Sibling rivalry

“I don’t like her, grandma. Let’s leave her here. I don’t want a baby sister.” These were the exact words that came out of my mouth when I first saw my tiny, little sister wake up from her slumber, in my mother’s arms at the hospital. I didn’t like her. In fact, I detested her. I couldn’t bear the thought that she was going to be with me for the rest of my life. Or was I just jealous of all the attention she was getting?

So why exactly do we hate our siblings so much? (I’m talking about the great majority of people here). There are many possible theories for this particular question. Most of the time elder siblings envy the attention and love everybody seems to devote to the younger ones, while the younger ones resent the seemingly arrogant, know-it-all attitude of the older ones.

Being an elder brother to a cranky, attention demanding little sister, I have to say it is quite tough to argue in favour of the younger sibling, who can seemingly get whatever they want and get away with just about anything and everything. It is this grass is always greener on the other side attitude which creates all this friction between siblings. I’m certainly not saying all younger siblings are arrogant, little brats, but it is fair to say, they do have an unfair advantage when it comes to getting their way.

Now, let’s look at it from the other perspective. If you are a younger sibling, then you’ll agree that it pains you when you are all the time compared to your elder brother or sister. The bossy, seemingly superior attitude of your elder sibling only serves to make matters worse.
But, despite all this, even when you are forced to hand over the remote so your baby brother or sister can watch Disney channel, or when your elder sibling mocks you in front of your best friends, you can see that look of love in their eyes. It shows they care for you, and love you from the bottom of their heart, possibly even more than their own parents, and that they will always be there for you when you need them the most.

They just have a very different way of showing it. So, for now, elder siblings, hand over the remote. It’s time to watch Disney channel!

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Oh! I hate these tasks

I woke up today and thought, “There are so many things I do on a daily basis that I absolutely dread. Great idea for a blog post!”. So I decided to list the four things that have a “special” place in my mind.

  1. Waking up at 6 o’ clock on a chilly Monday morning knowing you have a Maths test due that morning – Getting yourself off the cosy, comfy bed on a Monday morning has got to be the most hated task in the world. Just the thought of this sends shivers down my spine. Thank God it’s still Friday!
  2. Having to go to the shop a million miles away to fetch a packet of milk/curds – Ok, admittedly, the shop is barely half a mile away, but to get myself off that comfy couch when I’m watching my favourite TV show takes a lot of determination.(And some amount of screaming from my mother!) If you really want to choose this one, Robot, be my guest.
  3. Watching soap operas with my grandmother – The sheer sight of those incredibly jobless, frustrating bunch of entertainment serials tortures me. Add to that the disappointment of having to miss the IPL final to watch a “saas-bahu” drama series, and you can picture my grief. It’s bitterly disappointing. You get the idea, right?

If only there was a humanoid bot that would do all these tasks for me!

A Crazy, April evening

How quickly things can change. My dream day couldn’t get any worse.

April 5, 2014. My 20th birthday. It was scheduled to be the grandest day of my life so far. All my best mates, relatives were going to attend a free for all birthday bash. Within one and a half hours, they would start pouring into the backyard. There would be music, dancing and everyone would have the time of their lives. At least, that was the plan.

As there were still one and a half hours left, I ran out on to the sidewalk and began walking. Lost in deep thought about a variety of topics ranging from my boring history assignment due the next day, to the horror film I watched the previous night, I walked. And walked. And walked. Until I realised I was about 2 miles from home! Immediately I spun around and sprinted in the direction of my home.

An hour had passed since I left home. Right then, I stopped. A tiny little drop of water landed on my head. A look up at the dark, menacing clouds confirmed my worst fears.

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Soon the inconsistent precipitation turned into a full scale downpour. I had nothing to protect myself either. To make matters worse, I was still quite far from home. The countdown for the bash had begun. Ten minutes to go now.

