Being a Student Again

The learning never stops, people have told me. Yet I wonder why people don’t want to stop learning. The brain is truly a beautiful thing. It can hold (as quoted below) information amounting to 10 billion Encyclopedia pages. A typical adult brain contains 15 billion to 200 billion neurons. According to neurologist R. Restak, “the brain is capable of remembering 2 to the 10th billion power bits of information. If you’d like to see this number for yourself to see how large it is, grab a piece of paper and write a zero for every second for 90 years.

But if you look at it in the simple sense, the brain even though it may seem mighty, has been fooled easily into making wrong decisions. Have you processed a thought in your head and then chucked it out because your heart felt something else? Well, the next time, listen to what your head says because more often than not, the brain is telling the mind to do the right thing but the feelings attached with the heart say something different.

As human beings, we are prone to take risks in life. Most of which is controlled by our hearts but our brains do all the calculations. It measures exactly what we need to do and how to do it. Unfortunately, in this case, I’m unable to provide a personal example or an anecdote which I normally would do to illustrate or drive through my point better. However, I would like to show you’ll a video by Alien Heston which I think may be helpful in proving my point.

Cheers!

P.S – For those of you who were thinking that this was going to be a serious article, know that I`m just a student who was a bit bugged with the day`s classes =)

Why?

Social Issues are something that trouble most of us. We read about so many things that happen almost every other day around us. How many of us are actually in a place where we can do something about it? Not many, right? This was troubling me from the last few weeks but unable to do anything about it since the ‘society’ doesn’t allow us to voice our concerns. So, we write about it. At least, in this way, it will reach the ears of someone, and maybe someone will do something about it.

There is a boy who is living opposite my house and he’s just three or four years old. He’s mischievous just like most boys his age. Well, his misfortune is that there’s nothing he can do about it. So, his parents’, knowing fully well that corporal punishment may affect the child; instead opt for a time out. Now, most of us may not know what a time out is. It is a discipline method for setting boundaries to your child. Read more about time outs and other effective methods here.

Getting back to the little boy; his parents’ definition of a time out is putting him out in the balcony for hours together. The little child’s cries of plea fall to deaf ears as the parents’ believe this is the most effective form of punishment for this child. Little do they know that the cries of this child pierces through the entire building and the neighbors wonder, what kind of cruel punishment is being meted out for this poor soul. This is done a few times in the day by the way and sometimes even at night.

Our calls to the watchman and the parent’s themselves are of no use as the parents’ are least bothered about the effect it is having on the child. This kind of behavior from the parents’ would only make the child more aggressive growing up. Looking at this horrifying spectacle does break my heart at times. Though being the terror of my family, my parents’ never took it upon themselves to hand out such punishments for my naughtiness. They would tell me what is right and wrong and whenever I fell into a pit, I would remember their words.

Unfortunately, our society is such that if we call or complain to the police, the whole neighborhood would be upon us in an instant stating that this is a matter of the house and that we should not interfere in other people’s matter. More so is the worry that should we say something openly, a ritual may be performed on us for bad luck. I don’t believe that such things exist, but my mother does and so, I can only write about it. Hopefully, I won’t have to hide this for long because somebody will step up and say that ‘enough is enough’.

For more articles on Social Issues, do check out the articles written by fellow bloggers Anupam Patra and Nabanita Dhar.

My 55 Words Story

He looked down at her and brushed the hair off her face softly. She looked at him and said, “Don’t worry. Everything’s going to be fine”. With a smile on his face, he fell asleep on her shoulder.

Nine months later, the headline says – 16 year old girl delivers baby boy, Father 12 years old!

Just Another Love Story

I’m sure love stories like these have been told before and will continue to be told in the years to come. Then again, all love stories aren’t the same. They may or may not have the same happy ending as some of you reading this may have had; but it’s a love story nevertheless and it’s worth telling.

A couple was walking hand in hand on a small street; their love for each other visible for everyone to marvel at. It had been a few years since they were married, yet they couldn’t resist stopping in the middle of the street and sharing a kiss or talking in animated voices. Old couples who would pass by them would whisper a silent prayer to always keep them together.

