Saturday, December 24, 2011

His Love....did it fail?

                                                His Love....did it fail?

He was always unabashed when he spoke about his previous two attempts at a relationship,as he preferred to call them.The first had lasted 2 months and 21 days.The second had lasted 235 messages-"qualitatively" he would add with emphasis.
Yet,even before those attempts,between them and ofcourse after their failure,his mind constantly drifted to thinking about her.She had always been there-yet she was never really there.He removed his cell from his pocket and looked her name up in the phone-book.Weirdly he never wanted her contact picture.She wouldn't have minded-but he didn't want it.
He was always like this when it came to her.He could understand why-but couldn't explain it even to himself.He had never known her much,being from the same college.Yet there was her presence that he looked forward too everyday.Not that he would do much either.He would look at her for a couple of seconds.She would probably wave,if she noticed him and that would be all.Those moments lingered on in his mind probably a fraction more than others,but he looked forward to them each time-somehow hoping he wasn't hoping too much.

Finally two years earlier he had procured her phone number from a mutual friend on a day before her birthday.He had texted a happy birthday message.And she had replied a delighted reply-as though the message had meant a world to her.
From then on,her waves-he felt-had a more pronounced acknowledgement of his greeting.Her eyes indeed looked a lot more tender.Four years on and he had never wanted to look beyond(or below) her eyes.Such charm-he always remarked to himself.
He also noticed he never wanted to talk to her at length-quite contrary to the way he was with all other girls.Not that he was tongue-tied.But somehow he didn't want to find out more about her.He had heard her speak.Her voice was sweet and that was all he cared for.
Like any normal guy,he too dreamt about her.But then through the dreams they never spoke to each other.He would sit there looking into her eyes and that was all.

"Somehow,even in those dreams,when she was just a table across,I never even felt like holding her hand for a second"he said when we met a couple of years after college.
I raised my eyebrows.He looked rather offended."Ofcourse not! Don't you trust me?"he asked.
And at that moment I did trust him.
"So what happened to you after college?"Did you get a third girl hooked?"I asked mischievously.
"I never feel like it these days is all so redundant.All the compliments,the sweet talk,the expectation,the disappointment..Wish I had more courage with her.But then...I didn't want all that happening between us too.."
" never ever wanted to.. you know.. ask her out?"I probed.
"A couple of months earlier..I did muster enough courage..convincing myself that after two attempts it is time for the real thing and she would suit me perfectly.I called her up..and she had something to say too..that's why we're here right?"

We were at her engagement.No..not to my friend.But to a third person we didn't know.My friend smiled at me.There was no hint of disappointment at all.Was this that crap someone called unconditional love?Why didn't he just barge down the hall and declare his love?I  wondered.
The engagement concluded.It was time for us to present our gifts to the couple.My friend and I went up on stage.He congratulated the groom.He congratulated her too and gave her a bouquet.
She just said "Thank you".I was alert to observe the vibes.My friend looked deeply into her eyes and said everything he wanted to in a single look.She looked back,with a look that was as tender as ever-a sign that she had known it for ever.

We got off the stage.I couldn't resist myself. "So if yours is that true love thingy..why don't you just ask her..maybe you could stand next to her for an engagement soon!" I said a touch angry,a touch sad.
"You're right.I guess I truly love her"he said before adding in a profoundness much unlike him "which is probably why I don't want to stand next to her forever!" 

-23rd December 2011

This is my first attempt at a subject very different from what I generally write.Feel free to comment or let me know your views!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Banglorean Appeals!

                                                The Banglorean Appeals!

Dear Fellow Banglorean
Hope you still exist.I tried finding you today,so that I could introduce you to my friend from Neverland.He went back disappointed.But so was I. Where are you when your streets are being littered and walls are being dirtied by all and sundry? Where are you when the traffic bursts at its seams and travelling becomes a war fought each day?Where are you when trees are being chopped off to make way for the ever growing city?Don't the roads and the trees and everything else that this once beautiful city offers belong to you?
Do you hear me when I shout and are yet passive?Or do you hear at all?The streets were all so crowded today...yet I felt so lonely.I miss your presence.Or are you scared to raise your voice too?Our Bangalore needs you...and all your friends too.....
Yours faithfully
A Lone Banglorean

My friend Never from Neverland always wanted to explore Bangalore.He wanted to see the real Bangalore.I wanted to discover it again has been a long time see.So we step out.One fine Monday morning it is....

We go out jogging.Both of us are upbeat.Only for so long.I see cows excreting on the footpath in front of my house.I shouldn't have brought my friend out at this early hour."Cows are always tethered and taken care of by owners in Neverland.."Never says."We worship them here.So no tying business"I reply feebly.
We move on.A couple of hundred yards later,we find an elderly citizen urinating against the wall.He has a leading daily tucked under his arm."So...what is this?"Never asks.I break into a small sweat.
"Even illiterate people in Neverland use public urinals"He offers."I guess he was a little desperate"I defend my Banlgorean again.

