Monday, October 29, 2012

Six Degrees of Narnia and a blessing spell


I read that everyone on this planet is separated only by 6 people. Be it President of America, Dalai Lama or your favorite celebrity, there are only 6 people separating them from you. The Hungarian author, Frigyes Karinthy named it, the 'Six degrees of separation'. With inclusion of internet and sites like Facebook and linkdn the degree of separation is lesser than 6. The average degree through Twitter is 4.6, the world is shrinking after all. However the flip side is you have to know the right connection to get to the right person.

This theory made me wonder about the most prime question of all. What is my worth? What makes me get something or succeed? does it solely depend on the people I know? or the qualities I posses? is it my abilities that count? or is it the law of attraction? Karma, luck or my blessings?

These question also comes from my current state of mind. Some of you might know that I left, 11 years of IT job to pursue a career in Design. I am graduating my Masters in 'Graphic design' this December. The portfolio is up and I have sent my resume to at least 120 companies around the world.  There is no plan B.  

In spite of living in tropical weather, almost everyone in Singapore owns a warm clothing. Like the snow filled Narnia behind the cupboard, Some parts of our teeny tiny Singaland gets too cold to survive without a jacket. Like the public transport (especially when it rains), any movie theater, office spaces or even class rooms transforms into something I call 'Freeze zones'.  Its normal to see a family walking into the theater with a big blanket, People in the bus/train getting cozy under the sweater, Or the office chairs which has become eternal jacket hangers.

While I wait in my own Narnia hugging myself with no jacket, I am holding on to the warmth of my friends, and thought of a sunny tomorrow. For I have done my deeds, shaped up my abilities and must hold a reasonable good karma and luck. And I know you, who could be my six degree, connecting me to the person who could offer me a job. For everything I have done so far should add up to something. And if it does fall short I can always count on the spell of your blessings.





p.s: If you could refer me to someone you know in the Design industry, please include your email id in the comments or write to me at nasrivatsan@gmail.com. I would be happy pass on my resume to you.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

So be it

If you are living in Singapore for more than 6 months,  you probably would have walked into at least a dozen of tourist's pictures by accident. The city is so small that the boundary between the tourists attractions and everyday living space is paper thin.  Especially if you are travelling to centre of the city (like me) you walk through a maze of tourist attractions like buildings, churches, trees, stones or whatever.

The worst comes in the form of 'hop on bus' city tours. The other day I was shopping for flowers in little India, in my shorts and worn out t-shirt. It didn't took long to realize I was being photographed by bunch of cameras from the double-decker bus. I have no idea how an Indian buying flowers would be a holiday memory to cherish.  Whether you are having a bad hair day, or busy talking to yourself while walking, there is no escape from this paparazzi.

I didnot walk into this - Sam and Angel my flat mates :)

Singaporean tolerance levels are so high that it does not affect anyone anymore. Neither anyone smiles or feels awkward to walk into someone's photo. I bet there are hundreds of album pictures of happy couple, with background of stranger looking directly at the camera.  The good thing is, they would never find out how weird they looked in those pictures.

My Grandma believed that the celestial beings who walk the clouds, always kept a close watch at our words and actions. There could be moment where we say something negative and one of them would look down and say "so be it". So she always advised me to wish and speak only good things. To smile and be nice to everyone around me. It's like being photographed in an unexpected situation. And I know exactly what she would say to that.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Wishing Luck, Love and Good bye


If you toss a coin, standing anywhere in the crowded place of your city , it is sure to hit someone who is either, loved, lost, or lonely (not necessarily in the same order though). The sheer amount of break up albums and movies that sold out last year is quite a proof.  People seem to be either fighting for love or fighting in the love. I once saw a scary movie where the hero is always walking around with neck pain. An instant photograph reveals to him that the ghost of his girlfriend is sitting on his shoulder all along.  The director couldn't have said it better about carrying past relationships.

According to Taoist Chinese tradition, The gates of the hell are open during the month of August every year(also known as ' hungry ghost festival') . Buddhist on the other hand believes that the gates of heaven are also open and the  deceased  ancestors are free to roam the lands of living.  In Singapore, any open ground near the Chinese home becomes offering place for the ghost.  I saw at least 22 offerings on my way to school the other day.

