Friday, August 29, 2008

No Need for Speed

I’m a slow starter by birth. I remember my mother narrating her agony about my first step and first word. I was late in both the cases. I was almost two years old when I uttered my first word, relieving my apprehensive parents who were counting days before consulting a speech therapist. Similarly, I started walking late in this world. The tradition continued ever since.
In school I was slow in taking dictations. I never won any race, saving once when I came second. I always struggled to write all the answers in my exams within the stipulated time and mostly failed in completing my class assignments before the period was over(I still remember running behind my teachers to submit my class works). In short my disregard for speed was evident in all my actions. Not a surprise, today when the world is mad about ‘Need for speed’, I turn crazy every time I try to challenge my speed limit. The pace of my life, it seems, is monitored by numerous Go Slow Signs.
Quite obviously, I achieved most of the things in life a little late (as if the achievements were delivered by India Post). I finished my school and bid adieu to my college chasing a podium finish, but with no success. Finally, in my Post Graduation when I achieved that near illusive feat, there was hardly anything to rejoice and anyone to applaud. Similarly, in my quest for professional success, I had to suffer the grilling of umpteenth interviews (I stopped counting after the 29th one) before getting a job. In my personal life also, I am a bit slow in making friends. I take time before getting comfortable with people and have managed to make only a handful of friends in my life. If I go into further details, I eat slowly, take a hell lot of time to get adjusted to a new place, am a slow reader etc. etc. The examples are endless.
Now the question arises- Am I complaining? Not at all. I am at complete ease with my speed. After all, when a Tempo moves on the road it is the other vehicles and pedestrians who find it a deterrent. The Tempo is least bothered about how others are feeling. You know why? Because the Tempo knows its limits and does the best possible within that limit to reach its destination.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Scratching my head all day long, revisiting nostalgia, gazing the stars, taking my mind out for a jog, listening to music, eating junk foods, chatting non-stop, staying awake till midnight, going out for a lonely walk, fixing appointment with my heart and soul, browsing through unread books, looking at a glass and calling it half-filled, trying to fall in love with every beautiful creature, watching the craziest shows on television, hunting for a partner to accompany me for a movie, cooking experimental dishes, talking to complete strangers, window shopping in the markets(not malls), strolling aimlessly, standing by the crossroad staring at people, breathing deeply, screaming at the smallest provocation, negotiating high blood pressure, scribbling on note pads, pounding the keyboard in anger, sketching on rough sheets, looking in the mirror, cuddling the pillow, rocking on the chair, biting my nails, humming songs, playing tabla on the table, laughing unnecessarily, forgiving my enemies, praying to god, looking at the watch but forgetting to see the time, rebuking myself, scratching my head once again in utter disgust, struggling hard to get out of yet another frustrating writer’s block.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My servant and his Slave!

There was a time when I was a struggler in this city. The money I received as stipend supported me to survive, but didn’t allow me the luxury of hiring a pair of helping hands. I was like a self-sufficient unit then. I used to do all my household chores myself. Although I made a shaky beginning, thanks to all the pamperings at home, I soon mastered the art of self-help. Mopping and sweeping the floors, cleaning utensils, washing dirty linens (albeit in the privacy of washroom) - I did everything single-handedly with little help from my fellow room partners. I remember how difficult it was for me. For the record, back home the only thing I used to wash myself was my handkerchief and I took almost half-an-hour to wash a single hanky. Moreover the smell of Vim Bar used to be the most horrifying smell for me. And although I swept floors occasionally, it was more out of choice than the lack of it.

The job was never easy. It used to eat over my free time. Half of my sweet Sundays were spent doing trivial things like washing shirts, trousers, socks, vests etc. I had to clean the cups before preparing the morning tea in a frosty December morning. Cleaning the room was the toughest of them all. We used to follow a rule- the early bird sweeps. But soon I discovered that none of my roommates were interested in flying back early. So poor me, I was left with no choice but to bite the dust more often than not. Never-the-less, I always found solace by thinking that one day my luck will defeat all the odds and finally I would be able to afford a domestic help. But honestly speaking, it was a different kind of experience altogether. I was happy to see myself independent in true sense. There was no one I had to depend on to take care of my To do list.

Then I got settled (although I hate this word, I don’t have a substitute for it). My salaries became handsome and offered me the extra money to spend on luxuries. And a lazy person that I’m, I employed a domestic help almost immediately to free myself from such petty jobs. Sundays were nice once again. I started waking up late only to find my washed clothes in the clothesline. I didn’t have to think twice before taking out a clean dress from my wardrobe. I was free to litter in the rooms, and utensils? Well, I started drinking water from glasses. Now, after a hectic day’s work I could afford to sit and watch my favourite TV show. The day I was looking forward to was finally here. Within no time I unlearned all those things which had become a necessity once upon a time. Sometimes I used to recollect my old days and smile. Nostalgia you know.

