Monday, November 29, 2004

An epilogue

Feels like ages since I blogged last - a good 4 days. Feels like so many things have happened between then and now - most because of what's going to happen after now. I am leaving germany tomorrow morning. So, as always, there's been loads of work and meeting up with friends and rest. Overall, it's been a great trip - wonderful people, great trips and lots to learn. I must admit that when I arrived here, things were all too shaky on a lot of fronts. Feels much better now - have a hazy feeling of having got some perspective, something to work towards, to improve upon, to reach and that's always good news.
As for the part-2 of this ode to an ode, I have lost interest in writing it :) For the sake of record, it starts with him drowning his sorrow in a cup of orange juice sitting inside the flight - earlier, in an unbelievable stroke of serendipity, the lady (she wasn't actually a girl as he realized) joined his queue though much too far away. That she wasn't a girl wasn't the only realization - her nose is a trifle too flatter than he expected and her eyes a little smaller than usual. He still gathered courage to go and talk to her. but what would you know? she speaks only chinese and wasn't at all how he thought she would look like. He didn't know what they call a guy who speaks a lot of languages - he wasn't one of them. So, he was left sulking how beautiful it had all been as an unfulfilled dream - as a missed chance that could have led him to bliss. All this as my little ode to those wonderful lines by Yeats in the "Ode to grecian urn"
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!
You can find the whole poem here
I am in India now. Couldn't finish the blog the other day extending my blog block to close to a week now. I am not sure how far an indian software engineer's life has time for such sweet nothings. But I shall strive to drop a blog or two every week - after all, this is one of those few things that make my day.
As for the trip - it was wonderful. watched some movies after so long. don't even bother to ask me how bad they were. First there was anchorman - the legend of roy burgundy, a comedy in which I laughed exactly for one joke and found only one guy funny. But it made me realize that those happenin-Mcduckin-guys out there do make really ugly movies like us. And the second one was kyun, ho gaya naa. what were they thinking? don't get me wrong, it's a fun movie to watch in a flight. but i guess, everyone involved made that movie only for the sole reason of blowing some money and having some fun and hoping people see it.
Anyways, I am ending this blog here - and start a new blog right away :-)

Friday, November 26, 2004

An ode to an ode to the grecian urn - part 1

He said ....
If I have to make a list of the most boring things to do in life - sitting in an airport for a flight a couple of hours away is easily one of them - even above swatting flies on a sunny afternoon, or wading through a boring book. I have heard of men who carry "lounge books" and finish it in one sitting in an airport seat. But, I have never wasted time on such wordy pursuits. Usually, I do what men in my league of wisdom prefer to do - sleep. However, not this time - for there before me was an arrestingly beautiful young damsel with a book in her hand which I am sure she isn't reading. And probably for the zillionth time, I am sitting here rehearsing my starting lines.
Is it just me - Every time I enter the airport, I have such a strong feeling that I am going to accidentally run into some interesting girl and we would talk about every little thing under the sun and voila! we become friends for life. The girls indeed do arrive, my mind does indeed flutter - but the first few words get stuck to the lips and refuse to move. But this time is going to be different .... let's try the usual lines first.
"Hi, any idea what's the time right now?
"Either you should be extremely short sighted and should have a bangle and not a watch on your wrist. Or you don't know to interpret time on a watch - either way, Not interested"
"Hi .. pretty lonely out here huh!"
"Yup, they stopped midnight carnivals in the airport a couple of centuries ago"
Or simply,
"Hi, I think I have met you before"
"Nope. I know what you are thinking. that was my step sister!"
Arghh! Adding to the misery was this 55 year old aunt who knew what was running in my mind and was waiting for me to get snubbed. Ahaa! not so soon grand mummy! this horse waits before it's the bait!
So, just to get things going, I picked up my existing key chain and tried shifting the keys to the new one I was presented with. Sometimes, that can get a little tricky - especially when the key chain is new (as it is usually is when it's gifted). So, you have one key that you use to split the ring wide while you try with your one free finger to push the other keys in. Things were going fine until that destined moment - I don't know what exactly happened. But due to some strange mysterious force, the key slipped out of the ring, travelled in the air and fell into the cup of tea that the person next to me was drinking. Thanks to archimedes principle, the hot tea spilled on his new blazer and a drop hit his glasses leaving a brown trail until it settled on his white shirt making him look more angrier than he actually was. Show me a well gentlemen, I don't deserve to live. I cringed, cut a very sorry face and apologised to him. He gave me an young-men-of-these-days look, gave me some sound advice and walked away. Just as I was looking for wells around to jump, through the corner of my eye I saw her smile. Did she .. really doesn't matter that she laughed AT me. She noticed. God! why am I so miserable that I fall in love with every girl who gives me the slightest of attention.
I tried to shut her out and go to sleep - but couldn't help wondering what was running in her mind or whether she was still looking at me. I opened my eyes and saw that the 50-something aunt had left. She's had her laugh anyways - I had made up my mind. Keep it frank - "hi, I am really getting bored in the airport and would love to have someone to talk to. I have a pretty good sense of humour and I am sure you would love my company. Is this seat taken?". I was sure even the worst case cant be worse than dropping a key into someone's cup of tea and losing it forever (just because you were too ashamed to ask him again).
I picked my bags, combed my hair with my fingers and stood up - I was confident, smart, funny. I am the king of the world. Just as I took the first step, the announcement came in loud and clear - "This is the first call for all passengers who are traveling by the flight AI 142". And I had an extremely compulsive desire to please the airport staff by leading the row of passengers. So close .. so damn close. Deep down, a voice asked me to wait for the next call. But probably, it was a omen. She probably is a suicide bomber - it felt wise to leave things as they were. my lady, I am sad to leave without telling you how much love you. But duty calls - till we meet the next time. Adios!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

