Son, Who’s Your Girlfriend?

My life is moving in a Vineeth Srinivasan movie track. There are silver linings everywhere, no villains, and tons of advice from random people, who has nothing to do with my life.

This past week I was in Thrissur, travelling direction less in the labyrinth they call Thrissur round. The driver of the auto rickshaw I hired – random man, probably in his 40s, strong built and grievously smiling — broke the silence with a question,

“What’s your girlfriend doing?”

I was shocked; I looked into the mirror to make sure that it was not my father in the driving seat. Thank God, it was not him.

“I don’t have one”

Then came an exclamation “heyy” like, I married his daughter.

“Why are you so curious?” I asked him.

“I married at 17” he said.

“Oh, youth wasted” I give it back.

Then he transformed himself into a Vineeth Srinivasan character and said,

Mone (son) this life is just precious, it’s long and demanding. Youth like you should chase everything, you have to live like you won’t regret when you’re my age”

He took a long breath and continued;

“I know you have a girlfriend, you both having a wonderful time. Enjoy it as much as you can, but don’t forget your family, your mom and dad, make sure she’s a good girl and your family won’t object”

I imagined every Vineeth Srinivasan character inside my head. The warmth of those characters be it the father in Jacob’s kingdom of Heaven or the Bus cleaner in Anandam, all saints all fragile, born to preach the gospel.

Then, I opened the Twitter on my smart phone, scrolled down through my timeline and handpicked an article that elaborating the topic; “Why Marriage is a thing of the past?”

Featured Image: An auto rickshaw guy in Ernakulam

What Heeba has to do with the falling real estate prices in Dubai

Before I write anything sinister, I’d like to take this opportunity to solemnly remember the people of Dubai, because Heeba is going to that part of the world. May God be gracious and merciful to you all my people in Dubai.

On the onset of this necessary disaster, I also think about my brother Riyas Ummer (or Unnika as he’s been called by everyone except Heeba). You can’t help it my brother, so please bite the bullet.

I met Riyas once, no twice — one, of course at that unfortunate day he wore a blue blazer and Kunnamkulam-made black sunglass.

I met Heeba on a damp hot September morning of 2016. As you can imagine, my first impression of this woman was, “Oh My… It’s kindergarten again”.

We instantly become friends because she was so eager to meet a matured guy. It was with my advice she limited number of boyfriends to 3 from 7 and eventually ditched all of them to settle for Riyas.

When I joined the Times in 2016, my weight was 52 kilos. Now, I weigh 49. All thanks to Heeba for shamelessly stealing the major portion of my lunch.

Her mom cooks irresistible fish curry. As she was absolutely selfless, she used to mix the curry with rice before eating all the fish pieces and proclaim with sense of pride “Chaaril mukki nakkiya mathi“(gravy is enough for you scumbag)

Even though Heeba was senior than me, both in age and work experience (Her Date of birth is a matter of dispute and now destroyed Connecticut Panchayath files say she was born 1984 — Yes during the Emergency!) She always respected me. She even copied my style and dedication in my work. She often quote me as her source of inspiration for her punctuality.

We shared some beautiful memories like hiring a Uber cab to Edappally and she paying with her Paytm wallet. I thanked her inside my head for her generosity, but she prove me otherwise when on the next day she waited in the entrance gate of our office to collect that money, 52 rupees to be precise. Oh, what a lovely girl!

She is a very honest girl. I’ll explain it with a simple episode. When Heeba decided to marry Riyas, first question she faced from her townfolk was “This is a love marriage, right?”

“Why?” She asked.

“Because, you both work in the media business” they replied.

Some of the people have done some research to find out the similarities of the companies they’re working.

Heeba works at the Times of India.

Riys works at the Khaleej Times.

“So, Is Khaleej sister concern of Times of India?” An intelligent aunty asked.

She swear to god that this was an arranged marriage and she has never met Riyas before. Pointing at the ambiguity of the statements her relatives and distant friends reaffirm their point that it indeed was a love-marriage.

On this juncture, I stepped in. With a single sentence I put an end to this discussion. It was straight from the heart, without any fallacy.

“Hey you people of Connecticut, do you think Riyas is a fool? Had he been by any chance was in love with this women, do you really think he’ll take a self destroying decision like marrying her?”

People felt relieved.

On a lighter note I want to say the following things;

Me and Heeba were friends for a just over a year. She is one of the prime reasons why I come to office and fight with the mundane. I saw her happy, strong, determined, flimsy and most importantly in tears.

Whenever she cried, those moments as fr as I can recollect, were silly and pointless to most of the hard hearted people. So why does those moments break her? Because she was innocent and sensitive, Because she unconditionally supported and cheered everyone. For that very reason she dared to call me on nine o’clock in the morning – the day I take leave to meet the doctor-  shout over the receiver “Eda marappatti ninak OCD onnum illa. Thinnat ellinte edayil kettittilla kozhappam aanu. Office lek vaaa… Ninte OCD njaan maati tharam” (Hey, you mad dog you don’t have OCD. You’re privileged and that’s your problem. Come to office, I’ll treat your mental disease you loser”)

For that spirit I want to salute you my ‘brother’ and dear friend Heeba. I’m gonna miss you, but at the same time I’m super happy for you. Adieu, dear Marappatti! 😊

***

Featured image courtesy of Bibin Babu. Me and Heeba wearing “Greek style” flower crowns.

(Note: Emergency was declared in India in the year 1975. I’ve mentioned it sarcastically, though I was not sure about the date. Joys helped with it.)

Some People Never Go Crazy

All my life, as far as I can remember, I lived by my principles (some of them are weird). I don’t say they are the greatest things or they are the best things – may be they are the best things, I been to.

I apologized to me many times. I apologized to other people many times. So many times I’ve lost myself, so many times I broke my heart, so many times I felt like, this is not the place to be or I just want to go back –to where? I don’t know.

Most important thing I want to say is I survived. I just survived this shit and I am kicking and I’m still on the road.

I was happy for who I am, like most of the time. There have been instances, days, months, literally years; I lived without any idea of what I’m going to do next.

But I stayed. I stayed here.

Sometimes I felt I’ve not done anything – good or bad. Moments when I thought I just existed not living.

You live for who you are; you live for what you love. I’ve gone astray, many times. I didn’t mean I killed anyone. But I’ve gone astray with my mind being polluted, I polluted myself. But you know, I’ve to admit I enjoyed it. That’s the best thing about it. You do something totally reckless but you enjoy it, and you don’t have any guilt. You are free to do whatever you feel needed.

This doesn’t mean I was psychopath who shows no remorse. I’ve regretted many times for the things that I enjoyed doing, thereby hurting a handful of people. I even regretted my birth, so you will get an idea of the shit that I’m talking about.

I regretted many times the things I enjoyed. That’s a bad thing but you have no choice. You can’t predict the future, you are just floating every time, and you don’t even know the time you are being allowed here. You don’t know what you are going through until you get out from that situation and land somewhere else worrying about something totally miserable like the problem you survived.

When you face another situation, you can go back and ask yourself how good that decision was. It’s pointless because you can’t change it for it’s over. Whatever you did in that moment you believed true validated your choice. It has nothing to do with right and wrong, and if it has, definitely you did the right thing. You don’t want to drag your past into your present – ready to wait for judgement – to compare how well or bad you lived. It doesn’t add up.

I have faced tumults times just like everybody else, of course, the difference is I am selfish –like everybody else – and I was more concerned about the things that happen in my life. I had a really difficult time living. But I knew I want to stay, keep holding on the pole that’s given to me by myself.

I was here and I never run away. I never took those white pills you see on soap operas or leapt out of bridges as described by Charles Bukowski. I don’t say I was strong thus I stayed. No, I never was. I loved the status quo. I knew I will never jump into something glittering because that’s not what I was needed at that point of time. So I stayed as if I had no other options or may be lecturing my subconscious that there’s something good going to happen.

When you are inside a storm you are not going to calm down yourself by cursing the storm. Or you can’t stop the storm by blowing with your whole strength. These are the worst a man can do.

So I stayed.

There are things that are even bigger, better and mysterious than you already know. So, realize this; not everything is in your control. Not everything you do can liberate you or make you happy.

As Lao-tzu said; Life is natural and spontaneous reactions to situations. We shouldn’t stress out. Also, you shouldn’t ask for the meaning of everything. The answer to the question meaning of everything is it is meaningless.

People broke me many times. I have been shattered by a person and still I end up with that person. Imagine that, I chose to walk with the same people who broke me. I never said anything to them. I was blinded by faith and trust. I’ve seen people stabbing me right at the heart. They have their reasons to justify this as much as I have my reasons to denounce them. It’s a good thing to remember I never was stabbed by anyone from behind. Because the people I knew – both my friends and foes – were straight or at least turned opportunists only when it really matter them to prioritize their options.

I’ve seen people talk nice and snub you. But I never did anything horrific to anyone. I held my head high and walked away whenever I feel it’s necessary to sustain me. When I felt like my ego is being hurt, my pride is being hurt, my integrity is been taken for granted I was good enough to know my value and walk away.

You are not going hold this thing inside you, or keep repeating this drama and emotional crunch of a moment inside your head and take ‘revenge’ on them. That’s not feasible.

‘You can’t broke someone else in order to fix you’

Whatever you do to your mind to console you, salvage your pride and integrity matter the most. They are already out of this equation. They serve no purpose.

You let go off that people. But most importantly you stay here, like it is needed. Stay here for real. Sometimes that’s how you redeem yourself. Be there when you are happening – simple!

***

Title of this post is a quotation by author Charles Bukowski

Featured Photo: My longtime-friend Shameer laughs without malice, as I try to photobomb the frame. Courtesy of Nijeesh KB  

 

 

Top Ten ‘Stranger Things 2’ Characters

Reviews of the Stranger Things 2 prove how good the show has become. After the success of Season one, it was doubted that how much surprise the show can reprise. It looks like Stranger Things have already become a blockbuster series with two more seasons of the show is expected to stream in coming years. Who came top of the chart after season two? I pick my favourite characters. Here’s my top 10 list of Stranger Things Season 2 characters.

