Tuesday, December 28, 2010

ls -s ... really ?


  On December 8th, I told you something about somebody's ls -s. I called it a "red letter day." Now I have come to think of it otherwise. Was it really a red-letter day ? Did the red-letter day arrive sooner than expected ? were everyone involved completely read for it ? I just don't know ! I hope it's figured out soon.

+ Chetu

finally married ... well, almost

   Sometime in 2002, I remember that me, you, and Preetu met up at your place to study for Math internals. Preetu stopped studying after one worked example, you followed and I stopped after four or five. Preetu's exact words were: "eno idu! nodkondre saaku enu thale use madodu bekilla." We went for a casual walk later on around Isro layout. We went to Devara kere and sat down speaking kashta sukha. Initial trash talk led to some serious things and soon you guys were talking serious stuff like preetu and vidya, you and you-know-who. Well, I remember only so much coz ... like a dumb-arse I thought the talk was boring and went on a walk around the lake!! Anyway, coming back to the point of this blog, - 8 years later Preetu's life has finally settled. I can confidently say it is "ls -s" for Preetu. Vidya told me that her wedding is fixed and to be held in Feb 2011. I didn't feel happy n stuff ... instead I was relieved. How much that poor soul has been through! I told her ... soon after you get married, on your car you put up a sign "Finally married!!" anta.
   Good things happening in namm boyz lives. Wish you were here to see all this. I think you have a huge role to play in their relationship. How much you stood and bucked Preetu up when he said "ashte maga, we're over." My god! I still remember the looooong talk session we had that night in GanapatipuLe beach. No matter what Preetu said, you (and Vidya) always knew he cannot live without her. That's a gift few have moms ... understanding a person so much that you'll know what's best for them even if they don't. Anyway ... this blog was about Preetu and Vidya's ls -s ... so i'll keep my thoughts off it. That's it moms ... I've nothing else to say right now ... although I have a lot in many other contexts especially my visit to Cali. Will write to you after I gather my thoughts.
love you moms,

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I hate weekends!!!


  Yepp. its official. This is the worst weekend ever! - so far. I have a nasty course to study, head's all heated up, and every time I call I hear the female voice from AT&T and Vodafone ... say what she says. I hate watching movies on the laptop ... I hate watching sitcoms alone ... but I am doing all that. Is it so dam hard to have a proper day! I hate this situation ... bloody hell ... what ever did I do wrong!

+ Chetan

Being the best-man: gift or curse ?

   "Ladies, Gentlemen may I have your attention please." He said standing up to a set of people neatly dressed up and seated in their designated seats around the dinner table. The best man of the groom placed the glass of orange-juice (this guy is a tee-totaler) on the table and went on to say, "I have known these two love birds since college. Anything said about their love will fall short to describe the perfection that they are - together. Comparisons become useless, and hence I'll be brief and let's give a big round of applause for Mr. and Mrs. Perfect." He clapped his hands and initiated an applause that came from every table. The bride and groom looked at the best man and smiled. He sat down and got back to his orange juice while the band announced that it was time for the first dance. Space in the middle was cleared and the bride and groom danced to the soft tunes of Eagles ballads.
  While everyone was being about, chatting, greeting and generally sticking to the typical ceremonial behavior... there was this one person who was lost in retrospection. He just stood there in the corner and looked at the couple dance. One could clearly tell that he was completely lost in retrospect by looking at his face. He was not even trying to hide it! This blog is the story of what a best friend goes through ... especially if he is best friends with both the bride and groom. This blog (or series of blogs) looks to bring out the predicaments and the feeling of detachment a person feels when his best friends enter into a relationship.
  Awesome threesome that they were ... always spent time together. Even when they were geographically apart, they spent time together. Thanks to technology ... it was possible. The best-man smiled when he recalled the really long voice conferences the the three of em had. Those voice conferences didn't have a stipulated end time. They used to end on one weekend, only to begin on a second weekend - right where it was left off. The best-man's room mate kept track of the time span of these voice conferences and was amazed to see the talking capacity of people. This went on for a few weeks... and then suddenly he was told that the other two had decided to become a couple. "what ? how ? when ? i mean ... where ??" These were his initial reactions. He was so happy ... and confused at the same time. Happy because now, there is nothing that can separate him with his friends. Confused because he had no clue about what was going on. He needed sometime to sink it in and hence just expressed the happiness part of it and burried the confusion deep within him. 

  "ring... ring... Hello! (voice on phone) hieeee! ... what u upto ? (voice on phone) talking to him ;) oh ... (giggles) you two have a nice time chatting :) say hello to him from myside (voice on phone) okee will do. I'll call once I am done." The call almost never came. Initial days were when the best-man knew the couple needed time for each other and didn't bother about the non-returned calls. When the callback did come, it came with a lot of exciting events and things to share. The best-man felt so happy that he was part of something so special. After hanging up the phone, he went for a long walk and couldn't help thinking about the great times they're supposedly going to have in the not so near and uncertain future. Little did he know, destiny always has other plans.
  It was one of those days for the best-man... a really bad day. He felt really down and wanted to talk about it to his friends. "ring... ring... ring... ring... The person you called is not available at this moment. Please leave a message after the tone." "Hi! its me. Wat a crappy day... called you just like that. Call me back if possible. Bye." The call never came. He called again only to speak to the voice-mail woman yet another time. After a few attempts he gave up and thought his friends will call back. The call did come later that evening ... but by the time he could speak up and explain himself he learned that on the other side his friend is in a deep tone. Trouble! What the trouble was is irrelevant in this perspective. What's important is that the best-man swallowed his bad feeling, heard up and made his friend feel better. This is the first of many more such instances that a best-man has to go through. Everyone said that the best-man is the most understanding person ever. Some even go ahead and call it a trait or a boon. I say that it is a curse. It is a curse upon oneself to understand others to such an extent that no reaction to lack of reciprocity is assumed. An understanding person is always there... for his buddies. But are the buddies there for the understanding person ? Reciprocity doesn't have to be materialistic. It just has to be a thing or two shared or most of the time being there. 

