The Boy in the Blue Balloon

An unpublished post from April 19, 2014

This happened one night.

A friend of mine and I were heading back home. While we were walking, I was pretending to hear all the white noise that was there outside, and at the same time trying to ignore the loud chain of thoughts inside my mind.

It was blaring so loud that eventually I had to pay attention to what it wanted to say. It was feeling disappointed so much that there was disappointment rushing in and out of my vein. Disappointment of a failed hope, half hearted decisions and stagnancy of personal life. Just tremendous amount of disappointment.

Heart was cringing so strongly with the tremendous amount of disappointment that I was forced to feel it cringing.

And in this moment, we heard the sweetest sound one could ever hear – a full throaty heartfelt laughter of a child. It was a beautiful, gladly welcomed distraction.

The boy was about 7 – 8 years old. He stood with his legs apart and hands resting on the big plastic blue balloon he was in. The balloon was then pushed in the water on a small backyard type of plastic swimming pool. This was such a thrill for the little one that he couldn’t help laughing every time someone gave a nudge to his balloon whenever it reached one of the corners of the pool.

During one of the nudges, the boy lost his grip and was flat on his back inside the balloon. And then, I saw the most intriguingly beautiful thing ever. The boy was still on his back, with a smile on his face. He seemed to be looking at the stars and enjoy the feel of the water beneath the balloon. He was in that position for a while and then he was on his feet again. Thrashing inside the balloon to his hearts glory till the time was up.

And at that moment, all my disappointments disappeared. I had learnt a lesson:
There was a momentary slip and I was flat on my back. Might not there be a possible reason, that I missed seeing the other beautiful things around me that I already have? I did. I know I did. I wasted couple of hours dwelling in the disappointments. I am but human, and I am bound to feel every emotions. But for how long, am I or anyone allowed to dwell in it?

There was another beauty that the kid taught me. He let himself stay down, saw the beauty around him, and was back on his feet again.

That is the best solution I think the boy unknowingly gave me.

Lie down for a while, but try and see the beauty around. Let gratitude never slip ever from our minds. But do not forget to get back on your feet again. There is no time to waste. All our happiness lies in the struggle to beat our challenges. And while we are at it, might as well have fun.

Learning will never ever stop.
—..

My Ode to Chennai

It always begins with a hesitation.

It was about leaving the comfort and security.

And, thus it started… The abrupt pause of my heart mid-way and I catch my breath half way till I cannot breathe anymore. There is darkness in front of my eyes and hot flashes all over. My eyes are open, arms thrown out looking for support as I gasp for breath. Heart beat starts racing, pumping blood with such force that I fear my chest will erupt. I am hyperventilating. I am not thinking.

There is this claustrophobic fear gripping my heart, making me want to bolt and disappear in thin air. But I am paralyzed and can do nothing but wait for it to pass.

10 minutes later, my knees are weak and my breathing is back to normal. I had panicked.

It seemed like it was the end of everything, as you know it.

A new job. A new city. Another unrecognizable language. Another impending, unavoidable culture clashes. And a cold welcome in this extremely warm city where I knew no one.

A perfect scenario for fresh new start.

It didn’t seem so at that time.

It was just the beginning of an unwanted struggle – thrown out ruthlessly from a secure cocoon to harsh real independence, with little money in my pocket. And little did I know this was what was in store:

The pain to build life, piece by piece, the fire to keep all the passions alive, till the next best thing I was looking for was at my doorstep. Building new friendships, letting some friendships go sour and the lasting friendship kept me going in this city when I had nothing to hold on to. Paying my own bills. Struggling with the ever rising rent. The impossible roommates. Border lining bankruptcy which always made making choices simpler. Living like a real minimalist to save money for the future. There was this plan for the future. There were dreams that always kept me going.

This struggle was never ending.

And as this chapter comes to a close I realize, I had a life I had dreamt of when I was in college. Life of independence and freedom. The struggle was what I enjoyed the most. Some challenge every other day. Challenges that I love.

It is these ideas about the future is finally taking some shape. It was this impetuous heart’s decision to jump into a new unknown uncertainty.

And, thus it started again with the abrupt pause of my heart…

Which will be fine in next 10 minutes when I can breathe again.

I will survive, yet again. And make it all the way till the finish line.

To the next new beginnings in another city.
—..

Thank you Chennai.

My Addictive Life

It’s like those addictive stimulants: you have some, enjoy it and come back for more and before you know it, you are hooked.
I am wondering if that is what my relation with the corporate world has come to be now. A typical Bollywood story: It began with hatred for the whole industry. Then it begins to woo me, by throwing a great opportunity at me. I respond and start earning the recognition. I finally succumb to my human nature and drown myself in the recognitions. I see the highs it gives me and I, unaware to myself, slowly begin falling in love with the work. Its my stimulant. I keep coming back to it, again and again. And before I know it, I am spending my evenings with it, enjoying it more than spending doing nothing with coffee in a cafe. The irony.
I hunt aggressively for passion, ask where is it. And now I wonder, what if I have already found my passion and I am as unaware as I was the first time I fell in love with my new addiction. What if it really isn’t that simple?
Amusing this life and its addictions is. Everything has a funny way of unfolding itself. Maybe it is my new obsession to throw myself away from a conflict or a dissatisfaction. Probably it is the aggressive, raw, quick power that I am building. Probably it is the name and recognition. Probably it is introducing myself to the new side of me. Probably…
What is everything compared to my name that will be immortalized when I’m gone?
It is amusing. It is making me a hypocrite. It may be a phase and I’ll re-prioritize. But then, till then it is a delicious addiction. This life.