In despair, I rushed into nearest store I could see. It was filled with all sorts of weird, creepy stuff ranging from a hundred year old blood stained dagger to the fossils of a huge ten metre long t-rex. I quickly realised it was an antique store I had stepped into. A very strange one at that. I mean, what kind of an antique store owner would want to have the remains of a huge, ten billion year old dinosaur peering down at its customers?

However, the biggest shock of them all came when I met the owner of the shop. A huge, concave figure, white rimmed round spectacles, eyes that seemed to peep out of their sockets, dishevelled gray hair, a hook in the place of an arm, and a robotic leg. You get the picture, right? He looked at me straight in the eye and said “What are you up to, boy?” What a nice way to greet a new customer, I thought, as I coughed up a trembling reply “Uh, just looking around sir.”

“Then let me take you on a tour of our great exhibits.”

He grabbed me by the arm and whisked me away to a dark, creepy room. He then showed me around the huge area of the shop, carefully explaining in great detail every item on show. By the end of my rendezvous around the shop, I quite began to like this man, who took great care of me in the time I was there, even giving me biscuits and a hot coffee, sensing that I was shivering from the cold. I was involved in all the ancient items that I completely forgot all about my b’day bash!

I dashed out of the shop and sprinted home at ten miles an hour. All the guests had already assembled out there, and the expression on my mother’s face said it all. I was in for one heck of a dressing down!

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Alcatraz – The most horrifying place on earth

Over the course of my life, I have scampered across the globe, from the sweltering heat of the Middle East, to the chilly ranges of the Alpines, from the scenic waterways of Venice to the casinos of Las Vegas, and from the deadly Alcatraz Island to the underwater reaches of the Great Barrier Reef.

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Every place I have been to has taught me a new lesson in life. None more so, than the tiny island off the west coast of California. As I entered the deadly prison of Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, walking in the footsteps of some of the most gruesome killers in history, including the likes of “Birdman” Robert Stroud, “Machine Gun Kelly” George Barnes, and “Scarface” Al Capone, I felt a shiver run down my spine. Only the best of the worst would get to Alcatraz. I committed many errors here at Alcatraz which landed me in hospital with a fever and sleep deprivation.

Error #1 – Taking the audio tour of the prison cells. As I put on the headphones, I was immediately greeted by an eerie voice, saying “I am Robert Stroud, better known as “Birdman”. Welcome to the most horrifying place on earth.” Not exactly fascinating opening sentences for a 10-year old boy, who’s claustrophobic and nyctophobic (for those who are scratching their heads, it’s the fear of darkness.). It was narrated by the man himself. So if the emphasis was on scaring people out of their wits it was certainly working on me.

Error #2 – Entering the cell once occupied by Al Capone. This was where I really started to think I was losing it. The cell was exactly the same as it had been back in the days when Alcatraz was a federal prison, when it was inhabited by one of the most feared criminals in the history of the United States. His footsteps had been engraved on the floor and his bed maintained with great care. Sitting on that rusty chair and looking into the mirror that “Scarface” once used every day, I suddenly felt someone breathing heavily down my neck. Then, I felt someone grabbing me by the neck and trying to choke me from behind. Turns out Al Capone was long gone, and it was just my sister trying to “play” with me.

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Error #3 – Clicking WAY too many photos. Out of my dread and fear, I had involuntarily clicked away on my new Sony handy cam, and how much ever I tried to banish the memories of that fearful day, those photos would just pop up to say “Here I am!”. If that was was not bad enough, my sister(again!), sensing the opportunity, made the scariest picture of George Barnes my tablet’s wallpaper. So it would be like he would be staring into my eyes every single moment I took my tab. To make matters worse, I didn’t know how to change the wallpaper!

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Disclaimer : If you plan to visit Alcatraz, leave your camera behind. And take some sleeping tablets along.

How (not) to spend June 21!

