Category Archive: Miscellaneous

Rock Bottom

The other day I rode to the Harbor island with Rasia. It is a stretch of road along the SD harbor, lined with stones to keep the water at bay (there, water, I return your metaphor back.) There, sitting on the rampart lining the manicured ocean, looking at the naval botches on the fluid raiment, I became aware of one of my deepest sorrows. Staring intently at the horizon I said,

A: Dude, you know what disappoints me the most?

R: hmph (No.)

A: See all those huge stones, those heavy rocks?

R: hmph (Yes.)

A: One of my biggest disappointments in life is that I cannot pick most of them.

R: eh (?.)

He was looking at me sideways, waiting for me to realize that that's not a valid reason to be sad about and smiling in that incongruous, patronising manner which suggests that it' time you get your shit together and start making sense. I, on the other hand, was genuinely surprised that the sheer number of things-rocks and cars and trees and elephants- that are unpickable in this universe is not enough to make someone sad. Those huge things just sit there unblinking and unmoving, insulting your ego, challenging your resolve, smug in their cognizance of the fact that try as hard as you might, you won't have any displacement to show for your decreased energy. You walk in this world with a merry gait and a jolly hop, confident of the path, sure of the destiny, until you come across a rock, trip, and fall down. You look back and see one of their ilk-those vain little brats which won't move. That one single speck of niggling pig-headedness serves, unflichingly, as the very physical reminder of all that is massively bigger, heavier, taller, deeper, hotter, faster, stronger, sharper, and better than anything that you can personally deal with in nature. No wonder then, sitting on that harbor that day with so many of such rocks surrounding me in their immobile derision, I felt small.

I tried to pick a small one up but had massively underestimated its density. I tried to push it but it won't budge, and I thought-friction. There is a reason why friction was taught so late in our mechanics courses. Because it screws up an ideal world. That ideal world in which Newton dreamed of things which moved continuously until they were stopped and things which sat there until they were moved. Friction came along surreptitiously one day-and some of the things stopped budging. And a lot of them were rocks which looked at me with scorn as my toes dug deep in the ground. And the garden of eden of waltzing trees and pirouetting mountains and shimmying elephants coagulated into an inflexible mass of rigid proportions.

Am I being too pessimistic? Not really. I'm actually optimistic. I'm optimistic about the number of such unpickable things. I'm hugely optimistic. I'm deliriously optimistic. But then, language is such a whore... These chains of thoughts. I need to get some sleep.

Federer captures French

In the small hours of today, Federer clinched the biggest prize.

Three years ago, on the morning of June 11 2006, I wrote: "It's 5:31 in the morning and I am sitting in front of the TV having just woken up after an extremely intermittent sleep waiting for the french open final between federer and nadal which is slated to begin in another 30 minutes..."

Three years hence, I got up again at 5:30, hoping to watch Federer achieve what he hasn't been able to for the last three years. All those red eyed, bad breathed, crumpled hair mornings; only to witness Federer getting bulldozed under the bludgeoning Nadal biceps. All that excitement and nervousness only to see him getting crushed over the crushed red brick. But he did it finally. He won the French Open and became the 6th person in history to win all 4 slams, tying in the process, Pete Sampras' record of the highest number of career slams. He didn't have Nadal on the other end but it doesn't matter. While it made things much easier for him, as they say in french - C'est la vie. The greatness of Federer lies as much in his sublime play as in his ability of not getting beaten by arbitrary players at arbitrary stages of a grand slam. To tie his claim to greatness to Nadal's consistency is just unfair. After all, saying that Nadal's presence in the final would have prevented him from winning the French open isn't too far from conjecturing that his absence would have meant Federer winning 3-4 additional French opens. So there we are. After 3 years of my intense support, Federer has finally delivered on what he seemed to promise every time. And I'm happy and relieved, and sleepy.

Good job Fed. To me, you were always the greatest player ever based on your sheer mindboggling abilities but the skeptics need facts and figures. Their mouths are dry and their throats parched until they are fed the global maximas of a statistical plot. Without the numerics of standard deviations and outlying means, your simple brilliance with the racquet was the sonorous sounds of a sonata in vacuum. You have finally infused it with a medium. And I know how much it meant to you. The meanings were dripping down your cheek, for the world to see. Congrats!


