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Missing words

It’s just so hard,
to tell someone how you feel.
Our thoughts, our emotions,
we bury deep and seal…
Living our lives,
in accordance with myriad rules,
we consider ourselves mature,
but in the end, aren’t we just fools?
Cold, when we should have been warm,
quiet, when we should have spoken,
some bonds are never fomed,
and some forever broken.
We surround ourselves with brick walls,
when we wish to run away,
within those walls we trap ourselves,
and keep those most dear at bay…
We dance through life, like marionettes,
taking steps only on cue,
driven by propriety,
missing moments we later rue…

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Life’s not a game of chess,
we need not wait for the other’s move,

It definitely makes sense to let people who matter, know exactly how important they are. But sometimes it’s just such a hard thing…

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The poem’s incomplete…

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She talks to the Rain

She talks to the rain,
her silhouette framed against the gray sky,
stretches her arm out beyond the shade,
questions posed to the falling droplets,
answered by omniscient silence…

She talks to the rain,
lying on her bed in the dark,
the din of the raindrops on the window pane,
bedtime stories and midnight chats…

She talks to the rain,
tired and alone,
the rain washes her worries away.
The cold shower on her face,
feels like the hand of God…

She talks to the rain,
drenched in the downpour,
she pours her anguish into the torrent.
as the heavens cry with her,
tears washed away by tears shed together…

She talks to the rain,
reading a novel by the window,
sharing thoughts and opinions,
comments and annotations,
the rain’s a good listener as always,
its wisdom, once again,
reflected in its silence…

She talks to the rain,
warm moments after cold showers,
contentment, satisfaction, home and hearth,
simple joys…

And thus she talks to the rain,
conversations with an old friend,
over a hot cup of tea,
as the overpowering smell of another season’s first showers,
brings back memories, of seasons past.
She talks to the rain…

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Kajiura Yuki’s beautiful track “I talk to the rain” from the Chronicle of the Wings OST, Kovai showers and a friend who listens and talks to the rain. “She”, in the poem, does not refer to any specific person.

Comments welcome as always…

Chemistry

Life is chemistry.
Just dilute your sorrows,
evaporate your worries,
filter your mistakes,
and boil your ego;
then you’ll get the crystals,
of love and happiness…

Words of wisdom from my mom (who’s a PhD in the subject) 🙂

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“How to go to the Tao Temple”

That’s the title of an amazing poem by K. Satchidanandan.
Sharing a few lines from the same…

Don’t lock the door.
Go lightly like the leaf in the breeze
along dawn’s valley.
If you are too fair
cover yourself with ash
If too clever, go half-asleep.
That which is fast
will tire fast:
be slow, slow as stillness.
Be formless like water.
Lie low, don’t even try to go up.
Don’t go round the diety.
Nothingness has no directions,
no front nor back.
Don’t call It by name,
Its name has no name.
No offerings: empty pots
are easier to carry than full ones.
No prayers too: desires
have no place here.

Love the lines at the end of this stanza – “No prayers too: desires have no place here.“…

Nikita behind her wall…

Closed doors and brick walls,
barred windows and barbed wire fences…
A serene mask of calm indifference.
Is a glance and a nod too much to ask for?
Smiles are dear, conversations timed,
on her side, as well as mine…
A glance, a nod, such things would suffice…
An acknowledgment of my existence…
But why do I wish for such things?
Irrational, Illogical,
thoughts, and dreams,
distractions…

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  1. Inspired, in part, by Elton John’s Nikita…
    The song’s supposedly a classic, which, in this case, is a polite way of saying that it’s mostly old and clichéd…
  2. One more exam  left !!
  3. No, the poem’s not about any “Nikita” in my life… 😛
  4. @ Anybody who’s wondering if I’m going to “cup” my exams this semester, hopefully I won’t, but even if I do, won’t be coz of this poem – had scribbled this down on a piece of paper a while back… (way before the endsems)

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Solitude – II

The impregnable silence of a world asleep.
Diamonds sewn into the darkest veil…
Nights of beauty.
Silence and darkness and solitude.
Accursed, or blessed, solitude?
A soft chill, a moment of contemplation.
A hermit makes peace,
with his existence…

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P.s. – rather a hermit realizes that he needs to start mugging if he wishes to avoid failing in his exams (a forced truce with his existence is more like it) 😛 – on a related note – posting schedule is gonna go haywire once again. Courtesy: end-semester exams… (last time it was due to fried laptops – they don’t taste good, but that’s another story…)

A Conversation in Quotes…

A : You’re later than I had expected.

