Sunday, January 11, 2009

now, who could stop that!!?!


This is one word which has changed its meaning for me so many times! When I was a kid, it was about a boy and a girl together and we irked at it. I still recall my kindergarten days; Arjun, I and some other boys used to call girls as achoot derogatorily meaning untouchables. It sounds funny today, but we guys used to be darn serious about it. Into early teenage, love was a one-sided something that a dud guy felt for a gorgeous girl, and yeah we had abolished the achoot system by then. Into the mid-teens, it was more of a 'show it to the world' issue - to have proposed to a girl and convey your so-called-feelings, and that is what was love meant then. Further down the time-line, at the beginning of college,
love meant to hold up your ego and pride, to have a girl by your side, to show that you are sad when she's gone and stuffs... and show that you are 'the ultimate' lover-boy. And then..... you realize that you have got it all wrong. But, I guess that's the tough way to realization that anyone would have to take to understand what this love thing truly is. Finally, I did learn what love really is...

Well, that's just as much of philosophy as I would let you take! :)

I have messed up my life many times. But down into my second year in engineering graduation times I had done some serious, potentially irreparable, damage to myself. Well, it was an odd feeling then when you feel that you have lost the battle and you stand in middle of no-man's land with just battle litter all around you. I saw myself scarred, standing there as a loser, with nothing to look forward to. But there were these bunch of crazy people who came around, picked me up and showed me that there is a brighter side to life. Some of these crazy people are my best pals today. And one of them, is just about everything to me today!

Anjali.. that's her name.

Well during the first few days at college, she was never in my hit-list! ;) She was a classmate, just one more girl in my class. She gradually graduated to a person I could talk to. She was very different from most of my other girl pals I had had at Delhi. I could see that she was a more culturally immersed, non-cool, hanging out with girls-only kinds. I was a flirt one-of-a-kind, and she was this more civilized person with a look that conveyed that she has more responsibilities than most of us. She was beautiful, she still is, but there was this innocence in her looks that did not qualify her for the 'hit-list' kinds.

When I ran into troubled weather with a long-due break-up, there were a very few people I could rely on and turn to. Sibi and Vijith were two real close confidants whom I treasure even today. Preethi, Silpa and Archana were others. They were always there for me, but there was this desperation to be accepted as a friend among others. I started talking to people randomly, trying to get more friends. People all around knew about me and what all had happened, but I guess the girls were apprehensive that I'm probably trying to hit on them. However, when I turned to this lady in churidar, it was all different.

Anjali was a great listener, she carefully listened to what I had to say. And without blaming anyone, she became a motivating force for me. She would talk to me about so many things, and we became good pals. Even without me knowing about things, she took me off the hook and I was enjoying my life as if nothing had happened at all. Umm, I still wonder why she did what she did to me. I know there was no love-thing between us at that point in time, not even a spark - probably because we had labeled each other as not-my-type. I didn't really bother then, all that I felt was this nice feeling of having a good friend around.

Well, good things don't last forever. Especially when the grace has been shown to a dud-head like me! Down about the end of third year, some rumors about some girls floated in and there was a huge ideological crisis. Anjali was being blamed and the circumstances were against her. She told me her side of the story, but perhaps I was not convinced. For some reason, I forgot all the good she had done to me. I forgot that she stood with me when I needed someone to revive my life altogether. I forgot and I too pointed my finger at her. I regret it, it was sad. Something inside me still curses myself for not having believed her. Knowing that she had been a pure heart to me, I still didn't believe her.

The best part about my life is that the bad parts don't last even as little as the good parts do. While the weather cleared, and I came to know of the realities of what had happened, I realized that I needed to go back to her. And apologetically, I did. She is going to slap me hard, or she would just tell me to stay away from her. My mind was playing games, but she accepted me with open arms. She did convey her sadness for me not having enough faith in me, but she still let me be part of her life. It was nice. It is a great feeling, when you go confess for a wrong doing and you are forgiven, one-of-a-kind.

Anjali and I started to spend more time with each other. We did singing together, we worked for our Ramanujam House together. I appreciated her dancing skills. She loved to listen about my delhi stories. She was a more socially aware and conscious person, and I was more of a carefree happy-go-lucky kind. We were different people, with different takes on life. The only common line between us was we were family affinity; we lived for our family and loved them like mad! We spent hours talking, and it was fun. Still no spark though.

And then one night, I dreamt of her. It was a beautiful dream, and it looked so perfect. I saw her as my girl. It disturbed me a lot when I woke up. I have never seen her that way, she's just a friend and we are so bloody different. It was odd and it wouldn't just sink in. For some reason, with some hours into the day-break, I was moving from 'oh my god, what crap of a dream was that!!' to 'wow, it sounds just perfect!!'. It was funny, but then I decided to tell her what I saw. I was a bit hesitant. She would feel real bad and that would end even my friendship with her. I didn't intend to propose to her, but it implicitly meant the same.

That night, I stood up there at the terrace of our newly built hostel block and gave her a ring. I talked general stuffs and smoothly moved into the matter. Surprisingly, she listened to me with more patience than what I had thought. Will she burst out a cry, would she shout at me?! I continued telling her stuffs and while I was talking to her, it just struck me hard, she is the one I want to live with! Everything just looked so tailor made for me.

