The Girl at the Coffee Shop

I felt some movement in the air and turned to my right and heard this:

“One Tropical Iceberg Please”

It was a crisp, properly paused, confident, accent-free female tone. You rarely get to listen to such tones these days, without any of those trying to be American accents. It sounded neither like an order nor like a request. As I turned, I found myself ogling with my eyes and mouth wide open. She took out an exact Rs. 65 and placed it there and did not care to ask the guy at the counter how much it was for.
“And make it fast”, she added, in the same tone.

This is the first time I have seen her and that too, at CCD. Being a regular here, I shamelessly admit that I can almost recognize everyone who comes here and in fact I am on a first name basis with the other regulars. She’s definitely new here.

With the phenomenal rise of the make-up industry, men world over are being fooled by their own eyes whenever they try to guess a girl’s age. I am not complaining, plainly stating a fact. That said it’s not right to add a few years to the guessed age in every case, where we assume that every girl is older than what she appears. Coming back to this girl, it was not her fully formal attire or the red scarf that gave away her “new girl” status but just that CCD here charges Rs. 53 for a Tropical Iceberg. Damn her over confidence.

Even I wanted a Tropical Iceberg (TI), but there was an imaginary throat block. Sorry, I want two TIs. For some godforsaken reason, every time a guy sees a pretty girl, his confidence gets a kick in the back side. Any guy, mark my words. So, this scene being no exception I, Alex, too succumbed to one of the very few flaws of Mankind. When you think of it, there actually is a quote that goes something like this:

“God made woman beautiful and foolish; beautiful for man to fall in love with her and foolish for her to love him”.
But trust me, this girl is no fool. Damn her again, and this time for being just pretty.

STOP. STOP. What nonsense am I thinking? Why are these utterly meaningless thoughts coming to my head when all I have is that little time before which that guy will get her, her TI, and as she had “ordered”, it will be fast. My head started talking telling me “Say Hi, say Hi, say Hi, Alex, say Hi. Don’t be a fool. This is your only chance”. It’s tough not to be a fool at moments like this.

Divya came from behind; she had waited long enough for me to place the order. So she came and stood right next to that new girl, and in a very disapproving tone said
“Two Tropical Icebergs” to the guy at the counter. That guy was a little disappointed, where’s the PLEASE? he must have thought. Least does he know that my girlfriend is at the moment showing her disapproval of me, at him. Sounds confusing right? Women. They are experts at these things.  Divya then turned to me and said
“Alex, you want anything else?”

This new girl, let’s call her K, turned to see me. She was standing between me & my girlfriend and was surely the centre of attraction of the whole coffee shop. I felt good about the fact that she had at least heard my name.

“Alex”, Divya said again, now in a visibly irritated tone, eyes narrowed and the breathing, a little heavier. Now that, is an order, you know, one of those implicit ways of saying “Come back to your senses Mister”. I like her when she looks at me this way, looks far more mature than the girl she actually is. I replied with a sheepish
“Eh. Ah. Nothing” This is the guy lingo for “Where was I?” and very commonly mistaken as “Sorry” by the you know who. The confused look was still on.

K turned to me and smiled. I know fully that she did not smile because she saw a charming knight in the shining armor in me but smiled at my confused expression. But heck, that too is mine, certified trademark of Alex. Huh. I started smiling too, and she too kept on smiling.

At that moment, I forgot about my commitment. I was simply in awe of the power of the smile this girl unknowingly possessed. That moment, when you see someone so beautiful, you just can’t help but stare. I took all the liberty to appreciate that beauty and needless to say, Divya was furious, and rightfully so. Any girl would be furious if her boyfriend was shamelessly ogling and smiling at another girl and that too, right in front of her. But trust me folks, that needs some courage and a masterly way of apologizing.

That was when I took a glance at Divya, my girl. She’s short and cute. We have so much in common, like our taste in movies, books and food and also pretty trendy in her choice of clothes. Divya is not jaw dropping gorgeous and neither am I a Greek God. Good job Alex, I told myself, you do have a good girlfriend. While I was thinking about her, time had lapsed and she had walked away, least knowing that I was thinking about her. She looked better when she made those small eyes of hers even smaller and walked furiously to a chair, sit silently and stare back at me.  It’s weird that when someone is angry, it gives happiness to us, even the ones we adore.

