Blank

That’s what and how I feel when I stare at my blog. I swear to god that I’ve been staring at my journal throughout the day today and I came up with uhm, Blank! Its not that I don’t have things happening in my life. That is so not right. In fact, I have had more things happen over the past year or so. It’s not that I did not want to write and it’s certainly not that I really wanted to give up but then I don’t quite know what to do. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a ‘writers block’ because I’ve realized off late that I’m not a ‘writer’ In fact, every now and then I feel that I’m pretty much – nothing. Every time I begin working on something; something else catches my attention and I run after it for a while and after some more time you’d find me doing the funky chicken dance! Wasting time and avoiding work has become passé’ and not a day goes by when I don’t hate myself for the utter lack of interest I show towards my life and hers!

We should be out taking a walk, you know? As promised before leaving work. We should have had a subway sandwich or a salad but instead, I get lazy and we order Chinese. It was so yum!! It’s not like I love Chinese but then there’s Delhi Darbar and there’s Indian Chinese. Tastes like Christmas in your mouth. So, yeah, I couldn’t help myself and there goes another lethargic evening. Most evenings are spent watching movies on YouTube or just about googling aimlessly. Sometimes, I try harder at writing and end up failing miserably. To be frank, I don’t quite remember the days when I could write effortlessly, the days where my fingers were in complete sync with my brains and with what I felt. I’m not sure about how I should feel – happy for not needing the world wide web to talk or disappointed for having given up on something I thought I did alright – write!

More than anything, I think its the changes that have come to my life over the past year. Love has come my way, opportunities have come in plenty and work has been as busy as can be. Garnish it with my lazy ass self and there you have my life as it is now ! Its a truck load of fun mind you. I do miss writing though and there are days where I wish I could write a line. “Just a line would do maybe?” I think to myself. This is the best that I could do. Thought I’d put in a little update to remind all of you’ll that I’m still around and I hope to linger more often!

Signing off with this – for now life is blissful in Dubai. I do have the occasional hiccups every now and then; work and wife included. Its a new thing – marital life that! But more on that later. My stay at Dubai might end abruptly if I get what I want. I need a break, a new opportunity. I need a crack at something more exciting and something which has a better brand value. I need to move. What I need now is stability, learning and better opportunities. Wish me luck.

-Anup

Peace and music

My prolonged absence from this space is unforgivable and I apologize for being negligent. Thank you Shruti, Abhi, Smikh, Sneha, Mom and all of you’ll who kept reminding me about writing and how I must not give up on one of the only activities I am good at; or so you’ll said. I’m not quite sure though. Cause overall, I’ve noticed an alarming drop in my quality of work over the past few months. I’m really not sure about what’s wrong with me or maybe what’s right with me… hmm, mostly right! The obvious change here being Shruti. Fact is, I am happy. Very very happy. I’d like to express my happiness but don’t all of us have that phase in our lives where we are happier than we have ever been and are too lost in it to be able to express it? I’m not quite sure if anyone gets what I feel but that’s pretty much how it is for me right now and I’m loving it!

Shruti feels that I write only when I’m sad. I’m not sure about how true this would be but what she said is not without some truth. I thought about what she said and it seems to be true. Abhi, haven’t we discussed about this once? Somehow, all my stories, all that I’ve written and my poems is the juxtaposition of contrasting feelings which seem to have the same flavor – sadness. Point being, I’m not keeping sad anymore and that’s probably the reason I haven’t been able to type in much. My life has gone through some major changes over the past few months and I’m still trying to soak in the feelings and the people which time has given me. I keep reminding myself time and again that she who is the reason for my happiness has come from this very place and that I must be thankful to my blog for having given her to me. Again, I feel that this blog has served its purpose and life is all about your Karma’s. anup.org’s Karma was to find Shruti and bring her to me and trust me, there is a long and interesting story behind how she came here. Its crazy!!

So that’s where I stand now. I have been contemplating a complete systems shut down for this blog and yes, I am still thinking. My big ass dream of trying to complete what I began (my novel) seems to have gone for a toss and my want to write onto that word file may not be back for a while. Thinking about my past is something I avoid aggressively these days because I just don’t like being sad and my past inevitably makes me sad and nostalgic. I’m a sucker for nostalgia and I get lost in my past most often than not. Its not like it was a nightmare but it reminds me of people and their actions which forces me back into being sad and I don’t like being sad. No Shruti, I don’t. I love the food you cook; the dal you cooked today was outstanding, I love it that you wake up early for me, I love your haircut too! Seriously. Overall, I am one happy kid and therefore I am not sure about the fate of this place. What do you guys think? Should I leave it in peace and concentrate on life and music instead? Seems like a plan.