The ghosts are invited with candles, incense, food, drinks and lots of Chinese money. Bundles of "Joss paper"(representing the Chinese money) is burnt either by individual or by groups of people to appease the ghosts. There are even performances like dance and standup comedy that is conducted throughout the month, the first row of which is reserved for the ghosts.

My local Chinese friend told me that it's conducted more out of fear than respect. The fear that the diseased may bother the living and hence the deliberate attempt to feed, entertain and send them off.  She warned me to avoid offering places. To be careful and not to stamp on the food and drinks that are being offered, which is hard to do because they are everywhere along the foot path.

I asked my friend  if I could perform the ritual and she agreed to help. We went to the Chinese temple where we usually pray. The priest has seen me few times so he wasn't surprised when she translated my interest to burn the Joss paper, to him. After few minutes of prayer and blessings from the gods and saints of the temple, we walked over to the furnace to burn the paper. My friend stood next me , directed me and shared stories about the festival  from her childhood.

We had dinner and I took the last train home. While walking back from train station,  I witnessed a family gathered for the offering. The fire from the burning was at least two story high and the smoke filled my lungs in seconds. It was quiet except for the crackling sound of burning. The family members stood in silence and their eyes reflected the fire.  Be it fear or respect, be it ancestor or unleashed hungry ghost from hell, the act of sending love and thoughts to those once existed in our lives, touched me.  For the act not only signifies remembering but also the letting go of past and "wishing you well wherever you are right now".  I returned to my empty bed exhausted from the long day, but my shoulders felt light.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Smell of love

My high school chemistry teacher, did not believe in love or celebrating festivals. He said love is merely an attraction and festivals are waste of time. That the sun rises and nature doesn't change, even if it were Christmas or Deepavali. Through his constant reminder, I was totally convinced about love being a mere attraction. Looking back now, I see why he said that to the 'hormone-haunted-biologically-charged' us.

I loved the festivals though.I secretly wished every week had one, so I can visit my mother's mom.  She is the perfect grandmother one could have. No matter how naughty I behaved, she always took my side and pampered me like a prince. She had a well maintained garden where I practised my archery skills on her bottle gourd and plantain trees.She loved feeding me with her hands.
This is the only photo I have of my grandmother, at my aunt's marriage.

She even baked cakes and biscuits using kitchen stove. She fills the pan with beach sand and keeps the baking tray on top of it and does some magic, which apparently we were not allowed to see. The whole home fills up with scent of baking cake combined with smell of burnt sand. And when its time to leave, we would have a personal conversation, sitting on the stone by the well . She would ask me to be a good boy, do well in my studies and always take care of my mom. Then she would give me a handshake, which would always involve a transfer of 10 rupee note into my palm. It was our secret.

I never realised her worth while she was alive. She passed away during my second year in college. My mom left in the morning after a phone call that said she was admitted in the hospital due to a failed liver.  Before noon the next call came. And I knew, I knew something bad has happened before the news reached me. Later I learnt that one of her last words were  "Srivats dont put your leg on me, sleep close to me". I figured she spoke under the influence of medicine.

In the last 14 years I saw her in every old lady I met. Few months back,on the way home from train station, I met a 90 plus year old Chinese lady, who sits by the McDonald from noon till night. She folds the cardboard boxes from McDonald and sells them to recycle shop. Out of love I brought her a pineapple cake, and she shook my hand saying "kamsia" (thank you in hokkien) several times. And so our friendship began and our meeting became regular. I say hi, sit next to her by the pavement and give her the bread, and she says "kamsia" for several times holding my hand and I say bye bye.

Few weeks back I shaved my head in support of cancer patients. The next time I went to meet her she couldn't identify me at first. After a second she started laughing out loud pointing to my shiny scalp. After several minutes of laughter we settled down. She was having her dinner which looked like rice porridge. She took a spoon full of porridge and signalled me to eat. I took the box from her and played with the spoon. I could clearly see its not vegetarian, nevertheless I took a spoonful and then one more.

Perhaps its worst food for my palette. But it felt lovely. Its true that there are no festivals or special days in nature. For rivers keep flowing into ocean and clouds keep moving. However on that night,while the florescent light of McDonald bounced off my shiny head, a festival was born. A festival where Chinese grandmother and her Indian grandson shared a fish porridge over laughter. And I swear, It almost smelled like baking cake and burnt sand.


