It’s been too long

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So I finally bid goodbye to the lush green haven in Guindy that was all but my entire world for five whole years. Five years. That’s a long time. Enough to fall in love with a place. And out. And in again.

I have always resisted the temptation to write about the place, for fear of never fully being able to express in words what it means to me. And I am afraid I am going to do so yet again. No, this isn’t going to be a lyrical prose on the place that has shaped many a thought in the impressionable minds of so many early twenty somethings such as myself. There is going to be no waxing of eloquence. There is going to be no showering of superlatives. There may be fleeting mentions, at best. Notes on blackbucks that lock horns or on crows that sit of spotted skins of deer that graze and laze, or on monkeys that grump, jump and hump – sometimes all at once. You may come across a reference to the astonishingly good looking girls on campus or find your mouth watering as you read about the delicious mess food. There may be a remark on the scorching heat or the soul drenching humidity. But this, trust me, is no trip down any nostalgic lane. Much on the contrary, as you’re about – if you’ll have the patience to hang on – to find out.

The last few weeks of a stay in such a place can, as you can imagine, be fairly emotionally charged. So, although in certain bouts of intellectual narcissism I had imagined myself staying rooted in the moment and enjoying every bit of the experience, things weren’t all rosy towards the end. My final year project had dragged on a little bit, as certain final year projects have a way of doing. And as I helped friend after friend pack their things for the last time in the institute that we’d spent the last half a decade together in and saw them off in their Fasttrack cabs, wondering all along about the place and time – if any – of my next seeing them, I would be lying if I denied the presence of a growing restlessness. And so, harsh and unsexy as it sounds, the bare truth of the matter is that my heart was filled with a sense of relief as I alighted the Dadar Egmore Express one fine morning in early June. There was a slight drizzle pouring down; Mumbai was in this little period between the unbearable heat and the floods-all-around phase. Enjoy it while it lasts, I said to myself.

I now sit on the sofa in the living room of my parents’ house. We have some white and some yellow lights and I like sitting here alone in the night with just a one dim yellow light on. I stare across the balcony at the mountains of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, my eyes unblinking for a long time. The only noises in the background are the whirring of the fan and the slight whisper of the telly. The setting is almost serene. I take a deep breath in and close my eyes. I open my eyes and we have time travelled a year into the future. I am still sitting on the same sofa. The yellow dim light still shines – a little dimmer perhaps. The mountains haven’t changed. The whirring of the fan and the whisper – though now emanated from a Panasonic plasma as against the previous Onida telly – are the same. It’s still serene, the setting.

Much has happened over the past year. Can there be a few blog posts describing the more absorbing of those happenings? Sure, there can be. Have there been any? No. Will there be any? It’s hard to say. Fingers crossed. Hope is everything.

- Nirav

Liverpool FC – The one where it all started (for me)

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My love affair with Liverpool FC started in a hotel room in a small hill station called Panchmadhi in the centrally placed Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. I didn’t know that then, of course. I’m not sure what exactly triggered it. I can only lay down the proceedings:

Sometime in the middle of the awfully long summer holidays following my 10th standard exams, I found myself in the presence of my extended family – parents, two pairs of uncles and aunts and 5 cousins (all sisters – a fact that rakshabandhan reminds me of all too sorely every year) – as we trotted northwards in the sleeper class of the highly efficient and obstinately punctual Indian Railways. True to Gujjus’ Kutchis’ tenacity of travelling light, we were accompanied by not too many more than a dozen suitcases for the week long vacation. Any dearth in the refreshments department is unthinkable, of course – appropriately, there were enough helpings of theplas, khakhdas, dhoklas, chivdas and laddoos to keep ourselves occupied for the 14 hour journey.

Because hotel booking via the web is relatively unheard of in those days and we aren’t quite the type to decant money on travel agents, we find ourselves scurrying through the streets of Panchmadhi from one hotel to another, trying to select our abode for the week. While negotiations are being carried out in one such hotel, I sneak into one of the rooms and switch on the television.