We break into a jog.Suddenly a bag of  house-waste whizzes past us onto the street.It's full of rot.
"Isn't it their street?"Never asks me in sarcasm."No.."I reply.Equally bland."The street belongs to the public.It does not belong to them."
"But who is the public?" Never asks.
"Well...."Yeah..I had to cook up a reply for that.Where exactly did a public exist?Or when? The day had already started sliding.

We come back home and finish breakfast.Never wants to experience Bangalore traffic.We start off.
Being a usual commuter,the traffic hardly bothers me.But there Never is.He can barely sit as a pillion as I drive my bike through the chaos that Bangalore traffic is these days.My bike wriggles out at angles,sticks out
at right angles to other vehicles.Horns blare,good old BMTC spews out smoke.Never almost chokes.Then I
 break a couple of signals and drive him up the wrong way.Through all the choking he still manages to shout "You are breaking traffic rules!!! "
I laugh out "We break hundreds each day.We are in a hurry...our MNC jobs are at stake!!!"  
"In Neverland..."he reels off.But the rest is drowned in the pandemonium on Outer Ring Road.We are stuck again.
During the wait,Never manages to spot the Metro construction.
"So when will all this mess get cleared up?"he asks.
"'s hard work Never.Bangalore is getting a Metro see..the whole city will be on it someday.."I say enthusiastically.
"But wasn't this work going on last time I came here too..?"I am actually stumped.I wish I had never called him here.

I treat him at a trendy restaurant with his favorite cuisine.He is apparently satisfied. "You Bangloreans are great foodies man!"He says dreamily.Finally a compliment!I am relieved.

The relaxed afternoon gives way to an evening full of promise.I take him shopping hoping to give him a good parting impression about Bangalore.It goes on quite well.I hire an auto to drop him at the railway station.
We make it 10 minutes early.But then trouble starts.The driver demands one-and-a-half ,the local terminology.Haggling ensues.It develops into an argument.Then a heated exchange.No one in the crowded station even bothers.They are all used to it.My friend Never tries to interject,but  in vain.It almost comes to blows.Then Never calms me and pays the fare himself-excess and all.I see him off and head back...a picture of anger and embarrassment.My plan is made up.I buy a sheet and pen and write that write that letter at the top of this page. I crumple it and throw it on the street. A crumpled sheet attracts attention.I hide at a corner and watch.A fellow picks it plan is working!

I congratulate myself and head back home.Only,one thing that Never said when leaving haunts me
"You guys speak a beautiful language called Kannada right? How is it I never heard anyone speaking it?" 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Confessions of a (just) BE

                                       Confessions of  a (just) BE

I looked back at the dog.It wouldn't stop staring at me.Probably I was the first one to sit there-on that footpath.The next moment the dog's face became the interviewer's face and I had this impulse to kick it with all my might.Somehow restraining myself,I got up and looked for one last time at the 17th company that had rejected me.
"Which is your passion?"he had asked.
"Cricket."I had replied,without hesitation.He asked me to leave.I probably had just two passions in life-the other...anyways both were apparently not worth it at this time in my life.

"Study hard"was the first principle that was drilled into me in life.I adhered to it.That was the problem.I got good percentages in school,in my pre-university and landed up in an engineering factory.I was to be a proud product of such and such factory,with an aggregate of so much,having such and such skills.It was a bandwagon-and I had jumped into it before knowing that there were thousands of such factories churning out lakhs of engineers each year.

I got into the bus for a long ride back home.I looked out of the window.It was my favorite pastime when on a bus.I saw littered roads,poor people,unhygenic slums.I wanted to change all this..In a rush of emotion I clasped my file.Oops there was also a degree-a BE at that! I first had to do justice to that."Get a job-get a salary.Make a livelihood"-an other of those umpteen principles in life!

The bus passed in front of a mall.I longed for weekends that could be spent in malls.A saturday evening starting off with a lot of window shopping(give the impression that I am a potential customer),dinner at the food court and a late night movie seemed a perfect picture.And with a close friend next to you,you could easily ogle at the hundreds of girls who seem to throng malls as though they own them..and even pass a comment or two.I cursed my BE that didn't give a license in the form of  a job for all this!

Girls! Even they somehow evaded a decent BE graduate.All my friends who had a girlfriend languished at the bottom(or was it the other way round?).It was probably cool.I am sure they will end up with a job soon(I mean they always said a girl brings them luck).But I am not so sure I will end up with a girl-even if I get a job.The geniuses obviously attract the opposite sex without effort.So it was only surprising that my genius friends didn't book a ticket for their girls as they waved them goodbye in one hand and held Kgs of American Dreams in the other.

Their flight took off and I was left gaping at it...standing on the tallest vantage point-probably secretly hoping that if I could touch the bottom of an American flight..I would get a chance to do my master's there.I could imagine thousands of average BEs like me trying to do the same in different parts of our country.....

The bus stopped suddenly.I was jerked up from my reverie.Apparently there was a fault.All of us got down.
A mechanic rushed to the spot and corrected it.All the while I was looking at what he was doing,being a mechanical engineer myself.I couldn't make head or tail of what he was doing.In the end,he noticed me.I was clutching the degree to my chest(it had become a habit).He probably noticed it.He smiled a smile of sarcasm and left the place.