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Where memories are made

" This is how we make clouds" said the gentleman in strong accent who was guiding our tour, and each one us turned our camera towards the glass window of the tourist bus. To our utter dismay there stood a factory with chimneys smoking to the sky. We all broke in to a chorus laugh. Amsterdam, a place just out of picture frame with windmills, tulips and cheese farms.


You might have read my earlier posts regarding my Europe tour in which I had the time of my life. I wore my best clothes, ate in best restaurants, had the perfect wines and took perfect pictures with my perfect camera. Now looking back it  feels like it belongs to my last birth, the one I had yesterday and woke up into the 'now'. It all started with a simple non technical support desk job, in India almost 11 years ago. Back then it was the job of my life for I had money in hands for the first time.And after sharing majority of the salary to my parents I still had some left for my own spendings.

That was the time when my best friend from college and I, met almost every weekend. No mobile appointments, sms or mails sent, come Friday night or Saturday morning we would meet up at my place or his place. There are times we both ended up being in each others place too :)  With little money we had, we would go out for a movie, eat street food, window shop or just sit at tea shop at the street corner and have endless chats about nothings and everything. Sometimes we go to terrace and stay there until all the birds have gone home and colors turn  night. My mom has to call us several times or have to walk up with coffee and food in hand and scold us for not answering her shouts.

Then we had this beautiful button phone, with spiral wire receiver that you can stretch all around the apartment.  I swear I can close my eyes and dial to 10 different people for I have memorised their numbers by heart.I was working on afternoon shifts that corresponded to Europe time. I called my friend on one fine Tuesday morning, and we decided to call in sick and go out instead.  I took my two seater moped, picked him up on the way and we drove to east coast beach. The drive took little more than an hour in the windy December afternoon. It was funny how this moped carried both of us, I mean it can drive well under 50 mph in a city with one driver. And when it goes over 60 it starts to shake like a drunken old man. There we were singing A R Rehman songs and driving at 60 plus, wobbling on the highway :) with no helmates.

Once we hit the beach, we let the moped tan in the sands and ran into the waters fully clothed and played for the next few hours. Exhausted, we dragged our wet bodies to the shore and lay there until our clothes dried. We spoke briefly sometimes and other times we just lay, watching the clouds pass by. It was a wonderful sight. The one where words feel heavier and silence feels natural.

If you ask me to recall my best memories, I may not talk about finest clothes or best wines I had. But I would definitely talk about my friend , the moped and the cloud that met us as we lay on the beach, with wet clothes and sand filled shoes. For memories are not made by the finest camera in the finest tour of the finest city. For they are made in wobbling mopeds and clouds.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The life of a death

In a place called 'kasi' in India, people pray to dead bodies. People who visit and live there are constantly in the radar for the chants of 'ram ram', made by the men who carry the diseased. People then rush to their doorsteps with folded hands to pray at, what's-left-by-the-life that walked the earth. 'this is insane' I told my dad who was excited, to narrate this from his recent pilgrimage.

The train jerked and I almost dropped my not-so-smart phone. With another jerk the train gave up in the midway between two stations. This is the umpteenth time the metro is breaking down in the middle of the transit. In a few seconds, lights went off. 'Dad I'll call you back' and I cut the call without waiting for his answer. I always took him for granted. To be honest I don't treat him as well as my mother and though I love him, I never told him so. I looked up to see a compartment full of glowing faces lit by their smart phones. It's not a freaky sight, but just after the conversation with my dad, it sure chilled my bones.

Five more minutes and the train experience was not exclusive anymore. Few people were on the phone, talking or texting, which seemed like a running commentary of the situation. The scratchy radio noise from the operator, assured us we were safe. 5 more minutes, and I was starting to panic. Standing in the closed train at the tunnel deeper than three floors down, with no light and aircon, the claustrophobia took over faster than I expected. I began to Imagine the headlines of the evening news and how they would notify my loved ones. Suddenly I was worried whether someone would pray at my remains, if I were to be taken out in stretcher from the tunnel.

I closed my eyes shut and thought about my fond memories. The time my love lain on my stomach and slept while I was reading a book, the time my mom combed my hair and said how cute I looked, the time my dad sat in my first bike, the time I kissed, the time I did reverse bungee; flashes of memory slides changed rapidly and then a heavy load of regrets pinched me on my chest. Time and space vanished and then there was light and silence. I opened my eyes hoping to be in heaven, but I was still standing flesh and blood, in the train which was more alive than me and snailing its way to the next station.

