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“What are you excited about???” August 5, 2009

Posted by espritnoir in I, Me and Myself..., Random Thoughts....
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Asked the soon-to-be Mrs. of the alter-ego of EspritNoir, ie. me.

STOP PRESS!!! Yes, to clarify to those of you who didn’t know. I (or at least the alter-ego, who doesn’t go around by the name of EspritNoir, or any of the other really weird names I have for myself) am getting married! Tomorrow, to be precise. To this lovely girl, who only did one major goof-up in life. Falling for me! Not that I’m complaining. I don’t think i could have got any luckier, and I mean it! I’m just happy that my erstwhile girlfriend for 3 years, fiancee of 6 months, and soon-to-be-Missus (for those of you who are wondering, yes, all three are the same woman!) and I both made our way in life together, which was a great but not-always-easy ride. And the one thing I’m sure about is this : Having seen each other’s best and worst sides, not to mention all the paraphanelia and baggage we both have carried along into the relationship, and still accepting each other with the same love as three years back when we first got together, we now know that we’ll be prepared for anything in the future…! So, cheers, to that.

But, I digress. So, she asked me the really strange question about a week back. And I didn’t know what to say. Say the truth or lie? Coz, the truth was I really wasn’t excited about the wedding. It’s just too much hassles, over something, which in the end, becomes more of a stressful event, than a stress-free one.

Neither am i excited about the honeymoon so much as to be over the top. I mean, sure i am excited at the prospect of spending some great quality time with her away from the whole set of wedding crazed families. But, at the end of the day, thats what the honeymoon period is all about. Having fun, relaxing, enjoying each others company, getting tipsy, and getting lots of … uhem… cosy, intimate moments! 😉 So, that’s like a given. So, im excited about it, but is that what im most excited about?

No…not really.

Which puts me in dangerous grounds. I really can’t tell that to the Mrs-to-be…that Im not really that excited about the wedding, nor the honeymoon. I decide to take the plunge and tell her what im really excited about…

1) Waking up in the morning, to find her lying in my arms. Even if the added weight of her head on my arms, means that i have to spend ten minutes every morning to wake my arm from its dead sleep, it’s worth it!

2) Having coffee with her in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Black coffee tastes good, watching her at 6.30 am in a coffee shop around the corner, even better.

3) Not having to drop her home, after spending the evening in my side of the town. It will be the greatest thing in the world to just go home together once we’re through with our evenings.

4) Decorating our room and home together in the years to come. I’m sure the hole in my wallet will not as large as the lump of joy in my heart, as we add new things to our bedroom to mark the happy years passing by.

5) Playfully pushing her out of bed on a regular weekday morning. Just like that. To hear her scream when the stone cold floor hits her body! (Don’t worry, we have a low bed. So it’s not too much of a fall;)

6) Going with her to places i’ve always wanted to go to, but never did ‘coz it would never be the same without her. Kerala, Lakshwadeep, Goa, Sri Lanka, UK, the rest of the world. No place is too near, or too far, or too anything. I’ve never gone anyplace with somebody special. This should be a great start!

7) Showing her around UK someday. Especially Bournemouth & Poole. Munchies on Poole High Street, where we used to eat doner kababs, Chippy, the fish & chip shop i frequented, Poole Quay, Bournemouth Beach, the Uni, the place in London where i stayed for a night, and was reminded of Bombay. There are so many memories of me as an individual, that i want to share with her. I’m excited about that.

8) Sharing our dreams, and living them together.

9) Being hit by the ten ton scent of her freshly washed hair, and going weak in my knees. It may not be like that forever, but you know what, i really want to enjoy it to the fullest, till it lasts.

10) Creating new memories. Not as individuals, but together. As a married couple. With all the fights, and kisses, and hugs and punches, and warts and smiles and all.

I’m really excited about spending the rest of my life with her. Somewhere, on these pages, I had said, “Someday, I’ll be a Saturday Night…” Well, tomorrow may be a Thursday to some, but to me, it’s the start of my Saturday night…and i’m really excited about spending all (well, almost all:) my Saturday nights (and other nights and days) with the woman I love!

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Bombay at war… November 30, 2008

Posted by espritnoir in Random Thoughts....
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I don’t need to express to all of you, how dark the past few days have been for Bombay, and for India in general. What seemed like the possible plot of a high action movie, came true right before our eyes. And left in its wake a sense of destruction, desolation and anguish the likes of which Bombay, and for that matter, India has not seen in recent years. Innocent lives were lost. People’s sense of security and peace have been shattered. Those of whom who had the fortune of surviving this ordeal are probably scarred for life. And, last but not the least, Bombay may have lost one of its most iconinc landmarks forever. It is undeniable that at least to many of us, me included, the majestic Taj was – i stand corrected, IS – as symbolic an image of Bombay, as the Twin Towers were to New York. All i can hope and pray for is that the Taj is also rebuilt in all its glory, just as i hope our faith and trust is as well.

