Sunday, November 17, 2013

'Sach' is life...

Source: NDTV

1030 hrs, 15th November 2013

On any other day, I can be seen checking mails in Outlook in the office at this time. But today was different. Sachin was still at the crease, playing in what has turned out to be his swansong. I missed watching him in his final moments as a Master Batsman and will for the rest of my life.  I sounded so banal, right? You might have already heard many others like me saying ‘Cricket will never be the same again’. But then isn’t that the fact? Well, some might differ with the likes of Virat and Rohit making their mark in a spectacular fashion. Yes, they are remarkably talented. But it remains to be seen how well they perform in the bouncier pitches of South Africa. God, I digressed again!

I am 26. Sachin started his international career on this day, 24 years ago. Fair to assume that I and many others of my generation have literally grown up watching him play his trademark straight drives and leg glances – two strokes you know run away to the boundary when Sachin plays them. Such was his impeccable timing. Of course, I know two other Indian players who had a divine sense of timing like him. They were his contemporaries – Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly. Rahul almost always pulled the short ball with disdain and yet managed to keep it to the ground – a shot I tried to replicate in the matches I played and failed miserably. And of course Sourav is the ‘God of off side’. I especially enjoyed the long partnerships Sachin shared with Rahul in tests and with Sourav in the ODIs.

Reminiscing those glorious days, when I used to sit glued to the television sets watching ODI cricket played by players who were real gentlemen, I can understand why my maternal grandfather keeps harping on how 20-20 cricket has killed the fun of watching test cricket. My generation of cricketers – the likes of Sachin, Rahul, Sourav, Anil and VVS were aggressive on the field and yet played ‘nicely’. They were players who would keep their emotions in check (Sourav’s extravagance and Anil’s temper? Okay. But we all crave for a little spice, don’t we?). But if tomorrow, my kid cousin brother comes up to me and asks which cricketer he should emulate, would I say Virat or Rohit? NO! Sorry Virat and Rohit. But dudes, beep your expletives please! I am no one to comment on your skills for you both are well on the way to be legends in your own right.

We Indians are jingoist. Offended? Oh, come on! Truth is bitter. But when it comes to Sachin, have we been so? You would say that all the immense adulation, respect and love that his contemporaries, cricket experts, the common man, politicians and Bollywood stars alike have showered on him is what he fully deserves. Yes, he does! Unequivocally yes! Otherwise, what would explain the fascination of Media and Brands with Sachin that has reached the pinnacle today? But this ‘Sachin mania’, a phenomenon of an unprecedented scale has happened because quite a few elements of the universe have come together at the right moments to conspire and lead to the phenomenon we Indians are witnessing today.

  • 1983 – India wins the World Cup: And if cynics then dismissed this off as a flash in the pan, then winning the Benson and Hedges Cup in 1985 proved them wrong. This period coincided with the spectacular fall of Indian Hockey. People found solace in the fact that India was beginning to do well in Cricket. The win in 1983 and 1985 only served to popularise the sport we are so obsessed with now. Cricket stars like Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev were soon endorsing brands and BCCI shifted its focus to organising more and more ODIs to mint money. And even as Cricket started undergoing what many would call ‘glamorization’, a certain Sachin Tendulkar was already creating a buzz in the domestic circuit.  

  • 1991 - Liberalization of the Indian Economy: Sachin’s genius by then was already being talked about and as a child prodigy, he was touted as the next big thing. And then our economy opened the doors to the likes of Coke, Pepsi, Nike and Adidas. Realising the immense marketing potential Cricket as a sport offered, they lost no time in making Sachin the poster boy of Cricket. With his endearing boyish looks and yet an adult like maturity in batsmanship, Sachin’s brilliance was soon the talk of the town. The fact that Sachin, a boy from a middle class family, never let success get to him made him a darling of mothers who wanted their sons to emulate him. And sons like me are still trying to. Why? I won’t bother to answer you! But his demeanour on and off the field speak for themselves. And I am not even talking about his feats in numbers and statistical parameters.

  • 1996 – Mark Mascarenhas signs a long term contract with Sachin making him one of the richest sportspersons globally. That to me was the moment Sports marketing became synonymous with Cricket. The likes of Virat, Rohit and other youngsters minting so much money now through IPL should thank Sachin for it.

  • Sachin and the Indian Demographic profile – An estimated 150 million Indians today are in the age bracket 18-23. And over 450 million Indians today are in the age bracket 5-24. What does this mean? Simple. An entire generation (40-45% of the country’s population) has grown up watching this man play. Add to this the fact that Sachin’s textbook technique and boyish charm has even impressed the likes of my Grandfather – a generation that has grown up watching test matches (Of course back in the 60s and the 70s, people in India had all the time in the world to sit and listen to Radio commentary all day). His humility despite absurdly insurmountable levels of success he has achieved, longevity and endurance has ensured that he waved his magical wand over youngsters and elders alike. Isn’t that enough reason why we all should miss him?

What does Sachin mean to me?

He’s a demigod to many Indians. Someone, guys like me can look up to for lessons in humility and achieving excellence. But for me, Sachin is much more. Sachin was the answer to that one question which I believe led to IIM A opening its hallowed portals to welcome me in. In retrospect, I did answer many tricky questions well but this question about Sachin will be something that I will always remember and cherish. Aah! I can see you are keen to know how. So here goes the story. 

I was the first candidate to be called in for the interview by the panel. 15 minutes into the interview, I hadn’t stumbled at any point, though I took my time to answer their tricky questions. But the panel had other thoughts. They were yet to throw their best salvo at me. And then one of the professors asked me which sport I followed the most. I said ‘Cricket’. They grimaced as if to suggest ‘Oh God! Cricket? Not again’. Then they asked me who my favourite cricketer was? Yes, you know what I answered. And then they asked me to plot his ‘Popularity curve’ with time on the x-axis and popularity on the y-axis. That caught me off-guard. There was no right answer to it. But then I had to be logical and explain why I drew a classical ‘S-curve’ - a Sigmoid function that saturated towards the end.

‘Why do you think the curve should saturate to a straight line?’ asked one of the professors.

‘Sir, to be honest, Sachin’s reflexes are already slowing down and with the young crop taking over, his popularity might dwindle a bit. So I think it would saturate towards the end’, I replied. They nodded.