My final weekend trip

There are so many things that I do because many others before me do it or because I know of a lot of people who have done it and talk about it in glowing terms. I do such things not because they evokes interest or curiosity in me but just to tell myself that "Yes! I have done it too." Going to Switzerland is one of those many things.
Well, one good thing about going to a place with such an attitude is that your expectations are usually rock bottom and you are seldom disappointed. Your mission is accomplished as soon as you set foot in the platform and no one really cares even if you just sat there behind a window pane and saw the city dress up in snow. So, given this as the premise to my weekend trip to Switzerland - I must admit, that it was way beyond my expectation.
So, just as most of them who go to Switzerland do - we reached interlaken first, a city that's close to Jungfrau mountains - the tallest point in europe which houses a railway station and a post office (I don't have the slightest idea who receives his mails there. anyways ...). If you haven't seen Interlaken don't worry - take about 5-6 bollywood movies, and pick out all scenic locations in which the songs have been shot. Voila! You even have the dark corner alley of interlaken before you. And understandably so! You come out of your hotel and hit the roads, and you see snow-clad mountains on either side. The air is fresh and the rain drops of last night glisten on the roads leaving the pine trees look like as if they are bearing pearls on them. The major attraction for most of the tourists however is the Jungfraujogh. It's about 10,000 feet above sea level which makes it the tallest point I have been to. On a lovely summer afternoon, if you are out at the sphinx view point on top of the jungfrau mountains, the view looks something like this. But as you might imagine, November 22nd is not exactly one of those sunny days of an year. So, if you are as adventurous as I am and would like to go out there and "check out the view" without one of those ugly-comedian-monkey-caps, you basically are standing on a sheet of ice, with a visibility of a couple of centimeters and a temperature of -27 degrees and you might come back with black lips, a flushed face and a skin that's had such a bad frostbite that it might bleed any second. Of course, all you wanted to do was to stand there for a couple of seconds and "feel the pulse". But our 40 year old south indian aunties holding handicams for the first time might entirely block the doorway, leave you dying in the cold and also blame you for obstructing their view.
Imagine the impact we, as indians, have made in that place. On top of the mountain there are 2 restaurants. One is a swiss restaurant serving a typical european cuisine. The other is a Bollywood indian restaurant - that's the name of the restaurant! Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed. Otherwise, I might have actually had an onion masala dosa on the tallest point of europe! Just as so many other things in life, it was not entirely about the place but the passage towards it that made the whole trip to the top memorable. And for someone from 4, thendral nagar in a distant corner of chennai to watch a whole mountain under inches of snow, and see landscapes seen only in the the most beautiful paintings and photographs come to life, though as still as they are in those works of art, is really special.
Sunday was sunny and we took the train to Lucerne - they advertise it as the panoramic trip (or something like that). Well worth every dime! Lucerne ... well it's a nice place and I have been told there are a lot of places around Lucerne that are worth a visit. Unfortunately for us, we had just 4 hours there. And hence we did something I had sworn I would never ever do after sleeping my way to glory in a tourist bus in Brussels - take up a "tour of the city". Don't get me wrong. The tour was extremely informative - it showed us the supreme court, the police stations, the mayor's house, the junior high school, the state university - I am sure these are extremely important landmarks for a tourist who's going to be in the city for 4 hours. And yeah, they even showed me a hotel which was once a prison and the prison cells have now been transformed into rooms - I am not really sure how the hotel guys feel about this. Imagine, "welcome to the hotel sir. you have been assigned cell number 47. here's your uniform!". The worst thing about the whole affair was that the descriptions were both in german and english and by the time the english translation arrives, you already are out of the street and so you actually don't know where the junior high school is in case you wanted to refresh your math!
Now, when I read what I have written above, it's amusing how cynical I am about something I actually enjoyed so much. I guess, I am just becoming an adult :) I remember telling my colleague the other day, that I am slowly becoming cynical about the little things in life - and that really scares me. Can't imagine sitting in a chair and passing judgements on everything I know or don't know about. I really wish I grow up to be like my dad, who can any day listen to anyone from 6 to 60, make his own decisions but never be judgemental and believe that good things happen because they are destined to.
I am tired now. I have to sleep. It was lovely talking to you.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Just wanted to let you know that the I have compiled a preliminary list of blogs by BITSians and you might find it at or to the right of the home page in the "You might wanna" section.