Then the thought hit me.He along with the world seemed to think that I was a (just) BE.

P.S.: The work is fictitious.But I am sure a genuine BE would connect with atleast one instance here!

Friday, October 28, 2011

One Life...Many Worlds

                                        One Life...Many Worlds.
A thousand doors all around me
I stood there at the centre.
Each of them led to a different world
And each of them I wanted to enter.

The World of Ambition was a risky one
It ventured nowhere beyond the door.
All I did was just stand there
Wishing I could know some more.

The World of Brilliance beckoned at me
I was to just knock the door at the right place.
I knocked here,I knocked there
But it stood still,with all its grace.

The much used door to Hardwork opened
And I thought I could hold sway.
But I found I had to build my own path
And my desire melted away.

The door to Treachery leered at me
Promising pleasures unknown inside.
And as I fought an unknown enemy
My conscience was my guide.

Blindfolded,I entered the World of Hope
A friend called Luck by my side.
It is foolish now that with each step I take
My heart swells with pride.
                                                                       -28th October 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

Life in 2110.......

Life in 2110.......

Finally,after 2 months of eager waiting,I have got my chance to register and preserve a record of my thoughts on digital media.There is this feverish wait for this chance throughout the world,what with digital space supposed to get "extinct" in an other month.From then on,thoughts can stay only in our heads-and we can afford only so much!!!.I really hope this page is read the mandatory 1000 times before next week-so that it is preserved forever.

Life has changed so much in the last 100 years...more so in the last 50.I stopped aging 60 years ago,so that I could remain forever 40.To stop aging is a fairly simple procedure.They take your cells out at the age you want to stop aging and preserve it.Each year you are injected with the same cells,which multiply inside your body,replacing the older cells.It is a painful procedure,but worth the trouble.Death is distant now..unless an accident or a natural calamity.The only condition is that I must not have a progeny-births without deaths are dangerous for the planet!!!

My day begins with a lot of gymming..oh not physical activity in the least!!The trend of the day is "Brain Gyms".These are specialised centres for keeping your brain in shape.So you have the odd physical activity which supplies more oxygen to the brain,but majorly each workout is aimed at improving the activities of the various lobes and coordinating their functionality.It is very rigorous but intellect is the order of the we have to go through it!!

After a couple of hours,it is office time!!Traffic jams are a thing of the past.The cars now are really efficient and high-speed for that.They levitate a couple of inches above the ground,powered by electromagnets in the car and the road made of iron.Pooling of vehicles was made mandatory even before I stopped aging.That way things have improved a great deal.

My office is a glass structure,fully equipped to tap and amplify solar power(Coal exhausted long ago.So did water.Nuclear was disacarded after World war 3).We enter after a process of DNA matching(Retinal scans are history).Each of us is given a work-station and a cubicle.Our employers expect a lot from us.Each of us is monitored using a Caesium clock accurate to one-millionth of a second.It is programmed to stop if we stop working.We are to put in 6hours of effective work and this takes 10 hours in normal time!!. We are discouraged to step out of our cubicle and talk to neighbours.To give us company,each of us has been given a robot we call DIGIBOY.We are supposed to talk to him when we get bored.The lady employees are given a similar DIGIGIRL.We are planning to ask the managers to swap the robots given to the male and female employees.But the worst part is that these robots are charged using our energy.You have to wire them up to your body,so that they start talking!!All these measures to make sure we are efficient.3 days in a month where your efficiency drops below 95% and you are fired.Measuring the efficiency is again a very complex let me not bother you.

Two concepts which seem to have changed forever are food and money.Food is now basically capsules.It is a capsule per day with all the nutrients in their RDA.This capsule is designed to bloat once it enters the that the fullness and the satisfaction is somewhat there.The nutrients are absorbed by the body,but the capsule comes out as excrement.We take this back to our company which gives the nutrients for the next day-in the same capsule.(Yes,every company takes complete care of employees now).So in a way.we are eating our own excrement each day.But this is the hard way Nature has taught us the value of recycling!!

And money.The wads of paper are long extinct.The new currency is memory.In units of bits,bytes running upto Peta bytes now.Each day,the company gives us blocks of memory and we fill it up efficiently to get our capsule.If we manage to save some blocks of memory,it goes into our account so that we can sell it once  we retire for capsules of food.It is really as simple.

Social life is virtually non-existent.Holidays have taken a beating.The company does not want us to go out of town.So all we have are virtual tours,monitored by robots,which are programmed to provide us with the experience of travelling to a place and back,while we sleep at night.So each of these tours is basically a dream lasting for a night,but we have learned to enjoy it all the same.(I have already been to the North Pole,mustering resources for a trip to the South Pole).

The only concept  lasting from erst-while life to today's has been social-networking.Many sites like Facebook have cropped up and are cashing in on our busy lives.I have never yet met my neighbour in person-but we chat up each day on our local network.
As I wind each uneventful day up,I wish I could dream while I sleep-to lend some colour to my life.But then,the robot on my bedside always ensures my sleep is dreamless as well!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

'Tis a Father-Son thing.

