Encounter With “Angry Tom”

Throughout the day, I have been goofing up things! Yeah.., I did my prayers before the day woke me up; but I guess Mr. God had gone for his cup of coffee while I said Good Morning!

First thing, I locked Vijay in the house while I stepped out. Wonder how I forgot that he was still sleeping inside. Poor thing; he had no choice but to bother our neighbor to get out of the house.

After reaching office, I realized that I left my notepad at home. …n I would be limbless without it because the entire day’s work schedule was jotted down in that book. I mocked myself for not using outlook wisely. Anyways, I’m lucky that I stay close by. I troubled my colleague friend for a pick and drop! Other wise, my bad temper would have compelled me to curse all the careless BMTC bus drivers and tricky auto wallas on road. Not to forget the great planners of Bangalore, for raising fly-overs with signals and incomplete pillars and alien structures all across the city.

However, I was trapped in the most embarrassing situation later in the evening. After work, we were in one of the shopping malls as I was in no mood to enter the lab (kitchen) and carry out culinary experiments for dinner. So, the best option was the nearest food court and for desert, window shopping!

We were in eZone to check out if the price of our dream Plasma TV has come down! Very seriously, we enquired about picture quality in pixels, price comparison with all brands, offers, discounts, etc..!! Hee… The guy doesn’t know that we were doing the same thing for the nth no of time! Seeing our enthusiasm, he would have felt that we would pick the TV the very same day…!! After a while I got bored and I diverted my attention to other products – from mobile phones to music systems to even hair driers!

That is when I observed this person; not because he was a handsome hunk; but because he wore a peppy blue colored T-shirt. I told myself, “What an amazing color for a guy to choose to wear! Even pink would suit him well”. I also observed fancy buttons on his shirt, which made me wonder if he borrowed it from his mother or sister. “Not a bad joke”, I laughed and told myself! Swear, I’m not being cynical. I’m sure you would take it in the right spirit! :-)

Hey… Now this guy smiled at me. “Shit..!” I murmured. It was so mean of me to make fun of a colleague. I walked up to him to say a “Hi” and in the process introduce myself. “Hello”, I said with the best of my smiles. To initiate a conversation, I asked,
“Are you here for window shopping like me, or have u picked anything?”
“NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!!” he replied.

“Are you not an SRITian?” I tried hard to make sure that the pleasing smile was still pasted flat on my face.

A big fat “NO”, he yelled, rolling his eyes at poor me!

I looked around to make sure that Vijay is not watching me drown in the soup!

“Okie, Bye.. Oh, By the way.. I'm Sorry, Take Care, Good night” I said and escaped before he could open his mouth.

Like Jerry does to Tom, I felt like punching his nose until it blew up to a size of a balloon. Also, I wanted to tie both his hands and legs to a dining table and tickle him with a crow’s feather. Why the hell did I feel that he smiled at me? I doubt if he did that ever in his life. And why the hell did I feel that he sits in the next bay in office? Oh God…! Not at all my day!

“Enough of roaming around!” I told Vijay. “Let’s push off home soon and hit the bed before I come across the next disaster".

I went to bed reminding Mr. God to teach Mr. Tom how to smile. Also, I filed a complaint, “Grrr... so rude of you. Okiee.. , I made fun of him. But it was just between you and me. Yet, u locked me in such a thwarting affair”.

“Hahahaa….” Huh?? Did I hear him giggle at me?

It was Vijay speaking to his friend on the phone.

When Your Stomach Cries…

Let me brush my memory and begin right from the start of ‘that’ day.

Like any other day, I was still under my cozy blanket in my hostel room at 7:30 in the morning. My room mates never take trouble to wake me up before that because they know I would turn violent. I heaved myself down the bed, by then it was very late and I knew I had no time for break fast. Plus, I heard my friends talking about upma and the raw banana served in the mess hall. “Oh God.. Why would they never progress in life?” I asked myself furiously and dressed to college thinking of eating later during the day.

It turned out to be very hectic; this or the other reason interrupted throughout the day.. and till I left college in the evening, I did not get to drink even a cup of coffee. I hurried to the mess hall but was flustered to see the place being cleaned up and tea time was over long time back. I could not think of anything else other than food..! At least for those couple of hours I was living only to eat.