Three months later, I was elated. I was in IIMA and was living my dream. And the two years that I spent learning the nuances of management also coincided with that period when against all odds, Sachin once again peaked to the best form of his life. His 200 in the ODI in Gwalior against a very good South African bowling attack and then his last test century against the same opposition in the bouncier pitches of South Africa – both of them in 2010 stand out. He seemed timeless. And then in Diwali 2010, I saw him bat for the first time in the test match in Motera against New Zealand. He missed out on a half century. But watching him bat in front of my eyes, I realised he was human after all. I saw him in flesh and had goose bumps all over. That day, when he walked back to the pavilion visually disappointed, it struck me that I was wrong to surmise that Sachin’s popularity would dwindle. Leave alone his popularity. He had set newer benchmarks and broken records in 2010-11 with the final jewel on his crown – A world cup medal. Damn! He cried, I cried and like me a million others. Trash that S-curve! It didn’t straighten after all.

God has powers. A superhuman is a human who with sheer talent, perseverance and humility achieves the status of a demigod. So, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar isn’t god. He’s a superhuman. And now he’s a Bharat Ratna. But for me, Sachin would remain an enigma, a name, a memory associated with those moments when I had given it all to fulfill a dream. I was wrong about this man, and I don’t regret one bit about it.
Yes, I had tears watching him touch the cricket pitch one final time in reverence and make that final farewell speech with an immaculate control over his emotions. Amidst tributes galore to this great man, I couldn’t resist the urge to jot down what I feel for SRT.

If ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, a biopic on Milkha Singh has grossed over 100 Crores globally, then I am pretty sure a blockbuster of a movie is coming its way with a biopic on Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar!

P.S: Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly deserved a similar farewell. But then I am not missing them much. In their new avatars as a commentator and a cricket analyst, they are as classical and extravagant as they both were while batting.

signing off,

Friday, November 1, 2013

I can write as well...

I am listening to a soulful composition by Harris Jayaraj. A haunting melody sung by Bombay Jayashree. My fingers keep rolling on the keyboard of my laptop, as my thoughts translate to words on a Microsoft word document. Yet sometimes, I struggle to form cohesive sentences. The fact that ‘Backspace’ is the keyboard button I use the most after ‘Space’ is testimony to this fact. I have forgotten how it feels to physically hold a pen and write on a piece of parchment. There were days, when I used to practice so many mathematical problems on paper that my index and middle finger would terribly hurt. Don’t you remember the days when possessing a ‘Cello Gripper’ was considered a fashion statement of sorts?

And now, here I am trying to make a name as a ‘Writer’. Okay, not just a ‘Writer’ but a great one. But I am struggling. I am no better than a junior artist in Bollywood, who’s trying to break in and look for that one ‘lucky break’ which is elusive in most cases. Why? My manuscript has been rejected by the biggies. That was a jolt I probably needed to come out of complacency. I was pretty confident of my writing abilities. But rejection forces you to rethink. Rejection is the best thing that can happen to anyone, for it is a humbling experience. I think I should first set the context right, before I proceed further.

It all began in the month of September in 2011. Four months of life in the corporate boardrooms, I was disillusioned. Who am I? What was I doing after passing out from the ‘toughest B-school to get into’? What do I want to do with my life? And then there was this tryst with... I suppose you got that one! A very depressing day in office was the trigger. I furiously opened my laptop and vented out my feelings on the keyboard. And there it was – a short note, reflecting on anything and everything that happened in my life in the last one year. I read and reread it and laughed at myself, wondering how puerile I can be sometimes. I wasn't immature. I was less mature. Then, as an afterthought I decided to share it with three friends who know the in and out of me. One of them then suggested that I extend it further into a fully fledged novel. Of course, it had to be fictionalized. And it was. It’s been over two years now. We are on the verge of getting it published.

We? Yes, me and my editor. This script is my baby. Precisely five months ago, I began searching for an editor to nurture it. Lucky me! It wasn't such a painful exercise after all. Working with my editor on this ‘soon to be published’ book has been a delightful and an immensely enriching experience. Of course, I did have some trouble trying to unlearn all those things ingrained in my psyche, to which I was conditioned to and look at the script from her perspective. And I also managed to rile my editor once with my stupidity while reworking on the script. But she pushed me to stretch my realms of imagination and come up with something better. Of course, that’s what good editors are supposed to be doing. Now, when I realise I am a better narrator than I was probably a year back, then I have to thank my editor for it.

Dear editor, if you are reading this and I know you would, I would like to tell you that I have downloaded a copy of Wren and Martin. The file’s conveniently saved on my laptop's desktop, so that every time I see it, I know I am messing with the ‘funniest language’ in the world and trying to make a career out of it. This, despite the fact that my score in the ‘Verbal Ability’ section of CAT 2008 led me straight into the hallowed portals of IIMA! Boastful, eh? Unequivocally, yes!

Disclaimer: I am venturing into the ‘blunt’ mode. I would like to call this the ‘phase’, when I am unabashedly shameless and brutally honest about my views and the insights I share. So, if you can’t stand this mode, I suggest you stop right here!

‘Writing a book is the intellectual equivalent of running a marathon’. I quote my ex-roommate, verbatim. He so succinctly described my experience of writing a novel that I could only nod in admiration. He recently quit his job to venture full-time into wedding photography. A bold step I must say. Anyways, the point I was trying to make was that Writing as a profession doesn't guarantee financial stability, especially for a fledgling writer like me who aspires to make it big. And moreover, writing is an exhaustive activity in itself. I remember having endured the proverbial writer’s block a couple of times – a phase a writer dreads the most. Writing is inherently associated with solitude. Most writers embrace silence and contemplate in solitude, for it allows them to be ‘in the zone’. I know what it’s like to be ‘in the zone’. It’s that phase when the creative juices overflow and you just can’t stop writing.

Being a writer is also tough, in a society that is turning increasingly materialistic. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say I am a writer? People who don’t know me well might conjure one or all of the following: Crazy, lunatic, eccentric, most probably a serial drinker, hardcore introvert, irrational, radical, lean, hairy (OMG!). It’s bloody true, given the kind of imagery associated with some of the bestselling authors of the world. I can’t just roam around proclaiming that I am a writer. Not until, I have written a bestseller. Unfortunately, I see myself being dragged down by people who fail to appreciate fine arts and still have a word of advice for me or worse, think that all I do is daydream. Bloody hypocrites! But, I have to also acknowledge the presence of friends who have firmly supported me. It’s because of them that I can dream, imagine and write. The sad truth about us, the proud Indians that we call ourselves, is that we sometimes ruthlessly rebuke those who dare to dream beyond the obvious. Visionaries have blossomed in environments where they were encouraged to dream and act on fulfilling them. What harm is there if I want to be one? Anyways...