  'Tis a Father-Son thing.

My Mother shouted for the twenty-second time from the living room."We are waiting for you.Can't serve each time someone turns now..he next..."She was referring to my brother who was behind the closed doors of his room.I quickly(unwillingly though) closed the chat window on FB and signed out.My mind was still on that latest compliment I had given to...well never mind.

The scene was ever the same.My Mother was there:half tired,half exasperated.She could
soon be placated-a heartfelt compliment on the sambhar would do the trick.I had to focus my energy on Father now.He sat there with his lips pursed,trying to control an outburst of rage.He controlled it everyday-but it didn't spare us from going through those tense moments before dinner each day.Let us say it was a ritual.It was no different today.I always wondered why we had to have dinner together...but then we had to."It is the rule"Father had declared long ago.And of course we had to follow!!

Presently my Brother came and sat next to me.He has this-well-nasty habit of sort of impulsively shaking his legs too often.I did not find it particularly annoying.But then Father doesn't approve of it at all. Mother's eyes went all expressive when she hinted my brother should stop but  to no avail.
She had just served some delicious looking sambhar when Father said,irritated "Stop that!How many times to tell you....that is something downright arrogant."All of us now knew where this was heading.
"You do that in front of an interviewer and he will throw you out before you introduce yourself"he continued,halfway between irritation and anger.His gaze was on me now.It was sort of a reminder that I was sitting jobless at home,after graduation.I brought him up-to-date on my latest efforts to get a decent job.
"You can't always wait for a decent job...go do whatever you get!! You should never be a burden to your parents after 21.."He repeated stories from his childhood when he had been forced to do all sort of odd jobs to make ends meet."We carried dry wood on our backs for 4 Annas"He had said that a thousand times."You were plain unlucky" I had said once and he had left dinner half finished.I decided not to repeat it. 

"I could always refer you somewhere.."he said.(Again this was a standard line of conversation).
"No."I said firmly."I want a job for my qualification,on my own.I want to be known by my name..not as my Father's son."I regretted the second line as soon as I said it.But then it seemed to amuse him.He laughed. "You will have to fill my name when the application asks your Father's name.To hell with your values.Be practical.Atleast you tell him"he added,looking at Mother.My Mother is always passive to this discussion-she was the same today too.
"No."I repeated a little louder.

Mother served some curd rice.It seemed to have distracted Father a little as he reached for his favourite lime pickle.I was sure he would be back at it-like always.This phase was always a little more embarrassing."You don't get a job...and you won't get a girl."he said.My ears were starting  to go red.I could feel the blood rushing.Not again.Not in front of my brother!
"Stop it Father.Who cares about it now!!" 
"All boys of your age say the same thing outside......"
"Nothing doing.."I retorted."Nothing for an other five years atleast."I could feel my ears getting hotter by the second.
"Of course.Even for such a miracle to happen,you need to start working now.And have a decent job atleast then."There was no retort to this.He had won hands down,like everyday.

I was still smarting when he said,as he washed his hands after dinner "I worked hard so that I could take care of not just your Mother and you two,but my parents as well."
I was desperate to get one back and replied rather hastily "So you basically want me to earn so that I can take care of you and Mother??"
"No."he said. "I want you to earn so that you can atleast take care of yourself.Even if you don't,I can support you for a lifetime".He simply smiled and retired for the night.It was not the smile of a winner,but of an affectionate Father.

I suddenly felt a rush of respect for him.It is a Father-Son thing.This Generation Gap.

Note that the conversation is majorly fictitious,laced with a sprinkling of reality.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Interview

The Interview

I sweated as I adjusted my tie in front of the mirror. God was I nervous!! I had stayed up all night trying to pore over material that could help me pass this particular interview.I had never really put so much of effort into grooming myself: the right shirt, the right pair of trousers, my striped tie,my formal shoes sparkling......and ofcourse, my hair had to be just the right size and yes my beard too!!!It was as though my entire life depended on this interview....and it did!!

I had never ever prayed to God with so much intent any time in my life...but I did it that day.....even prostrated before Him.I looked in the mirror..and tried to smile. It just wouldn't happen..I stretched my muscles.."Oops!! that was a hideous one" I thought and left it there.

On my way in a crowded early morning bus,I recollected how I had been the only contender for this job in the last 6 months.If there had been someone earlier,it was none of my business.The written test was tricky to say the least...prepare an expenditure plan for a household of 4 for a month,not exceeding rupees 20,000 given...and a list of conditions to follow!! It was stupid...20,000??!! for 4 people!!Outrageous,I had thought.But I had to plan...and I scraped through the test..

Then the telephonic interview came around...that voice on the other side asked the scales of 5 different raagas...I mean I wondered why he wouldn't ask programming(not that I was good with that either!!).I managed 3 right and guess what...I was through!!!