MK : Look who’s talking. You didn’t even send over an invitation.

A: “If you stay put, people will come to you”

MK : were those Doisneau’s words?

A: Yes

A : Upon sharing and synchronization all information loses its singularity, and insinuates itself into the subconscious of those who do not have an ulterior motive, or is internalized by the consciousness of those who do have an ulterior motive.

MK : Are those your own words, based on experience?

A : Yes. After all, even you were acting like the Laughing Man in the end.

MK : The phenomenon was indeed interesting. That aside what was your initial motive, the one that triggered all these incidents?

A : “To you everything that occurs in the world must appear false”

MK : J.D.Salinger

A : Yes

A : It all started when I chanced upon an email on the net. It was most probably a threat…

MK : And the one who wrote it was the “original” Laughing Man?

A : When it comes down to it, yes. “I am a machine that exists in order to show my world to everyone”

MK : Dziga Vertov. A film director, was it?

A : Yes. I imagined that my mission was to confirm and transmit the “information” that I chanced upon, and exerted myself alone.

MK : And you suffered a spectacular defeat. The innocent mediator became dejected at the sheer odiousness of the societal system and became mute.

A : Yes. And I became a mediator fated to disappear. As if I was a writer whose existence was made all the more conspicuous because he did not publish new works. In other words, “It is the medium that determines the societal system’s dynamics via self extermination; when the medium disappears; it leaves its trace neither within nor without the system”

MK : Frederick Jameson.

A : Yes and no; the latter portion is Oosawa Masachi. Although I understood his writings, I did not believe them till I saw it with my own eyes. To think that the absence of an original could spawn copies without an original… If it were up to you what would you call that phenomenon.

MK : Stand-alone complex.

A : Contrary to what one might think, the current societal system possesses an inherent mechanism for triggering such phenomena. That only feels like the beginnings of despair to me… What do you think?

MK : Who knows? I can’t quite say. However I’ve found something that creates the possibility of retaining one’s individuality at the end of the synchronization of information.

A : And that is?

MK : Curiosity, probably.

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A tribute, of sorts, to the most intellectual anime (excuse the antithesis – in this case it’s justified) ever. (the conversation consists of extracts from the last episode of Ghost in the Shell : Stand Alone Complex – it suffers from a few of the disgusting cliches of the genre – but dialogues such as these more than compensate for the same…)

A “Free” Harry Potter eBook?

The profession of an artist or an author is one in which you earn money by selling copies of the content you create. There’s no intrinsic cost associated with copying or distribution, however the original artist or author deserves remuneration in proportion to the popularity of his or her work. Now the question is, can the original content creators be rewarded for their work if the content they produce is freely and legally copied and distributed by the consumers?

Let’s imagine for a moment a scenario involving the release of yet another Harry Potter novel (I know the series is over but it wouldn’t be the first time an author’s added to an existing popular franchise). However this time, there’s no copyright protection law to prevent the novel from being distributed online. Now the novel loses all it’s value as a saleable product if it’s posted online. However nobody gets the novel unless J.K.Rowling releases the first copy of the same.  Now, in my opinion, Madame Rowling is in the advantageous position – she can effectively “demand” an online payment to her account from anybody interested in reading the novel before she distributes that first copy. Everybody who’s paying needn’t pay the same amount, in fact people who aren’t eager to read the novel wouldn’t pay at all. However Rowling can withhold the first copy till she’s satisfied with the amount she’s collected. Effectively Madame Rowling would be bargaining from an advantageous position with the entire world on the other side of the counter. Once an agreement is reached (either the amount collected proves to be sufficient or it becomes clear from the cash flow that nobody else is interested in paying) the ebook would be released on the internet/mailed to the contributors. The public pays for the book to be brought into the public sphere.

