From Chukku Kaapi to Cappuccino
This blog was written because I was left with no work to do after coming back from Café Coffee day today. I always feel that blogs are written by people who have nothing else to do, but write blogs. And blogs are written for people who have nothing else to do, but read blogs. So if you have nothing else to do, continue reading.
Café Coffee Days in my life!!! I can't believe it. Six, seven years back I would never have imagined that such a day would occur in my life. Café Coffee day is supposed to be a place where high class people who didn't know how to spend the money they had, go. But now I am there... I have changed a lot since my school days.
As I said in my previous post, I never talked in English till the end of my 12th standard. May be in my primary school we talked in English a little bit... (Since girls were there in my primary school we used to talk in English... Mostly it was the "You go girl." "Miss this boy no... he is stealing my pencil miss" and "Miss this boy is pinching me miss" type of pathetic English.). Till I went to college, I never read an English newspaper. I never knew who Sidney Sheldon was. I never saw English movies. "Star movies" was considered adult material at home. I never talked to a girl. I don't feel that I missed anything...But still because I didn't have such experiences, I had to adjust a lot when I traveled beyond Cornigela, my place.
Born in Cornigela, an ordinary conservative town, even Chennai took a lot of time for me to adjust. My home town was too cool. You could watch movies for 15 Rs. in an AC theatre. You get the best food at lowest prices. You can drink water wherever you want and it doesn't affect you. Girls never wear T-shirts or Jeans. You can see girls in half-sarees. And there were a lot more things that were cool to me...My first costly experience as far as I can remember was my first Pizza.
In my 12th standard holidays I had my first Pizza. We, a group of 5 friends went to a bakery. It was around 7 p.m at night. We ordered our first Pizza (only one because it costed so much - 20Rs!!!). As the Pizza arrived one of the guys started using his hand to take out a piece. "Ley" ....The others shouted... "asingam pannatheylae. Fork kudupaanga"... We got 5 forks for eating one Pizza. Everybody tried taking out a piece with the fork. Nobody was successful. Stupid forks... As we were trying different methods, two girls came in, and took the table adjacent to ours. They seemed to be from the so called high class families in Cornigela. They ordered a Pizza. We were still trying to eat ours. Their Pizza arrived in their table. Unable to find a solution, we looked at them for one. One of the girls took out a piece with her hand and started eating it. Damn stupids we were!!! But what do we do now?? We can't go back to the hand-intake method... We are brave!!! Luckily for us the power went off... Forks were put down and everybody started picking a piece with the hand. Our sole aim- finish it off before power comes back!!! Unlucky for us, power came back immediately... We had a piece each in our hands... The girls started laughing... People around us realizing what had happened too joined them...We promised we would never eat Pizzas again. But we all did.
The first change in lifestyle for me occurred in Chennai. Chennai was completely different. Watching a movie for Rs.40 was a one time life experience for most people in my village. I had to adapt to such things since I had to be a part of the group. Otherwise you feel let out. My habits started changing. For example, you look into the glass before drinking water to check whether it is clean. I went to my first Coffee Pub in Chennai. I remember saying some time back "Loosu paya thaan Coffee publa poi mukkaa manineram wait panni oru black coffeeya 50 Ruba kaasu kuduthu kudippaan" - I did it...
If Chennai was difficult for me, how easy would be an MBA school? I was dumbstruck with the culture... The Hi's and the fundoo English speaking guys were all a great change, though I had expected it. There is a sense of hollowness when you say a Hi to somebody here. In Cornigela a smile was enough to say what you feel. There is real sense of belonging in a smile. I miss it - a smile without a Hi.
Here is an example to show how my family mindset is different from the mindset here. At the end of the first term when I went home, I showed quite a few photographs to my parents. In one photograph there was a guy who had his arms around a girl's shoulder. My mother asked me whether they were in love. I said "No". But even today she doesn't believe me. She still feels that they are in love!!! If only she comes here(...
The mind works mechanically here - after you crack a joke you do what they call high fives!!! When you meet a person you ask something like "What's up buddy?"- Only God knows how you are supposed to answer for such a question!!! You say "Excuse me" after a sneeze - What big mistake have you made to say that?? When you are ready to sacrifice ethics for grades and see even your closest friend as a competitor in group discussions, how much difference will that Excuse me make? Pretty difficult to adjust!!!
Even Café Coffee Days and costly dinners sometimes hurt. Daily my father takes a bus to reach home from his office because taking an auto would cost him Rs.30. He walks a kilometer daily from the bus stop to my house. When I think of that and the fact that I am spending Rs.50 for a Chocolate Fantasy, I feel uneasy. Definitely it is not a matter of money. The fact is that I somewhere in my heart feel that this is not really who I am...The fact that I have changed a lot hurts... I want to be the same myself, but I am unable to do so.
Started listing down a few things that have changed in my life. The left column is a list of things that were part of my life before I entered college. And the right are those that I came to know/were a part of my after I entered college.
I wish I go back to school and be the same guy I was. I know I can't. But I want to do it and live the same life all again.
Leo da Mirci once said, "I love what I do because I do only what I love".
If only following something is as simple as saying something!!!
I come back to my room in despondence after an RMD class and find this mail in my inbox. Another one of those forwards, oozing out nostalgia and making the mordern urban lifestyle look like hell. I could so easily have escaped into this surrealism of reflecting on the days gone by; innocence lost and simple pleasures abstained. But instead i sat down to write a blog post. Yes, i am one of those jobless individuals who write blogs targeting similar species. To begin with, childhood always seems so much fun; full of new things to discover, a world to explore, simple joy to be gained out of the most ridiculous acts and moments of pure ecstasy. No wonder we go nostalgic and would give anything to warp time and get back to those carefree days. But were they really carefree? You had fears even then, you had worries and you had pain. Of course, on hindsight after an experience of more than 20 years in this unforgiving world they pale into atomic insignificance. You feared the dark, you were afraid of your maths teacher or whoever it was, you hated going to school (i did), you worried about crossing the street that had a growling dog prowling and you were terrified when you did something wrong like breaking a vase. Then they were mortal fears. They tore you apart with terror and agony.
My point is simple. Enjoy life as you experience it. The past always looks so much full of fun and innocence. But in leaning too much into it you might just miss the pleasures that life throws you now. I still savour insignificant moments like in college me and karthi used to stop by a potti kadai to buy lays and cool drinks on our way home every evening like a ritual or when me and kandha created our first presentation ( a review of the film kushi ;)). I still remember the elation and joy when it poured cats and dogs in coimbatore and our school got cancelled or the first time i met paddu at karthi's house when it was dusk and i had accompanied him from college. But then i also enjoyed the tasty food at dhaba express i had in chennai with paddu last year or the bloody mary i had with arjun a couple of weeks back at residency or the numerous post cs escapades to boomerang poring over the menu on what to eat or the unlimited beer at cts annual day. To me all of them were fun - total and complete. Either kalan or pizza, pal ice or choco chip, afghan food or dosai, i enjoyed all these moments equally and would continue to do so. So no regrets in growing up!