Monday, November 17, 2008


It was early morning during the mid summer. I was strolling on the footpath in search of something. I could hear that it was 7 AM. The sun was already in its full delight and I could see my shadow cast in front me. I was trying to think of a song to hum, to go with good feel I had. What was I searching for, by the way?! “Suhaana safar aur yeh mausam haseen.” Yeah, that’s a nice song. Suddenly, there was chaos in the street. Everyone I could see started to give me a glare. It was as if I had stolen their wallet. It was hard to ignore them. They slowly began approaching me. Suddenly I felt my legs were heavy. I couldn’t move! I tried hard to pull my legs but in vain. The slow approach was now steady. Everyone had a mean look on their face. They had started to rapidly advance towards me. I tried one last time to free my legs. I didn’t know what was happening. Why are they staring at me, why do they seem to be so angry with me and worst, why are they storming towards me?!
Suddenly I felt my legs were free. I galloped across the street. But I had this strange feeling that I had lost something. My hands reached out to pat my pant pockets, to find out if I had my mobile & my wallet. Nothing missing. But I found that I had 2 wallets. Strange! I flipped open the wallet which I couldn’t recognize. It was someone else’s! How the hell did it get into my pocket? But I still felt I was missing something! As I was running, I turned back to look at the crowd that had started to chase me. I could hear shouts of “Hit him” and “Catch him”. But wait, where is my shadow?! It was still stuck there! What the hell is happening? I started to run hard. I hardly had a clue as to what was happening. I found a huge compound wall ahead of me. In one jump, I clutched the ceiling of the compound wall with my right hand. My left hand couldn’t reach it. I was hanging. I could feel the pull of gravity increasing. I could hold it no longer. I thudded onto the ground. The crowd was racing towards me. I picked myself up and leapt again. I missed it. Again, I leapt. This time a divine hand came from the top. It was as if the heavens had opened up. The hand pulled me towards itself. But I wasn’t gaining height. I shook the divine hand back to indicate that it needed to pull harder. And in one swift motion, it summoned in all the energy, dragged me out and I landed heavily on the floor. I winced in pain.
“Wake up, you ass” shouted Sanjay, my roommate! “I have been trying to wake you up since 7 AM. We would be late to office. Get up now and get ready in 15 minutes. Meantime, I will have the sandwiches ready” he screamed. Sam, my other roommate was laughing hysterically. I tried to hide in the embarrassment and rushed to the bathroom. This was our 5th day in another city and in our new 3BHK flat that we had rented out. I didn’t want to irritate Sanjay further by getting late. So I tried to be as fast as I could and was ready in 20 minutes. I skipped the breakfast but packed it for my lunch and off we three went to the bus stand. Fortunately we were on time for the bus. Sam and me occupied the seats that were empty. Sensing my unease, Sam asked, “Was it another bad dream that you had?’’
“Yeah Sam. I don’t know what’s wrong but this is the 5th bad dream that I have had in as my mornings. I mean, One day I was dead, the other day an elephant chased me, then I had an accident, yesterday it was an earthquake and today again it was sort of weird. I have tried changing my sleeping position every day. I have changed the pillow, the bed sheet and the blanket too. I think about all the good things and I have even started to pray before I go to bed! I don’t know what is wrong.” I said, wondering what I really needed to do to get over this. “Change your bedroom” he replied. I looked at him confused. Sam continued, “Change the bedroom. Look, this is a new city, a new house and may be your room doesn’t suit you. I don’t know if you would believe in this but my mom used to mention a lot about Vaastu. Sometimes, if the room or the house doesn’t confirm to your birth star/rashi, then some weird things do happen. Why don’t you move into my bedroom? My room has a double cot anyway.” I looked at him puzzled. I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t swallow what he just said. But what the heck I thought. I decided I try that out tonight.
