Good Bye Chennai

I seriously don't know what to write up here because my condition isn't just hunky dory. This day is one of the most depressing days in my life. I believe sharing is the best medicine for sorrows. So I am here sitting in front of my pc, to write down my effusion.

Thus far, I was the most happiest person on earth. The time was 5.15 PM. I was sitting in front of my pc at office. I had no temparament to work. I took my bike keys and came out of office. I drove back home recalling the past 20 days of my life. September 19th. The day iyer landed at chennai. I was completely excited of his arrival since I am meeting him after almost nearly 2 long years. Karthik has been more than just a friend to me. He is my counsellor, my legal advisor, my best pal, my well wisher, I can just add on and on and on. My life was in complete isolation before he came down. From day one of his arrival the word "solitary" ceased to exist in my dictionary. We hanged out all day, to all over chennai from every muttu sandu to citi centre, lone streets to spencer plaza, beach to mayajaal, and the list goes on as we explored the entire chennai together and with Nivash. I have been in chennai for more than a year, I can count the number of hang outs on the fingers of one hand but with this guy, I haunted everywhere. Just a thought and next moment we would be in Satyam or Citi Centre. Money was 'just' money. To be frank, my bank balance was 67,000 and odd (inclusive of his salary) on October 1st and now it is just 4000 and odd. So just imagine how much we guys would have enjoyed in a span of just 10 days. Forget about the money, money is not the lone thing for enjoyment but being with this guy is. Three booze parties(even though all the parties were at home, I reckon most of my guys would never forget them just because the liquors provided were of high caliber), trip to pondicherry, and many more. It took 35 minutes for me to reach home which was very unusual (normally it takes only 20 minutes). I entered and found noone in the house. I called karthik, he was on his way from Spencers. Twenty minutes passed by and it seemed like two hours. He came and there was an uncommon silence. "Mama innum koncha nerathula kilamburaen da. Pogave manasu illa (I am leaving with no interest)" he said. There was silence again and he headed home.

Nivash and I kept numb and Hidayath made his way home at 9 PM. We went to karthik's house which was at the next block and his mom made us dinner. "Dai catch an auto and come" I told Nivash. He went and came back in 10 minutes. We guys went in bike and karthik and his mom came to the airport in auto. We reached the airport well ahead of the schedule. Even though he was leaving us with no interest, he didn't show it out. We guys couldn't speak. We went to the restaurant and had coffee. Karthik was talking something about england which my ears desisted to listen. I was thinking about me and made a decision tightlipped. An hour passed and it was time for him to leave. I was here at the same airport some 20 days back with full excitement and joy but now things are different. I took the visitor's passes for all and we went inside the airport. We checked the tickets and passport, everything were fine. Here comes the most toughest part of all, bidding adieu. "Machan time aachu naan kilamburaen (It's time to leave)" said Karthik in an uncommon tone. He went with his baggages for the security and we were waiting for it to complete. I hesitate to send off people or the best way to put, I don't encourage myself to be in such positions. We never went inside the airport when he went last but this time we wanted to go in and send him off. I ended up watching a bald headed guy sending off a woman (must have been newly married or committed). She was speaking to him in a highly monotonous voice and I never cared to listen to what she spoke. She was in tears. She hugged him closely, kissed him and said "I love you" and these three words were perceived by my ears. She wiped her tears and went, turned back, gave him a flying kiss before vanishing without a trace. This was completely new to me. I can comprehend their situation and it was a fellow feeling. If it was me, I would never let her go, but I don't know anything about their circumstances. That's life na. Karthik came back and a final hi 5 from all of us and he said "Thanks for the wonderful time da", after a couple of minutes he was gone. "Wonderful things are never permanent", I told myself. It was the most painful and lacrimal send off. We made our way back home. I couldn't sleep. I have had this feeling before when I left hostel, when I left my college but then I cried and now I can't. Men don't cry, do they? Cherishing the moments I spent with him and our guys. Machi thanks for the time. Atleast for these 20 days, I was never alone. We miss you and the good times we had together. Back to the solitary life and yea Solitude is eternal.

