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

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Vote of Thanks

Holy fuck. Here I am skimming through my blog posts for 2008 and the first thing that strikes me is that, it’s been a ‘whine’ trip all along. An overdose of pining for old times and reminiscing all that is not current and happening. So I stopped mid way through my next post which was shaping up on similar lines and decided to write something more befitting my age and all that.

Ok, I guess I have got to be honest and also tell you that I was looking for a reason to do this one. And when buying a new pair of jeans and turning one year with the blog (both of them ecstatic, commerative happenings nevertheless) did not qualify as reason enough for a thank you note, I was almost getting frustrated. When do I get to do an impromptu Oscar like speech, I whined. And then it happened, making it to business school. This has to be big enough for a thank you note I told myself. Decent financial liabilities stacked up. The effort of writing a letter of resignation in less than 600 words (I don’t think anyone read it, to be honest). And the looming prospect of pouring over Adam Smiths’ ‘The Wealth of Nations’ has to be freakin big enough (if not exciting enough) to thank the people who made it possible. And if it is not, then I care a damn. I am going ahead anyways.

So without much further ado,

I’d like to thank mom and dad, for safekeeping all the documents and wiring them by the most reliable forms of postal service known to man, so that I could apply for the darn course in the first place. Thanks also for not questioning why the fuck I planned to spend double of what I earned over five years for a one year course. Thanks really for not asking because I don’t think I know myself.

To cousin, who despite seeming dangerously unreliable to start with and despite have a clogged theatrical itenary, managed to wire that one last document so that I could scramble home in the nick of time before the application deadline. Phew!!!

Freak. They want all the documents scanned. And in 300 dpi and some specific godforsaken resolution. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. To Kini, who unfettered and for one quarter chicken at Nandos alone, helped me with all the scans.

Cometh the hour and the fuckin man disappears. Suddenly realized that I needed one more document scanned and the man is holidaying in some Parisian boulevard. To John G, for being there when the most reliable are not around :)

To Prad, for cooking great food; keeping me away from the kitchen like I were the human form of bubonic plague and letting me swipe his credit card - not once, not twice but many a time. I am sure I paid him back and all. Atleast as far as I can remember. Next.

To SS, who was sweet enough to ask me time and again if I wanted to use her credit card. And who knew I’d be reticent and so asked again.

To KSP, who gave me some Ferris wheel analogy in the dead of the night, to prove why I would end up trumps and all.

To Bebo, who through many a random conversation proved to me that if I don’t make it, I don’t really lose a shit. The sun would still continue to rise in the east and Sainsbury would still continue selling bread.

To LM who I sincerely hoped would not take off on a holiday when it was time to send in the reco. I still owe you a pint by the way. And to GD who said ‘Tu do lik, me do liktha hu’ when it came down to his share of recos. Thanks for writing in the good words.

To Bindi and AR, who on the way to Fatsos one night, told me ‘Arre, what nonsense, why will you not make it?’ Such questions never have answers. Thankfully.

To Seige and Suri, for telling me – ‘Bob, tell you what. It’s all a bloody hogwash’. Probably is. And when I am through it and realize bloody prophecy in your words, we can all say in unison and in a louder voice – ‘It’s all a bloody hogwash’.

To Paaps. For being Paaps. For showing me that when you want something, you just go for it. And if you fall down enroute, you just get up and go for it all over again. And who despite knowing how unrelenting I would be, called me and tried convincing me that Manchester is where I should be heading. All the best for your year ahead at Manchester brother.

And to all others, who I have comfortably not mentioned but know they had a fuckin role. Thanks ya’ll.

(Bow) (Applause)

And I thought I was a self made man!?!

P.S: Freak!!! lest I forget and end up looking thankless. To Nick’alaus who signed on the dotted line. And MP who searched in vain for his Tax return forms. Thanks.

