Saturday, 29 September 2012

Posting on Facebook - An authoritative guide

Swami Nikhilaananda was told:
"Remember, actions have consequences"

Just the other day, I was talking to one of my best friends who's in the USA. He said people simply refuse to step out of their houses to meet others and socialise, they would rather talk to the same group of friends online. The internet and social networking websites certainly have their advantages. Unlike over a decade back, talking to someone who lives hundreds of kilometres away from you isn't difficult today. In fact, you can see them too. And with social networking such as Facebook, the entire group of friends can see what others are doing, share and comment on photographs and chat together irrespective of where you are physically.

While everything sounds hunky-dory, there are quite a few disadvantages associated with social networking. In this post, I am going to pick only one, deliberately skipping privacy, security and other equally important issues - "The Etiquette Of Posting"

I don't know if you watch Seinfeld... You should if you don't, for I make a reference to the "Worlds of George". In reality, we all wear masks, put up facades, depending on where we are and who we are with. We neatly compartmentalise our lives. Those moments that we share with friends, those comments that we pass with our cronies are definitely not the same as those we make with our bosses or parents of friends. On the contrary, our language as a whole gets polished when we are talking to them. There have been several instances when comments abruptly halt when your teacher passes by. Obviously, because that content was reserved for the ears of those select few with whom you wanted to share that chuckle.

In social networks, this is not true. In social networks, a lot of people whom you know through different means are all in the same room. They can hear what you say when you say it. Yes, you can create lists and selectively expose photographs and posts. However, in a post that your friend has put up, your comment will become visible to others who have subscribed to it and so will theirs to you. This apparently cannot be controlled, and would become extremely tedious even if you could.

The result? The result is that, anything you say and anything that's said to you can be heard and seen by everyone - your parents, your siblings, your friends, teachers, colleagues, acquaintances and that hot girl whom you added only because she was hot. Now this is where the trouble starts, and to quote George, "The worlds collide" Suddenly, whatever barrier that you had put up disappears and people from different worlds overlap. That raunchy or disparaging remark your friend made in jest will become visible to your boss, or your crush. And all the hard work you had put in bites dust when they see you being addressed to as 'bee-yach' or 'gay' (Again, quoting Seinfeld, "not that anything's wrong with it").

This often leads to people getting into the defensive mode - You quickly try to push a comeback to sound cool and regain some foothold. This may result in a ping-pong rally of name-calling and witticisms or just a plain old squabble. In either case, apart from ruining your relationship with your friend, you risk ruining your reputation. I would always recommend deleting posts that you feel as offensive (Facebook goes on to even allow informing that person that you found his post offensive via private message... which is very useful)

Some people make the mistake of continuing it in the thread. Not only does this prove to be fodder for argument and egoistic retorts, it also results in washing dirty linen in public. All of these are completely avoidable. When you don't like something, delete it and inform the other person that you didn't like it. Similarly, when someone tells you that, apologise and don't do it again.

It is not that the joke wasn't taken in the right sense - It is that the place is not right. Imagine if there was a huge social gathering at your friend's house where he had invited you. You wouldn't take a mic and abuse him, would you? Facebook is exactly that - Remember, your actions are visible to a whole lot of people. A statement I am often told 'Remember, actions have consequences'

Everyone makes mistakes, to err is human. So when your friend makes a mistake, delete the comment and inform him. You can always block people who don't fall in line. And when you make a mistake, quickly apologise. You could, if your statement wasn't too harsh, even remark that you were just kidding. Yes, it definitely appears that I am making it seem like too many formalities are required among friends. If you don't want formalities, take it offline or make the comments privately. For you never know how the grapevine grows... As they say, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Facebook hasn't provided the 'dislike' button because it promotes negativity (it seems). Similarly, as a community, if you are able to exchange words without negativity, the (online) world will be a much better place.

