This blog has been moved. Redirecting to new blog.....

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

If Only

Mr. Eric Arildson looked at his watch and sighed. It was 9 o clock. He was late, by his standards. He liked arriving ten minutes earlier, on important occasions. This was the most important of all such conventions he’d been in. In the next one hour he’d meet one of the most influential men in the country. The limo slowed down and came to a halt outside The Plaza. The chauffeur opened the door for him and he climbed out of the car.

It was a sunny day, the weather was perfect for the game of baseball that little Frank wanted to play. He remembered he had promised to take Frank and Bambi, their little terrier to the park to play with the other kids from school. Mark, his deputy, interrupted his thoughts. “Sir, I consulted three different financial advisors anonymously. Three other than our own. They’re all in favor of this buy. This could accelerate us to the top of the market in less than a year”. Eric murmured a cursory line of consent as he nodded. Mark knew it was best to stay quiet noticing his boss’ indifference. In spite of being the owner and Director of one of New York’s top real estate companies, Mr.Arildson wasn’t a very happy man. After he lost his wife to a tragic accident a couple of years earlier, nothing mattered to him. Unbelievable as it may sound, success did not elate him anymore; it had become a habit. He worked hard only to keep his mind off the sadness. He did not even smile when he was voted and awarded the Entrepreneur of the year by the NY Times. The only thing that cheered him up was the sight of his son. He loved the boy and his innocent giggle like laugh. He could spend hours with his little boy, only he had no time. He had hired a full-day nanny and a number of servants to make sure the boy got all that he wanted.

Eric along with Mark walked into the conference room on the 12th floor. The room was well lit. The décor was sophisticated – mahogany walls with tasteful pieces of art, deep green carpets and beautiful chandeliers. The room reminded Eric of Larika’s place. She was a beautiful, lovely woman he had met six months ago. He really liked her. She made him feel alive again. He wanted to move on and she seemed like the perfect woman. He had just never found the time for her. His pondering was ended abruptly by Mark’s loud sneeze followed by his characteristic “excusez-moi”. In the conference room, there was one table and at one end of it was the biggest business magnate of the city, seated with his retinue standing beside him. Eric strode across briskly and shook hands with the man. After exchanging some pleasantries, they got to business. Eric skimmed through the documents placed in front of him, perfunctorily. Mark had got them checked with their lawyer for loopholes. As Eric took out his pen from the pocket of his suit, a small yellow note fell off the pen’s clip on to his lap. He stared at the note. In the most childlike cursive writing he had ever seen, it said, “Daddy, I am turning 6 tuday. You fergot?“ It broke Eric’s heart. He had let Frank down. He did not know how he could have forgotten this day! It was the most beautiful, fulfilling one of all those days. Eric could feel all eyes in the room on him. He could sense inquisitiveness around. He could see one of the standing men lean slightly to get a peek at the note. He looked up at him as he neatly placed the note back in his pocket; the man turned red. He signed the documents in less than a minute, stood up as he murmured an inaudible “emergency”, then turned away and paced out of the room with no other word of parting.

Eric buzzed his chauffeur. He walked around the waiting room in circles vigorously. He had forgotten his son’s birthday. He did not know he had learnt cursive handwriting. He did not know his son needed tutoring on spellings. He was an awful father. He did not want to wait to be better; he sprinted towards the gate and hailed the first taxi that came along. As he got in, he thought of how life would have been if he had let Mark handle the businesses for him. He would have taken Frank to the games, the park, and the movies and everywhere else. He would have asked Larika to marry him. They would have been a perfect family. They would’ve played charades, sang songs, eaten pizza and spilt cheese all over and played pillow-fight with Frank. He would’ve taken them on a vacation to the Caribbean to play on the beach and build sand-castles. His dream was disrupted by an earsplitting crash. He screamed as something pierced through his neck. The taxi had crashed into a heavy transportation truck. Eric whimpered in pain. He could not shout for help; there was no sound when he tried. He cried, making as much noise as he could. The pain was severe and agonizing. He saw a man running towards the car. After that, he saw nothing. It was all black. It still hurt terribly. It was tormenting. A minute later, it stopped hurting too.

If only Eric knew the day was looming.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Do you have a bucket-list?

This is something I wrote for It did not get featured. So I found a place for it here. 

Some events add words to your vocabulary for eternity, like no amount of rote learning can - words that you never knew existed the day before. In some cases, words that did not actually exist the day before. Our word here is “BucketList”: a word that Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson effortlessly added to everyone’s lexicon and to many many Facebook status messages. It’s probably the most clichéd, banal, overused word online, yet still the coolest. Scroll down to every pic that has a caption “Bucket List – item1 – CHECK” and it cannot possibly have less than a hundred likes. That’s the power of this word.

Go on Google and by the time you’re done typing the words, auto-suggest suggests “Bucket List ideas”. And that shows people are actually putting some effort into creating their lists. . That’s how necessary and indispensable the list has become. Everyone’s got to have a list. And in this cool list, there are some items that EVERYONE has. They are very stereotypical. But if everyone has them, there’s got to be something amazing about them.