On one of the weekends, while they were walking past a row of shops, the wife’s eyes swooped down on a glittering ring made of diamonds. Immediately, she prodded her husband to look down and said “I want that”. The husband replied, “It’s way above our budget and moreover, why do you need a diamond ring? Don’t I provide you with enough and more? This is just a silly craving, nothing else”.

The wife would hear none of it and rebuked him saying “What nonsense is this? Are you saying that you love me less now? I want this ring at any cost and I don’t want to hear you saying no to my demands. If you aren’t able to purchase it now, It’s fine, but I will be expecting this as a birthday gift” and with that she walked on ahead.

Many weeks passed and it was the wife’s birthday. The wife was growing mad with anticipation with the thought of receiving the diamond ring as a birthday gift and so, when her husband arrived from work, she rushed into his arms and gave him the biggest of hugs. The husband, knowing exactly the reason for the hug said nothing and handed her something small wrapped in a beautiful package.

She stared awkwardly at the package for a while and then, slowly unwrapping the cover, she brought out a small Bible with her name embossed in gold lettering at the top. She stood motionless for a while and then with a glaring look at her husband yelled at the top of her voice. “Is this a cruel joke that you’re playing on me? I asked you for a diamond ring and not a Bible and that too, a Bible with my name embossed in gold. Is this your way of showing love after all these years that we’ve been married?”

The husband tried to make her understand but she was overcome with rage to listen to him. In the next thirty minutes, she had packed her clothes and stomped out of the house leaving her husband and their life. She didn’t want to hear from him ever again and she had decided that she would never forgive him for the grief he had caused her.

Image Credit – flickrhivemind.net

Years later, she had made a name for herself and found love again. They were married and had all the happiness in the world that they desired but the love she shared with her second husband was nothing like the one she shared with her first. One day, while she was reminiscing about her first husband, she receives a letter saying that her first husband had perished in a plane crash during his business travel on his return home.

She was struck with grief remembering how she had walked out of their home and their lives. She collected herself and proceeded to read the rest of the letter which said that her husband had willed all his possessions to her making her the sole owner. She couldn’t believe what she was reading and wondered why his behaviour towards her hadn’t changed after she had walked out on them all those years ago.

Knowing that she had to be present to ensure that all the matters were taken care of, she went back to her first home. Walking into the hallway, all those memories came rushing by of the happy years that they had spent with each other in this home. On the table was the same Bible that he had gifted her on her birthday. Though the cover was peeling off slightly, she could still see her name embossed in gold lettering.

 With tears dripping silently, she opened the pages of the Bible to the page that he had marked for her to read. When she neared the end, she noticed a small cut on the top of the Bible like a little flap. As she opened the flap, a small package fell out of it. Shaking uncontrollably now, she opened the small package to find the diamond ring intact and still glittering as the day she first laid her eyes on it. On the inner circle of the ring, was an engraving on which the words were written, ‘Love you always’.

This is a modified work from the article that appeared in Bendor so Talo, a Mangalorean weekly newspaper by Patsy Britto. You will find versions of this story over the internet as well. To see a few, click here and here.

As a disclaimer, I would like to state that this is not a copied work from any other source but a story that has been told over the years, though, through many different versions. This is my version of it.

Bring back the Rock!

When I was growing up, I was lucky to be inducted into a proper school of learning in Music. My dad would often say, ‘It’s just not enough to have book knowledge, but you must have a whole round development as well’. That being said, my training started with rummaging through some of the old cassettes that dad kept of Bee Gees, Led Zeppelin, Eagles, Deep Purple and the like. I used to listen to the tapes, try to learn the music and understand the meaning of the lyrics.

Pretty soon, I was quite confident about my knowledge in a few bands and I decided to broaden my horizon by going a little deeper into the 60’s, the era of Beatles. Although, I must admit that rock music has always been my passion from the beginning, my dad taught me to never disregard other forms of music just because they don’t cater to your taste. You must feel the music and understand what it’s telling you rather than say ‘Oh whatever’!