You may also like to read:
Debates - Logic and emotion

Friday, 28 September 2012

The Fruitcake

Baba Gyani Triviani said:
"I wonder if it is better to be fruitier than a nut-cake or nuttier than a fruitcake"

The boring drivel continued unabated. My chum on my left was busy doodling what I could only imagine to be a grotesque version of a rabbit. Or was it a witch? I rest my case. "This bally lecture seems to be unending" I said through clenched teeth "It's not like anyone's listening". He continued shading some areas carefully. "What do you think of it? I drew ginger" he said proudly. "Nice" I said to avoid the topic. Ginger? It looked like a dead rat. "You won't believe what happened to me yesterday" I told him. "I got an e-card from this girl I happened to meet recently. I don't know how to respond to it. What do you reckon I should do?"

He made a face. But it seemed like I had finally caught his attention. "What ho! A girl you say? To you? Surely you didn't concoct it out of your fantasy?" I was offended by his insinuation. I swallowed my pride "Of course not. It really happened". He was right for not believing me though. I wasn't particularly good with the ladies. "Very well, pray tell me more" he said as he flipped the page over to begin a new doodle. I began thus - "Well, when I reached home yesterday, there was a lady and her daughter at home, speaking to my mother. It seems the lady is a distant relative of ours. She is two years younger than us." "The lady?" he interrupted. "The daughter!! She's done with her exams and is looking to join a good college. They wanted to know how to proceed." His pencil stopped making marks on the paper for a moment. "And you suggested this college, didn't you? Smooth" he grinned.

I could feel my ears getting slightly hot. "No, not exactly like that. I explained to her about various colleges, branches and all that rot. I did tell her that our branch and college had the best scope. Which is true". He continued to grin. Of course he didn't buy it, I didn't believe it myself. I gave out a slight chuckle. "And the card? What about it?" he asked as he started drawing some weird strokes. He seemed to be drawing grass. I never knew drawing grass could be this simple. "Oh yeah, I saw it at night. There was a 'Thank You' card from her, for helping her out with the college conundrum." I saw that peevish smile forming on his face again "Thank you eh? Well then, send a 'You're welcome' card. What's so difficult about that? Showing off, are we?" "I wouldn't have asked you if it was as simple as that. You see, there were hearts in that card" He paused again.

"What nonsense is going on there!" bellowed the teacher. We looked up. Someone was getting the works. "Tut tut, the poor chap." he shook his head. "Hearts?" he added as the yelling continued. "Yeah, you know, the mushy pink and red hearts." I said. "I don't understand. I am sure it's just a coincidence. Just send her a You're Welcome card and leave it at that" "Right ho!" I reached home and decided to take his advice. It didn't make sense. Hearts. Surely it was a coincidence and nothing more. I guess we men tend to jump to conclusions rather quickly. It was true that I didn't have many female friends. I am more of the geeky types with not much success with the ladies. I quickly navigated through the website and picked a decent looking e-card. It had a section called 'Personal Message'. Personal message? Pshaw! I barely knew her. The mouse arrow hovered over the send button for a brief interval. Then my fingers began to move rapidly over the keyboard "You are most welcome" I typed under Personal Message. Something was missing. Then it struck me. I typed some more. The message now read "You are most welcome :-) " Perfect!

I was done with dinner. I remembered I had to send out an email and so I went back to my computer and lo! There was yet another e-card from her. I opened it. This was a new one, friendship and thanks formed the basic theme. But wait a minute. Did my eyes deceive me? For there were more hearts in this one. It cannot be a coincidence. I didn't know what to do. There also was an email from her. She had asked me for my mobile phone number. She had some more doubts and wanted to get them clarified. "You lucky dog" I smiled and replied with my phone number. The next morning, I awoke with a strange feeling of cheer. I put on my glasses and checked the time on my mobile phone. There was a message. It was from her. Some kind of a joke. Well, it certainly was funny. I smiled and replied 'Lol'. I continued feeling strangely exuberant, the reason I knew not, well at least consciously.

A couple of hours later I was sitting in class again next to Picasso who seemed to be occupied, busily drawing ice-tipped mountains this time. I narrated the occurrences of last night. He listened attentively but said nothing. I guess he didn't like being wrong, or maybe he didn't like me being smug. Over the next few days, the tone of the messages had changed from jokes to personal conversation. I began to realise that this girl was certainly a delight to talk to. We decided to speak over the phone as well. She had the sweetest voice. I loved listening to her all day. I was just stumped by her vocabulary. She knew how to use the most appropriate words in the context. My vocabulary isn't particularly good. I decided to keep my pocket dictionary close to me while talking to her just so that I could seem smarter than I actually was.