While I was telling her things, I recalled the so many mini-events that occurred between me and her. She could make me smile and forget my worries. She could smell it if there was something wrong with me. She worried for my well-being. She genuinely loved my parents and my little sister. She genuinely wanted me happy. She was a pure heart. She forgave me for all the wrongs I did and she accepted me back. I loved being with her and it feels so genuinely nice to be with her. She genuinely loved me and I just kept falling in love with her without even knowing it. And as I continued talking, I was talking with a renewed vigour. She's my girl.

For obvious reasons, Anjali took it as a proposal. She talked me through a lot of things, about herself, the past, her family and a lot of information that a person should have known before proposing to live his life with her. She loves me. It felt so nice that she just let me know absolutely everything about her. And then, she was like.. now you know it all. There was this calm in the air. I just told that it was good that she told me everything, and that it would be good to be together. Nothing more was said, and with words unspoken and unheard, we knew that we are the ones for each other. I still feel the subtle cool breeze that I felt over my face and the freshness in the air that I breath in that night. That night was different, one-of-a-kind.

We have been together since, and it is now more than 7 years of knowing each other, and more than 3 years in the relationship. We have seen quite a lot of things together, and fought little battles by each others side. It has been a long eventful journey filled with love, and it is just going to get better.

Some people thought that I would never fall in love, others thought I have different taste in my mind. But I guess with Anjali around me, I just had to fall in love with her.. now, who could stop that!!?!


It is that little something that makes me smile when I hear her name. It is that little something that makes me get goosebumps when I get her fragrance. It is that little something that makes me understand her things without being said.
It is that little something that tells me that my life is so beautiful with her. It is that little something that makes me sit and admire her all day. It is that little something which gives me the most beautiful dreams at night. It is that little something that gives me energy to go get all the happiness for her. It is that little something that came as a cool breeze that I felt over my face the other night when I opened my heart to her. It is not what people preach. It is the special someone I call Anjali today.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I wanted it, my first career step, I got it..

When I finished my college, I had already been campus recruited. Though I wanted to do an MBA right away, my complascence would make me wait another 2 years. I joined the company of my choice, UST Global, at trivandrum. I was recrutied as a software engineer. After three months of training in Java, I was finally a full-time employee at the company. I already had things running across my mind. Software engineering was not what I was made for, I wanted to be different, as usual. My heart told me to do what I can do the best, be with the people, find something which would help you work with the humans rather than the machines. I made up my mind and hence started my quest for a post in the Department of Human Resources(HR).

We were told that there were no immediate projects available for us to be allocated to. We had a lot of relatively free time. I thought of utilising this time to roam around the place and meet some people. My first stop was with Deepa, the lady from HR who helped us filling up forms during the joining formalities. She clarified the doubt that there were people from the technical side who join up at HR. My first challenge was down, and i saw the ray of hope. I asked her for the person to whom I should talk to so that I can convey my wish to be a part of HR. She told me to meet someone called Senju. Senju was the lady to whom all of us freshers were supposed to report to. So, my next stop was to be Senju!

Senju was part of a group called RMG, the Resource Management Group. I went to the RMG bay to meet this lady. Since I didn't know this person I went in and asked a middle aged man. Basil, as I came to know to be his name, was a cheerful chap and he was happy to know why I wanted to meet Senju. We had a good chat and he introduced me to another guy called RK. RK is an ex-Best Emplyoee of the company, a masterpiece of a character! We had a detailed chat and I moved out of their cabin with a boost of confidence to meet Senju the next day.

The fist thing I did the next day was go to bathroom.. lols.. just kidding! Next day, I went straight to meet Senju and with some luck I found her. I asked her is she had time, and she was happy to talk. We had a lengthy one-hour discussion. She wanted to know why I wanted to join HR, she was trying to brainwash me into staying in the technical side. But, I was clear on my goal. She probably sensed my determination and she took the next step for me. She called in Aravind. Aravind was her reporting manager and the Trivandrum head of RMG. The conversation that was to follow left a lasting impact.

Aravind was a lean smile-faced young man. He took me to a discussion room and he asked me each and everything in detail. He listened to all that I had to say and he had all the patience in this world. Then, when he had satisfied himself with all my statements, he spoke. He told me a lot of pros and cons of being in HR. He probably wanted to bring more clarity to the understanding that I had of HR. He told me that with the strengths he sees in me, I would do much better in technical stream. But, I guess I was also determined. We had a long long diplomatic conversation which lasted for and hour and forty-five minutes. We concluded with him asking me to think over what I really want to do and let him know, by thoughts remained pretty much the same. But, I respected Aravind for the way he handled the situation, and he would become one of the people I really look up on!

I got worried a bit on what would happen next. I decided unilaterally that I'm not really on the right path, I wanted this to be done somehow. I called up Sareedha, our HR representative to the trainers. We had become fast friends during training. She was laughing upon listening to my desperacy! She told me that she can handle things only to a limit, but perhaps if I can send her an official mail, she can redirect it to the right people through the right path. I really didn't have too many options, and her words were giving me hope, I decided to send the mail right away the next morning.