-Anup

Bangalore revisited

Its been less than 7 months since I left Bangalore behind but its all that I can think of now and my craving to return is growing stronger by the minute. Now, I’m fairly certain that this post might be prematurely ended due to my short attention span and my addiction to movie re-runs; which I must say is despicable because I’ve been repeating movies that I’ve watched a zillion times! Sometimes, I even remember the dialogues that is to follow but then, I’m addicted to re-runs and that’s all that I’m doing these days. I’m supposed to be working, reading, following up with dad on my marriage arrangements and other grave matters that need my attention but all I do whenever I find time is port into my hard drive full of movies that I’ve downloaded over the past 3 years and browse through. I then find a movie I’d like and there you have a re-run! Its suddenly hit me that around 10 days of leaves have sped by with me doing nothing but movie re-runs, a couple of books and some other things in general; which I must say I absolutely HAD to do. Like take a small stroll, stare at the gym from outside and contemplate an entry, stare at the Dubai skyline from my terrace and think about things, daily chores in the bathroom and a couple of stray discussions with the store manager at Madina super market, Bur Dubai.

I’d also like to bring to my notice the evident and seemingly alarming distance from human contact. So I have this room and I am in it. Its got everything you need. Split AC, a fridge, a bathroom, a bed, the internet and windows which you need not open! Its the perfect place to bury yourself and never be seen again. Hell yeah! That’s what I’ve been going through for the past 5 odd days and its silenced me from the inside. Sometimes, I even feel like I don’t have a shadow! What the fuck? Its so pissed at my lethargy that it went on a stroll by itself. I catch up to it overtime though. I’m scared of being alone in this cold desert. Don’t leave me alone, ehh? Things haven’t moved since the time I got in and I don’t intend on moving them into the cupboard because this room would then creep me out more. I haven’t turned the lights off in over 5 days – again cause it scares me every now and then. The new apartment is gorgeous no doubt but every once in a while it seems like Room 1408 in that movie. The one where they had a dead ghost living somewhere amongst its tiles. Damn! I’m going to have another sleepless night today. I’m hoping for work and hard labor to fix this problem. Work will commence tomorrow after an excruciating gap of 10 days and Boy! am I happy.

I’ll set aside the ramble for now and keep it for another date. As the topic suggests the aforementioned wasn’t my prime topic of discussion for today. It was Bangalore. If there was anyone who was following this blog and reading every now and then if not always, you’d note my obvious love for Bangalore. There aren’t any grave reasons for this. I just like the city for no reason. It seems like my place to be and the city where I’d finally settle down. I’ve lived a dreamy life there and come to think of it now, I’ve never been as alone as I am today. Again, loneliness is a state of mind and it can be easily overcome… yada yada yada!! Blargh, up yours with all that mumbo jumbo. I had friends there. However little they be, they were there. I didn’t meet them as often as I’d want to but then its ok, you know? It was enough that they were around. This post is dedicated to those glorious 18 months that I spent in Bangalore AFTER wrapping up a masquerading bitch of a period in Pune. A few clicks full of memories…

A lot of pictures have been left behind and I guess I’d track back to them a few months down the line. I’m sure my homesickness would just keep growing until the day I decide to return once and for all. From the looks of it, that day isn’t too far. I’ve always known that I wasn’t meant to be out of India and these days that I spend outside of my motherland yell an affirmative to my precognized notion. Point being, I’ve had people like Kuttapi, Ammu and Radha aunty who were MORE than my own family (trust me; in a lot of different ways), I had friends like Chetan and Ajay. These are probably the coolest people I’ve ever known. Anymore cooler than this and that’d make them backstabbing bastards. A karaoke pub that would let me sing and people who really did not care how you sang as long as you had the balls to do it! An opportunity to listen to Ajay sing "Smells like Teen spirit" and "Angels" AND rocking on both accounts. Chetan and me walking on the street and bursting out with streams of teared laughter at the aunty who let one go! Abhi and his very regular visits. The writers club and those emails that were exchanged. I can go on and on and on. Reasons aplenty for why I loved that city and how much I long to go back.

