Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Last Week

Here I am, at the fag end of my life at IIM Ahmedabad. At this juncture, much like the last few days anywhere, anytime be it the end of a year or a term or anything tangible, I find myself wondering what's gained and what's lost.

There is a lot running through the head of everyone here on campus. All are earnestly engaged in collecting the last bits of memory of this place that would be everlasting in all our minds. Every visit to Rambhai seem like the last in many years to come. A walk through LKP in the middle of the night reminds of the assignments done here, the talks (not all of them life changing) that we had here. You get a hang of it... the real emotional and sentimental stuff. It's all happening here. Live at IIM Ahmedabad.

Apart from the academic gyaan learnt here over the two years, there are bonds that are formed for life. There are names and faces that are etched for reasons good and bad that will stay with me forever. There are people I will miss knowing more for the news on their legendary stuff, that spread like rapid-fire on campus, came too late to get to know these people better.

The bitter sweet symphony (I know that is cliched, but trust me I am THAT sentimental right now) that played here over the last 2 years is a part of my memory and I cherish every bit of it. The ups and the downs alike.

I lost a lot on this campus, but I think I gained more than I lost. The jury is out but it is waiting for time to tell. But I have a feeling which way the verdict is going to be.

I found it really hard to feel this way when IIT ended or when the first year ended and everyone was so emotional. It was an end of an era. Sure. But coming to IIM was not too big a change after IIT and coming to 2nd year, well that was very little change. But the change due up next, well that really is something. It is the end of a mighty big preparation phase in my life. Academics and learning through experimentation and mistakes is past. It is the time to deliver and be all grown up about stuff. Maybe that is just the voice of protest in my head. A protest against ending a period where I am in my comfort zone.

So, as I end the 23 years of preparation through 2 schools, an undergrad college and a post grad college there is a little bit of anxiety and fear on entering the real world. I understand that I have been protected academic environment for so long now and it can only simulate real life at best.

The real world out there scares me. True. But it also excites me and entices me. It comes with some compromises, sure, but it also comes with its own promises. Learning and growth will come in new forms and a new paradigm for learning and living will emerge for every individual. I hope we all make the most of it. Carpe Diem!

So here is me wishing myself and all my friends on this campus all the very best for the real world as we plunge head first into it. And here is hoping that I never forget the steps I climbed to get to the diving board, the board itself and the view of the pool from there.

I have learnt how to swim long enough, time to put the preparation to test.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Story of a book