Next morning, I went to the training room to send the mail to Sareedha and logged in to my e-mail. and WHOLLA!!! I saw the mail, I couldn't believe it, I rubbed my eyes, pinched myself to ensure I wasn't dreaming. I had the mail from RMG,"Allocation to WellPoint HR Team, Arun Raj". I was so deep in disbelief that I read the mail ten times to ensure that they are referring to me only. I could not breathe properly due to excitement, I went straight to Aravind to confirm. I told him about the mail. He said,"Go and get a feel of HR. If you like it there, stay there, else I'll pull you out. Enjoy and take care!" It was one of the happiest moments in my life!! I was on the clouds!!

My inbox filled with congratulating mails from friends all around! I knew I had done it! The feeling of satisfaction was filling me. I wanted it, HR as my first career step, and I got it! The story after that just went on an incredible note... and I would post it some other day!

Friday, October 26, 2007

my game..

college had a lot for me, and one of the many many things that the college gave me was my game.. basketball. i had played the game at school, but there was a never a platform for a beginner like me. i was never too tall.. just a little more than 173cms, thats a few whiskers more than 5' 7.5". i won't say that i turned out to be a "michael jordan" or someone, but yeah, by the time i finished graduation i was a player to the core!

well, when i joined the college we had just one senior batch to us. the college was just into its second year on the whole! we didn't have a basketball team as such. but, there were a few guys who could play. i was never too deep into sports, but one day while i was returning to the college hostel after classes, one of the guys on court called me to play. i went there for fun, and we used to have the so called "evening playtime" as basketball. but, it was never very serious, we never had a college team, and so the game was just for fun, not a competition to get a slot in the team!

then one day, one of my seniors called us and told that the university championship was around the corner, and that we needed to form a team. ahem, now though there were a few people who had played the game before, we never had the standards that was required at the university level. well, after a few days of running behind some of the guys, we could make up a team of 9 players.. well, that was 3 short of the maximum allowed. anyway, we had the first college basketball team in place!

we were sub-standard players with no coaching and in fact the court we had was just a muddy ground with two baskets at the end. the floor wasn't level, and there were big pieces of bricks around the place. well, we managed to do some shooting practice and go for the game. then, as a major shock came the news of our opponents. LNCPE.. the only sports college under the university and one of the best teams in the state! hmm, the odds against us were simply too many.. we lost, not just lost, we were battered!!

hmm, a defeat is never too good. principal summoned us the very next day and we were told that if we can't play properly, we shouldn't play at all!! well.. that was quite insulting. then it was the explanation time from us players. i would rather say it was the repair work on our image, hehe.. we told her our basic need. the court! we told her that we can't make a winning team having a court as bad as we had. we had more to say. we told her that everyone was not well acquainted with others to have the minimum level of understanding that is required for the game. we showed her the balls that we were practising with. we had some valid points, but we were not able to explain our position as well as we would have wanted.

as a couple of days passed, i was still doubtful if the principal really understood what we wanted to convey. that afternoon, during the recess i was taken aback by surprise. the court was laid with concrete!! it was a great feeling. a sort of a moral victory over the odds. well, as the time passed we got a proper court and we started getting better and better. but still we needed more to do well at the university level!

but now, more than the university tournament the interest had gotten into the inter-house tournament!! by the way, my college had 4 houses, namely ramanujan (blue), bhabha (gray), sarabhai (red) and raman (green)!! i belonged to the blue house, the defending overall champions but we were never too good at sports. hmm, the house basketball team was selected and i was in. the team was not as bad as i had thought, but i always considered the other teams to be much better!

our first game was with red. they were the best of the lot, the favourites! i was a little excited, but not too confident. and the little confidence that i had diffused into thin air when i saw the crowd that had gathered around the court, the whole bloody college was out there!!! well, as the game started i was still nervous. i didn't really have an idea on how the others played! the game was held pointless for a good part of the beginning. i could make out that the crowd was getting on everyone's nerves on court. but, reds were good, they had majority of ball possession.

the baskets started being put, and the play was somewhat even while reds always had an upper hand. we reached the last 15 seconds, and we were two points down. i had the ball, and i knew the team trusted me with my game. i had the responsibility. i dribbled the ball around, and reached the three point line. should i or shouldn't i. i didn't have time to decide. right then, the red guy guarding me called in for another guy. a two on one situation. i dribbled a bit, and while doing it one of them got their hand hit hard on my nose. i knew i didn't have much of a choice and i took my shot. the ball sailed into the air. everyone looked on. missed!! i missed the basket. we lost the game.

well, though we lost the game, i learnt a few things. firstly, my team had some fire to come up close to defeating the best. then, i learnt that the people around affected the game. and the last thing, don't hope that the refereeing would be fair enough to get the foul calls on you.

anyway, as it was to be the grays defeated the greens, and our match was with the greens for the third place. we were a better knot team now. and we won comprehensively. as the tournament ended, i got a small fan-gang among my friends! and the appreciation that i got for the game i played told me that this is my game. i thought of giving in some effort to it.

as time passed, basketball became one of the most loved sports of my college and we got better players every subsequent year. while the blue team was going stronger, the college team on the whole was getting better as well. our main rivals were Mar Baselious College of Engg & Tech, in short MBT. it all started when they called us for a friendly match, and we readily accepted. the game went well till the end with the scores almost leveled. actually we were leading by a point. we were in pretty good touch and the conversions of shoots to baskets was good. at this moment they said a minute's gameplay was left. withing the next 5 seconds they put a basket and were a point up. and the whistle rang!! i couldn't believe it, no one could. they cheated, even in a friendly match they cheated! and thus began the rivalry!

well, we took our revenge at the university tournament, and gave them a drubbing. thanks to our coach, Nicholas sir!

the rest would be completed soon...............

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

the best college tour..

my college gave me a lot to treasure on, especially my friends. all throughout the four years of engineering i made new friends, and the older ones just kept coming closer. frankly, i didn't hit along too well with everyone initially. i was brought up in a different environment, and not many liked my attitude. but, i did make some friends right away in the beginning who are now very close to my heart. these were the people who were more open in the way they talked and expressed themselves. there were some other ones who were more composed, happy with their own world. there were some really wonderful people in this category, and had the last year all-India tour not been there, i would never have got to know them! some of them are my closest friends now, and this post is just to share with all of you on how lucky i feel to have them as my friends.

well, the tour on the whole had many good and bad things linked to it. true character of many many people came out. though it was the last tour, it gave me the platform to know some of the most beautiful as well as some of the most dirty minds. but, the good always had the last laugh over the bad. and, i still recall the tour as one of the best times i spent with my classmates! lets move on then..

when we became the final year students, the first and foremost thing on our minds was the tour. all our previous tours were organised by the same gang of guys, and it was always well managed except for a few lapses here and there, well, no one is perfect! but the class was pretty happy with the guys, as was i. but because of some problems here and there with the department staff, and some politics that came up, those people weren't allowed to co-ordinate the tour this time around. someone had to take up the responsibility, and so, kaka, sudhir and jenny jointly took the initiative. kaka was my roommate at hostel, and his knowledge about tours and travels was relatively more than any of us. sudhir and jenny were class representatives who took up the cause so that the tour doesn't get canceled. now i'm grateful to them!

things started off well, and we started our tour with around 40 of us. some of the people whom i really wanted to come didn't turn up though. thulasi was among them, but she had personal reasons! hmm anyway, we started off from trivandrum by an early morning train. we had a stopover at kochi en route to delhi. we reached kochi in the morning and our delhi train was in the evening. silpa took initiative with her so called "prior knowledge" about the place! she had some cool island in her mind, and we set off to that place along with some three other friends. silu, as silpa is otherwise called, was very excited about it and she was telling us about the beauty of the place she was taking us to. and her description was pretty cool. she mentioned of an awesome restaurant, and well, food had always seduced me! we had a boat ride and we reached this island. and the sight.. well.. ahem.. was nowhere even close to what she had described. we reached some place which had narrow streets banked by some whole sale stores for spices. the smell was slightly irritating, but the confused silu made the situation rather funny!!

she said we were at the right place, just that we have to walk a little to get to "the place"!! but, there was a slight problem, we didn't have a sailor's compass, and silu wasn't too sure on which direction to take! hehe.. finally, after asking a few people we reached this place on an autorikshaw. well, i must say that the place was nice. had a romantic touch to it. so was the restaurant, but the prices printed on the menu card made my jaw drop! hehe.. we had a lemon juice and left the place! we came out, had a walk around the beach and started off to the railway station.

we were just half day into the tour and i was already enjoying it! now, we had a long 50 hour rail trip to delhi. we had games being played around, some couples having there own good time, and some serious discussions going on as well. i was not too involved with kaka or sudhir in the managing part. but, they were two of the closest guys to me and i was kept informed on "whats next" thing. i was enjoying my time chatting around the place. as the night approached, kaka called me and told that we need to keep vigil at night because we had many girls and the corresponding luggage, hehe.. well, coming back to the seriousness of the situation, he told that we should have someone or the other awake all the time. well, i was at repair work on some strained relationship with an old friend. as the things went well with that friend, i was among the people who stayed up late into the night, chatting and laughing and all.

the train journey had a lot many memorable moments. abhilash sir and nissa ma'm were among the accompanying staff. they had been married for an year! abhilash was a cool person, he had some special interest in a few of us. we had some brief conversations all throughout the tour. once he told me that i should try for a job with the intelligence agencies!! frankly, i did hit the roof on that! he was actually pretty serious about it, and even told me how to apply for IB(Intelligence Bureau) and RAW(Research and Analysis Wing)! hehe.. then, there was a time that he told me to follow up dad's business and diversify! his thought process was commendable, but as always, i listen to everyone, think, and then do things my way! i still remember his words.

then, we played "truth and dare". unfortunately, all of us were more secretive than i had thought. everyone chose "dare" in their turns. i had to dance with remya. miranda had to walk in the boggie shouting like a fisherwoman. renu had to jump around the top berths like a monkey. anjali had to teach mukesh how to dance and what not!! it was total fun. then there were moments when i got to speak with amrita, i rather call her ammu. i had
always tried to lure out the reason why she turned vegetarian. well, she gave me some good explanation! the train journey had still more.. me and pooja having a friendly fight. guys having a bang at night in the last cabin. antakshari and monopoly been played all around the clock, and me stealing a few moments to catch a nap on achu's lap! but most of the time, it was me, nadim, ayesha, silpa, prince, sudhir and renu hanging out together!

