Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The bus rocked to a halt on the dusty road. A handsome man in his early thirties appeared from within wearing a proud smile on his face and a uniform on his chest. As the dust settled down and the smell of wet mud greeted him the story of his life played in his head. Born into a peasant family as the first of five children, he lived a life filled with pain and strife. His family lived in abject poverty. He had even seen abba attempting suicide at one point when the family was under a pile of debt.

Being the eldest son, it was incumbent upon him to rescue the family in its hour of crisis. His idea of a steady income was a government job in the army. For a poorly educated 6 footer with broad shoulders and the heart of a lion, joining the army as a sipaahi didn’t take much. A couple of physical exams and he was in.

With the little money they received every month and privileges the family subsisted. Initially, he visited them once in a year. It warmed his heart to see his family in a better place than before, because of him. He was a proud son, both of his house and the country. But one question he couldn’t answer for himself was whether, being a sipaahi in the army was a service to Hindustan or a profession. If it were a profession why wasn’t he looking out for something which paid better? If it were a service to the country why was his family’s welfare involved?

Years drifted by and he found himself married with children. The days were long and he literally counted down days left to meet his children. The idea of ‘service’ seemed more like a delusion which the exuberance of youth had cast over his mind. He wanted to get back home to his family. He’d much rather do what his father did for a living than live his life. But the government had other plans for him. He was commissioned to fight the war. There was death all around him. His buddies had been killed. They were his brothers in all the years that had gone by. He felt a rush of blood in his veins. The will to serve his nation drove him day and night. He fought bravely among men who were ready to face death head on. He lived to see the enemy slain. But all did not end well.

Euphoria over the victory soon died down and the shine of the badges on his sleeve began to fade. He decided that life needs a change for the better. Leaving a part of himself behind, he packed his bags and bid adieu to the institution which parented him through his youth.

A shrill noise brought him back to his senses. It was the bus driver honking. He dragged his bags down the steps and pointed to his seat. The bus conductor reached under the seat and took out a pair of crutches. The cripple balanced himself on the staff and set out towards his village. A young boy stuck his head out of the bus speeding past him and waved at him crying ‘Hero!

This post is inspired by an incident a friend narrated.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ava Illa Illa Neruppu Thaane Nenjila


Life as a grown-up sucks big time! That too when you are working and living alone there is a certain routine which you get sucked into that is the exact opposite of fun. My life is a boring routine. I have only one thing to tell my maa when she calls me in the evening and asks me about work. 'Work is work'. Both of us are so tired of that answer that she wants me to quit and get the hell out of this shit-hole. ( Pardon the profanity)

Since I cook my dinner and painfully wash vessels afterwards i find it impossible to get out of bed in the morning.The worst part is that if i miss the company bus in the morning i will have to take two autorickshaws to reach my office. It is particularly difficult during winters because the weather will send a chill down your body which is difficult for a pure-bred Madrasi (so to speak) like me to me to handle.

The Story

A couple of days back i woke up as usual. By 'as usual' i mean that i had enough time to brush, get dressed and leave the house so that i can board my bus. (Notice the distinct absence of the word 'bathe') As fate would have it the entire ordeal of having to get out of bed was yet again trivialized by us missing the bus. And by 'us' i mean myself and my roommate.Every time we miss the bus i get pissed off with him. To be honest the poor guy does no harm. But i get so annoyed with him that I'll blame him for all my woes.I wonder why.I also wonder if he'll ever read this. I hope he doesn't.

Just as i was imagining sitting next to a short man covering himself with a dirty blanket and smoking beedi in the auto, magic happened.

At a certain distance along the road a woman dressed in traditional attire appeared out of the fog cover. It was as if the universe was telling me that she was the one. She was the goddess who could dispel the cloud of cynicism and anger over all my thoughts.Darkness was making way for light.

She was so fair that you could miss her feet in the fog and imagine her to be an angel floating. I noticed she was wearing a scarf and all one could see were her eyes.Her hair was tucked into the scarf.All except a few strands which caressed her cheek.Her geometry would make the palms of sculptors itch for their tools.I can't paint. I wished i could at that moment.

As she approached me i got this strange feeling in my abdomen,which i thought had died forever.I felt a strange warmth which soothed my body in the morning cold.She calmly stood next to me and i was about to be pushed over the edge. I was one glance away from getting down on one knee and telling her that the sight of her that morning was by far the brightest moment in the past few months. I wanted to hug her in the most decent manner possible. It was the moment that i fell in love with, not her.

But before i could even close my mouth which was wide open, a man in a leather jacket on a Pulsar stopped next to me. She hopped on, hugged him and they zipped past me.

Ava enna thedi vantha anjala

Ava illa ippo neruppu thaane nenjula..