Now, the most obvious question is – Then why the fuck are you still stuck there? Well, you got to know this – a typical middle class mans life is full of a series of different kinds of shit – obligatory shit, responsibility shit, you-live-in-a-society-shit amongst others. I’m not different. As stuck as can be in a mud puddle which is grippy and ruthless. Questions like, "Ahhh, you’re back so soon?" with the "What a loser! tssk tssk" kinda face. "But son, you shouldn’t have wasted an opportunity like this!" You need more? I have more – "What?? You’re getting married – you need the cash! Don’t be a whiney loser like XYZABC, hang on!" Finally, the peach, "Damn! you got laid off, didn’t you?" I’m too scared of these questions and I don’t wish to fall down in order to answer them. Guess we all get fucked by the society one way or another. I’ll just deal with it for a while and fly back when I feel its time and when I’m no more part of a society that knows me.

Well, apart from these teeny weeny problems life pretty bright. Dubai is under 80 billion worth debt they say. I have no freaking clue of what’s going on and when I’d be thrown out of my job. What’s the point in thinking? I’d play the wait and watch game for now cause uhm, that’s all that you can do. I’m not going to crib, fret and frown over my job because there is no dearth for opportunities! In other news, Sneha is getting married too and I’m super excited. My long vacation starts on the 28th of January and I cant wait for the days to fly by. I cant bear the void anymore and I cant wait for Mrs. Menon to come over. Well, that’s it for now and I hope to god that this finally shows up as a post. I don’t trust myself with blogging these days. I have no clue about what’s gotten into me. Publishing a post seems to be a herculean task and I most usually find a reason to discard the draft by the end of it. This is lovingly dedicated to all those people back in Bangalore/Pune and Kerala *winks* This is to tell you’ll that I miss you’ll truck loads. Peace out.

-Anup

Updates

Writing here and writing anywhere else for that matter has become near to impossible owing to the colossal changes happening in my life. I’m making a structural change too and I’m pretty excited about it. The infrastructure in Mr. Menons life is going to be sharpened with new overdrives, sidewalks and boulevards being made. I’ve been negligent and there have been days when I’ve stared for hours at my word file with no productive content. It’s no writers block, I feel. It’s more to do with the fact that my life is going to change drastically from Sunday the 20th of September and I spend my time these days pondering upon the implications of such a change. Therefore, it was bound to happen! These questions in my mind were bound to reach this virtual journal. There are a few other updates to include as well. Guess it’s been some time since I posted an update. What if people want to know about me and about things happening to me? Or maybe they already know but want to read anyway. Abhi is one of them. The ever knowing guy, he likes to read about things he already knows. So, here goes…

Anup in Dubai:
From my previous write-ups; I’m sure it’s evident that I’m not a big fan of Dubai and about how much I miss my motherland, Pune especially. I miss Pune a lot and I don’t know why. I was happy when I was in Bangalore and never actually wanted to go back to Pune even though it had all my peeps. But then, these days I miss Pune profusely and all my love for the Marathi language keeps ogling out. Probably because I thought Pune had all these memories that I despised and the ghosts of my past that I kept running away from. Point to note though; the answer to all those fears were also in Pune. Most, if not all, of my friends are in Pune. Or let me put it this way – people who really love me are in Pune and I think I’ve wanted to go back ever since I went to Bangalore but then things happened and I’m not too proud about it. Every time Ajay or Chetan mentioned about going back to Pune it’d burn me a bit because uhm, these people were the only people I had in Bangalore and I did not want them to leave. So I secretly thought about reaching Pune before they did because for sure, I know that one fine day, that’s where they’ll be! There is something about Maharashtra and its people that I agree was non-existent in Bangalore. Now this is probably because of my love for the language Marathi, which in its ‘rudra’ form can get real nasty. Why this now? Well, I like Marathi movies courtesy Abhijit A. Shedge. I watched “Aga bai Arechya” again yesterday after listening to a couple of its songs. Namely, “Man Udhaana Vaaryachi” and “Malhaar Vaari” Those songs touch me where Malayalam just can’t! I am a Malayali but then, I’ve been in Maharashtra for over 24 years and therefore I belong to it. Jai Maharashtra!