My eyes are open wide in amazement as they stare at the screen, but it looks like the negotiations have broken down because my uncle is dragging me out of the room and I can hear the hospitable taxi driver hurling heartening abuses for the delay. Anyway, my feet seem to be stubbornly glued to the floor because it is 44 minutes on the timer in the highlights they are showing on the television, and the defense is cut open by a magnificent through ball that is just out of reach for the last defender’s out-stretched legs. And now everything’s moving slow-slow-slow as the guy in the white jersey is clean ahead of the defense so that the keeper has to come off his line. But the guy in the white jersey lobs the ball above the keeper who looks behind in despair and now everything’s slower-slower-slower as the ball gently trots goal-wards before the net flutters in a wave like motion, making it 3-0 on the scoreboard. But now fast-fast-fast the team in red are celebrating, there is an arm thumping man with the cup in his hands and a plump baldie gasping for air as he mumbles an interview and now faster-faster-faster my uncle is dragging me with renewed vigour, his hand moves towards my wrist, the remote is snatched and we rush down to the waiting cab and now questions of why how where, but I’m stunned dumbfounded lost for words and we travel in silence to chunmun hotel.

Chunmun is a small hotel that provides a dorm for the 12 of us. Things are said about the dorm allowing us to spend maximum time together, but I doubt if the fact that it comes on the cheap is lost on anyone. I catch my once-arm-dragging uncle cast a disappointed eye on one of the suitcases (wherein, as later inspection educates me, dwells some fancy lingerie).

And thus, in that tiny MP hill station with probably no football following, amid arm-dragging, abuse-hurling, feet-gluing and remote-snatching, in the presence of sex deprived relatives, were sown the seeds of a love, of a passion that continues to grow, to hurt, to evolve, and that I’ll perhaps never manage to explain satisfactorily in words.

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PS: This is the link to the highlights of that fateful night in Istanbul.

 

A return (of sorts)

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It’s been over two months since one last pressed the publish button on this blog.

A bunch of things could have – but haven’t – happened in this time.

Half a dozen (and who knows how many more) men with hormones alarmingly out of control and with alcohol-blurred consciences, post a horrific crime of unimaginable proportions, could (and really, should) have been hanged in public. Two (and who knows how many more) Indian soldiers could (and really, should) have been alive today had they not been brutally killed by a neighbouring country, which, despite (only) repeated warnings, continues to bite.  

Now, in interests of lightening the mood and setting the tempo for the remainder of the post: In sports that one follows with reasonable interest, a rather poor Indian cricket team (soon to be deprived, in another format of the game, of perhaps its greatest player ever) could (and really, should) have been whitewashed in their own backyard after being thoroughly outplayed by a very good English team, while in the English Premier League, Liverpool FC, impressive as they have been with some flamboyant link-up play (although mostly sans a decent final ball) and a couple of forward-thinking signings, could (and really, should) have been higher up the points table.

If one had conceived at the time of writing the last post, one could (but really, should not) have been carrying just a hint of a baby bump by now – perhaps not, but crazier things have been said in the realm of lame jokes.

Exactly zero of the aforementioned things have happened.

There have been a few minor occurrences on the personal front (not on the belly), however.

One, for instance, managed to get hired by the first company one was (ever) interviewed by (you didn’t seriously think that would go un-bragged). Besides, there has been voracious reading of novels, a new found need passion for working out a trifle and a considerable expansion of one’s German vocabulary. There have been spurts of progress in a final year project that oscillates between being i-want-to-work-nights-even-on-weekends exciting to oh-god-why-do-i-have-to-meet-my guide-again lacklustre. There have been haggles for extorting job treats, IIM call treats, birthday treats and of course, i-forgot-my-wallet treats.

So, despite an unrepaired laptop and consequent reduction in exercise for the left wrist, if the glass is to be described as half-full, there hasn’t been a lull altogether.

