Saturday, September 10, 2011

Door Mat

Door Mat: Dawn to Sunrise: Credit: Sayanthan Its still not dawn in Jaffna yet! Time is half past five in the morning. Wilson's sudden barking woke u...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Kajan’s Wedding Night!

Exactly six months back, the lead of this plot, Kajan Anna aka Kanna, joined our “Young Stars Volley Ball Club”. Our club is three years old, formed by the friends in Athiyadi village, about a mile away from the Jaffna town, Sri Lanka, only participated in this year community centre knock-out tournament with a first round exit. The club has only eight regular members, short of the minimum players to play the game in the evenings, sometimes we would makeup our numbers by inviting neighbourhood Nadaraja uncle and even Priya’s younger brother who is just turned eight last week. Our court is Priya’s home backyard in Athiyadi,  the area we proudly claimed as our home court, is made up of linings of strings made from coconut leave trunks, poles made from railway track wooden sleepers and the net is from the stolen fishing net at the Pannai Jetty area. “Young Stars” doesn’t fancy the set up style game anymore after Nadaraja uncle once got hit on his abdomen and fainted while playing at the nets. His wife rushed to the court, scolded us with all the filth words in Tamil language and ceased the ball from us. Our only ball is gone by then, the club members now just gather at the court to gossip everyday. That’s when Keerthi introduced Kanna to our team that day.

Kanna shown interest in joining the club and even promised to buy a volley ball for the club. Priya didn’t like this arrangement at first sight, but Keerthi insisted in joining him to the club. Kanna is well above the club’s median age, will be turning thirty this July, a wealthy man, jobless and the only son to his parents. He has a sister and Priya rumoured around that Keerthi is stalking her and that’s why he was pushing so hard to get Kanna into the team. Kanna’s father is in Switzerland, just managed to received the asylum status and Kanna’s Rolex watch would tell the new never before richness in the family. Everything he does, would directly or indirectly would refer to how much richer is he. He once told me, the watch alone would cost fifty thousand rupees. LTTE last week took him to the bunker to demand a ransom from the family. It is believed that they paid about two hundred thousand rupees.  An amount, none of the club families wouldn’t even can dream of. Kanna is the only player who wears shoes during our volleyball games. He comes in a green chaly motorbike. The bike runs on Kerosene as every other motorbike in Jaffna. One of the government ministers recalled his school day science subject and advised that LTTE would be using Petrol and batteries to make bombs, so the government banned the Petrol and any sort of batteries in North and East of Sri Lanka totally.City of Jaffna people are inventive enough, the mechanics found the way to tweak the Carburettor, so you can use few drops of eau de cologne to ignite the engine and once kerosene starting to burn, the ride will be fun. You can see people blowing eau de cologne drops in a long tubes while riding motorbikes. Lots of love stories kicked off in the suburbs by just helping young lady teachers kick start or push their motorbikes in the mornings.

Kanna always parks his Chaly in front of Nadaraja uncle’s house, which is just opposite to our volleyball court. Sooner we realised, Keerthi and Kanna have never played for the same side, letting one of them to play for the side facing the Nadaraja uncle’s house. Once in a while they would mishit the ball to uncle’s house backyard. Kanna would volunteer himself to jump over the fence to collect the ball. The mis-hits became more and more frequent by days passing and Kanna took his time to get the ball back to court. Enough to make Priya suspicious, he once followed Kanna to see him what’s been he doing while searching the ball, and caught him and Nadaraja uncle’s daughter Vanathy Akka seeing each other at their back yards. She would be nits picking to her younger sister at the back yards and every time Kanna goes there, they exchanged stares and sometimes a word or two. Priya seen this one day, went on to tell to his mother, and story started to spread everywhere in the village. One day Nadaraja uncle’s wife, went on to slap Kanna when he caught him talking to his daughter, next day Kanna’s mother came to the place and the fight erupted big time. Two days gone by, there were no more games possible, after Vanathy Akka’s mother ceased the ball and Kanna and Keerthi went to hiding. 

Within a week there was a sudden turn around when Kanna lodged a police entry, Tamil Eelam Police, a police organisation run by LTTE under their de-facto government, arrived to the scene. They have been tipped as the “Love Police” by the public as they are quite known for turning romantic affairs into weddings especially against the Jaffna caste system norms and obviously became not very popular among the Jaffna’s high prolific “Vellalar” caste. Police warned both the parents, they arranged the wedding date and warned them against any dowry demands.  Nadaraja uncle in fact was bit happy about how things have gone. Kanna would go to Switzerland as a refugee soon,  a wealthy life for Vanathy akka waiting ahead, so does the case for her entire family. There cannot be any dowry and Kanna’s family lost their bargaining power from the moment they went to police. It all happened of a sudden and the wedding is planned within a week.
Athiyadi village was gearing for the occasion, so was Young star team. The club made a hand written banner, wishing the couple with the club name covering the most part of the banner. We placed  the at the gate entrance of the Vanathy Akka’s house.

