Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Tie knot

It was in 6th class that we had to wear a proper tie and not the one with elastic and ready-made knot in it. That was when I considered wearing a tie a nuisance, because I couldn't figure out how to tie the knot. It took me few weeks to understand. Meanwhile my father used to tie it for me and I used to carefully take it off so as not to disturb the knot, and wore the same next day, and tightened the knot to fit my neck. But I did enjoy tightening of knot while looking at the mirror, and adjusting my tie, holding that tie knot that looks like a samosa.

Finally when I understood the trick behind the tie knot, the tie became my favorite attire in the uniform! And I used to proudly explain to others the intricacies of the tie knot! I even played around with the tie after coming back from school, so as to figure out how to use a tie in a street fight or combat, to distract the enemy.
I was rather disappointed when wearing ties were not allowed in summers. The only thing I looked forward to in winters now, was wearing tie in my school uniform, along with the blazer; I felt like a gentleman then! I still do, when I'm in a suit with a tie!
BTW, has anyone tried to kill him/herself using a tie knot? I do think that someone with a lot of optimism must have come up with the idea of wearing a tie. He must have seen people being hanged. Put the image of the hanging rope around the neck of the person, and you'll get a tie.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Final Resolutions

I'll wake up early tomorrow. Just like I've always wanted to. Before the sun rises, I'll be walking the dark streets, taking in the fresh morning air loaded with dew. I'll watch the sky change its color, slowly, steadily and before I'll know, it'll be bright and sunny!

Standing at his terrace, he looks around at the adjoining buildings, and that tiny fragment of black sky and handful of stars. He leans on the railing on his arms, looks around. Nobody. The serenity in the late hours of the night has a certain calming effect that always makes him feel hopeful, no matter what.

Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life. I just can't ask Natasha out until I cut off all my vices, my bad habits from my life and live like the man I am meant to be. Only when I'll be honest with myself, can I be honest about my feelings for Natasha.

Natasha's thoughts cross his mind; her face when she laughs with delight, and the pinkish hue that lights up her face. He breathes deeply, then breathes out like a punctured tire. He gulps in some water, then some more.

Time to get back to my resolutions... 11 months left. I want to make Year 2012 the year that changed everything for me.

(Alarm sounds LOUDLY!)
Parth hits the snooze button hard, turns the other side, and tries hard to recall the last bit of his dream, to trace it back and recall the complete dream. But I wanted to wake up early!
He pushes himself away from his bed, vigorously shakes his head, grabs the bottle of water adjoining his bed. He gulps in all the water and empties the bottle. With a tiny stomach ache, he walks out to brush his teeth. Before he reaches the wash basin, he gets the signal that no person has ever been able to ignore. Within 15 minutes, he's ready to begin his day. He casually strolls out into his terrace, and smiles.

Standing on the street waiting for a shared auto, Parth casually glances around, with a smile on his face, without the haste to reach office on time.
Its a beautiful day!

"Good morning!" Before Anil could greet him, he greets him.
"Wow, you're early today!" Anil exclaims.
"Yup! I have to speak in the floor meeting!"
"Test Issue support?!" Anil replies, smiling.

Parth happens to look in the direction from where people enter their A block, and his eyes looks her walk in, and his eyes follow her as she reaches to her desk in a corner.
Natasha, always one of the people to come early and leaving late, and always busy in meetings. She works so hard.
Dude, focus! The resolutions, remember? Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Remember what papa says, you're also a hard worker. Remember 12th class?

Parth starts checking his e-mails to shut off his thoughts. Ah, no mails in "For Me" folder! :D
Suddenly Parth yawns. No! Why am I feeling sleepy?! :(

Parth survives till 12:30 PM without black coffee. He is apparently stuck in solving an application issue when he looks away from his screen to see her gesturing him for lunch. For a brief moment he smiles. Later, he gestures that he won't be joining them for lunch. Test issue support is such a ...

When Parth finally reaches the cafetaria, he is delighted to see that everybody is still having lunch.
(some jokes and conversations)
Suddenly he notices Natasha looking at him with a strange expression of astonishment.
"I really like your expressions. How do you manage them?" Parth comments.
She smiles.
"You decorate your food too much. Eat also." Anil said.
"Yeah, he mixes everything, and eats until each and every eatable particle has been consumed!" Natasha exclaimed in excitement!
Wow, she's friendly with everyone. I mean, she's the only girl on our table. And sometimes without her, at least I get bored. Because I really enjoy cracking jokes when she's sitting at the table and laughing/smiling or making some expression at them. I feel like giving my best everytime!
But I'm an engineer. Right! Test issue support! Time to leave.

