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Heartbreak

I thought I was choking. That lump in my throat kept getting larger, as I tried soothing it down. The heaviness in my chest, like a big chunk of lead, weighed me down as I tried taking deeper breaths. My eyes went blurry… I didn’t know if it was the dizziness that swayed my head like a wild roller-coaster ride, or just the drops of tears that lined my eyes.

This cannot be happening to me… not again. Have I not yet had my share, I thought to myself. This was just unfair. Fucking unfair.

I wiped the tears off angrily. Indignation was something I felt I deserved. I wanted to shout out, to try and relieve that lump, which was now positively clogging my windpipe. But voice of any kind deserted me.

I wanted to cry out loud, to just flush out all my feelings, stupid stupid feelings that refused to let go off me. I didn’t know what I wanted to feel… sadness for how things eventually turned out? Disappointment at fate having let me down again? Anger at myself for being such a moron?

But then, would any of these have really helped? I was sure the answer was a resounding and firm no. Afterall, the truth of the matter was… I was the one to bring this upon me. I was satisfied, content… even happy. And then I let my hopes float beyond my reach, fooling me into believing things would be different this time around. This time, everything was going to fall right into place. This time, it was going to work out.

Truth had to catch up with me sometime. I was perhaps just not good enough… it was after all not the first time this was happening. In fact, I was increasingly finding myself in this situation much too often. And truth was always going to be this bitter – hard-hitting, blow-below-the-belt type.

“May be I will try later again, I don’t know… God, its killing me!”

And I broke down, like I never had before, like I never imagined myself doing. But I couldn’t take it no more. This was just too much, even for me. I always thought I was good… that I deserved better than this. Maybe, I didn’t.

It was the crowd’s thunderous applause that brought me back to present. I still felt dizzy, unable to balance myself, my head still reeling from all the emotional onslaught it was being subjected to. I looked up, and I think I managed a weak smile.

I didn’t know if I would ever be able to bounce back from this. I didn’t know if I have it in me to put myself out there again… and bear another heartbreak. But I knew one thing for sure… this time I had lost.

This time, it was Game-Set-Match Rafa.

Rod Laver Arena, 1st February, 2009

 


Fear of fear

Silence. So deafening it was unbearable. Like a static, that buzzed all around me. I lifted my right arm, and it felt light as air. Staring blankly into it, I turned it around.

It’s perfectly ok, man”, I told myself. “Perhaps this is what happens.

Beside me, Anna sat in his characteristic nonchalance, laughing at the inimitable Chandler. Oh my god, I loved Chandler and yet, I just wasn’t able to laugh at his jokes. This was wrong. This was no fun.

Standing up, I paced to the washroom and the whole world around seemed to swing, and stir. I could hear voices, but it all felt so distant to me. I was in a completely different world… in a dream perhaps. Yes, ofcourse it was a dream, nothing else. Better still, I now knew it was a dream.

Splashing water across my face, sounds and sights flooded my senses, and that’s when I knew this was not a dream. This was real… so real, it was starting to scare me.

Abe Anna! Do you feel kinda strange too?”, I asked, trying to keep my voice stable, not betraying the fear welling up, churning my insides.

Yeah… a bit”, he replied and went back to Friends. What consolation was that anyway… that guy was a fucking pro!

Depersonalization involves the persistent or a current experience of feeling detached, as if one was an outside observer of one’s mental processes or body.

I tried to sleep it off… Anna suggested I do that, and then everything would be back to normal. Yes, I liked normal. I loved normal. In fact, I would have done anything to just be normal again. But sleep would not come to me. I had dreams though… terrible nightmares that I was stuck in my body, that I was floating above it and watching myself lie below, writhing in some unseen pain.

I got up in a jerk, and felt my throat closing down. I gulped down a whole bottle of water and I still felt thirsty. I put my palm on my neck, trying to find out if my heart was racing… I was sure this was how a heart attack felt like. But surprisingly, my pulse seemed normal, fine.

