Best thing that (N)ever happened in my life.

“This is the best thing that ever happened in my life”, exclaimed the bride groom right after he kissed the bride.

“This is the best thing that ever happened in my life”, shouted the frivolous teenage beauty who won the beauty pageant.

We hear a hundred exclamations and announcements like this day in and day out.Every individual defines life by the experiences he/she went through in life. Every day, every minute and every second of our lives are characterized by the millions of experiences that we face day to day. Nobody in the world could have escaped their teenage years without hearing these golden words from their parents, ”In my experience….”.

But the million dollar question that plagues my mind for a long time is “Is experience the only thing that characterizes the amazing gift of life?”

Considering life to be a huge jigsaw puzzle, when we organize all our experiences in chronological order do we get a complete picture???

A simple observation of a courier truck gave me an answer to that question.

When the logistics giant FEDEX decided to develop a logo for their company, they not only wanted a design that propagates the company but also endorse the moto and value that the company represented and they came up with this.

fedex_zoomout

To the untrained eye it just looks like a large font representation of the brand name right!

LOOK CLOSELY

fedex_zoom

The blank space between F and the E forms an arrow mark. It indicates the movement,agility,speed and reliability – The basic characteristics that make FEDEX what it is today.

zoo_pic

Why would a tree represent a zoo?? Look closely into the blank space around the bark of the tree. Once you see the lion and the gorilla, you will never be able to unsee it again.

In both of the above cases the blank areas convey more meaning than the actual logo. Sometimes in life too, the experiences that ‘never’ happened to us carry more meaning than any experience that ‘ever’ happened to us.

Whenever we walk into a 3rd grade class room and ask the kids what they want to be when they grow up, you can see their dreams soaring through the sky. Astronaut,Pilot,President,Actress and what not.

After a few years when you go back to the same class when they reach 12th grade and repeat the same question, you get to distinguish the entire class into three distinct set of people.

1.The students who give you toned down replies such as “doctor,engineer” this is the sect of students who have accepted the so called “realistic dreams” dictated by the society

  1. The super stars in the group who get to keep their dream of being a cricket star,actress because of an impeccable track record and powerful family network(the latter being more important than the former)
  2. There is also a special third category whom the class would affectionately call the “dork heads”. This is the category of students who don’t have a successful track record, who don’t have the right connections, who have absolutely no sane route to reach their dreams ever, but who also never quit dreaming!

The beauty of life is that the second category of people get all their dreams true because they are “sane”. The first category of students also get their dreams come true because their dreams are “insanely sane” but the third category of students or the so called “dork heads” never get any of their dreams come true because their dreams are “fucking insane!!!”

As a proud member of the third category let me give you a few examples of how we work:

At the age of 5

My only dream,ambition,goal was to become the next rajnikanth. For obvious reasons that dint happen.But a fair enough dream for a kid right

At the age of 17

Like every other average Indian kid my dream too was to join the IIT. A fair enough dream for any kid, but for a guy who is struggling to get a 40 in math, dreaming of an IIT was crazy. And crazy I was. For obvious reasons the dream dint come true

At the age of 19

With the boost of motivation that comes after watching “the social network”, I wanted to be an entrepreneur. But what the movie failed to show was that mark zuckerburg was already a genius programmer who managed to top his class in Harvard. For a guy in the bottom ring of an average engineering college, it definitely was “fucking insane”. For obvious reasons the dream never came true.

At the age of 23:

When the guys around me have already settled down in life,started saving up for marriage and getting ahead in their adult life here I am falling for a girl but here too my dreams don’t fail to be “fucking insane”. I fall for a girl who is “way out of my league”.

For a guy with none of the three sixes a girl would expect (six foot, six pack, six fig salary) it just is not sane on my part to dream about being with a “princess” but that is exactly whom I fall for. For obvious reasons that dream of mine dint come true either(though she was gracious enough to accept me as her “best friend”!)

