Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Love You

"I love you. Not like they told you love is, and I didn't know this either. But love don't make things nice, it ruins everything, it breaks your heart, it makes things a mess. We're not here to make things perfect. Snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. We are here to ruin ourselves and break our hearts and love the wrong people and die! The storybooks are bullshit." ~ Nicholage Cage to Cher in Moonstruck

Sunday, May 25, 2008

How I Killed Time During Boring Lectures

It is amazing how we tend to forget things about ourselves that others remember. Today in the morning, I was chatting to an old friend, and "baaton baaton mein" he reminded me of the silly poems I used to write while attending boring lectures when in the first year of my MBA education. Ctrl+F and a couple of minutes later, I was able to open the long forgotten folder. Read through the twenty-five odd document files, and to say that the feeling of nostalgia was overwhelming would be an understatement. The topic ranged from campus gossip, professors, philosophy and everything else that can be categorised as crap. Wanna share a couple of them. These really are silly poems and have the ability to make Wordsworth and Keats turn in their graves. Please don't hate me for wasting your time. To be on the safer side, I will just post a couple of them.

This one was written in an Human Resource Management class. The very name of the subject still makes me yawn.


The class began right at the stroke of eleven
I sullenly opened my notebook and picked up my pen
The attendance got over, and she clicked on an icon
And the slides started rolling, on and on and on...

Five minutes later, I had lost track of the topic
So I laid my head on the desk and pretended to be sick
But I guess I had played this trick too often in the term
Coz I was woken up quite early with a rebuke too firm

I had to sit straight now with my eyes open wide
Coz Ms. Snigdha Patnaik's order, I just had to abide
But little did she know that I’d learnt something new
To sleep with open eyelids, an art mastered by few

Thus that's how HRM went for me, the entire term one
Often I tried to stay awake, but it could never be done
So now I wait for end term with fear in my heart
Coz, an F in HRM would really set me apart

This one is about Prof. P. K. Mishra, who had a thick growth of facial hair, was technologically challenged, and would frown upon any interaction between a boy and a girl.

P K Mishra

P.K Mishra, P.K Mishra, Why don't you shave?
You yourself are so funny, and you expect us to behave!!
You're so clumsy with the keyboard when its in your hand
It’s the most boring subject, but we're forced to attend

Who gave you the idea to separate a boy from a girl?
Don’t you know it just adds to make the class more dull??
With your senseless garble, you put us all to sleep
But the fear of been caught prevents it from being deep

But we love you PK Mishra, because the way you teach
The way you choose your words, they sting us like a leech
But wish you spoke more softly, so that I could sleep
Then your sweet memory, forever I’ll keep

Disclaimer: Nothing personal against anyone and all that shit.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dream On

I see a lot of dreams. Not that I wish and hope for all of them to come true, but yea, it does give me immense joy in just pretending that the dream is going to come true after a long hard day at office like today. Suddenly, I am in a different world, like I used to be in when my Dad used to tell me how Ganesha got an elephant’s head. Sitting wide eyed and in rapt attention, I would hang on to each and every word of the tale, even though I was listening to it for the nth time.
I was a naughty kid. Mom swears that I was naughtier than my neighbour’s young son whom I consider the reincarnation of the devil herself (prove me that it’s a He), and my Dad’s silent assent gives me no option but to believe her. But thank God I was, else my parents would have never told me so many fables and stories to keep me away from mischief on hot Sunday afternoons and cold winter nights, and I would have never developed the habit of reading.
The first book I was read from was a Bengali translation of Jim Corbett’s Man-eaters of Kumaon. Listening with my knees to my chin, I would soon be on top of a tree, lying on one of the branches and keeping a watch on the little goat tied to the tree as bait. I would keep my ears open for the calls of the hyena that would indicate the tiger’s presence, and I would shake with excitement as I saw the Royal Bengal female approach slowly with the gait that did justice to the first part of its name.
Many such “read out from” books and folklore later, I got my first story book, a hard bound edition of Russian fables that had amazing shiny pages and expressive drawings. I learnt about witches and their brooms, the infamous Baba Yaga and saw my first picture of a nude woman (The Russians were quite liberal even then you see, no censorship even in children books. No wonder they went on to have channels like TB6 and RenTV).
I can go on and on about how my bookshelf then started filling up with Enid Blyton, Frederick Forsyth, McLean, Hailey, Mario Puzo, James Clavell, Grisham, Dostoevsky, Rushdie, Coelho and quite a few other august names, Drucker being the latest.
These books have been my friends, my companions during hot and dusty afternoon when I was forced to stay in, or during nights when sleep was hard to come by. And during the times when sleep did decide to pay a visit, I would be lost in a dream world, rubbing shoulders with the very characters of my novels, or being just a silent spectator to them, ala R.K Laxman’s common man.
So today, as I stand at the crossroads of life, when I am being given a lesson on the practicalities of life, when I am starting to realize that the pot at the end of the rainbow might actually be a shit-pot and that nothing might be forever no matter how hard you try, that you may be misunderstood by the very same people you trusted your life with, and that the harsh reality of life teaches you that you are actually alone in all this commotion, I remember the characters from my books and my dreams, and a draw strength from them. The same characters also tell me to keep on dreaming, because a chapter might end, but the story continues. And thus I dream on of a perfect tomorrow. Ending this post with this quote from Dead Poet’s Society:

