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Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Magnolias Still Bloom – Chapter VIII

I see trees of green, red roses too.
I see them bloom, for me and you.
And I think to myself... what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue, and clouds of white.
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world...


The love of my life died… a week later.


And I love her still…


She made me promise that I’d stay happy, and find love again. That’s the only promise I’ve ever broken in my life.


I look at the silver ring on my little finger – the piggy that went “wee wee wee” – and stroke the warm metal, something that’s become a habit. It was her ring, the one that she gave me before she died.


“I want you to wear this to remember me by… “ she had said, gently placing the strip of silver onto my little finger (the only one that the ring would fit on).


On a day like this, the anniversary of the day she died, I tend to wander out of my house and think of long ago, when there was a boy. Long ago, when there was the girl who lived in a yellow house around the corner.


Long ago, when they were in love.


… but those days are gone.


On days like this, when the wind is cold and the sky is watery grey, and the world is quiet, I like to sit on the park bench with peeling red paint – her bench, our bench.


And then, all I can do is walk to the cemetery where she lies buried, along with a piece of my heart. A piece that was buried along with the love of my life, on that fateful day, twelve years ago. A piece that lies beneath the marble tombstone, carved in the shape of a magnolia.


The tombstone is inscribed with the a little verse that she wrote:


Shirley (1972 – 1997)


I might not be with you,

lying deep in nature’s womb,

but think of me and smile,

whenever the magnolias bloom.

The Magnolias Still Bloom – Chapter VII

I was escorted to her room, by a sympathetic elderly nurse, who wanted to know what my relation to the patient was.


“She’s my … everything,” I replied as I stepped into the room. I couldn’t help thinking of her as a little doll in an oversized dollhouse as she lay there, tiny and frail, on that huge bed, surrounded by those gigantic machines.


The nurse glanced sadly at us, and left – leaving me sitting there with her little hands held in mine. The hands that had nurtured many sapling to plants, and tended many an injured sparrow lay cold, and somewhat devoid of life.


“Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked, though my rational side had always had a sense of foreboding – a clammy premonition. I had locked it away in some hidden cupboard, and now it had come back to spite me.


She looked at me, eyes wide, frowning, “It’s not like I didn’t try to tell you.” She tried to sit up, “I tried again and again, over the last two years.”


“Shh… don’t exert yourself,” I patted her cheek lovingly. She looked forlorn and out-of-place in the room that reeked of disinfectant, with white tiles and monstrous machines. “When did you get here?”


She played with my hair. The she-devil knew that it irked me no end to have my hair ruffled. But today, I let her do it. “It was last night. I felt a bit woozy, so I called Dr. Brooks and he promised to check in on me. But, by the time he came, I had collapsed on the rug by the fireplace. That’s when I was rushed here.”


She smiled one of her beautiful smiles. I sat silent, waiting for her to go on.


“I’m very sick, and the doctors are not really sure what it is,” she smiled again, without mirth, “and my immune system is giving up… it is only a matter of time before I… die…”


I grabbed her frail wrists, “You will not die! I won’t let you. You’ll live to be eighty. We’ll have a little house by the lake, where we will grow old together. We’ll have grandchildren, you can’t leave me,” I shouted, angry at the futility of it all.


She looked at me pityingly, as if I were the one in hospital, “I never meant it to happen. I never wanted you to love me. I never meant to fall back in love with you. And I don’t want to leave you, ever. I’d love to be with you… for as long as I live.”


She tried to smile at me, but it took too much effort. A tear slid down my cheek. She wrapped her arms around my neck, holding me tight. I hugged her close, savouring her touch.


“There! You’ve ruined it. I was trying to be brave, and you made me cry,” she wailed, grabbing little fistfuls of my shirt, and wetting it with her tears. Then, her voice dropped to an almost inaudible whisper, “Tell me that the world is still lovely. Tell me that spring is here, and the magnolias will still bloom. Tell me that happiness lives on, and pain is just an illusion.”


She started to sob, clutching at me, clinging to me.


She sobbed into my shoulder, and for the first time, I saw what she had held back for so long. I saw the emotions she had hidden from me – all her fears, all her insecurities. She knew I loved her. She knew I needed her. She knew that she wanted to spend every minute of her life with me. So, I held her, and told her that the world was beautiful, and I silently wept. I wept at the cruelty of fate, I wept at my helplessness and I wept because…


… I needed to. I wept because I had no words left to express anything. I wept with rage and frustration. And I wept because I had lied to her – the world was not beautiful. The world was dark, the world was dying, and so was she, for she was my world.


And I wept because I couldn’t stop.


This little piggy had none.
And this little piggy cried "Wee! Wee! Wee!" all the way home.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Magnolias Still Bloom – Chapter VI

Like I said before, she was stubborn. The most stubborn woman I have ever known.


I love her, I love her so much…


… and I wish things had turned out differently. I wish she’d told me everything – all her emotions, all urges, every single thing before that horrible phone call shattered everything.


But she never told me anything. I still wonder what else she managed to hide away from me. That day, when I went to meet her, little did I know that the sands of time were fast running out.


She quickly hung up the phone, as I arrived, and smiled, “That was just my doc. He called to confirm today’s appointment, you know. I’ll get ready and go. Why don’t you run over to the cafe, and fetch us both some breakfast? I’ll see you later.”


I had agreed, albeit reluctantly. But, I should’ve known that she was lying. I had been so smitten by love that I had never known that she was growing paler, thinner and weaker, day by day.


I should have noticed. But in my eyes, she was beautiful. And perfect. She was my world. And in my eyes, my world was perfect. And flourishing. Also, my world was lovely, and hard to get.


Imagine! She had been playing hard to get for almost two years now. And I’d never slackened in my pursuit of her. Perhaps, the ‘happyness of pursuit’ was keeping me going.


I believed it completely. I believed my fantasy. She just wasn’t ready to accept the idea of a relationship, because she felt stifled by one. Simple!


“Are you better today? I asked her, sitting by her side on the bed with the blue bedspread. “Can I get you anything?”


She smiled weakly, held my hand and whispered, “You’re spoiling me silly! It’s just a cold. Don’t be so good to me, ok?” I didn’t reply. I just held her hand, soaking in her essence. “Do you think you can be up and about tomorrow? Spring is here, and the cherries are blossoming.”


She played with my fingers – the old piggy game.


This little piggy went to market.
This little piggy stayed at home.
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none.
And this little piggy cried "Wee! Wee! Wee!" all the way home.


