on gratification via writing

every time i keep hitting the blues (more often these days) I turn to this blog to vent it out. Sometimes the blues hues are so dark and trippy I feel like pulling the plug on these narcissistic pieces I polish off as a blog. But again, I get this rare comment/off-line/mail at least once an year by some person I’ve never met or will ever meet, as to how while reading some arbit stuff I wrote brightened up their gloomy day or made them think and they quote some lines from my muse/rant which even I don’t remember having written. The ability to put acts, thoughts, feelings, emotions in to words is a gift for me or I inherited this bit from my ancestral genetic pool. Yes, I have met people who read a lot, talk a lot but when i ask them do you write, they draw a blank. They tell me writing was never their forte, like poetry is my bête noir. Poems, I tried writing many times but always end with crumpled bits of paper with strange voodoo like figurines scribbled on them.

And there was this one time in during my masters, the topper of the class,a fair skinned,thick moustache totting, tam-bramh and me were slotted in the same project group. All the complex stuff involving design,calculations and all I leave it to the brainiac because at the very start I throw in the towel and tell him “ I can’t do half the analytical reasoning stuff you can. You’re a genius with a high mensa rating or woteva. So if you need my contributions in any other area like time-pass and all, I am game. And yes, I need a A grade in this course to renew my scholarship.”  He looks at me amused (I guess it is an over achievers thing, this quizzical smile) and says “ dude! chill. I got this covered. (let’s hug it out bro) from my point of view you are far superior to me in ways I can hardly fathom. You are creative man. You can write. I can’t write for shit. All the answers that I scribble on my tests they are ditto from the text books.I can’t re-write in my own language. In the long run you will be more successful than the many of us dorks that sit here mugging page after page formula after formula. Just hang in there and continue to be innovatively creative.” (needless to say I had an nerdgasm of sorts hearing those words from him)

The way-back machine: (henceforth all references to my shady past shall be termed thus)

p.s. The WBM posts tend to be pretty long and wordy as I become overtly nostalgic when recounting past events.

yet another p.s. According to recent advances in neurological sciences it as been determined that the average adult mind can read a lengthy blog posts for 3 minutes maximum before attention deficiency kicks in. Just letting you know. Unless you are my biographer or something I wouldn’t mind if you give up here, throw your arms in the air and yell hallelujah. But if you are my future spouse who has landed here despite me trying to hide all traces of my nefarious online activity, read on but don’t bring this stuff up during our fights. And if you are my kid; god save you son, this is how your old man rolled.

9th grade.Hyderabad.  So I was the new kid who had transferred to school. Everyone was giving me these strange looks. I blamed it on me being extra brown than the rest of them. A few weeks into the start of session we had those damn unit tests. So when the graded answer sheets were being given out the English teacher  Ms.kalpana asks the class monitor point out any one who’s talking while she’s passing out the booklets. Being the over talkative person I am I was the first to be called out for some brutal canning on the knuckles. Ms.kalpana: “ What’s you name? You are the new kid aren’t you?” (meekly) “siddarth mam.” “oh! Siddarth. That’s you??” (silence) “I was going through you answers and was actually taken back, because none of your answers conform to the ordinary literary standards I expect from this class. Class clap for this guy, he has scored the highest marks in my class of all my students till date.”  I was the hero of the day (I pictured myself as my, then/even now, hero, Tom Sawyer) only to be brought down to my knees an hour latter when the maths marks were announced, but that’s a different story.

8th grade.Vizag. So again I was the new kid who joined mid term in a new school. My dad took up a new job in Hyderabad rather abruptly abandoning the scenic Port Blair(Andaman Nicobar Islands) He dint want me to face problems adjusting to Hyderabad so he placed me in a school in Vizag. My bro was in the same school and fml he was the most popular/cool kid. Being the brother of the cool kid, people presume you are either more cool or at least half cool,because both of share the same dad seed and all. But sadly, I was way far from cool, I was pathetic. And the day I landed in that school the half yearly exams were going on and it was the bleedy english exam that day. So the kind principal asks me do you wanna to go to your room and beat off or do you wanna give the paper a try. I gave one glance at the paper and started writing it. All it had were questions on grammar and chapters from Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry finn. Are you kidding me ? My library teacher at carmel high school, Portblair had made sure I read the acclaimed mark Twain’s works thoroughly inside and out. I looked up at the false ceiling and offered her a silent thank you, taking back all the abuses I had hurled at her. I began writing. Even though I knew my marks for this exam wouldn’t be counted I wrote a min-novel. I was in a zone. The principal was shocked by my enthusiasm and told me to sit for the maths exam the next day. I balked.

6th grade.Port Blair, Andaman Nicobar Islands. These basis for this story is rooted in my fifth grade so will have to recount that first.

5th grade.Carmel High School,Port Blair, Andaman Nicobar Islands. and Yet again I was one of the many new non descript kids whose dad’s had transferred from Chennai to Port Blair. I was no hot shot in class and all the teachers knew me well because I always sat on the last bench and had the worst caveman like handwriting. A teacher once even slapped me right across the cheek frustrated at not understanding my scribbles. But one kindred soul Ms.Shanta, my western music teacher took a special interest in me. She saw my hand writing and told me that my words though perfect dint make any sense when written in  a tightly woven, flower garland like fashion. So for the entire 5th grade, daily after school I used to spend and hour under her guidance in cursive writing classes. She gave me tons of writing assignments and pored over every turned in work of mine with a fine toothed comb.  She taught me to cross my t’s and dot my i’s. As I  improved daily she gave me a B- or a B at the max,never the elusive A+ I always looked for. And at the end of the term she finally gave me an A++ on my writing. I owe this blog to her.

So back to 6th grade. As always English exam papers were being handed out. And our teacher Ms.Gayatri was making all the usual toppers stand so that the rest of us unworthy folk  could gawk at them and feel sorry for our limited comprehension skills. She suddenly said “aha! we have a new addition to our list of snobs. Siddarth please stand up. You’ve made the cut.” I stood up to quizzical stares from my last bench brethren. This had never happened before, a guy from the last bench getting up for the right reasons. Latter Ms.Gayatri called me aside and told me that since my writing had improved a hundred fold I could try out for the school news letter. I was on cloud nine.

Logging out of the way-back machine, memory overload.

So where was I ? Yes,writing is gratifying. As gratifying as finding a nice clean restroom to pee after holding a bursting bladder for two hours.

A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and proceeds to fire it at the other patrons.
‘Why?’ asks the confused, surviving waiter amidst the carnage, as the panda makes towards the exit.

The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.
‘Well, I’m a panda,’ he says, at the door. ‘Look it up.’
The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation.

‘Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots, and leaves.’

– Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss