Friday, June 29, 2012


Tanvi stood at the door and slapped her forehead.

“Oh God, this boy- when will he learn.”

“Anshu,” She continued to shout. Then sensing he probably wasn’t in the house, she walked out and leaned over the railing of their floor. It overlooked the children’s park in the housing colony.

“Anshu,” She repeated. Anshuman, 10, was busy arguing with a girl. Adjusting his wee bit oversized glasses over his nose, he turned. “What?”

“Come here,” Tanvi said.

“Mama, we’ve only just begun. Can I come later?”

“No, right now.” She glared at him. Uh oh, that was a signal. He muttered something hurriedly to his friends, pointed a warning finger at the girl and ran back inside the building.

Tanvi was standing, hands on hips, waiting.

He ran up the stairs, panting, and stood in front of her.

“How many times have I told you not to leave your shoes outside?” She pointed near the door. He made a sorry face and proceeded to pick the pair up.

“You’ve already lost a pair. Papa has lost one pair….you want to lose this one too? Money doesn’t grow on trees, Anshu,” She slipped into sermon mode. Anshu winced, and then turned to face her again, after keeping his shoes inside.

“Ok, ma..sorry.”

“What sorry?”

“I’m sorry,” he said, shrugging. “May I go now?”

She let out a deep breath.

Walking back, feeling more defeated than vindictive, she reminded herself about keeping a watch for the so-called Chappal Chor  of the building. Apparently they were not the only ones losing out on shoes and sandals. They’d even reprimanded the watchman for letting these things happen.

“Arre, I’m sure he’s in it too,” one of the residents felt.

“What’ll he do collecting used slippers?” argued another.

And so it went on.

As Tanvi recollected, Anshu’s shoes were the first to disappear. At first it was dismissed as just a one-off case. Some kleptomaniac, perhaps. But when more than two to three pairs in the building started vanishing, the inmates of the building raised an alarm.

They even had a meeting to devise ways and means of keeping watch on the thief and nabbing him. Of course, the unanimous opinion was that nobody should leave footwear outside their houses, but that wasn’t always possible.  But despite the frenetic brainstorming, the thievery continued.

And nobody could do anything about it. Not even the watchman.

So Tanvi had reminded herself to keep a watch, at least on their floor. She had concluded that Anshu’s shoes were taken at night because he’d forgotten it overnight, and she’d not checked with him. Maybe the thief was some one who frequented the colony. Maybe the watchman’s friend. Maybe an inmate of the building, who knows (though that was unlikely, why would anyone steal used ones?)

Anyway that night, after cleaning up, Tanvi decided to walk upto the terrace, slowly walk back, something like a patrol. And then she’d deliberately leave her slippers outside. And watch from the keyhole.


It was past 9.15 when Tanvi sent Anshu to his room and walked to the front door.

Manohar was watching TV, and he saw her from the corner of his eye.

“Best of luck, Agatha,” he said, chuckling. Tanvi grumbled something, and then brushed him off.

“Yeah, yeah – watch TV while I do what you’re supposed to be doing. Lazy bum.”

Manohar shrugged and reclined some more on the couch, yawning loudly and putting his arms over his head. She shook her head and stepped out.

She returned about 15 minutes later, and closed the door gently behind her. Switching off the porch light, she peeped from the peeping glass. Manohar had retired to their room and the living room was dark as well.

“Good,” she said to herself. The thief would think nobody was in the living room. She stood for ten minutes. And then got bored. There was no activity happening in the lobby. She suddenly felt stupid.

It was close to 10.30 when she finally decided to call it a day. It seemed dumb, playing peeping tom when nothing was happening. Anyway, she felt she tried. She turned to leave when she heard something from outside. She immediately peeped out. There was nobody, but she could distinctly hear the sound. Like somebody were scratching the door.

Was it the Pintos’ dog? She gently opened the door, a little at first, and then fully.

Her slippers were gone.


She was aghast. How could it be? She stepped out and looked around. She had not moved from that damn peeping hole the last hour or so…how could this happen? Did someone come crouching? That wasn’t possible because their flat was on the far side and they could see even a snake slithering to the elevator.

In her hurry, she’d forgotten to switch on the front lights. She turned to step back in and switch it on when she gasped. The slippers were back in their place now.

Her heart in her mouth, she swung around, and then placed a hand on her chin.

