Saturday, January 24, 2009

Embarrassing Moments - Part 2

As I just finish mentioning about the IT paper incident, I’m reminded of the 2 terrific days (in the negative sense) of my life. 

It was an October evening when I had just reached home from school. I screamed ‘Maa I’m hungry…what’s there for snacks? Else just get me a cup of Boost’ and the reply was, in a stern voice, ‘You may wait for sometime and for what you have been doing at school, you can’t expect a royal treatment’. That tone was unique in its own way – something I hadn’t heard in the past. ‘What wrong did I do?’ I asked to myself but before I could answer that, I posed to myself an honest question ‘What wrong did I not do?’. As I was coming to terms with the situation, mom came near and said ‘I want to talk to you tonight after Appa comes back from office’. I knew, something I had wished not to happen, has actually happened.

I carried with me, the cup of Boost - walked from the window to the door, from the door to the cupboard, from one cupboard to another, leaned on it, back to the door and then back to the window. The scene looked a vicious circle of despair. The drink 'Boost' may have been the secret of Sachin Tendulkar’s energy but in that state of mental agony, it certainly failed to provide me with the same. I was confused and just couldn’t figure out the exact nature of the situation. I didn’t want to make things worse and hence made sure, the TV was not switched on. I remember, the second academic term had just begun then and despite having no homework that day, I played safe by having books around me and kept staring at the faces of Indian freedom fighters on the pages of my history text. Time passed, dad arrived and when the clock was about to strike seven, mom and dad entered my room and shut the door. Though I didn’t make it explicit, I trembled with fear, inside.

Mom began ‘You know something? I got a call from your school Principal this evening?’. ‘What?’, I gasped. Yeah! Mom had received a call and my parents were instructed to meet the Principal, that following Saturday. I was shell-shocked to hear and mom questioned me, what wrong I had done over the past few weeks. Though I knew, I had done many, I felt they were never that foolishly done to reach the Principal’s ears. One tête-à-tête between us happened when I had hit the cricket ball into her cabin while practicing for the school team on campus and I thought it to be the reason behind the SPECIAL INVITE for my parents. Incidentally, I had a camp to attend that saturday and hence couldn’t accompany my parents to school. I couldn’t enjoy at the camp too and all my thinking was about the meet. I was trembling with fear all through the morning and I’m sure, any BP instrument would have showed a minimum 140/95. 

I came home in the evening, and that the meet was to inform my parents about my busyness in the exam hall confused me. Understandably, any student would be busy with his/her answer paper but the uniqueness lied in the fact that I had been too busy with my friends’ papers. When my mom first said this, I was confused. The reason being, though I had involved myself in malpractice almost in all exams that year, never was I caught red-handed. The explanations followed. A junior of mine had been watching my activities in the exam hall and had complained about this to the Principal. It was a rude shock and I couldn’t digest such a thing – the intrusion of a girl in my affairs. I felt the need to take that girl to task till I knew that she happened to be my cousin’s close friend. I had no other option but to stare at her, every time we met on campus and she used to hide from me everytime.

The second of incidents in this post and the last of the series is the dreadful fight among 3 of my friends and me. It all started with a late night online chat between me and my friend. The discussion about another friend, the biggest of communication gaps ever to exist, subsisted and ignited the spark to the verbal duels. The horrible thing was, two of the three happened to be my childhood friends. The sms and the conversations I made, the following afternoon still haunts me whenever I have the smallest of its remembrances. The meet with the first friend at his place and the verbal duel he had with the second, over the phone that noon are the worst you could expect of 20 year olds. Today, on retrospect, I feel very bad and its shame on my part to have been one of the two people to have started that infamous incident. Time is the healer and I’m sure, things shall get better and better. 

