Wednesday, March 30, 2005

whatever you see ...

Isn't it strange -

You had this lovely conversation with her last night and she suddenly looks more beautiful the next day morning when you first see her; there are things and corners in rooms you have never noticed in rooms that you have visited for years; someone who looked prettiest in the entire world is so obnoxious now that you can't see her in her face; Colors and hues of everything around change ever so often based on our moods; your choice of colors, shades keeps changing but it never strikes you that it's probably the colors that have changed and not your preferences.

Isn't it just ridiculous not to realize that the whole external world is just a construct of the mind, a vision we populate and create.

Yet another one?

Here I am going around telling people that I am extremely busy and guess what, this happened!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

A curious incident with the phone in the night time

It had been a long night by the time it reached 9:30 yesterday. We - members of the theater group - were seated in Barrista, 100 ft road and were discussing ideas for a play that's still on paper. There's a certain charm to the Barrista in 100 ft road - it's open, has excellent service and enough corners for one to tuck oneself in. And for some strange reason, the world beyond your table dims into oblivion as you sit there and create a cloud of thought and ideas around you. We were there, doing the same thing when a stranger came close to our table and suddenly picked something from our table and started running.

The first reaction was curiosity as we thought someone flicked a lighter on the table till we realized the conspicuous absence of a 25,000 rs worth mobile phone. I rushed out with ~L, the girl it belonged to and saw the guy running through the maze of cars into a dark alley on the other side. A single moment and I started running behind him, chased him to the other side of the road. But before I could get there, he took one of those million dark alleys that lead to the same slum which probably is a haven for all his like minded accomplices. I got into the slum and kept calling her number, but the faint vibration of the silenced mobile was too vague to catch through the buzz of the slum that late in the night. A stray dog, a loud TV, curious women and a shady shop keeper who for some reason had a sly smile on his face all the time was all that I was left with. I walked back defeated to the coffee house where everyone had information we could use - we blocked the connection, learnt how to block the phone, picked an A4 size paper to write a complaint to the nearby police station. Yellow T-shirt, thin, dark, 5 feet eight inches tall - a description that would fit a thousand souls in any neighbourhood.

10:45 in the night, I accompanied one of the waiters from Barrista to Indira nagar police station. Assistant sub inspector Siddhanandhappa joined us in a couple of minutes and stared through us as if we didn't exist for the next few minutes till boredom got the better of him and he asked us why we were there. The guy from barrista explained him the case in kannada - the ASI gave me a scowl and a lecture in kannada for 15 minutes on how I should be responsible about my personal belongings; something I had neither the ability nor the inclination to understand. I could empathize with him - there was nothing much he could do. I told him that as a conscientious citizen, I wanted to let him know that such things happened in the locality. He however wasn't ready to file an FIR and told me he could help me cancel the SIM if I could write him a letter that it wasn't stolen but misplaced. I could only smile - what scruples of responsibility. I thanked him and went back to barrista. 11:15 in the night.

At around 12:30, I left Barrista. Ratan wanted to drop me home so that I was safe. But I wanted to walk - walk at least to tell myself that I could do that, that I can enjoy this walk at 1 in the night despite the events of tonight. I was playing back the whole event in my mind wondering all that I could have done - I lost a whole minute watching the guy run, I didn't scream and get anyone's attention and I didn't manage to catch a good look at him to later tell the inspector something, anything that might have been useful. Just as I reached the doors of ISRO, I could sense a guy riding in a vehicle coming close to me and touching my laptop bag. I instinctively raised my hand to pull him down and realized it was just a group of youngsters who wanted to play a prank with me in the middle of night, little realizing it might have cost them their lives. They laughed at me and disappeared into nothingness. I didn't sleep too well last night - I can't put my finger on exactly what's bothering me - the safety net that I so take for granted under the sophistication of coffee shops and air conditioned offices I live in being invaded so unexpectedly; my utter inability in handling such a situation despite all the world I assumed I have seen; the callousness of the social infrastructure that I belong to and its sincere efforts to pass the buck; The indiference with which people see such things as if it's no big deal. I don't know. But it sucks!

Verbal imagery - IV

The crimson end of the cigarette burnt like the setting sun in the dark sky beyond the window as she smiled at him and exhaled a puff - the trail of smoke making a face at him and disappearing into the world beyond with a share of her soul.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Verbal imagery - III

She clung onto him tightly as the cold wind blew on her face. And as soon as the signal turned green, he cut the wind and soared on the road. The lamps on the side walk soon turned into a trail of lights, buildings beyond the platform merging into one another as her eyes started watering and the whole vision of what's ahead was blurred. As they tore away from the fabric of fellow travelers into a road not taken too often, a veil of tears and sweat fell on her face. She clung to his shirt, kissed him on his back, half-scared, half-excited dimly aware that she was beyond the point of no return.

Verbal imagery - II

She closed her eyes as he cupped her cheeks and drew his face close to hers. He breathed into her lips and the warmth left them quivering as they parted a little. Just as the noses touched each other, their lashes locked and kissed eachother with a passion that lovers only know.

