I’d rather

I’d rather eat all I want than follow a diet
I’d rather jump, run or dive than hit the gym
I’d rather find greenery than sit under AC
I’d rather sleep a lot than earn a little more currency

I’d definitely rather stay healthy than look the same!!

I’d rather run fast than fight to death
I’d rather let go than cling onto her
I’d rather work for pleasure than for a prize
I’d rather travel than belong in paradise

I’d definitely rather be happy than a man of success!!

FAQs if you don’t want to get married

1. Don’t you get bored?

Sometimes I do, but don’t you too? But I am guessing a lot less than you do believe it or not. I spend time on activities that I enjoy doing rather than activities that my partner does.

2. Aren’t you scared?

Duh! You think I am old enough to get married and raise children but I would be scared to live alone? Next question please!!

3. Do you watch movies?

Yes I do.

4.   I mean movies in the theatres?

Yes I do. I go to movies to watch them not to chit chat around. Plus I only watch movies that I like. It’s been ages since I watched a boring romantic masala.

5. What if you fall sick? Who will take care of you?

Well, first of all, that doesn’t happen everyday and getting married for a corner case doesn’t seem logical. Secondly, when I fall sick, I see a doctor, take medicines and rest instead of being a crybaby.

6. What about having kids to carry on your name?

I will figure out ways to carry on my name(whatever that means) in other ways. There are a million ways to do that without reproducing. Become famous, help a bunch of people etc.

7. When you get old, who is gonna take care of you?

Hopefully, I will have earned enough money to take care of myself and live of pensions etc.

8. What exactly are the benefits of being alone?

Financial security – I only earn for myself. Peace of mind- I don’t have to worry about leaving my wife/kid alone in the apartment before going to a party etc. Freedom – No need of asking permissions before doing anything new

9. So you aren’t gonna get married ever?

Right now that’s the way I feel. But I am not rigid. If I find someone who bowls me over with her love, yep I will consider but the chances of that happening are slim to none.

10. What about sex?

:-( Yes. This is one area where having a partner trumps being single.

11. Yay! See it’s better to be married

“No words….. Just a blank expression”

Return to the house of Kamshet!!

This was my second visit to this place. Naren, Nagaraju, Vaibhav and I had planned to go. Naren fell sick and couldn’t come but Nagaraju’s wife, Sarala and daughter, cute little Ahika joined. We reached the house after having breakfast.

The plan for the day was to visit a nearby waterfall and do some trekking in the hills around, comeback and swim if time permits. We played Jenga for a while, had lunch, gave a half hour break and then went along to see the falls (Sarala was baby-sitting Ahika in the house only). Vaibhav, Nagaraju and another guy from a different group started for the water-falls. We reached there, it wasn’t glorious or anything but good all the same. Now I was wearing my trek shoes, supposed to be useful to climb in all sort of terrain. As soon as I put my first step on the rocks, I realized it was slippery. I was careful enough but still in another few seconds fell. I managed to catch my glasses from falling down and got back up. I told others that shoes are a bad idea in this place and removed them.

Nagaraju followed me with Vaibhav behind him. The other guy, saw me fall and decided to bunk and headed back to the house. Now, I just finished removing the shoes that I heard a sound. Vaibhav had fallen down this time. Nagaraju was making fun of him and before he could finish his sentence, he fell down too. Having learnt the lesson, we all removed shoes, got into shorts and went to the rest of the falls, barefoot. There was a small cave on top which I managed to climb too. Was feeling good about everything. We spent about half an hour in the water and then decided to go trekking further up.

Nagaraju, Vaibhav put on their shoes very carefully and went to the muddy non-slippery area. I was still filled with the feeling of achievement for being able to climb till the cave and was in a hurry to start the trek as well. The end result, I was wearing shoes without bothering to sit down with one leg in the air on the slipper rock. End result – yep you guessed it, a second later I realized I was lying flat on my belly. Cursing myself, I got back up only to see red drops falling on my shoe. Cursed again that it was bleeding. Spent a few minutes trying to wash off the blood with the water from the fall. Decided not to wear those cursed shoes again and starting walking barefoot.