I never became rajnikanth, I never entered IIT, I never became an entrepreneur, I never got the girl but all these experiences that I “never” had made me who I am today

Every time I tried something insane I failed, the world saw me as a failure, but from every target I missed I learned something new

When I missed IIT, I learnt that there was life beyond the IIT dream

When my startup dream failed I learnt the power of perseverance and conviction

When the one girl I wanted to be with called me best friend,I learnt the power of rejection. I learnt to make myself stronger with every rejection

Of course they were all painful. It is definitely not easy to watch your dreams get shattered every time, but everytime life burns down your dream you get to be reborn from the ashes like the Phoenix bird.

Abraham Lincoln said

“I failed at the legislature, I failed to become speaker, I failed at the nomination for Congress, and that is why I became president. Had I won any of those I would have settled down there.”

Next time somebody tells you “failure is the stepping stone for success” , you please ask them to keep their success to themselves because failure makes you grow, but success makes you succumb!

Like every one in the world, dreamers like me also have the fear of failure but for us

Failure Is not aiming too high and missing, it is rather aiming too low and hitting!

NOT EXACTLY Mr. PERFECT


The confessions of an obnoxious fat guy

Have you ever had the distinct privilege of walking into a kindergarten class room? You would find 50 kids engrossed in their own worlds completely oblivious to the futile endeavors of their young teacher in trying to control them. The concepts of discipline and decorum are as alien to the class as they are to the parliament of India. Amongst all the chaos you would find a plump, rolly-polly kid whose cheeks are hanging out like those of a bull dog. That ‘lucky’ kid whom teenage girls would look at and go, “awww!!” That ‘lucky’ kid in every kg class whom hot teachers love to hug and play with. Have you ever wondered what happens to that ‘lucky’ kid as he grew up???

Don’t worry if u haven’t, because in a normal scenario even I wouldn’t have bothered to think about but by strange twist of fate that ‘lucky’ kid happened to be me.

fat_kid

@age13

After a decade the cute adorable child grew up into a “chubby kid”. The onset of teenage coupled with `the raging hormones made my environment the battle ground of the wanna be cool guys and the wanna be hot girls. When all the guys were dreaming of getting the six pack abs and the girls were dreaming of the perfect size zero, my obsession remained with my mom’s hot idly and sambhar(BTW it remains as my biggest addiction till date). When my cohorts were busy day dreaming about the mysterious adventures of the closed bedrooms, my dreams were filled with the delicious mysteries of the next day menu!

Owing to the generosity of some of my ‘so-called’ friends numerous aliases became part of my identity, but like a thesaurus all these names had a single meaning,” fatso”.

These nick names which offended me initially later became a blessing in disguise!

@age 22

Any normal guy of the gen y would have atleast once in his life time faced the perils of being “friend-zoned”. It is one of the biggest traps possessed by the females of our species to tackle the approaching male,but have you ever heard of a much more sophisticated,specialised equipment called the “bro-zone”!

Quick witted,intriguing, diplomatically honest,three abstract adjectives that remain close to the hearts of most girls but remains alien to almost all boys. I was blessed to have all of the three desirable virtues but I was also blessed with three more attributes that described me perfectly, ‘short’,’dark’,’stout’.

So what do girls do with a guy with a perfect software and not so perfect hardware?

That’s where the specialized equipment comes into play. The guy is more than just a friend but definitely can’t be a boyfriend so he gets “bro-zoned”!!!

After getting bro-zoned, a good number of times(though I am thankful to all those girls now for doing me the favour) I finally found a girl(at least I thought I did) who was a rule breaker just like me, a rebellious soul just like me and an intellectual unlike me.

Every guy has a certain characteristic that he wishes his girl would posses. It changes from person to person based on various factors. I always wanted my girl to be

       “Bold and Beautiful”

But through her amazing attitude she redefined my taste and made me realize

         “Bold is Beautiful”

Unlike conventional depictions of a girl, my description of her never includes any trivial details such as her complexion, height, weight, beauty or for that matter even her name, because none of all that never really mattered to me. Like a true sapiosexual attraction I was only attracted to her intelligence and attitude, truly nothing else (but expecting the same gesture from her in return was too much to ask I guess).She managed to make me feel so comfortable that I even for a moment forgot the years of accumulated inhibitions successfully piled up by the persistent physical abuses, frustration created due to use of derogatory nick names and the pain of all being the odd one of the crowd and asked her out! But she reminded me of all the pain with simple reply that she uttered without a small bit of hesitation

“Sorry! But you are not exactly my Mr. Perfect”

Her answer, though initially shocking was a revelation in many ways.

