Thursday was a holiday here in Bangalore, because of the elections. Yes, it is probably shameful to treat an event of national significance as a 'holiday' but then I had strong reasons for not voting (or so I think). Because of so much regional politics, it is difficult to know what is being done by which party, in which state. So, I see no reason to vote in Bangalore, when I don't know enough. All my life, right from school elections to college elections, and to the Lok Sabha, I've voted 'rationally' – taking into account the candidate's profile, manifesto, the party's national plans etc. When I don't even know the names of the local candidates, I don't think I ought to vote.
So, it was a very pleasing feeling to have a day off. Consequently, on Wednesday, a friend from XLRI and I decided to meet up for dinner. Over a Subway meal, we were called over by another chap who is interning in Bangalore. So, off we went and parked ourselves at his serviced apartment. (The opulence of it all staggered me – a TV, a refrigerator, a cook, and an elegant apartment made me shut out the image of my cluttered single room with stuff strewn about untidily all across.)
After watching the Indian Premier League, we proceeded on a lengthy chat session (which went on till about 5 in the morning). Bushed by then, we were dead to the world (and our phones) for the next 7 hours. After that, we decided to go to Brigade Road in the afternoon and grab some lunch.
We got ready and reached Brigade Road, only to find that most eating joints were closed due to the elections! UGH!! So, we spent the next one hour roaming the streets and looking for a place to eat at. (And you thought that man foraged for food only in the Neanderthal or whatever ages.)
Anyway, I suddenly broke that despondently trudging formation that resembled a collection of Manchester United players after their 4-1 drubbing by Liverpool, and made a beeline for a nearby shop. Nope, even though my frame (and my exchange with Nikita) indicates otherwise, it was not a restaurant or a sandwich shop. It was a shop called 'Magazines' and it caught my attention because there was an alluring sign proclaiming that back issues of US/UK magazines were available at only a 100 bucks each. (No, you pervert! I wasn't after 'those' magazines… I was looking for something on football.)
But of course, football magazines were out of stock, so the formation reassembled itself, looking more and more like Arsenal's walking wounded at the end of an average football season. Finally, we found an open restaurant that was called 'Stars n Stripes' but was advertising 'sugarcane juice' and 'chicken biryani' on banners outside. Weird, huh?
Still, food is food, and some (disastrous)pizza, Schezwan noodles, and chilli mushrooms, washed down with chilled sugarcane juice and Thums Up sent us on our way. Of course, the waiters seemed to think that we had unlimited time and were very leisurely about the whole affair. So, we gave them a few decidedly unfriendly stares before we left.
Then, another friend was supposed to join us, so we went on to one of Bangalore's landmarks – The Corner House (that's an ice-cream parlour). As recommended by Bangalorean friends earlier, we ordered for a 'Death by Chocolate' aka DBC which was liked by two of us, and detested by another two in equal measure. Anyway, after some random discussions on DBC, the next argument was about where to go. One of us was very keen on going to a restaurant that had a karaoke night tonight, but the rest of us vetoed the idea and decided to go to some place where we could chit-chat. So, off we were to Garuda mall – where we sat for a while, ate, blabbered away and then decided to leave.
Of course, the damned auto rickshaw drivers had to put an end to what had been an otherwise perfect day. They were demanding totally outrageous fares, and refusing to go by the meter. One of us retorted, "Bhaiya, auto khareedna nahin hai, sirf jaana hai!" (I don't want to buy your auto bro, I only want to travel in it). Those chaps got irritated and started giving us gyaan. We walked off in a huff, with a couple of us constantly turning back, muttering angrily and glaring at them.
But eventually, it was good to get back home and reminisce about the lazy day.
"In goes the free kick, and the shot come in, and it's INNNN! Milaaaaan have scored! A goal in 50 seconds for Milan... wouldja believe it? Paolo Maldini, the skipper! It's all gone wrong in the first minute; it's a wretched, wretched start for Liverpool."
"Liverpool could be stretched again... Shevchenko inside the penalty area... he's got Crespo for support! Shevchenko crosses, it's 2-0! Crespo, from close range, has doubled Milan’s lead… It’s Liverpool - NIL, and AC Milan - 2, and this final is over!”
“…pass there from Kaka… Carragher can’t get there…What a pass for Crespo! This could be 3-0 and 3-0 it is! What a goal that is!… and Milan now, playing football out of this world, no body can live with this!”
“…another opportunity… towards GERRRAAAAAAARDDDDD!! A goal from Steven Gerrard for Liverpool! Captain’s goal!”
“Hamann, 25 yards out, doesn’t shoot, but Smicer mighhhhhhhhhhttttttt! It’s IN!! It’s IN!! OOOOOOOHHHH, away for Vladimir Smicer!! Miracles are possible! And oh my goodness, do we have a game now!”
“Step up, Xabi Alonso, to equalise, yes, equalise for Liverpool… Alonso, MISSESSSSS!! But scores!! Mission Impossible has been accomplished for Liverpool!
“He’s saved it! The European cup is returning to England, and to Anfield! Liverpool are Champions of Europe again”
“Once a European Champion, ALWAYS a European Champion.”
Today, as the mighty Reds face another test of time, I’m tempted to harken back to that historic day in 2005, when everything was over, but 11 men wearing Red just refused to lose to a ‘superior’ team. They defied logic, the odds that were stacked heavily against them, and the fatigue that comes with a long season of football, to lift that glorious trophy.
