12 December 2007

A French Production

video


Many thanks to Amy, Alice and Amelie!

26 October 2007

Wedding Bells & Death Knells

...still, there is some part of us which refuses to let go in the face of impossibility and all the reason the world could throw at us. It’s usually insignificant and over-ridden by the power of everything else that’s seeped into the head. But now, we’re approaching a moment of truth.

It’s like watching your old man grow older and die. We know that he’s going to die. We know that Death is the best example of certainty. Yet, we still cry when he dies. We know it’s coming, we think about it, tell ourselves that it’s normal and natural and that so many others have gone through it. In fact, it’s imperative that he dies. New life has to replace old life and death is important in helping life progress. But try holding back the tears.

Fickle are our thoughts and the promises we made. We knew it then, we know it now.

21 October 2007

Kutta

It's not that we didn't know what's happening. When the first nails were drilled into the coffin, I knew it was coming. There is a certain beauty in inevitability. Someone felt that I had to learn a little about helplessness. And so I fell freely, torn in a thousand directions by things that I could neither sense nor perceive. There is no face to hate, no act to blame and no where to hide. You run you're fucked, you stay put and you're fucked anyway. And so I had to choose between the two fucked up choices and I chose to stay back and stare into the devil I couldn't see, mostly because I tried running and got fucked miserably.

We all have demons in our heads. My own took the form of some pictures I'm very fond of, a few beautiful notes from a pair of violins and writings which took strangely standardized forms (Trebuchet size 12 perhaps) for something so romantic.

Once when Joy, Gopal and I were riding from Pathankhot to Jalandar, Joy had a fucked up bike and no money, while we rode ahead, not in bliss but ignorant nevertheless. We had to ride back 70 kms in the rain, burning scarce petrol and time, soaked to our balls and frustrated beyond words, only to discover that Joy's fucked up bike required a fix worth one twenty ruppee note. During that ride it pained us to see the same scenery we'd seen earlier, and it pained us even more to know that we'll see it again on the way back.

Apologies for digressing and repeating my stories (this one is a standard disclaimer that holds for all my stories)... I hope you get the link as I rant on. Back to my demons... the progress was slow and painful. Two steps forward and one step back... 4 steps forward and 3 steps back... let's say that one day I reached 10 steps forward, with a big grin on my face and a heart that swelled with pride... only to slide 9 steps down on a laddered snake (after some time you begin to think someone's playing a game and enjoying it), to where I once was many months back. That's the very worst - to know that you have to slog through the muck again. It's easier to take shit if you didn't know what was coming. If I were dragged back to high school with all the hindsight I have now, I'd check if man can fly and jump off a cliff.

Help comes in strange forms, like in this case, other wounds and other people's wounds.

Contrary to what this post may suggest thus far, I'm at peace - even happy - with the old wounds. I can look at it without my throat getting stuck, playfully push and pat and not feel the sting, and involuntarily smile at the beauty instead of wincing. The pictures, writings and violin notes become more beautiful and distant everyday, as The Little Boy grows out of the stories he narrates.

So much cheer, so much hope... it's all too beautiful to be written down here.

2 October 2007

The Shorts Were Always Short




The others are my brother and my favourite of dad’s 6 brothers. That was some 20 years ago… back when we ate mints for fun. Back when my hair was oiled and combed in all the wrong ways known only to Tam Brahms in Madras who sent their kids to schools with names like PS Senior. In case you’re wondering, PS expands to Pennathur Subramaniam. Wow… I just remembered that my school was (at least partly) named after me. Anyway, you know the effects of studying in such a school with hair oiled and combed like that… I used to be convinced that kids going to schools with names like Boston Matriculation were smarter, stronger, faster, funnier, cooler, bigger…

So Everyone (read Women In My Life) says something nice when they see that picture… like “ohhh! You were succchhha cute boy!” and to my eyes the cute is massacred by the past tense. Ok, please don’t post comments trying to cheer me up. I’m thinking why no one told me anything nice back then. I’m also thinking that 20 years from now, when Everyone is flirting with menopause, they’ll say all nice things and remember which tense to use.

