Monday, November 27, 2006

Biopsy of a Team

For the last few days, I have been thinking about writing about a topic with most of the people around me define with. Teams. Yes, since most of us spend anything from 12 to 15 hours daily working with our respective teams and organizations, this topic should elicit the maximum amount of thought and emotion from us.
I am not a Management Guru or a thinker, but I write from what I see. And I see what most of us do.
Defining Teams
Teams are not just about the huddle after a success. They are more than that. A team, as I see it, is a collection of people who come together to accomplish a certain common task. The task can be playing a game, as in cricket or football, or working in an organization. Believe me, the latter can be as engaging as the former.
But, from the above definition of a team, there are two important phrases, viz. Collection of people and Common Task. Let’s take them one by one.
Collection of people, as it goes, is not a simple proposition, People picked up randomly and put together to accomplish a task, might just be an act of cinematic liberty. In real life and real organizations, this is not true. In today's scenario, teams are selected from a group of people with a certain skill set. This skill set can be true in terms of physical and mental attributes. For the purpose of discussion let us club domain knowledge with physical attributes. Mental attributes would basically talk of the person's fitment into the team, adapting and understanding the team culture and objective.
Team Selection - Role of Specialists & Generalists
In an ideal team selection, every single member knows what he does, best. And also, there is respect in the abilities of others in the team. But, if everything was white and black, where would generalists like me go. So, there are certain people who basically can fit in more than one role. They might not be specialists, but they can hold fort in most scenarios.
It is with these generalist people that most of the mental attribute problems arise. Sometimes in their minds, and sometimes in others.
The job of team selection is to me the most important in the ultimate accomplishment of a task. This is because, generalists, with their ability to handle a bit of others domain area, they might spell a sense of insecurity among the team members. Not to say that Generalists are more of a nuisance to team culture, we should understand, these people need special handling. They have to be nurtured as by multi-tasking they display a distinct understanding of team objectives, and in the present manpower reduction scenario, they form an essential part of the team.
Here the role of the team leader is important. He can move ahead and try and model all members as generalists, or keep a healthy mix of specialists and generalists. That to me is the key of team selection and reflects the means to end approach of the team.
But the end, to me is what most teams don’t understand. The clarity and singularity of purpose are not evident these days. Teams which work on defined timelines or targets mostly display this attribute. Sometimes, the team leaders also miss the real purpose and take on hands on day to day approach. Here we again delve in to the mental attribute of teams.
Mental Attributes – Fitment, Adaptability, & Clarity of Goal
Basic purpose or goal of team is a factor of many environmental parameters. On a macro level, this is ruled by the Industry, the technology, and mostly by outlook of the management. A goal once decided moves along as the team and the organization mature and grow. This transient nature of the goal, tests the mettle of a team and the vision of the leader.
Blaming the team leader for low engagement levels in the team is not completely correct. Although, by being the leader, quantum of the blame rests with him, but certain factors are beyond his control too.
If the organization has decided to focus its attention towards a new technology, then the entire team which was working on the now-out dated techniques is rendered in such a flux. I have faced such a situation, where in the organization decided, in face of competition, to switch technologies mid-way. The entire team was in a state of indecisiveness and was then relocated to various other teams. This led to low motivation and engagement levels, and further to mass exodus to other organizations. And till date, whenever we all meet, the person most criticized is the team leader for not being open and forthright with the team on such a drastic change. This might not be completely correct, but that’s how I see everyone, including myself, functioning.
In that state of flux, if the team was taken into confidence, before hand, and explained the impending scenario, at least some engagement levels could have been maintained. But that is asking much from the team leader, who himself was a member of someone else’s team.
But where most organizations and team leaders go wrong, is to shove the entire impending scenario under the carpet. Like as taking the above example further, all employees were taken for an outbound to a resort within city limits and engagement was discussed there. Its not that the team had a flock of sheep who did not understand anything, but the team leader and the management still thought it to be a better way of handling the situation. Result was the inevitable, the engagement score dipped to an all time low.
On a cautionary side, let me add, lets not see all such efforts (as in outbound etc.) by the team leader, as shoving concern under the carpet. Some Outbound trips I attended recently were pure unadulterated fun and led to good bonding between the team.
But still as per the common belief, things go wrong when they have to and are most needed to go right. Team leaders falter when then they are most required to go right.
Teams are complex and need very careful handling. A trick missed once can have a multiplying effect later. And this is the common scenario most teams and organizations face.
So if you are leading a team, then chalk out a vision for the team. Even if the goals are transient, vision is generally stable over time and through situations. Engage the team, involve them in decision making, but also be critical when required. All this is easier said than done. But try some of it, and your team, even after a long time will never criticize you. And you could simply believe in the phrase, Happily Ever After!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

An Ode to the Women in My Life

Agatha Christie said, "Any woman can make a fool of a man, and if he is in love with her, more so." This is so aptly put, and coming from a woman who created Hercule Poirot, this is more of a candid confession.

I am not saying that all women are conniving and cunning. I can never say that. You know why!! Not because most of my readers are women but because I enjoy their company!! Hence, proving my credentials once and for all, about my preferences.

Women enjoy interplaying men, situations, and other women around them. They have a good sense of timing on what to say or do when. Just imagine, you are winning an argument and suddenly her eyes brim. And then, even before you can imagine, the contest comes flowing down her eyes as tears. And then from an aggressive and winning partner, you are now the loser; and guilt is written across your face. Often this incident leads to gifts and your going down and scratching your knees.

Its not that women do it intentionally, it happens because they are like that. It has its benefits too. Imagine watching a romantic story. Women can cry easily and relieve them, as men, we have to blink our eyes to shun the emotions away or play on our cell phones. We are macho and can't cry or she might think am a sissy boy. So at the end of it all, we have to crack a joke on why these stupid sob story makers don't provide tissues with the tickets. This dilemma is perennial.

To say that women know what to do and when, would be giving them a larger than life aura. But if you give them a car, all that I said about timing can be thrown out of the window. They can cut across lanes, jam their feet on the breaks suddenly, and talk on cell phones while driving, as if it is god's will. And if someone tells them, it’s wrong, then promptly comes the counter-attack, which eventually in most cases, ends in tears and you being guilty.

History has always been His Story. Because she never let him know that he was the character and she the script writer. Every successful man has a women behind him, well so does every unsuccessful man. This is just like watching a puppet show. At school, my puppetry teacher, a woman, had all male puppet characters. I didn't understand then, but she took immense pride in ordering, and cajoling them to act on her fingers. When given the chance, I always missed a trick. The wrong finger moved, and instead of shaking his head, he did a pelvic thrust that would put even Michael Jackson to shame.

Decisions taken with your partner are always mutual. She decides that mutually, it is the best for you. It can range from the choice of a restaurant to the food you order, to the color of your shirt and tie. Women have such a sense of color and knowing what suits what. Men can take it casual. But women, never!! Even their casual has a dressing sense. The jeans are torn at the right places, the shirt has exactly the right number of buttons, the hair color has just the right tinge of red and what not.

But having said all of that, we are incomplete without them. They add the necessary charm and a daily quest in our lives, the quest of what next? Something.....that keeps us on our toes. Something.... which makes us better men.

So here's a Big Thank You to all the women in my life. God Bless You and more of your kind be blessed to save my soul.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