But amidst all this, a few thoughts come to my mind. Like all other Bombayites, I too cheered and thanked the men in uniform for all their bravery and for putting their lives on the life, so that we could feel a little more secure about ours. The Mumbai and Maharashtra police, the National Security Guard, the marine commandos, the Army, the Navy, all those who put themselves in the path of a bullet deserve credit for their role in making our lives a little safer tonight than what it was last night. Be it outside the Taj, the Trident, Nariman House, CST station, Cama Hospital, outside the airports, railway stations, or at any crossing and signal in Bombay. I felt more safe yesterday going back home, than i felt the day Bombay was closed down due to the riots over local politicians being arrested. However, in all of this, I fear that once the initial cheering and euphoria dies out, we will soon forget their bravery. After a few Indian victories in Cricket and a few hit Bollywood movies, we run the risk of forgetting all that these men in uniform have done for us in the last few days, and we shall soon get to the point where we are brazen enough to complain that these cops take Rs. 100 everytime we break a signal and question the discounts the military gets in army canteens. I feel that we should thank these men in some way, before we forget.

A bigger worry is that we also run the risk of forgetting all that has happened in the Bombay since the 26th. We, me included, get too involved in our lives to remember that something like this ever happened in our city. Because we have seen it on the television so many times, in the news in other countries and in the movies, in my opinion we run the risk of being desensitised towards it days after it has happened. We just think “It’s something that happens inside the TV. It doesn’t affect me.” But it does, and if it doesn’t, it should before our apathy kills us. And even then if it doesn’t, I think at some level we are dead already. I think all Indians, at least those of us who call Bombay our home, need to visit “Ground Zero” and see for ourselves what has happened there. Unless we see it with our own eyes, we will never fully understand the trauma of those who lived to tell the tale, and we will never realise that today, more than ever before, we need to stand together as a city, as a nation, as one person and scream out in one voice, “WE WILL NOT LIVE OUR LIVES IN FEAR! WE ARE GOING TO MOVE AHEAD!! AND WE WILL STAND UNITED AGAINST ANY ENEMY!!!” We cannot be consumed with our petty differences anymore. We cannot put up with a North – South divide, we cannot allow our politicians to break us further based on religion, language, caste, economic status, or any other grounds. We all have said it before, and we all have heard it before, but it’s time we started acting up on this for a change. It’s time we learned NOT TO FORGET!

I am sorry for venting out my feelings out to you in this manner. I had a similar outburst in front of my family last night, and i think the after-effect of the outburst that remained with me all night, has forced me to share my views with you. I would like to propose that we, as Indians should put our money where our mouth is, and do something to thank our heros in uniform for whatever they have endured for us. In whatever way possible. Be it monetary, in kind, spiritual, time or any other way, that benefits them the most. In my limited capacity, I have proposed an idea, but I am sure it can be bettered and I would appreciate it if a thought was put into this, and a plan is worked out. But the critical thing is doing something. Now is the time to do, and not debate, and discuss.

Also, i feel that everybody must visit the three battlezones within the city – The Taj, The Trident Oberoi and Nariman House, and pay homage to those who succumbed to terrorism. I think this must be done, before these buildings are rebuilt and the blood is washed away from the streets and our collective memories. I genuinely feel that to finally understand how real the threat is to our people, our city and our nation, we must see with our own eyes and feel with our own heart, the pain, the anguish and the terror that has engulfed our city today. If we do not, once again all of us, me included, run the risk of forgetting the shocking incidents that have happened right before our eyes. I understand again that not everybody may feel the same way about this as I do. But i sincerely feel that if we forget this incident, we will forever desensitise ourselves to the most important thing that binds us today – Humanity. And we may have to think twice before we call ourselves Human Beings again.

A Concerned Citizen and a Human Being

Here’s wishing all Indians out there a Happy ID15… August 15, 2008

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Spent the first ten minutes of ID15, (I think more people celebrate Independence Day if it had a cool sounding alternate name, like ID15!), listening to different renditions of the Indian National Anthem…I must say, I haven’t heard the anthems of too many other countries, but seriously, if ever there were an Olympics to determine the most inspiring National Anthems of all times, ‘Jana Gana Mana’ would whip some serious butt. I know there are too many detractors, ready to pounce on an opportunity to have it changed to something else. But, the way I see it is, I really don’t care who it was written for, and for what occasion it was created. All I know, is when I hear the first few bars of the music, and the opening words ‘Jana Gana Mana’, I feel proud of my country like never before. To me, it stands for more than the occasion for which it was created, and for whom it was meant to be sung originally. To me it stands for everything that I love about my countrys, potholes, corrupt politicians, warts and all.