Here’s a small collection of my favorite mixture of rock anthems which I have loved (and continue to love) listening to:

1. The song that we still want to hear every time we’re in a pub or at a friend’s place. It’s one of the songs many new bands want to imitate because it’s got the right vibe to it. This is my most favorite because of my guitar idol – Jimmy Page. This is Stairway to Heaven.

2. The song that inspired many a gang to run amok at parties and start headbanging. One of the easiest songs to imitate on the guitar and piano because of it’s fluid music; though the voice, none can replace the magical Ian Gillian. This is Smoke on the water

3. Deep Purple made two songs that made the ‘Machine Head‘ album a hit almost immediately post release. This is another of the famous one’s that’s been performed even to this day – Highway Star. This is a video of a 1972 concert and they’re introducing this song for the first time.

4. Another of my favorite band is Pink Floyd. Known for their versatility, this band really knows how to make music. Their songs have such deep meanings and are always a pleasure to listen to. This is Comfortably Numb. I have not put the original version but a concert version because their concerts have always been breathtaking and well conducted.

5. Last on my list would be, of course a Beatles song without any doubt. You can’t just overwrite these guys. They had it all – money, fame and glory and while still battling with youth. This is Love me do.

Hope you enjoy this :D

 

A Whole New Look at Shopping

I’ve been writing on and off on my consumer review blog at Mouthshut for about eight years now. What started as a very small unit has now grown into a big family with a lot of users commenting on how they found a certain product. The honesty in the reviews is helping us users to make a better informed decision before buying a certain product. Thanks to the rise of the Internet era, a lot many things can be done online, the most recent of which is the craze for shopping online.

Here’s a review of what I had written on Online Shopping and the effect it has on us as a whole. I’m sure most of you will agree too with my points. Feel free to comment.

Note: The below is a slightly modified reproduction of the post in Mouthshut.

I remember the times when we used to start Antakshari with the song,

- Baite Baite Kya Kare, Karna Hai Kuch Kaam, Shuru Kare Antakshari, Leke Prabhu Ka Naam.

You must be wondering why I have highlighted those two words, Antakshari and Prabhu? It is because now, we have changed that song to,

- Baite Baite Kya Kare, Karna Hai Kuch Kaam, Shuru Kare Shopping, Leke Online Ka Naam.

Image Courtesy – Group Solus

Gone are the days when we used to wait for our fathers to come back home from a hard day’s work and take us out shopping. We used to enjoy these times because for most of us, it was a break from school, from homework, housework or any other work. Along with shopping, there was a chance of probably going to a mela where the popcorn is always butterly delicious and where there is no age bar for going on the ferris wheel. But, you know what? All that has been taken away with the advent of online shopping. Now, sitting at your desk, you can order anything and everything under the sun. From bags to shoes, from goggles to watches, from shirts to socks. Whatever you want.

The online experience doesn’t stop at that. It keeps evolving as and when the numbers go up showing that it can respond to your requirements. Some of the stores now have a new shopping style which lets the consumer stand outside the shop and via the use of a touch screen, look at the various designs and collections that the store has. With imaging sensors, the touch screen puts an image of you on the screen so it looks like you’re actually trying the product without actually wearing it. If it doesn’t look good you can replace it. :) Last, but not the least, once you’re done with the selection, just input your shipping address and swipe your credit card and voila, the items are delivered to you in a day or two. No more waiting for trial rooms to get free, looking at various designs and thinking if it will look good on you. Everything is done with a swipe of your fingers.

But that is just a small thing when you have so many other online stores. In the latest spew of online shopping experiences, we have ebay, flipkart, snapdeal, myntra, jabong and various others that keep coming up every other day promising the user a remarkable experience of a whole new level of shopping experience. Some of them even have a points / credits system for joining up. BTW – That’s how I got hooked onto one of it. :)

Great! So now that we have basically understood the gist of what online shopping is about, let’s dive into some of the respective pros and cons.