Monday, November 22, 2004


August 22nd 2320
He stood there before her doorstep uneasily shifting his weight wondering whether he should just turn around and run away. He closed his eyes and instinctively reached for the spot behind his neck just below his hair and massaged it slowly. A soothing sensation swept him as he opened his eyes and checked himself in the vague reflection on the recently varnished wooden door.
It's been a year and a half now - and he's come a long way from the brink of death to a "safe, content and transformed" existence - his past relationship had left him as a drunk, brooding, suicidal loser and there was nothing in life that he looked forward to, until a "helper-agent" had come to meet him with the solution "to love the way you are, and change the rest".
The door finally opened and she stepped out looking more beautiful than anyone he's ever seen. She was just like what he had expected her to look like, probably better. He continued staring at her unashamed as she descended the steps and whispered something and looked at him expecting an answer. Realizing he didn't have a clue of what she was saying, she blushed and asked him again if he knew where the restaurant was - it was just a couple of blocks away and they slowly started walking towards it, their fumbling fingers finally finding eachother's hands in the light of the distant lamp post.
It took the world by storm - there finally was a chip which simulated the way the brain thinks and could replace it with a more customizable solution. Clearly divided into compartments based on functionality, each faculty could then be customized to one's preferences. Of course, a spate of government regulations followed which banned enhancing the "intelligence" faculty as this, they believed, worked against the natural law of survival of the fittest. But what you could do was to control your preferences, your tastes, your risk profile - just about every choice you have to make and every feeling you can experience. All you had to do was to connect to your console and set your preferences and these were then replicated onto the central repository. There the preferences were checked for semantic and moral correctness - in other words, any setting that was malicious and would potentially harm fellow citizens was detected and punished.
They seated themselves in a dimlit corner of the restaurant, while others were glued to the TV broadcasting the president's message - "We are well on our way to Utopia - to a land of pristine intentions and unabated satisfaction", he announced amidst cheers from everyone. Both of them knowingly smiled at each other for they knew how much the chip had changed their lives.
They had met like a miilion others in the now famous dating services - one of the small applications that were mushrooming around the central repository. The principle aim of the service was to "avoid disappointment at all costs". Half of the universe was logged in there trying to find a perfect mate. If after a couple of interactions, a pair was interested in taking a relationship further, they were given access to the entire history of the chosen one till that very moment including past relationships, preferences, quirky habits to testimonials from trusted sources just to make sure there aren't any nasty surprises later in the relationship. The concerned parties can then choose to part amicably or customize their preferences to suit the other person. And if they do a perfect and optimal configuration is then delivered to both of them. The dating service also arranges for a "dream date" with everything - ambience, food, music and even the weather outside - suiting the couple's preferences.
They sat there staring at the plate and at eachother uncomfortably aware that there wasn't anything left for small talk - no little secrets, nothing about hobbies, work or nasty neighbours. It's was as though they had known each other for eternity. They just sat there waiting to come up with the perfect topic for the perfect occasion.
As he walked her to her door step, he knew for sure, this relationship was going to work - they had agreed upon everything right from politics to the name of their kids. She opened the door and turned around to give her million dollar smile - "I had an amazing evening", he said; she smiled. He slowly pushed a lonely strand of hair behind her ears and gently pressed his lips against hers. He knew deep down that it should feel magical - but it felt like snowflakes on burnt wood on a cold day in the middle of the arctic. He slowly opened his eyes and caught her staring back at him. They pulled away immediately and looked embarrassingly at eachother. He finally broke the painful silence, promised to call her and started walking towards his car.
Just as he reached the car, deep down behind memories of a lost past was a single moment just as fresh as it happened yesterday. One long prolonged kiss that he never wanted to end as he had held onto her wondering if he even knew the girl he was so madly in love with. He didn't even know if he could see her again after that, didn't know where life would take them or what they would name their kids - and all amidst all that pain and uncertainity was an inexplicable passion that was still so alive that he could just pluck her out of the wind and kiss her again. He flipped his wallet open and stared at her photograph framed by the leather walls of the purse. Tears welled in his eyes and he instinctively reached for the spot behind his neck, stopped himself and let the cold wind take those tears away before they glistened his cheek.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Bitsian Bloggers

I hate writing comments on other people's blogs. I really don't feel like it even when I thoroughly enjoy a piece of work.

I love it when people leave a comment on my blog. It's true - what I write here is entirely what I feel like and it doesn't bother me if no one ever comes to this page. But, if somebody managed to finish one of these long winding passages and even had the time and inclination to leave a comment, I find it extremely gratifying.

It didn't take me too long to realize that there's obviously a teeny little gap between what I do and what I want. And when it stuck me, it was a very profound realization. Probably it's because of the work I did at INSEAD - But this particular phenomenon has so much in common with what happens in real life. To paraphrase what a wise man said, Do to others what you want to be done to yourself (that's like St.Paul with sunglasses on version of a bible verse ;)).

Anyways, In this process of loving and sharing, giving and receiving (any fellow friends freaks thought of joey's lines for chandler-monica's wedding speech?) , I realized there are a lot like me who are hunting for bitsian blogs. So, I have decided to compile a list of BITSian blog addresses.

If you are a bitsian and
1. you have a blogspot address that you want to share
2. you know of someone who has a blogspot address that hewants to share

do drop in a comment to this post and I shall add you to the list. I wanted to get the list up before I leave office today - Unfortunately, I have to rush. They are screening Kabhie kushi kabhi gham in a German channel today. Though, it's one of the sickest movies I have seen in my life, the thought of watching Shahrukh speak german is zimply irreziztable.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Once upon a time in Belarus

