Monday, November 1, 2010

The Brunch

It is an hour before noon. 
The Restaurant sits contentedly at the edge of a dark green-blue lake. There is almost no wind today, making it hard to see any movement in the trees lined up thickly on the other side.

A narrow, wooden bridge pokes out from the side of the Restaurant leading to the lake and coming to an abrupt stop somewhere near the edge. The water in the lake is uncannily calm, almost motionless.  There is only a hint of movement, given away by the sunlight sparkling mischievously at its surface now and then. It is like a pink baby dreaming with her soft eyelids closed, indulging in only so much of a shy smile every few minutes.  And like her little fingers which curl and uncurl slowly, perhaps reaching out to touch some unfathomably beautiful thought high up somewhere.

Yellow-golden sunlight streams in generously through the French windows of the Restaurant, highlighting a rare speck of dust that might have escaped the stringent eye of the morning cleaner. It floats about hither and thither, enjoying being hopelessly lost in the big, big Restaurant.

I walk into the Restaurant, looking around with mild interest. It feels like I’ve been here before. I just can’t remember when, though. It must have been a lifetime ago.

The place is quiet, but not quite. There is a muffled clink of shining steel cutlery on warm silica plates. From the far end of the Restaurant, the soft notes of a Piano mix into the sweet air like a shameless intoxicant. I am invited in. I come in.

I am ushered to my place by a pleasant man in a white uniform and I choose a nice chair facing the window, overlooking the lake. I am just about to park myself when I change my mind. I shift over to the other side, now facing the Restaurant.

I am here for Brunch.  

Twenty minutes later, I am almost halfway through. I’m not quite full yet, but not starving either. I’ve chewed and swallowed up the Pancakes and honey with almost uncouth enthusiasm. I’ve dug into the Quiche deep enough to proclaim it belongs to me. I sip on the Orange juice in between bites, enjoying the slightly sour tinge trickle down my throat.
Appetite somewhat satiated, I put down my spoon and fork. Pausing for a moment to clear my throat, I look around once again. And I’m surprised at what I see. The scene’s almost entirely changed!

The old couple dressed in a dull orange and brown are no longer there.
The family of four that was sitting in the table diagonally opposite me now has two people.
The young married couple that was cuddling and cooing some time back is now squabbling and hissing in hushed voices. The woman is close to tears. The man wears a disgusted expression on his face.

Seeing me looking around curiously, the man in the uniform walks up to me again. He asks if I would like to have something else. Shaking my head, I indicate that I would help myself. And I continue to look around.

An old woman sitting alone catches my eye and smiles dotingly through her thick spectacles.
She thinks I am the son she never had.

A baby boy looks at me with interest as his mother wipes crumbs off the corner of his lips. He thinks he has met me before. Well, me too.

Why do I suddenly feel I’ve been here before?
The setting seems so familiar. The food, though fresh, seems like it’s been eaten earlier.
And the people, well, that’s the strangest part…


I’m about halfway through my meal when I stop, in between a particularly fulfilling bite. A little thought suddenly gets hold of me. I narrow my eyebrows and look around. Then I push it away to the back of my mind and chew. But I slow down and stop again. It’s that thought. It’s gripped me good. I can’t stop thinking about it. Because with every passing second, I realize how true it is.

In that sixty-odd minute meal, I was going to live my whole Life in short. Minute by minute.
I only began realizing it when I was past twenty, but that really didn’t matter. There were still forty-odd minutes to go.

It started when I was out there, strolling in the lobby. I had almost walked past the door to the Restaurant. Then, I can’t explain why, I back-tracked my steps and made an impulsive choice to dine here today. A lucky coincidence, I think now. And no regrets about that.
I vaguely remember the first few minutes as if they were my first ever. Well, they were, in a way.

I remember the bright streams of golden-yellow sunlight, the sweet mix of intoxicating music in the air and the scent of a freshly baked something. This was my welcome into the Restaurant.