Eventually it happened. "I have something to tell you dear" she said. Dear? That word made feel like a deer... frozen in front of headlamps. "Yes? What's it?" I ventured. "I think you are the reason for the sudden release of endorphins in me" she said. "The sudden release of what?" She giggled - "Look it up". "Oh come on, don't make me thumb through the bally dictionary again" I protested. "Very well silly. I just said that I have fallen in love with you. Do you feel the same way about me?" I certainly adored her, but I was scared. If there was one thing that scared me more than seeming dumb, it was commitment. The only thing I have ever been committed to in life is being scared of commitment. "Umm..." I muttered. My mouth had gone dry. She seemed to sense my difficulty and decided to ease my troubles, the ones she was responsible for in the first place "It's alright, you don't have to answer right-away. Tell me tomorrow. Bye sweetheart" I couldn't sleep that night. My hands felt clammy and I had trouble breathing. The breathing problem was because I have asthma, well that's a different problem, sorry for bringing that up.

Anyway, Da Vincii seemed to have improved over the past few days. His drawings seemed neater and I could actually recognise most of what he drew. He patted me cheerfully and said "Well jolly good, you lucky dog! While the rest of us spread our feathers out and do the mating dance to woo the chicks, you seem to have been handed the prize on a silver platter." "A prize? I cannot go ahead with it, you know how scared I am". "Tut tut. Quite! But having a woman to profess her love for you is very rare. Highly irregular if I might add, for it is highly irregular indeed. This might, nay, will, never happen again. So why don't you seize it when you can?" he said. "You can't be bloody serious! Are you saying if not for this girl, I shall be damned to be single for the rest of my life?" He gave me a meaningful smile and said "I am not the one who's afraid of commitment my friend. Very well, it's your bally life and your damned decision to make. It's up to you to believe in whatever rot you want to"

That evening, I practised long and hard to sound as classy and suave as possible, for letting a woman know that her love was not reciprocated is the hardest thing in the world. Or so I had heard - I had no real experience of course. I decided to praise her as the greatest woman alive, then introduce my cowardice through euphemisms and then conclude the sugaring of the pill by saying that her beauty and intelligence would attract a long line of suitors at the moment of her will. I let it down gently, with the icing of 'We can continue to be friends' She took it rather well. At least that was how I felt. Over the next few days, she drastically reduced the amount of time we used to spend talking. It seemed like she was letting me go. And then she disappeared.

Raphael was quite disappointed with me. "You blew it old chap! You certainly blew it!" he shook his head as he continued drawing mushrooms. A few months later I was once again smug as I narrated the following to him. He was definitely tickled as he listened to the entire story. "By Jove! It's a pity you gave up on her!" he chortled after listening. The background? My cousin also knew this girl and told me that the girl was not of the best in character, for the same trick had been played on various boys before and after me. Her vocabulary was the biggest joke, for she used to pick some clever sounding words randomly from the dictionary just prior to our conversations and then deliberately introduce them in conversations. This little scheme, though hairbrained, was effectively used to deceive the lot. Many fell for the word games, none fell for her. Not even me (fortunately). It seems she had managed to trick one naive man and married him even, bore a child but had separated and divorced before the child was born. She was in a pitiable condition now, for her parents hadn't supported her for bringing infamy to the family and was left to fend for herself and her child. As for me, the doodler continues to poke fun at me insisting that I support her, for she was kind enough to put in a lot of effort and invest her time in me... He was right, nobody else has approached me till now. I am still single, though I am not looking to be in a relationship (at least, that's the official party line)

[ This is based on a true story and the real me is the Doodler :-) The protagonist, however, is still single]
[Language inspired by Wodehouse - First attempt, I aim to improve in subsequent posts]

Comments from Facebook:

Aditya Kiran:
I guessed the doodler was you :D I have heard the story before, but you've put it nicely :D well done.

Nikhil Narayan:
There is only one guy I can think of based on seating configuration.... I second ak .... :) ...