So today was the D-day.I got down from the bus and headed straight for my interviewers.I knocked on the room.A rough voice said"Enter!"There they were...the trio who would decide my destiny.Two ladies and a gentleman.One of the ladies was young,attractive and had been the inspiration behind me attempting for this job.But she had clearly told me that if I did not pass the interview,I would never get the job.I tried not looking at her(it was tough,mind you!).The other lady and the gentleman,both clearly in their 50s sat protectively on either side of her.

"So..what makes you opt for this job?"the gentleman began.I started thinking.There were a lot of reasons..but I could not tell all of them in front of him...

"I wanted to settle down...this was a permanent job"I ventured cautiously.I looked at the young lady..but she was looking at the gentleman.

"Any previous experience?"he asked.The girl gave me a piercing look.

"Hmm...nothing worth mentioning"only a part of which was true. The ladies looked pleased.I felt more confident.

He made notes."What do you know about our product...?"the older lady asked.I started off,having gone through the notes I had made for myself for an entire night.The girl had told me everything I needed to know over the last couple of years..and specially since the time I had been in contention for the job.After I finished with my 10 minute lecture on the product,she looked impressed.But not the old man.

"Sing the raaga Kalyaani for me!!"he commanded.This was apparently his favourite..and I could pass the interview only if he felt I managed to sing it to his satisfaction.He was now digging his nose..not exactly inspiring.I shifted my gaze to the girl,who didn't mind my looking at her now..and started singing.I put all my knowledge and did sing in a way that would have my Guru proud.At the end of ten minutes,the gentleman merely beckoned me to stop.I heaved a sigh.

There was dead silence for may be ten minutes(could have been twenty..could have been just five..I really had lost track!!).I thought the interview was finally over.The gentleman would declare the result any moment...but he merely asked me

"If you were to take care of our product,how do you see the future?"

I took a deep breath and replied with all sincerity(real and fake) "Your product would continue to get better..and would be treated with a lot of respect and concern.It will be given top priority with its adequate maintenance being uppermost in my mind".I waited with bated breath..

"You are appointed!!" the gentleman declared with a uncharacteristically huge smile, after five
minutes of who-would-blink-first.The ladies burst into characteristic happy tears.

So much went into wooing your prospective in-laws!! Hopefully each of us gets to woo only one pair of them in a lifetime!!

P.S.: bad alignment in the first two paragraphs...Blogger's problems!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Boy Who Lived....will live on!!

The Boy Who Lived....will live on!!

Life could always be a matter of choices is what we learn..looking back at Harry Potter, whose life we lived at some point in our childhood or teens or may be continue to-even now. The Dark Lord(or should we say Voldemort)marked him is equal;Harry chose to be put in Gryffindor and towards the end he chooses to stay when he could so easily have gone on....all appallingly simple and imaginative bits of a storyline but so very inextricably woven into our lives.

The triumph of good over evil is a virtue that forms the core of mythology all over the world.But that you and I and just anybody else could defeat this evil is probably what Harry Potter taught us.Yes of course there were predecessors like "The Lord of the Rings",but Harry would probably capture our imagination like Frodo never did.

And as we file into the theatre this connect with Harry and Hogwarts is what drives us,for we know the story by the line but want to live it again...and probably again.The final instalment is probably the best of the lot and the darkest.But we would all want to live through the darkness just to see that light in the end.The movie stands up for all the values that all the Potter books and movies did.It is the little moments of great depth that stand out more than the eventual triumph of good over evil.

The death of Dobby the elf and the dignity with which he is buried transcends the age-old saying that friendship is among equals.It is destiny that brings people together but it takes a good set of values to bind them and forge a lasting friendship.Hagrid and Harry is an other example.

Love seems to be the core value that has been exemplified beyond others in all books.While evil rules the world,it is his mother's love for Harry that protects him.Be it this or Sirius' paternal love for Harry or the blooming one between Ron and takes the meaning of a sense of willing to sacrifice and a sense of deep mutual understanding,respect and ofcourse attraction and madness. The love Snape had for Lily and the sacrifices he is willing to make for that make him the true hero.There are a couple of mad moments brought out in the movie...Neville runs around just to say he is mad about Luna when the world around him burns(because he could be dead by dawn!!!); And Ron chases the Malfoy trio when they attack Hermione. Comical...but with that sense of depth I mentioned.

Neville Longbottom is again a character a lot of us would identify ourselves with.The courage,the valour,ability is all there.But then there is also a fear..a lack of belief that we don't actually belong.It takes a lot of motivation to bring the ability out...and his friends provide him that.

An other moment that makes a deep impact is the one in which Harry saves Malfoy from a fire,risking his own.Beyond the courage,the valour, it is the character Harry and his friends show in rescuing them,putting their animosity aside that strikes us.They would probably never be friends...but then....

Again towards the end,Harry becomes the owner of the most powerful wand in the world.But with characteristic simplicity,breaks it- more symbolically saying he is one of us.

