Friday, January 3, 2020

She moved in, but I had moved out – Part 8 (The Movie Night)

Over the next few days Mithun had almost come close to revealing the incident to Kishore, however my timely interruption saved the day. It was not that Mithun wanted to deliberately share it with Kishore, but it was his natural behavior and he can’t be blamed for it, in any way. Moreover he can never conceal even a tiny piece of information with his close friends, and now since I had put him in such a tight spot, he really found it difficult to handle the situation.

While this was happening on one side of my life, in parallel on the other side, the secret cute smiles & glances between Sri and I started rising rapidly, as we couldn’t resist looking at each other even for a short interval of five minutes. We never missed a single moment that gave us the chance of looking at one another and we both seemed to relish it deeply. That was the first real infatuation that we both had in our lives and well of course during the early years of your teens, the hormonal reactions within you are totally uncontrollable. So, we just let it go by the flow and didn’t suppress our feelings. And as I had already mentioned in my last post, she had a fair complexion and every single time that our eyes met, she totally blushes out and her cheeks instantly turn pink, making her look like a Barbie doll.

So, amidst all these happy moments, there were times when somewhere deep down our heart a little fear would pop-up, especially while thinking of the school rules. However, the fun side of the hostel life overshadowed our fears and we continued with our so called puppy romance. And then there was this night, one among the innumerable memories that I preserve from that time, which remains fresh in my mind even now.

As there was no television at the hostel, the school authority used to screen film once in a month. So, as we were in the middle of the academic year, it was one such movie night that we were all so eagerly waiting for. Right since we got back from school, Kishore, Mithun and I were in full-on discussion about the movie and we were so excited about it. It was a newly released Tamil movie called “M. Kumaran S/O Mahalakshmi” starring Jeyam Ravi in the lead role and a debutant actress from Kerala called Asin. The first study hour was indeed busy that evening, as every single student seemed to be heavily discussing only about the movie, which the hostel wardens mistook it as students engaged in serious group study. Well, yeah that’s how stupid they were in real.

Dinner was served early that night and we were all chit chatting merely at our rooms, by the time when the technical team was setting up the projector and the screen. Minutes later, the announcement was made for the students to come and assemble at the hall. The wardens had actually expected students to turn up in an orderly fashion. However, to their surprise every single student barged out of their rooms in such a hurry that they even knocked down couple of staffs who were standing at the entrance of the hall.

But no one cared about it and every one were in a rush to grab the first few rows of the hall. It was a complete chaos and the crowd was being totally uncontrollable. Nobody seemed to pay heed to the warden’s instruction and it was well enough for the staffs be enraged at us. And in that rage they just went and shut down the projector. In an instance the entire hall fell silent and we could clearly sense the anger on all their faces.

It was for sure that we would be subjected to heavy punishment that night and our guesses turned out to be true in the next few minutes. All the students were sent back to the hostel and were made to kneel down at the assembling point. By now we had spent quite a lot of days at the hostel and we knew there were more aggressive punishments, in line for us. The faculties arrived at the assembling point and had started clearly identifying those miscreants who had behaved wrongly with them. They started filtering them out from the entire lot, and luckily Kishore, Mithun and I were not one among them or to say it on a brighter note, unfortunately we were held up at our rooms and we were among the few to reach the hall last. And therefore the staffs had very well seen us entering calmly.  

But I would say that was not us totally and our starts were shining bright that day to save our asses from the terrible punishments. Every single time the thought of punishments made our blood run cold. So, on one side as the miscreants were being filtered out, on the other side the studious one were also getting filtered out and they were sent to the cinema hall.

Again we were held up in between. Because unfortunately, we did not fit into either of the category and we were actually wondering how come being studious related to not being mischievous? But if that is how the understanding of the educational system is, then we raising voice against it is like an ant trying to pitch its voice against an elephant. So, with the only other option left with us, we started making innocent faces and tried all sort of ways to get noticed by any of our class faculty, as we were so desperate to watch the movie.

And this time our trick actually worked out, as Mr. Basha, our Mathematics teacher noticed us and called us forward. He gave a suspicious look at all three of us, but we still maintained the same innocence on our face and then he asked us to move out to the cinema hall, as he was one among the few staffs earlier to notice us entering the cinema hall late. So, our false act plus our unplanned late entry earlier paved us the way for us this time. We actually couldn’t believe our luck, as our stupid trick worked out with one of the most dreaded staffs of the school. Hiding our joy within ourselves, we maintained the same composure until we reached the hall and then burst out laughing heavily.

Finally getting settled there feeling accomplished we were exchanging excited looks as the film started screening.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Garden City Tale: Part 1 – A Journey of Thousand Dreams

It was the last day at the office before which Vikaas was flying out of Dubai to attend to one of his close friend’s marriage, back home. The planning for the wedding was well charted out weeks before the travel and most importantly it was the re-union of his besties gang. So, the excitement knew no bounds and it was well amplified on his face, right since a week from his travel date.

Taking the direct flight to his hometown, Vikaas was eagerly waiting for the marriage day to come. Meanwhile, as he had come home on a short break, Vikaas’s parents had planned to visit Pranika’s home, as well. Actually, since the last few months Vikaas’s parents had been actively engaged in finding a suitable bride for him and when they did come across Pranika’s profile, they found it to be a perfect match for him. Vikaas had even looked into the pics of Pranika, and had given the go-green signal to his parents for the process ahead. So, two days from day of landing, the trip to Bangalore was fixed and Pranika’s family was informed of the same.

Having a conversation with a stranger was not a difficult task at all for him, however this time a meeting with the girl and with whom he might have to travel the rest of his life, in case everything goes out well, was making him think a lot. A kind of mixed feeling was going on within him and he just tried to stay calm and not get nervous about the interaction. However, on the brighter side, just to make things easy for him, Pranika was from Bangalore and Vikaas held a very close connect with the city, as he had always loved it and wished to settle down there. So, thinking of revisiting the city after a long break calmed down the storm within him and he was getting ready for the big day.

It was the early morning train to Bangalore that they were taking and was a six hour journey to cover, by which innumerable thoughts were already bombarding within his mind. He was not sure how the interaction would go on and he was little skeptical if Pranika would even like him and if her family would accept him or not. Honestly speaking, the reason for the sudden spike in pressure was that he had always dreamt a lot about how his marriage should be and well of course what sort of a partner she should be. Supposedly if he had been successful with his love life, the story would have been entirely different by now. However, since this was an arranged marriage, wherein he totally had zero knowledge about the girl, a sudden fear does creeps into anyone thinking what if the ideologies and the thought process contradict a lot.

But sticking to the reality and going by it was the practical move to take, which Vikaas had also done. So, he just made sure that he was clear about certain things and wouldn’t compromise on them when projecting himself to the other family. Some of them were like not to falsify his character just for the sake of impressing the girl, to be open and honest all the time, and not to play around with his originality. Because he well knew that telling a lie is easy, but to maintain it during all the times is the hardest part of all. And moreover it is okay to earn a bad name by telling the truth than earning a good name by telling a lie. So it was wise to tell the girl and her family the truth, as how it is and not unnecessarily induce false expectations for them.

With this clarity of thought in his mind, he was lazily gazing out through the window of the speeding train. The first few sights of the Kannada script eased his nerves and slowly as the train decelerated into Bangalore, his mood totally uplifted. Pranika’s dad was already waiting at the train station and he received them warmly. And as they exited out of the station they were now greeted by Dheeraj, Pranika’s elder brother. And minutes later they were all now heading towards the hotel, when a sudden strange thought hit Vikaas’s mind.

All these while, right since from his schooling to college to office days he had dated quite a lot of girls, and in all those cases, it was usually the girl with whom he gets along well at the beginning, followed by building a good rapport with her siblings and then finally ending up getting known to her parents. But, here in the case of Pranika, it was totally the other way round. He just got introduced to her dad first, and then now with her brother and well who knows he may even get introduced to someone from her family and finally it would be her. This experience was a first of its kind to him. JJJ

After some ten minutes of drive, the car came to a standstill and so did his thoughts. As he was offloading the bags, he overheard his dad telling Pranika’s dad that they will quickly freshen up and be at their home in the next thirty minutes. So, the countdown has begun and all that he had was a mere 1800 seconds in hand to get himself all set and prepared.

What happened next is to be followed in the upcoming posts.

So, please stay tuned.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Madras Madness: Part 4 – A night not to be forgotten

Let me begin this article with a note of gratitude to all those readers who took their time off their busy schedule just to go through my last post. I highly appreciate it, as your constant support and constructive feedback makes me write more such articles or to put it in a fancy way, to share more of my memories with you J

So, getting into our new post right away, the following event that is to unfold is yet another memory out of my hippocampus. Well it is almost a decade now since it happened and to be more precise, from the late evening of Dec 31st 2009 to the dawn of Jan 1st 2010.

