Archive for the ‘Enter-insane-ment’ Category

The kite conundrum
It is that time of the year again. When my city plunges into the depths of insanity. We love to bask in its unmatched profound revelry, and make a silent promise to ourselves, holding out strings of time in our hands whilst looking up at the sky in the backdrop,

“To never growing up!”

Turning the time handle to revisit glimpses from past, I remember, clear as crystal, doing the “kite-talk” with my friends at school. Some would be curious to know how many kites each one of us would be buying just to slap back condescendingly at our numbers, some would be bragging about their kite-flying skills, some would be teaching the correct manoeuvre to take down enemy kites, some would throw in unheard of kite-jargon making things even harder for the newbies to grasp, whilst I would be busy listening to each one of them with jaws wide open in awe. I remember rushing back home and sharing it all with my brother. Something had me convinced, if there was any truth in the world, it would only spew from the mouths of my friends.

With gusto written all over my face, I would always be found on the roof, every evening, months before the actual festival knocked on our doors. Hours wasted in sheer hope of catching a fleeting kite, ‘cause nothing compares the ecstasy of scoring one. When I would catch a fish, I would keep pestering my dad into flying it. I would initially be the live audience, the one that fuels the passion of the protagonist. “Papa! Cut the red one! Go compete with the green one!” would resound like little dares whilst my father would come back triumphantly, “Now, which one?”

Come the day of the festival and I would go loco! I used to be fond of a star-studded sky. But finding myself ‘neath a kite-studded one, hurled me into pits of unmatched euphoria. Those were my learning days. When slackened kites hovered over me, I would leave my own to catch hold of the ailing plaything. Sometimes I would wake up with dreams of strings that flew past mocking me.  I ended up being the joke of the town. Talk to my mom, and she still has my kite stories on the tip of her tongue. She loves that stuff! Having a good ‘ol laugh at stupid things I did!

Time taught me the ‘how’, and my verve got the better of me. Oncoming years found me a fad I am still trying to reason with. Two days of festivity under the hood of the punishing sun. But that’s not how our brains look at it. We see fun! Downright orgasmic leisure!

With tanned skin leaving my face burnt as cinders, I would be surprised to find out my friends talking to me normally at school. I would actually go with extreme honesty, “Dude, are you able to recognize me?” Then our relentless showing off would commence! We would flaunt our injured fingers, then the taped ones, then laugh at those who had all ten of them intact, brag about uncooked parts of our faces, (goggles would often leave an unmarked territory around our eyes) and we would pretend like superheroes, talk about our high scores or come up with a funny account.

Even today, the fever hasn’t run out and the fire is still burning. It is quite surprising how every year I somehow make it home during the festival. To that I am really grateful.

Name it as you may! You can call it Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal or Uttarayan. We really don’t care as long as we get our badass kites to soar! That’s the only thing we know of. This day has only one significance to us.

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True love isn’t lost. It is just misconstrued.

It’s when Ted sees the mother for the first time, that words bereave him. His heart stops and he keeps staring. It is just one of those moments when somebody beautiful falls on your eyes and time stops. You are rendered speechless and you forget living for a while. The reason it wasn’t stretched was probably because creators ran short of time, also because it was just a moment and like any other such gazillion moments, we always let it pass by, without actually doing anything about it. So did Ted.

The Farewell:

I always thought I was as strong as a mountain. But then I encountered goodbyes.

I just feel like a hug isn’t enough.

Ted replies, “E.T. goodbye?” Although everybody knew Ted was going to leave them, nobody had given it a serious thought. When reality hit them and Ted humored his way through farewells, Lily was the most emotional one. It struck Barney too. He knew what he would miss the most about Ted – high fives. And the ‘high infinity’ was born.

The Absence:

We know this moment. We have lived it all our lives. The absence of someone dear. As Marshall explained to Lily how everything seemed different without Ted, and how he could feel his absence, Ted sits down with a beer at MacLaren’s with a smile on his face only to break it to them that he had found someone.

The Divorce:

What would have really bummed us out? If Barney would have ended up being any less legendary. Yes. We find him up at his game. To believe Robin and Barney ending up with a happily ever after would have been a stretch. The creators made sure of that, by ending their short lived legendary run with a quick amicable divorce. Reality sucks. Nothing pans out the way we want it to be. It was a hint and we knew right there, we were in for a twist.