What a mistake it was. Today, I realise I have totally become a slave in the hands of my domestic help. He takes a day’s off and I am in a fix. Suddenly all those works which were a cakewalk started appearing monstrous to me. I can’t even think of washing a bucket of clothes anymore, I have started using disposable hankies and the sight of piling utensils send shivers down my spine. Not only that, I have to surrender to his unrealistic demands also. A sudden request for salary hike by him sounds like a threat to me. I guess he has started understanding my handicap. So he exploits me as much as he can and gets away with all his tantrums. For example, he no longer asks for a day off, he just announces- “Dada, kalke ami ashbo naa” (I won’t be coming tomorrow). I have recorded the time; he can easily make it to the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest sweeper in the world. And I have to toss a coin to find out which shirt is washed and which one is not. So here I’m, once again a slave struggling to break my shackles. Anybody there to help me out?

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Silent Mischief-maker

How can nonliving things trouble you? Ask me- the victim of numerous such incidences. Yes, you heard it right. Although it is weird, it happens with me quite often. They torture me to the hilt and make my life hell at times when I least expect them. And this is happening since my childhood days.

It happens like this: It’s already midnight. I am getting ready to start my maths home- work – 10 trigonometry problems which, considering my low IQ, can burn the entire stock of midnight oil. I take out my exercise book with all my left over energy and get ready to start, but not yet. “Where is the pencil? I guess I put it in the pencil box before going to dinner, didn’t I?” – I ask to myself in vain, desperately searching it on the bed, under the pillow, under the bed sheet, inside my pocket, on the dining table, the book shelf and every other possible place where it can be. Ultimately after twenty minutes of combing operation I give up and sit wondering where it must have gone, reluctantly flipping through the pages of my Trigonometry Book, and here it is- the pencil, sitting pretty inside the cozy comfort of the book. “Disgusting?” I shout. But who will listen? After all it’s only a lifeless pencil. But how surprising, it is mischievous enough to waste my precious time.

If you are not satisfied with one incidence then sample this. 9.30 in the morning. As usual I have woken up late and got ready for office in a hurry. No time for breakfast. All I have managed in haste is to answer the basic urges (and that include bathing). And then when everything was going fine, I discover my socks are missing from the shoe rack. I go for another pair but fail to find any. Either they are dirty or they are distant relatives (I mean they don’t make a pair). So what can I do now? I have a meeting to attend and can’t go in slippers. I curse myself, my socks, my life, my servant and everyone who could be responsible for it and look at the clock to find that it’s already five minutes to ten. Clueless about what to do I take out the shoe polish from the back of the rack and there they lie cuddled to each other. I feel like kicking them in the back. But again, it’s useless. What would happen to them? They are lifeless.

There are several such instances. If I recollect them properly I can write a whole book on these lifeless creatures. But I guess for now two is enough to make a mockery of myself to the world.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

C/o: Soul

You are not me,

But almost like me.

You are not me,

But so much within me.

You are not me,

But always a part of me.

You are not me,

But always so close to me.

Here I pay Tribute to that You whom

I’m relentlessly trying to explore, understand, discover.

[My unsuccessful attempt to write a testimonial for my soul]

Friday, June 6, 2008

Unuttered Words!

Few words that would have made me a better human being, if only I would have uttered them at the right place and right time:

Thank You: I have heard people say it often. But couldn’t figure out the need to use it in my life. I have tried to say it many times but never found a situation suitable enough or a help great enough.

You are Welcome: Quite a mouthful. I was asked by many people to utter this sentence every time anyone expresses his gratitude to me. But whenever anyone says ‘Thank you’ to me, I feel so proud that I start regarding myself as the greatest person in the world. And before I get back to my senses it is too late to utter the words.

Good Morning: I always stay away from wishing people in the morning by convincing myself that “What’s so good about this morning?” This is happening from my school days when I used to be the most reluctant person to stand up when the teacher entered the class. I usually kept mum as everybody in the class shouted “GOOD MORNING MA’AM’.

Well Done: Well, I do utter it sometime, but with such a fake expression that nobody is impressed. Worse, they suspect that I must be pulling their legs badly. Sometimes I am truthful; sadly no-one believes my words. Truly, complimenting others is not my forte.

