Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My love-escapades with Saturn

I have an on-and-off deal with Saturn a.k.a shani for Indians and I am positive that he loves me more than I love him. He does have this tendency of returning back like an illicit lover and like every illicit lover has his whims, and 'gifts' that he likes to shower on me to show that he has returned. Well he chose last Monday to return and boy was he fretful when he returned!
I should have taken signs from the weather to know that something was up, but I didn't. The temperatures had plummeted the previous night and the cold was biting at my bones as I tried to pull the blanket around me in a desperate attempt to get in a position to keep warm. I looked at the watch on the table "6:30". Damn! and I could hardly see four feet out of the window. The world was just a mass of swirling white outside my window. I got up in bed and leaned over to switch off the fan and flopped down into 'warm' position again. I decided to sleep for a little more to get the sun shining outside. Next I opened my eyes, the watch showed 9:45. I jumped up in bed-those morons at the mess-counter have a tendency of-late to pack things off when the clock strikes ten. The chill had crept into the room, and my toes wanted to curl and get back under the blanket. After much debating about what to do, the situation was under control when I thought about what would happen when I faced 11o'clock at the Lion's den. It is much better to face the Lion with at least a full belly if not a full brain to go with it. At least you have the satisfaction that your physical body is intact when your mental part takes a beating. So after more choice curses I creep out of bed and painfully complete brushing my teeth. As I returned yawning away(I hate over-sleeping), and regarded my watch again "10:15". Where had time raced?Surely there must be some mistake? Not proceeding to think, I grabbed my sweatshirt and ran to the mess. I saw that the counter-guy had removed everything and was cleaning the counter. The mess-clock showed 10:17(damn now I'll have to beg and plead). I approached the counter-guy.
"Bhaiyya chai he kya?"(Is there tea?I tried starting from the bottom and moving onto more important things)
"Nahin. Sab katham ho chuka hai bhaiyya" (no everything is finished.)
What? The mess people hadn't started having food. Surely there's more of everything left? This guy is messing with me. I continued as if I hadn't comprehended what he said.
"Bhaiyya mein dhooth ki baath nahin kar raha hoon. Chai he kya?"(I'm not talking of milk. Is there tea left?)
"Nahin bhaiyya sab katham ho chuka he."(No everything is over)
"tho aap log kya piyoge?"(Then what will you people drink?I was getting angry now. I knew I was late and had no right to get anything, but this prick had always been a pain in the arse and he was really getting on my nerves today.)
"Dhikayiye kaun pi raha he. Idhar kaun pi raha he"(Show me who is drinking here. No one is drinking tea.) That does it. This guy has stepped over the bloody, fucking line. Not only did he have the nerve to say lies, now he had the impudence to challenge me.
When I say challenge, the reader shouldn't read that we follow a feudal set-up here. Quite on the contrary, while the mess-workers(most of them) treat us with respect, we reciprocate and treat them with respect as well.
Claanggg. The plate I held only a second earlier went flying onto the counter. I turned and walked back as counter-guy continued to blabber on. Pride in full and upto the brim, tummy quite without, I was fuming as I stomped back to my room. I didn't notice anything as I threw stuff into my bag and flew out of the room and began my cycle journey to the lab.
I should have paid attention to the sudden change in circumstances then, but I didn't. Silently cursing the mess-guy with all my might, I braced myself against the heavy fog and cycled on. The weather had taken a sudden dip since the past two days, but today was extra special. The fog circled everything like a white blanket never letting go and I hunched low on my cycle to keep warm and drove on. Today was one of 'em bad days, ah but they come and they go, what's to fuss about. Oh no Leo, you are speaking too soon son. Anyway as I cycled into the Academic area and swung into the corridor like I always do, I noticed that the corridor was pretty wet from the dew condensing on it. It is out of bounds for cyclists, but I hate using the paved path instead. Reason-Oh I want to get to the lab without my private parts getting bumped all the way, Thank you. And thinking what oafs people were to take the brick-paved road I cycled on. Past Leo's corner(that's a different story), I remembered to slow down considering the damp corridor. See I knew this was one of those days. And on I went thinking how many days it would be before I get into trouble and have to explain my very 'valid' reasons to the professors. As I reached the last bend on the corridor near the library I slowed down and swung into the bend. The next I knew my cycle went flying. It was like someone had swept it out from under me. I saw myself falling. I don't know why, but every time I have taken a fall in these IIT corridors I have loved it(ahem not the 1st time, glad you noticed). So in mid-fall I realise that Iam falling and I don't do anything to break my fall. Iam so captured in the beauty of the fall that I fail to do anything. Oh no Leo! So I hit chest first onto the bricked floor with my bag falling on top of me. I don't know when any of my limbs touched ground zero, but I seem to remember thinking that my head wouldn't hit the ground. Baammm!!! thought too soon baby, my head hit the ground chin first and then the side of my face, so hard that it practically numbed me. Maybe that was why I lay there kissing the ground for a few seconds before the brain regained control and sent emergency panic messages to every nerve in my body. I jumped up to hear thumping footsteps and saw that some passer-by had come running to help me up. I saw that my the jacket had a dark patch of dust near the chest region from where it had taken most impact. That fall would have done Christiano Ronaldo proud; of course he makes sure there is very less impact when he 'falls', but mine had so much of flight involved that I'm sure he would have loved it. And any ref would have given a free-kick and would have booked the  other guy without so much as a second thought had it been a football match. But sadly this was no football match and there were no die-hard supporters jumping up and down and booing the other guy in unison, no one shaking their heads at the atrocity levelled, no cries for punishment, just silence and the passer-by who looked at me as if I were the first guy he had seen falling. What a disappointment! As my head was still quite numb, I turned to the Good Samaritain who had come running.
