Friday, December 30, 2005
It's that time of the year when it's time to reflect on the events that transpired. Last year ended on the worst possible note. Dad had expired and I was numb with shock. The repercussions rippled halfway thought this year. Things were so abysmal initially that I had lost the will to live. Acrid in everything I did, I was immensely angered by time phlegmatically flowing through its cadence. It was as if Dad meant nothing to anybody. What right did people have to live the way they always had when Dad was no more? Why was much of the world still ignorent of my grief? The light of my life, the essence of my soul was gone and there hardly seemed any reason for me to go back to my previous self.
Yet the wheels of change wouldn't stop. I finally had to abdicate Kolkata for Bangalore and start life anew. My daily routine bore no resemblance to what it was previously. I had a new city, new life, new career, new colleagues and new friends. Reminiscing had almost become a luxury, though I sometimes managed to steal some time and think of what a wonder camaraderie Dad and I shared. But so many things that should have been shared remained unshared. So many things that should have been said remained unsaid. So many things that should have been done remained undone. So many dreams that should have been fulfilled remained unfulfilled. So many promises that should have been kept remained unkept. My eyes moistened and I secretly cried. Though the recuperation will never be consummated, life must go on.
It's a wonder that I've survived an entire calendar year without Dad. It's a wonder still that the future beckons me with unfurled arms. To it I must surrender.
I wish everyone a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
It's a virgin day but the streets are already maligned with overbearing people. I try to avoid the noise by treading along a narrow street. A housewife is busy brooming the front of her home and shoots a trail of dust into the air. Shutters are lifted, dry leaves are swept by the breeze. The street coaxes me to the main road. It's noisy and awfully polluted. Heavy trucks traverse it like a train in no mood to stop. Smoke fills the air. I cross the road to the other side. A cleaner furiously sweeps the road, bathing the passers-by in a spray of dust an inescapable hazard at this early hour. I walk past the signal that commands respect over the traffic and veer to a new road. I reach my spot and stall myself. A stray dog is taking a sunbath as it lazes on the tiled entrance to a shop. More people reach the spot and stand like imperfect strangers. The bus arrives with the prospect of gobbling us. We hurry to be its fodder. Squeezing thru its narrow entrance, we finally take our seats. As usual, I get the window. The bus wobbles its way thru the roads while the sun rays slant in and selflessly offer their warmth. I smile.
The FM tuner is on and everyone is treated to its croonings. Ali Haider sings a song about college days. I can't help surrendering to it. My mind is adrift and wanders to the halcyon days in Fergusson. I had some across this sultry girl in a miniskirt. She had an hourglass-figure and shapy legs. How I wished I could be acquainted to her! I got my chance during the practical exam in our physics lab. She wanted some help with the adjustment of the prism and I was too glad to oblige. But this was no time for romance and I had to instruct a friend to stand guard at the door and warn me if a professor was heading our way. I helped her and went back to continue with the task at hand...something that was neglected in favoring my personal yearnings. How I wished this would be the start of a whole new relationship for us! It never happened.
I return to the present. Really, I must get a tight leash for my wandering mind. Some ads and silly messages offer me a breather before Lata Mangeshkar sings a beautiful song that I'm sure makes us all equally sedate and happy. I had heard it for the first time as a 5th grader. Kusum was a terribly dark and ugly but equally sweet and friendly classmate. She sang the song when my classmates begged her to.
We reach office and the talkative radio is finally muted. I disembark, tread my way thru the sidewalk and after negotiating a labyrinth of aisles and doors, finally reach my bay. I sit and drudgery ensues. I pamper my vacant mind with caffeine and tomato soup. I wish I could leapfrog those endlessly dull and boring hours which consume what could have been an eventful day. No chance.
After office we make a beeline for our respective shuttles. I take my window and resign to the bus. People gradually fill in. The machine hums into life and moves ahead. It's dusk and the roads are already clogged with heavy traffic. Not wanting to lend a thought to how congested things are, I numb my mind with random thoughts. I think of buying myself a pretty babe some day. Vidya Balan should suffice.
I reach my destination and the shuttle spits me out. I walk my way back home. En route, I suddenly remember I'm famished and satiate my rumbling tummy with roadside junk food. I reach home, take stock of what happened there, go thru some routine motions and begin reading some fiction. Dinner arrives and I'm hungry as ever. The food is hardly edible but I've learnt to keep my complaints to myself. I reach for the other folks in the adjacent room. They're busy surfing, cracking jokes, coding in Java and preparing to cook. They begin cooking and I'm hungry yet again. I don't give in to my hunger pangs this time.
I come out to the balcony. There's a rumpus on the street. Two cars from opposite directions tried to negotiate the narrow turn at the same time. Each wrongly read the other and a mini-accident is somehow averted. Tempers frayed, the drivers hurl abuses at each other. Some two-wheelers join in the fun and take sides arbitrarily, lending their voices in support of their camps. The vehicles behind get restless and begin honking. The squabbling drivers relent and go their separate ways. I retire to my den, continue with the book. My eyelids feel as heavy as lead and I finally decide to call it a day.