God Save Me

I am sitting here in a very dark room, looking all somber and sincere. There is just one light source which suddenly illuminates my face. And I look up to you.
“I need to tell you something.”
“Don’t know how to say it. But what should I do, this needs to be told.”
I grimace. And look at you with melancholy eyes.
What the heck, I still will say it, because this was the best way I found to start my next write-up on me and myself.
Well, I would imagine the lights go up, and there is a clatter of claps and whistles all around the room. Even if there aren’t any, I don’t care, ‘cause I am telling something which all of us feel and find it difficult and unexplainable.
Last time I wrote, I told you how the women I wanted to meet were all booked or married and the ones left for me were high on EQ and low on IQ.
As I moved on, in my search of finding someone who completes the puzzle, that’s me, I have now realized one very important cardinal truth. Women have these two basic traits given by nature to protect themselves from overtures of men like me.
Firstly, they have good intuition. And by good I mean very good, as in extra-ordinary. Whatever we men are dying to say, she has already understood. So, here I should assume that the problem is solved. She knows what I want to say, so every thing is fine and we can let the fat lady sing.
No, my friend!
There is still a second trait which most women exhibit. They show they are dumb. That they don’t understand a thing and are confused. That explains why most women on being proposed say, “I always treated you as a friend. Oh my God, I can’t believe it. I am so saddened by this. Its better we don’t meet.”
Didn’t I hit a chord? ‘cause that’s what I have heard so many times during my stay on earth.
Not just while being proposed, women generally portray the idea of being happy in small things of life. As this friend of mine who told me, “I got my nose pierced and my fiancĂ© held my hand all throughout. Don’t you think its beautiful?”
You ain’t!!
Even getting your nose pierced while holding hands with your can it be beautiful. I can’t imagine how that guy could stand this. I would have fainted as soon as the needle would have been brought anywhere near her.
Well, moving on. Women have this unique way of making you feel special. They would even make waiting for you sound so special, as in “take your time….I am here.” And once the wait is over the tantrums would follow. “You don’t know how to manage time. I don’t know how would you do in future.” Strange....but true.
The other day, this friend of mine told me, “You are the only guy, whose my such a close friend.” Wow….so sweet. But I have basically lost out on women, that I shot back, “Hey does your fiancĂ© have some problem?”
The outcome was natural. Needless to say my foot got stamped by her 4 inch heel.
You must have realized by now, how confused I am about women and their strange ways. But somehow when I see her, I go weak in my knees. Hey.....don’t imagine this to be mushy.
Whenever I see some good woman, I end up hitting my knee on some wall, chair or table.
I still am looking for a missing part of my life puzzle who completes me. There have been some who have come close to being in the vicinity of being near to perfect. But sadly.....none have been ideal.
We always look for someone who completes us. And in that search I move on. And on my way I meet women who can be intelligent and dim-witted at the same time.
I heard a British once say, “God Save the Queen.”
Hey, why save the Queen?
Save me. ‘Cause the Queen can fend for herself.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Ticking Clock

Well.....I am back. You would have expected me to take longer. But I am back bear with me.
Last time we met, I had spoken, was on my new found understanding of Venutian. I was on the top of the world. And every time I passed a native of Venus, seemed she said something good about me. At least.... that’s what I want to think.
Life suddenly had a new color. Even the color red was adorable and lovely. Everything was feeling so new and so good. I could do what most men would die for. I could tell what women want.
I knew what they liked. The music, the food, the clothes, the shoes....yes, the shoes. Actually most women are fixated on shoes. They feel shoes are the best friend. Men come later.
So armed with all such knowledge I marched on. I was loving each and every moment. But as they say, satisfaction is something most people don’t find. What next? Yes, that was the question which dogged me. Was it always going to be so happy and nice or was there a down-side to it?
Surprise....Surprise!! I found the next step fast. But believe me it led me to a very very important question. To my utter dismay, I found that the women I wanted to meet and be with were either married or booked. And since now I am too old to snatch someone else’s girl, I looked for the maiden maidens.
The more I looked.....the more I suffered from paranoia. They were in another plane of existence. Either they were too dumb or too intelligent to show me their true self. But whatever was....I was disappointed. My knowledge and quest were leading me to destination nowhere.
But nowhere was definitely somewhere. Intriguingly, I was still running after them.
Was I getting dumb or was I so desperate? A male friend at work, when posed with this dilemma, put it, “You are just there, at the doorstep of marriage....after which all men go dumb and mad.”
Am I there? Well, as I said last time, my parents, friends, relatives think that and also my Venutian handicap has improved. So....may be I am there.
Now this scares me. I can’t be tied down. I have my free soul which needs to enjoy the sins this world has to offer. But as they say....every dog has its day. I just had 28 years of good days. And now, its time to raise the on toast this time.
This takes me back to what was scaring me. The dimwitted women I met, or the extent to which I wanted to meet them again. Just read below for a very apt example, which happened last week.
The other day we went for a date.....or should I call it just a meeting? Rest of my friends saw other designs in it. When I came back they gave me if I had forgotten something important......Oh...there were no give-aways on my face or collar.
Well, there couldn’t be.
I called the date a meeting because it was too short to call it one. I reached a little late..... say about an hour.....that’s not a big deal with so much traffic and work at office.
She said. “You are again late….the shop with the best discount on shoes just closed. What am I going to do here now?”
Hello??? What am I going to do here now?
Excuse Me!!.....Couldn’t she look at me? I had even used the new deodorant.
Didn’t I tell you these women can only think of shoes!! So..... it was just a meeting, what could have been a nice romantic date. I spent our way back convincing her how sorry I was.....and how much I wanted to be with her.....and we would definitely go out and buy nice shoes for her.
I left her home and made way back to my friends and their mischievous glances. Damn!!
And to top it all we chatted on the cell, and she explained why I should stick to schedules and maintain a work-life balance.
Just to buy new shoes with her?
Whatever.....I convinced her that we would definitely buy new shoes and I would leave work on time.
See....I am losing it. The battle is half lost and I am now contemplating a give-in. A meek surrender to what fate has in for me.
But I am the King!! I can’t lose like this. I have rise from the ashes like a Phoenix. And win all wars. So I am going to give fate a fight for the money.
To all those who say I am there at the last post....I can just say this.....
The Boss just had a rough day....but he is still the Master of All He Surveys!!
So even if you are married or booked.....I am here for you!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


