Six

She was six when she first learned about death.

As she walked to school the next day, a cold winter morning, clutching her father’s hand so tight, a plethora of emotions ran through the man who held her hand. He had covered his face with a scarf-kind-of-a-thing, so as to not reveal his face. He would not want the girl to know his father was dead, and he wanted to pretend to be one just as good. But somehow, even in front of the six-year-old, his courage faltered, and he fumbled while walking. The girl saw his eyes, and they spoke. The eyes spoke to each other of the lies they hid within them. “Where is father?” she said softly now, almost about to break into tears.

The man did not have an answer. He wanted to choose between, “He’s gone far away to visit your granny,” and “He has become a star in the sky,” but instead he chose to say, “He’s dead.”
“What is dead?” asked the small girl.
“Dead means you will never see him anymore.”
“Why? Is he angry with me?”
“Yes, he is. Why didn’t you have all your food today?”
“If I have my lunch, will he come see me?”
“He might,” he said, eyes red with lies, shamed to hell.

When she entered the class, her teacher asked why she was late, and she replied, “Because my father’s dead.”
“Who told you that?” the teacher retracted, trying to hide her tears, but her voice had already welled up too much to fake that she was still angry.
It was fascinating to see how the girl didn’t feel sad. She thought it was a trip his father had been to, to a place where her grandparents lived. She thought he was a star in the skies, but also thought it was easy to go up there, once you did good deeds.

As a mother, she narrates the tale to her daughter today. She is six, and she is thirty, pained by her husband’s death, but doesn’t want her child to be the way she was. She has learned, from experiences that were bitter, that truth might hurt, but when it is dark and you are all by yourself, truth is the only thing that will keep you warm, like a bonfire in the winter, like a warm fireplace where the cat huddles herself to sleep, awaiting another morning, another dawn, that will bring back light into her eyes, and she will see clearly albeit the fog, what awaits her on the other side on the road.

Five | Seven

Five

I want to talk a bit on the idea that some of us like to follow. “Live in the present”.

Although it sounds very appealing, I want each one of us to really think how much this matters and how much or how less this would affect our lives. The effect of living in the present is huge. We are always happy in the moment. We love today, and we know we will love what tomorrow has in store for us. But personally, though I love today, and I might love tomorrow, I really hate yesterday.

Think about it, if we were to live in the present, we cannot control our past, nor our future. Great quotes have been made which say, “Do not think of the future or the past because you cannot control them, so live in the present.” But now when I see back at all those years, I see so many mistakes that I have committed, that I was well aware even at that time, but disregarded their importance because I was too busy living in the present. Sometimes, I just sit, and introspect. What if I had done this instead of that? Would I be happier today? The answer is almost always “Yes!” Almost all through my school and college, I used to put this extra focus on friendship. My early posts bear testimony to this. Friendship and love were the two things that I considered the most important. Then slowly I realized that love is not really that important, you can make-do without it. This one time my blog put my friendship with an entire group in jeopardy. Now that I think about them, everything seems so trivial, so stupid; we seem so immature it is hard to believe we have come this far.

Back to where I was, introspection. I am one person who believes in the power of it. “Five” represents my very motive to write about introspection. Give yourself five minutes of your day, but give those five minutes entirely to yourself. We are so busy with the affairs of the world that we sometimes forget that we should take care of ourselves. Wake up in the morning, watch the news, Air Asia flight missing, rapes all around, people dying of the winter, new parliaments, red alerts. Go upstairs and your computer is waiting for you with a hundred mails that huddled up last night. Bring a cup of coffee, but you’ll forget to sip until it gets cold. You read a Whatsapp message, write down the reply, forget to press the Send button. Story of our lives. And so, sometime in the day, just sit back, close your eyes, feel the darkness, plan out your evening, plan out your night, smile that the weekend is almost around the corner, and be happy again. Those five minutes will be the best ones of your day.

I am more than half-way into Decagon now. In another four posts, I will have to close this chapter. This has been the most personal and treasured set of write-ups that I have shared. And yet, I yearn for more. I yearn for your response. I wish, some day, you come and read this again. And then you will remember about today, and how much your life has changed between the two times you read this. Change is lovely, and change is inevitable. So embrace it, let the new year bring a fresh wind in its winter, wrap you in furs, prepare you to battle against all odds, and make you a stronger and happier person in the days to come. Happy reading!

Four | Six

Four

I am a little upset right now. I haven’t been able to pen down anything for more than a week now, primarily because I have been caught up with so much work back in office. By the time I come home, I am so tired I hardly feel I can write anything proper. For the past one week, I have been logging a regular twelve hours on a daily basis instead of the intended nine. Pent-up work, and pent-up emotions. Believe me, the combination is one of the most lethal things ever. I was lucky enough to be able to get an off for Christmas, but then the weekend came and I had to work through Saturday as well, though I worked only eight hours that day. Apart from that, I tried booking my date for TOEFL, but the website is so crappy and they never mentioned that you couldn’t use a debit card; my transaction failed twice in lieu of that. When I got some free time, I watched a few episodes of ‘Impractical Jokers’; in fact, even now, I had opened my laptop for the same but decided to write instead. I also finished a few more pages of ‘A Dance with Dragons’, and want to go back to it now. And I will, in a while. But till then, let me spend a bit of time with you.