We don't talk about the four letter D word. We don't appreciate it and we don't even want to think about it. For it praises ending with uncertain future, for it praises sadness. After I reached the surface, and smelled good old polluted air, I called my dad to tell him how much I loved him. The D word may not give you a happy feeling, but surely it can make you live one!





PS: this post is dedicated to my friend's father. who fought a brave battle to cancer for several years. May his life be appreciated for all his good deeds and may his soul rest in peace.

Monday, May 14, 2012

And she was enough

If someone makes a contest of all those things that we take for granted, the first place goes to mothers.
You may try all your life, but I bet you wont be able to love her more than she loves you. Every year I  treat her around this special day , we go on a date to a movie, to restaurant or go saree shopping spree. Just us, its our ritual.


This year is year of many firsts, the first time since college I received money from her and did not treat her on mothers day. No date, no black forest cake and no saree shopping spree. In fact I received some money from her for my expense last month. When  the whole world judged me for my action to leave a steady career to study, The only person who stood by my side is her.

She never questioned my decision, she never ever have!  I have taken many decisions that affected me personally and my family for the past few years, and she always found the courage and strength to love me no matter what, from bottom of her heart. Its doubtful whether I would have loved myself if I were her.I called her today to wish her and all she wanted to know was, whether I had my lunch! Although she has been feeding me for the past 32 years and 10 months before that.

You know the feeling you get, when whatever you do is not enough ? not enough for your career, for your family or for your loved one.  I was feeling 'not enough' for a while now.But today I realised no matter what I do or don't do, I would always be 'enough' for my Mom. The four letter word cannot suffice my feelings for her. In the world full of  'not enoughs' we are more than enough for each other Amma.





p.s: Wishing your mom a very happy mothers day, thanks to her I found such a wonderful person to be my friend.


Monday, April 30, 2012

Fountain grass gooseberries


You know the feeling you get in the morning, waking up from a dream to find your surrounding is totally different and undesirable?  Your own room feels like a different place and all you want is to crawl back into that black hole and go back to that dream.  Yes I am in that mood today, now.

It was a beautiful summer dream. The time must be late evening, The whole scene is lit with reddish-yellow gradient haze.  Like the kind of lighting that happens once in a while during twilight -  due to strange cosmic phenomenon. I am standing in the terrace at my grandma's place, looking down,with my hands resting on the wall. The garden at the front yard is filled with lush, dark fountain grass. There is a small pathway made of fine beach sand that separates the sea of fountain grass. Like a thin line when a women's hair is neatly combed to two parts.

There are two kids lying in the sand. Everything is in shades of red-yellow-orange except for green gooseberries which are sprinkled everywhere like chocolate chips on desserts. To my right is a big leaf less gooseberry tree. The one I (used to) climb up and sit for hours with hand full of rock salt at any time of the day, devouring the small fruits. The raw, the sour, the ripe and the 'almost bad'.( I remember tasting them all).  I look down at the gooseberries with the same feeling as that of squirrel's for nuts in Ice age movie. I want to collect them all, so I run down.

On the sand-filled path way, I see the kids giggling and immersed in their own conversation. They are actually my brother and my cousin. They must be around 3 years, and were wearing only underpants. I lie down next to them, letting my head rest in my cousin's lap. We laugh, we talk although I did not understand the words. I only feel the feeling.

The sky is cloudless and gooseberries were falling as we speak, some on me and near me. I grab a few and taste them. I want more. I crawl up and walk over to the wall where there is a pot filled with mud. I plant the seeds from my mouth into the mud. Pressing my little fingers (now I realize I must be young too) deep into the mud and putting those seeds one after another. " When they grow up I would replant them somewhere" I tell my cousin as I turn back.

Except there is no one there. I don't see my cousin or my brother in the sandy pathway. Like a sand storm,  the scene is slowly vanishing. I try hard to touch the surroundings - to hold on to them, those fountain grass, gooseberries, the water like sand, but no I couldn't. I feel like been dragged into the different part of the world in a smooth escalator.  As the pleasant numbness goes away, I feel myself  clutching hard to my bed sheets in my room in Singapore.  The morning light glimmered on my face from curtains and I could hear welding and hamerring sounds from construction next door. The blank wall kept staring at me.