Anyway, lull or no lull, dearth or abundance of (un)mentionable topics – these are issues of imperceptible significance for now. For tonight, one is merely intent on pressing that publish button, on getting something out there. And that by itself, unfortunately, isn’t quite enough to detract one’s instinctive propensity to ramble about what constitutes as nothing. Oh sweet gibberish!

(Meanwhile the reader, either tricked into subscribing to the blog which caused this to be emailed or whiling away time on facebook or twitter having nothing better to do anyway and now suffering from the poor judgement of having clicked on this link, hopes – in vain, as it will turn out – that this may yet churn out something of note.)

Besides this isn’t a remarkable deviation from a majority of the blog’s posts anyway. Although one must acknowledge the existence of some genuinely delightful snippets (trumpet, own, blowing, something?) here and there, appreciable haste must be exercised to attest to the presence of the colossal nonsensical clutter surrounding them.

And thus ends the post – abruptly, perhaps adding more nonsensical-clutter than genuinely-delightful-snippets, but enabling one to press the publish button nonetheless. It also marks the blog’s return in the new year (only a month late). One hopes to contribute e-waste to the web write more frequently. Brace yourself for more twaddle.

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You may also like these:

Spurts of Spontaneity

Jee – The Nerd’s Seductress

How do I write?

Smart Streets

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Me and Srinath did this project a couple of years ago. We went on to exhibit this in a competition at Brunel University, London. We didn’t win the competition, of course, or else I would have mentioned that by now. Anyway, I was skimming through some old projects and this one looked a little less shabbier than some of my other works. So I thought it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to brag a tad bit on the blog. What else is the purpose of the blog, after all?

PS: I must thank Prince for making the poster for us.

Spurts of Spontaneity

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It’s not uncommon, as people who spend a reasonable amount of time with him will readily vouch for, for him to strike up a conversation with a random stranger on the bus. Maybe to pass a pseudo-intellectual comment on the book they are reading. Maybe to inquire about the comfort of their brand of shoes and whether they think he should buy them too. And if the stranger happens to be a kid, perhaps just to contort his face before saying that this is a college bus and school kids are not allowed.

The response that he manages to get, mostly, is a wry half smile, maybe a slight raise of the eyebrows, complemented by an overall facial expression that is not too far away from ‘why don’t you mind your own fucking business?’ A few times he is luckier; he is endowed with a reply – sometimes even an enthusiastic one. There is some sarcastic, half-witty Q&A back and forth before the conversation gently dies an unceremonious death. Although this by itself is quite satisfying, what make such endeavours truly worthwhile, he explains, are those few rare instances when the conversation, twisting and turning about this and that, finds itself on a particularly interesting topic and the person leaves him with a wonderful perspective that he might have never otherwise had.

I nod unsurely. I tell him other things about his behaviour that conventional social conduct and etiquette may regard as questionable – his irresistible propensity, for instance, to repeat (loudly) a funnily pronounced word, regardless of the pronouncer’s stature or the situation’s gravity; him singing ‘you’ll never walk alone’ to someone in a Liverpool shirt across the road; him inquiring, grimly, at the local tea shop if ordering an extra tea will fetch him a discount on the small Parle-G packet; him asking the European foreign exchange student her nationality, before exulting unabashedly, as she looks on, for having won the guessing game with his friend.

I ask him if he isn’t tired of the confused looks, of the ‘shut up, smartass’ stares, of being labelled unsophisticated, even cheap. He laughs off these accusations. He asks if I don’t find even a little hilarity in the immaturity of ordering in a bihari accent in an Italian restaurant, or in the naivety of scribbling a vulgar comment on the class geek’s well maintained notes. Besides, he claims he isn’t much concerned about people judging him – the stranger across the road, the vendor at the tea shop or the girl at the cafe are hardly likely to be making life-altering decisions for him. As long as he is not hurting anyone’s feelings, what’s the harm in having some fun, he questions.