I have managed to complete my book. Per se, it’s an achievement. Is the book good or bad? You have to judge. Incidentally, there’s a contest called NANOWRIMO where budding writers register and write 50000 words of their novel in the month of November. ‘Gosh’ was my first reaction when I first went through the infomercial. That’s crazy! I can never do that. Probably, that’s the reason why it took me two years. 

My editor did ask me once. How did I keep going? Did I not run out of patience? Was I not tired whilst letting my imagination run amok and pen my thoughts down? Of course, I was. But I was so involved with the characters I created, that it would have been gross injustice if I hadn't finished their story. I felt a strong inner urge and the responsibility to finish their story. There were days when I only thought about the characters of the story I was weaving. I was in the zone and I felt special. Damn! I already sound like those well established authors. I hope I become one of them. And yes, for those cynics droning on around me – Yes! The book will be out soon. 

signing off,

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Friday, the 13th!

Hi folks,

Friday, the 13th day of September in the year 2013. Rarely has been a day as eventful as this one. Dear Sreesanth, thanks for your histrionics. But we have had enough of you. Thanks BCCI. One of those few decisions you have got bang on target!

And then there was the conviction of the four insensate youngsters. If I were to use any English word from my vocabulary to describe the nature of the crime committed, then that word would be ‘Heinous’. And if there is any other word or phrase that you can think of other than the one I just mentioned, then consider my vocabulary weak!

Anyways, the point is this - how many times have you seen a court in India deliver a verdict within 8 months of a heinous crime being committed? I bet even the convicts would have never imagined that such deathly fate would befall them so quickly. Had it not been for the public uproar and open protests that were amplified by the social media to a degree, never seen before in the history of Independent India, this conviction wouldn’t have been so swift and effective. Now, it’s time to address our dear friend Nirbhaya.

Hi Nirbhaya,

I am pretty sure you were watching the drama unfold in the court proceedings, sitting somewhere up in heaven. And I guess the fact that the swiftness with which Delhi Police completed the investigation to nail the offenders must have come as a surprise to you. I don’t know what you must have felt when the verdict was announced. I guess, I can never know. After all, I am a guy who thought he could afford to roam the streets at night without a care in the world. How wrong, I was!

What I do know is that you must have felt – why me? As someone who could have gone on to become a brilliant doctor, whatever happened to you is indescribable. So heinous, that thousands of people like me were outraged. Every day, you fought bravely against odds heavily stacked against you - we hoped against hope. And that eventful day, our hearts sank. When that small glitter of hope was extinguished, we seethed with anger and gritted our teeth. A chill ran down my spine though, for I have always had a soft corner for Delhi – a city where I grew up as a kid and have many sweet memories to cherish.

I wished that nothing less but the ‘noose’ be tied around the offenders. And there were many like me, vocal enough that the lawmakers had to sit up and take notice. ‘Swift action or otherwise its doom’, they must have thought. And when the desired verdict was announced, people who crowded in huge numbers at the Saket Complex applauded. I will admit this to you, Nirbhaya. After the verdict, I heard myself cursing the ‘four *****rds’ with the choicest of swear words that I know of. But then the next instant, I was completely engulfed with ghoulish thoughts. Yes Nirbhaya. Ghoulish thoughts indeed!

If not for their deeds, those four convicts possibly could have gone on to become future leaders of this country. If only the government had provided the right kind of resources to disillusioned youngsters like them. Friday, the 13th of September 2013, was a sad day, because we publicly killed the ambitions of four youngsters who could have been virtuous instead of the ghastly abhorrent monsters they turned out to be. Of course, let the four of them be damned for what they did. They deserved every bit of what they have got. No one will shed tears the day they are hanged until the tightening noose sucks every bit of life out of them. 

But do we really need to applaud and celebrate their death? Are we so morbid, Nirbhaya? Doesn’t that tell you something about ‘we the people’? The verdict ‘Death to all’ that was labelled as ‘historic’ by some newspapers doesn’t matter now, but for the small glitter of hope that it serves as an effective deterrent to ‘Rape’ – a term that has been so trivialized now that every time I hear someone utter it, I am disappointed by the lows to which ‘we the people’ can stoop to.

Before I end this letter Nirbhaya, I would like you to ask something. Nothing much, though. Please pray that we get better in treating women, irrespective of age, caste and religion and of course, the power to introspect and learn basic civility. If you are reborn as the ‘second woman Prime Minister’ of India, then nothing like it!

Yours friendly,

And that brings me back to the point I had earlier raised. I mean how morbid can we be. No point taking to twitter or Facebook and blaming the Congress for the current state of affairs. No point blaming a Prime Minister who remains mum, even when our soldiers are beheaded in a brazen act by the Pakistani Army that can only be termed as cowardly. Yes, I mince no words when I say so. I have never been a great fan of ‘Aman ki Asha’. Does that make me jingoistic? Or is it because I am the son of a soldier, taught to place the country’s interest above anything and everything else?

One of my dear friend and a fellow batch-mate from IIMA had once remarked – Jab tak hum nahi sudhrenge, yeh desh bhi nahi sudhrega’. So true, I say.

Friday, the 13th day of September 2013 is also eventful because ‘NaMo’ as he is lovingly referred to, was announced as the official PM candidate. This is so reminiscent of the presidential ballot that happens in USA. Rahul Vs NaMo should be an exciting contest. More so, because this is probably the first election in which an entire generation of tech savvy youngsters aware of the in and out of what’s happening politically (thanks to Social Media and a certain foolish politician ‘DS’ who keeps on uttering ridiculous bullshit), will turn up to vote in large numbers. With young India overwhelmingly in support of NaMo, things look bright for this charismatic leader.

Winds of change are blowing. Given the pathetic state of affairs in our country, it comes as no surprise that people desperately seek change. I have never been a great admirer of NaMo. He’s a polarizing figure - a leader who has the ability to intimidate, whenever required and inspire whenever necessary. Godhra has been a blot on his otherwise stain-free tenure as the CM of Gujarat.

