Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Philosophical Grandstanding

First up I will admit that I am sort of mulling over this as we speak. So I still have not fully formed my thoughts. But why should that stop me from talking about them, right? Right.

I had a lot of opportunity for conversation in Germany. In one instance, two of us were badgering a third; we were telling her that she ought to take a particular decision (an administrative one, actually) because it was the right philosophical position to take. She was trying to convince us, mostly unsuccessfully, that philosophy be damned, practically, on the ground, her people would be really peeved if she took that particular decision, and her role was to keep them happy. Although I disagreed with her and insisted that if you took the twenty year picture it would be a wrong decision, and pretty irreversible as well, I have been ruminating since then. If thats her philosophy pertaining to her current position, whether the decision is ultimately right or wrong, she really is not violating any personal mental thing..

I have been reading McCall Smith again. The Right Attitude To Rain. (May I say, what a wonderful title! Think I should do a tribute to Smith based in Chennai, called The Right Attitude To Sweat). Of course I love Ms.Dalhousie. I thought I like Mme.Ramotswe better just last year, but now this one is a proclaimed philosopher and that just is perfect for how I am feeling about my life right now so I love Ms.Dalhousie. I love how she ponders on things and how Smith goes off on tangents in her mind even as the story moves forward, almost imperceptibly.

Many times, as I go through all these things that constitute this mortal life, I am at crossroads. Crossroads are such a challenge. There is the practical aspect, always. Maybe the easy downhill? (Watch the knees, girl!). There is the moral high ground. (Is it worth the effort? And besides me, none of my near and dear ones may care for this hill. But thanks to me, they have to puff up it as well). There is the middle path, usually, this is what I choose. I figure it gels with my philosophy of life (not that that is all formed and set in concrete, its a work in progress, obviously, as it ought to be). I am fiercely independent but I care sufficiently about other people. I am flexible and as long as I am that path, I know I can be happy 11 months out of 12, one way or the other. I don't do regret that much, I don't carry personal baggage around too much. But then I am very sentimental and emotional so there is definitely some mental gymnastics I indulge in due to that.

You can philosophise away anything, right. It works for me. As I grow older, it seems to take longer to get over some (usually minor) annoyance. The modus operandi (at least in principle) is like this. I have angry thoughts. I bite and yell. I regret the bites and yells. I get angry at myself. I calm down. I try to apologise. No one cares for apologies, I realise. Thankfully this is not such a bad thing, as I usually bite and yell at people with whom I have strong bonds, bonds which are not particularly shaken by minor things like temper tantrums or subsequent attempts at reconciliation. I spend a few days wallowing in self-pity and expecting the world to come and apologise to me and kicking myself for trying to apologise for things which are clearly the world's fault, and not mine. I think and analyse. My thoughts therefore enter a distillation column. They spend a good bit of time getting heated and swirling around there. Finally realisation dawns. And I am back. Spin-doctoring away everything.

As my body is aging, it is taking me longer to recover from injuries (and excesses). In some ways I treat it as a sign from within (yes, that is the other thing, all the stuff is from within, as far as I am concerned. I don't think its conceit. Or even supreme confidence. I don't know, its something). Sometimes I slow down, at others I accelerate, at the sign. Both seem to make sense. And recoveries from mental annoyances are also taking longer as I age. Same as the body thing. But somehow when I recover, I feel stronger, and better. My body perhaps just does not heal like my mind does, or maybe it just cannot. Or maybe its all an illusion created by my current mood of indulging in philosophical grandstanding... I am looking forward to my forties. Doodh Ka Doodh Paani Ka Paani ho jaayega, I think....

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Trees On My Mind

My mind has been on trees, of late. Trees are a big part of my everyday life, anyway. If there is one thing I like about my work-place, it is that there are trees there by the zillions. Untouched for years, unperturbed by changes, oblivious to college festivals, impervious to faculty-angst, they dig their roots deep, and spread their branches wide.