It is this sense of simplicity,the way the characters have been built so naturally that draws people to Harry Potter,be it books or movies.The Muggle world is shrinking with respect to ideals and values and boundaries and the limitations we put on ourselves in the name of practicality.But boy,don't we yearn to be in an ideal place like Hogwarts??!!! As long as that sense to be a part of an ideal world lives on...Harry Potter will live on.

You may all know the books off by-heart.But do go and watch the is a fitting end to a legacy.And don't be surprised if you see a young mother egging Molly Weasley on as she fights Bellatrix Lestrange!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

A parting letter to my friend.....

A parting letter to my friend......

I remember the first time we the loo.It is probably the best place for two people like us to meet.I was standing behind you and you took an eternity to complete.I don't know what made me react politely when you murmured half a sorry to me.I even managed to ask your name despite the other important task on hand!!!

Let me be honest mate....I did not like you initially.Don't completely do now are a little too arrogant for my liking.But then who isn't? You are probably better than half the guys I meet each day.I probably found someone who could put up with me..I needed a room-mate too...didn't I?But then...I did find a friend in you too...a damn good one at times...

I still remember the day when you completed an assignment for me-you know why I wasn't in a position to do it.That lecturer would have insulted me bigtime-we didn't exactly see eye to eye...did we?But then I showed more than gratitude to you...paid for the by-two-coffee and you-know-what every evening for a semester!!

You have this bad habit of eating from other's plates.I did not enjoy it at all.Remember I threw the plate full of chutney on you in second year?And you chased me around the whole Mess for that?I mean...I got used to it later...but you know..your in-laws may not like it.

And of course...we were hitting on the same girl without knowing it for some time and completely knowing it -for most part.Let us admit it...we were competing.You wanted to make me jealous and project yourself better..and I wanted a moment where I could reveal your dark side to her.It went to hostility at its extremes...I wonder how we shared the same room with all the cold-war.But then good sense prevailed and we realized that she wasn't worth the trouble or the effort.I mean...she would never have agreed to share our hostel bill...she would have meant extra expenses-come to think of it!!! You can try again if you like...but rumour is that she is going out with some hefty guy...all the best to you!!

One thing I don't really understand was that sense of envy in me whenever you went on stage.I don't know why I never appreciated the applause you got on stage.I always made sure I wasn't around when you were performing..I am really sorry about that.I gathered the courage to watch you the last time you performed in college...and realised what I had missed in the last 4 years.

But I really liked the way we teamed up in cricket.You are a decent batsman.I am a decent bowler.You know what...I always looked to pick you in the team,not because you were my best friend,but because it improved my chances of winning.May be there was this desire to match your success on stage with my success in sports!! Ofcourse neither of us was that good in it was never in the equation!

If I were to give you genuine advice,please learn not get carried away in life.I have a place in a foreign university,a couple of jobs here,and you are highly talented.But let your feet always be on the ground...and you will go places.I admit I am envious about your success...but I am concerned about you too...

I won't say keep in touch..I am sure you will if you want too.I could have spoken to you about all this...but know...

Your room-mate of four years

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Writer's Woes....

A Writer's Woes....

He started writing.It was his dream to write.The bigger dream was to be read.He was sure someone would read him....but would they read him?There was always this self -doubt lurking in the corner.Was he potent enough to hold the attention of the reader -for however small a duration?

He thought about all the authors he had read and the many of them he had re-read.What was so special about them?The complexity...?The simplicity...?It was simple enough to be complex and complex enough to be simple...but what did the reader prefer?
He wondered what it was that made him turn the pages of huge volumes when he was young.....the smell of the pages!!! And more importantly....the smell of a plot...he recollected.
Yes..there had to be a direction to which had to be followed. The "thread"-some
people called it.

" the author's creativity is of paramount importance..."he thought.But was creativity
everything?What about the not so creative people like himself who aspired to be authors?Would they fail?Not all people like the eccentrically creative authors who make your pulse race and provide little food for thought.They make best-sellers ofcourse..but not much else....
He thought about all those classical authors...he remembered those wonderful lines from a famous classic "It was the best of times.It was the worst of times...."It went on.
Yes there had to be some power in the narration.Attention to detail.He vividly remembered a colleague of his trying to potray a character of a famous novel on stage.The detail had to be immaculate...right from the shape of the nose to the length of the stride.....

And the narration had to be had to leave it to the reader to judge the character.
But wasn't it difficult to not take sides?He was a human being after all....he would decide that later.His peers advised that his writing be unabashed.Potray a villain for a villain...and a vamp for a vamp."Write about the real world...the cruelty,the horror,the sins,the greed,hatred,anger,jealousy..."their list went on.
But his ideas on the real world were entirely different....those were of overwhelming positivity....
of optimism....and most importantly hope....hope sustained everything in this world didn't it?
But there was no plot if he were to write about only the good in this world."There was some respect for the good in this world because there was something bad in it as well"......he pondered philosophically...

He thought....and he thought.There wasn't a single idea that he felt would impress all the readers in this world.Should he give up..? He wondered....
He scribbled a paragraph...he didn't like it.
He scribbled an wasn't good either.
He scribbled a third and stared at looked rather good!!!
He felt on top of the world...!!!
Maybe that was what writing is all about.You write something that you feel pleased about...and fall for the illusion that the whole world is liking it as well!!!
He closed the book and savoured the elation.
Maybe it was all worth it!!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Why I call Cricket education?

