Friday, September 23, 2005

25 Years, 25 Blessings...

Sep 23, 1980 - My parents bring me into this world...i have given them such tough times over the years I have at times wondered whether having kids especially boys is worth all the trouble.

May 6, 1983 - The only person who to this day has shared in all my happiness and sorrows comes along...I feel the time running out on what has been a long journey of comic sibling rivalry, acrimonious fights, and of being each others confidante, best friend, philosopher and guide...I wonder how I'll cope when she leaves.

May, 1984 - I walk into the hallowed campus of loyola not knowing even for a second the ways it wud mould my life later on. An article The Wall Comes Tumbling Down written by my classmate Krishnachandran, says it all...from the viewpoint of a senior of ours at school by two years, but who passed out with us, a python, truely signifies the impact the great institution will forever have on me...

May, 1990 - My first academic success...i manage a first class...for the first time I brought my report card home without my knees shivering.

Aug, 1992 - The caning i'll never forget for a lifetime...eager to watch the sunday evening film, "Mimics Parade" on doordarshan...i rush home too impatient to wait for my dad to pick me up after tuition as he flogged almost a 50 times till my grandpa stood between us and bailed me out...i guess i'll realize how much pops worried that day about my missing, only when i have a kid.

May, 1993 - I qualify for the icse section in, i know definitely had a hand in getting me thru as except for english and history i fared poorly in everything else.

Oct, 1993 - I am vice-captain of the school mini-basketball team and selected to the trivandrum district mom refuses to let me go for the camp as i wuz on the verge of flunking my hindsight i think she decided wisely as always, but i gave up the dear sport for almost 3 years in disappointment.

Sep, 1994 - My first and last article to appear on print, got published in The Loyolite, our school magazine. It wuz titled Efficiency, India's Deficiency. Again somewhere down the line I lost the confidence to write for a long long time.

Oct 14, 1994 - Experienced the first death in my maternal grandfather who doted on me more than all his other perakuttis. Sadly the night b4 he wuz felled by a stroke and fell into a coma for 10 days, we quarelled and i have ever since lived to regret that act and with it a realization of never ever leaving an apology, thanks or expressing my affection or appreciation left unsaid for another day. To this day, I believe Appachan and Fr.Pulickal have been steadfast guardian angels, watching over me...every step of the way.

May, 1995 - I am selected best camper at camp india, a summer camp for kids. unfortunately the confidence from that never rubbed off on me in school amidst my super-talented classmates.

Jun, 1996 - In a class of 44, 43 of us pass our 10th with distinction equalling a long-standing school marked the turnaround in my life...never again in life did I worry or cry about academics.

Oct, 1996 - I head out for an iit contact class in cochin with thomman, muthu and ponnan. those were the days these 3 guys were the top rogues in class and i wuz the puny, silent introvert but they graciously took me along. when i returned it wuz like i picked up some of thommans daredevilry and all his high spirits, a slice of muthu's tongue and ponnan and i were deskmates for the rest of school life. Most of what i am today happened in those 3 days spent with these guys and since then i have forever looked up to life, never ever had to look back in regret, look down in shame or look on in silence.

Jun, 1998 - Despite my teachers hounding me and fearing for the worst, i surprise them all with a distinction for isc. the boy who scraped into loyola by the skin of his teeth with a provisional 89th seat in ukg walked out with his head held high and a 16th rank in the 12th. my dad told me that day, except for him everyone else including my mom thought i wud end up a pazham...for me, coming from him that wuz the sweetest praise i ever got.

Sep, 1998 - I write my SAT and get admission into Johns Hopkins and Kansas State Univ but unexpectedly clear my Kerala Entrance and choose home and a Comp Engg seat in SCT over a Mech Engg seat in CET where almost 20 of my ex-classmates had joined. That vacation we all travelled abroad for the first time, to the US and Italy...all I thought the USA wud be over the years swelled up into a great disappointment but somehow I knew I was fated to come back. Italy will stay in mind forever...seeing the saintly Pope John Paul at close quarters and the divine touch of Michelangelo's paintbrush in the Sistine Chapel.

Feb, 1999 - Barely a week after learning to drive an 800, we headed for my cousin's wedding at Kottayam on our uncle's Tata Estate chaffeured by his driver. My parents left for Velankanni, and ammachi, jish and me headed back to tvm but the driver stopped at one of our relatives' bar for a free booze, gets too much to drink and almost got us into two accidents. By then at my wits end and my sis crying about her exam next day and in pouring rain and a bleak night I take over the wheels of the Estate, unsure of the roads to take, abt controlling the huge car and my sheer inexperience, with ammachi praying calmly and not even closing her eyes even for a keep me company, and with a lot of "help" from the driver totally fit and ranting and raving...nobody cud believe the tale we had to tell back home but since that day, for everyone it wuz almost like i cud do no wrong!

