Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Dilemma Of The 26-Year Old

You’re 26.

A lot of things have not gone satisfactorily recently. You’re finding yourself in the middle of some unpleasant feelings that you are not able to fully comprehend or even give a name to. Angry? A little bit. Sad? Well, more like unsettled. Confused? Yes, I think so. Depressed? That’s a bit harsh, don’t you think?

You decide going out and meeting friends will help you get over this momentary setback, for that’s what you believe it is. You contemplate calling the usual suspects, but trawl through your phone book first, just in case. And you begin to reject name after name.

A whole bunch of them are ‘work friends’, but they’re called that only because you meet them outside office hours for a beer or a get-together; you dismiss them as you’re not close enough to have the heartfelt discussion that you suddenly have a longing for. When was the last time you did something like that—just you and a friend, sitting across a table with coffee or a drink, and alleviating the weight on each other’s shoulders? Back in college it was, when the world seemed entirely unfair to you and all these possibilities kept opening while others kept shutting.

And now, you’ve worked for some four years in three—or is it four?—different jobs. Your resume reads like a travelogue and is already starting to raise some eyebrows at interviews, especially the two-month gaps in between jobs when you went travelling to far-flung places in a fit of frustration, blowing up pretty much all of your savings in the process.

Friday, October 29, 2010

First Steps

When the Indian batsman was bowled, the whole of India groaned. One particular house in Bangalore also groaned, but then immediately brightened. This was a historic moment for the twenty-three family members sitting in the small living room of Sundaram Thatha. The first member from their family to play for the Indian cricket side - young Ramesh, making his d├ębut in this match - was about to walk out to the centre for the first time ever.
Everybody waited with bated breath, young and old, as the endless replays of the previous wicket started. Even the infants realised something momentous was occurring and they quietened themselves to a occasional whimper. Just as the fourth replay started, the TV went blank.
Chaos reigned in the tiny house. Fathers ran about trying to get the generator to work, while brothers flung open the front door and reported that the entire area had cruelly lost electricity.
"Thatha, did you forget to charge this generator?" yelled one of the fathers.
At 95 years of age, Sundaram was Thatha (grandfather) to everyone, even his neighbours. Confused by the sudden recent activity, he looked around. His grand-daughter - Ramesh's mother - was still holding his hand. The air felt heavy with unvoiced accusations and bitter sentiments. A clamour began to build around him.
"Let's go quickly to the neighbour's house and watch it there."
"But how will we take Thatha?"
"I'll carry him."
"What? Don't be silly."
"You come up with a better idea, then."
Sundaram Thatha closed his eyes and a tear squeezed out. His desire had been to see Ramesh's first steps on the cricket field as an Indian cricketer, sitting in his house and surrounded by his family. And now, through his own negligence, he would miss those first steps of history, and so would his family.
A sudden hush in the room made him look up. A laptop on the centre table glowed ominously, playing commercials. Beside the laptop stood Karthik, his precocious 15-year old great-grandson.
"What is this?" somebody asked.
"The match, live," replied Karthik.
"But how?"
"3G from Tata Docomo," said Karthik. Seeing the confused faces around him, he simplified, "Super-fast internet."
Suddenly, the laptop screen filled with Ramesh's face, looking extremely serious behind the grill of a blue Indian helmet. A cheer went up in the living room.
"Ramesh Vaidyanathan," announced the commentator, "walks out onto the field for the first time as an Indian cricketer. A huge moment for this very talented youngster, and a very proud moment, I can imagine, for his family watching back home."
Sundaram Thatha squeezed his grand-daughter's hand and wiped away a different kind of tear.

Friday, October 08, 2010

An Ode To DD Commentary

Ah, DD commentary
How I have missed thee
I thought you were disabled
With the advent of cable
But with the Commonwealth
I have once more been dealt
The severity of your words
That belong to another world

You overstate the obvious
In a monotone that makes me furious
Your insights are a deathly bore
And you start every sentence with 'Aur'
You insist on transcription
Of words verbatim from actions
I fear I must say to you
This is TV, not radio

In this age of democracy
And politically-correct diplomacy
I'm glad you don't have the phobia
Of being overwhelmingly pro-India
None of our sports-persons
Have appeared any more fearsome
Nor has the player's providence
Ever been attributed to competence

And though you will fade
Into your obscurity self-made
Take pride in the fact
That for twelve days exact
You were the premier sports station
In this gold-winning nation
And everybody saw your dodgy direction
And listened to your sepia diction