10. Bob

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Sean Austin as Bob| Photo courtesy of Netflix  

Who would have thought Joyce Byers will be dating someone normal and absolutely stranger to Hawkins’ secrets. Well Bob paid the price for his ‘ignorance’ though. Bob is the family guy who can’t stop loving Joyce and her kids. He’s very likable and understanding. Though the role is a bit clichéd -Good Samaritan dying in action- Bob does a Barbara in pulling off the otherwise predictable character. We can also forgive Bob for giving the worst ever advice to Will.

9. Mad Max

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Sadie Sink as Maxine aka Mad Max | Photo courtesy of Netflix

The red haired girl was a mystery in the opening episode of season 2 with almost everyone tried to connect her with upside down, but, in reality it was her family life that was in upside down. She knew she was being watched by Stalkers but she kind of enjoyed it. For Billy being an A-list bully she can’t help her life but playing arcade wear the mask of the weirdo. Despite the party team – especially mike- being rude to her, she stick to the gang. She’s the eye candy of the middle episodes and we were more than eager to know when she going to learn the secrets. The kiss in the snow ball was the cherry topping, I feel for Max when how Eleven refused to shake hands.

8. Mike

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Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler

Hero of the season one, Mike is on a supporting role here in season 2. He has become lonely and struggling to accept the departure of Eleven. He tried to redeem himself but Mad Max made him distance from his friends. With Lucas and Dustin fighting to impress Mad Max, Mike almost maintained a low profile and attached to Will. It’s Okay, he helped the team by tracking Shadow Monster. He’s our mike. A kiss of Eleven is all that he needed this season.

7. Lucas

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Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair | Photo courtesy of Netflix

The biggest gainer this season, may be after Dustin, is definitely Lucas. From the season one’s rebellious, outspoken role, Lucas has transformed himself into a romantic yet understanding guy. The entry of Max made him both vulnerable (he spills the beans) and mature (he knows how to kiss). There are occasions where Lucas fights with Dustin and Mike, but this time around he was in total control. Erica might be the only person defying this.

6. Hopper

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David Harbour as Jim Hopper

If the Duffers were not to create the character Bob, It would be Hopper pampering both Jonathan and Will. Instead, He ends up with ‘brat child’ Eleven. There’s no other character in Stranger Things as Hopper who can contribute so much charisma to the strangest things happening in Hawkins. Though his role looks like a side kick in season 2, we can’t deny the fact that our Chief deserves a break from meltdown.

5. Steve Harrington

Joe Keery as Steve I Photo courtesy of Netflix

Okay. Let’s face it — Steve loves Nancy and unlike the first season, where he was a total jerk, he deserves her too. The way Steve redeemed himself to be a protector of the children is amazing. His association with Dustin is so cool that we tend to believe it was necessary for Steve to take time off from all the ‘bull shit’. Joe Keeri is entertaining, especially with the Baseball bat.

4. Dustin

Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson

The only one instance looks boring that involves Dustin in season two is his reunion with Dart. It become a cliché (Wait a minute; this whole series is a homage to clichéd 80’s right?) Apart from this minor flow, the character looks absolutely amazing. Gaten Materazo delivers one of the best performances of the season. His wits, improvisations and additions are adept and entertaining. The relentless pursuit of greatness by the perennial underachiever looks fabulous in Materazo’s subtle acting.

3. Eleven

Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven I Photo: Netflix

Dear Duffers, you can mess up with every character in Stranger Things but Eleven. Thanks to Millie Bobby Brown’s excellent acting, Eleven is now ‘MilEven’. One can argue that Eleven was reduced to a supporting role, at the same time you can’t deny the fact that she’s now out in the world, vying for a normal life like every other child and it requires her to do a soul search and a little bit of loitering. Millie is beautiful actress, her performance is just flawless that make us fall in love with character even on the weirdest episode – The Lost Sister – of the season 2. Don’t forget the kiss as well. From 80’s MTV like punk teen look she suddenly fit herself into a Barbie doll costume just to kiss Mike!

2. Mrs Byers

joyce
Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers | Photo courtesy of Netflix

If you don’t know how to look after a 12 year-old ‘zombie’ boy, learn it from Joyce Byers. She is a loving mother and resilient fighter. This role is the tour de force of the entire series and it is well entrusted with the talented Winona Ryder. More than Will’s or anyone’s, this fight she had with the shadow monster matters most to Joyce. That’s why I like her. She is like Sarah Connor to me, without that biceps and Sun-glass, of course.

1. Will Byers

will
Noah Schnapp as Will Byers | Photo courtesy of Netflix

Here’s the revelation of the season — Mr. William Byers, Hawkins’ best kept secret. In the season one, Will’s story was more a narration through the reflections of his friends and family. But, when it comes to season two, Will becomes the gate to upside down. This role in the particular season was really challenging if not creepy. In addition, it contained a lot of nuanced notes of behavior that’s tough nut for anyone Will’s age. Noah Schnapp pulled it of brilliantly well. He was clever to conceal himself in the shell of sickness. His tears, his doubts, self loathing, everything was on point. Noah is the Mike of season two.