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Shoulda, woulda, coulda

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8690084_origProcrastination is my middle name. Or it would be, if I had one. Luckily for me, I don’t. If there is something that I can put away doing indefinitely, I will. And this isn’t a new characteristic that I’ve suddenly picked up, now that I’m working from home. I’ve always been so, probably for as long as I can remember. Of course back then, I didn’t know the word for it. I used to proudly say that I was "Mr. Last Minute.com", as if I was some sort of super hero. However as I grew up, I was "made" to realise the various connotations and meanings that this ‘alleged super hero name of mine' could be misconstrued as. So I set about searching the magnificent English language and found this magical word which defines a part of me - a procrastinator. Mr. Procrastinator - if I didn’t know the meaning, I would have said it sounds like a cool nick name. Ok. I digress. So as I mentioned, my procrastination in doing things (or rather not doing things in a timely fashion) has been evident to me for a really long time. Back when I was a child (I still am - at heart that is), I always waited until the end of the day to do my homework, except when my mom lovingly asked me to (read : ordered) complete it before going out to play. When the exam schedules came out, one of the things we kids always unnecessarily concerned ourselves with was “how many off-days we had before a particular exam”. I too was interested in it. But only because I wouldn’t touch my book until the day before. Ok, that’s untrue - I would touch the book, but there’d usually be a small story book tucked somewhere inside that. Again, the only exception would be when my mother would kindly sit me down to work through some tests. And it wasn’t just studies. I’d been taught from a young age that it was good manners to wash my plates and utensils after a meal. I would put them in the sink with the righteous intention of washing them later, and then forget about it, until my mom would remind me about them. Taking out the garbage had also been my responsibility, one which I'd often conveniently put away till later. Now, there’s really no harm in that, unless you have a cat around the house, who loves to go through the garbage.

There are more important things in life : Image courtesy Google

Despite being given numerous talking to’s, I still continued to procrastinate. My parents finally just put it down to my “childish charm” and hoped that adolescence would teach me a thing or two about why I shouldn’t put things away for later. Alas, I’d say they didn’t have their fingers crossed tight enough. During my teenage and pre-twenty years, I was largely away from home. So needless to say, dishes piled up more frequently and garbage toppled ever so often (even without the cat). And studying was no longer just last minute, it became selective. I would often leave it, until the evening before exam. And even then, I would only learn selective topics, keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that I'd studied enough to pass. As for homework and assignments, they were often hurriedly scribbled work that I’d have put together whilst on the hour-long bus journey to college. Why, I even procrastinated in (actually I prefer the phrase “waited for a reasonable period before”) asking my now-wife JP out on a date. As for the hand in marriage thing, let’s not go there. Five years into marriage and I’m not really sure if I'd even proposed to her. She may have had enough of my procrastination and decided to take the “bull by the horns”, so to speak.

Once again my parents, together with my lovely wife, hoped and prayed that marriage would make me a more responsible person. Whilst they weren’t entirely disappointed on that front, my procrastination still continued. Things that I were interested in and found enjoyable such as reading, watching TV, playing on my Xbox, cooking, movies, eating out and all other such important activities were being executed in a precise and timely manner. Why, I even started cleaning up the dishes promptly and taking out the garbage daily. But I still procrastinated about other things such paying bills, doing the laundry and other trivial household chores. Another bunch of things that I dawdled about were social commitments in general and keeping in touch with certain relatives. Plus there was Facebook and Twitter. And online games. And the Internet in general.

And then out of the blue, I became a parent.

To date, fatherhood has been my single greatest teacher. And I still have miles to go before “I sleep”. I suppose I should be a bit honest here too. I procrastinated at procreating too. Ok, that didn’t come out quite so well. (Sid, enough with the unintended innuendos!) What I meant is, we both procrastinated and dilly dallied with the decision of creating an off-spring. Me more than her, I suppose. I wasn’t sure I was ready for all that responsibility. And I’d both read and been told about the nightmares of three-hourly feeds, unearthly diaper changes and the likes. But eventually I was convinced and we had a little one. Yes, for the first few months, seven to be precise, I hardly procrastinated about anything. It was like I’d been reborn. I did everything promptly and sometimes even without being asked. Frankly it was a rather pleasant surprise to all, including me. But that’s the thing with life. Some things are just too good to be true. And eventually, as the little one grew up, I slowly started putting things off again. During my watch, diapers were left on a tad longer than they should have been, milk bottles were sterilised at the last minute and so on.