5 September 2007

The Story Of Pradyum



Pradyum is the most faltoo, unmotivated freak of nature ever to have fallen thru the cracks in the education system. His life in Madras was modeled on the Mughal Emperors, minus the liquor, women and other intoxicants. He woke up past noon, and watched TV while being served bed-tea. Then he’d slumber through his bodily functions and have unlimited tam meals at home before effortlessly slipping into his afternoon nap. He’d wake up to snacks and head to the tiny ground nearby to play cricket with familiar faces. After the game, they’d stay back and discuss the cricket game and what they watched on TV during the period of separation. After dinner, Pradyum watched more TV - Telegu and Kannada music channels. He’d tip his friends if there was a particularly interesting song… and thus time passed till it was past midnight and time to crash.

Pradyum gave up on CAT after a week’s effort. He randomly ticked all 123 questions and returned home a content man. Later that afternoon, he was told by the pretty news reader he liked on Headlines Today that there was negative marking in the exam. Pradyum had a good laugh. He laughed even more when the results were announced… he managed to beat sincere Sandoze by a good 20 percentile!

I don't remember the last time I saw him... he only said "Subu... take care, goodbye and all that... now I have to rush!" and left for Oz land and replaced machis with mates.

2 September 2007

Detox & Vathakozhambu

Feels good to be clean... the days seem longer... before you get all worked up, i must urge you, at the risk of flirting with hypocrisy, to not judge if you don't understand.

Madras is pleasant. Ratna Cafe meals is so delicious that I can't describe... pardon the mcp quotient, but I wish every woman could make vathakozhambu, and if possible, like Ratna Cafe's.

Parents see horoscopes... Dada would look at resumes, Rajesh would hope to hear movies, and if possible Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind... I've joined DC's mum in the vathakozhambu camp.

18 August 2007

Disobedience

It’s hard to be a nice kid when the father of your nation is perhaps the most disobedient man to have ever walked the earth.

28 July 2007

All The Little Things

The scab hasn’t healed yet. K shall borrow The Most Beautiful Analogy from P. The wounds are still fresh and ghastly, like the dagger sank in last night. The clamor of hope drowns out the prudence, or whatever of it remains. K digs his nails into the thick brown scab and peels it off gently. The wound is frighteningly ugly. Hope kills. K’s tear glands are eager to jerk off. K watches the blood drip down and spatter. You’d expect the blood to be blood red, but K’s blood is darker, thanks to H and all the sins.

K hung his head in shame, for his lack of heart and guts to speak the truth. He only hoped that, someday, he would be forgiven. “For all the pain that I'm causing, I'm sorry,” said K.

K would like to think that it happened one warm summer night, on a dramatic trip outside an old church in Colaba… or standing in the Andheri station, bathed in sweat and feeling alone in the crowd … alternatively, it could’ve been the first time K stepped into The Loo With Green Tiles, hand in hand and Torch in hand... it could also be the silly telephone bill under a starlit sky in The Land Of Dangerous Snakes, Frog Tikka and Worm Fry, leading to the first flare of orange. It could also be The Scribbling On The Sand during The Beginning, or the fire-lit drunken death dance with random people on the shores of the Arabian Sea.

K likes his instincts… perhaps a little too much. Regret is smoother than having to deal with the perpetual haggle of hope.

It could be the night K met 4 strangers from another school on the train… or the cold night in the mountains when he fought with The Mad Georgian. Maybe their paths were destined to clash. K beat out 99 others to get out of the black hole which was so rotten that even creativity couldn’t escape. K was Darwin’s pick. However, like in a poem, Darwin’s pick got fucked by Darwin.

It could be traced back to the time when flocking to the dirty beach was cool and K knew every other guy worth knowing at the beach, including guys from other schools. The seeds were sown stealthily, as the bunch of kids grew up on their own precious La Poderosas.