“Not my size, but umm…I’ll take it anyway” said a voice softly, almost a whisper. Tanvi jumped.

And then a stifled laugh filled the air.

“Huh? Huh? Who…?” Was all she could manage. Her feet were like glued to the floor. She wanted to rush back in and slam the door, but she just couldn’t budge.

As she stood there transfixed, she saw her slippers disappear again. Slowly...

Then the voice whispered in her ear.



Going up...

Vanaja, back from her shift, stepped into the elevator and gasped.

Rakshit, of 4th floor, stood swaying, his eyes closed. It was past midnight. Vanaja knew he sleep-walked; only hadn’t expected him here. She stood quietly.

Thud. Damn power cut.  The elevator went black. Thankfully, the power returned soon enough.

Only, Rakshit wasn’t there.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Silver Strings

Preeti looked at her friend seriously.

“You’re sure you want to do this?”

Namrata nodded, eyes wide. Then she burst into laughter. Preeti shook her head. “You know what you’re getting into, huh, Nammu? You’ve never seen him before. You don’t even know his name.”

“That’s the fun part. Want a mockie?”

Preeti nodded. “Yeah..but you’re too much.”

“That I am.” Namrata got up and went to the kitchen to fix them both their regular mock-tail.

“Preetu, you want more lime in yours?” Namrata shouted from inside.

“No, the usual,” Preeti said absently as she took the tv remote in her hand. Namrata returned a few minutes later and handed a glass to her childhood friend.

They sipped in silence for a while, while Preeti browsed the channels.

Namrata snatched the remote from her hand after two minutes, switched off the TV and threw the remote on the couch.


“Don’t you want to know more about him?” Namrata said, her eyes sparkling. “Nerd.” Namrata added, chuckling.

“Oh, whatever,” her friend said. “I’m not so much for this internet romance, you know it.”

“Yeah, but it’s so exciting na? Imagine, we just know each other through our blog names. And even our chat IDs are pseudo. But he’s such a dude, yaar, I tell you. Charming, sensitive…humorous,” Namrata babbled in the air.

Preeti motioned with her hand. “Come down, madam, come down. All these so called ‘internet heroes’ are like that. But once you meet them, all the charm and sensitivity goes out the window. You be ready for that.”

“Ha, that we’ll see. First let me crack his identity.”

Preeti sipped her drink and looked at her friend. “What, is this some sort of a game you both are upto?”

Namrata’s smile turned wicked. “Wanna know?”

“Go on,” Preeti said, with a sigh. “Might as well listen to your crap than watch the crap on TV. Nothing worthwhile anyway.”

“Ok, great. Look,” Namrata said, all excited as she sat facing her bum-chum. “Valentine’s day is a couple of months away. And I and stringer…oh by the way, that’s his blog name…”

“Stringer? Ugh, what a name.” Preeti said, pushing out her tongue. Namrata slapped her shoulder in mock.

“Yeah, listen. His name is stringer. And he has put up some of his guitar strains up on his blog. You should listen babe…aah,” Namrata said dreamily. “He is a dream. He plays like a dream, talks like a dream..and to top it he’s so so mature, I tell you.”

“Nammu, please. As it is I’m getting a headache hearing about this holier than thou, too-good-to-be-true guy. Just tell me your deal.”

“Yeah,” Namrata said, laughing and blushing.  Preeti’s jaw dropped. She shook her head and sipped from her glass.

“So, yeah – we plan to meet on Valentine’s day, provided – we crack each other’s identity first. Else the deal’s off.”

“That’s so lame,” Preeti said.

“Oh, come on Preetu. Don’t say that. Isn’t it exciting? Like a suspense movie. So..if I crack his identity first, he treats me. And vice versa.”

“And then?”

“And then what? We go on our first date…and…” Namrata said, head up in the air, “Who knows, maybe we’ll stick together, you know..”

“Nammu. Puhleeeese. Please tell me you’re just pulling a fast one on me and aren’t actually going to do all this.”

Namrata looked at her friend seriously. “I’m serious Preetu.”

Preeti turned sober. “ –sorry. I didn’t mean know..”

Namrata sulked for a moment.

“Hey,” Preeti turned her friend’s chin towards herself. “Ok, chalo, I was only kidding. But then, don’t you think this is, you know, kinda difficult? How’re you going to do this? Do you know where he lives? What he does? Where he works etc?”