K’s Tropical Iceberg had arrived and so did mine. It is moments like this that make me believe in providence. If you are wondering what it could be, Divya went and sat at the last empty table in the whole of that CCD. With both the TIs in my hand, I dutifully started walking to my girl and out of nowhere I turned to K. Calvin once said that his lips move while he thinks and I guess he was talking of this moment. I was looking at K:

“Would you like to join us” my lips moved.
“Sure” came her reply.
Not bad, not bad at all, I said to myself and this time making sure that my lips remained sealed. We walked till the table silently and introduced the girls to each other.
“Meet Divya. Divya this is” and paused, expecting K to fill the pause. She got the cue.
“Hi Divya. I am Krithika and you are Alex right?” and she too paused, and turned to me.
“Yes” Divya said, without allowing me to say my full name out in my best voice but boy was I glad that I gave her a nickname of K for Krithika. Providence, again!

The following few minutes passed away with some formal questions as to where who is from and etc. I gathered that she’s from Mangalore and is NOT a fresher and did put across my point that I am from Kerala and that I am damn proud of it and so on. The usual boring talk of education, work and all continued till half my TI completed and suddenly Divya got a call from her manager who wanted her back to her desk as soon as possible.

Providence struck again and again and while I was lost in the “too good to be true” type of thoughts, Divya turned to K and said:
“Nice meeting you Krithika. You guys carry on, will catch up some other time.” “Sure Divya”, Krithika replied.

It was my turn to say bye and as I got up, she turned to me and said:
“Bye Sweetheart”, boldly and started walking away.

My face turned cold and a meek “Bye” escaped my lips. Krithika turned to me, the smile was replaced with an exclamation and asked:

“Your girlfriend?”

“Naah, friends since college” I bluffed.

Barely had I completed my “naah”, when from a short distance came an angry “What?”.

All characters are purely fictional. Any resemblance to the living or dead is totally unintentional.


Maggi – The greatest invention of 21st century

To whomsoever it may concern:

I hereby declare that the objective of this post is to prove that Maggi is the greatest invention of 21st century.

Without wasting anytime I directly jump to the 10 Points to Support my theory:

Since we always need a benchmark to compare with and say “best”, I will use Nuclear Weapons now as my benchmark  –

1. Cost Effectiveness –
Maggi: In times of economic recession, Rs. 10 is the cost for a Maggi Meal. 10. That’s 1/5  One USD to fill your empty stomach. Name one thing that comes to close to this?
Nuke: Never bought, don’t think I can ever buy too and even if I am able to one day never will buy too. Can’t do anything with it. (Implicit assumption here is that I marry a multi-billionaire’s daughter)

Score: Maggi +1/Nuke 0

2. Reduce Starvation –
Maggi: In an age of man-eat-man, in a world where millions of people die of starvation, Maggi has single-handedly rescued millions of people, mostly students and young corporates, from the jaws of death. It has rescued the future of India.
Nuke: Silence.

Score: Maggi +2/Nuke 0

3. World Peace –
Maggi: By plainly being itself, Maggi by it’s wonderful taste has brought people from different countries together and appreciate it’s taste. Thus adding to World Peace
Nuke: Hiroshima. Nagasaki. Need I say more? I will. Iran. Pakistan. South Korea. US. World Peace is at stake plainly because of Nuke.

Score: Maggi +3/Nuke 0

4. Pollution –
Maggi: Cooking Maggi leaves no residue. It uses very little plastic and we are told to re-cycle it too. It’s small and lightweight and we don’t have to go by any vehicle when we go to buy it. Clean.
Nuke: Well well well… where should I start? The waste that is generated after Nukes are used? The waste that is generated while Nukes are being made? The fuel & planes used to transport them? You get the point right!

Score: Maggi +4/Nuke 0

5. Education-

Maggi: Maggi is one of those things I never studied in school. Never had to mug up how to make it, though it is pretty simple. “Real World” stuff. No student ever cribbed that how to make Maggi is difficult to learn. Student Friendly I say!
Nuke: God save those flow charts and long answer questions from 7th class to 12th class and god forbid, if you took some chemistry later on, then too. Tsk tsk.