And all the while, something kept prodding me softly at the back of my mind. ‘You’ve been here before,’ it said. Now I know what it meant.

Again, the white-uniformed man helped me choose a seat by the window. I had almost sat down, but something stopped me mid-way and I turned. I sat facing the People in the Restaurant. Well, it wouldn’t hurt to look around at the People while I was here, would it?

There were glances. Some stealthy and swift, some warm and lingering.
I smiled a few smiles and got a few more in exchange.
I waved out to those I knew, and they waved back.
I ignored some completely, and they let me be.
I am here for Brunch. So are they.

And while we’re at it, I really don’t think it would hurt to get to know a few of the People-the old couple dressed in a dull orange and brown who would no longer be there in a few minutes; the family of four that was sitting in the table diagonally opposite me, which would later have only two people; the young married couple that was cuddling and cooing right now, but would later be squabbling and hissing in hushed voices; the old woman sitting alone, who
thinks I am the son she never had; the baby boy who looks at me and smiles, for no real reason. I cannot help it. I smile back at them all. Warmly. There’s a connection, I think.

Occasionally, the uniformed man keeps coming up and I refuse politely. I prefer to go and choose for myself. I’ve got a lot of choices here at the Restaurant. I wasn’t going to let some uniformed man make them for me.

I steer my way through the Brunch, sometimes wolfing it down, sometimes savoring every little sliver of a bite. Sometimes I’m distracted. Sometimes I’m all attention.

The crackling cereal, the spongy cakes, the warm milk, the sour juice and the honey I sweeten it with. It’s all here. Whatever I want. Whatever I choose.

And now, here I sit. Chewing mechanically, the nerves in my forehead pulsing.
But I’m lost in thought. Where was I?

Ah yes, I’ve sat for about twenty minutes. Another forty to go, I’m assuming.
I might sit here till late afternoon, staring into the lake and sighing contentedly, if I feel like it.
Or I might be spilled upon by a fellow diner or the uniformed man and leave early in a huff. Who knows?

I am here for Brunch.
It’s no special occasion today. But then, I think I should make it one.
After all, I’ll be here in this Restaurant for this Brunch only once.
I better make it worth my Life.

-Avinash Agarwal
Now about 22 minutes into the Brunch

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Vienna- By Billy Joel

This is a song titled 'Vienna' by Billy Joel .
I don't know why it's called so, but there's something about this song that numbs me every time i listen to it. It's one of the few songs whose profound lyrics have the same beauty, same rhythm and same effect even when read as a simple piece of writing. Here it is-

Slow down you crazy child
You're so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you're so smart tell me why
Are you still so afraid?
Where's the fire, what's the hurry about?
You better cool it off before you burn it out
You got so much to do and only
So many hours in a day

But you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want
Or you can just get old
You're gonna kick off before you even get halfway through
When will you realize...Vienna waits for you

Slow down you're doing fine
You can't be everything you want to be
Before your time
Although it's so romantic on the borderline tonight (tonight)
Too bad but it's the life you lead
You're so ahead of yourself
That you forgot what you need
Though you can see when you're wrong
You know you can't always see when you're right(you're right)

You got your passion you got your pride
But don't you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on but don't imagine they'll all come true
When will you realize
Vienna waits for you

Slow down you crazy child
Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while
It's alright you can afford to lose a day or two
When will you realize...
Vienna waits for you.

And you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want
Or you can just get old
You're gonna kick off before you even get halfway through

Why don't you realize...Vienna waits for you
When will you realize...Vienna waits for you

What say?! I'd love to read about what You have to say to this :) 
Waiting for your comments...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

King and Queen- JACKED!!!

This is the story about a King and a Queen. 
It happened in a land far, far away. You’ve probably heard it before. But you HAVE to read this. This is different. It’s MY version.

