My check list for 2013 and beyond . .

Being the quintessential procrastinator, it is always hard for me to complete checks on my to-do list. I start with “I always wanted to ……” but end up with “………. maybe next year”. This has to STOP.

So here is me, trying to jot down the few things that I love (on a personal level) and want to get done with by the end of this year –

1. Piano – Music is my life saver. When I’m down with nowhere to go and no company to keep, I seek refuge in music. The guitar interested me a lot. I tried it for a month, burnt my fingers and later realized that this isn’t me. Not giving up, I want to give a shot at learning the piano; a dedicated shot. Because sometimes, I too want to put up a nice tuxedo and sit behind the piano with gorgeous ladies swarming around me (or the piano) just like the movies. Hehehe

michael-jordan-by-slashfilmdotcom

2. Basketball – I picked up Basketball when I was 13 and played religiously till I entered high school. We had formed a great team and won many tournaments along. I was particularly good at three-pointer shots and also have a local feat to my name – scoring a basket right from the half court line. But then, shit happens. I came back to India for my high school, got admitted in to a nerdy college with huge-bespectacled guys moving around with heavy books, always digging into questions and their ‘solutions’. Those were some miserable two years for me. To get back at it, I plan to be good at the sport that I love the most and hopefully compete in the corporate tournaments around here. My fav ball players? Michael Jordan, Earl ‘The Goat’ Manigault and Lebron James.

3. Literature – Back at school, there were times when I used to secretly bunk my classes only to be later found in the library reading ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ by Mark Twain. Gosh, who cannot love Tom Sawyer and his crazy antics?! Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, The Hardy Brothers, Agatha Christie were the only names I knew back then. I loved spending sleepless nights reading various novels only to show up in class the next day with sore eyes due to sleeplessness. Once in class, I was caught reading ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ and was made to stand outside the class for the whole day. I was happy, for I had secretly hidden another novel in my huge left trouser pocket. But then, shit happens again and I came to India, lost track of my literary habits, was made to attend college daily from 7am to 9pm (FOURTEEN FUCKING HOURS!!). Leaving that behind, I hope to catch up with literature, read as many novels of my fav authors as I can and re-enter my imaginary world with Sherlock Holmes and his trusted partner, Dr. Watson. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, you beauty!

4. Dance – No sir, we aren’t talking about Bollywood thumkas. It is child’s play, I say. Back then during school days, we used to mix some weird contemporary moves with hip-hop and come up with the craziest dance routines ever on planet. That was then after which I lost my dancing shoes. As much I’d like to learn hip-hop and popping and locking, I’m also drawn towards salsa and Latin Ballroom dancing. One, Two, cha cha cha!

5. Language – No long story behind this but I would simply love to learn the Spanish language (español). It is so much about brotherhood and is always a pleasure to listen to. Also, it looks kinda cool when folks in movies speak Spanish with a badass style, Hermano. Arabic is another language which I really need to re-learn by this year. When I was six, I was fluent in Arabic. Fluent, I say. But then thanks to my Indian company after I moved out of Buraydah, Saudi Arabia, it withered and finally fell off. According to me, Arabic is THE most beautiful language!

Hope my gold medal in procrastination does not stop me from achieving the above.

If I do succeed, then coffee will be on me!

When my English Sir hugged me . . . and I cried

“SIT DOWN, ASRAR!” – He shouted!

I was jumping up in my seat.

The year was 2002. I was in VI standard. He was my English teacher, Sunny Thomas. I still call him Sir.

I used to be the naughtiest guy in the class only during his period, always disrupting his speech and involving in bizarre antics which would not let Sir complete his class with full vigour.  I dunno why but except in his period, I never behaved this way– I always used to be the calm dude who finishes his homework on time, scores an A in tests and keeps his teachers happy by obliging to everything.

But in Sunny Sir’s class, it was different. Maybe because he was of a free-going nature and cracked many jokes in the class to keep the students smiling. Maybe because he always stuffed extra chocolates in his pocket when birthday pupils came to him. Maybe because I took his jokes for granted and assumed that that’s all he wants or etc. But whatever it may be, I was the most hated student in the class by Sir.

I used to throw water balloons at fellow classmates, refuse to take down notes while Sir was dictating lessons, scribble endlessly on the blackboard while he’s not teaching and crack jokes with neighbours and laugh as hard as possible. He always looked at me with a frown and sometimes with anger, secretly wishing me to kick out of the class. But Sir never did. As for the record, I still was the most disobedient student, acc to him and he despised me BIG TIME!

IISR

One fine day, Sunny Sir walks in to the class and announces a surprise elocution test. Students were to write a 400-word passage on how we can save the near-extinct tigers in the world. All my fellow classmates, including me of course, were taken aback by this announcement as none was prepared or had any valid points in mind to contribute to the essay. However, we unwillingly started the test and submitted the answer sheets by the hour. Sunny Sir sat down checking all the papers, calling the respective student near his table for feedback and awarding marks.

About tests, there was one thing particular about him. Let the student be a direct disciple of Shakepeare even but Sunny Sir always used to write the word ‘good’ as a remark in test papers, indicating that he meant it was the best. Never in his life did he write a different remark word signaling a better appreciative word than ‘good’.

“Syed Asrarullah”

I stood up. He glanced at me, opened the sheet and started running his eyes all over my paper all the while jetting down huge tick marks with his red pen. As he reached the end of my paper, his facial expressions changed. I could sense something was wrong. He called me to the teachers table. As I went ahead to collect my paper, he looked at me with eyes that displayed a completely different emotion, rose up from his seat and HUGGED me!

I was literally speechless. He then patted my back, wiped down an invisible tear from his eye and asked me – “Your essay is the best one I’ve ever read. Why did you hide this from me?”

I was speechless. Had no idea then what Sunny Sir was talking about. I sheepishly collected my paper and quickly ran down to occupy my chair. It was only when I reached home to open my answer sheet that I understood the gravity of the situation – there was an ‘Excellent’ written down at the last page!

I cried profusely. I know Sunny Sir did too. It was emotional.

The next day I attended his class in a whole new avatar. I tuned in to be the most obedient student and he looked at me with utmost care and respect.

It gives me goose bumps as I recollect this incident even today. Sunny Sir, wherever you are today, THANK YOU SO MUCH for teaching this creepo and weird guy a very important lesson in life.

If only I could meet you someday and fall in your feet, I’d be so HONORED!