Empty thoughts and mutterings

Monday, April 25, 2005

A conversation with my conscience..

Why do we act like we deserved everything we have and some things we don't have ? Why is that we are never satisfied with what we have and always want more ? Why is that when our problems get solved, we always find new problems to entertain ourselves with ? Going to my time in chennai, waiting for the "call for my visa". At first, I thought it was a matter of days, before the call would be made. I was waiting every day for that all important e-mail. It didn't come. Days turned to weeks. Weeks turned to months. The hardest part about this was that it was difficult to meet people without them asking you the question. Although I realized that it was difficult for a conversation to happen without that question popping up, slowly, I grew tired of answering that question. Only because the answer was the same everytime and I had no control over how long it would take. I felt handicapped, in that, I could not do what I loved most..meeting people. I did not want to walk in the street before dark, because I was afraid that somebody would see me, come up to me and say "why are you still here ? ". Although a lot of the people I am sure only wished me well, it was hard for me to talk to them as freely as I used to. I tried to project an image like I was enjoying the time with my relatives, when in fact, I was struggling deep down and they sensed it.

I sat down and thought if I would have done anything different given another chance at the visa office ? Contrary to sayee's depictions on stage, I didn't give super smart answers when asked about my project. I just told him what I knew. Somehow the visa officer felt it was necessary to give it another check, owing to all the added security from 9/11. The answer came out loud and clear..No. I wouldn;t have done anything different. Does this mean that I deserved it the first time I got my visa? Again the answer was clear..No. I didn't. So what is it that we have/had that we did deserve ?

During that period, my Manni would ask me to visit different temples in madras to help me get through this and she'd say "Poi vendikko, kandippa visa kedaikkum". Among the list of the temples, was a "Visa Aanjaneyar" temple. Funny how, even the temples get categorized "utility" wise. In time, we might even see temples like "Viral suththi" Pillayaar temples and "Dote 1" Agasthyar temples. And I did what people asked me to do. Go to temples. But when I had to pray and ask god to make the "visa e-mail" happen, something stopped me. That question always bothered me.When I looked at all those little boys, waiting in line to get the kovil prasaadam to fill their stomach with, I realized that I could have turned out like one of them. So easily ! What did I do differently to deserve all the comforts that have been showered on me ? What did I do to deserve good parents ? What did I do to deserve good education ? Good health and no physical handicap ? I didnt do a thing ! And when I was here to ask him for the Visa, did I thank him for the engineering degree I got ? For the college admission ? For doing well in the 12 th std ? Oh no, those were long forgotten ! And is there any promise I might change this behavior and act "content"? No ! How opportunistic ! So, I did not infact ask for the visa (but ofcourse heart of hearts I was craving for it which is tantamount to asking for it I guess). But God being God, gave it to me anyway. When we face adversities, there are lessons to be learnt. Did I learn my lesson ? We'll know soon enough..

"Naayagan melirundhu noolinai aatugindraan
Naamellam bommai endru naadagam kaattugindraan"

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

It's a full circle!

An outside look at a social gathering (about 6-7 people) in a grad school atmosphere (desi gang) such as ours !

Guy 1: On center stage doing the talking for the most part of the meeting. The whole group looks to him for energy, and for the next comment. He is expected to deliver the goods every single time. I've been there.

Guy 2: Does the support role - shares the limelite with #1. Has no problems with #1 stealing the show. But has a lot to say himself, and says it without inhibition, at the right opportunity. I've been that guy.

Guy 3: Is the target of guys #1 and #2 and the whole group. Feels depressed about being in this situation, with no knowledge of how to express his anger/irritation. Is extremely scared that if he does react, it will be greeted with more laughter. Knows at the back of his mind, that on another day, another time, the roles might well be reversed. I've been that guy.

Guy 4: Represents the mob mentality. Knows well that he shouldn't say anything to get himself into trouble, or more fun for the group at his expense. Sympathises with #3 but with no intention of saving him from the evil clutches, because he realizes that saving #3 can only come at somebody else's expense and he doesn't want to be that guy. I've been this guy.

Guy 5: Totally uninterested in the group's activities. Didn't want to come in the first place, and all this empty lechcha is boring him no end. Waiting for an opportunity to slip out and carry on with his daily routine. I've been this guy.

Guy 6: A newcomer to the gang. Desperately wants to belong but does not know how. The gang has no interest to know about his activities. There's a lot he has to say, but stays quiet because he does not know what sort of reactions will be evoked. Ive been him.

I think it's important for everyone to realize that what goes around comes around ! If everyone had the power to "put himself/herself in the other person's shoes" the world would be such a nice place ! The example I just talked about, is probably limited to a social gathering of people our age. But the bigger concept can be extrapolated to several things in life !

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Cut him some slack !