The red-yellow gradient haze is evaporating leaving a scent of memory in my mind right now. This dream nor this post needs a conclusion.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Jellyfish grandmas and Christmas lights


In the world of, LAP full of technical TOPS and HAND full of PHONES, it is no wonder some of us feel so far away from ourselves.  Well we live together with machines, it's only true as the saying goes "couple who lives together long starts to look the same".

Have you seen Jellyfish swimming ? They glow in dark and it's the most magical and mesmerizing scene to witness. Like a luminous aqua blue Christmas lamp dancing in rhythm. For all we know they are here for more than 600 million years,  outdating even dinosaurs!  Remember we use to consult our grandparents for all the biggest decisions in the family? well it's time we consult our great great grandmother of all, the Jellyfish!
This is one of my submission for a design contest for a food restaurant called "Jumbo Crab"
for their 25th anniversary. Can you spot the jellyfishes in the surrealistic background?

95% of Jellyfish is made up of water! We are essentially made up of five elements, more of one element than others - Water.  The most evident proof of god thriving in this planet is water. That's why we surround ourselves with fountains and that's why we feel peaceful when we visit rivers or ocean.  So next time you feel dull, take a sip of water. Let god flow into u :)

Jellyfish don't have brain. I know what you are thinking, as much as you want to calculate , analyze and fix everything in your life to perfect 10. It's not worth your sleep and your every second of peace throughout the day.  Take time off the day to be brainless.  From time to time consciously avoid carrying your phone, reading paper and checking your mails, let the brain do less.  And be stupid - I dare you!

Jellyfish has the simplest digestive system. Of all the sins the worst you can commit is gluttony. Food cannot replace the lack of love, self esteem or positivity that lacks in your life. Get up and do something instead of munching and wearing that fat on your body.

The important of all lies not in what they have but in what they do with what they have - Swimming . They don't have fins to swim, so they pounce through water. They do not oppose the strong currents of ocean, for they know it's pointless. They rather swim with it.  There is a calmness to life lived in acceptance, gratefulness and contentment , A life as beautiful as Jellyfish swimming in the water.


Monday, April 09, 2012

Soyamilk Rice balls, Tourists and a live in relationship


Sitting at front of City hall metro station with a cup of rice balls in soya milk, I am watching people walk by.  It's about half past five in the evening and air is crisp. The shoppers, the commuters, the suited men and the ladies with baby stroller. They all seem to have one thing in common. They seem to be in their own world, confined to their own private aura.   In my 3 plus years of live in relationship with Singapore, I found it challenging to start a decent conversation with a localite here.

A smile, or a hello are usually responded with a god-knows-what-weird expression.  On the other hand, it's easy to talk to expats, tourists and young hearted seniors. You can talk about weather, their work, ask for direction, guide them for direction or in my case even share a meal.  Being single here, I mostly end up sharing the dinning table at Kopitiams (food courts of Singapore). And invariable say hello and start a conversation with the person attending to hunger.  By now you would either think of me as talkative, overly curious, or someone with bad manners. Well why would I talk to someone for no reason? Isn't that like disturbing them? or worse intruding their privacy?!
This has nothing to do with this blog, 
Its cover I designed for one of my research papers last term that was very well received.

In the recent years there were more malls built than schools, even Museum spaces shrink down for souvenir shops to widen.  I challenge you to find a middle aged localite who's last 3 days does not include shopping or work.  The few hours that were left  are usually lived virtually or watching programs with more commercials.  A friend of mine invited me to his birthday dinner and kept checking his iphone for updates. I call these people virtual-zombies, for they don't live in this real world any more.

Once I shared my table with a single mother, who had left two kids with her parent in Malaysia to earn here. She worked in a service apartment by cleaning toilets and changing sheets. She used to be an assistant in a financial firm in Malaysia. But the pay wasn't enough to pay for the kids' tuition yet alone make their ends meet.  She even showed me pictures of them, and her plan to visit them when she have few holidays saved up.

While I wrote this an open-top-city-tour bus got past me, and I waved at the tourists who were clicking pictures. In return the white skinned group waved back at me with a chorus "hey". The evening sunlight from behind, illuminated their hair into yellowish gold . We were all smiling at each other until the bus crossed the corner.  Let there be malls, Smart phones and satellite dish full of commercial programs, all we need is a wave, a smile and person to talk to during meals.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Taped python, personal foul and starless skies

I bet, If you take a Singapore train by hand and rattle it in the air, the number of electronic gadgets flying out would be at least twice the number of people on board. And I also bet if you have a python taped to the ceiling of the cabin, no one would notice, because everyone is busy looking down on Ipad,phone,pod or psp.

