Monday 18 January 2010

Nostalgia Welcomed

Away from the rigmarole of office work, the last 2 weeks have opened windows to the past that i had missed. Presently i am undergoing a training programme in Tambaram, Chennai. On an average day, our day starts with Parade followed by Classes, and again Classes followed by Lunch break and Physical training. The schedule is the same now as during my initial training days, except for the venue.

When i had undergone training in airforce as an ab-initio, it was in the pristine campus of Air Force in Jalahalli East, Bangalore. An year back i had the opportunity to visit the same campus after a gap of 15 years. The world outside the campus had changed beyond recognition, while inside the wall not a single thing had changed. The buildings marked for demotion 15 years back, were still waiting for their end. Our barracks, the trees around, the parade ground, everything was the same. When we went to have a cup of tea at the cafeteria, the guy manning it hadnt changed either, nor the taste of tea.

During that visit to Bangalore, we were a batch of Air Warriors who had all undergone training during more or less the same period. To take in the things around, through our senses, we went for a walk into the past around the area. All of us were excitedly talking, pointing fingers at things that we could associate with, without any blur in memory. Those days, getting up in the early morning and having our health run was not what we wanted; but now we are ready to do it, if only, life could be as simple as then.

My course mates who share my class presently in Tambaram, are all enjoying the semblance of schedule to our training days. No office tension, except for may be a little studying that is to be done to clear the course successfully. I have been noticing elderly soldiers in my class becoming children again, without a trace of blush on their faces. They ask the silliest of questions, pressing the whole class into giggles which ultimately turns to laughter. The instructors do not take umbrage to the little fun that we elderly students have. In fact they too join in, and the lesson is put on hold so that the joke can be carried to its logical end. And then, we all join in and laugh our hearts out.

At the PT ground, though none of us is comfortable with running 2 big rounds of a football ground, the final stage of the PT is enjoyed. After the running and exercising, our PT instructor initiates us into bouts of laughter, like we see in laughter clubs. All the pain of running and exercising is forgotten and we all laugh our hearts out loud, without any inhibitions. Wish life turns as simple for ever, as i am having it now.

Saturday 16 January 2010

No celebrations

On the 19th of January, i will be 36 years old. For the past 7 years, exactly at midnight between 18th and 19th of january, one girl would call and wish me happy birthday. This time around i doubt if she will call me to wish on my birthday. The reason being she would be undergoing a knee operation on the 19th of January 2010. Though we have never met, both of of us know each other inside out.

Last week she sent me an SMS enquiring about my present address. I gave her the adress. And today as i was writing the first sentence of this blog, a mail came. It was from her, and i knew what it was. It was a greeting card from her. I opened it quickly and started reading it. The opening was touching, and as always it was "Dearest Joshi" and then few more touching words straight from her heart. She wished me all good things through her sweet and sincere words, and asked me to have a blast of a celebration on this birthday.

How could i celebrate when my best friend is scheduled to have an operation on my birthday. Last week i told my better half that though i will be with her during this birthday of mine, i cant celebrate and also told her the reason. She understood the special bond i shared with my friend and hence respected my decision. So, this time around no partying or any pomp on my birthday.

The friend i talked about here is Puvaneswari, an old chatmate of mine. A gem of a person, a tamilian born and brought up in Malaysia, but studying in London. She completed her ACCA and is presently pursuing her MBA. I wish her a fast recovery and pray whole heartedly for her good health. For my family and friends, the celebrations and partying can wait until next year.

Saturday 9 January 2010

When Eating became a Pain

In Air Force, there is a tradition whereby the married guys invite the bachelors to home and treat them with tasty home cooked food. Weekends are generally earmarked for this purpose when everyone is free from work. Usually 2 to 3 young guys are invited at once and treated to a sumptous fare, whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner. This is done turnwise by most of the senior colleagues who are already married.

For my shy nature i avoided most of the invitations with some or the other excuse. One person kept inviting me week after week, because he liked me much. I was never comfortable with the idea of visiting someone's place just for the purpose of eating. Though the visit helped in socially being connected, filling one's stomach was the crux of the whole exercise. I tried many excuses to avoid this eating-visit, but this particular person kept inviting me the next week and so on. Atlast i had to agree to visit his home for a breakfast session.

My host was a tamilian named "Satta Nathan" which roughly translated to "King of Rules", and that could be the reason he wanted to do complete justice to his role as a Host. I used to eat 3 to 4 Idlis for breakfast. When i finished eating 4 idlis, i said "Iam done Sir". He was not the one to listen. His wife caught his gesture quite ably and dropped 2 more idlis into my plate. I gobbled up this extra seving with slight difficulty, so that my host doesnt feel unhappy. No sooner i finished the extra serving, another 2 were served. I was looking pathetic when i saw it, but my host was smiling and pleading me to finish those 2 idlis too. With great difficulty i finished those two.

By now i had gobbled up a total of 8 idlis. Mr. Satta Nathan was not a host who could be easily satisfied, though my stomach had started crying and pleading to me to put an end to this episode. With all the efforts that i took to convince him that day, he was not one to allow me to end my breakfast. He kept asking me if i didnt like his idlis. I answered they were good, and right away he would say me to eat another couple of them. I kept smiling to him and his wife, while quitely swallowing all the pain i was experienced, along with the idlis. That day he allowed me to get up only after i finished eating 13 idlis.

After that day, i kept turning down politely all the invitations for many years from all my colleagues. These days i do visit people's house but i make a request that i shall serve myself. This technique has worked well for me. I never thought Hosts could be so cruel to a guest. Till this day Mr. Satta Nathan has not realised the agony i went through, while at his home.