Of course, while doing projects in IIMA, I did observe that in some parts of the hinterlands of Gujarat, funds still don’t trickle down to the grass-root level. Caste based discrimination is rampant. In Ahmedabad, the manhole workers, most of who belong to a community called ‘Valmiki’, are treated with disdain. There’s an entire slum in the outskirts of Ahmedabad, where people survive inhumane conditions without electricity and basic sanitation. I happened to visit this slum and somehow managed to not puke after spending over two hours with the residents who described their living conditions in excruciating detail. Of course it was all there, explicit visuals some of which I managed to capture in my camera as well. The irony - it was August 15th in the year 2010. More details on

I mince no words when I say I am not a great fan of NaMo. A leader like him ought to be intolerant of such discrimination happening right in the midst of a major city in a state he’s governing. But then, thousands of such slums lie unattended to in various cities of our country. And there are other issues like Primary education, basic sanitation, food security etc. that haven’t been addressed properly despite 66 years of being a sovereign country. So, it is unfair to expect so much from a leader like NaMo who is relatively a better performer than many other useless administrators the country has seen. Despite all his failings, he is assertive and decisive – in many ways like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, although NaMo needs to bolster his secular credentials. I would rather prefer a decisive leader than a mum one!

NaMo is the beacon of hope of a better tomorrow. And if BJP indeed wants to return to power, then it has to do certain things right.
  • Acknowledge the fact that being a ‘Gandhi’ does matter and carries immense brand value. Go to a village and ask an old lady and you would realise that she’s more likely to recall who a certain Gandhi is as compared to NaMo. Dear BJP. Please realise that the literate working class is tired of being taken for a ride by the incumbent government. So, most votes in urban constituencies are likely to be polled in your party’s favour. Instead, you would do better to take the fight to the rural bastions where the real political drama is set to unfold in 2014. Clearly, Congress is better equipped than you are. Why? Simple. They are still in power
  • Magic figure of 190 – It would be foolhardy to assume that you can form a coalition government even if you manage even a tad less than this figure. BJP, are you listening? AP and UP together combine to form 122 seats. But alas, BJP’s presence in these two critical states is not much to cheer for. It becomes that much trickier with potential kingmakers like Jagan and Mayawati/Mulayam who are shrewd players
  • Avoid indulging in a slandering duel with Rahul. It would be like playing into the hands of Congress which just wants that. Instead, the better strategy would be to convince people how BJP can make a difference to people’s lives. Focus on your election manifesto and make it so intent heavy that it by itself wins you the election. Of course, easier said than done!

It is after 22 years that Indian economy has hit such a rough patch again. And if the appointment of Mr Raghuram Rajan (proud to be a fellow alumnus) and its immediate impact on Rupee and Sensex is anything to go by, I can’t help but be optimistic. Of course there were external factors like Fed’s announcement of tapering of the amount spent on QE, better than expected GDP figures for US and Eurozone that helped, but his firm intent evident in his speech, did give a boost to the sentiments that turned bullish again. And that’s what might just happen next year if things go NaMo’s way. It’s time for the phoenix to rise from the ashes. And it’s also the time for youngsters like me to participate and at least vote to make a difference. Isn’t it time already, for young India to isolate those who don’t treat their daughters and mothers with respect and dignity? Why do we marginalise the downtrodden and desolate when the right thing to do is marginalise the monsters created within the system or create the right infrastructure to reform them? 

Nirbhaya, if you are listening. You can still be reborn as the PM of India – possibly the youngest ever, and create wonders for this country. That would be just perfect! Ain’t it? 

signing off,

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Hii folks,

One fine day in the sunny month of May 1998, my maternal uncle came up to me and asked me to get ready for a short trip to Hyderabad. I was told that we were to attend a marriage. It was my first visit to Hyderabad and I had heard a lot about the city that it was. Till then, I had known Hyderabad to be the city famous for its pearls, Biryani, Haleem and Golconda amongst others. And boy, how excited I was when I finally boarded the bus from Warangal to Hyderabad!

Gorging on authentic Hyderabadi Biryani, my love-love relationship with this dish began with gusto. Continues till date! Watching the magnificent Buddha Statue standing tall on a platform in the Hussain Sagar lake, surrounded by Necklace Road that dazzles at night (as the name suggests); I wondered at the city that Hyderabad was. My father had by then dropped enough subtle hints that this was the city we were to later settle in. And after years of living a nomadic life at various IAF bases in India, I was elated that we would be settling for good in a city that held a lot of promises for me.

As an 11 year old kid, I was enamoured by the spirit that Hyderabad as a city embodied. Its laid-back charm coupled with the tehzeeb with which its residents welcomed people from all parts of India was endearing, if not anything else. Located almost centrally in the Indian subcontinent, it is easily accessible from all the four directions. And it is probably the only South Indian city that can still boast of a population consisting of varied ethnic and linguistic groups. Relatively speaking, Hyderabad was and continues to be women-friendly compared to other metro cities in India.

Home to a multitude of research, manufacturing, pharmaceutical and financial institutions, it is sometimes also referred to as ‘India’s Pharmaceutical Capital’. DMRL, BHEL, NGRI, CCMB, NMDC, NIN and I can go on and on with this list. But the game changer for Hyderabad was probably the emergence of Cyberabad as an IT hub. And later, the state of the art Airport that is now the ‘Best Airport in India’ as per Skytrax for the year 2013. Hyderabad is now home to the Indian headquarters of IT giants like Google, Microsoft and Amazon and is still the first-choice destination for budding IT start-ups.

2001 - It was the year that my family finally settled in Hyderabad. A year had passed by when the erstwhile US president Bill Clinton addressed IT leaders in this city. Hyderabad was vying with Bangalore to be the top IT exporter in India. As a city, Hyderabad was bustling with unbridled energy and investments were pouring in from all parts of the world. The so called IT boom had a domino effect on other sectors like Energy, Pharma and Real Estate that soon rose to prominence. And five years later in 2006, even the then US president George Bush made it a point to visit Hyderabad. The fact that apart from New Delhi, Hyderabad was the only city to be host to two successive US presidents speaks volumes of the potential and promises of a great future this city had then.

But for Hyderabad, the downhill ride had begun with the infamous ‘Satyam Scandal’ in 2009. By then, even the movement demanding statehood for Telangana had gathered steam and residents like me had begun to feel the heat of dissent brooding over Hyderabad, in the form of frequent call for bandhs and strikes by Labour Unions tacitly supported by TRS activists. The Telangana movement as the media refers to, was till then an exercise in restraint. But thanks to the retracting statements by the then Home minister, the movement soon turned violent.