And then a thought struck me… perhaps, time had slowed down for me. Yes, that was possible. I could feel every nerve in my body go into overdrive, as a plethora of stimuli flooded me. Every breath I took, every ruffle of the bedsheet below me, the creaking of the fan, the whispering voices outside of a close friend, worried as hell what was happening to me… I could feel everything in slow-motion, only 10 times more intense and vivid.

It is like living in some kind of horrific perpetual dream state.

Like your worst dream put before you, and put into an infinite loop that refused to end. Every second felt like years of hardship and torture. And I knew as a matter of fact, that there were thousands of seconds still left to endure.

Dude, everything is going to be fine… just let it pass”, Anna and others tried to console. Why on earth were they not able to see that I was dying? I thought I would be trapped inside my own body… like a mosquito inside amber, which others could stare at and be amused. I could see the disappointed shake of my father’s head, my mother’s heart-wrenching wails as she shook my lifeless body, while I tried to scream, to tell her I was alive, inside.

I should never have taken these things, yaar. I was so stupid… why did I ever want to take it? Oh god, please save me. I will never, ever again have this wretched thing”, I could not stop myself muttering meaningless gobbledygook.

I felt like crying… I think I did. I could see people standing worried around me, trying to dissolve the tension with some terrible jokes, the “mujhe chadi nahi hai” among prominence. I laughed with them, when that horrible feeling of loneliness would cripple me and I would fall silent again.

I didn’t know what it was. Was this what they called a “bad trip”? Was I having a momentary instance of depersonalization? I didn’t have the slightest idea… All I knew, was that I was fucked.

It was 1 pm the next day when I woke up. My head still buzzed, and I remembered every moment of the night, as clear as I had watched the horribly-directed movie myself. I knew I heard the cheer when four of my friends carried me to the bathrooms, as I relatively stabilized after 3-4 hours of blabbering and clumsy theatrics. I still felt my lips curve into a smile, as I looked around proudly at the only asset that I gained from my 4 years there… my friends.

The experience, abhorrent that it was and one I would never like to repeat, did teach me a thing or two. It made me realize what mattered in my life, and what I was willing to sacrifice for it. I also found out that what I fear most in my life… is fear itself. They have even got a term for it. Phobophobia.

D-Company

IIT-Roorkee…. in a not-so-distant future: A small fire flamed in the dustbin as a handful of people crouched around it, wearing just the bare minimum. They didn’t have the luxury of ruining their remaining, albeit torn and discoloured clothes. As the clock ticked 1 am, one of them retorted, “Is there a class tomorrow?? Any protests by D?” Another one among them replied, “Nah! Class hai!” Just as the first guy started going to his room, he enviously eyed the One… the only guy who escaped the iron grips of the system… who wore the colours of freedom… and clean, un-torn clothes! The only guy who refused the services of the Dhobi from the very beginning and thus, avoided getting sucked into the murky world of the D-Company.

It was not like this always… There was a time when dhobis and students lived in harmony. But as time passed, almost inconspicuously, the power shifted… as those-who-must-not-be-named started realizing that no matter what they did to the students’ clothes, no matter how much they delayed in returning the clothes, there was nobody to scold or reprimand them… Even with the advent of technology that replaced their brothers across the world, this little hamlet was untouched by the effects of those shiny, magical metal thingies that washed clothes on electricity. And soon, the baton had passed. When few of our ancestors tried to free themselves of their clutches, the dhobis launched a protest that shook the very foundations of the Main Building, as even the revered and feared Dean succumbed to their demands in the name of ‘saving the unemployment of the poor and needy’… It came as no surprise when they took control of the Institute’s lives, barring those two islands of KB and SB, that stood unconquered.

Soon, it was not just dhobis… our mobiles stopped working local as the postmen joined the bandwagon. Local calls were replaced by letters and speed post (in case of emergency, you know)! Few people ofcourse got their own pigeons! And soon, time seemed to travelled backwards… we were living the days that we had heard of, from our grandmothers and great-grandmothers.

