Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Celestial Celebration

People salute the heavens, because we are so small
Even the proudest amongst us
Has to fall.
Destiny does as destiny wants.
You cannot change,
Destiny taunts.
As we speak now to allay our fears.
It had to be,
For so many years.
You're greatest talent, brightest trophy,
All just happy serendipity.
Doesn't a flower grow only if a seed is sown?
Isn't serenity seen in those little twinkling eyes,
Preceded by a mother's moan?
A poet writes through all those who will read,
OUr hunger for glory we shall not feed.
For all that we learn, we can't fathom divinty.
There is a higher ground we cannot see.
All hail the heavens one more time
Let's pay tribute for our victories.
Won't cost us a dime.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Take me down to the paradise city where the grass is green and the girls are...aaa...hmm..never mind..!!!

A Tale in Two Cities

I was gonna go to work but then I got high
I didn’t get a promotion coz I got high
now I'm selling dope and I know why
cause I got high.
6.30 pm: Sitting at my workstation, stoned to my wits end, waiting for dal or ajay to call. Chatting on the net, I faintly hear Ac/Dc’s “Highway to Hell”. I cock my ears trying to locate its source, to realize its my new Motorazor buzzing with enthusiasm in my pocket. Still enjoying the song, I wheeze it out and flip open the top. “Hallo, meet us at Takshila, 8.30, aj will reach there also around the same time. Don’t forget to score and come dude”, rattles dal, which was all I was waiting to hear. I calmly looked to see if my boss’s around, who, by the way thinks my eyes are red because of a cold, which I coincidently get everyday at noon. Seeing no one around, I pack my stuff and in less than a minute was on the bus, destination Takshila. “Ek Takshila”, I hand over change to the conductor. He promptly hands me a ticket, I stuff it in my pocket and headed for the nearest empty seat beside the window. The bus starts to gain some speed and the wind begins to cool my blood red eyes and I wondered, “How did all this begin?” It felt like just yesterday; last few days in Manipal, five guys sitting in Nirmala apartments—stoned, as usual. The song by Afroman playing in the background:
Was gonna go to class
before I got high
I coulda cheated and I coulda passed but I got high
I am taking it next semester and I know why
cause I got high

Our five and a half years stay in Manipal was about to come to an end in a couple of days. As the clock ticked by, one couldn’t help notice the expressions on each of our faces as we lay in that room. In one corner of the room sat Ajay, fondly known as “Aj” and even more affectionately known as “Gubbu / Ramu”. Ajay, born and brought up in Amchi Mumbai was admitted into Manipal not as an engineering student but as a full time Roller, because that was all he had done in his 5 and a half years stay here. Aj and me come a long way, from our days in Xavier’s, through 10th and 9th block, past Herga, finally bid goodbye in Nirmala, only to meet again in Takshila. Although weak in maths (could never add cigarettes), Aj was one of the smarter guys in the group. Aj, with all his hair, pioneered the smoking industry, officially founded in Herga. An Aj classic would be a neatly rolled joint, with all the works—cleaned n crushed stuff, powdered tobacco and eight years of goodwill. He had perfected the art and has been nominated five times “Roller of the year”, but never won! But that didn’t deter him; he still sticks to his job with the determination of a man on a mission. According to a survey conducted by some stoned jobless guys, “Aj, roll na”, was the most frequently repeated line in the history of Manipal. Although, according to another survey, the guys using that line the most were—us.

A little to the right of Ajay, sitting exactly below the window was a thin, scrawny, fair guy—Minni Maam. Although his real name was Mahesh, secretly I’m sure all of us would have liked it to be Minni itself. Everything bout him was min(n)i—his height, his appetite, his joints and not to forget, his I.Q. Minni comes from Kasargod, a small town bordering Karnataka and Kerala, about 60 km south of Mangalore. Being the last guy to join the group, Minni was the missing link that made us complete….complete losers. Now Aj had another roller, which meant double productivity and we all were twice as much stoned. Understanding Minni’s english was not as tough as understanding how can a guy bring a 1.5 litres pepsi when he was given clear instructions to bring something edible—food, for four hungry (as) souls. His reason to do so, I’m sure, would have even confused Einstein. Don’t get me wrong, Minni was no dork, its just that he is predictable.......and periodic, both in his actions and explanations. Minni was the most bindaas guy in the group. “Minni, lets drink”—ok, “Minni, lets go to izone”—ok. “Minni, lets study”—ok, “Minni, lets smoke up”—ok, “Minni, I’m stoned lets chuck the paper”—ok. That was our Minni, always ready for anything, a team man la. He also was undoubtedly the best “Warcraft 3 Corridor” player amongst us. I, personally am his staunch admirer, especially after his “washing the feet” incident in downtown, the night I learnt a valuable lesson—when Minni wants to go somewhere when he is drunk, let him GO. Some of our best trips were in his house in Kasargod, complete with the dope, soft beds, A.T.T (Any Time T.V), five star treatment, and not to forget the 10 course meals, ten times a day. Ask Dal, I don’t think even his own mother puts paste on his brush and keeps it ready when he wakes up. Does he brush??? That’s another sensitive story we shall talk about later.