Though you see only one version of yourself, to the world there are two

  • The real you
  • The man you see in the mirror

Unfortunately the ‘man in the mirror’ is valued much more than you are. Though the world might say otherwise the seduction of the eye is still the most important factor in the opinion of the world.‘Tall &handsome’ guys and ‘fair and lovely’ maidens are still the templates the world embraces and if you are any different the world despises you for that.

All through childhood being “normal” was a luxury that eluded me. Thanks to my “king sized” physique I could never be one among the crowd, but as time rolled on a new awakening dawned on me,normalcy is the cancer that makes us all lead a stereotyped life. The world doesn’t want me to be different but that is exactly what I am. What started out as a physical difference has now sparked the desire to be different in every thought and action . As the saying goes

“They laughed at me cause I was different

I laughed at them cause they were all the same!”

No matter how many insults, disapprovals and disappointments the world throws at me today, I have learnt to give one golden answer to all of themmaxresdefault

“FUCK YOU! I SURVIVE!!”

content courtesy: millennialchanakya.wordpress.com

THE ‘CHEMISTRY’ BIOLOGY AND PHYSICS OF LOVE

February-14th the only day of the year that every ‘couple’ prays never to end and every ‘single’ guy prays never to begin .On the valentine’s day of 2014 I walked along the world’s second longest beach “The Marina” wondering with bewilderment, awe(and some jealousy of course!) at the sheer number of couples filling the beach sand. Braving the heat of the scorching sun that refused to reduce its intensity even at 5 30 pm, hundreds of couples sat there chit chatting their way to a dream land.

Among all the couples there was one pair that caught my attention, because from the moment they reached the sea shore they never spoke a word to each other. Both of them were staring at the wide open sea and apart occasional glances there seemed to be no interaction between the two. Even more intriguing was the fact that judging by their facial expressions both of them seemed to be enjoying each other’s company without a single spoken word. I slowly approached the couple but they continued to have a wonderful time completely oblivious to the fact that my pair of envious eyes was scanning them from tip to toe. As soon as I was close enough I tapped on the guy’s shoulder. He turned around, irritated at being disturbed, he blurted out a rude, “what?”  I asked the guy, “Boss, can I ask u something?”With his irritation increasing even more he repeated his statement, “what?” Faking a polite tone, I asked him, “what is it that makes you guys stick together & enjoy each other’s company so much!?”As soon as I finished my question the irritation on his face disappeared and was replaced by a pleasant smile, he looked at his girl and winked, she replied gracefully with a blush. The guy moved an inch closer to me and replied“chemistry man! We have a beautiful chemistry between us that fills us with joy whenever we are together!”

At that moment I kicked myself for having hated the great subject of ‘chemistry’ all through my middle and high school.

THE CHEMISTRY AND BIOLOGY OF LOVE

LOVE IS A SERIOUS MENTAL DISEASE

-PLATO

brain_stem

To all the people who say ‘love is a matter of the heart’, am sorry to disappoint you but your heart has nothing to do with love. So who is the real culprit? We can never really ‘think up’ the answer to this question because the ‘culprit’ is only doing the thinking for us. Yes the real culprit is the brain.
The Ventral tegmental area is a small factory in the brain that creates one of the most important hormone in the brain called dopamine. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that helps in controlling the pleasure center of the brain. Thus the pleasure of intense romantic is the same pleasure pleasure as the rush of cocaine(at least you come down from the high of cocaine).

So girls,next time a guy proposes to you like this

Propose-With-Truly-Heart

Please do not accept because he should really be proposing like this

brain

So what is love?

The modern day philosopher Yann Dall’Agilo expresses it best!

“Love. It is nothing more than the desire to be desired!

No matter who we are, what we do every single human being on this planet wants to be desirable. The ever increasing level of consumerism is prevalent today only because of the drive to be desirable. Historians classify our age as a materialistic age and philosophers identify as materialistic people but at the root of all this materialism is the need to be desired. What better illustaration is needed for this theory more than a teenager who buys a perfectly good pair of expensive jeans and tear them at the knee, just so that he/she can be desirable among peers.