Back in the day, when I used to take Nostradamus seriously and when my notebooks had to have brown covers and flowery, pointless name stickers, I also used to have a friend whose curious character has prevented his memories from being lost in the bottomless pit that is my recollections. Named Farahan, he was curious enough to not have very many friends but not curious enough to not have me as one. I have often gravitated towards those who in their shy, stupid, awkward ways served to provide a little color to an otherwise browned out melancholic background of perfectly raised, cleanly dressed, yes boys. Farahan seemed to have a betting syndrome, if whatever he had can be called that. We were probably 12 years old so it's not that he would don a black jacket, red tie, twinkling leather shoes, and with a cigar in his mouth, usher into the local casinos to the swooning hearts of the fairer sex, open up his briefcase and stake it all on the whims of the rolling dice and the fancies of the shuffled deck. No, I wouldn't say that he had a betting syndrome in that respect. He just liked the plain vanilla flavor of a simple bet. He never had any money so his bets would always be of the form, 'If A happens I win, if not then you'. Very curious at the beginning, I used to ask him,


'What!?,' he used to reply with increasing mistrust.

'What would I win?'

At this point he would look at me with the suspicion of someone who suspects his friend of having an affair with his wife, fumble for an answer, and finally finding none, would move on to other topics. And we would drift off in myriad directions, talking about things that 12 year olds who are neither the disheveled backbenchers, nor the bright handraisers talk about, looking out of the window to see the senior class playing and running on the dusty playground below with folks falling down like shooting stars on a night sky - quite randomly but almost periodically. And a voice, lost in the freedom, would quietly say,

'If that guy on that swing falls, I win, else you.'

I would look at him and with half a mind of repeating my desire to know the precise terms and conditions, almost utter that fateful 'What?.' In due course of time I stopped asking him such difficult questions and let him bet on everything from dog fights to the contents of his lunchbox and the boy who would be the first to lower his arms when the class was made to raise hands. Ever the shrewd businessman, he didn't let a single opportunity slip. The world and its complicated entrails reduced to an efficient set of solutions A and B when he glowered upon them with his penetrating vision. And he would win if the result was A and I would win if it was B. Of course, he never won anything and I never lost anything. People kept falling from swings and ants kept getting confused, teachers kept missing classes and they kept being on time, that girl kept having a red ribbon except when she did not have one, my notebooks kept lasting longer than his except when he would tear away one too many of those middle 2 pages, and he kept winning except when I did not lose.

Au Revoir

So I guess it's time to say goodbye, isn't it? Funny that it ends here like this. Life, as it turns out, isn't without her share of mischief. But I shall remember you, or at least I hope that I will. Although it's impossible to know how the pawns will move, I would at least like to believe that the dirt of their footprints won't completely smudge out your memory. And my little stash of our bittersweet time together would be strong enough to rough out the amnesia of passing time. But I make no promises. To you, I can only offer the pictorial perfection of a desire. It suffers, my dear, from a fragility which often breaks it into shards as one tests it under the tip of graphite. But desire I surely do, and you will remain my... my, inasmuch as the virginity of my desire is true.


I understand that it won't be easy. Neither the fingerprints on the handle nor the sculpted cream are as flimsy as they are made out to be. Afterall it's not the trivialities which bother us but their abrupt endings, isn't it? So when the window goes dark and the sand beside me goes cold, when the beat of footsteps becomes sadly periodic and I grow indifferent to the prospects of ambient sounds, I hope I'll remember you. I hope the small sticker in my wallet and the disgusting bitterness of caffeine would rush in your memories. But let's not be too bothered by hopes and conjectures here for time is pressing on us. Let me take a pause while you speak. And speak in that carefree, enthusiastic flavor which has had me rapt in attention so often and for so long. And I promise to be captivated in your varicolored world as I always did, I promise to be lost to mundane reality. These are the last few minutes and I wish for you to begin a long story, a story of bright sunny days and fresh, pebbled nights, a story of the cup which, until today, was never half empty.