we started with the delhi site-seeing. the sun was in good form, and the day was awfully hot! but we all had a good time seeing new places. there was nothing too great for me to see really, but i was happy to be among friends! next day we went to shimla, it was an awesome place! the toy train, the campfire at night, and the cold night walks were the best things i still recall. it was just a day-night stay and the next day we had to reach back delhi.

next day was the trip to agra. well, with the bus that we had, and the heat that was on prowl, the trip from delhi to agra became a nightmare! as we crossed mathura, most of us started collapsing like a pack of cards! i too went down. i didn't know what exactly happened. i just felt too tired, completely drained of energy, but it wasn't painful. running out of options, the coordinators decided to stop at a restaurant on the highway to agra. i was taken to the AC restaurant, and it felt good. but i still felt drowsy. silu was among the more concerned ones. they all made me sit right beneath the AC vent. and then silu said something really funny,"arun, see we are right below the AC. come on, breathe deep.. breathe in the cool air!" that made a smile come over, you really thought i was dying?, and everyone had a smile on that! she forced some food into me, some curd rice stuff! well, i recovered fast, fast enough to take care of the others who were down. but, the case wasn't the same with all.

as the situation became somewhat better, we all boarded the bus and were off to agra. the trip from delhi consumed the whole day, and we reached agra in the evening in a battered condition! well, we had to cancel the subsequent jaipur trip and agra site-seeing was scheduled for the next day. the night was pretty tensed with even abhilash sir showing the signs. things didn't look too good with some four to five of us still not completely recovered. the heat shock and stomach upset was taking its toll on the tour.

the next day, situation still looked grim. among the ones down were ammu, miranda, renu, and even sudhir! so, me and teena thought of staying on, i had been to agra many times before. i had never known teena too well, but she was a helping hand. we all stuffed ourselves in a single hotel room which looked more like a hospital ward. me and teena were giving ORS and glucose syrups to all, and as usual, i was trying my best to make it all look fun! ammu was among the worst hit. she was staying away from her family for the first time, and so we were particularly careful about her.

things went well, and everyone were back to their feet by that evening. ammu, who was more like a kid to us, was fit and fine. she now had a name for me. "Dr.Raj" or simply "doc" was the way now she addressed me! hehe.. she always had been a sweetheart. we all then went to see the Taj Mahal. and the time we had there was fun, total fun with me irritating silu and ammu to the core!! hehe..

meanwhile, i saw that teena was getting closer to our gang. it was something unusual. then, silu and ayesha told me about some trouble that had cropped with her so-called "gang" and "the friends". the stuffs were sad to know with the type of girl teena was as i came to know about. teena was unofficially our girl, in our gang!

while we were returning back from agra to delhi, we had a stopover at mathura for dinner. generally in the bus, i used to sit with silu and ayesha on a three-seater. we three used to get along well. there was no booking of seats as such, but a common understanding was there among everyone on who would sit where. that night while we were waiting for everyone to come after dinner, i got into the bus to check how many were already sitting in the bus. i saw teena sitting on the so-called "my seat". i was always comfortable with teena, and there joking as ever, i asked her,"so, you sitting on my seat today uh?" well, she gave a smile and said that she would move off. i just smiled back, but i sensed something odd. teena was looking tired, probably sleepy, i thought. i didn't bother too much at that instance.

well, as we started the journey to delhi ayesha told me that teena was not well, thats why she had told her to sit with them. but, things looked okay as i saw it! but after some half an hour, things started getting bad. teena was having a bad backache and she was made to lie full stretch on the three-seater. ammu was sitting on the two-seater in the same file, so teena's legs were almost on ammu's lap. i was still sitting. i could see something was wrong. i got up from my seat and inquired about what was happening. i came to know that teena was having a sore back for sometime. and, that she had been given painkillers. i had a look at teena. she was in deep sleep, i would rather say that she was nearer to being unconscious. she was still twitching and turning in pain. i could hear her in pain. she was subconsciously calling her father, who were sadly no more. i felt bad, very bad.

i recalled the moment when i literally asked her to move out of the seat. the feeling of guilt filled me. i just kept standing beside her, i didn't want to go back to my seat and sit. i stood there, helpless as everyone else out there. no one knew what to do. we were deep into the night, and teena was on a second dosage of painkillers. there was almost no activity in the bus, except a few of them whispering around, just to make sure that they don't disturb the ones sleeping. my seat was still vacant, and i was still standing. even ammu was awake, lightly massaging teena's feet. we looked at each other, and exchanged half smiles, not knowing whether we should even smile. we didn't know what to say. i turned my head and just stared out of the window, i somehow felt responsible for what was happening. at that moment, ammu tapped on my hand and spoke very lightly,"raj, go and sleep. i'll take care of teena." she knew she couldn't do much, and i knew the same about myself.

i stood there for some more time. then, i just gave a glance to ammu, and went to my seat. ayesha was still awake. i told her what had happened before, and just burst into tears! i just couldn't control. i had never felt so bad about something i had committed. i had never felt so helpless. i couldn't sleep the whole night, and ayesha had to bear with me.