I plucked a big leaf from the near-by plant, pressed it against the would to stop the bleeding and started to walk. It started pouring heavily at this point making the trek even more awesome. We avoided slippery rocks and stuck to mud and grass most of the route. I think we climbed like 5 times the height of the water-fall and reached a point where it was just steep rock unclimbable without ropes etc. Took a couple of pics from here, try to remember the path we came from which we couldn’t and walked further in a different route.

We came across a guest house and asked them for directions. They were just campers who were shocked to look at a bunch of folks coming out of bushes, one of whom had blood coming out of his forehead. One of them told us that it might be a couple of kilometers and showed us the car route in which they drove to reach that place. We were a little tired, so decided to walk down that route only. We saw a couple of good spots where the entire area was viewable full of waterfalls and took pictures and stood there for a while and headed back.

When we reached back about 3 hours after we started, I asked for the first-aid box and it was then they figured out it was a deep cut and might need stitches. The nearest hospital was 10 km away. We took a jeep and went. And they guessed right, I needed two stitches. Nagaraju felt sick and so stood outside the room.

It was dark by the time we came back. I had a lot of fun playing with Ahika, answering her endless stream of questions. She calls me Thej baba, Vaibhav as BowBow mama.

The next day, we took Sarala and Ahika along with us to the earlier point we visited (the one that had proper road). I guess this was Ahika’s first trek :-). She was super enthused. I was careful enough not to get my head wet in the rain. Vaibhav and I were amazed at the amount of patience Nagaraju and Sarala had. I don’t think I am parent material if that’s what it takes. Vaibhav said it best when he said “It’s not gonna happen for me”.

We still had a lot of time and decided to check the Bhushi dam before heading back. Had a whole lot of fun there. Vaibhav went till the top. Nagaraju accompanied him to a certain extant and I was baby-sitting Ahika in shallow harmless water (I was told not to get my head wet at any cost for another week because of the stitches). Had a couple of Pav-bhajis and Cheese pakkoda and headed back to the bus stop.

 

All in all a fun trip. Of course I will have a couple of problems because of this, a minor scar is gonna remain unless I take some proper treatment. I cannot run till the stitches are removed which means my dream of achieving 5km in 20 mins before 24th August might now happen. I need to be a little extra careful till this Sunday.

Friend or Foe

Little wings I grew and flew
Bye gravity, I am weightless
Scared I was when the strong wind blew
She mellowed when I aligned to hers.

Gliding, soaring, falling, lifting
Across bridges, paths, houses and hills
Beyond the waters that were icing
Far we went where nothing ever lives.

On a hill, they took me to top
I presumed, to enjoy the view
Then the wings vanished with a pop
And the wind no more it blew.

Was cold on the rocky hill
With not a path to get back
The rain came along with such a chill
That I felt my bones could crack.

Came to terms I was tricked
By deceptively friendly foes.
With every step, angry thorns pricked
An addition to my myriad woes.

In and out, felt my mind wither away
I fell down feeling doomed
Some ages later, I felt so anyway
With an angels touch, my eyes opened.

There was no rock no hill
There was no wind no wing
There was no friend no foe
All I knew was life can be so.

A lesson I learnt never to depend
So very completely on others
Who like the wings and the wind
Aren’t truly yours in the needy hours.

[This was a poem that I had written long back. Made some minor changes to it and republishing]

The K’s of Ki’s

You know your mind is messed up when you loose your keys and the first thought that comes to your mind is that it would make an interesting story… Here goes

 