The above idea may seem unrealistic; also it’s not quite clear how amenable authors would be to such a concept. One of the arguments against such a “business model” would be that the amount collected online would only be significant for popular authors like Rowling. Well, to quote Cory Doctorow (who was himself quoting Tim O’Reilly) –

“For me — for pretty much every writer — the big problem isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity”

“Obscure” authors, in the absence of a patron, would have to publish their first book or at least snippets of their first book for free. To put that in perspective, people would pay to read your book only if you’re a popular writer or if they like the snippets you release for free.

Another “problem” with free distribution is that it would mean the end of royalties directly derived from the continued popularity of your book, although secondary earnings would still be possible via lectures and other real life and online events. For the most part, in the absence of intellectual property protection laws the only payment which the author would be assured of would be the payment for intellectual property generation.

It can be argued that restricting access to content meant for public consumption is, technically speaking, impossible and that the current status quo of erecting legal and technological barriers to prevent the copying and online distribution of media is clearly not sustainable.  If that is the case then content generators will have to eventually accept practices and business models such as requesting a distributed onetime payment for the release of content onto the public sphere. The only subsequent claim of the creator on the content would be the right to be credited for the same…

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Looking forward to views and comments.

He ? She ? It ?!

Had put up an extended post on this topic – after some thought (and some honest critical reviews for which I’m grateful), decided that just quoting the original passage which prompted the post might be a better idea –

I am distressed to find that some women friends (fortunately not many) treat the use of the impersonal masculine pronoun as if it showed intention to exclude them. If there were any excluding to be done (happily there isn’t) I think I would sooner exclude men, but when I once tentatively tried referring to my abstract reader as ‘she’, a feminist denounced me for patronizing condescension: I ought to say ‘he-or-she’, and ‘his-or-her’. That is easy to do if you don’t care about language, but then if you don’t care about language you don’t deserve readers of either sex. Here, I have returned to the normal conventions of English pronouns. I may refer to the ‘reader’ as ‘he’, but I no more think of my readers as specifically male than a French speaker thinks of a table as female. As a matter of fact I believe I do, more often than not, think of my readers as female, but that is my personal affair and I’d hate to think that such considerations impinged on how I use my native language.

– Richard Dawkins

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Looking forward to views/comments/opinions.

Rhythm Divine

The count starts, the beats set in,

feet start tapping, the humming begins.

The music gains tempo, the lyrics emerge,

whispers mature and voices merge.

The song gains strength and smiles are flashed,

the vocals grow stronger, unabashed.

A single wave and that’s the sign,

the crowd starts dancing, to the rhythm divine.

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I’m not really a fan of latino music – however, I do find the lyrics and the titles to be quite evocative as far as poetry (or attempts at the same) are concerned.

How “Deep” is your Ecology ??

Recently we came across this interesting questionnaire in our “Literature and Environment” class (it’s a humanities elective course). It’s called the “ecological philosophy depth gauge” and it’s meant to help people take a measure of whether their views on environment issues are “shallow” or “deep“. Check it out –

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How deep is your ecology? Take a sounding. Go down until you disagree, and then go back up one level.

  1. Superficial: We should take good care of our planet, as we would any valuable tool.

  2. Shallow: We have a responsibility to protect Earth’s resources for our future generations.

  3. Knee deep: Earth would benefit from a lessening in human activity.

  4. Hip deep: The planet would be better off with fewer people on it.

  5. Deep: Wilderness has a right to exist for its own sake.

  6. Deeper: Wildlife has more right to live on the Earth than humans do.

  7. Profoundly deep: Humans are too great a threat to life on Earth. The species should be phased out.

  8. Radically deep: Human extinction now or there won’t be any later for this planet. A painless extermination is needed.

  9. Abysmally deep: A quick annihilation is too good for humans. A horrible, fatal illness from outer space is only fair.

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Nature is beautiful – and generally it’s more beautiful from afar than from up close. That’s my opinion after living next to a “National Park” for the better part of almost 3 years.

It’s very easy to fall in love with nature. But when you start living with her or next to her – you encounter the bugs and amphibians and snakes. Then you come across the wildlife that shows its wild side by chasing you off rather than the other way round…

Well, at least we don’t have to deal with leopards.

I guess I stand somewhere between shallow and hip-deep.