PROS:

- Easily accessible at the touch of a finger or a click of the mouse.
- Variety of colors, designs and trends to choose from.
- Can purchase anything from A – Z.
- Items delivered right to your door step without charging the consumer (some sites)
- Handy return policy (some sites)

CONS:

- Consumer tends to buy more than what is required or needed.
- Credit card companies are benefited immensely by online shopping while giving heart attacks to the consumers at the end of the month.
- Intangible. As in, you can’t touch or feel the actual product(s) until after it is delivered.
- Same or better deal on other site(s) which makes the consumer confused as to which site he / she should order from.
- Unhelpful customer care executives (for certain inquiries)

So what do we have then? Well, for me, the biggest con that I would say is that you lose out on a great shopping experience with your family, where the entertainment is to go out to a nearby mall, do a little window shopping, go into a few shops, try some clothes on, spray some perfumes on yourself or try on some watches and maybe catch a movie too afterwards. However, you do get some really good deals on online stores that you would not get in a store if you went and purchased the product yourself. Sadly, there are two sides to this story and the coin is standing just in the middle.

As for me, my first shopping experience online made me buy a pair of sneakers for which I got a good discount too. The packaging that it came in did look a little old but I was happy when I saw that the manufacturing date was hardly six months ago. Still, I wear those sneakers proudly and I don’t have any regrets in buying it online. It can be an addiction for those who are / show a compulsive behavior to buying things online. So, “Buyers Beware”

Hopefully, you’ll will have a good shopping experience and see that there’s nothing wrong in indulging in this at times but you shouldn’t lose out on the actual shopping because that’s where the most fun lies.

Cheers!

My Family of Friends

Dedicated to all my friends and Aswini for all the mental madness we went through together.

My life means a lot to me.

Not because I love my life,

But because I love the people like you in my life

The world says they are called ‘Friends’

I call them my ‘WORLD’

Friends; Pick up any dictionary and the meaning states ‘associates, acquaintances, links or contacts. My set of friends’ did not feature in any of the categories above. They were my FAMILY. We lived together, fought bitterly, made up after that and still love each other fondly.

Image Courtesy Google Images

We all have friends. It’s very rare for someone to not have a friend. Even the loneliest of loners would admit that they have had at least one person come up and talk to them in their lonely life. Friends make you do things that you wouldn’t have thought of doing yourself. They also bitch and make you do things that you feel ashamed of later.

I have managed to have a good set of friends’ right from my childhood days. The ones that were inconsequential were slowly erased from my memory as I grew older. However, I attracted a unique set of friends from all walks of life, castes, gender and levels of madness. The first group I’m going to talk about is what you would call “Chaddi Buddies.”

Chaddi Buddies:

Pampers, powder, petting and puff. The 4P’s for toddlers. At the mention of these words, fathers get up and running, searching for the stuff that sound more like Greek and Latin otherwise. I had the fortune to be introduced to some of the lovely young mothers who cuddled me non stop. My mother sensing my discomfort relieved me from one of the young mothers and we left the nursery as one happy family.

I grew up in Mumbai (erstwhile Bombay) in a colony with a lot of kids. My memory is not that good to remember those early days of childhood but soon enough when I was three, I moved to a nice area called Andheri (E). My fondest memories have been over here. My first friend in this new place was a small little boy who looked like a little monkey. His name was Yogesh.

Being the son of a Police Officer, he was brought up in strict discipline, but adhering to the rules laid down by his father never bothered him. The two of us would climb water tanks, heckle at the security guards everyday, fight with the kids from the other compound and at six in the evening, go to the temple next to our colony where the Pujari would give us Tamarind (Imli). Those days were fun.

We would play cricket in the field next to our house, swim in the gutter to fetch the ball, get back home black as coal and listen to our mothers’ about the dangers of the gutter water and the hazardous things in there. We weren’t bothered about that. We enjoyed each and every day together without a care in the world. Along with us, there was another kid by the name of Dheeraj with his elder brother Ramesh. We would play football in the mud during the monsoon season too.