I feel good after having penned down what I had in me and my heart now weighs lighter. I’m not ashamed to write about what I was, and what I am today but I want to make sure, I write something much better, in future. I believe, the best of today shall make itself a wonderful past for tomorrow.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Embarrassing Moments - Part 1

In retrospect, I’m reminded of some of the most embarrassing moments of my life. While some sprout a chuckle now, some still hurt to an extent. Time is the healer and deservedly, the oldest of incidents belong to the former while the latest of them fall in the latter category. Penning them down shall relieve me of the ill-feelings, to an extent. This piece may turn some sympathetic while also proving to be a good entertainment for many thereby supplanting a laugh riot. I don’t mind both.

The oldest of them happened when I was in UKG. I still have a vague memory of that afternoon. There was this relative of mine, a 50 yr old man then, who seemed too harsh. Leave alone me, be it any child, had I been him, I wouldn’t have treated a child that harsh. Just because I had failed to answer the 'Camel' as the ship of the desert, he made me kneel down under the scorching sun and I was made to repeat that sentence at least 10 times. That hurt me, both physically and mentally and I was too small a child to have so much gut to speak against. It was embarrassing to get punished by an outsider but today, I pity me. Poor kid!

I had always felt insecure in the absence of my parents and though we live in a joint family, the comfort a child shares with his parents is unmatched. I was no exception and though I never felt 'mom-sick' and did go on tours with relatives, I had done so without realizing this insecurity I used to face, time and again. Even the smallest of scolding from relatives, in the absence of my parents, pained and hurt as bad as a tight slap on one’s cheeks. Though I hardly showed up any emotion, these gloom drops piled up to form an ocean of ill-feelings and the gloomy waters drained in a laminar fashion only after the re-union with my parents. As a kid, those were the toughest of times to face but I made sure, the ocean never produced a tsunami-like outburst. Looking back, just like the previous case, I pity me.
I still remember this particular incident when my Grandma questioned me in a 'slightly' higher tone as to why I had failed to shut the back gate of the house. That was unusual of her because she’s the kindest of people I’ve ever come across. That tone really bothered me so much that I started weeping. Tears rolled down involuntarily and it was so humiliating to cry amidst 8-9 people. All in my house, including grandma were shocked to see my reaction. In retrospect, I’m bowled over by the respect I had for her even at that young age ( I was, maybe 7 or 8 yrs old)  that I felt bad for such a small thing.

Another embarrassing incident happened while I was in class 9. The half-yearly IT papers were distributed to us and I had managed a mediocre 54 percent marks. Some students who had deserved better marks approached the teacher for re-correction and she was seen awarding them with more marks with no cross-checking. Sensing this, in an attempt to boost up my marks and with notoriety, I took a red ink pen from my friend’s bag, added more marks for many answers and complained the teacher of totaling error. Already carrying a 'notorious-character' certificate for passing sarcastic moments and having teased her, quite a lot during class hours, I was an exception there and she verified my paper alone. PANG! I had made the smallest of mistakes as the exact color of the red inks differed. While the ink she used was dark, mine was lighter. She questioned me if I had indulged in any sort of malpractice by correcting some answers myself but I stayed adamant by not admitting the fault. The drama gained momentum, news spread to neighbouring classes as she started screaming in a higher tone. Other teachers entered and having succumbed to the galloping pressure, I finally pleaded guilty. I was screwed badly with the class teacher jacking me left, right and center and I was asked to meet the Principal that evening. On retrospection, this passes off as yet another infamous act of mine, while in school and sometimes I feel proud to be part of this drama. The scenario then, was in complete contrast and I was shell-shocked, the moment I was instructed to meet the Principal that evening.

More of such incidents are lined up for next weekend. Watch out!!!

To be continued…

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Resoluteness of Resolutions - Part 2

The moment I questioned myself if I was a good human-being, I pondered over the occasional short-tempered nature of mine. Yes! I’ve made a resolution that I wouldn’t lose my temper unnecessarily. Some readers may find it cliché but it’s a tough challenge and demands resoluteness of the highest order from my side. One may wonder whether a resoluteness of such high order is actually required. Well…such a thing is required for my character. Am I frightening you??? No! That’s not the intention. I’m just being very honest.

