Rest in Peace

Today I lost someone really close to my heart, someone whom I looked upto and had shared great memories with during my childhood. Though he was just another officer among the many in my Dad’s Unit, he was like a family member to us. As he is now gone, I wish to pay him a tribute by means of this letter. So here it goes:

Dearest Gautam Uncle,

I can’t tell you to how cheated I feel, for destiny has cheated me of your blessings and your company. When I heard the news today morning, I was misled into believing that you had just met with an accident and were hospitalized, leaving a shred of hope for me to pray for your recovery. What I wasn’t told was that you had left us the very minute of that accident, and had attained the heavenly abode . I don’t blame Dad for keeping the news from me, as I know he was just trying to protect me. He knew how closely knit we were as a family and that the news would break me. As a matter of fact, it actually did. Since morning, my laptop screen is stuck to your facebook page, which has messages from loved ones pouring in. I somehow didn’t have the courage to put in a few words myself, so I just stared on. I can’t think about what Aunty and your sweet little daughters must be going through, but I know this that your family is my family, so you shan’t worry.

It’s the part of being in the Army fraternity which makes you complacent towards death. It is like staring at death so often that you get quite bored of it after a point of time. But you fail to account for the fact, that when death actually strikes your loved ones, what would you do. I have never lost someone so close to me as you were. Hence, I am a little sad, a little heartbroken. It is hard digesting the fact that someone you knew so well, and met so often shall not be there for the remainder of your life. You will never hear their voice again, nor will you ever see them again. I flinch at the thought of what the ‘ Unit Get Togethers’ would look like without you quipping in , or how our family trips would be like without you being there.

You were always my favourite in the Unit and you were my go to guy for all the ‘masti’ in the boring Unit parties in Ranchi. As I grew up a little, and you grew older, you were still my favourite. When we were in Hyderabad, you were still as crazy as ever, inspite of becoming a proud father and having more responsibilities. I knew that my weekends would always involve chilling out at your place, and somehow that made me really look forward to them. For the voracious eaters we were, you were my source of all the different non-veg cuisines around in Hyderabad. From being driven around in your car to bouncing around at the Unit’s Basketball court with you, I have one to many memories with you which I can never forget. Now, I am 21 years old, still struck by the magnificence of the Colonel who was an ace at Golf, and could beat anyone down in a game on one-on-one at basketball. Words can’t describe to how terribly I will miss you, but then to what we have been taught by you and the likes of you, Soldiers and their families must learn to move on.

RIP Colonel Yogesh Kumar Gautam,

3rd Batallion the Bihar Regiment,

Indian Army

Died in Jammu & Kashmir

Rolling them Models

As a kid, I had several role models, ranging from the most suave rock-stars to superheroes from the movies. In fact, a few of them were a creation of my imaginative mind, which always placed me in the shoes of men in capes. It was exciting to dwell in such fantasies and let my grey cells galore gallop away to the most incredible imagery one could possibly form, wherein every outcome of blithe transgressions were not only favourable, but were symbolic of my unique virtues (atleast as to my mind). Though, a seasoned vigilante in my dreams and a struggling student in reality, my thick glasses didn’t do me justice as much as they did to Clark Kent. I remained a mortal nobody with or without glasses.

Through the course of my childhood, as my ambitions changed, the posters on my bedroom walls fell victims. Even the shelves in my room were overwhelmed with different genre of books that placed themselves neatly over the slabs, aggregating to a picture of a clueless mind towards the end of my teens. Now, when many around me partake to the cubical life, I sit here, still clueless, admiring the beauty of the titles , which have now grown comfortable with each other. Each title is a part of me, and somewhere in my mind, it gleams in the deepest corners allowing me to be a generalist in my virtues and exhibit loads of other non-essential qualities.

As every role model has come and gone, I haven’t been  able to emotionally detach myself from all of them. In their most vulnerable times, I find myself weakened. I can’t count to how many times a final’s defeat or a serve that went wrong has brought me down to the floor ,when Roger Federer would be playing. Every time a soldier dies in the line of duty, showing exemplary courage and valor, I get distraught. I find strength from such characters, and to see them vulnerable is like seeing myself vulnerable, and this isn’t a feeling I cherish.

