On The Train

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My birthday was on July 8, which I celebrated at home. After for almost 3 years, I was at home on this day. I am 24 now, but when I am at home, I felt like I was still going to school. Though a lot of things have changed in the past 6-7 years, I still smile when I see the playground that we used to play in.
Everything I see, brings up some old memories. I would really love to re-live those moments. If I were given a chance to go back into the past, I would change quite a lot of things. If it were somehow possible just for once, just for me, I would have corrected all the evils that I have committed. The lies that saved me from the stick, the small steals that gave me an extra 2-3 bucks for the ice-cream, the headaches, stomach aches that helped me escape school, etc. all these were fun. But when I think about the past, do I feel guilty?

If I were to answer that question, I can’t.

What a pity that the time machine is not a reality!!! I do feel guilty sometimes when I have had a bad day. You would be wondering why I am going back into the past. I can explain this. When I was writing this, I was on train, coming back to Bangalore from home after spending two weeks away from work. It had been a year since I had been home and met my family. When I was coming back, I was all alone and the journey was long. I had the laptop with me. With nothing to do, I dived into the past.

Now coming back to my thoughts that day, I really had a flashback into 24 years of my life.
I am sure you wouldn’t be interested to know what all thoughts that flooded my mind. I won’t tell also. Those things were very personal. I have done things that are known to just one other person, and if he/she lets it out, I will be doomed. But I know, the other person would never let it out, because it will be very embarrassing for him/her as well. And please don’t pester me about this afterwards. I will never tell this little secret to anyone ever in my life.

But I will tell you things that will make you smile.
“I only got beaten up by my parents once. That’s all. Can you guess why? I told a lot of lies”. I was intelligent and clever then also.

I will write down a small incident in which I was caught red-handed. Come on, Einstein had failed so many times; it was just once for me. I was in class 8, Stewart School. I was quite an average student then. Obviously, after this incident happened, I improved in studies. I liked all the subjects, but History wasn’t my cup of tea. It had always terrorized me till this incident. I had never got above 50 in history till this year. I am very thankful that I was caught; otherwise I would not have passed in the history paper in the final exams (ICSE).

So, I hated History, and I hate it now also. In 8th standard, my parents hired a tutor for me to improve my grades in all subjects, including History. He was quite strict, but I respected him. He taught me all the subjects, including History. I would address him as “Sir” from now on. Sir had prepared a daily schedule for all the subjects and he had kept two days for History at my parents’ request.

In school, we were supposed to solve the questions at the back of the chapters once they were taught and submit them for correction. I did all my homework in time except for the assignments in History. Our teachers normally took 2 days to assess or correct our homework and return them to us. We maintained all these assignments in separate books for each subject. Our teachers were not so particular about these assignments. So if someone didn’t do his homework, it wasn’t a big deal. From my side, I completed the assignments for all the subjects but History. I never even tried to spend time on History. It was so boring and uninteresting to me. So, I never did my homework, I never submitted my History notes for correction and I got away with this at school.

I am sure you would like to know what I did at home. History was on my Sir’s schedule twice a week, Thursday and Friday. Sir, usually took my notebooks and asked the questions from the notebook itself where all the answers were written. But, on Thursdays and Fridays, I had an excuse. I told Sir that I had completed my assignments given at school and submitted them for correction. I also told him that, I can only get them back on Monday since my teachers at school were overloaded with work. I don’t know why he accepted this, not once, twice but till it was one month before my final exams. All these days, I had been getting away from History with the same excuse. And Sir didn’t mind because I had improved quite a lot in other subjects. My parents were also happy and so they didn’t suspect any foul play.

The final exams were coming nearer and I was now scared. This excuse wouldn’t be accepted any more. Our syllabus was over and there were no more assignments. I put my brains to work and thought of a plan. Since my History notebook was as good as new, I thought that I would write all my assignments now, put fake signatures of my teacher, study hard, memorize all the answers and I will escape this time. So, I borrowed a friend’s book and started copying his assignments. I did it for 2 or three chapters, but after that I couldn’t do it anymore. At that speed, it would have taken at least a week more to complete all the chapters. And I had to study other subjects also. Our final exams would start after two weeks. I was scared. I had once thought of admitting this to Sir and my parents, but I couldn’t. So I thought of a different plan. I took of the brown covers on my friend’s book, put on a new cover, labelled it with my name and produced it before Sir as my History Notebook. I never planned to return it back to him. When he asked me to return his notebook back one day, just one week before the exams, I said, “I had kept it in your bag last week when you were not there. You must have taken it home and kept it somewhere”. I asked him to go back to his house and check once more. He was a good friend of mine and still is.