The King, old and weak, lay on the side of his bed, counting his days. The young, pretty Queen unfaithfully sat beside him, also counting his days. For long, they stayed quietly, hiding in their monochrome Castle, behind a row of faithful soldiers. The horses sneezed, the elephants trumpeted, the camels farted. And then it began.  I was White. With fear.

My Army. Was. 

(This is actually the story of My pathetic army on the Chessboard. I was White. The other guy was Black. And that’s pretty much there is to know about this game)

On just-another-regular-day at the office, I sat in front of my Computer. You know the feeling when there is so much pressure, so much stress, so much tension, that you settle for just about anything for relief? Well, I didn’t. So I settled for some Chess.

Boys and girls, let me tell you, NO addiction is good.
However brainy or smart it seems, let me repeat. NO addiction is good.

So, keeping all my ‘Pending’, ‘ASAP’, ‘Submit by EOD’ documents on hold, I got ready to explore the joys of Online Chess. I filled out a form of my preferences (Beginner, Amatuer, Rookie, Foolish, Inexperienced, Virgin) on the Matchmaking section of the site, and somebody clicked almost immediately. Talk about ‘Desperate’. I didn’t have time to see who and how he/she was, but with good faith in the choice of, I believed that they had my best interests at heart. I said ‘I Do’. Then I clicked. And then we began.

It was like my first time. I was White with fear (I think I mentioned this). 

I really don’t want to go into the details of the game. But I knew my poor army was fighting a losing battle. It wasn’t my fault. 
Two of my soldiers, holding hands on the bright, gay, spring day (No pun intended), went ‘Tra-la-la’ ing onto the monochrome battlefield. In seconds, they were butchered. We  got back only their helmets.

Seeing red, ALL the 2 of my horses, elephants and camels charged. Well, actually, I made them. (I didn’t realize I would have only 2 of each. When were the damned reinforcements coming?) The Black villain on the other side of the board sent forward his Queen. Let me describe her to you-  Tall. Smart. Powerful. Stunning. A real Black Beauty. 

So, I thought I’d impress her. 
I tried out some fancy tricks that I was sure she’d never seen before. I made my camels march diagonally- one on a White square, the other on a Black one. Then, through the gap between them, I brought in two huge elephants, stepping in time to the drum rolls in my head. The Black Queen and her army stood, watching in amazement.

So I decided to show off some more. For the Grand Finale, the Ultimate Closing Act, I got both my horses (knights) out in the front. Someone had told me that they could jump over other soldiers, so I made them SOAR high and brought them right out in the front.

For those of you who’ve played this game before, you know how this will end. 
For those of who who’ve never played this game (or never played LIKE THIS), this is what happened.

The Black Queen, that little heart-breaker, watched gleefully as I danced and pranced my heart out. I thought I almost had her in my arms when she stepped up. In one giant, sweeping motion, she wiped the board clean. (WHO gave her the power to go wherever the hell she wanted to?!) This time, we didn’t even get the helmets back (I’m also mailing the sponsors of for a full refund)

But, in my defense, it wasn’t  my fault. Not entirely. Like I mentioned, I was playing in Office. And in Office, there are people strutting around, whistling, listening to music, chatting (Yes, my office is employee-friendly). Then there are those Smart-Alecs who are good only with words, but not during action (I am NOT referring to me here)

Seeing me involved so deeply, a couple of people walked up and started giving VERY useful advice. Or so I thought.

(If my Dad’s reading this, I want you to know, Papa, that I should have paid more heed to what you told me when I was leaving the nest for the Big, Bad World outside. You had said- “An Opinion is like an A**hole. Everybody has one.”)

But being the friendly, sociable Me, I listened to EVERY one of those A**holes opinions that came my way. The funny thing was how, a minute/move later, each and every one of them would suddenly say ‘Oh’ and walk away. After careful introspection, I noticed that this happened every time a soldier of mine was killed when I followed their advice. Some were even courteous enough to say ‘Oh, I didn’t see that pawn there’ or ‘Wow! Mr. Black is Smart!’ but it didn’t help. Nothing could soothe my pain. Those were my men out there!
So, after a good 25-30 minute tussle, I was out. But not down.