well, as we reached back delhi, things looked better. teena was back on her feet but not totally recovered, she was somehow managing. i arranged for a little tea party at home and called in some select friends. it was good fun. mom was telling about the "me" when i was younger. well, those things were not the stuffs i would like to post here! hehe.. shruti, my sister, hit well along my friends. actually, her friendliness made me wonder, whether they were my friends or hers!?! especially, anjali and miranda became the good elder sister to her, and shruti was loving it. my house was on the seventh floor and the night sky with an India Gate view looked amazing. the tea party led to a dinner party. we all had dinner and we were off to the station where we were to leave to hyderabad.

we all boarded the train, and we all were tired. the past week was not the easiest one to go through, but there was something good in all the bad that happened. many had already slept while we were still making sure that we had all the luggage and the counts were correct. by the time we guys settled everything, it was late in the night. i somehow didn't feel too sleepy. i was on duty, it was my turn to stay awake. it was getting quite boring, so i thought of having a walk around lest i fall asleep. as i crossed a couple of cabins, i saw a figure sitting all crouched up on the side lower berth. i went closer, and bent my head to avoid contact with the upper berth. it was teena. for some reason, i wasn't really surprised. i asked her why she hadn't slept. and she had a simple answer,"i wasn't feeling sleepy."

i thought of giving her company for sometime. actually, i was too bored with solitude. we started talking, and we talked of many many things. her schooling, childhood, cousins, friends and "the friends" were among the topics we talked about. i too told her a lot about myself. i liked this girl, and told her that it was sad to meet her with just about a six-month semester left in the college. she was worried about her upcoming project and i invited her to my group. teena
was soon to become a part of our project with prince, nadim, sudhir and me. incidentally, ammu was sleeping on the lower berth right beside us. she was using a bed-sheet to evade the mild coldness of the night that was in air. and.. it was funny the way she was moving and turning and toiling in her sleep. the sheet kept falling off and Dr.Raj was busy putting it back all the while! it was funny with the way she was moving her legs around, and me and teena enjoyed the situation! it was some quality time that i spent with teena, but i couldn't let sleep keep away from me! hehe..

we reached hyderabad. we stayed at a hotel that was close to th market place and the girls had a good time shopping, while we guys had to accompany them. but i did enjoy a few moments that i had while buying gifts for thulasi and kicha. well, the selections were very apt and funny at the same time! hehe.. i later went meet my long time great friend anandita who was studying at hyderabad. the next day, we went to Ramoji Film City. this place was awesome. they simply had anything and everything that one would need to make a movie. they had huge bunglows, a railway station, a hospital that looked like an airport from the other way around, and thats not it, they had a whooping five jails!! hehe.. they had this much and even more. i really enjoyed the day.

unfortunately, because of my stupidity and dumbness, i had to go back to our hotel while others went to see the lazer show! when they returned that evening the guys called me up at the hotel and ordered me to come to Big Bazaar. we had a shopping spree there and had a great dinner at a nearby chinese restaurant, thanks to ammu's lamb dish selection! hehe.. and then, me, sudhir, renu and teena had a walk back to the hostel while the others took an autorikshaw back! it was slightly drizzling, and teena had a lot to tell. i could see a great friend in her, and i think it was mutual. i came to know more and more about her, and today she is one of the closest persons to me!

the tour had almost ended. we had to catch the train back to trivandrum. the big attraction during this journey were the artists in ammu and renu that burst out and decorated sudhir's feet! he won't forget that for long. we enjoyed the last train ride a lot, but a sort of sadness filled the air. may be because we all knew that it would be our last tour as one class. but nevertheless we all had a great time. there are a few things that i have omitted here. there were situations, that i came to know long after the tour was over, when some of the guys tried to ruin the tour for some reason still not clear to me. there were some people who tried to extract some image mileage when the situations were the worst and we rather needed support. there were people who backstabbed us, while we stood by them when they were in trouble. but then, those things were never talked about, but everyone knew who did what.

the tour was amazing for me, the most memorable one. there were funny moments like when silu seemingly messed up her idea of a great place in kochi. there were those moments i experienced the love and care, when i collapsed due to heat stroke en route to agra and friends came up to me. there were moments when i felt responsible, when ammu fell sick. there were emotional moments when teena's backache went uncontrolled. there were those cozy moments when we friends all sat together and had long chats. the tour had many such moments, and those moments would always be remembered and cherished. i got so much love and care and happiness from my friends, which is the actual reason why i enjoyed the tour to the core.

the tour renewed the friendship with many of the old pals like nadim, sudhir, prince, silpa, veena, kaka, anjali, achu and many more. lastly, the tour gave me two of my greatest friends in ammu and teena. i regret meeting them so late, but it is always better late than never! we all can still sit around a table and chat endlessly about this tour that we had.. undisputedly, the best college tour..

Monday, October 22, 2007

BSA.. a memorable experience..

as it has come to be now a days, education has been commercialised. well, i ain't going to go critical on that!! hehe.. but that's the way it has been. when i came to my 12th standard, everyone was taking tuitions and my parents were too feeling the pressure. tuitions were something i had never liked as a concept, but i could see the worries wrinkling my parents' faces. so, i finally decided to go for it. i had gone to a place for a test series during my 10th and i liked the way things were carried out at that place... Brilliant Science Academy.. or just BSA as we guys call it!

