I will be waiting…

I met Coretta for the first time waiting for a call from home at the solitary telephone available for students at our engineering college. She was my junior at my engineering college.. came all the way from Shillong to study computers. It was a first in a series of inconsequential meetings spread across almost a year. We would say a quick hello and go on with our lives. People told me that she was good at debates and had a good voice… I smiled and bided my time to show her who was the boss around the campus when it came to taking the mike in front of a hall full of people.

It was quite a contest the day I finally got to take her on in a debate. We argued over something to do with the usage of computers in the development of India. Being the dedicated computer engineer I was to become, I declared computers inconsequential to the development of India, while she thought otherwise. I tried every mean trick in the book to put her down, ridiculed her and even got a bit personal in my arguments. Finally, with the boisterous and loyal support of my batchmates shouting at the top of their voice I managed to convince the judges that I was the better speaker amongst the two. I won the debate, just about.
In the weeks that followed, both me and Coretta found time to talk to each other and began a friendship that is more than 10 years old now. Along with the rest of some very special people, we started a student group at college called SAVI, something that I am proud to say sustains till date. Coretta was one of those people in college who supported me blindly in whatever I did, and we did some pretty interesting stuff I might add. We managed to push through the first newsletter our college had ever seen, and tried to follow it up with a college magazine that I could not get to the printers for the life of me. We even sang a song together in Hindi, with her reading the lyrics written especially for her in English, Vinay on the guitar and Manish teasing us. Some of my sweetest memories of college have Coretta somewhere invariably. How easy it is for you to share your lives when you are young. My friends in college were truly the best thing that ever happened to me. Vinay made me realize that I could sing, Katto brought out the best side of me, Joshi taught me the joys of walking the rains, Samit became the guy I want as my roommate when I am hungry, Nauti is the only guy who can look graceful when being utterly drunk… and Coretta egged me on to do whatever I want….afterall, you can only fail.

I cried hard the day I left college. Leaving behind friends and a life that had given me so much. The tears gave way to phone calls, trying to recapture at least a part of the magic that we shared together a long time ago. We got on with our lives and ran out of things to talk to each others about…fell in and out of love, got our first jobs and then opted for better ones.Today, I don’t even have the phone numbers of some of the people who were so dear to me at one point of time in my life.

Last week, Coretta almost died in a car crash. I came to know 3 days later when a mutual friend called and informed me. She now lies in a hospital bed with shattered limbs, painful wounds and forbiddingly long months to recovery. All of us managed to find time to go out and meet her. We flew in from different cities, some of us travelled down from the next block. Most of us had not met for years. It took a disaster for us to find time and reach out to friends and speak to people we once held so dear in our lives.

Coretta will recover fully in the months to come, am sure of that. She is right now busy cracking jokes while being tied down to her bed. Am glad that my friend is still there to reassure me that nothing is really wrong with the way I look at life. This will be the first post in ages that she would not be the first to comment on, but am sure it’s a matter of time before Coretta will be back to her normal cheerful self commenting on my blog and writing long testimonials for everyone on Orkut.

Till then, I will wait.

Get well soon buddy !

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The Road Ahead

There are few things more pleasurable than hot cup of coffee when you come home drenched to the bone in the monsoons. Its raining in Pune? and we do not have a car. So every morning is an epic adventure on the roads of Pune, with your truly navigating the potholes wrapped in sheets of plastic.

I have been away too long. Too many things on my mind, a lot of uncertainty? and I found no desire to put those thoughts on paper which I might not believe in the very next day.

I returned to India sooner than expected? personal reasons. And once back, I decided that nothing makes me happier than going around the roads wrapped in sheets of plastic avoiding potholes??..as long as I have a home to return to. I went to the USA less than a month after we moved into our new flat? I never really had time to enjoy living in a space I called my own.

Thus started, the quest for moving into something that kept me in India? and yet offered me a fulfilling role. I shifted my role within the same company, a role less glamorous than my last one. But honestly, its been 2 months now, and I have only felt better about my decision.

Gradually, things have started falling into place. I am now well on my way towards doing something I had always wanted to do.. teaching. I have decided to take up lectures at local institutes on a part time basis?. Not that I have too much to share… I lack in depth, but I intend to make it up with enthusiasm. My first lecture at a college of repute is scheduled on the coming weekend? I am excited and nervous at the same time. There are a couple of other lectures at other institutes lined up later this month? keeping me busy for the weekends to come.

This is turning out to be a very personal post, I have never written so much about my own self in any of the posts !