Love is also one of the most addicting substances in the world. It has all the features of any other substance addiction but the only difference here being that you are addicted to another human being. This is nature’s way of ensuring the desire for life’s greatest prize ‘an appropriate mating partner’.

 THE LAW OF ATTRACTION (PHYSICS OF LOVE)

Ulagathula evlo paer irunthum naa yaen  unna love panen?(there are millions of people in the world yet why did I choose you?)

love post

Have you ever experienced the WTF  moment when the hottest girl in your office falls for the lamest guy you can imagine!

Life’s greatest beauty lies in this unsolvable paradox of love.The when,where and how of love is a question that has traveled with humans from the very beginning.  But this is one question we don’t want to know the answer to,because this great puzzle holds the ray of hope to life’s greatest prize,”an appropriate life partner!”

After decades of research these so called experts have only been able to scratch the surface in their futile attempts to understand true love. May be one day in the future humans will evolve to understand the depth of the most powerful emotion in humans.

Untill then humans will continue  to dance for love, sing for love , compose poems for love , kill for love , die for love and be entranced by the magic of love.

content courtesy: millennialchanakya.wordpress.com

Women are foolish to think they are equal to men!

After an exasperating morning session in one of India’s top IT firms, I looked away from the screen to provide some relief to my tired eyes. Though I was just looking for a relief, there was a treat waiting right next to me. At 5 ft 5 inches, plump yet not too stout structure, the complexion of a fair and lovely model and typical south Indian dressing style, the girl sitting next to me was definitely dream wife material for all testosterone charged desperate men. She seemed to be struggling with the first line of a simple java program, as a chivalric gentleman,I was obliged to help her (though it did help start a conversation with the fair maiden).

After the customary name exchanges, she blurted out her frustration of working in the IT field, “Programming is so tough, I am considering quitting my job and getting married!” (What a reason to get married!)

The next day happened to be Friday, the only day corporates lease you the freedom to choose your own attire (#Friday dressing). I was surprised to find her in her usual salwar even on that day. I asked her the reason for her choice of clothes, and she dint fail to shock me with her answer, “my boyfriend doesn’t like me wearing jeans!” (So much for the freedom and independence of women!)

After an outing with all our colleagues the following weekend, I offered to drop her home in my car since we lived in the same locality. She declined my offer with a reason that surprised me yet again. ”sorry, but my father doesn’t like me to travel alone with a boy!”

Engineer by degree, IT professional by occupation, this young woman is the representative of urban working class female population of the country. Her attitude is the reflection of the young women of the nation (except for the small segment of modern women in the metros who Bollywood endorses as the majority) .Her intimidation and inhibitions leads to the demand for rise of a new wave of post modernization feminism.

THE NEED OF THE HOUR

The feminism waves of 40s and 70s ensured that the ladies of the age broke away from the chains of the household and became a equally contributing part of the work force.But that is not enough.We need a new wave of feminism that ensures change in two attitudes.

  • Attitude of men towards women

More importantly

  • Attitude of women towards women

Women needs to break away from the cliched tag of “traditional,homely” and start respecting themselves and their decisions to become truly independent. This wave of feminism comes to life when women follow these golden rules:

Don’t let marriage/your life partner define you.

Wear traditional clothes only because you like them not because someone else wants you to

Never spend your adult life dependent on a male in your circle be it father/boyfriend/husband.

Make your own decisions and stick to them.

If a so called “well-wisher” asks you to dress sensibly please put on your best smile and ask them to STFU!
Because the problem not in the dress but in their eyes and you can’t help it.

Don’t stick to your job because it is a “safe-for-girls” job. Follow your passion. You deserve the right to be anything you want from painter to porn star, because it’s your life.

Never wear the clothes you don’t like because you want to feel safe in public. Next time you want to feel safe wear your favorite clothes and add a pepper spray/taser/AK47 to your accessories.

If your bf “asks” you to marry him
show your ring finger
If your bf “tells” you to marry him
Show your middle finger.