Verbal imagery - I

He shook her hands for the last time, and in an instant a thin film of sweat between their palms was all that connected the two of them. He couldn't look into her eyes; he turned around and got into his car. He could spot her silhouette in his rearview mirror as she stood before her burning headlights. As the skies wept, the winds howled and the dead leaves murmured in dissent as the tyres zoomed past them, he stared at her image in his rearview mirror, like a photograph traveling the journey of time, growing hazy and distant with every minute till she was a ghost of a shadow the image left on the mirror, a distant memory that time's left in his heart.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Lost in translation

Disclaimer - this event is not an exaggeration. It happened and happened exactly how I am going to tell you.

One good thing about Bangalore, you have places to eat for any rate, any mode or any mood. If you want to stand, or have it grand, sit in sand (or in any other way, that doesn't rhyme), you have a restaurant and the good thing is, they are everywhere. Just outside my house, is a Udipi hotel - a place I frequent after those long days in office where I don't have to wet my wallet but still can have a sumptous dinner in anonymity.

Last night, as I was waiting for my masala dosa to arrive, a middle-aged gentleman came and stood next to me with his coupon. As he gave the coupon to one of the boys working there, he said in impeccable english - "Can you boil some water for me please?". This is strange for two reasons - One, no one has ever talked to any of those boys in english and as I expected, they didn't understand what he said. Secondly, he was the last guy who looked like as if "From the US of A". His complexion made it clear that he's been under the indian sun for quite sometime, he had a government job pot belly and the accent of All india radio 7pm english news reader (clear, distinct and unmistakably indian). None of the boys in kitchen paid any attention. He reiterated again, "Didn't you hear me. Just boil some water for me".

This was none of my business. My masala dosa was almost ready. But still, I gave him my best This-is-just-a-suggestion-I-mean-no-harm smile and told him that they serve hot water in the other corner. He gave me the dirtiest looks anyone's ever given me and continued saying the same thing again. Enough! I started humming a song, and stared at my masala dosa trying hard not to think of what just happened. Just as I was about to leave with the dosa to a table, I noticed this guy taking off his mobile hands-free ear-plug from his ears and rolling it into his pocket.

He was talking to somebody else!

Drop. run. Hide.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

An Evening at tunbridge

(This has been in the drafts for quite sometime now. Finally finding light).

The clock on the skies always strike 7:20 when I open the doors of Tunbridge high school and run to the end of play ground in the back to join my acting group. It's amazing how one can miss every little detail about a place, though one's been going there for months or even years. Only on saturday last week, when I was there for the first time during daylight, did I notice how it actually was a lovely setting for a school. There's a huge (definitely old) tree in the middle of the ground; a concrete , circular bench surrounds the tree and on any given day, forms a platform for a platoon of ants to march their way across. Old 60 watt bulbs hang from the branches and form puddles of light in the night. On the farther end of the playground are toilets that are definitely a century old. The walls that surround the classrooms are free of graffiti but full of cracks - the one I sit in everyday is std. II A. It is filled with benches that are not even knee high and a lifetime of memories. It has a time table on the wall with P.T and G.K periods listed. There's a overused black board that in the top-right corner has the "Number on roll" and the "Number present". Someone forgot his notebook - wrapped in a shade I can't name but is so familiar, and a spiderman sticker on the top right. Right next to the door - is a crayon sketch of sunrise by a little girl; Sunrise - the eternal debut sketch for every budding artist.

These details are behind a pall of darkness this very moment as I rush to find my place in the circle that's formed next to the tree. Everyone's already there - One or two might trickle in later - Fellow compatriots in corporate drudgery. Just as I do everyday, I scan every face and read those lines that appear or I otherwise imagine.
  • A high flying official, with a car and a chauffeur and a life most of us dream of, standing in a t-shirt and playing a juvenile adoloscent asking us for tips for making it realistic.
  • An immensely talented photographer, writer and owner of advertising agency makes a fool of himself as a "revolving door retailer".
  • We share a cigarette (that's how she likes to call a secret) that no one would know - A cigarette that's just a tip of a whole long story, a series of questions that I am apprehensive to ask. Sometimes, the responsibility that comes with the knowledge of someone's life requires a lot of poise and maturity.
  • She stares at eternity with a look of disdain - an undying pessimism about a farce called mankind. A disappointment multiplied by everyone around. She lights up at a look of sincerity, and a voice of reason.
  • She stands there with a grace befitting an angel, smiles and transforms into a little girl. But even in the dark, her eyes are but empty sockets, and the soul is out on a painful ride. In that instant when the smile disappears, a tinge of sorrow paints itself on her face for a split second that you would miss if you aren't watching.
  • And there are so many spread in a continuum of age, background, upbringing and energy levels.
And in minutes, all these identities merge into one as we become a tree, a bunch of lunatics, husbands, wives and undergarments. The lines disappear and for the second time in indian history, a bunch of souls blindly trust a tonsured man and make fools of themselves in the eyes of the outside world.

The right note!