BSA was not a big big tuition centre with many many branches all over the country. it was rather a comparatively smaller place, run by Narsinghani sir and Radha ma'm, an old sindhi couple. they were the sole teachers there! they had a three storey house and the tuitions were taken on the third floor. i had a good rapport with sir, and i finally got enrolled in for maths, physics and chemistry. chemistry was to be taken by ma'm. and as i had expected, there were quite a few friends that i had made during my 10th who joined in.

i was never an overtly outgoing guy, but nor was i an introvert! i had learnt a lot from sir. i still believe in the theme he taught us on:"others see what we show them!" those words are very true, and i am the living example. he told us to present our answer sheets well, make the examiner believe that you are really good! i followed up with the idea, and he loved my work. and as my friends still say, he did became a hint partial towards me too! he was very strict about the homework, and the ones who didn't do it had to bear his scoldings, well.. calling them just scoldings would not be fair enough!! but the day i didn't do the work, he just used to leave me, and everyone along! he doesn't close it at that, he adds,"just because i wanted to save one of you, you all have been spared!!". well, that makes it too obvious! hehe..

frankly, i never got that to get too much into my head, and i did work as good as ever. actually, i liked the way i was praised for what i was doing. it sort of gave me a feeling of content. hmm, the academics were never too bad at BSA, but the best part were the friends i got there.. anandita, davinder, aravind, neha, vineet, samar, sanjay, smriti, mudit and others. we had a gang sort of a thing, neha wasn't quite in, but she was a favourite to me.. i have always remembered her as my loveliest competitor.

i was the closest to anandita. her home was on the way from my home to BSA. so, when we had to go or come back, we usually walked the whole way. i was never a very talkative person, but she always had topics. and we went along well. actually because of our closeness, people many a times even misunderstood the relationship! there were many fans for this young lady though.. hehe. we two along with aravind and davinder formed a more closely knit gang. though i was always in great terms with vineet and sanjay, but i could never show the energy level that they always had in them!

davinder, or davi as we call him, was the bike rider! he was a great guy, with a great heart. always helpful. a true sardar, with his accent and style! aravind was also among the people who were always ready for fun, i had known him from school, a great basketball player and he has been a good friend since then. vineet was a great looking guy, but a character i haven't really understood yet. sanjay was always the guy who had comments for everything. he made the classes fun to be in, but again he is one person who i could never understand. smriti was more of a tomboy, but a sweetheart, she always had a lot of things happening in her life, and was a lively girl. neha was the studious one in the class, the one i always had a competition with, but none of us ever had hard feelings, it was always fun. mudit was a tough guy, but he had that fun element, i think he is the only guy who can handle a car better than me! hehe..

i never had too many friends near my house, and the only friends circle that i had was at school. and it was great to have another friends circle. we had many great moments at BSA.. for instance, once the place got on fire, nothing all that serious though, but that was the first hand on experience on firefighting. then, the accent with which ma'm and sir conversed in, it was truly funny, sanjay often imitates it out well. then, the time when we had power cuts and we used to howl like crazy, i must say those were the stress busters. we bunked classes, and sat right outside the house!! we even had a cooking session at anandita's house when noone else was there! davi was the cook and i must say he made some awesome bread-omlettes! many times we had those serious discussions, and those were the moments when i really felt that we all were growing up!

hmm.. those were the good old days! then, on the last day we bunked again, the whole class this time and went to a park nearby. the autographs were exchanged, and we were all chatting and playing around. well, something was going to happen. there was this guy among us, a real nice guy but i won't name him for obvious reasons. he was a good friend to me and anandita as well. she had come home once and had told that this guy has been trying to hit on her in a friendly way. i never took that seriously, but then it came up unexpectedly. me and anandita were sitting on a bench at the park and chatting, this guy comes up and asks anandita to say it straight to him, a yes or a no! i was frankly awed at the situation! this girl just looks at me, and the guy spontaneously says,"hey, if there is something going on between you two then i would back out for the sake of friendship!!". there was this minuscule pause, probably i was making myself sure that i had heard it right, and then.. i just broke into peals of laughter. i somehow knew it was coming! hehe.. but anandita was not in a real fun mood it seems, she talked to the guy and told about "just being good friends" and those stuffs that the girls generally say!

well, that was one memorable incident, but even now the guy and her are good friends! good for them, i think! hmm, four years down the lane.. we all have still remained good friends.. and now, vineet, davi, aravind, and me.. we all are engineers.. anandita has done with her fashion designing course from NIFT.. sanjay and neha are in their final year of engineering.. smriti would be getting married soon.. and well, BSA is still there, tutoring the good to be the best.. and still reminding me of those memories.....