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

The old neighborhood

The 1980’s is a long time back. So long time back, that I can only think of it in grayscale. Nascent memories; many of which I think, are mere fancy sub conscious fabrications and nothing more, flash by on recall like reality itself. Like say, images of me shrouded in a blanket and gasping for air on that ferry to the ancestral home. Grandmother had died. I was but a few months old. Winds lashing. Rain pouring down in angry torrents. Signs apparently were so ominous, that even the oarsman feared for the little one’s life. But as it appears, the little one gasped; and gasped hard, and lived on to tell this tale.

But wait a minute. I was but a few months old at that time. And there is no way I can have a visual image of that scene. Funnily enough though, I do. Etched, clear and crystal. How can that ever be so, ponders the pragmatic side of me. Pat comes the answer. No Freudian logic involved here. The image is but a picture reconstructed from oft repeated hearsay I say. Conjured up by the creative mind, to scale up to the melodrama that the scene demanded. That’s all.

Ok, disclaimer. The reader is at this stage forewarned, that if you find me speaking eloquent about the early eighties, Woodstock 69 and the man on the moon, remember, it’s merely reconstructed from other people’s stories. So if you happen to spot something to the effect of ‘When I was a year old, I remember the blooming gulmohars lining the promenade. Crimson and lilac, fluttering in the wind like colours on a painter’s canvas……..’, remember it could very well be bullshit.


The Bangalore real estate scene in the sixties was as lukewarm as lukewarm can be. People gently enquired in good quintessential Bangalore spirit, if you wanted a plot of land in ‘modern day as costly as Sunset Boulevard’ Indiranagar. ‘Why don’t you take it sir; you can pay me later’, some shortsighted gentleman had offered father. Circumspect and risk averse, dad very myopically replied ‘Very generous of you sir. But I am fine, thank you. And further more, who will stay so far’. And those were the days when the wallets were thin and aspirations of settling down in the city minimal. (Talk about foresight and sound financial planning. Godammit.)

A decade or so later, father was still working in Bangalore. And when familiarity with the city and matrimony, both happened, he eventually decided to buy this flat which has been home for the last 27 years. It was spanking new, cousin tells me. And the strong smell of whitewash ensured the cold that I perennially had, stayed with me like an alter ego.

A wild undergrowth of parthenium flourished in the neglected land in front of our multistoried building in those days. ‘I have seen snakes in there’, cousin claimed confidently of a distant past which I am sure he never did see. But whether it was that or the constant tirade of ‘how many times to tell you not to go near those bushes chasing the ball. You will end up with rashes I tell you’, I do not know, but the early days were all spent playing along the fringes and hoping the ball did not roll into the uninviting wilderness.


As years ticked by, and the school routine kicked in, I remember the parthenium shrubs had cleared out. A barbed wire fencing, made a feeble attempt by the corporation to convert the clearing into a park. And whether it was the grass or the gravel I know not, but the rubber ball used to turn at Shane Warnian proportions in our evening games of cricket. We would come back home and keep records; cousin and me. And he would always claim my 100 against Azib, the neighborhood bloke would not qualify. ‘You ran the last 20 runs without even hitting the ball’, he would assert himself. ‘But it was getting dark and he said it was ok. I swear.’, I would argue. What an unfair world it was, in those days.

We shifted to playing at grounds further away from home as we grew a bit older. It somehow seemed a little too childish to play in front of your own home. We were big boys now you see. And what’s more, the cover drives now had more power, so why put your own window panes at risk.


The rains washed down. The occasional hailstorms showered. The sun on summer days shined unrelenting. The plasters came off. And the odd pipes broke. The storm drains overflowed and new kids replaced old ones on the same track where the ball spinned square. Familiar people disappeared, new ones appeared. You walk down the flight of stairs and it still at times transports you back to images in grayscale. It’s still the same old neighborhood but in a changed time. And there will always be memories of a distant past; hidden in every bend and turn.

But for now, it’s time for me to disappear like all those people who disappeared before me. Into some place new, where someone else will sigh and tell – ‘old faces disappear and new ones appear’.

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