We’d laughed so much every time she’d screw her eyes shut, and make piteous '”Wee wee wee” noises. And of course, whenever I’d tried doing the same in my baritone, she’d laugh so hard till she could barely breathe.


“You know, I prefer the magnolias. They are so pure, so white.” she whispered.


“Fine then, we’ll go see the magnolias. And I’ll read you a few lines from old Willy.”


“Ok, I’ll get better for you and the magnolias,” she said softly, before breaking into a series of hacking coughs that made me wince. I took her in my arms and patted her back to ease her coughing. Smoothing her hair, I said, “Just relax, you shouldn’t exert yourself.”


She smiled. That special smile which was reserved only for me. “… I never meant to,” she whispered to herself.


“Never meant to what?” I asked, wondering if the medicines were making her delusional. “Nothing, you sleep. I’ll be fine. We don’t want you falling sick, do we?”


Reluctantly I complied, promising to return the next day.


I came back next morning and stood outside the door to her little cottage, waiting to be allowed in. It was a routine. I’d knock, she’d open the door, and then the hours would pass by in a flash. She’d laugh at my renditions of ‘poetry’, shake her head at my craziness and get me some tea. Once I jokingly asked her, “I hope you’re not falling in love with old Willy; you seem to like his writing so much.”


She had cocked her head, and said, “Well… you never know…”


I had chased her around her little lawn for fifteen minutes till both of us had collapsed – laughing and panting to catch our breath.


Still, the routine was anything but mundane. Just the thought of her was reason enough to begin a new day with a smile. She was the one who kept my life from plunging back into the depths of despair and madness.


I frowned as I knocked again – how come she was sleeping late today?


I saw her neighbour walk to his front door, laden with grocery bags. He stopped when he saw me, “She’s not at home. She had to be taken to the hospital last night. She’s probably still there.”


I stood rooted to the spot, watching the burly man hug his family, as he went in to the warmth of his home. She wasn’t home, to open the door and let me in with a smile. Somewhere deep inside me, I felt a part of the world I had built over the last two years crack.


Everything was a haze, as I got into my spanking new Toyota Prius (that she had me replace my Hummer H2 with) and sped all the way to the hospital. The magnolias I had got for her lay forgotten at her doorstep.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Magnolias Still Bloom – Chapter V

Wooing her was tough! Harder than anyone I wooed before. It was not because I had doubts or fears, or I couldn’t forget my past tribulations. It was tough, because she was stubborn as a mule. In fact, probably more so. A beautiful, enchanting mule who never ceased to amaze and delight me. A mule who made me forget rationality. I went to ridiculous lengths to try and please her.


I spent a fortune to hire a plane and write her name across the sky on Valentine’s Day while I stood outside her window singing, “The Shadow of Your Smile”. (Yes, I can sing. Almost!)


Laughing, she had thrown a rather heavy book towards me, catching me square on the forehead, as I tried to duck. It had left me with a nasty blue welt for quite a few days, leading to interested stares from passers-by and my staff. However, optimist that I am, I took it as an omen that she had thrown “The Collected Poems of William Wordsworth” at me. And I proceeded to read out some random page from good old Willy,


“What heavenly smiles! O Lady mine,

through my very heart they shine,

And, if my brow gives back their light,

Do thou look gladly at the sight.”


Of course, I did this with the necessary theatrics – kneeling on one knee, and a hand clasped at my heart, just the way I’d seen in some ragged old mushy movie. (Thankfully, I’d seen it when an ex-flame had dragged a kicking and screaming me with her.)


However, unlike in the movie, Old Willy’s lines did not seem to be working. At first, I thought she had an attack of stomach cramps, but then realised that she was merely doubled up with laughter. (HMPH!) Thankfully, because she was laughing so hard, she was off-target, and only managed to catch me a glancing blow on the side of my left ear, with the next book that she threw.


All these missiles were making me edgy, and so I took shelter under her window sill, right in her flower bed.




I paid no heed to her warning and actually managed to recite,


“I saw the figure of a lovely maid,

seated alone beneath a darksome tree,

whose fondly overhanging cano---PY”


…before I was doused with water. The water did drench my body (and my new suit too) but my spirit lacked no enthusiasm. A couple of well-directed magazines and countless threats and abuses could not prevent me from completing the rendition of them poem. (After all, I owed this much to Willy Wordsworth.)


After four hours, I still sat shivering and whimpering like a wet dog, draped in blankets and with feet soaked in hot water. She was still having a hard time controlling her laughter. But, undaunted even after being soaked to the bone, I carried on regaling her with my customised versions of Old Willy’s poems. (Originality is one of my virtues, you see.) Over my umpteenth cup of tea, I marvelled at the fact that this petite, attractive woman could make me act like a fool, making me disregard my dignity.


I was intoxicated by Love.


But then, how long could I do this? I grabbed her arm as she got up to get me more tea, “Give me one good reason why our relationship needs to be only platonic.”


She set down the kettle with a bang on the table and glared at me. “A good reason? Is it good enough for you to be told that this girl does not want courtship? She does not want anyone to pine for her. She is more than happy to occupy a corner of your mind and be happy for you, when you do find your true love. This girl wants you to have the best, and she knows that she’s not the one. She’ll break your heart one day, and leave to never come back…”


She looked at me, her eyes glistening with unshed tears, “…and you’ll never ever forgive me.”


Her little body shook with huge, racking sobs as she wept uncontrollably. I hugged her tight, and tried to console her. I rubbed her hand, caressed her cheek, and wiped her tears away. “Why can’t you see that you are the one I need?” I whispered.


And then, I told her something that I had always kept a secret from her. I handed her a paper scroll. She gazed at it in silence for a few minutes, and then her tears came in a torrent.


Have I?


Have I told you?
If I sit still and ponder,
I can hear your voice,
whispering in my ear.

Have I told you?
Often, I have waited,
in anticipation, wanting,
to be close to you.

Have I told you?
The first time we talked,
I sat up all night,
playing the conversation over and over.

Have I told you?
There are times,
when I have ached for you,
and cried with emotion.

Have I told you?
Often, I dream of you,
I dream of reaching out,
and finding you.

Have I told you?
That I’d give up everything,
just to touch you once,
just to know you’re real.

Have I told you ever?
Do I still need to tell you,
that I love you?


I felt my own eyes grow moist, as she said through her tears, “You very well know the answer to that.”


Hiding my own tears, I asked her, “What do you reckon old Willy would’ve thought of this?”


She gave me another one of those million dollar smiles and said, “He’d have given you a standing ovation for sure!”

