Monday, June 16, 2014

Because We Shall Never Have Paris...

My seat in the office is towards the back of the premises, in its farthest corner. No wonder it is called the back-office. I saw him talking to the person in one of the counters and she pointed towards me. He had a packet in his hand. I figured he worked for some parcel service and waited in anticipation as he walked across the room towards me.

"Are you Manish?", he asked me.

"Yes." I replied and looked above on the wall behind my chair. My name and designation was displayed prominently in blue and yellow. He caught my glance and looked at the nameplate.

"You've a courier."

I took it from him and signed the acknowledgement slip he shoved in front of me. It was a small package and on it was a handwriting I had never seen before. I shook it to get an idea of what was inside it. Whatever it was, it was small compared to the size of the packet. I tore open one of the sides using a pen knife. Inside was a small, rectangular cardboard box, the kind that key chains come in, rolled many a times in a bubble wrapper. I unwound the wrapper and opened the box. Inside was a pocket watch in antique copper finish with the Eiffel Tower etched on it. To the right of the engraved tower were the words "Paris". The watch was placed carefully in the middle of the box, with wads of tissue paper stuffed alongside to cushion it from the possible jerking during its transit.

Lying in the bottom of the box was a note, handwritten on a small piece of paper, unsigned. It read, "Because we shall never have Paris???". I instantly knew the sender of this thought out gift.

Have you ever met someone and instantly knew how it was going to end if you tried to get any closer to them than as a mere acquaintance? And then, in spite of knowing that it will, in all possibility, rake up your whole life, and the routines and the principles you've set for yourself, taken the plunge to get deeper into them? An year back, I did exactly that, and now, I am here, holding the pocket watch in my hand, pressing the little knob on its top to flip open its cover, and then closing it with a click, only to open it again, and again, and again. By now, the battery of the watch had died down and time had frozen at 11.19. Strange, I thought. Time seemed frozen when we were together too. But now, it had began to thaw and I could see through it, stark reality staring at me through a bluish haze. She was gone. Her last message to me was sent a few days back. In the wee hours of Thursday morning to be exact. Quite an irony that she chose that exact date! The day after our supposed first anniversary of discovering each other's existence.

He often told her, "You're me with a pair of boobs!". And she would smile. So, he wasn't surprised about the fact that she was gone. It wasn't like she wanted to stay. Neither did he ask her to. But the fact remains that she was gone, for ever. She was bore down by the weight of small, golden band on one of her fingers, with a name inscribed on its outside, the way he wanted it

She was entangled in a web she herself had created, and he simply stood there, watching, as she writhed and squirmed, weighed down more with each attempt to break free. At times, he thought of himself as a superhero from the anime she loved. He dreamt of jumping into the web, one hand holding tight onto the rope, while he grabbed her in his other, ultimately landing on the antagonist, Herr Doktor, as the sheer force of landing pushes him over. But alas, if only he realized that life is no superhero movie, and that you don't wear your underwear over your pants in real life!

While she was still there, she shook the very foundation of his life, the principles he had set out for himself and his self centered ego. As days merged into nights and the first rays of light dawned upon the night sky, every turn was a surprise to them. She talked about far away lands, of charming princes, of wars fought with a vengeance, and he lied there, listening, a gleam in his eyes, mesmerized like the king from The Arabian Nights!
It rained that day. It started as a drizzle and later it poured. But it didn't matter. He claimed it was meant to be a surprise. But she knew it all along. And she was waiting for him from the morning itself. What happened next wouldn't have crossed either of their minds. Or did it?! But how, when, why? It didn't matter then, it doesn't matter now. They did learn some valuable lessons that day:

#1: You don't wear white when it rains and when he's coming.

#2: The smell of blood lingers for long, and sometimes it does smell good!

#3: Stupid is as stupid does.

#4: If you've got a gut feeling, then it's probably going to be true.

#5: Sometimes, it's good to be spontaneous and simply let go.

She was many a first for him, and she taught him a few things that were new to him. She taught him to express in hashtags. She showed him the difference between being a girl and being a woman. She showed him what depth meant. She made him realize what he had been doing all these years. She taught him all, because he was her M Boy!

All he has to say now is "We may never have Paris, but we shall always have The Valley!" #MissUs

FootNote: The works on this post was started months ago, but the words were hard to find. Finally, it was promised for the 11th of June. And as always, promises were broken. Better late than never. 

This post is special, and hence doesn't have a ToeNote or a NailNote

Sunday, June 08, 2014

How Old Are You?

On the onset, let me clarify that this isn't a movie review. It just happens so that Manju Warrier decided to return to the glittering world of cinema with a movie with a title similar to my blog post. But this post has got nothing to do with the movie. Or at least I hope so, since I haven't watched the movie and hence, am ignorant about what the hype about the movie is all about! Rather, this is in continuation of my previous post, a rambling about what Being 27 actually means to me.