  The rest of this story is an open question. Is it not right on the part of a person who is understanding to expect to be reciprocated ? Can this feeling of "he'll understand, he'll be there ... it's okay" be called as taking the best-man for granted ? Is it the best-man's mistake that he did not communicate his "left out" feeling with the couple ? or is it the couple's mistake that they didn't think the best-man would ever feel left out ? Why should the best-man feel lonely even when he is around the most important people in his life ? Why is it that when a new relationship starts, the existing ones take a beating ? Why is it that some times the closest people are completely oblivious to an obvious feeling which is otherwise quite visible to the uninitiated ? It is a gift for only few people that balance relationships well.  If one happens to ask them how they do it - you'd get a response that "I am not balancing anything here. I speak out everything that I ever think of to every speacial person in my life. And I want to hear from my special ones too. If they don't speak out, I claw my way into them and try to make them feel better." If you ever have known such a person ... you hold on to them real tight - for such a thing is one of a kind.
 - chetu

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

ls -s

   I am happy! so happy. Something good happening in friends lives. But again... this just had to happen. What goes down has to rise up - and rise it did! I guess I haven't sunk in the feeling completely hence I am at a loss of words to describe it to you but You can see it, right moms ?? Its been taken care of. The reason you came back... the reason for your smiles... is now in good hands. Someone said "a traveller looks all over the place only to find what he was looking for back home." Applying this ... what was being searched for is now found amongst us. Thanks to a few amazing people and the courage within... there are smiles awaiting. The question is ... is it here ? or miles away ? I know what this event means to me in the future... but still I am happy. The effort and thought paid off. Record this day moms! It is a red letter day (amongst others) in all our lives.

- chetu

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

எனக்கு ஒரு friend வேணடும் [DOT]

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Uncomfortable Nostalgia

   Nostalgia can be chilling. I always thought that it would be a nice feeling to be nostalgic. There are instances that will bring a smile on my face and that feel good lasts for a long time. Most of those instances involved us spending time together ... either in Bangalore or miles away from civilization (usually the latter). Instances like ... watching the first sunrise of the year from the kodachardri peak, eating misaaL pav in a place that is not known on the map, speaking to each other loudly to be audible against the musical backdrop of Unchalli falls, long silences followed by laughter in Raju katte. These are all timeless moments that we spent together ... and will last more than a lifetime. Then there are others. Moments which I wouldn't want to recollect even in my dreams. Most of these instances happened in college ... yes - you know exactly what I am talking about. The times when everyone around me seemed to know what exactly was happening, but I was the only one who didn't. I won't go into details coz that is only going to screw up my mind for the next 2 months. I intend to be happy for the next 2 months atleast!
   It was 2005-06 all over again for me today! I was blissfully unaware of something nice that happened. Apparantly it didn't occur to anyone of them involved that somewhere in the other part of the time zone there exists something similar to a human being called Chetan! Often it is these small things that will manage to wound a person partially. That damned wound will not heal ... but will not show also! It hides beneath making appearances at the wrong times. This time the situations are not the same. This time there isn't a YOU with me. For 2 minutes I completely felt a void in my heart. However I am not going to ponder over it much. Simply put in 2 words - life-u ishtene! At the end of the chess game, irrespective of who won ... all pieces go back into the box. Shake it off, lower expectations and move on. The sad part is ... there ain't no reciprocity anymore. I don't think anyone knows the meaning of reciprocity anymore. No point blaming them ... because no one can be like you! No one can be like you - that'll dismiss the point of you being unique. The "ME" back from 2005 would have reacted in a totally different way. But I am not going to waste my energy pondering about this insignificant thing. But I do write this blog to symbolize something. This blog is a symbol of what life has become without you. End of an Era. I would never have written this blog entry or felt like this had you been with me now. I remember once we were on phone and generally discussing on the topic of what's gonna remain ... the answer was ... me and you. The answer is same even today. Only this time ... you aren't physically present. So only me - to the outside world.
   Time and again verses of this song I listen to are proved right. I try to give examples to myself that attempt to prove the verses otherwise. But I have failed in every such attempt. My biggest loss is today's unfortunate event. I call it an unfortunate event coz that's what it is to me ... it could have been anything. But for me ... its an unfortunate event because it just didn't occur to people! Anyway, just for the record here are the verses from that song

   Koi nahi hai, mera yahan - tere bina!
   veeraan sa hai, saara sama - tere bina
   soone nagar hai, sooni dagar hai
   soone hai manzar, sooni nazar hai
   bin tere... tere bina

mai hoo aur kaali raath hai
bas ek gham hee tho saath hai

ek gehera dukh, tere kaaran
mere mann par aise chaata hai
maidaan pe jaise ek baadal
saaya apna phailaata hai
   wo din bhi kya the!
   jab leke tu aaya tha har khushi
   dil poochta hai
   kya aisa hoga dubaara kabhi ?
   maine dil se kaha 
   iss khab ko bhool ja!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dear Destiny - what did i ever do to you ?

Don't go he said. There's more to it than just you
Go! I said. There is nothing more important than just you
He made his choice clean and clear
Thought about all this that we would fear
Planned things in advance thinking stuff up
He did go back ... for a reason
and the reason is you

Destiny smiled from above
the times then were great
Just when I thought he was out 
You pulled him.

now the times have changed
but the same discussion remains
Don't go I said. There's nothing more to it than you
"I'll go" it said. I can't live with the distance
Come back to us I said. Let's see I've put things in motion he said
Now it is a waiting game for me
Each day gifts me with new questions
Questions for which there are no answers
Thinking about the answers makes me sad

Destiny smiles again this time more wicked than ever
Destiny had the upper hand twice before
It has the upper hand now
I don't have anything against you, dear Destiny
All I ask for is a simple life.
Don't go dear! I said
Come here dear! I said 
Have both questions fallen on deaf ears ?
I can't stop thinking
Can't stop feeling helpless
20 minutes is all I need
I'll put that thought in, which is now oblivious
Is that too much to ask for, my dear Destiny ?

He believed in you so much, dear Destiny
Sometimes I wonder, were you so desparate 
so as to snatch him away from us ?
were you so devoid of love ?
so as to become possesive about him
you took him ... I cannot understand that
but why not put smiles back on my face again ?
why these shady games ? what are you trying tell ?
what did I ever do to you ?