P.S:- I am sorry for being a gasbag and publishing an unwanted post.

Welcome to Chennai Airport

Statutory warning:- Cigarette smoking and drinking liquors are injurious to health, unless and until you have them with your friends. ;)

The clock was ticking. I have never had the merriment expressed by the animation of countenance before. It's 8.40 P.M. I was working in the second shift. Sorry. I was busy working in the second shift. Can you imagine? Chatting with friends, working on issues, BMC, Mercury ITG, PPM, answering the phone calls, talking to personal calls in my mobile. All at the same time. Just 80 minutes left. Damn. I must leave early today. Too many weird thoughts struck my mind. I must be there on time. Gosh. Suddenly a message popped out in my gmail.

Nivash: mamsae
me: ennada?
Nivash: if possible call hurmath & ask abt the details. I don't know where he is.
me: okay
Nivash: ok done.
machi am so much excited abt karthik's arrival
from last week.
Mama sarakku vera varuthu. Champagne and Jack Daniels
inda hurmath kudikara naaye ithukku thaanda varaan.
Namakku oru sottu kooda kidaikkathu maame.
me: dei. ithu ramzan maasam da. avan adikka maataan. sarakku ellame namakku thaan. Cheers. :D
mama naan inikku romba santhoshama irukkaen da..
namma uyir thozhan rendu varusham kalichi varaan plus inikku ennenne therila romba santhoshama irukkaen. solla vaarthaigal illa maamu. I am deliriously joyful.
Nivash: appo night sarakku adikkalaam.
me: dei already late aayiduchu. airport poganum. iru naan kilambi veetukku varaen.
Nivash: okay. come soon mama. bye

It was already 9.45 P.M when I bid sayonara to Nivash in Gchat. I could have left office early but there was one person who stopped me. Yes. It was my friend. The clock striked 10 when she said good night. I was like okay. It's high time I got to leave. There were two reasons for my exhilaration. As I told Nivash about them. One reason being my friend and the other was Karthik's Arrival. I hunted my keys, made sure I logged off my pc and there was nothing left on my desk.

I plugged in the keys, kicked and started my splendour and operated it at the maximum speed. I stopped at a petty shop. "Boss oru packet Kings" I said to the guy in the shop. "Oru packet ah? Oru naalaikku onnu adichale adi othaila irunthu seruppu varaikkum parakkume. Oru packet nu therincha enna solluvalo? Parava illa. Inikku its a special day and over gujaals ah vera irukkom. Onnum solla matta. Ketta samalichikalaam. Freeya vidu maamu. Vaazhkai vaazhvatharke" I cogitated. It was 10.30 when I reached home. Had a quick shower and I reached Aravind's place with Nivi to take the Omni. I am not an expert driver when it comes to any four wheelers other than Maruti Zen. I remembered the dialogue "Evolovo Pannitom. Itha panna mattoma". It was difficult at first but I managed well later. "Enna vandi da ithu. Itha otrathukku pesaama oru lorry eh ottidilaam. Cha" I parked the car at the airport. The time was 11.30. We went and checked the flight arrival status board. Thank god. The flight was late by 30 minutes. "Seri mama. Seekiram vanthutomnu ninaikkiraen. Namma velaya aarambippom va". This was nivi. We started our usual job. Taking snaps in different postures. It continued for some 15 odd minutes.

