My mind was fraught with uneasiness and unnecessary worries.Everything seemed to be loosely defined -emotions, relations , friendship and interests started slipping and I tried to reason - Why? The brain was wound tight like a rope in a tug of war.I had become a harsh cynic.
And then the perfect recipe - 2 inebriated friends , 3 impulses and some lack of sleep to top it up and there I had a trip to Lucknow.So off we went to catch up with a friend studying there and we landed in the quaint city.The air was comfortably cold and on the way to my friend's campus , the visages which flitted across were of a typical North Indian town I had watched on the big screen - houses with uncovered brick walls amidst mustard fields in half bloom and the people seemed a satisfied bunch cycling through the mist on a hazy morning.
Once we reached the campus , I readied my stomach with some piping hot ginger tea and headed to relish the royal spread.Famished that we were , we deep dived into an array of dishes , the richly burnt meat laced with generous spices just burst into my mouth but the Shahi Tudka simply suppressed all other flavors and established its royalty.We followed that up with a delicious Ghanta Paan(yes the paanwala rings a bell everytime he serves paan) and an ill-adviced movie and the uneasiness was back all over.On the way the back , the dyspepsia of mind and stomach took over and it was not just the food being thrown up.
After some sound rest , I ventured along with my friend around the campus ,ranting,while she was floating in a world of her own.And then we came to rest, savoring the delicious chai only to be disturbed as we were witnesses to an incredible birthday celebration and I was left bewildered.I was bewildered by set of bright intelligent young guys could commit acts of such crassness and which almost bordered along the inhumane.The aggression which was veiled during the day came to light in the dark of the night.The tension across the campus was palpable, and given the diversity of the people enrolled and the range of backgrounds to which they belonged and the reactions that spawned from being competitive over a sustained period , it was all quite fascinating to observe.Ah the college life doesnt remain so simple .
Then it was time to indulge and take flight , and take flight we did over a game of cards , trying to call each other's bluff and betting on set of cards vying for a flush , staight etc but it was all in vain since the winner didnt even get any bragging rights at the end of it.Amongst unfamiliar faces which became countenances of mirth , old stories retold , new stories cooked up and various mishaps laughed at , I let the rope slacken , it was time to relax.At that moment all was forgotten - ambitions , pressure , concerns - all were discarded , it was sheer camaraderie and fun.What joy!
The rest of the trip was spent on reliving my academic years on passing through the library and classrooms,listening to my friends learnings and experiences, visiting historical places like the Imambara(accompanied by an irritating goose guide), Roomi Darwaza , hogging sumptous biriyani at friend's place, spicy chaats and last but not the least - The immerthi , succulent crisp fried jalebi dipped in creamy rabdi was worth the entire trip, at the risk of a cardiac arrest though.
Footnote- But all along, amidst all the strangeness of a new city and of new people, the laughter of two of my best(and crazy) companions was panacea to the unsettled mind I had come with.
Scene : Marcel flicks a lit cigarette towards the pile of nitrate reel and the cigarette swirls achingly and lights up the pile.The screen bursts into flames and pandemonium ensues .Donny and Ulmer, dressed as slick Italians , let loose a string of bullets on the Nazi top brass.With Donny's eyes lit up there is absolute carnage.Shosanna , lady in red , metaphorically and literally dressed to kil,l completes her retribution .Amidst all this , smoke is billowing and Shosanna , laughs hysterically in the smoke.No one can create a scene of violence so poetic and stylish other than Tarantino. Scene cut to, humid and hot cauldron ,people are pouring into watch the divine.But one man has other ideas.There is anticipation in the air , silence is built up , the spectators are composed and Then there is a WHIPLASH!A tracer bullet smacks the hoarding.The crowd erupts and appreciates the delightful boundary.And from then on there was no looking back, barrage of cuts , drives, pulls punishing the bowlers.Sehwag plays them all, with disdain.His shots reek of audacity , decimating any semblance of pride in the bowler.He sees a ball , he hits the ball.Simple yet effective.Yet his domination of bowlers doesnt seem brutal , his shots are laced with elegance and served with panache.I can picture Sehwag playing to the tunes of Ennio Marricone or the eye of the tiger.Class. He pounds a bowler into total submission and despair.There is a deluge of runs.Even Muralitharan , the magician tweaker , had no answers .He bowls short , he is cut to the boundary.If he provides some flight , a step or two down the track and the cherry is sent soaring over the ropes.You bowl into him , he drives nonchalantly through the covers.The timing and power of his cover drives are so balanced , he hits sixes off inside out drives!Simply exhilarating and exquisite.Murali was literally left , finger licking good. Sometimes i wonder ,am i watching street cricket?He is so fearless in his execution that he seems to be hitting a tennis ball.It might look like im extolling his virtues endlessly but such is the reputation and sheer talent of the man.He hits boundaries at will , i thought that happens only in EA Cricket.I am left gasping as i follow his breaking of records .But yes , he still has to cover some distance to reach the divinity of his teammate. Its not like he is the perfect batsman.There was a period of self doubt and he was shunned by the national team.But he came back a better and mature person , cutting out some wild streaks.His 293 is forever etched in my mind .During the innings , at the end of day 2 , he look tired.Dravid on the other end advises him to defend and save it for tomorrow, the next ball there is a half hearted defense ,He looks up sheepishly and grins at Dravid.There was something serene about him.These are ominous signs.I hope he keeps riding this surf. Tarantino signs off through Aldo raine making his "masterpiece" on Col.Landa,Sehwag , with his usual candour, says "I just hit the bad balls".
March 1st .Its her birthday .Im teeming with excitement and i set off to work though its a saturday as i had a leftover task .But misfortune strikes and i lose my phone which i had kept it in my bag on the way. Aaaaaaaaaah, my beloved phone, i miss him .going ahead my day stopped and i was helpless.So i need to call up the Airtel call centre. I happened to find a "The mobile store " jus opposite to my office, which i enter seeking help to call them up .The store-guy is least bothered and he blatantly replies "i don know sir." Hmph , i decide lets head back to office n do the work ,but then a kind samaritan in the shop asks me " Is it Airtel number?".I replied"yes".Without even me askin him any thing ,he dials the toll free number and goes through the rigors of pressing n number of keys to reach the call center operator( airtel requires tat u remember some code n all) but he fails. I was about to say" its ok , i 'll leave thanx.." Immediately he tries the toll free number again and this time he gets his code right and gets through to the operator and i report my lost phone to the operator happily.Relieved that my sim was blocked , i turned to thank the good samaritan and then a conversation just conjures up .Finally sayin good bye i ask his name and he says "Ahmed " closing his helmet visor and zips off.
Whoever is reading this article might not realise the significance of this incident but i was left wondering. How is it possible for iniquityto coexist with goodwill in this world ? are they in some way symbiotic? And i asked myself a question if i would have done the same in case someone was in need?? In this frenzied selfish road trip that we have embarked upon , can we spare ten minutes for altruism? Can we ignore the disparate needs , religion , race, region that we have created? Can we place humanity above all?
:) why don we all sing along with Klaus meine -- " cause we all live under the same sun We all walk under the same moon Then why, why can't we live as one 'cause we all live under the same sky We all look up at the same stars Then why, tell me why can't we live as one...."
PS : Due to certain laziness in research "MissJudged" has been postponed to the future posts . Thnk you :).