I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men,
they are far superior and always have been
– William Goldling

LOSER – [L]IFE [O]F A [S]OFTWARE [E]NGINEE[R]- II

The Old Mahabaliburam Road or the IT express way as the government proudly calls it is the cradle of information technology industry in Chennai. The Ganges was the life source of Indus valley civilization, the Nile was the life source of the Egyptian civilization. The 20.1 km long perennial river of tar, called the OMR,is the life source of the IT civilization. At about 10km from both the ends, in the approximate centre of the stretch, on the median that divided the road into its yin and yan stood an insolent fool who thought he had the world under control. On a normal day I would have zoomed past this guy and jumped into my chaotic world of mediocrity. Unfortunately I couldn’t do it on this particular day, because that insolent fool happened to be ‘me’.

27TH august, yet another normal day in my life had turned into such a “loser” day. I, along with three other buddies stood on the median of the OMR road watching the world zoom past us. Unsurprisingly not a single soul slowed down even a bit to throw a glance at us. I wouldn’t blame them, each one had a zillion plans, deadlines and ambitions that kept them on their toes. I too actually had a tight schedule for the entire day.
9-9 30 Testing basics

930- 10 30 Meeting with team lead

10 30- 11 30- ….the list goes on and on

In a fraction of a second the company had made my entire schedule, plans for the weekend as well as the plans for my future all into, what the IT world calls, “redundant data”. The beautiful glass palace that I had built with my dreams of the future had been shattered in a single moment  with a single sheet of paper ‘fondly’ nicknamed the “pink slip”.

There are only two categories of people who would visit the ECR private beaches in the scorching afternoon sun in Chennai
Firstly the people who are ‘madly’ in love.

Secondly the people who are simply ‘mad’

Unfortunately we belonged to the second category on that particular day. On the hot sands of the beach we sat trying to dissolve our disappointments in our sweat. All four of us were lost in our own thoughts when the squawking of a parrot brought us back to our senses. At about 10 feet from us came a man carrying a parrot’s cage in one hand and bag full of crappy stuff in the other. With a mouthful of beetle leaf and eyes full of deceit he came close to us and asked, “would you like to know your fortune sir?”

“fortune teller!!” shouted one of my buddies,”macha lets check out our (mis)fortune” he continued. Somehow handing over the reins of our fate to a helpless parrot stuck in a cheap iron cage dint seem like a very smart idea to me. Before I could voice my protest my friends had queued in front of the parrot cage.

After enquiring our name list like an election commission officer, he slowly opened the cage and let his pet parrot out. The lazy parrot came out reluctantly and selected the mascots of our fate(small cheaply printed images of various deities). After glancing at the images for several minutes the fortune-teller gave us the result of his analysis

You are all in the beginning of your career (like that wasn’t obvious from our college student like faces and unmatched formal clothes)

You are facing a big problem (even Sherlock wouldn’t be able to find that from our terror-struck, melancholy faces)

After a long list of stating such obvious facts he scanned the faces of his victims. It was clear from my obnoxious expression that I was oblivious to his nonsense and he knew he had to woo me in. He looked at me closely and threw his first astra-‘money’, “sir you have the blessings of tirupathi venkatesh and you are gonna be a millionaire”.

Seeing that his astra failed to impress me, he decided to throw his bramastra-‘sex’. In a base voice that was meant to excite me he said, “sir you are gonna have a beautiful son to take your legacy forward…that too before marriage”

Though his words of ‘expertise’ dint impress me, it did not fail to impress one of my friends. After an hour-long discussion about his future the fortune-teller charged a whopping 600 bucks. When the fortune-teller took his parrot and walked away I saw a small glint of satisfaction in his eyes. The satisfaction of having successfully pulled off another heist through the most powerful illusion of ‘faith’

We sat there in the hot sun for the next couple of hours and some of the most important lessons that the fortune-teller had subtly taught us about the world of IT, dawned on me.