Comments from Twitter:
Lokesh Acharya
@Gulagulaananda nice1 sir..n it ws nice to kn tht u wr actualy a char in ths stry :) I cud notice more f lov stories in ur blogs recently :p

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Work Life Balance

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"No matter how good one can get, there is always someone who is better"

[This story is based on an episode of Rurouni Kenshin - A beautiful anime/manga]

During the days of the Samurai, there was a Dojo in the grand city of Kyoto where many students learnt the art of swordsmanship. Among them was the hero of this story. The students were mostly good, but only this young man stood out from the rest. He was able to beat all of them with ease. He hardly felt that they were a challenge. One dark night, as the wind blew with all its might, and the rain fell down in torrents, this young man, who was on his way home beheld a sight that would change his life. There was an eerie shriek, one that made him instantly alert. He quickly clasped his sword, ready to swing into action, slightly skeptical however, for he knew not who the foe was. The shriek was that of a young woman who had just been robbed.

The masked bandit who had relieved her of her jewellery was mounted on a powerful steed, their silhouette seemed even more formidable with the inky sky gently lit by the moon as the backdrop. And then a bolt of lightning struck. The blazing eyes of the robber which were briefly illuminated by the bolt froze the young man's blood. He felt paralysed... Those eyes! Those murderous eyes! Suddenly arrived at the scene, a mounted policeman with his unsheathed sword, ready for a duel with the robber. The policeman's horse circled the robber who seemed calm. And then the policeman's horse lurched ahead. But as he was about to swing the sword, in that very instant, another bolt of lightning struck. The young man couldn't even register when the robber's sword had struck, for the policeman was already on the ground. A loud neigh followed, the robber's horse stood on two legs for a moment. He expertly manoeuvred the horse, darted a look at the young man and galloped away.

The young man was awestruck. That is true skill. No matter how good one can get, there is always someone who is better. And he had always felt that he was not at his peak yet, though he was often praised by his classmates. He knew that among those mediocre people, he seemed excellent, but the world was great and wide, with people of amazing talents everywhere. He had to get better, he had to get faster. He made up his mind that till he reaches the level of that swordsman, that robber, he wouldn't stop. He had seen that attack, it had been much faster than lightning, it seemed. An attack of the gods!

The next day, he told his friends that he was leaving school to travel the country, to meet other skilled people and become better. His best friend came to meet him before he set out on his journey. He told him how deeply his younger sister loved him, and told him that she always wanted to be his wife. But the young man was reluctant. "All these bonds will only tie me down. In order to become the best, I should cut myself from these attachments. For, with attachments, I will be weighed down." He walked away leaving his dejected friend behind, promising him that he would be the first person he would talk to once he got back... But when? Nobody knew.

As he was about to reach the outskirts of the city, he heard a soft voice calling out his name. He turned around to see a beautiful young girl standing under the shadow of a large tree by the lake. "I know this means everything to you, and I am not going to stop you. But I want you to know one thing. It is told that the fireflies that come around this place are known to grant any wish to those who truly seek them. I shall pray for your safe arrival everyday... I shall wait for you, by this very tree" she said. The young man merely nodded at her, his resolve being firm, and walked away.

He visited various Dojos across Japan, and learned under various masters. His skills got sharper by every passing day, vanquishing every opponent without even breaking a sweat. But he was never satisfied. His skills were great, and he had felt himself grow, but still, he was not there yet. That speed, that stroke that seemed to be faster than the bolt of lightning. No, he was not at that level yet. He fought harder battles, put his life at risk by fighting opponents with real swords instead of wooden ones, for death is a powerful motivator. He was often bruised, battered and bleeding. But his resolve to become the best never dimmed. However, days had rolled into months, and months had rolled into years. It had been fifteen long years. His skill had surpassed even the gods, but his conviction was no longer the same. He was beginning to accept that he could never reach that speed, that greatness that he sought. He had been very dejected. He thought that the time was right for him to return home, say his goodbyes to his friends and then to commit suicide, for a life without success was not worth living.

