Arbitrary tales from east and west
Never mind the title. All tales here are going to be based in the singular location on Earth called Bangalore. No, wait. The East refers to the eastern part of the world. The West refers to the western part of India. Not so dumb a title after all.
You have to play in Bangalore to keep your mind going... and preferably something other than solitaire and Minesweeper!
Three friends and I were playing table tennis. Visualize it: my partner and I were losing 15-20. The series was even at 1-1. I was serving. The tension was palpable. It was a do-or-die situation. The crowd was waiting with baited breath. My partner had given up hope. The opponents did a high five. I wiped the sweat off my brow. I stared long and hard at our opponents. They sneered back at me. I looked down at my feet. Surely this couldn't be it.
I lofted the ball. Serve. 16-20. 17-20. 18-20. Ace! It was 19-20. And then... Deuce!
We breathed again. There was hope. The grandstands had gone mad. The tide had turned. The moment of truth was here.
They served. My partner returned. The opponent returned. And then... smash! Advantage!
My partner served and it was all over! Victory!
Now, Bangalore doesn't have a Disneyland-style roller coaster, but life here more than makes up for its absence. The next day, after the historic win described subtly above, I came crashing back to Earth.
The lab I used to work in was between two offices. The one on the left was my department manager's. The one on the right belonged to some highflying fellow.
As all Earthlings and inhabitants of Venus and Mars know, I have a habit of singing. Okay, so big deal, others have this habit too. Anyway, one fine day, I started singing when I was alone in my lab.
Two hours passed. My department manager walked in along with my buddy. "This fellow really has a wide range, man...right from the Sixties to the latest songs."
"Hi. I'm S. Thanks for the two hours. Completely enjoyed myself. Carry on, carry on." This is how I was introduced to my department head.
Another fine day, I was singing in my lab again, and the song "Take It Easy" by the Eagles came to mind. Now, just as they start the song with a flourish and then sing it with tempo, I did too. All this while I was writing code and blissfully unaware of the volume at which I was singing.
"You know, we do have air-conditioning here, and the rooms ought to be well sealed, but the voice does tend to carry over to the other side." It was the man from the office on the right.
At lunch that day, one of my senior colleagues asked, "So, Sunny, how's the singin' goin'?"
In the evening, lab head: "Sunny, meet V. He's the new intern at our lab." Handshakes and smiles all around. "So you finally discovered how thin our walls are, eh?"
But, then, you give what you get, right? While I was getting myself spanked right, left, and center, it was natural that I'd want to dish out a bit of the same.
The next day, me and the most innocent-looking guy on the face of the earth, we'll call him Mr. A., were playing pool. Singles.
It so happened that the cue ball was almost at the center of the table. I was chasing stripes. Mr. A. was playing solids.
You must have guessed by now how palpable the tension was. And how serious the situation was. And how everyone was holding his breath. And how it was a do-or-die situation.
So Mr. A. took position, crawling all over the table to get it right. His left leg rested on the tabletop. His right leg bent so that he'd be able to keep low. His spine was parallel to the table and directly above it. And his butt...jutting out behind the table and the rest of his body.
Mr. A. took aim with concentration. I took aim with concentration. He drew his hand back one final time. I drew my hand back one final time.
I fired. Spank! And, as if on cue, Mr. A. fired. Tock! The cue ball hit a striped ball into the pocket.
And you must have guessed how the grandstands went delirious. And how it was a moment of revelation. And how history was rewritten.