Big moments:

“This right here, this is why we can’t fall out of each other’s lives.”

Lily is broken because nothing would remain the same. Even though Robin makes a vague promise to hang in for the big moments, it is hard for her to abide. A blast from the past when she finds Ted wearing his old hanging chad costume:

How do you do this, Ted? How do you sit out here all night on the roof in the cold and still have faith your pumpkin’s gonna show up?

It is shattering for her to see Ted, the guy who she was supposed to end up with, doing great with another woman. Watching the tainted possibility, the ‘it-could-have-been-me’, gives her a hard time. She knew she had thrown it away, the chance she had for a happy ending with Ted, and yet there is nothing she could really do about. She chooses to stay away from their lives. It is shattering to see a sad Lily, who looks adorably cute in her white whale costume, when she is hit with the disheartening truth:

It’s just never gonna be how it was. It can’t be.

Judge Fudge:

Really great to see how things finally pan out for Marshall. Great to see ‘Judge Fudge’ in action. Eventually we find Marshall ending up with an even more awesome title ‘Fudge Supreme’.

Legendary:

Barney wraps up his life with a ‘please-let-me-be-me’ and scores himself a verdict. That is how we always saw Barney. It wouldn’t have been legendary had Barney really walked the distance. Besides three years was a really long time for him. He makes himself clear with:

If it wasn’t gonna happen with Robin then it’s just not gonna happen with anyone.

Barney finally has his epiphany, with his accidental daughter, the only girl to whom he says, while intending it:

You are the love of my life. Everything I have and everything I am is yours, forever.

The Mother:

We finally discover mother’s actual name which was subtly wrapped up under the umbrella story. All those moments where Ted had missed her finally breathe alive and they connect instantly. Her blanks are filled by Ted’s story to which she says:

Funny how sometimes you just find things.

All those memories of her have been wrapped up perfectly in heartwarming photographs. She was just so perfect for Ted.

You see, kids, right from the moment I met your mom, I knew I have to love this woman as much as I can, for long as I can, and I can never stop loving her, not even for a second.

The Disease:

It is exactly at this moment we realize that those kids hearing the story are in a motherless world. That the mother had died of some disease and that Ted has been living without her for six years.

Even then, in what can only be called the worst of times, all I could do was look at her and thank God, thank every god there is, or ever was, or will be, and the whole universe, and anyone else I can possibly thank that I saw that beautiful girl on that train platform, and that I had the guts to stand up, walk over to her, tap her on the shoulder, open my mouth and speak.

Robin, the one:

Whilst most of us are sniveling over the fact why it didn’t end then and there, the creators decided to trickle down the climax into the story. We all know Ted has been telling us a quite intricate story ever since 2005. His kids point out the apparent – “Mom’s hardly in the story.” Why would Ted take the trouble to tell such a detailed tale unless he had a point to make? His kids see through it and throw the obvious at his face. Ted was looking for an approval – his children’s take on his decision to go after Robin.

Admit it! It has always been Robin right from the start. We all have secretly wished it to be Robin. The moment Ted stole that French blue horn for her. The moment he looked at her and said, “I love you” for the first time. The moment he missed that interview just because she needed him. The heights he went just to give her that locket. It is hard to find a lover like Ted. Even Robin had realized that, but only at the verge of her wedding.

Robin’s happily ever after signs off in style once again with that old French blue horn we had seen in the pilot. The background fades with a happy ending and an apt song – “Heaven” by The Walkmen that goes:

Remember remember….all we fight for.

Now that the story has found its conclusion, we are going to miss it forever. There are a lot of things that I am going to miss about the show. One of the greatest bits about it was that it never lost its amazing sense of humor. Ted’s love stories were always drenched with the right amount of love and fun. It was always great to see Barney building make-believe stories to score and then later icing it with, “True Story!” Marshall had always been an honest and loyal lover. His way of telling a story would just light you up. Lily was the backbone of the gang and the sane one. Robin was the best thing that had happened to the group, more importantly to Barney and to Ted.