Miss you, Miss you not


  My first thanksgiving weekend in US. I learned that people invite their close circle and put up a nice thanksgiving dinner. And also that people shop till they drop during thanksgiving. Shops open at midnight and almost all of my classmates and university ppl queued up to grab the best deals. Some of them managed to get hold of amazing discounts while they were available. As for me I stayed up all night ... but in my house. Didn't dare to venture out... it was biting cold! (atleast for me) Sometime last week Vijay Raj had invited me over for thanksgiving. I went there on Friday evening. They have some house moms! Its huge! Vijay is a very nice person. I met Guna and Savithri aunty as well. Most of them there were wondering who I was or what was I doing there. Vijay then introduced me to everyone. After all the pleasentaries it was time for retrospection. Each one approacmhed me and asked me how did I know you. I took pride in saying that I was your best friend. These were my exact words: "He is my best friend." (please note no past tense) An elderly woman asked me "So do you miss him ?" I looked at her for a second and thought about the answer. Now what kind of a question was that ? Am I supposed to say YES and fit in the social protocol ? or Am I supposed to say NO... its been 4 months I've moved on! I stood there looking at her and then said "Yes very much." After I came back to Arlington, I got thinking and searching for an answer for the question "Do I miss you ?" 
  June 8th 2008 ... I left for Germany. You came home to say goodbye. July 23rd 2008 ... You left for the US. After I came back from Germany... I didn't miss you. NO. Why ? coz you were always present. I knew all that went on in your life... you knew all that went on in mine. Only difference being we talk on phone rather than on Raju katte. You still made the same influence in my life ... and I did the same in yours. You share your experiences with child like enthusiasm and so did I. I didn't miss you moms ... didn't miss you at all. The times when I missed you were when I called and reached your voicemail box. July 23rd 2010... my last working day at Bosch. The company I stuck with for 4 years (throwing away a fine oppurtunity to join EMC/VMWare) ... I had imagined about that day before. I'll resign, go home and call you ... we can speak about it for hours ... Then I land in the US ... I'll live with you for sometime and then head off to the university. During that time, we would sit and talk for hours ... much like how we used to back in BE. You complain about her and she about you while I sit there and laugh at the sillyness. I make you guys some delicious food. All of us chat with pavan over video and motivate him to come over to the US ... he gives reasons why he shouldn't come over to the US. You show me around NCSU, showing places and recollecting "illi adu maadidvi, alli idu maadidvi." Yes. I miss all that. All I can do now is to create hypothetical conversations and smile. 
  Do I miss you ? best answer is a question: "Do you miss your conscience ?" You are my conscience moms ... How can I ever miss you ? You are always there. When I do something wrong, or think about something that is so un-me ... I hear a voice "beesteeni magane!" Then I take a step back and think again. You have always been my guiding light and always will be. Conscience doesn't have a form ... bullshit! I say conscience is 6 feet tall, has a fair complexion, medium build, hint of tummy, a perfect nose, and hair that can be styled in any direction in seconds (without a comb!) But that form is not talking to me these days. My heart craves to listen to that voice. My heart cries out loud to speak about you to someone. You know the irony moms - I am under specific instructions not to speak about you to someone! That day I completely missed you. No one can talk like that to me! But still considering the gravity of the situation I agreed... Had you been there ... I'd never had to face what I did: I miss you for that. I miss the way you made me feel about the world and myself. I miss the space you gave me in your life even when she came into it. I miss the clarity of thought in you when talking about an issue. I miss the positive thinking in you that made people around you smile and brave even when destiny conspired against your life. I miss the love you show to your special ones. I miss the amount of time and thought you give to better your special ones' lives. I miss the energy you showed towards things that may seem trivial to most people. I miss the bike rides to Shivu during which we had the maximum bonding. I miss the happiness I used to find in small things wnhile you are around. I miss the life that I dreamt about us growing old together. I miss the trips that we would have gone on together. I miss the life in US with you even though I never lived with you in the US. All in all - I miss you moms. I miss you sooo much. As ksham said, I stay frozen on July 12th 2010... nothing has changed for me and nothing will ever. I will never have a best friend and a brother again. Life's just mechanical and goes on ... but the memory remains.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

back to that mode which everyone hate


   Today i lost it completely. Past couple of days, I sunk down and low to such a level that there isn't any lower that I can go. Idella bekitta nange ? Eno gottilla. Those days that I did not want to face ever again came back to me. My mind is now back to 2005-2006-2007. Suddenly, Metallica and other heavy metal music look interesting. Listening to them gives some sort of respite. It doesn't do anything to help me ... but increases the aggression in me. There is this new spark that is converted into a fire by my latest choice of music. "Bring it on... i don't need nothin." That is the attitude now. I seriously didn't want me to end up in a place like this ... by what to do, when all else fails I turn towards aggression for solace. For the first time, I missed calling home. Not because I was exhausted, not because I was sleepy or unwell... but I just didn't want to. I didn't want to speak to nobody. And that is the me I hate so much. No choice moms, absolutely no-choice. I am tired of sitting on this side of the laptop screen, being on this side of the phone, always being on the other side. Screw it! I need some strength on my own and this is how I get it. I picked up this line "solitude is the company of a virtuous few" from a colleague. I thought it sounded cool. Little did I know that its gonna bloody describe my situation in the near future. You would definately despise this aggressive me. You would not even talk to this new me. Can't help it. I have little choice with now you being up there. For my own good ... my mind has spawned this thread. I hate myself for being like this. All the concious attempts that I made to stop this state of mind have gone in vain. I really don't know how things will work out or will they work out at all. 

   By the way, I got a call back from Microsoft... they said we are interested in bringing you on for an onsite interview session. This in my first semester. I am supposed to be happy for it. The old me would be jumping ... coz this is something to be excited about. But the current doesn't even care! I don't know if I am twisted upstairs in my head or this is a natural reaction from me. I know only this... from this moment on, I'll lock myself from all kinds of social activity, with too aggressive messages on facebook ... aggressive reactions to people who are uninitiated to my state and will probably think I am retarted. I don't fuckin care! Live life 24hours at a time. Nothing else even remotely matters. I hate my state of mind ... but i didn't ask for it... i guess it just happened. Is there anything that can douse the flames inside me moms ?? Let me know.