November 2009 onwards

I was to catch a late night flight to Ahmedabad. I was on the Airport Shuttle bus when the driver announced that we were stuck in a traffic jam at the Tarnaka – Osmania University campus junction. Minutes later, we were surrounded by an unruly mob. Armed with hockey sticks, placards and possibly sacks full of stones, they staged a Rasta roko. The driver announced that there was no way this melee was going to end anytime soon and we should probably make our way out through it. But with the arrival of the Police force, things turned messier. And when the window pane of our bus was cracked open by the stone pelting mob, we just had to escape our way out. No casualties, not much damage done with the exception of a few activists injured in the ensuing lathi charge and arrests - This was what the local media had reported in the next day’s newspapers. But the damage was done. I missed my flight. The perception of this city had received a dent, a deep gash resulting in a wound that was not to heal anytime soon.

From then on, Hyderabad has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. And as a lad, who considered himself a proud ‘Hyderabadi’, I found myself in the midst of all intellectual discussions on the Telangana movement and it’s repercussions on the IT industry in Hyderabad. Most of my friends either lost their jobs or settled in other cities that are more financially stable and are not clouded by the kind of political uncertainty that has enveloped Hyderabad now. Hyderabad was once the second largest IT exporter but is now relegated to the fourth position. Real estate prices have touched rock bottom. Frequent bandhs led to all academic schedules in major universities like OU, JNTU going haywire and putting the careers of thousands of aspiring engineer/doctors in jeopardy.

But this period coincided with my MBA stint at Ahmedabad. So, I didn’t exactly find myself in the thick of action. But to see the city I lived in, go into a deep state of chaos hurt me no end. And when my peers disapproved of the state of affairs in Hyderabad, I could only nod in agreement. My city was bleeding and the two terror strikes that happened (one in 2007 and the other earlier this year) only aggravated it further. So what went wrong? A city that was once expected to be the ‘IT’ capital of India now finds itself in the news for all the wrong reasons.

For me, the inevitability of Telangana as a state was never in doubt. And I won’t comment on an issue that is sensitive and is close to the hearts of over 30 million people who reside in this region. How can I? When I have never really had an emotional connect with this movement. But it is a known fact that blood has been shed in the process. So the fact that Telangana is going to be the 29th state of the Union of India is indeed good news. And I can only hope that things go smoothly from now on, that real development at the grass-root level happens in the new state and creates avenues for employment to the many lying there unemployed and disillusioned with the establishment.

But the announcement that Hyderabad will be the shared capital for 10 years has come as a shocker. As a professional, I am not the only one planning to eventually settle down with my family in Hyderabad. There are thousand others who share the same thoughts I have. But when leaders like KCR openly make provocative statements asking employees from Andhra to leave the state, then I shudder to think of the events that would unfold once the process of allocation of assets and resources begins after the formation of Telangana. It’s certainly unbecoming of a leader like him, who is widely perceived to be the next CM of this new state.

The allocation process is going to be long and painful, rife with disputes over what is mine and what is yours. The fact that this process hasn’t been completed in states like Jharkhand and Uttarakhand (Thousands of petitions by disgruntled government employees waiting to be heard out) should be a harbinger of things to come for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. I just hope that the disputes are not over who should live and who should be out. That would be extremely disappointing. And for once, even the staunchest supporter of the Telangana movement should agree with me that leaders like KCR set a good example in tolerance and harmony for the millions of youngsters who look up to him and not be provocative like he was recently.   

Given the current state of affairs, Hyderabad appears to be a lucrative piece of meat waiting to be torn apart. And this can certainly be avoided if Hyderabad is declared a Union Territory. But it is no Chandigarh. Hyderabad is geographically encompassed by Telangana and that is one of the many factors that put Srikrishna Committee into a state of dilemma. Even an elite panel of jurists in the committee had to come up with three narrowed options to appease all stakeholders and avoid the volatile law and order scenario in Hyderabad to flare up further. Isn’t this a classical case of Catch 22? Do you declare it as a Union Territory and deny what the people of Telangana think is rightfully theirs or declare it as a shared capital and create a logistical nightmare for the state of Andhra Pradesh? And what is going to happen to the great Hyderabadi Dream that professionals like me and many others harbor?

Needless to say, we the people have the answers to these questions. Irrespective of the decisions made by the lawmakers, if people of Telangana stay true to their instincts and follow the ‘live and let live’ principle, then things look bright in the times to come. The people of Telangana have sacrificed a lot, shed blood and have eventually been victorious. Good times are to come. But patience is the need of the hour. This is not the time to be unduly jingoistic and make the phrase ‘Jai Telangana’ a tool to gain further political mileage. Much of the damage has already been done. Telangana can’t afford to risk giving rise to another party akin to the one in Maharashtra, so  intolerant of the migrant population in Mumbai. That would be fatal to Hyderabad.

When you are ‘down in the dumps’, you can only rise from there on. The same holds true for Hyderabad. I for one remain optimistic about my prospects in this city that I have come to love so much. Do I really have an option other than to remain positive? Yes, I do. But I simply don’t see myself settling in any other city but Hyderabad. For starters, no other city offers me authentic Biryani on their menu to titillate my olfactory and gustatory senses. And the fun of watching a Mahesh Babu or a Pawan Kalyan starrer in Hyderabad is unmatched anywhere else. Why should I miss all of these seemingly insignificant but priceless moments? 

signing off,

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

In conversation with a Narcissist...

'8 pm it is then' I finally managed to seal the deal after days of convincing him to spare some time for me. Its hard to believe he is the same guy who 5 years back appeared so lean and slender that he could be easily blown away by a waft of air. We would often resist the strong urge to bully him around. And what might be the reason, you would ask? - He was the quintessential academic topper he has been always; and we needed him to help us around during exams. Of the four years that we were in the campus turning ourselves to engineers, we spent more time watching movies and gossiping inside canteen premises than the number of hours that we spent in the classrooms combined. With an almost 6 foot long skeletal frame and hardly an ounce of muscle in his body, he used to walk with stooped shoulders and appeared naive, meek and vulnerable all the time. Wearing almost half an inch thick moustache, he would never fail us for he also knew that we were capable of making his living life hell in the campus. So, it was a win-win relationship for us. 