I am taking a small break from philosophical topics to focus on another of my favorite areas, "Indian Cricket". With the recent string of bad performances, Ganguly has been the butt of all jokes and criticisms in the country. When the other players in the team were going through rough patches, Gangs made it a point to protect them and made sure that they either got back to good form, or atleast made sure that they were given their chance before being cut from the team. Now when it's his bad run, people just want to enjoy hating him ! Don't get me wrong, his test spot should be under scrutiny, like it is, and it should be communicated to him, that if this continues, Yuvraj/Kaif who are knocking on the door, will get the permanent look in that they have been waiting for, for quite some time. But his one day success should not be gorgotten in a hurry and if that's not reason enough for us to leave him in peace for some more time, maybe this is.. This is Gang's team, and he has been the cornerstone for this system, replacing a corrupt system that threatened to doom India's cricketing hopes permanently. He has been instrumental in throwing the concept of instability out of the window, and making sure, that only truly deserving people get to play for India. And when you get that chance, one bad performance is not going to throw you into oblivion. If not, players like Laxman and Balaji would now have been playing league cricket in Tamil Nadu, Andhra etc and Dravid would have been branded a "test only" cricketer. Can you imagine such an indian team now ? I think our man deserves some time to himself, and lets hold off for a while. After all, 9967 runs in ODI didn't happen with no talent !

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Making memories...

How do we make memories ? How do we know we are doing something that's going to be special for a long time or possibly for the rest of our lives ? I don't really know how to answer that question.. But one thing I know.. is that the best memories happen, when you don't force it to happen, when you are just in it, and enjoying the seemingly inconsequential day.

Yesterday was one such day. 17 of us descended on the friendly confines of Georgetown kite festival. To me, the kites were just a small excuse for meeting people, understanding them better and having a laughter and fun filled day. I cared for the kites (sorry K :) ) just as much as I did for the yellow book lying on my neighbour's door for the pask week and a half. But a big event involving so many people, count me in (If my thesis defense were to be on that weekend, count me in still, I'll get the defense postponed :) ) . After a session of frisbee and good food, we played loaded questions. This was probably a much bigger group for a game like this, but being a sucker for learning about people, I didn't do much to sway the ship towards pictionary. After some extraordinarily silly answers and laughter, we all got tired of the game at almost exactly the same time (or maybe it happened earlier and I failed to notice) and after K and S managed to beat out the rest of the competition to the prestigious "Best kite award", we decided to carry our lechcha session in star bucks. Half of that lechcha was disturbed by our favorite "what do we want to do next ? " past time. And after much deliberation, we met again at the bowling alley later on at night for more fun. And fun it was, with a big group like ours, we never stopped finding ways to entertain. Be it P's 1.6 mph delivery, or K blasting the bejesus out of the pins (like somebody put it, pins kku vaai irundha azhum ! ), or V's rookie luck continuing all night, the fun flowed on. At the end of the bowling session, just like we had counted on her to do, R suggested we go to Denny's for a coffee session. Half the group wanted to go home, and though my legs and arms were craving the comfort of my bed, the idea of missing out on more "interacting" didn't appeal to me watsoever. So denny's it was....talks about LTCA's and current and past crushes, UK then and UK now, more "knowing about each other" happened. The prompt and friendly service of Denny's made sure that we didn't get home before 2.30.

As I sat in bed thinking about the day that had passed, it hit me...I am going to remember this day for a while ! Not by virtue of the quantity of events that happened, but by the quality of those.... a parameter we had no control over !!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

To let go or not to let go ?

This was the question that has been haunting me for the last few days. When V came up to me on a random evening and said, it's time you and R hand over responsibilities to somebody else. Had it been somebody other than V, I would have probably dismissed the notion. But V is as neutral as they come, and there couldn't possibly be any other intentions. I bombarded him with 500 questions for the next hour or so, about why R had to leave. As for me, I was resigned to the fact that I was going to leave and so the question of me staying did not arise. I was in denial about the fact that this organization could do well without R. She has without a doubt been the strength of this organization. This has been her biggest passion and she was not shy of showing it. It was hard to imagine an organization without her running it. I could come up with 100 different reasons for why R should stay. But none of these reasons stood ground when I started to think about why we should leave. It is extremely important that an organization not be dependent on one/two people. The longer the dependence continues, the harder it is for the organization to handle the departure of the people in question. While the impact of the departure will be felt for some time, it also opens the doors for fresh faces to come in and impart their identity to the organization.

I put this proposal (of stepping down) to R, and convinced her to do it. One side of me, feels like I've been merciless to have pulled this on her when she wasn't expecting it one bit. Another side of me, feels like, the right decision has been made and it's time to move on. I knew it was going to be hard for R to take this. Last night, when we were doing the hand off meeting, she surprised me by staying strong all meeting with no display of emotion. After the meeting, when I was lying on my bed, it sank in slowly. No more meetings, no more coffee sessions before the big event, no more phone chats with people I don't know convincing them to pay us for an advertisement in return, no more complaining about how people in the e-groups don't respond to e-mails, no more problem sorting and no more feeling of pure satisfaction at the end of the event. I could sense a tear trickling down my cheek.

Is this the right decision ? Did I screw up ? Only time will tell !!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Me and writing ?

This is my first blog and my first honest attempt at finding out if I can be half decent at writing. Ramya and a few others have been asking me to write my own blog for quite some time. I am pretty sure, it's not because they see that creative halo around me, but more because I constantly irritate them with my huge responses to their blogs prompting them to say "Dude, don't respond to blogs with blogs, go get your own blog man". So here I am !