Absence

Far away in a different world,
Where the moon glows bright and the sun sleeps throughout,
You cuddle in my arms and lull off to sleep,
Whilst I stare at you and learn what love is about.

I appear strong and tell you it’s okay,
And you ask me to chill out,
For things will get back to how they were in a while,
So what is this fuss all about?

But like an overdose of alcohol,
Which people remember never to repeat,
An overdose of your absence,
Is killing me underneath.

It’s about the fact that never have I ever,
Loved anyone as much as you,
You’ve sunk deep into my thoughts and my dreams,
Of which left in my life are very few.

So tonight before you go off to sleep,
Imagine you are with me,
In a world where nothing else matters,
And where our hearts are free.

And I’ll pull myself a bit closer to you,
You’d come a little more closer to me,
And I’d smile and keep my brows straight,
Like you’ve always wanted them to be.

Unrealistic Wishes

There she stands looking at the skies,
The purple streaks on her hair,
A perfect contrast,
To the orange ones in the sky,
Atop a hill, faraway,
From the rest of the world.
She looks at me,
I can see her eyes welling up,
If I don’t go now, if I stay a bit longer,
I will never be able to leave.
Her skirt billows up in the breeze,
Encompassing the knee-length grass around,
My life only a blade of it.
She is looking towards me now,
But I know it is not me she sees,
But her eyes go past me,
Past the trees behind,
To the sun, which now sets,
And I know,
That the night will fall on us,
All of a sudden,
But my heart so wishes,
That this day be prolonged beyond infinity.
But that’s what happens,
When one lives too much in dreams,
I remember once seeing,
A guy wearing winged boots,
And still staggering to cross the field,
So all’s not real, and perhaps this isn’t either,
And perhaps it is,
Who knows?

Filling up the Gap

So it’s been almost four months since I last wrote something, and lest I forget the fact that I was a writer sometime in my life and before it becomes too late to write anymore, I think I should get back to writing. So hello everyone. What a tiring set of four months this has been, with so much happening in so little time, that should I sit down to tell you what all occurred, I could probably keep writing for an entire day, which is precisely what I intend to do this weekend, because I do not have anything else to do; and why I do not have much to do is also something I’d like to tell you sometime soon.

So this is what I have been up to lately. Reading. The last time I wrote I had just finished The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and had started with Tagore’s ‘The Home and the World‘. That was somewhere in mid-January. Since then I have read twenty two more books. Yes you read that right. So here is the list of books I read in the past four months, hoping it makes up for why I haven’t been able to write much. For reading in itself is such a pleasurable thing that it does not want to make you do anything else.
1. The Sorrows of Young Werther, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
2. 1984, by George Orwell.
3. A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini
4. Train to Pakistan, by Khushwant Singh
5. The Godfather, by Mario Puzo
6. The Sicilian, by Mario Puzo
7. Eragon, by Christopher Paolini
8. Eldest, by Paolini again.
9. Brisingr, by Paolini. It is actually a series of four books, which begins with Eragon and ends with
10. Inheritance, by Paolini, completing the Inheritance cycle.
11. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
12. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
13. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by R.L. Stevenson

And then I read some Tintin by Herge, for I wanted to shift to graphic novels for a while. So,
14. Tintin in the Land of the Soviets
15. Tintin in Congo
16. The Blue Lotus
17. Tintin in America
18. Cigars of the Pharaoh
19. The Broken Ear
20. The Black Island

And then I stumbled over Roald Dahl and his short stories, so I started reading his books. The following books by Roald Dahl are on my list:
21. Kiss Kiss
22. Over to You: Ten Stories of Flyers and Flying
23. Switch Bitch
24. Someone Like You, which I am currently reading.

Honestly, I do not have any idea how I finished so much of reading, other than the obvious explanation that I have been pretty much jobless over the past couple of months. I have included all the Goodreads links to the books so that you could review them and add them to your to-read list as well. But to speak the truth, jobless is the worst adjective to explain what I have been over the past couple of months. For one, I have indulged myself in another hobby which is also one of my two favorite things to do. Yes, travelling. So here’s a list of places I went to this year.
1. South Korea. In fact this happened towards the initial part of January when I was still in my writing mode, and most of the posts that I have written earlier this year were from Korea. Once I came back to India, I started reading the books, which allowed me lesser time to devote to my blog.
2. Goa, the beaches and the love, and the smoke and the drinks and the life and the bustle and the noise and the shores and the sea and the food and the drives. And most importantly, the nostalgia. Set out with my college friends, the last week of January was undoubtedly the best week of this year so far.
3. In February, I made a short trip to Amritsar, the land of the Golden Temple, which was an exquisite experience. The visit to Wagha border remains one of the most memorable moments of this trip. Seeing the border, and the soldiers on both sides, their dedication and pride towards their country, is indeed one of the most touching experiences one can have. It was a pleasure to meet the people out there and be a part of their function, where they exchange the National flags of India and Pakistan, and open their gates as a token of welcome towards each other. It instils an atmosphere of tolerance and a dream of unison. We put up at a friend’s house, and enjoyed the authentic Punjabi flavor of the state.
4. In March, we drove down to Jaipur and Udaipur. Jaipur is also called the Pink city because of the overall red stone used in the construction of the various monuments out there. We visited a number of places, the Jaigarh Fort with the huge cannon which was only used once for testing and never touched again, the Amber Palace which houses the royal family and serves as an excellent insight into the history of Jaipur, the Royal Palace and the Jantar Mantar which was once used as a safety building to save thousands of women during the battle at Jaipur. Udaipur is rightly called the City of Lakes, and it is one of the prettiest cities that I have ever been to. Lake Pichola and the Royal Palace, which is huge and almost takes an entire day to visit completely, provides an excellent insight into the rich history of Rana Pratap Singh and all the warriors that followed. Indeed if I had been here when I was in school, History would have been much less boring.
5. My father was transferred back to my hometown and my family shifted back. So in April, I went home for a fortnight and stayed at Jamshedpur, meeting old school friends and all my relatives. Home sweet home.

