The Ringside View

My attempts at writing have always been stacked up in old diaries and scraps of yellowing paper.Time,neglect and phylum insecta however, always ensured that the gibberish i scrawled, never would see the prying gaze of an alien eye.Years later, i still scribble once in a while - this time in word documents stored in some obscure folder somewhere in the innards of my C drive.I am unearthing some of them and opening them up for the interested.To get what i call - The Ringside view.

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Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Merry Christmas

The red and green of Christmas is everywhere to be seen. Trees with lights that sparkle at night prop up all along the road in festive gaiety. Bed and breakfast places, their dirty walls adorned with last year’s decoration reserves. At office, danglings in a riot of colours hang precariously like trapezium artists. Streets bustling with a shopping frenzy. Slashed prices, more for less, that pair of shoes you always wanted at a 30% discount. Everyone’s binging. Parading through the streets with more shopping bags than two hands can carry.

No one’s noticed or no one’s bothered about the temperatures that have dropped; about the bare trees heralding winter; about the fact that their shopping bags have three jumpers and two pairs of gloves. The gloom and cold of the winter shall wait. At least until the last bottle of red wine is finished, till Santa Claus has gone back on his sled to his Artic haven, till the Christmas trees have all been removed, sparkling lights et al. Shops will go back to marked retail prices, decorations will be stacked up in cardboard boxes for December next. And before you know, it would be cold and winter and another Julian calendar year.

But anyways, for now it’s all bright and shining. Merry Christmas.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Music on wheels.

I was disgruntled as usual. With both the quality and quantity of sleep (both of which I reckon were unjustified, as there was a substantial measure of each). Standing before the mirror I instantly knew it was a bad hair day. Each strand revolting against the very premise of good looks. Each one like an autonomous body. Expressing free will and direction. I should probably visit the barber; ending the tyranny of these bloody dead cells, I reminded myself.

The watch read eight as I eventually turned the key in the anticlockwise direction and pushed at the door in reflexive paranoia. It would take me 15 minutes to reach the gravel parking, just good enough to miss the 8:15 shuttle. The point is, I hate it when I get in, clamp the seat belt and even before I realize we’re half way down our journey, past the anglers and the noisy white swans at Thorpe River Green.


With my house at the far end of Ingram I had to walk, hands in pocket for a good hundred yards to reach main Hall Road. The trees looked more bare than yesterday. Leaves lying like golden leaflets at the foot of the trunk and elsewhere. Mischievous schools boys in small race bikes were racing along the footpath like in their backyard; making the old lady who always stood there waiting for bus 27 or whichever other to appear as troubled as usual.

I walked past the co-operative society opposite Harford Street, where I’d stop every evening for my packet of Doritos and two large bananas. The Daily News hoarding rued the dismal performance of the City football team; again. Past the eerie church compound; past the veterinary clinic where a girl in brown overalls always stood disinterested and smoking; past the pub called ‘The King’s Arms’ where on the wall is scribbled Billy. With a halo over the ‘I’.

I’d be at Queens Road by now and a couple of traffic button clicks later, on the road turning to St Stephens. Little nymphets bubbled out of the corner like out of a magic crypt. In shades of green and locks golden. I turn left from the ‘Nobokovian’ nymphet land and look which of the three shuttles wait for me this November morning. The 8:15 is long gone, which means I will get a good ten minutes to sit back and kick start the day. And how, is left to what I listen.


The old man with spectacles who would shout out ‘Thank you everyone’ at the end of the journey like we did him a favour played classics. Warm as a Christmas hearth. Tucked in a corner seat, shrouded by a warm woolen jacket you could feel life’s smiling countenance beaming down on you. Even on a chilly day

Or I would land up in the shuttle of the blue jacket clad funny man, who played Elvis. A stand up comedian of sorts who had more than a funny take on everything animate or otherwise which went past him. Belting out numbers which infused life into me like air blown into a flaccid balloon, he’d look back and ask in a Gregory Peck twang - ‘Ladies and gentlemen, ready to rock and roll’. And before we could ever reply, the gears would fall into place, the accelerator would be pressed and we’d be on our way crunching gravel and spewing smoke.

Or like today, when I am sitting pretty in the shuttle of the big burly man with the bald pate and goggles of the Ray Charles genre. Who’d play magical numbers of singers and bands that I scarcely recognized. I’d just sit there all the same – transfixed; staring at the broads whistle past me in a hurry. Blue skies. Green meadows. Mellow music. And a Ray Charles look-alike at the wheel.

I wonder if I’ve ever thought about it before. Thank you, gentlemen. Just turn up the volume and keep the music going.