Being 27 and Single: This is by far the biggest problem I've been facing since the past few months. Everyone's wondering why I'm still single. No no. They don't want me to have a girlfriend and flaunt her. They all want me to get married! Parents, grandparents, uncles, aunties, married friends, unmarried friends, customers, colleagues; seems like everyone want me to get married! Do I look like a social wreck that needs to be chained to shackles of marriage to undergo reformation? When I say I don't want to get married, they react as if they have seen a ghost! Oh come on. Give me this one. This is my life!

I can't blame them either. It looks like everyone has caught this new frenzy of getting married early. No, I'm not talking about my female friends and acquaintances. I'm talking about the darker sex, the men! Most of my dear friends got married a year or two ago. And now, when I call them to find out if they are attending some function, I get replies like, "No da, my kid had his vaccination yesterday and he might have body pain and fever. So I need to be here!" And I go, "Ohkay. Hey, you carry on. I'll call you later!" They are more than happy to keep the call.

When I tried to find out the reason for this sudden change in the mindset of my generation, I received some interesting replies too. Some claimed that they wanted to get married soon since it would give them some time as a cushion while they "settled down" in life. Some tried to bang their married-funny-bone by saying that if they married early and had kids early, they could probably enjoy their late 40s sharing a drink with their son! Duh. I personally think that the main reason would be increased number of love marriages.

One friend, in course of conversation, said, "You too get married. Then we can go on tours together, like our good old days!" Yeah right! Like old times. Except that we all would be "plus one"!!!

We, a group of bachelors, were sitting in our usual spot near Punkunnam. Seeing us, an Innova screeched to a halt and the driver rolled down his door's glass. It was one of our schoolmate. He had changed his car. We ask him why and he replies, "My wife had a second child last week and moving around in our old car was a bit clumsy. So, I decided to get a second hand Innova." And as he waited expectedly for our next question, we asked, "How much did you pay for the car?" !!! Probably not what the question he expected! Family Guy 0 - Bachelors 1.

Being 27 and Smart-ass: I commute to my office in buses. I rarely take my car. Hence, I've to catch at least two buses either way, every single day. Most of the time, the buses will be crowded and chances of getting a seat is a rarity. I prefer to travel by KSRTC and some of them tend to be almost half empty at times.

I love the seat in the very front of the KSTRC buses, the loner seat, as I call it. I love it for a multitude of reasons. First is the view; you get an unhindered view of everything before you as you travel. And then, there is no one budging at your arms and breathing down your sides. The whole seat is yours and yours only. Finally, no one could possibly put their head outside the bus and puke in such a way that it lands on you! But there's always the chance of ending up hurt or even dead in case of a head-on collision or getting completely drenched in the rain. Nevertheless, the seat is worth taking these chances!

But there are some days when you won't get your favourite seat and you'll have to compromise on your seating. In such cases, I always choose a two-seater seat since it is the next best thing. Sometimes, I feel like Sheldon Cooper and his spot when choosing the next best seat available. I do a lot of math and calculations before arriving at my decision. Now, there are some bulky males who always chooses to ignore the empty seats elsewhere and sit next to me, seeing my less than athletic figure. I squirm at such moments and see it as an invasion of my personal space. At such times, I ignore the fact that the bus is in fact a public utility and gets all too defensive about it. And then there are the equally aggressive ones among them who try to take up your space too, pushing you to the corner just because you're frail! So, what do you do then?

My solution is quite simple. Pick up your phone, dial a number and speak to your "friend" about the little boils that you noticed on your body this morning and how you're convinced that it's chicken pox and how someone you work with caught it a couple of weeks ago. While talking, it helps if you can manage to search your hands for any possible boils with a nonchalant face. Works every time. But there's always a risk of someone saying it aloud for others to hear it. But always worth taking the chance!

Being 27 and Still Being Mamma's Boy: I'm not the least bit ashamed to say that I've always been mamma's boy. Maybe not as per your cliched definitions of the term, but by my own derivations of the same. There was always one thing that I cared for and was careful of - not hurting my mother. I love her immensely even when she nags me about getting married. Or gives it an emotional twist by asking me who will take care of me when she's gone!

She isn't sad when you forget her birthday almost every year. She still wishes you in the morning, as soon as you wake up, on every single one of your birthdays so far. And even though it's 9 at night when you get back from office and she wouldn't be home then, she has made payasam and kept it for you just because it's your birthday. It feels good to be mamma's boy even at 27! There are some things in life that money can buy; for everything else, there's Mother!

FootNote: I celebrated my 27th year of existence with very little fanfare. The best thing about being absent from social networking sites is that you know who remembers your birthday in spite of not having some weird app that remind them it's your birthday. I got a few pleasant surprises. For all those who wished me, just wanted to let you know that it was really, really special!

ToeNote: After a really long time, I received a couple of e-cards and a real birthday card too. A special "Thank You" to both of you.

NailNote: Even when you claim to be mature and nonchalant, the silences of certain someones hurt. And in spite of claiming to know that expectations hurt, you still expect.