Thursday, August 31, 2006

Life's NOT Fair

I was talking to a friend of mine complaining & cribbing about life in general and mumbling the oft repeated line, “life’s so NOT fair to me yaar ! ! “.
She asked me in response, “Who said life was fair, or that it was ever meant to be fair?”

Her question was a good one. A very good one.

One of the mistakes many of us make is to feel sorry for ourselves, or for others, thinking that life should be fair, or that someday it will be.
It’s not & it won’t.

When we make this mistake, we spend a lot of time wallowing about what’s wrong with life. We talk to others, discussing injustices of life. “It’s not fair”, we always complain, never realizing that, perhaps, it was never intended to be.

One of the nice things about surrendering to the fact that life’s not fair is that it keeps us from feeling sorry for ourselves by encouraging us to do the very best we can with what we have. It’s not life’s job to make everything perfect, it’s our own personal challenge.

Everyone is dealt with a different hand. You have to play with the cards you’ve been dealt.

The fact that life isn’t fair does not mean we shouldn’t do everything in our power to improve our own lives. Au contraire, it suggests that we SHOULD. When we don’t recognize or admit that life isn’t fair, we tend to feel pity for ourselves or others. And pity is definitely a self defeating, useless emotion that does nothing for anyone, except to make them feel worse than they already do.
Recognise that life’s not fair, and turn your self pity into some helpful action.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

In-Dependence ??

The year 2006 spells CATASTROPHE.

The Mumbai floods, the Mumbai train blasts, the floods in Gujarat & Madhya Pradesh, the Israel-Lebanon conflict, the Colombo bomb blast, the foiling of the terror plot to blow up 10 flights from London to USA – all this & more.
Think about it – we are not yet 8 full months into the year.

The floods in Mumbai

It is a fact that this year the rains were a third of the 994 mm of last years 26/7 – but the result was almost the same. The city stopped for 2 days. WHY? Why weren’t the drainage systems in place? Why weren’t the roads repaired? Why did the nightmare of 26/7 have to repeat itself – almost? Sadly, these questions fall on deaf ears.

The politicians, who are concerned only about their personal kitties & well being give a damn about what happens to the country.

The Mumbai train blasts

I have written enough about this in one of my earlier posts – ENOUGH! We have finally managed to get hold of someone somehow connected to the blasts – that too a far indirect connection. The London plane blasts were AVERTED & 21 suspects were ARRESTED WITHIN 3 HOURS.
Here – blasts happened & how ! – Killed over 200 (official figures), injured thousands, handicapped many more. Arrests have been made few & far between till now.
But seriously, can we expect anything from the legislature & the judiciary which has still not delivered its verdict on the 1993 Mumbai blast suspects. Btw, the new D-Day is September 12, 2006 as postponed from August 10, 2006. If the judgment is delivered, it will be over 13 years since the blast took place. Do we still care ?

The floods in Surat – completely a man made disaster. It DID NOT rain in excess there. The drainage system is BAD, to put it lightly. Plus, the river Tapti, which overflowed has quite a few metres of silt deposit at its bottom. The government & relevant authorities have not taken any steps to remove it – resulting in its overflowing and subsequent floods.

Food for thought – In any of the news coverage, “excess rains” were never mentioned – only the words “Surat flooded” were used. Go figure !

Are we a developed country? Yes, the economy is booming, yes the salaries registered a phenomenal, 2nd highest in the world growth this year. But, is the basic infrastructure in place? Especially in metros.

The people are not provided with proper roads, clean drinking water, uninterrupted supply of electricity, security & safety, a hygienic civic sense.

The average age of the Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha Members(over 50) is double the age of the average Indian(26.48).

We need the youth of the country to take matters into its own hands, to work towards securing its own future in the country, to try and provide their off-springs a better India, a better Mumbai to live in.

If not in full fledged politics, lets be a part of social service NGOs, rural development forums, forums which raise their voice against wrong doings of the government. Lets work towards freedom from the “chalta hai” attitude. Lets fight to get our basic rights. Lets make our home a better place to live in .

Happy Independence Day. Lets make it truly happy, and our country truly independent.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Poem

Hey, this is a poem i had written 6 years back about a friend of mine. It is very elementary in prose, but very close to my heart because its written about something that actually happened in our lives.