"chehre pe chot tho nahin he?mujhe kuch lag nahin raha he".(Is my face bruised? I can't feel anything.)
"Hmmm..nahin re. kafi lucky ho hero"(no. you are lucky 'hero')he replied after an inspection.
"Thanks. to fir mein chalta hoon." (Thanks. Then I will be on my way.)
I picked up my cycle and seeing that there was nothing wrong with it(Really Leo? Was there nothing wrong with it?), I cycled back to the lab. Now I was quite certain it was one of those days. But to think that it was a re-visit by Shani?, no I didn't think it was that yet(oh Leo you poor idiot). As I walked into the lab, Lion gave me a look as if to say "now what have you been doing?". The day passed onto lunch time with nothing much accomplished, yet the fog outside stood guard in the form a mild chill. As I started to cycle back I still had the hairs on the back of my neck up-something more had to happen.As nothing happened I felt a bit warm cycling back. I avoided the corridor-ha! I wouldn't fall for that a second time!
I was about to cross the atm junction a few yards from the hostel when it happened. Two girls on a cycle, one riding pillion were about to cross from up ahead. Remembering the way of things I swung over to the side to let them cross. Oh wait! why are they shifting to my direction too? Damn idiots! why don't you just cross dammit! I clutched the brakes with all my might. WHY THE HELL AREN'T THEY RESPONDING? The brakes just wouldn't hold well. The cycle had been quite ok after the crash in the morning eh smartass? Very smart you were then eh? I had been in quite a good mood seeing that nothing had happened and was at a steady pace when this happened you see. It was like those knight-fights you see in the movies, where they ride towards each other with spears outstretched-except here we were two 'knights' who were trying our maximum to avoid getting any closer. I could see the whites of her eyes-the one in front, pretty much like the knights did when they got pretty close. And I am pretty much she saw the veins in mine as well in those 'slow-motion seconds'. But just before the crash I shut my eyes real tight and hoped we would just pass by without crashing. Oh God please don't let me crash, just let her swing to the side! I have to agree with those chaps in Inception. The brain just processes such a lot of information so damn fast when it needs to. In dreams which last only a few seconds entire worlds are created; as for me those few seconds or split seconds before the crash my brain was on over-kill. As I closed my eyes another thought dawned on me. What if I opened my eyes and she is lying in my arms? Iam no pervert, and it was not a romantic feeling that I had, but if Shahrukh can get that happening in that many movies, it stands to reason that I can imagine it happening. I mean c'mon it will probably be next only to the girl-next-seat dream that guys have. You know when you go on a journey alone and you wish that some girl your age sits next to you. Its just one of those things and as I rightly read in some FB update, Indian Railways has some weird 'magic' shit going for it that this never happens. Just a wish that someone your age from the opposite sex sat next to you rather than 'uncle' who looks as grumpy as his age and who eats from the start of the journey to the end of the journey conveniently fed by 'auntyji' from next seat. I wonder how they can eat continuously, all the while complaining about sons,daughters,and the respective in-laws, the neighbourhood kids, the neighbours, the state of affairs in general, the country going to waste. I look at the floor; the pile of ground-nut shells and vegetable droppings and other paraphernalia 'slipping' from the couples' hands have begun to cover their feet. "And the children of today...no responsibility..look at the one infront, rotten no doubt. They grow up, they forget parents, no manners, creating problems...." I force myself to not break out laughing. Oh where am I, ahh..so it is understandable if someone wants a person from the opposite sex of his age for companionship on a long journey-just practical nothing crass about it. But in my knowledge only once has this event ever occured- to my friend on a bus journey from Coimbatore to Kochi. For it is not important just to get a girl sitting next to you, she has to be someone who doesn't treat you like you have the plague, and actually wants to have a conversation. Someone who is not weird for a change. And the friend afore-mentioned has been the only recipient of this honour. If you are reading count yourself lucky you idiot! Anyways I thus imagined with a sense of pure wonder if that would happen. Bammmm!! I felt my cycle's handle pumping into my tummy and the air going out. I opened my eyes and struggled to stay on my legs. It was an almighty crash and no-no girl lay in my arms. The one in front was picking herself up while the one riding pillion had gone flying from what it looked. The bag she carried had probably aided and both had gone flying and lay equally sprawled in the middle of the road.I nursed my hurt stomach and was thankful that nothing else had happened. I wasn't that sure about the girls though.