Saturday, October 20, 2007

first steps to my college..

am writing this after good 4 years since it happened, it's just because of the immense attachment i feel towards my college since the day i completed my course!! i just wanted to share it...

my life right after i finished my 12th standard was a sort of an unexpected ride!! i was just one more guy among thousands writing the engineering and medical entrance exams. frankly, i had no hope for i had no real preparations, no coaching, absolutely nothing of that sort. i had taken up B.Sc Physics honours at a college under the University of Delhi. i was pretty happy and contented about it as well!! but then, the kerala entrance results came, and to my horror, i had a rank good enough to be called up for counseling! frankly i didn't believe that at first, but as i dug in for some more info, i saw it coming. yup, somehow i had made it!

i was still not hoping to get into a good college though, so i rather thought of staying in delhi. but dad went for the counseling for me, and with arjun also going for it, i was in half mind! by the way, arjun is my first and the oldest pal!! i was alloted a course in printing technology at first, and i had to fill up a form for something called higher option. i was a little tilted towards biology at that time and when i went through the available course, biotechnology sounded good to me. well, i must say at that time kiran mazumdar shaw was creating waves with her success in the field!! and so i thought of letting it be.. biotechnology.. that was my priority option!

weeks later, when i had actually come out of all the excitement over it, it happened. i had just reached back home after an onam feast. i was parking the car, and dad came to the door and yelled, "we have to go to kerala, you got biotechnology!!". i just blinked and involuntarily came a sarcastic smile, yeah right, i thought! well, it was true, i saw the letter and it said that i have got a seat in biotechnology at Mohandas College of Engineering and Technology, Trivandrum. at that time, i didn't know what to say, it was simply too unexpected!

me and dad reached trivandrum to have a look at this college about which i had enquired a bit. it was a fairly new college run by a filthy rich guy through a trust, it didn't matter a shit to me that time! another thing was the principal, supposedly the best in the state.. well, i would say that that was quite true. i went to see the college, it was beautiful. we were just entering, me and dad, and i told him,"dad, this is where i want to be!". i met quite a few people, and the gut feeling that made me say those words was not wrong! it was the right decision.. i got enrolled to my college! something i had not expected.. but it gave me a pleasant feeling!

they had a pretty decent hostel, and i thought of staying there would be better as i had a fair bit of language problem. i was the second guy in my batch to come to the hostel, and there i met my first friend in the college, my roommate, my classmate, and a great buddy to be.. nadim! we had just one senior batch to us, and there were quite a few northies among them, and seemingly the influential ones also! i was expecting to get ragged, from my delhi experience, but they were real nice people. actually they were happy to see us, and it was great to see the seniors mingle with us. they joked around and told the basic stuffs about the college, teachers, our mess, everything! hmm, i was glad and i sighed with satisfaction.. i had ended up at the right place.. my college..

Friday, October 19, 2007

the big gamble...

well, this happens to be the very first time that i'm getting to blog. and frankly, this idea came up when i wanted to have a discussion with myself!! hehe.. sounds like a mad man, uh?!! hmm, there have been real bad situations in life and i have somehow learned to make the right decision. thats just half skill, and the rest half of some real gut feeling.. intuition, as some may call it! i'm on an important crossroad of my life. i saw it coming and had my plans ready. i took a decision on taking the road less traveled.. and now, i want some support from friends over this. thats one of the main reasons why i'm writing all out!!

right now, i am a graduate.. an engineer.. and looking up to the many choices i have for my future! i have quite a lot of things running through my mind. i have two companies having their doors open for me. both US Technology and Infosys have called me to join them as a software engineer. and i have my MBA plans running alongside. MBA.. yeah, it has to be done.. but the first decision to be made is to where to join!???? US Technology or Infosys!??????

well, i have a lot many friends who were in the same situation as me and they all had unanimously decided to go for Infosys. hmm.. i would say it is a pretty logical choice to be a part of a much more larger company and a much more stable company and, of course, the more reputed one!but something is holding me back, i really dont know what it is!!! i have been to the workplace of both these companies, and my feeling comes from probably what i got to see there. just quoting an instance:

once, me and the guys recruited by US Technology were called by them to visit them. we reached their technopark office before time and had to wait outside the building for others to arrive. and while we were waiting, we saw the company buses arriving. yeah, there were US Technolgy as well as Infosys buses. and we saw the people coming down the buses, and there i observed something. i saw the US Technology people talking, sort of playful and talking of work as well. but at the same time, the Infosys people were so bland, no expression, no feeling.. walking into the building so mechanically that it made me observe the other buses as well. and believe it or not, it was the same pattern. i was disturbed..

i think that incident remained in my mind, and subconsciously that even has affected my decision to choose US Technology over Infosys. over the time i have learnt that US Technology is a more fun place to be, more lively and happening!! people may say that the Infosys people are more professional, but i don't think we are born to live and enjoy life a little more than what they do as i see it. being professional doesn't mean that we forget the little good moments in life and have no fun!! the work culture at US Technology is different, and i love it!

i have many many friends at Infosys, and i dont mean to offend anyone here. Infosys is a great company, and has been of great repute. i'm happy for them all. some of the people closest to my heart are going to be there, and am very happy for them!! some of you have tried to convince me to join Infosys, i just want to say that I'm sorry, Raj would be always the same old guy to you all.. and.. i will miss you all.. preethi, nisha, vijith.. all of you!! may be after many many years we can think about this and share a smile over it!!

US Technology is going to be my first workplace. and i think i'll have a good time there, and for the time i have before joining, there is a lot of work!! have to prepare for the bloody MBA entrances.. hehe.. and of course for the test i have on the very first day at US Technology, on the 26th of november!! i have played the big gamble...