As I type this, I realise that I’m sitting in the country that ruled us for 300 odd years. Surprisingly, I don’t think I feel any particular ill will towards the British anymore. Easy for me to say though, I don’t think I lost anybody in the constant struggles to win our human rights back. As I continue typing this, I remember a line from a good movie, “Saving Private Ryan”. After most of the team sent to rescue Private Ryan from the Bay of Pigs had died, in trying to keep him alive, Tom Hank’s character, said this to Matt Damon, who played Private Ryan. “Earn it, Ryan. Earn this.” Although we just inherited it and have for most of our lives taken it for granted some people really did fight for our independence. I hope someday, as a country, as a united people, we earn the trust of those who laid down their lives, and all that was dear and precious to them, just so that we could have a better future.

Here’s wishing you a Happy ID15! Wish you have a safe, independent and successful life, wherever you are. Cheers!

Dusseldorf. Drupa 2008. June 18, 2008

Posted by espritnoir in I, Me and Myself..., Random Thoughts....
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Back at home (?) in Poole, after spending a week in Dusseldorf, Germany. It’s a really lovely place, with quaint little trams and trains running across the city, filled with trees and greenery. I think I saw more cyclists and roller bladders in Dusseldorf than I saw cars! But more on that later.

Was in Dusseldorf to attend the ‘mecca’ of the printing industry that takes place every four years there. Drupa 2008. The company I used to work with back in India was participating, and had a whole bunch of people coming to Germany for the show. In fact, over just over four and a half years back, I remember, soon after I joined the company as a Marketing Communications Executive, we had started work on the 2004 edition of this exhibition. It was kind of the first big project I worked on. Since I was a newbie, I was in charge of nothing, but just the foot soldier to organize everything that the senior wanted done. Logistics, shipping, crating, speaking to vendors, hunting down old poster designs for references, making sure everybody had their international SIM cards, keeping a track of who was staying at which B&B in dusseldorf, etc. In short, I had my sleeves and jeans rolled up, and I was working right in the thick of things. And I remembered around that time, when my 6 monthly appraisal came up, DC (my ex-boss / more friend) said to me, ‘I know you probably are wondering why you aren’t going to Germany, with the rest of the team. But, your time will come. Soon, you’ll travel out of Bombay, the rest of the country. And maybe next drupa, Germany. You will be there, right in the thick of things, don’t worry! Once you get the hang of handling events, you will fly.’ And internally, I was like, “Yeah right. Like I’m gonna wait four years for that! If it happens, it will happen who knows.”

That was end 2003 – early 2004. After that the team left for drupa 2004, had a good drupa, and came back to India. I moved on to other events. Local first, and then national. Delhi was my first big event outside Bombay for the company. Disaster is the only word that comes to mind. I remember DC telling me at the end, when I was looking at the dismantled stall, not knowing, what goes where, and what happens next : “You look like a babe lost in the woods”. But we came off okay. After that, it had been a roller coaster ride. One event after the other. A lot of things going good, some not so good. But no disasters. It became a pattern, whenever an exhibition came up, working late into the hours. Discussing stall designs. Identifying messages. Looking at poster designs. Making adverts, invites, press releases, hotel reservations, the works. Then the events would start. For 3 days before the show and 2 days after, I was the first person on the site, to oversee the fabrication, and the last person to leave. All over the country. Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi again, Bombay. Hyderabad once more. Even Birmingham, UK, for IPEX 2006, although once again, in spite of doing all the leg work, I didn’t get to go. Things were going good. And in the back of the mind, Dusseldorf was the target. As time passed by, 2008 started coming closer and closer. Preparation talks for Drupa 2008 were in the air. Tentative lists were being made up. Names were being suggested for those who would travel. DC offered me a deal : lost 15 kgs in 5 months, and you can go to drupa. I knew it was a joke, my intuition told me, he needed me in Germany anyways, so I was sure to go. And in the midst of all this, we did an event in Chennai in August 2007. And that’s where I walked away from an event for the last time. Before it got over. I wasn’t there to close that event. For the first time, I wasn’t the last person from my company to leave the exhibition grounds. And I remember, I cried the whole way from the exhibition site to the airport, for leaving a job half done. And for leaving friends behind. While they would be headed for Germany the following year (2008), I had other plans. 15 days later, I was on a flight to the UK.

So, when DC (aforementioned boss / friend) suggested I come along to Dusseldorf from the UK, I jumped at it. Meet up with old friends and colleagues, and help out with some of DC’s work. And more importantly, close the event. I was there for 7 days, and for some time, it felt strange. I saw somebody else do my job. I know him well, and he was good. He did all the rookie mistakes that I had done the first time around. And I had to remind myself not to be too hard on him. But still, he was in my place. It felt strange when people came up to me and told me things, then realised that I’m no longer in charge and I had to tell them, I’m sorry I can’t help you on that. It was kinda bitter sweet. A couple of times, that some of them came to me, it meant that I was accepted once again, it felt great but it felt wrong to redirect them to somebody else. Knowing that I could have done it myself, but it was no longer my responsibility, and that I would be stepping onto somebody else’s shoes. This was supposed to be my show. And all I was, was a bystander. The last 2 days, I teamed up with him, the guy who had taken my place as DC’s right hand man, like I had been for so many years. Right hand man, it sounds so filmi. Like a spineless lackey. Watching them interact together, made me see myself 2 years back. Was I the same way? Did I want to remain the same way? Now, that was a question.