In the wedding morning, Keerthi came up with a plan to arrange a movie night on that day. Movie nights have become special events in Jaffna on wedding days. People could watch movies only during such events. Movies are generally banned or censored by the LTTE regime. Censorship was so strict, once a Tamil movie of length 140 minutes was shortened to just 45 minutes with most of the romantic scenes were censored. Romantic scenes means not the Hollywood style sexual scenes but even if the heroine wears a skirt above the knee, short or a top with any sort of cleavage, the scene would be cut down without a mercy. Keerthi’s dream job is to join the censor committee some day, so he could watch most of the un-cut versions. The current committee is comprised of a retired judge, a college teacher and a post master. One would still wonder what is post master to do with a movie censorship. That’s the way it is!!

So we all gathered at Priya’s place to plan the movie night. Keerthi is responsible for the movies, his cousin is running a video shop and we all believed that he smuggled many original VCRs from India by boat. Priya is responsible for the generator. Jaffna lost the electricity after the year 1991, leaving people using the hurricane and chimney lambs for lights at night. They would use Kerosene or coconut oil to lit them. Now you realise how desperate we would be to set this movie night up, a rare out of the blue moon event for all of us! Suresh is responsible for collecting 5 bottles of Kerosene and a three ounces of eau de cologne. Out of all these, Kerosene collection is the toughest part. The ration system allows two litres for the poverty line families and one litre for the rest. Poverty line is determined by monthly income, so most of the families with members in the foreign countries would come under the poverty lines since none of them leave any records of their foreign members in the ration system. The government servants’ families would be considered richer though their salaries are around five thousand to thousand rupees. An amount Kanna spent on the gold bangle to present to Vanathy akka in one of those wall jumping episodes.

Keerthi had managed to collect the movies from his cousin. five movies, all of them are Tamil, “Roja”, “Annamalai”, “Chembaruthi”, “Thevar Magan” and “Puthiya Paravai”, we were compelled to get ‘Puthiya Paravai”, an old 60s classic, because of Nadaraja uncle offered one litre kerosene if we agreed to do so. And he demanded to play that movie at first too. We were left no choice but to obey him, getting one litre kerosene is like a dream when other sponsors giving two to three hundred millilitres range! Keerthi is so excited to watch Annamalai, a Rajanikanth super hit but not many watched in Jaffna. He said, the lead heroine Kushboo is appearing in a bathroom scene and Rajanikath accidently seen her naked while going to find a snake in the house. He claimed his VCR tape is uncensored and all of us were so thrilled.

The night arrived, not to mention that Kanna and Vanathy akka are now married, the couple’s room is just near the the living hall area where our movie night to be held. The generator is arrived on time. Priya hired the generator for eight hundred rupees, the amount we couldn’t collect on time, so Keerthi stole couple of cash gift envelopes in the wedding, even then we are still hundred rupees short. Television and VCR player are from Kanna, his father sent them over two years back and barely been used ever since. Starting the generator is a big procedure. First of all, its not a power generator, it was a water pump turned generator. Again you use eau de cologne to kick start it, a procedure would take 30 minutes if one gets lucky. So Priya started the procedure and we were on time at nine, the first movie “Puthiya Paravai” played. This was where we went wrong, after twenty minutes, the visuals started to be fuzzy. Keerthi stopped the movie, got a screwdriver and tried opening the VCR player. The crowd started to make noise and kids started to play around. Priya wasn’t sure about what Keerthi was going to do. Keerthi told the VCR head needs to be cleaned and the old movie is full of dust. He couldn’t open the VCR. This left us with no choice, but to knock the couple’s room to get Kanna out, he is the owner of the VCR player and he might know this. We knocked and shouted to get him out. He wasn’t amused, opened the half door to come out and helped us open the player. The tape got stuck and the head was full of dirt. We used cologne to clean it and continue playing. Kanna went back into his room, warning us not to knock the door again. Keerthi took over the reins now. After two more similar stuck and clean-ups, we decided to get rid of the old movie.

Now its Annamalai time, kids demanded it before they all can going to sleep. The bathing scene indeed arrived, but nothing shown but the Heroin’s face, Priya started to curse Keerthi, so did Suresh. Annamalai was well received by the audience, of course its Rajanikanth movie and we all get to see him only in wedding nights! Now the time is 11.30, Priya said, the generator needs a cool off and we played the next movie one hour later. This time the movie is Roja, quiet famous for its songs, Priya said its a Maniratnam movie which none of us were even aware who was he, half of the crowd fell asleep when Roja finished at 2.30. The next show was Devar Magan. Most of the crowd left the hall by then and only Suresh, Priya, Keerthi and Kanna’s sister were in the hall. Priya was totally annoyed with Kanna’s sister still awake and especially with the Keerthi’s show-offs with the VCR operations when she is around. Keerthi showed some pride on only himself could operate the complex TV and VCR systems. Sooner she too went to sleep, Devar Magan climax scene was nearing. The time is 4.15 AM …
Kanna’s door has opened!