Mar, 1999 - Just a month after chastising the driver I take up my first beer and i have never felt more of a hypocrite than at that moment! The 8 guys i identified to let into my heart as friends soon became like brothers to me. I coined the name of our gang, Savages from the first phonetic of each of our names and soon to everyone, classmates, teachers and collegemates we were known under that identity. We shared so much together and achieved so much with our confidence and zest for life was at its zenith in those years.

Nov, 2000 - Every day in college wud have been worth to mark down here as a milestone but for a few seconds i achieved sheer nirvana...on the cricketing field. We were playing the best team in college and I came in at 0/3 and the first three balls i faced wud forever remain etched in memory. I straight-drove the first ball thru the on-side, and the next, again a straight drive thru the off-side and now with men at mid-off and mid-on I again hit a much straighter one beating both these fielders. The sound of my pals lustily cheering me and the opposition clapping sounded so sweet, for a second i felt like sachin...i saw the ball early, my front foot moved in line with the ball, my bat came down with a flourish and the ball hit the sweet spot, my follow-thru and back foot movement wuz wuz unforgettable. But then came the nasty bouncer and I fended it away clumsily to slips and walked back dejected to the same guys who cheered a second earlier, now cursing me under their breath for giving away a fine start. Oh! how I wish nowadays I got a second chance that day.

Oct, 2001 - The time to plan ahead after 3 years of fun and frolic arrived, I distanced myself from friends which made them sad, picked up my Barrons and did a wordlist a day in bus to college and another one on the way back, besides finally paying attention in classes...everyone thought I had gone nuts or wuz tryin to show off...those 45 days were the only time in life I wuz systematic and methodical and the GRE ended up too tame a beast to kill. I still dont know why i never tried to bell the CAT, another road not taken...

Feb, 2002 - The only regret I wuz about to take out of college was my inability to imitate my dad in becoming a student leader. But this incident changed all that...and justified my decision to enjoy those years rather than spend in hatred, colluding and scheming against a bunch of losers. Ever since, I developed a deep distaste for the mallu tendency to politicise issues for scoring brownie points.

Mar, 2002 - I realized the golden years that began in my eleventh all the way thru the eighth sem were well past a tearful farewell to college and classmates who were by then more like brothers and sisters to me.

June, 2002 - Within a months time, trivandrum suddenly became an empty place with most of my school and college mates leaving, made some blunders...I fled India...and instead of seething optimism arrived a dejected, weary soul in america to make my "riches".

Aug, 2002 - MS started, I realized for a change I had to do some things I wasnt used to...studying and that too countless back-to-back nightouts, work for a living and with the little money i made then, having to budget for rent, food, clothes and a little fun...those were the days of living precariously from paycheck to motivation levels have been so low since then...dunno what gives me the strength to plow ahead, but made a few good friends who to this day...I believe would walk an extra mile to bail me out of any difficulty i fell into.

May, 2004 - The proudest moment of my academic life...recieving the Masters' diploma...with my parents brimming with tears of joy and clapping wildly. Two years of toil, sweat and hunger wuz rewarded, but my carefree spirit and working life have forever since found it hard to co-exist.

Oct, 2004 - No job, no money, no friends, piling debt, all hope lost...i sign up with blogger and 40-odd posts later...thru all i have written I have relived my entire life, expounded a lot of my viewpoints on society and politics, made some friends whose writings I could closely relate with...truely another important milestone in life.

May, 2005 - No job for 2 months,then a job, fired in 7 days, and then a dream job in a week's all happened in one my first proper full paycheck after a year of working and 3 failures.

Last 4 months I have made more money than I ever dreamt of, but I am loosing my soul...I havent found the gratification I expected...the ways of my mind are beyond my own comprehension. So many miracles have happened in my life...HIS gifts have largely gone unthanked for...i have always been like a child who gets bored with a new toy after a few days...thats all the soul-searching i wanna do for now. More than 3 years of shani gets over on sep 27th and my shukran starts according to Pops, I wonder what crazy things will happen now...I am weary at looking to the future, thats why the past seemed more apt to write about on this day.


silverine said...

Happy Birthday Jiby!!

This has to be the best and most unique birthday post ever. Really touching write up about your life and your growth through the years with the usual share of ups and downs but with the a huge difference.... a really good bunch of friends, supportive folks and a great school who took the journey with you. I have heard so much about Loyola but it is your posts and Neils blog that drove home the point that this school inspires it's students a lifetime.
Wish you all success and do keep writing, your blog is a wonderful place to visit just for the sheer magnitude of issues you cover with such keen insight.

Sushil said...

