Monday, September 24, 2007

Desire is the cause of all Sorrows

“Desire is the cause of all Sorrows” said Buddha. If he was alive today, maybe we could award him the Nobel or shower him with some such meaningless gesture. Materialism has been one of my core principles since the dawn of my senses. As far as I am concerned all this no-desire bullshit is for wimps who don’t dare to desire.

But even I have put a line on my desires. A limitation if you could call it that. Like, I don’t desire to be the richest, sexiest, handsomest man on earth. I just dream about being that. My desires are very much rooted in the harsh realism of my existence… like owning a Ferrari, going to the moon, climbing Everest in the nude and basically stuff like that.

Materialism needs money, a lot of it! And there lies my woe. The oxymoron poor materialist aptly describes my state of life. It is a dangerous combination, the type that makes normal men think seriously about the possibilities of drug trade, smuggling, share markets and basically all get-rich-really-really-quick schemes.

My latest bout of materialism was brought about by a close friend of mine. I wonder why it is always “friends” of mine who do this peculiar damage to me. I was leading life normal and boring as usual when this guy comes up with an idea to tour Ladak and Leh in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. On top of it, he wants to stay in Srinagar for two days “just for the heck of it”. Telling me about plans to go to Leh is like enticing a fish on land with water. I always fall for that kind of stuff and he knew that too, the slimy b******!!!

The year 2007 has been rather special in my calendar, the beginning saw me going to Himalayas, the second quarter saw me going to a number of small trips to places as close by as Mysore and Madras. The third quarter was devoted to Thailand and a trek to Mukruthi. My pocket now looks like one of my “air conditioned” engineering era underwear’s. It is full of holes!!!

Having over-exceeded my budget for the year already, I had lain back to enjoy the peace of staying back in my room for the next few months. But, right at that juncture he had to do it! Temptation is not called temptation for nothing, it makes one forget one’s common sense (snide comments to the affect that I hadn’t any in the first place are totally unwelcome!!!) and thus I agreed to join the trip. But where is the money????

The last time I was faced with this predicament, I borrowed from my brother. I still haven’t given it back. After all, what are big brothers for, eh? Problem is, I can’t go and ask him again. He might escalate it to higher authorities with dark forebodings of a prodigal son in the family. And if by my wretched luck the “family” actually checks out the facts, then the original prodigal might look like a saint compared to me!

Family is definitely out. Next comes friends, but I am one firm believer that asking money from a friend is a sure way to loose him. So, I made a list of friends whom I don’t mind losing. Top of the list was the bugger who called me up for the Leh trip. He deserved it you know! Problem is that he is already short in the short term.

For a short time, I dallied with the idea of taking the Mother Theresa route of “God will provide I don’t have to worry” philosophy. But I am I, not Mother Theresa. Being of a slightly practical disposition (just reading my desires is enough to convince you I am sure) I am inclined to look for my fortune myself rather than leave it in the hands of God.

But all this beating around the bush was taking me where I was sure I was heading right from the start. It was just that I had to make this charade of looking at all options. The only option I ever had is the only option that a lot of people ever had. Sell something to buy something. Saying a prayer of thanks to Uncle Sam and capitalism, I sat down to look at all the things I could sell.

The sifting-through-artifacts took very little time. I wasn’t surprised. I was never famous for re-sellable materialism. I am a sucker for the services industry and that is one thing you can’t resell after paying for it….:(

All doors seemed to be closed when I got this mail from one Divya Singh who has been suffering from blood cancer since the day I joined the IT industry. If there is a record for the longest fight against cancer, Divya would win it hands down. She is been having if for years on end and every few months most IT employees get a reminder about her serious condition. Some company was paying a rupee (dollar?) per mail forwarded and that was how she covered her expenses.

Viola! That’s when it strikes me, start a mail chain in collaboration with some MNC who will pay a dollar per forward. I was sure that all self-respecting trip and trek addicts would forward my mail a thousand times and I would have more than enough money to trek around for a life time!