The last two days, while the both of us, packed stuff up, and made it ready to be shipped back to India, 2 Germans brought the whole stand down. And once again, I was the last person to leave the site after an event. That felt good. Other things didn’t feel so good, but that’s just life. You can’t have everything. I told DC that this was a closure, for leaving him stranded in Chennai last year. He laughed. And offered me my old job once again. With newer challenges.

I still haven’t made up my mind. It’s something I would like. But details need to be sorted out yet. Decisions need to be made soon. Let’s see how it goes.

the most dreaded words from a song, for an NRI to listen May 7, 2008

Posted by espritnoir in I, Me and Myself..., Random Thoughts....
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…chhodkar teri zameen ko door aa pahuche hain hum,

phir bhi hain yehi tamanna tere zarron ki kasam,

hum jahan paida huye, us jagah hi nikle dam…

– from the movie ‘kabuliwala’

it’s like ripping your heart out from within, and watching it roast on a spitfire…

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRR RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGG
GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Opiate for the Masses… May 3, 2008

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Strangers all brought together by a single decision taken by each of them. Eight months ago. Two girls. Two boys. And one man, desperately trying to stay in touch with the boy within. They shared more than just a house and groceries.

Smiles. Tears.

Birthdays and celebrations.

Fears. Frustrations.

Bad jokes. Friendly banter. Jovial chit chat.

Voices raised in shrieks of enthusiasm. Sometimes, in argument.

Evenings were always exciting. Cooking meant listening to music. Somebody washed, someone else cleaned, a third cleaned, somebody else controlled the music. Dinner time were also never the same. Always something new. Discussion about the way a dish had turned out. Some hot girl who had smiled at one of them. Music. Movies. Dumb charades. Cricket talk. Shop talk. Assignments discussed. Debated. Argued. And resolved. Sometimes silence. But then again, somebody cracked a really bad joke, and it would be chaos once again. It was exciting, it was different. It was a home away from home.

Over eight months, it lasted like this. Then it happened. It was inevitable. Somebody said something. The word spread. The mind was infected. More ideas came forward. A site was opened. Details were filled in, and just like that, without any warning, the deal was sealed. And an email received.

It was official. There was even a license to prove it. The email confirmed it.

We now have television.

And tonight, as we ate through our first TV dinner in the UK, voices were mostly silent and ears tuned in to the dialogues coming from a box. And for the first time in eight months, yesterday’s friends became just a little bit more distant and quieter today.

And I made a decision, which I hope i stick to in years to come. When I have my own place, there will be no television during dinner.

I hope someone is listening.

P.S. I have always loved this Calvin & Hobbes story. Thought it made sense to add it on to this post. Whether you agree or think that i’m just being extremely cynical, I hope you’ll enjoy the strip…

Calvin & Hobbes, Opiate of the Masses

I finally did it…in the UK! May 1, 2008

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Whew! Spent a few days back cleaning up my room, and man, was it a mess! Printouts of reference materials for all my assignments, candy wrappers, a couple of beer cans from a party over a month back, loose junk papers, menus from local takeaways that i’ve never ordered from, direct mail from the local print-shop from where I buy my printer cartridges, old newspapers, some more assorted prints, and somewhere in between all that junk, a study desk on which rests my laptop, cluttered with my external harddisk, the aforementioned printer, and an assortment of cups and pint glasses that have become the resting place for everything from a U-hairpin (don’t ask me why I have one! Even I have no clue!), 7 pens, 14 pencils, an eraser, my tickets from a musical that I saw at uni, a few more beer and coke cans from the time I was drinking even way before the party mentioned earlier, a wristband from my trip to the hallowed grounds of Wimbledon, and other assorted junk that I seemed to have picked up along the way in the last 6 months. Cleaned out. I think the sigh is justified! Whew!!!

Well, that’s not been all that’s kept me busy. A few days back, me and my friends did a quick day trip to Bristol, about 3 hours drive away from where we are, to pick up an unused television set from somebody my friend knows there. I went along just for one thing. Coz it finally gave me an opportunity to get behind the wheel of a car! And let me tell you, if you love driving as much as I do, its like learning to walk all over again, driving in a foreign country, after almost 8 months of not being in the driver’s seat. I must say, I have never missed my Scorpio more than I did the last week.