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Magnolias Still Bloom – Chapter IV

Author’s note: The links to older chapters are:

Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III


Time lost meaning, and I don’t remember for how many hours, we just sat gazing at each other, before she asked, “So how old was April?”


“Eight,” I said, “I simply adored her,” in a voice choked with emotion.


She blew at the fresh tea that she had brewed, and sipped it saying, “She lived a happy life, didn’t she? Knowing that you loved her so much, and loving you back. You were at her side, as she passed into the next world. Isn’t that the way one should die, with people one loves around? I know I’d like to go that way.”


She broke into great racking sobs, and hugged me tightly. Then, embarrassed at this sudden show of emotion, she hastily wiped away her tears with the back of her hand and said, “And there you were, out in the cold, freezing your bones off! I had to come all the way to rescue you.”


I sipped at my tea, and said in my best James Bond imitation, “I live on the edge.”


She gave a small, tinkling laugh, “I bet!”


“Seriously, you know, I’m wooing a mysterious girl these days.”


She withdrew again at these words, “Listen, we can only have a platonic friendship, no more.”


“Can it be a friendship where I brew cocoa for you?


'”Why, of course!”


“Can it be a friendship where I devour you chocolate cakes every day?”


“Ahem… maybe!”


“Can it be a friendship where I get to see you naked?”


She hit me with a cushion, laughing, “No, it most certainly cannot!”


“Well then, can it be a friendship where I get to kiss you?” I said, wishing she’d say yes.


She didn’t answer, only caressing my hair, and I nuzzled her cheek, revelling in her warm embrace.


“Looks like the cold is starting to affect your mind – you’re rambling already. Let’s get you a blanket, and tuck you in.”


Leaving me there, she opened a cupboard, and brought out a fluffy Mickey Mouse blanket and a matching pillow. “Lie down,” she ordered and placed the pillow under my head. I obeyed, and watched in amusement, as she tucked me in. Leaning down, she kissed my forehead. Before leaving, she whispered in my ear, a goodnight…


… and her name.


Then, she turned out the light, and left. The girl on the bench had a name that I knew!


I fell asleep, thinking of her name.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Magnolias Still Bloom – Chapter III

Author’s Note: Read Chapter I here and Chapter II here.

It is love, not reason, that is stronger than death. – Thomas Mann


A white blanket of snow had buried the world overnight. It seemed as if it had buried all my happiness too. Overnight, my colourful and happy world had been turned into a cold, white and unfriendly place. Children frolicked about, making snowmen of various shapes and sizes, and engaging in mock snowball wars. So much joy around! It was unfair, when I harboured so much sadness within.


I sat forlorn… on the park bench with peeling red paint. It had been exactly a month. After a prolonged battle with a congenital heart deformity, little April had finally given up. My only anchor in the turbulent sea of life had been severed. Unable to bear the pain, I had shut myself off from the world. I had been unable to attend business meetings, unable to run the company that I founded almost brick-by-brick, unable to meet anyone, and had just disappeared to my log cabin in the woods. What would I want all those millions for any more? What would I do in the city, with all those reporters hounding me, and wanting to know how it feels to lose a sister? Bah! How would they know!


Of course, I had known that she only had a few months to live. Still, that didn’t make the pain any less bearable. I wanted to ask God, if there was one, why he was being so unjust. Filled with rage and bitterness at having what I loved most snatched away from me, I sat there, in a world carved with white…


It was snowing even now, with the cold flakes landing on my exposed head and shoulders, and the frigid air biting my flesh viciously.


The sound of footfalls on the snow broke me out of my reverie, and I tried to blink the persistent tears out of my eyes. I turned, on hearing Her call my name softly. And found myself drowning into two deep blue eyes that radiated concern. I felt the warmth of her little gloved hand through the cold, and instantly felt better.


She sat down beside me, cupping my face in her hands. “It’s not right, what you are doing to yourself. Would April have wanted you to grieve like this? Wouldn’t she be up there somewhere, looking at you so sad, and feeling miserable herself?”


I cried into her shoulder, like I had never cried before.


But, hearing her voice did make me feel better. The pain that had been eating away at me for a month wouldn’t ease completely so soon, but yes, she was right. I needed to pull life back on track. That’s what April would have wanted. I needed to pick up the broken threads, and weave them together again.


“This is not the weather to sit outside like a broody hen. Let’s get your insides warmed up with some hot tea.”


I followed her, like a lost puppy, as she led me by the hand, towards a little yellow house, reassuringly holding my hand all the while. I couldn’t resist commenting, “Hey, are the alligators off today?”


“Huh… what alligators?”


“Oh, I remember reading in fairy tales that beautiful princesses live in castles that have deep moats infested with vicious alligators.”


“Well… I am the sole denizen of this humble castle. Though, keeping in view some nasty young men that I know, an alligator or two may not be such a bad idea.”


“Fair maiden, this knight shall slay even the most fierce of dragons to find favour with thee.. ACCHOOO!!”


This sent her into a fit of giggles. She said, “OK, brave knight, let’s get you inside, before you’re vanquished by a teeny-weeny virus.”


In the comfortable warmth of her house, I quietly watched her bustling about, as she made tea. And in some obscure corner of my mind, a thought suddenly germinated. I wondered if I’d ever see her making tea in my own kitchen. I wondered if I’d ever grow old with her. Maybe, we would sit on our rocking chairs, hand-in-hand, and watch the sun set below the horizon. I prayed, probably for the first time in my life. I fervently wished for my wish to come true.


Her approach derailed my train of thought. “So what are you dreaming of? With that goofy grin across your face.”




“Shut up and eat this,” she commanded.


I looked at a cake sinfully coated with dark chocolate. “Must I?”


She waved the plate tantalisingly in front of my nose, and smiled, “You know you want to.”


She could read my mind… the she-devil!!


I gave in, succumbing to temptation. After all, there’s only so much a man can take. She watched me, amused at my clumsy manoeuvres, trying to eat. Then, she conspiratorially leaned towards me, and said the very words that I had been longing for…


“I’ve got more in the refrigerator…”


Those words did it.


I leaned forward, my lips found hers, and I had an epiphany. I should have done this earlier.


She tasted of chocolate cake, Pepsodent and tea… she tasted of warmth, comfort, and love.


Suddenly, she drew away, and the moment of bliss ended. Without looking at me, she whispered, “We shouldn’t be doing this. Somehow, it’s not right.”


“Whyever not?” I asked, wanting more of her.


“Well, you don’t even know my name!”