+ Chetu

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Koi Nahi hai

   I got a reply from Microsoft regarding an internship position I applied to about three weeks ago. They want to schedule a phone interview somewhere in 10-ish November. This is my first semester of graduate study and I got a call! I might have got lucky ... or be at the right place at the right time. Who cares... I still got an interview call. If it were to be said in your words - this is one of those "WOW Moment"

   My first year in USA. The place where work on Eclipse is biig. There are these "Demo Camps" organized by the Eclipse Foundation around the world. Its no fancy huge corporate event but a small gathering of Eclipse enthusiasts and developers (max 40 ppl) who talk about what's cool and new with Eclipse. For a techie ... this is better than a huge conference as he/she gets to meet many like minded techies and contacts. Who knows ? these contacts can come of some help when one wants to switch. Imagine what it can do to a graduate student in Computer Science. There is one such Demo Camp organized at RTP by IBM. As soon I read the blog on planeteclipse.org, I jumped up and wrote to the organizer with the topic I want to present. He replied the next day saying I m more than welcome. The topic seems to have some interest as it is just provisioned and accepted at eclipse.org. Yess... I am going to present a brief demo about what one can expect from Sphinx (www.eclipse.org/sphinx) - in RTP on Nov 10th. This has to be a sooper dooper WOW moment for me. One that I am going back home :) ... another because I am going to present something for the first time to a completely different kind of audience. - WOW Moment!!

   All saturday afternoon in my apartment my room-mates were on a looong Skype conference with their friends who are now spread across the globe. I was reminded of our looong conferences and talks back in 2008. I always used to be blasted by you for not having a web-cam set up in my PC! Anyway... my room mates' long Skype session made me nostalgic. It brought a smile on my face ... coz I remembered all the good talks we had. This may not be a WOW moment ... but it's a small fgf moment.

   I am changing universities for Spring 2011... going to UNC Charlotte ... where I already have loved the courses and the program itself. I am so looking forward to it. Although this is not a WOW moment ... its a good step for my career I feel.

   These WOW moments instill confidence, josh and a feeling of well being in one. These moments are supposed to boost one's morale, energy and have a lasting smile (well at least temporarily) But yet, they are doing nothing. I am not at all excited that I am going to Raleigh to present something that I love to a fabulous audience. I am not at all excited that I am changing Universities although I clearly know that it is the right step for my career. I am not at all excited about even telling these to people here. You know, my room-mate gets so much joy in telling the good things that happened to him on a day to his friends. I know this because I listen the same things he tells to different friends. Why don't I have that now ? I want to jump with joy because I'll visit Raleigh again (this time for about 6 days). I want to jump because I'll get to present something to an audience that includes the Executive Director of eclipse.org. But ... instead of excitement and joy... there is emptiness. Which keeps wondering ... where is this part of me that used to be like a child ? the part of me that used to be so happy just by looking at rain! That part of me, moms, now rests in peace with you. The more I want to feel otherwise, I am only proved right. My sentiment is perfectly summarized in this song penned by Javed Akhtar and sung by Shankar Mahadevan. Once moms .... just once ... i want to speak to you... I promise I'll not bugg you... just once say yes.

+ Chetu

Friday, November 5, 2010

Solitude - my new companion


   today is DeepavaLi. Festival of lights they call it! What is it supposed to signify ? What lights ? I have no clue. Somehow I seem least interested in any activity this DeepavaLi. Partly because I am away from any place that I can remotely call home. But also because I am completely blank right now. I forced myself to do something interesting today. As a result, I made some biriyani ... like how Meghana's Koramangala makes it. Turned out quite ok. After that I am pretty much blank again. I went for a really long walk in Arlington. Went beyond the university and into the residential localities of Arlington. Its pretty nice out there. Cute houses with their driveways, some kids playing in front of their houses, trees on the side of the road, walking on dry leaves and making a crush sound each time... all these reminded me of my childhood in Jayanagar. That place looked just as pretty. Twenty years later, little has changed. Even back then I used to go for long walks alone - walking on fallen leaves and taking some kind of pleasure crushing dried up leaves as I walk. I used to look at other kids playing with their bikes and continue to walk on. In the end reach home, eat and sleep. That used to be the routine then... that is the routine now. Quite a boring life isn't it ? I'd like to think so. Then in 2002, you happened to me. As much as an act of destiny or a calling... I was introduced to you. Those 8 years can be called as the most interesting and joyful part of my life. I found out how cool is it to have a friend. How joyful it is to share with someone. The magic when some other person is able to put your thoughts in sentences! Spooky as it sounds, but it is what shows how much friends understand each other and know each other. I can hardly remember any argument we got into (apart from the silly ones where I refused to come to play cricket and you persisted.) All those times I spent with you I did not realize what I was learning. In a constant learning mode, I sometimes even refused to participate in discussions... just so that I get to listen to you talk. Back then I didn't want to speak... now I can't speak even if I want to! How ironic isn't it ... the way life takes you ? In a day there are at least a zillion times that I want to speak to you... a jillion things I want to share with you. So many times I even sit up to call u... and the many times I did, I learned that AT&T has reassigned your phone number to an American woman! You were always a running thread in my mind... more like a conscience. People say, I may not be able to speak to you or hear you - but u are still alive in myself as the wisdom you imparted onto me. I want hold on to that, but the thought of not being able to speak to you, hear from you is very difficult to digest. The times when I am alone at home sitting in front of the laptop doing absolutely nothing is when I feel the vacuum created in my life. Life has become pretty much mechanical now. I live each day as it comes... and look forward to December. December is just a month... it'll come and go after that I am yet to find a hypothetical motivation to look forward to. I am trying real hard to gel in. I am trying real hard to make new friends... but its just not working out. So I stopped trying. I was scared about her because she had to start from scratch... now I find myself in that position. Will I find someone as lovable as you are ? Will I find someone who cares as much as you did ? Will I find someone that knows what I am thinking while I am thinking ? understands the small things that matter to me ? I seriously doubt it. The memories of the moments spent with you around ... from 2002 to 2010 are all I have now. I'll hold on to them... closely... for those are all that I have with me.