I gaze lovingly at them as I run past in the early mornings. I peer longingly at them as I drive past later in the day, rushing to and from office and meetings and school pick-ups, and yes, coffee breaks.

I like to touch things with my hands. I surely love running my fingers over books. I like smelling books. I am a very unlikely convert to the Kindles of the world. I do pick up the odd leaf and smooth it over with my fingers. In my garden, I found, two months ago, the fuzziness of the pumpkin creeper’s leaf, and it has stayed with me, an imprint, a memory. But I rarely touch these trees. They look really venerable. And I feel I would disrespect them with my mortal touch. My eyes, on the other hand, swallow them whole.

Chennai is a wonderful city where you will, serendipitously, run into a wonderful neem tree, if you have your eyes open. Yesterday as we parked on the side and stepped out, I saw a forlorn house in a large ground area. “Three grounds” the guy said. The grass was overgrown, and uncared for. The batik cloth hangings in the verandah were dusty, clearly unused for many years. The trees though, were spectacular. One was a wiry little fellow, all knobbly joints and defiant looking, thriving on the Chennai rains. The other was a sedate old matron, all heavy mid-section and a wide canopy of leaves, comforting, motherly. ‘Oh I love it’ I said.

(maybe i had a telepathic thing with dipali and the spaniard, who knows?)

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Colour me black

My mum had a friend at work. A lady. To me, she looked like a professional, dignified woman, in her sari and bindi. Several years younger than mum, and working at a place that could easily have been one on my list of places to apply to after my studies, she was a role model of sorts. I did not know her well enough to form a strong bond with her, however. She was single, no children, and did not seem to be the kind who knew what to do with over-eager kids either. But she was there, in my line of sight, as I hung around in the red mud near my school, playing Kho-Kho and getting my white uniform properly, deliciously, dirty.

I heard my parents talking about her one time. My ears perked up. My parents never had the chance to discuss things in private, I was sort of always there. The one time they managed to do that was close to my 11th birthday. They somehow plotted and bought me my red bike and surprised me with it. They hid it in the room in the back where we usually stored firewood (and parked dad's green scooter. One time, a rat hid its babies in the scooter and I think if not for mum's practical nature, dad and I would have managed to leave the tiny pink rat babies be there for ever).

They were saying something completely weird about this lady. Apparently, she had not changed her clothes for days. Mum claims right now that she spent three months in that period wearing the exact same sari and blouse. What about her undergarments? What about the petticoat? They laughed away my questions. Now, I sit in front of mum and ask her seriously, tell me, what about her petticoat? She doesn't laugh any more. I hope she changed those, she says.

It was all highly interesting and mysterious to me. It is depression of some sorts, dad said. Some guy must be involved, mum said. She was her friend but would not talk to her at all during those three months. She came to work, in that sari and blouse, did whatever was required (teach classes I suppose), and left. Only to come back the next day, in the same. How did her classes go, did the students complain of any funny business? I don't know, she did okay with her work, mum says.

Anyway the rest of the details are hazy now, to me, and to mum. But I have, all these years later, having even forgotten the lady's name, remembered the threemonthsari incident. And I think some days I can feel the weight of her sorrow. She has everything, why should she be depressed? This was what my parents would often ask (each other). I know though. No one ever has everything. Its just human nature to want the one thing you don't have. And if you want it badly enough, you go a bit wonky, and do funny things.

Did she take off that sari and blouse at home and wear it back the next day? Thats what I wanted to know. Mum thought yes. Like mum (and quite unlike me), the lady was very neat, and, as I said, dignified. Her saris were starched. The blouse fit properly, and matched. She wore neat little pieces of jewelry. And that single solitary sari of three months, it held up. It did not turn into rags. She never looked particularly unclean (although, compared with her original avatar, she looked slightly funny).

Me? All I feel like is dressing in black entirely. Today I suspected that I smelled bad. I took a shower just now. I do own a fair number of black things. I might be able to pull off the all black look for a bit without smelling bad. I don't promise to look very nice during this period though! But I am sure my loyal friends will bear with me, till I come out of my black phase. And start counting the positives; and accessing that bottom (filled) part of the glass of water in my mind...

