Everything happens for good – part 2

This is a continuation of the post I wrote 8 years ago – http://thejkumar.wordpress.com/2006/11/18/everything-happens-for-good/. If you haven’t read yet it, would suggest reading that before this.

This is 7 years late in coming but better late than never.

Let me tell you the story of how I got into MS. Like Irfan says in Life of Pi, you might start believing in Fate if not God J

My grades sucked in college and I decided getting a good score in CAT was the only option as no company in its right mind would look at those grades and hire me. I prepped well and was getting good scores in mock tests.

T- 7 days:

This was the last day for applying for MS Campus Selection. Rajesh wanted to apply and wanted me to accompany him to the placement cell to drop the resume. I said bug off as I wasn’t going to apply and my GPA was too low anyway. He pestered a bit and I gave in. Decided that I might as well apply if I am going all the way. But I hadn’t even prepared my Resume, so he gave me a blank Resume template that he had a print out of. I filled in a bunch of details with my pen. I think I was the only one in that entire year would have submitted a hand written Resume.

D Day:

It was a Tuesday and I already had a BABA beard. But since all barber shops are closed, I decided to bunk the MS interview. Someone, I don’t remember who said he had a unused blade and for the first time in my life, I shaved (obviously a few cuts here and there). Went for the written exam, seemed pretty easy, wrote some algos which I thought would have worked. Now, I was in a stupid full hand checkered shirt and torn jeans. What usually happens is folks announce who got selected and ask them to come for an interview in an hour during which we go, change into the formals and come back. Here, they called a bunch of names and asked us to stay for the interviews that would start in a minute. I was horribly dressed for the occasion. But I was super confident that I wouldn’t get through and my mind was very relaxed which resulted in solving every question posed to me with ease. The interviews were over and they asked us to wait in the conf room.

Now, though I had no hopes initially, I though I might get selected because the interviewer had told me this after I solved the problems.

He: I see a spark in you

Me: Million dollor smile

He: Not a bright spark, but spark all the same. (not the exact words)

Me: Sad face but realized I did the interview okay.

So we were in the conf room. One guy came out and called out somebodies name and said he was selected. The second name he called was ‘Tej’

I was prepared to say, “I wish to thank my friends, my teachers, my parents…” but before that he said “Tej Pal Singh” and the guy next to me stood up. He was an MCA student who shared half of his first name with my full first name.

Then he again said Tej. I thought, yea we already heard that no need to repeat, when he said Thej Siddhotam. And that is how I got into MS.

Now, I was getting a freaking 9.1 package but I still decided to save 1000 bucks by not applying for CAT.

Something wanted me in MS, I don’t know what yet but I am sure it will make sense someday and I will write the part 3.

Note: A few points that I know belong to part 3 have already happened but I still don’t see the full connection which is why I am not writing it yet.

The happy sad story

It all happened so fast. The old lady was crossing the street talking on her cell phone and the next instant the biker hit her, panicked for a second and fled. Welcome to India, where the first thing you do in an accident is to flee. It was clearly not the bikers fault but he fled anyway. I stopped my car and rushed to her. She definitely was in a lot of pain.
“Aunty can you stand” I asked while try to lift her.

Though there was no blood, she was crying in pain and nodded no. With the help of few bystanders we got her into my car and I started towards Image hospital in Madhapur which was the nearest. I thought I would call her family but her phone was broken completely and wasn’t working now. Okay, that can come later.
We reached the hospital and she was rushed to the emergency ward. I waited for about an hour. The doctor said it was a fracture in her leg but everything else was fine. Phew, that was a relief. Her leg was patched up when I went in. They shifted her to the general ward soon. I asked her for a phone number that I could call. She said her son had just gotten into a flight to Malaysia and she was returning after sending him off.
“Anyone else I can call aunty?”
She put a weird face, blank with no expression and gave me another number.

“That’s my daughter, she lives in Warangal but she won’t come.”
“Why Aunty? Anyway let me just call her”
My phone battery had died, I called her daughter from my hospital landline, her husband picked up the phone and I explained everything. He said he will be there in another 3 hours. I assured him everything was fine now and asked him to drive carefully.
So, I had a few hours to kill, I called my wife, told her I would be late and asked her to have dinner by herself. Then I started talking with Aunty. After a while, I asked her what she meant by her daughter wouldn’t come to see her. So what happened was, her daughter had loved someone but was forced to marry someone else and ever since she got married, she stopped visiting her parents home. same bloody story everywhere.. But it is hard to argue with someone who is heavily sedated with pain killers, so I let it slide. She asked for water and I saw that the bottle was empty.

“Wait a second aunty, I will go get a bottle”

“No no, don’t take the trouble, I thought there was some water available here”

“It’s no big deal aunty, I will be back in a second”

“God bless you beta”, she said as I was stepping out of the room.

I asked for a mineral water bottle from the medicine room, when I saw her running towards the reception. The receptionist directed her towards the general ward. I quickly paid the guy and followed her. I peeked into the ward and she was hugging Aunty and both had tears in their eyes. My phone rang as the pieces of the puzzle fit in together in my head. It was my wife on the phone.

“Honey, you are not going to believe this. Remember the girl I was in….” I said in surprise quickly walking out of the hospital.

An easy choice

My senses see

“A chance very unlikely

A destiny unknown

A path mostly unlaid

An idea, at best, vague

A fear so dreadful

A risk brim with failure”

My soul sees

“The chance of great rewards

The unknown super exciting

The road full of surprises

The peril conquerable

The prospect very challenging”

I see it as

A choice of a life lived long

or a life LIVED,

I go with my soul..

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.

20140406_134953

 

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.

20140406_135059

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.