Even though the story was pulled out of context, and there were dispensable bits of exaggeration engulfed, I felt it was one of the finest runs that TV had ever encountered. Like any other death of an era, a TV show, or a movie, HIMYM, you too have imprinted memories in our head. Now we feel your absence. You shall be missed. You shall be missed badly.

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Not long ago, I found myself, staring with disgust at a chicken being manhandled by an evil hand, whilst its compadres watched the gradual beginning of its end, helplessly. The terror in their eyes was agonizing. So were the screams that emanated from the fowl. Knowing that you could be next anytime, knowing that death breathes down your neck every second, and the worst of all, knowing that you are gonna die, would kill you days before you actually perish. Standing there at the devil’s door, throwing up inside my mouth, I had reassured a silent promise to myself, “I wouldn’t go chicken ever!”

I would often contemplate at the kind of life these poor impotent creatures are impelled to endeavor. What kind of life is that? Living just for dying! They must feel terrible! Terrible about being born here. Terrible about being so powerless. Terrible for being branded as an eternal prey.

So why do we do it? Oh! It’s the taste alright.

About a month later, to my surprise, I found myself munching down a delicious chicken leg at KFC. Somehow, I decided to give it a shot, and it made me, deliberately, forget the promise I had made to myself. I realized what I was missing on. A taste vegans would never be able to savor. Firecrackers burst in my palate, as I nibbled a grab just like it happened to Remy in Ratatouille. All those pathetic cries and weary eyes simply vanished. I wasn’t empathizing anymore. Just munching on some finest delicacies of life.

Becoming an ardent chicken lover was easy after that. I had chicken so many times that I forgot how veggies tasted like. It was only recently that I ended up in a poultry shop once again. The shop had wee business so the keeper was dozing off. Our order shook him up and he scrambled towards the chicken cage. My heart stopped once again. All this time I had forgotten where it came from. Those chickens in there knew their time was nigh. I could read hatred in their eyes, even more fear. There was a commotion the moment they realized their unforgiving reaper had come, and lo! He grabbed one by its legs, whilst it cried at the top of its voice as others inched further inside the cage. The wailing continued as I could hear the beast skinning the poor creature inside.

I couldn’t shake off the thought that it was my doing. I made that happen! Had I not decided to eat chicken, that poor bird might have lived to see another jaded day. Just like Coleridge’s mariner, the guilt of killing the bird hung around my neck like a loose necktie.

Then again, as the guy gradually chopped the cadaver, which was once breathing, I ceased to feel sorry for it. The dead no longer made sense. It looked like something my friends and family cooked. I shut myself off once again. My head persuaded me, “In few hours something scrumptious would come out of it Scotty and you wouldn’t know again!”

To devour the weak, does that make man feel powerful? Or is it just a statement we intend to make. What did chicken ever do to us? Why not eat snakes or something more deadly if it is about evincing power? Oh! Wait! Bear Grylls is already on it.

The weird thing about life is that it doesn’t come with a living-manual. We aren’t born with a “What-to-do or What-not-to-do” list. This makes anything we do in this life acceptable. Also, death takes care of population explosion for every species. Be it be a natural cause or advertent killing. Nature manages the living-death ratio quite subtly.

Eating non-veg food with empathy doesn’t put me anywhere near the demarcation that vegans and non-vegans have created. It is hard for me to shut it off. I will still continue to feel for the weak. Yet I am not sure if their agony and screams will ever stop me from causing their heads to roll. Nothing beats hunger and palate. Besides don’t we all work Darwin?

Okay! I gotta work on my excuses.

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Life has this unique wont of sliding up opportunities your way. Maybe for that precise reason I was deliberately thrown onto the blazing chessboard of Chennai. To witness an ATP Tennis tournament. Whaaatttt?

Yes it happened. Strangely I had never thought about that before. Being in Chennai had its perks and I made the most of it. When I realized the tournament occurred every year, specifically when the year is succumbing to its final breaths, I just knew I had to witness an ATP match.

When I looked up to the Singles draw, I wasn’t at all disappointed as the name of Stanislas Wawrinka dangled up there. Top seeded Wawrinka had bagged one Chennai Open title before. Even though big names like Youzhny and Fognini were in the tournament, I was still counting on the Swiss to win the tournament, owing to his extremely impeccable form that year.