One thing I really admire about the airports is its environment. Some people excited about receiving their friends or relatives and some depressed about their friends or relatives leaving. Not to forget about the beauties, the stewardess who cat walk the entire airport giving visual treats to the passengers. "Mama Gantrool" I told myself. Lufthansa LH758 landed at 11.55, 30 Minutes behindhand. This was my first experience of receiving a friend who was coming home after a long duration. I was not aware of the immigration and the procedures that follows it. So I had no clue when this guy would come out. We waited, waited and waited. After nearly 20 mins, some weird looking guys, supposed to be business men came out of the airport one by one. I consulted a guy holding a placard. He said that these were people from the business class. Then came the crew followed by the economy class people. "Anna antha black t shirt ah paarunga. Semma figure na" Aravind whispered in my ears. "Dai venna, olunga karthi varaana paaruda" replied me. 'Eine welt voller Ideen' It was written on a plastic bag of an outlander. Wtf was that, I thought. I stood there for 50 minutes. How should I call this? Is this intense desire or impatient expectancy? Vaazhkaila intha mathiri naama yaarukkume wait pannathu illaye. My legs started to ache. I spoke to myself "Dai porambokku. Seekiram vanthu thola da". My thoughts started to waver. "Namma nanbana rendu varusham kalichi paakurom. Ithukke nammalaala 50 nimisham wait panna mudiyala. Appo avan avan than kaathalikkaga varusha kanakka wait panraan. Avangala enna solrathu. Then I told myself, "Dai ippo intha ninappu romba mukkiyama? Moodittu karthik ya thedu da. Avana thedriyo illayo. Avan kondu vara sarakku pai kannula maattutha paaruda dabur".

Out of the blue, Karthik manifested from doors. The ugly, unattractive, displeasing guy had turned into a stylish, modish, smart, trendy and contemporary guy (with the sleeky earphones from the iphone hanging through his neck) in just two years. Strange isn't it, but this happens to everyone who goes abroad and returns back to his homeland. Almost all. "Dai macha, Welcome back to India da." I said. I felt his happiness, the joy, the excitement from the ecstatic smile on his face. I handed him the rose which I bought at the arrival platform and Nivi put a sandal garland and we took like thousand snaps with him. Hurmath joined us and we left the airport at 1am. When we reached home, Karthik's mom was waiting at the doors."Vaada kutti. Apdiye irukka" She hugged him with a bright smile on her face. I loved watching her expressions. The expressions of a mother getting to see her only son after two long years. At long last, we had our dinner, the typical iyer family's sambar and rasam satham with the appalam and vaazhai pazham. Nivi's eyes were focussed on the bag which had the sarakku. We chit-chatted for sometime and while leaving, nivi cautiously took the bag and the time was 2 A.M when we opened our doors. As usual took all kinds of snaps with the champagne and the Jack Daniels for sometime. As this experience was new for me, I thought of posting it as a blog. It took two hours for me to write this and my mobile displayed 4.01 A.M. I thought of getting some sleep but couldn't. May be because I am all buoyed up tonight. It's 6.23 now and I haven't slept yet. Peace Prevails. :)

எத்தனை மனிதர்கள்...

Well it's been a long time since my last post and here I am with a post which I wanted to write since the year dot. 'Ethanai Manithargal' (Eng: How many people?) for the most part is about the different people who I have observed in my life (mostly strangers), during a travel or in course of waiting for my friend in a station. Here, I am narrating one such experience while travelling back to Chennai from my hometown Arcot in a train.

"FAHAD BHAIIIIIIIII... Mani 7 aachu paaru... elunthiri... FAHAD BHAIIII..." (Eng: Fahad, its 7am. Please get up). This is how my dad wakes me up every morning. That's his style and I am used to this same boring dialogue since I was a kid. He always addresses me with Bhai and I reckon it's just to remind me that I am a Muslim. It was a Monday morning and I had to get back to Chennai for work. I was into the second shift that means I will have to be at office by 2pm. I got up from bed, went straight to the bath room, had a shower, got ready and by quarter past 7, I was ready for the breakfast. Idly and chutney (the dish I disliked during my school days now happens to be one of my favorite dishes). I happily ate the idlies, took my bag and dad was ready to drop me at the bus stop. My place is a very small town and people wouldn't fancy using a deluxe bus which costs a cent more than the normal charge. I was amazed that the Tamilnadu Transport Corporation (TTC) had started an A/C bus service from Arni to Chennai via Arcot, which was supposed to reach the stand at 7.45am. I was there at the bus stand well ahead of time, feeling very happy that I would catch the bus with ease because people wouldn't afford using that bus due to its high fare. I waited for more than an hour but the bus never came, worse luck ever! The thing I like the most while waiting is that I get a chance to observe the people around me. There were many bald-pated men carrying manja pai (yellow bag) wearing white shirt and dhoties, old ladies carrying their grandsons, not so good looking guys trying to fish some local gals and other people waiting to catch the only other bus to Chennai which was supposed to arrive at quarter past 8. The time now is 0840 Hrs but even this bus never came. I could see there were 150 and odd people waiting for that single bus which has a seating capacity of 55 + 25 standees and you can imagine how it is.