They sat there in awkward silence. It had been like this ever since they had met for the first time. But the tension today was palpable.
They had met, not so long ago, right here. Since then, it had been a roller-coaster. Both had made some excuse or other from their respective partners to be together. Not understanding what it was, just following what they felt was right.
Suddenly the mundane day, had a new color to it. Every minute which passed, brought the moment of togetherness closer. And when they met, time which was supposed to stop or at least go slower went faster. And then would again start, the wait for the next meeting.
How was this different from the previous ones or rather the one in which they were currently. Well.....this time nothing had been said or committed. Yet to be around, without even speaking a word brought in a sense of belonging and completion which had been missing.
They missed each other, even when they were with their partners. The longing was now creating a tension around them. When they passed by, in presence, of friends, they just looked at each greetings....eyes if penetrating. Not even a blink.
No one saw it....but they did. And so the tension mounted.
So what had changed today? Well, to say it simply....nothing. But even in the silence....a tacit approval for each others special place had come in.
They were traveling by the bus, as they did daily. She was looking out of the window, and so was he. And while the bus passed a crowd, she turned to tell him something.
He was looking at her. His hand on the side rest was cupping his face. Two fingers crossing his lips, as if to stop any words from flowing out.
She looked at him, starting to say something, but couldn’t. A sudden flutter crossed her heart. As he just blinked once. The eyes closing.... as if, registering the moment in his mind forever.
She suddenly felt weak. Suddenly everything around in the bus was blurred. Only he was clear.
And then they both looked away. The moment had come and gone without even a faint whisper. But somehow they knew it now. What words couldn’t, eyes had said.
She looked out of the window. Not seeing anything, but feeling his eyes.
He looked at her. Her fingers tightly knotted if she was clutching something. He looked around, and then slowly held her hand. Her fingers opened if letting go her current relationship and giving into this new sensation. Her fingers slowly, inter-twining with his. As they traveled...not looking at each other for the rest of the journey.
A lot had been accomplished. And a lot had to be. But some how the tension was gone and there was now a lot of clarity. Both of them smiled at themselves....and held their hands, as for this moment...time stopped.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Empire Strikes Back!!

Well...this is my second write up on myself. And this time I had decided, or rather had been made to decide, I would look at things happening to me from the more optimistic angle. So here I go, and the problem is the same... one faced by many of my peers.
It’s been two years since my last ex got married. I had decided to take a break. After having done a world of good for so many families, uniting so many people, I thought Cupid needed to take a break. And so I did.
Two years, was just plain, pure, and unadulterated work. I mean work as in, what I do...where I work and earn a living. So…in the two years, there was not even a mild flutter of the eyes. As if I had mentally put a stop on the production of Oxytocin hormone in my brain.
For the uninitiated this hormone is actually the one which causes most of the problems. I read somewhere that this is a very uncomplicated hormone because of the simple chemical bonds in its construction.
But complications…for me, it has caused many. To the extent that at an early day in my life I had decided that one day I would write my memoirs, of all my quests. Mind it none of these quests were short of sending missions to the moon. For me they were actually missions to Venus and understanding Venutian. Even I had written a dedication for it....
Dedicated to...
The lives I have lived
The deaths I have died
The Women I have loved.

