Nov 3, 2009

5 Years

Oh, I was ranked first in the first ever HNLU entry test. So, when I decided bravely that me of incalculable talents would risk myself for a chance to be part of building a major institution, I decided also that I would behave and be what everybody expected of a first ranker. My parent's expected that too. That I would go to HNLU, continue being in the top or thereabouts, and end up being a most eligible legal services provider. And just before leaving home, which must have been the last time I came close to crying, I marked the historic moment with an expression, "I just want to be a learned man when I come back!"

So it happened that we arrived and I basked in the adulation reserved for first rankers only, and I loved every moment of it. Well, that was until I found out I wasn't first rank material after all. I realized that the twist in my fate had not been me getting the first rank, but me having to live with it. And how I have suffered because of it. Initially I used to get books from the library and try to read them in the hostel. But when it became clear that I wasn't going to read more than a single page any given day without falling asleep, it made me give that up. And the subjects I had to study, they were also beyond my comprehension in why they appeared so simple to me. You kill someone, you go to jail, was all my brain was able to make of criminal law. How did these brilliant guys around me come up with so many long doubts in class?
And I suffered, because for a first ranker who had so willingly worn it on his sleeve and had gotten himself congratulated by every single of person in the University, mediocrity wouldn't have been acceptable, let alone absolute incompetence. I was all that. I couldn't wake up on time, I couldn't wash my clothes, I couldn't talk smooth with girls, I couldn't ask enough questions in class. I suffered the shame of it a while. And then some more, till I was nothing more than a lucky dumbass, whose true colours didn't take much time in showing.

With that realization, I swore I would beat fate. I swore I would be just what they now thought I was, and more. I started bunking classes, skipping snaps and lazed and wasted away. And slowly, but surely, I got recognition for it. I went on to become the most famous lazy good for nothing going on a downward trip guy in HNLU. There were a few people who loved me for that. I took on the mantle of a martyr for the ordinary. I started writing stories in my answer sheets, turned up in the same clothes with the same unkempt hair every day. I became for the self-righteous a thorn up their asses, for I represented all the joy in the temporary. Where everybody was worrying, I was without care. In a world where everybody is building a kingdom, a career or anything, I wasn't building anything. I was unbuilding. I was a metaphor of the absurdity that life seemed to me.
Soon more people started loving me. Most, because I was the helpful, harmless, friendly guy, who never posed anybody a challenge. My only areas of interest were those in which others had no interest. A few, I believe, saw the real me. They saw in me the prophet of the road less traveled on. I was testimony to the worth of the worthless. I spread the disease of lethargy all around, and taught them lepers to be proud of themselves. I was a reminder of the truth, that despite all you are not, you are something. I was an affirmation of everybody’s possibility of being accepted. I was the anomaly that felt right.
That was the glory. I felt for everybody and everybody felt for me. I loved everybody and everybody loved me. I was for everyone and I didn’t demand that everyone be for me.

However, somewhere along the line, I fell again. The fall came when I became proud of what I had become. The saviour idea took control of my mind and I started practicing it religiously. Somehow, I started becoming routine, and to sustain the routine, I started playing a role. I had a position, and I had to protect it. I started being rigid, and began to hate all those who weren’t like me. I started seeing conspiracies in everything they did and started organizing my lambs to isolate and destroy them. I fell in love with the me in their eyes. I forgot to be the me in my heart.
To be true to myself, I shouldn’t have loved my place. That was to be untrue to them. In the beginning I was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. My rise began when I realized what I wanted to be was a naked wolf, an honest wolf. My fall began when I became sheep that wouldn’t shed his hide.
I gazed inward and saw what I had become. I had become a manipulator. I too was trying to protect my position, just like all the people I hated. Then I lost the plot. I started looking down on people. Not many must've noticed it. Everything became about me, about my happiness, my position, my control over every fucking thing. I fell in my eyes.

Oh did I not yearn to redeem Neil. To fall in love, true love. But conceited as I was, I never could love. Never could I say this is me... love me. I was done with my hole. Alas, my only way out was the creepers on the walls of my well. And I'd never learnt to fly.

I never recovered from that fall. I could never. For my disguise was not worn over me, it was worn over the eyes of the people I had completely fooled. I just didn’t know how to remove those without hurting myself, and above all without hurting all those who loved me.
I am not saying I wasn’t good. I was more than the average good guy. I had a vision. But there were times when my lack of spine, my sense of self-comfort, caused me to remain silent. It is a sign that my biggest weakness still remains with me. I could’ve been more.

All said, I remain proud of everything I’ve been. The belief that I was loved for what I was, affirms my faith in myself. I thank everybody for that.

I was never bad. I will never be. But, do I not owe it to the hopes that I left with you, that I try to be not just not bad, but something more. Looking back at my days now, I was never sure about anything I should've done or what would've been right for me. I sure had all the threads to my life in my hands, but they were all tangled up. There were a lot of things I wanted to do. I could’ve given more. I didn’t. I genuinely feel bad about it.