Namrata shook her head.

“So?”  Preeti asked, raising her eyebrows. “How’re you going to ‘crack’ his identity madam?”

“I need your help,” Namrata said, still sulking.

Preeti turned serious. “So, this is what it’s all about.”

“No, but I need to start somewhere na, hon?”

Preeti was  a hacker. She shook her head. “No way. That’s cheating.”

“Arre, how’re you sure he’s not going to do the same? Chalta hai na

“But I thought you said he was sensitive, mature. If he’s all that, would he do it?”

Namrata pursed her lips. “I don’t know.”

“Now you don’t know.”

“Yeah, but I thought it’d be so much fun.”

“Yeah, right.”

They just looked at each other silently for a brief moment.

“You know absolutely nothing about him?”

Namrata shook her head. “He’s very careful with his posts. Even his blog information. All hush-hush.”

“Sounds very suspicious.”


“Hmm..and I know you haven’t given away anything either.”

“See?” Namrata smiled.

“What about FB? Twitter?”

“Zilch. Nada.”

“So what do you want me to do?” Preeti asked finally.

“Get into his inbox for me?”

“But you said even his email ID was with a made-up name?”

“Yeah, but he’ll be mailing someone, and they’ll address him by his real name, right? That’ll be a start…”

Preeti couldn’t believe her ears. “You’re nuts.”

“All’s fair in love and war,” Namrata said giggling.

“I hope he turns out to be a pot-bellied 65 year old man, with nothing else to do in life.”

“Shut up. If he was that, he wouldn’t have agreed to meet me”

“You don’t know men,” Preeti said finishing her drink. “Anyway, I just hope you know what you’re doing.”

“Trust me, baba,” Namrata said.


Valentine’s day

Namrata waited outside Crossword, her heart sprinting. She kept looking at her watch. She rubbed her hands and adjusted her stole. Her mind raced back to the past couple of months.


Preeti had found nothing Stringer's inbox. That meant, he had created that ID just to chat with her. Then a month later, Namrata received a call.

“Hello?” It was an unknown number.

“Is that Namrata Kashyap?”

“Yeah…who’s this?”

“Oh I don’t blame you that you don’t recognize my voice. This is the first time, you see.”

“Who’s this?”

“Can we safely assume, Ms. Namrata – a.k.a  Silver Clouds, that I’ve won the bet?”

Namrata’s  heart leapt to her mouth. “Stringer?”

He laughed. And that laugh just took her breath away. Even his voice was magical.

Tongue-tied, all Namrata could manage in reply was, “Uh…hey. That’s cool. Yeah, you won, I guess.”

“That’s it? Nothing else?”

“Uh…what do I say?” Namrata said, giggling nervously.

“Say something – say ‘hi was nice to hear from you. I’m a loser since I still don’t know your real name. So can you please enlighten me?’”

Namrata winced. Ouch.

“Hey, not fair…I mean..”

“Not fair? What’s not fair sweetheart? I cracked it. Simple as that,” he said, laughing out loud.

“But…how – how did you get this number? That’s near impossible. I don’t..I haven’t….” And then – “Hey, you cheated. Did you hack into my account or something?”

Namrata used this ID to even email some of her friends.

“Oho – so did you try hacking into my account?” Again, laughter.

“No, way. Why’d I do that?”

“Umm..I don’t know. Maybe you are a techie. It’s possible, right? Oh sorry…I forgot. You’re not a techie. You’re an animator.”

Namrata’s jaw dropped all the way to the ground. No way.

“How’d you…?” The words just stopped in their tracks.

He laughed some more. Her mind worked furiously. How could he’ve possibly known all about her? She was dead sure she hadn’t given out any clue about her real life on her blog. She didn’t have a Facebook ID with that name. She didn’t have a twitter account. She hadn’t told anything about her animation in the blog. She always wrote things like poetry, her thoughts about the world in general, her memories, things like that. But never about animation.  So how come?

Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn.

“So…are we going to meet on February 14?” He said slowly.

“Uh..” Now she wasn’t so sure. After all the endless chattering with him, she suddenly felt like she didn’t know him enough to meet him. But he had done nothing wrong. It was as per the deal – he found out about her, and had called her. As simple as that. But strangely, she felt defeated. Cheated. Strange, there was no reason to be. He’d just gone ahead and won his part of the bet. Then why?