Hence, with the above dates mentioned, I am sure that you would have got a clue as to what the rest of the post might be all about. Well your guess is absolutely right, as it was our (me & my buddies) first New Year celebration out of our college hostel. In the last two years, we were totally confined in that so called “hostel” of Sri SaiRam Engineering College, which was of course one of the top-ranked colleges in Tamil Nadu, but was even more known for its insane rules & regulations imposed upon students. And so staying at such a place we weren’t even given the complete freedom of celebrating New Year. Amidst the stupid rules we still had our fair share of happiness and small-small celebrations happening occasionally, and which now brings me to think of putting a separate post on it.

So, right after the end of the fourth semester exams, we all had stepped out of the college hostel and had rented a small house in Chrompet. And the highlight of moving out was that all our parents had unanimously agreed to our decision of moving out of the hostel and they were totally against the cruel treatment of the college authorities. This made our decision easier to implement than what we had initially thought off.

Getting back to our story, on the 31st evening, ultimately the plan was to head to Marina beach where one could find the best New Year celebration happening. Back then we didn’t have vehicle with us and so our only mode of transportation was the city bus. Aravindh, who popularly goes by the name “Mama”, had also turned up at our place for the night out. So, with the dusk approaching we took the bus “21G” to our first destination, the City Center Mall and from where we shall later be heading to the beach. The mall was just 2 kilometers from the beach and so spending the rest of the night at the mall and having our dinner over there was the best option to us.

As it was New Year eve, the roads were heavily packed and so it took a considerable amount of time to reach the mall. So, as planned we had our dinner over there, spent few hours at the roof top view point enjoying the cool sea breeze hitting our faces while we got an amazing view of the seashore.

With half-an-hour left for the clock to stuck 12, we made our way to the beach. It was unusually crowded with the air filled with excitement and people of all classes had gathered over there to share their happiness with the rest. Finally the clock ticked midnight and amount of fireworks display organized at the beach was amazing. People who had brought cakes with them started sharing it around with any stranger that they met over there. And the best part was you get randomly hugged by innumerable strangers on a single night, all wishing and exchanging their happiness with you. This was a new experience for all of us.

With the clock at half past midnight, people gathered there were made to disperse by the law enforcement department and we too made our way to the closest bus station, not being aware that we might be surprised right on the first day of the year. As we reached the bus station, the bus station supervisor informed us that the first bus to start from there was around 5 am only and that we were also not allowed to stay there until then.


We were little confused and worried, since we had totally ignored the mode of returning home while drafting out our plan. Also, as we were students, we did not carry enough cash to even hire a taxi back home.

Since Aravindh had a considerable amount of experience being in the city, he suggested on checking out at the closest MRTS station for any night service train that might take us somewhere close to Chrompet. But, as we enquired over there, the station master disappointed us again by saying that there were no night service on that day and the first train in the morning was by half past four. Now, both the option of public transport was ruled out. However, looking at our plight, the station master informed us of a night service MTC bus available at the DMS (Directorate of Medical and Rural Health Service) bus stop.

Though it was a long walk from the Lighthouse station to DMS, we decided to take it still, as we were left out with no other option. As we made our walk there was total excitement filled in the air, all through the way and that made our walk even more entertaining. And every now and then we grouped up for a selfie or just find random spots to relax our tiring feet. The St. George’s church on the Cathedral rode had arranged for a special mass and it was so refreshing to hear in that hour of the day. Refreshing ourselves for quite a while, we further made our move towards the DMS bus stop.

The bus stop was deserted and we were the only ones making noise over there, well apart from the vehicles that were passing by the Anna Saalai. Say after twenty minutes or more, a bus made its approach near the bus stop.

Oh fuck, was our reaction looking at it!

The bus was jam packed with people clutching dangerously even on the tiny foot board and totally no room for anyone to even set a foot inside. It was such a terrible scene and we had no interest to put our own life at risk and board the bus. So now even the last hope of us getting back home was also lost. Sitting alone at a deserted bus stop at the early hours of the day, we never felt unsecured or dangerous, as Madras was by far considered to be one of the safest cities in the country.

