Friday, December 26, 2008

Back to their Old Ways

The impact of 26/11 was such that I began to believe it would be the foundation of change in our country.  I saw early signs of it. Both the politicians and the citizens showed promised. But barely a month down the line, while the latter are still trying to find new ways to contribute to the state of the nation, the former are back what they do best, politicize the issue. 

Mr. Antulay, the cabinet minister for minorities found a new found profession, that of a conspiracy theorist. The accusations that ATS Chief Hemant Karkare’s death was a plot by Hindu extremists took centre stage, over shadowing the voice of many Indians who were asking much more potent questions at that stage. The 542 remaining members of parliament got so involved in pressurizing him for his resignation that they passed 8 important bills in 17 minutes. 

While the chaos was on in Delhi, I found one Mr. Bal  Thackrey’s comments extremely inflammatory and misplaced, though highly amusing. I think you will too by the time I share them with you. 

Mr. Thackrey quoted in his newspaper, Saamna, “Most of the people who lit candles in front of the Taj were useless (he used the word nalayak). Where were they when terrorists attacked us before 26/11?” 

Shouldn’t he be asking himself, why he and his many mad men didn’t show up even after the 26/11 incident happened? Did their balls drop off? Did they feel that their hockey sticks and stone would not help against AK-47 and grenades? 

People have always been doing their bit. There have been citizen vigilance groups in the past and there are many more active now. People are also contributing for the modernization of the police force by pooling in funds. There are also funds to collect money for the treatment of the injured who are still recovering in hospitals. Mr.Thackrey what have you done? 

He further comments about the women in the vigil, “These women did not fight anything before this candle light show. They may not have seen or heard about the protests by our female freedom fighters and the women who fought for unified state of Maharashtra.” 

It is sad that women need to fight when they are supposed to be contributing to the countries growth economically and socially. Besides, what they are doing is not fighting, it is called protest. Must have heard the word right? Your men always find illogical reasons to protest (read bandhs, curfews, violence, loss of property) At least these women have a valid cause. 

And those female freedom fighters he is talking about had a bunch of leaders who they could really look up to. We have eunuchs who only know how to talk. (By the way, why is ‘our female freedom fighters’ and ‘the women who fought for unified state of  Maharashtra’ put separately? Any guesses?) 

The last statement of his, which was by far the winner, was about the rise of Hindu terrorist groups. “I want Hindus to produce terrorists. That would be the way to tackle the present situation.” 

Brilliant. Hahahaha. Thank goodness you are not our Prime Minister. Half of Asia would be in the middle of a nuclear war by now.

He needs tutoring by Mr.Ratan Tata. Oh I so love the man’s dignity and wit! I am going to the Taj if I get a good enough reason to celebrate.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Some Things to Cheer About

Everything seemed to be at a low a fornight back. The economy, national security, political will, and on a personal notes, work, creativity, enthusiasm and socializing. However, this week gave me many reasons to smile.

Hurray!!

For starters, I am no longer benched. I am on a big-big project with a fun-fun team and at least for now, enjoying the lack of forced idleness. Those who have been there and done that tell me its early days and the work pressure will soon catch up, but I still feel it's better than letting your usually logical mind catch rust. 

I also had my much anticipated trip to Malshej and Bhimashankar last weekend. Though not as high on the excitement and fun quotient, it was a needed break from the monotony that had begun to set in. Moreover, I found time to spend with my lately neglected camera (yeah, it is fine now). Two whole hours early in the morning, clicking mountains, grass, streams, animals, trees and my naughtly little cousin. (I will have to be really smitten by the photography bug to mention my cousin at the end.) Some photographs from the trip are uploaded on my Flickr album.

To add the icing on the cake, three of my good friends just came down from the US on account of their Christmas vacations. We had a chance to have a mini-reunion with the college gang on occasion of their siblings' wedding and it felt like they had just gone yesterday! We had loads to talk. Nothing had changed in spite of the time that had gone by. The good food and the naach gaana made the reunion even better. 

I want to stretch the passing state of bliss a little longer. I am trying hard to hold on to it. While I am at it, smiles from the Illuminator for the festive season!! 

Sunday, December 07, 2008

System Reset

It happened one week ago. My friend and I were in the middle of a badminton game, playing on the deserted road by our neighbourhood garden. The road is rarely used by vehicular traffic and it being an odd hour of a lazy Sunday afternoon, the chance of a vehicle coming by was even less. 

It was my serve. My opponent flicked the shuttle cock in my direction and it fell right behind me. I took an about-turn .... and then found myself lying on the floor, looking in random directions, sometimes through people and trying to comprehend what was going on. It was literally the "main kahaan hoon" situation which a lot of protagonists from the Hindi movies of the 1970s found themselves in. I was totally blank. I was having a system reset.

It felt like eternity. I felt I had been sleeping forever, sleeping for so long that my memory had cobwebs and dust strewn all over it. I couldn't remember any details. Slowly as I became more conscious, they all start coming back, limping into my conscience. 

The first face I recognized was that of my sister. She was there, looking at me with a sense of shock. She got me back on my feet and took me to a bench nearby. I was disoriented as far as my directional sense went. I couldn't quite react to the stimuli around me and act intelligently. Though there was one sensation that was ramming the doors of my head, that of pain. 

She took me home and gave me basic first aid. When I saw my bruises, I realised I had met with an accident or had had a bad fall. I asked her to tell me what transpired in the last, uh wait, I didn't even know how long it had been.  The first reaction she gave me was of disbelief. The second was amusement and buffoonery (just discovered the word!).

I was getting a little irritated with my lack of cognizance about a period of my life, no matter how small. How could have that happened?! A complete blank out. It was a first in my life. What we fear the most is what we know least about and I was beginning to get worried for exactly that reason.

She said it has barely been 15 minutes. You met with a minor accident. You were hit by a cycle. I was not in the state to think much due to the severe headache. I went to sleep in sometime not knowing how waking up will bring a true realisation of the pain. I had a very stiff right leg, from the lower calf muscle to the groin (oh, had he gone a little wayward and I would have damaged an important symbol of my manhood), a swollen left knee, bruises on my right arm and a bump on my head. 

When I woke up, I asked her to tell me in detail. How could a hit from a cycle have caused a black out in my head? How could I have been bruised in so many different areas of my body at one time if it was just a light bicycle? She still thought I was bluffing, but then she realised that the otherwise know-all Kapil could not have pretended to act so dumb. Out of pity, she gave me an explanation which I had no option but to believe. 

I had turned around and before anyone could realise, a cyclist had just crashed into me. He was a 13-14 year old kid driving a cycle too big for him, riding at a pace as if he were escaping a  covetous cheetah. The road was wide enough for two rickshaws to pass by while we were playing so it was strange that he couldn't find a leeway. My sister thought he was paid to knock me down! If so, he did his job really well. My sister found it funny although I thought it was my 9/11. 

