Running away from home . . .

Running away from HomeI ran away from home. Sounds dramatic doesn’t it? Ok, here’s the truth…I hated being an engineer or a doctor. When I was born in an upscale maternity clinic in Chennai, legend has it that I was immediately anointed to be the next big engineer in my family before they even decided a name for me. So, in the end, I ended up being called Krishna Kumar BTech, right from my childhood days. I proudly went around shouting my name hoarse during kindergarten and primary school, drawing sniggers and cheers. I felt proud. When I grew up and finally realised that BTech wasn’t really a family name, but a degree, I hid under my bed for a day refusing to come out even when my friends called me out to play cricket and eat pani puri.

The day I passed my 12th with flying colors, my parents embraced me in a group hug, gave me a few kisses on my cheek, stared me in the face and asked me for my choice between four options: (a) engineering (b) see my parents hang their head in shame (c) herd cows in the field (d) lick Rahul’s (Superstar engineering cousin of my family, duh!) ass.

So, in the end, I scraped through the four years of college life (read: torture) with repeated attempts before I could finally get an A4 sheet of paper that proudly announced to the world that I was an engineering graduate, and also that I was unemployed even though major IT companies like TCS, CTS, BTC, BMTC, and ABCD hired people like herds of cattle. So, when the questions from my aunts and uncles grew shriller, my parents decided to get me a job (using ‘influence’) in an unknown IT firm, that looked more like a spare-parts shop. That was the final straw.

So, yesterday night after a storm hit my house, utensils and slippers were hurled around with equal fervour, I packed my bags, took my beloved Nikon D3100, grabbed all my pocket money and climbed onto a late night bus to Bangalore.  So, officially, I ran away from home. Or, more precisely, bused away from home.

Early morning 5.30am

I was sleeping peacefully on the upper berth of SRM travels, when suddenly, I heard all sorts of words being thrown around and people screaming their heads off. I woke up with a start, rubbed my eyes and opened them to realise that people were conversing in a greek and latin tongue. The cleaner in the bus smiled at me and said “Nīvu alli hōguva?”, to which I just gaped in silence. “Aap kaha jayenge?” he asked, which met with another bout of rigourous head-shaking from my end. “Oh, tamil ah…enga poganum?” he asked. Ah, it was like taking a breath of fresh air after years of being held captive. “Therila anna. . . next stop.” I said.

It was then that I landed in the place of my dreams…Koramangala.

When I got down from the bus, I was shivering from head to toe. The cold bit into my bones and I wasn’t prepared for such a changeover. There I was, dressed in a trouser and sleeveless tops, in a place that felt like the Antartic. I looked around to see jumbled torn-up jelebi words and affirmed to myself that I was still in some part of India, the country at the center of the equator, just 2 kms from the sun.

I found a small hotel nearby and booked a room for a day. Thousand five-hundred rupees! Daylight robbery. The pocket money that I had preserved all through these years did not seem to be enough anymore. I threw my bag aside on the bed in my cramped room, took my mobile phone out and called home.

“Hello…” my mom spoke into the receiver agitatedly. She had picked up the landline at the first ring.

“Its me…” I said, the words choking in my throat.

“Kk…”, she said, “Where are you chellam?”

“Amma, I’m in bangalore.”

“Oh, kutty, why did you go so far away? You come back now please.”

An Indian mother’s customary rule book states that once a kutty, always a kutty. Even though I’m 21 years old.

“No ma…I want to be here. I want to earn a living for myself, doing something that I love…”

“Do it here kuttyma, come back to Chennai. Don’t take all the fights to heart Krishna, I miss you.”

A tiny tear trickled down my face. I swiftly fingered it away.

“I miss you too ma. I miss appa too. But, let this be a new start to my life. One day, I will make you proud. Till then, goodbye ma.”

“Atleast answer my calls kk, you will not know what a mother’s heart is going through right now.”

“Sure ma…”, the emotional blackmail again. Sheesh.

“Saptiya da?”

No matter what the situation is, a mother’s standard question. Did you eat?

“Ya ma, I ate.” I lied.

“What are you going to do there Krishna?” she enquired.

I looked around my room, I found my bags on my bed, my slippers under my bed, and my camera beside my bed. My camera.

“I’m going to be a photographer ma. A wedding photographer.”