I am a musical novice - not before buying my own music system early this year have I ever ventured into any music store (so much so that I thought Planet M was spelt 'Planetium!'). Till not very long ago - bryan adams was hip, 50 cent was very little change, Shakti was a woman and Bon jovi was real hard rock. For such an ignoramus - finding instrumental pieces that blend with sounds of nature (like that of wind, chirping birds, voices of rustling leaves talking to each other - anything!) is as bad as a needle in the hay stack.

If you would know of any such instrumental pieces can you let me know - anything that I can buy, borrow or steal should do :) Any genre is ok - just that they should be instrumental or have limited vocals and relate to nature and its voices - of the wind, waves or vacuum.

Shall put an application for your goodwill at the nearest hoodibaba ashram :)


Avi is in his sixth standard. I am not sure how old Avi is. His younger brother is also in sixth standard and he is about 11 years old. Avi is a smart kid - the first time I saw him, he got John lennon right in the 6th question (of the twenty questions game). When I was in my 6th standard, the only john I knew was .... I actually didn't know any John! He also had this book "The dancing Wuli masters" in his hand that he said he was reading, a book someone described 'is over his head'.

Like every other saturday, I met up with Avi, Senthil, Neel and Ashish to catch up with the week's events. We decided after much deliberation to play a game of Ludo and considering our number, I paired up with Avi. He was the strategist, the ruse while I was the words. He would decide which coin to move, whom to hit, whom to pardon while I just had to make sure I roll the dice and get the number he wants. Everytime, we got a coin home, I would do my favorite samba step (which is too intricate to put in words) and he would laugh and clap.

In between, we shared a biscuit within ourselves. Just moments after he had a part of the biscuit, his face became red and he looked on the verge of a convulsion. I freaked out, got him a glass of water and asked him whether he was ok - he managed to nod and after sometime smiled, and acted as if nothing ever happened. Half an hour later, the game got over. We won. I raised my hands towards him for a fiver and immediately realized my blunder. Stuck in his sides, were his hands like broken wings extending not farther than the hand-rest of his wheel chair. Just as I was about to apologise, he laughed without guile, told me how stupid i am to have asked him to give him a fiver and asked me to join him in another game. I was his winning charm. He was much more to me.

I am not sure how old Avi is. But he's much much more elder than me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Human stain

8:30 in the morning is a busy time outside Ganesh fruit juice opposite Kempfort store. Almost all software engineers living in the locality are out there waiting for their respective shuttles to arrive and drop them beyond nowhere. The local urchins and beggars look at this as bounty time and come in hordes asking for alms. Some turn away, some give a cold stare, some take pity and drop a coin or two into their plates. The little girls try putting up their cutest faces, nag you the most and keep nibbling your arms till you either tell them a vehement no or drop their share of your salary.

Today morning was no different - the bus to the campus arrived on time and everyone lazily formed a queue outside to get in. Just as I was about to get in, a lady in the wee end of a queue gave a cry, slapped the little girl standing next to her, and started wiping her forearm with her kerchief with a look of disgust in her face. The little girl on the footpath was shocked and was staring unbelievingly at her. The lady, meanwhile, didn't stop but kept hurling abuses at her while staring at her elbow probably to see whether she had caught any infection.

I agree that it's not pleasant to have dirty, unkempt kids touch you - But did it deserve such an extreme measure? What was the lady scared of - skin infection? that the stains stuck in the girl's palms will indelibly be left on her top that was nowhere even close to where she was rubbing her kerchief? Or the human stain of poor, downtrodden, impoverished people leaving a slice of their pain and misgivings on her pristine soul? There probably was more to this incident than what I saw. However improbable I find it, probably the little girl slapped her hand or stamped something on her skin. I don't know why I was affected - probably because of the look I caught in her eyes as she stared at the girl stranded in the footpath - The look of such disgust, wrath and disregard as if watching a piece of unwanted, undesirable social scum. I don't defend beggars in any form - I am sure there's a whole racquet of men who make money by sending little girls to beg on dangerous roads and corners. But isn't there's a basic respect for another human being - for any human being - that is mandatory?

Monday, March 21, 2005

A request for prayer

I didn't expect the security guard to let me in at 8:30 in the night. I thought, I might talk to him and find out what the visiting hours are so that I could go and see her the next day. The normal entrance was closed and they were letting people in through the emergency ward. Just as I braced myself to talk to a monster of a man, rehearsing my lines to ask him politely and walk off - he called for me, asked me the name of the patient I wanted to see, asked me when she was admitted and directed me to the admission counter.

That was unexpected - I didn't want to tell him that I wasn't quite prepared to go see her tonight and that I will see her tomorrow. I can't put my finger exactly on what's the problem. It's just that hospitals unsettle me. I am scared I would catch sight of a terrible wound, of someone in pain, of a woman in labor and lose my night's sleep. I am growing older now. I have do this someday. I walked on. Just as I crossed the first corridor was this woman, shrieking and beating her chest with her fists. Right then, I knew I should turn and walk away. I closed my eyes and walked straight to the Admission counter. Matter of fact answer. 4 digit room number. A dozen floors to cross. An empty lift and a sleepy assistant. A life size mirror. I close my eyes.