We came home early as everyone was buoyed by the fact that it was the first weekend here. We had decided we’d go to the nearby jungle resort on Saturday. We got ourselves high on spirits, courtesy few mugs of brewed & fermented – Malted Barley! We had to leave early the next day and so we hit the bed. Next day, all of us were ready and in the bus stand by 6 AM. We took a train and then a jeep which dropped us at the gate of the Jungle Resort. We were escorted inside to the reception in a van. We were told that the next jeep to take us on the forest tour was scheduled at 8 AM. It was still 7.30 AM, so we decided to check out the area and click some pictures. I considered myself Salim Ali when it came to bird watching and clicking pictures of them, especially now that I had purchased a Canon SX110 IS couple of days back, I was very keen to venture into the woods. So with the digicam in my hands, I went for a stroll. That place was breath taking. Lots of trees, lush green hills on the back ground, thick carpet of grass that rose higher than my ankles, birds chirping everywhere. This is the place to be, I thought.
On the way, atop a Mahogany tree, I spotted a cute little woodpecker. I took out my camera, located it through the lens and zoomed in a bit to capture the bird’s close up. I wasn’t happy with the angle and so I went on my haunches and located it again. Now, I wasn’t happy with the lighting and so I took a couple of steps forward. I felt I stepped on something big, soft and slimy. Before I could look down and see what it was, I was clasped, curled up and positioned in a tight circle by a 27 foot, 210 pound Anaconda! The big reptile began to tighten its vice like grip on my body. I could hear my shoulders being crushed. My legs were free but I could hardly move it. Then from behind the reptile spiraled up and positioned its mouth above my head, ready to strike. I could not speak. I could see about a 100 razor sharp, re-curved teeth of its, ready to pull me in. I was choking. I had started to shake vigorously in fright or at least that’s what I thought I was doing. I had given myself up and was ready to face it. Then suddenly, thunder struck, my ears resonated and my head heaved and reverberated in pain. I woke up to the tight slap that Sanjay had implanted on my cheeks!
“You idiot, look at what you’ve done to yourself and Sam. You have kicked him out of the bed, strangulated yourself with the blankets and were choking yourself out. Poor Sam had to shout for help seeing you act like this. Goodness Gracious, what’s wrong with you?” screamed Sanjay. Fortunately Sanjay and Sam went out of the room to get some tea and saved me from further embarrassment. I didn’t know what to say or do. I was having these psychotic dreams in the mornings and I desperately wanted to get over it. That day we decided that I was moving into Sanjay’s room and Sanjay would move out to occupy mine, as his room was bigger with good ventilation! The weekend passed with no more superfluities and another week at office beckoned us.
There were no Monday morning blues, no hangovers and no sulking. I was in the best of moods to start with the work at office. To my surprise, not many were at office that day. Colleagues of mine started to trickle in slowly. I was busy planning the efforts and cost estimation for the new project that we would be taking up. The knock on the door disturbed me. It was our office secretary who wanted my signatures. She looked stunning in her new low neck black designer formals. Her low waist ‘John Lewis’ soft flare pants and the high heels were hard to ignore. She came next to me, bent over, placed the papers on my desk, took out the pen and pointed where I had to sign. As I bent over to sign, I could see her cute little beetle pendent that hung on her necklace, swaying to and fro. I just couldn’t ignore it. She came a bit closer and just when she was about to make the next move, the alarm rang. It was Sunday morning 8 AM!
I got up, finished my bathroom chores, saw that Sanjay and Sam were still sleeping and started to prepare tea for us. Meantime, they had woken up and we were having tea by the balcony. They were quite surprised to see me awake without any mishaps and for a change, in good mood. Sanjay asked me, “So, how does today’s bad dream story go like?” I chuckled and said, “It wasn't bad after all. Just that don’t forget to take your alarm into your room tonight and don’t wake me up tomorrow. I want to sleep just a bit longer!”
PS: Sogni in Italian means Dreams.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sun Signs & Star Partners

It was a dull morning in Bangalore. I had come back home late last night from office and I had to leave early today. It was 6:00 AM when I peeped out of my bathroom window before my daily shower, to see that it was quite gloomy and drizzling outside. Not the kind of motivation I needed at all. I was thinking “I’d rather sleep than run behind the office bus”. But I pushed myself to finish the chores and managed to be in the bus stop on time. The role change exercise that was supposed to happen at office today, triggered the push. Soon after, I was inside the bus, next to the window seat, trying to get back some sleep. After all, what would I do during the hour and a half of travel time!