So travel and books, yes, pretty much a lot of stuff that I did from the beginning of this year. But that was not the only thing that I was up to. The most important thing that played a crucial role in my life and occupied the most amount of time in my mind was my future plans in life, my Masters.

There are different levels of tensions and thought processes once you decide to study in the United States. The first level of tension is when you are yet to answer your Graduate Record Examinations and the TOEFL. The thoughts right then are only of one kind: you must score as high as possible so that you can apply to your favorite universities. It seems hectic, and specially for international students, it means you have to really score very high in both the examinations. But once you’re done with that level, you never need to think about it again. You are set for five years with that score, and it’s time to start Level 2. This is when you decide which all universities you wish to apply to. You have your scores in hand, and you match their level with the level of the university and see which ones are the best for you. When you have this set ready in hand, you move to Level 3, which is one of the most excruciating stages. Level 3 is when you start penning down your Statement of Purpose and when your professors and managers start writing your letters of recommendation. It is an iterative level, which keeps going on and on and on until you are very satisfied with what you have produced, for the SoP is single-handedly the most important document that serves as a deciding factor when it comes to the university shortlisting you.

So now you have your statement in hand and your professors have their recommendations. Level 4 is applying to the universities you wish to apply to. This is an expensive level. A lot of money goes in, and you know that a lot of it is going to waste, but invariably you still put in. Filling in each form carefully, meeting the deadlines, looking up websites, talking to professors, this level is indeed one of those levels which take the largest amount of time. And then after this level, you just sit and wait. The waiting period is horrible. You have no clue what to do next. You could just pray, or you could just sit and do nothing, for now everything is in the hands of the university. For me, this level stretched for five months. Very long and very tough. And then suddenly one day, you receive your first reply.

It might be the best day for you, if you get accepted by your first university. It means you are definitely going. (Well, not technically.) Or it might turn out to be bad. Don’t worry though, for the next month is going to be full of acceptances and rejects. Level 5 is when you decide which university you really want to go in, if you have more than one acceptance, or if you really want to go into that one university, if you have only one acceptance. I got two acceptances, one from the University of Southern California (USC) and one from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). After putting in a lot of thought, which included reviewing the course structures and finding the best alignments of your technical interests with those of the professors, I finally decided to enroll in USC.

Congratulations! You have an offer in hand now. Level 6 is what you are going to enter now. This is the toughest level, but it also might be the easiest level for you. This level ends with your visa interview. You now need to start preparing your documents, your financial documents, academic documents, these documents and those documents, and lots of more documents. If you’re lucky and if everything turns out to be good, you would get the visa for attending graduate studies. I have just finished this level, and so that’s all I know about this for now.

I finally resigned at Samsung. I am now serving a notice period for a couple of months after which my life at Samsung will come to a standstill.

That much for now. I had initially thought of putting these into different posts but then I finally settled in for one post. I am not sure if I will divide this into parts by the time I post this, but I will definitely post this before the 25th of May, which is the day ‘Abyss 7’ will come out. And for that to come out, I’d need to write that too. So here’s me signing off for now, promising to come back soon.

The Time Traveller

She wanted
Like a little girl would,
For she was of course,
A little girl,
And so,
It wasn’t abnormal for her
To want what she wanted,
And wish for what she wished.
But then the man
Who defined normal,
Decided to poke a little fun
At this small girl,
And he changed therefore
The definition of normal,
So that her wish
Because almost synonymous,
With the most abnormal thing
One could wish for,
And so it was
That her wish wasn’t granted,
Moreover
People laughed at her,
For they found it amusing,
That a little girl,
Which she truly was,
Would want and wish
For the things
She wanted and wished.

But then she knew
What she had to do,
So she went,
To the nearest spaceport,
And picked up a spaceship
That was painted,
In pink and blue,
She of course chose it,
‘Cause those were
Her favorite colors,
And she time-travelled
To the past,
Wishing that she’d find,
The definition of normal,
To be as normal as
Any definition could be.
But the spaceship
Was an evil one,
And it took her to the past,
Where the word normal,
Had not yet been discovered,
When she reached there,
People had just come out,
Of their caves,
Looking for deer to kill,
And then ate them,
And slept merrily.