Why I call Cricket education?
We are roughly 25 days into this edition of the World cup and the best part is India is still a part of the event.To be fair to them,the Indian team has always been a decent performer in the World Cup,barring the forgettable 2007 edition.But the way the event has captured the imagination of the cricketing world,specially the subcontinent has been phenomenal.I say this
because most of us thought that the good old 50-over version was a goner-what with the advent of the 20-20 that promised a package of entertainment in which cricket was soon ceasing to be a part! Of course the event has had its advertisements-a Kamral Akmal,a Kevin O Brien,a Ross Taylor,and of course the English and Indian teams who have done everything to make their matches interesting.
And thanks to these factors and a lot more I want to mention,cricket is education-again!!!!

Infact the signs have been showing up for quite sometime now.The Border-Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia was as intellectually stimulating as its entertainment value-if not more.The result oriented approach of the teams led the crowds back to the ground to watch test
cricket which was a bonus of sorts for cricket.The last session of the second test witnessed a near full- house in Bangalore-proving that if the right centres are chosen,people still want to pay and watch test cricket.

Then India toured South Africa.The way the Indian team bounced back after losing the first test was a lesson in courage and character and self-belief.That it takes a lot more to win a series in South Africa was proved by Jacques Kallis-who played wonderfully to deny India a win in the the third and final test.

On a parallel track,the English were playing way above themselves(considering the way they are playing now) to thwart the Aussies and retain the Ashes.I am sure hundreds of us got up early in the morning and enjoyed long distance education on "How to tame a kangaroo in 5 days?"!!!
Not to forget the one-day series in South-Africa that was the ideal appetiser before the World Cup.

Thankfully,20-20 has taken a backseat again.The common man in India is back to discussing field positions and strategies and not just glamour and cheer girls.I guess this is where cricket stands apart from all other team games and thus has captured the imagination of the masses in our country.People connect with it,because they can talk about it.They can analyse a match to bits and tear a player to shreds if he does not meet their expectations.Each match is subject to intense scrutiny,right from the local bus stop to the air conditioned corporate houses. One could argue that the 20-20 does generate a frenzy-but it hardly connects with the true cricket fan,who wants to be educated and not just entertained.
I mean,I clearly understood what trajectory was all about after watching Harbhajan and Kumble bowl in tandem.The aerodymamics of reverse swing seems more interesting than our syllabus right now. The fact that a pitch breaks down in five days if rolled or not watered properly seems such a phenomenon! And the differences between a short-leg,silly point or between a leg-slip and a leg-gully.......all this is a result of following test cricket with keenness,something that 20-20 fails to inspire.
The way cricket is presented to the audience also has a great impact on its eductional value.A Mandira Bedi sitting as a presenter may add a few thousands of eyeballs,but adds very little credibility to a pre/post match show-which is always expected to be intellectual fodder for the audience.(To be fair to her,neither does a Vengsarkar or an Amarnath).The whole experience of enjoying watching a game of cricket depends so much on the build-up,the commentary during a game and ofcourse rational post-mortem.I would certainly recommend listening to a Geoffrey Boycott,Tony Greig,Harsha Bhogle,Ravi Shastri or even Saurav Ganguly these days for cricketing knowledge and to improve our English skills.And thankfully,this World Cup has most of these people in the commentary team!
All in all,the last few months are proving to be a renaissance of sorts for the game of cricket-in its true forms.What I have personally discovered is that I would rather pay to watch an intense day of test cricket than a 20-20,which has more air-time for the sponsors and the franchise owners than cricket itself. And I really hope you have discovered that a Tendulkar straight-drive looks more beautiful than a Bipasha Basu any day!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Bribe.

The Bribe.
He was still in his Mother's womb.A foetus all excited to be a part of this wonderful world.He pressed his ears against her stomach often to learn all he could about the world before he was due outside.
"Doctor,we are keen on knowing the gender of our child...."his Mother was saying.
"Yes ofcourse....its just that we want to be mentally prepared to raise a boy or a is a responsibility"the Father added.
"Hmm....I mean you should know that this is illegal...."This voice had to be the doctor's.
There was silence.Some sound of crispy paper.And silence again......
He had paid his first bribe even before entering the world........

The novelty of this world had made him forget the incident.He enjoyed his chidhood like any other lucky kid with a rich parentage.He was their only concern and rightly so.
Three years later his parents were trying to get him admitted to the most aristocratic school in town.They could afford it ofcourse.But the problem was that he was underage to join the school.They had to wait for an other year to get him admitted.The Father was adamant.
"An year makes a lot of difference...financially we are twice better now than we were last year..wish my father had admitted me to school a year earlier...."
His birthday got advanced by half a year.The clerk received his booty ofcourse...
The irony was that his school was the reason for the second bribe he was a part of.