Not only did he smash into my right leg and throw me off balance but also managed to fall on me. One would wonder what difference would a weight of a kid made, but add to that the weight of the cycle which he brought down with him and you will know the gravity of the situation. The first thing that came to my mind was the Joker's dialogue - "This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object." 

All the physiological evidence logically fits when added with the theory of  concussion which was later introduced to me by a friend. And when I thought I had estimated all the damage and taken corrective action, I discovered a pale yellow patch on my upper left arm with ugly red specks scattered on it. The doctor said it was a blood clot and would heal by itself in around 2-3 weeks.  

Thankfully, the damage was neither severe nor permanent, just very painful. I live to see another day and tell another tale. 

None of what I said was exaggerated but the last line. And yeah, in case you are reading this mumma, don't worry, your son has recuperated completely. To the other readers, I could hear you say 'ouch' to yourself.  A big thank you in advance for empathising. 

Thursday, December 04, 2008

For you Mumbai, a thousand times over


Author: Niki D (my sister who attended the peace rally on 3rd December 2008)

Twenty Sixth day of November. I shall never forget this day. It was the day my city was attacked left right and centre. The third day of December. This was the day my city stood up to justice, raised a voice against the terror campaign and seeked to root out political misdemeanors. “Bharat Mata ki JAI”, “Pakistan ki Hai Hai”, “Galli Galli mein shor hai, Politicians Chor hai!!” were just some of the endless slogans being screamed out by the livid Mumbaiites. People tore down banners of political parties and put up some witty ones of their own like “The government lied, the innocent died”, “Call the bargirls back, we need protection for our country”, “Shivraj Patil, suck ass”, “No taxes this time, only accountability” etc etc


Missing: Mr. Raj Thackrey? Marathi Manoos or Marathi Mouse

Jai Hind!!

 Yes, there was a sense of anger, but there was also a stream of hope that flowed through the heart of every single person there. This stream definitely had many obstacles in its way. But along its way, the more hindrances it encountered, the more resolved it became.

 People craved for justice. They very much wanted the right people doing the right things at the right time. Some would say this peace walk from St. Xavier’s College to the Gateway couldn’t change much. But, been there, done that, I felt it was worth every bit. You can grumble about the authorities not doing anything sitting at home. Or you can go out there, and show those blood-bathed rascals, we care for our country. We care for our near and dear ones. And this time, we will not take things lying down.


We know the fate of this film.

Hmm..Why don't people think before they say something?


 The attitude of people has definitely changed. It’s no longer the ‘I-won’t-take-it-seriously-till-it-doesn’t-happen-to-me’ mindset. On my way back in the train, in the first class ladies compartment, there was one particular bag which remained in the rack unidentified. After questioning each other repeatedly, we came to the conclusion that the yellow bag belonged to nobody. Someone screamed it could be a bomb. Everyone hated to admit they thought it was that too. A few of us (including me) got down from the train and called up the railway police. Just then, a woman wakes up from her stupor and tells us, “Why the panic? Its mine.” I better not put down the curses people have hurled at her after that.

 Just goes to show, Mumbai is not sleeping. India is awake and vigilant. We need is to defend ourselves like the U.S did after 9/11 and United Kingdom did after 7/7. Hit the cowards first and hit real hard. We cannot afford another 26/11. We just cannot. 


May the flame burn eternally.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

While I was sleeping...

While I was sleeping

Mumbai was returning home

As were its tired and sleepy souls

Theirs was a routine journey

So should have been their homecoming

But little did they know

They will be scarred again

In a way like never before.


While I was sleeping

Bullets were fired

By cowards and liars

Self-righteous mercenaries of terror

The bullets pierced bodies

Whose souls went to meet their Maker

To ask Him, “Why us?”

To ask Him, “What gave them the right?”


While I was sleeping

Symbols of Mumbai were burnt

Guests of the city were taken hostage

To be used as human shields

The same shields they chose to tear

The same shields they now wear

Conscience is not what you look for

In these agents of death.

 

While I was sleeping

While I was dreaming

Mumbai was burning

Mumbai was bleeding

At those very places I have once been

I can imagine how it would have been

If imagining the ordeal is so painful

I will be lying if I told you

“I know how it feels.”


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Hare and The Tortoise Revisited

Once upon a time, there was a Hare. She was powered by a noisy 6 cylinder engine and wore an untidy look of bright red. Her arrogance reflected in the fact that she had B.E.S.T. printed on it in bold. She thought she'll give two Tortoises a lift home. "What can these two slow coaches do? They will never reach home in time had it not been for me. I am faster and more energetic than the two of them put together."

The Tortoises had had a tiring day in office and in no mood for a show of strength. So they decided to jump on the little crammed space remaining on the otherwise spacious Hare, who told them it is only a matter of minutes before she gets them home. But little did she know what great obstacle lay in her way, the dreaded monster called Traffic.

He had broken the morale of many like her before, but this Hare of ours was not the one to give in. She continued the grand show of high-handedness. The Tortoises were tired after a long day at work, and the last thing they needed was a delay. They told each other "Rather than waiting on this slow Hare, we should get off and walk our way home steadily. At least we will escape the eye of the monster thanks to our inconspicuous presence."

Over-hearing their conversation, the infuriated Hare told them to never set a foot on her again. She said they were being extremely doltish to overestimate their ability to beat the Hare to her destination. The were creatures of great self-respect and would not stand any ignominy. They were determined to prove their point.

They started walking to their destination, the progress was slow, but at least there was progress. The Hare had not been able to get out of the clutches of Traffic for the past 15 minutes, thereby increasing the gap between itself and its spirited competitors. The Tortoises walked and walked, with music on their tPODs  and a thirst for moral victory on their side. 

But soon, they saw the Hare waving at them as he brushed by with great speed. How foolish was she to have thought he could have won so easily. The T-Monster was not that easy to get away from. The Hare's hubris had further strengthened his resolve to not let her live in peace. A little further off, he caught up with her again with greater vengeance. 

The Hare thought that the Tortoises must have given up considering how soon she had made up the distance that separated them. She decided to buy her time till the monster tired. But to her surprise, even before Traffic showed signs of fatigue, the two Tortoises showed up in the horizon. Nothing had changed in their walk - the speed, the confidence, the energy looked unchanged. 

She made one desperate attempt to break free but it was too late, for the persistence of the Tortoises had paid. They reached the destination far before her and left her with an embarrassing defeat. Everyone praised the Tortoises for their courage and grit. The Tortoises told everyone "If we walk more often, we not only let the monster of Traffic rest in peace and give our body some exercise, but we also get the opportunity to teach such egotists a lesson." Well they had to put up a courageous face in front of the crowds, but only they knew how tired they were and how much their legs ached sans the sport shoes!

Moral Of the Story: Slow and steady wins the race, only when there is traffic.  

Warning: All characters in this story are completely real. Any resemblance to people living or dead is not coincidental and surely intended.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Inspired

There is life beyond good days and bad days. And sometimes, it goes far beyond the days of mundane existence and mere achievements, days where you feel you are invincible. No person can hurt you. No thought can enter your mind.

