Who am I?

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I am not religious, but I don't mind calling myself spiritual. Religion, I believe, has, over the millennia, been used as a prop to perpetrate a lot of human suffering. Faith is what matters. I don't believe in the definition of God as a creator. According to me, my God resides within me. Some call it conscience, some call it the sub-conscious, some call it the soul. I don't mind calling it God. So by definition I am not an atheist or an agnostic, but by essence, I may as well be. My God does not reside in a temple, church, mosque or gurudwara. It is right here, within me.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Clutter on the bed, on the table, in my wardrobe and in my mind is how my current situation can be best described. The drive of excitement spurs me to labour on, but the lack of relaxant is making me jumpy, moody and irritable. I need a break! But before all that, I would describe the current situation to you. My roommate is having a bath, and I am waiting for him, so that we can proceed to dinner because my stomach is starting to make strange sounds now. I am reading Marketing Management by Philip Kotler, the de-facto bible of marketing. I feel excited when I think of myself in a marketing role, but I would like to admit – when I first tried to read Kotler, it was as if an invisible force had warped my mind and my thinking power had all but evaporated! I could not understand what the guy was trying to say! I flipped through the pages. The whole book seemed full of jargons from a different world. And if this, I thought, is supposed to be the most basic book for Marketing being taught to us in the first semester itself, how on earth will I ever cope with the terrible things to come? It was only eventually that I eased into this frame of mind which defines rush as mundane, 5-hours-of-sleep-a-night as lucky, and (mostly) inedible mess food as a non-entity, something we’ve stopped thinking about, which does not give us a pain in the arse (no literal meaning intended) any more, as there is a larger scheme of things to worry about. Talking of mess-food, may be this is a conspiracy by the college authorities to inundate us with regular assignments/tests/presentations, so much that we fail to notice the unpalatable food. Or maybe the whole university is involved. Or maybe, just MAY BE, I’m going insane!
          Well, that could be some food for thought. I get up from my bed, stretch myself into a yawn so wild that everything starts to look blurry with the water clouding my eyes, shake myself back to senses, and look out of the window. Not much can be made out, but the lights in the hostel rooms of the building across, reflected as shimmering sparkles in the water puddles across the length of the area between, tell me that it’s raining buckets. We had five tests, two case studies and one submission this week. Still, one more test remains. Sometimes it’s hard to believe how far I’ve come in these 7 weeks. Not that I have learned a lot – I have serious reservations about that! But I’m learning the essence of hard work. And I’m learning to be sincere towards myself. Not to mention, I have met some wonderful people. And yes, there is also that one professor who I revere, and am always in awe of. Though I might end up securing a very poor grade in his subject, looking at the way I’m going. But that’s a separate issue altogether. Presently, my room-mate is almost ready and I look around for my umbrella. I’m surprised to find myself wondering what could be there for dinner.    

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Morning Walk

          When the morning air strikes that perfect balance between chill and warmth, it almost smells sweet. And it was this sweet smell that diffused my nostrils this morning when I went for a walk in the nascent summers of Shimla – the summers that usually have a very short life span, but while they last, they are something to be cherished. The first thing I felt was a pinch of regret for showing haughtiness when Mom asked me to take Dad’s morning-walk-stick along. It’s actually less of a stick and more of a baton, and it is to keep the monkeys and the stray dogs away – the creatures that are at liberty to loiter in the Shimla streets that are almost deserted from dusk till dawn. The sight that made me feel the regret was a group of 3 monkeys – not a large group this one, from what one might expect of Shimla – a dumpy one sitting lazily on a shorter tree growing on the slope whose top almost paralleled the height of the road, another one swinging from the cable line that went above and across the road and a third one – the mightiest – walking on the railing, making its way menacingly towards me in a measured, determined step. I hesitated, but remembered the timeless adage which said that never mind the monkeys and it’s a high probability that they won’t mind you (notice I said “high-probability”. It’s because there have been a few strange, gruesome cases, when things go wrong, that you don’t want to hear about!). So I went past them, pretending not to look at them (in fact, I’m sure I created some kind of record for looking the most sideways while keeping your head straight!). And true to the saying, the monkey also minded its own business and walked past me. The last glimpse I could catch of our ancestors, before I turned the corner, suggested one of them busy eating into the money plant that our neighbours had so assiduously taken care of for so long – all in vain.
          As I approached the main road, which is steeply elevated, I begin to think of my childhood days – all the times when I passed by the same shops that I was passing right now, how we, as kids, always hated having to fasten the top button of our uniform shirts, eclipsed by our tie knots, which were in turn, usually made by our respective mothers and the golden principle was that the knots were not to be muddled with for eternity. I thought of how, by the time the school ended, the shirt top buttons would be unfastened, the sleeves roughly folded up to our elbows; how we used to buy the 50 paisa “chuski”, out of the daily pocket money of 13 rupees – 10 as an emergency requirement (which lasted about a week), 2 rupees for the bus fare and 1 rupee for big babol/boomer/center fresh/chuski.
          I also thought of all the times we had observed the holy ritual of visiting the Mall on a Saturday evening, not to shop (though The Mall is basically a promenade, more like a shopper’s paradise), but to just roam, just to look at all the pretty people of the opposite sex and find solace in the confirmation that they were wasting their time in the same precious way. This all formed an indelible part of how I grew up. Now I would be going for an MBA and life would be very different. It would zoom by before a blink of an eye. I know I would long for this slowness in life characterized by a life in Shimla – the lazy mix of sunlight with the chilly air, the azure of the sky which seemed to bestow upon the town a sense of plenitude, the deodars, which seem to be conspiring in huddles, all of this and more add to the lethargic beauty that Shimla epitomizes. Deep in thought, I realized that I had almost reached back home. And for a change, I cannot see any monkeys to welcome me back. Is this change a start of something new? I wonder.