Needless to say he got used to it.It was bribes....left,right and centre.While the democracy called it black money,the bureaucracy called it speed money."Goodwill money" some called it-to get your work done quickly.
The police called it "hafta".Somewhere things did not fall in place.His teacher was very vehement when he said that to give or take bribes was a sin.Weeks later news was that the teacher was having trouble in getting some paperwork about his house done.All the trouble because he had put his principles into practice!

Our hero tried raising a voice.But his was the only one.The others were too scared or did not want to take a chance.To get the work done was the most important thing.Values were for idealistic fools.One had to be pratical in life-to the point of even selling his identity,if not himself.The better(or worse) part was the fact that millions had compromised with the system.They had got used to it!"Bloody hell!"our hero thought.Bribes did not even exist for these people.
They even sympathised with the people who extracted bribes saying even those people had a life to lead-an ailing mother,a couple of sisters and a greedy wife.
The best(worst) part was the attitude of a few people like him.They wanted that the system should change.....but they felt they could not change it.It was because they had this queer notion that their's was the only voice.They felt incapable of being the part of a change,let alone leading one.
The icing was the many who went abroad,came back and criticised this system,fully knowing that they had more than a small role in shaping the system to what it had become.His blood boiled.

And a few years later,it cooled down by itself.Our hero had tried his best initially.He had fought with boyish hope,youthful vigour.But ultimately,good old "wisdom" dawned on him.There was not much-infact nothing-he could do.
The world around had not even cared to notice his efforts.

He died.His kith and kin were "practical" to say the least.He had died in the evening and none of them were patient enough to wait with the body till the morning.They bribed the men at the crematorium and finished the last rites at midnight;got back to their lives next morning.

Little did they know that his life had begun and had ended with a -BRIBE!!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

When Death comes to Pass........

When Death comes to Pass........

Death had descended.He had done so in his inimitable way-quiet and sudden.This was an approach he used when he did not want his victim to feel his wrath-not entirely atleast.He spread his blanket of sorrow over the household and those bereaved choked under it.He started observing..........

His victim was a mother.She had 3 children.The eldest 10 years.The youngest 4 years.The husband bore a dignified silence.After all,he wasn't expected to lose his control over himself....he was a man.He was expected to make sure that those arriving shortly for one final glimpse of the lady were treated properly-arrange coffee and snacks if possible.

The kids were too young to understand the seriousness of the situation.When the youngest had woken up in the middle of the night,her mother was sleeping with a tender smile on her lips.Now it was almost afternoon.She was still sleeping,sans the smile.The daughter decided that her mother definitely looked better with a smile and went about her routine.Only,she could not understand why her mother was sleeping beyond breakfast time today.

The other two children were at school and had been sent for.The eldest arrived first.He could understand his mother was dead,but it was not actually a bereavement for him.His mind was involved in all sorts of permutations as to how this could affect his daily routine and at a most profound moment,he felt there was no one else to take care of him when Father left for work.He could see a few relatives sobbing around him.He felt he was expected to cry too....but hunger took over and he went inside.

Friends of the husband arrived in a group.Most of them had not seen his wife when she was living.All they could do was pat the husband on his shoulder without uttering a word,for they did not want any statement to be taken in the wrong sense.Diplomacy came first.A few who had the courage just asked "How did this happen?" or "How have your children taken this?"or in a most mundane way, asked "Did you have a coffee atleast?"....The husband could not think of a response most times.Not that anybody wanted him to,either.There was a fire burning in every cell of his body....yet he had to be calm and dignified,inspite of himself.

Then the elders took over.Death throws up leaders out of unexpected people.There are people to decide the course of action.People who decide what happens when,who is the priest to be called,what are the rituals to be performed and more importantly who must perform the rituals.The council unanimously decided that the eldest son must perform the rituals since his thread ceremony was over.No sooner the announcement was made,two aunts of the child went in to brief him about his responsibilities.Thankfully better sense prevailed and the husband volunteered to perform the last rites himself.

A pall of gloom engulfed the household.There the husband was,clad in a dhoti in a sombre mood,trying to get through the last rites before he had to send her away forever.The children were crying now,more influenced by the unhealthy commotion around them.There was their maternal grandmother who was lamenting that she was unfortunate enough to see the birth and death of her daughter........

Ten days had passed.In a corner of the living room was a framed photograph of the mother.The youngest was talking to it.The other two children had started going to school the day after the death.The husband was almost his usual self to the outside world.Little did anyone know that each night his resolve burst and he cried eternally after putting the youngest to sleep,answering her curious questions about mother.In some corner of his parents' mind, a buzz had begun about getting their son married again.On the one hand,he felt a crushing anger about them.On the other he knew it was just blind affection..........

Death patted himself on the back for his handiwork.When he was there as expected,people almost brushed him aside.But when he was at his stealthiest,he was respected,almost revered.Having successfully cast a lasting impression on this household,Death finally left with his blanket of sorrow- tucked under his powerful arm- for future use.
And no sooner had he left,the household saw the birth of a beautiful girl child.....

-To a Mother survived by her children