When I moved to Bahrain after staying in the colony for 3 years, I had tears in my eyes. I did not want to leave this place which had given me such a memorable time. There were dreams of a new life for me elsewhere. My father sensing my sadness assured me that we would always come back to our house every year during summer vacations so I could enjoy with my friends once again. With those words, I bid adieu to my Chaddi Buddies and moved on to my next group of friends – “School Friends.”

School Friends:

My schooling years passed by very quickly without much thought. There were only a few people out there who really made a difference. Few of the people who I had a good bonding with were Paul, the twins Floyd and Fletcher, Githin and Godwin. The six of us used to move around like a small rat pack. Always up to no good and rarely getting caught for the trouble we created. I say rat and not wolf because we could squeak away without being noticed after our usual bouts of madness.

Our formative years were involved in the constant talks of video games, movies and technology. Each day would begin with the talk of a new application that came out in the market and our collective opinion would be taken on how the market would react to it. Neither of us earned enough pocket money to go and buy any of those applications but we dreamed big.

I was the only one among the rest who had friends of the opposite sex yet, the fun that I had with my rat pack was a whole lot crazier and I could never compare it to any of the girls that I had spent time with. I miss these guys a lot when I think about them but all of us move on right? During this time, I also had another set of friends and these are my “Bus Friends.”

Bus Friends:

When you’re bored of the madness in the school, the school bus is your throne, where you reign over the less inconsequential ones and administer all types of punishment on them. Now, I’m not as bad as I sound, but my best friend Tapas and I did rag (bully) quite a few of the gullible ones in our bus. We were kept away from each other for a good reason by the teachers in our bus and for a good reason it was too as we kept plotting on who our next victim would be. Over time, we kept talking new things and doing new things that people used to keep blasting us.

There used to be people counter plotting against us but they could never match up to our genius. This time spent in the bus, from home to school and back was some of the most wonderful times we spent. The only time we would shut up was during the exams when all of us would be busy studying, trying to cram every bit of information that we could before we were sent to the gallows. It took me a good few years of enjoyment before school life was over for me and I was led to the gates of a college to forge a new chapter in my life. And thus, enter, the “College Friends.”

College Friends:

If you’ve thought that you’ve had fun all this while; you’re wrong. The fun is just about to start mates. And it gets crazier every minute. I would love to go on about this in detail but that story will just have to come out another day because it’s that special ;). My three years in college were a mixture of so many emotions that sometimes it was quite overwhelming for me. My college life was over and I was swept into the corporate world wave and this is where I met a unique set of friends who I’d like to call, “Work / Extended College Friends.”

Work / Extended College Friends:

When I was small, I used to see dad coming back from work stuffing his briefcase to the side and rubbing his temples while mum prepared a nice hot cup of tea to soothe his aching nerves and I used to wonder, that maybe, work is cut out for only the parents and no one else. It had a kind of prerequisite to it; you need to be married and over thirty to work etc. Little did I know that I would be twenty-one and start to work at a place with people of my own age group. Nice!

It was a whole new level of Wow for me since I thought that I would be totally sad about college getting over and I’m not going to meet my friends ever again. Now, I was going to work with some of them and this was going to be one hell of a ride. Nothing changed between us friends. We rocked the work and rocked even harder on the weekends. It also became my second family as I was spending close to 9 hours a day with them every day.

Life after Work:

This can be a painful phase to tell you the truth. Some people treat work as their bread and butter, while some, their passion. I treated it with passion. But somewhere down the line I knew that in order for me to proceed further in life, I was going to have to sever some ties to build new ones and I cut off the umbilical cord binding me to my work. I was never going back there.

For those of you, who’ve spent a good part of their lives at work, you will be able to understand this perfectly. For others, no matter how much you work hard at your job, there will be a day when you will have to stand face to face with it and ask yourself if you and job is progressing together. If you both aren’t on the same level, then amendments need to be made. Fast! When Life + Work = Happiness, it means, you’ve achieved what you’ve been looking for all along.

Hopefully, you’ve still got friends to call your own when this day comes. I’ve been blessed all my life with friends like these and I wish the same for you.