You are blank, as empty as the sands of a barren desert. Yet, you don't feel parched. You are at peace, with yourself and all the variables around you, in every wordly equation that is yet unsolved. You think of those who love you, those who have prayed for you and those who have given you luck and realise that with so much positivity surrounding you, there can be no space for a pessimism.

You start believing in yourself like you never have. An aura surrounds you, like an armour that takes all the blows when you are fencing your enemy off. Your are overwhelmed by a sense of objectivity. Your mission is to defeat your only enemy - panic.

Life gives you second chance, but you are worthy of it only if you have lived upto yourself in your first attempt. Your attitude changes. 'Enough' is no longer the same it was before. 'Before' is of no consequence to what happens later. 'Later' is not the time you wish to do what you want to do today.

Hopeful you are and it is hope that you get. A good bargain. A good day. No, a day that makes you feel good.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

One Day to Go

It is one day to go for the mother of all exams (if you didn't know, it's CAT I am talking about), but here are a few questions I definitely am trying not to think about:
  • How is the paper going to be tomorrow?
  • How am I going to attempt it? 
  • What will the paper pattern be like?
  • What if I get through?
  • How will I get through?
  • Can I get through?
  • What if I don't get through?
  • When was the last time I said this was not a serious attempt?
  • When was the last time I said there is always hope?
  • What is my chance of getting lucky, when 269999 others ask for luck on the same day?
  • Do I need luck?
  • What if my friend gets through and I don't?
  • What if I get through and my friend doesn't?
  • What if the paper pattern changes next year to an online test?
  • What if the paper is leaked?
  • What if I forget my hall ticket at home?
  • What if I wake up and realise it is 11:30 already?
  • What if there is a curfew tomorrow?
  • When was the last time I tried to not think so much? 
Luckily, CAT has only five answer options to each question. I rather take that. And the best part is that failing and not passing have two different meanings tomorrow and the choice is only mine, if I come to it. 

For those of you who are giving it, "Carpe Diem" (I loved the word Astrodominie, thanks)! 

Friday, November 07, 2008

Let us make it a drive, to remember...

My new office location, to put it in one word, is far, so far that we have given christened it ''Kalapani", which was a colonial era prison on the Andaman and Nicobar islands. The fastest we reach there through any combination of means of transport (one is not enough) is 1 hours and 15 minutes, but then we live in a world where traffic could get stuck under a flyover long enough for you to complete your grocery purchases and return to your car without the need to park even park it. Sometimes, I wonder if a passerby would look at it as a road, or a parking lot!

Since we are sincere employees and we love our work, we put up with all the hurdles that the travelling poses in our path and tirelessly keep looking for new alternatives to reach our final destination. Today, we tried a car, no actually a jeep, Maddy's jeep. And if you think we only drove to work, think again. I bet you could not have made your first drive to work so memorable as this. Continue reading to know why.
  1. We took 25 minutes and as many stops to climb a slope around 500 meters long in bumper-to-bumper traffic. In that, we gave all the drivers who drove behind us, besides a cause for delay, a heartattack. We teasingly drifted back, sometimes with the car engines off. Don't they understand what "KEEP SAFE DISTANCE" means. IT  WAS NOT AS FUNNY AS IT APPEARS NOW. 
  2. We drove through a one way but soon realised we were driving in the wrong direction and decided to reverse our direction, only to almost throw two bikers out of their seat. Our pilot and co-pilot were under immense performance pressure thanks to us. NEVER COMMENT WHEN YOUR FRIEND WHO IS A NEW DRIVER IS DRIVING. 
  3. We hit a cyclist, though only with the car mirror. (Stop. I know you are thinking we are such brats, but frankly as newbies we didn't do so bad. And it was completely an accident) Actually, I can't even call it hit, scraped is the right word. We were driving at 20 km/hr. It was just that he and we both decided to go in the same direction at the same time and he thought he could outride us. ALWAYS KEEP IN MIND THAT YOUR CAR IS BIGGER THAN YOU ARE.
  4. My friend lost a cell phone while sitting in the car. Yes, you might think it's unbelievable, but it happened. Today was the day that anything could happen while we were in THE car. And you know what, he didn't even know he had lost it until we had reached office.  It took us half an hour to reach the conclusion that it was lost, another half an hour, to take the corrective action. IF YOU THINK THAT YOU CAN ONLY LOSE A PHONE WHILE USING PUBLIC TRANSPORT, THINK AGAIN. (Deeper investigations showed that it slipped out of his pocket while he was seated in the car and it fell off the car while he went over to help the cyclist back on his seat. Now we know why he was not as furious as he should have been.)
After a very exciting journey, we reached office. That's only half the fun. We had a return journey too which was as interesting.
  1. We took a one-way street once again, pretty much at the start of the journey. This time we drove through the street and decided not to turn back. In our defence, there was no sign-board. The only sign we got was from the faces of the drivers who glared in anger or shock. But it was too late till we realised. So we thought we might as well drive through than turn back creating a few more problems for everyone. READ THE FACES OF THE DRIVERS WHO ARE ON THE ROAD WITH YOU. EVERY FACE TELLS A STORY.
  2. We broke a rickshaw's front indicator. The problem with these rickshaw drivers is the drive with their nose in your car's booty. They can be a little more considerate with newbies. He knew it was his fault so he didn't get off to quarrel with us. THE CLOSER YOU ARE TO DANGER DOESN'T MEAN THE FARTHER YOU ARE FROM HARM.
  3. A rickshaw driver broke his headlamp. He drove into us. We were playing bumper car/rickshaws/jeeps today. Again, we plead our innocence. THERE IS A PEDAL/HANDLE CALLED BREAKS ON ALL VEHICLES WHICH IS MEANT TO BE USED.
  4. We scraped a man's cell phone while he was using it on the road with the car mirror.Mind you, only a scratch on his phone, not even a dent. That's a delicate art considering you are driving a one-tonne vehicle at 30 km/hr. SCRATCHING WITH YOUR CAR IS A TALENT FOUND IN A VERY FEW.
  5. Practice makes perfect. Whoever said that what so true. My favourite office colleague also managed to rub shoulders with middle-class Maharashtrian termagants. Not exactly his shoulders, but the cars. Again, look at his skill, he didn't hurt even one of them. KEEP IN MIND THAT YOUR LEFT MIRROR EXTENDS BEYOND YOUR CAR. (THE RIGHT MIRROR IN CASE OF LEFT HAND DRIVES.)
The great news is I am living to write this and so are the rest of the people who we met in our way. For Maddy, you are the safest driver I have known from a passenger's point of view. Never have I had so much fun on a drive. I owe it to you. Next time, I hit, scrape, take the pressure, and yeah, drive!





Sunday, November 02, 2008

Arabian Nights

You might be wondering where I have been so long. I have just returned from a holiday to Dubai and Sharjah. The trip was not exactly a long vacation but it was a vacation well-spent! I lived like a tourist for a change. I also have captured bits and pieces of it through the pictures I clicked. Here's a glimpse of my photolog.