“As Keats said, what’s in a name? A rose by any other name, or something, right?


That cracked her up, “That was Shakespeare, you muddle-head!”


“Whatever! It’s the thought that counts. At least, I’ve managed to make you aware of my keen interest in literature,” I countered.


This ludicrous claim sent her into a fit of giggles, and she said, “I could be a convict on the run, or a lab experiment gone wrong, or an escapee from a lunatic asylum, for all you know.”


“Sounds interesting to me…”


She looked away, fidgeting nervously, “I-I c-co-could be…”


She didn’t finish what she said, because at that moment, I kissed her.


This time, she kissed me back.


And I felt reality melting away.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Magnolias Still Bloom - Chapter II

Author's note: Read Chapter I here.

I cannot exist without you - I am forgetful of everything but seeing you again - My life seems to stop there - I see no further. You have absorb'd me. I have a sensation at the present moment as though I were dissolving... I have been astonished that Men could die Martyrs for religion - i have shudder'd at it - I shudder no more - I could be martyr'd for my Religion - love is my religion - I could die for that - I could die for you. My creed is love and you are its only tenet - You have ravish'd me away by a power I cannot resist. --- John Keats

Now came the next big question. Who exactly was she? I mean, you can't just ask somebody you've met twice, her family name and antecedents, can you? And especially someone like me, who is renowned for a subtle approach, just doesn't do things this way. That's not my style at all...
"Are you a she-devil come to lure us mortals towards sin? Or are you an international spy working undercover?" I asked her once.

"Naah! Ok, I guess there's no point hiding it any more," she said. It seemed some mountain gorillas decided to do a war dance at that very moment inside my heart. "I'm just an employee of the tax department, trying to snoop on you and find out how much black money you have," she said with that killer smile.

And then, it became a game. Daily, she would allow me one guess at her identity.

"Are you a mermaid cursed by her stepmother to live with mortals on land?"
"Nope, I'm an alien from the planet Zupton, trying to get spare parts for her crashed spacecraft."
"Are you a princess from a faraway kingdom, looking for her frog prince?"
"Maybe, but so far, I've only met toads!!"

So, our verbal parleys continued for may days. Though I didn't manage to find out who she was, our acquaintance blossomed into a beautiful friendship. And as my guesses grew wilder in their fantasy, her laughter at my imagination grew merrier. Once or twice, I tried pestering her to tell me who she was, but she would promptly change the topic. Meanwhile, summer turned to autumn, and autumn turned to winter.

On Christmas Eve, I found her waiting for me on the bench, on our bench, with a small package in her hand. She handed it to me, and with a twinkle in her eye, said, "When you open this, you'll find out my identity."

With nervously fumbling fingers, I opened the package. Her quiet, mischievous smile turned into gales of laughter, as I moronically stared at the Enigma CD in my hand, a perplexed frown on my face.

"An enigma," she whispered, "that's what I am. I cherish your friendship, and let it remain this way, please....." Saying so, she turned away, but not before I saw the glint of unshed tears in her eyes. It was probably my imagination, or was it??

I took out a neatly wrapped package from the pocket of my parka, and gave it to her. She smiled at me, and tore the wrapping open, like a little kid, and then, jumped in surprise on hearing, "I love you." It was one of those toys that say funny stuff when touched. "It is lovely," she said, "Thank you, and Merry Christmas." I smiled at her as she walked away, "Merry Christmas to you too. I'm glad you like it."

That evening, I was trying to sneak a CD player I had borrowed from a friend, into my room, when I was accosted by a feisty young girl. Eyes blazing, she said, "So, where do you think you're slinking off to, dear boy?"

"Eh..uh...nowhere. What makes you think I am 'slinking away'? I am walking in a perfectly dignified manner, like any young man of my age ought to walk."

"Shush! What's that you're carrying?"

"I am...uh...just in the mood for some nice music. So, I borrowed this player from Andy."

"Ha!! You and music....nonsense! I know you've hated always music of any kind. You claimed once that if you had a time machine, you'd go back in time and poison Bach, and strangle Beethoven and Mozart et al. I don't know if you remember, but your protests against my taking violin lessons are still echoing around the house."

"Well, people change! And.... I am no exception."

"Hmph! Go, suit yourself. But, I really do think there's something amiss, and you're hiding something from me."

Ever since she was a baby, April was the most adorable child ever. However, her habit of acting like a little Sherlock Holmes has always been a tad bothersome. So,I decided to take the prudent course of action. I decided to ignore her. As I climbed up the stairs, she called after me, "Is this change brought about by the girl in the park?"

I stopped dead in my tracks, and my ears pricked up instantly. "How do you know....ahem...I mean..what are you talking about?"

"Ok, whatever, go enjoy your music. I'll find out, what's cooking."

"Dearest, it's time you were off to sleep. Or you'll be late again in the morning."

"Okie, good night, and sweet dreams," she winked mischievously at me.

If you had an eight-year old sister, who always acts too big for her boots, you wouldn't be smiling or grinning at my plight. Anyway, I went back downstairs, to check if April was nicely tucked in, and came back to listen to the CD.

I've listened to that CD innumerable times. It no longer plays, for it's surface is marked with scratches and abrasions. Still, each note of that soulful music is etched clearly in my memory. Indelibly...

I listened to it, not because I love or even like music. I listened to it, because it had come from her, the girl I was slowly falling in love with.

The girl whose name I didn't know... the girl who could've been an escaped convict for all I knew... or cared.

Once, losing my patience with her, I had held her firmly by the shoulders, and almost begged, "Who really are you? Tell me... please!"

She had smiled, knocking me breathless, and said, "The girl in the corner of your mind." Then, she had just gotten up, and walked off, leaving behind a whiff of her enticing cologne.

If only, she knew that she took up my entire mind...

If only, I'd known her name...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Magnolias Still Bloom – Chapter I


“A coincidence is a small miracle in which God chooses to remain anonymous.”

She’d sit there for hours, unmoving, with an expression of utmost bliss in her eyes. Quietly, on that old park bench with the peeling red paint, and watching the world go by with her lovely, innocent eyes. She’d always have a smile on her face that would captivate me, and a vaguely sad wistfulness in her eyes that would always intrigue me.

No, don't get me wrong. I've never been the nosey parker or the peeping tom kinds. I am strictly the kind of chap who loves to mind his own business (and I wish others would do it more often). I cordially detest people who go about poking their noses into other peoples' affairs.