Once upon a time…
… there was a huge library. It was full of books and books drew people. There was a massive collection of books from all genres and that thus drew all sorts of people to the library. Kids, teenagers, middle-aged, old, corporate people, businessmen, lawyers, doctors – you name it.
All the books had been read and reread several times over. As is inevitable, they had markings and readers’ notes on the margins. These marks facilitated better understanding and collective sharing of thoughts and ideas of the readers on these books. Gradually, instead of being attracted to the freshness of new books, people started getting addicted to the old ones. After all, they could understand these books better and get to know what other people thought of them as well.
Of all these books, there lay one – alone, in isolation, devoid of human touch. There were two people who had picked this book to attempt to read it and the book itself was hungry to be read. It tried to catch their attention and entice them.
Unfortunately, the Author of the book was a Creator of all things magical. He had written this particular one with so much love and care that it was hard for one to read it and understand it. With complexity of language he coupled the complexity of thoughts and ideas. This made a reader, put enormous amount of effort and patience in understanding the book. Maybe this was exactly what the Author wanted. He had poured in his complete self and the book was a manifestation of Him. It would take the life-time of a reader to understand the book completely. Maybe two. Maybe more.
The effect of the book on the two readers who had attempted to read it was devastating. Even though the first of them could not move beyond the first two pages, he had tried to re-phrase the book in its margins to help himself and other readers understand. He wanted to make the comprehension of the book simpler.
Oh but the fool. Never did it occur to him that in rephrasing and simplifying he lost so much meaning and his interpretations were very inadequate. Nothing like what the author had desired it to be. It was almost like the book fought back. In the initial days, the book enjoyed the human touch and his ernest attempts to understand her, but sooner than later, she shook the reader off. He returned the back to the library. He could never like any book as much and he could not understand the one he wanted to. He was truly broken and devasted.
The second reader was a smart kid. He was very intelligent with an IQ to kill for. He thought maybe he could decipher this book and understand it. He had made up his mind to dedicate his life in reading this book at the very outset. He understood that is what it would take and he felt up to the challenge. He loved the book too. But despite his enthusiasm and a somewhat deluded sense of grandeur, he could not move beyond the first two pages. The complexity of the book irritated him and frustrated him. Why couldn’t she be simpler to understand? Why the Author had to write this one with so much complexity? Complexity is not good for anyone. Not the book, not the reader. It’s a pity. It is a great book, and a great thought but pity, no one shall ever be able to read it.
So the book lay in the library. Together with 3 other books – her sisters, but alone still. Waiting to be opened, read and understood like the other books – her friends in her world – the library. She began cursing the Author for making her so complicated out of sheer frustration of not being able to enjoy the simple life like other books.
One day, a writer walked into the library. He looked around and was spell bound by the enormity of the library. He quickly located his own book in that library. He was happy to see that it had been issued so many times over and many people had liked it. He started reading the notes the reader had made on the margins and he realized that these notes had made the book very different from the what he had written her as.
He was proud of his creation. His work. But he had loved and respected the works of the Author and was in constant search of his best work – ‘The One’. He had gone to thousands of libraries and book stores in the country and abroad in the quest but had not been able to find her. She eluded him.
One particular day in some store a store-manager told him that no one wanted to read that book. Who wants to spend their entire lifetime in just reading the one book, when they can read so many! It just made for good display. When the Author had found this out he had called back all the copies of that book from all the stores and had just kept one copy in this one library. So after a lot of obstacles, the writer had reached the coveted library.
As soon as he laid his eyes on the book he knew it was ‘The One’. Fresh and untouched from the outside but old and mature inside. Sadness seemed to effuse from her because of the pain of never having had a reader and never been understood.
He felt the magic when he picked her up. There was no summary at the back. No reviews, since there had been no readers. He had found the virgin he was looking for. Together with this book, he was sure he would find deeper meaning – for himself and for the book.
When he was taking the book from the library, the librarian sensed the writer had the requisite passion and devotion to understand this book. He might never see the book again. He was reluctant in letting her go from his library. But he knew that she deserved a chance. And this writer was someone he would put his money for understanding and reading ‘The One’.
42 years later…
The writer was 65 now. He had gone slowly and patiently about it. He had kept her with care and loved her. Devoted his whole life to her. He could never move faster than a paragraph a day. He wrote a thesis on each and every paragraph and labored a lot on them. He could not move forward until he understood everything the Author had intended by each and every word that he had so carefully put in. He got to the layers beneath layers to the core of her heart and her mind.
He turned the last page as he was breathing his last at the hospital where he was admitted for some respiratory disorder. The doctors told him there is nothing wrong with him and that there would be a minor surgery. But he knew his work here was done. He had lost purpose until he found out about the book and would have lost the desire to live after he had written his own book. Only ‘The One’ kept alive a fire in him. It gave him a desire to live.
As he wrote his last words on the last paragraphs of the book, he heaved a sigh of satisfaction. He held the book in his arms and close to his chest and lay on his death-bed… waiting.
He was drifting away when he heard a voice, “Stay with me a little longer. You are my reader. You gave meaning to my existence. Don’t go.”
“You have lived in this world before I came along. You will longer than man can. You have given me everything I wanted and asked for. My life has been a satisfactory and my sojourn here beautiful because of you. Now spread the fragrance of your beauty to mankind and always remember me. Thank you for being there. I thank the Author for creating you… Good bye. God bless and Godspeed.”

Sunday, February 13, 2011


When I see the sun go up
I miss the warmth of your hands around me
When I see the moon come up
I miss the warmth of your eyes upon me

When I see you come up to me
I feel the world's at my feet
When you hold me
I feel the warmth that sun had denied me
When you kiss me
I feel the pleasantness that the breeze of the full moon night denied me

When you love me
I feel the love that this life denied me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gratitude For An Enemy: Part 5

~The mundane:

Rihan returned to his mundane life. He was content. He was at peace, pursuing what he liked. Books, movies and TV series. He had gradually started making fresh friends as well. It was in this phase of his life that he met yours truly.

