Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Diwali, crackers and I

Happy Diwali, my dear readers! I hope you all had a blast. As for me, I love Diwali for all the sweets and presents it brings along. And the home-cooked food is as always finga-lickin good! But I'm afraid the festival has lost its significance for me over the past few years. And that has been mainly because I've stopped bursting crackers. I think I was in 10th when I read something about the child labour situation in Sivakasi. The grim situation portrayed by that article affected me so much that I had to give up on what I had loved the most about Diwali - bursting crackers.

If you're wondering why one would give up something like this after reading an article, let me try explaining it. To me, bursting crackers has become synonymous to eating non-vegetarian food. I dont like eating non veg but I dont mind others eating it. I am not against non-vegetarians just because I am a vegetarian. Similarly, I am not fighting for the cause of child workers in Sivakasi by boycotting crackers. I've just developed some amount of dislike towards bursting crackers. Unfortunately, I've landed in many an awkward moment with my relatives because of a misunderstanding over this reason. Let me illustrate this with an example

Relative: Gokul, why dont you burst a cracker or two?
Me: No uncle. I dont burst crackers. *sheepish smile*
R: Why? Do you think crackers are for kids? Look, even I am bursting crackers. *twirls his cracker in apparent joy*
Me: No uncle. Its ok. Actually I dont like bursting crackers. *still trying to avoid telling the reason*
R: What? You're scared of bursting crackers? haha.. *thinks what a big loser I am* You're a young man now. I will teach you. Dont worry.
Me: No no.. *grr.. let him have it* I used to burst crackers. But I've quit because of the child labour situation in many Sivakasi factories. *puts a worried expression and points to the cover of the cracker on which Sivakasi is written in bold font*
R: *Awkward silence*
Me: *Talk something dammit! I hope you dont think of me as some socially aware citizen*
R: *More awkward silence as he sifts through the heap of crackers*
Me: *Puts on a fake smile and some fake enthusiasm* Let me get a new candle for you uncle.

So there you go. That was the first time I tried to stay away from crackers by stating the reason. However, after enough trial and error experiments, I finally zeroed in on the ideal excuses to give.
1. I have an exam in the next few days, uncle. Dont want to take any risks :D *For the studious image*
2. No mood, uncle. Yawn. *For the spoilt brat image*
3. Been there done that, uncle. Crackers are boring. *For the cool image*

And if these do not work, I avoid the child labour excuse and get straight to lighting a flower pot just for the heck of it. If there is one thing I hate more than bursting crackers, it is being in socially awkward situations with my relatives.

Status Message of the day:

"I was born to a rich faggot, but thanks to me, my son wont be"
-Vimal S Warrier

PS: If you think you or any of your friends have funny status messages in your gtalk / Y! list, then ping me on gtalk. I could use some funny ones for my next post. Just in case, my id is gokul.archer@gmail.com.
PS1: Yes, I intend to blog soon. (Although I am not sure how many read my posts.. hmm...)
PS2: On afterthought, I dont miss bursting crackers. I've grown aloof from the entire process. And before I forget, I wish you all a happy and safe Diwali!
PS3: Feels good to be blogging again. (Although the standards are abysmally low)

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Monday, October 20, 2008

For the past hour I've been trying to clean my room but have been largely unsuccessful at it. With a case presentation and a quiz scheduled for tomorrow, normally I'd have been sound asleep by now. But not today. Today I am going to talk about Balaji, my batchmate at IIMK.

A fun guy with a goatee and a smile, we became friends in our second term at K. I had joined his group for all the stupid group assignments and projects that we are made to do here every term. We'd have lot of fun pulling others' legs in group meetings. Our group was a happy-go-lucky one and I loved them for that. (I had a pretty uptight group in my first semester) We'd go out to eat quite frequently. I remember this one time when we all went to Coffee Beanz and he was awestruck at how much I ate. (in spite of the way I looked) As days passed, we became pretty good friends. I'd rant to him often on how I cant seem to put on weight in spite of eating like a pig. He in turn would crack jokes and offer a final word of encouragement that if I accompanied them everytime they go out to eat, I will start putting on weight soon. It is inevitable, he'd say.

On the last day of our second term which was in last week of December, we all went out to Coffee Beanz for one last time in 2007. If I remember correctly we had an exam the next morning. We ate to our heart's content and promised Coffee Beanz that we'd return the next year. Bala promised me that he will make sure that I grew fat in the new year.

On January 1st, 2008, I got the news that Bala had passed away in a bike accident the night before.

News of death evokes different reactions. There are people who cry and vent out their grief. And then there are those who act cool and calm on the outside and pretend as if nothing happened but are freaking out from the inside. I am one of the latter. After I returned to the campus for my third term, I stayed away from Coffee Beanz for a month citing some excuse or the other. Whenever people discussed about Bala, I'd just go sit somewhere else. It made me awkward. With time, people slowly stopped talking about him. And in small instalments, I began to overcome my sadness in a calm sort of way. Or so I thought.

About 2 hours back, I came to know that one of our batchmates, Geethika had passed away. When I heard the news, memories of Bala which had faded into the oblivion reappeared. All this time I thought I was being brave by not mourning for his death. Now I realize that I was running away. May be I am not brave enough to face the fact that he is dead.

Different people deal with grief in different ways. As for me, I've shaved off my beard and moustache for a goatee. Reminds me of Bala.