Couple of stops and Pratap got into the bus. He bustled his way next to me, sat down with a hush and stared at me for a moment. I was in no mood to start a conversation and pretended to be half asleep. He pushed me with his weak shoulders and said “I’ve got something to talk about”. He was in no mood to buckle down to my pleading and said that it was an interesting topic that he wanted to discuss. It was about his habit and his thoughts and it was about Sun Signs. That caught my attention and asked him to go ahead. He started...

I embarrass myself with the way I get obsessed with Sun Signs sometimes. After any new acquaintance, when we get to meet each other for the third time or so, that should probably suggest that we can hit it off together, up, pops a question in my mind: “What could his/her date of birth be?!”
Generally, if I’m really interested in the new acquaintance, I tend to sum up things about him/her. May be it is bad, but I don’t give a damn cause I don’t let myself to be prejudiced about his/her character. I still remain open to the change that will be projected by the acquaintance. Well, to put it simple, I tend to make no fixed characterization of anyone and be stubborn about it, I let people the way they wanna be and I’m always open to change they want to attain. But I still build the rough character and keep editing it, based on the change that is obvious. Guess, its like a sculptor at work!:)
And once I have done that, I race thru the whatever bytes of Sun Sign memory I have and I assign him/her one sign. Now, that Sun Sign might be the actual Sign or may be not! But that is the game I love (and sometimes hate) to play! Is he/she as impatient as an Arien, as quick witted as a Sagitarian, meticulous like a Virgo, dreamer like a Piscian, a dilemmatic Geminian, a family person and stubborn Taurean, a big hearted Scorpian, often misunderstood Libran or the steady climber Capricorn? These questions flow like a disturbed river in me and I keep looking out for projections or ques that will help me build the character. By the time I have met the acquaintance for the sixth or seventh time, by which time we could call ourselves friends, I would have edited his character, the resulting Sun Sign and in turn the resulting birth date. And when I meet my new friend again, I feel a strange urge to ask his/her birth date.
Now, my heart pounds a couple of beats harder. No, it doesn’t skip a beat, as my friend is about to reveal his/her birth date. Could the birth date that I have analysed from my findings of him be the actual birth date? Or could there be a mistake! May be I should have taken more time or may be I should give up this dumb habit. Thoughts race across my mind like a marble rolling in space. Lets note this as Reference 1.
And then comes the answer. I usually am, 80% of the time, right. There is no display of hysteria when I get it right nor do I sulk if I get it wrong. Its just that the game is over! No prizes, no hard feelings in this single player game:) Its for the Reference 1 that I play this game for. The unexplained, sweet pleasure that I derive out of this, is unparalleled. Then I move on. If I had got my analysis wrong, I go back to the basics and try to improve.
It was about a quarter ago (Ah! Here comes the corporate lingo, I thought) that I met Sangeeta at a coffee shop for the first time. As is my practice, I started building her sign and her birth date. After about 12 meetings, I had failed to notice myself that I had started to really like her. Her effervescent smile, coupled with her spotless face and shiny teeth made her look perfect for a tooth paste or beauty soap Ad! Such was her magnetic charm, grace and personality that I couldn’t help but feel mere iron powder. She had me thinking all about her, at her feet, in that classical style, with all the violins and bells playing in the background, waiting to propose.
(Then what is that is stopping you, idiot, I thought. He continued) I was meeting her daily now and it seemed that she too enjoyed my company. All the editing of the character, following the projections had gone hay wire. I kept feeling, I needed more time. She was as childish as an Arien, as talkative as a Geminian, as calm natured as a Taurean, as mushy as a Cancerain, as royal as a Leo, as rational & methodical as a Virgo, as friendly as a Sagi and as attractive as a Capricorn. (Now, why do you need all this dumbo, you like her then just propose, I thought) Finally, when I could tolerate it no more, I asked her birth date. It was 4th of January. And, there lies the problem.