Driving in the UK after such a long time, was a totally different experience, I must say. I was actually worried whether I would have forgotten how it all works. Getting behind the wheel of a rented car (a Nissan Micra), adjusting the seat so, pressing the accelerator and the clutch feels just right. Making sure that you can see the rear view perfectly. Checking the side mirrors, the seat belt, the handbrake. Putting the car into first. Gingerly pressing on the gas the first time after so long. Making sure that the car is getting just enough gas so that it moves ahead in a smooth motion, and doesn’t jump start its way ahead. Looking in the rear view and side mirror to check for traffic coming from behind. And then, in one smooth motion, pulling the car out of the kerb, and then you’re on the tarmac, hoping that what used to come naturally to you eight months back, will come back again. And heaving a silent sigh of relief, when it finally hits you. You’re driving once again.

But, that’s where all similarity between driving in India, and in the UK ends. Driving in India is, compared to the lot here, is an adventure. You never know what’s gonna come you way next. It could be a haphazard cyclist, a careless kid crossing a road, a lazy cow who decides to come in your way for no reason, or a cabbie who decides to cut you off for no reason. You’re constantly on your toes, aware of what’s happening around you. And a little beyond. And you rarely ever hit speeds beyond 35Kmph in peak traffic in the city. Especially a place like Bombay. On the Vashi – Bombay highways maybe 60 – 80k’s. Max. You honk for everything. To tell the guy in front, he’s backing up too close to your bonnet for comfort. To tell him to move ahead. To curse. To say thank you. To signal your friend to get into the car. To tell your date you’ve come to pick them up and can they come downstairs from their apartments. In fact, a horn is for everything you can imagine.

Here, things are way too controlled. It’s a great thing, but somehow that makes it a little bit tougher to handle. Everything is precise. Separate lanes for buses. Separate lanes if you want to take a right, go straight, or take a left. No overtaking. Never heard a car horn here. In fact, for the first time in my life, I must have driven for 15 kms or so, didn’t honk once. Ever. You learn to drive at speeds of almost 90kmph on single lane roads connecting two towns. On top of that, you make decisions on the fly, at that speeds, whether you have the right of way as you approach an island or a roundabout. Right preceeds you, if they are already into the circle. You wait, and then go. Wait for how long though? Can you make a judgement, and then just squeeze in , if you can. Coz, if you make an inch of an error on either side, you end up in a ditch, and tons of paperwork, or you end up in the middle of oncoming traffic, and an even worse fate than paperwork. Not much option. On top of that, for the first time in my life, I was taking blind corners at about almost 45 mph, ie. approx. 60 kmph. For the first 3 turn my brain was going, BURNOUT BURNOUT BURNOUT! ABANDON SHIP ABANDON SHIP. ARE YOU CRAZY!??!?! But after the third turn I realised that if I slowed down, im going to bring the cars behind me on top of my ass in a second. So to maintain balance, you need to be doing what the book says. If it says 40, you go 40! But it was good fun. Getting behind the wheel after so long. For the first time, I didn’t have a chance to look at the wonderful scenery whizzing past me, the yellow summer fields, the willows covering the landscape, the small tiny inns with funny names, and the tiny streams and rivers we crossed to get to the next town.

I must have driven for about a half an hour, which was less than 20% of the entire return journey from Bristol, but in retrospect, it was one of the best 30 minutes I’ve had since I’ve come to the UK. I think the best part of the drive was not just the drive itself, but knowing that while i was driving i was unlearning everything i had learnt back home, and relearning all over again. I was learning to unlearn, and learn again. Something which i truly love.

And, I cant wait till I do it again!!!

I Am Upset… April 15, 2008

Posted by espritnoir in I, Me and Myself..., Random Thoughts....
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And so it is, as usual, that whenever I cannot make out what or how to figure out life, or at least any particular aspect of it that seems to be bothering me at that particular instant, I turn to blogging it out. And in this occasion, what lead to this incident was that I sent somebody one of my earlier posts (Fear) to read. And that snowballed into something else, something which had been deep in the pockets of my brain, somewhere, hidden, refusing to come out until the time was right.

I am upset about something is putting it mildly. It has nothing to do with me, and will soon subside, so for those who care about me, please don’t be worried. The last time something like this happened, I had built up so much rage, that it drained me to a point that I couldn’t move out of my bed for a whole evening. That was almost 2 years ago. This time thankfully, I am just about upset. It was something that I knew shouldn’t be happening, but I knew would eventually happen, and as you might have guessed, has begun to happen. Well, I have seen the start of it at least. Simply put, it was what somebody I care about and look up to in certain aspects, said and did and what those suggested words implied that triggered an emotional response within me. I could either laugh it off and join in on the joke. Or I could ignore it, and pretend that it didn’t bother me, acting as if nothing was wrong. Or I could make my displeasure known.