The only thing I hate about India is its population. Wherever you go, you can see a huddle of men or people queued up, be it a ticket counter, cafeteria, railway station, bus stand and even at THE LOCAL PUBLIC TOILET. The first words I utter when I see such a rabble is, “Bloody Indian Crowd” which in short can be BIC. My friends turn furious when they hear me say BIC. They are right because even I am a part of the Bloody Crowd but that’s how I am. People dressed down the TTC for not running the buses properly. I could hardly wait anymore so I decided to catch the train instead of bus. I went to the nearest station Walaja Road. Again ‘BIC’, a long queue at the ticket counter. I had no other choice. It took me 30 minutes to get the ticket and fortunately the train was late by 20 minutes. I always have a habit of listening to music when am outside, so I plugged in my ear phones to my mobile, 100% Volume so that I could not even hear anything even if a thunder (or is it lightning, am not sure) strikes the person sitting next to me. The train arrived. The possibility of getting into an unreserved coach is out of the question since even a mosquito cannot enter the coach and come out alive, it was so jam-packed. So I got into a reserved coach with a limited number of journeyers standing.

I found myself a place to stand near the reserved coupe and there was this person aged about 30-35, bald-pated, with mush standing facing me. There was hardly 5mm gap between both of us. Behind him were a young married Muslim couple probably going back home from a honeymoon at Bangalore/Coorg (This is my assumption and I know my assumptions are not that bad). We both were standing towards her left and her Benedict was sitting next to her. I gave her a long fixed look. Her hubby returned a stern look. “Adi vaangidathada baba. Moodittu paatta kelu” (Eng: Don’t get a blow from him. Just listen to the music). That was my mind voice. But I couldn’t stop my eyes from looking at her. She wasn’t that beautiful. She wore a purdah, had black marks on her face, the best legs and that’s it. It was toilsome when people crossed us every minute. I had to move every time and it was so damn disgusting. “Tho phir aao… mujko sataao…” the voice of Mustafa Zahid made me lose my thoughts and I was there standing in between 100 fellow travelers, DAY DREAMING. “Sir Oru thadava sonna puriyatha, athaan thalli nillungannu solraenla” (Eng: Sir, Don't you understand if you are told once? I asked you to move a bit). My dreams were disturbed by her husband who was shouting at the guy standing in front of me. The guy had accidently stamped the gal’s most beautiful legs and she had complained to her husband and then this had happened. I was admiring enviously the way he was protecting his wife. I just wished I had protected someone the same way. My feelings were ineffable. It happened the second time as well but this time she didn’t complain to her husband but instead she told the guy straight away.

Vaazhkaila muthal thadava namakkum intha mathiri nadakkathannu thonuchu. Antha oru nimisham. Marakkave mudiyala. (Eng: First time in my life, I was wondering if this would ever happen to me. I want to term this moment in my life. Unforgettable!!!) I have come across many beautiful couples in my life than these two but I never had this feeling before. The way she slept on his shoulders, the way he whispered a joke in her ears, the way he protected her, their each and every expression made me so envious, that I wanted to get down from the train and get married right away in the Chennai Central Station. I don’t know, this may look bizarre to you but I hope some of you would have felt the same at some point of their lifetime. I can only wish things to happen but I cannot expect them. Two hours just vanished like a flash and then I got down at Central station with a remarkable smile of my face. This journey was special and will always stay close to my heart forever. I believe my old lady reads this post and a simple smile from her will make me the happiest person in the world.