It’s not just the R-Land that bore the scourges of the dhobis. After all, even as back as the 1930’s, Gujarat experienced this silent transfer of power that made even the well-off Gandhiji to move about in just a dhoti… And when they tried to burn their torn clothes, it became a national movement… But fortunately, even the British were not spared as their clothes were destroyed and mutilated by the dhobi community and they had to sail back to the English Lands!

History is proof of the power that they wielded and the deep imprints that they left on the fabrics of history (pun intended). The dhobis had first reached India along Alexander the Great, when they took a liking to the place and abandoned the great emperor, who then had to discontinue his campaign to conquer the whole world. Rarely anybody knows that the East India Company had bribed the dhobis of the royalty, which consequently led to their yielding to the British. Ofcourse, they were ultimately undone by the dhobis too (as previously mentioned). It’s said that Hitler’s dhobis were Jews… the rest is history!

But all hope is not lost… our chosen leader this year could actually lead a revolt against the established order, try and show some sense to those blind eyes of the administration and who knows, we may see the day when we may be able to buy clothes without the fear of their destruction…May we succeed in bringing down this tyranny! Amen!

Note : This post is not intended to hurt the sentiments of anybody (namely the dhobi community, the descendants of Alexander, the British junta and Jews) or demean any great personality (namely Gandhiji and Alexander). This is only to be taken as a joke… like the warnings and threats of Bal Thackeray or my demands for my very own state (I think I would call it Pandora… you know, I am ‘avatar’… get it? )

True Love

It’s unusually crowded today… and yet, unusually quiet. Drops of rain have started to fall from the overcast December sky, as it gets darker outside. A lot of known and unknown faces have come to our home, and that too, all dressed in white!!  I wonder what party is Pa throwing… is it his birthday?

There’s little Nihal, cringing on to his father’s fingers, never letting it go for even a second…. That little angel reminds me of myself! My memories of childhood are that of a rainy night in the streets of Delhi, knee-deep in waters, with no shelter, no food and no warmth…. I was shivering so badly, I couldn’t stand on my legs… and that’s when Pa came along… i remember that warmth, that love and nurture in his eyes as he took me in his arms and brought me home… I was so afraid of being alone, I would never let Pa out of my sight. Ever since, I have been with him. But I still hate rains… today’s not gonna be one of my best days, I guess.

Shikha has also come… its been a long time since I have seen the girl. And she is, as usual, crying herself out hoarse, i am sure, in demand for toys! That’s how she was when she came here last time… loved playing with balls, like me. I remember those long evenings when I used to walk in the park with Pa, playing ball with him… soon, my friends from the street would also join in… we would play on till the sun went down into the sea and I would head home leaving my friends back…. I wonder where they would go… do they have a house to live in, like me… the warmth of the home, somebody to take care of them like my Pa…. Oh! I am so lucky to have him…

Ah! Dr. Sharma has come too… he rarely comes here… and when he does, Pa goes with him to the pool and they sit and smoke and drink some brown water… Yuck!! That stuff smells so bad i wonder how they manage to drink the whole thing!! I hate him… but then, my reason for hating him could be the pins thingy that he punished me with when I was a kid… every month, Pa would let him torture me like that… I am sure, Pa is afraid of Dr Sharma’s big moustaches!! That’s why he didn’t say anything against him…

Oh! The party seems to be coming to an end… everyone is moving outside… and some are carrying this huge wooden box on their shoulders… is that a treasure? I wish I could peek in… but I am sure they would not let me… nobody likes me here… only Pa. But I think, I will still follow them… I may get lucky!!