~A chance meeting:

I was a novice writer myself. I had written a few short stories by that time and got fewer of them published in magazines in India. Most of these stories were science fiction. I had started 2 novels, but the temptations of youth and a hectic lifestyle joined hands with a major heart-break and befriended my lack of expertise in writing a novel. They prevented me from making much advance on my book for a long time.

Life had afforded me the luxury of time for a brief space of an year before I met Rihan and I had dedicated that year to working on my novel. I retaliated to the aforementioned allied forces by forming a stronger alliance with my father. Together we had set the dice rolling and worked hard on a story we had both wanted to tell. A book was born which appealed to the publishers and I became an author.

Rihan used to talk to me about my book and told me he had a passion for writing as well. He had started writing during the time he had decided to figure out his true passion. He was trying many things.

~Yet another theory:

A note on why Rihan had a strange urge to try many things to discover his passion. Rihan believed that life was fickle and could desert anyone any minute. The grand plans that people make for life, thinking that they will live for an eternity hardly ever materialize. It is man's fear that prevents him from thinking about death. To Rihan, however, morbidity gave perspective.

Rihan tried writing to figure out if it was a 'joy giving' aspect of his life. Much to surprise, it was the most joy he had ever felt. Soon enough, as was expected given his life long love for books, he was addicted to writing. He started writing on fantasy stories for children. He was too apprehensive and anxious and never let anyone read his stories. He had written some 12 stories, when he got an idea.

He got them proof read by me. I loved his stories and strongly urged him to seek a publisher for his work. His stories started appearing in one of the leading national magazine for kids. A fresh story every month.

Later in his life, he would go on to write the best selling fantasy series by an Indian author. But that is a whole another story...

~Life goes on:

After a significant period of time, after the whole Raveesh and Vibhuti episode, Rihan started dating.

Now a debate here is on the 'significant' in the gap I've pointed to. When someone is dying every second is significant. Time loses its importance in that situation. If someone believes he will live to eternity, even an year is insignificant. So the perception of time is relative based on man's perception of life. Rather, his/her (I've learnt that means I respect both the sexes equally) perception of death. I leave you to interpret 'significant' as per your ideology. Choose a time frame that makes Rihan seem more hero like and less frivolous for you. It's freedom of interpretation that I am leaving you with. Use it wisely.

~Beginning of a Happy Ending:

So Rihan found the true love of his life. A companion in whom he could confide. Someone who could hold her side of the debate in their discussions on philosophies and matters that were important to them. With her he felt in presence of love and he loved her with all his life force.

Their love was a whole another organism. They had given birth to it together and they nurtured it together. They felt the divine presence in what they had between them. If that was not true love, nothing is.

They are getting married in a couple of months. Everyone has been sent invitations for the marriage. A special one went to a special person.

Dear Raveesh,

I hope you are doing good. I hope life has been kind to you. Today is the happiest day of my life. I have reached a point in my life where I can say that I would not want to go back to change a single thing in my life.

Today it was finalized. I am getting married. I had started dating her two years ago and I really love her. I am sure she is my lobster... my soul-mate.

I want to invite you to celebrate with us, our special day. I am really grateful to everyone in my life who have, in their own way, helped me reach to this day, this point in my life. The most of all, I am grateful to you. I would never have understood the importance of love and what it means to me had I not met you. Your actions, despite of being laced with hatred for me, shot me on this trajectory that I am currently on.

I would be overjoyed to have to amongst us. It would not have been possible without you.

Here's hoping to be a friend again,

Sounds childish? It did to me too. But Rihan was adamant on sending it. Revenge does taste sweet. I fail to understand why we have been hammered with the 'forgiving and forgetting' theory for so long.

~Happy Ending:

Yeah. You guessed it right. They did live happily ever after. True story.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Gratitude For An Enemy - Part 4

~Love (the right type):
So when Vibhuti and Rihan started dating, they were not just dating. It started with confessions of love. Neither of them knew what love meant. But the problem was compounded by them not knowing that they did not know what love means.

