Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Great Expectations: The Teacher & His Book

By Sunaina Patnaik at Tuesday, September 30, 2014 3 comments

“There are two kinds of teachers: the kind that fill you with so much quail shot that you can't move, and the kind that just gives you a little prod behind and you jump to the skies.” 

― Robert Frost

This post was meant to be updated during Teachers Day but it was lingering in my head since a long time. It got delayed. Nevertheless, I am out with it.

You remember all those amazing school days? The incredibly pure days when a bar of chocolate, or a game of Uno with your friends in the colony gave you happiness that a pair of Charles & Keith shoes too cannot.

So, as a child, I had to hop from one city to another, one school to another quite often owing to my father's career. I hated it. I was always the new girl in the school, and there were times I felt like an outsider. Right from my language, to food, everything was different. I was always that weird, and probably geeky South Indian who could not connect well with the East Indians. I was always that strange child who preferred math over socializing with fellow classmates.

But then, I am also glad that I hopped from one school to another. Because, I have made many friends, and have a fair understanding of various languages now.

My family and I shifted to Hyderabad when I was a twelve year old girl. Surprisingly, I was still an outsider, here. As a person who could not decipher or write Telugu, I had a tough time making friends, and explaining people that I was a South Indian. I was. I just grew up in different places. As days went on, I made friends and all that, but you know what my problem was with the school? It had no library, it had no physical activity sessions. It was an utterly boring place to be in, and while my grades were always high, I was never happy with any of it.

The next year, I had this absolutely brilliant teacher for English called Murthy. At first sight, you might take him as just another grumpy old man who would strangle you to death if you were a naughty child, but he was anything but grumpy. He was happier than any of us; he dreamt higher than any of us. He always dressed in black and white, and on odd days, we would see him in blues and greens. He was fairly old. Say around, 70 years? I am not sure. But I still remember that I didn't want to miss any of his classes. Ever. I loved his lectures beyond anything. He had an aura that spoke volumes of his experience; and his flair at weaving and narrating stories was beautiful.

He taught us The Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. This is one book I go back to, time and again. I have lived with this book ever since ever, and let alone talking about it, I do not even like sharing the lines from it with anyone because I am so possessive about it that I feel like I am sharing a part of myself with them. You can call it ridiculous, but that is how this book has always worked with me.

With Murthy sir, this book was treated with an entirely different perspective. A story, that I would like to save for later.

There were many teachers before him, and there have been many teachers after him. Teachers I do not remember, teachers I doted on, teachers that made me hate Physics, teachers that ended up late for every session-basically, teachers who didn't leave a mark in my life like Murthy sir did.

I do not know if my stay in the school would have been the same without him; I do not know if my love for Literature would have been this strong without his stories; I am not sure if I would have written anything at all after my seventh grade if he stopped nudging me. Relentlessly. I would have been clueless about the beauty of words, and the sorcery of Ruskin Bond's work. I would have been just a person who took no interest in art, and I shudder to think of a life like that. And much to my chagrin, my Grammar would have been pretty horrible if he wasn't there in school, explaining me the difference between its and it's, patiently, and sometimes, quite impatiently.

I wouldn't even know if I would have read all the classics if he wasn't my teacher for his classes were always about great stories, good Literature, dreams, and many more.

I do not know where he is now, what he is reading now. I do not know who is being admonished by him right now. But if I really could, I wish I could sit down with him, and talk to him about all the grammar issues he found with the teenagers, I would love to ask him if the teenagers are getting any better. I would love to ask him, if he has ever considered writing down the stories of his adventures.

If only I could see him and tell him that he is loved, and whatever I am right now, I'd owe a major part of it to him. Bits and pieces, and everything!

Monday, September 22, 2014

In Due Course!

By Sunaina Patnaik at Monday, September 22, 2014 3 comments

“Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after.” 