Fast forward to the present. Our little one is all of 22 months old, and as you can see from my “M for Mischief series”, he is quite a handful. As a work at home father, during my main shift of 12-6 (he goes to play school in the morning, leaving me with some time to procrastinate!), I am frequently on my feet trying to play a combination of Super Heroes from Superman jumping over tall objects to Mr. Fantastic who can extend his arms  ( and other parts as required) to catch falling glass containers and plates. So there’s hardly any time for procrastination.

However you should know this about me. I am a staunch believer in the phrase “If there’s a will, there’s a way”. So eventually I always get around to doing what’s required of me, even if it’s at the last minute. Sort of like this post :)

Keep calm and procrastinate now ! Image courtesy Google


Disclaimer(s):

I know some parts of the post make my parents sound like they didn’t pay proper attention to me. That is untrue. If anything, they’re guilty of paying me extra attention. Kindly refrain from confusing my procrastination with laziness. That’s not to say that I’m not lazy. That I am. My procrastination arises from the fact that I am too engrossed in doing things that I’m really interested in at a given point, that I sometimes “forget” that I pushed something else aside in the past. Finally, I know some of those lines shed really bad light on my parenting skills. Please don’t call Child Welfare. I’m a decent parent :)

[This post is written for the Project 365 program at We Post Daily aimed at posting at least once a day, based on the prompts provided. The prompt for today was "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda : Tell us about something you know you should do . . . but don’t"]

One night in the Bronx

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Sweating profusely, Samir took refuge by the side of dumpster in the dimly lit alley way. The running footsteps of his assailants echoed ominously through the rather silent night. “Should have listened to James when he told me not to stay in the Bronx” he mused as he tried to catch his breath back. He heard the footsteps slow down. It sounded like they were just up at the entrance to the alley. Still panting, he tried to hold his breath so that they wouldn’t hear him gasp. He heard one of them mumble something and then there was a crash. From the sound, it must have been one of the many aluminium trash cans that lined the alley all the way to the dumpster.  

“They must be tipping over the trash to make sure I’m not hiding there” he thought as he pushed himself closer to the brick wall away from the light. Not too far away, he could hear more trash cans being thrown about. They were closing in, like predators for the kill. Except that there was nothing stealth-like about the manner in which they were trying to find him. He knew he’d be a sitting duck if he continued to stay there longer. He had to do something. He slowly crouched up. He was going to have to make a run for his freedom. Suddenly the long shadow of a man fell across his feet. From the looks of it, he had a baseball bat in his hand. Slowly the shadow of the man with the bat turned and walked away. Samir breathed a sigh of relief. It looked like he was going to be fine. He looked at his watch. According to the luminous dial on his watch, he’d escaped from the thugs in under 30 minutes. But he was going to wait for a few minutes, just in case.

 

He listened carefully. Apart from the noise of a few vehicles passing by on the main road, it was still largely silent. He slowly rose up and dusted himself. He was going to have a nasty bruise on his temple, where one of the assailant’s fist had collided with his head. Gently massaging the area, he walked out of the alley. At the entrance, he peered both to his left and right. Apart from a few cars and a couple of drunk revellers, there was no one else that he could notice. Going with his instinct, he decided to turn right. Steadily he walked away from the alley and into the main street. Suddenly he heard the shuffling sound of footsteps behind him. He turned back to look and then froze. He was staring right down the barrel of a gun. A bald behemoth of a man, in whose hands the gun almost looked like a toy, was grinning. Samir noticed a few empty gaps from missing teeth.

 

Having never been in such a situation before, Samir stood there unsure how to react. A few seconds later the bald man spoke. “Turn around slowly. Put your hand behind your head and keep walking. And no funny business, unless you want a bullet or two put in your sorry head!”. Samir did as he was asked and started to walk down the road, past the alley that he had taken refuge in a little while ago. Fear started to encompass him and he could feel his heart beating rapidly. He’d read about situations like these in books. He’d watched numerous news reports of other people being held at gun point and had tried to imagine what he would have done. But his brain had just gone blank. He could feel the point of the gun nudging against his back every time he slowed down. So he kept walking, only being guided directionally by the gun-toting stranger. He had no clue where he was or where he was headed to. Along with fear, a feeling of helplessness had started to set in too. All he knew was that he had to walk if he didn’t want his brains splattered on the sidewalk.

 

Samir checked the time on his watch as he walked. It was 2:13 am. “Not the best time to be walking about in the Bronx” he mused as he wondered back how he’d gotten into this situation. Having recently broken up with his girlfriend, he had moved into a dingy studio apartment in the Bronx a few weeks ago. A lot of his friends, especially James, had expressed their concern at moving into a place that was often referred to as “The Hell hole” in their circles. But then, he had no job, no career, no girl friend and whatever he’d saved up was no longer enough to stay in downtown Manhattan in the flat he’d shared with Sarah, his ex girlfriend. So he moved out here. Though he usually chose to be aloof when he encountered any kind of problem, especially one’s that he was not part of, today something different had happened.