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

where have you gone?

The magic is conspicuous by its absence today. The morning started all wrong. Actually this wrong morning started yesterday afternoon. With a severe case of prickly eyes. Tuesdays are somewhat calm days usually. Meaning that the monster has no after school activity. I figured I could use that time to catch up on some rest and sleep, cancelled a meeting and went home jubilantly.

The house was an unholy mess with the cupboard guy and the ac guys and a billion other dusty footed individuals traipsing in and out. My trusted home minister had to walk an hour in the sun for a ladder. Then an hour back again. (Yes, I admit that being able to smile after that is something remarkable and that in comparison my pissiness is ridiculous. I admit that).

It was nine pm by the time the individuals left. I had no appetite for dinner anymore! I am just too tired by dinner time these days. Having the monster in my room is driving me crazy! She has every single stuffed animal she possesses arranged on my bed. These are still better than games which have small parts. I really have to hold on to the thought that, whatever it is, it is better than those kids who wear squeaky shoes and walk around. I guess the parents are to blame for that, but nevertheless. I found myself making the monster promise that she would NOT get those shoes for her child. 'Are the shoes with lights okay amma?' she asked. I know, all very cute and all, but not when you find pieces of bananagrams (or similar) under your ass at 3 am as you grope for your phone, and you know exactly who to blame.

Which brings me to men. I like men. Most times, I like them better than I like women. Less complicated. Less intricate the connection between various things in their brain. More open to new ideas. Better company by far for drinking beer and swearing. If they are brainy as well, I like them even more, because then you can make brainy jokes. Or they can make brainy jokes and I can laugh. With women its all about emotions and how one feels about things rather than what those things are, swearing is kept at a minimal level, and wine (which I cannot absolutely stand unfortunately) and cheese and nice things like that. These things have their place too, of course.

But the thing that drives me up the wall is that for men, its always about the BIG things. Life changing experiences. Huge fucking moves. The giant-ass picture of the earth in their head. Dreams of conquering the world. This is something impossible for me to deal with. I am ALL about the small things. The details. I live in the detail. Ask me and I will give you twenty bullet points. I think I do keep sight of the big picture (generally. right now, not so much). But I thrive on the details. I feel its a lot more sensible this way. After all, you have to work through the details to get to the pot at the end of the rainbow, right? The code, I like to fix the bug by going over it line by line. So I absolutely get irritated with the big talk. Especially now when I am in a very un-magical mood.

Yes, yes, I know these gender stereotypes are not necessarily accurate, I just have to look at myself to figure that out. But I still have a beef with the big talk. Today in particular... Oh heck. Let me go plod through paperwork. These are mere 'details' I know but I have to take care of them else they will explode in my face....

Monday, 12 July 2010

Magic Monster!

Kathrine Switzer is the woman I was reading last week. She was the first woman to run the Boston (marathon), wearing a number. There is a nice made-for-the-movies type story in there, back in 1967 this was, but as you are all aware, I am not good with links and reviews and such like. She claims that when her father, in a bid to dissuade her from something in school, gave her running, it felt like magic. She felt that as long as she ran everyday, things felt magical.

I am old. As the hills. I know those of you who are older will be quick to point out that you are older. Yes, of course, I know that. My mum is some thirty years older than I am (twenty eight to be precise). My sis is also older than I am (by three years). But I am sort of mentally old, weary at times. I guess it is because of all the thoughts that crowd around in this head of mine. Or perhaps because of the juggle through the day, the crazy schedule. The husband is older. Not just the actual three years, but body-mind-weariness-wise. I think his age is entirely attributable to his work schedule. But hey! thats for him to figure out.

As I was reading Switzer and thinking about life and feeling old and weary and so on, I realised something. At times I feel super duper young. Let me, at length, explain how. As you are all well aware that I love words, I love blathering on and so forth, am sure you will stay here long enough to hear (read) me out.