I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life! To put to rest all that was not life. And not when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Old Words in New Times

Was home last week after a long time. One of my favourite activities whenever I am there is to open my old book shelf, get all the old books, naah… friends out and just flip through the pages. It takes me back to almost surreal world of yesteryears. And the smell of old yellowish pages is the next best thing after ghar ka khana.
This time around, I was pleasantly surprised to discover an old diary, a diary which didn’t record my daily activities (read – mischief), but lines from books that inspired me at that time. Flipped through it immediately, and was reminded of H J Brown’s Life Little Instruction Code Book. Couldn’t help wondering that the world might have changed in the 15 years that have passed since I diligently copied lines from that book into my little red diary, but the words still hold true. With it came the realization that I have unknowingly followed some of the instructions, as I have been guilty of defaulting on a number of them. Read them for yourself. Here they come, along with Byzantine’s observations:

Never laugh at anyone’s dreams

Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt, but it’s the only way to live life completely (How true!)

Never drive while holding a cup of hot coffee between your knees (There are better ways of getting your balls hot and wet!)

Volunteer. Sometimes the jobs no one wants conceal big opportunities (Mentoring juniors, for example)

Don’t judge what you don’t understand (Just don’t judge. Pretend that you understood it, though, specially if your boss is around)

Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something (Her dad is already less intimidating for me as I think of this now)

Talk slow but think quick (Specially when you are meeting your girlfriend’s dad, think quickly of a fast get away in case things don’t go right)

Never betray a confidence

Never claim a victory prematurely

Remember that just the moment you say, “I give up”, someone else seeing the same situation is saying, “My, what a great opportunity” (Am reminded of the time when me and my girl had a bad fight and almost broke off… The same night a classmate of her proposed her :D)

Remember the three R’s: Respect for self; Respect for others; Responsibility for your actions

When you lose, don’t lose the lesson

Be the first to fight for a just cause

Don’t overlook life’s small joys while searching for the big ones (Hmmm… Agreed and followed to the T)

Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship (Don’t)

Don’t be surprised to discover that luck favours those who are prepared

Never say anything uncomplimentary about another person’s dog (I am sure a dog doesn’t say anything uncomplimentary about another person’s master!)

Remember the ABC’s of success: ability, breaks, courage (Breaks bole toh coffee breaks between work too, that’s what I keep telling my boss)

When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it (If you can’t, blame it on someone else or get the hell out of there)

Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice (Got a bad smile and a worse voice. Should I still smile when saying hello??)

Do the right thing, regardless of what others think (Others don’t include your girlfriend’s dad)

When shaking a woman’s hand, squeeze it no harder than she squeezes yours (Its her hand after all, it doesn’t have any erogenous zones)

Life will sometimes hand you a magical moment. Savor it (And don’t let the moment pass)

Spend some time alone (You will miss it once you get married)

When it comes to worrying or painting a picture, know when to stop (Better not to paint, and not to worry)

When taking a woman home, make sure she is safely inside her house before you leave (my woman gets shit scared that her dad will find out about me, and I am not even allowed to wait at a distance and see her enter safely into her house. She has made me swear on her and her grades that I should be off in a cab, lest I get late in reaching home. Women and their Dads, Phew!!)

Don’t discard a good idea just because you don’t like the source ( That’s difficult)

Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and inspiration will find you (Wait for money though. Money doesn’t find you, its you who has to do all the finding)

Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have, or sleep all you want (Or read your girl’s chat transcripts when she leaves her inbox open in your laptop and goes to the loo)

When you say, “I love you”, mean it (Meant it every single time, sigh…)

When you say, “I am sorry”, look the person in the eye (If that gets a bit intimidating, stare at the point where the eyebrows might have joined)

When opportunity knocks, invite it to stay for dinner (Sleep with it too, I say!)

Watch your attitude. It’s the first thing people notice about you (Not in my case. People just notice that I am balding… errr bald. Then they stop noticing me altogether)

Keep your private thoughts private (Or else write a blog)

Put your jacket around your girlfriend on a chilly evening (The roll up your sleeves and show off your muscles too)

Use a favourite picture of a loved one as a book mark (Bad idea! I wouldn’t be able to finish a single book)

Never lose your nerve, your temper, or your car keys (One can only try)

Don’t ride a bicycle or a motorcycle barefooted (For riding everything else footwear is allowed??!! I don’t think so!! Not unless you have a shoe fetish)

Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risks (Saanjh, are you reading this? :P)

Don’t trust a woman who doesn’t close her eyes when you kiss her (You can. Trust me. Stare into those eyes while kissing. They bring you closer.)

Never tell a man he is losing hair. He already knows (He sure does)

When you mean no, say it in a way that is not ambiguous (An ambiguous yes is bad too. I almost ditched someone)

Grind it out. Hanging on just one second longer than your competition makes you the winner (Being a perennial no. 2, that’s all that I can do)

Approach love and cooking with gay abandon (Errr.. Love:when your girl’s dad isn’t around, cooking: when your mom isn’t.)

