Saturday, July 30, 2005

Childhood’s End

As a person who’s constantly in touch with her inner child, I am down with acute nostalgia and an overdose of reality with the removal of the last and most symbolic object of my childhood and teenage years – My blue cycle – Chetak.

She has been sent away to my pre-teen cousin in my native, for a new set of memories and feelings to be forged in. Apparently, I am too old to have my cycle (which I no longer use, but that is not the point).

Chetak belonged to an ancient family of the BSA SLRs, she is the last of her breed. In this age of her flashier, swankier and sleek cousins, she still remains a steady and unbreakable bicycle-an exhibit that in the days of yore, Indians built objects that did not bend, break, wither and die.

Even in the time when I wore pigtails,(back in 487857 BC) there was no other to match her uniqueness and antiquity. So most times I would not even bother to lock her at all. If at all any stranger were to accost her, that person would be more prone to leave a small and personal donation to the impoverished owner of such an excuse for a cycle rather than attempt to take her. That is what I call maximum security and peace of mind, also, the occasional money I found near her got me plenty of eatables. After all I belonged to parents who felt pocket money is something they keep in their pockets and let you peek at, occasionally, if you’ve been a good girl…

Chetak was named after the faithful horse of Rana Pratap, and I belonged to Pratap house when I got her. So you do the math. If it helps, Rana’s horse was so dark, it was thought to be of blue color.
I don’t know if I can compare to the Rajput King, but my cycle lived up to her name in a million ways. Can’t bring me another cycle that transported me across vast distances across water, sand, gravel and despite punctures, air leaks, flat tyres, rust and every other malady that could strike her species.

She had this distinct sound that cleared traffic in front of me and announced to my teachers, taking roll-calls inside and in the 3rd floor of my school premises, that I was pedaling down the turn, half a block away from the entrance.

Her load bearing capacity reached world renown as foreign tourists used to gape at the sight of a pudgy teenager, her bulky bag and even bulkier lunch bag cycling away with a plump child sitting behind with a plump bag and an even more plump lunch basket.

Once a physicist in a tourist group sat down to find out the mysterious forces that actually let Chetak make any forward movement at all, with the given conditions of gravitation and the mass and weight of the objects and people perched on her surfaces of contact. He sidetracked into the equation for the Improbability drive and was suddenly never heard from again…unless you are ready to take words of 3 headed squiggly eyed green guys from Tricylon 3 who say they know him.

So by now it would be established that my cycle was a symbol of my freedom and my spirit of exploration and adventure. She completed me.

Even when my sister was given a gorgeous StreetCat, and I was given an option to trade in Chetak for a newer bicycle, I chose to keep her and that was a very wise thing as I see it now. For one thing my sister’s cycle was stolen in a month and she was never given any replacement as punishment and secondly, because it shows to me that at my teenage, when most people are attracted to pretty things I was loyal to my unglamorous and ugly antique cycle.

My cycle and me have had a lovely run for 11 years and it’s been a blast. I will definitely miss the sight of her as I come into my house everyday, but I will let go.
Her time to move on has come.

Chetak left to Thanjavur today, to go to the not-so-welcoming arms of my cousin, who really does want a ‘Ladybird’ instead (the author starts to itch with an allergic reaction to anything so artificially cute). Maybe Chetak’s company will teach little cous that for the rewarding and memorable relationships – one has to see far beyond the shiny exterior. And I do hope she does not implement her plan to re-christen the cycle as ‘Pinky Sweety’, after the much maligned neighborhood dog.

Au revoir, Chetak and Godspeed.

Blue without you,

PS: Good Luck and Godspeed Vinoo, your childhood has ended too. Prove your might in the land of Stars and Stripes and don’t let them change your lovely self one-inch.

PS v1.0: Q: What is with most of objects of my affection leaving me?
Ans: Welcome to life, the dummies guide to dealing with loss; and still smiling…

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Wake-up Calls

*************Personal Post Warning******************

“Life’s too short to be afraid
So take a pill to numb the pain
You don’t have to take the blame…”,
advises Robbie Williams; I beg to differ.

Today is a celebration to mark the start of the festival season (Aadi pirappu).
Began quite in the very opposite of spirits…with a nightmare of me trying to squeeze in some last minute studying for an exam for which I have NOT prepared. I was under such intense pressure in the dream that I got up gasping.
The last dream/nightmare I have ever remembered occured when I was 6. Since then I go to sleep and wake up in the morning…Today’s nightmare seemed a harbinger that set the mood for the day.