Some hormone tells K that boys don’t cry. Almost all of K’s happiness and pain could be traced to a bunch of innocuous hormones. The fundamentals are gorgeously simple, like kicking the ball into the goal.

It could be traced to a million silly decisions made, words said and unsaid and some inconspicuous muscles, all of which dissolve away like the dreams from last night.

The pain is unbearable. No, not the blood or the wound, but the torturously morbid muck-path back. K listens to a trippy old song and slithers into a dream.

26 July 2007

The Curious Child Turns 23

Growing up as a curious child, I always wanted to become a porn star. I didn’t feel such envy towards cricketers or pilots or canonized nuns. Physics entered later on; but like most things, a few years down, it didn’t matter.

I turned 23 last week. 23 on 23 July. My dad called me on June 23, and I had to convince him that my birthday was a month later. Anyway, he still insists that it’s June 23.

The Story Of Amaresh’s Birthday

My parents (and everybody else) wanted me to go to the most academically inclined tambrahm school in the vicinity, so they took me to this school in Mylapore, Madras called P.S. Senior. The Principal was named Alamelu. She was a bitch (I give people the chance of change). She used to remind me of the pumpkins with paintings of demonic faces hanging outside new homes, to ward off evil spirits and jealousy, and to welcome goodness and blah blah… well, I guess it worked in 1987.

Anyway, somebody took me to the school for admission, and they said that I had to be born in June to be eligible to join the school. So they dragged me out a month earlier than reality and went back to Alamelu with a June 23 fudged somewhere. Then Alamelu’s peanut brain worked out that I had to be born in the first week of June 1984 for my brain to be sufficiently larger than her’s to take on the rigor and torture that lay ahead in that school. So they went back to the fudging board and back to Alamelu with June 3. Thus began school. That’s the end of that story. Unless you want to know the story of how I overcame my 7 week handicap and scored 95 in the math exam.

Back to the other story… well, it’s over really… my dad simply has the dates mixed up and insists that I was out by June 23 1984.

Oh, and while we’re still on education, I’m into my final year of formal education. It’s apt that after 20 years of relentless torment, the education system finally decided to give me a year off. [The Wasted Year]

On my birthday, I counted 3 people who live in my institute who wished me the most beautiful birthday of my life on orkut, and then walked past me outside the mess like I didn’t exist.

So yeah, it’s been 23 years.

9 July 2007

Harijan

|June 15 2007 | Kalka Village, Parvati Valley, Himachal|

Everyone’s in fits of laughter when Jeevan’s around. He’s from the Thakur caste. This funny chap wearing jeans which was torn everywhere and without a zip, from the Harijan caste, visited us while we were having brunch. Jeevan explained that local people won’t visit their restaurant if they see Harijans entering the kitchen. The other restaurants don’t let them inside. Jeevan said he needs to do the same. Jeevan pulled down Leemu’s loosely worn tracks. Everyone laughs. Jeevan, Leemu, Sonu and me.

Jeevan says the government gives 50,000 to every upper caste guy (like Jeevan, Leemu & Sonu) who marries a lower caste woman (like guy-with-jeans-torn-everywhere-and-no-zip’s sister). Of course, he would then become a Harijan and would be outcast by the upper caste, including his close friends, whose loosely worn pants he once pulled down.

25 June 2007

Lost

“I’m going for Security now… in less than 10 hours, I’d either be on a bus to some place in the mountains or I’d be disoriented and lost. Either way, good luck to me.” – Amaresh | June 12|

Turned out to be both. Loneliness is an intriguing experience.

7 June 2007

Newton and Mishaal

"I'm sure Newton was a stoner, dude.. who the hell sits under a tree and waits for an apple to fall!" - Mishaal Chotani

31 May 2007

The Law

I was skimming thru some NBA news today, when I read this… (context: One of the teams – Portland Trailblazers got a new Asst. GM)

In the process, the Blazers get perhaps one of the most interesting and diverse executives in the league, one whose background includes a successful career as a criminal defense lawyer in Illinois. During that 61/2-year span as a defense lawyer, Penn secured victories in cases involving a man accused of murder, a man charged with armed robbery and a man charged with felony drug possession.