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Day 1: Almost There

Dubai truly represented the city of blinding lights, looking pretty in colours of gold and tungsten.

Day 2: Burj Dubai
This building is so tall that I couldn't fit it in my camera frame. I was around half a kilometer away. And guess what, it is still under construction. No wonder, it's the tallest man-made structure in the world.

Day 2: Burj Al Arab from Jumeriah Beach

Jumeirah Beach is one of the oldest and the most beautiful beaches in Dubai. It overlooks three hotels, Burj Al Arab (by far the most elegant), the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, and the Atlantis. Needless to say, all are 5+ star hotels and some of the best in the world. For me they are just plain architectural marvels.

Day 2: Ski Dubai

Skiing in the desert? Anything is possible in Dubai with all the kind of money petrol gets them. But you know what? This is inside the Mall of the Emirates. It is a huge paradise for shoppers who like big brands. You name the brand, its there. It is great for bird watching (loads of phirangs wearing the shortest of dresses) and window shopping (great displays, India needs to learn a lot on that front).

Day 3: Diwali

I celebrated Diwali with my parents after 6 years. It felt great. You don't realise what you are missing when you are away. I spent the entire day at home.

Day 4: Desert Safari - Dune Bashing

It is a closest you can get to a roller-coaster ride while you are in a car (ok, that is undermining the beauty of those four-wheel drives). I couldn't get a picture of it while we were actually dune bashing because it gets extremely shaky, but take my word for it, it is loads of fun. Just don't go dune bashing with a loaded tummy.

Day 4: Desert Safari: Kandhoora

If you are wondering what a kandhoora is, it is a traditional Arabic gown worn by men. It is meant to protect you from the harsh climatic conditions of the desert. But somehow, looking at my picture with me in the kandhoora made me crack up!! It's so funny.

Day 4: Desert Safari - Camel Riding

I would still prefer riding a horse. One, the camel is huge and can bite really hard. Two, it has the most obnoxious style of raising itself from the ground, which sure does catch you by surprise. It is a three step process. It raises its front legs partly, so you fall back on your seats. Then it raises its hind legs fully, so you fall forward. At the end it straightens its front legs to finally stand on all fours. But then, its gait isn't very comforting either. I now know why it is the 'ship' of the desert.

Day 4: Desert Safari - Belly Dancing
It is a very sensuous yet graceful dance form that requires extremely flexibly abdomen muscles. I will upload a video shortly so that you know how difficult it actually is to match up with the beats. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole 20 minute performance.

Day 5: Shopping!!
No pictures on this day. You can't think of anything else when you go shopping in Dubai. They make you want to spend (sometimes waste) your money with the offers they have.

Day 6: Mamzaar Park

The pristine waters of Mamzaar Beach

The lagoon facing Sharjah

My MOST favourite beach in the World

Mamzaar park has everything - sprawling gardens, barbecue zones, four beaches, lagoons, water sports, amphitheatre, skate boarding slopes, swimming pools, cottages, lagoons and more. I have been going there since my childhood days. When I went there this time, I still had the same amount of fun as I have always had. I just love lazing around in the beach waters. 

The only blemish this time was, in my over-enthusiasm, I overlooked a wave that was approaching me while I was clicking a close surface shot while in the waters. It splashed all over my camera and caused the cam to conk off. My best gadget is in a state of coma! I want it back up and running, and soon. Pray.

Day 7: The Sharjah Aquarium
(Everything clicked hence forth is with the limited range of my cellphone camera, I hate it)


The View of the World Above


Sting Ray


Lion Fish


A Giant Lobster in Hiding

According to me, the Sharjah Aquarium is a new addition to the list of must-sees! Being the nature freak that I am, I just loved the place. The aquarium takes you on a journey right from the Arabian Gulf to the Indian Ocean. You get a view of ocean life, from the surface, below the surface and at the level of the sea floor. It has a wide-array of creatures, from sharks to rays, to a  large variety of pretty and not so pretty fish, sea anemones and mollusks, to shells and corals. It is exciting to see the animals you see in documentaries live. They are beautiful. Wonder how do people eat them!

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Now I know why they say, "It's good to be home again!" The recent trip I made to UAE was in the complete sense a trip down memory lane. From the time I got down at Dubai airport, my eyes kept spotting everything which had changed, but more so everything which hadn't. You think you have forgotten but just one glance is enough to remind you of all that you associate with the place. Nostalgia sure is a good feeling. Coming back with more memories even better. 

Friday, October 24, 2008

Superiority Complex

KK and he sat in diagonally opposite chairs in a cubicle,both within my audible range. At first I felt he was talking to himself. When I tried to make sense of his words, I realised he was giving instructions. But to whom? The computer monitor? It took me a while to realise he was talking to . The moment he asked a question, KK stood up and walked to his desk, diligently like a subordinate would. KK stood there looking at him, answering him, taking his orders like a timid rabbit. On the other hand, he acted as if nothing had changed. He continued working on his system while he gave instructions. Not once did he give KK a nod of approval or even establish eye contact. As soon as he was done, KK returned to his seat and resumed working. 

Sometime after the above incident happened, another colleague of mine approached my super boss. He explained his predicament and requested my super boss to grant him a leave of a week. After 5 minutes, all he heard from him was "Drop me a mail." Again, he didn't even look at him. 

In whatever little professional experience I have had so far, I have never experienced why the person called 'boss' is often considered the reason of trauma and insinuation. I saw a glimpse of the traumatizer yesterday. Luckily for me, he was not my boss, but my immediate supervisor's boss. He personified arrogance and snobbishness.He was smart and knew his work well, but that didn't give him any right to be patronizing or condescending in his manners. I could only pity my supervisor who didn't deserve one bit of the curtness.

After seeing his attitude, I sincerely hope I get a better boss than him because I know I will be a better boss than him when my day comes, definitely more likable. I also hope that day comes soon. For that, I have to move off the bench and get onto a project. High hopes though!

 

Monday, October 20, 2008

Me Vs. Myself

Me: I am tired.

Myself: No, it is just the October heat.

Me: But it never happened to me before.

Myself: Yes, sitting in front of the computer in an air-conditioned office without any exercise can do that to you.

Me: I should exercise!

Myself: I have heard that one before, more than once actually!

Me: I think I will wake up early tomorrow.

Myself: LOL.

Me: I will. I am going to sleep early.

Myself: Just to exercise?

Me: No. I have to study too.

Myself: Oh yes, I almost forgot to remind you that your big exam is less than a month away.

Me: I haven't forgotten but I have just notbeen able to make the time.

Myself: It is convenient to make reasons.

Me: Ok, I know I have been a loser.

Myself: But it is not too late. Don't give up in the  last lap.

Me: I am trying.

Myself: No, you are not but you should. I know I can!

Me: Oh, in all this hopelessness, I have something to look forward to.

