Saturday, March 29, 2008
It's time for me to turn spiritual and drown the agony.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
The motherboard was changed last time. When the problem persisted, I got in touch with DELL India...& that's how I landed up with an excruciating series of email exchanges with Lalitha. It was like trying to explain Dark Matter to a retard. Anyway, I finally convinced them to send me a systems engineer (who turned out to be the previous one). This time they reinstalled the OS.
The problem has only been aggravated. DELL India now intends to change the hard disk and RAM. They'll hopefully show up on Saturday.
What have I done to deserve this? It's like marrying a hottie with schizophrenia.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Well into the day, I was blissfully slumbering beside Andromeda under the illusion that I was safe in the hideout that my cosy room had been elevated to. Mani barged in and smeared colour all over me while I managed to escape into the open just in time to avoid Andromeda being stained. Had I failed, history would have remembered today as the day when an innocuous little thing triggered the 3rd World War. Posterity came close to almost never happening.
People took turns in ganging up against each other for all out colour assaults. I was twice at the receiving end. Though the most passive 'rioter', I had fun.
Here's a lesson I learnt this time: semi-nudity is a great virtue during Holi (women shouldn't try this). It saves your clothes.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I used to call this the torture chamber. I gradually came to realise that it was the chamber of death instead. I was not even allowed to stay in hospital for long though the doctors felt it was necessary in order to stabilise my blood pressure. But orders are orders and the government did not want to be inconvenienced by me in any way whatsoever. The government did not want the media to know I had been hospitalised.
I did not have my mobile phone with me and the doctors at the government hospital - AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) - were instructed to discharge me after a certain period of time. Curiously though, the decision was not left to the doctors as to what this certain period of time was to be. The last time I was admitted to this hospital a few weeks ago I was suddenly discharged as a result of governmental pressure. I am sure this was linked to a report in the Times of India, which stated I had been hospitalised.
At this undisclosed location I am neither allowed to go to a doctor for consultation nor is one allowed to come to me. I suffer from severely fluctuating blood pressure and the strange thing is that I was not even allowed to speak to any of the doctors at the hospital over the telephone. Even after repeated requests I was not given a single phone number.
When I was in hospital, I asked the doctors if I could call them if necessary but they said that they were not allowed to hand out their numbers. I had to make inquiries through officials to get even the simplest of answers from these doctors. I have suffered tremendously both physically and mentally. My blood pressure is now impossible to control. The doctors say it is due to stress which I must avoid at all costs.
How can I not be stressed when everything is continuously stressing me out? I am brought to this place and incarcerated like some animal; my human rights (are) constantly and continually violated. I am not allowed to step out or meet anyone. How can I not be stressed? I received the extension of my resident's permit, but the status quo continued.
And because of the high blood pressure caused by stress, I developed heart disease (hypertrophy) and hypertensive retinopathy, both of which were diagnosed at the hospital. The hypertensive retinopathy will eventually cause me to go blind. The blood pressure, if uncontrolled, will destroy the heart, kidneys and eyes.
Prior to my confinement, my blood pressure had been under control and all my organs were in perfect condition. After returning from hospital, I wanted to leave this country at the earliest as I knew I would never be free from stress here. I said I needed to go to Kolkata urgently to collect a few important documents and other assorted things, including bank cards, and to sign my tax papers. That too, just the basic permission to visit my Kolkata flat to wrap up my life there, was denied for security reasons.
THEY FINALLY DID IT
Even though they constantly pressured me mentally to leave the country, I refused to budge. I was determined I would not leave this country. When they saw it was pointless trying to destroy my mind, they attempted to destroy my body. In this they succeeded by ruining my health, which leaves me with no other alternative but to leave this country.
I WAS NOT ALLOWED TO SEE ANY DOCTOR FOR 'SECURITY REASONS'.
It is important that all this be known. I made repeated requests to be allowed to consult a medical specialist as my condition was growing worse with the ever increasing stress I had to face in this not-so-gilded cage. I was not allowed to see a doctor for more than two months. The decision makers asked the officials not to attend to me especially when I desperately needed a doctor. Two months after my initial request, I was eventually taken to an undisclosed third location to a quack who could unsurprisingly, do nothing at all. I insisted that I had to see a cardiologist or at least a specialist. I was then told that this would entail a visit to the doctor's chamber.
I agreed to go but was told that I would not be allowed to go to a doctor's chamber because of the 'security risks' involved. I fell very ill and told the officials I was likely to have a heart attack. After a few days, at the same undisclosed location, I was allowed to see a doctor from the AIIMS who prescribed some medicines after taking which I fainted. The same night I was admitted to hospital where my blood pressure fell alarmingly and I had to be given life-saving drugs to survive. The doctors told me that I needed to spend two or three weeks in hospital but the officials whisked me away from the critical care unit after just three days and took me directly to meet the minister for external affairs.
The minister asked me to leave the country, the shock of which made my blood pressure shoot up to 220/120. I was rushed to the hospital but the doctors were instructed by the officials not to admit me for 'security reasons'. In my not-so-gilded cage, I had no help at all.