So, for the first few minutes we were lazing around the bus stop, but after sometime we decided to move ahead as we were getting bored of staying at the same spot. Once again it was Aravindh who came up with a brilliant idea. He suggested us walking to the T.Nagar bus depot and by the time we reach there, we shall be able to comfortably take the first bus departing out of there. His idea did sound right and moreover we guys had nothing much to do, rather than stare at the deserted Anna Saalai. Our route map was to take the Mount Road and then turn right onto the Pondy Bazaar road. And on reaching the Panagal Park junction, we take the North Usman road until we reach the bus depot.

The route was pretty interesting to take and we marched all the way down the Mount Road. Once we entered the Pondy Bazaar area, it was such a rare scene to see the ever crowded road with no activity happening at all. We felt as if we owned the entire stretch of the road.

And one such interesting moment worth sharing here is that on the front yard of one of the houses, we found a strange rangoli put up for the New Year. A rangoli is not strange a sight at the entrance of the South Indian homes, but this rangoli had a strange message on it, which instantly grabbed our attentions. The message was “HAPPY NEW YEAR 20010”.

All of us burst out laughing looking at it and I still remember Sreeni trying his best to erase the extra 0 from it. It was so funny to think how crazy people become in the zest for celebration. So, walking further down the busy shopping lane of the city, we finally reached the T.Nagar Bus Depot and by the time we reached it, it was already dawn. The local tea shops around the depot had opened up for a fresh year of business. Gulping down some tea and biscuits, we saw the first bus getting ready to take us back home.

As we got down at Chrompet and made our way back to the room, we knew that the entire country had woken up to begin a fresh start into their life and here we lazy asses were so tired that we bounced straight onto our beds, later waking up by mid-day.

Wow!!! What a start for the year it was…

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Madras Madness: Part 3 – Overnight Drink

A warm welcome to all my readers and here rolls out another fresh memory out of my mind.

Well of course I had mentioned in the earlier episodes of “Madras Madness” on how much I love the city and in-turn how much the city had given me back. So, every single moment spent in the city was well cherished by me and thereby I take pride in sharing with you some scintillating moments.

Note: It is purely my experience and love for the city that I am sharing it with you and it doesn’t necessarily require you to feel the same

So, this episode, as it goes by the name “Overnight Drink” started off just as a trial run, one night by a few guys of the Thiruvanmiyur flat, not knowing that it will later became a ritual for us. As you continue reading and get to know what I am about to share, well may be you might not be much exited or even think what so special about it, as we guys did. But as I said clearly before, this is just a recollection of the moments that I enjoyed the most at the city and you need not necessarily feel the same.

Disclaimer: So if you are not interested to know anything more, you may just skip the rest of the content and close the browser tab. No hard feelings at all. But to those who wish to know more, please continue reading.
Well definitely your mind might be now releasing too much of dopamine to figure out what could it be. And maybe you might question us as well as to “What made it special for you guys”, since I had quoted it before.

Hmm, to answer that it could actually be a plethora of reasons. And to list a few here, 
it could have been the perfect mood & the flavor that elevated us, or be it the surroundings & the people with whom we shared the moment could have raised the bar. It could have been anything. But, there is no discrete answer to it with me, even right now.

Also, before I begin, a note of caution to you all;

Don’t just blindly come to a conclusion with the title, as many of you might perceive it wrongly, and especially when a teenager drafts out a post with such a weird title, your brain may tend to perceive it wrongly, especially if you were brought up in a conservative society.

So, with the statutory warning, let me straight away get into the main story. During the last few years of my Chennai life, I along with my friends had moved over to Thiruvanmiyur, a friendly neighborhood, mainly known for its serene locality with pristine beach. It was seafront apartment that we had rented and there was no shortage of the sea-breeze hitting our faces every day. We rejoiced moving over to the new place and it was like being in a rejuvenating camp, away from the bustling city crowd.

So, as we moved up there, we guys made it a routine to stroll the beach every night post dinner, sharing that day’s events among us and rejoicing through it. You ask me anytime and I would say that the time I spend with my friends is always valuable and incomparable to anything else. So, I prefer to spend an ample amount of time with them. I totally forget myself when surrounded by them and be the true version of myself with them. Well, a few like the way I am and there are others who take advantage of that and use me for their benefits.

Oops…I am drifting away from the topic!!!

