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I am fanatical supporter of Manchester United and nothing interests me more than football.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Swansong....

Legs are throbbing. Head is feeling dizzy. Body is as tired as it is possible humanely. Every muscle in the body is crying out for help, for the dose of morphine to relieve them of the numbing pain.

But the mind is elated. As happy as anyone could ever hope to be.

We have just won the football tournament….the Catalans have won…..more on spirit and the willingness to push ourselves rather than skill or strength.

A sharp tug on my leg and the resultant pain bring me back to reality.
Sir , kaala straight ah vainga …. Move panna theenga….illena MRI seriya varathu…..” (Sir,Keep your leg straight n immobile else the MRI wont come properly) it is the lab technician reminding me as to where I was actually.

A couple of months after that glorious night I am here in a hospital bed watching the lab technician trying hard to make me understand that I need to keep my leg straight n still for a MRI. In turn I tell him “Anna kaal nera vekka mudila, adhaan prechanaye….adhukku than MRI eduka sonnanga” (Bro, the leg wont straighten n tats why the doc wanted an MRI)

After arguing for a few minutes and looking at my pain inflicted expressions he finally relents.

I come out of the MRI room and all the pain vanishes though only momentarily.
Pain is replaced with anger….fury….
3 guys who were supposed to be helping me are happily sitting in the waiting room munching on snacks from A2B….and all I get is only a few pieces of cashew pakoda L

Despite the pain I cajole them to take me also to A2B…… nothing better than good food J

24 hours later and I am back in the dreaded confines of the ortho’s clinic.
The diagnosis is grim….No More Football forever……

And how did it all start….by simply trying to get up from a bench……

The reality took me a few days to sink in. But looking back I can understand and am even thankful this dint happen a couple of months earlier. I realize am very lucky to go out on a winning note and having been part of a wonderful team of jokers who played with all they had. A team of walking wounded that refused to be cowed down by anything and let nothing come in their way.

I will never regret not being able to play again only because the memories of this victory would be with me forever…….

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Circle gets Completed

The circle is complete.

It had started with an innocuous challenge for the ball. All I got in return for trying to get the ball was excruciating pain in my right knee. I knew then that I would never be able to play the game I loved, like before. I was almost a cripple.

But to many others it was a joke. They thought I had more interesting things to do off the field. If only they knew that I would have given up anything for the chance to play football.

More than the pain of a torn ligament, the pain of having to put up with insensitive people who had never ever stepped on a football field yet were willing to go around telling how I could have played if only I wanted to, was killing me.

Many a time a thought crossed my mind. If only these people too had torn ligaments for a day they would understand why I did not play. Most people would have walked around on crutches but I never even complained. I knew I could take the pain.

And I vowed to ignore them and silently prayed I would be able play again.

As the second year came around I was determined more than ever that I would play come what may. As luck or bad luck would have it my knee started playing up again. We won our first match but I ended it limping around with swollen knee in pain but without injury.

Hoping to play a part in the later stages of the tournament I decided to sit out the next game. But then when have things ever gone according to plan in my life.

An early goal gave me solace that it was going to be a comfortable game for us and I would be to get some much needed rest. But a freak goal ensured we lost our lead and as time wore on we were getting desperate.

I decided it was all or nothing.

I chucked my shin guards and knee cap away. No point protecting damaged goods. J

With time running out I limped into the field. After a couple of painful attempts to try and kick the ball where I wanted to I finally got the ball 15 yards out. I looked up and found no one to pass to. All that I could see was the goal. I gave it my all and as I hit it I knew it was going in. No one could deny me my goal.

And all the pain of the past year was alleviated in that single moment of glory and happiness.

The very same people who had doubted me were now thumping me on my back and rejoicing with me. Some lessons in life are learnt the hard way.

The circle was complete. What had started on the field has ended on it.

PS: We are into the finals. Even if I have to play with one leg I will be there. For the love of the game and my team CATALANS.....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Separation

It was a happy marriage.

