The Man From Nowhere

“See the nowhere crowd cry the nowhere tears of honourย 
Like twisted vines that growย 
Hide and swallow mansions whole…”

— James Hetfield, The Memory Remains

He came from nowhere and he didn’t know where he was headed. He seemed lost, confused, a paper boat caught in a hurricane, with turmoil eroding the last traces of sanity and reason in his head. He was escaping, hopefully to a better tomorrow, but he didn’t know for sure. He wanted a fresh start, desperately. He didn’t know how he was going to achieve it – his bad luck seemed to have followed him here as well. Everything he tried seemed to fail, and fail miserably. He caught himself searching for straws to clutch at.

He vowed to find a muse, an inspiration, a candle in the whirlwind of his bad luck. He wanted to find the elusive abundance of good luck that had deserted him for so long. He yearned for the peace and tranquility that had been hiding from him. It was not a search in vain.

He met her on a hot, sunny afternoon and they regarded each other cautiously, unsure of just how much attention the other person warranted. She seemed harmless enough, but he was expecting his seemingly unlimited quota of bad luck to step in again.

“Been a while,” he said. Cautiously. Two tigers, one paranoid and the other indifferent, circling each other.

“Yes. How have you been?” she asked.

“Good,” he replied and they went on to talk about other things mundane.

Time flew by and a pact was etched in stone between them, unwritten yet indelible. It took time, obviously. It did not happen overnight. He began to experience her presence more and more in his life until it almost became an addiction. Over time, he started craving for her company. She became the beacon of light in the darkness that had clouded him. She forced him to embrace good luck again, though he never knew how she managed to do that.

He still had no destination in mind, but he knew that his journey wouldn’t be lonely anymore; the journey that he had started from nowhere and had seemed to head nowhere; the journey that she had spectacularly derailed and made more bearable. He had a lot of things to be thankful for. And for a million things more.

He had found his muse. He had found his share of good fortune. The man from nowhere was finally home.

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Drenched!

I love getting drenched in rain, when I’m on the terrace with minimal clothing and loads of time. But not while driving. This week has been terrible so far, and I’ve been getting drenched almost every single day either while coming to work in the morning or going home late at night.

The worst part of getting drenched while driving is those irritating little pockets of water that accumulate in my underwear, making me squirm. I think I’ve told this before, though I’m not sure. A genetic disability has forced me to wear glasses and a lack of common sense has forced me to use a helmet whose loose visor is completely scratched. When its raining, I can’t keep the visor up because it keeps slipping shut, and if I keep it shut, I can’t see anything in front of me, and if it’s open even for a few seconds, my glasses get drenched and fog up and I can’t see anything in front of me! ๐Ÿ˜€

I sometimes resort to a few stone-age tactics like a piece of rubberband holding the visor up or a piece of paper to keep it in place, half-open, but all these tactics fail miserably when it rains. Once the rubberband snapped and flew off into the crowd and I didn’t dare look back when someone screamed in pain and anger. ๐Ÿ˜€

Today, my run of misfortunes took a completely new turn, and I am sure I could hear God clutching his belly and laughing hard at me. I had to go to the ATM to draw some money at around 11 in the morning, and it had just stopped raining. It had been a pretty heavy downpour and as soon as it stopped and the sun peeped out, I took out my bike and rode down the road to the ATM. It’s a three-minute drive from my office to the ATM, and I reached there, stood in line behind a woman carrying a wailing baby and in front of a belching, obese guy. When it was my turn to use the machine, I thanked God for small favors and completed my transaction.

As I came out and started the bike, the sky immediately became overcast and as soon as I had moved three feet, the skies opened up and the rain came down in all its fury, drenching me completely. I drove as fast as I could and reached the office three minutes later, dripping wet and as soon as I parked my bike, the rain stopped as suddenly as it had started.

I look up at the sky at times like these and ask God, “Why me?” ๐Ÿ˜€

Image Courtesy: Cartoonstock.com

Cursed! Again and again…

…and again!! I don’t know which side of the bed I woke up yesterday, but I’m never going to do it again, hopefully! My day wasn’t all that bad, actually, but for some reason or the other, I got cursed seven times!! Seven different people in seven different situations cursed me with some unspeakable pejoratives! There was a movie, where someone asks, “If you are called a jerk seven times, do you actually become a jerk?”