Today. June 21. What could be so special about it that people wait for it all year? Was some new movie going to release today? Was there going to be a supernatural event? I certainly didn’t know. Not until I happened to come across the word “Solstice” at 9:30 pm in my Geography text book did I realise the full magnitude of my blunder. So that was why I felt the sun was so reluctant to go down today. The longest day of the year had just flown past me, and I spent it lying on the couch thinking “Am I forgetting something?” I felt so angry at myself.

I had been studying solstices all year, and when the big day arrives, I watch it fly away. As I sat on the couch cursing my luck, I started to think of all the ways I could have spent this “long” day. I could have gone boating in the lake nearby, skiing down snowy slopes, or gone for a long walk into the woods. Instead all I did was complete my history assignment on Alexander the Great. What a great way to spend a Summer Solstice weekend.imagesM0RNUDNM

Now I begin my inquest for reasons as to why and how it slipped out of my mind. Could it have been my sister, who kept me busy with her tantrums? My WiFi router maybe, for breaking down at the exact moment? Or maybe the squeaky rat who had me on patrol of the sweets in the kitchen all day? How I wish some genius would actually invent a time-machine so I could actually go back and fix all my wrongs. Just when I am about to ask my mother for some reasons, she says “Hey, what about your 20-page Biology assignment?”

Could my day get any worse?…Oops, it already has.

A letter that changed my life

As I was walking back home after a long day’s work, I looked down to find a crumpled lying on the sidewalk. Cursing the guy who had chucked it onto the pavement, I was just about to toss it into the bin, when I saw a few words scribbled on the paper by someone who was certainly in a hurry. Reading the contents out of plain curiosity, I saw the following words that would change my life forever,

“Dear Son, I am longing to see you. It’s been so long. I want to take a last look at you before I say goodbye – Your loving father”
This letter is so close to my heart because it describes the aching of a father’s heart, her longing to see her son, and the desperation to look at her son for one last time. These words opened my eye to a father’s love, the vast debt that we owe our parents, who blessed us with the gift of life. Let’s dedicate this day to our loving parents in the wake of Father’s Day.

A childhood home

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The title for this post should actually be the place where I used to “sleep” when I was twelve, because I spent so little time at time. I was always out on the dusty roads, filled with dry leaves and shrivelled flowers, rolling on the mud, and living life king-size. Quite literally. Not that my house was ordinary. Far from it, actually. A 3-BHK, equipped with a swimming pool and my very own playground, near the city of Mangalore, Karnataka. After a long day, I would take a dip in the chilly pool and run around in my playground. These were on the back of the house.

Ours was a happy, nuclear family consisting of my father, my mother, my sister and me, of course. I get the title of the “prankster” in my family though. Plus, I had a lot of friends. We used to play all kinds of games, and I would return home looking as if I had rolled around in the mud for hours. Then my mother would prepare an exotic meal for supper I couldn’t wait to bite into. Then I would go up to my room and do my homework. My room looked less like a room and more like a football stadium. There were pictures of my idols on the walls, latest news on my laptop, whatnot. And when the FIFA World Cup would be around the corner, the place would go crazy.

Our home is so special because it embraces nature from all four sides. Surrounded by the bluish Nilgiri Mountains in the west, the the great blue sea to the east and rocky edifices all around, we friends often say we have been blessed by nature. In fact, 50 metres from my playground is a 350 metre drop into the depths of one of the deepest, darkest canyons on the west coast. Last thing you want is a 350 metre free fall into pitch darkness. It once nearly happened to me too. Thank my lucky stars I held on to a tiny branch, and lived to fight another day.

On the front of the house, there is a beautifully crafted, enchanting lawn, filled with the most exciting flowers on the countryside. Not that I am particularly enchanted by those flowers though, because I always get a nice talking-to every time my football knocks over an aromatic orchid or a beautiful daisy. In fact, there are so many of them there that you can’t walk across to the gate without trampling one beneath your legs. Coming to the interiors, our house is filled with all kinds of antique pots, trophies, and even a great, chiming 175-yr old grandfather clock with great lineage. Living in an ancestral home in Coastal Karnataka, India has its advantages.