On the eve of christmas about 3 decades ago, in a furnished hospital situated in one muffusal corner of belarus, a young baby was born - it had blonde hair and blue eyes and had an exceptionally sweet toothless smile. But as the doctors in furnished hospitals in that muffusal corner of belarus usually say, with a touch of pain and regret, the baby was born with bad blood - which in terms we normally use is translated as, the baby had too many complications and wouldn't live for long.
The dejected parents had nowhere to go to - back in those days in USSR, there were no gods or no faith in a supreme soul. In case of storms, boatsmen didn't resort to prayer but clutched their oars harder and when the oars gave away .... no one really knew what they could do. Resting their faith on fate, they let their little baby count its days. Fortunately for them, the baby kept counting. Every year that passed was a miracle because the life of the kid was was beyond the realm of reason and against the rules of science. At the age of 4, after a close medical check-up the doctors made a grave statement that the kid will NEVER ever be able to raise weights heavier than 5 kilos - to put things in perspective, that's the weight of the average school bag that a kid carries to school in India and is less than what even air-india allows to you to take on board as a hand luggage.
And hence the boy was left to walk around, read a couple of books, given a special chair in school and left to be stared at by curious kids and sympathetic neighbours. Thankfully he was too young to realise the precariousness of his existence or to be bothered by the eventualities of his bane. One fine day, his father got a newspaper clip home that listed a set of traditional exercises like yoga and japanese martial arts that can be done without the usual weights.
That was a beginning of a miracle that shall last a lifetime. Much to the amazement of doctors, his muscles started gaining strength and after a couple of years he was termed "normal". At around 14, he realized the distance he's walked since his birth and how many times the walk to light and life was so slippery that had it not been for his father's hand, he would have ended his life a long time ago. As the old women in the muffusal corner say, no one would know the value of something more than someone who's lost and got it again.
He knew he was a miracle and set out to do two things - one to find out who far this miracle could go and two to find out a reason or faith that could explain what happened to him. His workouts started getting more meticulous with every passing day and his shelves soon had books on gita, taoism and the japanese art of samurai.
One fine day, he came home deciding to be a kick boxer. And for the next couple of years, he was in and out of bouts handling blows that would have left my fellow pedestrian on the bus to heaven. And when the blows took time to heal, he ended up in the university doing his masters in computer science.
Back in those times in Belarus, too many things were happening and as political analysts sipping a cup of tea in coffee shops predicted, an empire was about to break. So, our young man came to europe for a living and soon was a security guard for a hi-flying businessman. Of course, there were better things that a graduate could do - like falling in love with a fellow russian and marrying her for starters, working in software companies as a software programmer and then a technical lead, being recruited in a leading software company to design and build one of their most important components that forms the corner stone of their next generation of products and .....
... having coffee with me in the SAP's coffee's lounge as my project lead and telling me his whole story leaving me awestuck and speechless.
This story is entirely factual and is substantiated by my kick-boxer project lead who breathes and eats (and sometimes even sleeps) in the cubicle next to mine.

Monday, November 15, 2004

For a happy piece of prose

He had been sitting there tapping the pen on the mahagony table for the last 30 minutes waiting for the next magical idea to dawn on him. The sound of his tapping, along with the tick of the clock and the flutter of the papers on the table interlaced themselves and gradually reached a crescendo waking him up from his catnap. He stopped tapping, got out of his chair and started pacing the room talking to himself and coming up with words and phrases that he magically hoped would group themselves, adorn an idea and become a story. He was supposed to submit a "printable" piece of work by the end of the day. There was only one condition - it shouldn't be yet another melancholic tale. For the last 2 months, he's been spinning tales of lost love, blood and death, pain in its most naked form that everyone - the publisher included - needed a reason to smile. Literally!
He couldn't see how he could help it - Pain is the only emotion he knew. Happiness was a fad, a monotonous, too-brief-to-capture state of existence that never stirred a single string in the anyone's heart. All classics were tragedies. People reserve their tears for the best works of art and "All that's well ends well" wasn't even half as famous as Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet. Even if he forced himself to write something gay and funny - it was slapstick, cheap and often disgusting and decayed.
The settings and surroundings weren't inspiring either - His was one of the old fashioned south indian houses with a porch right in the middle of the house with all doors facing the void in the center. During festivals, the whole family gathered there singing, dancing, playing petty games, cutting hens for lunch and running from one pillar to another playing a very indianized version of baseball with a coconut bark as a bat. But now, not a single fly moved - his niece had come down for vacation from the US. The "Agni nakshatram" (fourteen days of may when the summer's at its peak) had sapped her of all enthusiasm and she wasn't too keen on embarking on the trip with her parents to "get the blessings" of all distant relatives. His mom sat in the corner complaining incessantly about the lack of water in the well and the prices of vegetables, while his dad was in the middle of his afternoon nap, "kumudham"'s centerfold spread across his chest. "what happiness does one get out of this monotony!" - he threw his pen in a fit of anger at the wall and suddenly realising that he doesn't have another spare one, cussed himself and started searching for it again.
Just as he searching between the cracks of the walls, the sun disappeared behind the clouds and a mild wind entered his room flipping the pages on his table (old stories of sorrow that he cherished as masterpieces). He stood up catching the scent of earth, closing his eyes imagining rain drops drizzling into his porch from the red tiles. His clothes! His clothes were out in the porch! Just as he rushed to the porch, the torrent started without a prologue or a pause. The clouds suddenly came to life and were warring with earth left, right and center. He hopped into the porch, careful not to slip and fall, and tried to remove his shirts from the clothline. His niece who was sleeping till then opened her eyes in wide amazement, smiled with glee and ran into the porch. She wouldn't listen to her grandmom warning her of catching a cold and started dancing for all her kinder garden rhymes. Soon, his mom stopped shouting and started smiling at her antics while he was still caught with a clip and a tangled piece of cloth. A few rain drops hit the porch and splashed so high that his dad woke up surprised. Sitting there he started clapping to his granddaughter's antics and she obviously thrilled at the attention she was getting started doing raunchier britney spears numbers and Geri Halliwell's "It's raining men" and his parents, oblivious to what the words meant cheered her even loudly.
Out in the streets, it was a picture of joy as farmers rushed out with huge pumpkins and threw them on the road leaving the whole street look like a pumpkin garden ran over by a wild herd. Old women sat in corridors, chewing betel leaves and singing songs of rain and prosperity. Children were out already with fleets of paper boats that were sailing through canals that connected one household to the other. Dry gobar cakes fixed on the walls turned soggy with rain water and dripped onto faces of superstars and sex sirens below and inspired street urchins, armed with sticks, drew moustaches for pretty damsels in the film posters. Adoloscent girls, who weren't aloud to play in the rain, reached out of their windows trying to catch a few drops of rain in their palms. And the peasant with the cart smiled as his sweat merged with rain water and slid through his bare chest into the earth below. Crying babies, surprised seeing so much water around them, stopped whining and started pointing their fingers at the drops of water telling their moms stories of rain in their own languages, while the relieved mothers finally managed to catch some sleep.
Inside the porch - visibly irritated with the ordeal, he finally managed to collect all his clothes not before getting drenched from head to toe. He dropped them before his mom asking her to dry it inside and walked back to his room, picking a towel on his way to dry his hair. He watched in horror as his much cherished classics were making their way into the vast fields outside through an open window into the bliss of rain and the mess of mud puddles. Too tired to be angry, he collected a few remaining sheets, placed a paper-weight on them and started tapping it with his pen trying to come up with a happy piece of prose.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Formal gathering attendo-phobia