Occasionally you would find someone reading books, or handling their kids or adjusting a big bag from Mustafa. These are either housewives, old, Indians or all of the above.The good thing is no one cares about the business of other, and the bad thing is no one cares about the other. In the city where one can get happy meals at 2 in the morning and have wending machines to serve drinks all day long, no one needs anyone.

Last friday, I was walking home close to 11 in the night after a solo basket ball game. I heard weeping sound from the side walk and went closer to check. There she was, a 68 year old beautiful Chinese lady sitting and crying like a baby, eyes swollen and blood red. A passer-by translated her words or rather pain to me. She is working in a nearby food court (yes at 68!, most cleaning jobs at food courts are done by aged people in Singapore) and going home after work (yes at 11 pm in the night).

You would expect a city like Singapore to support its pensioners, or put them in old age homes or whatever that provides and takes care of aged people. I assumed so, but this is the second time I held a hand, and walked home a aged person. Last time it was a 70 year old man who was standing motionless in the train station, because he couldn't walk.  When I asked why they didn't go to doctor, they both said the same thing,  its costly and that the medicine doesn't help much. Of course it does not, you are suppose to be resting and enjoying a slow life at 60 plus, not pushing carts of used plates and wiping tables for 9 hours!

After a 15 minutes crawl, the sobbing Chinese lady, the translator, me and my basket ball were standing at  her door step. 3 door bell rings and no answer. She lives with her equally aged brother, her nephew and his family. When she fumbled with her keys and opened the door, I could see 30 plus couple comfortably seated in good cushion chair watching a reality show in 50 plus-something-inch idiot box.  They didn't even bother to get up as I asked them to take her to doctor's.

The stranger and I took the lift  from the 12th floor each processing our own thoughts. The sodium lamp from the hallway illuminated us at every floor, creating a flash of light and dark. There are so many people out there who needs help, be it physical, or monetary, or both. And  how much can I do?  I cant even afford a new paper back book to read in the trains.  I went back to the deserted court to play. I needed to vent out something from me, with my china made round friend.  I even remember shouting "fu!k" loudly when I missed my 4th shot in a row to the basket.

After half an hour erratic shots, tiredness caressed me. I laid down right there, feeling the warm concrete on my back, sweat and wind cooling me off, to the star less sky. "We need to switch off the lights to see the stars", I said that loud and smiled realising that I am talking to myself like a third person. May be we are too afraid to switch off and look up from our Iphones to see the reality. May be we don't need anyone, but I bet none of us want to be the one sitting by the side walk and crying at 11 pm.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The tomorrows of yesterday

Dear problems

You may had my yesterdays and today but I am refusing to give up my tomorrow.
For tomorrow is mine and I am going to be happy no matter what you do.

Peace
Srivats

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lost clouds and unclee

Leaf succulent are plants that grow in extreme conditions of the dessert. To be precise, they stay dormant for most of their life, waiting for a random cloud to get lost and pour down some love. Within few hours of rain, they grow, bloom and store as much as water they can in their fleshy inside. A bed of colorful flowers in the middle of the dessert! Then again the dormant cycle begins, it could be weeks, months or even years until it can rain, yet they wait patiently. I came across this, in kid's encyclopedia that I was reading out to 6 year old Sam, my landlord's kid.

"Is the plant sick?" he asked me , tad worried. It took me couple of seconds to realise why he is asking me that. Sam's mom is a nurse and patient can only mean one thing. It's been just couple of weeks since I moved in here, but all it took for Sam and Angeline to befriend me was just a smile. Angeline is turning 3 tomorrow, and had little idea about the discussion, yet she enjoyed sitting there with an open book and being in company. By the way she calls me unclee.