It was an absolutely blissful beginning. We could not get enough of each other. I spent most of my day with her. The long hours seemed to pass away like seconds when she was with me. I could not afford to stay away. Every minute spent apart felt like an eternity. My parents were absolutely shocked at my behavior. I did not have time for anything else. I was captivated by the smooth curves and the cute bright blinking. I was so much in awe that I used to wake up in the middle of the night to check on her.

I was in love with my MOBILE.

It was there in my pocket every second. I kept fiddling with it for long hours. Text messaging was happening at the same rate I was breathing. My parents were flabbergasted as to what could possibly be so interesting about a small device which to them was a telephone basically.

Every day I spent so much of my time sending out worthless forwards and dumb messages which really did not serve any purpose what so ever.

“Hi wat doing??” “wats up” “u thr?” “lol” “wru” “c u l8r”

As time went by it became addictive. I had to message someone whether I had something to say or not. And I was not alone. Everyone around were doing the same. With the messaging facility being given for free I found messaging was an obsessive compulsive disorder with most of my peers. People a few feet apart were texting each other. Within the classroom. In the library. EVERYWHERE. It was suffocating.

Why is this happening?

Didn’t we live well enough before we had those obnoxious small hand held devices?

Can we not live without them? No one has time for themselves. All the time we used spend thinking to ourselves is now spent on the mobile.

So I decided to take the plunge. I decided that I do not need a mobile henceforth.

The first day was an eye opener. The amount of time I suddenly had in hand was astounding.

It’s been a week now since I last used my mobile. I feel liberated. I no longer need to check my mobile for new messages. I do not need to worry about the charge on the mobile. I do not need to answer someone every few seconds. I no longer need to answer people wanting to give me credit cards. I do not need to worry about messages I receive in the middle of the night. I do not have to worry about turning my mobile to silent mode when I go in for meetings. My friends cannot message me from the last benches. I can walk a few minutes alone happily without being disturbed by my mobile.

I have my FREEDOM.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The ID card

It was the big day.

It was my first working day. I had been selected through campus recruitment ages ago. After spending plenty of days wondering if I would ever be asked to join I finally got the call a year and half after I had been selected one warm June evening. The results were announced very late in the day and I had even contemplated leaving because Germany was playing Argentina in WC2006 quarter final that day.

I went back to that day and thought of all those memories as I got ready on a typically cold December morning in Chennai. The bus was supposed to be at my stop at 7 15. I had no appetite and brushed away my mother’s insistence that I eat breakfast and jumped down the stairs to wait for a couple of my friends who were joining with me. They arrived and we set off for the bus stop.

When we reached the bus we were absolutely flummoxed by the crowd waiting there. People of every known IT company seemed to be waiting there. We did not know what our bus number was and we resorted to peering into the various ID cards strung across the necks or attached to belts. Finally we spotted a guy talking animatedly into a head set with a disgustingly false American accent with a tag that was ringed with the name we were looking for. We had short argument on who would go up to the guy and enquire about the bus route and luckily my friend became the scapegoat.

He returned a couple of minutes later looking absolutely bewildered. He informed us there were buses passing through the point to several offices of our company and that two had already passed the stop. Finally a bus came with our company logo and we were relieved when the driver said it was for the office we wanted to go to.

With our hearts racing we boarded the bus and were stunned.

It was not like anything I had imagined even in my wildest nightmares. It was deathly silent. Every seat was pushed back as far as they would go and people were sleeping soundly. Everyone had some device plugged into their ears and some were muttering into their headsets.


We found a couple of seats at the very end and pushed ourselves past the pushed back seat in front of us. Not a single window was open anywhere in the bus. I was suffocating to death in a few minutes. There was no air circulation of any sort and yet everyone else seemed to be blissfully ignorant of the fact or too stressed out to even bother about it. It looked like a ICU unit of a hospital and everyone seemed to be in zombie state.