A lot of times we challenge what we know. But how do you challenge something that you don't know? It is a dilemma.

Both of them, deeply in what they believed was love, went on with their life together. Movies, TV series and books teach everyone what people in love do. They did all that. It was a happy phase in both their lives.

With reference to the group, to cut a very long story short, Rihan started to grow away from them. Raveesh, in the meanwhile had consolidated his position there. He also put in an occational bad word for Rihan for ignoring everyone which instigated them. They were irritated with Rihan and gradually became agnostic towards him.

But Rihan did not care a lot at this time, though he understood what Raveesh was upto. He had a major fight with him and they turned enemies. He was hurt at losing some good friends, very hurt. But there was some solace. He had Vibhuti. The entire list of 'things to do when in a relationship' was close to being exhausted. What next?

Next came thinking. So Rihan began thinking that Vibhuti was too naive and too simple. Vibhuti was still overwhelmed with the extent of knowledge Rihan had and how physically attractive he was. To her that was all that was needed to spend the rest of her life with him. She had seen her friends and she had seen her parents, who were in love. According to her. It is only fair to assume that.

But Rihan was looking for a deeper meaning. Someone he could talk to, engage in conversations with, discuss the books he was reading and the movies he had watched. Life was more than marriage and someone to sleep and wake-up with. It had to be.

So he told Vibhuti as much. He did not feel the 'love' and he got of the relationship with Vibhuti. It hurt her. But she got over it in a month.

Rihan felt lighter. He had done the right thing. If he had continued with the relationship it would not have been fair to either him or Vibhuti or their families. If he did not love her, he would never have been able to make Vibhuti happy. It was in the best interest of both of them.

He was really angry with Raveesh for having pushed him into this relationship. But when he thought a little more, he realized he had learnt a valuable lesson from the episode with Vibhuti. He gained a little understanding about what love is and what it is not. What makes him happy and what does not. He was thankful for that experience and the learning from that episode. He was sad, true. He had lost a lot. But would he want to change anything about his past? No. Because that would take away this crucial learning and the whole experience.

~Gratitude for an enemy:
Buoyed with this thought, Rihan began cherishing his relationship with Vibhuti. He felt nothing but gratitude for Raveesh.

I am going to make this one a happy ending. I don't really want to. But if you see the comments below, mom wants a happy ending. And I don't have the heart to refuse yet again. So you can expect an epilogue or an addendum of sorts...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Gratitude For An Enemy: Part 3, The Theory

This post is to understand why I think it is possible to feel gratitude for an enemy. This post marks a complete detour from the story and if the story is all that interests you, you can give this a skip.

I believe that whenever we are analyzing the choices that we made and the incidents in our life, we look back from where are now to the point in the history where you made that choice. In this period of history, one goes through ups and downs. If you are a glass half full person you see how everything that happened adds up. That life had a plan and how it fell together.

There come few moments in each one's life when he is really satisfied and happy. At these moments, a believer in Chaos theory believes that he would not want to change anything in his life past. Even if a leaf that fell off from the tree had not fallen, if a drop of rain that fell on him had not fallen - things could have been radically different. And you want things exactly the way they are. No changes.

It is in these moments when you feel gratitude to your friends and enemies alike. Remove any one person from the equation of your life history, and you will have a different life. A life you don't want because you have all that you want, in this life. At least till this point in time.

The last part of the story comes tomorrow...

Gratitude For An Enemy: Part 2


Raveesh's jealousy was understandable.

Disclaimer - A Slight Detour: To attempt to sound smart, I am tempted to make a not-so-relevant analogy to the Chaos theory. Trash it if you don't think it fits. Raveesh's jealousy was like the fluttering wing of a butterfly. Those who got it, here, at this stage can skip the next paragraph. But before you go - hats off to you.

For the rest, don't worry it wasn't a very smart analogy anyway. Chaos theory says that a small action as a butterfly flapping it's wings in one part of the world causes a tsunami in the other part.

For the rest, here are the beans spilled. Yet again. Raveesh's jealousy, though minor, tore the world of friendship between and Rihan. I feel for you guys.