This was/is a friend i was very close to during school time. He is not in Mumbai now, but we are very much in touch and plan to catch up on old times when he returns. We are still as good
friends, if not better.

I am not a good poet, so bear with me.
So, here goes . . .

To each other, we were the closest
Unaffected by what others said.
Fights & quarrels we did detest,
Close friendship is what we shared...

School got over, then came college;
Free to do whatever we want -
We were no more in a cage.
Those years will forever me haunt....

He started with a drink,
it ended with smokes and drugs.
Vanished were those smiles that would sink
All my sorrows; Vanished were those Hugs.

I wanted to leave him now.
He was no more the person i knew,
He had totally changed, and how . .
But friends like him were really very few.

I told him what i felt.
"Don't abandon me", was all he said.
I felt guilty, my heart did melt.
I decided to stand by him instead.

He gave it all up, it came to an end;
How he succumbed at first, it really seemed strange.
We don't have to change friends, -
I realised, if we understand that friends change . .

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Saying Goodbye to Friends

"Dude, dont forget we are having dinner next tuesday. Make it.", said Kaushik as he & Varun were leaving from my place after dinner."Tuesday . . . why a weekday yaar""'cause it'll be the last time we all will be having dinner together"

And, then it suddenly dawned upon me. Kaushik was leaving for Bangalore in 15 days as his second year of MBA began. And when he'll come back for Diwali - Yuvaraj & Varun will have left for their Masters (in comp. engg.) & MBA respectively.Shit. We were finally going away from each other.

This was 2 months back. We had dinner that day. No emotions, no sad goodbyes. Just like any other dinners for us.

US - we are . . . no, we were a GANG (the teachers called us Hooligans, goondas) of 5 - Kaushik (Kosik), Yuvaraj (Yuvi), Rahul (Ra), Varun & Me.

We met in the 9th standard in school and were inseparable ever since. We had lunch outside each day after our 10th std. prelims ( a feat we pride ourselves on, coz the other students were shitting bricks and we just din't care), except the Chemistry exam coz Kosik was worse than bad at it. (He failed in chemistry in the prelims).

We made post-Boards plans 2 days before the Board Exams were to finish. Varun played Holi in the middle of his exams.

College was different for us all. Yuvaraj & Rahul went into Engineering, and the rest into Commerce - Kosik & Varun in the same college.

I taught Kosik & Varun Maths & Accounts in the 11th & 12th for 1 & 1/2 day before the exam. They cleared with flying colours.

And then there was the common thread that bound us all. Cricket on Yuvaraj's terrace. We used to go there religiously. Let me explain to you the intricacies.

The terrace had/has 5 walls and the water tank. Hitting full toss on any wall was "out". Hitting 2 walls on the right gave 5 runs each, the wall behind the bowler 10 runs, the back wall 10 runs, the leg side wall 6 runs, and the water tank - 8 runs. Hitting any 2 in one shot - you are entitled to an addition of the runs of both walls. If the ball hits your leg instead of the bat - you're out. Anyways, this was the complicated system in which we played cricket every week.

Varun was an expert at the 14 - tank + back wall. I was a champ at the 10 - the 2 offside walls. Yuvaraj was the one bowler i couldnt face. Rahul, in all these years has made only abt 500 runs (keep in mind that under this system, there were scores of over 80 in an over). Kosik - he just came and smoke. Never played.

Well, life went on. We got busy in our own lives. Varun started working in a call centre. Yuvaraj n Rahul had their various classes, submissions and college. Kosik went to Bangalore post 12th for his BCom. I started my CA.

We hardly met, though we managed 3 trips post 10th - Matheran, Mahabaleshwar & a Maharashtra trip together. I went on my First independent outstation trip with them. I had my first overnight stay with them. I had my first sip of Vodka with them. I had a couple of other firsts which i can't mention on a public medium.

I am what i am today because of all of them. Before i met them, i was a studious, serious school baccha. My sense of humour, which im proud of and which all my friends like, was borowed from Yuvi. He was the original Funny Guy, and still is amongst us. Kosik taught me ti be adventurous, and think of everything from a completely logical and not academic or mechanical point of view. He taught me how to be a good friend. Varun taught me how to let go and completely chill. Rahul, well, he taught me how to shout, exaggerate things and pass comments on every possible things ... hahaha ...