He was very happy to see my History notebook for the first time. I was relieved to see him pleased. But I didn’t know what was coming. He started with the first chapter, first question. I had memorized the answer to the first question very well. It was a long one though. Sir matched each word out of my mouth with the words on the notebook. After the first chapter was over, I thought my plan had worked. Then, the sky fell. Sir was looking at me with anger in his eyes. I could distinctly see his expressions change. His next question was, “Is this your Notebook”? It was the shock of my life, the greatest one I would say. I could hear my heart beat faster, I couldn’t think of any explanation. His next statement was, “This is not your handwriting”. The first words from my mouth were, “Yes, I changed my handwriting for doing History assignments”. This wasn’t of any help. Nothing would save me now, I knew. Sir called my mother and described everything I had been doing with History. I sat there silently looking at my feet and tears rolling down my eyes. I wasn’t asked any other questions that day, not on History, not on anything. My mother asked Sir to come back tomorrow, and went back to do her work. I sat there, looking at my feet overhearing the conversation between Mom and my grandma. I don’t remember how long I sat there. Nothing came to my mind. I couldn’t think of anything.

After sometime, my Mom came back and asked, “Whose notebook is this?”.
“Anup”, I murmured.
“Why did you do this”, Mom Said.
“I am sorry”, I said and hid my face with my hands and burst into tears.

Mom said, “Come, have your dinner, we will talk about it tomorrow”.
I had my dinner and slept off.

When I was home this time, after such a long time, I asked my Mom if she remembered this incident. She nodded her head smiling. I asked her jokingly, “Why didn’t you beat me?”.

She said, “You said sorry”.

I can’t express how I felt after this. I will never forget this incident, which taught me a lot and also helped me get 78 out of 100 in History in ICSE ’99.

(Still a low score as compared in other subjects). One day I will surely tell my parents myself that I smoke and drink occasionally….he he…..

I need a smoke badly now but I am ON THE TRAIN.

Cup for the Rabbit

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Everyone will remember the story of the Tortoise and the Rabbit, in which the Tortoise defeated the Rabbit in a running race and thus ” Slow and Steady wins the race” was incorporated into the English literature. As a child, I was really fascinated by this small story. I am sure, we must have heard this story not once, but over and over again. I must have heard it a 100 times, may be more than that. I am not going to repeat the story again. But I always wanted to know what happened after the Tortoise wins the race. Did the Rabbit challenge the Tortoise ever again? Did the Tortoise accept the challenge?

I wonder why the story ended after the Tortoise won. The story couldn’t have been continued:

1. When the Lion (king) heard the story about the Tortoise, he thought that may be the Tortoise would make a better king. So the Tortoise was crowned as the king of the jungle.

Probability of this event – 1% (My guess)

2. When the Lion (king) heard the story about the Tortoise, he called for the Tortoise and asked him about his secret. The Tortoise said, “Slow and steady wins the race”. To confirm this, the king arranged a second race between them. This time also, the Tortoise defeated the Rabbit. The king was very pleased, and offered the Tortoise to marry his daughter.

Probaiblity of this event – 1% (Again a guess)

3. When the Lion (king) heard the story about the Tortoise, he called for the Tortoise and asked him about his secret. The Tortoise said, “Slow and steady wins the race”. To confirm this, the king arranged a second race between them. Bu this time, the rabbit had learn’t his mistake, and never stopped till he reached the finishing line. The Tortoise lost. The king became furious about the Tortoise being a liar and killed him.

Probability of this event – 98% (I am sure)

“Slow and steady wins the race”.CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Tortoise woudn’t have raced again after that day. If it had, I am sure, “Learn from your mistakes” must have been more popular from “Slow and steady wins the race”. I am sure, the Rabbit would have won the second time. What might have kept the Tortoise running till the finish for the first time? “Patience”?? Of course, everybody knows that Tortoise can live upto 200years. Thats where they bring there patience from. A Rabbit can live only upto a maximum of 12 years. I now seriously doubt that Mr. Tortoise’s win was his luck. His stars might have been on his side that day. And I am sure, this event wouldn’t have happened again after that day. So whenever you hear this story from anyone, they are referring to this same event that had happened some trillions of years ago(probably). Because I haven’t come across any person who believes in this. and moreover, the story always starts with, “Once upon a time…”. The only thing that can support the credibility of this story, or the possibility of such an event happening in the near future is the “Theory of Probability”. But the theory of probability also states that the probability of a highly improbable event is very very less, but it will happen if you extend the time on both directions towards infinite. It might have happened, or it may happen. Nothing can be said for sure. So, we don’t know, if there was a race between these two immortal creatures. I request you all not to tell this story to your children.

I would prefer being the rabbit, who lost once but learned from his mistakes, though we don’t have evidence to prove this. But this event is more likely to happen. Its the Rabbit’s cup.

LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES.

Run for the Taj, “IS IT WORTHED”?