In my infinite wisdom, I‘ve decided to re-take CAT. The notice for the issue of bulletins for the exam came in today’s paper. (We take a couple of seconds to re-visit my nightmare)

Anyone can decide to do something. The gravity of that decision strikes one only when there is a half-page notice in all leading dailies and one’s supportive father chooses to highlight the amount of preparation that one has done for this exam that one had decided to take up a long time ago- Zilch. Nada. Squat.

Also the previous evening I booked my slot to take up Oracle Certification. You see, I have no challenges in life that suit my intelligence at all.

Inertia, routine, The Matrix, Maya...whatever it is; has me in its vice-like grip.

The 2nd wake-up-call came from Vinoo. She is leaving to pursue Advanced Research in Richmond by the end of this month. Last year-end the pact between me and her was that by July 2005 (which is now) I’d be in IIM and she’d be starting for her studies in the US.

Guess who did not/could not keep her side of the goal?

Also, she is the last of my close friends to go far far away and I will miss her so L
So by this month-end I will be friendless in Chennai, and if anyone says “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” once more, I will scream.

My posish is totally unenviable. I am at the very nadir in my own eyes. Anyone would say- You have nothing to beat yourself about..have a job, health and family. There are so many in the world without anything.

But you know what? I have the right to beat myself up black and blue. I will do it at any point when I feel I’ve not lived up to my expectations from myself. I will sulk and mope- It’s my party and I will cry if I want to…

It sure won’t solve anything, I know.

I have to go back to Pagalguy, to the materials and give a good performance in my Oracle exam – all the while continuing to do my best in office (I love my project-they’ve been so good to me)

I am going to have to do all of these things. There is nothing that anyone can do to help me here. Maybe lend moral support or inspiration, perhaps clear a doubt or two.

Niyas (who’s been mentioned in the blog after a year) will not be taking up CAT this year and is also too busy to play mentor like he did last time (God Bless him). So I am on my own now.

Sometimes I wonder, is there any point? Is it a waste of everyone’s time? Am I even destined for the future I wish for?

Appa has decided to be my jailor for the continuous 4th term in office (Once for Gre and twice for the previous 2 CATs)-whether I have anything to say about it or not.

It’s not a happy time for me. To say the very least.

Time to get pro-active and shake the crap out of the complacent universe I have created around my routine.

Winds of change are blowing my way; I am going to be up for whatever comes. Although I am hoping its something that will make me smile for life ;)
Die-hard Optimist

Friday, July 08, 2005

War of the Worlds - out of this world

Take a look at this:

Take a novel so far ahead of its time, that its time has not yet come even in our time, from an author who can only be described as a pop-prophet; You then add 125 billion dollars, the magic of ILM and the one and the only Speilberg (I am not worthy!!) into the mixture... and what do you get?

First things first, this is by no means an exact rendition of H.G.Wells' immortal classic. The movie takes place in our time. The eerie reminders of 9/11 are sprinkled throughout- The white dust that settles on the fleeing people, the crashed airoplanes, the stampedes and the panic...utter desparation in the faces.
No female leads, unless you count Dakota Fanning, who screams like a Banshee or glides by wraith-like and just looks on for all of the movie. The protagonist is NO HERO. In fact, he is more of an anti-hero. Ray (played by Tom Cruise) is an ordinary frightened-out-of-his-wits father, who just wants to take his children to Boston in safetly. He doesn't want to let his son, Robbie's need to pro-actively help to face the alien attack to affect that. Robbie, however, comes out the braver and the more put-together of the men. He asks his father to let go.

The cameo played by Tim Robbins is chilling. Short but leaves a deep impact of both his character as well as that of Ray's. A proof of what reasonable people will do to ensure the basic safety of their child even if for a short while. Killing becomes immaterial.

The world is finally not saved by a country, or by weapons or by the cleverness of men. Very credibly its saved by the inability of the Aliens to live in our world populated by the creatures that "God so thoughtfully put among us".

I would not credit this movie as the master's best-but this far exceeds the best presented by most.

Personal Note: The very next day of my watching the movie, there have been 4 serial blasts in London admist the G8 conference extravaganza taking place in the nearby Scotland. Al-Queda is believed to be behind this, will the war within our world ever end?