So some years down the line, maybe when I turn 35? I plan to make a career shift? with 10 years of corporate experience, and perhaps by then, a PhD, I intend to make a fulltime shift to teaching.

Sounds self indulgent and maybe a bit naﶥ?

But for far too long in my life I have done what is socially correct and sensible. What makes more sense and conforms to conventions. And for far too long I have ignored what I really wanted to do?.

That?s another story that if I actually did that, I would have been an English Teacher at the University of Lucknow taking evening walks in the old markets places making dinner out of Kebabs and Parathas

I do not regret the choices that have shaped me and my career so far, just that, I do not want to live my life becoming ?Just? a Corporate Manager with money and fancy titles? and little else.

I want a life that is about me, not which company I work for, or how much do I make every year, or how many countries I have traveled to.

Is this really such a difficult thing to do?

Maybe it is? and maybe, its not !

I guess I will take the chance?

Comments from the past:

san
21 Aug 2006, 3:19pm

I’m sure you’ll get there. Good Luck!

tushar
2 Sep 2006, 11:51am

🙂
i am sure students must be enjoin your lectures…
i m eagerly waiting to read more about your experiences in this new road… 😉

It takes a rainfall

I have had an interesting last three months, January and February characterized by uncommon amounts of stress because of my work load, and March by a restlessness due to the lack of it.

I was working on a project with tight deadlines and unearthly working hours, we were all stressed out , overworked but still confident of turning in a good product. One fine Monday morning in March we came to office to discover that the project has been scrapped. Our client had been acquired by a competitor company which chose to effectively close down all in-house IT projects?.. leaving me and my team high and dry, with nothing to do. This is what we call being on ?Bench? in IT terminology.

The Bench is an interesting phenomenon, one which I honestly thought I would relish, I mean no work and full pay and the freedom to come and go as you please, that sounds like the closest thing to bliss right !!

Well I thought so too, but with less than a week gone by, I already resent it.

So it was with such wonderful thoughts about my self worth and motivation, yesterday I left office at 3 in the afternoon. Spent a lonely 5 hours, reading, watching a movie, waiting for her to get back home.

Strange, when I have all the time in the world at my job, she is in the middle of a brand launch !

She being busy as hell, and I being not? trust me its not good. I become edgy and irritable, and well she? she is often too busy to notice?

Yesterday night she called up to tell me that she will be late coming from Office, and I will need to pick her up halfway.

Well the news definitely did not do my mood any good, having already waited for her for ages to come home.

Thus, for absolutely no fault of hers apart from being rather sincere about her job, I blamed her the culprit in my male egoist mind?

She called to tell me when to come and pick her up, the weather had become cloudy , the evening having long disappeared into the night. I went off on my trusted Activa to pick her up, and a minute into the street, the drizzle had become steady enough to drench me.

The wet breeze reminded me of so many things. It was almost like being back in Goa, on our first trip after our wedding, with her behind me on a rented scooter, intentionally driving into every puddle on the road, without a thought to our soaking cell phones or dirty jeans? and those long ago walks in college, it drizzled then too did it not?

And when I reached her, standing a bit forlorn under a tree, with the showers having driven the traffic away from the roads, I had already realized what I dick I had been for these last few days

You fall in love, and get married, with pink hearts and roses strewn all over. And you forget at times, that a marriage just like any thing else, should not be taken for granted. In my own hectic life and a busier mind, I had started to forget a promise I made to myself, a year back, That above all, I will remain her best friend. And best friends do not accuse do they? they understand, they listen, they love.

The first post for the year 2006, guess I have been away for far too long?.

Comments from the past:

vani
10 Mar 2006, 2:48pm

RandomRamblings–The ‘best blog’in fullhyd. Luv reading ur blogs…
U made us wait long for that first post of the year…

nikki
10 Mar 2006, 4:04pm

another awsome post!!! … made us wait long enough but it proves the Sabar ka faal metha hota hai!!:)

Donnie
10 Mar 2006, 10:47pm

i second nikki….awesome dude !

June
11 Mar 2006, 6:05pm

liked yer title…

n ofcourse the post too…:)

hs
12 Mar 2006, 6:04pm

This is amazing ! I just finished reading Oliver’s Story ..and you sound freakingly like Oliver ! Its heartening to see that Olivers do exist outside the pages of that book 🙂 ..All the best !