P.S. I wrote this on the last day of college. I started to write something else, but it turned into nothing but a weed induced rant of a wishful fool. Those heady days puked at their end the mess in my head. Its apology, affirmation, and a lot of crap weaved into one. Its nothing. I was scared of what YOU would make of it. I don't know what to make of it. This is as much as I'll ever know.

Mar 9, 2009


Hey, this is Neil here! I'm sorry Paddu left the scene for a while. Poor Langoti was busy making a livin'. You find it funny, that the Lord, could have worries such as these. Well then yes, all didn't go according to plan for dear NSP. That is, IF there was a plan in the first place. Nony wanted to come seething, biting, growling, grinding teeth together. NeilO' comes a-bumbling, clumsy as an oaf, grinning a smile you almost forgot. Did you? Oh did you folks forget poor Neeli of the old? After all that he'd done! I mean, what could I ever give you over the telephone. How could a voice from afar, barely able to weave thoughts into words in between stutters of competing ideas, substitute your favourite mere mortal's presence? If you think otherwise think about all the funny one-liners I ever made. Can't remember any, can ya? Well it's because I never made any funny one-liners. It's because I never was the kind that caused rib aches. I never found answers to any of your problems. What I was though, was somebody who was just... around!
See now, I can't do that kind of thing anymore. I left them threads in a mess. It appears to me, the rest of my life getting them untangled!

Oct 14, 2007

Our first conversation...

I was holding onto the plastic chair. She was walking over from near the bell. I knew I wanted to talk to her. I didn't want to start off with anything phony. I had no other reason for talking to her, except that I really wanted to talk to her. I was half an ass off the chair, certain I would make an ass of myself. Then as she and her friends were about to pass by me, I got up with a jerk, and must have scared her when I jumped into the line she walked on and said,
"Hi (her name)!"
She stops. I was cold. She was cool. But I say,
"I wanted to talk to you."
I smile a stupid smile, which, I must say, did little to hide the fact that I was turning red despite my skin. Meanwhile, no reply from her, except a slight shake of the head, granting me permission to proceed.
I try again. I state the obvious.
"I know this seems stupid."
Poor delivery again. I'm losing points here. I still have the forced stupid smile on my face.
I go again.
"How do I start talking with you?"
That was clever, I think, but I screwed it in delivery. My confidence does not exist.
But then she speaks for the first time. She says,
"Hi! I'm (her name)!"
I am happy. But, that doesn't mean I warmed to the situation.
"Hi! I'm Neil!"
Acknowledgment from her in the most discreet of nods.
My brain is scanning for clever ideas to prevent a still born conversation. I don't get any. Realisation strikes, that this is where this conversation has to end.
I conclude.
"I don't think this is working. I'll try again tomorrow!"
I give my trademark two thumbs up and scram to the safety of the plastic chair. I collapse onto it, and sit bent over, covering my face.

Did I not screw it up?

Oct 3, 2007

The Urge for Female Company

"Why do I fall in love with every woman I see who shows me the least bit of attention?"

I didn't say that. Joel from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind said for me something that I've always felt. That's my sorry state. I've been falling in love with all sorts of women and girls and the sad part is I never could find myself comfortably talking to them. I've been living for nearly 23 years now and the total time I have spent talking with girls other than somebody related to me, is probably an hour in a long life. That too, most of it was 'do you know where somebody is' or 'can you hold my computer while I'm gone' kind of stuff. Never a single interesting conversation. And I'm a lesser person for that!

I have other problems too and like my friends say, I must be stupid prioritising this problem at such a crucial point in my life. But then, only I know how much this affects me. I might get a job after all, but this is a problem I need to solve once and for all. It's about my internal harmony.

"If only I could meet someone new. I guess my chances of that happening are somewhat diminished, seeing that I'm incapable of making eye contact with a woman I don't know."

That's Joel again and that's the bigger problem. My case is probably a bit more aggravated than Joel's. I'm incapable of making eye contact with even women I know. While hanging out with friends, if one of their girfriends come over, I find my eyes automatically searching for a nice piece of plaster on the wall opposite to where the girl is standing. And I'll be mute for just as much time as the girl is around, answering mostly in single syllables when questions are directed towards me. This is an uneasiness I chose to avoid and I find myself preferring to being alone in the computer lab, rather than be with friends and risk one of their girlfriends walking over.
This is just a small part of my problem. It affects me in every walk of my public life. In private, I'm even more affected by the sheer mystery of the pleasure that talking to a girl would be. Often I feel the urge to sit next to a girl. I feel the urge to talk to a girl. This defines a good percentage of the depressions that overcome me these days.

I fantasize stopping in the corridor one of the new juniors in college, and simply trying to strike a conversation with any of them. I probably have someone in mind too. But knowing me, I'll in all probability drop this plan, like all the other plans I've dropped before this. God help me!

I know I am painting a sorry picture. But this is the kind of truths that I wanna shout out. If I can't do this here, then I don't know what use my blog is to me.