Get down at lingapalli at 8:30, take your bike, decide to get some groceries from MORE, run out of petrol close to MORE, thank your stars that it came till MORE, park it there, get a can of pepsi from shop. Decide to save 5 rs auto charge and walk three km to reach the petrol pump, after walking 2.5 km realize you no longer have the keys (both bike and house in a bunch), probably left in bike only, take auto back (no time to wait for share auto and hence pay 25 rs) – no keys. Search in the store a bit, ask the folks at the counter and the watchmen – no luck. Walk back slowly the way you came, searching for the keys, no luck. Think about the alternatives – House and bike keys spare inside the car, car spare keys at office. Best case scenario – perhaps you left the car window open or the watchman has master keys for your flat. Worst case scenario, go to office, fill in forgot Id form, get the car keys, get to home, get the bike keys from inside the car, get the bike back. Worst case scenario seems like a lot of work, so search the 2.5 km distance a couple of more times before giving up. Head home (share auto 20 rs), luckily watchman has master key, get the bike key, take an auto (too tired at this point to wait for share auto, regular auto 100 rs). Reach MORE, feel happy that it is over and unlock the bike but it doesn’t start which reminds you that you forgot the reason why you parked it there in the first place. Get another auto (up and down 50 rs) to petrol pump buy a water bottle (15 rs), drink half dump the rest. Time when you reach home – 11.. Feel proud that you didn’t panic or curse at any point and were always thinking about the alternatives..

 

 

A different Adventure – Theatre

With today, the curtain closes on a more than two month old journey that I started with a bunch of complete strangers. Apart from an almost flawless performance, I have met some really amazing people.

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I joined Samahaara to understand whether I liked acting (as a part of my search for my ultimate passion). It truly was more fun that I would have imagined in the beginning. This is the first time that I have seen such a diverse set of 20 odd people. The age group ranged from 12-13 to mid thirties. There were a few folks who were really into acting. I can proudly say that a tollywood movie hero (yet to be released) is a good friend of mine now. There were some like me who wanted to explore their interests.

Everything from the vocal exercises (say A E I O U as loud as me anyone?) to warm up jog (no easy task here. Try making 20 folks run on a small stage as fast as they can without colliding into others) to the improvs (had the most fun here. Still remember Shivs reaction to getting proposed and thanks to Narendra for making Priya the universal girlfriend name) and to the reading exercises (reading scripts. Actually had done this a few times back in school days). But if I had to pick, I would say improvs were the most fun. This helped us react on the spot to a new situation and continue the play. Basically what you do here is, a situation is given to you and you adapt to it. In the midst of your acting a new element is added by the director and you need to modify your acting accordingly. I played a drunk guy once and Satish was my drinking buddy.

The last two weeks were really hectic. We had a week to prepare for a play (three folks in my team) and perform it on the weekend. The instructor would give his comments which we had to include and perform the next weekend on the stage in front of a small audience. We had a lot of juggling in my team. My first partner dropped out because of some extreme work pressure. Karthik stepped in to fill that gap but couldn’t perform on Saturday because he got a call from his boss who wanted to see him. Prateek stepped in but he couldn’t make it for the final performance because he had to leave for Switzerland (work related). Karthik again came to the rescue and we put up an amazing performance. Pravin in particular set the stage on fire with his cute accent and amazing expressions. Made me feel like the two hours we spent everyday for a week practicing were totally worth it.

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All in all, I got the basics of acting, know a place to go to if I want to further pursue in that direction and made some amazing friends (some one has just changed the name of our watsapp group to BFFS. Well I do hope so…. I really do)

As usual, I left out some of the interested stuff and they come in bullet points…

1. Ekta became Anish’s Didi after entering his play in an improv. Poor fellow was acting as a guy in a mens hostel and we asked Ekta to jump in to the scene. Had a good laugh at that point. Poor fellow trying to hide his sister before anyone notices a female in a mens hostel..

2. I got kicked by a girl (really really hard). We were doing flexing exercises and were supposed to kick in the air all at once. We were standing in a circle and Ishita was standing next to me. She is pretty thin but I can assure you she kicks really really hard…

3. In one of the improvs Dheeraj did an amazing performance. He played a man who was thinking of committing suicide because his girl friend left him. His performance was sooo real. Really feel bad that he couldn’t make to the final performance.

4. Pravins accent made a few interesting laughs too. I will share one – there is a dialogue where he says “Blow up my Cheeks”. He both forgot and misprounounced here. Forgot the word “up” and misprounounced “Cheeks” as “Chicks”. Well now go ahead and read the line yourself now with those two changes. Only a bunch of us were there at that time but we couldn’t control laughing. Sirish I think fell down with laughter.