- chetu

Thursday, October 28, 2010

moms - i m coming home


  So much has changed from August 9th when I had to fly out of Raleigh. It killed me inside to watch her leave at the airport. I was contemplating not boarding the flight at all... but then I am here for a purpose and have to finish it. Eversince I landed in Texas my heart was longing to go back to Raleigh. Go back to my home in America. The conditions when I left Raleigh back in August took turns and twisted into different set of situations in October. Irrespective of the situation I was happy to be there. What was planned as a surprise visit to her... came crashing down in one moment of weakness. I told her that I am coming home 2 days before arrival! I had held it in for a month or so and the last 2 days I couldn't hold it in. Got blasted nicely from Divya and Pavan for that. If it still remained a surprise as per plan, then I d have got to see her face light up when I would meet her on Friday evening. I wonder how she would have reacted. Would she hug me and break down ? or would she be so happy that she'll shout at me for coming all the way! That will still remain a mystery coz I blew perhaps the only chance of the element of surprise. Anyway, on October 22nd I got to see her face - in person. Quite a site it was. She seems to have come out slowly, although there is a long way to go I noticed that she is giving herself a chance and not closing off. I cannot describe how happy I was just landing in Raleigh! I came out of the airport and there she came driving. For a moment there it didn't sink in that I am in Raleigh... couple of minutes out of the airport during the drive I was like: "Shit! I am in Raleigh!" I couldn't stop smiling. I wanted to scream, yell and wohoo my heart out. But like a gentleman I sat there calm and quiet.

  Swaroop had earlier forwarded me a trip plan for the weekend. But frankly, I didn't care that much. All that mattered was that I was there... around friends. She dropped me off at home and left for the office to return in the evening. I sat there just like that thinking. What a life we could have had! Me loofy-goofy and you incharge. At that moment I so wanted to hug you moms... wanted to speak to you or atleast a hifi! I even took the mandolin and played ur signature tune... hoping u'll hear and respond in some way. But you chose to keep quiet. Any way, 2 hours later she came home... and thus started the most memorable, sweet 4 days of this year. It doesn't matter what I did those 4 days. It doesn't matter were I went. All that mattered was that I was with her or she was with me. Somehow the time seemed to pass - looking at her smile, pulling her leg whenever possible, going to the balcony with a coffee mug in hand telling her that "I m calling home" but in actuality I was sobbing turning away. Oh ya! I bought this gift for her birthday. I purchased it somewhere around Septembe 20th. It was a algae-green codroi coat. I loved it! But unfortunately, I seemed to have bought one size bigger. Typical me ... can't do nothin without such goof-ups. She liked it ... but has to get it exchanged for a smaller size. I am just glad she liked my selection.

  I was so darn excited that I couldn't sleep on Friday night (partly because I had to finish something) I sat there thinking about the present and how things have turned from August to October. I also started thinking about the current change and how it is going to affect my life, our friendship and the next year of my life in the US. Nothing is certain moms, but one thing is... she has found herself again.

until next time,

Sunday, October 10, 2010

truly happy birthday indeed!


    Her birthday celebrations went super moms! The amount of care all of them have for her is visible in the elaborate preparations those guys made for a small party. In the recent turn of events... this birthday is even more special for her. All the special people wished at precisely the right moments. I was on the other side of a skype video chat witnessing it. Funny it may seem... in the same country but still I could only manage to watch her birthday celebrations via skype. Anyway, let's not get into that now. The point is all of us tried to make her birthday special ... so far it has been great. She is so happy. I could see that in her tone. We miss you now more than eve moms. How awesome would it have been had you been there. The first piece of cake cut, would have been given to you... may be a hug or two, a tear or two. All of us hooting in happiness. And then may be we would all dance... she with her moves is a hit where as we with our unconventional routines bring some change. You were watching this birthday from above weren't you moms ?? I want to believe you were ... we want to believe you were.

    Right now, its movie-after-party time. She is watching a movie over there. But there is a bigger surprise waiting for her at home. We have managed to sneak in a nice surprise into the house. I am dying to see the reactions on her face when she sees it. Seperated by distances, but united by thought we have managed to make her special day even more special. With you all these trying is not required. Just your presence would have made the difference. There is a question mark in all our lives. And you know what ... soon one of the huge question marks will manifest itself into a smile on our lives. The circle is going to be complete moms. Damn! it is too premature to even blog about it. But you can read my mind right ? I bet you already know about it :)

    I am simply sitting in front of your laptop and trying to imagine how her face will light up after seeing our little surprise - coming all the way from Bangalore-to-Arlington-to-Cary.
    Ok now... I'll talk to you after she calls me about the surprise :)

- chetu

Saturday, October 9, 2010



   for the first time me and poms got to speak about you (post july 12th). All these days both me and poms used to lock up all the emotions in a part of our mind that is not at all accessible when we're in public. Everytime I came to your house in those times, I constantly reminded myself that I need to be strong. Kshama looks at my face and gets her strength and she is inturn the strength of Shanti. Poms also did the same. When we leave towards our respective houses is when we got time for ourselves to think about the events that happened. 24kms of introspection, thought, tears later I used to reach Kundalahalli gate signal. One right turn and I'll be home. My parents can't see me like this and hence i used to lock up all those emotions again. Sometime late in the night I remember waking up and just sitting there looking at nothing. Mind completely blank. No clarity even a day into the future. That's when I decided to take each day as it comes. Living 24hours at a time. Nothing else matters.

   Today, poms and me spoke about this. Its good that we spoke about this. But I do know that we are on the same page. Its decided that none of us in the circle suffer alone. If one goes down, the others have to pull em up. It worked today. After the conversation I was feeling better. None of the questions remain answered, but a new strength is kindled. It is true that we now have formed a circle - the three of us. The circle spans over 2 countries now. The plan (and hope) is that we are all in the same place soon. I am just counting down days moms... every day takes me closer to October 22nd. That's when I'll go back to Raleigh. Pretty soon October 22nd will come and go. What after that ? This is a big question. None of us know how things will unfold in the near future. There is always hope that it goes as we think. Then again reality wakes us up each time. Last 2 times our hope lost ... we may have enough in us to take it one more time. Speak to the big man urself moms... ask him for this one hope to be true. If I were to ask ... then I ask the big man to send u back to us. The world is not the same without you. On the 10th day of the 10th month of the 10th year of the new millenium... I ask of you to come back. 
Come back with your heart and mind and love unchanged. 
Come back with those smiles on your face seeing which we had joy in our lives. 
Come back with your theories and analogies about life which are proved right time and again. 
Come back with your passion to live from which we seek to be inspired. 
Come back to the joy of simple road trips that we used to have each semester. 
Come back for the countless hours we've spent in RR Nagar discussing life. 
Come back for the tender coconuts at Hanumanthnagar drinking which we made all our plans in life. 
Come back for the dhokla in BDA complex eathing which we used to come up with extemporaneous trips. Come back for the chutney in SLV eating which showed us what contentment feels like.
Come back because you need to see what we've become.
Come back and put some smiles on our lives.
Come back moms... please come back...