Venutian is something all men want to understand but rather don’t. Mel Gibson tried not long back, but failed soon. I would rather not get into how difficult or impossible it is to understand Venutian. But rather I would now talk of my quests and where I am headed now.
As I mentioned earlier, my last ex go married two years back. According to close friends, if some girl is not getting married, she should start seeing me, cause definitely she would find someone and get married. That someone, in all the years of my life hasn’t been me.
So for the good of society, I had spent all my life acting like a matchmaker. It started with making a match for me, but ended with a match for someone else. As if the person on the altar got changed mid-way.
Not boring myself, and of course you on the topic of my failed attempts, I would rather now go on and explain something which has started happening off late. I had started to experience a new understanding of Venutian. A need to tell the world...the King is Back. So with my Venutian skills being upgraded again, I was feeling as an all new me!!
That took me back to my old haunts. Yesterday, I was reading a blog written by my ex. Here I should take the credit, that she got this habit from me…cause I used to detail all our tiffs and insecurities on my blog. So...coming back….she had written on how beautiful life was and her beliefs in the virtue of the family.
Something struck me...So I called her up, and without even saying hello or any other niceties, just said, “Are you pregnant?”
Naturally so…she was taken aback.
“What! Are you mad or what?” she said.
“No, I mean...err...are you?” I said.
Understanding me....she said... “You are impossible. And to answer you, I am.”


I was right. I knew it. See..we understood each other so well. Somewhere during their revolution around the Sun...Mars and Venus had come close enough to understand the language at least. Am damn happy for her and her husband. Cause later to soothe my ego, I believe, she was too dumb for me.
But this proved a point. I was back. The King was on a comeback trail from a self imposed exile.

Well, coming back to the strange turn everything has taken recently. As if there is a board hanging around my neck, which says “Single” and that too in bold.
And everyone, from my parents, friends, relatives, colleagues, and even people I meet for a short meeting or so, tell me. “Get Married.” Some even try hard to become a match a friend, if she is reading this would know who I am talking about.
As if all the channels on the telly are showing the same show. How boring....and creepy. Don’t they have any other work or is it so obvious on me. be true...I too for long wanted to get back into the Big game. To get the feel back....that Tiger is still the king of all he surveys. That Venutian is a beautiful language...that the Oxytocin factory suddenly went on mass production.
So to cut a long story short, and spare you of a failed attempt to write a happy and optimistic interpretation of the new happenings in my life, I would just say....
Game On People!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Understanding My Anger

Sometimes it happens....these days quite so often, that I express anger at even small instances. It didn't happen before. Earlier it was just mild reactions and I used to go quite, brooding inside. Now that brooding has come out. And it is taking a very ugly shape.

I don’t like they way I react, but it happens and it’s beyond my control. Just take something what happened today. I reacted angrily when a book meant for travel reading was forgotten in the car by my mom. She kept quite, not liking my reaction. I didn’t like the way I reacted. And to top it up, when I turned to look at her, I gave the most nastiest and cruel facial reaction, as in why is she reacting like this? I hate myself for this, had warned myself of such a happening; but it still happened.

Was the book so important that it elicited such a reaction or is it something else? Just taking on from there, I feel its time to understand the genesis of this anger.
As mentioned above, this anger was earlier in the form of internal brooding. Everyone praised my patience, but didn't know what struggle went on inside. And I used to play to the galleries. An image of immense patience and resolve, I was the role model for others.

Internally, I used to be so split that sometimes I had to take shelter in some reel life figure. A lot childish, some may say, but was effective. My success in being the idol of patience, in my eyes, was bigger than the success of my idols, in reality. Although, if I say I knew how weak I was inside, would be using the unjustified help of hindsight, and again playing to the galleries.

The main point was that the anger was always there. But while discussing the earliest known form of my anger, we stumbled on the point of being weak inside. Now let us spend sometime in understanding this.