17 May 2007

Work Hard, Fart Harder

This is that time of the year when the IIM Indore vs IIM Kozhikode debate clogs up discussion forums... people engage in heated arguments using long write-ups and twisted facts… from academics to discipline to scenic beauty to – maybe cleaner toilets.

I find this typically capitalistic… whether I swear by Clinic All-Clear or Pantene depends only on where I got recruited – HLL or P&G and not because I have some strong original opinion.

Moving on, some of these freshers are eager to know about life at the insti… and someone made the mistake of mentioning brand-building and PR at the insti… so these seniors who reply to these queries go all-out to hype everything up… so some dumbass would ask something inane like “What's the farting scene on campus?” and a senior would reply “@dumbass… yes, Planet I (some fuck-all name for IIM Indore which I’ve never seen outside discussion forums) takes its farting very seriously… regular farting games.. interest clubs.. watchout for special festive meals… be prepared, cuz this is no ordinary campus… here at Planet I, we take our farting very seriously… our motto is to work hard and fart harder!”

The system requires hype to survive… and people to fuel it… personally, I don’t think there is much difference between any of these institutes… 30 years down the line, you’re not gonna give a fuck about which institute you went to… maybe if you’re strong enough to give up this beaten MBA path and pursue art or travel or teaching kids or whatever it is that you really wanna do, you’d remember that very well.

Disclaimer: People who’re really, honestly in love with an MBA, please excuse the above lines… they’re not meant for you.

11 May 2007

The Sunny Rain Dance

In my quest for timepass in Coimbatore, I went to this local bar accompanied by the sales rep that I’d met a couple of hours earlier. It was one of those places which has never seen a woman.

The tables were cramped, like a tea shop, so that no conversation in that room is private. Not that anyone in that room had anything private to talk about... even if they did, a few drinks later, how does it matter?

All eyes were glued to this single TV screen, which had one local bombshell doing an ‘erotic’ dance in the middle of a road, surrounded by roughly 50 sex-starved, dancing men.

The bomb was doing a rain-dance and getting a sun-tan simultaneously. Can’t they pick a cloudy day for the rain-dance, or a better time of a sunny day? I guess you need some alcohol to digest that.

Anyway, they took the ‘last order’ at 1030… I wonder why they call it that, because it never works. Slowly, as the clock ticked towards 11, they politely asked us to leave, by switching off the tv… then they switched off the ac… anyway, we left respectfully, before they got the brooms out.

I enjoyed that conversation immensely. It’s the best part about random conversations with strangers… no baggage from the past, nothing to guard against in the future… reminded me of all the people that I’ve met while travelling.

And some others.

25 April 2007

For The Ennobling Cause Of Cleaner Humankind

I was discussing work with Rajeshwaran the other night… let’s just talk about marketing here, because I know still less about Fin and other crap… how can we give our lives to the pursuit of selling toothpaste, soaps, t-shirts… yet some of these are the most coveted jobs. Being good at something doesn’t mean you should do it. Often, we mercilessly smother the part of us which rebels against such mindlessness. I didn’t have the guts to take Physics over Engineering, or a gap year over MBA.

(Pardon the generalization)

We don’t value our time, or freedom… we treat our time as a (compulsorily) expendable asset… we give up our efforts and time to corporations engaged in senseless pursuits… when I’m 70, and look back at all the soaps that I’ve helped sell over the years, I’m confident of death-by-hyper-excitation.

Encouraged by society and having pledged our lives to mindless pursuits, we look down upon prostitution.

Hypocrisy.

Oh, and all those ‘focused’ people… that goes right over my head. This is probably my confused cynical mind spewing the crap out, but listen me out anyway… I don’t understand how people know that they want to sell soaps. Sorry for being judgemental, but are these people really passionate about human cleanliness?

Selling soaps.

How romantic.

24 April 2007

The Cubicle

I wonder how man was moved to invent the air-conditioner… whoever felt that we should cut out the breeze and the smell of earth. I guess they just reacted to the madness outside, like all the traffic in Bombay. It’s like cutting your arm off because one finger is rotting (after you chewed on it too much).

I don’t like the idea of sitting in a cubicle. I don’t like physical confinement of any sort. When these corps go out on a 17-day Thomas Cook tour of 20 countries in Europe, spending most of their time in air-conditioned hotel rooms or buses, they are fashionably said to have caught the ‘travel bug’. It’s like a cool thing to do, right… to know exactly at which table you’ll be eating what for breakfast at 9 AM on the 5th day of the trip (thanks to Mr. Cook’s itinerary)… because any form of lack of control over your life is so unthinkably absurd.

Control. Certainty. Security.

They say I need a wife and kids to understand The Truth. I shall wait.

14 April 2007

The Pursuit Of Happyness

“Somethings are fun the first time you do ‘em, and not so much the next”

“Like the bus?”

“Yeah, like the bus”
.

.

.

The next day, after work, we just went to the beach… far away from anything… everything… just Christopher and me… far away from buses and noise and… a constant disappointment in my ten-gallon head… in myself…
.

.

.

“Because when I was young and I'd get an A on a History test, or whatever… I’d get this good feeling about all the things that I could be… and then I never became any of them.”


13 April 2007

You know...

"I'm a fun-loving person." announced the self-intro, pushing the limits of redundancy. Like the rest of the world is infested with masochists.

Then there are these filler-lines:

"That's... you know... the kinda thing we're talking about.. as such."

Why... why are these things said?

11 April 2007

All The Emptiness

We never did change the world... the sleepless nights, adrenalin rushes... the world just went elsewhere, and took us along - along and apart at the same time.

Randomness will always hold sway over our efforts. All the little things which make you believe in destiny.

I'm reminded of Ladakh... how all the emptiness made me feel like an insignificant speck on the barren expanse... who ever let us choose what we're good at... just so happened that society likes say, MBA over Machine Design and English over Hindi.

It's all random. Sometimes I get lucky, sometimes I'm trashed... pride and disappointment are funny things. Stupid ego.

9 April 2007

Blah

The wind blows the sand off my feet. I'm back in Elliot's beach, Madras. Things and people have changed. I don't quite know how. So much change that it's scary. I can't relate to it no more.

It's strange how familiarity is slowly eaten away. People come and go, and every day, a bit of the past is washed off. I miss the mountains. Those mighty Himalayas don't change as quickly as these beaches. I want to go back, to where I belong. I've had enough of the jargon crap. It's not funny anymore.

I'm a little drunk on JD. It's been a strange day. A day when the past has come back to haunt me. Sometimes, I wish my memory wasn't so good. It deserts me when I need it, like the Fin exam. Things evade you when you need them the most. It's The Law.

Cheers.

5 April 2007

E-My Ass

Uninspiring lectures (unlike engineering, there are exceptions), mindless exams… they’re almost done for the year… Dilbert is so true… here’s a sample from a ppt for tomorrow’s Operations exam:

“Many companies are implementing ERP packages as a means or strategic objectives to reengineering its existing processes, performing supply chain management, requiring for e-Commerce, integrating ERP with other business information systems, reducing inventory costs, changing existing legacy system, requiring for multinational enterprise competitiveness, enhancing enterprise images, and enabling e-business”

Somewhere between e-commerce and e-business (recycling the same shit, like those demonic Hindi exams), inventory costs mysteriously get reduced. Oh, and somewhere amidst the shit, supply chain is thrown in for good measure… of course, this is operations management… so we can’t take a pee without a mention of inventory and supply chain.