Everybody forgot the movie now. Excited to see Kanna coming out of the room. Priya looked bit jealous but Keerthi was excited. Kanna wearing just a saram, uncombed hair and still sweating, at least he looked he was. Priya just whispered to keerthi that Kanna just came out of the room only to annoy them, and he should have just disturbed his hair before getting out. Keerthi didn’t give a dare at it and asked Kanna,
“How was it Kanna”
“How was what?”
“The thing”
“The thing?”
“Yeah the thing…”
“No, nothing”
“Why the hell you are here now?”
“I have a movie, lets watch it!”
Priya and Keerthi are now bit surprised.
“What movie is it?”
Kanna went straight to the television, picked a bag besides it and took a VCR which didn’t have any labels in it.
“What movie is it? Devar Magan isn’t over yet” – Keerthi couldn’t hide his anxiety
“No time, Vanathy would wake up any time, lets watch it quickly”
“What is it”
“An Adults Only one!!!”

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Melodica !!!

It was an April vacation, year 1991, I was waiting for my father to arrive home, wait .. wait is perhaps the wrong word, I was dying to see my father coming home. He was a government surveyor, working in Nochiyagama, a small village in Anuradhapuram. The rest of the family was living in Jaffna, by then it was under LTTE control, three of my sisters were schooling and my brother was going through an intern-ship program for English teachers. Father used to send his salary through whoever crosses the border at Vavunia, usually about 4000 Sri Lankan Rupees,  the amount which wasn't enough for our monthly expenses. My mother's jewels were safely going into pawn broker's lockers one after the other. Hangon, last week we sold our only goat too. I was the carer of it. Every evening after schools, I would be going around and collecting jack tree ripening leaves in the neighbourhood. My school fees were due last week, so my mother decided to sell it. I screamed and cried on the day the butcher came and took it away but after few days I was happy playing cricket after school, not having to collect tree leaves any more, a boring work I tell you!

Oh yeah, sorry, let's get back to where were we. Two weeks back, father sent us a telegram saying he would be coming to Jaffna in the next ship. He is coming to Jaffna after about an year. I sent a long letter last week listing down all the things I wanted. A cricket bat, draught board, carom board, batteries for our Tape Recorder and a melodica. The melodica was the one I was eagerly expecting. My sister's friend recently got a melodica from her visiting uncle from Canada. It sounded nice, she showed us how to play "Oh Nenge Nee Thaan" song. She didn't let me touch it, I was too small to operate it. That's the very moment I thought, I will ask my father to buy a melodica when he comes next time.

Its been ten in the morning already. Lanka Muditha, the cargo ship which was arranged for passenger service is arriving today, I bought the news paper early in the morning to check it out. The ship doesn't usually come on time. The Sri Lankan military used to take the passenger service as a cover to transport their resources. There were times LTTE went and attacked the patrols and ships had to return back to Trincomalee without boarding in Jaffna. So even the newspaper confirmed its arrival, I wasn't still sure about it. Fingers crossed.

Its eleven in the morning, the news already spreading out that the ship has arrived with tons of wheat flour and sugar.  The neighbour house aunt just came and told us the news. They are running a grocery shop and the price of the wheat flour suddenly gone down from 300 rupees to 100 rupees just after the news. All of us will get at-least 3 loaves of bread tomorrow under that "Ration" system. Ever smelled that just baked bread from Manatara bakery? Its divine when you get it after five hours of queueing, an accomplishment of its own.

"Mummy, is he going to take the Auto?"  I asked my mother. Its strange why my parents wanted us to call them dada and mummy. I think it gives them a superior feeling. It sets out the authority to others in the suburbs that we are something special. City of Jaffna has a unique intellectual caste system which at times very hard for an outsider to understand. My mother's family used to have this habit. My aunt's children call dady and mummy. My cousin sister's children call dad and mummy. Funnily enough, our neighbourhood and even the labourers call my parents dada and mummy instead of usual uncle and aunt or Ayya and Amma. For some reason, I now realise, even I was proud of letting others know that I call my parents mummy and dada. My story of identity crisis started even before  I was born!