Score: Maggi +5/Nuke 0

6. Self Respect –

Maggi: When someone says can you cook? Maggi, we say, with great pride. It has installed a spirit of independence which we would have otherwise lacked. Sheer Pride.
Nuke: Can’t really think of self respect when it comes to nuke.

Score: Maggi +6/Nuke 0

7. Reduces Tension-
Maggi: Exam Time. No idea what to study and hungry stomachs. What comes to the rescue? Yes, ladies & gentlemen, Maggi it is. Tension free, truly instant. No need to worry about how much masala to add in it, how much water to add etc.
Nuke: World tension is on a high thanks to these missiles.

Score: Maggi +7/Nuke 0

8. Time Saving –

Maggi: How much time does it take to make maggi? 2 Mins. Nothing more. Nothing less. The name says it all – 2 Minute Noodles
Nuke: God knows how much time. Design. Develop. Review. Phew. Clearly a loser here.

Score: Maggi +8/Nuke 0

9. Equality –

Maggi:  All the people on the plant can make it exactly the same. No one can make it any better, none any worse. All are equal in front of a packet of Maggi.
Nuke: US Nukes are better than Russian better than Chinese better than India better than Iranian better than South Korean better than Paki and so on… so much inequality. It hurts.

Score: Maggi +9/Nuke 0

10. Friendship – Save the best for the last

Maggi:  Great friendships happen over Maggi. In one movie, Rocket Singh, a guy falls for a girl due to Maggi. Truly, anything can happen over a cup of Maggi.
Nuke: Duh. Silence please.

Score: Maggi +10/Nuke 0

So, all in all, Maggi wins it hands down.

The result of this is not to insult Nukes in any way but to show that anything in comparission with Maggi is useless. Amen. Hail Maggi.

P.S. If you disagree with any of the above points, I pity the people around you for bearing with a person devoid of any sense of humor. Also, don’t try to pick any mistakes. You will rot in hell if so.

At the mercy of the driver

Well no. I am not talking of the driving ability nor the agility with which the careful & sensitive Hyderabadi Cab & Auto drivers traverse through the busy and polluted roads, just to take us to our destinations safely. No.

The objective of this essay is to help you understand the greatest fact of life: “Himesh Reshammiya is THE Almighty” – with the motto: When there is faith, there is no fear.

Picture this: You are sitting on the back seat of a Tata Sumo at 11:30 in the night and that too after 9 to 15 hours of mind numbing work. The driver is half asleep and so are the rest of your “cab-buddies”. The folks who have iPods or MP3 phones, plug them into their ears and snore away into oblivion and that leaves you alone, the aam admi/aurat, at the mercy of the driver‘s awesome MP3 collection or his favourite FM Station. Everything seems innocent and before you know what hit you, a loud “Dhin-Chik Dhin-Chik” sound starts coming from right under your own seat. The speaker system is so state-of-art that the seat acts like a trampoline. If you understand the language of that chart-busting song, you will understand the lyrics of the song. Incase you have never tried that or don’t understand the language of that song, try it the next time.

To cut your curiosity short, I present a very popular song on which our very own Abhishek Bachchan (of Paaaaa fame) dances to:

Appudi Phode Phode Phode
Asathi Phodu kannaale
Ippudi Phodu Phodu Phodu
Izhuthu Phodu kayyaale

Which literally translates to:
Put it like this,
Put it like that,
Mesmerize me and,
Put it like that,
Put it like this,
Pull & put, like this, like that!

Hmm. So. Well, I leave it to you to imagine what happens to that one person, listening to this song at 12 in the night in a cab/auto. I am no hater of the dhin-chic clan of music but THIS setting is too much for probably even Mithunda’s biggest fan to digest.

The driver, you see, is a bloody egoistic guy (haven’t come across a female driver). He does not like the rest of the folks listening to their own music on iPods & MP3 players while he’s playing such excellent music. And out of uncontrollable anger, he increases the volume. One of the daring folks requests the driver:

“Bhaiyya, thoda volume kam karo please”.

Duh! The driver has all his Ayn Rand Objectivism in place, like “he exists only for himself” and “he is the only one who controls the volume button of the music system” blah blah blah. Basically, he’s pissed. First you make him a universal brother Bhaiyya and also dare to speak to him in Hindi? When in Telangana be a Telanganite, he thinks! And further up goes the volume. Aaah, Oooh! 4000Watts of unadulterated bliss and all coming from under your own seat. How fortunate are you that you spend almost 2-3 hours of every single day of your pointless existence listening to these soul rising and life fulfilling songs. Who the hell needs Zakir Hussain & Pandit Ravi Shankar after these or even A R Rahman? God is there, very much, and looking down upon you and smiling his heart out. And, at this point I would like to let you know that the protagonist of this story is not you but my humble self, I.