To my old lady – I will always be your guardian angel all through my life. I will never let you fall. I will stand up with you forever. I will be there for you through it all, even if saving you sends me to Heaven. I will be the one for you. You are my true love and my whole heart. :)
Ahem. First of all, I would like to thank my friends for their overwhelming response for my first ever blog. It was heartening to see the number of comments and scraps in orkut that I received in response to my first blog post. The comments were both encouraging and critical. Most of them I received were good suggestions but there was one guy who gave a valid complaint. I would request you guys to keep the feedback coming, as it provides me with valuable inputs. Thanks once again.

Okay. Now coming to my second post. As most of you know what my second blog is about. Yes. Its again about a person who had an equal role in bringing me into this world. Lol yes. Its about my dad. One question kept running in my mind when I was writing my first post. Why is that I gave my first preference to my mom and not my dad? May be because, I am from the country which gives 33% reservation for women in the senate or it is the custom in America to give women special treatment or its just "Ladies first" phenomenon. Lol. Lets forget about it. Many of them felt my previous post to be touching and heartfelt but I can assure you that this post is no where related to that.

Yunus Basha S.Y, the youngest son of Yousuf Sheriff, the then chairman of the Ranipet Municipality is not a struggler. He was just an ordinary boy, with ordinary thoughts but with an extra ordinary character. If you guys know me, then you already know my father. I am just a replica of his looks and character. He overstepped all the barriers that came throughout his school and college life. He completed his masters from New college, Chennai and joined CAH college as the lecturer for the department Corporate Secretaryship. He was no Gandhi or Buddha and he enjoyed his college life to the core as we guys did. He did what all a college guy can do but after marriage, the entry of my mom, he had to quit everything. That's the saddest thing that can happen to a man. Anyways jokes apart. I reckon most of you would be knowing Shivaji Ganesan's "Pasamalar" movie. I have not seen the movie but I have seen my dad showering all love to his pasamalar sister. If I know what exactly the movie is about, it's just because of my dad. My mom keeps advising me to be like my pasamalar dad as I have a younger sister too but I can never ever be compared to my dad. I dont think anyone can beat or even compete with him if it comes to the strong emotional attachments of siblings.

I have seen everyone envy at my dad's slaphappy or the carefree nature. What I envy at him is the number of people he knows in my native. I still remember, I was only 5 or 6 years old then and my dad used to take me out with his Bajaj Chetak Scooter 1989 model. It would just be a km ride but man, trust me there would be atleast a minimum of 20 people who would greet him on the way. And the way he greets them back with his one handed stylish salute and sometimes he joins both the hands to say vanakkam while driving. Well according to me, even our superstar's famous padayappa salute is a dead duck and just cannot be compared to my dad's. Lol. He is my superstar. Yes, every father is a superstar to his son. That's one primary thing I envy about my father.

Noone is perfect right? Yes my dad is no exception. His resentment is his weakness. In fact, his only weakness I would say. There has been a lot of times, because of his temper he strong-armed me and I being a tiddler hated him completely. That's one bad character he has, which I have too. My mom is lucky in one way. My dad is the most tidiest guy on earth. He gets up at 5 in the morning, starts weeping the house entirely and and housecleans everyday. I am 23 now and till date he never allowed me to do any work. I am a jack of no trade. I didn't know how to buy a vegetable, I didn't know how to pay the telephone bills, I didn't know anything until I came out of college.

He never refused to anything I asked him. There was an incident which agitated me very recently, which I would never forget throughout my life. I, being a MBA aspirant wanted to do my masters in NUS, Singapore. There are more than one reason for which I chose that B-School. It's not that easy getting into NUS but when I told my dad about my involvement, who knows sweet Fanny Adams about MBA, but knows it needs more than 20 lakhs, looked unruffled and said, "Oh appadiya da. Eppo venum kaasu. Sollu erpaadu pannidalaam. Aana oru 6 maasam aprom thaane venum? Athukkulla naan erpaadu paanidraen." I stuttered. I was no good son to my dad. Nor was I echt to him but how come he readily accepted my offer. That means he still has some credits with veracity to me. He doesn't have copious money to make me study in such an esteemed school and I am pretty sure that he wouldn't have earned that much in his entire lifetime. That one moment, made me realise how bad I was to him before and it made me think how I must be to him hereafter. I am terribly sorry for being an obstinate son to you dad. I owe you my life. I swear. You are really a star. A Superstar.