 

Having had a couple of beers too many, Samir had decided that he wanted to take a walk through some of the rougher Bronx neighbourhoods. At 5”10’ and weighing less than 8 stones, Samir was a scrawny man and very out-of-place in the Bronx. Yet when he’d seen a couple of thugs almost beat the life out of a Hispanic man, he had decided to intervene. Fortunately for the Hispanic man and unfortunately for him, the single punch that Samir had thrown at his attackers was right on target and broke one of the attacker’s nose. Although it took him a few seconds to realise the enormity of his action, once he’d realised it, Samir had started to run, eventually finding what he thought had been a very secure hiding place behind the dumpster.

 

He was snapped back into his present predicament by a sharp nudge against his back. They had come to a large T intersection. From across the road, he could see a large black Hummer parked  on the pavement. And leaning against the vehicle was an enormously tall man easily weighing over 22 stones and built like a statue. And he was holding up a white bandage against his nose and glaring at him. “Go on! Cross the fu**ing road!” yelled the man who was holding the gun against him. Samir stood frozen to the ground. He was now starting to shiver and sweat at the same time.

 

Behind him was a gun-toting goon who was looking for a reason to use the weapon. Across the street, in front of him, was the apparent leader of this gang whose nose Samir had just broken in his sudden desire to be a hero to some unknown Hispanic chap. And not only did this man have a gun in his hand, he also had two other goons, probably his body guards, who looked like they could crush Samir with their bare hands. Samir felt helpless again. Death was almost a certainty. Though not a staunch believer in the miraculous powers of the  “Person above”, he silently crossed his fingers and put his best foot forward.

 

Suddenly there was a loud screeching of tires followed by the sound of multiple gun shots. Samir clutched the left side of his stomach and fell to the pavement. As he curled up in a foetal position, unable to concentrate on anything but the piercing pain, he heard the familiar sound of the Police siren. Though he could not be sure, he almost felt like he was within touching distance of the sound. As the sound of more gunshots filled the night air and the smell of gunpowder whiffed up his nostrils, Samir slowly opened his eyes. His hands were bloody but the pain had subsided considerably. There was a Police car blocking his view of the street across. He turned around to his side.

 

Lying beside him, still clutching his gun, his mouth wide open in shock and  a rapidly reddening circular patch on his forehead, was the goon who minutes ago had walked Samir up to the junction at gun point. In desperation, Samir tried to pry out the ruffian's gun from his dead hands. Unable to do so, he slowly sat up and kneeled over behind the vehicle. Through the shattered windows of the car, he could make out the rapidly changing blue and red lights of the siren as well as the hustle of activity on the other side. Gradually he stood up, a bit more confident, now that he could hear no further shots.

 

As he walked across the street, which was littered with glass pieces and blood, he could not see any sign of the goons or their “bandaged-nose” leader anywhere. He did see a contingent of police officers mulling around the now bullet-ridden Hummer. Suddenly one of them turned around and rushed towards him. As the officer came over to him, Samir could see that his uniform was stained with blood. The man stopped right in front of him and extended his hands outwards in a shake-hand. Though he was confused, Samir extended his hand too and clasped the officer’s strong hands.

 

“Congratulations! You’ve just helped us nail one of New York’s most wanted. Well done!” he said grinning happily. Bewildered at the sudden turn of events, Samir just stood there. The officer pointed over to the huddle of policemen still mulling around the vehicle and said “Oh, before I forget. Officer Ramirez sends his gratitude for saving him from Antonio and his thugs. If it wasn’t for your timely punch, Ramirez would have been in the morgue now. The NYPD is in your debt.”

 

And with this, the policeman walked away. As Samir looked over at the thinning crowd across the road, he noticed someone wave at him. He squinted in an attempt to find out the person. It was the Hispanic man who had gotten him into this mess in the first place.


