Saturday, December 27, 2008

Devil and the Deep Sea!

The very sight of him gave you the feel of an average guy. The well-parted hair style, the clean-shaven face, the no-nonsense expression, but what differentiated him from the guy next door was the way he could talk his way into your heart. As he sat on his favorite rocking chair that day, sipping coffee and pondering over his life so far, his thoughts meandered their way to where it all started.

He saw himself, the small-town boy that he was. Born to these hard working parents, he inherited their resilient nature and the character of ‘a man with very few desires’, as if proving to himself that materialism means nothing to him. Their upbringing had readied him perfectly for his part in the movie called ‘life’. Preparing hard for higher echelons in life, he was always focused on his long cherished goal to see his parents at the place they rightfully deserved in life. To achieve this goal, his life had fallen into a pattern or so to say: he had a ‘method to life’. A disciplined life comprising of a regime of unlaid rules, to be abided by religiously.

Once his professional life got more or less set, his parents decided to get him ‘settled’ in life. Probably this decision ensued from the urge to unburden themselves from their worldly duties or perhaps from the desire to see their child happily settled at an early age. He knew that the magic that he could weave, would have got him anyone on earth. But he left this important life-changing decision on his parents, trusting them blindly, knowing that they would definitely not push him into the well!

And so walked into his life the girl they chose. Beautiful, bubbly, smart, small-city girl, her eyes full of dreams about a lavish lifestyle, she fantasized about the pleasures of it all. Talented in homely skills, educated and modern in outlook, she overwhelmed his parents. They did not realize that all that glittered was not always gold. They based their decision on experience, though he may now disagree to them on the count that ‘What is good from far maybe far from good’. For him, their decision was as good as the word of Lord himself. And just like that, he was ‘married’ !!!

Had it been a reel-life story, this is where the credits would come up with the visual of a car driving into the sunset, ‘Happily Married’ written on its rear plate. In real life, however, the story had just begun.

The hot-shot marketing executive that he was, he was exposed to the big-city life, he knew there exist the so called worldly pleasures, but he was still rooted to his traditions and hence, expected the same from his wife. She, on the other hand, was mesmerized with the apparent abundance of the big-city life and started losing herself in it from day one. In her attempt to experience ‘life’, she got caught on the wrong foot. All he had wanted was probably her but all she wanted was everything!

He got up from the rocking chair and walked towards the verandah. He thought about those early days of his marriage. It seemed to pass off in a whirlwind of excitement and festivities that surround any newly married couple in this country. The cracks were probably there even then but the newness of it all made it invisible. However the novelty soon wore off and the small tiffs translated into major differences.

His genuine expectations off her became a burden for her and her small wants off him became demands for him. Seeking perfection that he used to, he was looking for least small doses of it in her. What he got was the excuse of her being very young and naive. She, and everyone else, was increasingly attributing her immaturity and lack of good judgment to her young age. He kept saying that he had also gone through the same drill at some point in time but was never given the leeway. Being the older of the two, he was expected to act Lord Shiva and consume the poison for the general good of their marriage, which he did but to no avail. He knew that the entire family may now be regretting the decision they made earlier and trying their hard to make things work between them.

It’s not like they did not try. She tried to make the necessary changes in herself to suit his family. He let go off some of his expectations to get some peace in life. But somehow it was never enough. Small every-day arguments became long-standing fights. He was a cleanliness-freak, she a clutter head. He liked to spend quiet evenings at home; she wanted to party the whole night long. From lifestyle choices to mundane decisions, they never seemed to have the same opinion about anything. What was worse was that they were never able to find a midway meeting point in their mindsets. They stopped speaking to each other for days together, neither willing to give in or give up.

He came back and sat on the rocking chair now, analyzing what is it that had gone wrong. Have they been able to get any closure in their relationship, to understand why this happened and have the maturity to accept atleast now that it was meant to be, or rather meant not to be? Had he been wrong in expecting her to get moulded as per his family? Or probably in having any expectations at all? Would he have been better prepared if he had known her before they got married, but then would he have married her at all? Should he have chosen a girl himself, but then would he not have had the same expectations off her? Would she have fulfilled those expectations?