And yet, he admits that things are not always all hunky-dory, picture-perfect. Situations do get clumsy. People do get irritated. He recalls, to site an example, walking down a rather deserted lane when he spotted a couple of well-built thugs letting their bladders loose by the side of the road. Instinctively, he mocked at them for spoiling public property and regretted having done so even before he had finished the sentence. He smiles guiltily as he recollects the skipped heartbeat, the accelerated walk.

However, he claims to have a sense of where to draw the line, in most cases anyway. When he does get stuck, he boasts of being able to snugly get out of potentially embarrassing, even dangerous situations.

I’m still not completely convinced. What if he takes it too far someday? What if on the receiving end of this harmless spontaneity is a depressed soul or a violent egoist? What if he hurts someone? What if someone hurts him? I continue to debate with him. I am him. He is me.

I miss you dad!

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I turned 12 today. One more year and I will be in my teens! Not that we had any extravagant celebrations for the occasion. Being raised by a single parent, I know better than to expect a whole lot of gifts, but mom did buy me the new basketball that I had asked her for.

However, ever since I got that letter from dad on my sixth birthday, it became the one gift that I most eagerly await this day every year. Although what I wish for infinitely more is for him to actually come back to us! But the letters have their own charm and when you know they represent your only chance to know about your father and his whereabouts, they become immensely valuable. It thrills me to read about his exotic travels and his heroic exploits. I get the goosebumps as I visualize him fighting valiantly against the pirates or learning the subtle nuances of fighting from the Samurais.

But the delight of his words and the pride of knowing that he is fighting for a greater cause last only so long. The charm of his amazing feats fades in front of the harsh reality of his having abandoned me and mom for more than six years now. Yes, it’s been that long since I last saw him! Wasn’t I just a baby then! I have faint memories of our family visits to grandfather’s farmhouse and of our frequent trips to the beach. I also vividly remember going to my first basketball game with him.  How ecstatic I was that day!

Gripped with nostalgia, I sometimes complain to mom about his absence from our lives. But she just loves him too much. She tells me how true love is about sacrifice and understanding and those lyrical sorts of things. But to me, all that is no more than some philosophical bullshit. The bare truth of the matter is that my father is not here with me today; that is never around to take me to the park, nor to help me with my science project; that the third chair on our dining table has been unoccupied for as many dinners as I can remember; that every Saturday, I have to make do with Chris’ father’s cheering in the football game in our school. He didn’t even care enough to write me a damn letter on my birthday.

For all of mom’s attempts to fight the situation bravely, I know that dad’s absence pricks her too. There are days when she becomes completely solemn. Deafening herself to my incessant cries for this and that, she simply stares blankly in my direction. It’s only when my shouts become intolerable that she comes out of her trance. As she chides me for my careless behavior, tears rolling down her cheek, the tremor in her voice is unmistakable. She says she has a headache and that I shouldn’t give her more trouble. But I know why she is really aching.

Sometimes I wonder what’s really keeping dad away from us for so long. Maybe he has found some other woman on his travels. Perhaps he has a new family and has forgotten all about me and mom. After all, failed marriages are not such a rarity these days. Mom truly loves him and would not consider anything of this sort even for a second, but what if he is taking advantage of her innocence? What if every time we are struggling to make our ends meet with mom’s meager income or being threatened by the landlord for failing to pay the rent, wishing desperately that dad were with us, he is blissfully vacationing with his new family, completely oblivious of our troubles?

Perhaps I am just being way too skeptical. Maybe dad has been sending me letters all along but the stupid postal system loses them in transit. Better yet, maybe he plans to surprise us by showing up at the door out of the blue someday. Maybe he planned to reach home today and give me the best birthday gift ever. Maybe he is only a little late. Maybe the doorbell will ring as I am writing this. Maybe. I hope so. Desperately.