This blog is a just a humble beginning buddies. Be ready to be spammed by a mail about the pitiable life of one Abraham whose sad story would make thee weep. The mail would be about a man unable to laze around and have some decent fun just because he doesn’t have money. A plot that I am sure all of you can relate to. Please join me and make it a big success. Of course there is some percentage in it for you too, read the contract agreement to see the details*

*Forward the mail 10 times and you will get luck
*Forward the mail 20 times and you will be blessed by God.
*Forward the mail 100 times and you will get it back a 100 times.
*If you don’t forward it, your next trip will get cancelled.
*If you delete it without reading, you will not leave your room for the next ten years.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The day I nearly got married

The morning was dark. Ominous shuffling voices could be heard, but that was Rameez getting up from his bed. I opened my sleep weary eyes and looked up to the ceiling. So, today is the D-day! I didn’t feel much tension but very funnily I couldn’t remember her face anymore.

But something was definitely wrong! A gut feeling told me it could be the time. A quick glance at my mobile (after buying a mobile I have quit wearing hand watches!) confirmed my worst fears. I was late!

The song “I just did it again” wafted into my mind. I had truly done “it” again. I was late on this most important day of my life. Will she (still can’t remember her face) forgive me for this unforgivable error? Hmm… it is completely my fault. How stupid could I get? I cursed myself. I should have set an alarm at least on this day. Actually, on the night before I had taken the mobile to set it, but then a conversation with Shyam distracted me and I forgot.

But what excuse would I tell her? With my superhuman intelligence powers I guessed that excuses like, I forgot to set the alarm and hence got up late today would not sit well with my better half. They are not called “better” for nothing I guess. Have to think of something better.

How about saying that some aliens abducted me? But that sounded sixty-ish. Nah! She wouldn’t fall for that one. Maybe I can say that during the bachelor’s party I drank too much, but that would be doubly damning. I cursed my lethargic grey cells, ungrateful barbarians! You nurture them for a quarter century with the best of sights/smells/sounds/ideas and when you need a wee little excuse, they act funny. I ask you, is this fair?

Temptation reared its ugly head again in the form of sleep. The cold morning, the gentle breeze and the calm surroundings made sleep weigh like a ton on my fragile eyelids. Now the grey cells started working and gave me my excuse “anyway I am late, what difference will a few more minutes make?”

“They give such nice excuses for such wrong reasons” was my last thought before slipping back to sleep. But now logic knocked at the doors.

Logic: get up boy! It is already late for the church ceremony, but if you get up now, chances are that you can at least eat your wedding cake.
I (very groggy): Shut up! Just give me five minutes more. I am sure the cake is not going to run away. How can I go to my own wedding looking sleepy eh?
Logic: You idiot, if you don’t go now the girl will find somebody else to marry.
I: Don’t fool me! Who else will marry her? My family will stop any such funny business!
Logic: Speaking about families, where is yours now? How come they did not wake you up?
I: Please let me sleep, we will think of all that later.
Logic: No! Answer my question now!
I (supremely uncaring and totally irritated): I don’t know, running around doing the arrangements I guess.
Logic: I have come to the logical conclusion that the most important part of today’s celebrations is you and there is no way that they could have missed out waking you up.
I: Hmmm… food for thought… very fishy if you ask me!
Logic: Very fishy alright!
Logic: Why are you lying on the floor?
I: what has that got to do anything with my marriage?
Logic: Because you have a bed at your house and right now you have a hangover and you are sleepy and lying on the floor! And that doesn’t make sense AND I HATE STUFF THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE.
I: Alright alright calm down will ya! I am on the floor since I am at Bangalore.
Logic and I together: Shit! That means that all this is a dream.
I: Cool! That means I can sleep more…. Yeah!
Logic: No idiot! That means that today is a normal office day and you are frigging late!

I finally woke up wondering why all early morning dreams finally end in minor tragedies. Well, on the good side at least the major tragedy (marriage) was averted!

P.S: Today when I woke up, I was one very happy man!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Weight gain mantra

My mother and her mother-in-law got along pretty well. But that was till I came along. Even though I look like a film star now (quit smirking!), back in those uncivilized days, I looked like… well I looked like a sack of bones.

