Dumb and Dumber !

I was a dumb kid. Correction – I am STILL a dumb.. Err.. Kid !!Image

I was always intrigued with life. Well, the feeling would go through states of bafflement, bewilderment and in some days, utter confusion! My brain seemed to continuously process information and look to find answers. This nearly-total lack of a mental filter can cause increased stress. Things find their way to my brain, things that don’t belong there, just as things don’t belong in my lungs, like dust.  Being inquisitive, I would ask lot of questions.. And would often be tagged as being dumb..

“Why do you ask so many dumb questions?” – my friends would say

“Stop it Ari.. Sometimes, you ask really dumb questions.. GO NOW!” – my teachers would say.

Every time I asked a question, my self belief took a beating. During those turbulent days, my pillar of strength was my mother. She always supported me. She said everyone goes through this PTT syndrome (no it’s not Push-To-Talk, it is Pre-Teen Trouble). As you grow older, you gain more KNOWLEDGE, and you will find the answers yourself.

I imagined that in the distant future, the fog around my brain would dissipate, the smoke would clear, and I will be able to begin the satisfying task of gathering pieces of understanding and storing them in my mind.  I was convinced that just like every item in the food store came with an expiry date, my dumb-ness also will have an expiry date? The day will arrive when I will finally have the power of “insight”, the gift of “knowledge”.

I patiently waited for the moment to come…Through my teens, my twenties, thirties..

I am still waiting.

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AA 8 : Black Listed!!

[All chapters of Awesome Anushka (AA) series – click here]

“What is it Shy Guy?” – Anushka asked.

I had decided that the discussion with Anushka cannot wait till end of school. My grey cells were anyway not working – and I needed to pick her brain. The Maths class was over, and the Geography class was about to start. Geography was a subject I never liked and Bansal sir-our Geo teacher spoke in such a montone that he made the boring subject sound even more boring. It seemed like the right time.

I decided to bunk the Geography class.

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AA 7 : No More!!

[All previous chapters of Awesome Anushka (AA) series – click here]

“Stop saying it so many times Ari..” – Anushka said.

The same hands that I was holding and kissing about 16 hours 20 minutes and 10 seconds ago were holding the ice cream that I had bought for us during tiffin break the next day. I had already thanked her five times (or maybe more, I don’t remember) for coming to my home yesterday. I had not told her about the trouble at home – not yet! I had tried hard last night to think of a master plan – but the grey cells in my head refused to provide any help, as is so often the case! I am sure that if I do an IQ test on me, I would be the bottom percentile. But hey! Somehow, I had Anushka. And somehow, the rest of the things – grades, IQ, KK sir, Vikram, Sam.. No-one seemed to matter anymore. All I cared about was her – being with her!

Is this love? Is this infatuation? Is this lust? Is this craziness? Am I being stupid? I didn’t know. I didn’t care.

Her sweet voice interrupted my thoughts, again!

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AA6 : The BAD boy

[All previous posts of Awesome Anushka (AA series) – click here]

I opened the door, to find Her Highness – my mother standing there. She had returned early from work that day. Mom had come in and was in a state of shock to find her son with a (girl) friend. We came from a conservative family – so it was obvious that bringing (girl) friends at home was NOT encouraged. Especially, with no prior information to Her Highness!

There was an uncomfortable few minutes of conversation before mom went inside. I gestured to Anushka to leave quickly. She got the hint, and left.

Everything in my system told me something miserable was going to happen. I was right!

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MD 22 : Dude from Planet of the Apes

IN the early 1990s, my father moved to Delhi, the capital of India. I had spent most of my life till then in a small town – Sindri in the state of Bihar (now Jharkhand). I thought of this move as being both good and bad – good because I would now be exposed to the charming city life – that would hopefully provide opportunities for growth. The not so good part, was my own fear – that everyone in the city would just be much more smarter than me, and I would soon become the “stupid ass from small town”

From my childhood, I had pictured myself in situations where I don’t belong, situations where people around me know more than me, and my skill level is not good enough for me to be part of that group. Thinking about such situations would send a shiver down my spine, and wake me up in the nights as if I just had a nightmare. Somehow, deep down inside me, I felt that in Delhi, I ran the risk of being “made fun of” – of being utterly and completely humiliated!

I was right!

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MD 21 : What’s in a name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.” – Juliet said.

Shakespeare was right! What’s in a name? I am sure I would have been just the same whacky, senseless moron – a pro at making largely pointless conversations – had my name been Rob or Harry or Sukhwinder or Ramanujan or Arunabha or George for all I care.

My mother considers such thoughts almost blasphemous! As per tradition in my family, my name was chosen based on a Yagna (or holy ceremony) that was conducted. Two names – Arindam & Angshuman were the top contenders (I have no idea how), and the purohit (the saint) based on the knowledge and divine power bestowed on him had suggested that Arindam was to be luckier for me – and hence I was chosen to be named Arindam.

If you think that sounds crazy, please join in! You will not be the only one, I tell you!

Anyway, my name gets me into trouble many times.. For starters, the Western world somehow cannot pronounce it too well. I have had to shorten my name to – Ari, whenever I travel to US or other western countries, and have had the fortune (or misfortune) of being called Harry throughout a client discussion (Harry is phonetically similar to Ari, and sounds more of a name to the Western world).

I have been asked – hey, what kind of a name is Ari. Do you know what it means?

Yes, I know the meaning of my name Arindam. I am not sure if Sally or Susan or George or Jack – all have a meaning associated – but my name has. And it was a conversation regarding my name that had got me into trouble in my first job interview.

So, here we go folks – Brace up!

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AA 5 : The Right Thing

[All previous chapters of Awesome Anushka – click here]

“I love you, I really… I mean.. Really do” – I looked into Anushka’s dreamy eyes, and blurted out.

We had gone out to a  restaurant. We were seated in front of each other in the 10th floor restaurant, looking down at the beautiful view.

“What? Are you nuts Ari… You are my BEST FRIEND… but I don’t see you that way. You know, I don’t want to get into love and all these things now.. I told you na… that we would be JUST FRIENDS.. Then, what is wrong with you?”

I felt like a knife had cut through me, shred me into pieces as I stood there listening to her. I did not want to live without her, anyway. What can I tell her now? Will we even stop being friends… I should not have done this, I should have kept my emotions in check.. Controlled myself.. Oh God! What now?

“I hate you, I don’t want to talk to you ever again…” Anushka said and walked away…

No.. No, don’t go away.. I will never do this again. I will be JUST FRIENDS… throughout my life. Don’t leave me…. Please…please Anushka!

I woke up, and sat in the bed… OH God.. Thankfully, it was a dream!! Correction – A nightmare!!

My head felt heavy, my heart ached – the thought of Anushka walking away… No.. No.. I cannot let that happen. Ever.

Sitting on the bed, that night, I had decided to do “The Right Thing”

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