The notice on the board asked me to knock. A feeble voice, like that of an old woman said I could enter. Uncertain whether it was the right room, I walked in and switched on the lights. She was there alright but gave out a cry once the lights were on, covering her eyes with her elbow and asking me to switch it off. It was pitch dark once I switched it off. I groped for her bed and found a seat next to it. She looked drugged, extremely tired and very sleepy. It probably wasn't the right time - I stood up to leave. but she asked me to stay. She was scared of being alone. Always has been. She gave me a faint smile as I took my seat. I reached for her forehead and asked whether I could touch her. She said it was ok. I slowly caressed her hair and asked how she was feeling. She said she was tired but there was no headache now. She hasn't been vomitting - That was good news.

I asked her whether the doctors have been taking care of her well. "If not, just let me know. We will set up enough men to size them up". A smile broke through the corner of her lips. I felt better. Then, it stuck me that she probably shouldn't talk for too long, and that I am disturbing her sleeping time. By now, I was accustomed to the light inside the dark room and could spot her silhouette reclining in the bed. I let my eyes wander across the room, waiting to find something to catch my attention so that I can stop talking.

As if she read my mind, she said it was ok if I talked, and that she's had enough sleep already. I asked her what all happened since morning. She still didn't open her eyes. but somehow her face became brighter as if she was waiting all day to explain everything in detail to somebody. She went to tell me about every doctor who came, who was smart and who was dumb, about the one who had all the answers and the other who ran to the phone for every little detail. She then came to the technical details - "They put me through so many tests Rathish. First they took a CT scan.", there was a pause as if she was recalling something, "I don't remember what CT stands for. but it's a two dimensional image of your brain. doesn't say much. Then they took a MRI scan - magnetic resonance imaging", she enunciated clearly. "They put me through these equipments they show in science fiction movies, took a 3D view of my brain and it was then they saw a tumour".

I flinched. It was hard to believe that the same exuberant girl I talked to a week back, was down with a tumour in her brain. It doesn't happen like that. It happens to heroes in movies, or heroine's brothers when they have to die and people have to cry. It happens to bunty's second cousin whose distant aunt lived 3 streets away from where I had stayed when I was a kid. Doesn't happen to someone who you live, breathe and laugh with.

"You know, tumors are of two kinds. Benign and malignant tomors. The malignant ones are bad terrible ones. Benign tumors are very common. Many don't even realize they get it." She paused as if to take breath, "I think once this operation is over, all the weak cells in my brain would be removed and I will become super intelligent and become the next einstein or something". Despite the pall of tension that hung around, I broke into a mild laughter. She was taking it much better than I had expected. She wasn't putting her head to one side, flluttering her eye lashes and giving a coy smile trying to be cute. This was how she was - pristinely innocent imagining neurons swimming inside her intergalactic thought rivers of her brain.

There was a period of silence that none of us tried to break. We had known eachother well enough to feel comfortable in such bursts of silence. Finally, I was the one who broke it.

"Are you scared da?"

"Hmm.. she added.", By now, I could see her face clearly and those thin contours of anxienty that formed across her face. "Have you been operated before Rathish?".

"Yes once. Very minor. Never realized when it happened"

"Is it very painful?"

"Not even half as painful as so many other things we have to go through as adults". I said and smiled.

I wasn't sure she was reassured. But she didn't ask any more questions. A knock. A nurse in white. Honey mathew - definitely malayalee. I go out and ask her a few routine questions, call her "Chechi" (elder sister) and she gives me a mischeivous smile. I smile back.

"I heard it", she said as I entered.


"You proposing her!".

"And you heard the slap too?"

She laughed. A phone call. Her friend was to come back at 11. I promised to wait till then. Don't know when, drifted into a state of semi consciousness imagining her as mithun da in a movie I once saw where a bullet removed the deadly tumour from his head. I imagined her in a black leather jacket with guns in hand, and a beedi between her lips. I laughed softly as the door opened, to let a ray of light and a tall affable figure inside. I saw her sleeping like a baby with her fingers curled and placed beside her face. Something told me everything is going to be ok. Wishful thinking - isn't faith always!

If you have a minute - do pray that all goes well in the tomorrow's operation. Will you? Thank you!

The hungry tide

I have been searching the internet since morning to find out whether there's a condition called "Sunday Insomnia" or is it just me who suffers from it! Any other night, I could just slump in my bed and get my free ticket to andromeda in a couple of seconds. Come sunday, I twist and turn and till late in the night play back the entire 23 years of my life! It's like I can't switch off my mind. I start counting numbers, chanting names but nothing works. You are just caught in a whirlpool of your own thoughts out of which, deep down, you don't want to come out. Have you ever felt it?