And, then came the day Yuvaraj was leaving for Texas for officially 2 years, and unofficially for ever. He will come back for Christmas next year, but i think that's it. Me & Rahul went to meet him at his place. He already had other friends there. They were all joking, having fun, cracking jokes among themselves and Yuvaraj, and that is where i realised - that how people have changed. He had friends from college who knew hiim in a different way than i knew him, who knew him better than i knew him, who met him more, spoke to him more.

"That's not fair. He's my friend", my mind shouted. Its a feeling i've never got before.

It seemed only fitting that Me & Rahul & no one else went to drop him at the airport. His family was there, of course. As we were sepnding the final moments together, my talks & comments stopped. My characteristic humour, that i consider my defence mechanism - deserted me when needed most. The mood was made lively only by Rahul's unnecessary, forcibly funny comments.

Anyways, it was time. As we walked down the path leading to the entrance Gate, he proved he was the Original Funny Guy, and undoubtedly the guy i called Best Friend. He turned & said, "Mihir,cricket - next week ! 4-8 in the evening"

Thursday, August 03, 2006


“Those were the best days of my life…”, crooned Bryan Adams’ voice loudly as I rushed outside to pick up my cell phone and to get away from all those staring people. I should have kept something subtle as my ringtone, I wondered in hindsight.

“Is it over yet?”
“Nope. Not yet”
“How long has it been? When did it start?”
“Umm… about 2 hours”, I glanced at my watch. It was 2.45.
“A bit longer than usual”
“Stop freaking me out babe. Its going to be fine. Bye” I hung up, more worrisome than ever.

That was my friend Neeti, studying to be a doctor. Mom was in the O.T. undergoing a regular laproscopy. The procedure/ surgery had taken over 2 hours now whereas the doctor had said that it was a ‘simple, 30 minute thing’.

“You have a message”- My cell phone rang again
“Sorry Mihir. It’ll be fine. Don’t worry. I dunno what else to say. Take care dude”.

I had see countless movies where a surgery/ operation is going on with the hero/ hero’s wife, daughter or mom in the O.T. and all the relatives pacing in the long corridor stealing quick glances at the “red light”. I always found it funny and not realistic at all.

I tried to but couldn’t suppress a smile as I looked again at that “red light” while walking the length of the corridor leading to the O.T. Ironical, no?

“Have your lunch”, mom had said at 12.30 when she was being wheeled into the preparatory room.
“Ma, please..”, I couldn’t imagine she would think of our lunch at such a time. Mothers… Wasn’t she scared?

Me and dad were with her until she was administered GA (General Anesthesia). She was scared. She wanted this operation to get over quickly. It was a small surgical procedure for the doctor but her biggest operation yet.

We understood. We couldn’t do anything but to hold her hand. I was scared. Dad was saying all the right things to comfort her. I was too much in awe/ fear of the surroundings to say much. Repeating what dad had said seemed like a good idea. Soon she was under the effect of GA and was wheeled into the O.T. The doctor seemed comfortable, calm. We trusted him. We better.

“Brrrr..” - My phone vibrated snapping me back to the present. It was Neeti again. I cut it. I glanced at my watch again and I saw dad dong the same. 3.30, Damn.
Suddenly the “red light” turned off and the doctor appeared a few minutes later.

“Doctor….”, dad began
“We’ve done it. It was an unusually a large fibroid. You can see her in a few minutes. They are just trying to get her out of the GA.”
“Thank you so much.”
“Ya..Ya..” and her disappeared into some room.

I hugged dad and we saw mom being wheeled into the recovery room.

“She’s still under sedation. It’ll take her an hour to get back to her senses. You can try speaking to her”, I heard someone telling dad as I went towards mom’s stretcher.

“Hi mom”
“Its over Ma”
“Hmmm.. is the operation done?”
She was slurring and very much under sedation.
“Yes ma, you’ve done it”
Dad touched ma’s forehead and told me that we should leave from here and wait out till mom is awake. I did not want to, but suddenly I was feeling very hungry and we decided to eat something finally. Mom was alright”
I turned to go
“You said something Ma?”
“Did you both have lunch?”
Post operation, under sedation, but still……….Mothers!!
“Yes Mom.”

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