Some good news this week - ~S (I hate all this cryptology. But I am not sure to how many people he has actually talked to about his marriage. So, didn't want to get him into trouble by letting important people know through a public blog) is going to get married. And I am pretty kicked about it. I would love to say that we go a long way back together. But that's not quite true - I know him only for a good 2 years now. but I am still kicked.
I remember that one time when we were seated in a cafe and we were talking of our expectations from our better halves and what our opinions and dreams are. We were agreeing upon everything that after sometime it started feeling too creepy - our only requirement in terms of physical appearance from our future wives was that they have to have a wonderful smile and lovely eyes. We agreed that these are only two things that age cannot spoil. Fast forward to now - he has sent across snaps of his fiancee and she does have a lovely smile. lucky him :)
I have promised myself and him that I will be going for his marriage - quite frankly, I am not quite sure. I don't know if this is listed in phobias people can have. But I am scared of formal social gatherings (is formal social an oxy-moron? anyway, i mean occasions like marriages). The only time I have gone for a marriage alone was when Sundar's sister got married and that was because sundar is a darling and someone I know and haven't met for long was coming and I desperately wanted to meet her. I somehow have this fear that I will be a misfit and that I will feel lonely there (remember sid in DCH? "maa, wahan mein bahuth bore hotha hoon!". that's me :) refer to postscript.). Probably many guys do - but I am so bad that, there have been times when I have convinced myself to go till the bus-stop but couldn't get myself to board the bus to the "kalyan-mandap". Sometimes, I have gone inside and been there for 2-3 minutes and rushed out feeling claustrophobic inside. So, to travel 5-6 hours to another city to attend a marriage is so unlike me. Still, since the dates seem so far away, I am pretty relaxed. Will let you know if I really make it :-)
PS: Talking of me being Sid, soon after DCH released, there was this craze that if 3 people are friends, one of them has to akash, the other sameer and the last one Sid. We were 3 guys - Santhosh, Arjun and I - who have been together since high school. Arjun one day mails the two of us and says he saw DCH and the friends were just like us. Santhosh is sameer because he's a flirt. Arjun's Akash because he's cool, doesn't have sentiments and will finally get married to someone as gorgeous as preity zinta. I am Sid because Arjun wants to be Akash :-) That's a good reason aye! Unfortunately, I was a part of quite a few such triplets and in one I was sameer and in another I was Akash. there were 4 of us in f'bleau and there the crisis was solved by making me Farhan akhthar the director!

Friday, November 12, 2004

This one on my real mom ...

Was talking to my mom the other day and as always comes a point where one has to think of a new thing to say. Given how much I love listening to my mom crib, I asked how her professional life was coming along. She nonchalantly replied - "Oh, Forgot to tell you. I quit my job". What???? I was flabbergasted and asked her when.
"Today, and you have been talking to me for about 20 minutes now. Didn't you feel like telling me. More importantly, didn't you feel the need to talk about it, discuss it with the family or something?"
This was her version - seems, she went to the office and took her seat and started with the first set of documents. Suddenly, she got this feeling that the whole exercise (of going for a job) is very futile and there's no real need. So, she took a fresh A4 sheet , scribbled her resignation right then and walked away. No exaggerations! Of course, there was a 3 month notice period and hence she's planning to sleep walk through the next 3 months in office.
Of course, it's true that she has no real necessity to go for work since the rest of us in the family (my bro, I and even my dad though he's working for a very non-monetary spiritual cause after his retirement) will be employed by this june. But what's interesting is this is not the first time she's done something like this.
I was probably 11 or 12. We were not doing too well back then and my mom was working for a small-scale company as an office assistant. The MD was a very nice guy and that was one important reason my mom stayed. unfortunately, he passed away and his son, known for his temper and tantrums took over. One day, my parents were at work and I was getting ready to sneak out for a match of cricket while I was supposed to be taking care of the house. Suddenly, at about 10 my mom comes home. She's all red with anger. She drops her hand bag and sits in the sofa staring at the wall. I quietly hid my bat, went into the room and started studying. Apparently, what happened was that this new guy came into the office with a foul mood and started shouting at my mom. My mom waited patiently for 2 minutes, took her bag and walked out - Literally! She didn't submit a resignation letter that time over. In the evening, the guy came to apologise. My mom was cordial but curt. She said she wasn't interested in working there anymore, gave him some tea and butter biscuits and asked him to leave.
Amazing lady - one of these days, I shall tell you what a fantastic person she really is. But to end this blog, the expert comments of my 50 and odd year old dad about the resignation of my considerably younger mom.
"You know rathish, we are young men and we can go for work. Your mom's become old and it's the responsibility of US,YOUNG MEN to take care of her. what do you say".
--- Speechless ----