At that moment, when the whole world seemed so hazy and I felt so close to God, the historian in me came alive and tried to figure out where this all started. Well folks, remember the Summer of 2006? No, not Mumbai Train attacks nor the nuclear treaty. It was that glorious summer that a new star rose in India and took Indian music industry to an all new level. He had been around but then created hysteria… a huge fat guy with a cap started a sensation called

“Tera Tera Teraaaa Surrrrrooooooooooooooooooooooooo

(the nnn was added for the nasal effects)

Remember that? Yes, yes … I can see that expression on your face – “Aaaah” (a full faced smile with moist eyes) I know. It was an unprecedented hit and almost got him a few Grammies, just that the silly Americans could not understand what was being sung. Duh! Morons. What the heck is Jai Ho or even Roja in front of that. For his achievements in that glorious summer, the “All India Auto & Cab Drivers Union” named him their “Man of the Century”. To prove his cynical critics that he’s not overrated and and he’s got the talent to deserve the award the next year too, he doled out “Aap Kaa Suroor”, the movie. Thanks to India’s popular and favourite news channels Headlines Today & India TV, this was the Song of the Year 2006 in both the channels and was used as background score for various Automobile ads. Those years, his popularity threatened folks like SRK, Shashi Tharoor and Aamir Khan that Shashi joined Twitter, SRK bought an IPL team and Aamir went crazy and made Mangal Pandey. We all know what happened to their efforts. Huh. Who can even come close to Himessss? To please his fans/followers/devotees he doled out 3 films and numerous albums since then and there are several more in the pipeline. There is also a story of how an auto-wallah learnt english and html and created a page for him on Wikipedia. If that is not enough, the rest of the folks at All India Auto & Cab Drivers Union, in order to show their belief that God exists and has come down to the earth in the form of Himesssss, have passed a fatwa to play his songs in all vehicles and thereby, also enlighten those folks who work so hard and miss out these basic essentials of life.

Himess is God. Period. If you dare to disagree and think you can go and do a hunger strike and people will listen to you, you are mistaken! The driver will just turn the volume further high. Peace.

Phew. On another note, who the bloody hell introduced Drums & Remixes to the India music industry. Ass. I humbly wish to play “Appudi Phode Phode” & “Suroor” on the day of that crackpot’s funeral eve.

So, it begins…

Sometimes in our lifetime, we come across something so beautiful, so amusing that we cannot stop but think about what we have just seen or heard. It can be a match of cricket where a batsman like Sehwag has demolished a bowling attack or a Formula 1 race where a driver comes all the way from the last place and goes on to win it or a speech delivered by a teacher or a letter from a friend. The source may be different but the effect is quintessentially the same – making a lasting impression on us – that there is more to life than just sitting at a workstation and typing away thousands of lines of code or making PowerPoint presentations, more than just sleeping away your entire weekend and cribbing that the Monday is already here. Did we always think that when we grow up, we will be stuck to a seat and that the television or a laptop will be our only source of entertainment?

We are prisoners of our own past. We crib that we miss childhood. Did we not face troubles when we were young? For a kid in his 1st standard, his annual exam in math is as difficult as the CAT paper to an MBA aspirant. We did have problems but more importantly, knew how to fix them. We did differentiate between the good and the bad. Then the choices were could be filtered with one question “Will Mom/Dad scold me if I do this?” Life was black and white. We did not care if the father of kid who sits next to us is a CEO or a cobbler as long as his handwriting was good so that we can copy form his book, we did not care if the guy wears a Louis Philippe shirt or got it stitched from a local tailor as long as he’s the best batsmen in the class or the teacher likes him.