I find magic. I feel magic. Not in the P.C.Sorcar 'Water of India' stuff - although, if in the mood, I love that stuff too. We went once, the three of us, in Mumbai. It was total fun, especially the part where his wife and his daughter who look like identical twins with bad hair-dos from Long Island, NY, showed up. But magic in random things. To whit.

I was watching my last week's blister. Nursing it. Suddenly, before my very eyes, the skin formed on top of it and its smooth as a baby's bottom and all healed and nice. Nasty blood blister too it was. I had a second of magical feeling there. How can my atoms be put together in such a manner that I can heal myself? Amazing, right? (Please, don't tell me you are disgusted by this. You clearly have not read the monster's collection of gooey books, in that case).

Of course, I am constantly amazed by how the monster in particular, and people in general, learn things. Languages, math, stuff about nature, swimming, cycling, stuff like that. In the moments that I feel old I say 'Stop it! Nothing else can enter this head' but most times I think, 'Bring it on, its a new experience, I will learn something from it'

At the Germany conference I exploited my magic beans to the maximum and thoroughly enjoyed listening to people. I also saw barnacles (at least a photo of them) for the first time in my life. And felt like life was complete when someone in the audience said 'Billions of blue blistering barnacles!' Nasty looking creatures they are. They are housed here in the infamous campus, must go say hi to them in person, and try to scrape their cement. Its so magical that I went all the way to Germany and met barnacles.

I think you have to be young to feel magic. Children are crazy with magical stuff. The monster, for e.g., asked me, as I was playing basketball, 'Amma, do you know a bee's face looks like?' Do you see that? I had never thought about a bee's face. So we peered down at a dead (or near dead) bee and saw its face. Monster was super excited. I was super excited too, though I could not see much. 'It looks like half a pizza' she declared. Yes, of course! And how awesome is that!

If you have ever observed a child with a new toy, you will know what I mean. The routine where the toy is thrown under the couch along with the dog-hair and last year's plastic spoon, and the child spends endless hours playing with the box the toy came in, finding magic in it.

So gentle ladies, and, well, men, come on tell one tell all. Tell this young-old Kenny, what you find magic in. The palm fronds? The cloud patterns? Music? Paintings? Movies? Some days I find it in everything. Some days it goes away leaving behind my aged self....

Friday, 9 July 2010

Thirteen terrific years

Yep. That's the number we are at now. It was July. It was the 11th. It was 1997. It was swelteringly, disgustingly hot. Somehow, despite it all, we got married (and I survived the Kanjeevarams!). I still feel it ought to have been special in a more personal sort of way. But then I recall that I have thoroughly enjoyed all the weddings I have attended, even the conventional sort of extravaganza, wherein the bride and groom are side-lined and the family goes crazy doing what families do. It has been forever too. I think I am fine with it. I have lost the urge to hop off to Vegas (or similar) for a re-do. I do think occasionally of somehow 'renewing our vows' in some meaningful manner, but not really done much about it. I do have a plan, based on a book I read recently, but right now it feels a bit selfish, that plan.

I could go now and get him a gift. What? Cannot think of anything. It has to be something thoroughly silly, because that is what I do. That is my place in this scheme of things. But he is hard to please. Completely fussy about clothes and so on. I have done the photo in frame of monster and me theme to death (he loves them, they are all over his office). Oh will figure something out!

We were discussing plans of what we could do (considering various constraints, such as the FIFA world cup game and the plan of travel - not me! him!). Something involving basketball? Dinner perhaps? Dancing (sure, right, like I would! no way! I wouldn't!)? The monster got pissed off instantly when we said we would go without her. I won't make you a card, she pouted. Whatever, girl, we don't need your card! Silly child.

Mum-in-law is bound to figure out something nice for lunch. Including something sweet, as is the custom. I will act as her assistant, per usual. Yes, a nice family lunch, wherein we resolve not to lose our temper at the child. Yes, that will be a good thing.