Oct 2, 2007

glorious failure...

Is there glory in failure?

I thought I'd write a coming of age novel about how great a person I am. That was the flaw. I didn't write what I should've written. I tried putting in words the image of me that others have. I recognise the greatness of art, now better than ever. I see the reason why it becomes great art. It is about truth and brutal honesty. It is about pouring out the darkest corners of your mind and the fuzzy picture that is formed of the dark and the bright parts of your mind... that that gets to be art. I haven't grown enough as a person to really own up all the things that goes on in my head. I am toiling towards such a time. When that time comes, I'll be released!

My failure to write the novel is a shame for me. Especially after seeking publicity for it through this blog and other means. That was a phony bit in me. There are subtle hints of it left. Or maybe it is big chunks after all and it is my reluctance to admit it. The fact that I'm writing this may hint towards some of it. But, I feel this has to be the way it is done. A conscious attempt towards purifying yourself of all phoniness.

My life took the downward spiral ever since I got obsessed with getting rid of the phoniness in me. I won't say I am better off now, that I did this. But I know if I hold on, redemption is just round the corner.

It is impossible to say just what I mean! - T.S. Elliot

Aug 31, 2006

The 'Lagey Raho Munna Bhai' Review

Coming Soon...

Till then, if you can take my word for it... GO WATCH IT!

A thoroughly enjoyable movie, as good as the first one, entertaining full length, with excellent songs, great performances from Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani, with an unexpected guest appearance by 'u-find-it-out', a beautiful heroine, Vidya Balan, top it all with a great life-moral like the earlier movie, and more of all the things that you loved the first movie for...

Padayatty Rating: 5 stars out of 5

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Feb 28, 2006

Talking New Year Resolution Blues…

Mine was always to be a good boy. I wanted to brush my teeth and bathe everyday, comb my hair and wear well-ironed clothes, get to college on time and not sleep in class, sit in the library and have some AIR, eat Pillai Uncle’s food three times a day and avoid the Canteen, talk cool with girls, make them laugh and then maybe find myself a partner and roam with her the way so many pairs in HNLU do. I wanted to wear my jeans below my buttocks, be real cool, build some muscles and dance at parties. I wanted to ask long doubts in class, submit projects on time, give moot courts, attend snap tests and finally be an 8 point something.
That was a tall order. But my rock hard will told me I could do it. That was the 31st December, any year since I came to HNLU. Come New Year’s Day and I would take an exception, because excessive partying on the previous night left me with too much of a hangover to put into action any of mine resolutions. Jan 2nd was to be the shubh avsar for starting with my New Year Resolutions. Too much sleep the previous day meant I couldn’t sleep any that night and it was morning before I finally slept. No worry, there’s a whole year ahead. My lucky number the next day – Jan 3rd, I wake up early morning and go for a jog. I’d read somewhere that jogging early in the morning, makes one healthy, wealthy and wise. That was convenient. All the things I wanted to be, in one package. I find out that January is not the best time in the year to go for a jog. It’s bloody cold any morning. I come back with a horrible cold and slight temperature that renders me invalid for the next few days. It’s time for some compromise. Compromise is acceptable as long as the ultimate goal of becoming a good boy is not compromised. This jogging early morning thing does more harm than good to the good boy.
Having thus resolved the first threat to the resolutions, I concentrate the weight of my solid will towards the others and find myself awake at 8:00am on a very cold mid-January day. There’s a fight going on in the room. Everybody wants to bathe first and that too in hot water. Obscenities flit around my ear, and it hurts me to see my friends fighting. I decide I had no reason to put in a bad word, and resolve to wait till everyone has bathed, and in the meanwhile get some sleep also. You see, at 10 minutes each for my six roommates, I had at least an hour.
I wake with a start and look around to find a time-piece showing 11:30. Tomorrow… I told myself. There’s always tomorrow. I bathed in the night that day so that I wouldn’t have to bathe in the morning. That worked out fine. I got to college on time for Prof. Ajappa’s class. The class was jurisprudence and we were trying to nail the term onto a wall for clarity. But jurisprudence was one slippery term, which deftly avoided any definition leaving a trail of unsuccessful philosophers in its wake. I dozed off. Jairam’s bell woke me up, just as the venerable professor concluded his quest declaring that jurisprudence could not be defined.
Then came the days when there were no classes at all. That was cruel, I tell you. God knows how hard it was to sleep after a bath in the night when everybody else is watching some colored movie and then to wake up early morning, brush your teeth, comb your hair and catch the bus before it disappeared in a cloud of dust and then to fight the soft seductions of the computer lab and actually get to class just as your roll number was being called, only to get involved in a losing battle with my old friend, sleep. After all this when you have no class it kills your spirit. Mine was only too willing to die. Sometimes there was class only in the 3rd hour and my dying spirit couldn’t bear waiting for that hour to come. I trashed them resolutions sometime February.