In 2009, he achieved the unthinkable. And we couldn't help but marvel at his sheer perseverance that finally led him in to the hallowed portals of one of the finest academic institutes in the world. But after years of riding the peak in academics, he soon fell down flat on his nose there. It took all of 9 months for him to stare down the barrel - Shudder at the very thought of not finishing amongst the creme de la creme of his batch in one of the toughest PG courses designed ever. For a guy used to winning all the time, this was a first. And he certainly struggled to cope up with it. But then he managed to survive and for the next 11 months that he spent in the institute, he was back to his true elements.

It is 8 pm on my watch. And as promised, I am on time. Few seconds later, I am welcomed in with a glad smile. Still in his track suit, he's perspiring and is nowhere close to being ready for the 'interview' I was here for. With a glass full of milk that he gulps down in a jiffy, he finally settles down in front of me on his bean bag. Offering me a cup of tea, I take a few seconds to observe his demeanor. He's a changed man. With a fairly athletic frame he appears fit; clearly no longer the 'lean nerd' we have known him as, back during our engineering college days. And after the initial greetings and reminiscing about those memorable days spent  in ragging juniors and harassing our professors, I started the process of knowing the Beta 2.0 version of my friend here. 

'So what's with you and working out in the gym? No one told me that you have gained so much muscle' I asked him, exaggerating a little about the whole 'muscle' thing. 

'It all started back two years ago when I was doing my MBA. Academically, I wasn't performing to my potential. Frustrated, I finally needed something to take my mind off the fact that I was failing time and again. So, I started working out and focused on my health. And that kind of helped me cope up with what I perceived as failure' he stated. 

Philosophizing never suited my friend. But he was always prone to it - Something he had long back acknowledged as the reason he struggled to connect emotionally with his girlfriend and most friends who were girls. 

But I was here to know about the book he has written and is now trying to get it published. I was curious to know how he could write a 250 odd pager (at least that's what my sources confirmed till now) while working as a Senior Manager in a big Indian conglomerate at the same time. And then he revealed it all!!

'Four months into my first job as a management professional, I realised I wasn't cut out for this. And that was also the time I was having a hard time dealing with what many now label as 'Identity Crisis'. I had begun to question my decision of pursuing MBA whereas my peers were already doing worthwhile for themselves and my country. Someone was helping senior scientists build ICBMs whereas the other was doing cutting edge scientific research on rats and zebra-fishes. And then there was this 'four letter word' you are well aware of. So at a time when people around felt nothing bad could happen to me - now that I was earning well and financially secure, I felt otherwise. And just like that, I would be frustrated with little things in my daily life as the monotonous routine got into my head' he paused when his cell phone rang and excused himself. 

Just when I think I would elicit responses pertaining to only his book, I find him beating around the bush. So whoever it was who called him up, certainly was a welcome relief for me!! Alas, it was to be short lived. 

'So where did I stop?' he interjected my thoughts. 

' were talking about how frustrated you were' thank heavens, I recollected.

'Yeah. One fine day after a particularly satisfying workout in the gym, I was all feeling good for no reason. And out of thin air, the thought of maintaining my own journal stuck to me. So, I did' he stopped and I looked at him with my brows raised in anticipation, expecting him to complete his version of how he ended up writing the book. 


'So what? That's how I ended up writing this book' he said poker faced.

He had me completely befuddled. How could he turn his own journal to a full fledged contemporary romantic fictional novel? Turns out he allowed his imagination to run wild, like letting loose a rogue wild elephant out on the streets (not exactly the best of analogies I have made till now!!). The chaos that followed is now what he is trying to get it published. 

'Then how can your book be termed as 'fiction'? I asked him, by now clear that a part of him was also present somewhere hidden inside.

'Well, it's not exactly fiction for some aspects of the story are clearly inspired by what happened with me. But then, all the characters in it are fictional. Doesn't that make my book a fiction?' He made his point.

I could do nothing other than simply nod. So what's his book all about? 

'It's an autobiographical account of a guy who thinks he is an emotional sissy' is the only response I manage to get from him. 

'Are you the guy?' I ask to confirm. He's for once, definitely an emotional sissy. 

'No, certainly not!!' he catches me unaware with that one just when I was expecting an affirmative.

So how's been his experience like, working on a book for about 16 months? 

'Phantasmagoric!!' is his one word response.

'What the hell does that mean?' I ask him totally foxed beyond my senses.

'Doesn't matter. Well, it was a surreal experience. I could write whatever came to my mind. Build a world of my own, where I could do whatever I have always wanted to do and create life out of thin air. It was nothing less than magical' his childlike enthusiasm brought a bright smile to my face. No wonder he is a 'Harry Potter fanatic' and has an unending crazy crush on 'Emma Watson'. 

Refusing to divulge details further citing the fact that he is yet to get it published, I could sense that he was also getting restless and impatient. Why? His manuscript got rejected by the major publishers and he for once is known to be poor at handling rejection. And just when I remind him that even JK Rowling and Amish had faced multiple rejections before they eventually succeeded, he cuts me politely with a 'But I am not them buddy. I am me!!'

I don't know what to make of it. But it's very clear that his book is his baby. And I am pretty sure that if no one publishes it, he will then eventually get it e-published. In his own words, he admits that his style of writing is as simple and plain as it can be - Nowhere close to the bright colorful fabrics that some of his peers weave out of words a layman could never have heard of. And he does clearly state that his book is not for the intelligentsia (Although I reckon he wouldn't mind if they read his book!!). 

When I ask him what his strength is then? 'My strength lies in the fact that I let my heart tell me what to write. And my weakness is my vocabulary. I am yet to reach the literary standards set by Shashi Tharoor who is one of my all time favourites. Have you read 'The Great Indian Novel'? I am having a tough time comprehending it!!' he muses. 

Sensing the fact that he has only spoken about him and his book till now, he switches gears and asks me about me. I tell him that my job as a photo-journalist and an active blogger continues to give me good reasons to stick to the same job; in a clear attempt at banter. 

Somewhere in this conversation, it felt as if his unpublished (hoping it is published soon!!) book was indeed his baby he wasn't willing to let go so easily. He wants the best for it and that's why despite the evident impatience written all over him, he is willing to wait for the right publisher to present it in the best possible manner. That's almost narcissistic, isn't it? But then sometimes, it pays to be one!!