I cut thru life with a meaningless existence.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Saturday, December 24, 2005
What makes the novel all the more delectable is its thematic revolution around music. Michael, the protagonist, is a violinist. Seth's flow of words is brilliant as it takes us deep into the lives of Michael and the peripheral characters. Since the novel is loosely strung around music, I thought of building up the right ambiance today by listening to some classical music myself while I read the book.
Brahms's 2nd symphony is the first to enter the scene. Though highly regarded by musicologists, I never found it appealing...not until now. The haunting 3rd movement, though, has been an exception in its mystical melody. The 3rd symphony, as usual, fails to impress me and I at once replace it with a Schumann CD for the solo piano. The final piece from Opus 16 is especially joyous as I picture a happy horse trotting in the countryside.
My room is shut from all sides to muffle the deafening traffic noise outside. Some bollywood music emanating from the next room seeps into and infiltrates mine, threatening to dismantle the carefully constructed image of London which Seth has so diligently painted. I turn up the volume. It partly helps. Since I'm not good at multitasking, I furiously toggle between Seth and Schumann.
I take a siesta a then continue with the book.
The strong woodwinds from Tchaikovsky's 6th symphony lend a voice too grave for my liking and are immediately swapped for a Mozart CD. Mozart's string-heavy symphonies are home-territory for me. As before, I switch between the written words and the played notes frequently.
The novel deepens. We come across a point that mentions Beethoven's opus 104, a string quintet. I'm as stumped as Michael is when he hears about it from Virginia. I had heard of string quartets and piano quintets. What's a string quintet? Michael's quest for this rarefied piece of work eventually leads him to a basement shop from where he procures a vintage vinyl record that he loses on his way back...and then finds again.
The book also portrays an argument between the members of the Maggiore Quartet regarding chronologically playing Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven at a concert. I get lucky here 'coz I know some history about music and can easily place the more prominent composers according to their period of existence. So it's child's play to relate to this part of the technicality.
The novel mentions how some of the characters look down upon Schubert's Trout Quintet, including the protagonist. This is shocker I'm not prepared for. The Trout is perhaps the only meaningful and successful marriage between the piano and the strings. I remember listening to a Brahms composition for a piano and violin when I was in Pune. It sounded yuck. I've heard such duets time and again and each time I've despised it.
'An Equal Music' missed out on being shortlisted for the Booker simply on account of its being too technically inclined towards music, a reason publicly acknowledged my the committee. Though I partly vindicate their stand, it shouldn't deter laymen from trying it for its intricate and intimate insight into the life of an ordinary musician. There's something extraordinary about the ordinary that escapes us all...all expect Vikram Seth. This book is a classic case in point. You don't need to be a chef to know a good meal when you have one.
Inspite of providing the right address and sending them a copy of my mobile phone bill as proof of my residence and inspite of their executive coming home for verification, the address that was finally recorded by them shows 5th Main instead of 15th.
But there's more. I was promised a Gold Card...and they sent me the Classic Card instead. I take heart in the fact that at least it's a Visa!
Friday, December 23, 2005
Sharing my enthusiasm was Anirban, my good friend and neighbor. We had little in common except for our zeal for the trip and, of course...trains! Trains fascinated us to the point of being an obsessive topic of discussion every evening when we met to play. We would begin our daily rendezvous by discussing our latest finds on the Indian Railways. And since his pilgrimage to the holy land during the long vacation was very much like mine, our camaraderie found a glue in Steel Express.
Steel Express was the mainstay of railroad connectivity between the two places. Its scheduled departure time from Tatanagar (Jamshedpur) Junction was 6:05 am and reached Howrah Station at 10:20 in the morning. We would then take a bus or taxi to our uncle's place somewhere in Tollygunge, a dingy and overly crowded place in the City of Joy. En route, we would cross the famous Howrah Bridge which was bang next to the station.
Anyway, since having something to discuss about our favorite train wasn't always easy, we resorted to figments about its speed vis-a-vis other trains, as if it was listed in the stock exchange! He would quote his own make-believe source on how Steel Express's speed had improved over what it was the previous day, while I would quote my equally fictitious agent in corroborating his finds! Each believed the other was quoting from a genuine source. Of course, there were other contenders to winning our affection, most notably Gitanjali Express and Rajdhani Express. While Anirban was sometimes fatigued of the Steel and would temporarily flirt with the also-rans, switching my loyalty was a preposterous thought since I was completely enamored by my train and would hear nothing against it. If Anirban said anything that even mildly tilted the balance in favor of the 'lesser' trains, Iwould vociferously spring into action and protect my turf and my train. So ferocious was my espousal that soon he would be won over to my camp and we would continue praising our beloved train to dizzy heights!