Myself: Yaay, we are going to meet our parents but is this the right time to go holidaying?

Me: It might just be the break I need. Dubai should be a pleasant change.

Myself: Yes, if it makes the two of us one again, then nothing like it.

Me: What is the first thing you think I should do?

Myself: Get your priorities right.

Me: Ok, don't be so mean. 

Myself: Isn't it hardwired in me?

Me: Yeah, yeah, but I want it no more now.

Myself: I will try not to be rude if you stick to our word.

Me: I am trying.

Myself: Good. Now, go sleep. You have to wake up early tomorrow.

Me: Yes. Good night.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

On a Virar Fast




1) Take a deep breath.
2) Step in.
3) Hold your breath.
4) Step out.
5) Breathe again.

If only it was so simple!!


Monday, October 06, 2008

A Bride's Tale

She was one of the two
But second to none on the day
On the verge of entering a life so new
The life she had longed for all the way

Wearing a shade of venetian red
With jewels and gold and flowers galore
Gorgeous as they made her look
None was as beautiful as the smile she wore

With the blessings of the Gods
In the presence of thunder and rain
She walked to the ceremony pavilion
Showing determination despite the pain

With bashful eyes she sat
On her beloved’s right
It was what she had dreamed of
The dream she was living tonight.


Garlands of flower the exchanged
Apart from vows witnessed by the Holy Fire
Praying to the Gods to bless them
And fulfil their true desire.

The emotions that showed in their eyes
Of trust and truth and belonging
They lived in their hearts before
The vows just gave them a new meaning

They were bound at last
By a bond so legitimate and pure
For this lifetime and the six that followed
To the disease to which there was no other cure

As happy was the wedlock
There were prices to pay
Of separation from the loved ones
She had to move away

For her little world beckoned
The world she will build on her own
With responsibilities to shoulder
But in this, she won’t be alone.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Mellow and Mood-Lifting Melon, uhh, Lemon.

Under Construction, after four attempts on four different themes! Today is just not the day to write. My mind is void of any creativity, nor there is a flow of ideas. It is not that I am forcing myself to write. I just wanted to! But nothing lived up to my satisfaction. To stop myself from going to bed with the sense of dejection, I clicked sweet lime instead.

It was supposed to be round but thanks to my dexterity when it comes to knives, it turned out to look like a leaf. But isn't it a pretty leaf? The colours exceeded my expectations and life doesn't seem as dull as it seemed earlier in the day.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

ग्रीन सूप फॉर मोब्स्टर्स इंक

I thought of calling it chicken soup but then I didn’t want to offend the vegetarians in any group. I didn’t even use a name of a Chinese variant of the soup because there might be members from the Jain community whose sentiments I might hurt unintentionally. So here I am labeling my next post “Green Soup for Mobster’s Inc” Do I need to tell you why? I do not want to be the next person beaten to death with iron rods by a mob of 60 men in broad day light in a buzzing corporate complex for doing what is required of my job. Lastly, as an added precaution, I will write the title of this post in Devnagri script to prevent the MNS hackers from tearing my blog down. Since all measures are in place, I guess I can start with the recipe now.

Ingredients:
Angry Men – 10-12
Leader – 1 to 2
Victim(s) – Depends on how memorably bloody you want the recipe to be.
Sensationalist News Channels – Even one is enough.

Steps:

  1. Place the leader in a spot that threatens his hold over his domain of work or area of influence.
  2. Light the flame. Give the otherwise idle leader inspiration. The inspiration can be made leader-specific. Here are a few proven methods to inspire:
    Show him clippings of a UP-born actor’s wife talking in Hindi in a public rally and saying that it is always going to be that way.
    Give him records of poor out-castes converting to another faith for a better life.
    A few men who are retrenched from their jobs because the company is downsizing.
  3. The leader’s selfish and sinister mind will automatically come up with a plan to spice up the recipe. This should ideally talk 3-7 days at the most. Add the selected spices to a frying pan.
  4. Once step 3 is over, add an audience the leader likes to the pan in which the spices were put and leave them to his speeches for a few hours. This will spread the bitterness through the dish.
  5. Add the 12 angry men in the pan.
  6. Provide the men with accessories. It can be knives, sickles, sticks, iron rods, cricket bats, hockey sticks, or fire, absolutely anything that can cause pain to others when used with that intention. Retail therapy makes anyone happy.
  7. Give the angry men a target. It can be a person or a group of people or a thing (read a CEO, missionaries, a taxi a cinema).
  8. Leave the angry men on their targets like hyenas chasing pray. Allow them to kill once in a while.
  9. For garnishing add the news channels. Inform a sensationalist news channel well in advance of the action taking place. They will serve it to the masses just as leader has expected.
  10. Garnish with a few statements on national television and print media.

The recipe serves two- the leader and his interests.

Closing Note:
Why discuss when you want to create a big fuss? What is life in front of political turmoil and strife? Why talk when you can kill? The recipe is the easiest way to prove a point in the country today, as popular as two-minute noodles. Try it today!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Lift?

It had been raining heavily since four hours, but since we were in the comforts of our training centre, we didn’t realize how the weather situation in the locality was. So much was our ignorance that we decided to stay back and practice for an upcoming test. My friend and I consequently decided to go home at 8 pm. The rain had receded but the effects of the rain were still evident in the form of the traffic jams. There was no sight of a rickshaw. Considering how far away from civilization our training centre is, it was the only way of getting to the nearest station or bus-stop. Since there was none, it only spelt bad news for us. We had only two options, either wait or walk.

In the Mumbai rains, we did not have much of a chance of staying dry with only our umbrella for our protection. So we chose to wait a bit and if nothing would work out in a while, we would walk towards the station. We waited for 15 minutes with not a single rickshaw came our way. We saw a tourist taxi taking a turn down our lane. We looked at each other, both hoping that we get a lift. As if the driver had read our mind, he stopped in front of us and told us he was going towards Ghatkopar (a suburb in Mumbai) and asked us if he could drop us anywhere on the way. It was not where we want to go, but it was a worthwhile compromise.

I had never thought I would take a lift from a stranger, especially after all those stories of them being untrustworthy and bad character. But surprisingly, the thought never crossed my mind. For me he was an angel sent to help us and I could not have refused. With two of our colleagues joining us too I didn’t feel there was any reason to worry. He told us he’ll drop us at a junction near the railway station, which was a 15 minutes walk from that junction. We gleefully accepted.

Somewhere on the way, one of our colleagues got a call. He said to the person on the other end of the line “I am sorry I am late. I was stuck because of the rains. I am in a cab right now. Will see you in 30” Yes, cab he said. He spoke in English and I was just hoping that the driver didn’t understand the language because what he said was outright rude. I wondered what makes us so unappreciative of the good that others do to us. Two minutes later, he dropped us where he had promised. I said thank you, though I didn’t know if it was sorry that I should have said.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Fountainhead

There are novels that you read for sheer entertainment. There are novels which take you on a journey into another world. There are novels with suspense so gripping that you can’t let go of them till you finish. And then, there are books that simply inspire.