“Developing cold feet, are we?” He said.

“Hey,, it’s not that.”

“Or maybe you think I’m a 65-year old pot-bellied old man, with nothing else to do in life?”

“Oh come on, why’d I think that? I just…”

Wait a minute.

“What did you say just now? Say that again?” Namrata said.

In reply he just laughed his thunderous laugh again.

“Who..who’re you?” she asked meekly now.

“I’ll tell you when we meet. Is that a deal?”

“Yeah, ok,” she said quietly and hung up.


Now, as the winter wind grew colder, Namrata hugged herself tighter and shuddered. Where the heck was this guy?

She felt a tap on her shoulder and swung sharply.

There he was.

He smiled. She noticed that his smile was as infectious as his talk. She smiled back. They laughed for a moment, maybe more at the absurdity of it all. He was not a Greek God, but not so bad either. His eyes shone and he seemed totally at ease with himself.

“So?” He said finally, rubbing his hands. “Cold, huh?”

She nodded. She had made a long list of questions to shoot at him, but strangely, she remembered none now.

“Coffee?” He pointed at the cafĂ© beside the bookstore. She nodded again.

“Hmm,  you’re a girl of few words, oddly,” He said and laughed again.

Once inside, they settled down. He ordered for them and let out a sigh, once they were alone again.

“So tell me Namrata. How’ve you been?”

“Umm…ok,” Namrata said, smiling.



“I know you’ve been dying to ask questions. Shoot.”

She laughed. “Oh.”

She hemmed and hawed for a while and then slowly and surely, the questions poured. Who was he? How did he figure out her identity? How did he know this, how did he know that? And most importantly, how on earth did he get her number?

“The last question is fairly simple. I’m not from any mobile service provider, as you might be guessing, neither do I have any friend working there.” He laughed. She smiled.

“I got your number from your best friend – Preeti.”

“Wha….” Namrata’s head reeled. How on earth did he know Preeti? Her? Of all the people?

“But I never blogged about her, not even once,” Namrata said, more like thinking out loud.

“I agree.”

“Then, how…?”

“You never blogged about her, but you know from the time you started blogging, regardless of who else visited your blog and commented, she was sure to comment. You know that, right?”

Namrata nodded. He was right, Preeti had a technical blog of her own where she mostly jabbered about tech-stuff, stuff she’d never bothered understanding. But Preeti never failed to visit her blog and encourage her.

“But still…how did you know it was me?”

He laughed. “I didn’t. I asked her.”


He leaned forward. “I studied your blog the last two months. Every thing you wrote. Every word you wrote.” Then a pause later, “even your comments. Each and every comment of yours.”

Namrata was stunned. She’d never thought of that. She had never cared to go through his comments section. Instead, she’d gone all over the place, trying to Google music groups of the city of which he might’ve been a part of. But that was too huge an exercise. He could be anybody in there. She’d given up after a while, only she hadn’t told him. And she was almost sure he’d given up on her as well.

“Yeah, sometimes we let out more about ourselves in the comments section – because we feel that’s a secondary area. Do you know how many times you both’ve addressed yourselves as buddy, chaddi-buddy, sis, babe, honey etc? Not to forget your pet names like Preets, Preetu, Nams, Nammu etc.”

“Yeah, but I could be Namitha, and she could be Preetika for all I care,” Namrata countered.

“Agreed. But once I confirmed that you were thick as thieves, I started following her blog closely as well. Never commented there, though. But I’d hang on to every word of hers.”

“Shit,” Namrata said. He smiled.

“Yeah. She belongs to the hacker’s club united, an online forum. Wasn’t such a big deal to figure out her name after that.”

“And then?”

“And then…I just got in touch with her.”

Namrata shook her head. “You’re too much. Wait till I get my hands on her, that bitch, she knew all along?” she said affectionately, in mock and laughed.

He laughed. “Yep. And you can get your hands on her right away. She’s coming to Crossword around now.”

“What?” Namrata said, unable to believe her ears.

“Yeah. Here she comes.”

Preeti walked in and came to them.

“Hi” She said to him.

“Hi,” he said.

“So have you told your name yet?” Preeti asked him. He shook his head.

Namrata slapped her forehead. She’d totally forgotten about his name.

“Ajay. Ajay Vasudev,” he said, laughing and extending his hand. Namrata shook it and then sat back, unsure what to say next.

