Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Guide To Recognising Your Saints

It’s playing on my laptop. The movie. I’m hearing a soundtrack that’s making me nostalgic. I’m watching characters I wished belonged to my past too. I’m experiencing a story I wished was mine to tell. I’m going through emotions. Emotions. A whole summary of them for the past one year. Like a reunion episode of Friends. I stop the movie after around 30 minutes because it’s getting late. It’s the 30th of December 2008. Guess I'll finish it after the New Year.

The world tells me it’s a new year. Apparently because the number’s changed. Because the clocks reset. Because we hang new calendars. Because we get new time tables. Because we grow older. Because ‘Happy New Year’ messages flood into our inbox from well-wishers we’ll never hear from again until the next ‘new year’. Because life goes on. People say its bullshit. Some of us say its just 2009, just another number, its still the same life, and what we make of it. Some of us feel its 2008+1, not ready to say goodbye, holding on to 365 days of memories, even the ones that tore us apart. For some of us, it’s the same year. The same one all our life. It’s always the 31st of December. Everyday, is the 31st of December. Well, no matter who’s right, it doesn’t stop you from remembering the people that make your life.

The Sister

She never lets you pay for anything, even popcorn. She gives you a hardcover book about King Arthur for your 10th birthday. The colours she wears (scarf, top, and pants) make a rainbow look like funeral drapes. She never wants you to make for her whatever it is you’re having, but will always stuff a mouthful, ‘just one’ she says, (the largest ever witnessed) out of your plate. She names her things, whether they’re a phone that has survived inhuman conditions (Orissa), a rice cooker that make curries (Bubbles), or a giraffe soft toy that looks more like a cow (Giffy. 10 points for originality) . She invites you to spend Christmas with her in England, if your schedule permits it. Just you and her. She has to share a room with you until you’re 13. She only hums songs she hates. She wakes you up by hitting you with your bolster and shaking you like she’s trying to bring you back from the dead. She refuses to give up her Sweet Valley collection after all these years. 11 years ago, she taught you how to read music in one night.

The Dog.

He's a combination of Zaphrod (the alien in Liam Lynch's "Whatever" song). Zaphod (the intergalatic president in A Hitchhiker's Guide to the galaxy). Zoltan (the leader of space nerds who wear bubble wrap jumpsuits in Dude Where's My Car) . He’s 10 this year (70 in human years); even if he thinks he’s 3. And that’s not dog years. He can never run in a straight line; it’s always a curve, like his tail. Speaking of his tail, the sound it makes when it hits the side of the cars at home, could put a bass drum to shame, volume and tempo. Instead of communicating with other dogs who bark at him, he just stares. Same goes with when that one cat eats his food. He fetches every ball you throw, but don’t expect it back without a cookie in your hand. He sits and listens to your so-called philosophical take on life; just as long as you keep petting him on the head (another cookie here wouldn’t kill you). He eats everything but dog food. He takes long walks when the gate is left open, and comes back pretending nothing happened (Q: How’d you get cat poo all over youself? A: Nah, its just really bad smelling chocolate cake). He has his own water bowl but only drinks from the lotus pots. He suffers from short term memory loss (tries everyday without fail to swallow the basketball).


She replies every one of your emails. She learnt to lengthen them after a while too, just so she could match yours. She inspired you to go home after 7 years. She showed you another world, where you could be more than yourself. You’d stand next to her and stare at your reflection in the glass displays in shopping malls, to see how you looked together. She ties a turban that makes yours look like a rag. You were both singing Matisyahu’s ‘Time of Your Life’ in the car. That was your moment, when you were both the same. She hates climbing steps (Reference: Batu Caves). She doesn’t quite help you when you swallow a fistful of raw ginger by accident. On the contrary, she laughs her ass off and wipes tears from her eyes. She made you try sushi for the first time. She likes ‘Twilight’ the movie (………). Thank god she knew Bob Marley was dead (inside joke). She buys gifts and laughs at how lame they are as she presents them. She taught you that there isn’t just one person in the world for you. And that’s why you had to let her go too.

The Best Friend.
You don’t know who it is. Maybe it’s every person that sat down next to you and heard you tell your story. Maybe it’s that person in those pictures at reunion dinners from school, college, the flying academy. Maybe it’s the person you keep in touch with the most. You know, the one who calls you from time to time, a person from a memory that seems like a lifetime ago. Maybe its one of your cousins. Maybe it’s that person with 4 legs and a tail who doesn’t bark. It might even be every one of those people you shared a drink with in airports, when you were both waiting. When life was waiting. Whoever you are, wherever you are, and however many of you there are, every one of you was a story. My story. All I can I hope for, is that I was yours too. I’ll love you and miss you. Always.

The Cousin Sister.

She introduces you to rock n roll, that first time when you’re at your grandparents place and Linkin Park’s “Papercut” is on MTV. She convinces you to watch Dostana. Not her finest of moments (she never questions John Abraham’s wardrobe, or lack of). She listens to everything you say intently, even if its you rambling about the same girl for the past year and half. Did I tell you she kills for chocolates (more like massacres, but you didn’t hear it from me)? She comes over sometimes and you watch films together while eating take-outs from En Hui. She sometimes watches Hindi films with you because together you make fun of them to the point of brutality. You meet up with her whenever you have off days. There’s always something to talk about with her. Every time you think of her, you get a text message or a call from yours truly. She believes country music will save the world (I’m being funny with a straight face). She takes you out to Piccolo Mundo’s for your birthday and agrees you get better food in Giorgio Armani.

The Parents.

I love them. I love them so much more than I give myself credit for.