The Fountainhead belongs to the last category. It is so beautiful a book that I don’t feel qualified enough to review it. The book surely inspires, but it inspires each person differently. This is how it inspires me.

I liked many aspects of the book. Each aspect was represented by one of the Fountainhead’s protagonists. Each represented an ideology of living, ideologies which can’t be categorized as valid or invalid. The book exposes you to so many facets of human nature that it leaves you heavy with thoughts.The egotism redefined by Roark was at the forefront. I personally belonged to a school of thought that despises the whole concept of egotism but this book made me rethink my stand. Is altruism positive in its truest sense? Is it not breeding a world of dependants? Why is living for one’s own self considered selfish? The book preaches egotism as the freedom of an individual, of morals, creativity and thought. All it implies is respect for one’s own space and that for someone else’s.

Dominique Francon symbolized the spirit of freedom. Frankly, she did appear eccentric to me when she made her first appearance. The more you read about her, the more mesmerized you are by the reason she lives for – it being no reason at all. The hardships which she takes upon herself so willfully to reach where Roark already is leave you perplexed, until you discover why.

The third most intriguing character of the book according to me was Mr. Gail Wynand, a bully who threw his weight around just to challenge the integrity of an individual. The self-made millionaire showed his new side, or rather, hidden side, after he tied his knot with the woman who he wanted to possess, who he later loved. He was one of the two people Roark loves in this world, for his courage to stand up on his own, against the majority. He had power and knew how to use it to manipulate and break individuals or organisations, the reasons for which changed as the book progressed.

Apart from the three discussed above, all others were second-handers. They were everything which these people were not. The book describes them as parasites, who feed on each other. They do what the world wants them to do, and not what they want to do themselves. But they have the power of collectivism, the power which suppresses individualism, breaks its back so that it cannot stand again. The second-handers are not the villains. They are just helpless against the force of the majority. The have sold their soul which is the easiest thing to do. They loathe the creators just because they cannot be them.

I am not aware of which category I belong to. I am not an altruist, nor an egotist. I am not exactly dependant, but I don’t know if I am completely independent. All I know is that this book has got me thinking, given me a direction. Hopefully, when I go in that direction, I will find my answer.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Large Hadron Rap

I usually don't upload factual stuff in this space, but then the mega-project by CERN is such an exciting innovation that I couldn't ignore it. I share with you a rap song which gives an ultra-simplified working of the World's Largest Particle accelerator:



By the way, does any one know why did the Hindi news channels have to complicate a scientific experiment to such a level that it almost became a reason for the end of the world, the final apocalypse, in the minds of many? It is quite a rhetorical question, but then how did the move beyond TV seriels, Cricket, reality show updates, horoscopes and crime-fighting (rather sensationalising) and reach scientific frontiers?? I will call it progress at least for the time being. And thank goodness we are not an extinct planet just as yet. I won the bet with my grandfather.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

It's all about the money, honey!!

Watching movies, chatting with friends, blogging, photography, cleaning, catching up with the newspaper and most of all sleeping (loads), I have done everything I love to do this weekend. I haven't even reached the best part. I got my first salary. Yes, The Illuminator is earning! The weekend was almost reaching its grand end with a cook-out session until my cold and cough also brought fever and a terrible headache along with them. You just can't escape the virus!

Anyhow, fever is not something which can over-ride the upbeat mood the pay-cheque has got me in. My friend asked what I was going to do with all that money. "Splurge on shopping? Party? Movie? Gifts? What's the plan? " Frankly I didn't quite know.

The only thing I was certain about was that I need to buy my grandfather a new pair of clothes. I didn't know what I will do with the large chunk that remained (now don't start giving me 'you can give it to me if you don't know what to do with it' looks). In fact the idea of spending it in shopping or entertainment didn't even cross my mind.

Why I wondered? Because I had earned it. I had gone to work, 9 hours a day, 5 days a week, always on time, compromising on many fronts ( family, friends and sleep in that order). There are loads of avenues open for spending/wasting my pay, but I didn't want to.

It is not that I am going to lead the life of a stingy hoarder, nor am I turning to an ascetic monk.I am going to have fun and indulge in materialistic pleasures. I will live it to the fullest, the only precondition being to put my salary to judicious use. I don't want to open the tap of expenditure until I finish thinking about how to let the money flow through it. That ends the 'resolve' part.

It will be highly unfair if, after this realisation, I conclude without acknowledging my parents - "I now completely understand how hard you work to give us the life we lead. Though money is secondary when it comes to the values and affection which I have inherited, the process of earning takes away a lot from you. Thank you, mom and dad, for having made those sacrifices."


PS:
Don't get the impression that I am working as a construction labourer, I work in an plush office and it's not so tiring as it may have appeared in the post. It's just the fever!! :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Inertia of Rusted System

Call me a cribber, but I am not the one who will take mediocrity in my stride. Unfortunately, we live in a world where people love mediocrity. Not that they can't strive for change, but they don't want to do it. Right from college where we are stuck with an ancient education system to sports where we are still proud of being 46th in the points tally of the Olympic games, the sense of complacency is programmed in our genes.

Do we not have the spark? We all do, but we let it die. We are not quick enough to light the fire while it lasts. Each one of us has ideas. Each one of us has plans. Who will fear embarassment in case of failure? Isn't it better to remaining at the same position in the ladder than two steps lower? The fear of failure overshadows the reason why one would suport a bright idea, forget coming up with it.

Most of the time when there is an opinion poll, say of 10 people, there will be two who agree, two who disagree and the remaining six won't have any opinion at all. We prefer staying neutral because we fear the consequences of our response. There is a chance that frankness might have repercussions, but isn't it a chance worth taking?

Diplomacy has its own place. Who says you can't be honest in your feedback without being diplomatic? Speak up. The 'chalta hai' attitude takes away the 'right to complain' from you.

The majority is not always right. The majority will mostly do what is best. It takes one man to do the right thing. I don't know if Manmohan Singh and the way he stood firm on the Nuclear Deal issue is a good enough example (thanks to all the controversy surrounding the trust vote), but it sure takes courage to bring about change and he showed it is possible. Even his party had put the deal on hold until he put his foot down and said that it must get through for the good of the nation. Him getting the majority later is a secondary issue but I admire his will.

We are a billion strong nation. Even a million enlightened souls among us can set a ablaze a movement for change. We love remaining static, but change is inevitable and we should take the movement for change in our hands to ensure it is for a greater good.

Satisfaction and complacency are very contrasting in nature. Nevertheless, we have a misplaced sense of satisfaction in our complacency. Let us getting our definitions right to begin with.

Friday, August 15, 2008

How I wish teachers were so nice!

Around a fortnight ago, each of us was asked in class “Which is that one object you think represents you the best?” People came up with innovative answers like mountain, ice, a moter bike, the Internet, a bridge, the Sun, even ‘Paani Puri’ supplementing them with reasons and corollaries.