Weakness inside me was more a psychological thing than any other. The idea of performing against all odds, and compulsorily winning was not taught to me. As a child I sensed it. Starting from comparing clothes to schools to toys, everything I did or had was a part of my idea of a life long race. Winning small laps but to keep on running was the mantra. In some cases, it still is. Even as I write this, I am thinking how people would react. This I think is not having confidence in one's self. So another something to ponder on....confidence.

Confidence or the lack of it is an interesting thought. If you know me, I come across as a fairly confident person; on some instances even over confident. But I fear loss, and this forms the source of my lack of confidence. You might turn back and say anyone would fear losing, but once you start putting the onus on winning, as high as I do, you might be sucked into this spiral. And victory to me is so important that on occasions it leads to lying, and above that lying to myself.

Well...well, we have now reached a new corner of this maze of unraveling the internal strife that results in unnecessary anger. And it is about lying to myself. Sometimes when I have to do something, I unnecessarily hype it up so much that it amounts to setting difficult and useless targets. And then I lie to others to make them fall in line. If you look closer, this lying habit stems from the idea of winning against all odds. And we discussed this earlier as a lack of confidence. But where did this lack of confidence come from. I believe it did from something which all parents do, comparing their children with those of others. Its not that I am saying all this happened from there. It didn’t. They compared, because I believe of a similar internal strife. My internal strife and this anger that ensues from it is largely a result of taking the feeling of victory against all odds too seriously. Even more seriously than was intended.

While growing up I have fought many battles inside to defeat this weakness. I have won some, and have lost some. But it has led to discovering the inner depths of my mind. And when I lose this battle to anger and patience, I really become angry at myself, resulting in fruitless show of anger as in nasty facial expressions.

What a day it would be to say whatever you like to anyone and they wont mind. But sadly world is not the movie "Liar Liar". So I still have to fight more battles and win them. Because Victory is essential, this time.... for my sanity.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sweet Melody

I still remember that day clearly. I was sitting in the balcony, reading the newspaper, when she came back from the University, and said,"I am home dad." She went into her room singing a melodic song. Closing the door she started to strum the strings of her guitar, singing the melody. I hadn't ever heard this song. Slowly, I closed my eyes and started to enjoy it. A smile on my face, my head moving in appreciation of the melody and her voice. Life was so nice, hummable, and melodic.
The next day she left for the university early for the classes. I was trying to remember the melody, but could not. So, I sat on the balcony reading the newspaper.
I sat there wondering, did the newspaper have less pages, or did I read it fast. Still she had not come back. I got worried and called her friends. They had seen her leave at the usual time, but none thereafter.
I searched, and searched, and searched.
And finally, called the cops. The melody and the voice both weren't anywhere to be seen.
They called. They had found her body. They found the accused a week later. Someone important's son, who had taken away the most important part of my life for his fun. They tried him in the Court. The Judge set him free, saying he was helpless. I never cried, numb from the sudden twist in my life.
I have spent the last decade thinking of the melody and how I had forgotten it, and with it the peace and happiness of my life, my child. I used to try my hand on her guitar, but the melody didn't come back.
So I decided to do something, which I wouldn't have done ever. I walked to his home. Went up the stairs. My life was moving in front of my eyes as a film. With a blank face and a numb mind I pressed the door-bell.
He opened the door. And then stepped back. Confused, realizing what was in store. I raised the gun and shot him. He stumbled and fell. Seeing him die, my tears finally came and I started to cry.
But then from somewhere in the recesses of my mind, it came back. I started to sway to the melody. I started to dance, with tears running down my face. She had started to sing again, from heaven above, in peace.....