Parth misses his evening snacks with others. First few days on Test issue support had to be tough, he knew that but such sacrifices! However he can't ignore the signal! He gulps in some more water, in the hope that by the time he reaches the destination, this water would've got ready to leave his body.
Parth has this habit of looking to his left and to his right, basically at almost everyone sitting at their desk or standing at someone else's desk, busy working. That keeps him in the work mode too! But he happens to glance at her direction as well. By chance, she happened to do the same. She gently waved at him. He did the same. And for that brief moment, the signal vanishes! Her smile, her waving hand was all that exists in this world. Quickly enough, he regains consciousness and resumes his journey.
Never ever do that to a guy who has been single for all his life and has lived on romantic movies and TV shows! But why am I telling this to myself.

Parth starts to leave when he glances in the direction of her desk.
She left! Wish I could meet her once before leaving. Seriously, like that's gonna happen!
He signs out in the attendance register and can't help but turns to the previous page to look for the time she left.
8:30 PM, she left just now! 
He looks around.
She must have reached the ground floor. Forget it, meaningless thoughts! Its better to go home and watch Seinfeld. No! No Seinfeld. Think about your career man. You've done MS, use your skills, your talent, your potential. Sketch out a career path. Remember the resolutions! The year 2012, the year of no return!
Parth walks out of the elevator and towards the main door when he notices her about to open the door.
Seriously! Wow...
He can't help but smile! God, miracles do happen!
Natasha happens to glance in his direction while swiping her ID card and walking out. She gestures to keep the door open. Parth hastens his steps and reaches the door, swipes his card and walks out with her.

Will our conversations always start and end in the office premises only?

At the gate, Parth bid her good bye and walked left. Natasha crossed the road and walked right. Parth didn't turn to look at her again.
This was just one time, but this was an omen! Just like in The Alchemist, this is a good omen. Natasha, few more months, and then I'll be ready!
But V-day? Never mind the V-day, its too late now... or is it?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

House Lizard

I don't remember my first tryst with a lizard but my mother tells me that I used to scare the hell out of them and they used to run for their dear lives!
That was when I was perhaps 3 or 4 years old, when nothing scared me, maybe because I really didn't understand things, was just exploring, looking around, touching them, sniffing them, putting them in my mouth! No! I didn't put a lizard in my mouth, couldn't catch them properly because they are fast. I did however caught a few by their tail. And they shed their tail and run away when caught by their tail. I was too young to know all this, my mother told me about it.

Since the time I can remember, the presence of a lizard has scared me! I could feel the fear flow through my body alongside my blood when someone indicated presence of a lizard nearby. My eyes would carefully but hastily scan the possible areas in the room, i.e., everywhere, for the presence of the green reptile. And when I spotted it, I avoided that section of the room till I forgot that a lizard had been in that section. And if I couldn't spot a lizard, I'd assume it was in one of the hidden corners of my room, i.e., under the bed, study table or inside my cupboard, and avoided those areas till my mind didn't pay attention to the existence of a lizard nearby.

I think sometime in the past my mother must have shrieked at witnessing a lizard crawl out from behind the door and hastily move upwards on the wall, to feast on the insects partying around the tubelight. And her reaction must have shaken and stirred me up as well. She does get startled even now but its not as dramatic. And whenever this happens, my gaze instinctively follows the lizard to watch it feast on the insects partying near the tubelight.

Once late at night I woke up to visit the toilet. I switched on its light and when I slowly opened the door inwards with my right arm, I felt something fall on my arm. For a brief second I looked at it, loudly shrieked, then shook my arm vigorously. I could hear my mother walking towards me from behind. For a moment I could feel it move hastily on my arm, then fall on the floor and go away. I could feel my heart beat as fast as a racing bullet! I didn't visit that toilet that night and for several nights after that. This was my most horrifying experience with the green reptile. But I soon got over it, and if they keep their distance, I'm fine with them.