― Anne Morrow Lindbergh

They bonded over coffee and peanut butter smoothies, under the starlit nights, and over several texts and calls. They talked and laughed over copious amounts of coffee; he deciphered her silence like he knew the back of her hand. They both had interesting minds, and they spoke those minds to each other.

Even without any hint of pretence or trying to appear likable, they seemed to get along well. She took him to the places he has never been before; he told her the things she had never heard before. She always had a song playing in her hand for any situation; he had a logical statement for any situation.

Sometimes, she did not talk much; sometimes, he did not listen much. 

If he made an effort, it was misunderstood.
If she made an effort, it went unnoticed.
And if words were her forte, indifference was his.

The conversations were stimulating as ever, albeit, they dropped over time. 

"This won't work, you know?"

They laughed over it, and pushed it aside like it never happened. Things changed, eventually. The bond faded, in due course.

Sooner or later, this was meant to happen, she said to herself.
It was all a fallacy, he said to himself.

The isolated coffee shop embraced her solitude, again.
Ironically, seclusion was just his wilderness.

When all was said and done, they moved on with their lives.

Things ended, even before they began.

Friday, September 19, 2014

To New Beginnings!

By Sunaina Patnaik at Friday, September 19, 2014 4 comments

“Perhaps that is where our choice lies -- in determining how we will meet the inevitable end of things, and how we will greet each new beginning.” 
― Elana K. Arnold

I was having just one of those obnoxiously cheerful days. It was one of those days when I wanted to say, "These are the best days of our life," but I refrained from saying so.

I put my bag aside, and started playing Fruit Ninja in one of my teammate's phone. Yes, those were the days when I didn't own an Android phone. 

But when I got an Android phone, most of the real world problems began. For now, let us save that story for another day.

A notification on my desktop made me pause the game. It was a message from a fellow teammate:

"Your photograph is funnier than mine."

What started with a taunt on an Instant Messenger led to many emails, Facebook messages, text messages, and yes, I got a smartphone, and hence, WhatsApp and Viber were violated too. 

It was one of those beautiful new beginnings which leave you with a fragrance of deep longing and unknown euphoria. It was just one of those phases when life flips over, and falls into a bed of dandelion seeds giving you a feeling of grandiosity. It makes you feel richer than anyone; it makes you grin like a strange creature all the time.

It goes unsaid--all the good things must come to an end.

How else would you experience more good things? And if you don't experience the melancholic days (which will take their sweet time to heal), how will you appreciate the good ones that will follow?

Some beginnings come with an expiration date. 

It doesn't mean they were wrong; it doesn't mean they were awful. They just had to make their way for new beginnings. 

While you are wondering what to decipher from my midnight rant, I'd say, perk up your ears a little.

You'll never know which text in your inbox would be your new beginning, or a happy ending!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Finding Fanny!

By Sunaina Patnaik at Sunday, September 14, 2014 4 comments

Let me start this with a statutory warning. I am not really a review person. I love watching movies, I love reading books, but reviewing them is an eternally painful task for me. 

Reviews are always a spoiler alert. I never read them. I hate them.

This isn't exactly a review though. It is just an experience.

I called my friend on Wednesday to ask if she'd accompany me for watching this movie, of course, I have been waiting for it. In response, all she said was "Sure! But do you think it is a good idea?"

Nevertheless, we have booked the tickets. I was more excited with the prospect of meeting my friend after three long months. 

After lunching with my family on a sunny Sunday, my friend and I set out for this movie. Thank you, Hyderabad traffic, we missed the beginning.

Apparently, Ranvir Singh is in the movie, and we missed it. Sweet life! 

It is not everyday you walk out of the movie with a sense of happiness and bliss; it is not everyday you enjoy a movie thoroughly and the fact is we have enjoyed every second of it. I mean what else do you need from a movie? It has to make your weekend better, and give you a gooey, happy feeling just the way a chocolate chip ice-cream does.

Lost love, unrequited loss sure might be romantic and all that. But the presence of your loved one is an entirely different experience.