Cheers

Dreaming of Reality

I keep dreaming at times about missing a certain train. I don’t know where it’s headed and why I’m running towards it. But yet, the image of that train is still quite vivid in my head, banging against my temples as I fight the urge to get rid of that thought.

Somehow, I have a feeling about where I’m supposed to be going. Somehow, I can see the path ahead of me, yet I’m afraid to step onto that path because it might change me into a different person.

Do I willingly want to change? No. Am I being forcefully pushed into something that I’m not sure I want to do? No. Well, in all fairness, I do want to be a better person. But does change have to drive a person to the edge of the cliff, not understanding what is going through him all the while?

Sometimes, it’s easier to wake up than dream about reality.

The Education Drone

As I’m listening to the song, ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ – Pink Floyd, the line that catches my attention goes like ‘We don’t need no education,’ and I’m amused to point out that even though this may be a popular school / college rebel anthem, it doesn’t diminish the fact that education is required now more than ever before. A person in the 50’s – 80’s era would not have had the access or facilities to the educational system of the 21st century that we enjoy currently. Learning new things daily has become a priority for so many of us as we deal with newer challenges every day of our lives. It is important that we continue to dream big and aspire to reach heights no one has scaled before and now we can do that. With the advent of search engines like Google, Ask and Bing, searching for information on the internet has been brought to our screens in a matter of seconds. Reference Sites such as Wikipedia hosts a plethora of information on almost every topic known to man, and if it has not been created, you could request for it to be.

It is not only a moral but also a social responsibility to educate ourselves. We may never know where our road takes us, but we can definitely pave the way for a better, brighter future. We have the machines, the technology and the intelligence to put a dog in space. I think we can use just a little bit of that intelligence to make ourselves a little more educated about the world around us. Ignorance is truly bliss, but not when you get stumped when someone asks you, “What are the seven wonders of the world?” or “Who is the President of the United States of America?” Understandably, a third of the population is not able to read / write in the world today and who is to blame? No one but ourselves. I must applaud the current generation of parents though. They may have had a hard life and braved many obstacles but they do not want their kids to go through the same thing that they went through. They encourage them to read, to learn, to see the world and explore new avenues, not to feel bad about their situation but to make it work for them. A lot of the kids nowadays take it in their stride to see the happiness brewing from their parents’ eyes when they win a medal or go off to a good college, something which the parents’ themselves could not achieve.

So, let’s make a constant effort to be better people, to know the other person, to understand the world around us, to be respectful of the values and history of different races and more importantly, to never stop learning.

My Life as a Paying Guest

November 2008:

I’ve been living in Bangalore for the last eight years now and it has been a whirlwind of a journey. I came to Bangalore as a raw student fresh from senior school with dreams and aspirations of making it big in this wonderful city. Little did I realize at the time that I was entering a maze of what would seem like an eternity. Being a fresher to almost everything, I thought I would adjust quite well to my life of independence; however I was not left free for long.

My uncle decided that he would move in to take care of me so I would have a home to come back to and food on the table when I was hungry. I stayed with my uncle for the three years of my college life. We had our ups and downs but we got through just fine. After a while, mom and dad decided to buy a place in Mangalore, hence uncle decided to move there to take care of the flat and this is where I begin my foray into the paying guest world.

Stage 1: Finding the place

It was a cold winter’s day and I was wandering on the lonely roads of Indiranagar. I fell in love with this place from the very first instance. I knew that this was where I wanted to stay. I located a broker like so many of us do and entrusted him the job of finding a nice place so I could move in and start my life as an independent young Financial Accountant for Hewlett-Packard.

The broker had taken me to a couple of shabby places. They always show the worst first before displaying their prize collection. I had seen this house a couple of times and I had always wondered how nice it would be to live in a house like this. Somehow, I never pictured this to be a PG. In we walk with our arms outstretched reveling in the splendid creation standing before us.