"Hero" suddenly started to bark. I need to mention about Hero also. Its our dog, a funny dog, was born during a heavy jack fruit season and it was tied down in our backyard with tens of ripening jack fruits. And yes, it started to eat those jack fruits and ever since, it has this habit of dragging jack fruits from our neighbourhood and eat at our garden, leaving our garden a total mess. Why did we call it with the name "hero"? it is the horse's name of the comics character "Phantom", a very famous comics series during the time of early 90s.

Yes here you go .. Dada is coming. He is riding a bicycle. An "Eastern" brand blue colour  bike with dynamo headlight. The carrier is rope tied with a big suitcase, two heavy bags are hanging on both the sides of the handles. He is wearing a red colour cap, shirt half tucked in, pants and shoes are with full of muddy. He saw me,  ringing the bike bell with a big smile in his face. I am sprinting to gate to open in, mummy and sisters are running behind.

Lot's of huddling across. Sisters are now laughing. Mummy didn't talk much, just asked how was the travel and went into the kitchen to make a tea. Brother took the bike from dada and started to untie the rope. Dada raised me, kissed me on my cheek, his breath was stinky so did was his cloths. He was happy, shaking my sisters' heads with his hands with lots of love. My brother finally managed to take the suitcase out of the bike. My eyes are on the suitcase still thinking ....!

"Is the melodica inside the suitcase?"

Saturday, July 9, 2011

My Relationships!!!

I am right here at the Changi airport, Singapore, gate number 15, waiting to board into EK 404, the flight to Melbourne.  There is a little girl, sitting in the same row, is playing something on her iPad2. I can see her excitement and the care when using it, a brand new piece. What was I doing at age of nine? Indian Peace Keeping Force(IPKF) was on the march to capture Jaffna town. I can still recall a moment, my father was carrying me while fleeing to Nallur Temple with all my neighbourhood families with the belief of forces won’t attack religious places, there was a shell went pass us and exploded few hundred meters away. We all fell, father, mother, brother and sisters, we all fell down on the ground. Fortunately none of us hurt, we just had scratches! I stare at this little girl playing with iPad now. I can see a great peace in this girl’s face! Reminding me this soulful song from academy away winner A R Rahman. Who the heck said “The World Is Flat?”

domeMy friends Kajan, Ajee and his wife Laxmy all came to airport to give me a warm send off. We went for coffee at the airport Dome Cafe.  We were chit chatting about my future plans, Kajan’s wife called from  Colombo and wished me too, not to forget their son Sangeeth, the kid is too cute and we always love playing together. Thank you guys!

Suddenly Ajee and Laxmi presented a gift, I opened it and it was Thomas Friedman’s "The World Is Flat". Ajee has been recommending this to read for long time, an influential book for him. I don’t remember a day he forgot to talk about this book. Now he has given his own copy of such a book to me. It takes greater courage for someone to present the book he or she owns and loves. Its our habit, while presenting books to each other, we make sure, tipping_2we don't give it just for the sake of giving it. When you present a book to someone, either you should have read and realised that the receiver would adore it or it should be a book he or she long waiting to read it! Two weeks back, I visited Ajee’s place for a dinner and presented my Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” copy to him. Its a book I loved when reading, its a book which was in Ajee’s reading list so I was sure, he was going to read it! Now its my time to read “The World Is Flat”, I will start it once I finished my current reading Terry Pratchett’s Mort!

Mort, a gift to me, during my last days at hSenid from my colleague turned friend Harsha,. The book is a serious and serial exciting, a topic which is something I am passionate to know about. The novel is full of metaphorical critics on mankind’s beliefs. A story of Death and his apprentice Mort. The flow is so demanding and tricky with full of clich├ęs, made me reading some of the pages twice mort-1before understanding the theme of them. I was almost stuck at the re-annual farm concept. Is he challenging the belief on so-called destiny being designed upfront? Clueless metaphor!!

My friend, Anbu bought me “The Sprit Of Music”  from India. The book was by then just got released, only in India. There were couple of other friends who were in India too. But I only asked Anbu, because I know he loves music and he can understand how much I was already excited about that book. So he bought and given it as a gift. Fwd-AR-Rahman-The-Spirit-of-Music-Event-Pictures-1

Amudha, my best friend in Singapore by far, who shares probably the maximum common interests with me,  read Lahiri’s “The Namesake” under interesting circumstances. It was the time I wrote the “Coffee” story in Australia. She is usually the first reader of my stories, she is a native English speaker, so I usually ask her to review before go on to publish any of my stories, so did the case for this too. While reading, she told me she bought “The Namesake” when visiting to Kolkata recently, but haven’t touched it still. I told her its a must read, especially being married to a Bengali gentleman who’s migrated to Singapore, she can relate a lot from the book. She nodded, they both went for a weekend trip to Sabah, Malaysia. She finished reading it while just relaxing in the beautiful beaches of Sabah. It was so meditative she said though was bit slow in pace. Of course it was Namesake!