 

PS: This piece is a part of our hostel’s creative writing entry for this year.

Making a résumé – The art of selling oneself

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It’s startling that I have managed to get through 4 years of my engineering without seriously having to make a résumé. Usually people have to make a list of their achievements (or things that they like to call that) when they are applying for an internship or such things, but I somehow to managed to get through those stages. Anyway, now it is placements time – what my branch counselor has promised (warned?) would be a very, if not the most important time I have spent in the institute – and although I am not exactly losing sleep over it, what must be done must be done.

So I began (thinking about) making my résumé. This being my first time, I searched the web in the hope of finding some useful tips. It appears to be a pretty serious business, this. I found a fairly exhaustive (and way too long and insipid!) presentation by some guy from IIT Bombay. I even came across a proper 250 page book on how to make an ideal résumé. They talk about classifications of résumés and categories of achievements and whatnot. It’s a little hard to it so seriously when one keeps hearing so much rubbish about the selection procedure of certain companies being very ‘arbitrary’.

Anyway, I also glanced through some of my friends’ and seniors’ résumés. There was talk of winning Olympiad medals, of publishing research papers and of initiating start-ups, amidst brag about being institute secretaries, festival managers and gold winning sport captains. Everyone seemed to have done so much and it looked as if I had pretty much just whiled away my time. The heart rate was picking up.

Type. Just start typing, I said to myself. I started by listing out all sorts of (ir)relevant details that I thought will make an impression on my prospective employers. I went back to my secondary and high school certificates and dug through other competitive exams’ scorecards to see if I had done something worthwhile at the school level. I proceeded to mention my internships and other projects. Care was taken, of course, to highlight the time spent in European dreamlands. How much difference does it make to a company, I don’t know. But it sure does serve to make me feel good about myself. After the academic details, one moved on to co- and extra-curricular activities. No one likes to project oneself as a one-dimensional nerd na? I tried to think of other things that would catch the eye. And that is the one thing that one is incessantly striving to do in a résumé – to catch the employer’s eye as he hastily glances across your piece of paper that is but one amongst possibly hundreds. It’s ironic how one so desperately wants to ‘stand out’ in the résumé while following the crowd equally thoughtlessly in sitting for placements in the first place!

Anyway, having poured out everything, the restructuring began – much like in a blog post! (Come to think of it, writing a blog post is not radically different from penning a résumé.) Sentences were reformed to avoid wastage of space. Action verbs were replaced by better sounding ones. (For instance, ‘wrote code’ became ‘developed software’.) I tried to be genuine, to the extent that it is possible without sounding lame. After all, it’s just as silly to be unduly modest as it is to be excessively spurious.

And suddenly, as I thought about my extra-curricular activities, it dawned upon me that I have a blog and that it wouldn’t be the worst idea to try and write a piece on this résumé-making business that I have just concluded. Actually, only just embarked upon. What I have is only a first draft – one that is surely to undergo a noticeable, if not drastic, makeover as the friends and seniors I have sent it over to give their comments and suggestions. But as Randy Pausch said in that delightfully motivating video on time management (watch it!), in order to change something, you must have something to begin with. So I am glad that I at least have something to work on. Besides, as I now glance at it for the umpteenth time, it does look fairly impressive. If I were a company’s HR, I would like to hire myself. But that doesn’t really say much, does it? Well, we’ll know soon enough.

How do I write?

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How do I start impressively while also creating enough curiosity in the reader so that (s)he wants to read further? How do I do it without using up all the creativity in the start itself, leaving the latter parts completely dry? (For I don’t possess an endless reserve of witty metaphors or a vocabulary so rich and a writing sense so splendid that I can blend any given idea into a delightful prose seamlessly. That’s kind of the whole problem.) How do I sound sensible enough in the middle parts? (which are really the crux anyway) I mean, everyone is going to read the first and last couple of lines. How do I ensure that they give the middle more than just a cursory scroll? How do I come up with an ending that summarizes the point of the post and leaves the reader with a sense of satisfaction of having read something worthwhile that might last just long enough for him to press that like or share button.