If the answer to this question is true, then I don’t know what I’ve become now!! Here’re the situations, as best as I can remember them, and I’ll let you decide whether I deserved all the colorful language hurled at me.

1. Late afternoon, I was riding my bike in heavy traffic and singing a romantic song, thinking of my girlfriend, and gleefully unaware of the honking and tensions all around, when all of a sudden, a lunatic auto rickshaw careened out of the corner and scraped my front fender. I’m not a person who loses his temper, and as long as I’m not hurt or my wallet is not hurt (read as, bike screwed) I don’t care. So, I just whipped out my middle finger at the auto driver and continued my singing. This guy, I don’t know why, he popped his head out the vehicle and screamed, “Ninakkan!” and drove off. This word, in my language, has something to do with elder sisters and incest. I don’t have an elder sister, but still, I was kind of annoyed. I hadn’t raised my voice, only my finger, and I don’t think I deserved this insult!!

2. The second incident occurred when I was walking down the road from my office, with a breath mint in my mouth. I was rolling the piece of mint in my tongue, when I passed a mother and her small girl walk past me. Just then, my tongue made a smacking sort of a noise because of the piece of candy, which the mother mistook for something else. She turned around and glared at me and called me a pervert! I knew there was no point trying to reconcile. I just shrugged and moved on.

3, 4, 5. The next three instances happened almost simultaneously. I was in my friend’s place in the evening, watching the cricket match and munching some peanuts, when three of my other friends walked in. They said the following things to me:
Friend 1: “Hey asshole! How’s it hanging?”
Friend 2: “You bastard! How’re you man!?”
Friend 3: “Fucking moron! Long time no see!!”

6. Just when I was about to sigh and resign to my fate of being cursed all day long, there was an ad running on TV, which screamed out, “Nikhil’s a loser!” I mean, why couldn’t the ad feature some other name? If they wanted to portray a loser, then why choose a name like Nikhil?? Not fair!! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

7. Lastly, when I realized that my day had been extremely weird and that I’d been cursed enough number of times, things just got worse. While driving back home from my friend’s place, late at night, I was whistling to myself, when I stopped at a red light. I was still whistling, when I heard a scream of anger from next to me. There was a couple on a bike, the man driving and the woman sitting behind him, and both of them glaring at me and the guy was about to take his helmet off. He said, “You pervert! Stop eying my girl!”

I lost my temper a bit. Just a bit. I was about to open my mouth to retort when the lights changed and the guy flipped a finger at me and drove off at full speed.

I started thinking on my way back, that maybe its not a good idea to sing or whistle when driving. Maybe its something else altogether.ย  I don’t know. I’ve been wronged and I demand justice!! ๐Ÿ˜€

Play Your Part!

Earth Day 2008!

I won’t join the ranks of all those do-gooders who seem to be hell bent on reminding everyone of how much damage our planet has suffered and how we need to pull up our socks and save our Earth from a certain destruction, which has been round the corner for the past three decades.

Instead, on Earth Day 2008, I’d like to remind everyone of how beautiful our world is and how lucky we are just to be born in it and to experience the pleasures of a warm sunrise, a gentle breeze or the lazy lapping of the waves against our feet.

Take one day; just one day. We wake up to the warmth of the sun streaming from the windows and from the light peeping in from behind the curtains, know that it’s already well into the day. The birds have been up for almost an hour now, their chirping audible from the branch of the tree outside the window. If we listen carefully, we might even hear the rustling of the leaves and the soft whistle of the gentle, early-morning breeze. We stand up, stretch our arms and legs and walk over to the window and pull the curtains aside to reveal the vast expanse of open skies, dotted with white, fluffy clouds here and there, moving lazily with the breeze, casting distant, benign shadows on the ground below. Here and there, flocks of early birds fly towards wherever their instinct takes them. The breeze, now uninhibited by the curtains, move in to the room in soft waves and wash over us, bringing a satisfied smile to our faces with the least effort.