Coming back to the scene of our night walk, one night we did notice a huge crowd gathered up at one particular spot of the beach. Well, usually the Thiruvanmiyur beach is less known among the masses and it is not that commercialized, thereby the film fraternity uses it to their advantage. And also planning a shoot at the most commercialized beaches of the city like the Marina and the Bessy means attracting huge crowd. However, Thiruvanmiyur beach attracts only the residents of the locality and hence it is easy for them to plan and execute the shoot. Therefore, looking at the crowd gathered there, our immediate assumption was that a shoot was going on.

However, our curiosity irked us to make our way towards the crowd. Reaching the spot, we didn’t know as to what our reactions should be. Are we to be surprised or are we to be quizzed or are we to be astonished, I don’t know at all. There was no film shooting happening but it was after all an old man with simple attire selling buttermilk on a bicycle.


So, what’s the big deal if an old man sells buttermilk on a bicycle would be your immediate question. Believe me; we had the same question in our head, as well.

Well it was until we saw the line of BMWs, Mercedes and other premium cars lined up around him, people queued up around him, patiently waiting, just to grab their glass of buttermilk. Looking at this scene totally made us curious and we headed closer to check it out.

Well it is a global say that “You get easily noticed if you are unique out of the lot” and so was this old man. Chennai is known for its hot and humid weather and so road-side stalls line up during summers, selling cold beverages, and buttermilk is the most common among them. But here, this man totally re-engineered the script. Instead of the strong daylight, he sells them after sunset and instead of setting up the same boring stall, he rides around the beach on his bicycle.

And unlike others, his USP was not just to serve plain buttermilk but he adds finely chopped raw Mango and Boondi (Indian dessert made from fried chickpea flour) along to it. These add-ons actually elevate the drink’s flavor and you could never resist it, after a sip. Well looking at the scene around us, we made our order and had the first drink of the night. Well, the rest is history.

It kind of became a ritual for all of us, every single night and even after moving out the city, until to this day, the memories of those nights still linger in my mind, evergreen as before.

P.S. You can google "Moru Thatha" to know more about him

Monday, September 2, 2019

She moved in, but I had moved out – Part 7

So, just a small recap from the previous part, I was getting excited upon the news of moving to a new academic block, our regular academic session began in which Mithun & I shared most of our classes, and finally Mithun had woke me up from my nap just to share his excitement of finding Meenakshi in the same class and where I got petrified of a totally different sight.

A girl of peaches-and-cream skin tone with perfectly threaded eyebrows and waist length brunette half straight & half wavy hair had walked in right behind Meenakshi. Her eyes were calm and they were an instant attraction. She carried a perfect hour-glass figure with the right attire & accessories matching her complexion and structure, ending it with a neat box heel sandal. A shinning gold wrist watch slides down her smooth waxed arm every single time she moved the few strands of hair away from her face and a neat shade of “Starla” nail color gave a finishing touch to her beauty.

At the very moment, out of nowhere, the following lines started playing in my head, on a continuous loop.

Chubby Cheeks, dimpled chin,
Rosy lips, teeth within,
Curly hair, very fair,
Eyes so blue, lovely too

Do the lines sound familiar to you? Well, of course every one might have sung this famous nursery rhyme in their childhood.

I felt like the composer of rhyme composed it by looking at her, as it rightly exemplified her. She moved in gracefully with a broad smile that totally illuminated her face. And all these while my eyes were totally glued on her, ignoring what Mithun was saying to me or any other guy in the class, as this was the girl whom I wanted to meet right since my first encounter.

She was Ms. Elegant!

Thanks to my mind that it instantly put aside every other junk stacked in my brain and started prioritizing with the new job of just observing her. My eyes were in parallel acting swiftly to capture every single frame of her and getting it uploaded right away on to my hard disk.

Say, for another ten minutes or more, she was still involved in some sort of casual conversation with Harini, one of our other classmates from Coimbatore but I was doing just one task and it was to keep looking at her. And then suddenly it happened! She turned around and looked at me for the first time and it brought instant goosebumps within me. Her face was naturally radiant and the dimples were an instant eye catcher. Looking at me she gave a small smile.

Khalaas!” I truly can’t express that feeling through words

(Honestly, even now, smile adorns my face while reminiscing that moment)

Getting back to my sense, my mind that was processing rapidly all these while did not expect this sudden bump to hit it that it got jammed totally. Not knowing how to react to the situation, I felt a gentle smile would do the justification. So, I acknowledged her with a warm smile and to my disbelief she welcomed it, turned around and blushed. Her peachy cheeks were turning bright red and she seemed to relish the moment.

What more will a guy ask for, other than this!

In your teens, normally if a girl looks at you and smiles; unquestionably you get butterflies in your stomach and I have heard a lot about it from my friends. But, for the first time when I experienced it, it was like a sudden rush of adrenaline flowing through me and as if all the other hormones that were on sleep mode were suddenly activated. It was one of those rare happy moments of my life when I had experienced such adrenaline rush; well of course the last time was when my brothers were born.

Amidst this cute moment, I failed to notice that the staff was already there in the class and she had been talking to Harini. Shortly then moving to the center of the class she gave a small self-intro and asked us to do the same. The guys in the front rows started introducing themselves finally ending it with Mithun and I. Now the staff turned her attention towards the girl’s side and so did we. Mithun was equally excited to know more about Meenakshi as how I was to know about Ms. Elegant.

Meenakshi started and finished off her part in an instant and she sat down quickly, to which Mithun was totally disappointed. Next in turn to speak was my girl. As she stood up, her thick free-flowing hair glided gently on her back like the waves that hit the shores. She introduced herself as Sri Vidya, from Bangalore. Her voice was so soft, she was very attentive and clear in speaking about her, just to make sure that I get hold onto every word that she spoke (which I learnt it later).

Finishing her part she sat, flipped her hair sideways, turned towards me and gave a small nod, asking if I had taken down the details. Well of course, every guy tends to put in his full attention on the girl he likes and I am nowhere different from them. In fact I had noted down inch-by-inch of her from head to toe. But being a good boy (as how the society tagged me) I acknowledged her with a small smile and for the next few minutes our eyes were glued on to each other. This new feeling was something first of its kind for both of us and we both seemed love it. So, we just ignored the rest of student’s intro and were busy with our own task.

But, when you have a friend like Mithun, your special moments aren’t supposed to last longer. Mithun shook me vigorously, as it seems he had been lately noticing the short romance that I was having with Sri (that’s how I always refer to her) and also purposely since he was annoyed with Meenakshi not speaking much.

Hey Dude, get back to your sense and focus on the class. May be you can continue with your romance, later”, said Mithun, turning my face away from her, still pissed off!

I turned around and stared at him for ruining the lovely moment and started focusing on the class, though not whole heartedly. My mind was constantly hovering and over the next forty minutes, Sri & I would have exchanged looks at least 10 – 15 times.

The class came to an end and as per the school rules girls moved out of the class followed by the guys. On the way to the next class Mithun started pestering me with questions. “Well, you always stick with us but had never mentioned about her. So, how did this happen?asked Mithun, cornering me inside the class.

See there was nothing to hide from you guys. What you saw today happened for the first time”, I said, but Mithun was not ready to accept it.

And I was very sure that Mithun would definitely reveal the incident to Kishore and he will not take it easy and light. So, I had to warn Mithun to shut his mouth and keep this incident to himself and we made our way towards the boy’s staircase.

So, to what extent did this first sight between Sri Vidya & Raghav take them into?

Wish to know more? Then please stay tuned until the next part rolls out!

Monday, August 26, 2019

She moved in, but I had moved out – Part 6

She moved in, but I had moved out - Part 5  (The link to previous part)

In the last chapter, looking at Mithun’s thoughtless act, I gave him such a big philosophical lecture, just like some spiritual guru does, still not knowing that in another few days, I myself was about to get trapped in the charms of a girl. A girl, who just swept me off my feat!

Of course, every girl is beautiful in her own ways, but this particular girl, who made me insanely fall for her, was beyond every one. Getting back to our school days, it was slowly moving on and we were getting the hold on to the imprudent rules that were imposed on us. Yes, we evidently hated our school life; however our hostel life was something to relish about. From 4pm until 8am of the next day, Kishore, Mithun & I used to have the best time of our life. We three used to hang out together; be it at the room or the canteen or the study hall or even while doing yoga, which we purposely attended to continue with interrupted our early morning sleep.

To be honest, it was actually a hell of a life for anyone studying there and kids as small as 6 years were put up in the hostel, just with the false expectation of making them a successful person (WTF). Well that was where the parent’s belief rested upon. In fact they believed that the school would pave the way for their child’s future. Hmmm, what a foolish mindset is it. Well nothing more can be said of this, as by default we are stereotypes.