That moment was special. Not because the match was won. But because, a team had shown enough courage to not buckle under the pressure, and simply give up. A team had fought back. Even if they’d lost, they’d still have remained Champions of Europe for me, if not the world.
Today, I’m sure they’ll put in another heart-warming performance and give it their all! I would be delighted if they win, of course. But even if the result is not in their favour, I’ll be happy as long as they can walk off the field with heads held high, and say that they gave it everything they had.
In fact, there’s a part of me that almost wishes that the match doesn’t take on the hue of that historic match versus Milan, and overshadow it. That match was, and is, very very special.
I’ve watched it hundreds of times. So much so, I even remember most of the commentary verbatim. Still, it never fails to bring tears to my eyes, and a feeling of warmth in my heart.
Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Tho' your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone
Well... William Congreve said, "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned" and that's pretty well-said, I guess.
The last couple of days in Bangalore have been pretty disgusting, actually. (Except my awesome office.. )
Auto-wallahs and shopkeepers seem to have taken it upon themselves to make life miserable. Sample some of my experiences today:
Me to auto driver: Indiranagar?
Auto driver: Sure!
Me: How much?
Auto driver: Whatever is a just charge, you pay...
(*the reasonable charge is 25/-)
Me: (thinking) Wow, finally a nice, old man..who seems reasonable...
Auto driver: You decide.... 40/- or 50/-
Me: :O WTF!!
That adventure over, I reached home in a bus later. Then, I decided to purchase a (pirated) copy of some software that I needed for my crashed laptop.
Me to cyber-cafe owner: I need a copy of XYZ software.
Me: :O Thanks, I don't need it.
Owner: How much do you think it costs?
Me: In Delhi, I bought it for 50/-
Owner: This is not Delhi, buddy.
Me: Unfortunately for me, and fortunately for you, that's true...
I've never believed in the famous North-South divide and always liked to maintain that it is a myth. I always thought that people made it up to cover their bigotry. But sadly, I think I stand corrected. There are people here who try to fleece you the moment they realise that you don't speak the local language. Of course, these stupid bigots may be few and far between. But then, they are the ones responsible for the regionalism dominating our country today. And yes, if they exist here, they definitely do exist up North too.
I just hope they learn the concept of unity and integration soon enough.
The experience of an amazing workplace and a nice city is being sullied because of some moronic creatures.
P.S. Ironically enough... I work for a team called 'OneIndia' at Microsoft. :)
Tomorrow's the last exam of first year. After that, I can call myself half-an-MBA. Wow!
I can't help but be stricken by a wave of nostalgia at the year that just went by. There were ups and there were downs; relationships forged and relationships unforged, and lessons learnt and lessons forgotten. But overall, I guess the year left me more capable of handling uncertainty and ambiguity, and better equipped to handle stress.
Of course, it hasn't been easy ditching a cushy corporate job, and taking a longish break to study. I've lost some battles since then, and then I've won some.
Nearly a year ago, it began when I checked XLRI's website for admission results and got a message proclaiming 'Congratulations' for my selection for the prestigious Personnel Management and Industrial Relations (PMIR) program. Needless to say, there were folks who were delighted, overjoyed, in disbelief, and a few even plain jealous.
There was no platform nine-and-three-quarters, and no Hogwarts Express but the journey was magical with the entire compartment being filled with bouncy, young folks travelling to their dream institute and their indulgent parents smiling away.
Ever since then, life's been whizzing by. Somehow, I feel time passes at twice the speed inside these gates. By the time one leaves for a term break and catches up with the outside world, it seems aeons have passed by.
And before one realises, one is pulled back into the vortex of never-ending assignments, projects, tests, quizzes, and exams. Till the next term break.
However, this time the agenda is different. I won't be able to visit my parents but will be going to a different city as a summer intern at my dream company... Microsoft!! And of course, I'm pretty kicked about it. Two months in a new city, at a new company... two months of new experiences.
Plus, I might be able to put a couple of entrepreneurial ideas into practice, if I find the time. Let's see.
Of course, the title is drawn from John Denver's song... because I'm leaving for Bangalore on a jet plane, though I know when I'll be back again. :)
P.S. Apologies for making this post a dull read... more like a rambling on of an idle mind, but then that's what it is!
Aww come on! Don’t tell me that the joke’s on me… not one person fell for that lame joke of discontinuing blogging.
I don’t intend to leave Insanity Avenue in Bloggerville anytime in the near future. I had intended to play a prank by claiming to retire. But apparently, I’m the only one who has the IQ of a drunken monkey. :|
I still can’t believe that no one believed that stuff about me discontinuing the blog.
Well, on the positive side, it means I have some really smart friends.
But, umm… if ‘opposites’ attract, then I guess that puts me in the ‘not quite the brightest star in the galaxy’ category. :(
Comments? Thoughts? Anyone? (Pleeeeez tell me what I want to hear :D )
Ever since I started blogging, I think my personal life has taken a major hit. Or was it the other way round? Well, since I seem to have some kind of short-term memory loss (that manifests itself majorly during exam season) and am not in the habit of tattooing myself or sticking post-it notes all over my body, I don’t really remember.
However, I think I need to really get a life out there… groove to the beat, baby! Hence, after a lot of deliberation, I’ve decided to quit Bloggerville and devote more time to the ‘real’ world. It’s been great interacting with all you folks, and I think I’ll miss you.