When the clock strikes 12!

Usually an early sleeper, I used to setup a alarm for 11.30 PM in anticipation of the calls. And, invariably, there were many of them. There were some who would call much earlier than others. They would say, “I hope I am the first!” Those first calls were the ones that I most looked forward to. There were some unexpected calls (much to my delight). “Not bad, he/she remembers me!” .

But this year, it was different. Having come home very late, at around 11, I was watching television and eating dinner simultaneously, when my parents walked into the hall. In their hands were dried raisins. It was then the clock struck 12. A short rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ soon followed. They blessed and wished me a great year. They then went off to sleep.

I received no calls, until 12.08 AM when Neha, a good friend from IIMC, called up. It was the first call alright but it was different. The tone of the conversation was little mature, if I could say so. Neha didn’t ask, “What special plans for the day? Where are you partying?” Instead, we spoke about jobs, career and life in general.

Yes, phone calls from friends wishing you a very happy birthday won’t change. But, I daresay the content does change. You can call it whatever you like; be it coming of age or simple maturity. Even the call timings from your friends will change. To substantiate my latter claim, I shall recall a personal experience. In fact, during this occasion, I was the one who made the call. I still remember it was Ketan’s, another friend from IIMC. Conveniently busy during the day, I forgot to make the call. So, it was around 11.50 in the night when I finally picked up the phone. It was ages since we spoke and hence for the first few minutes we conversed generally. You wouldn’t believe, but I think I actually conveyed my birthday wishes to him after the clock struck 12, on the next day!

So, this year, when Jacob, a good friend and former colleague at DC, wished me at 11.40 PM, I told him, “There is no need to feel guilty. I am much worse.” We laughed about it.

I believe birthday calls are fast evolving. Like I have already told, its content and tenor does change. Of course, with friends being friends and machans always remaining machans, some phone calls won’t change. But that’s okay!

PS: For dinner today, I asked Amma to prepare Pongal. She did. I returned home and had it. At midnight, with a cup of Kesari- my birthday sweet.


The Great Lungi/Dhoti Divide

(How do you pass off a veshti, alternatively called dhoti, in a laundry which doesn’t have the traditional attire in its list of washable garments? Well, that’s a million dollar question I had often been confronted with, here at Jindal. Left with little choice, I include it under the ‘Bed sheets’ column. Bed Sheets. To all the Dhoti patrons and ‘staunchists’, I concede you might not be impressed, but can’t help it!)

Now, having confessed to my ‘unearthly’ deed, I shall shift the focus of this blog post towards a raging debate that warrants my personal interdiction. It’s what I refer to as the Great Lungi/Dhoti divide.

Last summer, I returned to the university with a crisp new dhoti. Truth to be told, I knew I was in for quite a reception from friends and hostel mates, as and when they ever caught me in one. After few weeks, freshly emboldened with desire, I wore it with a sattai (shirt). Venturing out of the room, I immediately ran into a neighbour. “Arey.. Kya baat! Lungi huh?” “Dei, Dei (with a exasperated groan), this is, for your information, not a Lungi. It is called A DHOTI!”

Been in this situation before, I engaged him in an conversation aimed solely at his enlightenment. The fundamental distinguishing factor between the two, I painstakingly clarified, is the presence of a partition in the Dhoti, unlike in the Lungi for which one would need to ‘step in’. Then, there are other less significant differences like; Dhoti comes predominantly in white, whereas the Lungi, is what one would call, a bit more extravagant with its colourful patterns. While the latter is primarily a domestic garment, for common usage within home confines, the Dhoti is seen as an symbol of propriety and virtue. Having listened patiently, his impassive face soon broke into a wide grin. “Ayee, I was just pulling your leg.” “Of course, you were.”

This particular incident happened many months back and lest I forget, the then newly released Chennai Express certainly didn’t help matters. If Yo-Yo Honey Singh wasn’t famous enough, his crooning of “Lungi dancu” firmly entrenched the name in my mind. If “Why this Kolaveri” had people, in IIMC, badgering me to do a karaoke, now, worse still, I had to ward of a substantial number of them pestering me to do a Lungi dancu!

On Monday evening, travelling in the metro after office, a colleague at The Caravan enquired, “Hey. You said that you were writing a article on Lungi, right? What’s up with it?” It came across as an genuine query. “Oh yeah, I am. Hoping to post it anytime soon.” Slightly encouraged, I sheepishly asked whether he knew the Lungi/Dhoti difference. “Yes. I did see Chennai Express, didn’t I!” (Face Palm)    


That extra five minutes of sleep!

If at all there is an invention students are grateful for, it has to be the alarm clock. If it all there exists a thing that lazy students owe gratitude to, it undoubtedly has to be the snooze option! Up until now, I had never given due consideration to the person behind the laziest invention of all time. So today, I did some research (Research means ‘Googling’) and found that a chap called Lew Wallace is considered/believed to be its inventor. It, indeed, is a shame that he was not known to us before; else we could have erected a temple in his honour! After all, if we can have a temple in honour of an actress (South Indian actress Khushboo), a monument befitting a legend and his legendary contribution is a no brainer, really!

So here I was last night catching up on some television in the common room with a friend when he let slip that he needs to wake up early tomorrow at an unearthly hour of 4! He sighs, “Assignments!” I reserve my reaction, for I have seen many such guys. Assignments, exams amongst others deprive us of one essential thing. Sleep! While the earnest people burn their midnight oil to finish pending assignments, others take the conservative approach of waking up early in the morning. Knowing myself, I prefer the safer route of staying awake. I was never a risk taker and never will be, as I was never totally convinced by that alarm clock and I can never trust myself (not even a single ounce) with that little pesky snooze option!

Waking up early in the morning needs a strong reasoning! In my case, there are two factors which decide my rousing time. Compelling factors like missing out on an early morning flight/train, festivities or the most important of them breakfast ranks higher in the priorities. Somehow exams, assignments though equally if not more significant doesn’t quite fit into the compelling reasons. It’s not as if I have never done that but for me the charm of waking early to study just doesn’t sound impressive. I look at its productivity and net result has not always been encouraging.

For many of us, there is the time we’re supposed to wake up and the time we actually wake up. I remember writing a story during my stay at Dhenkanal with regards to the half hour postponement in commencement of our daily classes. The move was unanimously well received by the students, ultimately resulting in a marginal improvement of our attendance rate. Now in my present university, a move on similar lines has been in effect for close to a month. The breakfast timings have been extended by half hour to 10 on weekends and university declared holidays. I am eagerly looking to a change in my sleeping patterns, though only time will tell.

In due course of writing this blog, I found a couple of interesting articles on net that warrants a read. Check them out!