So, amidst this hard f***ing life, as a relief, came the news of us moving to the newly constructed academic block, which housed a part of the boys higher secondary classes, as well. It seemed not everyone welcomed this news as how I did it, since now they miss the chance to secretly catch an eye on the higher secondary girls. But, I was much relieved now, since I get the chance to meet my brother, every single working day.

Right since childhood, I had grown up seeing him and in particular, just by calling him as Gautham anna itself brought in some sort of excitement within me. Not all the words that you use every time have a strong sense of connection within you, but there are very few that holds the magic in it. And to me, his name was one of them. So, having him around in a place where everything else was against me was indeed a blessing in disguise and now I was least concerned about anything else happening to me there. In one way as this news elevated my endorphin level to unimaginable point, a part of my mind still hovered around Ms. Elegant (the girl whom I longed to see from a long time).

The actual academic year hadn’t started yet and instead we were having sort of extracurricular sessions, like, some sort of orientation program. Hanging around with the other two and participating in most of the activities, we never realized that we had successfully survived two months in that hell. And every now and then, Mithun tried his luck with Meenakshi but nothing worked out. Also, from my observation I understood that she is more of a studious type and doesn’t give a shit to any unwanted stuff trending around her.

Mithun’s act of getting Meenakshi’s attention was one among them in her list however it was well received by the other girls of the class. They seemed to like it, however going by the school’s rule; they resisted their emotions & relished by hiding it within themselves. But, not even a single time did Meenakshi pay attention to him or rather was busy glued to the text books always. And I didn’t want to reveal this to him, as I never wished pain for Mithun. I definitely knew that it would completely devastate him.

You know what; the best thing about Mithun was his smile. It was so refreshing & addictive that you instantly forget everything. And to a face that brings in happiness to others, how could I, being his close friend, add sorrow by revealing this news. So, every time that he speaks about her, I gave him my full attention and supported him, still making sure he didn’t do anything insane and land us all in a tight spot.

And very soon our class schedule turned up and luckily I was sharing most of my classes with Mithun. Since, Kishore had taken Tamil as his second language and we had taken Hindi, his schedule slightly differed from us.

The first day of the academic calendar began and classes started rolling on with every minute passing by. It was the first hour, post lunch and we had our Hindi class. As per the schedule the class was located somewhere in the ground floor of the academic block. On the way to the class, Mithun & I were heavily arguing that it will be more of a casual interaction session and rather a formal class. As we entered the class, there were a handful of guys seated and a single girl, whom we didn’t care much about.

The class just had four rows of seats and as usual, we took the last row. Feeling bored and not knowing what to do until the staff arrives, I laid on the desk to take a short nap, since my tummy was full, after a so called satisfying meal (totally sarcastic).

It would have been just a matter of seconds before I had closed my eyes that Mithun woke me up. I said,What is it now man?still not opening my eyes.

Raghav…Raghav, wake up and look, its Meenakshi. I didn’t know that she had taken Hindi, as well, as her second language”, exclaimed Mithun happily. 

My mind voice was like “Hey Bhagawaan!!! mujhe is ladke se bachao naa (Oh God! Please save me from him)”. Cursing Mithun with some good words (again sarcastic), I slowly turned my head towards the doorway, when something else instantly caught my attention. Believe me or not, you should have looked at my face then. I was sitting stunned as if some powerful spell had hit me. The sorrow that held me all these while had suddenly vanished out of me and I was looking fresh & energetic, as if some sort of energy booster was released out of my brain.

So, what petrified me & what got rid of my sorrows?

Curious to know more about what happened, then please stay tuned until the next chapter rolls out.

The Perfect Grill-O

As the evening sun was setting low, my hunger was slowly building up. I looked at my watch and sadly I had an hour more for the shift to end. Today was one of those rare days when I missed bringing some food to much at the office. And as I had recently moved to a new apartment, just two days back, finding stuffs in the morning before rushing to office was also tiring for me.

So, not knowing what to do and sitting idle would rather increase my hunger, I decided to shift my focus onto the World Wide Web. Going through few financial news on the Economic Times website, I checked my watch again, hoping that time would have moved on, but just five minutes had passed by.

“Oh God, not today” was the thought running in my mind.

With every minute passing by the rumbling sound of my stomach was pitching up. I somehow tried to convince my stomach by saying to myself that, “Calm down, no hurry please. We shall be at the restaurant very soon.”

