Dear fans, Please read the posts in the following order: 1. Murphy and Me 2. You made my day 3.Friendship- My take.
In retrospect, I've realised with some resentment, that the quality I'm doling out has successively deteriorated with each post, hence the prescribed order to impress new readers. So, I've decided to post next only after I satisfy myself of it's standard.
Now, I am always confused when I read the very common quote-
“A friend in need is a friend indeed.”
Is a true friend the one who helps you when you are in need or does it say that a true friend is one who appeals to you when he* is in need?
It is common tendency to decipher the quote as meaning the former interpretation but think about it. Any good human being, regardless of whether he is a friend or not, helps a man in distress. But, it is only a true friend who seeks your help when he is in need. The appeal for succour shows his trust in you that you wouldn’t let him down. In other words, he indirectly conveys to you that he banks on you in crises and you too can do the same.
So, I define friendship as a mutually beneficial association between people. Now, the benefits can be both materialistic as well as intangible. Materialistic, I won’t elaborate. By intangible, I mean qualitative aspects like personality development, societal living, understanding of different cultures, the concept of sharing, most importantly,tolerance of a different opinion than your’setc.
I personally am a very friendly person. It takes hardly anytime for me to establish an easy bonhomie with people. People who know me well will testify that I have that knack of developing a special one-to-one relation with each of them. Now, there are reasons for this too. (In fact, everything I do has many reasons. I am an overly rational person hehe..)
Reason 1: What ever one becomes in life, it is important that he realizes the role of society in his achievements and pays back to it.
What is the fun of an achievement if it ain’t applauded by the society in general? And, it is for your well-wishers that you covet glory. Hence, it is important to expand that list of well-wishers. When the number of people praying for you increases, there is an enhanced probability of God granting your wishes.
Reason 2: If you are unfriendly, there is a very alarming possibility of you becoming a frustrated soul and hence, an underachiever. When people don’t appreciate you because of your iconoclastic nature, your productivity goes down.
Reason 3: Our scriptures say this about friendship:
“ Jaadyam dhiyo harathi sinchathi vaachi sathyam,
Maanonnathim dishathi paapamapaa karothi,
Chethaha prasaadayathi dikshu tanoothi keerthim,
Satsangathih kathhaya kim na karothi pumsaam?”
“Good company (friends) enhances your intelligence, it is truthful, it shows you the right and the righteous way, it mollifies your sins, and it spreads your intellect and fame. What does good company not do for a man? In other words, it does every thing.”
I am a strictly traditional man. I don’t go against the scriptures. So I make it a point to be in good company always. Finally, I would like to clear up a misconception that parents are friends.This is a ridiculous idea propounded first by Dr.Benjamin Spock while counselling how to raise teenage children. The filial bond between a parent and a child-- that is a SACROSANCT realtion, I say. One need not assign a belittling tag of friendship to it. I think it is this misconception that breeds a lot of disrespect in the minds of teenagers towards their parents. Fellow young men and women, your parents are not your friends, they will never be on that equal pedestal with you. They are your parents, dammit. They have seen life more than you have and are wiser. So think again if you resent the fact that your parents are not "understanding" or accomodative of your idiosyncracies. Whatever they decide are in your best interests and you would be wise to show implicit obedience and respect.To think otherwise would be woefully myopic. Enough of this sermon, feel free to comment.
* All he's can be conveniently taken to mean he/she. I am not a male chauvinist.
It was one of those days when I was attending the training for the GDPI stage of the IIM selection process. It was one of those days when I was in a particularly crappy mood after a bad day at the office (read a botched up mock interview.) It was one of those days when the sun was unrelentingly harsh and the mercury levels soared to irritating levels. It was one of those days which stick in your mind despite not imparting any learning.
Against this setting, I entered a crowded restaurant reputed not so much for its food as for its plush interiors. But it was the nearest I could find and I reconciled to dent my pocket and indulge myself in some luxury, promising to myself that I would work hard to redeem the lavish lunch I was about to have. I found, fortuitously I may add, an empty table for two at a secluded corner and quickly occupied it. The waiters were all bumping into each other, trying in vain to cater to the many customers at the peak hour. I summoned one of them as he was passing by me, but was politely told to wait. I cussed him silently and waited for an annoying five minutes. I was contemplating leaving the restaurant when one of the waiters finally approached me to take my order. I looked at the menu and ordered my favorite dish- A Potato-Cauliflower preparation. Much to my chagrin, I was told that it was not available. Now, my cup of patience had overrun and I was about to stand up and leave, when I saw her.
There are girls who are rather pretty and girls who are all right; there are girls who are not too bad, and girls who have a certain something. But seldom does one encounter a girl who is really spectacular and takes the breath away. Into that limited category, she belonged, with an hour-glass figure that immediately brought a whistle to the lips. Her hair was not black, it wasn’t blonde, it was a color which had a certain posh style about it. Her eyes were too far to notice, but I had an idea they were going to be just the right color which would mesmerize young men like me. Her skin had a healthy glow and she had facial features which made the best of the TV models look positively squeamish. I distinctly remembered seeing her in the GD sessions and saw now that she was searching in vain for a table. She caught my eye and came to my table and asked if she could join me. I readily agreed, my mood now decidedly a lot better than it was five minutes ago. I ordered a full meal for me and looked at her inquiringly.
“I am starved, I am ravenous.” she said. She ordered a salad and juice.
“Salad and juice!!! When you are starving? Come on, you got to eat more.” I protested. She couldn’t eat more as she had to watch her figure, she said.
“Golly, a lot of others are watching it (her figure) too”, I thought, looking at the number of craned necks itching to get a glance of her. Well, for the next half hour, I completely forgot about my petulance earlier in the day, I was at my entertaining best. Finally, we had to leave and she flashed me a brilliant smile, revealing a set of sparkling teeth that were either a dentist’s delight or despair, depending on whether he had aesthetic or financial considerations foremost in his mind.
You made my day, I told her.
Hours later, I was walking the roads near my house when something tugged at my leg. I looked down to see a bony hand with crushed nails that belonged to an old beggar. Pulling my feet away, I looked at his being, shocked by his appearance. Granted that Indian beggars, (or beggars in any country for that matter), are not much to look at, but this was a particularly ugly old man. His belly bulged unhealthily, clearly not due to overeating but because of malnutrition. His emaciated face housed a snub-nose and protruding ears that had a repulsive out-growth from them. Between the nose and a prognathous chin, a crack made for the mouth, which resembled a sewn up end of a gunny bag. His eyes were an unclear greenish-yellow, undoubtedly the result of an untreated cataract. But there was a strange sparkle in those eyes.
“I am hungry”, he said. Nothing else. No pathetic pleas, no drama whatsoever that you come to associate normally with those who want something from you. I remembered that these were the same words uttered a few hours ago by the charming dame in the restaurant. Now, I was in a generous mood that day and I remembered seeing a hotel nearby which offered meals at Rs.8 per plate. So, I gave the man a tenner, showed him the place and walked away. While returning a couple of minutes later, I was shocked to see the old man being shoved away by the manager. On intervening, the manager told me that he could not allow beggars into his hotel as he would lose out on customers. So, I took a parcel for the old man and placed it before him. I was disappointed, though, that there was not a hint of gratitude in him as he proceeded to spread his meal on the ground. He ate ravenously, licking his lips with gusto. In a matter of five minutes, he finished a full meal and looked at me. Then he smiled. The smile reflected a contented soul, and a contented stomach which did not know when its next meal would be.
All of us know about Murphy’s Law: “If anything can possibly go wrong, it will.”
Well, in my case, this law tends to assert itself to telling effect a little too often. So, I know, when anything goes wrong, it is this ethereal force at work rather than my inadequacy. The following episode is a case in point.
I was to write the first year board examination in math that day. My day started typically: getting up very early and going through some leftover topics from the previous night. I scoured a few pages and quickly realized, I forgot most of what I had read on the previous day.(Predictably, for the first time.) Not exactly what I would call a great start to the day. I glanced at the clock. I had about 3 hours to revise before I would start to college. I decided to leave 2 units for good. I knew I was taking a chance: I did not know Murphy’s law then. Come 8’o clock and I still had more than 1 unit to cover. The story dovetails with most of yours’ to this point.
Then the telephone rang, cutting into the tense atmosphere shrilly. It was my friend Kasturba*.( names changed to protect privacy). He was going to pick me up from my house at . I raced through the rest of the unit I was doing.
8:20. I still had 1 whole unit to finish. I decided to wait for my friend at the end of our lane and walked there. I flipped the pages of the unfinished unit as I waited.
– I nearly finished a fourth of the chapter. I watched eagerly as each Ambassador turned, only to return to my book again.
– I was getting edgy, trying to comprehend reasons for his not turning up. I was doing “Taylor’s theorem” then.
– To hell with Taylor’s theorem, I went and rang his home. “Hello, has Kasturba started ? He is supposed to pick me up.” And the reply - “ He just left after waiting for you here. I think you should make it on your own now.” Each of those words struck me like a dead man hearing the last nails being driven into his coffin.(Wonder what it’s like.)
Now, the journey from my home to College took an hour at the very least. So, I rushed back home. Meanwhile, my parents were originally scheduled to attend a wedding at 9.00. As luck would have it, they were already halfway to the venue. I ran to the telephone booth again and for the life of me, couldn’t remember my father’s mobile no.!!! Mercifully, after 2-3 attempts, I got it right. Shaking with nervous perspiration, I stammered some apology and managed to convey my predicament. My parents were back to pick me up in about 15 min.
We started toward the college. 9.10-- A scene straight from a thriller movie climax. My heart raced at double its normal speed and I could actually hear it beat. The left out part of Taylor’s theorem gnawed at my mind, but I couldn’t concentrate in the tension. So I decided to chuck it, hoping it wouldn’t be asked.
My father was coming to the College for the first time and between this indecision over Taylor’s theorem, I directed him to a wrong turn!!! After going some way, I realized that the shops on the kerb were unfamiliar and staring stupidly, I confessed that I had misled us and we had to retrace our path. My father gritted his teeth in seething ire, but thankfully, he refrained from saying anything. Perhaps he resigned to the fact that his son was a dumb oaf. ( I learned later that this wasn’t the case. I was to face a tirade of the choicest derogatory words on my return.)
9.45. The prospect of missing my exam and the unthinkable consequence of failing in the very first year of Engineering loomed threateningly before me. Only a miracle could now save me. I now fervently prayed to Lord Maruthi to bestow on our Maruthi his speed so that we could reach in time. By the by, the exam was to start at 10.15.
10.20—We were in college. I rushed to my room and mumbled apologetically to the invigilator. But to my horror, he turned out to be the strictest stickler to rules in our college and refused to permit me in. All my efforts at convincing him seemingly went in vain. I even tried crying, but the tears just wouldn’t come. It simply wasn’t my day. Desperate, I rushed back to the car and brought my mother to plead, hoping that the female angle would work. This was to be my wisest decision on that day. She successfully got me in, and left.
10.30—Inside the exam hall, I tried not to take notice of the stares from my classmates. But, I sheepishly grinned at everyone, earning another warning from the invigilator.
Then I read the question paper.
Question 1 for 16 marks: State and explain Taylor’s theorem…