Even as we stand there, the bigger of the clouds move and make way for the brilliant morning sun, still low over the horizon, and throwing the occasional red-orange ray amidst the shining yellow. No amount of words can describe this sight, and no camera however powerful can do justice to it, and we know it. So, we refrain from describing this splendid sight and move over to splash our faces with cold water.

The water cleanses our sleep away and wakes us up in a way that coffee can never do. The cool water, trickles down our faces, accentuating our smile, and we hesitate and reach for the towel. We don’t want to dry our faces. Water has that lingering satisfaction.

We then pick up a glass of water and walk over to the tiny potted plant in the corner of the room, where the young, green leaves are bathing in the gentle warmth of the morning sun. As we trickle the water on to the plant’s roots, we almost feel the leaves breathing and we see the tiniest, almost imperceptible shudder as the cold water hits the stem. we feel light inside. A perfect start to the day.

When we look at the calendar on our way to the kitchen, the date reads April 22. We start thinking of ways to play our part in keeping our beautiful home clean. No plastics today, we think to ourselves. Recycle everything and don’t litter.

No matter how much money, rock shows and propaganda go into spreading awareness about the state of the planet, we know that the change must come from within ourselves. We glare at our neighbor, who throws a half-empty packet of potato chips out on the street and roars away on his motorbike. Al Gore can preach and make all the movies he wants and win all the Nobel prizes he wants, but we know that unless we realize the truth ourselves and unless we intend to make a change, we cannot. Keeping our planet clean for just one day in a year may not sound like enough, but if only we knew the amount of abuse the Earth takes in one 24-hour period, we wouldn’t wonder about it.

Play your part. Be clean. After all, it’s just for one day! ๐Ÿ™‚

The Big Crunch!

end of the world2008 hasn’t been a very good year for me so far. In fact, it hasn’t been a good year for most of the people I’ve known – failed marriages, failed love lives, too many bad days at work and school, diets not working, falling down, accidents, losing clients, losing major contracts, losing jobs, cost-cuttings, fights at home, and so on… The list is endless. Most of the people I know can’t really explain what’s happening. Last year, it had been so good for these people, me included, and all of a sudden, fortunes change drastically. A close friend of mine lost close to fifty thousand rupees on the stock markets and another good friend of mine had a life-threatening accident. I almost had my brush with death when the plane I was traveling in, on my way to India from New York, experienced so much turbulence that the pilot announced that they had to make an emergency landing somewhere – freaked me out at that time, but the turbulence passed and I reached safely.
But on the whole, it hasn’t been a really good year.

Friends of mine have flunked their exams and whose who were waiting for job offers and marriage proposals were disappointed. Another friend of mine called Divya was so happy that she had finally found a guy to get married and she called me up, all hyper-excited! A week later, she told me the marriage was off as the guy decided to study further and rejected her. I was more heartbroken, not only for her, but it proved my theory of 2008 being a very very bad year for most people.

Now, I know why it is a bad year. I did some calculations and called up a few people who take this astrology thing seriously, and I have a passably corny theory, wrapped in some flimsy auspices of scientific fact. Here it is:

The Big Bang Theory states that once the universe stops expanding, it’ll start collapsing into itself. This phenomenon is termed the Big Crunch. Sometime in December last year,ย  the Universe reached its limit of expansion, and just like an expanding balloon, it paused for an instant, stretched out to its tensile limit, and hung in an instant of timelessness. Everything stopped in that instant, including time. I don’t know if any of you have noticed that time seemed to be behaving strangely around November-December of 2007, but for me at least, it was so unnerving. I used to think that time seemed to be going slower than usual. Maybe it was because I had my exams at that time, but I don’t know. The clock never seemed to move ahead!

Now, in 2008, the Universe has begun the Crunch. Everything is moving in reverse – bad things are replacing good things everywhere in the world. Crime rate is up 11% in India alone! We are stuck in this lawless, reverse universe for a couple of billion years minimum.

I think we’d better start praying…

Disclaimer: The above theory has absolutely no scientific or astrological basis. It’s pure and utter nonsense, a brainchild of a bored and zombified mind. ๐Ÿ˜€