Friday, January 13, 2017

The long goodbye.

Kaushik, you beautiful, lovely, silly fool.

My friend, brother, co-writer, sharer of adventures and memories.

Lover of words who won’t write or read any, anymore.

The mind is still grappling; no, the mind is numb. Like a blob of cabbage, it just is. But sometimes it wakes itself up, becoming rational enough to shriek: “This can’t be real.”

Yet the nightmare chugs along. Like an underpowered ghastly thing, the horror of your passing away is something our mind-eyes have to relive slowly, as if on loop. Throats choke, only to find fresh cries. Tears dry, only to drop again. Such is the fragile promise of life, the futility of conjecture and the failure of our collective comprehension.

We met last just two weeks ago. Christmas was over but the city still twinkled with the promise of the new year and sparkled with the magic of the past. Our beers turned back time, and that night you were like how I’ve always known you – carefree; your face full of smiles and your tongue full of wit. As always. As forever.

We hugged like the old times, and the last words you said were words that haunt me because neither of us knew what you were saying.

“I wanted to meet you now, in case I don’t meet you in the new year.”

You were one of the nicest persons I’ve known, full of the kind of kindness that warms everyone around you. You radiated the rare goodness found only in children. There were more people at your funeral than there are at most weddings. And yet it was a close-knit affair.

The fact that I’m referring to you in past tense is the cruelest reality-check of it all.

To Rohini, who must try and make sense of this more than us, and to his wonderful parents who have fed me many times but who I feel unable to look in the eye, I hope you cope somehow and that the lie about time easing things is true.

So here’s to all the teen-patti games we played, the beers we downed together, the weed that you blew in my face, the bike rides to Bhandardhara and Bhimashankar, the girl-fiend you saved me from, to my wife’s nickname that you gave, to your un-returnable repartees and your unforgettable wisecracks, to the mattress in my house that you made your own, to all the hugs you gave me and the jhappis I will never be able to give you.

Take care, my brother. If there is a God, you can spot him easy. He’ll be fixing you a large Rum and Coke with a “Woh sab toh theek hai, aur suna.”

ram cobain

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2017. Make it the year of giving.

In a fragile world ruled by a roll of dice tossed by an unseen hand, giving – and not grabbing – is the only thing in our control. It is the greatest power we have. So why not make this year, the year of giving?

Give yourself more chances. This is my personal epiphany. Father Time is a sneaky bastard; he has a way of adding wrinkles to your skin and white to your beard even as you gaze into the mirror. It’s important that we live with the active knowledge that our time is not just running out, it is rushing out. Faster than a Trump tweet typed out with flighty fingers. So work harder at your job, at your personal life that is falling apart because you’ve not been around to spot the cracks, or at the worth of your word if it isn’t worth the breath you used up to say it. Work at dropping those inches at the gym, or at raising your bar as a human being. Identify what’s important to you and give yourself more chances. And because adroit alliterations are admittedly awesome, go for the other 'C'. Give yourself courage. Let this be the year where you test your boundaries, challenge those things you were told or inherently believed you couldn’t do, and take a chance on yourself. Fail you may, succeed you might, but a couch butt-sore you shall not be.

Give a voice to all that you see wrong. It’s easy to turn away from injustice, to be politically correct in a world disemboweled by it. This year, let’s stand up for all the times we stood still, watching society play noughts and crosses on its wrist with a rusty razor. And speaking of society, let’s be kinder with all those we interact with. From complete strangers to those we think we know very well, everyone is waging a personal war where we’re not even a passing pigeon in their tableaux of troubles, so let’s give more love.

Give yourself a greater purpose. We might have been unplanned children, unwanted masses of cells or simply those who made it. But now that we have, let’s try and find a higher-order meaning. Saddest is the person who existed, burped, farted, screwed, snored and then died without making a difference.  

Give yourself more credit. Ok, this one isn’t for me, because by and large I manage to do a good job here. I’ve always believed that if you can praise someone else gushingly, you should be able to do so when it comes to yourself. Else, it’s just plain double standards, or worse, stupidity wearing humility as lipstick. But for starters, you should be able to give others more credit. Gushingly.

Here’s another type of ‘give’. Forgive more. You only live once, but a grudge can last a lifetime. Make sure it doesn’t last yours. 

Give zero fucks to things that diminish you. Too much energy is lost in trying to fight battles that are doomed to be lost, or are non-battles to begin with. Foolish is the god who tries to impress the atheist, goes the proverb a wise man just made up. Having a thick skin sometimes shows that you’re not thick in the head. This year, let’s use be quick to whip out the middle finger. After all, why do you think we have two of them?

Give yourself more beer. The euphoria of the new year has a tendency to disappear quickly, but a cold one has the great ability to keep giving warmth. Life is too short to drink cola, and the pale ale never fails.

Peace, love, empathy
ram cobain

(Pic courtesy Google)