My Fears and Risks

Responsibility. It is powerful. It is scary.

Its not always that something big happens to someone everyday. Its not always that everyone volunteers for something big everyday. That something big which has huge amount risk.

Risk of losing credibility. Risk of losing accountability. Risk of losing job. Risk of losing comfort. Risk of losing routine. Risk of losing a hard earned, carefully molded life.

This is something new. A big chance with chunk of responsibility that I drowned myself in. It is fear at times that makes me want to back out of this risk. And at the same time its the same fear that makes me want to jump in and walk towards it. Because when I will beat it and get through it, the feeling that I’ll experience will be exhilarating.

It’s a risk. It will make me. It will kill me.

And this is what makes me feel alive.

My Italian Wave

Its is pretty ordinary when I talk about this cliched scenario. But when the smallest of the unexpected but heartfelt desired gestures welcome your sight, along with the surprised warm smile that bubbles on your face, there is a warmth that fills inside the cold heart.

His persistent wave till he caught my attention, just to say “Hi!” was enough to bring back some life in my already tired bones. Probably he realized that my attention faked towards the TV across was as fraud as my smile thrown around the humans in the near vicinity.

Probably, there is little too much wine in my bloodstream.
From the cozy Italian place.

Too much Italy in a day!
—..

My Young Mentor

Let me warn you, this is not a love story. There is no possibility of any romance either.  But this is like a Bollywood story with an indefinite Hollywood ending.

The prodigy of this story and I did not meet, till now. Never shook hands. Or even saw each other. But we have spoken to each other. His name is, lets call him “Mr. Life”. Literally.
Now Life and I never got along with each other. No. Mr. Life was fire and I was ice. Every word he uttered which hit my ear drums through that speaker was like a dragon breathing fire. And in return, every word and tone that I typed back to him was colder than ice. There was lot of hostility in the air.
And then, today happened.
Today, we went past the “being professional”. Hostility level went down a bit when the conversation went beyond his forced jokes and he simply said, “I want to be a human.”

I found Mr. Life very interesting today.  I could agree and relate to his words today. He is someone who believes in thinking. Someone who agrees that there is point to everything. Someone who likes to think, live and enjoy.

For a moment, I felt I met someone with whom I could relate to in Poda Land. I had a smile playing on my lips and I wondered, was I too quick to conclude?

Where we friends, finally?

But then in the end, I wouldn’t be surprised, if he nudges me off the tip of the mountain.
—..

My Paradox

I am out of control, but still in control.
The poison gives my tongue all the liberty, but the teeth still holds it back.
I do what I love, but I am still not satisfied.

 This poem by Harivansh Rai Bacchan, makes some sense when I think of giving in to a risk which is now all easy and almost close to being monotone:

Vruksh ho bade bhale,                                                There may be huge trees around
Ho ghane ho bhale,                                                     Thick and providing shade
Ek Patra chhah bhi mang mat,                                     Dont ask for shade
Mang mat, mang mat,                                                 Walk on the path of fire
Agnipath, Agnipath Agnipath;

Tu na thamega kabhi                                                  You wont stop, ever
Tu na mudega kabhi                                                   You won’t look back, ever
Tu na rukega kabhi,                                                    You won’t halt, ever
Kar shapath, Kar shapath, Kar shapath,                        Take this oath
Agnipath, Agnipath, Agnipath.                                    Walk on the path of fire

Ye Mahan Drushya hain,                                             It is a great Scene:
Chal raha Manushya hain,                                           The man is walking
Ashru, Sweth, Rakta se Latpat Latpat Latpat..            Tears, Sweat, soaked in blood
Agnipath, Agnipath, Agnipath.                                     Walk on the path of fire

—..

My Italian Connection

Mr. Italy is avoiding eye contact. Heavy price to pay for looking away for a second. Mr. Italy is my version of Shanker Tucker, but with glasses. Smiles less. But when he does, I do.

How difficult is it to walk into the room and ask again, “How are you doing?”
The worst Mr. Italy would do is simply smile and wonder, “Why?”

Reason: I am intrigued by Italy.

Mas. Mas. I want  Mas.
—..

My Trail of Thoughts

It is so silent that I can hear the wall clock tick in symphony. I can feel my heart beating in rhythm with the tick tock of the clock. Every tick a reminder of a day spent doing, seeing or experiencing nothing. Time is so precious and sparse that it always seems to be slipping out of my hands.

“The sweetness of doing nothing.” That once used to mean so much. Now, I am wondering if I am trying to keep up with the pace of my life, or is it life that is trying to keep up with the pace I’m running. There is no time to think, no time to read.. No time to be random. No time to think random. No time to find someone to talk about those random thoughts. Everyone sounds the same. People always want to talk about other people, their work or living in their past thinking of a lost habit (eg: I used to do this and that) rather than acting on it.

I am bored.

The pace is so fast, that it is becoming an imbibed habit of my life. To keep doing something. Go out, see the city before I leave it again. Go out, talk more to people before we part again. Go out, live my freedom before I get tied down again. Go out and just do something. I just want to keep doing something. Some psychological comfort probably.

Being still was such an easy pleasure before and silent solitude an easy companion.

This thing called, “time”.
—..