As I walk in, I’m amused by the irony of how big it looks outside compared to the size inside. True to most Bangalorean owners, maximum space was utilized here making the place look like it can hold a lot more people. Well, I wasn’t concerned with that. My main concern was to have a nice proper lighting, clean water and access to hot water. Along with that, I got a TV in my room, 24 hours hot water, fridge and a trendy washing machine. No looking at any more places. This was going to be my home for the unforeseen future. I discussed the rent with the owner and though I did consider it high at that point, I did not want to leave Indiranagar. So I paid the requisite amount and started making arrangements to move in.

Stage 2: Moving in

Moving into a new place was the least of my worries. Packing; now there’s the problem. It’s not easy to pack an entire 3 year set of clothes in two bags. It takes a lot of patience; something which guys don’t have. We never like to see the work getting done and then enjoying the fruits of it. No, we like to enjoy before, during and after the work is done, which is why we never finish anything on time. Try asking a guy to get paint the fence or mow the lawn. He’s going to start his tantrums as soon as he hears the word ‘work’ or ‘task’. Once he puts his mind to it though, you can expect a masterpiece. In my case, it wasn’t an art but the sheer willpower to pack clothes neatly in one bag and then going through the whole rigmarole of unpacking was becoming a big pain. I chose to do it nevertheless.

It took me almost an entire day to pack all my clothes, my utilities and other stuff which I’m not going to bore you with. With a nice chilled beer in my hand, I called up the owner of the PG and told him that I would be moving in tomorrow. I was all happy and with that, I called it a night. Moving from one place to another was never a problem for me. I was in touch with a very enterprising person by the name of Imtiaz who had organized the movement of my personal effects from time to time. Helpful as always, he said he would send his men straight away to help me move my things to the new place. A steel cupboard, a study table, two big bags of clothes, my guitars and my trusty steed – read motorbike, moved into our new home. This was the beginning of some beautiful memories, I thought as I stepped into the house and my room.

Stage 3: Meet the Roomies

‘What’s up dude?’ You know you’re in a boy’s PG when the people greet you with a ‘What’s up.’ What a nice way to start your first conversation. I can’t imagine an opening to a conversation these days between kids and youth alike that don’t start with ‘What’s up.’ ‘Well,’ I go, ‘My name is Sheldon. What’s yours?’ ‘My name is Vedant’ replied Mr. ‘What’s up.’ That was my first friend in the PG. As I start unpacking and loading the clothes into my cupboard, I see that there’s another bed vacant right next to me. I was going to share it with two strangers. Hmmm! I’ve always had a room of my own since I can remember and here I am sharing a room with strangers. I had heard stuff like PG’s were the worst place to stay. Rumors used to float around about the constant abuse of drugs, drinking and pornography – not necessarily in that order. I chose to keep my cool and see for myself what it was like. I was a mama’s boy without any doubt, but my dad had made me self-sufficient and rely on my instincts, traits I still admit I’ve picked it up quite well from daddy dearest. This PG did not house any smart alecs so I was pretty satisfied that I had picked up a proper place.

It’s 10PM now and I’m wondering what to do. It’s my first night at the PG and you can’t sleep. There’s always a nagging thought at the back of your mind that something nasty’s going to happen to you, but it wasn’t the case. I had an amazing sleep that night and woke up fresh on a Saturday, something that had not happened in a long time. I got up and brushed my teeth, took a shower and combed my hair for the very first time in my new home. I felt good.

As soon as I step out of the shower, four monkeys – literally come howling into the room shouting “breakfast.” They see me standing there gaping at their outburst, say their hi – hello’s and continue their circus antics. I walk out of the room obviously surprised by their behavior and was walking out to get some breakfast myself when Changu, Mangu, Pinku and Dinku invited me over to have breakfast with them. I flatly refused stating that I had to get some work done and hobbled away from the scene as fast as I could. After a wonderful breakfast, I came back home and see the four monkeys playing a game of cards – Bluff.  It took me awhile to get used to the terminology but I understood what they were doing and it was fun watching them tear each other apart when it came to a wrong bluff. I took out a nice book to read and was quite engrossed in it when Changu wanted to get more acquainted. He started asking me a whole lot of questions and the rest followed suit. I didn’t want to sound rude after my morning behavior so I just played along and answered each question of theirs patiently. As the day went by, we got to know each other pretty well. The fact that we were from two ends of India didn’t bother us at all. When it comes down it, whether you’re an Idli or a Roti lover, you’re an Indian and that’s the connection that people share.