(Excerpt from a story I have been writing for quite a while…)

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To an Eternity . . . In Love ♥

As the last leaf falls from the branches of time,
Drifting slowly, agonizingly, towards nothingness
A heart emptied of love; a soul dead from pain.
I wait in vain for a false dawn – unbecoming,
An unmanifest of emotions, of love.
The earth, moist and tender, caresses me in its embrace,
The rain reminding me of the drop of life left
Within the obscure walls of my heart,
Beating for a love that’s already come by and past
Far, far away. ♥

In Love with You . . . Always and Forever ♥

Love

Waiting an Eternity

Quiet my heart, cry your tears in seclusion.

Rejoice; for today the love of your life will be married.

“Be the best man at my wedding, Vishnu” you said, nonchalantly;

And that was the knife to my heart; I died.

 

Do you remember at all, my angel?

The years of love we shared together,

The dreams of togetherness beyond seven lifetimes,

The castles of unconditional love, the stories of eternity

Etched on the walls of our beating souls?

 

I still ache for you, my love.

I yearn for a glimpse of you – surreal;

Across the floor, I notice

My angel with her hubby, happy and content;

Dressed in a resplendent saree;

Your hair braided till your waist,

Your voice, divine and enchanting;

Your face, the little mole on your lips,

Your deep blue eyes, your heavenly smell;

You laugh, and you smile,

And he kisses you gently on your cheeks,

I feel my tears burn my soul to cinder;

And, I move, in haste, to wipe them away,

Lest you see them;

 

My soul is missing you much, my love.

I wish for a single whiff of your heavenly breath on me;

A single strand of your long, luscious hair to brush past my face once more;

The music that lulls my heart to tears;

The imprints of your kiss, the echo of your whispers of love;

Will survive within me – long after I pass.

Erase me from your heart, my love.

Never were you mine;

 

Come to me, oh beautiful death,

Embrace me in your heavenly arms;

Let my soul be stripped of life,

And my heart be filled with eternal love. 

One Minute Reads: Family is Everything

Its been 3 years since I moved out of Chennai. There were belongings that I took with me to my new abode, Bangalore. Books, clothes, shoes, mobile phones, goodies, and cash. Some physical objects, some tangible. Some intangible. I left my heart back at Chennai as it refused to make the 8 hour trip across the Tamil Nadu border into Karnataka. Its been 3 long years, and though I have settled down in Bangalore, I have never really felt at home. I’m a family person. I can’t imagine a day without speaking to my grandparents, my parents, my sister. Today, I chanced upon a few photos hidden inside a long forgotten diary that I had carried with me. Love . . . Brother and Sister Love . . . Brother and Sister Mom and Daughter Love 1623577_419303368216364_2042999753_n 1896867_419394584873909_554203801_nI looked at these photos and tears dropped from my eyes. How I miss my family. Some relationships can never be forged again, some memories can never be replaced again. My family has been, and will always be my greatest gift from God. I miss Chennai. I wish that I go back to the place I love the most in the whole world.

True Love. Never Dies.

January 31st, 2014, Koramangala.

I was walking alone along a secluded street late on Friday night, with the beautiful night sky for company. I love the supernatural, and so just to keep it exciting I had decided to walk the lonely road next to the cemetery. It was a moonlit night, and the whistling breeze bristled with sounds of the supernatural, the whispers of the dead, and the insects sang a soulful tune that accentuated the eerieness.

In the misty light cast by a lone streetlight, I could sense a silhoutte of a man leaning over a fence, plucking flowers from a gigantic tree whose branches hung low over the street. I walked closer to him, wary of being trapped alone with a strange man, but also with a beating heart that sensed something amiss. On close inspection, he seemed like a beggar. He had tattered clothes, his face was gaunt and bony, and his pale skin glistened in the moonlight.

I reached within inches of him, and he was still oblivious of my presence. He was lost in his own world, slowing plucking flowers and placing it on the fence tenderly. I cleared my throat, expecting him to stop and look at me awhile, but he didn’t hear me. What a waste of flowers, I thought to myself. I gathered a little more courage, and squeezed my fingers together in an attempt to sound even more brave than I was.

“Hello Mister . . .stop plucking those flowers. Is it your property?” I told him.

He turned finally to face me. I couldn’t make out his eyes. The streetlight cast shadows on his face that hid his eyes, and all I could see was two empty hollows . . . like a black hole. I stepped back warily, taken aback by the features of the man. He looked at me incredulously and  turned his back on me, continuing to pluck flowers from the tree as if nothing had stopped him in his reverie.

