Clunk.The pebble hits the steely body of the electricity pole.I have hit the pole 2 times out of 5.Adi has hit 3 out of 5 times.Dhania has it none out of 5.Hitting a non-curvy , non-sexy and cold electric pole is all we guys can do waiting for Bus No.764 outside our Engineering college at Dwarka , Delhi.Its been more than 25 minutes and not a single 764 has come this way.The three of us look at a guy zoom past on a red bike and send up a fast prayer wishing a massive puncture hits both its tyres.And just as we see nothing happening and him zooming out of sight , we see this camel cart coming our way.The camel cart is this wooden thing being pulled by a camel , coincidentally. We look at each other and solemnly nod in unison.Right.We are getting on this thing.We thrust out our arms . The rajasthaani turbaned guy who sits behind the constipated looking camel , nods his big head which is an invitation which says - on this auspicious occasion of you three fools not finding a bus to get on and not having bikes to ride on , run along and jump onto my deluxe camel cart.Dhania runs on , throws his bag onto the wooden floor of the cart and effortlessly hauls himself onto the ambling cart.Adi next.On in a flash.I gallop in , throw my bag and Dhania grabs it.Without breaking the momentum , I place my hands on the wood and leap.Uggh.I land back on the road as the wooden floor proves a little too high.No problems.Here I come again.whoooo.Shit.Just a little more and I would have been on our camel coach this time.Adi and dhania are beginning to giggle by now.I am starting to laugh sheepishly by now.I run in , grab adi's outstretched arm and make this gravity defying leap , and collapse laughing onto a laughing Adi and dhania, finally onto the cart.We three laugh , the rajashtani cart wallah laughs , we look at the camel tail swiping flies off its bottom and laugh some more.
This incident from my engineering days is just one of the reminders of a fact which stays with me all through the day.I am a short boy.I am short.( To be read with the intensity and solemnity of "Rahul , I am pregnant" ).
When I walk down the street , old women drop their shopping bags in horror and shriek "eeeks , what happenned to you , you are so short !". Tourists want to get their photographs clicked with me and go back to Bhutan and Sri Lanka and show their wives how they found a strangely short boy in India.Old men stop me and ask if some sort of surgery can help me.
Ok.Relax.The last paragraph is a victim of exaggeration.But I am short.I barely reach 5 ' 4" - 5' 5".Some names are just so readymade for me.People have been calling me "Chotu" , "Bacchu" , "Little Wonder" ,"Pocket transistor", ever since I crawled out in this world.Though my personal favourite is "Short circuit".It has an electric feel to it.
When I was a little kid , or rather a "little-er" kid at school , I used to get angry when anyone used to tease me.I used to plan things like pushing the tall bully off the school roof during the games period.I used to dream of drinking buckets of complan and growing up to be a seven feet giant who can call the rest of the world a world of pocket transistor sized people.But as I grew up , or rather did not grew up much , I knew this world will always be a world of big surround sound theatre systems rather than transistors to me.And I thought , I cant survive like this.Feeling small all through the day , seething with anger at the bullies and meanies who used to tease me.I can not hate myself , I have to spend a lifetime with myself.I had to accept that i am short but not inferior.I am just different.And I learnt the most important art which still makes my life blissful - I learnt to laugh at myself.Not the lack of self esteem , but a meeting with the reality and getting rid of any false egos.I learnt to laugh at myself.And I realised that most of times when we fuel our egos to lose our peace of mind .
And everytime the giant aussies put their hands together to applaud as a sweat soaked 5'4" Sachin runs in to complete his century , I wink to myself. When a tiny Rajpaal Yadav draws cheers from the audience in a packed cinema hall , I wink to myself. And when the IIM C bunch popularly voted me as the "Johnny Lever of IIM C" at the diwali night function last year, I winked to myself.I lost on height.Maybe no girl will want to marry me.Maybe all my life I will be teased.Maybe I will have trouble jumping onto a camel cart.
But all my life , I know I will never take myself seriously and all my life , I will laugh at myself and at this amusingly ego infested world .I can laugh at myself , and that minimises my ego and reminds me of how amusing this life is.What seemed like a forced compromise has turned out to be an entirely different viewpoint .What seemed a physical lacking , has turned out to be an education in attitude.
And its not that bad.My parents needed just one shopping spree to buy me clothes for a couple of years as I drank complan and yelled happily "look ma , I am not growing ! The pants we bought last year still fit perfectly".My little bed saves the forests by needing less wood.I can slip behind the tables and doze well concealed during the classes .I need less time to bend down and tie my shoe laces.The top of my head is farther from the sun than most guys and that keeps me so cool during summers.Yeah I can only watch in awe as the rest of the guys play basketball , but then jesus never said one needs to play basketball to die happily.