I happened to chance upon this extract from his untitled novel that goes like this:

‘Of course, what else?’ she responded. So, I straightaway went to Abbas Bhai to order breakfast for us. Within the hospital, there have been only three people apart from Lahari I have had the most interaction with. One was Dr Atreya, who would be quite wary of me and my blackmailing antics. He apparently had an affair few days back with the head nurse, whom the staff popularly knows by the name Savitha Ben. Of course there was Kamini who would always like a dedicated reporter feed me with juicy gossips and scoops on whatever scandalous that would be happening within the hospital. And then there was Abbas bhai, the ever smiling guy who was so down to earth that every time I had a chat with him, he would either tell me how lucky I am to have Lahari as a soulmate or talk about Allah and the ‘karam’ he has on his devout devotees.

‘Salaam wailaikum Abbas bhai’ He was counting cash in his cash box when I greeted him.

‘Wailaikum as salaam Varun ji. Badey dino ke baad Eid ka chaand chaandni ke saath nazar aaya hai. Mashallah!!’ he complimented as I blushed again.

‘How are you miyan?. How are things at your end?’ I asked.

‘Bas, sab Allah ka karam hai Varun bhai’ Whenever I asked him how he was doing, he always had the same trademark response to offer – ‘Sab Allah ka karam hai’.

‘Kya, bhai? You always say the same thing. Don’t you have anything else to say to me? It kind of gets boring you know’ I shrugged.

‘I am what I am because of Allah. If I am fine, it is because his grace is on me. And the same goes with you Varun bhai. After all we are nothing for you and I have to leave this world and eventually reach the great Lord himself. Tab tumhare karam ka sab hisab kitab hoga. Kya jawaab doge tum?’

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Love knows no boundaries - 2

Continued from Love knows no boundaries Part 1

‘Actually I have been thinking of donating a part of my salary to an NGO. And that day I saw you entering this institute and I thought...’ I stopped with my eyebrows raised, waiting to see how she would respond.

‘So were you actually stalking me that day?’ she snapped.

‘No, no. I just happened to see you entering this institute. I work as a marketing manager in Nagarjuna Constructions’ and then showed her my ID.

‘Just chill Mr...’, she paused and then began to laugh at my nervousness more than anything else.

‘Oh! I am Srivats’

‘Yeah, Mr Srivats. I was just kidding. Anyway you definitely don’t look like a stalker or a roadside Romeo to me’ she giggled again.

‘And may I know your good name?’ I asked her politely this time gathering some courage, finally that she smiled.

‘I am Aaliya and I teach mathematics here at the primary level’

Whenever she smiled, I felt the cupid himself strumming up the Harp nearby for me; celebrating the fact that mere dil mein garden garden was happening.  

‘So, Srivats. You will have to fill up this form and sign a declaration. Your donations will be non taxable under Section 80 D’

After all the formalities were done away with, she took me around to a tour of the institute. After the tour, I did what later turned out to be the best decision of my life.

‘Can we go out for a cup of coffee?’ I signalled coffee with my hands while asking her out.

‘Sure. Let’s go to the canteen’

I wanted to take her out to the Minerva in my car and possibly savour moments of timeless romance. But the moment she uttered ‘Canteen’, the dream then and there shattered to smithereens.

‘I guess you are one of the many corporate slaves in this city. I have met many who spend all their lives working for money. But money isn't everything right?’

That was out of the blue. Here was I, thinking how to start off the conversation and she wasted no time opining about my profession. I felt this was the right moment to impress her.

‘Yeah that is what I feel sometimes. And this donation is nothing but an attempt to break away from the monotony I have been experiencing for the last 4 years.’

She smiled at me. I had to always look at her while speaking so that she could read my lip movements. But at the same time, I was also looking at her eyes as well. I could sense a lot of loneliness in them, but she never gave an impression that she was one. I don’t know what she saw in me but I sensed that she must have gone through a lot of struggle and pain. So much so that even the tears have now dried up, leaving only the smile behind. May be she had realized that clutching on to optimism was the only way she could survive in this cruel world now.

‘So where do you live?’ I started the process of knowing her more.

‘Oh! This is my home’ she referred to the institute. ‘We have the hostel right beside the church where I live.’

‘And your family....?’ I hesitatingly asked her though I never wanted to. I was an orphan myself.

‘I never knew who my parents were. I was brought up here and this is my world where I have dedicated myself to’, she gently added this time in a low serious tone.

There was a brief moment of silence before the conversation resumed again.

On the pretext of donations, I began to visit the institute every month. Slowly and gradually the frequency of visits began to increase and there came a time when we started meeting every weekend to go out for dinner and shopping. She was unofficially my girlfriend now. But she never acted like one would do - Be demanding and ask the guy to shell out and burn their pockets(Of course, not all girlfriends are like that but then....). She was a woman who was supremely assertive and yet gentle in a nice strange way and treated me like a friend. I was able to be myself with her. Despite her happy go lucky demeanour, she also managed to listen to me and advise me sensibly whenever required.

Every Sunday I would meet her in the church. I started loving it inside the Church where I found solace in the silence pervading all around; something which I was craving for a long time. Inside the Church, Aaliya would be a totally different self; calm and serene like a silent Himalayan lake. I was feeling good now that I was contributing something for the children at the institute. I started accompanying Aaliya to her favourite places like the Sultan Bazar, where she often bought books for the institute and then we would go and have Pani Puri at Gokul Chat or have tea at the nearby stalls, though I hated the fact that they were never hygienic to my ultra-posh standards. People around would stare at me when we communicated using signs. But we both were always oblivious to the surroundings. Or at least I managed to pretend that way!! I could sense that she was comfortable with me and so was I. But she never expressed her feelings for me and in her words our status was: ‘WE ARE SPECIAL FRIENDS’. I absolutely hated this part as I was in love with her.

SMS was the only way we could communicate whenever we were not together. One fine day I was typing an SMS which read ‘I will pick you up at the institute by 6pm’ when the office peon commented, ’Sir, these days you have been messaging a lot. What’s happening?’ stressing on the last word with a mischievous blink.

‘Dude, this is the only way I can chat with her’ I blinked and smiled back.

‘But you could call and talk to her right? Why stress your fingers on the keypad?’ He was obviously confused.

‘You won’t understand’ I replied nonchalantly.

The word ‘understand’ brought back the fear and anxiety I was facing all these days. I was seriously pondering on how to propose her for marriage. And then I would think of what her reaction would be. This kept happening since the last three months and never once was I able to gather the guts and utter those three magical words to her. I left for the parking lot in a hurry and saw that I had only thirty minutes to manage the Hyderabad traffic and pick her up at 6. Unlike girls I have been with, she would always be on time and there was never a moment when I waited for her. It was probably because she was never the one to rely on cosmetics to enhance her looks. And even without that, she looked absolutely gorgeous to me. God! I was so in love with her!!