I was intrigued. I wanted to know what he was doing, at this late an hour, in a secluded street near a cemetery, on a moonlit night. The man finally finished plucking flowers, and he gathered all his collections into his hand, and held them together tightly. He whisked away, leaving me in his wake. I followed him for a little while, but I stopped the moment he opened the cemetery gate and entered the graveyard. I was afraid of following him inside. I have a fear of ghosts, and even though I act brave, I really do fear that I might be possessed by a ghost someday.

Through the gates of the cemetery, I watched him, walking past a dozen tombstones . . . he seemed to know his way. I watched him more perplexed than ever, as he knelt down in front of a tomb, lay the flowers down, kissed the cold stone slab, and left without another glance.  I was scared of walking into the cemetery, but, curiosity got the better of me. I slowly opened the rickety gate, the echoes of its wails sending shivers down my spine. I walked past the tombstones, cold and eerie, the crackle of dead leaves under my feet increasing my pulse rate to a million beats per second. I reached the tomb he had kneeled next to, and I squinted my eyes to take a closer look at the inscription on the tomb.

“Sarah . . . the woman who never died. Living in our hearts. (Dec 2nd 1985- Jan 31st 2013)”

As I read the inscription, a tear silently rolled down my cheek without invitation. I realised that this man was the husband. What happened to Sarah, or to the man is a mystery . . . but, like all the beautiful mysteries of this world, this one would best be left unsolved. But, one thing was for sure . . . that night . . . as I walked back to my house, tears streaming down my face. . . I understood what love truly is. True, unconditional love . . . Never dies.  For the death of a person might mean that the person can no longer walk this earth again, but . . . the love of that person lives on . . . for an eternity more.

True Love . . . Never Dies

Bankerupt: Conversations with Ravi Subramanian

What if your wildest dream was meeting a person you truly adore? What if an early saturday morning turned out to be the best moment of your life? What if you get a book personally signed by an author you consider to be your role model? What if you actually meet the John Grisham of Banking? Well, that’s exactly what happened to me. Me and a few lucky ones in Easy Library, Koramangala.

The moment I knew Ravi Subramanian would be at EasyLib for tete-a-tete, I was completely thrilled. The excitement, the tension was palpable. I sat up the entire night thinking of questions I should ask him when I meet him up close and personal. The thought of meeting him, like reading his best seller books, didn’t allow me to sleep at all. No media . . . No flashlights, no papparazzi, no glamour . . . just him. And us.

Ravi Subramanian | Bankerupt

For all those who don’t know Ravi Subramanian (is there any?), he is a banker by profession and has penned five popular thrillers on banking and bankers. He is the winner of multiple awards. All his books are based on financial crime. His thrillers include, If God was a Banker, Devil in Pinstripes, The Incredible Banker, The Bankster and the latest one Bankerupt. Additionally, he has written a non-fiction, I bought the Monk’s Ferrari.

Ravi was truly humble, down-to-earth and highly easy going. He was able to take constructive criticism from the audience, questions that might have thrown any author off guard. He was charming and cool all the while. He told us about his personal life, how much of a struggle it had been, the real life incidents that influenced his novels, the stinging remarks he received from critics, his two pence on writing a thriller and his inspiring talk to budding authors. As much as his books are a rollercoaster ride, the conversations we had with him were of similar vein.

On handling criticism

When his first book “If God was a banker” was released, he received a lot of negative, stinging remarks. Critics dismissed the book as a piece of crap, with feedback ranging from “He has written a book worser than Chetan Bhagat!” to “Don’t bank on it (the book).”

“It helped me grow as an author. Criticism, if taken constructively, will help a writer improve. My first book had loads of sex, no strong women protagonists, and every character was either black or white. I changed that completely from my second novel. Now, all my books have no sex (Sex DOESN’T sell, great storyline does), strong woman characters and people who are grey, neither completely black nor completely white. It helps. Embrace criticism.”

Inspirations for the Novels

“Everything from real life. Each and every one of the incidents that happen to the characters, the characters themselves . . . everything is real. My stories are all about simple, ordinary human beings . . . I draw from real life. There is no better canvas.”

Plots for the Novels

“I don’t have a fixed plot in mind when I begin writing. I don’t even know what the twist in the story will be! I just take it by chapter. At the end of each chapter, I would have four or five different ways of taking the story forward. I just make sure, I take the most shocking, controversial route in each of these choices!”

Style of Writing

“I write very short chapters. In Bankerupt, I have 77 chapters for 312-odd pages! Short chapters help keep the audience hooked. I don’t concentrate more on character development. The more I include chapters on protagonists grieving for the loss of a loved one, the more chances that I might lose the audience. My aim is not to develop characters like in a romance novel. I write thrillers…and thrillers must be page-turning and lightning quick. However, it’s a choice you make. It works for me. Identify your strengths and use it.”