Uncharacteristically, I spoke to the person concerned regarding it. I told him my issues with what had happened. It wasn’t easy. Maybe, it was just the fact, that very few times in life do I allow myself to interfere in the private lives of somebody else. Even those close to me. What somebody else does,
is that person’s business. Each person’s morality for any actions that involve that person and their interactions with other consenting adults, in the private confines of their lives, and that what is not illegal, is that person’s own business, and I don’t consider myself anybody special to challenge or question those actions. So, whenever, I am forced to question somebody else’s actions, I am at a disadvantage, because I lack the necessary skills, finesse, and the tact to do it in the right manner. Depending on the intensity of my discomfort level of somebody else’s actions, i try to avoid it, by ignoring that it ever happened, or just phase that person out of my life. Especially if there is a chance of that person not paying any heed to what I was saying, and continued doing whatever “wrong” (as perceived by me), that they were doing. I have only ever phased out two people out of my life before, and it hasn’t been the easiest thing in the world. But I found that option much easier than confronting them with my issues with their behaviour. And in this particular case, it meant questioning a person, who has much superior verbal and rational skills that I, a master of oratory and rhetoric, and I knew that it wouldn’t be easy. Going by past experience, I should have just ignored it, let things go on the way they were going, and eventually just phase him out, as difficult as it would have been, citing the reason to myself, that I couldnt’ stand a person who I felt was ill-treating somebody else, and therefore didn’t seem to care about anybody other than himself. The tough part was, it wasn’t a person I would want to offend on the worst of days, least of all because I consider him a close friend. He forces me to think about things in ways that I had never thought of before. But, it was more than that. Over the years, I have genuinely begun to respect and like the person, in spite of all his flaws, which he himself is well aware of, and does nothing to hide or make excuses for. He is what he is, and he has no qualms about it. If ever there was a person who was comfortable in his own skin, then this was him.

I think he sensed that something was wrong the moment he said it, because when I kinda commented on it, he wasn’t surprised. He was just surprised at the fact that I had reacted in such a harsh manner. Harsh, not in the rude sense, but in the sense of being abrupt and out of character for me. When it comes to the matter of the heart, though, I try not to mince words. Especially when it’s somebody else’s. Not everybody has the luxury of being a block of concrete, as I have been described in the past, when it comes to the matters of the heart. A broken heart is possibly one of the most pathetic sights in the world. Not because it is broken. But because, if allowed to spiral out of control, it has the brute force to break the spirit too. And there is definitely no misery like a broken human spirit. Devoid of a will to love and live. And the more you love somebody, and the more you are willing to give up to be with somebody, the more chances that you will end up with a broken spirit, if things go sour. So, you have two options. Either turn yourself into a block of concrete, so that you don’t end up hurt. Or pray that the other person loves you as much, and doesn’t break your heart, with their callous behaviour.

And so, I warned him against doing just that. Breaking somebody’s else heart, and thereby their spirit. Thankfully, he understood my sentiments behind it, and assured me that isn’t his intention, and that isn’t what he is going to do. And, as usual, I cannot but take his words at face value. Whatever I know of him, I don’t think he would lie to anybody. Well, white lies maybe, not a blatant lie like this, anyway. That isn’t his style.

And now, even though I ended up sounding like a preaching 70 year old priest, I have it off my chest. He knows precisely what my opinion is on the subject. And I think he appreciates it. Well, better he know it from me than not know at all. Or worse still, better than being sick and nauseated at myself, for not telling it to him, as I saw it.

Cheers to you all guys. Sorry I can’t provide you with any more information on this, and to keep you half hanging as usual. At the beginning, when I started to write this post, I was still feeling quite pissed about the incident. Now, an hour and a half later, as I am fighting off sleep, once again, writing it down seems to have done the trick. I think I will be okay now.

Good night, all of you! Hope you sleep tight in the arms and hearts of those you love.

“Oh, Hello There” with a stiff upper lip! November 7, 2007

Posted by espritnoir in Random Thoughts....
7 comments

Okay. So, here we go again. Barring the one odd post in September, it’s almost like starting off afresh. Somehow, i feel like a novice all over again. Maybe, i am. Who knows? Are people still coming here? I know I haven’t. And i have been visiting others, only occasionally. So, hi there satandit, ajeya, CG,  poemer, silverine, anon, and all the rest. In case you do drop in again, welcome back. (edit : between the time i wrote this and posted it, silverine posted a comment on my last post. i am still trying to get over what she said. Coming from somebody who writes as well, so consistently, it just made my week! Thanks, silver. Now i know that at least you have been coming here.)