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

A letter to mom

Dear Mom,
This is probably the fifth mail in a row that I am starting with these words - I am sorry for such a delay in replying. I hope you understand the way things are run here. After a fortnight, I am down in my base and have a bed to sleep in. It was lovely reading your letter - I would have probably read it a hundred times till now. So, those new red roses have come out really well is it. I would love to see them as soon as possible. And, it's a pity - what happened to Uncle Richard. Do let him know that my wishes are with him. I do hope he gets well soon.
Nothing much from my end - A few more troops landed here yesterday. Most of those guys were with me in our flights to Iraq - I am really glad that I have someone to talk to now. You should meet these chaps - each one is in a league of his own. Extremely brilliant characters - I wonder what they are doing here. Of course, I shouldn't be talking -for I have not the slightest idea what I am doing here.
I hate to crib darling - but this war is really getting on my nerves now. Everyday, I wake up with a feeling of dread ,asking myself whether my university fees is worth so much blood and gore. Yesterday, as I was walking by the streets, I saw this little cute girl standing and playing with a toy. I thought of buying her a toffee or something - just as I walked close to her, her mom rushed out of the house grabbed her hand and spit on my face. What hit me was that I wasn't even irritated at what she did - I felt I deserved it. I apologised to them, left the toffees on the doorstep and left.
I have read that the greatest punishment for a man is not to be happy with himself. It's now that I understand what that really feels like. Ever since we bombed that apartment, I have been having these nightmares where dead iraqi mothers come with half burnt flesh to our door steps in detroit and ask me why I did this to them. Little emaciated kids with empty sockets parade around with AK47s claiming revenge and I stand amidst all this mess, my hands red with blood trying to run away, but stumbling onto one grave after the other till I lose all hope scream out loud and wake up.
You know what scares me - I see my friends who have lost all regard for life. They don't give a damn about killing someone or blowing a truck. I am scared that I would become like that one day, that I would kill my soul in this war and come back as someone I would hate to be.
One more important thing - I would have preferred telling you about this in person. Christina is pregnant - I am sure you must be terribly disappointed and I am really sorry for having hurt you. But you know what mom - deep down, I don't feel any regret. A couple of months ago, a news like this would have freaked me out. But today - my first feeling is this. After soaking my hands in the blood of so many harmless souls, it's exhilarating to be able to create a life. I don't have the heart to ask her to kill the baby and hence be responsible for another murder. On the otherhand, I really want her to have the baby - my baby. Probably in a couple of weeks, hopefully by christmas, I should be back. Once I am there - I would talk to her dad and ask for her hand. I am sure he wouldn't be too keen in getting us married so early, and so wouldn't you. But, trust me - I am completely confident that this is the best thing to do. I have asked her to talk to her dad about this. So, he must be knocking on our doors not with the best of spirits. Just trust me on this - and convince him to get us married.
I can hear what you say mom - that there are practical difficulties, that my academics would go for a toss and that fatherhood has its own set of challenges. But trust me, if I can face a war, for reasons I feel completely unjustified, I can sure as hell face a life with the ones I love.
It's getting too dark outside and I have to report on duty 5 in the morning. I better catch some sleep now. You take care darling - and keep writing. That's the only thing that helps me walk unscathed in this road to perdition.
Love you lots mom.
- Me.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Gratifying the perpendicular pronoun