As soon as I entered my room, I saw my roomie taking the last bite of a biscuit; and on the floor was lying an empty packet of Nilgiris bread. Cannot blame them, because they know how much I dislike bread. And at that point of time, except God and me, none other on earth knew the intensity of my hunger.

Taking my friend along, I rushed down the stairs to buy something from the next shop. But we had to stop ourselves before the big black hostel gate. I went through the emotions of a prisoner behind the bars who is denied of living a life following his aspirations. Once closed for the day, it’s next to impossible to convince the warden to let us out, however crucial the reason be! My friend said, “Just an hour more.. we will compensate for the entire day by having an elaborate dinner! It was Wednesday and I knew I would get my favorite aloo fry.

That particular evening, the clock ticked very slowly! I do not want to remind myself what happened afterwards. The menu was changed, instead of aloo, it was some non-vegetarian curry (which I do not eat) and there was nothing left from the lunch menu. All I got was some potato chips and little sour curd with chilled rice. I could not control my misery beyond that, tears started running down my cheeks. My friends were also equally helpless because there was nothing they could do at that time of the night. Finally I got to eat a banana! That was the feeling of being in heaven - when the banana touched my taste buds!

None other than I am to be blamed, I know very well. It was a well deserved punishment. Lot of times, my mom was after me with food. When she prepares dosa, I would feel like having idli, if it was sambar, I would rather prefer rasam and if it was chapatti for dinner, I would want puri. I used to be so terrible at home.

The day’s experience taught me the value of even a small piece of bread. I could hear the wail of hunger, which is one of the most unbearable pains one could go through. Even after 60 years of Independence, India still has the world's largest number of poor people. More than a quarter of its population is below poverty line. But I, unlike the children deprived of food, ate lavishly the next day. What ever happened was just a day’s occurrence. I thanked God more than a million times for making me and my dear ones very fortunate.

Let us care for every crying tiny stomach, at least by not wasting food. From today, you and I will not dump anything from the plate into the bin; let that be a promise between us!

pongal feast @ home

Room no 69, St Philomena’s College

"Joseph, how are you here?" I asked disbelievingly. It was a pleasant surprise to see my classmate in college at my new office. At least one familiar face; I thanked God for bumping into him. This guy, unlike me, used to be a first bencher! So definitely he was in the good books of most teachers.

Let me share this incident that happened when I was in the final year of my graduation. To me, Room no 69 was not an interesting place during class hours. Simply because it was my classroom. Even now I cannot believe that I had the patience to sit through hours of Math classes.

One afternoon, when the teacher found the entire class restless, she gave this million-dollar offer, “I will be glad to teach only those who are really interested. Others may step out and need not worry about attendance.” I just couldn’t believe my ears and was thrilled. I even decided that I’m going to have a gulab jamun from the college canteen after leaving the class. I chuckled to myself and immediately closed my book, got up and walked out of the row of benches. I expected girls sitting behind me and many boys do the same. But it was a shock to know that nobody else made use of the offer, not even the brats among boys.

I couldn’t make up my mind – whether to get back to my seat, open my book and pretend as if I’m solving math problems or to just get out! However, the teacher showed me the way towards the door before I could decide. How embarrassing!

I walked out all alone with guilt and shame, cursing my friends who ditched me. As soon as I reached the canteen, I took a deep breadth and shouted, “Santosh Etta, oru gulab jamun poratte”!!!


Hatred is Not a Family Value

Love is blind, I have heard. But life has taught me that hatred is worse; it is a sightlessness that tears one apart without being killed.

I just cannot get this rid off my mind. Last night I was informed about the demise of somebody whom I know since childhood. She was a person whom I used to see almost daily till 6 years back. However, our acquaintance was limited to a smile whenever our eyes met. I could get some sleep only hours later, though I went to bed early. God..!! Is that fair to wipe away a life from earth so easily? Did you not remind yourself that her children still need a pillar to lean on?

Her husband too passed away few months back, leaving behind their children unaccompanied in this crowded world. Both of them are still in their teens; long way to move ahead in life!

It is in these situations that we value relationships. Unfortunate children; circumstances do not seem to favor them. Parents were involved in a love marriage, opposing the family. But, is that their mistake? Are we living in such a horrendous planet where even death cannot get over hatred?

I do not know if the souls need prayers, but certainly, children need love!

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