A dark night, one room, 100 bucks worth grass, four heads and a black body lying somewhere in between! Ladies and Gentlemen, I give youuuuuuuuuuuuuuu… Leo. Full name Leonardo D’souza (Don’t ask me y.!!) aka “Black beauty” aka “Sleeping beauty”, and aka practically any name which has either of the words “Sleeping”, “Beauty”, or “Black”. Born and brought up in the lap of luxury in United States of Bandra, Leo was the funniest girl…(ooops!! sorry).. guy amongst us. 5” 9’ and not a single white spot on his body, his skin was as delicate and smooth as a baby’s ass. He had long hair, which had to be straightened every now and then. He wasn’t a dumb guy, he couldn’t be! He was the one who convinced Aj to straighten his “scotch bright”. To the layman, he was just another pansy guy, but to us, Leo was the epitome of humor. All he had to do was lie down, and we would burst out laughing. Leo was a true achiever; the word “work” just didn’t exist in his dictionary (even if it did, he would be too lazy to look it up). He founded and ran the A.L.U (Association of Lazy Undergraduates) in Herga and didn’t even pay a single dime as rent. He was also the creator of some of the best excuses/reasons/logic that ever floated around in Manipal, one of his best being the time when he beat Minni to the bathroom in Nirmala, without even stepping into it. Try beating that! Leo was one of the last guys in the group to learn how to ride a bike. Even the girls in Manipal knew how to ride a bike before him. Incidentally, if I have all my facts right, some of his teachers have been “girls”. Leo is the only one amongst us who has had a steady girlfriend for the past 7 years, while the rest of us were going steady with each other.

Boys and Girls it’s now time to play “Dal”. The rules—simple, never get caught wearing anything that’s your own. Right now if you look around the room and see a t-shirt, shorts, jeans, cap, or even an underwear slightly familiar, Congratulations, you have found Dal! (And the piece of clothing that u thought had lost!). Dalson Noel Lazrado, I don’t know where he was born, all I know that he was brought up in different places, which probably may explain the fact that he keeps disappearing from one place and appears in another; an old Herga saying “Dal can disappear faster than the eye can see.” and you will often find yourself saying, ”Arre he was just here, where did he go?” That’s Dal for you— The Dubai Express. Although he was smart, intelligent and loved by all, Dal was a sample in his own unique way. There was a time, whenever he ate, the others would close their eyes and look at him as a sign of respect (which continued till he got rid of his braces). Amongst us, Dal was the only one to attend church and a Bar....... regularly! His drunken stories are known to men..faaaar and wide. Bars in Manipal have renovated their interiors with his money...... adorned their walls with his pictures .Amongst many of his disgusting habits there was one good trait......he didnt smoke!....smoke up...yes!...but smoke...naa!! But believe it or not...deep down inside....Dal was a different person altogether..(you might have to go reeeaaaaaaaaaaly deep though for that!) Any sensible advice always came from him. Even though he couldnt see properly.. he used to show us the right direction. He was also amongst the better footballers we had in Manipal (and no…dominic doesn’t feature in that list). Just like each of us, Dal too.. was good for nothing. A companion for every occasion, be it drinking, smoking or occasional fainting, the man never ceased to entertain us. His debatable choice in movies and his impressive taste in music made Dal one of the most sought after guys in Manipal. His biggest claim to fame would probably be that he and the female actor in the super duper hit “Mysore Mallige” studied in the same college in Puttur. Speaking of Mysore Mallige, a lil birdie told me that, Dal too tried auditioning for the movie, but was rejected on grounds of insufficient equipment…tch tch! “Don’t loose heart Dal, size doesn’t always matter!”

Which brings us now to some other guys a from a slightly different dimension from the one we lived in (though this too was no “Land for the mentally stable”). Dominic Gregory D’silva. We all tried our best to love this guy inspite of his unenviable knack of giving us our most embarrassing moments in public places. His change of crushes every six months served to remind us of the beginning of every semester. Not that his choice of girls was bad , but we just couldn’t figure out why a guy with such a big physique himself ,had to pick chicks who looked to young to pass high school . I definitely feel he’d have some luck in his love life (this would confirmed by all and sundry) if he actually tried talking to the girl instead of stalking her around college on his CBZ ,with a horde of ugly looking hooligans alongside(that would be us) or following her to her house and in one particular case getting drunk and shouting at her dogs.( we were there for these incidents but let me tell you never by choice). There was never a week that passed by in which he wouldn’t get conned out of a hefty sum of money by some random person whom he vaguely knew. This would then end up with every single person in the vicinity being told of how immoral and unethical the people of the world had become. Why in the world he couldn’t keep his money to himself and refuse to lend it out? Some questions were just meant never to be answered. We enjoyed our trips to his house and really love his dad ( Aj, Dal and Herman have been fighting off each other to get adopted by him for quite some while now).”Ghe re Putha” was an expected reply to absolutely any unnecessary and downright stupid request for anything( most times it wasn’t even a request) .We did find it weirdly wacky for a father and son pair to abuse each other with the choicest in vulgarities and obscenities , I guess that’s what makes them cool. Dominic had a syndrome due to which everything in the world was somehow connected to football and in particular Chelsea F.C. We all loved the game no doubt but somehow Dom managed to awaken fairly violent and spiteful reactions to his favorite team and sport. Although Dom was a good player himself( in his own head he truly couldn’t fathom why none of us shared the view that he was the best thing to happen to the game) Herman has a few stats that confirm him being the least liked teammate ever. Most notably one that shows his team never could win.