It has been nearly eight months that I have been living under virtual house arrest, in a prison without any facilities. I have been asked continuously by the government to leave this country. Naturally, this has upset me a great deal as I left Europe to relocate to India; to make India my permanent home. I settled in Kolkata where I was living peacefully in a Bengali milieu. I was very active helping oppressed women and writing feminist and humanist literature. Just because a few Muslim fundamentalists objected to my being in this country, I was first imprisoned in Kolkata and then moved to Delhi. In order for the politicians to secure their Muslim vote bank, I had to be locked up and, as a consequence, my health was irreparably destroyed.
I am not being allowed to go to Kolkata before I leave the country to pack some important things and secure my house. I was not allowed to step out for eight months (four months in Kolkata, three and a half months in Delhi). I was not allowed visiting hours at my place of confinement I was not allowed to meet my friends and acquaintances.
This is India, a country I wouldn't choose.
Monday, March 17, 2008
I don't know how long this has been going on, but I've really lost my afflatus. When was the last time I had something genuine to write? When did my writing last ring a bell? When was the last time I could shut off the internal wrangling and concentrate on a coherent idea? When was the last time I really felt like writing? Things have really gone from bad to worse. Maybe I need a break and concentrate on something else before returning to blogging.
I hope this is only evanescent and I can write something meaningful in the not too distant future.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
The motherboard has been changed. I couldn't bear to see the systems engineer ripping apart my beloved.
But it was all in vain. The problem persists and now the memory has to be changed. That should hopefully fix it.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
I just saw this Woody Allen movie where the great atheist recalls the adage of even a broken clock being right twice a day.
We were taught how to tell the time in first grade. Before the face of the clock could be deciphered, however, I was already smitten by the timekeeper to our dwelling - a vintage, English-made, pendulum clock. Dad would wind it every Sunday at 9pm without fail. And since the object of my affection was so stunningly beautiful and untouched by time, I decided to draw the face with the arms pointing to any direction that caught my fancy.
I remember how agog I was when it was over. I showed by artwork to Dad and asked what the time was, which I obviously don't remember now. What if the smaller arm pointed to somewhere between 8 and 9 and the longer North? Was it 8, 8:30 or 9?
And this is where the adage is potentially defeated. Some out-of-sync clocks can be synchronized by manually rotating the arms. Anyone with an iota of common sense would do the job by rotating only the longer arm (at least for mechanical clocks), the shorter one would lazily follow - though very slowly. Disobey this rule-of-thumb and you're a clock killer and the adage refuter.
As Dad had feared, I wasn't by his side when his time finally came years later. I reached home late, very late. The clock had missed the customary Sunday winding but it was still keeping time when I finally reached home on Thursday morning...as if waiting for me.
That evening, the pendulum finally stopped swaying.
Dad had been witness to someone resetting the time on my maternal grandfather's clock by rotating the smaller arm. He went on to time and again recall the incident and ridicule the person involved, which was very unlike him. After Dad passed away, someone tried to reset our pendulum clock this way. Obviously, not everyone in Dad's proximity during his lifetime could assimilate his insight. When I learnt of the folly, I couldn't help an outburst as tears flooded my eyes thinking of Dad.
I'm away from my clock for now, but one day I'll take over the mantle. That's when the pendulum will swing again.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
USB connections only compound the problem. Andromeda survived a good 30 minutes before succumbing to the post-revival syndrome!
The only way to prevent the anomaly lies in never letting my beloved companion to sleep. Though this shouldn't be a serious impediment, I'm annoyed nevertheless.
The vagaries of Andromeda post revival from the sleep mode are yet to surface as I type this post. Here's what I did different this time: I removed all devices attached to the USB port (thumb drive and mouse) before revival.
If the machine doesn't hang this time, it'll be a first and I'll have certainly unearthed a very vexing pattern. Here's my advice to anyone buying peripherals for a Vista machine: be certain that the device is certified for your OS. I've come across innumerable accounts of device incompatibility with Vista, and slighted them away...only to realize my folly.
Hey, my machine is indeed yet to hang!
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Remember a certain guy who had dared to incur the wrath of the Vatican in the 17th century by advocating heliocentrism? He paid the price by being forced to recant and spending the last years of his life under house arrest.
Biblical inaccuracy was reluctantly acknowledged in the late 20th century when Pope John Paul 2 expressed regret for how the Galileo affair was handled, and officially conceded that the Earth was not stationary (source: Wikipedia). It was a victory too late for solace to Galileo Galilei.
The Vatican is now set to complete its rehabilitation of the scientist by erecting a statue of him inside Vatican walls. The planned statue is to stand in the Vatican gardens near the apartment in which Galileo was incarcerated (source: Slashdot). While I'm not sure what to make of this, I take heart in the fact that whatever be your belief system, mankind is gradually defeating flawed indoctrination and marching steadily towards unravelling the truth.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Sameer is back in Pune. He asked me if I thought he had changed (since our BIT days). Well, my perception of him is more prone to change than his own self changing. Consequently, I would be a really skewed arbiter.
What about my opinion of him anyway? Well, I'm not showing my cards!
Monday, March 03, 2008
Sunday, March 02, 2008
From left: Sittu (partially out-of-frame), Sameer, Deepanjan and Rakesh.
Photo Credit: Vivek.
Sameer's lodging at my place during his brief visit to Bangalore offered us an alibi for a rendezvous on Friday evening. It was nice exchanging office anecdotes and catching up with old times.
Sameer remains as vociferous and opinionated as ever. While I'm tempted to offer some insights, I'll refrain from doing so.