Monday, October 16, 2006

Its done. Its over

Thats what Frodo said when he finally threw the One Ring in the fiery chasm of Mount Doom. I say this because I finally successfully finished the 21 km Half-Marathon in Delhi this Sunday.

It had been a dream of a small boy living in a big city, aka me. Finally joining my ranks, was Goldie-Boy, who was running to impress his fiancee. And so we ran, finishing the race in two and a half hours each, thereby setting a personal record of sorts.

The race was rife with all elements of a successful drama --- will power, focus, the inevitable cramp at 16 kms, limping, mixing jogging and walking, and the cheerleaders. Goldie did it for his fiancee and I did it for those unnamed cheerleaders from Kingfisher.

If there was ever a sight prettier than those Kingfisher-ians doing their stuff, it was the sight of the 20km milestone, which signified that the end was nigh.

I will stop here and nurse my sore legs and will advise all of you to go and do it atleast once. A warm fuzzy feeling is guaranteed.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

What's in a face?

So I ask. Vehemently. Roxette's "Look" was sung for people like me, albeit with a tad different context. This face of mine has led me to nothing but misery all these years. Let me offer some sample evidences from a long list, gleaned over all these tiresome years.

a) I show up at my hostel on the first day of my college life. Its September and I am sweating like a pig. Ten other freshies are standing like fools in the hallway, looking like nothing but prime beef to a group of seniors. They walk across us, sizing us up and making up their mind as to who to rag first. "Let us begin with this idiot", says one overlord, pointing straight at me. "He looks dazed, scared and is sweating already", he justifies. Now anyone who has lived in Delhi knows what September heat is like, but nooooo!, I have "got the look", and hence it is I who will begin the ragging saga of 1997. And in the process, become one of the most ragged freshmen in my batch.

b) Chweeet little cherubic kids, who are otherwise cooing away peacefully, turn to stone, or worse, start crying when I offer them a glimpse of my mug. This has happened way too often to be a freaking coincidence. I have been beaten in this game by foul-smelling alcoholic males who instantly turn the little tear producers into laughing Budhdhas again. Doesn't help my sagging confidence, if you ask me. However, sometimes crying babies stop their routine on my sight. I guess thats because their vocal cords develop rigor-mortis or something.

c) I can't even count the number of times strangers have looked at me and said, "Oh come on! You look like the kinda guy who won't hesitate to drink or eat non-veg food". Repeatedly denying any such accusations have proven futile. Such conversations usually include dialogues of the kind: "Sweet Moses!!! Really!!!! No meat all all!! I could have bet my right hand that you would chase a chicken and gulp it down". It became so bad a few years back, that I turned to alcohol for support and started the odd non-veg meal, ironically turning the accusation into a tautology. People still haven't stopped using that sentence, but nowadays I just shrug my shoulders and reply, "Yeah I am *that* kinda guy."

d) All my efforts at naive diplomacy fails miserably. Plenty of people have told me that my face is like an open-book, that I can't hide stuff for long. This means that when I am face to face with Shahrukh Khan, I won't be able to mask my disgust for more than two seconds. That should count as a plus, and it is, except that it causes more trouble than gain. When girls ask me if I have thought of them "that" way, it is hard for me to maintain a straight face and say "no". This inevitably leads to sandal-assisted bashings, accusations of perversions, and general curses of the kind that "all men are dogs". All this drama inspite of the fact that I believe in the maxim of "ek ladka aur ek ladki shayad kabhi kabhi dost ho sakte hain".

e) Due to my "non-veg eating and booze-swallowing" looks (see (c) above), many people also think that I am a real bad-ass. Couple that with my Haryanvi roots, and people invariably conclude that I am a war-mongering Jaat. It doesn't matter to them that I am neither war-mongering (usually) nor a Jaat. While in Bombay, this helps me ward people off without lifting a finger, which is good. But the exact reverse happens in Delhi, where almost every guy wakes up in the morning with an excuse to fight.

I could go on and on, but I guess you get my drift. This face has been nothing but trouble for me. I think of changing it at times. But then I look at what happened to Michael Jackson, and say "^@$% that" !! A face like mine is better than an alien's face anyday.