Anyways, yesterday I had the company of someone who's grown wise out of seeing a lot of the world from bangladesh, to sri lanka to egypt to the US. A well learnt man, a passionate human being and a fantastic story teller! Off late, I have become a great fan of bong writers. They surely have a way with words - be it wit or humor, or matters of heart,or the little details of middle class families that I can totally relate to. There was this certain lady ~V.De - the first bong I knew - in my batch in BITS, who really was a prolific writer. Travel forward in time to now, most of the blogs I love to read are by bengalis. I am not sure how much of a bengali Jhumpa Lahiri is. But I love the way she writes. All this went in favor of Amitav ghosh, when I picked up his latest book - The Hungry tide yesterday evening.

And till 4:30 in the morning, I have been engrossed in the tale and detail he had to offer, walking with his "Piya", "Kanai" and "Fokir" through the wilderness of Sunderbans. I have never been to that part of India before - but the verbal imagery came to life before my eyes as I read the book. Everything about the place - it's beauty, mysticism and the omnipresent danger woven with the very fabric of its existence is so real you could touch them and shudder at the thought. And the characters were so beautifully fleshed out - an urban translator who can never relate to villages and villagers, a communist dreamer, his pragmatic wife, a scientist and her unlikely lover, a rustic illiterate villager, each of them viewed through a lens that's neither flattering nor flawed and a plot that weaves these characters so beautifully together. They are not just characters interspersed through the axes of the rural-urban divide. They inhabit a whole three dimensional world measured by faith, superstition, empathy, self-love and pragmatism. Throughout the book, I wished the author passes the role of the narrator from one character to the other so that I could peep into what's running in each of their minds, for I was sure, each and every character had an entirely different way of looking at what was happening and to find them, inert, quiet and just observant was disappointing!

Of course, the writer on his part has done extensive research on the Sunderbans, and the dolphins that are found there (Did you know that calcutta actually housed a lot of dolphins (within the salt lake that is!) at some point of history). But these were just "Oh really"-s, commercial breaks between an otherwise interesting narration because I have as much interest in sunderbans Oracella (that's the name of the fish) as I have in mm.... say ... something I am not very interested in.

I am still dazed - but it's very satisfying because you know, you have not wasted it on a code that doesn't work but on a tale well told!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Harshad Mom Mehta

My laptop idea went for a toss coz some guy had something more productive to do than blogging (can you believe that! productive THAN blogging!!). Anyways, the stories of the marriage shall wait for the time being. This one's about my darling mom.

A couple of months ago, my mom quit her job (and how!) . All of us at home knew she can't sit at home for long. For the first few days, she actually managed to keep herself busy quite well. She slept a lot, tried a lot of recipes, cleaned the dungeon called our house and served wonderful food for my lucky bro and dad. Sprinkle in a couple of marriages, guests from kerala and my mom was one hell of a busy person. Soon, the marriages ended, the house was as clean as it could be and she comes up with this brilliant idea of renovating the house. No one could dispute that coz it's been quite sometime since we spent anything on the house. 2 weeks was spent on that and since the beginning of this month, she has been fidgeting with one thing or the other. She started coming up with ridiculous ideas like starting a PCO, xerox shop etc etc (Mom has this craze of becoming an entrepreneur!)

This time when I went back home she had the million dollar idea! She's going to get into Stock trading. "What!!!", I asked completely flabbergasted. "what do you even know about stocks". Seems my mom had bought a few stocks a couple of years before for 10 rupees, now those stocks are being traded for 85-90 rupees. Enthused by this initial success, she started scouting for more opportunities and realized that there's a class happening on the basics on stock trade in april. She's going to join the same now. And she's found the agency through which she can buy and sell stocks. The initial investment is going to be all the money she earned when she quit her job. As of now, she's sitting at home letting my father run around for all the paper work. My dad, wonderful that he is, is more than glad that mom's keeping herself engaged and is not eating his head.

Sometimes I really wonder what would my mom have been, had she gone to BITS and seen as much of the world as we were lucky to. You never know, as I tell my mom most of the time, "Thanks to your genes, I was quite a brilliant character amme. Education destroyed me" ;)

Marriage is a big deal, I realized!

This prolonged absence from the blogging world seems to have coincided with my previous post forcing me to clarify that I have absolutely no intentions to quit blogging. Left for chennai over the weekend (on sunday) and came back today morning. Well, I could have as well been in Timbukthu coz I was seeing the same faces over and over again in the last 3 days, stuck in a kalyana mandapam for close to 48 hours - beating my previous personal best of an hour and 37 minutes - and stuck in family and shopping chores for the rest of the time

The news of the marriage is now official. Not many knew but yeah, it was supposed to be that way. Some real close friends were missed - but everyone was represented. Right from my class mates, teachers, college friends, colleagues and ex-class mates of Sudha from her days in Anna adharsh and GE, family friends and relatives. The marriage happened in typical iyengar fashion, about which I have loads to write about. Also realised the amount of people skills you need when you are actually in the epicenter of something as colossal as marriage.

Also got to see places like the sub registrar office, places I thought I would never have to be in - a dingy, lazy, government office - where we had to sign and register the wedding. Would have LOVED to stay longer - but had to come back to office today. Yes gentlemen, the next day after marriage, I am reporting for work. what can I say - a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do :)

Anyways, gotta get back to work now. Thanks to Hutch, I have not been able to reach Sudha or even her sister since morning! So much for "connecting people" and "being wherever I go!".