People ask him for advice. About relationships and marriage. About the ongoing debate between which is better: love marriage or arranged marriage. All he knows is that it is a choice between the devil and the deep sea. To each his own, he feels.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Dark Night!

It was just another day, as he left office later than usual. Work pressure had gone up, but then it was nothing new. He had been handling even worse situations for time immemorial.

On his way out, he called his new-found old friend. Mr. Morgan & Mr. Chase, however, did not let her pick up. He then messaged the one who he was not willing to talk to after their fight in the morning. Not finding a rickshaw, he decided to walk. So, there he was, walking on the pavement, talking to his dad.

He felt this sudden tug at the hand holding the phone. For a few moments, he could not think about what had hit him. He looked around for his phone and then the realization dawned. Out of his customary effort to save his phone, he had not let it fall to the ground; he had ‘gifted’ it to the hands that had tugged at it.

He looked up to see two buggers on a bike. Two buggers who had snatched this phone. This realization sunk in deeper with the sting of pain that shot up his thumb. Alarm bells went off. His beloved piece of gadgetry had been mercilessly robbed off him.

He ran after them, but to no avail. They had found an accomplice in the BEST bus, around which they ducked effortlessly. The till-then-all-elusive rickshaw made its appearance then and he caught it to chase the goons. But the fact was that he would have been better off, running behind them. The rickshaw-driver must have been another one of their partners in crime, as he was driving at snail’s pace.

Still coming to terms with his loss, he let go off the rickshaw. His single-minded focus was now on trying to figure out how to get his phone back. The first step in getting things back into perspective was to call her. Once she arrived, he used her phone to call his family and inform them of his current state.

Then he took control. To eliminate the remote chances of the phone-stored passwords being used against him in the wired world, he changed every single one of them. Next he tried to block his phone through the IMEI number, taking a cue from one of the ‘Bond’ flicks. But between Vodafone and Nokia, he was assured that it was only a myth.

Taking the ‘Bollywood’ cue now, he went to the nearest police station. Clueless whom to approach, he was volleyed from table to table. To no one, did his state of affairs make a difference. All they could say was; “Remain seated. The senior is yet to come!”

Well, the ‘ok, approved’ man did finally arrive and not a moment too soon. What followed was a plethora of the most unexpected, irrelevant & twisted questions that such an incident warranted. His story was then recorded by another joker from the same pack. And on a skimpy FIR notebook, it got written, between the records of a panicky guy’s account of how he lost his driver’s license and another person’s unnerved report of a laptop theft. All three of them were united in the understanding of the apathy of the Mumbai cops.

So, the night ended but the ordeal has not. To him, the entire episode has been a lesson in self-awareness. It reminded him of the terrorist acts in Mumbai recently. Maybe it was less on scale, but it has left him exposed personally. The sight of every person he sees walking on the street, talking on the phone, now pricks his conscience, making him wonder whether he was a soft target.

Like each of us, he lived in a cocoon of security, where he was confident of his invincibility. He was Neo, The One! But he had this sudden epiphany, that he was truly the one; God’s favorite child, the child who has the persistent, incessant question, “Why me?”

But the never-say-die dude that he is he has found the silver lining in the darkest cloud. This episode had made her change her mind, and what had originally been a drink invite, would now be followed by dinner. He is sure that the evening would do away with all his current negativity!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Randomness!

Everyone has to be something to somebody to be anybody, anybody that tries to be everything to everybody is nothing to anybody.

After numerous evenings of snacks & hoards of movies on HBO (& not TV as they prefer it this way), I came to the above conclusion on the state of affairs in the life of somebody that I have been observing for quite some time now. Though I may much appreciate the effort required to lead a life in such a fashion, I would never be able to follow ‘it’ (just to let him/ her remain anonymous). I dedicate this post to ‘it’. Somebody who wants to get details on it may connect with me!