Wilson Roshan Martis, simple, hard working, decent ,born and brought up in Kuwait and living the good life with a bright future ahead till he was introduced to all the vices a single human being can find time for in one life. He and Dom had a very on and off relationship (guess the followed the lunar cycles or vice versa). It was every second day that we’d come to know the two weren’t speaking to each other, and most definitely every second night that we’d hear one of them was bringing the other back after a drinking binge since that guy couldn’t walk back on his own. It was always awkward to see Willy in his room (its not a pretty sight watching a 6 foot , 80 kilo body dressed only in miniscule boxer shorts which left very little to anyone’s imagination) Don’t know if Willy wanted to seriously take up erotic dancing .Why else would anyone wear such short shorts. Willy always looked like he was struggling to keep a balance in his life. There’s never a grey area with him, its either black or white, good or bad. And no one can ever explain why he does certain things when the mood takes him. I mean why in the world would anyone want to practice drinking 1 full bottle of hard whisky in one sitting? Drink ok , but Practice drinking? Again, one of those questions that aren’t meant to be answered. Willy was a menace to every single being with a mobile phone in Manipal. His constant sports updates to people who couldn’t even spell cricket or football, let alone care for them, have led to various plans being laid all around the college to just kill him (women included let me tell you). He’s one of those few people (actually I’m lucky to have met only one such person in my life, I can’t handle anymore) who used to celebrate and worship anything that had to do with Australia. We weren’t ever surprised to walk into the library just before our semester exams and find him memorizing the birth dates and nicknames of Australian cricketers. He had certain rules to playing holi , you could only throw yellow and green colors on him. How he thought the girls would be interested in learning about Steve Waugh’s upcoming book? He’s explained it a few times I still can’t make sense out of it. He was a religious sort and a fervent campaigner against rock music till he heard that bands like INXS and AC\DC actually hail from Australia. He sometimes came down with illnesses which mysteriously seem to get cured as soon as one of the girls needed company to go out. His crazy death rides on his CBZ (yes he and Dom had the same tastes) were a means of striking fear into anyone who had newly joined college. He’s always been a believer in Dom’s theories of getting women to like you by stalking them. No writer can completely describe Willy when he was high. His ability to come up with the most astoundingly stupid actions with such regularity has to be praised. Not many people have been refused to be taken on a rickshaw by the driver because of the pathetic state they were in. Willy managed it every week. He was always hand in hand with Dom when they decided to pick up fights with random people, who were not even around the place, after another night in Downtown. He still has plans to reach blessed Australian soil though his Dad doesn’t seem to share his enthusiasm. All the best Willy, the Aussies deserve you mate – sorry, MITE (how could I forget after as he’s corrected me 50 million times).

BIG. There’s only one way to describe Keval Charles Jerome Lobo. Life was truly king size for Keval a.k.a K-Lo. He was surprisingly agile and active for someone who weighed 106k.g. (this time I’m not exaggerating). Always the hopeless romantic his pathetic attempts at a love life were a calming influence for men around the world without girlfriends. You’re better off alone guys. My first sight of him was in our first year when he lived in a hostel room hardly big enough to keep one leg of his. He managed to squeeze in and the rest of the batch never tired of passing the place at least once a day. I guess none of us ever saw a polar bear wear glasses. His bike, an Enfield, was exactly what we expected, the biggest piece of machinery we’d laid eyes upon. He too had discovered the joys of shouting outside his girl’s house in the middle of the night (Once again people God bless Dominic D’silva) and added his own flavor by bursting crackers and crashing into streetlights in the close vicinity. Parties at the drop of a hat were K-Lo’s specialty. He once went on a diet for 2 weeks managed to lose 4 kilo’s ( which isn’t much of a difference considering you way over a 100) and threw a party in which all of us ( including him) stuffed ourselves with enough food to solve Somalia’s malnourishment problems, and enough booze to end the drought in that part of the world. One of K-Lo’s many claims to fame is the fact that most bar’s in Manipal don’t have bulbs or lights or anything breakable within touching distance of the customer, thanks entirely to him. Some of his other reasons for throwing a party – “Thanks for giving me an intro, dude” , “ My bike got serviced ,dude” , and of course the weekly “Alrose finds me cute dude ”. K-Lo went on a diet for 8 months after passing out and, fat women of the world take notice, today weighs 68 kilos. Now the lean mean loving machine keeps shuttling between Qatar and Bangalore 4 times a year to meet what he describes as “my only real love”. The chick must be pretty dumb if she still can’t get a hint. I mean, how many women have a guy flying down from more than 2000 miles every 4 months and still think it’s because they’re “Just Good Friends”. (We hope to include the women we know in these biographies soon. Waiting till at least one of us gets at least a faint picture of what goes on inside a female mind)