  • Just like the pseudo science of fortune-telling, the IT industry on the whole worked on a powerful tool of mass hysteria. It hides under the cloak of ‘white collar job’ using which it lures the huge number of youngsters into it.
  • The next time somebody in the company comes and tells, “you belong to the family now”,”you are a representative of the company’s brand”, “live the values of the company”,please remember it is all complete B.S. Don’t even believe a word of all that crap.
  • If you are under the impression that you are exchanging your knowledge and expertise in turn for the salary that you get every month in an IT company then you are ignorant. The only economically valuable commodity that you are selling in turn for your salary is your “time”. So please do not complain that you don’t have time for your family again because you have already sold your soul to the devil
  • If you don’t have the habit of smiling or wishing the security guard at the office door, please remember that he had more power, control and job safety than you do, more importantly you might need his mercy if you get thrown out someday. So play it safe

The IT world is a race that you start running the moment you enter the company. It is by law of nature that you get out-run someday…so it is all

“just a matter of time”

content courtesy: millennialchanakya.wordpress.com

LOSER – [L]ife [O]f a [S]oftware [E]nginee[R]

After about three years of excruciating struggle with engineering,it was finally time for the nightmare of every engineering student, “PLACEMENTS”. Every person who gets a glimpse of you from your  great-uncle to next house dimple will ask you only one single question, ‘got placed?’. When the placement season of 2013 started every guy in my college from nine pointer to a no, pointer started preparing everything we learnt (or at least tried to learn!) in the last three years.

Finally the inevitable danger arrived. After an immensely disappointing first day of placements, I realized one thing. None of the companies wanted to test what we had learnt in engineering, rather they wanted to test us on more essential, life-saving skills such as word, PowerPoint, email, 10th standard mathematics and of course English. Thus after a week of immense learning from all my rat bitten 10th standard books (under the tutelage of my beloved school going brother!) I attended the interview of one of India’s top IT firm. After a three round interview process that happened over two days, the company decided to give me a job! (my HOD and my unplaced department topper had a mini heart attack!)

 1 YEAR LATER

There are two unforgettable days in every young guy’s life, 1.the day he gets his first girl 2.the day he gets his first salary. After 29 dry days finally my memorable ‘first salary’ day arrived. With never-before seen enthusiasm I reached office twenty minutes early. I settled down in my cubicle and waited for the arrival of my gang. My gang is the crime syndicate of my facility. Like the corleone family, there cannot be a single crime in my building that does not involve us. My gang is a four member exclusive club that includes mickey,khan,master and me(I have used their nick names not to hide identity but because I have forgotten their real names!)

At about 8 15 the customary gang meeting at the water cooler happened as usual. All of us were anxiously checking our phones for the “salary credited” sms, but life always has a way of throwing the biggest challenges at you at your weakest moments. When we were expecting the doors of our life to open and the money to start pouring in,  the door of the HR office opened and our HR manager walked towards us with the sweet smile on his face.

Human Resource manager in an IT company is the sophisticated nomenclature for the Devil’s advocate, so as long as the HR manager has a grumpy face it is a good omen telling you that everything is going fine, but whenever you find even a hint of a smile on the HR managers face it means there is an imminent danger coming your way and you have to move to disaster management mode in war footing basis.

Unfortunately for us we did not have this factual gyaan at that time. When we saw the HR manager walking towards us with a smile we even had the audacity to gracefully return the smile. Finally after a five-minute ramp walk he reached our zone. With the swiftness of a cowboy picking his gun from his belt he took out his smart phone and opened a word file consisting of a list of names.

“The following associates are requested to assemble in the HR room immediately” came the announcement in a booming voice. The voice further continued with a list of 17 names. We were not really bothered about the whole incident until the last few seconds when one by the names of my gang members were called out (that too in alphabetical order :P)

In about ten minutes my gang, along with 13 others were standing in the small HR office perplexed, when the senior HR manager walked in. He glanced at each one of us in the room and then stated, “The performance of these 17 associates in the last one month has not been satisfactory, thus it has been decided to relieve them from services temporarily. They will be called back as and when required”.

I was about to shout out, “dude you have mugged up the last statement of the mail you got from the head office perfectly, but you forgot to change the pronouns from ‘they’ to ‘you’!”. Then I realized I was in a corporate company where the right to commit blunders was reserved for the HR departments and the CEOs.

The shock in the air that filled the room hadn’t yet subsided, when the innocent looking fair maiden in the front of the group deployed one of the most powerful weapons that every woman in the world is equipped with. She started crying. With the versatility of a well experienced tormentor the HR manager brushed aside the melodrama and with the stern voice stated, “would you people please leave or should I call the security?!”

