Friday, December 30, 2005

The year that was

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 make me too conscious of myself. Checkered in red, grey, black and maroon, I've excused myself into donning it and looking silly for two reasons. It's Friday and…more importantly, the last working day of the year. Tailored half-a-year back, I never had the courage to wear it, not until today.

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

Featured Blog

One of my posts has been showcased in the Featured Blog Entries on Sulekha Blogs.
I'm embarrassed of the many typos that have crept in. I had written it in great hurry with no time to rectify the errors.
I can't even edit it now!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A day in my life

I'm jolted to the awakened state by the alarm. I go thru the little chores half asleep. I wish nights would be a little longer. I find my clothes mostly crumpled and carelessly stuffed into the wardrobe. I dress for office. I open the door to the balcony and the light from outside explodes in. Noise is an annoying guest invading my room. I look at the street below. People hurry for office or college. A mother drags her twins to school. A cool breeze blows. The sun lends its golden rays to everything exposed. Today's paper lies rolled on the floor. I get back into my room. Santosh sleeps like a baby. I lug my office bag and leave.

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

I was in a dreary mood today. Can't figure out why.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Opus 104

I'm a s-l-o-w reader. As I gradually sink into Vikram Seth's picturesque novel 'An Equal Music', I get more and more curious about the fictitious characters so vividly brought into life and strewn across the plot.

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.

A Repeat Story

My 2nd credit card showed up. Not surprisingly, there were 2 glaring flaws.

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

Steel Express

Like most bengalis living in Jamshedpur, Calcutta (now, Kolkata) was our Mecca. Our annual Haj would happen during the summer vacations. Since Jamshedpur was a hinterland of sorts with a sleepy ambiance and where nothing out of the ordinary ever happened, I eagerly looked forward to the trip. Calcutta was in stark contrast to our town. Huge, noisy, unplanned, chaotic and stunning in its complete disarray, it was a shock treatment that I was awaiting all year long.

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!

Nirvana

Yesterday's retaliatory mail seems to have done the trick. Bharathi is no longer flooding my mailbox with unwanted forwards. An excerpt from my mail:

Whatever b the cost, I'm ready to bear it. It'll definitely be cheaper than hiring a guy full-time to keep flushing my mailbox of your JUMBO-sized mails!

A recipient of crap-mail,
Deepanjan

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Some Happenings

Trivialities seldom merit dedicated posts, a fact I've often divorced. However, the cumulative effect of such events ought not be overlooked. Thus this entry.

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

Just Arrived Via Courier...

...thanks to Indiatimes Shopping!

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.
Rajat has a voracious appetite for the choiciest ringtones for his mobile. Last time, it was a snoring man. Today's fad was the plaintive cry of a woman. Everyone at work looked up in utter bewilderment when his phone rang!
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

The Red Umbrella

I saw Diya (my niece) the other day proudly flaunting her brand-new umbrella. Blue in color, the canopy had fanciful decorations that amply captured the imagination of the little lady. The metallic stem added to its beauty. Diya had been wanting an umbrella for long and her parents finally gave in to her constant tantrums.

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!)

I'm busy...

...as a bee. There'll be some posts soon, I promise.
But I miss Sameer's rants the most.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I'm attractive...

...though not in the conventional sense. The hour-long bus jaunt back home is a period when most techies feel overwhelmingly sleepy after a hard day' s work. Many would slip into a deep slumber had it not been for the pothole-ridden roads of Bangalore. My next-seater (keeps changing) joins the tribe of wannabe slumbering travelers...and invariably begins to slump towards yours truly. And since I always take the window seat, my face is stuck between the window pane and a wobbling head. I silently suffer in my entrapment with nowhere to turn. Why can't the bugger tilt towards the aisle?
Today's culprit was especially intimate. I could feel the radiant heat from his head!

That's it

I seldom visit the blogs of other people because they are generally very boring and utterly lack in the quality department. However, I had tried my level best to stick to some that began with a bang and promised the world.
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

Installed Yahoo! Widgets on Mani's computer. Just loved it!

Hard Pressed

We all have our handicaps, don't we? Well, mine isn't exotic or seriously debilitating but stunting nevertheless.

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

My first credit card has arrived. It's a Mastercard from Standard Chartered Bank. I had insisted on getting a Visa card and they had promised to comply, but...
Blogging held the promise of making a Milton out of every moron...and too many of them fell for it. The quality of most blogs is appalling. I often get the feeling my own posts are adding to the litter.
Today is Dad's first death anniversary

Friday, December 09, 2005

I thought I was wearing my blue jeans. I realised they were the black ones instead only when I reached office!

The Tree Blog

If trees could blog day in and day out about their daily experiences without repetition, what would they write? Since my daily routine is very monotonous and stripped of spectacular events, my dilemma is very much the same. At least the tree could write about the dogs that would come up to it & do their business against the trunk. Not that I would yearn for canines having a similar affinity for me!

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

The making of a cheating maestro

Well, the little peeks would happen way too often...and they really don't qualify for cheating, but the first time I cheated in school to an extent that would put even Lalu to shame was when I was a 7th grader. The UN was conducting a short study course on its history, structure, constituent bodies, et al. We were given a booklet that contained all the pertinent information that we were supposed to mug up in about a week's time.

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

Bagpack/Backpack

I don't know how it is in the rest of the world; but in India, school children are burdened with oversized bags. You can't help feeling sorry for the little ones having to lug heavy backpacks each morning to school and then back home after dispersal. I couldn't escape this ritual either.

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

An idea jettisoned

Just called up the Nokia folks. The keyboard costs a staggerring Rs7240. So I've finally dropped the idea of buying it.

Microsoft Live Mail Beta

My elation was boundless when I finally got an invitation from the Microsoft guys to try out their Live Mail. However, I was soon to be disappointed. On clicking the link, I learnt that the service is not available to Indians yet.
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?

I'm sleep deprived...

...since Friday, and can hardly keep my eyes open. Satya's b'day bash continued till the wee hours of the morning today and I can now feel my IQ dipping!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Ganguli Bagan, Diya-Didi & Sebastian

29112005 by deepanjannag.

New Image by deepanjannag.

sabu by deepanjannag.

In a dilemma

I had originally planned to buy the Nokia Wireless Keyboard. However, now that I've got some semblance of the price (which happens to be above Rs.6k), I'm not ready for the leap. Even desktops are now available for under Rs.10k.
I could write an entire book on the events that took place the previous week. Now, if only my memory didn't fail me yet again! Folks, you must have realized by now that I suffer from an impoverished memory...something that has bugged me since early childhood. In fact, I decided to blog to preserve the memories that would otherwise fail me.
So what could have been a comprehensive narration...will never be.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

B2B-------> Back to Bangalore

My week-long vacation disappeared like ether...and I have only a few snaps to keep me company in the torrid days ahead!

Kolkata

02122005(005) by deepanjannag.

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28112005(003) by deepanjannag.

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28112005(008) by deepanjannag.

Tulu Mashi, Dida, Pinki, Chumki, Didi

01122005(002) by deepanjannag.

01122005(008) by deepanjannag.

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01122005(014) by deepanjannag.