It’s been over a month now, I’ve shifted base to the UK.  A month and a fortnight in fact. Christ, time flies by so fast. It seems like it was just a fortnight ago, I was in Chennai, watching the last stall being erected for the company I was working with. My farewell dinner from work seemed only ten days ago. Having dinner at Yogi’s in Chembur, the night India won the semi-final of the first 20-20 Championship held in SA. I promised myself I wouldn’t cry that night in front of the people who had become a part of my family over the past 4 years when they did the customary farewell talk. Everybody else cries, I wouldn’t. I wanted to be different. I didn’t, even when my boss – truly, a guide, a mentor and a friend, as much now as then – told me something only he could have observed in all the time we had spent together, working on all those weird events. Those words struck a chord, but I didn’t cry. I remember laughing and screaming when India won the match, but I didn’t cry.

It just seemed like a week ago, I was shopping for more black jockeys, God forbid I ran out of clean underwear to wear in UK. (It’s a different thing, I already can’t find three of them anymore).

Less than a week back I was trying to spend time with my family and friends, but I didn’t have any time, coz I was too busy doing a zillion other things. Revising budgets  a zillionth time, checking my addresses, making sure everything fit in the 2 bags I was allowed to carry, make sure i had an extra pair of specs, enough toothpaste and soap to last me a month ( I ran out of Medimix soap in a week, but thankfully I am still using the same toothpaste).

Just two days ago, I was enjoying a special dinner out at Marine Plaza. And it was just  yesterday that I was at the Bombay airport, the night that India defeated Pakistan in the 20-20 Championship. Saying goodbye to my friends and family in India. After over a year of preparations, applications, tests, forms, more applications, a 1000 GBP scholarship, a lot of soul searching, some doubt, a lot of shocks, and everything, including the kitchen sink, I was actually flying.  All through the journey, I thought that London would never come.

But, it did. And then, things started to speed up. In a minute, I was at my University Accommodation, unpacking my things. The first 3 days of Orientation thanks to the University, whizzed past in like half an hour. An hour later, I made my way to the quay, which was two minutes away from my house. Meeting a new bunch of people, who were to become my friends for the next year at least, that took about an hour and a half. The fifth hour, we had figured out how to use the laundry room downstairs. Ten hours later, I knew which was the best  fish and chips in the vicinity, and two hours after that, which Israeli joint served the best Doner Kababs. To find out what local pubs served the most chilled beer, and played the best music took another day or so. End of the week, we were comparing the best value for money deals at the local Sainsbury’s, and discovering that if you walked the extra 7 minutes to go to ASDA, you could get a week’s dinner for under 4 GBP. Ten days later, saw us comfortably settled in, pros who knew our way around the town, and a week later, we were started on our course already. MA in Marketing Communications. Getting to know how the system works in a new country, a lecture or two, max. That’s how long it seemed to take us. Learning to memorise the names of the blokes we had to study at a Masters’ level, apply critical thinking to everything we did or say, understanding the difference between ‘discuss’ and ‘assess’ with relation to the assignments we would be submitting at the end of each term. Time flies.

And now, in our fifth week of acads already, we are busy scrambling around for ideas, theories to write about, making sure we use the right variant of the Harvard Referencing System, trying to handing in our assignment proposals in time, hoping that we just about made it. And more than that, hoping that they get approved, without too many changes. And all this, while trying to convince Elsbeth, our Ad Strategy prof whats the best campaign to run in order to get Levis to increase their sales of 501 jeans! And that’s, just for this week!

Now I know what they meant when they said ‘Time is relative’. If you have it, you want it to pass by in a whizz. And when you start hearing whooshing sounds of last week’s deadlines, all you can think of is, ‘Jeez, whats the hurry? Slow down man!’

Unfortunately, that’s all I have time for right now. Need to catch a good night’s sleep before I start working on framing my own question for the Consumer Behaviour assignment. That’s something I find is weird. Not only do I have to write the answers, I have to make up the questions as well. Now, that’s what I call cruel and unusual  punishment. Like giving a guy on Death Row a strong piece of rope and telling him to go tie his own noose!

Anyways, cheers, for now. I’m way too sleepy to continue. Will post this and hopefully you will come back and find more of me from the UK in the next few days.

Good night!

i know what i want… June 6, 2007

Posted by espritnoir in I, Me and Myself..., Random Thoughts....
7 comments

Someday I’ll be Saturday Night…

Hey, man I’m alive I’m takin each day and night at a time
I’m feelin like a Monday but someday I’ll be Saturday night

Hey, my name is Jim, where did I go wrong
My life’s a bargain basement, all the good shits gone
I just cant hold a job, where do I belong
I’m sleeping in my car, my dreams move on

My name is Billy Jean, my love was bought and sold
I’m only sixteen, I feel a hundred years old
My foster daddy went, took my innocence away
The street life ain’t much better, but at least I get paid

And Tuesday just might go my way
It cant get worse than yesterday
Thursdays, Fridays ain’t been kind
But somehow I’ll survive

Hey man I’m alive I’m takin each day and night at a time
Yeah I’m down, but I know I’ll get by
Hey hey hey hey, man gotta live my life
Like I ain’t got nothin but this roll of the dice
I’m feelin like a Monday, but someday I’ll be Saturday night