A lizard nearby did scare me for quite many years, but from a distance I have always enjoyed following it with my gaze across the wall or the floor, on the study table, the door, the bed, etc. I would wait for it to leap to catch with its mouth a small insect and in few bites swallow the whole of it. It then stays in that position for sometime before moving on to further tasks that it might have.
Sometimes I've stared into the eyes of the lizard while it stays in the same position. Sometimes I've tried to get as close as possible before taking its pic.
BTW, lizards eat mosquitoes, that's one more reason why I have left behind my fear of lizards and embrace their presence in my room, and hope they be a Good Knight for me!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Blind Walk

It was while walking down the road to my hostel (OBH) in IIIT-Hyderabad, that I decided to try blind walk. I was about 11 PM and the road was deserted. I'd been on that road like a million times so I decided to see how well I remembered it. It was a straight road, and nobody was walking on it, not even dogs. I closed my eyes, and decided to stop only at the end of the road. How would I know I'd reached the end of the road, I didn't know, but I started anyways. I started from the center of the road and took few steps quickly, then slowed my pace, then after few steps slowed it further, and with every next step tried to make sure I was keeping my foot on the road only. After some 15 steps, I suddenly opened my eyes and found myself one step away from hitting the pavement. That was disappointing. I couldn't even walk straight, I couldn't even trust my own legs !!!

I tried this experiment a few times but failed to reach the end of the road everytime. This fear of falling, this uncertainty without vision stopped me from going beyond a certain distance everytime I tried to. I gave up on blindwalk and went back to walking on the edge of the pavement, balancing my steps till the end of the road. One step in front of the other, carefully placed on that tiny black/white edge of the pavement, sometimes covered with soil and made it slippery. I made sure my foot was carefully placed within the given dimensions each time. However, I realized that this is not how we naturally walk, we can't place both our feet in that one straight line while walking, they need two different closeby parallel lines for a comfortable walk. Anyways, this was easier than the blind walk because I could see, and quickly react in case of imbalance. In a few days, I became quite good at it. I thought that good balance can help me in my Karate practice as well, which I'd left for quite some time. Besides, walking alone from the research lab to hostel can be boring and this kept my mind engaged.
A few weeks later, I got the notification from the conference committee that my paper had been Rejected, on reasonable grounds of course. After reading the reviews I realized that I should pay attention to the 'related work' section and the 'experiments' section. Had I been more vigilant and less of a slacker, my paper would have been easily accepted! One of the three authors had given 'weakly accept' to it, one gave 'weak reject' and the third one, 'strong reject'.
Anyways, I could feel the dejection in the silence of the night as I walked back to my hostel room. As always, the road down to my hostel was deserted. I hopped on to the pavement and started walking on its edge but stepped down immediately.

I guess I wasn't in the mood that night. I just wanted to feel this silence, this cold still air, the shadows of the trees from the street lights. I just wanted to be in the moment, and lose every thought in my mind, every purpose of my life. I stood there with my eyes closed. But then it occurred to me that I should go back to hostel before the dog's gang wars start, which usually begins after midnight. I didn't feel like opening my eyes and looking at the hostel I'd been living in for so many years. I felt it was taunting me that I couldn't even publish a paper. I started walking slowly, soaking in the whole moment. I felt every motion in my body, my arms disturbing the still air, my nose taking in deep breaths, my legs taking one step at a time and landing on the even surface of the road. The end of the road has a depression where we had a speedbreaker earlier, and I was trying to keep my legs aware of the change in the texture of the road. But then I had stopped thinking at that time, I just didn't want to care anymore. What I felt can't be termed as anger or disappointment, it was perhaps acute indifference. The fear of falling and getting hurt had paled away in front of the growing anguish over wasting away the best years in pursuit of something while getting dragged down by my vices and bad habits. The mishmash had now become too much!
Spending some quite time in my mind felt good and I wanted it to continue. I didn't even realize I was walking while I kept moving towards the end of the road. Suddenly I felt the bright light of the street light in front of my hostel. I knew I was near to the end of the road. My leg became alert and sensed for the dent in the road. Finally I stepped on it and after few more steps opened my eyes to the stairs straight into the hostel.
That night was not inspiring in true sense, as I never mended my bad habits, nor did I get a publication for quite some time after that. However I did walk till the end of the road, with my eyes closed. I realized that I must stop thinking and trust myself to do the right thing.