"I'm really sorry. Are you hurt? I really couldn't do anything. I had pulled over to let you pass"(How could I tell them the Shani story anyway?)
"No it is ok. I'm fine"girl-in-front spoke. I wasn't so sure about her companion though. But she helped herself up as well, gingerly, and nodded her head to my enquiries about her health and well-being. So I assumed it would be best to leave the surroundings.
He likes me. He really does-Shani; and this is his usual way of showing love for all the days he has missed me. I get this from time-to-time, so its no big deal. But you have to admire his handiwork. He does it with such panache that you just fall for it everytime-oh Shani! I sometimes end up feeling relieved that I'm alive and all my limbs are in working condition. Many times I don't get the latter satisfaction you see- so it pays to be thankful for small mercies. And for the times that your life structure hasn't changed by his sudden outburst of love for you. Oh such love!!
PS: It was revealed on inspection that the crash in the morning had actually smashed the brakes and there were no brake-pads to speak of. Shani had designed it so well so that the fun lasted till the afternoon. Damn you.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chachan and I went Trekking...(Epilogue)

To @ with love
The trek back
The next day it was a long trek of about 23 kms. straight to Chidwasa our first spot, that awaited us. We had breakfast and said our final good-byes to Nandanvan and the mountains around. It was a joyous lot that made their back. We had achieved what we had set out for and the trek back was mostly downhill so there wouldn't be much of a strain. We clambered over the rocky section and Chachan was fortunate for having not made it with one limb less when Shuttle upset a one-ton-or-so stone. We set off at a terrific pace and we had wonderful conversation along the way. Chachan and I discussed everything under the sun. When we stopped for a break DK Bose showed us the fun ain't over anymore by stepping into what seemed like quick-sand. He was knee deep when we pulled him out, but he insists he had found a foot-hold..maybe he did. We passed people on the way after Goumukh and Bhojwasa. And I was cheeky enough to wish a French dude 'salut' after he gave me a 'namaste'. Someone ought to tell these guys that namaste is virtually unheard of nowadays and they look really funny bowing and saying 'namaste' as though we don't know a word of English. Small kids nowadays are taught to wave and say 'bye-bye' or 'hello', but hey its nice to hear a namaste once in a while. I wouldn't score high if my French ma'am heard that I wished him an informal 'salut'. But it was part cheek and part bro-hood on these mountains, so French guy if you are reading-"salut". We reached Chidwasa by evening, but Dude was nowhere behind. He was limping somewhere far behind, given company by a tired Kaanta. When he finally made it to camp, the whole camp cheered for its only 'lady'. Hey but he did brave the boils a long time. The next morning I made sure my last dump on the mountains was memorable by selecting a good spot like before. After this I went over to the river-bank to pay my respects to the river one last time. It was a solemn affair, and that was when I got the idea to get you what I got you-@. It was tough finding, but it was worth the trouble and Chachan helped too. After breakfast we made the last stretch back to Gangotri. Me and Chachan met a group of Malayalees on a pilgrimage and were treated as heroes for having been to Nandanvan and Vasuki-Tal. Our small moments of pride; it was nice to meet people from back home. On the way back to Uttarkashi it was more heart-clinching turns by bus and more camaraderie. We got back day after to the insti saying goodbyes to Jhansi & c.o and Kaanta 2 at Haridwar. It was the day after we started from Uttarkashi when we dragged our tired arses into SAC.
Final Words
It was a trek I'll remember for a life-time. It had so many incidents, so much thrill, so many mishaps, so many heart-stoppers, that it truly reflected the name Adventure and Trekking (club). Right from the start to the very end it was a nerve-trying, gut-wrenching ride and in between all this fun. It was a trek in which I was reborn-twice, with many near-death experiences. Like Kaanta said "in sab mein hamein seekhne ki bahut sare cheezein hein"(There's a lot to learn in all this). It was something which made me think more of you-@, everything connected to me, and life in general. I shall never forget the new friends I made on this trek. Guys, the time we spent together will remain with me forever. Hope we could do another one soon. Waiting for that and the memories it will bring....