A train passing by our place. Clicked this in July. There are so few of them running these days.

During these days of lockdown, I’ve shifted base to my parents’ place in Puttur. Puttur is a little town in coastal Karnataka, nestled in the Western Ghats. Our house lies next to the railway tracks.

Railway services in this region are sparse. Blame it on a difficult terrain of 2.5 hours of Western ghats (Sakaleshpur and downhill forests) that has to be traversed to get here; difficulty gets compounded during the monsoon with heavy rain and landslides. There are only 7–8 regular trains that pass through here every day at their scheduled time. And of course, a few freight trains…

“Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?”

January 2009, this was the question I was desperately trying to answer. I’d cracked CAT, barely so, and couple of other entrance exams. This was the interview preparation phase.

“Rich!”, wasn’t a socially acceptable response. I had to be descriptive. I’d scribbled perhaps two dozen responses. Some bombastic, some pretentious, some truly aspirational, some downright idiotic, some childish and one truly legalese (my IIM-B SOP started thus: “Whereas the true qualities of a leader…….” — no wonder they didn’t want to interview me).

2009, I failed.

2010, I succeeded. My statements-of-purpose…

The finest days of your life were spent sleeping in your mother’s laps. Second, perhaps were your school days. Somewhere in that list, only next to watching India win, lie your MBA days. You’d seen work for a handful of years, that perhaps ensured you appreciate the back-to-carefree-student-life a little more. You did many, many things you always wanted to do; you did many, many things you knew you’d never be able to!

Six years later, the dimensions of life have altered. A little.

You’ve made your life a little more mechanical. A day that used to begin 10 minutes…

Circa 2014. By the second half of this year, I’d spent 28 Valentines. Spent. Celebrated? Well, none.

The story hereafter doesn’t correspond to any Valentines Day. By my 29th, well, we were only a fortnight from our wedding. This story narrates a little tale 3 months prior to Feb’2015.

Having well realized that their offspring was, let’s just say, growing a little too old, the parents had seen a girl they presumed was a perfect match. They found every girl a perfect match, this, however, they insisted was a super-perfect match.

I was based out of Mumbai those days; the…

Every trek tells you a little more about the mountains; and a lot more about yourself. This was my third tryst with the Himalayas (or may the fourth, I’m not sure). This time however, the wife towed along.

There is a pleasure sure in ascending the slopes by yourself. What I now realize is that, there is an equal pleasure in cultivating this passion in the better half.

The cold wasn’t the most unbearable; the persistent rain, however, was. The slopes weren’t the most daunting, two new folks labouring up the slopes, however, wouldn’t agree. Snow caps in the distance…

A good part of my life in Mumbai was spent waiting for the monsoon; be it holed up in office or be it up in the hills with the gang, or as it turned out to be a little before I left the fine old city, on the Marine Drive, with the wife, heralding the first rain. Be it for the sheer love of the hills, lemon-green drenched in the rain, in the middle of the clouds; or finding that sheer solace from the tropical heat, rain, was always welcome.

That was past.

The present happens to be in Bengaluru…

Federer holding the Australian Open 2017. Picture Courtesy: Associated Press

I’ll confess. The last time I jumped 3 feet up in the air, 3 or 4 times was perhaps when Mahendra Singh Dhoni dismissed one to the stratosphere a little above the Wankhede skyline!

There is a joy in watching the man play. It is like watching Rahul Dravid bat. It does hurt when the man loses. Worse, these days, it hurts to even watch him play, considering that you aren’t even expecting him to compete, let alone win. It hurts to realize that the man is past his years. …

I believe in the quote “You always get the movies you deserve”.

I’ll explain. India. Bollywood. Two movies, sequels, in fact, released only a month apart. Dedh Ishqiya grossed ₹40cr. Dhoom-3 grossed ₹540cr, 13.5X more. Although my contribution to both these movies’ coffers remains zero, a quick glance at the magnitude of the numbers suggests that a good part of the country and its diaspora beyond the shores did watch one of these movies.

Consequence? Tomorrow, you will have a Dhoom-47 generating ₹4700cr; Dhai (2.5) Ishqiya, perhaps not. …

Srinivas Badekila

MBA, cricket, history, Federer, blogger, wannabe quizzer and photographer.

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