There is something common on the books Ajee, Harsha, Anbu and Amudha shared with namesakeme. The respective books are totally different in their genres. One is about business, other is about music, another on man kind’s beliefs and theories around it and “The Namesake” is contemporary.  But they represents the type of relationship we share between the presenter and the receiver. With Ajee, we usually discuss on career, financial and personal management, so exchanging “The Tipping Point” and “The World Is Flat” represent that flavour. With Harsha, we usually discuss Antagonism, Theory of God, Life After Death, relationships and of course girls, so it was apt he gave me Mort. Anbu, a guitarist by himself, discusses a lot on music with me, so it was A R Rahman’s biography. Amudha shares more close to heart friendship, someone who mentors me in life! So it was not surprising that it was the book “The Namesake”

I am clueless on how to end this post. Post modernist writing style emphasizes not to stick with any plans on writing. Let your thinking to wander and flow like a river and it will reach the final destination. I feel its the destination for the post too. Its a kind of post, which doesn’t require a finishing touch. May be an open ended post!!

There you go, the final boarding call is made, getting ready to leave with a hope of finding more friends to share more books and relationships in Australia!! May be its a REANNUAL WRITING like Mort’s re-annual winery!!! 

“The things I want to know are in books, my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I never read.” -- Abraham Lincoln

Note: The content of the blog neither modified nor reviewed, keeping the feel of the moment as it is.But the links are added just now.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cruel Thirties!

This post is not a cry of getting into my thirties, you don’t cry when you get older, otherwise nobody would be celebrating their birthdays. This is a post about how cruel a Thirty would become, if you are not moved on from what you were doing in your teens and early twenties!!!

Let’s take a shot at it, the influencing characters of my teen ages and twenties. The best offside player of his time, Saurav Ganguly and by far the best bowler in the history of cricket, Shane Warne are no more playing. Michael Jackson is passed away two years back. Genius Indian composer Illayaraja is not composing music as good as he used to do. The legendary contemporary writer Sujatha passed away two years back. No Ronaldo is in football. Bill Gates is doing Charity and enjoying his retirement life. Steve Jobs is still roaring, but his body is tired and weakened unfortunately. Promising Sun is already cherished and Gosling was all over the place and finally joined Google without knowing what exactly he is going to do! Who would have thought the fates of Prabakaran and Sadam would be decided in this manner? And many presumes Java’s beginning of end is already started!!!

This year I am witnessing one of my favourite sportsman’s beginning of the end. He is the man who turned lots of  people watching tennis back again. Tennis was dominated by power hitting players like Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi and I think lots of people in 90s started to enjoy women’s tennis than men’s due to this factor(I may be wrong, the perception based on what I have seen and heard during the time from the kind of people around me). Steffi Graf was rocking the stage more than anybody those daysfederer-slice-bh1.

Roger Federer arrived, in early 2000s, immediately drew the attention by his single backhand slices, which is referred more classical tennis play. He doesn’t show any emotions on the stage, determined and focussed most of the times. He is known for his unforced errors, understandably due to his attacking play maker. 

Then this guy Rafael Nadal came, not a graceful act on the stage, but effective, very effective. His never-say-die approach earned him many grand slams. Obviously I am not a big fan of him but I admire his forehand curve in returns. The rivalry started in Tennis. It made Tennis interesting, and since French and English times have mere 8 hours difference, I had to lose my  sleep to watch all these rivalries. No regrets though.

A rare emotional outburst in the field, Australian Open Finals 2009!

This year Australian Open was the beginning of end for the magician. Roger lost in the quarter finals and when asked he said wait for six months and then tell its the case. He managed to get into the finals of Rolland Garros, given some hopes to his fans. But yesterday was a disaster! He lost to Tsonga in the Wimbledon 2011 quarter finals, even after winning the first two sets comfortably. He didn’t look convincing, committed or exciting yesterday. I think its a fatigue of playing one too many grand slams and there is no motivation to prove anything to anybody including himself!


Watching Wimbledon 2011 Live, Fourth round matches in two laptops and iPad!!

He is still ranked world number three, it could be still early to write him off, but I am sure his prime is well past, he is hanging on and unless he finds an incentive to play better, I doubt he will ever get back to his usual groove. He knows better than anybody else on when to hang his boots though!

So there you go, an end of another idol’s power demises!

Checkout this guy Tomic, an eighteen year old Aussie, showed some promises!

Let’s move on!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Am A War Victim!

June 5th, 2011, I was on my way back from Sri Lanka to Singapore. I especially requested for front row seat, only to alight early so won’t miss any action of the final of Rolland Garros that day between Federer and Nadal. Soon after I cleared the immigration, I checked the score, Federer was leading, having just broken Nadal’s serve. I was so excited, called my brother-in-law and checked whether is he watching the match? He said he isn't, neither subscribed to the channel this year. Disappointed, but fortunately he too was interested in this rivalry, so immediately subscribed to the channel. Subscribing to a channel in Starhub TV is as easy as finding a girl friend. You just have to chose the channel and press yes, everything through remote control. Yes just like that and you will get the bill end of the month!!!