The excitement for the impending trip began to build with the onset of the summer vacation. Ah, the mood! Anirban and I would discuss tirelessly the exact sequence of events that led up to the big day. All the anticipation, planning and packing. The intricate details about everything that had to be in place for the trip to be absolutely perfect. However, his trip generally preceded mine by a day or two. When the big day came, I could hardly sleep! Packing our luggage was especially fun and didi and mom would meticulously look into all the details. Nothing was left to chance. Dad remained aloof while the rest of us would offer our own inputs into what should go into the suitcase or bags. Debates would be spirited, pros and cons fathomed, best fits and innumerable compromises agreed upon and finally everything would be squeezed in. It was such great fun. Not being able to contain my excitement was a given. I wouldn't be able to sleep the night before and when it was time for us to get up at 4 in the morning, I had hardly had a moment's sleep! This was the real thing. All those plans were now going live. We would go through our motions and leave home at 5. Mom would insist that it was cold outside and that I should be wearing a scarf. I protested but she would have none of it. Since it was dark, I would finally acquiesce in suffering the ignominy of wearing it, something that made me look like a girl! Well, everyone's asleep and no one will notice, I said to myself. We walked to the stop, waited for the station bus, boarded it and were finally on our way. I reveled in the experience.
Our bus would reach the station well before the scheduled departure. And then I finally saw my divine train stationed proudly in platform number 1. What a heavenly sight! We boarded and took our places. I would settle for nothing other than the window seat. That was an absolute must! And since the train was mostly empty, finding a place that caught my fancy wasn't difficult. Dad would see us off and wait there waving his hand at me till he was completely out of sight. That's when it struck me. I would be without him for a long while…and my eyes moistened as the train gradually pulled out of the station and gathered speed. Well, everything was soon forgotten and I would settle in assimilating as much as possible of the world outside that seemed to be hurrying past us.
Our train would usually reach its destination on time and that' s when I realized that the much hyped journey had come to an end. Not fair! So much of build-up but so ephemeral a trip! Anyway, the shock treatment from Kolkata still awaited us and I looked forward to it. We had vast clans of relatives who would descend upon us when word spread that we were in town. Since I was a loner, the constant influx of visitors would often overwhelm. Anyway, I had to live through it…and visiting relatives after a year-long abeyance wasn't necessarily all that bad, I reasoned myself.
Our vacation days would evaporate faster than I was willing to acknowledge and soon enough it was time to bid adieu. I had grown fond of Kolkata during my stay there and reconciling with the Spartan town of Jamshedpur would be difficult, I thought. The return trip wasn't all that fun and I couldn't stand the thought of enduring yet another year of academia before the next trip. However, I remember one particular incident. Dad had come to the station to receive us. Our coach stopped exactly in front of where Dad was standing. I saw him, leapt off the train on to the platform and ran towards him. Dad bent with open arms and hugged me tight!
Yes, the initial days after our return trip were very boring. Anirban was equally sombre, but there was some fun in meeting him and exchanging details. Soon school reopened and the first day of the new academic year was a riot, each pupil having his own account to narrate!
I never imagined those figmented tales about Steel Express would one day find their way into my blog!
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
My PDA arrived last Friday. I had shopped for it via MyValueShop. However, my enthusiasm soon ebbed when I realized that the nifty little gadget had an insatiable appetite for power. The brand new Duracells were significantly drained in only a few hours of operation. At this rate, I would be spending a fortune just on replacing batteries. A very disconcerting thought. I've decided to return the product tomorrow.
My passport arrived and didi informed me about it. I was surprised as my name was not on the list when I had visited Jadavpur Police Station in July, even though I had applied 2 months back. I soon had to translocate to Bangalore and eventually gave up all hopes of ever getting the coveted thing. However, out of the blue came a mail saying that I was supposed to show up at the said station for verification purpose with all the necessary original documents, failing which the issue would be considered closed. Obviously I couldn't afford to comply and forgot the matter. I decided to apply afresh for the passport in Bangalore. That's when it arrived! A comedy of errors? Wait, there's more! My name was misspelt, with an 'A' being replaced by 'E'. Back to Square One. I don't know how much more will I be harassed. How could the officials make such silly mistakes and make us run from pillar to post for their own erring? I've dashed three emails to three different GOI offices regarding the anomaly but have yet to receive a reply, not even an acknowledgement. I look around and I find Indians having a very unhealthy attitude towards work. I hope my views don't inch towards racism.
Monday morning began most ominously. I had placed my swipe card somewhere and now couldn't find it. I frantically searched but failed. On quizzing, Mantu revealed that it was in the PDA package! He must have taken the liberty of putting it there. Got it. No sooner had I come out of my house than Sittu called me up to ask about my plans to attend the upcoming convocation. I was busy attending his call when a passing Maruti Omni splashed
drain water on my trousers! Gosh! I ran home, searched for a suitable replacement and finally managed to find a blue pair of jeans. Most inappropriate for non-Fridays, but I had no alternative as the other trousers were either unwashed or unironed. I've now in the process of conceiving a protocol to wash & iron my clothes on time! Anyway, after the switch I sped to my bus stop and reached there 5 mins ahead of schedule. And when did the bus finally arrive? More than half-an-hour late! That's life.
On the technology front, I've been fiddling with two software products. Audacity is a streaming audio recorder and I hope to use it to capture Yahoo! Radio and BBC Radio streams, which I'll be burning to my CD. Illegal? Sure, but who said I live on the right side of law? I'm still trying to make sense of the intricate interface. Feedreader is a lightweight newsreader that I'm now putting to heavy use to read select blogs, newsfeeds and Usenet forums. It's great for news buffs like me. Both the products are released under the GNU GPL with no strings attached. I'll go nuts the day Microsoft subscribes to it!
Oh, in keeping with tradition, I slept with the new book last night!
Monday, December 19, 2005
Dear Vanity Fair,
I'm sorry but my patience with you has run out. You are too bulky, there are more characters in your pages than I've ever come across in real life, your language is too archaic and your period too antediluvian and alien.
But there's hope. I may return to your pages some day.
Helps break the monotony.
Erratum: Rajat informs me that it was the cry of a wolf! Well, anyone would be foxed!
Friday, December 16, 2005
It was a fine morning with rain-barren clouds enveloping the sky, leaving little prospects of the Sun managing to peep through it. Obviously, an open umbrella was a misfit and had no business being there. Yet, there she was, Diya beaming with pride as she showed off her latest booty to everyone without a care in the world. I found it amusing and my mind instantly raced back in time to the halcyon years of my childhood when I too had an umbrella that meant the world to me.
I mustn't have been much older than Diya. I had a second-hand umbrella today's kids wouldn't dare or care to flaunt. It was vanilla-red with a wooden stem. Though there was nothing alluring about the contraption for most, we were almost inseparable. It originally belonged to didi and had been passed on to me, although I can't recall anything anecdotal about the transfer of ownership. Didi was too generous & I guess she didn't really mind donating it to me. She must have had other things on her list of priorities. May I add that the umbrella in question was perhaps the only possession I shared a multiple-night stand with, in stark contrast to an idiosyncrasy.
What absolutely enthralled me was the experience of standing out in the rain under my beloved umbrella. So possessed was I that I would go to the verandah with my umbrella and stand in the region that wasn't shielded from the rain. While all would beat a hasty retreat into the safety of their homes, I would proudly go the other way and proudly stand in the rain under the unfurled umbrella. The experience was quite simply inexplicable and I remained ecstatic during those ephemeral but precious moments, totally in harmony with my surroundings with not a soul in sight. The feeling of proudly holding out against the raindrops furiously lashing against my canopy while I tightly gripped the stem was exhilarating. My parents were resigned to the oddity that was me and never stopped me from such escapades.
I wonder what became of my red umbrella. Must have been claimed by mother Nature.
(I had been meaning to write this article a long time back. As usual, procrastination got the better of me!)
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Today's culprit was especially intimate. I could feel the radiant heat from his head!
Sad to say, most of them have failed me. The blogging phenomenon ends up hogging server space and does precious little. Perhaps its only virtue lies in keeping some hoodlums off the streets.
I'll stick only to a select group of bloggers who put quality above quantity. Too bad, most bloggers don't seem to know the difference!
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
One of the frequent chores that bug me is the ritual of ironing my trousers. Really, this is a job way too menial for my genius. My flirtation with the iron began during the school days, although jogging my memory doesn't help in recalling when I was pressed into this demeaning job. I guess it was my mom who made me do the unthinkable, ironing my school pants. We had an ancient iron the weight of a shot-put and even lifting it was a Herculean task. Anyway, someone had to do the job and it might as well be me. I actually developed a temporary stoop after the ordeal was over. It was, quite literally, a back-breaking experience.
The second press I had an affair with was newer and lighter, much to my relief. Kaushik, my roommate in Pune, was the proud owner of this little device that made life a lot easier than it otherwise would have been. Romancing the feather-weight iron was almost a pleasure and ours was a steady relationship until tragedy struck, quite literally. One of the legs of Kaushik's bed broke and the entire bed tilted...though not completely, thanks to the iron which stood right next to the broken leg. So now the poor thing was suddenly burdened with the weight of the bed & Kaushik atop it, enough to ruin the thermostat. Kaushik showed enough presence of mind and leaped from the bed, but the damage had already been done. Well, the iron still worked, but with a busted regulator life surrounding it was in danger. I don't know how many clothes were sacrificed at the alter of the near-incandescent iron. I can recall at least one of my shirts' burn-marks bearing testimony to the iron that got too hot to handle.
I'm in Bangalore now and have my own little iron. Nothing spectacular or out-of-the-ordinary about it. However, there's one problem that never seems to fade away. Creases of formal trousers are my Achilles' heel. I just can't seem to be able to preserve a well etched crease that comes with new formal trousers. No matter how hard I try, the crease gradually seems to fade into thin air...or fabric! It's okay at the bottom, but as it traverses to the top it gradually disappears. I've boldly tried to press hard over the right regions so as to make the long-lost crease reappear in its new avatar, but each time it traverses up a new path and fails to meet any of the pleats at the top, whose sole purpose of existence is now in jeopardy. Finally, each artificial crease leaves behind its indelible mark...and the parallel venation resembles a eucalyptus tree without leaves.
I sport my much maligned trousers with the high hopes of the multiple creases issuing some sort of fashion statement that'll someday be the rage.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Friday, December 09, 2005
Now let me tell you about my daily routine. I set my mobile to wake me up at 6:45 in the morning. I go through the early morning chores while cursing the night for being so short and the corporate world for its preposterous belittling of my creative genius. I leave home at 7:40 and tread my way to the bus-stop, an activity that consumes 11-12 minutes. The company shuttle arrives, I board, take the window seat and wait for the potholed roads of Bangalore to thoroughly rattle the bus...& in the process awaken me completely for work. The trip takes 45 minutes. I reach office, keep swiping my card at countless entrances and finally reach my bay. That's when the real boredom begins. Anyway, I somehow manage to stay alive and awake during those 9 hrs of futile existence after which I head once again for my shuttle to drop me home. The traffic jam makes the return trip a nightmare. I reach my ultra-humble abode not sooner than 7:30pm. After changing, I visit my next door neighbours to spend some time talking crap and surfing the Net. Occasionally, I do go through the Times of India, which is gradually morphing into a semi-tabloid, much to my consternation. Come back to my room circa 9pm, have dinner, play some games on my Nokia, set the alarm for the next day and finally retire for the night.
Don't even get me started on my weekend schedules.
If this pattern is repeated on all working days, it becomes rather difficult to hit the creative curve while musing for my blog. I need to constantly dig into the past to keep my page well fed. But can this continue for long? My volatile memory only makes things worse. And what can I write about the people in my life without offending any of them? Nothing! I guess I'm sarcastic and sardonic by nature. Can't help it!I'm getting desperate for creative feeds. I guess my next post will be about how a wall in my house lost its virginity.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Being completely indifferent to academia, I conveniently gave it a miss. However, when the big exam day came, I was shocked to learn that unlike me, most of my peers had taken an active interest in the course and had actually studied very diligently! I didn't want to end up on the wrong side of the scoreline. Too late, I was helpless!
Now some guys had opted out of the course at the very outset. My partner belonged to this rarefied tribe. Lucky me! The exam began and there I was, answer paper on table, pen in hand, an empty head and nothing to write. Well, it would look odd if I scribbled nothing on the answer sheet, and so, to look occupied in offering intelligent answers to questions that were Greek & Latin to me, I bravely began penning whatever random thoughts came to mind. After all, my head was fertile ground for the most fanciful and baroque of ideas. My partner looked on as I scribbled what must have been the most ludicrous of answers. He eventually took pity on me & offered to help me by looking into the booklet for answers. I outrightly refused. I may be a fool but I still had my pride! However, even my ego finally gave way as I bartered it for the answers. I had to save face when the results were declared for all to see.
Thus began my illustrious voyage into the world of cheating and deception! My accomplice dug into the booklet and diligently probed for the answers, which he did with great dexterity without being caught! May God bless him! Writing down the answers was a toughie though! I had to erase all the answers I had already written in order to fill the pages and then write the correct ones. It was a tedious job, but someone had to do it! Well, we didn't have enough time to search for all the answers. Soon enough, we ran out of time. My partner had worked harder than me during the entire session. In him I had found a friend indeed!
The results were declared in a few days.
My score: 35%
Pass mark: 35%
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Packing the bag for the next day was a particularly tedious task, and dad helped me during the early days. Actually, he did it all by himself! Then came the dreaded day when he refused to go through the chore as he was busy teaching didi something. The task of packing my bag all by my own looked infinitely intimidating. However, a man's got to do what a man's got to do! So I braved the challenge ahead and emptied my bag. Out came the school prospectus among other books. The back cover contained my time-table.
Dad used to arrange book according to their subject, refer the time-table and simply inserts the relevant books into my bag. A foolproof method, I must acknowledge. I proceeded to imitate him, and the task at hand was accomplished with great ease. I stuck to this simple system for years to come. Only occasionally did I deviate, like when I was too lazy or the succeeding day's schedule closely resembled the current.
Attending classes was a different ball-game altogether. I hated studying and spent my hours daydreaming about inventing a gravity-defying machine that would help me become the real Superman, or discovering a new planet. The teacher's supremely dull blabberings would fade into obscurity while I dabbled with the fame I found in my virtual world.
My bag packing mechanism seldom failed me during all those years of boredom. Only when the teacher issued ad-hoc instructions regarding a change of schedule would my tried-&-tested method fail me. Well, it wasn't really my fault...or the fault of my technique. Who had asked the teacher to deviate from the schedule? Now, what were the repercussions for bringing the wrong books? The implications were usually not serious, though some strict teachers would not spare the erring student, who would promptly be asked to stand outside the class or kneel down. Those were the days! Some of my classmates would be so terrified of being punished that they would take out another book of the same dimensions, so as to fool the teacher into believing that the required book was bought! However, the contents of the 'imposter' book would be concealed so cleverly that the teacher never got a chance to peep into its pages! However, fear of being caught hung like a sword over his head! The ringing bell that signaled the period ending sounded like music!
Some bravehearts who knew that the teacher would invariably punish the erring student by banishing him outside would say that they had not brought the book even though they had! They preferred the tranquility of standing a loner in the corridor to the crowded interiors of the classroom. Well, they belonged to my league of school-haters, though I never had the heart to volunteer to be punished! Imagine what happened when the teacher veered from the norm by making the erring student kneel down! A boomeranged idea!!!
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Why does Microsoft treat Indians like dirt? We had to stick to a paltry 2mb of Hotmail space when most of the world had been upgraded to 250mb. Does demographic segregation really help Microsoft?
Monday, December 05, 2005
So what could have been a comprehensive narration...will never be.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Friday, November 25, 2005
The only thing I won't enjoy: ABAP!
Another change will be the shift from desktop blogging to moblogging. I'm finding no time to blog from my office desktop...and I intend to buy a personal desktop not before 2007 begins. I just hope the Nokia keyboard isn't to expensive. Any idea about the price?
Adieu, dear readers! Will hope to catch up with u folks on the 5th of December.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
I'm contemplating buying the Nokia wireless keyboard to blog via my mobile.
Monday, November 21, 2005
Sunday, November 20, 2005
I had seen how Prateek & Sittu would brush their teeth without water (!) or wash clothes with only a limited amount. Innovation at its exemplary best. The situation in JP Nagar is no better. We cooked chicken with no supply of water and had to use whatever little we had in stock. Adding to our misery was Santosh's improvident way of expending water, as if he owned the Indian Ocean!
Afternoons would be the best time for us to go on the hunting expedition. Siesta-time for Mom obviously granted us with ample opportunities to hone our skills. Didi would be the mastermind in engineering the plot to raid our house. She would devise schemes that left no stone unturned in probing every inch of every room in our quest for anything ready-to-eat that would ultimately and up in our tummies. Mom was well aware of our dark deeds. After all, you couldn't really blame evaporation for the rapidly depleting stock of cookies bought only a couple of days ago! She devised her in-house techniques of deception that would make our hunting that much difficult...though we always proved more than equal to the task at hand. If she had graduated in the art of deception, so had we...but only in the art of detection.
From scaling the wardrobe in search of the cookie-jar to being on all-fours to look under the bed; from digging into the divan to probing the earthen-pitcher...we had tried it all and were usually successful in accomplishing our mission.
Things changed when Didi gradually lost interest in our misdeeds until she finally decided to defect to the other side (Mom's) & refused to cooperate with me. I'll never know what came over her to merit such ecclesiastical amelioration. Being her accomplice was great fun & now I sorely missed her. I was left with no option but to fend for myself. Those years of apprenticeship under Didi's effective guidance had taught me enough nuances of the game to merit my going solo.
So here I was, the lone Robin Hood of the ever-hungry me waging a solitary war of detection against the worldly barriers of detection. I actually became reasonably accomplished in my task & gradually hone my skills to unprecedented levels. A proprietary technique I had invented involved muffling with a pillow the sound made while opening the lid of a tin can. Many a time had I been caught red-handed due to the awful amount of noise the activity would otherwise involve. My new technique worked flawlessly & sure saved the day for me on many occasions. I guess I should have patented it!
The passing years gradually waned my interest in the afternoon-time adventure until I too defected to the right side of law. How boring!
Friday, November 18, 2005
Only once had I had the opportunity of watching an international cricket match in a stadium. The match was between India & England, the venue being The Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Buada & I were so excited on our way to the venue.
India got to bat first and put on a decent score. But the Englishmen were equal to the task and thrashed our bowlers. Like many spectators, we were annoyed by our amateurish performance and decided to vacate as the match was destined to be lost, we thought.
By the time we reached home, there was a stark reversal of fate. We won! I curse myself for missing out on the events that led todramatic change.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Well, I wish him all the best!
Those trips to the market had another hidden agenda: I loved reading magazines and going to the bazaar with Dad surely meant I could emotionally blackmail him into buying me another one...even though the previous issue was still unread. Well, I didn't have to try too hard and Dad would invariably relent after a little convincing.
However, what I remember most about those trips to the bazaar is the walk back home. Ours was a narrow but tranquil lane with grass sidewalks on both sides. Jamshedpur being a hilly town, the lane was rather steep and running downwards was sheer joy. On reacing the terminal end of our lane en route to our walk back home, I would hand over all the things I helped carry to Dad. That's when I would start running as hard as I could on the sidewalk. The grass easily muffled the noise my running would have otherwise made. On reaching our place, I would wait for Dad to slowly trudge his way back. I sometimes got too impatient waiting for him and would run back, only to run back home! It was such great fun.
Needless to say, I had many a fall on those runs! The grass would do a splendid job of cushioning my fall. But what joy it was...running down memory lane!
Monday, November 14, 2005
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Friday, November 11, 2005
- Winning the Nobel Prize for ABAP coding, 2006.
- Aishwarya Rai/ Heather Graham marrying me.
- Osama bin Laden reading Bhagavad Gita and converting to Christianity.
- All the world's mosquitoes & cockroaches going extinct.
- Microsoft embracing Linux/Open Source and offering to nurture the operating system.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
I'm listening to the finale from Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony over Yahoo! Music...and I now realize what I've been missing for the past month or so!
It was fun reading both your columns.You have an art to make your topic interesting. Not bad. Have fun..and good luck for futher topics. Wish u well.
(BTW, I've forgotten my Sulekha id & can't contact my 'hazeleyed' admirer!)
(...Nope! There was a problem with the Sulekha web servers!)
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
A little later (9:50pm) came a call for Santosh from his nondescript native place. The gibberish from the other end made me disconnect the first time. The second time was a more concerted effort and after getting a semblance of what was desired, I handed my phone to Santosh. He talked to his heart's content for half-and-hour, enough to drain my cell!
- Searched for Charlize Theron via Wikipedia. Browsed through her filmography and zeroed in on Sweet November (2001), which rung a bell. I didn't remember the name of the movie and hoped this was the one.
- Clicked on Sweet November. The plot confirmed my doubt! This was indeed the movie I was looking for.
- Searched for Sweet November via Yahoo! Music. Managed to find the original motion picture soundtrack.
- Clicked on the link. Found the list of tracks. There were 13. Now which one was I looking for?
- Visited Amazon and searched for Sweet November. Gotcha! The list of tracks, however, gave no information about the singers.
- Listened to the 30 second samples.
- Only Time. That's the song! Still, no information about the singer. A customer review read "My main reason for getting this album? Enya."
- So could Enya be the elusive singer? Returned to the familiar terrains of Yahoo! Music and searched for Enya.
- Read her biography. Certainly seemed to match what I had in mind. Yeah, some more probing and it was finally confirmed that Enya was the one.
- Watched some of her videos. Really liked what I saw. I just love her new age style.
- Finally, searched Wikipedia for Enya.
- Job done, I was a satisfied person!
U may visit her official site here.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
I came to know of the switch only after the bus had left! Having no alternative, I walked in the rain back home. Bangalore roads being what they are, my trousers (yeah, the same bee harbouring ones) & shoes were heavily soiled by the time I reach abode.
Monday, November 07, 2005
I guess Murphy's law of averages has finally caught up with me. It's now my turn to be the butt of the jokes of my acquaintances. I went to HDFC Bank to sort 2 issues. One was sorted, the other had to wait. It was during my trudge back to my office that I made the mistake of putting my left hand into a hip pocket. Unknown to me, a bee had conveniently lodged itself there. No sooner had I made the intrusion than the bee stung me! My thumb, to be more precise. It felt like my thumb had been amputated. I did the obvious and withdrew my hand with a jerk, not knowing what had hit me. Getting a semblance of what had just happened, I realized to my consternation that the sucker could still be 'in' there. I feared getting stung again, this time into regions of my body far too vital.
Not knowing what to do, I came up with a plan to defeat the little creature. The modus operandi was simple. I would have to reach my office, take to the toilet, strip below the waist, turn my trousers inside out, attack the said pocket with all my might...and hope the bee wouldn't sting me in the interim period. The plan was executed to perfection, although attacking the pocket required artistry far more complex than I had originally imagined.
By the way, my efforts proved futile. After mercilessly pounding the pocket from all directions, I finally mustered enough courage to probe the pocket. I did a thorough check, but nothing was found. Obviously, the bee had escaped after the sting!
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Well, yesterday being a holiday, I finally set about washing some of my dirty clothes by dumping them into a bucket and adding washing powder and water. It was 10am. They were supposed to soak for 2hrs at the most. They ended up soaking for 13hrs instead. Actually, I kept procrastinating till I could no longer avoid it. One of the garments (a green colored T-shirt) decided to seek revenge for my apathy. It bled its color, thereby dyeing a formal shirt which I normally wear to the office. What a reprisal! I tried in vein to rid the newly added dye. Nature had taught me a vital lesson the hard way.
So what can I now do with my beloved shirt? I thought of continuing to wear it to office, passing off the patches of green as a new designer trend...but realized my colleagues were too clever not to see through my alibi. What the heck!
Friday, November 04, 2005
To know more about Kahuna, click on the title of this post. Hurry, the link could be dead soon!
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
I've added a Flickr badge to my blog. This ostensibly goes against my view of keeping blogs ultra-spartan.
Well, some flowery stuff wouldn't hurt!
The big day would finally come. Lighting the crackers was great fun and the little sibling rivalry that had been brewing over the past few days would finally subside and camaraderie would kick in. We would pool our crackers together and light them in unison. Sharing was more fun! Being the more timid of the two, I was slightly subdued as compared to the other folks, so Didi was on the driver's seat.
I was and still am a little scared of crackers. They are way too noisy and slightly dangerous. Phuljharis are my all time favorite.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
It's a dream game for me and I'm thoroughly enjoying playing against my newfound opponent.
Monday, October 24, 2005
It's about those times when the world hadn't gone digital. Times were simpler and I was only a kid. Dad would go to the bazaar every evening; and each time he came back, I would spring into action and probe his shopping bag for anything that might catch my fancy. Books & Magazines were my favorite...and there was generally enough of a steady supply of them to keep me happy. When they were not to be found after a probe, I would be happy to make do with any other thing, including fruits, vegetables, electric torches, buckets...the list is endless.
Accommodating the newly bought 'object' by my side during bedtime was seldom an issue. My parents had learnt by observing me over the years that I was abnormal beyond repair & thus never tried to mend my fetish ways. Consequently, I slept almost each night with a virgin product newly procured from the market.
Once, however, a problem did arise when I insisted on sleeping with one such product. It happened to be a huge orange bucket! Now, it was uncomfortable accommodating such an oversized object & I'm sure my parents protested...but I would have none of it. So there we slept, me deeply attached to a bucket that would repay such unconditional love by serving us for many years to come. In fact, we still use it!
Books and magazines were my all-time favorite. They must have been my bedmates from even before I could read and write. Accommodating a new book under my pillow was way too easy to cause any discomfort.
One particular incident remains fresh in my mind. Dad had bought 'only' a small bag of apples. I wasn't too fond of perishables, but since there was nothing else to give me company at nighttime and since I wouldn't let adversity ruin the tradition, I decided to sleep with the apples complete with the tiny white bag. Now, it's not that I wasn't kept well fed, but the apples smelt so appetizing that hunger pangs awoke me in the dead of night. Mulling over the situation, I decided to devour one of the apples. No one will notice a thing in the morning since there are so many of them, I thought. I should have known better. Out came an apple from the bag. No sooner had I dug my incisors into it than my mom uttered such a blood-curdling scream that I decided against consummating my plan. Back went the apple into the bag. I guess mom didn't trust me with the apples and was consequently on a night-long vigil. The noise of the bite was a giveaway, I guess.
The next morning, to my consternation, the injured apple was shown around the house as damning proof of my insatiable appetite, unfailingly evoking peels of laughter from all and sundry. I don't remember what fate the apple finally met. I'm sure, after the my aborted nocturnal attempt, the 'apple' of my eye finally made its way into my stomach.
I also had a peculiar fascination for electric torches. Nothing turned me on like a torch with a new pair of batteries. Needless to say, I once slept with one such torch. I played with the switch & liked to see the 'red' with my eyes closed. Unfortunately, I fell asleep during the dabbles with the switch on! I awoke the next morning to this horrible discovery and found the torch bulb glowing dimly! The brand new batteries were completely drained out! So that's how I ended up ruining a perfectly virgin pair of batteries. I was never admonished for the accident, although the incident did go down in our family history only to be recalled time and again and again as a favorite anecdote.
One night stands are shunned by society...and age has only made a conformist out of me. Well, almost! Still, old habits die hard & I do sometimes manage to find a 'partner' to share my bed with...though they are mostly not virgins!
There are some people who stand apart from the crowd. Beethoven, Einstein, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, yours truly, etc have all been specially endowed people. Now Anish obviously doesn't belong to our league, but that doesn't mean he is not gifted.
Anish has a way with people and people related issues. This became apparent during our early days of acquaintance. Any problem and Anish would be using his skills to navigate us out of it. Soon we got so used to him that we would be paralyzed without his presence. So we informally promoted him to our in-house HR Rep! I asked him to pursue an MBA with specialization in HR. He has been contemplating it ever since.
The other thing nice about him is that he never loses his temper or patience. We pester him with all sorts of requests, both reasonable and unreasonable, and he never declines to help. What's more, like me, he too is an occupant of the nascent blogosphere. Here's wishing this gem of a person all the best in his endeavors!
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Friday, October 21, 2005
Universal literacy has still not been achieved. Far too few people can read. On the other hand, thanks to the near-ubiquity of the Internet...
I'm wearing a rather remarkable shirt, one that makes me feel like a clown fooling around in a graveyard. Roving eyes latch on to me and...
I generally dislike Wagner. However, I heard a piece by him today and it was sublime and breathtakingly beautiful.
I just can't take it anymore. I should have moved on long back but lingered in the hopes of a miracle. It was not to be and I've fin...