Where do you stand ??

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P.S. –

In case you turn out to be deeper than Deeper Profoundly Deep – I would suggest that you contact a professional psychotherapist/psychologist ASAP…

P.P.S –

Someone deeper than Deeper (and not just any arbitrary someone – the founder of VHEMT) actually commented on the post 😛 – check out the comments…

Bartering favors…

With the IITM elections for the student secretary positions just round the corner, I came across an interesting post on Google buzz –  “Insti politics and clientelism !! perhaps the fiasco of indirect democracy even at a micro level…”

The post and the ensuing discussion were about the institute elections. Leaving aside the details of the same – the points raised in the discussion forced me to consider some interesting theoretical/ethical questions regarding elections…

How exactly do you define a “deserving candidate” in an election?

Or rather, is it possible to come up with a definition with the consensus of the entire electorate?

Going back to “clientelism” – let’s look at one question in particular –

Is it wrong for me to vote for a friend just because he’s my friend and I am likely to benefit from him being in a position of power?

Most people would consider their answer to be the obvious one, and they might be surprised by anyone answering to the contrary.

  • The “ethically correct” answer would be to judge all the candidates without letting my own personal gain bias my decision.

  • Another answer would be that, as a rational player acting on the basis of his own self-interest, I should obviously  vote and campaign for my friend.

The real question is – what is really expected of voters in an election, or rather – why do we have elections to begin with? Two answers come to mind –

  1. A belief that the decision of the collective intelligence of the electorate is a safer bet than the decisions of a smaller selection committee.  The electorate is supposed to take decisions in an impartial manner, based purely on how well a candidate would serve to fulfill the stated requirements of the post based on the information available to the members of the electorate.The election effectively turns out to be the simplest possible method of combining the outputs of several, supposedly unbiased, expert systems (members of the electorate) so as to create an ensemble out of the members of the electorate.

  2. The election system works on the basic belief that it’s impossible for any player to take an unbiased decision. Also, it is impossible to optimize (or indeed quantify) how the interests of the electorate will be affected by the final decision. So, we instead try to give the majority their choice – trusting each player to act on the basis of rational self interest. Thus if the decision of the majority is affected we are effectively satisfying the needs and/or desires of the majority (possibly at the cost of the needs of the minority).

There’s no such thing as an impartial expert and there definitely won’t be a “best” candidate. Selection of certain candidates would tend to favor certain sections of the electorate. Thus the rather naive first answer is generally infeasible. More over if we look at the voter’s decision from a game theory perspective – basing our decisions on the second answer is clearly the most profitable course of action, even in a clean and “fair” election. However if the second answer is correct, than that would justify voter decisions and support based on personal gain, material or otherwise.

One method to get past the moral dilemma presented above is by making the fruit, and the act of offering the same, forbidden, thus making it theoretically impossible for the serpent to tempt Eve and Adam with the same. I guess the biblical story quite accurately describes the success of this approach.

Even if the candidates and the electorate behave themselves, there are still certain biases, such as those based on regionalism, which may be considered unethical by some people, and which cannot be easily “abolished” from the system. Moreover if all the candidates are likely to show regionalistic bias after the elections it does not make sense for me to not be biased while casting my vote.

Clearly the question is a lot more complicated than simply ensuring a system which results in everybody making the correct choice. Also, simply condemning or punishing the barter of favors wouldn’t serve to solve the dilemma inherent in the system.

So, the questions I raised in the beginning of this post remain open.

  • Is it possible to define the “correct choice” which every voter should make in an ideal election?

  • If such a choice exists, is it possible to create a system that would ensure voters would make that choice while acting on the basis of their own self-interest?

  • In short is it possible to create a system where we can ensure that both parties (the candidates and the electorate) behave in an “ethically correct” manner and which results in a the most appropriate selection of candidates?

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Comments, opinions and views would be much appreciated.

Solitude

White thunder and windy empty nights,

in the company of the stars and the moon.

Eternities captured in moments of quiet contemplation.

Darkness and emptiness as far as the eye can see,

and lines of white thunder rising up from the darkness.

A gentle roar and a strong breeze,

and emptiness as far as the eye can see.