We miss childhood because we had a clear picture; we knew our priorities very well and did what we wanted. We were free thinkers. We never tried to control any one or judge any one… we do that after we “grow up”. This whole bull shit about growing up, maturity and awareness is a myth. It’s an illusion created by a bunch of ppl who are dying of inferiority complex. I hate it when people look down upon the noble profession of teaching. It hurts me when they say law is a noble profession. If that was the case, why the hell are so many cases still pending and the bloody terrorist who attacked innocent ppl in Mumbai for 26/11 still alive and called ACCUSED of all things! It hurts when ppl say working in a big company is their dream. If that is the case, they haven’t woken up. Your dream is something that will make u happy by itself, not something that can help you get to a place where you can BUY happiness.

I. I once came across someone who asked me what I would do if I had a million dollars & told me that’s what I actually want in life. Seriously. Think about it for a moment. What do you want? Not the white collared zombie job. I want a page on Wikipedia dedicated to me. When the next time I open, and start typing “K”, I want my full name to appear as the first result and in fact all first 10 results. I want to make a short film. I want to be on TV. I want a bunch of school students to call me O Captain! My Captain! I want lots more and my job does NOT prevent me from doing it! As u can understand, I do not say quit your job. No, it’s a necessary evil, the slogging and working. We need food to eat and I understand that and also, with a little pain like that, even sugar will taste sweeter than it actually is.

I don’t like Chetan Bhagat and also did my part in trending #chetanblocks on twitter but can’t deny the fact that the fellow gave an amazing speech SIBM last year. An excerpt of it:

There is no point of getting a promotion on the day of your breakup. There is no fun in driving a car if your back hurts. Shopping is not enjoyable if your mind is full of tensions.

“Life is one of those races in nursery school where you have to run with a marble in a spoon kept in your mouth. If the marble falls, there is no point coming first”

Don’t take life seriously. Life is not meant to be taken seriously, as we are really temporary here. We are like a pre-paid card with limited validity. If we are lucky, we may last another 50 years. And 50 years is just 2,500 weekends. Do we really need to get so worked up? It’s ok, bunk a few classes, scoring low in couple of papers, goof up a few interviews, take leave from work, fall in love, little fights with your spouse. We are people, not programmed devices………”

Each day I count the hours until the day’s over. Then I count the days until the weekend. Then I count the weeks until the month is over, and the months until the next holiday. To do what? Wait for what to happen? End of the World? Death to come? What excites me is that life is temporary. I am too impatient to wait for death to come. That said, I would not go and kill myself. Never. If only, I knew the date, I would make a list of things to do and places to see and plan accordingly. And guess what, I already started my list and am done with 2 of those! Ah life. My life! … Where are you in yours?

Still not convinced?  I recommend you to watch these movies – My list of “Watch before you Die” (in no particular order)

Fight Club – A brash slap in the face of consumerism and the working dead. It questions reality. It is strikingly thought-provoking and visually stimulating. The direction is incredibly brilliant.

Into the Wild Humans want to work till 60 and then retire. And then there was this guy who almost got into Harvard Law, who realized the fact that life is temporary, much ahead of his time. He retired at 20 and started living and doing whatever he wanted to. Mixed with great music, this movie will either move or bore the viewer.

Good Will Hunting – A story of a 20 something stuck up in a wrong job and accepting that that’s his life until somebody else comes and tells him what he’s worth. A simple story told very well.

Dead Poets Society An English teacher encourages a bunch of students to do more in life, that there is more to life than just engineering and medicine, more than tradition and honor, more than marks and grades. There is art in some form or the other, but basically, there is art.

Dil Dosti Etc – A very unconventional movie which takes on the ego of man and what he does to satisfy it. Watch this only if you think you are broad-minded. (and Yes. I do have an inflated Ego.)

Dasvidaniya An ordinary guy comes to know that he’s about to die very soon and wants to have all the fun in life before he dies. So, he makes a list of things he wants to do. This will drive the viewer to moist eyes. (Dasvidaniya means goodbye in Russian)

American Beauty – A guy in his mid-life crisis realizes that he hates his life & must get a grip over it and starts doing all that would have done had he been younger. Epic.

If you are someone I know and/or living in Hyderabad, drop by. I have them all and totally believe in piracy and would love to share these. If not, drop a comment, will help you get these. None of these have any lovey-dovey emotions, not that they are bad, but these are about self discovery. These movies rock!

Hum Kis Gali Jaa Rahe Hain …Hum Kis Gali Jaa Rahe Hain… Apna Koi Thikaana Nahi!