Pages, Fonts and What Not

“Typically, a thriller should be 300-350 pages. And ya, around 270-280 words per page. Anything more, and you would lose the interest of the audience. Cover design is very important too. An average buyer spends around 7 seconds looking at the front cover, and 12 seconds reading the back cover. If you don’t attract the reader within those 19 seconds, you’ve lost a potential buyer. Once and for all.”

Tips for Young Authors

“Anyone can write a thriller; Just have a murder within the first five pages of the book, and a shocking twist in the climax! But, yes . . . to weave all real life stories together from multiple sources, different time frames, takes a lot of effort. Give the author also some credit!”

A parting note

I had a personal talk with him before I left. He had this to say.

“If you have a dream . . . follow it. Yes, you would be afraid of criticism, it is normal . . . but, don’t give up. Be brave. If you love writing, if that is what you truly want to do in your life . . . give it everything. I have a day job, and I come back home, tired, famished. But, I don’t stop writing. 9pm to 1am is my slot. My zone. I promise myself that whatever happens, I will write. Keep writing. Always. And one day you will be a great writer. Good luck Vishnu.”

Ravi Subramanian is my inspiration for his courage. He carved a niche for himself as a master of corporate thrillers. My world in the end wasn’t left bankerupt, infact it was filled to the brim with happiness, passion . . . and love.

Ravi Subramanian | Bankerupt

I’m a Casanova – and I’m proud of it!

A girl slips and falls to the ground with a thud. As a fellow human being walking by, I show concern, stop, and extend my arm to pull her up to her feet. She grabs my arm, stands up, pats the dust off her, and smiles at me. I smile back. Suddenly, her smile turns into a frown, her eyebrows are knitted together, her lips are pursed, and she says “Hey, don’t try anything with me. I’m not so easy”.

I walk past her and I notice another woman, morose and lost in thought, and I say “Seems like a hard day”. She turns around, looks at me, gnaws her jaws together and says, “Listen, show your casanova skills elsewhere. Won’t work with me.” Puzzled, I walk past her, and I notice an elderly woman carrying a bag too heavy for her. “May I?” I say, and extend my arm. She gives me the bag, and I admire it for a moment, “Such a nice, cute bag”. She throws me a disgusting look and warns me “Don’t flirt with me ok Kiddo?”.

Yes, you got that right. I have been branded a Casanova. A flirt. All things humanly possible to attribute a guy to. My boy friends say it all the time, “Dude, you are such a playboy!”, my girl friends say it all the time, “Seriously, how much can you flirt?”, and it has only left me puzzled, nonplussed about the reason they attribute me to a Casanova.

Sometimes I wish whatever they say is actually true. 😉 I suck at flirting, and can’t do it for my life! Having fun is such a bad thing nowadays I suppose. Next time, be careful guys, before you shoot your million dollar smile at an old woman walking down the street or asking a fellow passenger for the time. Who knows? You might be called a casanova too.

Flirting - Casanova?

People notice only what they wish to notice. They notice me talking to women. They don’t notice me talk to all those boy friends of mine, all the security guards, the strangers, the beggars, the sweepers, the laundrymen, the waiters, children with whom I play 2 hours everyday…nobody else. They assume that I live in a world filled to the brim with women and no one else.

The naysayers will keep saying it. The world will keep barking. But, one thing is for sure. Ask my friends. My close ones. Male, female, anyone. Young, old, anyone. They would surely say that they have never found a guy who can love everyone unconditionally. I do. I always do. That’s taken for flirting.

My close friends know me as the person I am. I have a family, a grandmother, a mother and a sister whom I hold in the highest regard. I respect and love women for the way they are, the way they rise beyond the social barriers to achieve things they always believed in. I love people…men, women, children…young, old…rich, poor…age doesn’t matter, religion, caste, region..nothing matters.

If spreading love, joy, laughs, happiness, care, beauty and wonder to the world is termed as being a casanova . . . then, yes…Am a casanova. And I’m proud to be one!

Death: At the Razor’s Edge

I stand alone on the cliff’s edge, staring into an abyss of infinite darkness.

Fear envelops me, gnawing away every ounce of my life. The pounding of my heart resonates in the eerie silence. Hounded by hell, I feel the cold wind strangling my throat. Threatening.

Death beckons.

My knees quiver to the rhythms of the unrelenting wind. Sweat trickles down my ghost-white face.

