Tuesday, July 27, 2010


This post is overdue. I'll explain why it's overdue in a future post, but since this post has been requested, I'll deal with it first.

This is about an event that happened on the 21st. There was an inter house debate in school. The topic was "Commonwealth Games not for the common man". Each house had two speakers, for and against, and one interjector. I was the interjector, which meant I could ask any of the speakers a question after they had finished. This also meant that I had to know both sides of the argument since my job was only to ask a good question, not to take sides. I'd known about this debate for a while but I hadn't prepared anything (reason again in a forthcoming post). So on the morning, I reached the auditorium thinking that I would just have to think up something on the spot.

It was there that I realised that the person who was supposed to one of the speakers from our house wasn't there. Some frantic running around over, I realised that he really was absent and now my house, Tagore, was a speaker short.

I sat with the other interjectors, ridiculously hoping that someone from Tagore would volunteer when the compere would announce that Tagore was short. When the speaker's name was announced, I explained that he  was absent. To my horror, the compere asked the interjector to come up instead. The alternative was Tagore would be disqualified. So I went up in a state of confusion, scolding myself for not preparing and telling my self that I had absolutely no chance in front of the other debaters who had actually prepared something. By God's grace, I had to speak for the side I actually believed in (let's not start a debate, but it was for the motion). I don't recall what I said verbatim, but I started by saying that I'd been caught off guard just like the people of India (and because I realised that the mike wasn't working when I first began speaking). I said that this was like preparing for a final exam in one day, what should've been done in ten years was being done in 6 months, public money was being wasted, even the work already accomplished was very unstable and would not last long or give any long term benefits. I think I paused, questioned, repeated things, gesticulated, talked to ceiling and who knows what else. All this time, the memory of my first debate (also inter house) kept looming in my mind. I'd  gotten stage fright by staring at the judge, forgotten everything and somehow managed to cover it up by speaking whatever I remembered extempore. I'd been very upset afterwards. This time, I have no idea how I muddled through and as I couldn't see any reaction while speaking, good or bad, I was a bit worried. But I somehow managed to finish well and left the stage to applause. To my great surprise afterwards, I was actually placed second! Even more surprising (to me) was the amount of appreciation I got. I've never been commended, praised, congratulated and appreciated this much in my life.Students from classes 9 through 12 were congratulating me on all sides. Students I hadn't talked to in ages and even those whom I didn't know were praising me as if I'd broken a world record. I was even congratulated warmly by friends and teachers who hadn't been there! And to believe that they were all congratulating me for something I hadn't even prepared for! The best part about this was that it was a private victory. I received a public victory in something which I actually felt I had done well. Satisfying indeed and certainly making me feel very very happy. And this happy state and the congratulations lasted for three more days :)

Luck, talent or whatever it was, clicked :) ...

P.S. For anyone who's wondering, my speakers still aren't fixed :(

Monday, July 12, 2010

A little something...

Let me start at the beginning.
Two weeks ago, my UPS started acting funny.
When I switched it on one evening, its light turned red and it began beeping. 
I turned it off and tried again. Same result.
I tried the next day. Once again, same result.
Another day passed, and I called someone to check it up.
Apparently my faithful UPS had a drained battery. It was dead. 
So for the last week, I worked with the constant fear that the power would go before I could switch the computer off myself and I would lose what I was working on. 
But the real problem was yet to reveal itself. 
The man who had come to disconnect the UPS had also disconnected my speakers.
So for the past week, I've been working without speakers.

It was then, of course, that I realised how much I use them and depend on then.
And it was then, of course, that almost everything I had to do seemed to NECESSARILY need speakers.

Email attachments - "Check out this great pps. Remember to turn up the volume"

Websites - "Turn up the volume"

Music - What's the use of a music streaming site without speakers???

Internet countdowns - I use them sometimes when I'm working on the computer. Now, I couldn't hear them blaring at me!

Youtube - Listening to relaxing music was no longer as relaxing

I almost missed the error messages

Just yesterday evening, I remembered another situation, about a month ago, in my summer holidays. I'd been stung by a bee or wasp of some kind. For about 4 days, my right index finger was swollen, painful and unable to move. I couldn't write, type, do up my laces, brush comfortably and a whole host of other things that I was used to doing without any problem. 

For a time, I was stuck without being to do much besides watch TV or read. 

For some reason, I remembered some stories I had read in a Chicken Soup about people who were physically challenged had overcome all odds. I began marvelling at them. Imagine being unable to do something everyone else can, while feeling that the whole world is against you. Imagine seeing everyone around you easily doing all the things you can only struggle with. Imagine knowing that its something you'll have to live with. Imagine the dissatisfaction, the frustration and the helplessness. 

I'm not saying all this to victimise those who are challenged, but I think we should all marvel at strength some of them have. While we face troubles ranging from aches, pains, sprains, cuts, bruises and all such things, they face something very different. Only a week of working without speakers made me feel how much I was missing. I practically felt cheated, as if the universe was trying to taunt me. My speakers will be fixed soon someday, but what about them? Who knows if help for them will be so easily available or even possible?  And yet, we see miracles everyday; not only from the challenged but from various people facing different crises. I don't quite know how to express it, but it was quite an eye opener to realise that it might not be the big things, but it's certainly the small things that irk the most. This means that its those who deal with these (for us) small things without losing heart are certainly to be admired.

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble." - Hellen Keller

Oh and I'm extremely sorry I haven't posted for so long. I was procrastinating on blogging for a while. I was also  starting all sorts of things like diary writing in my spare time. Will try harder from now on.