There's a good chance that I won't publish this today - anyways, here's the idea, the context, and the piece
Back in school, we had enacted one scene from Count of Monte Cristo (CoMC) which I for a very long mistook to be the original. Now, I remember just one line of that big passage that I had delivered as CoMC. For no reason in particular, I feel like rewriting that passage in my own words - I am sure the original is a zillion times more poetic and emphatic and I make no efforts to compete with it. The voice is of Alex. dumas, the words are mine.
Count of monte cristo has just accepted the challenge for a duel by Count of Morcerf's son. Count of morcerf incidentally is in prison due to a vital piece of evidence brought to court by CoMC. So, his wife is there at Monte cristo's house pleading for her son's life. She - who in reality was CoMC's lady love a long while ago.
Take a seat lady and let me tell you a story - a story of a young sailor called Edmund dantes. It's quite a distant past but the details are clear as a crystal- every word, every feeling of flutter, every tear and every ounce of flesh that burnt in anger. This is a story of a young man who traveled far and wide hoping to come back to his land one day to marry the love of his life, Mercedes. Mercedes - you my lady, would have never met anyone so pure and beautiful. As waves hit his deck, and as sailors sang merry, he sat in a corner looking for her eyes waiting for him like storm lanterns in the dark. The eyes did wait and he did return. And the chosen moment arrived when the young man landed in his lands to claim her hand. But alas! that was not meant to be - there in the same town lived a evil, slimy young man called Ferdinand. Blinded by lust, he hatched a ruse against Edmund dantes, the most devilish plan ever hatched against any human mortal. Poor Edmund fell prey and was locked off in prison for the rest of his life.
Deep in the debris within Château d'If - a castle of walls where light and hope were locked out at the doors, he had all the time to realize the misery of his existence - to be scared by the enveloping darkness that doesn't seem to end both in space and time, to scream just to listen to human voices once in a while, to dread images of an evil man's hands touch the most delicate parts of his lady love when he wasn't even worth standing under her shadow, to lose sleep for the rest of his life disturbed by those fateful waves that forever hit the walls he rested his head on and to finally resort to a fragile old man as a single human acquaintance and endlessly listen to his ramblings of a lost treasure night and day, every minute, every forsaken second. You would be amazed at what lonliness can do to somebody - to trade one's innocence to deceit, hope to cynicism, love to burning hatred, flesh to a glimmer of life, a sailor's past to a count's future, a lifetime's dreams and fourteen years in prison to an insatiable hunger for revenge - for blood and complete annihilation.
Fourteen years Mercedes - fourteen years is a large slice of a man's life. And today, in this crowning moment of achievement you want to take it all away from me citing the same reasons that forced me to waste my life behind those walls - love. Unrequited, unattainable love! So, what do you want from me - to walk out in disgrace out of a duel when it wasn't I who asked for it, to let the man who ruined my life walk free in these roads untouched by his evil past, to bleed to death for someone who could have once be mine but could never ever be.
Strange don't you think - that after so many years when we met, we passed off as strangers and you never made an effort to let me know you remember, strange that today you are here at my doors calling my name requesting me to vanquish the one thing that has fuelled my existence, strange that I am standing here talking you just as Edmund dantes would have decades ago, and stranger than all that despite everything you and your kin have done to me - I shall agree to every word of what you ask for, without a word or deed in return.
You may go now, Countess of Morcerf - your son shall come back alive to your abode before night fall tomorrow. My bullet shan't touch his shadow and you shall have him for the rest of your life. Leave now, before someone would see you here and shall doubt the valour of your son in tomorrow's duel.
But, in the days that follow - if ever you would find time to think of a past that's lost and a future that might have been, stop by my coffin and shed a tear Mercedes. A brave man never walks out of a fight and the one you loved is no coward. I shall take the bullet on my chest - but smile, for in life I couldn't keep you happy but in death I would.
You may leave now. my steward will show you the door.
PS: Thanks Pon C, for the title :-)

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Celebrity talk ...

This blog probably will be continuously updated. but off late, I have been hearing such "blasphemous" statements from the celebrity crowd - that I had to compile these together. Of course, I shall keep coming back to this blog as our stars always have to more to give

" It's one of the peculiar problems of many youngsters: They don't know which girl to choose, and settle down with. " - Shahid kapoor.

Who we? Of course, we are the guys who have so much of choice when it comes to girls that we are not really sure which one to settle with. Yeah right! We are holding on life boats in the sahara desert.

"He thanked the media for making him realise his dream of marrying before he turned 23. " - Dhanush

Now, that's quite a dream to have. Who am I to decide what dreams people can have? But it looks funny for a guy to make a statement like "I have always dreamt of marrying at 23" - what a noble dream for life!

"I have exposed within the confines of the story" - by, don't even get me started on the list.

Yup .. a bikini with a violin in the middle of the atlantic is a very logical and integral part of any sensible movie. Honey, I lost my brains in the movie ticket counter!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

On breaking hearts and napkin sales

Over the last few weeks, there's been a lot on the media and print about how to cope up with break ups, how to break up safely yada yada ... suddenly it seems everywhere. Not sure if it's due to the ubiquity of cupid or just that this is the season of break-ups (remember while I was at copenhagen, my friend told me that december is the month of breakups as there're too many parties, too much to drink and too much in-my-neighbours-bed sex and hence too many breakups). Not just the media, lots of sweet, wonderful, holding-hands-and-walking-towards-horizon couples have ended their bliss and have been filling metropolitan wells and water sources.
Was thinking today that what hurts in such cases is not so much the absence of that person in your life but the fear that you are not loved in return. It's probably rejection that gets the tears on - As in so many cases, if the parents reject but they still confess love for eachother but go their ways with life, I guess it hurts much lesser than betrayal or one of them falling out of love.
Sometimes, when in a philosophical bent, I end up telling my friends that if indeed she's that special and if indeed she made your life so wonderful, you should be glad that she came into your life ever and that you are one among those special people who she ever thought she could live rest of her life with. Let's face it - what made you think she could ever be yours? Rather than looking at what you have lost, it makes a world of difference when you look at what you have gained - a timespan that's worth a lifetime. I know - easier said than one. I shouldn't be talking.
And then there's this I-ME philosophy - I am ok. But people expect ME to be sad, depressed and try to tell me why life always goes on. SHE expects me to be sad as much as SHE is at least and tries to "Cheer me up" by talking of pleasant things while I think the same way and am disappointed that SHE is not as sad as I am. Worst of all, I expect ME to be sad, to crib and to write long passages on love that was lost - all as if I and ME are 2 different people. The best thing that can happen in a break up is for 2 people to treat themselves and each other as uncomplicatedly as they could treat before the breakup.
Anyways, I am sincerely sorry (that's not the right word) for those so many of them who I know deserve to be together. Just one piece of advice - Don't get wimpy. This is probably the most important time of your life when you should play the busy-bee, do the things that you love the most and become a better person for a cause that's lost. Amen.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Cerebral concoctions of a bored mind ...

Wondering how many Numismatists are those who forget Thomas cook don't accept coins while exchanging currency.
Was reading Indira gandhi's biography last night till about 1 and just as everytime, switched on the TV before I went to sleep. To my surprise, Channel VOX was screening the movie Teen dewaarein in Hindi with german subtitles. To put things in perspective, even hollywood movies that are shown in the channel are dubbed into german and I have NEVER seen a non-german movie before. So, to hear hindi (from the likes of Nasser shah, Jackie Shroff) was a pleasant surprise. 1, for a german s/w engineer (me, if you are still wondering) is an ungodly hour considering I am at office by 8:30 am. Still, will try my luck later this week to see whether there are any more surprises.