- chetu

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sweet October, November... and there after


   October started off with a bang! and a bang! it is. There i was sitting in my house trying to study for this impending test ... and bam! some one told me something that made me sigh so heavily. Happy, missing, sad, laughter, relief, clarity, loneliness ... all these emotions came out at once. I just wanted to jump up and scream and shout. It took me a while to sink in. It still has not completely sunk in. At this moment, I know only this ... you will be very happy hearing it.

   That's one part. The other is that I had another big ass test some time ago. I was studying for it and couldn't for one second not think about how we used to study. Not one semester have I studied for examinations alone. I come to your house in the afternoon... 
me and your mother will try hard to wake you up...
then aunty will give up saying "nodappa yeLode illa avnu"...
and i'll quietly sit in the room reading newspaper...
and then you'll wake up...
sit and talk for a while...
have breakfast in the afternoon... i regret how many yummy joLad rotti i have said no to!!
finally its time for study
study until lunch time ....
bat for one whole hour at the dining table...
discussing politics, college gossip, this generation's music vs old hindi songs...
back to the room to study...
and at precisely at 4.00 pm i'll sneeze...
this will indicate that we need to pull the curtains... 
and then aunty will get khara with super filter coffee...
u pick up the mandolin, i pick up a pencil...
u start playing crazy tunes while i give you the beats... (using coffee glass, table, book and pretty much anything that makes a thud or a ding noise)...
after our brief orchestra ... its time to study again...
evening sessions used to be so productive...
and at the end... we call-up ppl to see their status...
some new strategies, some new realisations...
plan for the next day... 
and u drop me off at the bus stop... 
on the way to the bus stop, we go on discussing the spoils of the semester, others mindsets, and why some people only call during examinations, why doesn't pavan want to join in on our study, why is preetham like he is... 
on on and on we go until the conductor of the last 15C to leave Kumarswamy layout bus stop blows a whistle.

 I used to leave everyday knowing that I'll come back. Come back to still find you sleeping at 12:30 in the afternoon, and I have to pull push the blanket ... just to see your sleepy face and hear u say "moms 1 more hour moms... and i'll be fresh."

 Funny how all these are only memories. But sometimes I feel you are still sleeping somewhere with a blanket covered until your head ... waiting for me to come and wake you up. Each day I curse myself for not ditching that company and come to see you a month earlier. Each day I curse myself for not applying to a university somewhere closer to Raleigh. Each day I sleep thinking how the times would be had you been there to receive me at the airport. There is still so much to learn from you... I just only barely scraped the surface. Moms ... where are you ??


Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy AT&T Wireless Customer

   Today i got my phone moms!!! You know, for more than a month, when ever I wanted to call you or da... I used to borrow some one else's phone or grab my lap-top and go to a place ... use Google CallPhone service and make calls. Inconvenient as it sounds, those 2 means have served me well. Thanks to wonderful people here and Google's CallPhone service I am able to stay in touch everywhere.The feeling of getting back online when u so much want to stay in touch each day is blissful. I feel like a primary school child when he's rewarded with an ice-cream or chocolate after a hard week of tests. The child finishes his tests and comes home all drooping and exhausted. But there's relief in his face and evident anticipation that his father will take him to the ice-cream store. The anticipation was there in me when I went to open the post-box. I felt so joyful that I can stay in touch 24*7 now ;) I came back and the first thing i called da. Felt good. I want to call you moms. I so much want to call you, speak to you. Mind says it ain't happening. Heart says "someday..." Just by looking at the phone I am reminded of our looong conversations on phone back home or our conversations on gtalk. I think that is what i have now with me. The intangible memories, invaluable moments. 

   We will speak moms... we will. I sleep 8 hrs a day ... you can call me anytime when I am asleep. I'll respond. But this time promise you'll not fade away like my most dreams... OK ?

- Chetu

Thursday, August 26, 2010

First day at College


  Today was my first day at college. I woke up early, had bath (that's like twice this week. hurray!), chose neatly pressed clothes (pressed because they were still not taken out from my baggage), combed my hair, even applied hair oil! With full expectations of studying in an international university i walked in the piercing heat towards my class from my apartment. Until now the campus would look empty but since classes start today it was full of people. Lots of races - American, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, and occassionaly European. I was all smiles about UTA that it has so far lived up to my expectation in terms of diversity. Walking toward the engineering building I thought to myself - I am actually in an very diverse and international university. Proud! And then it happened. As I approached the Engineering building, the 2 sets of automatic doors opened up as though welcoming me inside. When the second set of automatic sliding doors opened, the first thing that i heard was: "Aye nimmajji, NH 220 nallo class-u." I thought my ears were ringing. Walked on. Next I heard "be** C**d - aaj teri baari hai khaana bananeka." I was a little startled as to where I had come. Did the doors of Nedderman Hall (our engineering building) have teleporting facility ? because I felt like I had been sent back to some college in Bangalore !! And then it struck me. I am actually in a literaly International university - the Engineering department is full of international students. Okay, full of students from India. "TagoLappa! idyenta experience." I thought. "Ade boLi maga, ade Su** maga... ayyo!"  My diversity dreams were blown away somewhere when the doors of Nedderman Hall opened and the gust of cold air hit me!
  The first class today was Data Mining being taught by Prof. Chengkai Li. He's a nice informal person. He looks younger than me if I stand beside him. He started off with his introduction and then asked us to introduce ourselves. It was consistant. Out of a class of 23, 5 were non-Indians ... which included ONE American undergrad student, and ONE German-American lady who finished her undergrad in Biological sciences - 20 years ago. On my turn to introduce ... I proudly and concisely packed in my 4 yrs of work exp. at Bosch and some opensource thing, etc. etc. I heard random "O" here and there. Not sure  if it was Owww! or Oh! Then the class went on. Prof. Li explained us how his course is organised. He has neatly packaged his course with interesting content that is cutting edge (makes u want to cut ur veins in ur wrist), and state of the art. Taking his course almost looks like bringing on Insomnia for the next 3 months. Towards the end it became clear to me that I have chosen a "rod" subject. As RangayaNa raghu would put it elegantly: "maga, woge ne."
  At 7 pm local time, I had another class. Now this one is amazing - everything about it. Starting from the classroom, to the professor. It is called "DBMS Modeling and Implementation Techniques." In short we call it DB2. It is taught by Prof. Elmasri. Yes, the same DBMS Elmasri whose text book we had tried to mug up and vomit in the 5th sem VTU examination. It was quite a feeling to sit and listen to a lecture from a person who authored one of the books we studied in BE. Guess which textbook he wants us to use: yupp. his own. Only now its the 6th Edition as opposed to the old fourth edition. Prof. Elmasri finished his Ph D from Stanford university in 1980. And since then he is into Databases and database management systems. He is working on databases more than the time that I 've been alive! That reflects in his teaching. Every word he says has lot of content. It was very tough keeping up with him. In a little over an hour's time, he completely covered Transaction and Transaction processing concepts. Only problem is, it is tough to retain in our minds those one-liners that aren't present in his book.
  I think I am going to enjoy this graduate experience of mine moms, I left my job, amazing family, nice city to come thousands of miles away to live like an alien after being spoilt at home for 25 years. Until next time moms ... i'll let you know about my life over here.