My spontaneous answer was the digital camera. I went home thinking about what I had said. Was it my love for photography? Was it only my obsession with my digital camera? Later while discussing it with a friend, I realized that what seemed like impulse could have had a deeper explanation to it. Besides, there were many valuable lessons I could learn from the digicam. (Reminds me of Blink and 'rapid cognition'!)

Firstly, it captures the real picture, as it is, where it is. Being a realist is both a good and bad thing. My friends hate me for being over-logical, not taking pleasure in the imperfections of life. It can be a pain but the truth always hurts. Even more when it is told you before you find out on you own. However the good thing about digicams is you can actually enhance the picture to match your requirements with all the loaded software tools at your disposal. You can manipulate minor details and remove the blemishes without anyone even noticing.

Secondly, the camera can zoom in and out depending on the user’s input. Similarly we need to see the bigger picture when we are a little lost in life. I usually tend to do that. Stay still and observe. It always helps. Once you lock your target, you can always zoom in. See if your subject is in focus and shoot it!

Thirdly, these days digicam have amazing macro features. I am talking about attention to detail, the tiny features on the surface of a petal, or the beautiful colours on the wings of a butterfly, the kind of stuff you see on the covers of National Geography. It is vital to scan through life-like scenarios closely. How often do we look for something which is actually before our eyes?

Fourthly, cameras come with huge storage. Gone are the days where you would have to count the available film strips in your camera. I don’t know if it is mandatory to have a good memory in the times of modern technology as an individual, but it sure helps when you are in a live conversation with no time to go back to your diary or to-do-lists. Besides, like my mom always says (when she is bugged with the amount of time I spent with my camera), no camera can ever capture an image as beautiful as your eyes can. Needless to say, I never listen.

Next up is the customizability options provided in digicams. Talk about technology being made user friendly (heard of the auto mode anyone?). The interface is so easy to handle that any one can click good pictures, if not become a good photographer in the modern era. We should take a cue here and learn to adapt to various people and remain flexible in difficult circumstances.

Last but not the least is the long battery life on cameras (NiMH and Li-Ion rocks). You have enough to last 400-500 pictures in normal conditions. That’s how energetic you need to be in order to live through the hectic work routines we have these days. The power is in your mind, not in that can of Redbull!

There is loads more to my new teacher but since this is a blog post and not a camera manual, I will end it here.

It has been a long time I tagged someone. I will begin a chain right away. Which is that one object you think represents you the best? You have to choose an object of your choice and describe the teachings it offers. The tag goes to:

The Silent Screamer
Vishesh
Hasit
Yashshri
Astrodominie


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pro-noun-sia-sen

Everyone has a unique way of talking. I love observing how individuals from different parts of the country speak and the verbal etiquette they follow. Recently, in a lecture, while making notes, I was also meticulously paying attention to the facilitator's style of speaking and noting the anomalies down. By the end of it, I had quite an elaborate list of mispronounced words, which some of you might even laugh on if you are fastidious about the spoken word. I am writing a part of it down here, the objective being to see if any of you can correctly guess which part of the country this person was from.
  • hierarchical: high-rar-chick-al
  • quotation: ko-tay-sun
  • section: sex-sun
  • information: in-for-may-suns
  • fatal: phat-tal
  • inflation: in-flaa-sun
  • users: u-sh-ers
  • able: abb-le (like apple)
  • foxpro: fox-fro
  • concentration: cun-sunn-tra-sun
  • null: know-all
  • balance: baa-lansh-e
  • people: pee-pols
  • Hemant: hee-maan-t
  • view: byu-hh
  • segregate: sigrig-gate
  • study: sturr-dy
  • intuition: in-stu-sun
  • child: child-sh
  • special: s(f)a-sal
  • server: surfer
  • later: latter
  • sincere: sincere-s
  • architecture: ar-chie-tec-ture
  • screws up: screweds ups
The last one was my personal favourite. Before I sh-tarts screwings up of my laanguage, I batter shtop writing dish posht. Happy guessing!

PS:

I changed the blog background. I tried three completely different looks all together and finally used this one. Please tell me it doesn't look too monotonous.

Last time on, many people were complaining of poor visibility of the body text, so I decided to give it a single shade this time.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

You Complete Me


Any normal person would expect the title of the post to be a romantic line in the movie, but if you have seen The Dark Knight you know it isn't, especially when it comes from the Joker (played by Heath Ledger).

There are action movies and then there are more action movies. Rarely there is one that manages to grip you with its performances as much as it does with its visual spectacles. Batman’s latest movie is all that and more.

Usually, you come out loving the hero but this one makes you admire the villain. You admire him for his notoriety. You admire him for his wit. You admire him for his unpredictability. You admire him for his belief that there are no beliefs, the fact that the only rule is there are no rules.

You don’t endorse his point of you but you can’t disagree that he has logic behind it. The whole argument that systems are so tuned to running on set patterns that a slight change can completely break them down is not invalid. In fact he proves it more than once in the movie.

What he also manages to bring out is the fact that all people have the devil in them. Some people learn to live with him, some others let him take over them and others suppress him to an extent that he rebels. The movie depicts all three instances, made possible courtesy the conniving and nefarious character that formed Joker.

Heath Ledger’s performance is remarkable. Each of his dialogues can form quotes for future writing. He displays brilliance, malevolence, humour and sarcasm all with the same grace. He is dead but he has immortalized the character of the Joker. The Dark Knight would have been just another movie had it not been for him.

Before I close this post, here are some of my favourite lines from the movie (WARNING: This may contain spoilers):

“See, I'm a man of simple tastes. I like dynamite...and gunpowder...and gasoline! Do you know what all of these things have in common? They're cheap!”

“Wanna know how I got these scars? My father was....a drinker. And a fiend. And one night he goes off crazier than usual. Mommy gets the kitchen knife to defend herself. He doesn't like that. Not. One. Bit. So, me watching, he takes the knife to her, laughing while he does it. Turns to me and he says "Why so serious?" Comes at me with the knife,"Why so serious?" He sticks the blade in my mouth. "Let’s put a smile on that face!" And..... Why so serious?”

“Do I really look like a man with a plan, Harvey? I don't have a plan. The mob has plans, the cops have plans. You know what I am, Harvey? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do if I caught one. I just *do* things. I'm a wrench in the gears. I *hate* plans. Yours, theirs, everyone's. Maroni has plans. Gordon has plans. Schemers trying to control their worlds. I am not a schemer. I show schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are. So when I say that what happened to you and your girlfriend wasn't personal, you know I'm telling the truth.”

“If you're good at something, never do it for free.”

“You just couldn't let me go could you? This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You truly are incorruptible aren't you? You won't kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness, and I won't kill you, because you're just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever.”

“Kill you? I don't want to kill you! What would I do without you? Go back to ripping off mob dealers? No, no, you... you complete me.”