An hour later I was miraculously alive and we reached the Promised Land. “Wear your ID card” our driver advised us as we got off. We smirked at him and gave him an all knowing smile. Four years we had heard that in college and never bothered to listen even once. I always thought it was like a dog’s collar and gave it the least respect possible. We got down and looked at the route map laid out near the gate and found the block we were supposed to report to and strode off confidently. A few steps later we were halted unceremoniously by a couple of security guards. “Please display your ID cards” a gigantic security guard asked us accompanied by a glare a policeman usually reserved for murderers.

We sheepishly dug out our ID cards and hung them around our necks. That was the last time I ever forgot to wear my ID card.

“Sir ID card please” the security asked again. I snapped out of my reverie. I was at the security office. I had to hand over my ID card and proximity card to complete the separation process. It was almost 2 years since that fateful December morning. I had become one of them. I had been the zombie on the bus plenty of days after that day. The ID card had become a symbol of pride. As the days passed we wore it like a trophy.

I head felt heavy and dizzy as I removed the ID one last time and handed it over. It was over. My love hate relationship with the IT job was over. The ID card had hung over me like a sword through the 2 years and yet it had provided me with an identity in this world but now it was over.

I was just another human again.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Girl I never saw again...

It was a lazy Friday afternoon. I was looking forward to the weekend of just eating, sleeping and watching Manchester United take on Liverpool in a crucial EPL game.

My script had finally worked as expected after weeks of struggle and I had managed to send the status report on time for the first time in a couple of months. It was around 3 15 and the only task left for the week was to attend a status meeting at 5.

With no work to do I was getting bored at my cubicle. My best friend was working in the floor above me in an account that never had any work. Lucky girl I always thought. I pinged her on the communicator “Hey bore adikkuthu Barista polama”.

Yes” came the reply immediately. “Super keela va” I replied and went out of my ODC to wait for her.

She came down after twenty minutes as always. Make-up time I thought and smiled to myself. I wondered if girls put make up before going to bed as well, so that they wake up looking fresh.

Kaasu irukka” she asked. “Iruntha naa yen unna koopda poren” I replied and grinned shamelessly. She glared at me “Thu, vanthu thola”.

As always I wanted my favorite chocolate excess with chocolate sauce. She looked up and down the menu and shook her head ruefully. “Enna” I asked. “Ellame over fattening” she said. She was perpetually on diet although in the six years I had known her she had always appeared thin only. After looking over the menu card twice over she said she didn’t want anything. “Seri appo enakku order pannitu pay pannidu”. My order came and I relished every bit of it. ‘Osi la saapta le thani taste’.

It was by then around 4 15. As we walked back towards our tower I noticed a crowd near the HR building. “New batch joined today she informed me. I walked past without much thought. As I turned the corner I saw HER.


Namma company la ippadi oru ponna” I asked my friend. “Ada cha podhum sight adichathu va polaam” she tugged my shirt. “Nee po naa varen” I replied. She glared at me. ”Thu kevalama illa…Ennamo pannu po”. If looks could kill I would have been struck dead on the spot. She turned and stormed away.

I don’t know how long I stood looking at HER. Finally my cell rang. It was my PM. It was 5. Status meeting. I cursed my PM and reluctantly went up looking back at HER until she went out of sight.

I never saw HER again.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

An evening to remember or forget...I am not sure

The clouds were gathering and it looked like there was finally going to be rain in Chennai in the middle of scorching summer. I was sitting at my desk wondering when my supervisor would leave. I had no work to do and was whiling away my time using google buzz.

A few minutes past 4 30, I was delighted to see my supervisor walk out with his bag and tell me "Na kalambaren bharath...ethavathu doubts iruntha mail illa call pannu."

"Velaye illa ithu la doubt veraya".... I thought and smiled to myself and waited for a couple of mins and then left for home. As I crossed saidapet it started drizzling.

By the time I reached home it was raining steadily and there was no power at home. I cursed the electricity board with the choicest expletives in tamil and went to the ground hoping to see my frenz playing football.