To be continued… (as and when I remember more incidents)

Bottling up

Memories that haunt you,

                tease you about what could have been.

Occasionally rent your mind,

                throwing you into a void unendin.

 Locking away in a safe so deep,

                you hoped would never ever leak.

Trivial things totally unrelated

                though leave a gap enough for em to sneak.

Like a hole in the Dutch Hans Dyke

                the waters of the past break through.

Tricking at first not so painful,

                but soon a flood that buries you.

A passion is the only way out

                of this hell inside your own head.

Mines writing, so am here

                ending the poisons further spread.

Soar, Swim and Scale

I measure the success of a trip by the number of memories in it and I have made some that will last a life-time. I was pretty scared about the bus trip (considering my motion sickness),however, thanks to multiple doses of tablets, I almost immediately fell asleep in the bus and reached the place really safe and sound.

We reached the house at noon. A few words about the house – amazing place, away from the city, surrounded by trees and hills and on the banks of a lake. I could kill to live in a place like that..

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So we had a quick lunch and left for a place called Ashram. If anyone has played “Red Redemption”, the vast empty spaces between cities that you ride on in the game, this place is similar to that. Not a single human soul for miles around and I immediately fell in love with the place. I wanted to camp there at least one night however that didn’t work out this time. Hopefully next time we carry tents etc and camp in that place for a night. Here was where we needed to practice steadying the gliders and the absolutely zero wind made it pretty tiresome. Well in one line – who ever said no pains no gains sure wasn’t kidding. It was really really tiring. And probably because of the overdose, I became sick but after a 10 min super-nap, was fresh again.  After we reached back to the house, we played cards for an hour and went back to our dorms. I fell asleep as soon as I hit the bed.

Day 2, was more fun. We all woke up at 5:30 and were ready by 6-6:15 and went to a place called Shinde hill to practice bunny hops. This meant we run from a small altitude and launch up in air for a few seconds just to get the hang of it. First flight is almost like a first kiss and you are so nervous that you forget left from right (at least in my case). The instructor kept saying right and I kept going left and landed in a bush full of thorns. (Jeans and full-tshirts are a must here). We finished by 9:30 because there was thermal air which was pushing the gliders upwards(which is not suitable for learners).

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The afternoon, there was not much wind again so the practice sessions in the Ashram was cancelled. A bunch of us decided to go to the lake and take a dip. It was pretty deep and I have zero swimming experience outside of a 5 ft swimming pool. I said what the hell and jumped in. Turns out I can float okay in any smooth water irrespective of the depth. Of course, Nagaraju and Kranthi were escorting me all through the swim on my either side. I even dived into the lake from a drum-platform. Apart from Nagaraju doing a really bad back-flip, landing on his back which turned ultra red, there no other incident.

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We came back and started playing cards. The game was so intense that a small group of audience was formed. Finally Naren and I were left out, I quickly raced ahead to 190+ (game was for 200) and he was at 160 something. But after two round he lost and I won. It was surprising especially because I was playing really bad.

That night before dinner, Mahmood, Nagaraju, Kranthi, Bharadwaj and I went for night stroll along a dusty rode. We walked for about half an hour and as you all know, me being the agent of darkness, loved the lack of artificial light and loved the glow of the moon and the star studded sky. The topics we talked about ranged from politics to marriages to girls to work. Loved that walk.

Day three was amazing as well. We were to launch from a small hill now about 200 mts I would think. The hardest part of it was climbing the hill carrying the glider along.

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My nokia lumia 920 was pretty handy here taking some very amazing pictures. People lined up for getting photographed. I managed to barter a few Pav Bhajis in exchange for taking pics.

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That evening followed the a very similar pattern to the previous day, swimming in the lake, playing cards all through the day. The main thing that I realized at this point was there was no TV, no internet connection nor any cellular network here. I can’t explain how peaceful that made me feel. I had no idea what was going in the rest of world and frankly I didn’t care. A vacation of this sort is a must for everybody.

Final day, I was already feeling slightly bad that it was ending so quickly. We did another five jumps from the same hill. My last jump, I overshoot the target by a huge margin because of the extra lift caused by thermals and Sanjay(the instructor) asked us to pack up. Manideep who jumped after me, disobeyed and climbed the hill and got an extra super-long jump (envy you man!!).

For the after noon, Suchitra who had to go to Bangalore left early. We, Hyderabad folks had more time and decided to check out the Karla caves nearby. The trouble was there was a temple adjacent to it and it was some festival day. The stairs to the caves were packed with people. Naren had hurt his leg and so stayed back in the van. Manideep and Anwesha walked up the stairs while the mischief masters were thinking about bunking this trip because it sounded boring. Luckily I say a water pipe that was directly leading to the top of the hill and a guy who was selling guavas told that it was climbable. That was all the motivation we needed and we climbed up. A word of Kudos to Mahmood who climbed it more confidently and smoothly than the rest of us. I, with my, rubber shoes was the most clumsy climber but we did it all the same. The caves were boring (at least for me who doesn’t like man made stuff).

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See the wall over there at the top? We reached there from about a 100 steps below from this point

Then we headed back to home, said our good-byes to our hosts and instructors who were now our friends. The journey back was filled with everyone talking about their experiences and again took two tablets to avoid motion sickness and landed safely back in Hyderabad.

A few things that I wanted to talk about but forgot earlier

1. We took a test to get our certificates and I completely sucked at it. There were two questions which were opposites, I mean they both can’t be true and both can’t be false. Funny thing was I put False for both of them. Luckily, I wasn’t the only idiot there. Someone else put True for both of them. Nagaraju I think.

2. Bharadwaj this is for you, don’t tell folks you know swimming. What happened was I told him to swim along the bank. And because he said he knew swimming I didn’t bother to tell him that there was a deep spot at one particular point. But what he actually meant was that he could swim as long as he could hold his breath and he lost his breath correctly at that point. Luckily he managed to swim to shallow area.

3. Mahmood, I wish I could take the picture of you looking at chicken barbeque. Mahmood isn’t used to Indian food and the entire trip he survived on Chapati with no side-dish and coke and a few of us were worried about that. On Saturday, there was a barbeque and Mahmood came to life. We were all happy that he was finally eating fully.

4. I made some really good new friends in this trip and learnt a lot more (about the dark and fun -side) of my existing ones. Finally put facebook and whatsapp to good use here. Will probably go back really soon to complete 20 jumps (which is kind of a pre-req for the next level). Will be glad to meet everyone then.

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Keys in the Sand

Ever been in a situation when you have done a stupid mistake that you are really embarrassed about but still have to ask the help of a bunch of friends (who you are absolutely sure will make fun of you for that for years to come) to rectify it? Well, I don’t know about you but I have been in countless such situations. But for once, it was someone else’s turn and I was happy to be on the non-receiving side of it.

So this is just another chapter in the Lankan trip, the last evening as a matter of fact. We had just comeback from snorkeling – if you could call it that. We basically walked around in knee deep water wearing all the gear while other people looked at us like we were a bunch of fools. And to top that we paid 1800 bucks a head for that. Anyway coming back to the topic at hand. The hotel we took was on a private beach and we thought we should play in the sea properly this time, without the gear.

VV wanted to take care of some business and asked us to go on and that he will catch up. When he came we were all neck deep in water and were playing beach boll (with a bottle filled with water).  VV wanted to join to but since he was the last one to come out of the room, the keys were with him and he didn’t know where to put them.  He kept asking someone to switch places when I finally said “Bury it wherever the hell you want” jovially.

About 10 more minutes later, I noticed that VV wasn’t asking us to switch places anymore and was pacing up and down nervously. But I didn’t bother going to him (still feel bad about that btw). Then he came to KA, whispered something in his ear. KA had tears in his eyes immediately and both of them ran out of the water and began digging everywhere. After another 10 minutes, we decided something was wrong. My thought – some dead creature was found.