As he walked home, nature decided to play a trick on him. For the night was again the same as the one fifteen years back. Strong winds and a heavy rain accompanied by lighting and thunder seemed to follow him through his journey. The trees were swaying, as if they were beckoning him home. As he braved his way through the jungle, he saw something that gave him mixed feelings, those of joy and of sorrow, of anger and of great frustration. For lo! The masked robber was on his horse, his dark cape seemed as black as his murderous character. The young man thought that this was a gift of nature. After throwing away his life due to this man for the sake of one goal, it would be but poetic to die in his hands. He drew his sword. As the sword parted ways with his sheath, the metallic sound prompted the robber to do the same. He dismounted his horse, and confidently approached the nervous young man. It would all be over in an instant, for the robber was the greatest he had ever seen. When they were within each others' range of attack, they both lunged towards each other, their blades approaching the opponents body. And in an instant it was all over. The young man had easily defeated the robber who lay on the ground, bleeding... cursing... Another bolt of lightning struck, and he could see the robber's blood on his sword. The whimpers of the robber were drowned by the crack of the thunder that followed. It had all been over in an instant.

The young man felt it in his gut at that time. It was not a feeling of joy. No, he was far from being jubilant. He realised that he had apparently surpassed the robber years ago. What he had seen the other night, that had apparently been just a mistake. Maybe the robber had already pulled out his sword and it had not been seen by him in the darkness. He had not been that fast after all. It was a trick that was played by lightning. He realised his blunder. He quickly mounted the robber's horse and galloped home, hoping to meet his beloved. As he approached the village, he saw a young man by the tree. He recognised him as his old friend. As he approached him, the young man asked him what a stranger like him was doing around there at that time of the night. The young man did not reveal himself, and instead asked why HE was out looking at the fireflies around the lake at that time. The young man told him about his old friend and his sister. He told him that his sister always believed that the fireflies would make all your wishes come true. The young man smiled. It had become true, hadn't it? He had arrived safe and sound to his village. He told him that the story was indeed interesting, and if it would be possible to meet his sister. The young man shook his head and said, "I am sorry. But she died five years ago. This is her grave, and I come to visit her everyday. She was indeed a remarkable woman."

Similarly, all of us have dreams and goals in life. But we should not follow anything blindly. True, it is a must that one must have passion in everything that they do. But there are some things that you won't get even if you want it. For some things have a life span... Make sure that you cherish your friendship and relationships. They are more important than anything else, or at least, that's my opinion.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Englees pleeze

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"Horn, ok... pleeze!"

[In this post, I am making an attempt to mimic The Local Tea Party, which by the way, is not a site to be missed.]

This English no, it is a funny language. I know, I know you will say it is one old cliche. Look at that word, cliche. It is written like niche, but both are pronounced so differently.

Not to worry, I am not going to bore you with some good old lines that I ripped off a bunch of sites ok ma? I am going to talk about some experiences I myself had, and some experiences my friends had. Let me start with one that my friend had. It seems she and her fiance and some friends went to this restaurant somewhere in Bangalore. The waiter came and asked what you want? This fiance guy told it seems, 'Bring me one mohito...' Waiter gave one dirty look, then smugly told 'Saar, it's pronounced mojito'. See what happened there? Fiance was right in pronouncing mojito as mohito. But he seemed like an ass to that waiter fellow. Why means waiter must have thought 'What this fellow, looks smart and all, but he can't see that ja sounding letter j there in the middle or what?'

After listening to this story, I laughed a lot. But you know what? In my mind, this story was stuck. So next time I went to one pizza place with my friend. I wanted to eat this 'Tortillas', but I knew that the word is pronounced 'Tortiyas'. Now my problem started. I thought, if I say tortilla, waiter might think I am uneducated gorilla and say 'Saar, it's pronounced tortiya' with that sophisticated tone. And if I say 'Tortiya' with my sophisticated tone, he might use one bad word that ends with tiya on me. He might think I am blind. Can't see that 'll' in that word or what? Saw my predicament no? Whatever, I didn't want to risk it, so I called him and put my finger on that word and said 'Get me one of this'. I do the same when I go to a fancy Italian place too. I am not Super Mario no?

I like English, I found a lot of words exist to describe a thing very aptly, concisely, precisely. There are several loan words that serve the purpose well too. But loan words become groan words. Why means, I should remember that San Jose is to be pronounced San Hosay! And that jojoba also. I see all face cream and face wash advertising people no, they pronounce it as jojoba, but it is hohoba in reality. Sim-simply accent and all people put, but they will tell all words wrongly, then they will tell 'Oh, you got message no? Then what is your problem?' Some people also introduced some words like 'Grammar Gaandu' and all just to make it feel wrong to be right.