Dubai has been very rewarding thus far and I feel thankful to god for having given me this opportunity. I have earned a few to-be friends. As in, people I like and people who seem to like me and people I think will be my friends. Maybe, somewhere down the line. I’m not quite sure. I’m crazy like that. Being friends with people isn’t an easy thing for me to do. Friendship isn’t the mere hi-hello’s right? It’s more than that? I’ve had a roomie here for over 3 months now and the very fact that I’m still with him suggests that he’s alright. Even though he seems to talk a lot for his age, you know? He’s a young kid who has gained a lot at a plum age and therefore his adrenaline pumps every time he talks to the elders (us) and he feels proud about where he is now. And he must! I don’t see a problem with that. The problem is with words that seem to bother people. I’m pretty alright because I give it right back but then, he needs to be careful. Apart from him there are a few people at work I talk to and things seem to be flowing alright for now. I do not want a lot of changes for now because what I’d need here on is stability. I can’t afford a lot of mistakes or misfortunes and I’m heavily relying on mom and her prayers! The work culture in Dubai is something which I’m not used to. It worries me sometimes but there is little I can do about it. We have two sections (or more) of people here; two sections that I know of, the full time employees and the contractors or consultants so to say. Nuff said, FTEs have HR and the consultants don’t and of course there is this huge discrepancy in the money they earn for uhm, pretty much the same kinda work being done. It’s very common for people to be exploited here and you have to be careful when you sign up. This is something I have known from word of mouth and from personal experience. I guess it’s alright to talk about it since I’m not taking names. Add to that, sometimes, you really got to cut back on your ego to survive here. Keep your dignity alive but well, yes; lose out on your ego if you want to keep hanging on! Its tax free money for love’s sake! Apart from all this, Dubai is hot and exercising isn’t a possibility right now. This adds to me physically and I’m worried. I promise to do something about it when I return and I will post in with updates on that – WITHOUT FAIL! That’s that about being Anup in Dubai.

Professionally speaking:
I’ve landed on a goldmine! Alright now this bit is for those who know and understand my line of work. I’m sure it’ll be full of technical jargons the others might not care. The thing about me professionally is that I need a drive to work to my full potential and do well. An iota of motivation does wonders for me and I manage to amaze myself always. I was hired as a “Systems Administrator” or a “Microsoft Consultant” as on my offer letter. Now this is a very ambiguous title and it means that people like me who are specialty centric need to start working hard. I’ve been working on the Active Directory part of Microsoft Servers and that’s how it’s been for over 4 years! Now suddenly, I’m expected to know bits of almost all the Microsoft technologies available and this has evidently taken its toll on me. I currently am responsible for technologies like ISA, Citrix, Print services, User provisioning (Hell yeah!) and double it up since we have two such environments to take care of. Microsoft HMC also comes under us and that’s a complex thing right there for you. I also manage to interact a lot with the Incident/Problem/Change Management team and I am deeply involved with the day to day operations of a 3500 strong company. This involves a lot of procedures and paper work since the people here are very signature driven. Approvals are not online and you have to walk up to people, discuss changes, explain why it’s needed and then get them to sign. Its old school but very effective, I guess. I also get to interact a lot with the network operations and firewall management teams here thereby increasing my understanding of the way things work when it comes to systems security and infrastructure management from a security standpoint.

Simply put, there is a humongous amount of data that I’m currently gobbling in and that’s adding on to my pot belly! My head has always been big and it has been crowded since ever.  I have an information leak leading into my stomach; me thinks! More importantly, I work under a very able person who is my TL and I take him as my mentor in this field as of now. The guy is a genius when it comes to systems design, integration and troubleshooting. This was thoroughly unexpected. I’m not impressed so soon with anybody but this guy is different. I work part time as his PA and I don’t feel weird about it at all because of all the data that I get from him otherwise. He has given me a lot of opportunities already and trusts me with our systems. So yes, professionally I’m content and happy. I am expanding my horizons and soon, I’ll learn it all. I’d probably never be a visionary like my TL is but I’d sure pick up a few things from him which will help me grow and evolve into something more than a Systems Engineer. I’d slowly want to move towards the architectural line. I’d try and get into Customization and implementation sometime soon and be parts of projects. Once I have a few successful projects in my kitty I could move towards being what I want to end up as – A technical architect. I’d be frank here; I do not want to be a people manager. It’s not my best forte. I have issues with telling people what to do and what not to do. It’s not about lack of leadership skills. It’s just that I prefer doing my own stuff rather than depending on people for my success. You know how it is? I’d like to be as technically involved with my work as possible. Easier said than done, resting and settling down after reaching a particular post isn’t what we humans are made for. So, I don’t quite know. Things might change as I grow older. At least I hope they do. Cause all of my folks want to be “Managers” one fine day! I guess that’s final destination for all of us, right? In one way or the other, we humans want to be someone else’s boss! That’s how we prove ourselves our own worth. Heh, the gods must have been crazy to make creatures of our kind!