- chetu

Thursday, August 12, 2010

30 days later

   Its now a month since that jealous bastard called you upstairs.The world is not the same place without you moms. I hope that jealous bastard who calls himself "almighty" is having a good time with you. I wish he understands how much fun you are and also sunk in guilt having taken you away from us.I hope that you ask him all sorts of questions and induce a huge swelling in his head.I hope that jealous bastard gets fed up of your questions and sends you back down whilst removing that little pest in your head. Man if I were to see him, I really don't know how I would pound him - that 8*&&*^*&&*(asdf9&*^&&*&*(.

   Although I didn't realise today that it s been a month since that fateful day, I had a sinking and deep feeling in me right from morning.In the evening I happened to see the calender gadget on your lap-top and realised that its been 30 days already. Its how you always used to say moms, if it has to be it has to be.Frekking destiny - although I didn't conciously remember that its been a month today, my very little subconcious brain remained hooked on timelines. Every day there is some deep feeling in my heart, but today was different. It was amplified by all those memories. From shivu, to raju, DBD, DBC, our exam time combined studies, or the times we spent sitting on the banks of devara kere, the time when your bike had a flat tire somewhere b/w Kollegal and Talakadu, the walks we took in that Isro  layout park, the way you used to blast me for saying no to a shared burger and repenting later, oh the list goes on and on moms.

   What can I say moms, a lot has happened since these 30 so days and not everything has sunk in yet for me. First of all, I left Bangalore not to go back for atleast a year, but i still don't seem to miss that yet. I came to where you lived during your grad student days - stayed there for like 72 hours. I miss those 72 hours more than my 4 yrs of professional life back in Bangalore. Some screws are really loose in my brain or I've taken granted the fact that I can call home anytime and someone will pick up. The same is with Cary, NC - but I still miss it! Anyway, I am in my university now - Arlington and it is hot! (literally) I don't know what to expect but I do know that I am not in the wrong place considering my interests and my past experience. It seems to have some value. Glad that I didn't waste 4 years at Bosch ;) I came real early over here. Hence i found plenty of time for retrospection, and introspection. Believe me - you don't want to be doing that - especially when you are alone.

   My journey as a student has kicked off - with flying colors ?? I don't know that yet.
All thanks to you moms - that I am here today. You, my sister, my mother are the main reason that I am here. You had made all the basic arrangements for me to come over here. I didn't even have to do anything. Funny thing is ... I can't even say I owe you. But I do, I do big time. I promise I'll meet you moms - not yet ... just not yet. 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Baby steps in USA


  Finally arrived in the USA! After a tiring and boring flight i came home to some very nice homemade sweets by veda. They showed me the place where you lived. Nice one it is! They took me to a Chinese resturant over here in Durham. Nice food. Had a nice sleep. Woke up very early in the morning. Raleigh-Durham-Cary is a wonderful small township. I love it here. It reminds of the outskirts of Sirsi! Lots of vegetation, frogs croaking, birds chripin (other than crow!!). They say u can see deer in the evinings! wow.

  I still don't know what to expect. May be i'll follow poms' adivice and take it as it comes. I don't know if I'll be an amazing student, i don't know if MS will give me a perfect platform, what i do know is i'll definately get some good exposure. What ever said and done, I will always miss you. Every moment we stop and ponder how would it have been, had you been here. 

More to come,

Friday, July 23, 2010

Back to being a Student

   Today is a very different day. Today is the last day of my service in Bosch. Feels a little weird to be out of office work after 4 years of relentless "software engineering." Since I was there for more than 6 months this year at work, they had to do my performance review. So my previous manager and current manager called for a "discussion." They started off with all inputs in the end said my performance rating is "xyz" but it might change towards the end of the year. Basically, in the end of the year i'll get only peanuts but who cares - I m out of it now. My mentor gave me a call from Germany and wished me luck. Interestingly he also pointed out one of the flaws that I have wrt communication. It happens to be the same one you were telling me! Chey. Innu solve aagilla. Wokay moms ... naaLe sigteeni.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Capacity guru !!

Kshamandu CA result banto day before yesterday. Clear maadbittidaLe! First attempt nalli normal peoples ge ne kashta matt ninn thangi antu ee thara circumstances nalloo clear madidaLo. Avattu evening nimm mane ge hogidde. Aa occassion ge ond saNN gift kodaNa annstu, so nann colleague na yeLkond hogi 4th block nall ond kurta togondu nimm manege hode. Kshama ge adu tumba ishta aitu moms.

Monday, March 15, 2010

"My Condolences" - Thanks, but i don't need'em

   He walked into the office on Monday morning after a long leave. I think he expected a little alone time and the last thing he wanted was to be posed some insensitive questions. The news spread like wild fire that his grandfather had expired a week ago. Poor guy, he had to come out of the grief and look forward to a new day. No! some of the "concerned" colleagues would not let that happen.

   He came to the office early to finish up his pending work, but little did he know that an army of "well-wishers" is going to make him hate himself for coming back to the office. "Hi. I heard what happened. I am very sorry. You know we are here if you need anything." says the first thoughtful colleague. How sweet! he thought. It brought a smile on his face.  