I’ll never forget the day the SPM results came out. Mataji still had her best smile on for us. All of us. I couldn’t look her in the eye. I didn’t want to go home that day. I remember the first time I came home after leaving for Langkawi. Just one month. Mataji was smiling. She was happy. She makes a killer tofu sambal and detox juices that are either green or purple in colour. She watches Hindi movies so she can fall asleep halfway. She buys trees and pots like Harkiren buys Punjabi suits and erm…… Punjabi suits.

I’ll never forget the day Pitaji and I were yelling at each other for an hour, my eyes in tears, our worst argument yet. A half hour later, I get a call, telling me Raveen’s dad just passed away. More tears in my eyes. I remember my graduation ceremony, when I got my wings, the hug he gave me. He makes fried rice that kills, but also a divine banana lassi. Anything electronic malfunctions when he uses it. He's the kind of guy that gives Mac Gyver toolbox phobia. He eats tosai with a fork and spoon.

The Cousin Brother.

Out of the 20 movies you watch in a year, 15 are with him. He got you a battery powered cyclist for your 7th birthday. You’d take long walks into town in Ulu Yam on a daily basis, stocking up on the day’s ‘groceries’. Dr. Phil wouldn’t approve. He’s a Liverpool fan, but you’ve yet to have a football argument, probably because your Premier League history is about as good as his singing in the shower. You crossed off your first item on your Bucket List together. Rock climbing. You both want to go to a U2 concert before you die. He only ever listens to Light and Easy (don’t ask). He was the first guy to call Brokeback Mountain ‘the most tragic love story I’ve ever seen’ (you were the second, and so far, there are 2 of you). You 2, single men in their early twenties who are first cousins, love listening to Coldplay’s break up songs together. You sing ‘Knockin on Heaven’s Door’ together with enough passion to make sure you never get in (not sure if that was the original intention).

It’s playing on my laptop. Again. The movie. What was once nostalgia is now a present. What were once characters are now the people in my life. What was once a story I wished was mine is now the flyleaf of the rest of my life. I’m remembering emotions. I stop the movie at 1 hour and 39 minutes because it has finished. It’s the first of January 2009. For the first time, it actually felt like I could start over. And it all made sense. You are my saints. And you’re all real.

For Antonio too.


Hargobind Khalsa said...

antonio is one of dito montiel's friends from the book 'a guide to recognising your saints'. the movie, by the same name, is dedicated to him. that movie inspired this post. so this article is dedicated to him as well. to the 'antonio' of our lives.

ps - the letters in purple aren't just eye candy.

A little window to my world said...

kinda figured tht one out... cool post hargobind... gr8 way to start a new year...:)

A little window to my world said...

haha... i like the best friend one... PUNKD... good one hargobind... i tried the cousin sister one and i ended up with manreep... a nick??:P

Hargobind Khalsa said...

its manpreet. she's in the picture too. put 2 and 2 together!! i mean jeez. pfft. haha! thank you. yeah, thought i'd just mess around with my readers. this was a fun post to do. and important too i think.

bex said...

I love your dog! :)

Harkiren Kaur said...

Does this mean that you're going to go around touching my feet and asking me for Aashivaath now? Lol... If i'd known that Pink Socks and GIffy were going to get me to Sainthood, I would have started a lot earlier!

Thank you for the honour, it made me cry.. but then a lot of things do these days :) Most of those things are not noteworthy, just eccentric! But they bring me joy, as do you.

On most days :p

Eh eh, watch yourself - I'm a saint now. Might turn you into a toad if you're nasty. Wonder what I'd name you then... :p

Manpreet said...

he walks so fast, that trying to keep up with him makes your feet cry.

he loves so much, that trying to love like him makes your heart cry.

he talks so much, that trying to tlak to like him makes your mouth cry.

he listens so intently, that trying to listen like him makes your ears cry.

he sings so well, that trying to sing like him makes your throat cry.

he plays the guitar like an expert, that trying to play like him makes your fingers cry.

but the funny thing is, he never makes you cry, he just makes you smile all the time.

i love you bro, you're a huge part of my life.

Manpreet said...

oh and pls forgive the extra s-ess at the wrong places, was too lazy to go through and correct them :)

Harkiren Kaur said...




tarsem said...

Manpreet - If you REALLY wanna cry, try keeping up with Dalip over 100m/200m.

Pilot - I seriously don't remember the cyclist, Haha. Oh, and remember the typical conversations...

"I'm going for a movie with my friend(s)"

"I'm going to spend New Year with my friend(s)"

"I'm going on a holiday to Langkawi/Pangkor with my friend(s)"


Guramrit Singh said...

Wjkk Wjkf
Kidaa pai...didnt know you had a blog..very nice indeed.. get me thinking most of the time..anyways do check mine out if ya have the
take care n see ya soon,,

D@lip said...

man.. u couldn't have done a better job!

Tarsem- u sound like u have experiancd it b4.. haha

lars shalom said...

welll, thank you for giving me a link to your blog, it's a shame you split wiht that girl!!

Susheel said...

I really enjoyed reading your blog Hargobind. Truly!!

Keep em coming..

Love and peace,

Anonymous said...

I am not going to be original this time, so all I am going to say that your blog rocks, sad that I don't have suck a writing skills

Anonymous said...

I’m nonetheless studying from you, but I’m bettering myself. I certainly love studying the whole lot that's written in your blog.Keep the tales coming. I cherished it!
My neighbor and I have been simply debating this specific subject, he's usually looking for to show me incorrect. Your view on that is nice and precisely how I really feel. I just now mailed him this website online to indicate him your individual view. After looking over your website I book marked and can be coming back to learn your new posts!
What i discover difficult is to find a weblog that can seize me for a minute however your weblog is different. Bravo.
Very efficiently written information. It is going to be worthwhile to anybody who usess it, including myself. Keep up the good work – for positive i'll take a look at extra posts.
I’ve recently started a blog, the knowledge you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thanks for your entire time & work.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.