Now I cant say my name, and tell you where I am
I want to roll myself away, don’t know if I can

I wish that I could be in some other time and place
With someone else’s soul, someone else’s face

Oh, Tuesday just might go my way
It cant get worse than yesterday
Thursdays, Fridays ain’t been kind
But somehow I’ll survive

Hey, man I’m alive I’m takin each day and night at a time
Yeah I’m down, but I know I’ll get by
Hey hey hey hey, man gotta live my life
I’m gonna pick up all the pieces and what’s left of my pride
I’m feelin like a Monday, but someday I’ll be Saturday night

Saturday night here we go
Some day I’ll be Saturday night
I’ll be back on my feet, I’ll be doin alright
It may not be tomorrow baby, that’s ok
I ain’t goin down, gonna find a way, hey hey hey

Hey man I’m alive I’m takin each day and night at a time
Yeah, I’m down, but I know I’ll get by
Hey hey hey hey, man, gotta live my life
Like I ain’t got nothin but this roll of the dice
I’m feelin like a Monday, but someday I’ll be Saturday night
I’m feelin like a Monday, but someday I’ll be Saturday night
Saturday night, all right, all right
Saturday night… 

Someday I’ll be Saturday NightBon Jovi 

I heard this song after ages two nights back. Was going through some of my old stuff, and came across the Bon Jovi Best of Bon Jovi CD, I had forgotten I ever had. This ain’t one of the common songs that ever comes up when Bon Jovi plays occasionally on TV or radio. That’s usually “Blaze of Glory” or “Bed of Roses” or “You Give Love a Bad Name”. They hardly ever play this song. And I love this one. Its so gut wrenchingly real. I honestly would find it difficult to believe that somebody can listen to this song and not identify with at least one of the different characters and states of mind he’s taking about in the song. Especially if you’ve ever been heart-broken, disillusioned by your “friends”, unhappy with your job, living in isolation in a remote place, with nobody to talk to but yourself…and have always lived through the pain thinking that one day…some day… you will get out of it all.  

Hey, man I’m alive I’m takin each day and night at a time
Yeah I’m down, but I know I’ll get by
Hey hey hey hey, man gotta live my life
I’m gonna pick up all the pieces and what’s left of my pride
I’m feelin like a Monday, but someday I’ll be Saturday night

Saturday night here we go
Some day I’ll be Saturday night
I’ll be back on my feet, I’ll be doin alright
It may not be tomorrow baby, that’s ok
I ain’t goin down, gonna find a way, hey hey hey…
 

Man, when you are deep down in your own personal hellhole, words and songs like those are the only thing standing between you and total insanity.  

A long time back, a really long time back, I remember I kept repeating those words to myself…They gave me the power to stay put. Get a perspective on things. 

I’m gonna pick up all the pieces and what’s left of my pride…I’m feelin like a Monday, but someday I’ll be Saturday night…

Damn right, I was gonna be Saturday night. Someday, maybe not tomorrow, or the day after that. But someday. I owed myself that.  

But, soon enough, ordinary and mundane life took over, and all the resolves, and aspirations just faded away, and took backstage to getting to work, organizing events, writing copy for ads, spending time with friends over coffee and drinks, going out for dinners, making the right jokes. Trying to play different roles at the same time – friend, sibling and son, working-guy, human – it became difficult to hold on to somethings. It became easier to let the world go by, and not be achored, and lead a carefree existence. Not the Saturday night, that I had in mind, but carefree nonetheless. Easy over. And although the grieving and the pain, which had caused the song to be impressed on my mind so deep, had eased away slowly, Saturday night still seemed as elusive as ever. And it didn’t matter, coz as I realised now, over the years, I had forgotten all about the “dream” itself.  

A few things have shaken up that lethargy, in the past year or so…Slowly, but surely. Like I had once said before on this post, it all comes down to choices that a man must make. “…how is a man not to think about his future? Of all the choices that lie ahead. Of the choices he must make. Not only necessary. But inevitable. … But, If one can’t tell what the heart truly wants, one just lives with one’s shallow choices and moves on…” 

I once knew what I feared the most. I lived my life, my way, and I made a difference. To at least one person. The world may disagree, and may think otherwise. But, the world be damned. On that front, I have no more fear.  

And, I know what I want now. Maybe not in tangible terms. What does that mean? I don’t know how much money I want to make in 5 years. I don’t know what car I will drive, and I don’t know whether I want to live in
India or abroad. I don’t know whether I will inherit my parents house in Bandra or move out elsewhere in the future. Those are decisions I will take on the way…with help from others close to me. But I do know something.
 

Right now, I am feeling like a damn good Wednesday, but that ain’t enough.  

Im gonna be Saturday Night! Damn right, yeah…!