Boost did not work, neither did Complan. Maltova was totally ineffectual and milk powder just stuck in my tooth. Whatever my mom gave me, I just did not get fat. I was the proud owner of one of those physiques that followed Newton’s law to the dot. To restate the law for those truants among you, “For every morsel of food input, the body has an equal and opposite shit output”.

A normal conversation between mom and grand mom would go somewhat like this.
Ammamma: Are you trying to starve him?
Amma: No Ammachi, whatever he eats, he just does not put on weight, what can I do?
Ammamma: You are not diligent enough, that’s the whole problem. He looks like a sack of bones. (Ammamma was well known for calling a spade a spade!)

That was the problem with adults. They act like you don’t exist, as if you can’t understand what they are saying. The subject of the conversation would at that point be hanging on the pallu of his mother’s sari and playing Tarzan while keeping a keen ear out for all the conversation being bandied out. Believe me, I understood every single word they spoke.

I would look up at my mother with a “you-are-such-a-hopless-mom” look and she would give me one “wait-till-you-get-back” + round eye treatment + maybe even a pinch. So before the last part was carried out, I being an intelligent kid, would climb down and go take a hike. I learnt at a very young age that there are times when you can hang about your mother’s sari, and there are times that you can’t.

Time went by and I grew up from being a baby sack of bones to a kid sack of bones. All efforts to fatten me up proved fruitless and by that time Amma had given up hope of ever seeing flesh on my bones. But me, I was a very dutiful son. I resolved that if for one day, then one day I would become a fatty like Antony.

The wrong version of the story doing rounds in my family
My opportunity came one day while we were out playing in our compound. There was a tree right in front of the verandah. A tree to a kid is an objective, an aim, a destination and a challenge. I hope you get my point. No challenge was to be left unfinished, so I climbed it and reached the first low hanging branch. To me, this objective was like the one set to Arjuna by Drona. I just saw my destination nothing more, nothing less.

Antony, on seeing my acrobatics decided that big brother means bigger branch and started to climb. But then, he wasn’t blessed with my kind of concentration. The good(?) thing about not having my kind of concentration was that he noticed that the tree trunk had about a million chorian puzhu* attached to it. He was the type of big brother who believed that “if anybody has a right to hurt my brother, it is me!” He promptly pointed out the seriousness of the situation to me.

To Achilles his heel, to me my panic. So, instead of waiting for him to get me out of the mess, I panicked, jumped back on the tree trunk, slid about two meters and reached terra firma with about a hundred of the worms stuck on my body.

My memory grows weak here, but from what I remember Antony rolled me about or did something with a branch or something to get all the worms out. Fortunately they weren’t sticky…. They just bit like hell!

The true version of the story
I saw the worms even before I climbed… it was out of my desire to give a good name to my mother, combined my dutiful nature and burning ambition that made me do this selfless act.

To the confused reader hunting for the co-relation between “fat” and Chorian Puzhu my answer is to try getting bit by one and you will see that you get a real big inflammation on that part of the body. Now make them do it uniformly all across your body and you will see that this is the shortest way to gain weight.

Family version
Seeing all those worms, the itch and the pain I cried out and ran back into the house. Straight to my mothers lap. This part of my childhood is what I like to call the “manager” mode. I had just screwed up badly and now it was the responsibility of my “engineer” mother to fix it. I didn’t care how she did it, but I wanted it done fast and painless. As far as I was concerned, it was now her problem!

Proud and fat, my head held high, I walked back home.

Amma took some dried coconut leaves (the ones we get on Palm Sunday from church) burned them to ash and applied on my body. The swelling was gone in about 15 minutes. But for those fifteen minutes, I was fat! I had done it!

So, my advice to all you bony people out there is that “If there is a will, there is a way to be fat, you just need to find enough Chorian Puzhu".

*Chorian Puzhu - Believe me you don't want one of those worms anywhere near your body! Does anyone know the english name of the same?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

F for frustration

Long live Sushma Swaraj!

To those of you wondering what happened to me, to actually support this nemesis of the country’s youth, this guardian of our morality, this destroyer of after dark movies. Well, haven’t you heard “circumstances make/change the man”?