‘Find your friend’ a voice whispered to me. A distant voice. Hypnotic. A haunting, sad voice.

I nodded.

This was my karma. I had loved him beyond my life . . . beyond my life.

I tried calling out to him, but the cold wind constricted my throat. My voice died. His name died in my throat. I was alone.

Fear hung like a noose around my neck.

My hair stood on its ends, awaiting impending death.

Death: Razor's Edge

‘Where are you going?’ I had asked him. 

‘God’s own country’ he had replied. 

‘Kerala?’ 

He didn’t reply. He had merely smiled back at me, his deep blue eyes lost in thoughts of a world beyond. 

I had to do it. Light filled my heart. I felt at peace.

I jumped.

The onrushing wind threatened to veer me off-course, but I knew . . .

The moment my head hits the rocks at the bottom of the abyss, and my skull scrunches with the impact, splattering blood onto the crevices . . . I knew there . . . I would reach the lap of God.

The final resting place for a friendship transcending lifetimes. God’s own country.

Just me.

My friend.

And God.

 

My first diary entry!

19th January, 2013, 1:00 am. Past Midnight.

Dear diary,

The entire city seems to be sleeping at this unearthly hour and there is nobody to keep me company. My parents and my sister hit the sack an hour back . . . and, the great Mr.ME is stuck up all by himself. Only the lights of the living room is on, and there is an eerie beam of light from the laptop screen. Am rocking myself on the swing and I constantly keep looking around in fear as I type the day’s entry into my diary. Of all the resolutions I decided to keep up with, writing a diary in the middle of the night scares the shit out of me!

The rain is falling incessantly onto the window panes. The sounds it makes are creepy and gives me jitters. It scares me like hell. I close my eyes, take a deep breath and open them again. I jump out of my skin as I suddenly see a shadow of a man in the window opposite me. Am sweating now . . . Fear engulfs me completely. I live on the third floor of my apartment, there is no chance of a man being outside my window. But then . . . What if its a ghost? I ask myself and gape my mouth in horror. My hands are shaking as I type. Its better I go to sleep, I warn myself. Just then, I see a figure out of the corner of my eye. It was a swift movement. Like a little girl in a white gown just walking past. I stop rocking my swing. Sweat trickles down my face. My insides are churning. I need to take a second look just to make sure. Don’t look! something warns me.

scary

I turn my head slowly towards my left, with my heart pounding in my mouth. Nobody there! Whew!

Just as I let out a sigh of relief, the shrill ring of the telephone fills the air. It cut through my soul like a death-knell. In the dead silence of the night, the sound was magnified ten thousand times. I was shaking all over. My arms and knees turned into jelly. It rang once more . . . Then again, and again. I felt a dull pain in my chest. My hands were quivering wildly as I reached out to pick up the receiver. “Hello?” I whisper.

Dead silence.

I couldn’t take it anymore. My eyes were blood-shot. I made to replace the receiver back. And then . . . I heard it. A faint voice. But, definitely a voice. It was coming from the phone. I was shaking from head to toe as I placed the receiver on my ear again. “Hello?” I squeaked.

Nobody spoke.

I heard bells tolling in the distance. A few dogs howled. The curtains swayed in the breeze. The rain fell unremitting.

Shaking and sweating all over, I replace the receiver down on its perch and take a few unsure steps ahead.

WHAM!

The plates on the dinner table came crashing down. My heart burst into a million pieces. I collapsed onto the floor, crying. I felt a knot around my neck slowly strangulating me and draining every inch of life remaining out of my soul. I placed my hands around my neck to try relieve the pressure. I was gasping for air, for oxygen. My entire body had gone numb. I couldn’t move. I opened my mouth to scream but, no sound came out. I was shaking from head to toe with fear. I felt ghosts, apparitions and walking corpses around me.  My eyes were wide open and brimming with tears.

I don’t want to die! I prayed to nobody in particular.

A huge rat scurried across the floor towards me. I cowered in fright.

It stopped dead in its tracks as soon as it saw me. Tears were flowing down my cheeks and I felt pee in my pants.

It squeaked and scurried towards me further, frightening me even more. I bawled like a cry baby.

The rat let out a squeak of laughter at my plight, winked at me(Yes, winked at me! Can you imagine that? That rat has some nerve!) and disappeared into the darkness.

I let out a huge sigh of relief. I clambered to my feet hurriedly, reached my laptop, banged the lid shut, scampered towards my bedroom and cowered under my bedsheet.

Who said writing a diary entry was fun? It’s really the world’s most scariest job, isn’t it?! 😉