The world's leading feminist (I mean me, I feel like I have the only patent on it. That my brand of it is the only one that makes sense. That everyone else's feminism is flawed in some manner), I declared this morning 'You are the guy, you figure out something' Riiiiiggght like that is going to happen!

On the other hand, I think, its no big deal. Thirteen is just a number. Its a lifetime already and a lifetime ahead of us as well. Every time I think of him, however angry I am at some silly stuff, or however happy I am with some silly thing, I think of how any other life would have been impossible to bear. Sometimes, for all my talk about my dad and mum and my childhood and the wonderful role modelling and atmosphere and all that, I feel that if not for him, I would have been a very very different Kenny. My confidence, my independence, my creativity, these and a million other things I owe to him.

I used to feel a bit irritated when I first had the monster, with the fact that she looks so much like him. Everyone would instantly react with this observation (and also add that this was very lucky for girl children, to look like their fathers). I was sleep-deprived, humongously fat, had raw nipples, my hands seemed to smell constantly of wet wipes, couldn't work more than an hour at a time, was constantly worried about colds and sneezes and everything about that tiny girl, and then people would come up and proudly say this. I felt like hitting them. You would, till recently, have heard me crib (although I have gotten rid forever of wet wipes now) that for all my effort, least she could do was to look like me.

Then I had this brainwave. Every time I look at her now, what do I see? I see her father! Who is, love of my life, and soulmate of mine and together for ever and constantly having stars in my eyes for him and so on. And then I was like, Dude, this is the best thing that could happen to you. So thats awesome! (Hope the monkey gets around to making us a card!).

Cheers mates, its anniversary weekend at Kenny's! Will involve much running and basketball and chocolate!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Is it better to have loved & lost..

than not to have loved at all?

i often ponder on this mushy ass bunch of mumbo-jumbo nonsense.

like, really.

like when i KNOW i loved that blue hair-band firmly, and then i proceed to misplace it, sometimes it is eaten by my handbag, sometimes it is whisked away by the monster (i suspect), sometimes it goes in the wash (and never comes out).

that little piece of paper on which i made my wish-list (of things to do, not things to buy. i like to believe that i can easily let go of things on my shopping list. because you know, not materialistic like that. or like to believe am not at least). where have you gone? i loved you really.

* important pieces of correspondence from my perfectly disorganised office avatar.
* even more important things such as our house deed (or similar).
* my passport.
* atm card (okay this one is super scary).
* that ear-ring that disappeared that day (possibly, it was flushed down the kitchen drain).
* laundry ka ek bill - ek kya, gadzillion laundry ka bills. so much so that my most favourite person in the wide world, my mumbai laundry uncle, gosh, i miss him, he told me not to bother, he would keep my bills, both copies, and i should just show up and collect my stuff when i remembered.
* half-read novel - of course a routine occurrence in a household that is overflowing with books. i thought for a second that Farhan Akhtar was really talking about my life, then i remembered that i don't wear silver. maybe i should. i bet someone thinks silver next t your skin improves memory. why not? if pink coloured magnets can increase your libido?

is it really better to have lost these things after having loved them? take for example, my passport. its always good for a laugh. you should see the picture in my first passport. you will chuckle, i promise you this. i totally love flipping through the pages and thinking about that unique smell in the streets of bangkok. or how i stopped and stared at them lighting incense at the road-side buddha shrine. that one time when i rode an auto back from mumbai airport because they did not allow me on the flight, at 3 am. the potatoes we ate in romania. the fun i had in edinburgh. i grimace at the schengen visa page from 2003 - just irritation at the german tendency to drink water 'mit gaas'. i liked it fine this time, but then i was preggo last time. heck man, i don't like to lose my passport. (i did find it, it was like right there, as usually happens. but it had taken a walk for a bit while i tore my hair out, walked up and down the stairs ten times, opened a billion drawers and so on, then it came back).