Update:- I forgot to mention one important thing in this post. All through this years, I have seen my mom taking a lecture to her students but I haven't got a single opportunity to listen to my dad's lecture. It's quite funny though. My curiosity peaked on when my mom told me some years back that my dad is capable of evaluating an answer paper in just 10 secs. I was like what on earth and come on how is this possible. I happened to see his corrected papers. No tick marks, no comments, nothing. Just the marks along the left column of the paper. Amazing isn't it? So this intensified my inquisitiveness to attend his lecture. Four more years for his retirement, so please guys wish me that I would sit in his class and listen to his valuable lecture (though its complete Greek and Latin to me) at least once in my lifetime.

P.S:- Its true that he'd never refused anything I asked him but there is one thing which I don't even dream, he'll accept in my life.

'Eendra polithin peridhuvakum thanmahanai Saandroon enakketta thai'

"The mother who hears her son called "a wise man" will rejoice more than she did at his birth."

Well, as this happens to be my first ever blog post, something instigated me to write something about the person who brought me into this world. Most of you would not even know her if I won't tell you about her. But her story needs to be told. I would rather put this way, her struggle needs to be told. Yes, she was a struggler, a struggler who has struggled till this moment and still struggling.

She was the second of the three daughters born to Dr. Muthu Koya and Saliha Beevi. Her dad was a freedom fighter and a doctor in a very ordinary village in very remote India. She was three, when her dad kicked the bucket and her mom had nothing left except her three daughters, a house, a small hut and some 100 coconut trees. Just imagine, how much her mom would have suffered to grow up the three daughters. She had to make do on less income(from leasing the coconut trees and renting the other small hut), and thus somehow trying to make the ends meet. The entire credit goes to her mom who made her and the other daughters study even in the state of acute pain. Now coming back to her. Her village had only primary school after which one needed to go to nearby town for study. She left her family, stayed up in hostel, strived hard and finally achieved what she wanted. Yes. She was the topper of the school and her mom fostered her education by sending her to the college. I am floored when I think about this. People even now, in towns make a girl marry when she attains her puberty and gosh imagine some 35 years back and that too in a remote village, where an illiterate mother sends her daughter for higher studies. It startles me everytime.

She got a seat in a medical college but was forced to join science just because of her family's financial status. She completed her bachelors in maths, never gave up and did her masters in the same stream. She was able to secure a job of a lecturer in a govt. arts college and life became a little steady. She was the sole source of income for the family until her younger sister went to work. It was the most toughest task for her mom to make her three daughters get married. Again she was the last one to get married and this new guy, her hubby, was also a lecturer but from commerce stream. They were happily married and she gave birth to a prince and a princess. She tried everything possible to make her children well educated and self-dependant.

She started her doctorate studies in computational mathematics in 2000 and I must mention her struggles here. Well, I am just 22 and I find it extremely intractable to travel to my office which is just 14 kms away but she travelled all the way from my native to chennai which is almost 120kms by train and would return back home on the same day, three or four days a week to do her research. This is just one of her endeavors and I have no words to describe her effort to complete her research. It was 12th august 2008, when she was acclaimed the most prestigious Doctorate degree by the Madras University and I saw the pride, the joy, the feeling of accomplishment of her life's ambition in her face, holding the degree but it was filled with humility.

She beavered away for eight long years for this doctorate, she beavered away her entire life and now the whole world knows her as Dr. Humrosia Begum, my mother and my friend. I'm fortunate that I was born to someone like you mom. You are simply the best. You are the most humble and straightforward person I have ever met and I am very proud to say that you are my 'mother' and my everything. You might not be an important person to anybody else but your character and your life will always remain my guiding spirit.

குறிப்பு :- என் தாயை பற்றி என் தாய் மொழியில் கூற இயலாவில்லையே என்ற வருத்தம் என் மனதில் இருந்து கொண்டே தான் இருக்கிறது.

Comments are welcome. :)