The characters of the movie are very simple; they are people like you and me, people looking for love, people living in nostalgia, people putting the happiness of others above theirs, people who we see often and relate to.

Deepika Padukone has a very soothing presence, and she is gorgeous, as usual. Arjun Kapoor is adorable. (For all those people who are rolling eyes at this - oh please, I am a girl, what else do you expect?) Needless to mention, it was utterly delightful to see Naseeruddin Shah on screen in a slightly different yet a sweet role.

Though I do not remember the last few lines of the movie by the narrator (Deepika Padukone, herself!), they were beautiful.

The movie was lucid, practical, funny, and beautiful. 

Goa, you are beautiful. Cannot wait to explore you more and more!

Monday, September 08, 2014

I Am A Snob. Not!

By Sunaina Patnaik at Monday, September 08, 2014 2 comments

“I'm not a snob. Ask anybody. Well, anybody who matters.” 

― Simon Le Bon

My mind always runs in circles. I am glad it does. It keeps me occupied on days when I have utterly nothing to do.

This Saturday night, while I was talking to one of my friends, my mind was still running in circles, like one of those natural obligations, you know?

"You are not a snob. But you come across as one. You never keep yourself open to new people," he said. 

I tried to defend myself and all that, trying to throw some instances to prove I am not really an Ice Queen; much to my chagrin, I went ahead and called myself an extremely friendly person too.

Oops, I know I am not. I am not a people's person. 

"You could be hated for what you are not," he said. I wanted to act cool by quoting Eminem but I refrained from doing so, because such epic comebacks are always a fail with him.

The next morning, I asked another friend if these things were any true. He confirmed my worst fears. I come across as a snob. "You have that look on your face which makes people think you are not approachable.

Looks like cockroaches are more approachable.

Anyway, whatever happened to people who are just reserved and want to do their work, and live a life without making any new friends? 

Is that a new definition of snob?


I could be in some serious trouble, I reckon. I mean let us just talk about my track record at making new friends. I haven't made many friends after graduation. 

Why don't I pause the flow of writing and count for a moment. I have made 3...4..friends after graduation?


Looks like I am not keeping my options open. My friend said, "You never know who you'll meet." Of course, considering the fact that I am at my workplace all day long, the probability of making friends is highly unlikely even if I act like Joey Tribbiani.

This is not fair ya!

My friends could have instead said, I was short, which is partially true. Or they could have called my wardrobe a mourning one considering the fact that I dress black almost every day.(Oh don't even ask, it is a new fashion statement I have been trying to create.)

I would have thrown tantrums and gotten over it, you know? 

This "You should keep your avenues open" thing will never work with me, man. I have always been that person who absolutely loved doing things alone. SOMETIMES. A movie night or a binge sitcom watching noon. I have always been that person who preferred staying indoors over clubbing; always chose isolated coffee shops over noisy, crowded places; I've always been that person who got bored of people and things easily-so I choose wisely. 

I wish I could keep my avenues open, stop dodging calls, and respond to text messages instantly rather than writing nonsensical blog-posts like this, or posting pictures of a pair of shoes on Instagram. I really wish I could go out for a girls night out instead of staying in to watch House or Suits. I wish I could respond to all my emails on time, or make an effort to get out there and meet new people (Another concept that is entirely alien to me. I shudder at the thought of meeting new people.) and accommodate a little more space for the new-comers who might wreck my life for all I know.

Even worse, I might wreck theirs!

I wish I could have a control over my mood swings that visit me more often than my best friends do. 

I wish I could. But I cannot. So, let me make the most out of my solitude with Franz Kafka and romantic comedies.

If someone really wants to have me in their life, they will surely understand I have a twisted mind (in all dimensions) and act accordingly. I am not a friendly person, but I can bend my rules sometimes, for the few exceptionally chosen ones.

I can sense the effort, you know? 

So, get yourself right here with a tub of hazelnut ice-cream, and we'll watch House and have stimulating conversations. I am just an accidental snob!

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