Monday, November 01, 2004


Through the stained glasses of her window, she was staring at the autumn leaves that were on their way to extinction. The cigarette in her hand was about to end, the ash dropping from its burning end on to the table cloth she didn't give a damn about. Just as every morning, she woke up dishevelled and stinking, made herself a coffee and sat in the corner table of the restaurant. For about 2 decades now, she's been living in the solitary room on the ground floor of her tavern. She doesn't remember the last time the place hosted a traveler, the last time she spoke to any living form. The tavern was a mess but she had stopped to care long ago - the linen was ages old, the sheets housed moth balls, the crockery in the restaurant had taken a pale shade of disdain and the table tops grazed the floors on one end.
Once in a month, the postman took mercy on her and brought some eggs, milk and oil. The day he dies, she thought she'll probably die of starvation. She doesn't even remember the way to the nearby village now - Half a century ago, the lonely uphill road was the single link that connected merchants with the vineyards on top of the hill to the markets below - The grapes and the wine from the vineyards were a connosieur's delight and hence trade flourished and so did the number of travelers who spent their nights drinking and sleeping with buxom damsels who were happy to offer them company for a dime and a nickel. After the war, the peasants of the annexed villages were offering grapes, though a trifle sour, for a tenth of the price and slowly these vineyards were left to decay sparing a few which sent back a barrel of wine for the affluent for christmas.
One spring afternoon, a rugged texan young man had stopped by the tavern (then her mother's) and won a place in her mother's heart and bed with a single smile. For years they lived as a family, with the tavern as their home and the whole hill as their playground, kitchen garden and the rest of the world. One day her father left to get some wood for the stove - the wood never arrived, the stove never was lit again. Her mom waited for him for months, hung chimes on the doorstep hoping that they would ring to announce his arrival - all it did was to let dry winds, storms and street urchins play with it. Soon her mom lost her mind and slit her wrists in the bath tub - She was seventeen then.
She was thirty now - but she looked a dozen years older. In one dark-lit corner of the room behind the huge wooden doors lay the chimes under a blanket of cobwebs and dust.
The days were getting shorter with every passing day and this one seemed to end before noon. The skies were getting darker and the leaves were falling more rapidly now. She sat there toying with the cup of coffee wondering whether she has to fill it up or go back to sleep. She finally decided to take a shower - didn't remember the last time she did that. Just as she was about to leave, there was a knock on the door and a young face popped in. His hair was in all directions, his cheeks red with the cold wind outside, his lips white and his fingers a shade of poison-blue holding on to a piece of paper. "Are you open?". She waved him in and went about looking for a menu-card. Didn't remember the last time she used it and she had no idea if she still had one. She looked at him and waited to catch his glance. "Coffee?" her voice came out as a croak. "Yeah. thanks". He shifted his glance to the piece of paper in his hands, staring at it disbelievingly and occasionally shifting his glances outside to the window or to the roof on top as if saying a prayer. A couple of days ago, he must have been impecabbly dressed, probably as a student in one of those rich schools down town, in a navy blue suit, a matching tie and neatly combed hair. But the cruel southern wind had painted an entirely different image on his face. There were patches of dust on his parched skin and white flakes around his ears. Something stirred within her - probably sympathy manifesting itself as curiosity. She went into the kitchen, boiled the coffee she had made for herself, added some lemon to it. She reached for the satchel full of chocolates she had bought long back and placed some on the saucer. Just as she left, she checked herself in the mirror and groaned at her disgustingly chaotic web of curly hair, quickly tied a kerchief around it behind her neck. Just as she served him coffee, she glanced at the letter in his hands. The piece of paper looked very old, crumpled and torn in the ends. It was brief note - "mother .... ill... as soon as ... regret .... ". His fingers were still brittle as he picked the cup and he spilled some coffee on the table. He looked up to apologise but the words wouldn't come out as he was scared he would cry. She smiled, ruffled his hair and picked up a tissue paper and took it to his lips.
Suddenly realising what she was doing, she dropped it on the table and walked towards the kitchen. Once she was sure that she had a serious look on her face, she turned around and asked him whether he needed anything more or would he just need the bill. "The bill would be great" he said and stared back at the paper. She got into the kitchen, smiled to herself and checked herself again in the mirror. There were wrinkles on her face and the skin was dry around the lips. She quickly rummaged for some cream, patched her face with it and wrote down the price of coffee on a piece of paper. She then thought for a second, flipped the bill and wrote a small prayer for his ailing mother.
The woods are dark, the road worn down
the hope is bleak and no one to tend
Trust takes us through to the light in the end
He guards love and his will shall be done
She walked upto him and left the bill on his table. He looked up at her and asked for the price - dropped a few cents on the table and stood up to leave. Just as he was about to go, he stared at the bill. He picked it in his hands, read it twice and looked back at her. Tears streamed down his cheeks and he rushed and hugged her. Not a word was said. He looked into her face, smiled and walked away.
She walked up to the door and saw him take his bike and ride through the uphill road lit by the dull autumn sun. Staring at the rickety roof, for the first time in years she realised the mess she was living in. She smiled at herself as she realised she had lots to do before the end of the day. As she shut the door, she saw the chimes under all the dust and debris. She picked it up, dusted it with her napkin and hung it before the doorstep, hummed an old song and walked into the kitchen.