It's time to baptize Sam to Google, so we moved onto my computer table. Angeline climbed up on my lap and peered into the screen, while Sam stood next to me taking it all in. In the next few minutes, Sam learned googling, Angeline learned to click and I found out "patient" came from the Latin word patientia. which meant , one who suffers. It had several similar meanings and I like this one the best. ' The act or power of calmly or contentedly waiting for something due or hoped for; forbearance '

While the mentioned two waited patiently for my explanation, I wondered about succulent plants, patience and me. Desserts were once ocean , and these plants adapted to it. They might seem, poor and stupid. Other plants might pity them. But it is the fortitude that makes miracle happen, for a life affirming rain from a lost cloud is no mistake.



ps: My gratefulness to all those who mailed,sms and called to make sure I am doing ok. You guys are my lost cloud.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Unspoken dreams and Unknown Eulogy

In a city where people couldn't wait few seconds before the signal turns green, Its only understandable that the body hanging from the tree, on the side of the road hardly got any attention. In the silent hours of today, an Indian worker in his twenties hanged himself  for unknown reason(s), I was told by my friend. Feelings are intangible but I could touch the sadness of death.For all we know this could be anyone related to us. Money? love? health? or sheer helplessness? Should I say, why the hell ?  or rest in heaven ? Unspoken nightmares? or failed dreams ?

I would be lying if I said I hadn't thought about jumping from high floor or slashing my own wrist at times. Believe me the luck I had in last several months can turn a good man bad. I was literally few events away  from turning bitter. But one good thing is that I always vocalised my problems.  I let them out, sometimes here, sometimes to my friends and mostly to my dear diary.

During my worst times, I only pray for two things. One that I find the courage to handle it, and two to make myself useful to someone around. So it can give me a sense of purpose to carry on. What put me down in the last few months is that, not only I couldn't do charity , but I was depending on charity from people I know. It kills me to walk away from the blind man who sings at the train station without dropping a coin or two. I still donate some but not to my hearts content. Last month I picked up a shampoo bottle someone left near the lift, so people like me can use.  As gaga said " I am going to be star, you know why, I have nothing to lose"

I always end my posts with hint of positivity and hope, because I believe that the more you celebrate life, there is more to celebrate, but on this particularly low black Monday I want to throw a punch in the air and accept that life isn't fair at times. Flowers would be picked , people would still eat and life would go on. Who would remember the guy who oscillated his last breath on the park tree ? Thankfully my friend Willy did. Not only he went back to the place in the evening to show respect, he also put a god's picture and flowers for the unknown soul. Its only unfair that the Indian guy didn't get to meet my friend Willy yesterday. 

Friday, January 06, 2012

How long is one second ?

"How long is one second chichu mama?" my nephew asked me, without lifting his head from the jigsaw puzzle we were playing. I looked up wondering what to say.  "hmmm.. I dont know kutti, why dont you tell me how long it is?". He smiled at me, with his iam-gonna-make-something-up-look. He held his two tiny hands apart as if he is holding an invisible ball and said "this much". The next ten seconds were long enough to pick him up and swirl him around. He put his arms out and pretended to be a jet plane. We crash landed on the bed and giggled for long.

"NEXT.." the voice was loud enough to jolt me back to where I was. I was standing in the queue to student service at my college. It took one soft drink, 28 pages of Mitch albom's book and a day dream - in total a good two and half hours before I reached the counter.While the short Filipino lady waited impatiently, I fumbled through my valet and handed her my student ID.   " hi , I just finished my bridging module and going for masters this semester, I haven't got my schedule for this semester..." , she disappeared into the racks behind, before I finished my sentence.

"Your fee is due " she shouted from somewhere behind the shelves, I bet the student at the end of the long queue would have heard it. "Sorry?" I had to shout back. she held a file while walking back and did not waste any second to rain on me " Your fee is due, U have to pay ......before you start your semester " "but its paid through bank from India" . " Yes but due to conversion rate you are falling short.." , she went back to check some more stuff, while I stood there stumped. My phone flashed with message from my owner reminding me to move out before next month.

After a 15 minutes conversation, she handed me a bunch of forms to fill out,  I turned so fast that I bumped into the girl next to me and my papers cascaded the floor. I gathered myself along with the papers,walked over to the front gallery and sat down.

I starred into nothing for long, trying to find answers to questions that are so complex even to spell out. Then I turned towards the gallery, where they showcased students work to attract potential ones. Two mannequins had freaky clothes from fashion department, next to it was a space car from animation department.  Then something caught my attention. There it was, the packaging design boxes I made for my last semester, sitting high up in the white table with flash lights around, smiling at me. I smiled ear to ear with misty eyes, hands on my mouth.  I held my hands like my nephew and told myself "one second is this long". Long enough to go to the depths of depression and back to flying high like jet plane with hope. Crash landing is so out of question.