Adieu -- and before I part, I wish a very very happy married life to Arjun, my bestest friend and classmate, and Sudha, my classmate again! - both of whom I know for more than a decade. Never realized marriage is such a collosus of emotions till I was there, beside Arjun all through the last 3 days playing all roles including the best man, accounts manager, gifts collector, groom's make up man, eligible bachelor who's supposed to complete the "arathi" taking and coconut breaking rituals, organizing committee's youth wing (comprising of cousins and nephews) chief and finally witness signature in the marriage certificate.

I have so much to write about! So much! Shall flick the laptop and do the honors tonight.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Looking back ....

I have neither grown old enough nor accomplished something substantial to actually stop and look back at my blogging legacy. But, over the last six months my blogging habit's raison d'etre has been changing ever so often.

I have always wanted to take writing seriously, publish articles and present what I can write in a public forum. Once in a while, I will get all enthusiastic, chase opportunities, submit articles for magazines and after a month or two, lose all steam go back to my mundane life. Blogging hence was a fantastic opportunity - no one has to approve what I write or submit, I write whatever comes to my mind and there was a feeling of such pristine satisfaction in putting something down on 'paper'.

After sometime, blogging became an emotional and idea vent. I pack all that I am feeling, thinking or am pretending to think into stories, incidents, happened-to-my-friend anectodes and get them out of my system. Felt much clearer and lighter than what I had felt in many years. And soon, I realized people were visiting my blog and don't know when, but insiduously was creeping this desire to play to the audience.

I put a hit-counter on my blog, checked the number of comments I get every hour, went around to different blogs to know what made them popular and successful and soon, the satisfaction of having written a nice blog came after a couple of them commented about it. So much so that the whole perspective on what was the ends, and what the by-product was lost.

In the last couple of weeks, I have been doing quite a bit of travelling; I have been stripped of my laptop coz even my manager's been traveling and I have been forced to leave at 6:15 thus don't have the choice of leaving late and posting something substantial here. So, it's in those my-server-is-starting, let-the-tests-finish moments that I have been writing what's on top of my head and publishing them here. I neither have the time nor the inclination to manipulate, sieve and observe my ideas under the lens of public applause before posting them. The hit counter is still there, appreciation is still gratifying, there's still an anxious moment while the page refreshes and the comments counter is updated - but now, this very moment, blogging is a sincere attempt to try express what's running in my mind, a verbal canvas painted from within an uninhabited island for the simple joy of seeing the way words come to life. Now, this very moment - And I am hoping it stays the same way for time to come.

For you, Airport road

Off late, my schedule has gone through a world of a difference, compared to what it was a month before. 6:15 in the evening I am out of my seat, rush to find a place in route 29 towards manipal center, wave frantically at every auto so that I can reach my acting class on time. Am there till 9:30 in the night and after that, all of us land in koshys and end up talking something or the other till late in the night.

At about 11:30 or 12 in the night, I take an auto and land in airport road. If I am hungry, I stop at Leela palace, settle myself in Barrista, which probably is the only place that's open at that time that can serve some decent food. At about 12:30 in the night, I walk back home - through the same roads, that in the light of the day are jam packed with cars, bikes and buses; dust getting spewed in every direction by demons under concrete; blaring horns and unserviced bikes adding a feather to the already horrible ambience - making it look like the last place you want to be. The same roads in the night are drenched in silence - not the eerie one that leaves you uncomfortable, but a comfortable absence of any disturbance, that's not underlined or emphasized. Once in a while, a reckless van zooms past ruffling the dried leaves in the footpath. But for that, for the whole of 15 minutes it takes me to walk back home - Airport road is mine. I waltz in the middle of road, place my entire day like an unwinding film roll, see it coming back to life and analyze what went wrong or what was right. I stare at the posters, capture every little detail and realize in such small ways, this road is become an integral part of my life for the last 3 years.

I love staying in airport road - I am not sure whether you would actually find a place in bangalore, where you have anything you would need - from hangouts (coffee day, barrista) to book shops (oxford book store) to libraries (one ~S told me about yesterday close to Intel) to hospitals to, if you are lucky, your offices (Intel, reuters, thoughtworks, NS) you name it - all this at arm's length but still can a find a two bedroom, spacious apartment for close to 6000 rupees which is far enough from all the dust and the buzz where you can sleep blissfully undeterred and undisturbed. Heaven I tell you :)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Return of the acting workshop

I mentioned it in one of my comments and I am mentioning it again here - the acting classes that I am going to, they are starting a new batch very soon. From personal experience, this is my opinion
  • If you are one of us, who has always wanted to give a shot at theater but didn't know where or how to start, this is a perfect place to be in. The course starts right from the basics of acting and stage presence and takes you through a variety of exercises.
  • One good thing about the place is you get to meet amazing people - right from Ratan Thakur Grant, who takes the course to everyone you get to meet there. That one thing is in itself worth the money.
  • I found this as much a personality development workshop as an acting workshop. Realized so many things about me, about people in these few weeks than I have done in my entire life.
  • And if you are one of those stuck in corporate drudgery and desperately want a break and do something different - barge in :)
If you are in bangalore and if you are interested you can call up Anita at 9845072710 for more details.