I sat on my favorite railing and made myself comfortable and my mind wandered back to the millions of hours I had spent on that ground. Most people would have found it a very uncomfortable place to sit on. But to me there was nothing more comfortable.

"Dai Naaye" I heard someone scream. I came out of my reverie and realized it was my cousin calling me. "Office illa?" he asked me as he booted up and started tapping the ball. "Illa da seekaram vanthiten". Shyam slapped me on my shoulder and ridiculed me “Ena machi office lendhu thorathi vittutaangala” then started his usual warm up routine.

As the guys gathered someone shouted “Dai oruthan kammi ah irukku da” . Sanath turned around and asked “Dai nee varaya da….summa last man nillu…oda venaam”.

A million thoughts exploded in my mind. It was almost a year since I tore my ligaments in my right knee to follow up the left knee I had busted six years back. I looked at the very same spot where I had lay writhing in pain six years earlier.Repeated negligence of doctor‘s advice and playing through the injury had led my friend (orthopedic doctor) to issue a final warning just a month back stating that I was in serious risk of early arthritis and constant knee pain in future. I had vowed never to play football again.

Dai varaya illaya” Sanath shouted again. It brought me back to the present. My cousin gave me a dirty look that said “Better don’t come”. “Vayasu aachu da , avan na la namma kooda velayaada mudiyaathu” Shyam taunted me. Dai avan kitta boots illa da…” my cousin tried to put some sense into me. Shyam gave me a lop sided grin and egged me on to play. “Hey pant potu irukka da. Formals la iruka”…my cousin kept up his mission of persuading me not to play. (It was an unwritten rule on our ground that you should play only in shorts) “Enna da bayama irukka” Shriram asked. “Machan risk edukkatha, mooditu paaru,o*** vilayadi onnum p****** porathu illa” advised Raja, one of my oldest friends who had seen me on that ground for more than 10 years, in his own inimitable style.

I loved playing in the rain. There was nothing better. Barefooted football in the rain was something I would give my life for. I looked at the challenging looks and decided.

I rushed home, changed into shorts. Searched around desperately and finally found my old knee band at the bottom of my shelf.

As I jumped over the railing and into the ground my cousin stared at my right knee, patched up with the band to lend those busted ligaments some sort of a support and then at my left knee, bandaged to cover the bruises and wound I had got when I fell off my bike couple of days back. The wounds were still raw and bloody. “O*** m***** unakku intha nelamai la vilayaadanama” he screamed at me. I knew he was getting worked up for 2 reasons, one for my knee and the other because he knew I was going to be a liability in his team.

The game started.

Fifteen minutes into the game and the moment I dreaded arrived. I was the last man in front of goal and 3 guys were charging at me. I moved into position in front goal hoping that they would shoot waywardly. They came up in front me and started passing it around waiting for me to lose patience and charge. One guy feigned left and let go a ferocious shot. My right leg moved reflexively and blocked the shot and my right knee bore the brunt of the forceful shot. I instantly braced myself for the crippling pain but it never came. My team mates came panting up to me slapped me on the back “gud save da” and the game resumed. I was delirious with joy.

I was grinning madly to myself. The rest of the game is just a blur now. I remember I played pathetically. I very rarely touched the ball. Tried to pass the ball half a dozen times and not one was done properly. I received a million expletives from my team mates.

An hour and half later I lay panting on the ground completely drenched in rain and sweat. Everyone started leaving wondering why I was grinning like an idiot. Shyam gave me a wry smile and said “Thapichita inikku, paapom naalaikku”, nodded a goodbye and left. Raja and my cousin looked at me grinning to myself, mocked a punch at me and walked away shaking their heads. “O*** ivana thiruthave mudiyaathu. Patta than adanguvaan” my cousin murmured.

I didn’t bother. I had played 2 hours of football, not conceded a goal and put in my bit for the team. And still standing on 2 legs at the end of it all. Every inch of my body was screaming with pain. But I was delirious with joy.

Had God asked me a moment to choose to die that would have been it for I would have died the most happiest man in the world.