~Vengeance :x

So Raveesh set out on a mission to wreck Rihan's life. The course of action and events will follow soon.

~ Frustration :F

Rihan blissfully unaware of the transformations inside his best friend, was tagging along comfortably. He loved and cared for Raveesh and liked hanging out with the new group of friends as well. He had, over a period of time - though brief (remember?), fostered a lot of close bonds.

One day, Raveesh came to one of their get-together-with-booze sessions with Vibhuti. She was a simple and very intelligent girl. She was in their class and Raveesh, Rihan and Vibhuti had recently done a school-project together. Raveesh and Rihan had both grown to be fond of her, but neither had romantic inclinations towards her. She had no interests in 'pursuits of spirit', as Milan Kundera put passion for art, reading etc. in his must-read book, 'the unbearable lightness of being'.

Raveesh played a game. He asked Rihan if he liked Vibhuti. He said yes. Now let's understand here that 'sometimes words have two meanings' (courtesy: Led Zep). Sometimes more. The process of understanding what one means by the words that he chooses, takes a lot of understanding about that person. The purpose, or the end is to develop a common dictionary. Or at least understanding each others' dictionary. And that cannot be achieved in the 'brief' period Raveesh and Rihan had known each other for.

So, in my opinion this possibly leaves a window for doubt as to whether Raveesh was acting with a vengeance or genuinely misunderstood. I know I should take a stand here and tell you guys which was it. But I'd rather leave you with that dilemma. Why decide? What is the need for certainty. I love ambiguity. That's all that life offers.

So the yes in this story was a casual 'yes, what's there to hate?' yes. Raveesh, a close friend of Rihan - even though for a brief period of time (where have I heard that before?), knew what Rihan's yes meant. But he played the best card Rihan could ever wish for in view of the grand scheme of things in Rihan's life.

More on that later.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Gratitude For An Enemy: Part 1

~The chance meeting :)

Call it serendipity. Call it Karma. But whatever it is that makes 2 strangers meet, and trust me that happens a lot, is exactly what brought them together. What brought them very close to each other by engendering the bond of 'best-friendship', is one of the few unexplained incidents in their lives. Unlikeliest of people do become the best of friends, that is not uncommon. It was one of those incidents. That's my best explanation.

~Love. The other kind :P

Their bond was strong. They were close, true. But they were very different people. While Raveesh was an outgoing extrovert,Rihan was a thorough introvert. Rihan preferred to spend some time alone reading books, watching movies or some latest TV Series. Raveesh loved interacting with people and could not live a minute alone. He would jump to social media on his laptop.

Rihan was a fitness freak and always had a well toned body. Raveesh was careless and never once worked on his gradually protruding belly. He was proud of it!

Despite all these differences they were thick as thieves, never to be seen without each other. Opposites attract? Don't ask me. There was something they were both seeking when they met each other. Probably they found that in each other. Well, anyway, but that all was just once upon a time.


Gradually, Raveesh because of his nature moved to a bigger group of friends. He made Rihan meet everyone.

Rihan with his flair for trivia and varied interests connected very well with everyone.

Sneek-peek into the next post:
Gradually, most of Raveesh's friends became better friends with Rihan.

And yeah, as they say - No points for guessing the first chapter of the next post!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gratitude for an enemy: Introduction

I have wanted to publish a story in parts for a while now. This seems to be a little longish than I had originally intended, so I am going to try and publish it in parts on this blog. Comments are more than welcome. Do be generous because I care for you two cents.

This is a story of Raveesh and Rihan, the best of friends. Well, once upon a time. And for a brief period. They had come very close to each other in, excuse me for using the phrase again but, a brief period of time.

There was little common in them, but they couldn't live a minute without each other, in that brief period I mean. They went to the same school and were in the same section. Destiny. They even made it a point to sit with each other in school. Until life happened.

It is a simple story told simply. But I am prone to theorizing and hence can't help the length.

A purely chronological narration has always bored me, so I am not going to bore you with that. A journey through a chronological sequence of emotions might just serve for some entertainment.

Chapter posts to start from tomorrow. Will attempt to finish it in three parts.