So she took the spaceship,
And travelled to the future,
But now she came back,
To where she had started.
But as far as I think,
Her wishes at the end
Were fulfilled,
Even though people
Did laugh at her,
For the wish after all,
Was to time-travel.

The Hitchhiker

Hello everyone. I am back now, albeit for a short period, and you would want to know what I have been up to. So here’s that then, for there’s not much to be told, apart from of course what I have been up to. So I just finished with my copy of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’. It is a wonderful read. It is funny, it is dreamy, and it is carved beautifully into five parts which somehow just manage to intermingle and join up towards the end.

So what is this book all about? Well, the story revolves around a couple of friends and couple of their friends, who travel through time and space to save the universe and to find unexpectedly, the answer to Life, Universe and Everything. If there is one utmost important thing that this book teaches us, it is to never expect anything from life, for it is almost always the opposite of what you get. Another important thing that this book puts forward is that you do not need to write poignant pieces of tales, or very deep thoughts, to make it to the Classics list. Trust me, this is one of those books you’ll never regret after reading.

So that’s that then, for there is nothing much more to tell, and for this is not a book review forum, so I will not critique what has been written, for my job was to read it, and enjoy it to the fullest, and that was what I did. Coming back to my life, well, Happy new year once again, though it is quite late to wish you so, I’ve started with this new book. It’s a novel by Rabindranath Tagore, called ‘The Home and The World’, a translation of the very famous Bengali classic ‘Ghore Baire’. It is a pleasant read, and I have only been through the first couple of pages, so let’s wait till it gets over.

That much for now. I will be back again with more introspection when I am in the mood for introspection, which is definitely not today, but might happen some day soon. Bye then, and have a good day, and do grab a copy of the Hitchhiker if you can.

Pinnacle

There have been times when I have thought,
That this might be the end to all,
I am falling behind the rest of the crowd,
Hold me someone, lest I fall.
Yet somehow, every single time,
I have managed to get up,
Dust off my pants, cover up the bruises,
And run again in the race.

So then what was the point,
Of feeling low at times?
It’s important somehow I think,
To feel low and upset sometimes,
Because that is the only way,
You can try to reach the zenith again,
And touch the pinnacle of happiness.

Well, if that doesn’t make sense,
I do not blame you,
‘Cause I am really sleepy,
And I don’t know what I’m writing.
But this is what I really meant,
That yes, you must, you should,
Be happy and cheerful,
Whenever you can,
But then, you must remember,
Being sad is not that bad,
Did that line rhyme in itself?
I think I’ll grow up to become a poet.

#4 – The Beginning

Sometimes I dreamed about Father. He looked thinner than when I last remember seeing him, and I always had the same dream. He pushing me to and fro on a swing in a lush green meadow on a spring afternoon, and we are both happy and shouting, and suddenly from out of nowhere a riot breaks out, people come towards us holding lathis and guns, and Father standing in front of me, protecting me from all of them, and shouting, “What do you want?” And instead of getting a reply, someone shoots him, and he falls. That was the dream. And the same dream kept on coming every now and then; I did not know why. This had never happened in real life. In real life, Father was quite different. He used to toil hard on the fields and by the time he came back home, he hardly had any energy left to strike a conversation with Mother or me. He used to eat, then take out a bottle of rum from one of his cupboards, drink and go off to sleep. He was very silent at home, no fun and no frolic, unlike the dream. Perhaps the dream was what I really wanted in my real life, only the former part of the dream though.

How I ended up in this city with Aunt and Uncle and Sam is a long story, and it starts way back with my grandmother. Grandma was nearly seventy and she needed treatment for her ailing back. It was not possible where we lived, and so Mother and Father arranged for her trip to the city. Since she was to go alone, and since that was unsafe given the current situations (riots had just broken up in Delhi and a lot of people were being killed unnecessarily, and a lot of trains were being burnt without any reason), my parents decided it would be nice if I could accompany her. Not that I would be of much help, they knew that. But then that was not how it all started. To start would mean to go to the beginning and explain how all of our lives intersected and how I am what I am today. It all started back in 1932 when in a small house in a corner of the world, a baby was born.

In autumn he was born and was a fair lad. A few more autumns came and went by and he struggled to live the way he wanted. For around him were talks of independence and wars. He saw Gandhi walk around, and did really consider him his idol, and in one of those fair summers, he learned how it felt to breathe freely. 15th of August it was and it was 1947, and the British had left India in the hands of Indians and then what we did of that all of us know. He married the prettiest girl in town and they had a gorgeous daughter who married a handsome man and they had a handsome son and thus I opened my eyes to this world. It all seemed distant now, yet to go to the beginning sometimes means to search for one’s roots, search what one actually came here for, and try to live up to that motto once you finally find out your purpose.

And so that was how it all began. My life. And a few years later, so it was that I was transported along with Grandma’s luggage to a posh town, where everything was ten times faster, where breathing required skill, and where being rustic meant you were stupid. Yet it had only started. As Grandma used to say, “Child, this is only the beginning.”