Our house was full of sweet memories. The legacy of a 300-year old family was established there. The true dream home.

A city of lights – Writing 101 Day 8

As I entered City Square, where a mini city of sorts, complete with food stalls, cafés and mini boutiques, is thriving with feverish activity. Thousands of football-crazy fans have flocked to the humongous screen which was due to broadcast the epic World Cup clash between Brazil and Spain in the pinnacle of arguably the world’s biggest spectacle of sport. However the occasion was not all about “The Beautiful Game”. People of all ages, ones in strollers, ones in wheelchairs, those who had never seen a game of football have gathered here at the heart of the city to witness this festival of life. 

 Soon I find myself a convenient spot in one of the nearby Starbucks cafés and settle down for a hot cup of the best coffee around. Taking a look around, I see groups of passionate teenagers chatting away about their dream players as well as middle and old-age people embracing the World Cup fever. I see that a giant “Fan zone” has been constructed through which over two million people have passed, over the last month and a half. TV screens are showing the live match, and fans are singing their national team songs. 

Outside, the match is just beginning and the heat is on. The frenzy seems to have died down, and the fans watch in tense silence as the players take to the field. Within minutes, the match comes to life. The fans roar as the ball whizzes into the net, and a sea of red flags engulfs the surroundings. The Spaniards celebrate their opener, and they certainly seem to be winning the fan battle hands down. 

I notice that a middle-aged man seated next to me is clearly in the thick of the action. He suddenly looks at me and smiles. I stare back, not knowing what to say. He says to me, “Amazing atmosphere, isn’t it? This World Cup has rekindled my passion for life.” The World Cup unites people of all linguistic groups, nations, castes and ages. So come, enjoy the beautiful game!

A letter that changed my life

As I was walking back home after a long day’s work, I looked down to find a crumpled lying on the sidewalk. Cursing the guy who had chucked it onto the pavement, I was just about to toss it into the bin, when I saw a few words scribbled on the paper by someone who was certainly in a hurry. Reading the contents out of plain curiosity, I saw the following words that would change my life forever,

“Dear Son, I am longing to see you. It’s been so long. I want to take a last look at you before I say goodbye – Your loving mother.”

This letter is so close to my heart because it describes the aching of a mother’s heart, her longing to see her son, and the desperation to look at her son for one last time. These words opened my eye to a mother’s love, the vast debt that we owe our parents, who blessed us with the gift of life. Let’s dedicate this day to our loving parents.

My room – My heaven of freedom

As I stretched my tired legs out on the mattress after a long, hard day’s work and looked out on to the enchanting world through my window of happiness, the room I lay in gave me the key to heaven – the creative, imaginative world where dreams come true and wishes are fulfilled. Where imagination weaves threads of innovation and magic captures the wandering mind.

The window in my room opens up to a view that encapsulates the freedom of life. The gushing stream and the roaring waterfall, the growling grizzlys and the dancing peacocks cast a spell that leave you in a trance forever. In the early hours of the morning, nature wakes up to another day of freedom to celebrate life in its full splendour. The carnival of life celebrates a new dawn, a new beginning that gives a new hope to life every day. As the afternoon drifts in life goes into a shell outside my window. The animals do what they do best – sleep! The birds retreat into their nests and the sun blazes overhead. Life comes to a standstill.

Late evening and the coolness of dusk brings about a re-awakening in life as the little ones break free from their bonds to rush out on to the gardens spread out beautifully, reminding one of a paradise on earth. As the little ones scream, cry and play, taking in the action with their tiny little eyes, I sit in my room visualising this world. This is where my mind lights up with new ideas, my creative instinct sparks up, and my imagination expands to new levels. In reality, it is not just a room of four white walls. It is a mountain of never-ending possibilities, a tunnel of dreams, a cave of magic and a spaceship to distant lands beyond the reach of human vision.