i think i need to concentrate more. today, i must resolve, for example, to not lose track of the following -

1. My hair clip thingie - this really pisses me off because then my hair is all over my face and that i really hate.
2. The blank check. Oh gosh, this is scary, please yaar take this off my hand. Maybe I should just send it across with my driver. Chal, let me do that.
3. My offer letter. I have to do so much paperwork to quit my mumbai stuff and to join here. And it all hinges on this piece of paper so its super annoying to constantly lose it (though its nice to find it again. I rub it longingly when that happens).
4. My sanity. This is critical. I used to tell csm LONG time ago, before he became the csm-farmer person that he is now (yeah!). Check on: mobile, wallet, sanity. These three things you must not leave behind. For me the sanity bit is especially critical. So. I love it. This sanity of mine.

To cut a long story short, no, its NOT better to have loved and lost than to have not loved at all. It is best to love just being organised with one's life. Yes, thats much better. First, I must start by cleaning my desk. If i can find it...

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Lists and things

i love to make lists. i usually make tons of lists, i follow some of them. i always pack from a list. except when its a day trip for work, when i just tick the few items (laptop! powercord! mouse! book!) off in my head. i even grocery shop with a list. my cook knows better than to fling item names at me. she makes me write them down and pin them on the fridge. and then when i leave, i forget the list. then i come back for it. sometimes i wing it. i forget half the things when i wing it. i like lists, all of it - making, ticking items off, losing, re-making, looking for the exact right pen for it, using the back of bills and other things (recycle! reuse! not so much reduce!), passing it on to the monster and making her read them out to me (this is tough, my writing is not exactly legible, its like here, how incoherent)....

when i was in germany i decided to start a list. now this is a fun list. things i want to do. sort of like things i want to do before i turn forty. but at work. i am on the cusp of a change. i should make such a list. i need to also make some resolutions. this whole move ought to feel like a big fucking challenge. being the spin-doctor and eternal optimist that i am, it feels to me like an opportunity. people are warning me. don't be too excited! don't think that you will have such a good batch of students every year! but, i am not stupid you know, appearances notwithstanding! i expect no such thing!! don't think this don't think that, they say. it doesn't faze me. i am not thinking those things. i am thinking of what i have done over the past year. if i was to summarise, here it is:

(1) Coffee Breaks
(2) Friday Lunches
(3) Weekday Lunches
(4) Family Parties
(5) Basketball Games
(6) Running

of course none of these were done alone, so imagine how many wonderful people i have met over coffee and lunch. these are the people i will work with. how cool! and when it comes to non-working hours, even if i set aside the bunch of my old friends that i have re-discovered in and around our alma matter, there are the kids! i really did not have so many kids as friends, the past six years as i grappled with everything. i have a long-standing due of a soccer game with two of the boys. i have spent hours over jigsaw puzzles with her. i miss the crazy running around the track with that brother and sister duo, have not done that the past month. although they are so very small (like five), the conversations we have had!

yes, its supposed to be all very challenging for me the next few years. but heck! bring it on! yes, you are welcome to question me on my achievements and stuff. sure! if i had stuck with the momentum i had in mumbai things would have been different. also true that that campus is ahead in terms of changes and new programs (that are relevant to me) in certain ways. i could have ridden that wave. of course. but it doesn't matter! i am here. we have a warm home. monster is happy. i miss my mumbai friends a lot, i miss certain aspects of mumbai a lot, but its okay! overall, i am a happy happy middle-aged aunty with 11 boxes in her office (my office stuff from there).

[also, the coffee is SO MUCH better here. my two favourites: Special Coffee (Rs.5) at Campus Cafe & Cappuccino with double shot of coffee (Rs. 30 at CCD, both with no sugar, of course. so give me a shout out y'all, when you want to drink coffee in chennai.... i have not had to drink tea since i came here thank heavens!]