As of today, I have decided to change my whole outlook on life. From worshipping mindless violence, total sex and absolute debauchery, I am shifting to the Bhajan groups. In short, I have decided to become mature and act like a man who doesn’t care much about all this anymore. After all, in the days that I did care about all this, none of it happened. Now that I don’t care anymore maybe all this is going to happen by the truckload (I haven’t quit dreaming yet!).

I wasn’t always like this you know. I was a normal kind of guy having a normal frustrated life in conservative Kerala where every one is pretty much as screwed up as I am. Then I came to Bangalore. Ah! The culture shock I got! Girls and boys holding hands, cuddling, hugging, kissing, biking and a whole lot more. The scenes were enough to drive any sane and frustrated man insane.

For the first few months I just gawked. Trips to M.G Road, Forum and other official hangouts of the denizens of this swashbuckling metro was enough to satisfy my “urges”. I was content to just watch, after all, country bumpkins like me were never supposed to dream. But as time passed, my heart forgot its humble moorings and started to yearn for what it had just seen. I envied the guy’s who had all those babes hanging about them, but it was a “constructive” envy, I wanted to be like them, I did not want them to come down to my standard. “Lets all be rich” was my ideology during those days.

The dreams got more and more insistent, the heart grew weak, and something had to be done! I don’t know what exactly it was, maybe it was my million dollar face, my Arnold Schwarzenegger like body, my rivers of charm or my heavenly disposition. But something was definitely keeping away the fairer sex.

I had heard that too much of the good stuff can keep the opposite sex away. They think you will be too hot to handle. After much thought into the matter, I found out what was wrong. “Just look at all those utter nerds hanging around with the babes, you need to be a nerd, dude” I told myself. That is how one fine day, I actively started becoming a nerd. No smiling at girls, no humorous comments, I hated spectacles or I would have tried that too, just to complete that nerd look. All in all, I became a nerd, but the women just stayed away. God must have given them some 6th sense to smell out fake nerds. Whatever the reason, they just refused to bite (the bait, I mean!).

With the “attack of the nerds” petering out, it was time to change my strategy and do some constructive counter-attacks. Off went the nerd looks and in came the metro sexual. Torn jeans, expensive deodorants, shaven face and cropped hair were in vogue. Problem was that not only did they burn a hole in my pocket, they simply did not work. One word with me and all those country bumpkins hiding inside would just pop out like Champagne corks. Being somebody that I wasn’t was definitely not working. Time to be myself!

Just-out-of-bed-looks, unshaven face, smell of a pig sty, totally-pissed-off-with-this-world-attitude and you have me being (no prizes for guessing) me. Again to nobody’s surprise nothing happened. Time to get married I decided, so I called up my mother

I: Ammae, I am bored, I want to get married
Amma: How can you be so selfish, don’t you know that we are looking high and low for your brother right now? And anyway you aren’t mature enough to marry.
I: What’s the big deal if I marry ahead of him eh?
Amma: oho, like that huh? Ok, ok if you are so desperate tell me the girl you want to marry and I will fix the rest, you have selected someone haven’t you?
I: On second thoughts, I will marry after Antony. I see the wisdom in your words.
Amma: eh? Are you mad? You talk one thing at one time and the exact opposite the second! So why don’t you want to get married?
I: oh God! Ammae just forget that I even called, this is all a bad nightmare ok. Just forget it!
Amma: Don’t put down the phone! tell me about the girl. Oh God! I am sure she is from some other religion, Oh God! What do I do now?
I (Thinking): How I wish!
I: For God’s sake Ammae, there is nobody ok! Now just put down the phone!

On the way back, I see the girl sitting behind the boy’s bike, hugging him so hard that I am sure he can’t even breathe. “What a bunch of exhibitionists! There should be a law against such people” is what I think. No more constructive envy from now on, if I don’t get it, then nobody gets it!!!! As I said earlier “circumstances make the man”

“Sushma Swaraj Ki Jai!” Come join me! Let us safeguard our 5000 year old culture from this mindless westernization of our irresponsible youth!