   "Hey! I am so sorry I heard yesterday when I was in the parlour. 
You know I got up immediately and didn't get my nails done. How did it happen ?"   
"Was he old ?" "Was he suffering from Kidney problems ?" 
"My grand dad had a very sad last days. He broke his knee-cap, wasn't able to walk. His kidneys couldn't take the toxins and gave up." "What happened in your case ?" 
"He had respiratory problems" said our boy. One of the insensitive colleagues quickly retorted - "Were you having him treated in a hospital ?" Our boy was baffeled. In his mind he thought "No no, we confined him to the garrage and let him be. He's gotta go any day. Why waste money on treatment" He just stared and said. "You know, when u gotta go u gotta go." 

   But that's not the end of it. A big man walks in. He's in his late thirties. "Hey, I heard what happened. I am sorry. Are the rituals taken care of ?... " "Wow! I didn't see that coming. Not from you" thought our boy during the small pause that the big man gave at the end of his seemingly thoughtful statement. He continued to say "... Because, there's a release early next week and you have some open points to close." Yepp. You guessed it. The big man was his Project Manager !!! Our boy didn't know if he was even supposed to react to a statement severely misplaced in context. Mr. Big Man, from my cubicle I can see our boy's expression. I think your "condolences" helped him ease the pain of his grandfather's passing.

   This purely fictious (although inspired from true events) situation can happen to anybody. What is the point of condolences anyway ? However subtle, thoughtful, sensitve they may be - they'll still remind the person who's grieving of the departed. Will an "I am sorry for what happened" bring the soul back ? Or you just said that because you conspired to kill the griever's relative ? Notes of condolences helped no one. Neither it'll bring back a smile nor the person who's dead. If you really care you'd just shut it or change the context and have a casual chat to make sure the griever is doing ok. Join him/her for coffee, take em out for lunch, go on long walks, read out Calvin and Hobbes strips, dedicate some music over the radio, do what ever possible but please do not convey your condolences. They don't matter at all. Oh ya - in case you expressed your condolences in order to purely follow the generally expected social protocol and stood up for the occassion - Don't! Even if you didn't follow the protocol the person who's grieving will not come back to you later on, point a finger (not the middle one) and say "Dude, my grandpa died. And you didn't say you are sorry." Believe me he wont do that. 

   In order to be a truly good person (or a good Samaritan) one needs to go beyond the social protocol. To hell with the "protocol" if it didn't help no one. To maintain political correctness please don't put people who are grieving through some shit statements and expect them to reciprocate in any manner what so ever. Most of us use "best regards", "with regards", etc. in our email signature. Its high-time one starts conveying the regards and show that one cares in a sensitive manner.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The million dollar question

2009, a bad year
economic crisis all around
people losing jobs all over
and those that didn't 
live in fear as to "is it my turn today ?"
i don't want increment
i don't mind the extra hour
i just want to keep my job

one year has passed
experts claim situation has changed
economy slowly recovering
companies are hiring again
all the while now 
only one thought bothers
only one question remains
and the million dollar question is 
... in the words of the TV9 anchor ... 
"hike-ooo unte ??"

One day when the lights went out

Its been three years and 3 months since this incident happened. I couldn't blog about it even though I so wanted to because the person involved in this incident was still working along with me. Now that the person has moved on from Bosch, I guess it wouldn't be a problem if I wrote about it. So, flash back to November 2006...

Work load has become too much. Its been more than a week since I spoke to Karun or Pavan. I can't remember the last time I talked to Preetham! All this effort being put to good use I think, coz the initial year or two at the office is where one learns stuff. I say this to myself every time I look at my watch and realise its half past 8 and I m still in office. The day was Friday and I had stopped caring about the dates. To have some coffee, I took my cup and headed towards ground floor where there is a 24hr pantry. As it was a Friday evening the 5th floor looked empty with only a couple of heads popping out of the cubed walls. I got on the elevator alone and pressed "G." I stood there thinking about what my friends would be doing when the elevator stopped at 4th floor. Doors opened, there she was! This girl that joined about the same time as I did. We attended all those initial trainings together. She had an interesting face. The kinda face that could bring a smile on you. Many a time I wanted to introduce myself and in general keep in touch (although I didn't have anything serious on my mind.) I had a huge, huge crush on this person - and now she was standing along with me in the elevator.

As she entered we exchanged smiles and then the doors shut. I thought I'll introduce myself, have a little chit chat until the elevator hits ground floor. As I turned, the power went off. Elevator stopped. Emergency light on. The emergency light was directly above us and the intensity of the light made her look even more pretty! I felt that she was a little uneasy in there - slightly scared if I may say. I stood there thinking - "What an opportunity! Now I get to be the pacifier." I can say something that can relieve her a little of the tension. I thought something like: "Don't worry, these elevators are designed so that when the power goes off, they lower themselves slowly the the below floor and open the doors automatically. We'll be fine in just about 5 minutes." After that when eventually the doors would open, I let her exit first and she might turn back and smile at me almost saying thank you. I then say "Take care!" and I speak to her on a daily basis from next day on, may be have lunch together, I'll introduce her to my friends, we'll all (5+1 of us) go visit our joints around Jayanagar ... and I could go on and on building a skyscraper of dreams in that poorly lit immobile elevator.

I tried to hide these thoughts from being shown on my face by turning away and smiling. I concealed a few giggles through some panting, and just couldn't stop my fingers from drawing circles around my watch. Finally, I came back from "Neverland" into reality. Slowly turned toward her. What was this! she was looking at me. I swallowed a gulp or two which made a "glug" noise and prepared to say "Its..." I was cut off by the sound of her sweet voice. She said: "Don't panic, the power goes off at 8:30 daily. I got stuck like this yesterday too. This elevator is designed to go the the immediate below floor and open its doors." There was this tiny sinking feeling - as though someone has taken my finger and poked it in my own eye! She finished talking and was still looking at me. Perhaps expecting me to say "O is it. Thanks for the info. That was nice." and believe, my exact reply was "umm .. aa ... uh,, huh. ok." She was right the elevator doors did open on the 2nd floor. She walked out. I stayed there and started laughing. I couldn't stop laughing for the next 20 minutes. The security gaurd on night duty asked "Sir, kya hua" and in my mind I was like "kuch nahi hua, kya karen!"

May be those few minutes were the only ones when I thanked BESCOM for cutting power supply. Now when I look back, I still laugh at it!