So the match went on, Federer eventually lost the first set, and as expected, it was yet another loss to Nadal. Federer can’t play against Nadal in clay, any Spaniards for that matter. You don’t have to be a Nadal to win Federer, but just learn a bit Spanish accent, talk to him just before the match, he won’t stop laughing for next few hours, you can even win a game with dodgy serves! If you don’t believe me, watch these two videos.

The moment he hearing the Nadal’s accent, he couldn’t stop laughing afterwards!

Its even worse!

Now the Rolland Garros is over, I was personally happy with the way Federer played there. His back hand cross court slices came back to live, and the number of unforced errors dropped. So I was(am) confident that he will become better in much  faster grass Wimbledon court, which was due in two weeks.

Singapore cable TV operators looked so awesome! Starthub TV has two dedicated channels(205 and 207) for racquet games named “Racquet Channel”. I was cursing bother Australian and Sri Lankan cable operators for not providing such cheaper priced channels so we can afford to watch Tennis like this. Its all going really well so far!

Queens Tournament, which is considered a warm-up before the Wimbledon, started. Though Federer opted out, Nadal lost to Tsonga, enough for me to get my adrenalin pumping. Yes Federer is going to do it again! I didn't still know what was coming ….!

Wimbledon qualifiers started. The Racquet channels were telecasting some badminton tournaments and repeat telecast of Rolland Garros. I was still ok since I missed most of the clay actions when I was in Sri Lanka. I thought they didn’t telecast the qualifiers. Fair enough.

Round one started, I skipped my exercise session to watch the Nadal’s game, the Starhub TV was still showing repeat telecasts and some boring badminton Singles. I was little curious. I asked my in-law, he was clueless too. The fact that we subscribed to Racquet channel in June, only to watch the final of Rolland Garros and then the Wimbledon. But Wimbledon is not being telecasted in Starhub TV.

So we called the operator and checked, they said, Starhub didn’t get the Wimbledon rights this time but only Rolland Garros. What the hell? The Cable TV which has two dedicated channels for Racquet games couldn’t secure the most important racquet tournament. And the rights have gone to Mio TV, another competitor cable operator in Singapore owned by Singtel.

So what does it mean? You now need to have two cables, two operator devices and pay twice the rental to watch Tennis tournaments. The same story has been happening for other sports like cricket, where cricket world cup was in Mio TV and IPL is in Starhub TV. It wasn’t the same situation two years back, now they regulated to have fair for all ground and we are now in this situation! They can’t be kidding, can they?
Now what is to do with this post’s title? How I became the war victim? They say(who are they btw), war is fought in this world as a part of the agenda of arms dealers. They sponsor the war, sell weapons to both the  warring parties and let them fight. It’s the people who are victimised end of the day. So what’s the relevance?

Starhub’s and Singtel’s, who secured the Rolland Garros and Wimbledon rights respectively, majority of the shares are held by the same company Temasek!!! Now if you are a diehard tennis fan, you got to subscribe for both the cables and eventually paying to this farce play!

So what do I do now? Subscribing to both? Cmon, when there is a war, you either fall for the farce or you flee from the scene!!! I obviously do the later! So I am watching matches live in this following cool link!!!

He he he he!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Girl Is Mine!

"Good Morning Jessie, past six already, Coffee Time, get up, get up"

"Good Morninggggg Jake" , Jessie mums with a deep yawn without opening her eyes, stretches her hands, turns to freefall and continues sleeping. I stand still and start staring at her proudly. Jessie has a mid length sleek hair with a slight curl in the end. It never sticks as much as she would love to, but still looks pretty. Half of her face is covered by her hair and the rest tilted into the pillow. She is wearing an uptown stripe Flannel Pyjamas, which we bought two years back at a ck warehouse near  Chadstone. That was the second or third day after she moved into Melbourne with me. I still remember, she was wearing a Sudithar which I bought from Delhi. It was felt awkward for us to check in to all the branded shops with an Indian outfit. For first three months she was not comfortable wearing Pyjamas, cursing me for paying hundred dollars for a night wear. I kept insisting that this would suit her in this Melbourne weather. She did find it out good in the end, now has three different styles of Pyjamas from the same warehouse, and even recommends ck to her reading group colleagues at her university. She still wears socks when sleeping though. She gets stuffy when turning the ducted heater on. So we always switch off the heater before we get to bed. Perhaps we should buy an electric heater.

