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

Monday, February 05, 2007

Lessons in social responsibility

It was December of two thousand something and a makeshift winter was doing its rounds. Despite it not being as cold as a winter should demand, I walked around in my black jumper with more regard to the seasonal change than anything else. I was turning another year older and was pretty much feeling like an autumn leaf waiting to drift to the whims and fancies of the wind. And yet; as much as it threatened to blow away in the next gust of wind, clung onto some crevice in the rock for fear of drifting into someplace unknown. Most of whom I called friends, ones whose presence counted and words mattered had moved away in what I so like calling the search for utopia and green dollar bills. I have often wondered why I did not join this search for Shangri-la. Probably because, utopia for me still did not translate into images I could relate and get fascinated by; probably because the lure of money, despite having the power to buy me all I needed (and there were quite a lot) was not strong enough to pull me off my roots.

Hey, but wait a minute. This was by no means meant to be a piece of philosophical writing. So the grim background not withstanding, December that year was pretty much happy times. Many of my friends were in the city for good and we stood on one of those arterial city roads, asking those very profound ‘where do we go?’ questions. I was tempted to add to the profundity by asking ‘why do we go?’ (for fearing of ripping a hole through my wallet), but in a material and gluttonous world, such profundity is not always appreciated.

Many decisive moments later, it was not too surprising knowing us, that proximity rather than cuisine and all other parameters unanimously chose the nearest Chinese restaurant as venue. ‘Matt, this is Lulls and Lulls this is Matt’, I introduced host-like, realizing suddenly that not all at the table really knew one another.

By the time the soup arrived, Matt and Lulls had sparred already a couple of times. The soup, I thought should ease matters out but they’d ordered ‘Hot & Sour’ and it probably only made matters worse.

‘Its funny you have your entire lineage stacked up in your last name’, Matt remarked with a sprinkle of sarcasm like black pepper on his soup.

‘Not as funny as having your first name repeated twice like an unnoticed spelling mistake’, Lulls retorted with a mocking smile.

Good sense of humor this, I must admit. But not when you’re the host and take social responsibility to ensure everyone is having a good time. Probably they were, for all you know, but I winced at every jab they made at one another.

When main course eventually followed starters, there were times when I felt an irresistible need to put the cutlery away; lest one of them use it to make a sound point.

But it all ended fine, with no living thing (other than the fish and the fowl) suffering any damage. As I got my round of hugs from all and sundry, I just kept telling myself – ‘Don’t mix your friends’.


‘Why not mix your friends’, Suri questioned professor like over our Saturday evening cup of coffee at JC. Lester and his jazz band had ‘breaked’ for their cup of coffee and inspirational puffs of nicotine.

‘..Because you’re fuckin responsible for ensuring everyone’s having a good time’, I replied.

‘You’re not’, Suri refuted.

‘It’s all about disassociating yourself’, he continued taking a puff of his Milds. ‘You bring an eclectic crowd together, introduce them to one another and cut the ‘I am responsible for all thee comfort’ cord. If the discomfort grows, sit back and enjoy it. It’s like one giant experiment in psychoanalytic behavior and you like Sigmund Freud watching. The more eclectic the crowd, the more interesting observations to sample’, he whispered with a cocky smile.


A couple of weeks later, we were sitting on a larger table at JC, listening to Lester play a skewed version of George Michael. ‘Great song’, one of my office friends who had accompanied me shouted.

“Yes indeed. Provided you’re a bloody sissy’, one of Suri’s B-school friends retorted. I could sense the discomfort growing. But it passed me like I were opaque. I was bloody Sigmund Freud. Suri stretched at the far corner and puffed. I smiled.

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