Friday, September 28, 2012

Blah Blah Blah!

Paul McCartney is coming to Canada to perform in a couple of concerts. Great news, what? He's one bloke I'd gladly walk many miles in tight shoes to see. But when the nearest venue is over 3200km away from Toronto, even the most die-hard fans of the former Beatle would pack it in, go home and watch videos on youtube. Sure, I could fly to Edmonton or Vancouver-- I'm not ruling that out yet -- but the idea of splurging on a ticket that would put me at the back of a stadium and several thousand heads between me and Paul doesn't seem too appealing. I'd rather put my money on The Chokers winning the T20 world cup, thank you.

I haven't been following the world cup closely, but did India thrash England and advanced only to play Australia, SA and Pakistan? Quite shrewd of England, I say. Got into an argument with a Pakistani at work today and I have fiercely defended India to defeat them this Sunday. I believe India has never lost to Pakistan in a world cup game. Let the history repeat. Last time I had an argument, Germany and my ego took quite a beating. Will I ever learn to keep my mouth shut? :P

Reading "In A Sunburned Country" by Bill Byrson. Just about fifty pages into the book, some of  the prejudices I had against the Aussies disappeared and in their place came respect and admiration for a country that has prospered so well from unpropitious beginnings (don't be surprised if I rooted for Aussies next Ashes :P). Save for the inclination of most men to wearing knee high socks with shorts, nothing seems disagreeable about the aussies. They seem be extroverted, friendly people who love to drink cold deer. I so wanna live in Australia for a year or two. Bill Bryson never fails to amaze. The extravagant amount of research that goes into his writing is quite evident. And he so effortlessly(so it appears) presents them in a way that's amusing, educational and leaves you wondering who could you touch for a loan to book tickets to Australia. I will try to write more about this book when I am finished with it.

I am not trying to be cool or different, but seriously, I don't see why everyone is going ga-ga over Barfee? Definitely not a bad movie, but nowhere close to being called a masterpiece. Call me conceited or judgmental, I lose my interest to watch movies the moment heroines drool over butterflies or fireflies. Why don't we have more characters like Manimegalai from Engeyum Eppothum? On the plus side, Illeana looks stunning. :-D I can't believe she is the same girl who acted in a stupid Tamil movie called K.D.

So long!

Update: I just got the news that Ilayaraja will be doing a concert in Toronto next month. I know they will charge heaven and earth for a front row seat, but I think I can buy myself a seat somewhere towards the last rows if I sold one of my kidneys, no? :P 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Living on the edge

Unclean was the first adjective that one would reach for when describing our house. That spot has now been claimed by the word 'unsafe'. Sadly, the first causality happened to be SV. Poor fellow, it's always him. What happened was this: SR wanted jam, I threw the bottle at him, he did a Kamran Akmal, the bottle crashed and shards of glass scattered all over the living room. According to some statistics that some one with nothing better to do must have surely written, there is a jam bottle breaking down every minute somewhere in the world. No big deal. But what sets us apart is that, instead of cleaning up the mess as most sane persons would do, we drew a map around the danger zone and put up a signpost for our hapless guests. A few minutes later, I spilled some detergent and the danger zone was enlarged. So much that there was no way to reach the kitchen from my bedroom. So I constructed a bridge with two chairs and a table. Perfect. All was well with the world until SV, despite all elaborate warnings, miraculously stepped upon a shard and sustained a minor cut. Luckily, no serious injury, and no veterinarian service was needed. We all survived the day with no further accidents. Tomorrow is a new day. :-)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A moment to remember

I remained silent for thirty minutes. If that isn't a sign of a million butterflies doing salsa in my tummy, nothing ever is.

"I need you to be with me through this," I spoke finally.

Same words spoken to a loved one may sound romantic, but when I uttered them to my dive instructor moments before plunging deep into the ocean it was a plea to save my life.

"You are a born swimmer, buddy," Mike assured me. "You know swimming ever before you were born, you know that?"

"May be so, but it all changed after I was born. I am as good a swimmer as a hippo."

He gave me a chuckle and put his arm on my shoulder. I expected he'd say a few encouraging words but he grabbed a hose and deflated my jacket. And that was the beginning of a few wondrous moments that I will always cherish.

With an oxygen cylinder strapped to the back and a pipe shoved into the mouth, breathing ceases to be an involuntary action. Breathing takes up all your mind space. What if oxygen cylinder breaks? What if I run out of oxygen? What if I face breathing problems? One knows the odds of any of them happening are high, but better sense takes a hike when one sails in "uncharted waters". Yes, I had my training in shallow water before diving, but would you feel safe sky-diving with a parachute you bought on eBay? That's how it feels.

Mike lead the four of us down to the ocean bed, one at a time. I was the second one to go. I was too preoccupied with my breathing that I observed nothing. When I hit the bottom I looked around and found M kneeling down comfortably and drinking in the ocean's beauty (which was evident from a loud burp M let out later). For some reasons, I struggled to stay put.  I tried to kneel down but I kept floating up. Mike found it amusing. He didn't think it was a problem worth looking at and he flitted up to check on others. I clutched at an iron rod sticking out of a wrecked ship to save myself from being swept away. Whoever is behind this ship wreck, I love you. Twelve feet deep into the water, the pressure drop caused an acute pain in my ears. It was as though my ears were being pounded from inside the head.

Presently Mike appeared with the third person. Oh boy, ain't I glad to see you again!  A wave of relief washed over me. Never has been a person more important in my life. The fourth person has already panicked and chickened out. Yea, that's just the confidence booster I needed! Mike signaled us to demonstrate important hand signals he had taught us.  Oh great! Here I am, wondering what song they will play at my funeral and you want to have practical lessons? One hand still clutching at the rod, I showed him the signals. A great feat given the state of mind I was in. Just then "the third person" faced problems with breathing and had to be guided back up, leaving M and I stranded in the middle of an ocean and anxiety. Two swimmers have dropped out and two non-swimmers are still sticking it out, haha! M grabbed my arm and signaled if  I was okay. I was going to reply in the positive but just then I had a hamstring-pull from trying to kneel down awkwardly. Now then, I wish they would play 'In My Life'.

When Mike reappeared I signaled something was wrong in my leg and I wanted to go up. He took hold of my leg and gave it a gentle massage. By Jove, that did soothe away the discomfort and I was rather enjoying the massage. Yay, I am getting myself a massage at the bottom of Georgian Bay with aquatic life teeming around me. Am I awesome or what? :P Mike asked if I still wanted to go up. Heck, no! I want to stay on till oxygen runs out.

It took me a few minutes to get over my anxiety. Funeral scenes playing out before my eyes faded out eventually and what unfolded before my eyes took my breathe away. It was a blue paradise. All around me were fishes, floating and gliding gracefully, oblivious of the intruders in scuba diving suit gazing at the marvel that is aquatic life. Here, a shoal of golden fish amusing themselves by swimming in circles around a shrubbery, and there, a huge solitary fish floating about thoughtfully as though it were trying to figure out the purpose of its existence. I glided ahead and put an arm out hoping some of them would bump into it. A few of them darted away while the rest swam their way around my arm. Tiny little silver bubbles it emitted seemed like mercury drops. A fish jamboree. There were more varieties of fish than I could hope to learn their names in this lifetime.

Tucked under Mike's wings, we swam farther into the ocean. Or he did all the swimming while we grabbed his arm to keep level with him. And what lay ahead of us? Another sunken ship in one piece. It must be suicide point for ships. The ship must have been languishing at the bottom for many decades, for every inch of it was covered in green algae. Mike tapped a railing and signaled one and eight. So one and eight, huh? That's 1800 in scuba diving parlance. Gee, I was really focusing during the theory class. Are you trying to say 1800 people sank with this ship or is it the time? Whatever! It turns out the ship had taken up its adobe here during the 18th century.

A little more of floating and our time was up. Only a few moments ago I was aching to go back up but now I wished I could turn into a fish and live happily ever after down under. It was time to say goodbye to our hosts who graciously put us up(and put up with us) at their Eden.  M stole a beautiful little shell. A little something that would remind of a beautiful evening spent in a paradise. Aren't you carrying anything, M asked. Oh yes, memories that will last a lifetime. :)