Ayyo, you think that is big aah? Ok ra, forget pronunciation. The other day, my college teacher asked some of us to evaluate some technical papers written by students. Govinda Govinda. What man, technical papers, they wrote words like coz (for because) and all. What they wrote on mobile or what? Bleddy, when you are writing some formal stuff you can't write properly ah? And that too words like awesome and cool were used left, right and centre. Just because you are some hip youngster punk, you write like that in papers about 'Transmission in dynamics analysis based on hypergraph-theory' or what? No no, don't worry, I just made that topic up, they did not write about that and all, but I am just making one point.

So my friends, I tell you all the following. This English no, it is a funny language. But just because it is funny, does not make it true that you also makes it funnier by writing badly. Why means, peoples who knows proper English will think you doesn't knows proper English. So try your level best to be proper. After all, being proper is a great property to has in peoples. Ok? Saw the beauty of this post aah? Irony I think they call it... Got it or what?

[This post is dedicated to my dear friend Gayathri Gopalaswamy with whom I shared a thousand laughs... about Bengaluru Banter]

Comments From Facebook

Sameera Bharadwaja H: I'm saring da! :D

Karthik Rangarajan: But you see, this isn't the funniness in the English language, its more to do with other language words that have found their way into the regular english verbage. Spanish doesn't ...See More

Nikhil Baliga: So says Karthik Rangara*h*an :P By the way, I didn't write about the standard 'funny' problems about English because that's something a lot of people have written about... Like plural of mouse is mice, but for house it isn't, etc.

Comments elsewhere:

Vidhathree: Englees is super da! N I din kno abt san hosay and hohoba. Jojoba lol

You may also like to read
The Social Contract

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

The Social Contract

Baba Gyani Triviani said:
"By the end of this post, don't wonder if YOU are Jack... You most likely aren't. I learnt this trick from that book I have mentioned at the end..."

I recently had the misfortune of speaking to a 'hyper-sensitive narcissist' - Let's call this person Jack (Although John Doe or John Smith are more standard). Now let's assume you have met this person Jack and you are having a conversation. As the conversation proceeds, you start noticing that Jack has all the qualities of a megalomaniac but not actual qualities... Just grandiose notions about himself.

But in the conversation, Jack also mentions that he is extremely sensitive, which you notice when you made a crack which was taken very seriously. Now we come to an interesting juncture - The narcissism reaches such annoying heights that it makes you barf, and yet you cannot say anything on this person's face because, well, because you aren't Dr. House and because 'Social Contract' dictates us to not be rude.

I can very well say that you are annoying. But ordinarily, we don't. We are asked to be kind to others and that it is hurtful to others when we are curt. We invented diplomacy for the same reason. We also went overboard to invent political correctness and euphemisms just so that we sugar the pill. (notice that I didn't say sugar-coat because that's American usage :P) And so you grin and bear, you tolerate till you can no more and decide to call it quits. You try to avoid talking to Jack so that you don't have to tell Jack that he's annoying you.

Jack on the other hand, being self obsessed has no idea that he is annoying you, and wants to talk a whole lot more. This reminds me of Seinfeld, an episode where Seinfeld meets an old classmate who is very annoying, and the classmate decides to meet him more often but Seinfeld doesn't know how to stay away... When he tries to say that they cannot be friends, the other guy starts crying, literally bawling in the restaurant till Seinfeld gets uncomfortable and takes his words back. If you felt that Seinfeld was being a jerk, then my point about 'Social Contract' has already been validated. Jack is just the same, so overly sensitive that you cannot possibly say anything which sounds a tad insensitive, and being so hyperactive, Jack doesn't give you the space and keeps bothering you. The ever increasing number of 'Suicides for silly reasons' is also a major deterrent that prevents you from saying things upfront.