So, with this same excuse I somehow managed to get rid of the next one hour and was on my way to home. Usually on days when my shift is until 2100 hours, I take my food outside, since it would become very late if I go home and prepare the dinner.

As I was walking through the lake side, my attention caught sight of a small eatery at one corner of a big building and I proceeded towards it. I had never been to it before and so the curiosity naturally drove me towards it. Approaching the café, I remembered couple of people from the locality talking great about the place. Not once or twice but I have heard the café’s name a lot many times. Now that I am actually heading to it built up my expectation tenfold.

The Tea Break café was a small, tastefully decorated and less crampy hangout spot, positioned well away from the eyes of the public. Only to those people who had a hang of this place, visited it often and they were the ones who marketed it out to the unknown rest.

By the time I entered it, the place was totally empty and the guy at the billing desk welcomed me with a broad smile and a “Hello”. I figured out instantly with his accent that he was a Malabari (term used in Dubai to refer a person from Kerala). As I was tired of conversing in Malayalam at the office, I held myself this time and conversed in English with him. Their Menu was limited but the options were wide and the list of ingredients used with each was something new and unique. Never had I seen the mixed usage of such items, however they sounded flavorsome.

I made my order for an Egg Mushroom Semi Club sandwich with a small cup of Zafran Kadak Chai (Saffron Masala Tea). While waiting for the order, my eyes scanned the place and it felt refreshing to be in there. I had always wanted to open a café and the interiors of this place gave me ideas on how to make it appealing to the customers.

And before my stomach could make any further rumbles, the order arrived at the table. Though it was a simple order, the culinary presentation was awe-inspiring. I took the first bite, it was really hot and my tongue took the burnt. However, within minutes I suddenly felt the blend of soft mushrooms, egg and cheese melting in my mouth. I could not explain my feeling as it was beyond words. The ingredients were well cooked and grilled to perfection. And munching it with a hot sip of Zafran Kadak chai elevated the taste.

With a satisfied heart and soul, of course stomach as well, I complimented the chef and made my way out of the place. Walking back to my apartment, the taste of the sandwich that was still hovering in my mind, made me believe that offering good food can attract a great foot fall, irrespective of how big or small your space is.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Time Flies by!

Dubai, the land of dreams, has never failed to live up to its name. It is one city wherein you find people from all walks of life. Be it the tourists, who fly in to experience the grandeur of this desert nation or be it the white-collar employees, charting out big dreams for their life, or be it the blue collar employees, in the hope of earning some extra cash (in Dirhams) to support their families, back home. So, everyone whom you meet in this city will have a long story, left behind.

And so is one such story, the story of a young teenager, traveling all the way from India into a foreign country for the first time in his life. Never did he expect that even his passport will be stamped one fine day. Every single event that made his journey to Dubai was totally unplanned. What started off as a commitment to keep his relationship intact, ended up losing both the girl he loved and the anticipated B-School of his choice. But, his parents had always believed in him and they had always trusted his moves. It was they who suggested him to fly to Dubai, even though it meant burning their pockets heavily. But, they did not worry about it, as all that they wished was for him to have a new life, a better life, away from home, away from the losses that he suffered, and away from everything.

Classes went on well and so was his urge to learn. Over the past twenty-five years, it was here wherein the urge to study & learn more hit him like a thunder. Of course, he did it pretty well in comparison to the whole batch. And in the company some great people, his life was progressing fine. Days went by, weeks passed on and years flew by, and suddenly today he is still in Dubai, but not as a student anymore. A nice job at a multinational firm has made his schedule busy and engaged. He did understand that the next phase of his life has begun and it was the time for him to move out of the place, which hosted him for two long years; (i.e.) the college hostel.

No more late night studies, assignments, exams, chatting, fighting, gaming, late night walks and finally, preparing spicy Maggi in the middle of the night to feed the starving stomach. When he recollects those memories, a small smile pops up at the end of his lip. And at the same time thinking that there won’t be any more such moments to cherish upon does make him emotional. It is time for him to step out of academic city perimeter and relocate into some cozy neighborhood.

It feels like yesterday when I first entered Dubai and now I don’t even remember how each day went by”. Time just swept me off my feet and I don’t know how further it will take me, is what dwells in his mind.

She moved in, but I had moved out – Part 8 (The Movie Night)

Over the next few days Mithun had almost come close to revealing the incident to Kishore, however my timely interruption saved the day. It...