By the time we got around digesting the indifference with which the last statement was made he came around collecting the umbilical cord of every employee, the last remaining connection we had with the company ie ID cards. After knotting up the id cards in a bunch he personally escorted us to the entrance and saw to that we left the premises immediately.

In a ten minute span of time we had been stripped off our job, a promising career and more importantly, identity. We were standing in the middle of the road, literally. With its huge traffic and awe inspiring length the OMR road embraced us.

Standing in the middle of the road we had few options to do:

  1. Go back home, break the news and face the problem
  2. Jump on the road and let the lorries transport us to a better world

But what we did never ceases to surprise me till date. (to be continued)

(title courtesy: dipen ambalia,finger print pages)
content courtesy: millennial chanakya.wordpress.com

SOMETIMES LESS EQUALS MORE

I love to write. I don’t want to become a writer or a celebrity author (especially the Chetan bhagat type). All I want to do is write. Like a chain smoker who smokes for nothing but the pleasure of smoking, I write for nothing but the pleasure of writing.

After two years of completely mundane and frustratingly monotonous work at one of the biggest IT firms in the country, I started looking for something more interesting to do. One fine day I get a call, like a drop of water on a parched paddy field, a sweet voice tells me something I wanted to hear all my life

“I will give you a job and all you have to do is write!!!”

Just imagine a situation where someone calls you and offers a handsome pay just to watch your favorite sunny deol(read sunny leone) movie every day. I was in pretty much the same state. Just to bring me back from the land of ecstasy, the voice further added

“To get the job, you must write an article that blows me off. It must be based either on your experience or expertise”

EXPERIENCE OR EXPERTISE:

I spent the next one week pondering over this million-dollar question, “Experience or Expertise”. I am a proud Indian youngster. Like most Indians and in most cases India itself, I realized that I was staggeringly average in everything I do and ever did. There is no single area of life that I could call myself an expert in. Thus my options crumbled down to just “Experience”.

Google tells me, “Experience is an event or occurrence which leaves an impression on someone”. I decided to go out in search of an experience worth writing about. An experience that will be worth a reader’s time when he reads about it.

THE EXPERIENCE

On the 26th of June 2016, I set out on a journey to find some experience with a group of faithful friends.  After a lot of research, I had zeroed in on the Nagalapuram waterfall in the Tamil Nadu-Andhra Pradesh border as my destination.

Mythology tells us, whenever a hero loses his path on any adventure, a voice from above will guide him with directions. In my case too, a voice guided me on my adventure. It was not a voice from above but was coming right from my phone. The world today calls it google maps.After a 3 hour long journey, which in my opinion is in itself a separate experience we reached the foothills of the nagalapuram hills. From here on our journey was to begin.

IMG-20160629-WA0034

As we embarked on our journey, we heard a weak fumbling voice from behind. It belonged to lanky, old man from a small village in the foothills of nagalapuram. In a Telugu mixed Tamil that only people in the borders can speak, he told us

“If you guys are planning to take the trek to the waterfall, shall I be your guide?”

Though the thought of having a local person guide us through the forest path sounded tempting, we were quite apprehensive as he seriously did not look like a person who could trek the threateningly high hills. Looking at our reluctant faces he turned away and started walking towards the hill.

Something is better than nothing, a voice inside me shouted. I turned towards my friends and they all nodded in unison as if they heard the voice inside me and so we followed him like a whole group of hutch dogs. Exactly 10 min after we started treading along behind the old man, the dry hot area in which we started turned into a beautiful thick jungle.

In the next half an hour, our legs slowly started to feel the stress of the inclination and the effort of the struggling trekkers was visible with the heavy pants and gasps for breath. But with no single sign of struggle the old fragile man trotted along. After about an hour’s trek, we reached a place that was a real sight for sour eyes.

Level 1

The waterfall in Nagalapuram is split into five levels. Five places at which the beautiful flow of the water takes a break,cuddles itself into a pond and gathers energy before continuing its sprint towards its ultimate destination ie the ocean. We had reached level 1. I bent down, filled my empty water bottle with the flowing water and took a sip. I realized that the plain tasteless liquid I have been using to quench my thirst all life long does not deserve to be classified as water at all.  The water from the river with all its minerals had a taste that I have never felt before.