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Office Office

Funny how kids play house-house and teacher-teacher but never play office-office. May be they just know that it is not fun. May be humans are born with an instinctive antipathy towards structured work. Last week was my first at office and it was not as bad as I thought it could be.

I want to pen down the first impressions I had of work (actually training) so far for my own record. If I only keep this to myself, I might just create distorted versions with time. So here goes.

What excited me about work?
  1. The smoothness with which the organisation functions. (I hate the college administration)
  2. The professionalism which is put in every task here. (It is a level apart)
  3. Coffee/Tea/Hot Chocolate on the house. (It spoils you)
  4. Conducive work environment. (Wow! It's cool, quiet and colourful.)
  5. Salary (For the first time, my hard earned money, no matter how much it is)
  6. Security (Seems super cool. No non-sense here)
  7. People (A whole new bunch to interact with and learn from)
  8. Learning (Loads, tough but efficient)
  9. Transparency and Approachability (Yes, everyone's very helpful and open for a debate)
  10. The scale of the organisation (It's plain huge, 49 countries and more than 170000 people)
What am I apprehensive about?
  1. No bunking for convenience. (Colleges spoil you)
  2. Formal clothes. (I don't like wearing them in the rains)
  3. The Boss (I haven't met him, so I don't exactly know what it is like to have one)
  4. Tests (Passing is no longer 40 percent)
  5. Managing my own finances (Yes, I will become a tax-payer now)
  6. Making time for friends and family (9 to 6 is just to begin with)
  7. No Christmas and Summer vacations (Sigh! I need prior permission now)
  8. The Bench (No Comments)
  9. My team-mates (Again like the boss, I haven't met them so I don't know)
  10. Finding time for my other passions (read photography and blogging)
None of the point is in a clearly demarcated category as of now, but the obscurity will reduce with the passage of time. Till then, I have to wait, watch and deliver ''high-performance''!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Present Tense(d)

For the past few days, the word that perfectly defines my frame of mind is 'chaos.'

There has never been a time in my life when I have not known what my short term goals are. I have never reached a state in which I am confused about my priorities. What has changed is the fact that I haven't been doing what I should be doing. What I have experienced in the last few days is a loss of direction on the path towards my objectives. What I have seen on one hand is my strengths have become my weakenesses, while on the other, I have found solace in new found beliefs.

Is it because of the feeling of self-doubt? There isn’t any. Is it the dependence of my decisions on factors beyond my control? The thing is I don’t know if these are factors beyond my control. Nonetheless, I believe that I haven’t been able to force myself to see the larger picture. Trying to imagine how big the Earth is looking at a globe is not equivalent to the vision a spacecraft can give you. Sometimes you need to zoom out to see the enormity of the situation. I am just beginning to perceive what has gone wrong. But do I have enough time to set it right? Am I motivated enough to pull through? Only time will tell.

I begin a different phase of my life next week. God has given me a leeway to switch lanes. I don’t know if this lane takes me where I want to go, but I am hoping it will at least bring me closer. One certainty is that it will add an element of organization in my haphazard routine. I hope I learn to make the most of it soon.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It wasn't that bad a day after all!

I spent the early hours of my Sunday morning hunting for tickets to watch Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na. Note that I have said early hours of MY Sunday morning, which actually wasn't very early, well close to mid-day. I called every helpline possible but the only response I got was "This number is busy. Please call again later." in the oh-so-highly monotonous voice (High time they give the prerecorded messages a revamp).

Since I couldn't get through most multiplexes, I thought of booking the tickets online, but as luck would have it, my net refused to work. I even tried a single screen theatre, the B-grade kinds and he tells me the only show for which tickets are available is the current show of which 25 minutes are over! The tickets for the next show were being sold in black, for two and a half times their price (100 bucks is day-light robbery for a theatre of its class).

After some deliberation, we lost all hope of watching the movie. Nonetheless, we decided we'll book for tomorrow so we at least have something to look forward to the next day, if not the same day.

We reached home in time for the hyped finale of Wimbledon and the Asia Cup. The over dose of cricket and hangover of the 20Twenties helped me decided against watching the cricket match so I chose the former. And fortunately, the Gods blessed me with the best tennis match of my times!

I felt like Nadal too when he said "Well, is impossible to explain what I felt in that moment, no?" I haven't felt the same as a spectator ever before. The match was more exciting than a roller coaster journey and a adventurous trek put together. The tennis played was such a high-level that your heart wanted to say 'bravo' to every point won.

Personally, I am a Federer supporter. His grace and fluency on the court are unmatched. After he lost the first two sets, I was hoping for a miracle. It rained right in time.

When I turned on the television, half an hour after the play resumed, Federer had won the third set in a tie-break. I was back on the couch. And my sister's and my shouts of oohs and aahs and wows and shits were as loud as ever.

I didn't move after that. Not even during the second disruption due to the showers. Everyone had fallen asleep. Even our cricket team lost in haste (guess they wanted to see the match too). The match had seemed to have gone on forever. A never-ending movie filled with suspense and drama of three match points, untiring baseline shots, unstoppable aces and unimaginable rallies ( you think that's it, it can't get any better, and the next moment you realise how wrong you were). Beyond a certain point, it didn't matter to me who won. They had proved that they were champions in their own right, far ahead of the rest of the current lot and may be among the greats of the yesteryears.

Fortunately, I didn't get movie tickets. I wouldn't have known what I was missing had I not seen the match, a clash made in heaven.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

What makes your gift special?

It was my parent's anniversary yesterday. My sister and I gave them a walk down memory lane in the form of a story which was illustrated with snaps which dated up to the year 1985. No material present could have given us so much joy as the expression on their face, the look of surprise and amusement, but above all happiness.

Off late, I have tried to make a conscious effort to ensure that the gifts I give my close friends and family members are personalised for them. A perfume or a pen might suit a distant associate but then it surely doesn’t make for a memorable gift.

Although, a handmade gift might not look as finished as a readymade item, perfection is secondary if your gift is the only one of its kind. A father who receives a personally designed Father’s Day card every year from his daughter will certainly treasure each one of them because they are special. I too have kept all the gifts/cards my sister has given me on every birthday. These gifts are the kinds just looking at which you are taken back to that day, acting like illusionary time turners.

Besides, if you are not born creative, there are always ideas you can borrow from others. There are plenty of options available on the net. To name a few which I can think of (some I have already implemented), there are message boards with photographs, scrolls with poems, pseudo-commandments for self-improvement, calendars, photo-testimonials and the old and reliable greeting card. If, like me, you too are bad with art and craft, you can always go digital. Photoshop rocks and so do thousands of others photo-editing software. If you are feeling too lazy to make a souvenir, at least give them a surprise in the form of a party/lunch/dinner with friends. If you don’t even want to bother coordinating, drop in at their place at 12 AM and be the first to wish them.

There’s no reason why you can’t make someone’s day more pleasantly remarkable than it already is. It is just a matter of initiative and understanding what gift the person will connect with the most. Skill is inconsequential in comparison to will. What are you waiting for?