I’ve always pondered over the reasons that ignite that wildness in me and wondered if I do get paranoid at times. One thing I’ve realized, over the years is, in an attempt to win over someone by losing temper, we end up losing to our heart. Losing to my heart is something that has disturbed me, time and again. Despite the anger or the existing paranoia, if any, there’s that benevolent person living in one corner of every heart. And when that person, residing in my heart, responds to the wake up call, I start to repent for the misdeeds done. I have experienced this quite a few times in the past and the toughest thing for me is to prove my mind right against my heart and I guess that applies to many too. 

The best place to witness my short-tempered nature is on a cricket field. When a miss field happens off my bowling and especially when I’m in the middle of a good spell, I get wild. The wake up call to that benevolent man in me is not far away and he gets up just when I take the run up to bowl the next delivery. I ask to myself ‘Why did I lose temper? It was just one extra run’. That does sound perfect but it’s really tough to control myself at that instant when the fielder miss fields a straight forward chance. This was just one example and there’ve been many occasions. To be honest, I’ve shouted at my mom many a times and I most regret for the same. Sometimes, it’s the impatience to listen to her that calls for the anger/irritation. I wouldn’t use the term ‘ego’ because, there’s no need for such a thing between a son and his mom. But as I said, it’s just the lack of patience in me to wait for her to finish and before that, I would just shout and leave the place. A moment later, I would get back to her ‘What were you trying to say?’ and occasionally, when she questions the need for the impatience then, I would feel really, really guilty.

In my previous post, I had mentioned that the resoluteness shown by me was pretty decent and I still feel, it was not too bad an attempt though I did begin to lose temper occasionally. There was this class re-union we had planned on 2nd Jan and I was speaking with a couple of my schoolmates about the same. There was no co-operation from many and the attitude of a few really started to enrage me. I showed resolve and tried my best to not yell over the phone. But beyond a point, I felt, it started to get artificial and I just couldn't be my own self. In the sense, I feel I’m myself only when I put down my anger and let the other man know that I’m an expert at foul language :). Whatever! The main reason behind making such a resolution was just to make sure, my social inclinations remain as sound as it is, today. To be honest, I’m one of those few in my circle of friends who makes it a point to stay in touch with childhood friends. It’s not about storing contact numbers in the mobile, forwarding text messages, wishing friends on festival days etc. It’s about keeping the bond intact and sharing good comfort levels.

I fear, if this occasional short-tempered nature might just come in the way of future relationships. As we get older, we start to build self-esteem and want people to respect us. My losing temper unnecessarily may just balloon and pose to be an unwanted threat. So, I found the need for this small change in my attitude and thereby called for more patience to set things right for the better. I’ve come across books suggesting people to take a deep breath while they get angry and I can also remember a few 'so-called' Godmen telling people to count from 1 to 10 while they get angry. To be very frank, or if I confine to myself, it’s too tough to count numbers at a time when I'm enraged at something. Taking a deep breath really helps because, when we actually get angry, the heart starts to beat faster and that deep breath brings us back to normal and also gives that additional time TO WAKE UP THAT BENEVOLENT PERSON in oneself :)

This is a resolution I’ve taken from my heart and since it’s tough for me to work against my heart, I’m optimistic of the RESOLUTENESS OF THE RESOLUTION. I hope to continue with the same resolve and shall strive to become as patient as possible.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Resoluteness of Resolutions - Part 1

‘Thank God it’s over!’ This is how most of us would have exclaimed as the clock ticked 12 midnight on 31st December 2008 and that was when we knocked the doors of 2009 expecting a better year for all. A not-so-good year 2008 was, for many, from the poor to the rich, from laborers to CEOs, from citizens to politicians and from the unemployed to the employed. Precisely, it was actually a year when many employed turned unemployed.. The year also included that 366th day, proved many astrologers wrong and made sure, astrologers really believe in their predictions when they make the same on Jan 1 2009.