Happy Birthday Jiby. Looks like it has been a very interesting 25 years so far. Silverine has covered what I wanted to say about your post so eloquently I will just reference her post and shut up :-) Wish you all the best for the future.

Unknown said...

Happy birthday..hope my birthday wish is in ur Inbox(from Orkut). So when is ur treat...

Matter of Choice said...

i have seen several bday posts; but i swear this is the most amazing bday post i have ever seen, and probably would ever see!!

u have lived an amazing life in just 25!!! am already jealous of your life so far...u been through so much enriching and challenging experiences

wishing you a very very happy bday...and well come to quarter life crisis as well :)

but i am sure with the experiences behind u will succesfully deal with them as you have always done..

after all "theeyil kuruthathu veyilathu vaduka illa" :)

once again wishing you on the quarter!, may all ur future quarters be as eventful and as satisfying as the past one was

Anonymous said...

That was one hell of a ride through the life n times of Jiby Kattakayam!!

Wish one day i could write an autobiographical piece like this and actually feel happy lookin back at everything (something?) i've done previously. As I burn every bridge i cross; it doesn't look like it though.... ;-)

Have fun; have a great Birthday -and have one drink in my name!

More importantly keep blogging ;


Jiby said...

anjali, sushil, nagaraj, anish and naveen...thank you all so much for the good wishes and the inspiring comments and encouragement...connecting with u all and reading ur works wuz the best thing i did this past one year. i think the only reason i keep blogging is bcoz i wud feel guilty about coming and reading ur wonderful blogs without me contributing in any way.

Sujith said...

it was really interesting to go thru ur life story, if i can call it that.. and a very happy birthday to u!!

i went to ur home page in btn..

man dont tell me that u r jacob's jinu's mathews', pinku's, rajakrishnan's, naga's et al's classmate!!!!! i saw many other familiar names also there.. felt great!!

Sujith said...

well jst now i finished reading the whts new section of loyola homepage.. that fuckin sonofa bitch rajakrishnan just disappeared in 2002 after engineering.. bastard; i think had forgotten the food from my house and our late nite bath in vellayani lake during those wonderful niteouts for our college magazine work at my home.. i mean i'm really happy to know abt his invitation from Cornell.. if u happen to contact convey my fuckin regards to him.. he was psychic abt linguistics.. :-)))

Jiby said...

jithu, thanks for the wishes. yup, all of them were my classmates....will tell them to come and check out your blog. person badmouthing raja...i am sorry jithu...he has been like that forever...he shud have landed here for his Ph.D in august but for last 2 months we havent heard anything from him!! did u know he made a one-hour movie on kerala's high suicide rate. he does come here to read my blogs if he sees ur comment i am sure he will get in touch with u...otherwise if he calls be optimistic i dont expect that to happen 4 another year, i will pass on the "warm" regards!

Unknown said...

I don't know what to say! Felt better than the best feel-good movie! I'm moved by this kind of nostalgia! That post was magical, I;d say!
Being a Loyolite, I guess, there's a lot in common. Maybe more than what other Loyolites have. That's my unique reason for being attracted to your blog. You kind of represent a succesful me, that I'd want to be! I find solace in our similarities! Thank you Jiby chettah!

Happy Birthday!

Arun said...

It fascinating how your entire life can be broken down into a few turning points. The choice to join SCT over CET, the choice to grind the GRE than to bell the CAT, as you put it, are all turning points in life. But thinking back, we wonder how it would have been had we taken the other road... But that we can never know.
This is almost like you autobiography post! happy quarter century jabba!

Sujith said...

one hour movie on kerala's high suicide rate??!!!! really?? oh my holy shit!! man thats really gr8 of him..

Jiby said...

neil, i think u have been more succesful than wht i wuz 4 years back...its when u start working that small incidents of our past feels like an integral part of our growth and looks like milestones and successes. I am sure I will see a post on these lines from you, some years down the line.

Unknown said...

Thanks! Well, I hope you're right!

rookie_journo said...

One more blessing from India!

U inspire me..

Praveen said...

belated happy birthday jiby, havent been visiting for some time, been tied up. An excellent post.

Jiby said...

RJ, welcome back...u got so many good snaps up there man...looked real neat!

Praveen, i guess ur real tied up with work in germany...looking forward to you getting back to blogging...have fun!

Anonymous said...

Jiby, happy birthday and all that. A nice blog you have here. Would be nicer if you would give us a utility to transliterate every "wuz" etc to their regular forms. This kind of spelling makes my head hurt. Peace. -N-

Jiby said...

Anonymous, point noted...bad habits creep up all the while...plz leave a name next time on. Thanks for visiting.

Ashwin Raju said...

that was a strangely insipring read...