That’s the sad tale of how I ended up not bathing, brushing, combing or ironing any day. That’s how I never did get to college on time, slept when I got there and missed my snap tests and adjourned infinitely my moot court appearances and was well shy of 8 point by the time the year ended. I have explanations for the other failures too. I never got to the library because whenever I went there everybody would stare at me in amazement, their eyes enquiring whether I had not missed the earlier turn to the computer lab. I never got about talking with any girls in the first place, to even think about the happily ever after. About Pillai Uncle’s food… I’m sure I’m not the only failure.
All you folks must be thinking what a dirty, lazy, pessimistic fellow this guy is. For you I’ll tell you, I did achieve some success. I successfully avoided the canteen, thanks to a four-figure against my name on the door. I don’t visit that part of the University anymore. Anyway, this year I’ve optimized my Resolutions and decided to start last week of December so that I’ll be well settled in time for New Year. Then I’ll do all those things I said I’d do and tell you all good folks about it next year. I’ll need your prayers! Happy New Year!

P.S. I wrote this one for the New Year Resolution Competition at HNLU. They didn't give away any prizes because there were only two participants. Tough luck!

Feb 12, 2006

Neena's Tourism Blues

Neena has sent this article to the guys at The Hindu, for publication in their Open Page section. In the meanwhile, I told myself, my page is also just as open, then why not put it up here also. Moreover, there's a whole lot of bloggers from Karnataka, who just might see this one, and knowing the power blogs have, it might all be for good. So, here's what Neena has to say...

Tourism Blues

“Adhiti devo bhava” the epigram in which lies the heritage of every Indian. However the experience of a group of college students from God’s own country during their visit to the neighbouring state raises a question and becomes a blackmark in a country where guests are considered equivalent to gods. This article is to bring to public notice a few grave matters that needs to be addressed. A pleasure trip to Karnataka; but more that the hi-fi ness of Bangalore and the colour of the Brindavans ,a few singular encounters with the police,the security guards at the Brindavan gardens and the many Adams everywhere comes to the mind.
It was a dream come true for many when they set out for a five day trip to Bangalore,Mysore and Ooty.First stop Bangalore, metropolitan and modern in every sense.They stopped at a petrol bunk when a plainclothes policeman(haughtily flaunting his ID)boarded the bus.He started asking questions directly to a girl student as to who they were and the purpose of the excursion.His motive was evident when he left,all smiles,once he was given a hundred rupee note.
The next incident was when they were walking back to their hotel that night,weary from shopping and loaded with bags when a policeman amused himself by calling them’beggars’.Throughout the shopping trip most girls had encounters with ‘gentlemen’ who couldn’t walk by them without knocking onto them or passing off colour comments.
Truly bizarre was the experience at the Brindavan Gardens..The dimly lit park was very crowded owing to the second saturday and Pongal holiday.As the girls walked ,with the boys of the group forming a circle around them for protection,catcalls and obscenities floated towards their ears. Then ,when one of the boys accidentally stepped into a fountain,a security guard without even a verbal warning, struck him with a metal lathi.
The tour conductor who demanded an explanation got his reply with a blow,dodging which he fell down.Two security guards ,grinning mischievously ,attacked him with their lathis. The rest of the boys rushed to his aid when a few more guards materialized and started swinging their lathis at them.The girls watched horrified and by the time the guards came to their senses most of the boys had red welts on different parts of their bodies.Next the guards threatened to file a case against the dazed students,for fighting with them.It was only after pleading with them that they were allowed to go.One of the boys received a whack on the knee even as they were leaving.
The excursion party was too rattled and frightened that they did not even dare to lodge a complaint. Contemplating the complicated legal procedures most of them consoled themselves that things couldnt have been worse. The language bar was another factor. It was heartening that none of the other tourist who had witnessed the incident came forward to intervene.
If this is how tourists are treated then I don’t see any future for places like the Brindavans. In a public place where an entry fee is exacted this should not be the staff’s mode of conduct.Lathi charging is something used against an aggressive mob after sufficient warnings.Then where did these security guards get the right to assault tourists or anyone, for that matter? If they are so duty conscious then how come the place still teems with eve teasers and antisocial elements? How can one approach the police when they are also out to exploit naive tourists? To be caught in a legal imbroglio in a strange land will be last thing anyone would want. I am sure this is not an isolated incident. If this is how tourists from the neighbouring state is treated then God help those from faraway places.Mine is an open appeal to anyone who can change this situation. I hope there will be a day soon when one can listen to the colourful bustle of shoppers rather than off colour comments, when girls can walk the busy streets without feeling insecure and when one can enjoy a beautiful evening in the Garden city without fearing a lathi charge.
- Neena Padayatty.

Comments are to flow freely on this one, especially from the Karnataka blogging fraternity. Neena will post her replies to comments on the comments section. And, I hope The Hindu, does publish this well written article.

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Jan 25, 2006

Me and A Generation Awakens for Rang De Basanti

Just back from the First Day First Show of 'Rang De Basanti'. You know the 5:30am show, that's the only good thing about Raipur. After the Mangal Pandey, it was a near empty first show for Aamir Khan's 'Rang De Basanti'. Sherin, Sandeep and I, had a whole row of seats to ourselves and the row just in front to rest our legs. A cold morning at the Anand Talkies, with none of the festivities associated with the release of an Aamir Khan movie. But here's my review...

Sue (Alice Patten), an English film-maker, inspired by her grandfather's experience as jailer to the great Indian Revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad, wants to make a documentary on the great Indian revolutionaries. But the story being too alien to her British financiers, she's not provided funds.
Sue, however, decides to go ahead and make the film. She reaches India, where her friend Sonia (Soha Ali Khan), and her friends, all students of DU, agree to act as the revolutionaries for the documentary. The carefree bunch, representing our generation, till then has been doing nothing more than partying every night, racing their bikes and being indifferent to a reality they were required to awaken to. They, with a bit of egging by Sue and Sonia, finally get into the groove for acting out the great revolutionaries. Before I go further, let me introduce the group.
DJ (Aamir Khan), though it is 5 years since he passed out from college, still hangs around because he feels at ease there. A swell guy, he's the life of the partying friends.
Aslam (Kunal Kapoor) is a poor boy, who finds his heart in this group of uncertain souls living life by the moment.
Sukhi (Sharman joshi) is the fun guy, always joking, and making everybody laugh.
Karan (Sidharth of Boys, Aayudha Ezhuthu fame), is a rich kid, who shares an uneasy relationship with his unscrupulous businessman of a father (Anupam Kher).
Ajay (Madhavan in an important guest role) is Sonia's lover and an Air Force Pilot, whom everybody in the group adores.
Laxman Pandey (Atul Kulkarni), is a saffron idealogue, with a growing reputation within the party in power, whose relationship with the rest of the group, though at loggerheads, takes a turn for good, once he too becomes part of the documentary crew.

Except Ajay, Laxman, and Sonia, the rest of the guys, are disillusioned with India, with no hope for it's future. They don't do anything about it other than making cynical comments about all things Indian, and dreaming of leaving India as soon as their education gets over. But once, they are initiated into the documentary, they transform taking inspiration from the characters of the revolutionaries they play in the documentary.

Imbibing the spirit of Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad and the likes, they slowly awaken from the cynical slumber they'd been in so far. It is at this point that Ajay dies in a MiG crash. The Defence Minister, puts the blame on Ajay's adventurous flying, and shirks his responsibility for the faulty MiGs. The whole bunch and Ajay's mother, decide to protest the injustice done to Ajay's name and many other soldiers who have laid their lives for the nation. The government orders the peaceful candle-bearing protestors to be lathi charged. This is the turning point for the group. It'd be a spoiler if I go any further. Because I want you all to watch this movie.

The acting performaces are all great. Aamir is his usual best. The rest of the crew all do their part to convince us of how they're just youth like the rest of us, taking all things lightly, not giving serious thought to their realities and quite sure that they couldn't do anything to change things. But I'd make special mention of Sidharth in his role as Karan, the rich-boy detatched, who really steals the show. He outshines even Aamir. It seems he's the hero, if you need me to pin point one. He's done a convincing portrayal of a troubled young man, who doesn't have much hope for anything, until the last moment when he realises what his role is. Soha Ali Khan's performance is quite surprising after her previous film role. Alice Patten, must really be congratulated for her good Hindi, and of course, good acting. Kunal Kapoor with his mild-mannered look and Sharman Joshi, comedian, are also good. Atul Kulkarni, as can be expected is class.

I'm sorry for all those souls who didn't awaken with me when the genration awoke this morning. This movie is a must watch. It's a film with a message though. Where Mani Ratnam with his Yuva failed, Rakesh Mehra, has come trumps with this truly landmark film. The direction is superb and the story truly unique. The screenplay is great, in that it effectively weaves together different themes including, today's indifferent youth who do not care if their nation goes to the dogs, the revolutionaries of the Independence movement, the corruption in politics and how the youth can change things if they did their bit. The switching between the Bhagat Singh story and the present story, to convey the similarities of the eras is successfully done.

One remembers the Bhagat Singh overkill of movies a few years back. All those movies told the stories of the revolutionaries. But they were fairy tales which had no relation to the contemporary youth or India. Their stories were unique to their time. So we thought after seeing those movies. I even used to fancy how it would have been nice if we could be in that generation and have fought like Bhagat Singh did. But I never imagined that a revolution was possible in this era, when we were being ruled by our own elected representatives. But this film shows how the situation is no different, though the players have changed.

Of special mention is an exceptional sequence where, the Jallianwala Masacre is shown, and suddenly General Dwyer, the infamous villain, is replaced by the guilty Defence Minister, who orders the police force to fire at Ajay, the fighter pilot is shown walking towards the firing policemen, smiling, and when he gets hit, says something about his jacket getting torn. That's a satirical look at how things haven't changed. A classic sequence indeed.

Having watched the film one realises, that the revolutionary spirit, that is the legacy of our Independece movement, still lives in the youth, and that it only needs to be awakened for the face of India to be changed.

Padayatty Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Well, what are you waiting for? Go watch 'Rang De Basanti'! Be A Rebel!!!

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Oct 25, 2005

Thank the Chicken-pox!

Well, the best omen in a long time. There's been a chicken pox out break in HNLU, causing the administration to shut down college for one month. That means no exams till December, and that I'll be home in Trivandrum for the whole of November, writing my novel, eating the good food Mummy makes, and going to Elloor Lending Library to get all the inspiration needed for painting my masterpiece! The whole world conspiring to help me achieve my objective. Three Cheers! I don't think I'll be blogging any during November! Pray for me! The next thing you might hear about me might be some news item about my book release!

Oct 10, 2005

NaNoWriMo Time!

The situation here at HNLU grows worse by the day. Agreed, there's only about 21/2 years left. But, then I'm only afraid I might burn out before that. To prevent that, I suppose, I'll have to complete my novel, and hide away in some cave or forest, after my first royalty cheque comes through! And guys, you know what, this is the best time to write a novel. Because NaNoWriMo is just around the corner!

NaNoWriMo is the acronym for NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth, when anyone who successfully writes a quantity-oriented 50,000 word novel is a winner. When first started in July 1999 by the illustrious Chris Baty(who's that), the number of participants then was just 21, of which just 6 ended up finishing their novels. In the next 6 years, the number of participants grew to a whopping 42,000 in the year 2004, with the organizers expecting an estimate of 60,000 participants this time around. A few guys, who participated even got their books published. Check here, if you need to see to believe!

So, I'd signed up last year, but my novel ended up a non-starter owing to end-semester examinations. But this time around, I'm not giving a damn to the end-semester exams. I'M WRITING MY NOVEL! Sure, all of you will get discounted copies. I promise. But why don't you guys, give it a try. I'll make it a tag even. So to anybody who reads this, this is a tag!

Here's more information for those interested...

NaNoWriMo History!
How NaNoWriMo works!

So, sign yourself up and come November, it's 30 days of pecking away at your keyboards for what could be a true turning point!
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Oct 1, 2005

Happy Birthday 'Catch-22'

Well me... I put, all of me in a blog... Catch-22!
It's now one year since I began blogging. And I'm thankful for whatever it has done for me!

Started on the particularly Catch-22 evening of 9.29.2004, inspired by Anurag and Vishnu, and a few other blogspots. Catch-22... because I was caught in one involving friends at that time and because the book itself has had tremendous influence in my life philosophy.

I had told all my friends at HNLU about my new endeavour. But it was my good friend Marcus Jose Arikupuram, who dropped me the first ever comment on my blog, on my Tribute to Friendship poem. It was something to go by.

"hi padayatty,i was really amazed when i read the poem,i never thougth that you will do such a big adventure.anyway you really done a great work,keep going...i find a great future in you ....ALL THE VERY BEST MY DEAR PADAYATTY....."

Thank you, Marcus!

I go through a phase where I'm no able to connect with the people around me, and I feel dead lost! I get an email from a stranger, who said,

"Hello Neil...
I'm Stephanie (or some may call me Nyogen), I've come across your blog... or perhaps your blog found me! I enjoy your thoughts and your writing style, I find your blog compelling, yet refreshing. Even your book list is great, I should create my own, since I love great works of writing.So that's it, I just wanted to say hello, and introduce myself

Thanks nyogen, these words of yours... I'll treasure for ever!

Now truly into blogging, I start blog-hopping, reading about the interesting things in other people's lives. At that point of time, I was bent upon increasing the number of links to my blog, just for the sake of it and so that I could get a higher ranking in one of the many blog directories. I even dropped comments asking people to give reciprocal links.

But later I realised... that was stupid. Because, when I started blogging, it was, so that I could fill a great void, so that I could find people like me, so that I could realise I was no loner in the world of thoughts. But that, then, was not to be by the same diplomacies that one does in everyday life, for that would mean connecting with all sorts of phonies and being a phonie myself. That wouldn't fill any void. In fact that would create more voids, and the me would die out beind the facades of a virtual society.

I find a like minded. Rather a like-minded finds me. The gibberish queen, profound in all that she says, graces, by giving me my first link. Angeline's adding me on her blogroll, was special because she, a stranger, connected with me based only on what my blog reflected of me, which, I'd like to believe, is the true me. Thank you Angel... What you did was most profound, in that it made me believe in the real me.

Then on, I dropped any little phoniness that I had in blogworld, and dedicated myself to blogging honestly (with a pinch of salt, that is). It has been wonderful throughout, and I find myself growing in depth and belief in myself and all that I stand for. I find there are people willing to listen to this chaps, stories, cock and bull or whatever. I thank you, Catch-22 for this!

I would thank,
Anjali, whose comments have been my greatest inspiration...
Jiby chettan, who is an honest blogger and somebody I can relate to,
Sherin K. Daniel, who has been a motivating force in everything,
Neena, my sister for her expert comments on my writing,
TVM Vikings, whose memories make me,
and also everyone who's ever posted a comment on my blog (I'll try to make a list) and other people who have by whatever actions/ommissions have made a difference in my blog. I am grateful to all, for my Catch-22.

Stephanie Lynn said this to me,

"I believe it's very important for one to express themself as thoroughly as possible. To some, the understanding and knowledge of our own thoughts is an intricate element of enlightenment or simply seeing the 'big' picture. I've found that in our society, others will tend to find you interesting, compelling, intriguing, if you find yourself interesting. Now please eliminate any element of arrogance or greed, or modern tendencies of self-proclaimed success. In the simpliest, truest form. Perhaps, I should elaborate by adding, if you have a general interests in your thoughts, their development, and possibilities of their expansion - others will be drawn to these characteristics (that they may also possess or desire to possess)."

That's what I'll say to you, fellow bloggers. Wish Catch-22, long life!

Sep 22, 2005

Seven Padayatty Things!

Anjali tagged me the Seven tag! Had trouble just collecting seven things for each heading, silverine tagged me! She suggested checking out, MatterofChoice and Jiby. Their's put me at ease. But, whatever I'm giving here is entirely mine. You got no phonie here! Well, here goes...

Seven things I plan to do before I die!!!
1. Finish writing my magnum opus about the things me and my friends did; about Loyola, about TVM-Vikings, about the best days of my life! (I've started already. Might take a long time in coming out. But, I prefer it that way. The experience is quite worth it.)
2. Make my movie, complete with story, screenplay, direction, camera, music by Padayatty. (tall order... I know! But I'll do it if its the last thing I do)
3. Fall in Love. (who me? yes, why not!)
4. Remain the way I am, because I'm convinced, that I am me!
5. Get back to and finally finish my violin lessons.
6. Well, my parents are my 'perfect fans', in that their belief in my mere mortal self's talents is unreasonably reasonless. But, the world outside might, and maybe do call them fools, for the way they've raised me. So I'll do for them, one thing that'll shut these nosy parkers forever. Give mine parents, a worldly reason to be proud of me!
7. Show this world, that the things I stood for, were never in vain!

Seven things you can do!!!
1. Write notices on the HNLU noticeboard which irk all of those establishment reps.
2. Play the violin. (a bit rusty, but sure can make a comeback)
3. Make friends happy.
4. Maintain at least, mail-once-a-month with friends and family, because though I care, I've never cared to show it.
5. Forgive, no matter what. (even phonies! They're the most easy to forgive; one understands their motivations).
6. Change some lives. (I believe I have, and will continue to do so)
7. Give everyone the respect they're entitled to. (I've got lots of it... So why not share it!)

Seven things you can't do!!!
1. Quit being the shy fellow I am.
2. Get organised.
3. Say no to a friend.
4. Talk cool with girls.
5. Forget the TVM Vikings.
6. Become first in anything.
7. Hurt Neena(my twin-sister)!

Seven things that attract you to the opposite sex!!!
1. Sense of humour, but not the 'giggling-girl' kind.
2. Ability to discuss books, movies, music with me in the same sense as I take it.
3. Sensitivity, but within limits (no fainting at the sight of blood, no 'cho chweet' attitude towards everything). I hate most Bollywood heroines.
4. Independence and respect for my independence.
5. Smartness, not necesarily the way everyone understands the word.
6. Lack of 'phony' characteristics, like exaggerated self-righteousness.
7. Love dear Padayatty, despite his many shortcomings.

(Someday, I'll write a post on each one of these!)

Seven things you say most!!!
1. Eeshoye...
2. Padayatty this and that!
3. I swear a lot. Me speaks a lot of bad words. Can't help it. No malice intended, though! (3 - 7)

Seven celebrity crushes!!!
1. Nicole Kidman.
2. Meera Jasmine.
(I don't think I'll say anymore. If you're asking crushes, most celebrities fit.)

Seven people you want to take this quiz!!!
1. Achuthan.
2. Angeline.
3. Ashok.
4. Jithu.
5. Madhvi.
6. Sandeep.
7. Vishnu.

And, Catch-22 might apply to all these things I've written. As I've said elsewhere, I might eat my words. Can't help it, it's my diet!

P.S. Well, angeline had given me two tags, one of which, the book tag, I've already answered. The other one, will be after you answer this one! How 'bout that!

Sep 17, 2005

Umesh gets the Fear of God!

Varun took a turn for the spiritual, mid-way through our final year at school. Initially, we were all skeptical about the whole thing and regarded it as a mere passing fad. But, when Varun stopped coming to the movies and started delivering impromptu, unasked for sermons in between juicy gossips, we decided we’d been wrong.

Well, if Varun had left his spirituality at the prayer-hall, things would’ve been just fine. But, the dear fellow wanted the lot of us converted for good. He started inviting us to prayer-meetings and that made the rest of us run for cover. But how long can you hide from your best-friend, especially when God too is an interested party. Umesh was the first ‘victim’!

Umesh went to the prayer-meeting with Varun, on a Friday evening and…

It all started fine, I’d say. I walk into the hall, where a small crowd of people are on their feet singing a real spirited song, the keyboardist accompanying with fast-paced beats… real penetrating music. Next thing, the preacher starts clapping hands. Everybody joins in and seems to be getting rather excited. I get the general mood, and unconsciously start tapping my toe. Hey, this is actually cool! There’re even a few good-looking girls up-front! No wonder Varun...
The song died off and the preacher resumes his preacher-talk, with the mandatory Praise The Lord after every second word he says. The keyboardist starts playing a haunting (at least that’s the way I felt) background, when suddenly something happened to the preacher (at least that’s the way it seemed to me)! This man who’d been till that moment speaking, most coherent Malayalam, at an unbelievably supersonic pace, suddenly seemed to have lost his gift of gab. He started blabbering and gurgling and mumbling, in a totally incoherent manner!
I sense a change in the crowd too, and behold, the lot of them have started rocking in slow-motion, eyes pointed heavenwards… in a state of trance! I get the odd-guy blushes and start rocking myself. Then it happened!
A boy in the front row started shaking like he’d got the epilepsy or something like that. That really rattled me! I was starting to get goose-bumps all over! Then the nice old man with the French-beard followed suit. Then the lady in pink sari… then the rest of the front-row, including those good-looking girls, who I’d thought were the reason Varun had turned spiritual.
Suddenly the preacher comes and touches the boy who’d started shaking first and the boy falls senseless on the floor! By this time almost everyone has started shaking except me… I didn't know whether I should've been enjoying the funny show that was going on or not!
Varun, what about him? I turn around in slow-motion and my greatest fear came true. There was Varun… entranced, chanting in a progressive tempo, shaking like hell or heaven! I, alone in the crowd!
I gather my last ounce of courage and make for the door, away from a world apart...

Umesh came running to the mandapam in the Museum, where the rest of us were enjoying just another day of cloudspotting and relishing pointless chat. Here's how he looked after his hair-raising experience.

We had a good laugh, and made mental notes to steer clear off any invitation Varun might offer for another prayer-hall experience.

Aug 30, 2005

The Two Mrs. Nairs

Those of you, who have seen the Vanitha women's magazine, must be familiar with the last page cartoon strip about a pompous house-wife called Mrs. Nair. This post however, has nothing to do with that character. This post is my tribute to two ladies who make my 'Sun'days in an otherwise bleak Raipur.

I'm talking about Srikant's and Shrijith's mother's. They are the silver linings in clouds of home-sickness that form around me while I'm in Raipur. They are my stomach's hope when it rumbles in protest against the food served at the HNLU Mess. They are the closest I get to a mother, quite like my own, despite being in Raipur.

I am at my jolly best when I'm on a visit to any one of the Nair homes. They happen to be my favourite hangouts in Raipur. I start cracking my best jokes the moment any of these houses come into sight. A smile takes over the major part of my otherwise gloomy face. My mouth waters at the thought of the good Kerala style food that would be awaiting me at the Nair home. Cloud Nine never felt this great.

I step in there and greet the Lady of the House with a smile, enquiring whether everything's fine. They smile back and enquire the same of me, in that infinitely concerned tone which God seems to have specially given to mothers. I am hugely comforted by those smiles. It is the closest thing to Mummy that I'll experience before my paroles, once in every six months. Then I sit down to conversation with the Mr. Nair, while Mrs. Nair goes to the kitchen to finish the preparation she's made, I'd like to think, especially for me. Though she be not in the room, the absence is covered by the aroma that emanates from the kitchen.

In about 5 minutes, I am only just keeping the saliva form dripping. Then she re-enters, inviting me to the dining room and to the feast she's prepared for me. Again the motherliness of the whole thing deeply comforts me. An expectant me enters the dining room to the sight of steaming rice on plaintain leaves set on the table, frilled on the sides with the varied Pachdi's and Kichdi's, Erisseries and Pulisseries, Aviyals and Theeyals and all those sadya mandatories. I forget washing my hands and fail hopelessly in trying not to be in a hurry. But Mrs. Nair understands all this, and starts serving.

The feast begins! This could be heaven for all I know! She urges me to eat more. Motherly intuition tells her its time for more sambhar or pappadam. She asks me whether the food is good. I reply incomprehensibly, owing to the enormous amount of choru mixed with sambhar, moru and pulisseri and pappadam in my mouth. In about 15 mins, my stomach is a balloon. Mrs. Nair brings on the Payasam. Do I say no? No! I take extra helpings with renewed vigour!

I would thank Shrijith and Srikant for selflessly introducing these wonderful ladies to me. I would pay my tribute to the two Mrs. Nairs for being what they have been to me. With them around, it's Onam everyday!