“Whats the problem with her birth date, you idiot?”, I blurted out. He continued. No, 4th of Jan would make her a Capricorn. And I am an Aquarian. The thing is that Aquarians don’t gel well with Capricorns. Actually, this is a very hard combination to analyze. (Whats the need, I thought). According to Sun sign compatibility, there is a huge difference in values and personalities here. It’s a battle between the organized Capricorn and the never organized Aquarius. The sure footed Capricorn may prove to be too much for the nimble water bearer Aquarius, who aims to make the world a better place to live in. Capricorn does not like the interest that Aquarius shows to other people. Aquarius does not like confinement or restriction at all. There are too many other differences as well and so it would make this a very doubtful combination. Pratap ended with that.

I was shocked and confused at the same time. I had to say something to Pratap and I did. “Pratap, I think you need to ask yourself a very important question: Do I really love her? You think of all the qualities in her that has made you go weak on your knees, add to that, her not so good qualities and whether you would provide her that unconditional love and whether you are really ready to make a few compromises. Weigh it down and ask that question. If the answer is Yes, then to hell with this Sign Compatibility and go ahead and propose her.” There was a moment of silence. I continued.
Look, if you go by the sun signs and compatibility stuff, I have a thing to say. I am an Arien and my wife is a Capricorn. As per the sign compatibility stuff, Ariens and Capricorns are not a good match as well. Aries being the Fire Sign and Capricorns being the Earth Sign, the relationship is bound to be on stormy waters. It has been 10 years since we got to know each other. But believe me, since then, its been an enjoyable, fun-filled and amazing ride. Yes, we have had our share of ups and downs, our share of quarrels, heated arguments but that has only made our love for each other grow.
According to the sign, a Capricorn should be a bit laid back, likes to plan everything in detail, likes to dissect all the happenings or the arguments and thoughts, is a bit head strong, is a bit pessimistic, makes sure his/her path is free of hassels and only then opts for it and a typical Arien, hates all those things because they are naturally instinctive & optimistic, hates it when they don’t take the decision in addition to being childish, impatient, egotistic and always wanting to have their word and so on. I know I’m a typical Arien but I also know that my wife is not a typical Capricorn. She is amazingly accommodating, quietly confident and definitely not head strong but she is also not very organised which is a strong characteristic of the Capricorn.
A person is not only influenced by their Sun sign but also Moon Sign and other planetary situations during their birth. Also one cannot rule out the strong paternal and maternal influences on them. In short, sun signs are not be all and end all to determine characteristics. So, my friend Pratap, if you really love her, then go ahead and propose. Its better to have loved and lost than not to have tried at all.
Suddenly there was disturbance in the bus. Everybody had started to get up and slowly started to move out. We had failed to notice that we were already in the office campus! I put an arm around him and said “Just go for it buddy. You will love it” and got up and left. We met for lunch again. Pratap was silent and was consumed in his thoughts. I didn’t disturb him. Surprisingly the others in our lunch gang were also silent. Nobody spoke a word. Then suddenly out of the blue, a soft hand clutched me and shook the hell out of me! It was my wife. It took some time for me to come back to the present and realize that I had dozed off by the pool side table. Pratap and Sangeeta were laughing aloud looking at me. The hot tea that was served drove out the slumber in me and I was clearly awake. I looked at my watch. It was 5:10 PM and it was 15th October. I had dozed for about 40 minutes but the more relevant thing was it was exactly 2 years after we, that is Pratap and me, had that conversation in the bus. After about 10 minutes, Pratap and Sangeeta stood up and wanted to take our leave. We wished them and were on our way back to our hotel room. We had accidentally bumped into them at this hotel. Suddenly, Pratap came running back, held my hand and told me, “Thank god I listened to you. Otherwise I would have missed out on my soul mate. Its been an amazing 18 month journey”.