Stage 4: Encounter with the Drunk Owner

Life is like a barrel of whisky,

The more it matures, the finer it gets,

And the faster you drink it in the hope of enjoying it better,

Everything becomes so much more easier.

-          Sheldon Coelho

We’ve all heard the rumors and the tales but when the door starts banging at 1 AM on a cold Sunday morning, you know, the ghost of your drunken past is back. Or, it could just be your landlord. Either ways, it’s better to run and hide than face the evil outside. I was used to drunken friends, but drunken landlords? Now, that’s a face you don’t want to see at that point of time in the night (especially when you’re drunk yourself) but then there are times when you just have to do it.

A few times, I had the misfortune of coming face to face with him while he was at his best – should be pretty self-explanatory. So, I developed a very effective method of not engaging him for long. I practiced my long drawn haggard look in front of the mirror several times before finally deciding to use it on him and it worked like a miracle J. The moment my owner saw me in that state, he just couldn’t bear to talk to me lest I collapse right there in front of him. Over time, he stopped disturbing the rest of the inmates and eventually decided to stop his activities – the cause of that is something else, but I believe it was a life changer for him.

Stage 5: The Neighbors

“Love thy neighbor” is what we hear from our parents growing up. And love them was all we could do because adjacent to our PG was a Ladies PG. The evenings were lit with conversations of who was the most beautiful that walked out of those gates. Some of the boys pretended to have conversations with them whenever they got a chance but a look from the owner of the Ladies PG had our boys running a mile away. Slowly a rumor floated around that the girls were not that interesting in the first place and soon, our boys drifted away into new-found passions and interests, the more recent of which, IPL. Naturally, our conversations, animated as they were about who would win, would take a break when the cheerleaders came on and in a unified show of strength, we’d have our eyes glued to the telly as a sign of respect to the skillful cheerleaders.

Stage 6: Festivities

We Indians love our culture and our heritage so much that even though we may stay a hundred miles away from home, the festivities bring in us a sense of togetherness and belonging. The festivities in our PG brought together people from different faiths, religions and ethnicity. We used to celebrate festivals like Holi, Eid, Diwali and Christmas like one big family. There was never a dull moment for either of us during these festivals and the thought that we were all away from our families during these events never bothered us. We enjoyed ourselves to the maximum sometimes even staying up till late in the night talking about the fun-filled stories these festivities brought with them.

Stage 7: Moving out

When you reach this part of your stay in a PG, that is, if the journey has been fun, the moving out can be a very bitter end to an otherwise beautiful period. When I wanted to move out, I felt like a bride was leaving her mother’s home after marriage. There was no crying, yet sadness filled my heart as I was now embarking on new ventures and I could not stay in this PG if I had to fulfill them. Some of the boys helped in carrying my bags down and spoke to me through the process, giving hi-fives, wishing good luck for the future and also a lot of “we’re going to miss you” faces. We spoke of never losing touch with the other inmates and promising to write back whenever we got the chance to do so.

September 2010:

I was staying in this PG for almost two years before I had finally decided to move out to a place closer to my office. It was going to be with a bunch of guys which I didn’t know again, but this was a house and not a PG. There were a lot many things different that were going to happen and a lot more experiences to talk about. Whenever I pass by Indiranagar, I still go and have a look at the old PG and remember all the crazy times spent over there and wish that I could rewind the clock and do it all over again.

Sometimes, it’s easier living in the past than dreaming about the future…

Disclaimer – The views and opinions written in this article are not only the author’s but also his PG Mates. Being their spokesperson, the author has willingly decided to stand in the firing line for writing about their choice memoirs. Should you have any concern with the authenticity of these events, please leave them with your local psychiatrist. 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,158 other followers

%d bloggers like this: