Memoirs

The ‘Holi’ Ramayana

Sometimes what we start of as fun turn out to be so fatal. These unexpected incidents causing such fatalities turn out to be very good lessons for life and make us realise our drawbacks and identify our sensitivities and what we are allergic to.

I was having breakfast when i got a call from suneel asking me to come over and celebrate ‘Holi’, a revelry of colors. I knew my eyes were very sensitive to slightest amount of dust. They start getting wet and burn. I was totally careless about this fact until day. It was the same carelessness that caused this incident. I was smeared all over the face with water colors even before i could close my eyes tightly resulting in most it going into my eyes. Initially the burninng was light, though i was not able to open my eyes. I came back home and washed my face, but the burning started increasing even more. I thought i could sleep for some time so that i can forget the pain and it would have reduced by the time i get up. But how would i get sleep when my eyes themselves are burning. Even the eye drops i got from the nearest medical store wouldn’t work out.Finally, i had to go to the hospital. People around looking at me strangely and talking amongst themselves about our youthful mischief with snub and disregard rather than sympathy. I was looking like an african tribal.

There was a young journalist for Indian Express who was keeping the count of such fatalities, just to fill up space in her newspaper and not obviously out of any real concern for such incidents. I suppose she knew her facts and figures would not be of any help to the concerned people or the readers. It was, as i told, just to fill up the space. She approached me and asked how it happened. This was the first opportunity given to become famous (i was happy my name could come in paper atleast for this… i knew this was no reason to be proud of..ha ..ha). Suddenly a philosopher got into me, i happily gave all my details, name, profession, company
…etc. Started talking about the changed lifestyles of people like me, thier struggle and quest to acheive nothing…blah..blah.. and so on.

The young doctor, who had herself played holy ( It was evident out of her coloured hands…or it may even be out of washing the eyes of dozen of cases like me) started cleansing my eyes. She touched the Litmus paper on my eyes to test if acid was still present and cleaned until it was nil. I was releived when she told it is nothing serious and just ‘Internal neural congestion‘. I did not understand what she meant by it, but i was definite that nothing had happened and this disease must be in everyone if it was ‘just Internal neural congestion‘.

Though the article seems to be in a lighter vein, here are some tips to play holi and take care of your eyes.Not that i am very much enlightened by this incident and gained sufficeient knowledge to councel others…just some basic tips—

1) Take utmost care of your eyes, atleast until you die, though they are not fit enough donating to others, they are the most important external organ of your body.
2) Always play Holi with powder rather than water colours since chances of water going into eyes are most.
3) Always have Eye drops and other basic first-aid ready before playing Holi.
4) Say no to grease, turpentine, kerosene…etc and other Lubricants.
5) If color goes into your eyes, ask someone whose hands are not colored to wash your eyes.
6) Do not rub your eyes, just gently wipe your eyes with a clean cloth.
7) Do not use the same cloth again and again since they are already smeared with the chemicals and hence doing so would increase the burning sensation.
The newspaper article after the ‘Holi Ramayana’

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Gratitude

This was probably my greatest day at work. “This is a wonderful Job… we are all hat’s off to you…you are creating an example for the others to follow”, this is perhaps the most sincere and touching commendation i have ever received. Sincere because her her tone suggested so and such intense and emotional words of praise, in the presence of all the Managers and architects were not just said for the sake of it…they were sincere. Touching because of,rather the bitter fact i came to know a little later, her intermittent illness for which she is often hospitalized. “…that’s why, She is very grateful to anyone for any kind of good work done or help she receives” is what i was told.

The other managers and architects followed her by praising me, but they were too obvious…artificial ofcourse. They had no other option but to support her. Anyhow, these moments were some of the greatest in my life. This made me realize how much we matter to the company and how much the company matters to us. It was very heartening to know that some people are so grateful even for the slightest help amidst scores of people who are not even bothered no matter how much you sacrifice to the company. It was also inspiring to know the amount of dedication and ownership they show towards the company and their work. At the same time there was a small spark of thought in some corner of my mind, “…and you want to give up all this and go in search of an unknown destine???”. Well, after this slight moment of elation, i came down to earth,the satan in me started dragging me towards reality,”Just leave all these emotions behind and think of moving ahead in life!!!”.

“Kiran, are you there in the call?”, this was the first question by her as soon as the meeting started the next time. The magnitude of trust and responsibility she has put upon me is immense. I really do not know if i am worth it, but i am certainly trying my best to measure up to what she thinks? After all, it’s just a necessary part of my job!!! I would never be able to forget this woman ever in my life…my project release manager.

All for the Love of Books…

‘Let’s see who finishes this page first…!!!’…these words brought in a sudden impulse in me and there the race began towards the final point. But this was a race of a different kind, it required not only physical agility but the ability to grasp the essence of the the track as well.

This was how the romance began, started off with Nancy drew kinds, slept with Agatha Chrities and finally was bold enough to even stroll along with Shakespeare likes. It all began when i was in my middle school, fourth or fifth standard. My friend was always good at it. He had a track record of an entire page within a few seconds and he could even grasp the content very well where as i could never make it within a minute.

Well, coming back to the romance, it took some drastic twists and turns along the way and even went up to the extent of committing a felony for the loved one:
The incident happened in my eight standard. Our love for books grew unprecedented, but we did not have enough money to hire or buy the one we had liking for and ride over it…oops…sorry…read over. My friend had a very brilliant idea, it seems he even tried it out once.

Location: HigginBothams at M.G Road.
Time: Monday noon. 3.00 PM It is least crowded around this time.
Target: Our favorite books.

So the plan set up and venue decided, we were there at the first floor of Higginbothams where all the Fictions, Non-Fictions, Science books and other general books used to be kept during those days. There was no-one in the entire book-shop except the cashier, a gaurd on the entry to the first floor hall and ourselves. There was absolute silence except the bustling traffic of MG Road in the background. The gaurd constantly watched us, since there was none other to look around. We assumed serious search and browsing around for some specific book so that the gaurd does not grow suspicious (Though we had already decided upon which book to take well in advance). After a long time, we were successful in impressing him upon that we were genuine customers and about to do some heavy purchasing. We chose atleast 4 to 5 books and carried it along all over the racks as if picking up some more. Finally i settled for the two books which i had intended to pick up originally (Hmmmmm …. i mean steal!!!). A book authored by Jim Corbett and another one by ‘Pustak Mahal’ containing high school science experiments were the ones i chose. I also picked one of those covers containing stamps ( I was not a regular philatelist, but just a result of one of those crazy thoughts that breezes across my idle mind now and then. I was always under the impression that such stamps available in those covers were genuine ones, but came to know later on that they were actually fake). Finally our plan being made we started off downstairs where the billing section is (as if we were going to pay the bill). We came out of the hall where the books were into a long verandah and an exit from here through another door to the stairs. Half-way down, the stairs take a 180 degrees swirl to descend the opposite side. Once we swirled along the stairs, we were out of sight of both the gaurd and the cashier, and the books were safely between our tummy and T-shirt. On our way out we wished him ‘Goodbye Uncle!!!’ in all our earthly innocence and he in turn bid us farewell with a gentle smile on his face (Little did he know that those nasty rascals were getting away with his books). Once out of the shop we were proud of our achievement. Hoodwinking the shopkeeper seemed so effortless, and those papers were unable to decide upon the greatest swindlers of the century.

Every dog has its day and we had ours, my friend who probably hadn’t taken this quote very seriously or just ignored it for another obvious cliché got caught by the shop-keeper the next day for the same act. The shop-keeper somehow left him after calling his parents and warning them. But they smelled a foul-play and brought out my part in the conspiracy and he had to reveal my name also helplessly. He was dragged to my house by his mother and made me confess the entire truth in front of my mother. My mother cried the whole night and i realized how much i had hurt my mother’s feelings by such an act of shame. The next day my mother took me took the book-shop and told me to confess my criminal act in front of the shopkeeper. Fortunately or unfortunately, the shopkeeper was my mother’s customer in the bank and knew her well. We paid for wahtever i had stolen and went back.

It has been been 9 years since and every time i meet my friend we laugh it off….anyhow, it was all for the love of books…

A Friend

I do not know whether he is older than me or vice-versa. But he is the oldest friend i can ever remember as far as i could strech my memory back to the past. He was also close to my cousin sister Geetha, who was a few months older to me. He grew along with us. We always played together. He used to come along with us wherever we went. Whether it was the nearby petty shop, a walk around the garden or the temple across the street. He was always delighted to see us every morning, and would come jumping towards us out of his small dwelling. We would have been more happier, only if he could eat and sleep with us. But how could he…? How could he enter a house with a blindly and deeply rooted conservative and Orthodox notions. How could he enter a place where one needed to wash his hands and legs atleast twice along the entrance to the house (Those days are gone with my grandmother) whereas he was never in the habit of washing his limbs atleast once in a week.

One fine day, we were playing with our friend as usual. We were playing merrily, enjoying his company, but this was to be the most fatal day of his life. I do not know what made us to force him play along with us on the wall of this well beside our house. A few moments off his sight and he had disappeared when we came back.

We could hear a voice from deep inside the well which, luckily, did not contain any water. Even after numerous attempts to get him back, letting a rope with a bucket attached, trying to indicate him to jump into the bucket, he would not budge from there. But the moaning continued. The earnest voice from somewhere deep-down and his refusal to come out some what seemed to ridicule us, ridicule the oddities of our existence. A few hours later the voice started becoming meeker and our hearts started pounding heavier than ever. Suddenly, there was absolute silence deep down the well.

Even today the sound echoes in my ears every time i pass by that well, which is now fully covered. Everytime i keep thinking…he would probably be with us even today, only if he hadn’t taken those few steps towards the wrong side of the wall, only if he hadn’t been a Dog.