From the schools of Idealism, a contemporary note says  , ”

Believe in all bullshit for truth is none, skepticism is all around you, choose the best one.

Role models bring in their own set of ideals and virtues, and like a book, you need to read them to know them. If you find the right one, stick with them for they can really help you do things you didn’t think you were capable of. If not, then you are most welcome to share my bookshelf.

Raging across Delhi

She rides smooth and fast, bends and gleams;
she smells like mahogany inside and carries you away like a dream.
Had it not been for her, the waging summer would have melted me inside,and I would have shred in sun,
sweat through my palms I would, and cry in the dusty winds.

It’s not a ferrari , but I love in nonetheless. It keeps me away from the fuming monoxide in the air and the dusty clouds of smoke. But the appreciation comes as a passenger than as the one at helm, for one of the agonizing parts about driving in Delhi is its traffic. It’s been five years since I took to steering on the empty roads, shuttling between the driveway and the garage, but the roads of Delhi are still a distant dream. I remember my initial days here, when my heart would  pound at the sight of traffic, drubbing faster as each car would inch closer.I would close my eyes and wish for the cars to move away,  but I am happy I was never the one driving.

Much to the happiness of Aristotle, Delhites are known to share a similar interest in volume analysis as him. Every trucker, biker and car driver that you find of the roads, though defies the laws Physics as and when it pleases him, has astute regard for the principles of Volume. Unsaid rules of the road mandate that every nook and crany available on the road is to be filled, for an inch left is an opportunity forgone. Delhites also firmly believe that the walkways are basically extensions of the roads and should be driven on, and empty roads are an anathema that need to be bloodied out of existence. Here to walk over the Zebra crossing is like finding death in its crudest form.

As the great F1 Champion Lewis Hamilton once said, ” F1 is easy, Delhi roads are not”, Delhi’s traffic is a tryst with patience for most and a thing of passion for a few. Maybe down the line, philosophy and mythology shall find a place for traffic, fashioning it as penance for all that has been done wrong, encouraging those who tread the slow signal lines to absolve for a lifetime of misdeeds. Maybe a congruence of such thoughts shall never meet, but if it does, our Road Ragers and the trigger friendly driver might find God in their struggle through the red light. A little empathy can go a long way, can save a few bullets and certainly save the ones who dread to walk over the crossing.

Dedicated to the Delhi Traffic, which teaches you that there isn’t a shortcut to anything in life, and bottlenecks are a b****h.

Staggering Back to Life

man on a bridge1

There hasn’t been a single day that he hasn’t thought about her. Maybe out of fondness or out of anger, but her name continues to slip out like a cursory mantra. It used to be a scintillating expression once, but it’s just a curse now. Once revered a genius, known for his chivalry and class, he now finds himself abhorred by acquaintances and friends alike.Ever since they heard him shrieking into the night, howling to the wolves the name of his girl he had loved so much, his life has been an abyss of inebriation with sore eyes wondering through the smoke of cigarettes, trying to find her in the haze. That day, he had broken through the thresholds of emotional pain. He chastised himself to tear wounds onto his flesh, hoping the mortal pain would subsume the emotional grief he was laden with. Though deep down,he knew that was near impossible.

The mystique that seemed to surround her and her name, was now a macabre symbol of his solitude . While his sorry state evoked a sense of responsibility in those around, and even validated his six-month hiatus reeling over prints of old film in his one bedroom apartment, his recent sudden outbursts  nipped people the wrong end. It was as if his mind had shut itself and he now found himself like an animal trapped in a hole, in the plinth of darkness, not being able to comprehend anything . His weak mind with lack of subjectivity had been cascaded by thoughts of  her. Result, he had lost his existence to her, and every word he mouthed were in fact her.

Not long ago, he longed to be home with her, lay in her arms and caress her with love. He had hoped for them to get  married someday and to see his children bear her eyes. To how prudent he had been in life, checking boxes at every stage, he thought his dream was close. But then, fate can never be the next checkbox you tick.