This is MEEEE. Or at least, that's what it looked like.
The odds really were a Million to 300! 

You see, this noble game teaches us certain painful truths about life. And I learnt a whole new set of rules from Mr. Black that day. They were as follows-

1. Chess is a game for 2 people. ONLY

2. Don’t be White. Don’t fall in love. Don’t be nice. Be a heartless, cunning, ruthless Black Beauty
3. Don’t show-off. Not until it’s time. Actually, not at all (My skills include sliding camels, music-sensitive elephants and jumping knights. No use in this game) 
4. Dad is  right, but only partly. An Opinion is like an A**hole. Everybody has one. Most chess players have two, sometimes more (Opinions, I mean) 
5. Don’t trust these online matchmaking sites, even if they operate through a chess portal.    You see what they me?! I was a Beginner, Amatuer, Rookie, Foolish, Inexperienced, Virgin     (Oh well, after THAT game, I wasn’t a virgin anymore. If you know what I mean!)

 In short, this was the Moral Story of a King and Queen. JACKED!!!

PS: I'm actually much better that Chess than I've shown here. I also know Castling. Did I fool you into thinking I'm a Bad player?! Hahahahahahaha! Gotcha! 

PPS: This is dedicated to Purba Aunty, who motivated me when i faced those incredibly tough times and hit so many walls. I want to take this opportunity to thank her for always believing in me. I will continue to make you proud...  (Extract from my Acceptance speech when I win the World Chess Championships :P)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Champu- Season 3

(This is a Continuation of Champu- Season 1 and Season 2…)

 My unholy activities gradually came under the scanner. I was pushed into the category of ‘those boys’. We were regularly threatened, sent out of class, but came back the next day with the same grin like that never-say-die credit card salesman. However, my biggest fear was of the complaints going home or parents coming to And it came true, inevitably.
Parent-Teachers Day dawned bright and clear. The smiling sunshine seemed to enjoy heating up the room around my already feverish self. The birds chirping seemed to be recounting my evil tales of evil deeds and my subsequent defeat, for their babies to learn from. Today was the day. My parents had been called. I was going with them to meet the teachers and collect my report card.

I was a wanted criminal. There was a price on my head.
But I still had that innocent face. To add to that, I also put some oil on my head.

Tucking in a neatly ironed shirt, combing my well-oiled hair in a perfect side partition and polishing my shoes (one last time), I entered the school gates with my parents on either side. I was the embodiment of all the dreams a middle class couple has of their offspring. Or so they thought.

We waited outside the classroom for our turn. There were two sets of parents waiting before us. The seconds ticked by as all the ghosts of my past, present and future seemed to converge in the form of one, crisp female voice and called out, “Come in, Avinash (my name)!”
I looked about the corridor for an alternate escape route, but they had all sealed themselves shut. In slow motion, between the two souls who had given me birth, I stepped in to face death.

The smell in the gallows classroom was like a dungeon shut for centuries, the air fowl and suffocating, the noose swinging about in silent glee. Okay, that might be a ‘little’ exaggerated. But I swear to this, when the class teacher looked up at me from the register, I saw her forked tongue. And red eyes and horns and tail.

My parents were expressionless. They were, perhaps, frozen in fear. Or they had accepted my fate. Oh no, wait. They didn’t know it. Yet.

“Good morning Ma’am!” chorused my well-behaved parents.
“Good Morning,” the devil smiled back at them. My voice refused to leave my throat. Her voice sounded like a hiss and forked tongue-red eyeball combination flashed again for an instant as she took a closer look at me. Then something changed, suddenly.

Her smile disappeared falteringly. In front of my eyes, she metamorphosed from the Devil to my class teacher, a mere mortal. 