And how do I do all this while largely being myself, without having to pretend too much; without deviating from the way I would generally speak about the topic, from what I believe in; and not just write about stuff that I think would appeal to more people. How do I be logical about what I am trying to say without being boring? How do I make my point amply emphatic without falling prey to the propensity of going just that little bit over the top? How do I write something that people can relate to and yet not know it well enough to feel that they have already heard the same thing a hundred times already? How do I take the mundane experiences of my day to day life and wrap such words around them as to make them sound appealing to a complete stranger?

My target, when I first started blogging, was to write a post every week. Although I had been missing that kind of rate by quite a bit after only the first month, my recent frequency has been woefully inadequate even by those unassuming standards. And I don’t really want to this blog to die and become one of those pieces of e-junk – I would like to believe that it isn’t one just yet – that fills up so much web space already. So I recently confessed these issues to a friend who told me that writing would not be such a big pain if I didn’t allow it to be one. She talked about writing without thinking about trivialities such as grammatical errors, by dropping all thoughts about expectations or fears of judgments and just going with the flow. And once you have poured down all that was there in your brain, you start to think of ways to say certain things in a better way, to refine and rearrange ideas, to see if thesaurus has something to offer to help you sound smarter and to get your punctuations correct to the degree that you can. I guess this post is an implementation of that advice to some extent.

IIT Kharagpur – A Glimpse

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I went to IIT Kharagpur last week to attend this IEEE workshop on Medical Image Processing. Having spent just 4 days there, I can only offer you a tiny glimpse of what the institute seemed to be. Writing a post on IIT Madras would require me to be a lot more insightful. Here, on the contrary, I can be my usual biased, judgmental self. It’s a whole lot easier.

The trip was planned in a jiffy, as is usually the case when you have a mentor as spontaneous as mine. We were initially told that we could go only if we got train tickets, which being the horrendously difficult task that it is, meant that we are not going. But then we gave a neat presentation on the project one day and he was all happy and all of a sudden, we find these Spice Jet tickets in our inboxes the next morning.

Amongst the first things that caught my attention in Kolkata, apart from that misty, fishy smell in the air, and the notably distinct shift in looks and accent from tam to bong, were the yellow ambassador taxis and the trams on the roads, which, to be fair, were not as dirty as people had told me they would be. The colour accent feature in G1’s camera gave us this:

We also managed to click a few pictures of the Howrah Bridge before being threatened to be fined and almost getting thrown out of the place. Apparently, photography is not allowed there. It isn’t that magnificent anyway.

Anyway, we boarded a train from Howrah and alighted at the longest railway station in the world! Extra bragging points, I say!

The Good

The institute, oldest amongst all IITs, also boasts of having the largest campus, spanning over 2000 acres. It makes my campus look like a hole! Hostels, departments, even the various sports fields are much more spacious than ours. There are service lanes alongside certain main roads. Moreover, they haven’t had to cut as many trees in order to accommodate the recent increase in student intake.

The best thing is that they have Wi-Fi access all over the campus. And at very decent speeds too. There are no internet ‘cuts’ either.

Then there are the Bengali sweets, of course. At Rs. 4 apiece, the hot and soft, not to mention very, very delicious roushougullas and gulabjamuns are a steal! Then, there are mishti doi (I didn’t know it was mishti dahi!) and sondesh, which are fairly delectable as well.

In Bengal, everyone is Sourav Ganguly. Dada, howrah station tak kitna hoga? Dada, 6 roushougulla dijiye. Dada, yeh lbs hall kis taraf hai? It’s fun at first, but at some point you got to start feeling guilty for making your grandpa do so much work.

The Same

The workshop did manage to avoid starting on time on each of the four days. Some standards have to be maintained across all IITs, religious ostracism from punctuality being one of them.

The Bad

One thing that immediately struck me about the campus is that it is much more ‘open’ than mine. In about an hour’s walk I encountered more outsiders than I would in say, even a week here. Construction workers, rickshaw walas, other non-student non-academic looking people casually stroll into the campus. No security guard asking you the purpose of visit. No signing a register. No token business.

Talking about being open, the institute is incredibly candid about smoking. One can find people – both, students and Profs alike – smoking at just about every nook and corner. Cigarettes are even sold inside the campus itself – an unimaginable situation back down here.

For a campus so big, it’s hard to imagine why they don’t have an internal bus service. There are cycle rickshaws around, but that’s if you’re ready to part with 50 odd bucks for a ten minute ride.

As much as I hate Chennai’s climate, I found Kgp to be even worse. It’s not even on the coast, but it’s easily twice as humid as Chennai (although that’s not theoretically possible). I know my sweat glands are a little hyper active but that still doesn’t account for the profuse perspiring that I experienced each time I took as much as ten minute walk, no matter what time of the day it was.

Perhaps the worst thing about Kgp is that there is absolutely nothing to do outside the campus. In fact, when I got out of the railway station, it was like I had stepped into some village. There was a small chai shop playing some 70s ka hindi song. Classic it was! But seriously, there are no movie theatres, no good restaurants, no reasonably decent place to shop. If you’re from a city, you’ll certainly find it very difficult to spend four years there. I know for sure I would.

Returning to Chennai, it almost felt like coming back home. Funny things, time and perspective.

Premarital Sex Anyone?

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It is funny how people talk about wanting to sleep with just one person in their whole life and how they want to do this sacrosanct act with that special person only. Yes, it sounds very beautiful to say and all that, but I wonder exactly how much love is there between a couple having sex on their wedding night having met about four and a half times before that (Sitting silently amongst ten family members of either side doesn’t really count, but I’m giving it a half). So if you’re pervert enough to do it on the first opportunity once you’ve been ‘certified’ by the society, why the hypocrisy? Of course, it isn’t a social obligation to fornicate once you’re married, is it? Maybe there is a no-hymen clause in one of the post marriage rituals. I don’t know.

How about a couple that have been going around for say, more than a year? Chances that they are in love, that they know each other a little better, that the act – if they do it – will be more meaningful, are at least a tad more, don’t you think?

Maybe age is a factor, you might say. College students are just naïve; they don’t have an inkling what real love is really about. My grandmother’s brother was married before his 15th birthday. Not much more than a year later, he was pacing down the hospital corridor before he got the good news and started jumping with joy, hugging everyone in sight. Ha! Quite a spectacle it is to imagine that! Of course, people used to get married that early those days and that was the norm. Now people want to study and earn and be ‘settled’ before take the vows. Unfortunately, their hormones are not quite attuned with the new arrangement.

Having said all this, I must mention that I’m not trying to glorify sex at all. Not for one moment. It’s a beautiful act, no doubt. But for all those who claim that it is our very basic instinct, I am afraid there is a wake-up call lurking somewhere. Lust is indeed one of the lower ways in which our energy manifests itself. After all, one can fuck only so many times. And let’s face it, it cannot be a source of lasting happiness.

And lest you think this is some sort of philosophical shit, believe me, I am speaking from experience. Of course, my virginity variable is firmly set to one and there are no indications that that is going to change anytime soon. Yes, poor me! (Programming does get into your head, doesn’t it? Besides, I think a part of me thinks it’s almost fashionable to exhibit geekiness. You think?) But just because I haven’t played the real match, it doesn’t mean that I don’t do net practice either. And honestly, my experiences in meditation have been much more gratifying.

Anyway, I still question the hype, and a sense of mystery, even guilt, and most of all, the hypocrisy surrounding – to quote Sheldon Cooper – ‘the messy, unsanitary act that involves loud and unnecessary appeals to the deity’.

 

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