“So…have fun you guys. I’ll see you later, ok?”

They waved as she walked out.

“Preetu, Preetu, Preetu,” Namrata said to herself.

“Hey, you asked for her help, right, after all?”

Namrata went red in the face. Obviously he knew about the hacking. She smiled sheepishly, putting out her tongue and holding her ears.

“It’s ok,” he said laughing.

"But this is not fair...Preeti ended up helping you instead," Namrata said.

"Really? I thought all was fair in love and war. So..what's this, according to you?"

Namrata pinched herself hard, but she couldn't stop blushing.

Then their coffee arrived -  and they raised their cups to each other, smiling.

The End

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Blog down memory lane

Ok, I admit. I'm on a trip. Down memory lane. And the worst (or the best, I'm unable to decide) part is, I've blogged long enough to have a damn post for every memory. Can you imagine? Every time someone says something, or I think about something, my mind goes - "hey, I've blogged about this."

Yeah. That long. About nine years, and counting.

But then, some of you've read my earlier posts, God bless you - so you won't have to sit through this. But for those who haven't - I'm sorry, whether or not you want to sit through these re-runs, you have to. At least for now, till my morbid grey cells get their act together once again and I start doling out those 'scaries' of mine. :)

Ok? Ready for another one? Great. And now you might frown, raise your eyebrows and ask. "Hmmmm, so Phatichar, what memory are you planning on reviving this time?"

It's the origin of this blog (stop frowning, or rolling or your eyes.....or both). I know, I know..not a very original post. People the world over might've knocked themselves out writing about how their blog began, what made them do it, yada, yada,  yada.

But the reason I plan to re-run that post here is - my cousin said the other day - "hey, you've a cool blog. Read almost all your stories. But......Phatichar??? Why that name?"

This is why. Read on. I wrote this when I completed 5 years of blogging. Yeah, a good 4 years back. I know, I'm a Dino.

Just another 'blog' in the wheel...

I remember the first time I heard the word 'web-log' was sometime in '97. I'd arrived in Bangalore, fresh out of post-graduation, and landed a job with my cousin who ran a small multimedia outfit back then (the company's long since wound up). The net had just about picked up - we used to hook up with a dialup; remember the familiar long 'beeeeeeep', and then a series of 'bip-bop-bip-bop'...and then the lights on the modem would turn steady, and we were ready to go. 56kpbs line. Great connection. Wow! The page loads in half a minute. That was fast, man! And while researching some web designs, I stumbled upon this guy (forget his name now), who had designed this very cool (for those days, these days you get all kinds)website he called his 'weblog'. I decided to save it for later and when I found time, just went through his site. It looked more like a day-to-day account of what he did, who he met - he was a designer himself, so it was more of his sketch works, rough drafts, designs, interactions with visualizers, ad guys and such. But he had a knack of making the mundane so interesting, I kind of got hooked to his page. I remember religiously opening his site every morning, just to read what he'd done that day.

That was then. Over the next few years, when Internet started making its way into everybody's home, weblog had turned to a crisper, dittier 'blog', and hey, you and I could have one. I heard about the new avatar sometime in 2000-2001, but I still didn't have that easy an access to the net to be able to blog myself. And not many people had begun blogging, anyways.

When I entered the software industry, and found that the Internet was as easy as a click, it opened a whole new world for me. And it was then a colleague invited me to read his 'blog'. I'd shown him a couple of my printed short stories, so he encouraged me to have a blog of my own.

So, finally in May 2003, I signed up for my very own blog - at blurty. I'd to give it a name. That was a problem. I'd not seen a lot of blogs and this colleague who'd shown me his, had something very simple like 'meandering thoughts' or some such. That wasn't much inspiration. So I went back in time, digging from favorite movie characters, comic book heroes etc. Nothing caught my eye. And then, one day over lunch I cribbed lightly about this to a friend. And he said, 'yaar, tu itna emotional kyoon ho raha hai?' (why so emotional over such a trivial matter?). And it struck! Of course. I'd found my name! I remember long back in school I had this favorite TV show 'Phatichar', and that character had stayed on in my mind for long. Phatichar would always console himself with that line 'yaar phatichar, tu itna emotional kyun ho raha hai?'. I liked it. So I named myself 'Phatichar' on my new blog.