It was my costume- the neat shirt, oiled hair in side partition, innocent face and dumb-lamb expression. It had worked!

She was shocked as she read out my marks one by one, unable to find anything wrong with an 80 plus aggregate. A part of her was bursting to scream out loud about all my terrorist extracurricular activities, but the her logical brain refused to believe it to be true.

A full five minutes passed in sober conversation as she sank deeper into her chair, defeated and lost. I had got away. My parents were smiling delightedly as we walked out the door and I was jumping up and down and doing the hula, deep inside.

We were at the door, about to turn away, when I couldn’t resist. I turned back to give her a peek at my real face- horns, rolling red eyeballs, forked tongue and hideous expression. I heard her fall off her chair into the chasm. And that was the last I heard of her (Dramatized for creative purposes. We were back together in class on Monday, by the way)…

Champu had won.

That was almost 10 years ago. Now Champu has grown up wrong right, and his unholy activities are pretty much part of his public image. He’s also tried out many new looks, a few different avatars.

But once a month, when the full moon rises on a starless night in the inky black sky, Champu rises up from the dead and then...(JUST KIDDING! I'm pretty normal. Almost ;))

- Avinash Agarwal

Monday, September 13, 2010

Champu- Season 2

(This is a Continuation of Champu- SEASON 1...)

I grew up a little more. And I learnt a lot more, in direct proportion. I learnt the subtle art of acting, reacting and pro-acting. My innocent face turned out to be my biggest asset. Not my rapidly dwindling reputation, though. I was still in the good books only because of my marks. But that too was slowly and surely coming to an end.

Cut to Class 11- chemistry lab- the colorful acids in tightly shut bottles, the powders locked away in protective boxes, the gleaming test tubes waiting to crack into half, the pungent smell which had become a part of the room and the palpable suspense in the air. It was as if all the molecules and atoms were craving for some fun- a fire, an acid attack, an explosion at the least. And I heard their call.

The first thing we were told that day was that “Sodium is highly reactive. If it comes in contact with sulphuric acid, water, or even air, it reacts like an explosive.” My ears cocked up hearing the last word and I began grinning in delight. We were asked to be extra cautious. I certainly was. About not being caught.

About 120 seconds later there was an explosion in the Chemistry Lab of my High School. Someone had ‘accidentally’ dropped a whole chunk of sodium into the wash basin while the tap was on. I happened to be somewhere close by. Coincidence. 

We gathered around to study what was left after the catastrophe, shaking our heads and ‘tut-tutting’ in disapproval. The Lab supervisor looked around with a murderous expression. I had forgotten she was here. She would have seen it, no doubt. She was ultra sharp and eagle-eyed. My heart skipped a beat and inner molecular structure went haywire, because just then, she looked right at me. A moment later, she looked right past me. I was harmless. Yes, very.

I’d also like to confess that it was me who was responsible for breaking a test tube every time I was given one. I just couldn’t help it. It was like a gift. It came naturally. And I didn’t want to squander the talent. Sometimes overheating, sometimes the wrong mix of acids, and sometimes just playing the hot n cold game to see how much the glass could withstand. Oh, chemistry turned out to be very, very helpful in my mental, physical and emotional growth!

It was about the same period of my life that I won my first ‘enemy for life’. Well, I can’t take all the credit. There was another accomplice involved. By another cosmic union of Orion and Jupiter, I had found my soul mate. He was a boy too, but in school, all that didn’t matter so much. 

He was just like me, a seemingly harmless cow. No one would give him a suspicious glance. He was thin, wiry and looked like a strong windy day would be his last. I was plump, harmless-looking and quite ordinary. In short, we made an excellent team.

Our ‘enemy for life’ was a boy from the adjacent class. He had done nothing to us, or our parents, or our next generations. It must've been something from the previous birth that instigated the attack; something karmic, something terrible. So he had to be punished. I'll tell you about his unspeakably evil deeds when I recollect them. 