Friday, 2 July 2010


I keep thinking 'ooh i must write that in my blog' as I read something. Then I think 'naa. let me finish the book and then I can write a proper summary' - of course that never really happens. By the time the book is done with, my opinions of various things read along the way have changed. I have forgotten how I felt at the beginning of the book. I have started to even dislike it a bit. I never seem to like a book as much towards the end as at the start. And also, I don't do reviews of movies or books or stuff like that, generally. It feels like too much effort!

Just to mix things up a bit, I thought of talking about what I am currently reading. A running book (its highly unlikely that a running book ends as well as it begins, unless, of course, its the Murakami, that genius). It doesn't matter what it is. Or who it is by (you know its not the Murakami, of course). But its super inspiring! Sports stuff always is, to me. All the sports movies my husband has made me watch over the years. The books by all the basketball legends that I have managed to plod through despite the poor English and organisational glitches. And more recently, all the books by runners I have read. Oh! And not to mention that article about Zola Budd I chanced upon in Runner's World in October last year. Just super cool!

It made me think about my own career as a sports person. Or the lack of my own career as a sports person. Some of these people seem to hint at a genetic predisposition to sports. I had none. Dad used to claim some prowess at Tennis and Swimming, but I never saw that side of him, really. Mum wore a half-saree to school and though she is good at Yoga and can really walk a fair bit for an ancient person, is not particularly sporty. None of my various relatives, except one cousin of dad's who was supposed to be brilliant at Kho-Kho (but he doesn't seem to have done much, and well, he died young), accomplished anything by way of sports. It was thus a pain in the neck to describe to them my passion for basketball. And then later for the guy-who-played-basketball. Of course, the fact that I did not grow much (or at all) was another problem, in both cases (He is SO tall! Well, I will soon cut him down to size, I would reply, though I DID NOT mean that). This still is.

It was in the VI std. that I started on basketball. Initially, as in most coaching I have gone through, the coach made us just run. It would drive the boys nuts because I could beat them. They would go crazy the next day, trying to beat me. But there was always a bunch of boys I could defeat rather easily, and I am sure they all hated me (probably still do!). I was not particularly skilled in basketball though, I worked hard, somehow always preferring the running parts of the coaching to the others. Now I think I do okay, I can shoot decently (for a short person of middle-age) and dribble reasonably with my right. I guess there was a point of time in the past when I was good. But it was when I was in the 9th std. My parents refused to even consider sending me to the camp in Bangalore. I was not overly keen anyway, I figured it would be painful, and was studying for various things, which was the reason I used to wake up at 5 am, drink milk, study for a bit, cycle off with best friend to the courts, sweat buckets, return home, shower, eat, pick up bag, cycle off to school (and then take a nice nap in class)...

At the coaching, after a point, I was with the girls from the sports hostel. They were all nice athletic strong meat-eating girls. I was a skinny vegetarian kid who had eaten maybe one egg her entire life. But the coaches liked me. I am not sure if it was just my crazy enthusiasm for running and sweating; my geekiness in listening closely to their advice, or the fact that I was not supposed to really be there. Girls from our type of families, who were good in studies, and not looking for athletic scholarships for college, did not show up day after day to sweat it out. I think it was something like that! Skill-wise I am not sure I was that great, really!

The sub-text of it all was irrelevant to me. The coach had once come home to ask my parents to send my sis to some camp. He was politely turned down. I felt super good though because it meant I stood some chance, genes-wise. And also, I adored and worshipped her. (Now I just love her!). As for me, I just was looking to be out there, wind in my face. I had people come up and yell at me about studying for the JEE or something like that. I was doing that. I loved that too and was doing that as well as I could, and my early morning jaunt only made me concentrate better, never tired me out or anything!

This is getting too long. I did not want to say all this stuff, at least not now. I just wanted to say that I like those books, mostly 'cause they make me feel like I am not the only insane person around. That there are insaner folks out there. With the difference that they all manage to accomplish something using that insanity, whereas, I, just, well, run. And hope that my past mistakes and irresponsibility towards my ankles will somehow be forgiven and forgotten...