I am a little upset right now. I under-delivered. I wanted to finish three hundred posts this year, but I only finished 280. But it is okay. A lot of crap is worse than a bit of sense. New Year’s is only three days away. I realised just now I should make some resolutions for the new year. Apart from some habits that I have vowed to give up, (and do not want to make a mention here), there are a few resolutions I really mean to keep up. One, more importance to family. All through last year, I realized, I have devoted really less time to my family. My work is eating up on most of my time, and so is my sleep. The few hours that remain, I now want to dedicate to my parents. Nothing big. Chitter chatter. How have you been? How was your day? I realized that is enough to keep them smiling, to keep them happy. They need closure. They need to know I am there for them. They need to know I care for them as much as they do for me. But the last year has been pretty bad that way. I had been out with friends practically every weekend. I want to switch the role now. That is my biggest resolution for this year.

For the past nine months, I have been planning on making an Android application. I even wrote down a post about it, hoping that would encourage me to finally start with it and make something out of it. I failed in that as well. My second resolution is to finish the project, and finish it well. It is a big project, I cannot handle it alone, I need help, and I will get it. I am already busy with the Amsler project, but hopefully my friend will do justice to it, he is already working a lot on it these days. But however big the project, or however tiny, I will do full justice to whatever I start, and see it to an end. My third resolution is to code more. More and more and more. Why? Working in a top-notch company with good people has its own perks and problems. There are two sides of every coin. While it is fun fixing bugs and getting to know how things really work, sometimes it is frustrating when you realize that you are only improving on stuff that others have made clumsily. We work on Android, and it is not a secret that Google writes the code for Android. And I urge you to read it up sometime, and see how bad some people can really code. I do not say I am a very good programmer, but there are some things you would never do, and probably some people have never been taught the Do’s and Don’t’s of good programming practices. Anyhow I cannot repair what is beyond repair, but I have made a resolution to write clean code. Really clean.

Resolutions are sometimes only a mummer’s farce. My fourth resolution is simple. And easy to keep. It is to keep up the other three resolutions. Sometimes you don’t need to dream big, and you don’t need to make huge plans to make a difference. Sometimes small changes can help a lot, make your life better, and keep you happier. And that is exactly what I want to be next year. Happy. So there they are, four of them, cleanly put. Whenever I am down, I am going to come back and read this, and try to keep them up as much as possible. You all out there, tell me about your resolutions. They may be kiddish, but if they are what you want to keep up to, those are all that matter. Happy New Year!

Three | Five

Three

We were three of us in the beginning. Always together, always happy, fun and frolic all day round. Until it changed. And then we were two, and they were two too. And it would have been good if we were four, but we were still three. Life is strange humdrum affair, or is it? Is it a notion that we like to perceive only because we read that line long ago in ‘Silver Lining’, or do we actually think it is true? There are a thousand such questions that we ask ourselves daily, and then we leave it midway, because somewhere, deep down, we know we do not really want to know the answers to them. And that is the secret to our happiness. Ignorance.

“Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise”.
This saying has the truth of all worlds embodied in it. It is foolish to be wise. And why should we be, when being a little foolish may earn you so much happiness? I live in a country where day in and day out, engineers are kind of manufactured. They come in all sizes, some defective, most come out alright, some come out exceptional. This write-up is going to be much different from my other write-ups because in this, you might actually find a very bitter taste. I am annoyed with the education system. And whereas I am not someone who likes to rant about things which should be done the correct way, the education system is something I would definitely crib about. Students in India go through an education of 2+12+(3 or 4)+2 years of studies. Pre-school, school, under-grad and post-grad. By the time we are done with our studies, our childhood, our teenage, and a fair share of our twenties is eaten up. Then we fake that we are happy, where indeed, we are not. And how can we be?

George R R Martin, in his book, mentions Daenerys will be deceived thrice. Once for love, once for gold, once for blood. His subtlety must not be misinterpreted for fiction. The deception is true in real life, and three symbolizes the evil in it, much like the three witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. But I do not want to go into critical appreciations and literary criticisms of what people have written or meant, because whenever I think of that, I am reminded of a joke where the author doesn’t really mean anything even close to what the teachers misconstrue it to be for. Yes, if Robert Frost popped up in your head, you were probably right.

Anyhow, Merry Christmas, and I hope you have great holidays!

Two | Four

Two

I seriously don’t know where to start from. Firstly, I would like to thank all of you for praising the concept of Decagon. It is always tough to cross the first hurdle. The second one is easier. The second one is simpler. You know what kind of obstacles might come. You gain experience. But what about the one who comes second? Do you remember who came second in the race? Do you know who is the second tallest man in the world? A miss is as good as a mile. And coming second is as good as coming nothing. Do you agree? If you don’t, you are one of those optimists this world really needs.