“Where is this water coming from?” I asked our guide

“Heaven”, he said, pointing upwards towards the hill top.

Level 2:

Before I could ask any further questions, he resumed his journey uphill.  With a thousand questions propping up inside my head, I followed him with all my friends right behind me. The next one hour of our journey was a real test of ability. We had to do every trick in the book to get past the slippery rocks and risky narrow mountain passes. As the height increased the risk of falling escalated with it. Every step had to be taken with utmost care. One misstep could create unimaginable repercussions.

After several slips, close calls, risky jumps and of course back breaking walk, we finally reached Level 2.  All the best architects of the world together could not design a sexier swimming pool. With the right depth, right flow and perfect translucent water, this was definitely a classy hangout place to spend the afternoon. But I had not come here for fun, I came in search of an experience right.

I walked up to the guide and asked him.
“How far is level 3?”

Had he restrained to a simple, “it’s too far, not reachable”, I would have stayed back and relaxed. But without uttering a single word, he started walking again. The curiosity to know what is beyond motivated us and one by one all of us left the swimming pool from paradise behind, to continue our journey to level3

Level 3:Nagalapuram falls

Streams, slippery stones, slithering snakes. These are just a few of the hurdles we had to cross on our journey to the next level.  As the elevation increased, the thickness and the wilderness of the forest also increased. When we reached a large slippery rock , for the first time in that entire journey, the pruney old guide turned back to give me a hand. When I climbed on the rock and looked beyond, a view that will never leave my mind was awaiting me. We had finally reached level 3.

I walked to the edge of the rock we were standing on to take a look at one of the most breathtaking visual I had ever seen. A waterfall gently pouring down water into a 50 ft deep pond with the water slowly slipping away like the clothes of a stripper in the other end of the pond. The beautiful translucent water exposing all the schools of fishes inside. My heart beat was at its highest, the exhaustion of the long trek disappeared. All I wanted to do was jump into the water.

It was a twenty feet dive into the fifty feet pool. If I face any rock structure underneath, I am dead meat. Though the translucent water clearly showed the emptiness of its depths, it was too big a risk. Any man in his right senses would not make that jump.

Leap of Faith

I stepped back and sat in one corner lost in the view that was in front of me. The rest of my team were busy turning their back to the scenic beauty and pouting their lips to pose for selfies. The guide walked up sat next to me. With the grace of a professional, he took out a cigarette from his pocket, emptied all its tobacco content, filled it up with well ground marijuana leaves and lit it. He took a deep drag and chivalrously offered the joint to me. After politely declining his offer, I said

“I hate this place. I came all the way through this difficult trek, I am a good swimmer and can handle the water yet I am unable to reach it cause the jump is too risky”

With the smile of a wise man and his heavily accented Tamil, he  told me

“The humanly inaccessible points of nature are the only ones yet to be bottled up or patented by you, corporate guys”

The truth in the statement sent shivers down my spine before it could subside he added another surprise.

“This jump is not impossible, you can do it”. I was shocked. I knew the risk involved was too great but the tiniest possibility of making the jump excited me. Looking at my excited face he broadened his wise man smile and continued

“You guys carry too much baggage in your mind, body and life. Your commitments, fear of future, attachments to all the unnecessary stuff you own,all these things clutter your life. Only a guy who lets go all these clutter can make that leap of faith”

I was spellbound. The deep principle of minimalism preached by the great entrepreneurs of this generation was so casually explained by this old man in one remote corner of the world. I continued to stare at him. He said

“Thambi (bro)…take the leap and maybe you will realize that in life having less equals having more”

I walked up to that edge again. I looked down at the twenty feet fall. I knew I was standing in the middle of nowhere, risking my life on the advice of an old man who might be blabbering under the influence of marijuana. But I did it anyway

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I went more than twenty feet deep. When I finally came out, I was a changed man. All the clutter in my mind seemed to be washed away by the water. For the first time in my life I felt thankful for everything I had instead of feeling the need for more.

When I looked up, I was able to see the old man standing in the edge looking down at me with a smile. A smile that told me that I had merely scratched the surface in understanding the mysterious ways of life. A smile that echoed a hundred times in my head shouting

“You know nothing, Jon Snow!”