So, we locked him in the tennis court just when the buses were about to leave one fateful evening. And that was the last I heard of him. I really don’t know what happened. I don’t know if he had managed to squeal his way out or spent the night there. But he survived the ordeal. I know because I saw him on Facebook recently, alive and smiling. So I sent him a friend request, assuming he had put his eventful past behind him. Or at least put his large ‘behind’ in the past. Alas, he didn’t accept my request. He ignored it, or maybe even ‘Reported the Abuse’. Pun intended! 

 So that pretty much sums up my early education. Then what happened of my soul mate, you may ask?

Well, I turned out to be a little more evil than him, and was entirely responsible for two mishaps that happened in his life right about then. Both involved getting slapped by girls from our class.

The first slap came because I pushed him on her. Not just a regular push. A proper, two handed, in-the-middle-of-his-back push. And he must’ve fallen on her a little inappropriately, I can’t divulge further details. C'mon, you're smart enough to figure out that part! She slapped him almost immediately. I was very sorry. I even told him I was. 

The second slap came when were singing a disgusting song about our ‘Kidney going into our lungs’ to another girl (She was the sensitive type) who turned around when she couldn’t stand it any longer and swung her arm. Unfortunately for him, I was standing a little further away. He got the brunt of it all alone. Sheesh. Bad luck! Yes, I was sorry again. I was also very badly shaken. Poor me!

Well, they say that the Law of Karma is always working. And justice prevails. Right? Wait and watch! ;) 

(To be continued in Season 3 )

- Avinash Agarwal

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Champu- Season 1

When I was in school, I was like a seasonal fruit. A poisonous one. The one that hangs inconspicuously at the end of a branch, just within reach of an unsuspecting passerby…

Not me. Actually, Yes me! 

Sitting in a quiet corner of class, with a book in hand, I was the model student every teacher would have liked to rear as a pet, the types you saw featured in colorful charts on the walls of Nursery; the charts which prescribed ‘Good Habits’ and ‘Bad Habits’( I was, of course, the ‘Good Habits’ boy) 

Homework on time, shoes polished the evening before school, notebooks with a crisp brown cover, nails cut every weekend and full attendance on record. If I was ever absent, everybody knew I was suffering from a terminal disease. Or something appalling had happened in the family- like a death or a marriage.

But there was another side to me. I didn’t know of it myself until it was out in the open and the world told me. Oh, I buried my face in the book all right, but I was endowed with extraordinary vision. I could peep out from the corner of my eyes at impossible angles. My ears were tuned to all the right frequencies, and I could listen to the most scandalous of news with a stone faced expression. But it went unnoticed. I was one who looked like he minded his own business, after all!  

That was why, when I threw balled up pages at the teacher scribbling on the blackboard, nobody could even imagine it had been me. When a question was put up and answers were being yelled out as if it were an auction, I would put in a word or two mindlessly out of context; just enough to disrupt the flow and set the other juveniles laughing. Then, I would raise my eyebrows high into my forehead and very timely call out the right answer when heads turned towards me. And I would survive.

Soon, CCTV cameras were installed in classes and all over school. Not only because of me, I wasn’t that bad! But then, there had been a general outbreak of a bad behavioral epidemic that had reached its tipping point(To be more specific- towels flushed down the toilets, Potassium Permanganate in the Swimming Pools, ink on the compound walls, and, this takes the cake- stolen Mouse Balls!! (the 'mouse' in the computer lab, attached to the computer - yes, even they have b*lls!) . The management needed to catch someone. They wanted faces, they needed culprits. After all, they had to show they were in control.

WANTED. Almost. 

Within a week, I found myself standing in front of the Class Teacher, giving a painful explanation as to why I was ‘making funny, unnecessary and distractive’ hand gestures in class while notes were being dictated. I got away at the strength of my reputation and a pathetic excuse that I would not like to mention on this public forum.

A couple of weeks later, it was the Principal’s office. Not directly, though. I was thrown out of class with another ‘friend’ for some little misbehavior I don’t even recall now. We were standing outside like sentries and enjoying the breeze of freedom blowing through the corridor. That was the precise moment when, like astrologers later told me, high above in the cosmos where decisions are made, planet Jupiter aligned right in the centre of the Orion constellation and apocalypse happened. The ‘Princi’ came on rounds.

Obviously, she spotted us; spotted ‘me’ to be precise. And she thought there must have been a mistake. How could the teacher throw me out of class? So she came to enquire. My history teacher was only too glad to let out her frustration. I bowed my head in shame as she ranted on about what an evil genius I was and how deceptive my looks were. I could have cried if I had really felt her pain. But I was ashamed. Really. And I didn’t do anything wrong after that. The whole day… 

(To be continued in the  Seasons 2 and Season 3 ;) )

- Avinash Agarwal

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Letter from the CEO - bringing in the Indian flavor into the CWG '10

Dear Indians,

      Sub.: Bringing in the Indian flavour to the CWG 2010 


After so much criticism and mud-slinging on the Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee over the past few weeks, it is time to give us a chance to speak. After all, I’ve been sleeping silent with a huge burden for 7 years now, ever since India won the bid to host the Games in November 2003.

Here is a progress report that I have just dictated to my secretary. I hope the spellings are correct. She isn’t very qualified. We don’t have enough funds to hire someone else —

This is myself. As innocent as I look.
All stadiums had been painted well in advance. However, since the rains in Delhi unexpectedly washed away the top coatings on 3 of the stadiums, a report has been filed against the India Meteorological Department for not doing their job. The inquiry is in progress. 

1. Chairs, stands and pavilions have been done away with. They are unnecessary expenses on the already over-burdened, understaffed and un-corrupt Sports Authority of India. We have already exceeded our budget of $1.6 Billion. Tie-ups have been made with leading TV channels so that the entire nation can watch the  joke Games unfold on Live TV and we can earn some more money. 

Mr Kalmadi: as innocent as me.
Never blame him.
Blame Met deptt for rains,
and the news channel exposé for
the corruption.
2. All drugs have been seized from the Sports Authority of India BAI (Banned and Illegal) storage houses. These have successfully been forcibly fed to the construction workers to help them speed up the building process.

3. The Indian Cycling Team still doesn’t have its bicycles and equipment. They should become more serious about their careers and the nation's honour, and start shopping on their own. How long will they depend on us? Don’t we have other things to do? 12 participants have already been suspended for making complaints and ‘grumbling’ about not having tyres, helmets, gears and other ‘unnecessary’ paraphernalia.

In July, with 3 months to go, I proudly announced that it was time for ‘bouquets
of flowers to be given out’
, considering the amount of progress we had achieved
in such short a time. RJD Chief Lalu Prasad had a truckload of fools flowers sent over to Delhi to help us complete the remainder of the work. 

Now, with barely a month to go, I feel that it has become a ‘battle against time’.
The deadline, which was initially December 2009, then extended to March
2010, then July 2010, is now finally early January 2011. The last phase of the work
is slated to be complete by then, so that the winners of the 2010 CWG could be
invited for practice and training on the tracks they were supposed to compete on. 

We've ordered these stadiums to be complete by January 2011
However, I request the rest of India and the world to remain unperturbed like
me. I am getting ‘warmed up’ in a massage centre in Kerala and have never felt
more at ease with my life. Coming to more important things, I must tell you
to try out this Massage Centre in Cochin. It’s my guarantee you’ll forget all
your work, responsibilities and issues. Within no time, you’ll be giving these
masseuses the Thumbs Up and showing the other finger to the rest of the world. 

What is mentioned in my above report, is a glimpse of India. So let’s enjoy these games with the Indian flavor. All roads will be blocked or under repair from the moment the participants and delegates land — till they take off. So the events might be a couple of hours late. Relax! There’s no hurry. 