When you get really angry, stick your hands in your pockets (Or punch thin air)

Never be ashamed of honest tears

Remember that half the joy of achievement is in the anticipation (No wonder my relationship is so happy  )

Whether its life or a horse that throws you back, jump right back (And ride faster)

Remember that everyone you meet wears an invisible sign that reads “Notice me. Make me feel important.” (I do so too. So rush in appreciative comments ASAP)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Just Talk

One of the ads to have caught my eyes in recent times is the new Airtel one where one sees two youngsters on either side of a fenced border crossing over to the no man’s land and playing soccer, followed by the punch-line – There can be no boundaries that can stop us, if only we talk. So very true.

A friend of mine is a few weeks away from celebrating the completion of his third year of a wonderful relationship with his girlfriend. Three years!!! And to think of it, I have struggled to make mine last three months!! “Don’t you guys ever fight?” I asked him. “No. I mean yes we do, but we shout at each other, say what we have to say, and we are okay within a couple of hours,” came the reply.

They say that a baby is born in this country every second. I wonder what’s the statistics of rosy eyed couples having a spat. A friend of mine recently started off a group discussion that had the topic as “Foreign channels are harming the Indian culture” as “Channels are of two types – distribution channels and TV channels”. I am sure that if I were to ask him to comment on fights between couples, he would start off by categorizing fights into the ones where the two individuals are shooting from their mouths and the ones where you just stop talking. While I had laughed my lungs off when I first heard the story of his GD, the categorization of fights does make sense. It makes sense because the type of fight is the difference between you reaching out and clasping the hand of your loved one and cold thin air in the middle of the night when you wake up after a bad dream.

So all you people in love – just TALK. Coz there can be no boundaries that can stop the two of you if only you talk. Coz you don’t wanna be like me, whose lessons are learnt after the bridges are burnt.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Its been a long time. I had resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn't be blogging anymore. Call it an impulsive decision caused due to a sudden lack of enthusiasm towards making my feelings known or me getting just too damn busy to type in a few lines every now and then, only a certain person knows the real reason. Well, the reason doesn't exist anymore, and I have been on a week long trip to home which has mysteriously re-awakened the blogger in me. I suddenly have lots to talk about, lots of opinions, lots of comments, and yeah lots of memories too. So here I am. Byzantine is back from the dead. And byzantine will make himself heard again.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The End

The night sky wore a dirty mud-like hue to it. I lay sprawled on my stomach on the bed, arms and legs flailed, like a four legged insect who had been gently squashed against the wall.

The rain God had been as hesitant as a pimpled face teenager in his first season of love who is not sure when to reveal his feelings to the girl who sat in the first row in class. A solitary mosquito buzzed around my left ear for a while and then quietly settled on the back of my neck, sucking my blood. I let it stay there, not caring anymore, so that the mosquito slowly had its fill and then, too heavy to fly away, just kept sitting there, quite oblivious of the droplets of sweat that surrounded it. The fever was in its third day now. It was no longer regular but arrived in bursts - high in the morning, low during the afternoon and evening, and then rising again as night approached. I could feel a fresh wave of shiver run across my wasted body as the fever was on the rise again.

During my last trip to the washroom, I had noticed the first signs of a rash on the side of my neck, a pale pink patch, like a dash of strawberry juice on a brick of butterscotch. The doc had warned me against this a long time ago - "Watch out for rashes, and don't scratch them. As if it mattered, i thought as i reached back lazily and dug my long and now dirty nails into it. I had lost track of time, not sure which day it was, not sure if it was still June or July, the thin streak of light that peeped in from the crack under the door acting as the sole guide which told me if it was a day or a night.

The bowl of cornflakes with mashed bananas laid untouched and cold by the bedside on the table. Even the slow tick tock of the wall clock had stopped bothering me. I laid there, slowly waiting for the end to come, taking solace from the fact that it would be painless, just a shadow that will come and cover my eyes, and stay there forever.

They said that just before one dies, his whole life gets replayed in his head - images, snapshots - like a slideshow which isn't of uniform speed - speeding through the happy slides and almost halting to a stop on the painful ones. They were wrong. No slideshows got played, no images formed. Maybe, the wise men who said that hadn't taken into account the fact that the death of a cancer patient was different from other deaths.

I died sometime during the night (or it might have been morning, I am not sure). The maid discovered me the next morning, put her hands on her mouth to suppress a shriek and fled away, and a couple of hours later, members of a local NGO arranged for my body to be removed and then consigned to the electric crematorium a couple of kilometres away, while a group of ants slowly but steadily carried the carcass of a dead mosquito, its belly still full of cancer infected blood across the floor, and soon disappeared into a small hole on the floor by the side of the western wall. I died an anonymous death, no obituaries came out in the newspapers the next day - while the ants in my room had a grand meal - cornflakes and mashed potatoes dried in milk, and a lick at a dead mosquito every now and then.