Change, we all can believe in.
If you’ll forgive the pun on the C-word (a usage I ostensibly copied from our latest friendly-neighborhood Mr. Uncle Sam himself), I’ve revamped my blog! Hey, no big deal; just a new header, not to mention a few minor touch-ups. (In case you’re wondering why I wrote that sentence, well, I’ve to cater to visually impaired readers reading my blog using Text to Speech tools!)
Alright, hardcore techies might still guffaw at me for not moving over to a snazzier third-party template, but I have my reasons to stick on to Minima. The first being lack of time and infrastructure (Parental restrictions!!) to actually work on (read: “edit”) a new template. Again, I’m not exactly into flashy eye-catching templates which might score a point with aesthetics but would reduce the overall appeal of my content. Btw, here’s a piece of info that might want you to switch over to Minima if you’re blogging in Blogger. ‘Minima’ is a Search Engine Optimized theme! (Source: Mani Karthik, the SEO guru). I’ve tried to truly incorporate the allusion to The Matrix, this time. That’s the Matrix code you see in the background of my header, rendered using, surprise-surprise, just Photoshop! If you raise eyebrows at the presence of the ‘blue’ pill adjacent to the red one, well it’s just to emphasize my ‘choice’ of the red pill.
Speaking of the header, something interesting happened while I was Photoshopping it . First of all, the revamp wasn’t a planned idea. I was bored and utterly jobless, thanks to parents’ strict stand against my attending the Film Festival at college scheduled that day. I was even forbidden from attending a combined birthday party by friends (where I too was supposed to chip in). The revamp-idea came as a quick recreational brainwave, just before my second nap that day. Within no time, my soon-to-die monitor flickeringly showed the Photoshop window and I started working.
I’d rendered the Matrix-code part when the doorbell rang. I opened the door with great trepidation, for I had a birthday present-parcel on its way from Kolkata sent by Abhi chettan (best friend-mentor-bro), and It could arrive anytime. A mid-aged, contorted-faced man, clutching a couple of files in one hand and a jute bag in the other shoulder stared at me. He was too low-key and ragged-dressed to be a parcel-delivery-guy. No sooner did he catch a glimpse of me, his face contorted further to display a wide array of facial gestures which included something that remotely looked like a smile.
“നമസ്കാരം സാര്! ഞാന് ഒരു എഴുത്തുകാരന് ആണ്. ഇതാ ഞാന് എഴുതിയ ചില ലേഖനങ്ങള്…”(Greetings, sir! I’m an author. Here are some of the books I published/I’m about to publish)
He opens his file and shows some news paper cuttings dated back to a couple of decades. It sounded real, for most of the articles had his pics in them.
“ഞാന് ബാലചന്ദ്രമേനോന്റെ അസ്സിസ്റ്റന്റ് ആയിരുന്നു. ഫിലിം ഇന്സ്ടിടുടില് പഠിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട്”(I’ve assisted Balachandramenon, the ace director and I’ve studied in the film institute too!)
He digs another pic from the file which has him standing adjacent to Mr Menon in a group photo. A close up pic with him looking into the lens as Mr Menon looks on, is also shown. I watch with measured skepticism. All his articles were paper cuttings. They might not have been forged, cause the paper seemed old.
The assured tone of his voice now meliorates into a mildly-entreating one.
“പക്ഷെ സാര്, ഇവയെല്ലാം പ്രസിദ്ധീകരിക്കാന് എന്റെ കയ്യില് കാശില്ല. സാര് കുറച്ച് കാശ് തന്നു സഹായിക്കാമോ? ഒരു പത്ത് രൂപ…” (But sir, I don’t have money to publish these books, if you could give me ten bucks…)
Aha! So he’s our home-grown beggar. The intellectual variety, that is. I employed my standard f**k-off line.
“അയ്യോ! ഇവിടെ ഞാന് മാത്രമേ ഉള്ളു. കാശിരിപ്പില്ലല്ലോ!”(I’m sorry, but I’m alone here and there’s not a single pie at the moment.)
And I wasn’t entirely lying! I’m almost bankrupt, so to speak.
“കുറച്ച് നാണയങ്ങള് എങ്കിലും കാണമല്ല്ലൊ. അതെങ്കിലും തന്നൂടെ?”(Couldn’t you give a couple of coins please?)
By now, I noticed something in his voice that moved me. Was it a tinge of earnestness? Was it lack of opportunity? Was it a talented but weary man fighting for survival in the dog-eat-dog world?
Without uttering a word, I took my purse and gave him the sole ten rupee note left in it. The man smiled, joined his hands in a “Thank you!” gesture, closed the gate, and moved on… He might’ve been an impostor. He didn’t even give a name. And, any low-key guy could easily forge documents in his own favour. Like gazillions of blunders I’ve committed in my lifetime, my gesture might’ve been a momentous dumb-act.
But, ten years down the line, I could be him.
A few minutes later, another woman came to me with a uniquely-fake style requesting for money to foot the bill of her husband’s operation. I asked her to f**k-off.