Anyway, what happened was – VV took my joke seriously and buried the key in the sand and put a small stone over there to mark the location. 10 seconds after he did that, there was a wave which took the stone along with it. Now he didn’t know where exactly he had buried and gave us a 10 square meter area where it could be.  After about a half hour of searching it was surprisingly found (10 meters away from the area that we were asked to search).

Some titbits we shared later. VV is basically more close to me and KA than PB and OV. But I was in a making fun of anyone at the first chance I get mood that day and hence decided to call KA. Fair call, I fell down laughing and rolling on the beach and promised him this will be another ‘pulka not knowing my password incident’ (will tell that some other time.) As to why the hell was KA crying, it was because he was trying really really really hard to suppress his laughter.

Moral of the story is pretty obvious -

1.  Never bury keys, or anything for that matter in sand at least not in a beach

2. Never suggest anyone to bury a key in sand in a beach. People might take it seriously.

 

(P.S. I added some masala to keep it funny)

The Kurious Kase of Ka in LanKa

After a successful adventure in Goa in 2012, the wolf gang was back with a new adventure in Sri Lanka. We lost our foot-soldier pulka but our replacement was none other than the punch boy – Ravi Teja from here on referred to as PB. This was a four day trip and covering everything would make this a novel hence I am cutting it into chapters. I am dedicating the first one to KA (Satish).

PB, VV(Victory Vikas) and I were starting from Hyderabad while KA and OV(Only Vinod) had already started off from Chennai. There were a lot of punches on our flight too (VV tried to hit on a girl and PB was ragged by the airport officials) but since I promised to dedicate this to KA, not giving too much space for anything else.

Anyway the Hyderabad trio landed at 1:00 pm and were out of the airport in another 15 minutes. The dynamic duo who were supposed to rent a car and pick us up were nowhere to be seen. We waited for a around half an hour before calling OVs’ friend who we knew would know the cab guys’ phone number.  He told us they left long back and should be there in another 10-15 minutes. Now the following things happened in the exact order if KA is to be believed.

VV to Cab Guy -> How much more time to airport?

Cab Guy -> Around 1 hour.

Phone rings.

Me to VV -> You @!#$&* we have been standing here for an hour. Where the #$&(#*&$ are you?

VV(covering the phone with his hand) to the Cab Guy -> How much time if we go really fast?

Cab Guy -> 45 minutes minimum

VV (removing his hand) to me -> 5 mins max ra.

KA faints of shock.

Anyway, they arrived an hour later and as a punishment we made them put all the luggage in the car. Now the most interesting part – why were they late in the first place.

While entering Sri Lanka, you fill out the arrival card, submit to the immigration officer and get your passport stamped. Then you go through another entrance where a police officer checks your passport and lets you in.

Now when KA and VV came out of the airport, VVs’ friend was waiting for them. After the usual greetings, they got into the car and drove a couple of kilometers away from the airport. I am not sure what was holding him back from asking it earlier or how he remembered that then, but KA asked VVs’ friend the million dollar question that he(or anyone else) had never ever heard in his life -

“What should I do with this arrival card?”

He jammed his the car brakes, almost resulting in an accident and then shouted

“Please don’t tell me you came out of the airport without getting your passport stamped”

They checked KAs’ passport and it was as clean as any of my answer sheets in engineering exams – blank and empty.

How KA went past the security remains a mystery. They went back to the airport and had a hard time convincing the airport authority who were convinced that this guy was an illegal entrant. After some pleading and begging, they checked the records and after seeing that he had come in through the flight a couple of hours ago, stamped the passport.

Now this all took around a half hour at max. Their tasks after that were to go to VV’s friends house, have breakfast and then return back with a cab. These two claim that traffic caused the additional one hour delay which I find very hard to believe. If any of the readers manage to find out why they were so late and let me know, I would buy them dinner at an expensive restaurant *

* Conditions apply

1. You would have to be a girl.

2. You have to be single

3. You have to be good looking.