The Taj Mahal, which is known for its marvelous white marbles the world over, is in a run for a place among the top 7 Wonders of the World. People are going crazy over this poll. They are sending sms, mails, voting on the internet, forwarding mails etc. Almost everyone is talking about the Taj now. Whenever I find two people discussing something other than serious work, most of the time it would be about the Taj. Even I have voted for the Taj long time back. We all know that Taj is no more the same. Its whiteness is not like it was before. The government has also done its part. The ASI is on a revamp drive. Not only the Taj, all the other monuments are being repaired and beautified. But it will take years to bring back the same colour on Taj, and probably also the title. Can our Taj still make it to the top? Can it find a place in the Seven Wonders of the World? May be, may be not. All these questions will be answered in few days. If we win, we will definitely rejoice, and if we lose the race, we will feel bad for a day or two, or may be a week. After all this fuss about the competition is over, will we stop littering around the Taj? Will we be more responsible citizens? Will we not write our names on the perishing walls. I guess not. We will still be the same.

Have we ever cared to pick up a plastic lying on the road and throw it into a dustbin? Have we ever refused to accept a polythene bag from the grocer? Have we ever cared to help the sweeper do his job by just moving away when you get into his way? Have we ever cared to dispose off harmful wastes properly? Can we even think of a law in India which bans spitting on the road? Will we stop sticking chewing gums under desks after we squeeze out all the sweetness from it? When the grocer gives you extra change by mistake, will you return it to him? May be, may be not.

Whether The Taj wins the race or not, I wont be affected much, but for a moment of joy and glory. Children will be taught about The Taj’s glory in schools. They will answer questions on Taj with all their ink. They will write pages about the harmful effects of the poisonous gases that we emit. They will write essays on the incapable municipality who couldn’t conserve their ancient monuments. The newspapers will come out with articles on several scams of different departments involved in maintaining these monuments. Governments will change, new policy makers, new policies and new promises will be made.

But i still see the drain in-front of my house, in full flow, open and stinking. I still see people spitting on walls, precisely at places where its mentioned “No Spitting”. The “No Smoking” warning just makes the smokers laugh whenever they light a cigarette near it. “No Parking” is the safest place to park your car in India. “Use Helmet” is seen like a curse that the Government has imposed. “Go Slow”, people laugh at it whenever they see this sign.
How many laws (so-called) do we break in a day? Do we have a count? We can make our Taj, the No.1 in India, but will it be worthed if this Taj is in a nation full of such irresponsible and insensible citizens. We will surely take pride in Taj being crowned the most beautiful place on the earth. But who will take the shame in the garbage that lies right in-front of your house? Probably it must be the same garbage that you yourself had thrown a few days back. So, now I can ask, “Is it worthed”?.

I remember, a few days back, while we were walking, i asked Kunal to keep the chocolate wrapper with him until he finds a dustbin, with a smile, he put the wrapper into my pockets and said, “Go ahead, Be a citizen”. What should I have done, burst into laughter? I am writing this blog for you Kunal.

These small things will make a difference.

No one is a winner here!!!!

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Have you ever felt that you just missed your chance, or you were late by a milli-second or you came second by a 2.5 inches ? I am sure this would have happened with you time and again. But we never seem to learn from the past, no matter how substantial our loss or gain was. This has happened to me as well. Before today, the things at stake were not much of value to me. For example, say i lost a cigarette on a bet of balancing a chair on just one of its legs, 2 litres of cold drink on finishing a 2 litre Mirinda under 3 minutes, GE treat on a game of TT with one of the best players in our hostel, and the list goes on. I am surprised that so many things come into my mind when i think of my losses. And when i count the number of bets that I have won, I don’t remember many of them, or even a single one. Its not that I haven’t gained anything from those silly bets in our college. But i liked losing to people and see their expressions of triumph. But this wasn’t all. I am not finished yet. Here goes the second part.

When you lose, you are shattered. You feel like someone is trying to pierce a sword into your lungs, you can’t breathe. Your eyes are full, but you can’t let your tears out. You can’t speak. But somehow you manage to put a smile on your face, congratulate the Hero and walk off, lock yourself in your room and conspire against him. At that moment, he is the greatest villain in your life. Each part of your body hates this man. You just can’t wait for a chance to avenge him. And if all this happens because of a milli-second, micro-metre, 2.5 inches or milli-gram, its worse. You feel, the whole world is against you. You think, nobody is your friend anymore, no one likes you and no one needs you. You think of committing suicide.

And then, when you get a chance to offend him, you never seem to miss it. You enjoy, clap, dance and sing at his misfortune. But right inside your heart, you are still not satisfied. “This is not fair. This is injustice. He deserves more pain, humiliation and torture”. There is no mercy in your heart, no feelings and no sympathy. You are not human now. There is only Satan sitting inside you.

But is this all, does it end hear? Does the other person forget about all this if you hadn’t killed him? Now he takes your place and you are at the receiving end. This will go on until one of you dies just like the game of roulette. But one day, you will find a replacement. There are lots of humans with whom you can play this game.

Who is the winner or loser? YOU or ME??