Phew! It's been a great journey so far. I know five years isn't such big a deal. And I've been in and out of here far too many times. But whatever the frequency, it's always consoling to know that whatever happens in the outside world, there's always a place in cyberspace, where I can take refuge. A place I can go to without having to worry about what I am, who I am, about being politically correct. It's my space. Our (us bloggers) space.

Here's to bloggers all over the world. Cheers. :-)

Sunday, June 24, 2012 (redux)


Last night, when I called my father, among other things, he spoke about this person Jack (name changed not to protect identity, but I actually forgot what his name was, it was a little difficult to pronounce - hehehe. So I'm going with a name which would fit almost any American face. Ok, I'm seriously hoping no American is reading this post - and even if he is, he'd be large hearted enough to laugh it away. I digress. What was I saying? Oh yeah, my dad. He was speaking about this guy, Jack, who he knew more than 3 - 4 decades ago, when he'd (my father) gone there for a scientific convention. They'd hit it off almost instantly, though he was several years older to my father, and thereon began a beautiful friendship spanning the seven seas, to use the archetypal expression, and also several years. And what exactly brought about this discussion? Well, you see, yesterday happened to be that person's birthday. And my dad was laughing that had he still been around, he'd have had absolutely no problem reaching him. An email, or a comment left on his Facebook page, and that's it. The wish would've reached him. And in the same breath he also added - "But I still would've preferred sending him a card."

My dad got onto the Facebook bandwagon a little late in the day, and I'm still not sure if he's enjoying the ride. He'd once joked that 'bandwagon' was the right expression because he still felt it was a little bumpy for him. :)

Anyway, the whole discussion about Jack brought back my memories about a post I'd written here a few years back. I'm re-posting it here. Just felt like.


Back in those days when we didn't have email attachments with pictures of us and our family members grinning away those mega pixels taken on that 'smaller-than-my-palm' cyber-shots, when we didn't have messengers and skypes and what-have-yous, we had something that connected directly with our hearts: Picture post cards. You had this lovely sunset from somewhere, which you held lovingly in your fingers, and turned the card around to read even more lovingly, the scribbled letters of a friend, thousands of miles away. You probably received the card a month after the season shown in the card, but you didn't 'delete' the post card. You adorned it lovingly on your loving black n white TV, for the world to see, that you had a dear friend overseas who sent you lovely colorful picture post-cards.

My father was one such lucky person. And he received his card from a colleague who he'd befriended while on a trip abroad. He'd receive the cards every christmas and new year, sometimes even out of the blue...and read out the tiny, scrawly letter etched on the back of the card to us. Sometimes, he'd get a full letter in an envelope. The letter even smelled good! And we kids would pride at the fact that dad had an 'American' friend.

We received countless cards and letters, until one year they just stopped coming. Just like that. Stopped (much before the internet and emails...even STD calls). We spoke about it for a year or two and then carried on with life. One day, last year, we remembered this friend and wondered what would've made the guy stop writing.

"I guess, he passed away," my dad said quietly. I'm sure he'd even shed a teeny-weeny tear later when we were out of his sight.

In truth, this might really have been the case. Because he was the only person in that circle who my father knew. We didn't know his relatives, friends, common acquaintances, or whereabouts, we didn't know his changed address, if any (father tried writing to him years back, but the letters just returned to him).

Recently I even Googled him out for father, came up with a couple of close matches, but perished the thought, because of the age differences. I guess he really did pass away. But just think - at least for father, his very existence depended on just the cards and letters he wrote; the wishes he sent across the oceans.

Now, if only there was an email service to and from heaven...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Today is the tomorrow you worried about...yesterday

Often, in life, we don't appreciate what we have. We try to go after what we don't. And thereby lies the hitch. We want every day to be perfect, knowing fully well that it is going to be anything but that. So what is it that keeps all of us going? Hope? Ambition? Love? Whatever you may want to call it, I feel given a chance we'd all like (sub-consciously) to live life - live every single day in fact, in exactly the same way as today. Because then we get a chance to better ourselves. We get a chance to change things for the better if you will. We get - a 2nd chance.

I watched the movie Groundhog Day today.

You know, the funny thing is, many years ago, when it was supposed to be aired on TV (Star TV I guess - back in the early 90s, when star movies was just a segment in Star TV, and not an independent channel), I rescheduled a whole lot of my plans just so I could sit and watch this movie. I'd heard a lot about it.