1.   Bungee Jumping: Imagine this. A cliff in an abandoned expanse. No one around, except for the Bungee Jumping organizer guys, of course. There’s peace. I scream and it echoes back. There’s water down there, down down there. It looks quite far away. God knows how many meters. Or kilometers? There’s green everywhere. It’s mid-day, yet I can’t see the sun. It isn’t bright or dark. It’s just the mild ambiance that you’d want. I breathe in and it feels fresh. It feels like I’m inhaling pure oxygen, for the first time. The impending jump would raise my excitement/anxiety levels to an all-time high. Fear would make me want to step back. But the jump needs just a second, and after that there’s no backing out. My shrill shriek through it will slice through the silence characteristic of the place. I’d come back up, feeling awesome about myself. And the place would be back to being tranquil and soothing.
What an experience that would be. This definitely goes on my list.

2.  Travel to Paris: Who doesn’t want to visit Paris? I’m not sure if it’s the romantic aspect of the city or if it’s the hot French men or the idea of kissing under the Eiffel tower or the vineyards in France or the fact that it’s the fashion capital of the world or if it’s something else altogether. May be it’s all of this combined. But this is one place on everyone’s to-do list. Even in movies, it’s Paris that people go to when they need a break from the monotony. It’s always ‘But I’ve never been to Paris’ that one says when one knows that death is looming. Paris is seen as a fun, sexy, beautiful place, all over the world. Paris is undoubtedly intriguing.
j'irai à Paris un de ces jours. :)

3.  Sky-diving: That’s one experience I will give myself. It will probably kill me, but it’s going to be amazing. It’s going to be out of the world. Can you imagine that feeling before the actual jump? Damn. And the jump, I’m sure my stomach’s going to be in my mouth. But that’s one thing I will do, no matter what.

4.  Visit the exotic country called India (Indians choose to vacation in Hawaii instead):  Sometimes, all one wants to do is to try something completely different. Something completely different from ones country. That’s the time to visit India. The country overflowing with tradition can help you find your lost self. It’s a beautiful country with beautiful people. Taj Mahal and its history must be inspiring. Kerala, down south, I’m sure, is a beautiful place. I’d love to visit India and take in all of the perspective it provides. I want to visit the beautiful temples. I’d love to learn Yoga and meditation. I’d like to see the Himalayas. This visit will give me peace like nothing else can, I’m sure of that.

But if you’re an Indian, like I am: Hawaii looks like the world’s most fun place. I’ve never never surfed my whole life. And what can be more awesome than learning to from some hot surfer. Canoeing might be fun too. An evening by the beach, some friends, many newly made friends, everyone clad in Hawaiian attire, some music, a lot of Hula dancing – now that seems like a perfect evening I’ll remember all my life. The beaches, the parties, the flowers, the bathing suits, the sun baths, the coconut shells, the Hula dance, the food, the music.. This place reeks of fun. It’s got to be the perfect spot for a fun vacation.

5.  Scuba Diving: Be it the Red Sea in Egypt or Mexico’s Le Paz or the Andaman islands in India, scuba diving seems to me like something I should try. I don’t know if it will be different in different places, but every time I see a picture of someone Scuba diving, it brings back my desire to travel and explore the world. There’s something about this that incites curiosity. The blue is always crystal clear. The corals look so pretty. And the idea of taking some time off to cohabit with the fish and the sea animals seems wonderful. This is different than every other activity that seems adventurous. This isn’t about the fear or the excitement. This is calm and beautiful. There is no anxiety whatsoever. It’s going to be lovely, nothing else, but lovely.
I’m going scuba diving some day!

6.  Back-packing through Europe: When can I go back-packing if not sometime now? This would be a very very economical trip. No resorts. Nothing extravagant. It would be simply exploring. I want to go all around Europe. I want to see it all – the monuments, the mountains, the lakes, the beaches, the people, the parties, the villages, the houses, the food, the music, the languages, the traditions, the festivals – all of it. I want to go on a Gondola. I so want to inhale the beauty of the Scandinavian countries. I want to eat freshly made Swiss chocolates. I want to see ancient Rome and Vatican and Spain. I want to stay in tents, hostels and homestays. I want to eat food from the vendors on the road. I want to meet new people and make new friends. I want to feel the place the local way.
Oh gosh, I want to do this.

7.  Climb some mountain: Nothing can feel more on top of the world than actually being quite on top of the world. It would be fun to actually mean the phrase, literally and metaphorically. This could be some hill/mountain on the Himalayas or the Alps or the Rockies or even a regionally known relatively smaller range of mountains. It doesn’t matter which. The view from up there would be spectacular. It would be an overwhelming feeling.

Some of these items, I wonder if we want to do them because it’s fun to do them or because we want to feel the after-having-done-them feeling. Whatever the reason maybe, each item is a new experience. And that’s surely worth it.

A bucket-list is a must-have. Clichéd to an indescribable extent, maybe. But who cares!! I have a list and mine has all of these and many more (including getting featured on ThoughtCatalog, which I'm working on)