don’t get Danish Vodka and German Whisky everyday.

The light-headedness has worn down now. I didn’t throw up and am quite certain I won’t. Others, after having danced to ‘Main Talli ho gayi’ a dozen times, have retired to sleep. And though not drunk, I’m still in a bit of a haze and it occurred to me that it would be dashed good thing to have a go at the keyboard.

Having downed 3 shots of Vodka (neat), 1 of whisky (equally neat) and 1 mixed, not to mention a couple of very diluted pegs, I spent my calming down hours sitting in what used to be fondly called the Farmhouse. Melancholy was gradually stealing over me and the sight of my once lush green home didn’t make matters any better. Ever since I’ve returned, everything around me seems to portend, and rightly so, that my days at R are sadly numbered. There was a mass clearing out of the hostel last year and it just doesn’t seem the same. The familiar corridors are dotted with unfamiliar faces. Happy memories of days gone by manage to break through the armour of stoic nonchalance that I’ve tried to create and leave me craving for those days again. The hostel is young again; the newbies will soon develop their own culture and make it a happy home, but for now I’m stuck in the kind of limbo in which Hewitt managed to sneak in a Wimbledon title.

The damage done to the farmhouse has specially been heartbreaking. Those calm nights of endlessly gazing into nothingness while silence spoke comfortingly to me will never occur again. The Farmhouse was equally comforting to Lefty when he was struggling to scrape a respectable B, when he was looking to while away sleepless hours and when he was brimming with bouts of confidence which admittedly were few and far between. A monstrosity of pillars and foundations stares at me now, with the profs’ quarters glaring malevolently from behind. The little tranquility that remains in the wee hours is but a hollow vestige of an era gone by.

The air is thick with the news that my time is all but over. These losses are small, soft and subtle yet sudden and shattering. The farmhouse is one of the first of the things that I’ve had to forego and coming after the mag, it is now certain that the wheel of losses has turned into a relentless juggernaut. The rat race for CAT, XAT, GRE and the dozen other exams intensifies with each passing day. Placements begin in December, turning friends into foes vying for the limited places in the limited dream companies. DC leaves at the end of the year. And then the scramble will begin to say good-bye to every nook and cranny, to cherish the last of the moments spent in this long forgotten town before life becomes miserable ever after.

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