Relevant link:


I was brought up in a place called Oragadam - a place not many I am sure would know, and would know is in Chennai. Most of the men who live there are vested various powers in the municipal corporation's day today activities, or are shop vendors or simply slum dwellers. But the generation 10 years elder to me were very entreprenaurial - they conducted cricket tournaments, started Film star fan clubs and burst a lot of crackers for common good on occasions other than diwali.
On the same lines, they planned to start a gym because they were literally appalled by the health standards of youngsters in the street. So, they bought this space next to the first left you see when you start walking from the bus stop and built a small room, with some dumbbells, bench presses and everything. Now came the final question of naming the gym - Terminator 2 was a rage back then and Arnold what-ever-his-last-name-is was a great inspiration. So, they decided to name their gym after him. There was just this one minor, small hitch - they had no idea what his last name exactly was, or any clue to how to spell it. There was no internet to help them nor could they go out and ask anyone. Finally, they decided not to deter from their inspiration, chose to adapt it to the literary standards of Oragadam and hence for the next couple of years the board in front of Oragadam's first gym read.

Arnold Sivanesan Jim
Propreitor, Ebi Muthuvel, Oragadam, Chennai

Of course there was a cutout of Arnold with his flexed muscles so that people don't mistake Arnold Sivanesan to a srilankan news reader. Should admit that, the "Jim" was a roaring success transforming rookies like us into sylvesters and sarath kumars. If ever you have seen how I look, you would have some idea :)

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I am in the news!

Ok .. the headline was just to catch your attention. I am as much as in news as I will be if they talk of Indians, software engineers, ambiguously ambidextrous people and well ... bloggers. Yesterday was harvest time for all bloggers in every news site possible. Here's a sample

- Bloggers spill the beans on Apple (Click here for the news item)

One of the advantages of being a reporter is that you are not bound by law to name your sources of information. For example, if your friend is a reporter for a local newspaper and you can ask him to put up a news item saying you slept with Salma Hayek (Oh you wish!!), he can do so and better still tell everyone that he can't reveal his "authentic" sources (If I am wrong, please do correct me on this count). Why am I saying this here - if you are a reporter and you know some inside info about Apple's plans, you can spill the beans and still save your skin. But, do you have the same right as a blogger? Can bloggers be considered reporters? Such issues are actively being argued upon coz Apple has a few good friends in the blog world who put up up todate information about company's plans for all and sundry to see before the board can "assess the repurcussions". Apple is going to court, and somewhere in a very faint, vague way - our asses are on fire.

- Blog-linked firings prompt calls for better policies - (Click here for the news item)

2 case histories:

One lady is a flight attendant who's been blogging about her travails and travels as she spanned the skies in her delta airlines uniform. The 29 year old then gets a little adventurous and posts pics of her in her uniform, from inside the plane in her blog. Unfortunately for her, too many people read her blog and the the pics were brought to the notice of her employers. Her employers weren't quite impressed and hence she was fired. This is her blog . Now for some good news and bad news - the good news is, unlike others she hasn't bent down to pressure and still has left the snaps intact. The bad news is, the site takes time to load and it's definitely not worth the wait - leave alone losing a job on it!

The other guy is a good chap who was working in Google and lost his job because he doubted his company's finances openly in his blog. Anyway, he's happily made another job now. But if you are still interested - here's the link

The bottom line is - where's the line that one can draw when he's writing about events related to his blog. Whatever you write - Uncle sam and aunty chat are watching you!

After all the expose and the exposing - here's some good news about how blogs iranians to keep in touch. Funny, the happy news is always in the end and gets only a brief mention while disasters grab the space :)

The New Zeal-lndian!

So many things to blog about ... planning to do them through the course of the day.

Been sometime since I talked of my acting classes - so here's one :) We are nearing the end of our acting classes and have now been given an exercise based on which we will be graded. We have been given a script - which is a conversation between a ticketless passenger and a ticket inspector. We are supposed to put this in some scenario (where the script fits more or less) which may or may not happen in the train. (I came up with this brilliant idea of making it a shooting of a porn movie with the ticket inspector played by a woman with a whip and boots and the guy playing a naive villager - unfortunately, the idea was shot down because we didn't agree on the costume of the co-star ;))