"Is somebody staring at his princess?" Jessie chuckles without turning her head up. I know she isn't sleeping. She is waiting for my next wakeup call to get up. I am like her alarm with snooze button always.

"Somebody's favorite coffee with almond milk is waiting.." she now gets up, adjusts her hair and checks my eyes to see whether she looks ok, I nod even though I still don’t understand why she does it every morning!

"Thanks Jake, you know you don't have to do this, could have wake me up man...” she still yawns

"Waking you up, come on, I know you are tired, don’t ya?" I say wittingly.

"Shut up you idiot, shall we go to lounge, I wanna check today's newspaper. There is an announcement of our readers’ group gathering... "

"Yes yes I checked it out already, you are chairing the panel right  ... What is it "Goat Runner" or something?"

"You fool, its "Kite Runner", how many times we talked this before"

"Come on honey I know it, just kidding"

"Hushhhh... hopeless guy"

"Put on the hooded lounger girl, its damn cold in the lounge"

We get up, leave the bed unarranged and head to the lounge. It is still pretty early in the morning in Melbourne winter.  We both normally like to get up early, enjoy our coffee chitchats, at times even for an hour. Jessie works as a part-time tutor in Monash University, teaching English Literature to undergrads. She is also reading her doctorate in contemporary literature of Asian migrants. She herself is a writer too, just got published her first novel "Door Mat".

"So how is your new story going Jess? The one you told me yesterday…"

"Ah, that “Girl Is Mine”? Just started it sir, long way to go. It’s in kind of a mess now and I am thinking of trashing it actually!"

"Oh no, every story would look lovely when you start and then get crappier when you finish it, that's how a writer would normally  feel when writing, otherwise you can't write ... And I know you can write some serious literature!"

"Jeez where did it come from? You do make sense at times ha!"

"As always! And do you have me in the story?"

"You in my story? My goodness, I don't write loser's story maite"

"Maite, ha? That’s funny!!! I am not a loser ok!"

"You are a loser, big loser"

"I am not … I gotcha doggone, mind it!"

"That's why you are a loser, wake up Jake, you know it better than anybody else"

“Will you fuck’in stop calling me loser?...” I screamed rather whined all of a sudden. I feel bit cold now.

“Oh come on, relax my boy, let’s have some music, turn it on honey”, typical Jessie, never gets mad, always turns the awkward situation round.

"Now see, when you need something, loser turns honey, perfect" I go to our little Sony Dream Machine, docks my iPhone and play "Way Back Into Love"

"Good on ya, perfect for the morning, there you are my nice man"

One of those things we both got attached to is music. Especially this song, we probably would have played more than the original song writer did.

"I’ve  been  watch – ing  but  the | stars  re – fused    to  shine |   I’ve  been  search – ing  but  I | just  don’t  see    the  signs |    I  know  that  it’s  out |...." she sings.

"Jessie! Tell you what? Let’s get to the piano, come on…"

"Are you crazy? Its morning time, we need to get ready, will have it tonight darl…"

"No time like the present! lets play for few minutes" She gets up, moves to our small upright piano, takes out the small photo-stand and the flower-vase and keeps them in the coffee table, cleans the dust and slowly opens it.

"Hurry up girl, you are taking ages"

"Wait my son, not everybody is messier as you" she starts playing now. Half past six, Melbourne chill weather. It’s still dark outside.

".. F  D  F  D  F  D | A  G    D  F    F |    F  D  F  D  F  D | A  G    D  F    F |…" She plays delicately, with her eyes closed, digests and feels the music.

"I’ve  been  liv – ing  with  a | sha – dow    o  -  ver  -  head |    I’ve  been  sleep – ing  with  a | cloud  a – bove    my  bed |”

We sing, we continue singing ….

"..  .. F  G  Bb || C  C  C  Bb    A  Eb | DC    F  G  Bb | C  C  C  Bb    A    Eb | F    G    Bb  G  F |  "

"And  If  I | o – pen  my  heart    a – gain |      I  guess  I’m | hop – ing  you’ll  be    there   for | me    in   the  end"

She is still singing with her eyes closed, effortlessly hitting the high end notes. Her fingers have such a control on that instrument. She feels the music, sings and continues singing. It comes from her heart.
I now stand up, get closer to her, look at her face..... stare at her forehead and ……. kiss her on the cheek and whispers ....

"I love you Jessie"

"What? Come Again ...You said that?" Jessie was shocked when I told my love to her. It was a typical tropical Colombo sunny morning; I was going to drop her in the university which is on my way to office. She lives in my neighborhood and I usually give her a lift to her university in the mornings. We know each other well; at least I thought we know. We do share common interests, talk about the books we read for hours. Its just one of those many reasons I probably would have fallen for her.