Also, I can’t guarantee you the roof won’t leak if it rains. Or that the terrace will stay put if it gets too windy. Come on, so what if there are a couple of fires and few people are burnt? It happens every day, get used to it for God’s sake! 

In conclusion, I’d like to remind you that the motto of the Games is ‘Come Out and Play.’ So it’s time to bring out the true ‘Sportsman Spirit’ and not crib about trivial details. Remember, just ‘Come Out and Play’! 

For any further questions, please contact your nearest local sports administrator.
I’m not to be held responsible for anything. 

Yours sportingly, 
Mr. Mike Hooper 
(CEO, Commonwealth Games Federation)

This story was written by me for News That Matters Not

Friday, September 3, 2010

Interview with WeBlog

Avinash Agarwal or Avi has been in love with words ever since he first met them. Books were his first friends and they took him to worlds unseen, unheard and undreamt of. 

His first story - about a lion, monkey and a fox when he was just three! He found it too silly and laughable to continue writing, let alone show it to people. And he was too shy to tell people that he was a writer, until his first job two months ago; as a writer! 

He works as a writer for an Events and Brand Management agency by day, and write for himself late into the night, and he has been really about how things shaped up for him.

Quoting him here “I think introductions are supposed to talk about when and where I was born, what I did and what I didn’t ‘did’! But I don’t think any of that really matters. The only thing that matters is right here, right now. Like so many other writers, I write. That’s all about me.”

For the complete interview, please visit WeBlog

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Frames of Freedom- Beyond the Frame

They can put you behind bars.
They can chain you to the walls.
They can cage you for years.

The one thing they can NOT do is take away your dream. The other thing they can NOT do is blur your vision. Even a little bit. So don't look at the frame. Look beyond.

Let your fingers make their way through the cold, steely fence and tingle when the wind from the other side gently tickles their tips.
Let your face press hard on the fence, kiss a vagabond leaf coming a-wandering by with the wind and yearn for more.
Let your senses close in on you, little by little.
And let them open fully to the silent whispers of your heart. 

Take a deep breath in. And let go.
Hush now, don't go rushing or searching anywhere else. 
Freedom is right here, right now. So stay where you are.

Don't look at the frame. Look Beyond.

-Avinash Agarwal

This photograph was taken by me in 2009.
This post is for the Frames of Freedom Contest by Blogadda

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It feels good, for Once.

They told me,
Don’t dream of things that cannot be
Don’t look beyond what your eyes see
Don’t even think you can be free

So I sat still,
Against the window grill,
My knuckles white,
Eyes shut tight.

This is how it’s always been,
And nothing more than black I’ve seen

Until today, when I finally break free
No more of their ways, no more of their rhymes. My life is now all mine.

I burst through the front door, out into the open. I trip, fall and hurt myself.
But it feels good.

It is winter now, and spring will soon arrive. My skin tastes the wet snow. My hair feels the icy wind ruffle it. I can still see naught from under the blindfold.  But for once I know, and for sure I know, I’m free.
It feels good.

Breathing harshly, my feet sinking in the snow, I make my way across the garden. I bump into a tree. My trembling fingers gauge its bark. It’s rough, scaly and cold.
But it feels good.

My hands make their way up a slender branch. At the very end of it is something soft. It’s a flower, not yet in full bloom. It seems to reach out and let my fingers caress it.
Yes, it feels good.

All of a sudden, from nowhere, two tears ooze down my eyes. I feel them staining the blindfold, moist and heavy. They’re tears of blood.

The years of darkness and fear seem to converge into this one moment, breaking through the shackles of time. They fall out as soft tears as my eyes gently bleed. It pains a little. But it feels good.

All it took was one decision in one moment of light. I’m free now.
Oh, yes. It feels good.

- Avinash Agarwal

I am participating in the WeBlog's Sleepy Sunday contest! You may read other participating posts HERE