Wednesday, May 31, 2006


I walked down the street, surrounded by friends and comrades. Today was destined to be the biggest day in the fight. What I was about to do would change their outlook about us. It would clarify, that we are serious about the cause.
Every revolution requires sacrifice, and today was my turn. It had been a long discussion among the core group on who would be the first one. I had been the obvious choice. Educated, belonging to a good family, and above all not attached.
Well, at least that is what I knew then.
I had expressed my feelings to her sometime back. She had kept down the phone, and not called back since. Disheartened, I had fully immersed myself into the revolution, and since then risen among the ranks.
I was ready to die for the cause. At least my parents and friends will be proud of me. I woke up early, bathed and had tea watching the most beautiful sunrise of my life. I wanted to call her and bid adieu but something inside held me back. She was so special and I did not want to lose the focus.
As I was about to leave, the phone started to ring. I left it ringing, stepped out and locked the door. But something, I don't know what stopped me. I went back in to take the call. Till then the call had already got forwarded to my voice mail. So, I dialed my voice mail to check the message. May be the schedule had changed.
What I heard made my knees weak. I held on to the table. It was her. She had called to say that she was now ready and wanted me to meet her parents and I should call her in the evening as she was going to the protests.
I stood up, so she was going to be there. Suddenly the resolve was going amiss. I walked down the stairs to the grounds.
I walked down the street, surrounded by friends and comrades. Today was destined to be the biggest day in the fight. What I was about to do would change their outlook about us. It would clarify, that we are serious about the cause. I was about to immolate myself in full public view. But now I was not sure. I wanted to live. I wanted to be happy with her; we would solve all our problems.
And then from the corner of my eye I saw a glimpse of her. Our eyes met. There was a burning sensation. The revolution was out of my mind and I was just staring in her eyes.
Suddenly she started to shout. Cry. The burning sensation increased and there was severe pain. Oh no........someone had set me ablaze. The flames were rising. I wanted to doze them but couldn't.
And then I fell unconscious.
Now my body lies in the morgue. Brought dead; with severe burns, and concussions. I am crying not because I died but because I died when I wanted to live. She walked in to claim my body. She was hysterical, and I was crying with her.....for us.

The Quake

I came back home late last night from a friends house. We had a nice time celebrating his birthday along with his parents who were visiting from out of town.
After reaching home, I followed my daily routine, changed, brushed, took my iPod and went to bed. Like all nights I listened to my favorite Elvis song....
"Wise men say,
Only fools rush in...
But I can't help falling in love, with you."
And then I heard nothing and fell into deep sleep.
Sometime later everything started shaking. It started as a slow rumble. My mind couldn't realize initially but slowly it started to register that this was an earthquake.
I held on to my bed, opening my eyes slightly to look at the stuff kept in my room. Everything was shaking.
Suddenly the rumbling increased and then there was shouting on the street below. Dogs were barking.
By now I was starting to get scared. My parents sleep in the next room.
Collecting my fears, I slowly started to get up. My iPod headphones were hanging around my neck. Pulling them out, I got out of bed.
The rumbling was persistent. I tried standing but could not. I held on to a chair to balance myself. Slowly I took two steps towards where my slippers were kept. I wore my slippers while holding on to the chair.
Kept the iPod on the table and slowly made my way to my parent’s room.
My heart was pounding. Slowly opened the door and looked inside.
They were sleeping sound. But there was shouting and screaming on the street below. "They must really be tired yesterday", I thought. I had a feeling that this was a nightmare. My foot hit a table and a low shriek escaped. My toe was hurt. I felt down, the toe nail was broken. This was true, and it was happening. I would show this toe nail to the doctor in the morning.
Slowly holding the furniture on the way walked back to where the television was. The television table was shaking. I checked the screws and then slowly using small steps came back to my bed.
I sat on my bed. The rumbling was still going on. But it seemed to be subsiding.
I sat there for a long time, eyes wide open, and mind blank. There were a lot of aftershocks. After sometime, when the shocks were nearly over I fell asleep.
Two hours later, the shrilling alarm woke me up. Opening my eyes, I looked around. Everything in the room looked fine.
Walking to the television, I picked up the remote and switched it on. I flipped on all the channels, but there was no news. Not even breaking news. How could this happen?
I looked around. Shaken, I went back to my bed. Couldn't believe nothing had happened and I had a nightmare.
To sooth myself, I decided to listen to some music. My hands roamed on the bed searching for the iPod.
It wasn't there. Where was it?
I walked to the table.
No, this couldn't be true. The iPod was on the table.
So, this wasn't a nightmare. I had lived it. I wanted to tell everyone. Nobody would believe me.
These things only happened in movies... or was this, an indication of things to come??