On the edge of human presence facing a terrifying vastness,

an insignificant philosophical archer,

experiences a moment of peace.

Loneliness in spite of the company of good friends,

out of the loneliness comes, for a moment,

a depressing paradoxical desire, for even greater solitude…

A vision of a desert, washed away by the sea…

A yearning – for what I do not know,

but in the absence of satiation,

as a sanctuary from this world,

a temporary and costly respite,

in the form of solitude…

And so I find another piece,

which makes the puzzle even more confusing.

Another reason behind Buddha’s meditation.

To be tamed by a flower…

A quiz week and I don’t have any original articles or stories hidden up my sleeve. So, here’s a book review, of sorts. Instead of commenting on the book directly, I thought I would share a selection of my favorite lines and passages from the same. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is one of the most popular books for children, and has been translated into more than 180 languages and has sold more than 80 million copies. While it’s ostensibly a book for children, the theme and the hidden meanings behind certain lines are meant to be appreciated and enjoyed by a relatively mature audience.

The Turkish Astronomer:

On making his discovery, the astronomer had presented it to the International Astronomical Congress, in a great demonstration. But he was in Turkish costume, and so nobody would believe what he said.
Grown-ups are like that. . .
Fortunately, however, for the reputation of Asteroid B-612, a Turkish dictator made a law that his subjects, under pain of death, should change to European costume. So in 1920 the astronomer gave his demonstration all over again, dressed with impressive style and elegance. And this time everybody accepted his report

More on “Grown Ups”

If you were to say to the grown-ups: “I saw a beautiful house made of rosy brick, with geraniums in the windows and doves on the roof,” they would not be able to get any idea of that house at all. You would have to say to them: “I saw a house that cost $20,000.” Then they would exclaim: “Oh, what a pretty house that is!”

“Matters of Consequence”

“The flowers have been growing thorns for millions of years. For millions of years the sheep have been eating them just the same. And is it not a matter of consequence to try to understand why the flowers go to so much trouble to grow thorns which are never of any use to them? Is the warfare between the sheep and the flowers not important? Is this not of more consequence than a fat red-faced gentleman’s sums? And if I know– I, myself– one flower which is unique in the world, which grows nowhere but on my planet, but which one little sheep can destroy in a single bite some morning, without even noticing what he is doing– Oh! You think that is not important!”

‘Tis a sad thing :

“The fact is that I did not know how to understand anything! I ought to have judged by deeds and not by words. She cast her fragrance and her radiance over me. I ought never to have run away from her. . . I ought to have guessed all the affection that lay behind her poor little strategems. Flowers are so inconsistent! But I was too young to know how to love her. . . ”

Conversations with the fox :

“One only understands the things that one tames,” said the fox. “Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me. . . ”

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”

“Men have forgotten this truth,” said the fox. “But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose. . . ”

Why one particular rose is special :

“You are not at all like my rose,” he said. “As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You are like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world.” And the roses were very much embarrassed.
“You are beautiful, but you are empty,” he went on. “One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you– the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.

The folly of men :

This water was indeed a different thing from ordinary nourishment. Its sweetness was born of the walk under the stars, the song of the pulley, the effort of my arms. It was good for the heart, like a present. When I was a little boy, the lights of the Christmas tree, the music of the Midnight Mass, the tenderness of smiling faces, used to make up, so, the radiance of the gifts I received.
“The men where you live,” said the little prince, “raise five thousand roses in the same garden– and they do not find in it what they are looking for.”
“They do not find it,” I replied.
“And yet what they are looking for could be found in one single rose, or in a little water.”

“But the eyes are blind. One must look with the heart. . . ”

Other lines :

It is such a secret place the land of tears.

“Where are the men?” the little prince at last took up the conversation again. “It is a little lonely in the desert. . . ”
“It is also lonely among men,” the snake said.

“The stars are beautiful, because of a flower that cannot be seen.”

“What makes the desert beautiful,” said the little prince, “is that somewhere it hides a well. . . ”

But I was not reassured. I remembered the fox. One runs the risk of weeping a little, if one lets himself be tamed. . .

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If you liked the above excerpts you should definitely read the book. Some of the most beautiful and profound conversations and lines in the book are too long or spread out to be presented in such a post. The prince’s conversations with the king, the businessman, the tippler, the lamplighter and the geographer are priceless.