So, we have reached the Church!! All about us, rain is streaming down in waves as everybody is standing around something, the box I guess… As I squeezed my way through the crowd, I saw a sight that paralysed me from within… for there lay in the box, my beloved Pa, a picture of serenity and affection. I wanted to cry out loud but all the sound seemed to get stuck in my chest… it felt like somebody was choking me to death… Death! How I wished it had stuck me instead! As others kicked me aside and buried the hole with soil, all I could do was stand still with disbelief… my legs refused to budge, my throat was still dry. The evening was paling into night as the crowd slowly began to scatter and thin out. But I couldn’t just leave him here… he never left me alone… then, how could I?

***

 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Joseph Anthony, a resident of Shakarpur was found dead in his apartment on Sunday morning. The death is being attributed to cardiac arrest, doctors confirmed. He had no heirs and left all his belongings to charity. He also made arrangements for his dog to be taken care of, but the dog was also found dead at the church cemetery on his grave. It seems like the dog could not get over the death of his owner and perished in the cold night.

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The Great American Upset

It seems like whenever i am emotionally drained or mentally distraught, the mind responds by invoking my creative (or so i would like to think of it) writing skills. And so, here i am, furiously typing away the frustration and anguish, climaxed by utter disappointment in the course of events of the last few hours. Yes, I am talking about the 2009 edition of US Open that concluded in the ungodly hours of the morning leaving thousands of fans in utter disbelief at the result.

A certain 20 yr old Argentinean with the looks of a (gentle) beast and gargantuan frame upset the GOAT in a gruelling 5-setter…. playing with the confidence of Dumbledore in a duel with Pettigrew hours after upsetting Rafa in domineering fashion. The guy perhaps didn’t know that you “are” supposed to feel  the nerves of playing in your first Major final against arguably the best player to have ever graced the tennis court in a jam-packed Arthur Ashe stadium. Hitting every shot with the ferocity of a winner, attacking every serve with flat uber-powerful groundstrokes, it was evident that he was not going down without a fight. And fight he did! To think that he started the year with a double bagel from the hands of Federer himself, Juan Martin del Potro has certainly come a long way!! Ahh! How i wish the “shot of the lifetime” had come during the final and rescued Roger!!

To add to the disappointment of the final, my other favourite Gonzo, after having played on level terms against Rafa, surrendered so meekly in the 3rd set to hand over a literal walkover. Damn you Rafa! Had you lost to Gonzo, he may well have defeated Del Potro and gone down fighting to FedEx!

All in all, a disappointed end to a great year…. and a bad start to the day for me!! Got a quiz and with the “night out” in the TV Room, how can you expect me to have prepared?!?! Wish me luck, i really need it!!

PS : Chelsea off to a flying start!! Go Blues!!

Dated : 7 June’09

The day i have been waiting for the last 4 years has finally arrived… and the first person i have to thank should be our cable operator, who had cruelly denied me of the action at Paris by not showing Star-Sports, but took pity to our repeated pleadings on phone for the final! And i was fortunately witness to the making of history by arguably the best tennis player ever (except for the irritating Parle Lite ads with some really un-cute sumos (unlike the Takeshi’s Castle sumos!) performing ballet dance to hindi scores… perfect recipe for disaster!! Certainly nothing “cho-chweet” about it!!)

The weather at Roland-Garros was so perfect that i wished i was myself out there playing! It seemed even nature wanted this to happen! And the smile that Fedex carried on his face as he entered the Philippe-Chatrier Court implied that perhaps he too felt the same!! And what a start to the match! Till Soderling came to terms with his first Grand-Slam final, the first set was over… 6-1

Soderling looked to come to his own self in the second set but was cruelly denied the set by some classic service by the King! No break-points for either player as all games went with the serves…the tie-breaker was inevitable and trust me, it is unnerving!! But this was not the Federer of RG 2008 who barely managed to get his first serve in, in the final…I mean, what can you possibly do if your opponents thunders down aces on all his serves in the tie-break!! 5 aces in 5 serves and it was 7-6…

