Thursday, April 24, 2008

It's so hard to say good-bye...

There has rarely been a time in my life where I have had such diverse and confusing emotions as I have today. I was so looking forward to the end of college, but yet, when I face the last day of my college life this Saturday, I don’t want it to end. I never loved my college. In fact, the balance of indifference had tilted towards a sense of disdain to the ways of its functioning. So what has been this reason for the change? Is it the attachment with teachers? May be with their quirks, but that’s not a strong enough point. Is it the activities of the college? Well, whatever I loved about those activities has ceased to exist, so that can’t be the reason. I guess it’s the people, my peers, my pals.

I have spent four years with them and during this period, they knowingly or unknowingly have become my habit. I am in awe of the intelligence of some and hate the sycophancy of others. I enjoy the humour and respect the humility of a few. In every way, each one’s idiosyncrasy and/or behaviour have/has become a part of my world. Without sharing, bitching, caring, laughing, conspiring, envisioning, learning, winning, losing, participating and cribbing with them, my days are incomplete.

The people have taught me so much. I don’t think I am a great engineer at the end of my tenure, but I do know that I am a better person. It is the kind of polishing which no teacher can give you or no exam can gauge. Perspectives of the most contrasting shades are what they have given me and it is these perspectives that have widened my frame of thought, sometimes, even altered it altogether.

This was a bunch of people who would never hesitate to tell me, “Dude, you are wrong” and who would also say “Man, go for it!!” both with equal forthrightness. We have debated over petty issues, but always in the healthiest spirit. I doubt the walls of diplomacy will ever lower to such a level again, as they had in this last year.

I can go on and on about them and what they mean to me, but of all the feelings, I can now identify the most overpowering one. Their presence may have mattered, but their absence surely will. It is a matter of great pride to have been in their company. To my friends I will say:

Thank you and farewell, though I hope it is not a farewell in the truest sense. I would rather say see you later than wish good bye. (I cannot believe my eyes are moist for losers like you!!)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Culinary Experiments

I had a very ordinary last Sunday and didn't want it to end with an ordinary dinner so my sister and I decided to make ourselves masala dosas. We found a packet of a ready dosa mix in the refrigerator so we were saved from the effort of starting from scratch. It said 'instant mix' so we thought it won't take as long. How wrong we were!

We collected the ingredients for the masala and the dosa and started off with our little adventure. Chopping vegetables was a cake walk though, as always, the onions made me cry. Sautéing the vegetables and the spices was smooth. We left it to cook while we turned our attentions to making the dosas.

How a dosa should look.

We made the batter following the instructions on the back of the packet. The pan was heated and greased and everything else seemed to be in place. It was time to get rolling. We didn't have a cookbook so we kept following our instincts and improvising . We had seen it being made before and it didn't seem so difficult.

My sister filled the ladle with the batter and began pouring it on the pan. She followed my instructions out of the lack of choice than the sense of respect and there we were trying to pouring it from the edge to the centre, in sweeping circular motions. By the time we finished, we were happy it made a perfect circle. was time to flip it over. We tried, tried and tried, but that brown object which was supposed to be a dosa wouldn't turn. We had to literally scrape it out. By the end of it, we had burnt dosa crumbs and a terrible looking pan. Yes, we couldn't find a non-stick pan, and we really didn't think its absence would make such a big difference.

I spent another 10 minutes washing the pan trying to remove all the remains of the burnt dosa batter. We still hadn't lost neither our appetites nor our optimism so we gave it another shot. This time, we poured the batter at the centre and spread it with a ladle towards the edges, but in our attempts to get a round dosa, we ended up with a dosa with the topography of the Grand Canyon. Its thickness was so inconsistent that we didn't know whether to remove the portion that is cooked and leave the remaining part a while longer, or just remove it all and eat the cooked part. We didn't have to think to long on that front because while flipping it, we unintentionally tore it into pieces. Alas.

Now we were determined to get it right because we were getting impatient out of hunger. God just heard our prayers and we got third time lucky. We finally had a small, thick, shabby looking but edible dosa on our plates. And we had kept a good watch over the vegetables left to cook so we had at least something on our plates that tasted good. The sense of achievement was one of its kind.

Had somebody else cooked it, I would have surely made unpleasant faces while eating, but since this was my own folly, I had no one but myself to blame. For the first time, I realised how easy it is to be a critic and how difficult it is to be the creator.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Melancholy

Pensive and dreary for a reason
Beyond it spring and summer season
Peering into a heart's horizon
I found a man that lay awakened

Tears flowed like the rain
The darkness he saw in vain.
'Coz there was death and there was sorrow
In the withering trees of his solemn woods.

Death of kinsmen and their kings
To his past were they the only strings
One by one like a strider's sword
Fate inflicted its deadening blows.

Living strong his head held high
Despite the hurts that made him cry
He continued to grow old
The soul fading faster than its abode.

The holy lights guided him
Between that period interim,
The second he stopped living
And the moment he died.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Children's Tales

Kids - it is amazing how every hot girl finds them cute, an elder just melts in front of their demands and the most depressed of the depressed have a reason to smile when they are around. The best part is how almost every child in the age bracket of 3-7 years in endowed with this rare gift and the worst part is how they just lose those traits when they grow up, just like you and I did, or are in the process of doing.

I am fortunate to be in the elite company of two six year old children at home. No matter how tired I am or how evil the world has been to me, I can always go back and find my chill pill. A dose of an hour suffices to cure any wounds the world has inflicted on my frame of mind. Now when I face the daunting prospect of them not being around me in the near future, I realize the possibility of an irreplaceable vacuum being created in my daily routine for one to many reasons.

Like today afternoon, when I returned home after college, my cousin told me "Bhaya, do you know India was bowled out for only 76 runs. Ekdum bekaar score." I acknowledged the fact that it was a poor performance by the batsmen but he thought otherwise. “It was all because of Kumble. Kal baarish padhi thi, to usko subah batting lene ki kya zaroorat thi. So foolish.” I was left speechless.

Kids today are surprisingly updated with what is going on in their world. Moreover, they even have their own perspectives, which I doubt we had at that age. Yesterday, I was informed by my cousin about the falling value of the dollar. I couldn’t help but ask him who told him and he replied he had heard his dad talking to someone over the phone. Wow, talk about paying keen attention.

Another fine afternoon, around a year ago, this question was put up to me from no where, “Do you have a girlfriend?” I was speechless not because I didn’t have an answer. I was in complete awe. “No,” I answered, “I don’t have the time to look for one.” Pat came another googly, “Then what do you do in the recess? Woh to free time hai na.” Now I was speechless because I didn’t have a smart answer. So I redirected the question to him. He proudly accepted the fact that his bench-mate is his best friend and she is a girl, so he has a girlfriend. She even kissed him on the cheek. I reconfirmed and the answer was the same. My jaw dropped open. When I called my sister to inform her of where today’s kids have reached, he screams “Ullu banaya!!!” God save tomorrow’s parents!!

These kids are no less at debating too. Tired of seeing them watch cartoons all day, I told them to see channels like Discovery and Animal Planet once in a while for they can learn more from the shows on them. I asked him, “What did this cartoon about these funny ghosts and mindless screaming teach you?” Like always, the reply came spontaneously, “It taught me to not be afraid of ghosts because it is a trick people play to scare you.” I couldn’t question the logic because he had deduced a proper conclusion for the episode. Sigh! My job just got tougher and I had to go on and sit through an entire episode of ‘TV with Teeth’ narrating to them what the documentary portrayed.

Gone are the days where kids needed to be told grandma’s tales. The bat-ball and dolls are long forgotten and the mobile phones and laptops are the new must use ‘toys.’ You can’t bribe them with a chocolate because they always have a stock of their own. Kids are no longer kids. They are just innocent adorable devils!!