Another one of my favorite is the impact of goddamn internet on managerial jargon… e-this, e-that… e-my ass!

That’s enough negative energy for one day. Goodnight.

2 March 2007

The pleasure was all mine

I was going thru chellyboy’s resume the other day, where he states, with all the clarity he could muster for a fart:

Captain of the team which won the School District Football championship

Captain of the team which won the College Football championship

Now, I wonder, which son of a bull would name his tournament “School District Football championship” or “College Football championship”?

So I asked chellyboy whats his scene with football. “I did not play football in school, but I developed a passion for it once placements started. Replace football with Fin and you have my Goldman Sachs interview”

Chellyboy was tanking the interview… tanking means the guy doesn’t want the job, so he’s deliberately screwing up and making sure he doesn’t get the job. This is done to please companies. Anyway, that’s not the point.

The GS Interview:

Sit down, have a seat

Thank you, sir

(flips thru the resume)… you look like a general kinda guy.. you’ve taken courses in everything – Fin, Mktg, HR, IT…

I came to do an MBA thinking I’ll take Marketing or Fin… we Indians, as you know, don’t like risks… I also hedged.

You haven’t taken BAV… isn’t that important for your Fin ambitions?

As I told you, I was very confused. But now, in the last 1 month, I have developed a deep passion for Fin. Over the next two months, I’ll study hard and by the time I join, you don’t have to worry. I believe that passion is more important that knowledge.

.

.

(Tech)

Ok, pick one sector

I have no preferences… I love them all equally.

Analyse the Aircraft industry… why is there free cash flow in this industry?

As the number of passengers increase, they get a lot of cash from customers… you know, people fly, and have to pay lotsa cash for it.

Do you have any questions for us?

(Thinks of demanding for equity research, push for a posting in Bangalore, perks etc... then he decides to spare the poor guy who flew down all the way from Bombay only to have nobody taking up their not-so-generous offers.)

No

Thank you, it was a pleasure…

Oh no, sir… the pleasure was ALL MINE.

Today, Chellyboy left the hostel for good. You’re a funny guy, chellyboy… tata :-)

p.s.

last year, chelly once tried a bicycle kick, while defending, kicked his teammate (Mishaal Chotani) on his face and fell on a concrete football court and broke his hand.

24 February 2007

Work = Worship

Today, I was thinking of dingo teaching me how to make drawings… dingo and his sensitive mouse. tango used to have precisely one drawing in his comp, lost in a sea of forwards, photos, general crap and stinking documentation. His screen was perpetually zoomed in… every now and then he’d zoom out, and zoom in elsewhere, just to fool us into thinking that the guy works. I used to hate dingo, one of my main bosses. He caught me, on different instances, reading papers, magazines, playing minesweeper, listening to music, reading ESPN basketball reports saved from elsewhere, writing letters and long posts for my blog… he came close to tying a bell around my neck.

The milk break was at 9… I usually entered the place just in time to open my inbox, check the mindless fwds and break for milk. Then it was a wait till 10:30 for the exercise timepass. I used to find it funny. Why couldn’t they let us off early, so that we can play some sport. Initially, they used to frown at me when I left the place bang at 5:30 pm. With time, they just got used to it.

Back to the exercise, tango used to get up at 9:40 am and walk around, engaging in idle talk with fellow institutionalized specimens. Then he’d go to the loo and pee for a while, followed by extended reps of splashing water onto his old face. Then he’d comb his sparse hair for a while and walk towards his place. After (slowly) rolling up his sleeves and removing his shoes, he’d start the exercise routine. Following, the physical madness, he would dress up again and comb his hair. By now, it would be time for tea. This is time for the second round of gossiping for the day (remember the milk break?). I can’t recollect the exact mindlessness of their talk… anyway, once the tea has starts drying up into sticky patches in their cups, they’d slowly return to the office and go straight to the loo.

