Friday, August 28, 2009

Cravings

The search is on
For another treasure
Not the glory of achievement
Nor wealth beyond measure

The path is hidden
The journey is long
The silence and sounds of the woods
Accompany me all along

"Make your own path
If you can't find the right ways
Learn from me, oh traveller"
Advices the river as it sways

Gazing through the scarlett sky
The Sun sinks at the distant end
Spreading darkness as it takes my leave
To brighten up another land

The sights and sounds and smells
Look with me into the starry night
Overtaking me with a sense of joy
Making me wonder if my goal was right

The serenity and the beauty alike
Make nature my wonder cure
My journey was my destination
Of that, I am completely sure.

Upstream

Monday, August 17, 2009

In My Blue Pyjamas

I don't know why I am writing this on my blog.

It was 10:15 AM. I was in such deep sleep that only a canon shot could have awakened me. Or so I thought, until I was awakened by the ringtone of my cell-phone. I cursed the caller. Someone would have to be cruel to awaken a harmless soul from his sweet slumber. I heard a familiar voice. Once my brain had finished its daily booting routine, I managed to identify the owner of the voice. It was MS, my classmate and friend. I don't remember which language he spoke in but what he said vaguely translated to "Are you not coming for the lecture?" I told him that I was. I reiterated that the lecture was only at 10:15. That's when he broke the news to me "It's already 10:15." I went like "Oh F***, not again."

Had it been any other phase of my education, I would have bunked with pleasure. My philosophy used to be "Why put in an effort in waking up for a boring lecture which again puts you to sleep?" until I was introduced a demon called 'Grade Dock' which means I would move from a B+ to a B for the fourth lecture I missed in a subject and then one lesser grade for every lecture missed there on. I had my share of quota left for this particular subject but I thought I would save it for a rainy day.

Thus, began my one-minute challenge of reaching class before the gate to the academic block is locked. I splashed water on my face from the bottle near my bed, gargled using water from the same bottle, got into a t-shirt and tracks (My jeans were not too handy so...) and left for class. I thought all this had happened in a jiffy but the clock showed 10:17! Damn, I was destined to be late.

The advantage of being in a residential course at MDI is that the academic wing is right opposite the hostel, which makes reaching class a 30 second brisk walk. I decided to not give up and trying getting to class. There was hope. I rushed to the academic block and saw the open gate from a distance which meant I could get in before I was bolted out. I did, just before the roll call began.

My class mates, I tell you, they are such nice people. They completely understand the ordeal which all creatures have to go through at a place where body clocks go bonkers. They were empathatic. In their empathy, they smiled, mocked and pointed fingers ("Abhi uthke aaya hai, bechara") Whatever improvement I made on my looks was on the basis of feedback which my fellow benchers gave me. "Your hairs not in place, your right eye is has something stuck in its left corner, etc." Some went out of their ways to be nice. "Don't talk to me. You haven't brushed still."

I didn't even bother to look at my professor because I didn't know what I was to expect from her. I just quitely sat in my place, luckily finding a paper and pen from a colleague (it is nearly impossible for a person to carry spares at a b-school).

All that happened seemed like an extend period of somnolence. My though process was still slow and my voice had the morning blues. It remained so almost throughout the lecture. Very few can remain attentive through a non-stop narration of tales of profound vanity and meagre conquests. I couldn't find much of a difference between the others and me, except that the physical signs made it more apparent in my case.

As soon as the lecture got over, I rushed back to my room. Had a look in the mirror and realized why I managed to capture everyone's attention for a few minutes. I couldn't stop laughing!! I was a total mess. It was only natural of the others to be so 'nice' to me. But then there are always firsts in lives. Today was my first lecture in pyjamas. I hope it is the last.

I still don't know why I wrote this on my blog. Do you?

In retrospect, 'nice' is a nice word!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Live Strong

Life’s biggest gifts often come in the most inconspicuous fashion. Their worth is realized only through the change they spark off. The change makes its presence felt gradually, through an experience of joy and suffering, grief and hope, which in turn force one to look within. For cyclist Lance Armstrong, life’s biggest gift was cancer.

In his autobiography "It's not about the bike" written with Sally Jenkins, Armstrong beautifully weaves the story of his self-actualization. The book is a narrative touching every aspect of his life right since his childhood to his rebirth. In the beginning, he greatly talks about the influence of his mother, his turbulent relation with his fathers and more importantly, his own discovery of the athlete in him. His career as a triathlete and cyclist is like a fairytale of successes and victories till reality strikes in the form of a fourth stage testicular cancer. His prognosis looks bleak with the cancer having spread to his brain, lungs and abdomen and doctors giving him a less than 40% chance of survival. The book takes the readers through the abysmal lows during the treatment to the highs which follow in the form of his Tour De France wins, his marriage to Kristin Richard, and the birth of his son, Luke. The book skillfully summarizes his journey before and after the disease, his metamorphosis from a brash bullish cyclist to the mature diligent competitor. Cycling for him post treatment is a means to a greater end, that of supporting other cancer patients across the world, through the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

In every aspect, Armstrong gives the readers a deep insight into the emotions and thoughts that run through his mind at various points during his fight against cancer, be it the shock of the diagnosis, the pains of the chemotherapy, the fear of death and moreover, the anxiety of never being able to do again what he loves the most. Time and again, he draws comparisons of his predicament with a cycling race, to make himself belief that he can win in this fight for life. The beauty of the book is the ability to make you feel every emotion that overwhelms him in a very simple yet evocative manner which is exactly the reason I strongly recommend it to you.

The story is an epitome of how an individual can find strength in adversity. It is about living strong. Like Armstrong says “Odd as it sounds, I would rather have the title of cancer survivor than winner of the Tour, because of what it has done for me as a human being, a man, a husband, a son, and a father.

PS: I had written it for a review at college. Thought I will share it with you all too.

Source: http://www.makingalife.com/book_covers/ItsNotAboutTheBike.jpg