I exclaim once again ‘Thank God it’s over!’

The first question many ask me on New Year Day is ‘Any New Year Resolutions?’ and I would politely say ‘No… nothing’ with a smile that makes way for two small dimples on my cheeks. The truth is, I’ve never given a thought about something called ‘Resolution’. ‘Will I work towards my resolutions?’ This is a different question altogether but the point is, I’ve never given a thought about the resoluteness of resolutions. As I was in the middle of a train journey from Bangalore to Chennai on 1st morning, I just peeped out of the window to find wall posters of Mayawati who, of late seems to be on a mission to make her presence felt in the southern states. To be honest, the first question I posed to my inner self was ‘When will these politicians stop blemishing the walls?’ The questionnaire continued ‘When will a corrupt-free India come into being?’, ‘When will educated citizens enter Indian politics?’, ‘When will secularism win over communalism?’ ' When will peace win over terrorism?' and the list went on and on. I stopped for a moment and wondered over the utopian nature of my thoughts. I asked to myself ‘Am I a responsible citizen?’, ‘Before that, am I a good human being?’ and ‘What have I achieved in life to question people in higher echelons?’

I started to reply to the questions I threw at myself. As for ‘What have I achieved in life to question people in higher echelons?’ I felt it could be answered only in the coming years. I’m just 20 and I felt it would take at least 7-8 years to satisfy my expectations and to live up to the standards that I’ve set for myself. The question of me being a good human being is definitely a pre-requisite to being a responsible citizen. Am I a good human being? Well…that called for some introspection and another interesting thing that I discovered was the toughness associated with the coming of a satisfactory answer. The term ‘good’ is multi-faceted and what appears good to me may appear bad to another and vice-versa. Only something that is just short of utopian shall befit the term ‘good’ in the minds of all or at least many. And as I thought deeper, the tenacity of the good nature of the human is quite a task and circumstances do play a pivotal role. 

Sometimes too much thinking drives one away from the main topic and it’s better to confine to just one, analyze deep, draw conclusions and then move to the next. This exactly was what I failed to do and felt the then analysis just didn’t strike a chord with my latent thought ‘My New Year Resolutions’. Even now, it seems to have been at the back of my mind all this while as it is just here that I’m disclosing the thought’s latency. I wonder if I’m a lateral thinker, inadvertently but the indirection can’t be so indirect. Whatever! I felt the need to have one New Year resolution. I believe in CROSSING THE BRIDGE WHEN IT COMES but I also believe in making sure, I’m well equipped to cross at that time. Achievements will come only with time but I must make sure, I’m moving in the right direction and working towards the same. As a first step in that direction, I made one resolution on 1st and 3 days have passed till now, I’ve tried my best and it has not been a bad attempt. 

Well…it doesn’t call for a Jan 1 to make resolutions. It’s just another calendar date with 24 hours but being the first day of a calendar year, some people have made it a point to make resolutions and they TRY to live up to the same while some have made it a fashion to make resolutions. A lot depends on the seriousness of the individual and the necessity of that resolution. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve always wanted to make 'that' as a resolution no matter what the date was but it’s just that I got more serious on Jan 1 when I questioned somebody as popular as Ms. Mayawati. I contemplated and finally made a resolution for the first time in 20 years. Three days have passed and it’s been good. It’s not just the remaining 362 days that shall call for this resoluteness but the real test is to sustain that resoluteness through the rest of my life. I know it’s all in the mindset and as I've previously stated, a lot depends on the seriousness and of course, individual priorities. 

I’ve still not disclosed what 'that' resolution is. I'll keep it for the sequel to follow next weekend. Coffee Day claims 'A lot can happen over coffee' but for me, the tagline ‘A lot can happen over a train journey’ befits. Many thoughts have flashed across my mind during train journeys in the past too and MAYBE because, a train journey seems to be the perfect time for introspection. Maybe or is that the fact??? Well… ‘MAYBE A FACT’ :) :)

To be continued….