The third set was now a mere formality as his till-now shoddy backhand now started to produce down-the-line winners and there were to be no surprises here!! Even for some cool backhand winners off Soderling’s racket, it was 6-4 and a perfect end to a magical fortnight when universe conspired so that there was to be only one winner here… A deserving tribute to the maestro, a perfect gift from Parisian clay that had given him only heartbreaks for the last 3 years!! As he stood there, barely able to hold his tears as he listened to the Swiss national anthem being played, something that he may have been wishing for the last 3 finals, you couldn’t help but cry with him, share the joy, remember the past frustrations and finally relish the sweet end to the misery!! As Soderling put it, he lost to the deserving winner, the greatest player there ever was…

PS : I almost forgot about the entertaining cameo by a moron as he entered the court to give Federer some scares and almost escaping the many security personnel who came to the rescue!!  I say, he should try his hand in rugby!!

PPS : Wimbledon, here we come!!

PPPS : My apologies for the delay in posting this (not that anybody is waiting for the post!!)… I live “offline” when i am home…

The last two days have been eventful… i tried my hand in Pool for the first time, a thing i have been wanting to do for quite a while… And while i blasted every opponent (actually just one, who wasn’t much of a pro either!) on the first day (beginner’s luck, i wonder!), reality soon seeped in ! The brilliaaant 2 hours were followed by a visit to the good ol’ Solani… and little did we know what fate had in store for us!!

A stroll to the Solani is quite a timepass with the right company… and the 7 of us made up more than just that!  Sitting on the banks of the canal (or river, i am still not sure what it is) as the chilling waters of Ganga lapped our feet while we blew away our time discussing our crushes and love life (or the lack of it) is actually much more fun than it sounds (with the oooohs and ohhhhh moments to go with the story!)… The unerringly regular lightning far away either meant a storm on its way or an alien warship trying to communicate to the earthlings… and the geniuses that we are, we discussed the possibility of the latter!

And soon enough, rain started to pour… not the little droplets of heaven to soothe us in the summer heat, but rather like little stones that we enjoyed throwing at moving vehicles (i mean not me ofcoz! The kids!!)… and within seconds, it had taken the form of a full-fledged storm! As if not being able to see even the next 100 metres while battling the cruel icy winds crashing down upon us and the ‘stoney” rain drops slapping our faces wasn’t bad enough, we were drenched from head to toe in our now-heavy-and-drooping clothes and had to try and make our way forward to find a shelter… Strangely enough thinking about it now, it almost felt for a moment that we may not be able to make it safe!! Already shivering in the tempest, we finally saw the glimpse of a bus parked nearby… Thankfully, we took cover in its shade, as we watched the rain, now coming down in waves, and the sky lightning up every now and then… The bus-driver, taking pity on us drenched souls, let us in and we took shelter in the warmth of the insides…

Soon enough, we were back to the very serious discussions we were having before the timely interruption by nature… As the storm waned off, we started making our way back for a well-deserved peg of whiskey… but the basters, all but one, backed off the plan and we finally settled for a plate of steaming Soup Maggi and tea at the, where-else, Bus-Tea… Feeling all smug and filled, all of us rounded up at the Terrace for continuing the all-important bakar session, discussing the (mis)adventures of the day! Looking back, the storm made our day (or night, rather) a memorable one… Being “caught in a storm” never sounded terrifying to me, but now, it sure sounds one heck of fun!!!

PS : For those who haven’t noticed, the title of the post is Catalan for “caught in the tempest”!! A tribute to the victory of undeserving-finalists Barca over a mediocre ManU… And now i have even greater respect for Bosingwa on how he was able to keep down the genius, mercurial Messi !! He was on fire on the night! A beautiful display of football- “Joga Bonito”, i guess! What say Devils??

PPS : Hoping to be able to write a cheerful post next Sunday! How i wish something magical to happen on the clay of Roland-Garros!! How about a 6-0 set for a revenge, FedEx ?? (Fingers crossed)