I'm not even someone who vies for female company. Somehow, my innate charm and magnetism has always brought women flocking to me in droves. (No exaggeration there at all. I know modesty's a virtue, but so is telling the truth. I don't know what your priorities are, but I believe truth is more important than modesty.)

Anyway, it's not like I’m too fond of observing people's faces. Like I said, I'm a loner. I love to go about my own business, uninterrupted. It's just that... just that.... sometimes one takes a bit of a liking to a particular face, and begins to look upon its owner with a touch of familiarity. And so it came to be.
Slowly, she became my constant in an ever-changing world. Without a word ever being exchanged between us, we must've spoken volumes to each other! Anyway, I began to look upon her as a familiar oasis of happiness in a desert of emotion. And those eyes!! Those eyes had a hue of blue that no artist’s colour palette would ever be able to create. Azure as the ocean, it was the deepest, richest blue I had ever seen. Somehow fascinating. Deeply fascinating.

I was so mesmerised by that colour, that I almost developed a fetish for eyes. I would stare at any woman I came across, and try to see if her eyes were as blue as those of the mysterious girl in the park. (Well... to tell you the truth, for a few days, I even tried looking at the guys who frequented the club down the street. But, I had to give up when I heard one of them tell the other, “I think he's just the right kind for you, Tom. He often hangs around here, why don’t you buy him a drink some time?” Since that day, I have taken a detour that takes me 15 extra minutes, and always given that club a wide berth.)

In my fascination for that shade of blue, I had even driven the suave, talkative salesman at the paint store to the verge of insanity, with my attempts to obtain that perfect shade. After a couple of exasperating hours, when I finally left, he had given me a nasty glare, which looked like it stemmed from a deep-rooted hatred. And if looks could kill, his would definitely have bored two minute holes in the back of my head. (Talk about customer service!! He should've been sorry that he couldn't meet a customer's requirements, and here he was... giving me baleful looks.)

However, the raging fires of my curiousity were still not extinguished. I decided, “If you can't beat them, join them!” So, I decided to frequent the park more often, carrying a newspaper or something with me, so that it wouldn't look like I had nothing better to do, and observe her activities, or rather, the lack of them. I wanted to understand what was so exciting about watching the humdrum, unexciting sight of daily chores being carried out. Once, I thought she caught me looking at her. But no, it must've been my imagination! I pretended to go back to my newspaper, giving it my undivided attention. A few moments later, I sensed someone standing close to me, so I looked up.


It was her!! The corners of her mouth twitched with amusement, and she said, "Well mister, you're holding the newspaper upside down."

"Ahem...umm....ah..well...actually, There's this picture of mountain gorillas in their natural habitat, and I was just admiring the work from different angles. Is that a problem?" I asked, being the very picture of confidence.

"Not at all! It's great! In fact, why don't you explain the picture to me?" She laughed merrily as she asked.

"Well....uh..actually, you need to view it yourself, and understand it. My explaining it won't help much." (Whew! Quick thinking saves the day!!!)

"Naah, that's tell me your interpretation, and I'll tell you mine," she said with a hint of mischief.
Realizing that the game was up, I decided to be direct, "Actually, it's not the picture I was looking at. I was wondering what brings you here, each day. It always piques my curiousity, your aloofness to the world, as you avidly gaze at the same people, with bored faces, going through their respective daily routines."

With a bewitching, pearly smile, and a shrug of her shoulders, she had replied, “I think life is so amazing. Each day is a new wonder waiting to be explored. I love watching the little children sweetly prancing about, and listening to the birds sing. And then, I think about how kind God has been, to have so blessed us.”
She flashed another one of her ten-megawatt smiles, which would have assured her a lifelong contract with any toothpaste manufacturer.

"Honestly, I think life is the biggest con game ever invented. You spend years believing that you've won it but, in the end, you're just as dead as anyone else. Those damned kids that you adore, those vile beings have shattered my windowpanes so many times, that I've given up replacing them anymore. HMPH!! I feel like shaking and throttling all of them, till they turn blue. And the bloody birds!! I just hate the way they keep congregating in flocks, and mumbling to themselves in their strange language. Of course, the fact that they decide to decorate my shiny new Chevy with their droppings doesn't endear them any more. Not only that, they mock me by roosting on the scarecrow that I painstakingly created on my verandah.
"And GOD, is the master conman, running this fiendish show, and making fun of us from above."

I would've unveiled these blasphemous thoughts to her, but fortunately, the wind had been completely knocked out of my sails by that stunning smile. Otherwise for sure, that would've brought our fresh acquaintance to an unsavoury end.

Breaking into my train of thought, she interjected, "I really appreciate your listening to me. A lot of people talk to me here, but no one has listened so intently. Thank you, I'll look forward to another delightful conversation with you sometime. Now, I gotta rush."

And before I could say anything, she breezed away. Anyway, though I looked forward to meeting her again, I decided to be a bit more subtle in my approach. Hence, I purposely avoided going to the park for the next few weeks. Eventually, after subtlety had been well-thrashed, I decided I'd had enough! If she felt so good talking to me, why deny her the pleasure of my much sought-afer company?

So, I met her again. On the same old park bench with the peeling red paint. Once again, I listened to her, enthralled. I realised that she intrigued me. her ideas sounded silly, naive and even foolish to me. But her smile made them palatable, and all one could do was listen, mesmerised beyond words.


I loved talking to her... or rather listening to her.


But... I still didn't know her name...

If tomorrow never comes…

Throughout the day, I kept wondering why the day was passing by so uneventfully. I went through the usual rigmarole of work, coffee breaks, more work, lunch, chit-chat with friends, still more work, and then deciding that it was time to leave.


However, the rain gods evidently had other plans. I had to step back inside because it wasn’t pouring cats and dogs, but probably dinosaurs (of the brontosaurus variety, of course). I stepped back in, cursed the weather fluently, spoke to my mom for a few minutes till the balance in my phone ran out, and then was called by a friend who wanted some advice on which Pink Floyd DVD compilation to buy for her boyfriend.


And since the last few gifts that I sent to people of the opposite gender were rather well-appreciated (big grin), I think I’ve become a ‘gifting consultant’. Actually, one just needs a bit of common sense and a bit of thoughtfulness to decide on a gift, but these two qualities together are present in not more than 0.001% of the population. (This is not self-praise; I’m presenting hard, cold facts here.)


Eventually, by the time me and the other interns finished dinner, the rain gods relented, and turned off the faucet. So, all I had to do was step through puddles, acrobatically avoid getting splashed by speeding vehicles inside the campus, and reach the main road to take a bus.


Near the main road is where someone up there realised that I had been inwardly complaining about an uneventful day, smirked to himself/herself (I’m not a sexist, not even when it comes to visualising God) and probably uttered some magic words.


I was half-way across the road, when this Tata Sumo suddenly decided to speed up, or maybe my judgment of its distance/speed was faulty. And I literally became an (oversized) deer caught in the headlights. In the split second that it took me to almost dive to safety, time seemed to pass infinitely slow, and ultimately, I escaped by a millimetre or two. (You, Mr/Miss Reader, must’ve done some really good deeds, to be blessed with the opportunity of reading another post by me. If you had done one good deed less, maybe I’d have been playing the harp with a halo around my head up there, or poking people with pitchforks and roasting them on fires. )


Anyway, I was deep in thought and rather subdued as I came back home because I was thinking a few things. I guess there are so many things one takes for granted in life, which should not be done, of course.


So, if you want to take that vacation, or visit that new restaurant in town, or try that new hairstyle, or tell that girl/guy that you love her, do it today! Tomorrow may be too late. Since I got home, some lines from a song have been running over and over in my mind:



If tomorrow never comes
Will she know how much I loved her
Did I try in every way to show her every day
That she's my only one
And if my time on earth were through
And she must face the world without me
Is the love I gave her in the past
Gonna be enough to last
If tomorrow never comes






P.S. Tell all the people who you appreciate, that you do. Tell your folks how much you love them. Tell that cute girl/guy that you adore them. Tell your blogger friends how much you enjoy reading their blog. (Me! Me! Me!)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Farewell, Sami…

It is indeed a sad moment for Liverpool fans, to bid adieu to one of its longest-serving players as centre-back Sami Hyypia departs for Bayer Leverkusen after 10 years of service.


The Fabulous Finn began his career at Anfield in 1999, when he transferred from Dutch side Willem II for a supposedly low transfer fee of 2.5 million pounds. Prior to that, he already had a huge 7 years of first-team exposure.


He captained Liverpool for over a year (2002-03) and though the armband was handed to the rapidly emerging Steven Gerrard, Sami continued to thrive. With a change in management through the arrival of Rafa Benitez, and a permanent centre-back pairing with Jamie Carragher, Sami kept on contributing to the club. In fact, one of the proudest moments in Liverpool’s European history, the 2005 Champions League trophy was won because of the miserly attitude of Carra and Sami.





The best part was that with his towering 6’4” presence, he was always a danger from set pieces too. I’ve always loved the aerial threat that he has been able to cause from corners and free-kicks. However, he also possesses a potentially lethal touch which Juventus found to their detriment in the first leg of 2005’s CL quarter-final when he scored with a beautiful volley that even Steven Gerrard would have been proud of.  

(Picture courtesy: ABC News Online)


To add to that, he superbly marshalled the defence in the second leg to power Liverpool to a semi-final clash against Chelsea.





Of course, if one were to tell tales of the 35 goals he scored, or the 463 appearances he made, one could write an entire book. He has been such a great contributor that it will be difficult to see Anfield without the sight of a white-haired Finn running around with more energy than players barely half his age.


I think it is absolutely fair on his part to wish for some more years of regular first-team football, which he would not be able to get regularly at Anfield, due to the rise of Agger and Skrtel. And it is indeed a tribute to his brilliance, that boss Rafa Benitez offered him a coaching position. However, Sami would like to play for a few more years, before ending his playing career and taking a coaching one.


It would’ve been great if he had been able to add a Premier League medal to the existing bunch of medals he has, but hopefully, once he returns as a coach, he will have many more.


Kudos to the player who is one those who shook the Kop. Kudos to the player who put in his heart and soul into each game. Kudos to the player who only wanted to win, once he donned that red jersey. Kudos, to Sami Hyypia.


Bravo, Sami! I look forward to the day when you’ll be back at Anfield.


You’ll never walk alone!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

All about Books

Seeing this tag on Parul’s blog, I decided to do it too since it is about such a fun topic – books!


1) What author do you own the most books by?
Alistair Maclean. (I have almost all his books, except for the few that people borrowed and never bothered to return.) Stephen King comes a close second, and the master of humour, PG Wodehouse is a distant third.

2) What book do you own the most copies of?
I have three copies of ‘The Guns of Navarone’ by Alistair Maclean. I thought I had lost the first one, so bought a second, and then I thought the second one has been permanently ‘borrowed’ by a ‘friend’ so bought a third one. (Of course, I was wrong both times, so ended up with three copies.)

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
No! Sentences/Questions ending in prepositions are to be ruminated upon. (Tee hee!! :D )

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Now that I’m confessing it here, it’s no longer secret love! But, I think Arwen from the Lord of the Rings would be one. (Maybe, it was partly because of her portrayal by Liv Tyler.)


5) What book have you read the most times in your life?
’Gerrard’ by Liverpool captain, Steven Gerrard. It is his story, as told by him. And when I read the part about the 2005 Champions League final against AC Milan, I just can’t stop the tears. Truly inspirational!


A close second would be HMS Ulysses. (Another Alistair Maclean book) The way he writes about World War II is such that you can’t take sides – the Axis power vs. the Allied powers. You learn to just hate war and the misery it brings.


And yet another would be ‘Illusions’ by Richard Bach. I think that book gives me answers to all the questions that keep cropping up in my life. Each time I read it, when I face a tough spot, and each time, it gives me some new meaning to life.

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
The Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene. (I think I had a crush on Nancy.)

7) What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?
’The Three Mistakes of my Life’ by Chetan Bhagat. (On the positive side, it’s a very encouraging book. If Mr. Bhagat can write such tripe and get published, then O discerning readers, here I come with my tales to tell! :) )

8) What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera.

9) If you could force everyone to read one book, what would it be?
’Running from Safety’ by Richard Bach. That book talks about how we kill the kid inside each one of us just because we want to appear ‘grown-up’.

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for literature?
Tough call… I haven’t really been following the latest authors.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
’Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less’ by Jeffrey Archer. I thought it was fast-paced, devious, and funny!

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
Chetan Bhagat books. ‘Hello’ was a disaster, and actually competed strongly with the book -  One Night at a Call Center in terms of ridiculousness quotient. (That’s my ‘metric’ for defining how ridiculous something is.)

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
I dreamt of myself as the highwayman from Alfred Noyes’ beautiful poem ‘The Highwayman’ and rescued the innkeeper’s daughter Bess, from the clutches of the Royal Guard. :)

14) What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult?
The Bourne Legacy by Lustbader. (It is a continuation of Robert Ludlum’s Bourne series, after Ludlum’s death by a useless creature called Lustbader. After reading this, you will understand that Indian movies with those clichéd concepts are unnecessarily reviled.)

15) What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?
Ahem… a book on Corporate Finance in the last term.

16) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
Shakespeare, of course.

17) Austen or Eliot?
Tough call… but Austen, probably.

18) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
Salman Rushdie and Vikram Seth.

19) What is your favorite novel?
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. (I think the opening quote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” is applicable to many situations in life.)

20) Play?
Macbeth! (Julius Caesar comes a close second, followed by some of Oscar Wilde’s plays.)

21) Short story?
The face on the wall by E.V. Lucas, almost anything by Saki, O Henry, or Anton Chekhov.

22) Work of non-fiction?
Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish – a compilation of entrepreneurial success stories by Rashmi Bansal.


23) Who is your favourite writer?
I can’t name just one. It would depend on the genre. For example:

fantasy – Tolkien

horror – Stephen King

romance – Eric Segal

thriller – Robert Ludlum

Of course, we could go on. :)

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Well, this initiative stems from a friend’s blog. The last couple of days have seen a total of 115 people visiting this blog, and spending an average of nearly 4 minutes each.


However, in total, they’ve contributed a meagre 9 comments (with 2 of them being replies from yours truly.)


So you, you, you and YOUUUUU are doing nothing but lurking! Come on, write a little note. I’d like to know who you are, what you like reading, what brings you back here, or what drives you off.


It would be so much nicer, if you’d invite me back to your blog, and I could come and read what you have to share. So, let’s declare this day as ‘Delurk Divus’ and pledge to not lurk anymore. (This is not to say that you shouldn’t visit, but merely to suggest that you be less lazy and comment.)


If you hate me, say so! I promise to not let my henchmen come after you, and subject you to the Italian Mafia treatment. :D


If you love me, of course you ought to say so, especially if you belong to the feminine gender! (I’m not desperate. We’ll have a proper selection procedure, of course. However, I believe in equal opportunity, so I’d still like to know you *wink wink*)


If you couldn’t care less, so what? Still write!


Now stop lurking, and help me delurk…. please….


P.S. All copyrights for the term ‘delurk’ rest with Ms. Parul Sharma, who resides at Bringing up Adi.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lay off, will ya?

Please don't be alarmed at the title of the post. It is not intended to scare you away, but merely to capture your attention.

Yes, these are tough economic times, and things look uncertain, if not downright bleak for the future. Job security is dipping, and many folks don't really know if their jobs will survive the recession. Various companies across the world have been forced to 'right-size' which is nothing but a euphemism for downsizing or laying off employees.

Understandably, people who've been laid off tend to harbour bitterness for their former employers. However, do companies really like to chop off their human capital? I was rather incensed to read a set of articles on a popular website. In this 'shocking chronicle of work experiences' - as the site calls it, laid-off workers have expressed their opinions, and largely their angst against their respective employers.

I agree that it is a shocking chronicle - not because it is sad to see this happen but because it seems people were working in tandem with nasty bosses, 'inhuman' working conditions, low salaries et al, without complaining earlier. But, the moment they lost their jobs, their employers became cold and heartless creeps.

As someone who has worked in the training industry for long enough, and is now pursuing an MBA in HR, I can assure you that laying off employees is not as plain as number-juggling for companies. The decision to let go of productive workers is never easy, and almost never illogical. A lot of thought is given to each such move.

A normal BPO company spends nearly Rs. 200,000 for each employee (including salary, travel, training costs, medical insurance, and other benefits) for two months of training. And then, takes another 6 months to break-even on that employee. So, for the first 8 months, the company actually spends money on you, and then begins to earn. And if after that, it fires you, it has to spend the same amount of time/money in getting another person to do your job.

Also, unfortunately enough, layoffs are not always performance-based. A person does not have to be a poor employee to lose his/her job. Sometimes, companies decide to stop focusing on certain strategic initiatives or on some dimensions of work, because they no longer add value. In a boom scenario, the displaced employees are absorbed by other departments. In a recession, they may be asked to go.

As an example, let's say that you have a housemaid who takes care of cleaning you house and another one who takes care of washing your clothes. Now, you feel that you can probably save the recurring cost of the one who washes clothes and the time spent in washing/drying, by investing in an automatic washing machine. So, you let go of her services despite the fact that she was brilliant at her job . However, the one who cleans the house is still employed, even though she absents herself regularly, and does not quite have great performance.

That's a rather crude example, but then that's pretty much how layoffs happen. However, even though it could be tough, my advice to people who have lost their jobs is to not lose confidence, but to try and find something that fits your skill sets.

And to websites that post grim and morose tales like this, my suggestion is to post articles on alternate employment options, or how to cope with such a situation. I really fail to understand how reading someone's sordid tale will help, if I've been laid off.

Perhaps, an extra dimension that employers could add - arrange for counselling sessions for laid-off employees. Yes, it is a cost, but maybe you could look at it as something like your corporate responsibility to make sure that you are releasing a healthy individual - who will not consider alcohol/drugs/suicide/crime as alternatives at all.

Readers, these are just my views, and I'd really love to hear your thoughts on this too.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Going Camping... Part II

After having built up the suspense about live frogs and scorpions in Part I the blogger is back with photographic evidence of the adventures. Unfortunately, all those creatures refused to pose, so we didn’t click them, fearing their retribution, if they were to be displeased.


However, to compensate for the lack of fauna, we clicked a lot of flora (who had no choice :P ) and some humans (who also didn’t have much of a choice when they were being clicked).






We’ll start with introducing the humble abodes of the participants - ‘tents’ which were more like cottages, with thatched roofs, metal cots, attached baths, and electric lights.


Of course, everything was among sylvan surroundings with no traffic, no pollution, no cellphones/laptops, and perfect tranquillity all around.









It was nice to be in such simple surroundings, though I’ve always considered myself a city hick who can’t survive without a phone and an internet connection. Surprisingly, I adjusted pretty well. Though, being akin to a hyperactive kid, I find it tough to sit still for more than 60 seconds. Hence, it is a rare shot of me when not dozing off during the session. (No offence to the facilitators, who were awesome. It’s just me… I am what I am! :D )








I was super-excited to learn that I’d be staying in an ‘Alpine’ tent though I had not the faintest clue about what an Alpine tent is, or does. So, I was almost like a kid who has seen his new toy, when I was shown my tent. Obviously, it rocked more than those other ‘tents’. HMPH! (By the way, I realised that a tent is larger from the inside, than it appears from the outside.)