No: I simply envy those who are straightforward in life. I wonder why I always struggle to draw the line and save myself from unwanted hazards by saying a definite ‘NO’ whenever the situation demands. Life would be lot easier for me and others too if that would be the case.

I miss you: I can never recount a single incident when I uttered this beautiful word to someone. I mean you feel so good whenever you hear it from someone. It adds warmth to relationships. It’s my bad luck to know that I can never make someone’s day special by uttering these three words.

Sorry: I am stubborn, to say the least. The reason why I never say sorry even when I am 200% wrong. Hope I could change myself, but s…. (oops I almost uttered it)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Remembering The Future

I remember- the assembly hall and prayers, the graffiti in the toilet, the gossip between the classes, the hide-n-seek and lock-n-keys, the alphabets and numbers, my drawing book, the nursery games, my seniors in full trousers, my juniors with running nose, the swings I never dared to ride, the volleyball games I never played, the 15th Augusts and 21st Februarys*, the Friday parades, the Saturday holidays, the craft classes I bunked, the practicals I escaped, the geography classes I slept in, the long anxious wait for computer practicals, the spelling-dictation tests, the maths classes I hated, my Physics sir and his abuses, my English teacher, the maths tables, the rhymes, the school van, the biology books, the boring chemistry, the hawkers outside the school gate, the ever vigilant gatekeeper, the remarks in my report card, the zeros in maths class tests, the why-so-short tiffin-times, the project works and scrapbooks, the Annual Concert and Fest, the Radhaballavi during the Annual Exhibition, the mango trees, the open school stage, the meditation room, the late signs in my school calendar, the rainy days, the summer vacations, the smell of new books, the school badge and tie, returning home with soiled school uniform, the "get out of the classroom"-s, the imposition monster, the empty Fun Munch packets, the silence in the library, the money wasted on my biology box(it's still lying in my cupboard unused), the apron packet, the test tubes I broke in full sense, our dream magazine Sparkle, our famous ABCD Group and its secret missions, the writings on the blackboard, the roll calls, the "good morning teacher" and "I will never do it again(I used to repeat again and again), the brown papers and labels, the broken chalk pieces, the free classes, the result days, the Parent-Teacher meetings, the term exams, the homeworks I forgot, the synonyms and antonyms, the Tuqlaks of history, the Timbuktu of geography, Don Quixote and other stories from Radiant Reader, the matras in Bangla(well almost), the time-table, the piano room and Shakti House, the Sports Day, the friendly rivalries among the school Houses, my classmates I lost contact with but want to meet again, the infatuations(now I know the spelling and meaning both), the thrill of appearing in the board exam, the farewell day, the essays and letters, the loitering in the corridors, the instances when I escaped unnoticed with unpolished shoes from a surprise inspection, the game of football with brick pieces, the ping-pong cricket sessions, the chess tournament we organised in Class-V, the table-tennis board, our rival group SFFS(the name of their group kept on changing with the number of members they had), the partial teaching (I don’t like calling them teachers) and non-teaching staff, the Pechandra, the stories we developed between classes (Bees saal , TBMM and Lemre), the nicknames of my classmates, the bicycle of one of my dear friend, the Karate expert in my classroom(he is no longer my friend), the white canvas shoes and the black Naughty Boy shoes, the cruel third language teacher, the reluctant Bengali ma’am, the first day of every new session, the ‘Ratna’ of our class, the Jhanta Claus, our secret hideouts, Enid Blyton, the 6 books I lost in Class-VIII, the water bottles and tiffin boxes I forgot and lost eventually, the notorious tiffin stealer(s) of our class, the flat nose of one of my friend, our German teacher whom we fondly called ‘Mem aunty’, the wounds in the knee, the school bags, Natraj pencils and erasers(I used to call it rubber), the peculiar madame who unsuccessfully tried to teach us French in French, the last minute revisions before exams, the question papers, the thatched classrooms, the rabbits and the peahen, the Bill of our school, the Pondicherry trip, the funny Hindi sir, the small yet beautiful lake, the school printing machine, my Principal who is no more, the moral science classes, the PT classes, the last day in school, the goondas of our class, the fights with fake bullets, criss-cross and book cricket, the weekend recitation club, the Rabindra Sangeet we learnt in Class-III, the plays I enacted, the school captain I adored and the one whom I hated, the prefects and the unfair advantages they enjoyed, the stars I earned in class assignments(specially the one that I earned in Class-III), one of my computer teacher, one of my maths teacher(for the wrong reasons), my gang of friends….I remember my school days.

About the title: The name of my school is The Future Foundation School.

* The Mother's birthday- an important day in our school calendar