"Yes Jessie, I mean it, will you marry me?" perhaps this probably is the worst place and time to propose your girl; Early morning, on the way to work and school, inside a car which is parked in a roadside where heavy traffic noise coming through the closed windows. May be I should have taken her to a sea breeze and done this. Mmmm.

"Oh my Jake, Where does it come from? Seriously didn't expect ...."

"Why Jessie, I think we can make ourselves a good couple, I given a serious thought to it, not today, not yesterday, almost for an year ... "

"Gosh, then why didn't you tell me before? Oh Jake…"

"I took my time, I wanted to make sure everything gonna be ok and everybody gonna be ok, and Jessie.... it will be perfect, I swear"

"Jesus Christ.... you telling this to me Jake? Is this happening?... you know what Jake, I really like you, and you are my best friend and too good of a guy to miss out....... but I can't ... I can't do this, please don't ask ..."

"Jessie, but  ..."

"Please Jake ..."

I stared at the car audio player, which I just paused in order to talk to Jessie. I began to shiver rather violently, the car instantly feeling ten degrees colder even though the cooler is switched off. I put my seat belt on suddenly, lowered the window glass and started staring outside. Its morning still, students just started  to gather inside the campus compound and chit chat. Some students are talking to themselves with some notes in hand. They must be memorizing something, it should be an exam period.

"Who is it Jessie?" ,I am still staring at the girl who is sitting on a bench stone, studying the notes with a bit of a panic, should be memorizing something for today's exam. I didn’t turn my face to Jessie.


"Oh, that medical student …” I was stunned a bit, and started whispering.

“We all came out of Gogol's overcoat..." I was still staring at the girl studying for the exam at the last minute, scared to turn my head into my own car. Jessie might find me out weeping.

"Overcoat, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, nineteenth century ...” She finished my sentence. This is the Jessie I love. A literature student, she knows everything about me, every time correctly reads my mind except of one thing eventually which mattered most to me.

“You guys just entered the campus, don’t ya?”, I couldn't hide my frustrating inquisitiveness.

“Its been six months Jake” she said

“Fuck ... Fuck ... Fuck .... this fuck'in damn loser waited ..waited... waited for one long year...... exactly twelve months” My voice cracked with self pity.

"Please Jake.... don’t go there. Sorry, by any means had I disturbed you, I am really sorry, you are my friend... my best friend, who else I can talk about Lahiri for hours?” I know she meant it, but then after all she didn't even discuss about Gogol with me. She didn’t feel the way I felt.

"You never felt it, did you Jessie?"

"Its Over Jake, Over .."

"Yeah, Over ... I will be good Jessie, I will get through this.....", The sudden muzzle brought in. 

"Wanna pick you in the evening?", I still didn't turn to Jessie.

"No, its fine Jake, Thanks and.... Take care; I am sure you will have much better find” ,now I turned at her and given a dry smile.

Its you Jessie! Sorry for everything, call me later, hey don't forget “The Kite Runner”, will collect it tomorrow"

She smiled, got down from the car, hesitated a bit, and waved at me. I started the car ignition.

"Did I lock the door?" I wasn’t sure. I made this habit of not locking the door when leaving my house only to coming back and check. I stopped my car, got out and checked the door. It wasn't locked; I waited for a moment and got into the lounge. The piano’s fall-board was left open, with nothing placed on the top. I closed the fall-board. Took the flower vase on the coffee table and placed it on top of the piano. I took the "Kite Runner" book which was kept open upside down, bookmarked it and put it in the shelf. I found my empty tea cup is also left out there with another cup full of coffee with almond milk. I poured the coffee in the kitchen sync, cleaned the cups and kept them inside the pantry cupboard. I switched off all the lights and took few steps towards the door, turned back and had a dry stare at my house. It's emptiness scared me. It looked so dark at early Melbourne morning eight o’ clock. The new house’s wall paints' smell chilled my spine.
I suddenly went in, walked through all the rooms. The bed room, study room, baby room, visitor’s room, bath rooms, living room and kitchen; I went every where, turned on every other lights in the house. It was still dark inside. It looked even more scary now. I moved to my piano and opened it. I kept the flower vase back on the coffee table. I took the "Kite Runner", opened it and kept it upside down again on the coffee table. I went to the kitchen, made a coffee with Almond milk, poured into two cups, brought into my lounge. I finished my cup.  I got up, didn't look back my lounge, rushed to my car and started the ignition.

"The door is left open yet again!"

There is emptiness, and there is love. Emptiness is pristine, clear, ever peaceful awareness. To get to love, though, you have to be willing to feel, and agonize, and laugh, and hug, and weep, and roar, and tremble. And it is worth it.
We must be both intimate, and detached.
We must become the emptiness. Then fill it with love. Then invite others into it.
It is only by rising out, and staying connected, that we elevate the whole, which we are.

-------------Jack Haas

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