We decided to watch the final, even though we waited impatiently for the big day to come. Wawrinka slid smoothly into the finals. In the other draw, Edouard Roger-Vasselin made the cut. Their clash was inevitable.

Like first time of everything, my first World Class Tennis match too had thrill written all over it. We came early and grabbed our seats pronto. We had arranged front seats in order to stay as close as humanely possible to where the action took place. Even though the seats weren’t comfy, we were too charged to notice. Witnessing the court for the first time, gave me Goosebumps. It was glittering flawless. I was so excited. The atmosphere was sheer breathtaking. The climate was surprisingly cool. Clouds were bountiful as they overshadowed the punishing sun during its final hours.

My heart pounded faster as my eyes riveted itself to the entrance. Lo! They trickled down to the court, both remarkable players, Stan and Roger. We were on our feet clapping and cheering for the finalists. Within few hours, we would be doing the same for a champ. As Stan stretched and Vasselin fiddled with his racquet, the coin toss happened. Vasselin took to serve and the game commenced.

I hadn’t seen any sports player up this close. With Vasselin owning the first game, we saw Wawrinka heading to our side with 4-5 balls in his hand. He was mesmerizing. I had heard so much about his single-handed backhand and boy it was all true. When he smashed the ball single handedly down the court, time stood still. It was just so perfect. The noise that it made – utter screams of the ball gushing down the opponent’s court, boy it was music to my ears. Even though he fumbled with the game, he managed to grasp hold of it. The rest of the games that followed swayed through pizzazz. Both were equally good in the first set, until the time Stan broke Vasselin. He went on to bag the first set 7-5.

Vasselin’s game was really promising. With powerful smashes, volleys and excellent returns Roger made sure he earned rapt and apt attention. But Wawrinka was simply absorbing. With screams of “C’mon Stan” I made sure, his adrenaline was buffed up. So made sure a child’s voice that rang up the SDAT stadium every time the game paused. The second set turned out to be cake for Stan. He grabbed the championship point pretty soon by taking up a quick 5-2 lead. With a thunderous ace, he called the trophy his. He bagged the title in straights. Happens to be his second Chennai Open title.

We were all up on our feet, cheering and hooting for our winner. Whilst the arrangements for presentation ceremony began, we saw Charu Sharma primping what was left of his hair, at the podium. Someone next to me shouted, “Sharmaji!” Charu at once turned towards us. The guy said, “Looking good!” Charu nodded acknowledging the compliment as he prepared himself for the presentation. Right after Wawrinka lifted the trophy and the presentation bit ended, I shouted at the top of my voice, beckoning Stan to our side, for autograph. I was the loudest. I screamed out loud, then later yelped. “Stan! Stan!” But he didn’t budge. Probably because of the commotion in the back of his head, he was compelled to turn around once. He waved and went on to sign autographs for the lucky ones near the entrance, while everyone clogged him with placards and papers. Whilst he succumbed to the crowd, all we were left with a sour taste and that disappointed look on our faces.

The next match was doubles. Croatians Dragnja and Pavic were up against Brunstrom and Nielsen. We sat through the clash as well. The energy of the match was breathtaking. It was so quick and agile that it got over within a blink of an eye, so to speak. Brunstrom and Nielsen lifted the trophy by defeating the Croatian force 6-2, 4-6 (10-7).

When we were about to call it a day in the midst of the presentation for doubles, I insisted on staying for a while. My placard was grieving for an autograph. I looked at Charu near the nets. I shouted at the top of my voice. “Charu! Charu!” My voice was drowning in the ruckus all around. I kept at it. “Sharma! Sharma!” He didn’t seem to notice. Then once I went, “Sharmaji” This made Charu turn towards me. I signaled with my marker for an autograph. He nodded. I couldn’t believe he was actually coming towards me. He crossed all those hurdles (basically people intersecting him) from net to our corner and reached our side. I at once took out my hand saying, “Big fan!” He shook it acknowledging politely. Whilst he signed our placards, I looked at him with a smile. I was genuinely happy. My placards weren’t bleeding anymore. I had a celebrity right next to me. A big name in the Sports world. I saw guys next to me offering cameras to people below, just to grab pictures with him and Charu complying. It occurred to me to do the same. I slipped in, “You are doing a great job” as he turned around to smile for the camera. He said thank you to me and moved on to get his pictures taken with anyone who insisted.