It might occur to Jack that he might be annoying; assume it did, and he asks you a question - "Hey, Am I being annoying?". Again, I find questions such as these and "How do I look?", etc. rather rhetorical. Especially when you are not best friends and guys (both). I am obviously not going to say 'Oh, that dress makes you look fat, but it doesn't matter, no amount of make-up is going to fix that nose anyway' and neither will I say 'Yeah, you are being a pain in my arse'. I'm most likely going to say  "No, no, not at all... You're an absolute delight to hear whilst also being eye-candy" (okay, maybe that was a slight exaggeration)

Now this is quite the conundrum, you don't know how to get out of this dilemma. I also know of this guy who's dating a nut job. Everyone else is a hundred percent confident, given historic data, that she'll create a scene if they ever break up and if they don't, well, people nod their heads with the words 'tsk tsk' on their lips when they think about the hell he has to endure for the rest of his life.

Now think about this post without emotions, try to not think of me as a jerk and try to be objective. If you indeed meet a highly irritating person like Jack who doesn't leave you alone, sends a lot of messages on your phone, emails and chats, pokes you on Facebook and doesn't give you enough space despite being told that you are busy and don't have much free time, or any other trick that you pulled out of the book that is titled 'How to be a jerk without seeming like one: 101 Euphemisms and Tricks - By Swami Gulagulaananda', how would you go about it? Do you think it's better to seem tactless and get out early at the risk of being thought of as a jerk or do you think you should endure a whole lot longer and hope that you can wean off eventually within the next ten years? Leave me your opinions or comments.

P.S.: If you felt that the person, Jack, in this post is you, it most likely is... :P Screw diplomacy

Comments from Facebook:

Prashanth Harshangi: Sup Jack?? How are you? Read your blog after long time. Good article.

Aditya Kiran: I don't think the social contract is defined to be constant between all people.. People often vary it depending on Jack or Jill :P

Kavita Krishnamurthy: Omg tat was hilarious :D

Nikhil Narayan: Good one maga! :) ....

Niyaz Puzhikkunnath: Such big words at such a small age....

Saturday, 8 September 2012

The Bleeding Heart

Swami Gulagulaananda quoted:
"When you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount"

(You might want to listen to 'Into Dust - Mazzy Star' in the background while reading this)

I was on my knees as I held her head in my arms. I didn't remember how I got there, but I certainly was aware that it all was very strange. The ground was white... sheer white. There was no grain of sand, just absolute  white. And at that one fraction of a second when I raised my head, it hit me, and etched into my mind the vast expanse of whiteness. It seemed to stretch in all directions, and there was nothing apart from the two of us in the middle of what seemed to be a great void. The two of us, wearing layers of white, were in the middle of nothingness.

But it was not this bizarre environment that startled me. It was her. I kept staring at her face. That lifeless countenance. For a fleeting moment, I could see her fair face with the slight blush in her cheek. The rosy hue and the sweet smile that used to play on her lips, that used to make me forget everything in an instant was nowhere to be seen. All I could see now was a face devoid of expressions, a face whose pale skin had been stretched tightly directly over her skull with nothing in between. She seemed very ill. The dark circles around her eyes seemed to indicate that she hadn't slept for days.

But that wasn't what got to me. Her eyes. They seemed like they were made of stone. The whites of her eyes seemed to have small discs of slate at the centre. A tear rolled down my cheek as she slowly turned her eyes to look at me. The teardrop fell on my hand. I looked at the little red globule. A tear of blood. I couldn't bear to see her like that. The eyes that would sparkle with joy as I teased her, the moist eyes that would melt my heart in a fraction of a second, those eyes, those warm brown eyes... I couldn't believe it was still her in my arms. She felt so alien, like a stranger, with those grey eyes.

Her lips quivered and the muscles of her neck tightened as she struggled to speak. I wanted to give her a drink of water, just to moisten her dried lips. But there was nothing around. I tried to utter some words, to console her that things would get better, to convince her even though I wasn't convinced, but even air betrayed me, refusing to leave my lungs. I held my breath, fearing that the slightest movement would hurt her. Her lips gradually formed a smile, her eyes barely reflecting the emotion. "Why that long face?" she asked. My eyes began to moisten as I looked at her. Her hair was strewn all over her face. I raised a finger to move it off her face but as I gradually moved it over her forehead, a chill ran down my spine. Her body was cold. Her eyes stared at me as my breath escaped involuntarily. There seemed to be no expression as she continued to look at me. "You knew this day was coming" she said slowly, pausing after every two words.