There, in the backdrop is MY tent. A much more peaceful and beautiful location, I assure you except that at night, I just felt glad at not having brought a horror novel along. :P (However, I did consider returning to the location alone, and staying for a week or so, in the hope of writing a horror story. Haha!)





At night, we had a little party with a bit of alcohol for those who partake of it, and soft drinks for those who don’t. The funny part is me wearing a ‘Carlsberg’ jersey and posing with a can of Thums Up.


(For those who’re wondering, NO that’s not the HR dress code. Maybe, it’s just that people tend to see ‘Red’ when they think of HR. )


Now, comes the tricky part. The photo that follows has been given some ‘interesting’ captions by a creative bunch of creeps that I call friends. As long as you don’t laugh or grin, you’re allowed to proceed further. (Smiling is allowed, of course. Who did you think I was? Hitler? Stalin? Castro? Ha!)





Some of the captions that have been suggested for this picture (not in any order of preference) are:

a) Stairway to heaven

b) Mujhe pata tha ladka bahut upar tak jaayega! (Loosely translated as, “I always knew that this guy will scale lots of heights in life.”)

c) Moving up the corporate ladder


I needn’t say that you are free to unleash your creativity and suggest more such.









Well, the really uncomplimentary ones were reserved for the next photo. However, I’m still including it, because I’d like you to focus on something. (I’ll let you know what… ;) )


Comment: “This is how and why wireless technology was invented. Some idiot sent Sumit up on wires!”


Anyway, the reason why I’m asking to you take a look at the pic is… Check out the biceps! :D


So, like you saw, the trip was fun! There are lots of pictures, but most of them have not been shared by the lazy ones responsible for sharing them. As and when they arrive, they will be shared. (Of course, you’re expected to keep your wisecracks to yourself.)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Going Camping... Part I

A live scorpion right outside the dining area… a mongoose scurrying across the road caught in the headlights… a frog perched on someone’s bed… pretty ‘challenging’ situations, wouldn’t you agree?

Well, all these situations and more, were a part of life at a camp that was intended to groom future leaders.(No, I'm not one of the leaders. I was there as an observer, to gain knowledge of how leadership training is carried out.) Obviously, you don’t need to know any of the boring (and confidential) details but we can still talk about the interesting stuff that happened.

The day of departure began early, too early for my taste in fact. (Someone who generally sleeps at 4 am obviously wouldn’t care much for days when he has to awaken from slumber at 5 am.) So, waking up at 5 am (with the assistance of 4 alarms) getting ready, cussing and abusing, and then rushing off for the daunting task of finding an auto that would overcharge by only about 10 bucks or so – all these tasks do make for an eventful early morning.

Anyway, all said and done, I was proud of myself for making it to office before the scheduled time of 6.30 am. Once there, stuff needed to be shifted to the bus and the fleet of cars. So, the needful was done and I must spare you the unnecessary details once again.

There weren’t too many highlights during the journey as such, except for the picturesque surroundings. Images of palm trees waving with the breeze, a little boy trying to pull a cow towards some unknown destination with the cow seeming to grin wickedly and refusing to budge, a pitiable beggar-man trying to seek alms from us, and local people staring at backpack-carrying ‘outsiders’ wearing funny-looking hats will probably always stay with me. Quite unexpectedly though, some of the people were quite hostile to us on hearing us talk in Hindi. Some were curious, others simply indifferent.

But eventually, we managed to find the way to ‘Camp Shrishti’ – a beautiful 43 acre area of virginal land. And I doubt whether the leaders had bargained for the challenges they faced in the form of scorpions, mongooses, and frogs to come their way. I was quite excited at the prospect of living in an Alpine tent, never having lived in one before. The first thing that struck me was that it was larger on the inside than it looked from the outside. My room mate…er…tent mate and I joked about it for a while, and then settled into our respective sleeping bags. Quite soon I guess, I must’ve dropped off to sleep quite soon, till I was woken up by pounding rain and lightning. However, I slept off again, and was woken up in the morning by my ‘roomie’.

I'd slept fitfully, because the flapping of the tent and the moist edges where my feet touched, made me dream that I was on a ship that was sinking in a storm. Of course, nasty folks out there had a good laugh when I told them of my dream.

The water I bathed with, was freezingly cold, and I cursed my false sense of bravado that led me to such a foolish step. (Hot water was available only by lighting the gas geyser and would've taken half an hour.)

The meals were clean, light, and hygienic and for once, I actually relished South Indian food. After breakfast, we proceeded for the set of activities for the day, and I shall tell you more about them once I'm back from another round of curry-rice. Yum yum!

Friday, May 8, 2009

The week that was...

Well, I guess the rather prolific me has been not-so-prolific lately. I think that can be blamed partly on office work, partly on catching up with friends, and the rest on sheer, blatant laziness!

I'm starting to resemble a sloth bear, both in terms of shape/size and temperament. (And when I say temperament, I certainly don't mean a fondness for honey.)

This week was different, though. For the last four days, I was out of town on an official training camp, which provided lots of learning and loads of fun too. (I will be writing more about that, so hold yer horses pardner!)

But now that I'm back, I see that truckloads of work have piled up, and my workstation resembles a landfill site. Figuratively, dodo! Not literally, of course. (It's my room that resembles a landfill, but no more about that for now.)

Hence, it shall be a busy weekend, and apart from work, I need to sneak out time for:
a) a personal project
b) writing my travelogue on this blog (That rhyme was unintentional!)
c) washing clothes
d) getting a haircut
e) planning a party for the juniors
f) (re)organising my room

Loads to do, ain't it? And the sad part is that you're still reading! Tch tch.. and you call yourself a friend? Call me, email me, text me, or simply walk over. I need help...

I'm disturbed, disgusted, distressed, disgruntled, dispondent (That's deliberately misspelt to rhyme, ok?) and lots of other dis-ses! HELP!!

P.S. I can't seem to find my thesaurus. I had a dream this evening, where I dreamt that Roget had launched a chocolate bar. It did seem yummy that time, but I wonder why I'm feeling ailing, diseased, unwell, sick, nauseated, run-down, and debilitated. Any diagnosis, conclusion, interpretation, pronouncement, or prognosis?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

From Darkness to Light...

Today's post doesn't have anything to do with me or my life(fortunately or unfortunately for you, Mr./Miss. Reader). I just came across this haunting piece on a friend's blog, and would like you to read it. Consequently, I'm posting the link here.

Please visit Kaddu and read...