Two. Reminds me of the two of us. We were the best of friends since junior school. We were supposed to go to the same college after school. He had messaged me on Facebook one day, and I remember his last status update. “Truth hurts. Not as hard as falling off a bicycle, but it does.” He passed away the next day, drowned in a river. I can never forgive myself for not being around him that time. Time heals, they said. They were wrong. That pain is still fresh, like an open wound, which pains till the core even when touched ever so lightly.

Two. Two lives. Dependent on you. I do not want to make this post drab and boring, but I cannot resist talking a bit about those two people who matter the most in my life. My father, and my mother. No, my mother, and my father. My father asked me once, “Who do you love more, me or your mother?” I replied, “What do you value more, your left eye or your right?” No one asked me the question ever again. In a conservative society like India, it is customary to take care of one’s parents until ever. We do not follow the fashion of independence around here, and our lives remain intertwined for almost forever. I do not know if you would consider that good or bad, but for me, it is pretty much what my entire life consists of. Because for some people, loving is difficult. It is difficult to fall in love, and when you don’t have someone with you, it is difficult to live, because you need someone to share your thoughts with. I can share all my thoughts with my OneNote on my computer, write down lots of things, but at some point, there are times when you want to shout out, to talk, to cry out, to laugh aloud, and it may be at one in the night when your friends aren’t around. Who do you shout with then? Tell me soon.

Two is the number of symbiosis, of interdependence, of love, of compassion. You have crossed level One, you have woven that one dream, you now need someone to live that dream with you. For what will you achieve by living alone? Has any bird even flown alone to distant countries? Has a single man ever won a war? Never did a single flower blossom with happiness, nor did the squirrel chirp with itself. And so, live your life, try to love, fall in love, make mistakes, share it with her, laugh when you are happy, and cry when you are sad, but don’t be alone, because when you will see, in the shimmers of night lights, people smiling, and girls humming, you will realize, being alone might not have been that bad, but being lonely, surely is.

One | Three

Thank You!

This morning has been especially happy for me. The reason is you. As a result of the tremendous support that you readers have shown towards me, “Black Rose” is now a proud owner of a 100 followers. This is a great achievement for someone like me, who has always considered this blog to have a special place in his heart. I do not want to write much in this post, I only want to express my heartfelt gratitude to every one of you who has participated in this journey with me, and I hope I take you on a much treasured ride, as you follow my posts, and in turn, my life.

One

For this is the only one I have, and I cannot afford to lose it, for something that is worth nothing.

So many times in our lives, each of us has said this line, on different occasions, in entirely different contexts, but have meant it to be true, from the core of each one’s heart. There is so much I want to write in this post, because there are so many thoughts that spring up on hearing “one”. I don’t know how many of you have experienced this, but sometimes, very silly things happen, only once, that is it. They will never happen again, and when it happened, it didn’t even seem anything important. But now when I look back at it, I can’t stop smiling, I can’t stop thinking what would have happened if I took a different path at that point. That moment is etched in my mind, never to wash off. But about those moments, I have talked a lot in the past four years. So no more dragging old topics, and no more digging into grounds which are soft enough to walk on.

One chance. Sometimes one chance is all you need. One minute, and if you can get back that one minute, your entire life would speak differently right now. You could live an entirely different life. I will tell you a story, but only if you promise not to laugh at me. Recently, I sat for an interview with Microsoft. After a few rounds, when everything had gone pretty well, the interviewer asked me a very simple question: “What is the size of an integer?”

Now anyone who has studied Computers, (even if he did that back in his middle school), knows what the size of an integer is. For those who don’t, the size of an integer depends on the compiler. And that is what I told him. I quote my answer: “It depends on the compiler.”
“So what is the size?”
“It depends on the compiler, if the compiler is 32-bit, the size will be 32 bits, if it is 64-bit, the size will be 64 bits.”
“So what is the size?”
“I don’t get you. I said it depends on the compiler. It is the size of a word.”
“Yeah exactly. That is what I wanted to know.”
“So the word is compiler dependent…”
The interview went on for some more time but I already knew I had hit the low, that I wouldn’t be able to clear this even if I gave my best. I wouldn’t blame the interviewer, because his job was to eliminate people, and this was only a case where our point of view didn’t match. But for that one question, and that one minute, if I could take it back, today I might have been living a totally different life.

One life. One heart. I wouldn’t make this drab and boring by talking of one love, that notion passed away decades ago it seems. But yes, what we should have, is, one dream. ONE dream. That dream. The dream which would make everything else seem nothing. That dream, after which you would say, “I’ve done everything I’ve ever wanted.” That dream which keeps you awake. That dream that inspires you to do the stupid monotonous dull quotidian things you do today. That, one, dream, is what each of us should have. And you are already smiling, because you know you have that dream; and I have mine too. And I wish you all your luck that that dream gets fulfilled, and you should pray for me too. One prayer. That would be enough. Until later.

ZeroTwo