I held her cold hand in mine. I couldn't bring myself to move, for, I knew what the result would be. There was no way I could do anything to save her. She was right, I knew this day would come. Did I? I didn't even know how I got there, but deep within I knew this day would come. The day we would part. As I continued to stare into her eyes, I could see her grey eyes becoming lighter. Her head moved slowly as her eyelids came closer to each other. "I am tired and I want to sleep for some time" she said as her eyes closed.

I pulled her closer to myself and hugged her tightly. There was no need to pretend to be macho. There was nobody around to think of me as vulnerable. A stream of tears flowed freely as I clutched on to her cold form. All my memories of her flashed in front of my eyes, the first day I saw her, our first fight, our first make-up, the first time she put that piece of chocolate cake into my mouth on my birthday... When I slowly let her go, I noticed her body was completely lifeless. The eyes had no sparkle - just slate. I began to feel weaker by the minute. My vision was getting hazy as I gently laid her head on the ground. It was then that I saw stains of blood on her clean white dress. I was certain they were not there a minute ago. My vision was coming into and going out of focus rather rapidly as my eyes followed the stains, the trail of blood which found its way to my shirt as well... on my chest around my heart. I was bleeding profusely. She slowly turned again and said "You have to let go of me Adi. A bleeding heart is not going to bring someone dead back to life."

It was then that realisation dawned upon me. She had been dead a long time ago. "Let go, Adi"... she whispered. I held my hand against my chest, I could feel the blood gushing out forcefully. "It's alright, let go of me" she whispered again. I didn't know what to say... I kept staring at her as she began to go out of focus again. No, she wasn't going out of focus... she was fading away. "Goodbye Adi, you will remain forever in my heart. But you should let go. Promise me that you will". My breathing began to get heavier. "It's alright Adi, it's not the end of everything..." I heard. This voice, it wasn't her. It was more baritone. My vision was getting blurry. She had faded out completely by now. My hands were slowly coming back into focus, as the baritone voice reinforced the idea that it wasn't the end of everything, that the world doesn't end. There was no blood on my shirt. I turned to my right and I saw his furrowed brows, his piercing stare trying to reach into my soul. I looked into the eyes of my best friend without betraying my emotions. "I know" I said shortly. We both knew I said it to avoid talking about it further. The loud music of the orchaestra reminded me that it was a wedding hall where we were seated. The dashing young man she ended up marrying was introducing her to his friends. Her smile was radiant. The guy on my left, that ever cheerful gorilla put his large palm on my shoulder and said "Hey hey hey Adi, well that's one more down. One more classmate got married. I heard stories you both were going around, but I know you deserve way better" he grinned. "Let's go and complete our primary assignment, shall we? I heard the Pulav is brilliant!" he said as we got up. "Oh by the way, did you hurt yourself? There's a drop of blood on your hand."

-- This story is pure fiction and is not based on anything. If you have a great imagination, you should see it in front of you. The story is mostly symbolic so don't take things literally... :-)  also,  "When you hear hoofbeats behind you, don't expect to see a zebra"

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Other stories that I have written

Comments from Facebook:

Aditya Kiran: ‎:D

Ashwin Raman: such heart-felt fiction!, nicely written btw :)... if it had a couple of songs, it could hv been a blockbuster ;)

Nikhil Narayan: ‎:) Rakhta kaNneeru... Or hrudaya na para para antha kerdidiya.... Either case hero ge bad luck... :D ... :P ....

Pavithra Chowdappa: WT...! :D

Dolly Singh: Awesome! I was listening to a song while I was reading this and I got lost in the story. Beautifully written.

Prajwal M Sudarshan: Nicely written.. :) Good Job Nik!

Comments from Twitter:
Niranjan Lakshmanan: it's really good. Heart touching Nikhil :-)

Comments elsewhere:
Shubha Murthy: This ws gud!!

Lokesh Acharya: Nicely written, heart touching... I hope Adi is not a real person :-)
[Don't have the exact comment, deleted the SMS... but something to this effect was there]