Overall it turned out to be an amazing experience, with Charu providing us the icing we needed. As we were about to leave, I looked at Charu Sharma for the last time, as he posed for a photograph with a local ball boy, and I said to my friend with a smile on my countenance, “What a great guy!”

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I happened to come across an interesting list on IMDB, wherein people shared how customary, goofy, yet slightly terrifying movies used to scare them as a kid. How some unique features of some character played horror-games into their brains and how when they grew up, they laughed it off. This brought something from my childhood to the front page too.

I remember the time, when I used to be dead scared, owing to a stop-animation series they showed on TV. The show was called ‘Bump in the Night’. It aired on an Indian channel DD Metro (believe me that was the only interesting channel they had back in the days), right after I would complete my homework. I became a great fan of animation, ever since I laid eyes on one. They aired a bunch of cartoons at dusk. My brother and I, animation’s biggest fans, would make sure, we didn’t miss a single episode the channel aired. We would sit in utter silence and amazement, as the shows appeared one by one on the Idiot Box. It was our time. Nobody messed with us then. Primarily, because we would always sit right after we were done with our homework. Right, mommy?

The concept of stop-animation was entirely new to me. I didn’t know there was something like that until ‘Bump in the Night’ bumped into my life. The show was about little monsters that lived under the bed of a small boy. They would come to life in the dead of the night. It was a fun show actually. Comedy. I don’t know what but something back then made it look formidable to me. I was so scared of the character Squishington. Her droopy eyes would scare the shit out of me. The fact that she had everything drooly on her body, made me hate her even more. I started imagining if these characters were alive and living under my bed too. The fact that Squishington owned the toilet made me scared to go to the loo. Even though she was one of the better looking monsters amongst the other ugly ones, I would always be horrified, and peek through my fingers to see her talk, politely.

I would often ask my brother, “Why are they like this?” But I would never show that I was literally pale.

It was only recently, when I happened to see one of the episodes from the show again. All the characters look so funny now. The show was hilarious for kids. I, on the other hand, peed my pants, watching them fool around on the screen.

While at it, there were some other things that scared the bajesus out of me. I remember the first time I saw Chucky. Boy! I was afraid of that toy. I stopped loving dolls ever since.

Ron Weasley wouldn’t have the slightest idea that a fellow fan, facing the screen was even more afraid of those spiders in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets than he was. That snake, in the end, nearly killed me and believe me, there was no 3D back then. I am sure it bit me. Oh Wait! Those were my teeth on my fingers.

Even some of those dreadful episodes from Courage the Cowardly Dog would slap horror, every now and then, into my terrified brain. Some of the minacious batman villains from the animated series like Scarecrow, the Man-Bat from On Leather Wings and Mad Hatter, (this reminds me, I was more scared to read Alice in Wonderland than intrigued) ushered in terror, whilst I grew up watching my superhero.

Bats, ever since I watched the movie as a kid, something told me bats aren’t at all mushy mushy. The precise reason, the trepidation still lasts.

One time I watched Coraline and revisited my childhood, back when horror and thrill used to be BFFs. Yeah I know. What a wimp! Totally!

I wouldn’t go to my school because I was afraid that an eagle, (actually a bunch of them packed around my pathway everyday), might take me off my bicycle just like a ‘Sindbad the Sailor’ show manifested in an episode. I am pretty sure they were plotting against me. That boy on the red bicycle. One day! One day!

There is a reason I am afraid of lizards. Primarily, because they used to be dinosaurs once. And when they come pretty close to you, they beat all odds. And Grasshoppers! I am sure they are concocting something up every single second. And BTW, who asked them to be so big?

All those days are in the past now. Today, when I watch them, I don’t feel even a tinge of horror in my guts. I can walk in the dark. My brain is prepared. Miracles are a myth. I realize that unwanted imagination is a bitch.

Today, I am a grown up and not afraid of anything. Today…….Don’t you even think about attacking me cockroach!