Looking forward to comments and opinions on the above passages and on the book itself as well.



All that is Gold…

Every boy who has ever lived would’ve experienced those moments in life when a girl just leaves you speechless. Some girls sometimes tend to do that to you, they just look so pretty, or carry themselves in such a manner that you’re overwhelmed, you’re floored, and you’re humbled by their presence in your vicinity. Now, the effect is just about absent if you’ve known the girl for a number of years, but in spite of that, I couldn’t help but mouth a silent “wow” at her make-over. It was amazing what a comb, a haircut and a slight attention to personal detail could do to a person. Besides, in her case I knew that beauty was the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

However, the rest of the guys in the café weren’t so fortunate. Half a dozen male eyes followed her as she passed their field of view to my table. They were soon joined by half a dozen angry female eyes. All eyes widened a bit as she stopped at my table. They widened a bit more when, she batted aside the hand I offered and hugged me instead. Guys like me don’t usually end up with girls like her for a date, especially on such days, and the hug was obvious proof that this wasn’t a onetime thing or anything.

“Looking good. Nice make-over.”

She looked at me as if I’d just accused her of being a slut. “Just realized that a bit of personal grooming is not too much trouble and can actually make you feel good. You should try it sometimes.” She smiled at her jab.

“You sure you want to hang out with a bearded geek like me? Today?”

The pretty eyebrows shot up a bit.

“Well, if you’ve snagged a better looking valentine, don’t let me interrupt.”

The statement was obviously a sarcastic one, but not for all of the obvious reasons. She would never make statements claiming to be prettier than any other girl out there (which, even in the absence of my biased perspective, she might have been, frankly I didn’t care). The sarcasm lay in the absurdity of me hanging out with any girl (other than her) on a V-day. I laughed it off and settled back into the couch.

“So what’s up?”

At that she launched into a semi-detailed account of the previous year. It was the same as always, she spoke twice as much as I did and I let her direct the conversation, putting in comments and some asides about my own life, or answering her questions. The conversation was never one sided, but she always took the lead, asking me about this and that every once in a while, cracking and sharing jokes and wacky incidents. She spoke about her latest achievement in taekwondo, the books she was reading, her medical studies, family, etc.  As always, she seemed genuinely interested in my academics, the work I did, my geeky interests, philosophy, what not. It was extremely varied, intelligent and most importantly, fun, and after knowing her for such a long time, I could tell that she enjoyed the conversation as well. It would’ve been very difficult to not love her company. A couple of rounds of drinks (cold coffee) and snacks (chocolate pastries! what else?) flew by.

I had known that she wouldn’t keep track of the hours as they flew by, so in spite of everything, I had. After a couple of hours my deliberate glance at the watch forced her to check the time as well.

“Time to go isn’t it?”

“I’m sure you wouldn’t want to miss a movie with your boyfriend on Valentine’s Day.”

“Hmm…

Anyway I have something for you. No prizes for guessing what.”

An envelope. Inside was a card thanking me for being her brother and, as I’d expected, a rakhi.

“Please don’t expect me to tie it onto your hand or anything – it would look too weird today, and in this company. You know the feelings are there. Just put it on later sometime. Ok?”

“I’ll always protect you and look out for you.”

“You’re still a chauvinist pig. You know right now if we come upon a thug, I’ll be the person protecting you.”

“Quite aware of the fact and thankful for it. Just restating the vow I made when you first gave the rakhi in college.”

“Well at that time it did make sense. You did protect me from the profs every once in a while.” She smiled at the memories of our misadventures, “Anyway, call for the bill na.”

“Don’t worry. It’s on me, and I’ve already paid”

She muttered something like “chauvinist pig” under her breath once again at that, and did so again when I held open the door for her while leaving the café. Half a dozen stares that hadn’t been privy to our conversation followed us out. I wondered if shaving would’ve helped. Nope, even if I’d shaved, we would’ve made a very unusual “couple”.

The annual ritual ended with a wave and a promise to meet up again sometime next year, preferably not on another V-day.

People often fail to recognize true gold hidden amongst the hallmark imitations.