On the personal front:
Now here’s the real turn of events. A few months ago, the only thing I was worried about is if I still have leftovers in my newly bought fridge. I’d then buy some bread and eat it on my arrival from work. This was my biggest worry mind you! And out of nowhere *POOF* magic! She walks in. A comment here and a comment there, a smile here and a giggle there, some chats and many words! She changed it all and whispered all my problems away. It’s difficult to explain what she means to me now because we’re just starting it off and things have just sped by!

So, I asked her if she’d marry me. She hesitated a bit before which she said that she was dying to *winks* Bah, girls and all their dramas! Things have moved smooth and quick thereafter since the both of us put it across to our folks at home and got it all fixed up. I met her last month and yes, I’m getting engaged day after tomorrow – the 20th of September. It all seems like an unreal dream right now and I’m sure that everyone wouldn’t understand how anxious I am but I’m even more sure that she’s the one and yes, she’s going to be the heroine of this story. Here’s thanking chapter 26 of my life for letting her in and here’s thanking the internet and all the other environmental variables for bringing her to me! Well that’s it from my side for now. I have a flight to board in approximately 8 hours. I’m flying to Cochin and back during the Ramadan period. I wouldn’t be using a single day of approved leaves because we have a company declared leave of absence for the next 5 days! Peace out.

-Anup

Suspended animation – a state of bliss.

That playful ray of sunlight which escaped the window forced his eyes open as he lay there curled up behind her. He Rosedid not want to wake up but then the enchanting fragrance of fresh morning dew against the newly watered soil from yesterdays rain, her deep black hair that smelt like freshly bloomed lavender and her barenaked back which beckoned him to finger paint on it; seemed to lure him out of his bed and onto his feet.

He woke up, ever so gently; lest she be disturbed. It was a Sunday and he wanted her beautiful eyes to rest some more. He bent over and gazed at her lovingly. He felt like he had lived a life time in her closed eyelids, the tiny little curl of hair against her sufficiently large ears which he often made fun of and she breathing heavily against the pillow. He wanted so madly to hold on to those few seconds and just be there unto everness. He reached for her eyes and gave her a peck. She shifted a bit and he saw her smile. He stood at the window for a while breathing in all the fragrance he could soak up. He felt happy. It was a very long time since he felt the way he did then. Almost… content.

He flew her a kiss as he walked across the room and into the hall, switched on the music player and turned it on to some music. Ahhh! Coldplay, perfect. Music always made him happy. Tea was the next item on his small list and he decided to cook up that magical recipe. Three fourths boiled water, two tea bags, two table spoons of sugar and three table spoons of milk. All mixed in that order and a hint of all the love he had within him at that moment. She wasn’t a tea kinda person but then lately, she had taken to drinking tea. Mostly cause he made it that perfect and she could nearly taste him in it as she sipped slowly, carefully blowing into it.

She woke up in his shirt and to Lovers in Japan and silently walked into the kitchen drawn into him and ready to attach herself to this new found magnet of a guy! She hugged him from behind and whispered a love you as she laid a peck on his back. He poured the tea cups full with bubbled up tea. He needed the bubbles. Its like garnished food, you know? Tea is never complete without those bubbles he thought as he dragged her with him into the living room where she snuggled into him and continued with the trance like state she was in. He ran his hand in her hair lovingly and thought about his state of life. Suspended animation. He wrote down a few lines that came to his mind right then:

Love me; like you’ve never loved before.
Look into my eyes and set me free…
Be as mad as you can ever be,
In love with me from the sun to the sea.
Hold my hands and let me feel,
Your heart beat with me beneath.

Promise me that gorgeous smile,
With every passing mile,
Give me that healing touch,
And your reassuring voice just as much.
Let me lose myself in your voice,
Or give me a passionate hair smudge.

These lines are for you,
And whatever is in my heart,
Yes! That too.
All I have to offer is me and words,
Come be with me praandi;
We’ll worry about everything else afterwards!

Curtains fall!

-Anup

P.S: Dedicated to she who has walked in with a voice I just cant get enough of and a heart made just for me.