 

[This post is written for the Project 365 program at We Post Daily aimed at posting at least once a day, based on the prompts provided. The prompt for today was "Helpless - that dull, sick feeling of not being the one at the reins. When did you last feel like that –-and what did you do about it?". I've merely used this prompt as the situation for a short story, which I hope you enjoyed]

http://blog.blogadda.com/2014/01/11/spicy-saturday-picks-january-11-2014-great-weekend-reads

A New Endeavour

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Ah, the first day of the brand, sparkling new year. The best time to forget all the not-so-good things of the previous year. Which is also the best time to forge new friendships, make better resolutions that you can keep and maybe time to learn to live a little. Just like you, I make resolutions too. Every year. Sometimes I follow them through. Sometimes I don’t. But this year, for one of my resolutions, I’ve got a specialist support group. Okay, that sounded wrong. I’m not crazy. My mother had me tested :)

This year, four of us have conspired (yes, you read it correctly) to make our presence felt all across the virtual world. In order to do that, we’ve taken a wee bit of help from the lovely people at the DailyPost (dailypost.wordpress.com), who have been kind enough to provide rather lovely and random prompts for each and every day for the year 2014.

So today, all four of us are committing that we will endeavour to collectively publish one post daily on our new collaborated website We Post Daily. For more info, check out the About the blog section.

Now, it wouldn’t be right, if I don’t do my personal introduction to the three lovely writers that I’ve been fortunate enough to collaborate with. So here we go, in alphabetical order:

Jairam Mohan

In and around blogging circles, he’s popularly known as “mahabore”. But let me be the first to assure you that he’s not boring in any shape or form. He’s our resident Mythological guru who specialises in fiction, parenting, political satire and humor. But that doesn’t stop him from writing pieces that tug at our heart strings ever so often. He’s a SuperDad who is absolutely meticulous in everything he does. His love for blogging shows in every thing he does. Yes, he says his days are made up of Excel sheets and PowerPoints. But even then, he’s still thinking about the next post he can put up. This man can make you laugh and cry at the same time. Laugh on his funny posts. Cry with laughter on his superbly witty posts. One thing you must know about him is that if there was ever an enthusiastic writer, he’s it. Though a collaborative project, he is brains behind this endeavour and the “energiser bunny” who keeps us motivated and going. You can check out more about him on his blog : Mahabore -  http://mahabore.wordpress.com/

Rekha Nair Dhyani 

Some of you may already be familiar with Rekha and her loveable dil-se writing style from one of the guest posts that I’d done for her quite recently titledInterpreting women. Though I’ve already given her an introduction, I’ve gotten to know her a bit more over the past few weeks, so it’s time for a refresh. Rekha is one of the kindest souls you’ll ever meet. She really cares about each and everything thing, and it shows. Her writing is like a breath of fresh air, and you can see that she puts her heart and soul into everything that writes. But no, she’s no pushover. She stands up tall and strong when she believes in something (which is most things) and you don’t want to mess with her then. Because she will politely put you in your place. But hey, she’s one of the most friendliest and cheerful people that I know of, and she’s helped me deal with some troublesome brickbats in the past as well. Rekha - I know this intro doesn’t do you justice, but if I could sum it up in one phrase. You Rock! I’d have never said in a million years that you are an introvert. Okay, make that you were an introvert. You’re a superstar. You can get to know her a little bit more on her blog: Dewdrops (http://rekhadhyani.wordpress.com/

Sakshi Nanda

Okay, so I’ve only recently done an intro piece on Sakshi Nanda for my guest post on her blog : Bedroom Brawls. Whilst I’m really tempted to just copy-paste that intro (which I’ve been told was lovely:)), I’d like to do the honest thing and re-type some of it. As I’ve said before, Sakshi is someone who is extremely cheerful, transparent and endearing. She calls it as she sees it. She often complains that she’s slightly on the slower side when it comes to “certain technologies”, but the way we all see it - Once she sets her mind on something, she’s determined to learn it and make sure she’s a pro at it. For example, she had to take a huge jump to move on to the WordPress blog format from her much-more-used-to Blogger format. But she made it work, and wonderfully as you can see from the post on our website. She writes about almost everything and anything. Humor is her forte and she has the enviously ability to transform “every day items” into a laugh riot. She’s an amazing mom (based on the things that her son say) and  a blogging heroine to many. Above all, she knows when the say the right thing and when to dismiss things with an emoticon. Get to know more about Sakshi in through her blog  - Between Write and Wrong (http://sakshinanda.blogspot.in/

And then of course, there’s me. But hey, you’re here. So I must be doing something right :) So I’ll skip my paltry intro.

You can check our more about the authors on the About the authors section of the new blog.

Finally, before I sign off,

You know how social media works right. A like here, a share there and some spreading the love goes a long way. So what are you waiting for, check out our new collaborate website here (link below) and follow, like, tweet and G+ us. And of course, we will continue to update our individual blogs too. So stay tuned. We’ve made one of your new year resolutions for you  - READ. Our blogs of course !