‘You are 20 minutes late!!’ she announced with a stern upset look on her face.

I immediately presented her a ‘5 Star’ chocobar and all her anger vanished into thin air. She absolutely loved chocolates and I used it as a secret weapon to calm her down whenever she was upset or angry for any reason. The mere mention of the word ‘Chocolate’ would lighten her up. So, it wasn’t surprising that we were a regular to Monginis to have chocolate brownies together.

‘So where are we going?’

‘Just wait and watch’ she winked and put her hands on my shoulders. It was always a special feeling whenever she did that and I wanted her to do that for life.

She asked me to drive to Ohri’s. I looked at her in surprise.

‘Arey keep driving na. I will tell you when we get there’

Twenty minutes later, we reached Ohri’s and sat on a table that was reserved. This wasn’t cool and happening for me – Especially the chivalrous part of me was feeling very embarrassed. Usually it is the guys who reserve tables and arrange a date. But here I was; so helpless that I chose to be silent, wait and see what was in store for me.

‘Happy birthday Sri’, she announced with a thousand watt bright gorgeous smile that made me yet again go weak in the knees. Immediately a band of musicians made their presence felt  and started playing my favourite song ‘Har ghadi badal rahi hai roop zindagi....’ from the movie Kal Ho Naa Ho. It all happened in a flash that I didn’t know how to react. Or rather, I was dumbstruck at the suddenness of it for I never expected such a lovely surprise from her. While I was enjoying the song, here was Aaliya who could never experience the mellifluous feel of those musical notes the band was playing. But she nevertheless enjoyed all the way. 

‘Thank you so much Aaliya. This is my best birthday ever’

The next moment she hugged me and then I realised that losing her would be indeed very painful. I decided it was time to propose. But then again like always, I couldn't!! Was it my ego or the fear of listening to a NO from her? I don't know. We had dinner and spoke of all the things we did since we met.

‘You are indeed special to me Aaliya. The world around me has changed since the day I met you’

‘It is not the world that has changed silly. You have changed. The world doesn't care what happens to you or me. Life goes on’, she said philosophically.

‘And believe me, even I have come out of my shell. The institute was all that meant to me, but now I have seen and experienced lots of other things. Been to malls, movie theatres and coffee bars and have had the time of my life. All thanks to you’ she further added.

‘Oh! I guess we should stop this mutual admiration society now’, I said blushing. And we both had a hearty laugh. But still I couldn't utter those magical words. There was something that was suppressing my urge to express my heart out to her.

Three days later, I got an SMS which was alarming in its tone. It was from Aaliya and read ‘Come quickly to the Lakdi-ka-pul station. I am alone here waiting for the MMTS’. What was she doing at the station all alone at 11 pm in the night? There were no buses running that day as a scheduled RTC union strike was on that week. So I reached there in about half an hour driving at the maximum speed possible. All this while though, my mind kept imagining things horrible beyond belief and my heart was threatening to implode with the heart beat at its peak as adrenaline surged through my blood vessels.

When I reached the platform, I noticed her frozen in a tensed state facing two huge guys. They definitely appeared like someone who could have easily pulped me black and blue had I tried to act smart like a hero. I knew she was in trouble and so ran towards her like there was no tomorrow.

‘Yeah Aaliya. Wassup? Shall we leave now?’ huffing and puffing, I was hardly able to catch my breath, but I nevertheless asked her pretending as if nothing had happened. Along with her, I wanted to escape from there unscathed as soon as possible.

She was silent, clearly too scared to even mutter. One of the guys then interrupted me.

‘Is she your wife?’ he interrogated

‘Yeah she is my wife.’ I was panting heavily and in the silence of it all, it could be clearly heard.

‘Is your wife dumb or what? We were asking her the way to Necklace road and she wasn't even looking at us. Teach her some manners dude!!’ the other guy added in a condescending tone.

Now this was getting into my head but moments later, both of them then went away to oblivion. I managed to stay calm as I held her hand and led her towards my car. She was shit scared and I was lost in thoughts. It was total silence all the way till the moment I burst out all agitated. 

‘What were you doing at the railway station at this point of time?’ I was gesturing vigorously through signs by now.

‘Stop the car Sri’, she said softly. I was shell shocked. Did I say something wrong? Did I piss her off?

‘What happened Aaliya?’

‘Stop the car’, she said sternly this time raising her tone as well.

The car stopped. The next moment, she held my hand in her palms firmly. And then she uttered those words that went on to define the best moments of my life.

‘Stupid!! Why didn't you propose to me till now?’ she questioned me.

Tears rolling down her eyes, I began to stutter!!

'Ohh...Yeah...Hmmm...I know...I felt....' 

‘I love it when you stutter. I love the time that I spend with you. I love the way you care for me when we go out. I love the way you look at me in the Church. I love the way you readily agree to accompany me to all those stupid little places I have wanted to go, those tea stalls and countless fancy emporiums. I love the way you listen to my demands when we are hanging out (Whatever little she demanded compared to some of the girls I have known!!). I loved the way you came running, huffing and puffing all the way for me at the railway station. I love the way you have pani puris with me even though you don’t like them’ she was in a very excited state and all this while was also gesturing what she was saying vigorously through signs; something which she rarely does when she is with me. 

I opened my mouth wide open, pleasantly shocked at the suddenness of it. But the next moment, she pinched me in the arm. I yelled.

‘This is not a dream you Dumbo. I love you. Will you marry me?’ she came close to me and gently whispered those magical words in my ear.

I looked back and forth. The roads were still and empty. There wasn't a single soul. This was definitely not a romantic place to propose. But who cares when I am with the love of my life? I emerged out of the car and started yelling loudly and crazily danced in elation. It was sheer utopia. She started laughing heartily on seeing how crazy I was now. Out of the car beside the door, she waited patiently for this crazy maniac-like celebration to be over with.

After this stunt was over, I went to her and lifted her up in my arms. Looking at each other's eyes, I could hear her breathe and smell her distinct scent. But then she was too heavy for me to  have held her in my arms like that till till eternity!!. So moments later, I had to put her down. Then I took my cell phone out, typed something on the keypad and showed her this
‘I LOVE YOU TOO LIKE CRAZY. Yes, let’s marry J

The next day we married in the Church with the blessings of all the students and nuns in the institute.