Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Owl

As a kid, I often read fables which always depicted the owl as a wise bird. Of course I don't seem to remember any of those fables now. What I do remember is that the owl is considered a wise bird. As a teenager most of us are the young birds, ready to take the flight, metaphorically speaking of course. If one could then extend this metaphor to people each of us could end up being named after one of those birds. Thus I have decided to name one of my ex roommates as an owl.

I have known this guy for a very long time now. We started our undergrad in the same class and lived in the same locality. Naturally we ended up spending a lot of time together in the classroom and while travelling back and forth to college. Gradually we came to know each other quite well and shared a lot of our thoughts. I guess both of us have influenced each other in the way we developed in our late teens.

We mostly chatted about a variety of topics in the bus right from how to tackle a particular subject to who's the better actor .. Amithabh or sharukh ...Talkative as I am, I mostly talked and he listened. He always seemed to have a quite confidence about him and I thought he was constantly thinking and analysing things around him (even while he was sleeping in the bus). He seemed to show a lot more maturity than most teenagers his age, albiet he was not as street smart as most teenagers his age. However I realised gradually how much of a thinker he was and gradually also realised that he had become an advisor for most of our common friends in a variety of matters.. In that sense he had become the wise man .. the owl..

However it would be unfair to him if I called him the owl only for his thinking prowess. As a thinker he has always been a definite competitor to me (perhaps the winner too)... but our competition does not stop at that. Both of us have been and still are nocturnal and lazy creatures. The word noctornal definetly justifies his claim to being the owl although I can't say the same about laziness. However at both these characteristics he has always been a very tough competitor.

We came to be the real competitors when we became room mates of late. It was all about being the lazier guy now. The nocturnal part had been destroyed by now due to the entry into the corporate world, where being asleep in the morning hours was not necessarily considered a virtue. However our profession is such that we can hide our laziness and perhaps even use it to our advantage if only we could disguise it well enough. Thus now the competition in laziness had come a long way from boasting about it en route to college to really proving the point.

So there we were trying to out do each other at who could figure out the way to the TV remote by expending the least energy possible. The competition was so intense that usually proximity to the remote was the clinching factor , or rather lack of it. We always tried to prove to each other how the other guy was closer to the remote or to the switch board. If on an odd day, the proximity factor was high enough for both of us that the remote was beyond the stretching leg or hand then,we would wait each other out so that the other person would get up say for a natures call thus increasing his proximity factor and thus bring about the tie breaker.
I don't think either of us ever kept scores but I am sure that the competition was tough.

Another place where we competed a lot was video games. Here I think he was always the guy who had an edge, for somehow despite all his laziness he was a great button masher and I was not. Additionally the usually quite owl would suddenly start shouting loudly and taunting his oponents during the game and thus it was always fun and challenging to play mortal kombat or halo against him.

As if gaming and laziness were not enough, we had a few more common interests - trekking, travelling to mumbai, sleeping in the bus, watching movies.. and so on. Thus I have known him as one of those guys who was usually there just one phone call away, be it going out for a boring movie to get rid of our boredom or going off for a trek to beat the stress..
I remember how after one of those frustrating viva - voce, where both of us had faired really bad, we came close to the train station and decided it was time to go to a movie. I don't remember who came up with the suggestion first or how did we decide which movie to go to. All I remember is that we saw arguably one of the worse movies and came out of the theater with all the frustation gone .. How ... simply by passing expert comments (read as cursing and cribbing) on every possible scene...I think our commenting habits (more so mine) meant that irrespective of rating of the movie, we always came out of the cinema hall quite satisfied with the movie..

Over the period of time he has become one of those friends, who has not only been a friend but on occasions the philospher and some times even the guide.. Each time either of us had something to discuss, be it how to approach that girl I like, or what to do about accelarating professional growth or simply talk about how the new Don movie was different from the old Don we would just go to the cafeteria and have a long chat... In that sense I think the feeling of friend, philosopher and guide was a reciprocal one for both us .. Thus he has been the owl to me..

As I end this post,I have to bring out the fact that he has now taken a huge step which is expected to change a lot his traits.. He has stepped into the world of married people.. I expect that soon his laziness would be treated by his better half and I would emerge the winner the next time we compete (unless something earth shattering as marriage happens for me too). His gaming habits will definitely have to go out of the door in favour of quality time (read as time spent listening to his better half) ... Actually even as his marriage date was closing on, he had already given up a lot of the movies, games, treks etc in favour of quality time.. However now those changes are only going to be overwhelming to him .. and all I can say is my best wishes with married life ..

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