Now, every morning is as hazy as the last one, for the only thing that seems different are the rainbow pills sitting on the night study. When adrenaline gives you a high one too many times and heart skips a beat, reverting back to what is normal is near impossible. So had been the case with him, as he struggled to revert back to reality. He had tried to take it in his stride and walk away unscathed, but love is one enemy that scars you for life. So as he walked up to the bridge in the night, asking himself the tough question, was it indeed the end, his brain could only agree more. However, the vibrant beauty of the face in this wallet stared back at him, and asked him to do otherwise. Yet he stood on the edge, withering through the moist breeze. It was indeed time to put an end to this misery, and his fate would not stand in his way, nor would the water slashing 200 feet below. It was time to take back control of his life, but not by taking a step forward, but by a step backward. As he turned around to leave, he knew he would remember this moment in the years to come, he would remember the breeze.

Ladder Games

Ladder of success, a treacherous path for lovers and professionals alike, has been a figment of literature as well as prelude to great many management books. While Romeo and the Students of Bihar Board had it literally, the rest of us see it as a novel idea which is so intangible and blissful, that to envisage the reality(oxymoron) of it ensnares our lives like a whiff of crushed ‘ganja’ ensnares a pothead.

Ever since I was a kid, I heard this line on and off, “To climb the ladders of success isn’t everyone’s doing, for it requires hardwork and persistence”. Unfortunately no one seems to know where can one really find this ladder, climb it and be done with the damn expression. I am as uncertain about my future as a Bushmen(from the Gods Must Be Crazy fame) running around in the middle of the Kalahari in search of water. Lest I give into the temptation of joining the rat race, I find it hard to decide what I am meant to do. Today I was reading an article titled “How do I handle it When People trash me” by James Altucher. As the title suggests,James had some issues and he was just passing on the wisdom learnt of not letting fools drag you down to competition at what they do best. In the article, he just mentioned that in the darkness of the negativity shrouded by misguided people, you might lose track of your ladder of success. That is only if you were on it in the first place. So, do you see of all that goes the idea of being on the ladder of success. You need to find it first, climb it later. If you are lucky, there wouldn’t really be people to pull you back and hopefully none to push you down. So goes the expression,’let go of people who drag you down’, for falling off that ladder isn’t an idea to cherish.

Prospect-Retrospect

 Things seem difficult in prospect but easier in retrospect

My mind blows over the idea of what lies ahead in life, but before I psych out and punch walls, my brain does a reboot to shunt itself out of the heated moment by craving for external stimuli, i.e. TV or video-games. That’s how I roll these days. If you are wondering to what the intro line really means and how have I gone about establishing a context with my panic moments, well, that line actually defines you and me, and the rest of the 99.9% people on this planet who are aspiring billionaires. We all want to be rich, eat great food and date wonderful people, but have no idea of how to translate those ideas into action. I, for example, have a tendency to spell out a thousand reasons not to do something and then curse my fate of not getting it, inspite of being worthy of it. There is a paradox in what the mind believes and what it is willing to do, constantly telling you to get your shit together and act, yet not letting you budge your feet another inch on the morning jog. I hate the brain.

Anyways, lets delve deeper into the realm of inaction, where the likes of us trod into anonymity, letting our complacency make of for what is lost. I have been indecisive for so long that I struggle at the thought of having a career for myself. I had to retake an exam a year back, which I am yet to do. I planned taking it again about six months back, set out on finding the right set of coaches and even payed one in advance for a couple of classes. However, I cancelled all that and now six months on, I am back of square one. So ensnaring is my fright of action, that even when I take action, I feel trapped by my own decision.  Then I try to wriggle out of it like, seeking validation for my wrong judgments.

Well, just in case you are planning to write me off, I would like to establish that not every aspect of my life has gone astray due to my resilience in choosing to be in the shell. I have been progressing in the health domain, and I now can boast of running around 6kms at a stretch, without blacking out every time . My hospital trips have been less frequent, and the I no more spend time at the gym staring rolling over the medicine ball.  Though I am scared to do things, I have come to realise that to revel in genius , I need to get things started off first. Its tough, but then its better than being no where at all.

Shunt on the Timeline

So, where do we start?

Ideally I would go about narrating to how important it is for anyone to conserve the momentum on the speedy highway called Life, but there are moments when losing control actually paves way for something much better. As is said, it is only when you brave the seas and lose sight of the shore, do you find something new. But bravery isn’t everybody’s forte. For few people it comes through intrinsic factor, while others require external stimulus to push them beyond the limits. I call it ” The Shunt”.

The shunt doesn’t involve a smooth transition into anything new. It is like a situation wherein a ‘looney toons ‘ character is pushed against the wall so much, that the imprint of his face starts building up on the other, followed by him breaking through the wall. Here, there were no metaphors or action jargon of pushing back hard and fight your way out. Usually such implication come by when you are either too complacent or just lazy, and have lost the will to do anything to change your life in any possible way. Being a vegetable isn’t something to relish or enjoy, because at the end you know you are fat, and you are better sliced and fried.

The shunt does wonders, it helps you break through walls unintentionally as well as get fried, if not just sliced. So, if you are sitting somewhere and wondering what to do with life, remember, either you go out there and fuck things up for yourself and learn something in the process, or let life fuck you first and then walk funny for the rest of your life.

Not My Intention

#FlashFiction

“Get out of my life; get on with your life; just calm down and get a move on; Work hard; Focus more so to achieve more; Get a new job”

Those words reverberated over and over again like a rhythmic heartbeat. At a point of time it was so, that these insults and advices caught up like a tune, that I hummed like a playful song. It wasn’t me that caught onto my innocent yet weird habit, but the little girl in the elevator, who stuck out her lollypop just to ask, “Which artist’s song is this” It pained me to tell her that the rap of expletives was a wrathful tale about my divorce, my poor work life, my social life; essentially everything about my life. She wasn’t there yet, but I had a feeling that her wrathful song was just about to be written.

Hi I am jack, and this is my story.

I am a man of unusual habits, a rather calm demeanor with a countenance to etch an everlasting impression on you that will last, not in positive way. I get distracted so much that my 3 year old niece sleeps off out of frustration than because of my melodic voice reading out bed time stories. Sometimes I pander about topics and adorn a sagely fixture, to disguise my lack of creativity and subjectivity in life by a false illusion of wisdom. For me, life is a game of options, wherein my decisions are largely contemplated as a result of ‘easy options being the right ones’ mantra. Hence, I am stuck in a dead end job, in a dead end industry with a motivation level matching that of a Wall Street broker tying a noose round his neck, swiveling over a crooked chair. If life really is a race, I am the guy who hands out bananas and water bottles by stretching his hands out to runners, sometimes brushed aside and sometimes plainly ignored. Nobody really values my intention.

Life has funny ways of turning and twisting around. It started with a crying baby, followed by an indignant kid, a reticent teenager and a foolhardy youth whose aim in life revolved around getting laid. After short term aims subsided to make way for something better, my life wasn’t my own and I was expected to take upon the challenge of matrimony in life. It involved me getting hitched to a girl that I may have fancied a little, but there being no time and no room for doubt, parental pressure just caught on. The idea was to live happily ever after, had her legs not fancied being in the air for others around too. Like a bolt out of the blue, it struck me hard and thus began my passive journey into oblivion. I would have liked to start it off with a few days of unshaven living, trapped in the basement of my own house, probably cooking meth if I could, but then life catches on. So, from an ‘Into the Wild’ mindset I moved back into the ‘Back to the Cubicle’ mindset. It wasn’t fun to start off again, as life seemed different. As I would crane my neck about the cubicle like a radar trying to pick up signs of life, I would see robotic minds at work. That really bothered me. I didn’t have any obligations now and just didn’t care for the money so much. At work, I was losing focus and barely knew of what went around. So one day, I just lost it all. In a video conference meeting involving a foreign client, I walked in my tracks, as nonchalant as ever. Though my inputs weren’t really required, just to break the ice, I went on a self-deprecation spree, breaking the façade of my company’s make believe reputation layer by layer. That was my last day in the office. Again, my intent was right, but execution was wrong.

Coming back to the elevator, where I now stood, I can say it was a breather after so many days. I had been there the entire day, surviving off a burger which consumed my food quota of 2 days. I didn’t have any electricity at home anymore, nor any money or an AC, so I spent my time wandering in the air conditioned mall. Drooling about the food court for a slice of bread and festering off like a predator from one place to another, my life had certainly come to a really bad phase. My timeline of thoughts has drastically reduced, and now my major concern isn’t about another promotion or another social obligation to deal with, but how to go about another meal. It’s been six months since my ouster from the company, and I now it’s time to go back to that life or rather ‘lie’. This is my life’s unwanted intention.