For Her

Its her birthday tomorrow. My best friend, and also the one I am about to marry this June. I have known her for three years now. Its been an interesting phase in my life. My first year of MBA, the monsoons had been in full swing, drenching the landscape with wet greenery. We had a busy schedule at college? but whenever things got too much for me to handle, or when I simply wanted to be alone? I used to go out on long, long walks.

On one such walk, as aimless as it had been purposeful; I found her. Not that we had not met before, we had? but we never really progressed beyond the ?Folks in the same class? kind of nodding of heads.

That rain swept evening; we decided to walk together, for just a while mind you. I was supposed to be a taciturn guy, I suppose in some ways I still am, but that evening I found myself telling her all.

It was not ?Love at first sight? .. no, not at all. More so, because I had been involved with someone else then?. And she was too concerned about her career to even think of an idiot like me.

But we did find a lot of common interest. Fans of P.G. Wodehouse, both of us and Oh! So totally. Come to think of it, a Comic writer probably played a major part in bringing me and her closer. Reading is a great hobby they say?

So it went on?. Two years of college, lectures, assignments etc etc? then one fine day, I found myself a part of my college team participating in a management festival, she too was there. I been a last minute entry for Western Solo? she spent the entire afternoon selecting a song for me and hearing me practice. I sang, ?I Can Go the Distance? by Michael Bolton. Won the first prize, and as she tells me.. maybe moved her a bit as well. Thanks ! Mr Bolton.

Then came the most anticipated and dreaded phase of an MBA grad?. Placements !! I did not make it to the first company I was interviewed for? trust me guys I was shattered? I had always believed that no company can ever reject me? well the first one did. She had been around?. Worried about her own placements yet found time to reassure me.

Then I got placed.. in one of the finer companies? She? Well she never even applied to 99 % of the companies. She wanted only.. Advertising/Brand/Product Management? I was skeptical, openly so. Anyway, since I was placed, I was free to go home.

It was then I realized, that I was missing her, and then it struck me, through a haze of drunken stupor on 31st December 2003, I was madly in love with her? She complains about my drinking, but I guess I did one sensible thing when drunk!!

So I think for a few days, and realize that I was sincere enough. So I meet her, take her for a walk (again) and tell her that I miss her in a way I never realized I could? The world ?Love? was never mentioned anywhere.

She lapsed into one of her deep silences and two days later, her smiling voice on the phone confirmed what I already believed in.

Then she got placed? and the lady proved me wrong. She is now a Product Manager, and Boy ! Am I proud of her !

Last year, her birthday found me broke as the Berlin Wall, hope I do better this year. Am off to Bombay tonight to be with her tomorrow, trust me…. Sometimes? life is beautiful

Comments from the past:

Kishore
8 Apr 2005, 4:04pm

Hi Ashish,

Call us now? 55665175.

chotacyrus
8 Apr 2005, 6:12pm

Awesome post dude..probably one the best I have ever read.

maverick
9 Apr 2005, 2:51am

Great Post !

hs
10 Apr 2005, 8:59pm

awwww …
awesome!!
so so awesome!!!

Ashish
11 Apr 2005, 1:11pm

Hey guys, thanks a lot !

Me
12 Apr 2005, 12:02am

awww
That post does make life seem beautiful.
and Good luck!!
A girlfriend whos also your best friend ,,,what more could u ask for…

Coretta
5 Apr 2006, 1:16am

Most beautiful thing i have read in a long time.People around me are asking why are there tears in my eyes.your writings Ashish exudes so much humanity and sensitivity–it is beautiful

^C^V…Ahem!

Well, its being suggested that this BLOG is basically an exercise in Copy and Paste. To make matters clear, I transferred all my posts from another blog of mine to fullhyd…. the reason? I find the blog portal over here a lot more active than the other sites. Anyway, if anyone wants to check out my earlier blog well here is the link :http://guess-its-time.blogspot.com

Come to think of it… Mr. Blogger does have a valid point to consider. Why the hell do we blog… why do we think that whatever zilch we write will be of any concern to any one of us.

Anyway, I write because I like it. Does not really matter much if others enjoy it as much as I do. And I suspect that this is the case with most regular bloggers. It is simply that they all fall in love with the very words they create everyday. Whatever…

Anyway, will get back to my regular blogging in a short while… abhi boss bula raha hai……

Comments from the past :

Johnny
16 Dec 2004, 12:16pm

“I find the blog portal over here a lot more active than the other sites.” – Good way of gettin on to the Home page of FH. 😀

Ashish
16 Dec 2004, 2:13pm

Well… you caught me there mate !