P.S.The original title of this post was Catharsis. Later changed to Watch before you Die. And finally … So, it begins (my first Ranting Post).

Posted via web from Learning to FLY

White : 55 Words

Staring straight into the shining sun,
The brightness had blinded me,
I could see no thing or person,
I could feel no emotion,

I was floating in the oblivion,
I see everything white and bright,
It felt so pure,
And at that moment I had realised,
It was my own soul,
and it appears white and bright…

My first attempt at 55 Words Poetry 😀

The Art of Procrastination

Over the last few weeks, I have been trying real hard to complete stories I started writing. There are so many wannabe posts of mine stuck in that disappointing “Draft” phase that I guess, I must sit patiently and convert all of them into proper posts. It so happens that when one travels or converses with friends, he gets ideas which he thinks can become interesting stories and can be made into blockbuster hindi movies, which can be remade into Telugu & Tamil, hopefully English too :D. Aah! But rarely does the the story itself materialize, leave alone the movie & its remakes. Dont count your chicken before they hatch, said some wise old man. Guess it applies to me. Thought about cribbing properly and did that successfully :D. Me Full Happys! Off for the long weekend….. Ciao

Insipre Me!

It is not everyday that you come across a person whom you can look upto & say “I want to be like that”. When I say “look upto”, I am talking of something really charismatic about that person, something that appeals to us. When we look back at the last many years of our lives, we tend to recollect the most recent of the relationships or ppl in our lives but the truth is that, for us to be who we are today, in the better sense of the word, we owe a lot to people in our past.To name parents and family as the cheif contributors of one’s progress is a common thing, and to include them is again common and I hate being common :D…. So, presenting to you three people to whom I am thankful and before that, for the sake of privacy, some of the names are withheld.

Ms. E :

Sitting in a class room in the first bench, was a short little boy who had never heard of the word confidence and had hated the English language. He believed that everything is OK and there is nothing he can do to change the way things happen and the only people who can do such things are big studs. His definition of cool, like any 10 year old, was to watch T.V. and play cricket. If he grew up this way, he would have, in a course of 10 years, been an ordinary joe (notice the small letters).

Then entered  the scene, a young teacher, one Ms. E. She was a perfectionist, a great orator and more than anything else, she used her wit to keep the class engaged, some of the things this kid had never known before. English Grammar classes are damn sleepy and  every generation of students sleep in them. In her’s, they were all eyes and ears for her. She was adamant about her penchant for her students to be ‘Gentlemen’. Wonder why, but she insisted on all guys to respect women more than themselves; not in the sense of feminism but as a mark of equality towards the gentler sex.

Her innocent unknown attempts to reform the life of that kid did not end there. A firm believer in the quote

I find television to be very educating.  Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book.

She always carried some book or the other to the class room and made it a point that every one goes to the library and reads books & NOT comics. Citations can be given regarding this, which will serve as examples but am sure they will bore the reader. Hence will leave it here… A Big Thank You.

V Krishna Mohan…. an unassumingly pleasent guy, then in his early 30s, is NOT a very good teacher of chemistry for a class which has to take competetive exams and score cent per cent in it. Man, he wanted things to just work & did not care if it was good or bad, unlike most of us. If it works, it will do. Who cares about the best when all you need to bother about is what you want? Rightly put sir. He’s the opposite of a perfectionist and was damn lazy. I know,  its criminal to talk of teachers like this, but I treat ppl as equals. For our 11th standard, he took a suject which was of little significance to our exams while a very senior person was taking the important subject. An year later, he stepped into the shoes of the elderly gentleman and must say, he brought about quite a change in the system and the way things worked around there. The word ‘change’ here refers to changing the attitude of the people around the place. For a competettive exam, preperation is not sufficient, one needs to know what to prepare and this guy here not only knew how to get such useful information but also shared his techniques us. He was the first person I came across, who believed in openly expressing displeasure. That actually is the only way, change can come in. Also, he is a person who knew how to make people feel more important than they thought they were and as a teacher he did a great job there.

Thanks to and your stories on Walking Alone… your chemistry knowledge’s significance ended the day I gave the exam but the way you treated it did help me in the long run. And will the note with your very own quote:

Ignorance is acceptable but attitude is not.

This is a long pending will come back with the rest the next time I am super high!!!!!
Au Revoir