Guess what? I couldn't.

Some years later, I saw the DVD of the movie, sitting on a shelf in a bookstore. Aha. I had to buy it. I said to myself - "oh well, I'll browse some more, and pick it up on the way back to the payment section."

I never did. I got several opportunities after that day to buy the dvd, borrow the movie from a friend - borrow from a library even. But...I never did. I don't know why.

Then the Internet arrived. Torrents arrived. And One afternoon, it struck me that I'd never gotten around to seeing this movie, after so many failed chances (I don't know if the chances were failed, or whether it just so happened). I ran a search, and voila! It was available. I set it up on queue, and forgot all about it.

This was in 2005...I think. I don't know, I think it was that. Yeah.

So, anyway. I forgot all about it, and the movie might've just sat in the hard disk for the whole time. I don't know, I never bothered to find out. I fixed my computer several times along the way, got myself a new processor (twice in fact), and two monitors. But I never got around to watching this damn movie.

And today, was a day I'd not planned for. Nothing at all. I was sitting in the living room, not thinking about anything in particular. Had a rough day at work, so was just letting my hair down. No TV, no book, no newspaper. Just me (wife and daughter had gone to visit an aunt) and my thoughts.

It was then, that I started thinking about what I could change in my life, given another chance. What. Was it the job? The city? The life? What could I change? And would it be for the better. And oh yes, I did think about writing. Would I be a writer in that 'other' life? Huh? Would I? Would I want to change anything at all?

And Bam. Just like that. I suddenly thought about my old computer. The one that I'd unplugged a while ago. I did most of my work on my laptop anyway. And the old thing had become just that. A thing. And with its thought, came the memory.

Groundhog day! Was it downloaded at all? Would it still be there? Let me check, I thought. I pulled the dusty box off the attic, wiped it clean and assembled the whole thing back again. Yeah, you read it right - I assembled the whole thing again.

As the "1998 model AMD athlon-upgraded-with-at least 2-processors-and a motherboard-son-of-a-metallic-gun" spluttered to life like Rip Van Winkle, I watched the familiar green meadow appear on the monitor. I watched those icons that I'd almost forgotten. I heard the familiar 'ding-a-ling' tune that windows xp (the first version) played when the desktop appeared, and smiled.

Opened the explorer, navigated to a folder I so creatively (and always) name 'movies' :), and opened it. And guess what, I'd actually deleted all my movies from it. Say, as a part of backing it all up on dvds, or moving it all to the laptop. All but one. Groundhog day.

It was like digging a fossil out of a long forgotten era.

I settled in front of the computer, right there on the floor where I'd assembled it all - and watched the movie.

After 7 years. And believe it or not, with tears in my eyes (toward the end). It was as if the movie was a part of my destiny. A part that I would not change at all. A part, no matter how many days I woke up to the same day (watch the movie to understand what I say), would remain the same. Unchanged. Undeleted. Waiting for me to watch it. Again. And again.

It was like time traveling.

So then I asked myself. Would I want life any different from what it is today? Would I want tomorrow to be today - again?

Heck, why not?

Friday, June 15, 2012

On the other side of an apology

Ok, now this has gotta be a first, at least for me.

The story 'On the Other Side' is not complete yet. So, all those who were mighty confused with the ending, you're not wrong. It most likely will be confusing. Reason? I missed posting at least 3 parts in between. This unfortunately happened because of duplicate word docs on which I was working. And inadvertently, once I posted the story, I deleted the 'working' version (yeah, I sometimes keep multiple documents in progress, weird), which actually contained the original story in full, not realizing that as I kept adding the parts to the final word doc, there was this really huge portion I forgot to add to the final version. I'm yet to figure out how I could miss that. It's crazy.

I don't normally delete working versions simply because sometimes I tend to think the original plot worked better and retain it, just in case I change my mind. But that's only till I post the complete story. Once posted, the one on the blog becomes the final version - and I delete all the working docs.

Big mistake this time.

I realized it only when I posted the story. And now I don't even have the working draft to simply copy-paste it onto the final one. Result? I have to write at least 2500-3000 words by memory. Don't know how soon I'll be able to do that. I'll have to go back to the portion where I think it fit (in the original version), and rethink from there.

Bottomline - A big apology to all those who were following the story, and also commented. I'll come back with this one soon (if not immediately, sometime in the future). Please hang in there.