When they take their seats at roughly 11:20 am, it marks the start of the toughest, most strenuous period of their existential work lives. The clock ticks slower, the drawings stare at you with familiar menace, and everyone’s working hard. So, poor tango has to work too. This pre-lunch span is akin to the third term at IIM Indore: even the free-riders are forced to work. There is no escaping reality. So, tango calls upon his subordinates and starts his daily lecture on how to perfect the art of designing a jackass. He reputedly knew everything there is to know about that annoying piece of engineering. I shall not go into the details of the distress meted out to his poor subordinates. I’m guessing it must’ve been really tough listening to that guy talk. He’s plain boring. 30 years in that place does shit to one’s mind. In his defense, I don’t entirely blame him for his brain being the way it is.

Lunch is a big event in that place. We used to get 30 (yes, THIRTY!) goddamn minutes to walk to the mess, shove the (good) food down our throats and rush back. Next to the mental alarm signaling the end of another agonizing day at 5:30 pm, lunch was the best part of my life at work. We would all slumber back to our office. It was honestly difficult to stay awake after lunch… even we greater mortals couldn’t do it… *wink*

28 January 2007

The Beginning

May 14th 2002. That’s when it all started. Two weeks back, I had walked up to the front of my Mechanical Engineering class and gave out an open invitation for anybody who wished to travel to Pune with me. A tall guy named Katan came forward and we left, bunking some brainless exams. We were later suspended for the same, but we couldn't care less and we had a story to tell.

I was 17, and looked 15. I don’t blame my dad for being anxious, for when I set foot on that 6:45 train to Pune I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing. I was answering the instinctive call to break free and explore. Pardon the exaggeration, but I was the Marco Polo of my own little world.

Six months back, Bobby, who was merely an acquaintance, had said “You should definitely come back next time… and plan for a longer stay.” It was purely out of courtesy, like when you’re at some distant cousin’s wedding, some uncle, who’s even more distant than the distant cousin, walks up to you and expresses his displeasure at you for not having dropped by for so many years. It’s the stupidest diplomacy game. When my mum tells some idiot “You should definitely come home sometime!” I feel like yelling the truth and begging the idiot to never come close to home.

I guess Bobby didn’t really say that for diplomacy and courtesy. He later admitted that he just didn’t expect me to accept the invitation literally. He’s always happy to have someone to roam around with. With all my innocence, I took his words at face value, and got off the train at an unearthly 2:40 AM and greeted his sleepy eyes with a big grin. Sometimes, innocence is a good thing. Think twice before you act? My ass!

I have fond memories of railway ticket counters. That’s where trips are crystallized. When I see the ticket in my hands, with the coach number and all that, that’s when it sinks in that I’m making a trip. I remember riding Katan’s moped to the counter at the airport to get our Pune tickets. Four years later, Katan and I would go back to the same ticket counter to get tickets for our trip to Madhya Pradesh. By then, we were both seasoned travelers, and when there were no tickets to Bhopal, we requested to be put on any train that goes close to central India. The ticket guy, without intent, fooled us into thinking that Nagpur is in Madhya Pradesh. We couldn’t have cared less. It just gave us a story to narrate.

I’ll continue the Pune story some other day.

Fast forward to May 2006. Paulo, Gopal, Valya and I were having lunch at some stupid place in Spencer’s, Madras. I had just got into IIM Indore and everyone was happy that it was worthwhile listening to my perpetual cribbing about work over the past 8 months.

We were about to leave, when I asked Paulo if she wanted to watch Hazaaron Kwahishein Aisi. She sat on the fence for a few seconds, and then we rode to my place. We opened the Lonely Planet guide book and scanned thru the India map for an hour, at the end of which, we were ready to make a trip to the north-east. Oh, and we never did watch the movie.

We rode to Marina beach, and sat by the waves, sharing our excitement about the trip, changing the world and everything else. As the last rays from the sun disappeared, we signed a travel pact on the wet sand and scribbled our names beneath it. That’s how it all started.

Pune would come back to haunt me later. But that’s another story, for another day.