Anyway, this blog is about my partner in this exercise - ~HC. Now, ~HC is from new zealand, is extremely sweet, very unassuming, speaks english in the speed of light and surprises me every passing second.
  • She cringes at the mention of any sidey joke. Our group is of a 'liberal' kind and we typically over indulge ourselves in double entendres. Everytime her face turns red and she would become extremely uncomfortable
  • She's 26 and last time she called her parents, she cribbed how she actually has to swear in one of the scenes she's in. Her parents seemed to have convinced her that it's ok.
  • She speaks hindi fluently. Hell, she quotes kabir dohas and javed akhtar's lyrics with ease. And she's been around for only about 6 months now.
  • She was telling me the other day that she wanted to learn classical bharatanatyam. Just as I was about to tell her, it's quite tough she tells me that she's learnt Bharatanatyam for 6 YEARS! In newzealand and was about to give an "Arengetram"
  • Apart from hindi, she's conversant in Kannada and knows all the bad words in malayalam and tamil :)
  • The other day I told her I was in france and she starts talking to me in french (and I actually pretended I understood it all!) like a native and started talking about this book she's reading in french.
I was in france for 2 years and I am not even as much as french as french fries. And here's this lady, defying every assumption I had about people from abroad and becoming more indian than indians themselves! As I am not too much of a man with words ... whoa! whoaoaoaoaoa!!

Friday, March 04, 2005

Hear say

Recently a tamil couple who were expecting were spending sleepless nights trying to find a name for their baby. It was then they heard the story of how Martina hingis' mother named her daughter after the legendary tennis player and how she, hingis, went on to become World number 1. Inspired, and having observed our latest tennis Sensation Sania Mirza playing, they decided to name their baby after her.

Unfortunately for them, the baby turned out to be a boy and hence, as it happens usually in tamil households, they added an 'N' in the end of the name so that it suits it a boy. The gossip circles, in the neighbourhood are now busy with stories as to how they can't call out their son in public as they manage to offend atleast one innocous trespasser who's overcome by guilt of his own existence.

PS: For tamil ignoramuses, who are wondering the purpose of this piece of info, Sanian in tamil means satan or a wretched soul. Narayana! Narayana!

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Whoever thought of keeping the letters, 'U' and 'I' close to each other in the keyboard, it's me who gets into trouble every time I wish someone, "Best of lUck" or show someone my "lIst" :(

Am I the only one!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Statistics time

A few milestones that were walked past but never noticed

- My maiden century! I am 113 blogs old now :) It's been about 5 and a half months of blogging - not long enough, I admit, to wonder how I made it so far and how I just can beeelieeeve it!

- Maiden half century! We have 56 bitsians in the bitsian bloggers list now from 10 batches. Good number - compared to a list of 5-6 bloggers we started off with. There are still, I am sure, more than half of them in blogsphere who we don't know about. Hope we get their names too.

Instant (in a) Camera - III

She was pretty and that made him pretty uncomfortable as he always had a problem talking to pretty girls. so, after a week of nervously smiling at eachother, putting up with those uncomfortable silences, talking in phrases wondering all the time about the right word and gesture - they finally got sometime for themselves in the middle of night, in the middle of the road and surprisingly, were close to starting a conversation. Just as he rehearsed his oft-quoted joke as the ideal start to the conversation, someone from behind exclaimed that the moon is so beautiful. "Where's the moon?", she asked searching the black expanse above while he rose to the challenge, looked in every nook and corner he could see beyond those long trees and sprawling sky scrapers, finally found it and exclaimed in eureka-ish excitement, "There it is! There it is!" and saw her already gazing at it since ages. She came out of her reverie and asked him what is it he's so excited about and he said, "I am sorry you have already spotted it. I was looking out for the moon for you", and smiled sheepishly. "Just a little ... a trifle late" she said and smiled at him. That very second, Two little angels stood on each other's heads and did a tap dance - "I am such a loser", he thought in his own gruff, loud voice. "That was so sweet", she probably thought in her soft, silky tone.

Instant (in a) Camera - II

Polyanna is a someone who's excessively optimistic to the point of being really stupid. To illustrate the point, you can think of somebody waiting in MG Road in bangalore for a public transport bus at 11:10 in the night, hoping to actually reach his place in 30 minutes time. However, such displays of optimism give one a chance to capture interesting (Very subjectively interesting!) moments in a verbal canvas!

Typically at late nights, when the buses become very infrequent, vans and maruti omnis do the rounds a lot packing in 10-15 people like in the days of concentration camps and dropping them dead or alive wherever they want to go. So, there's always a considerable excitement when a vehicle stops in the vicinity of the commuters. It was surprising when everyone actually showed the same attention to a brand new steel gray Skoda that landed close to us in the bus stand. Few of them quite seriously tried opening the doors of the car to get in - I wonder, how they ever believed that this guy dressed in a suit and showing off enough gold in his neck and fingers to shame those models in "Prince Jewellery Panagal park, Chennai" ads was going to give them a lift to the dark corners of madivala. Anyways, the guy shooed them off like they were stray dogs and without getting down from his car, signalled to somebody in the crowd. Now, this I feel is a pretty dangerous thing to do to a crowd which is very keen on getting into the car and more so, when all that you are doing from behind your tinted windows is to move your palm like you are calling your puppy. Everyone volunteered to help (and thus enter), till finally the gestures took their time to reach the boy standing farthest from the skoda with a cycle, and a bag hung over the handlebar. the boy suddenly realized he was the center of all attention, rushed to the car, went back again to his cycle and took the flask with him, poured the man in the car a cup of tea into one of those disposable paper cups and smiled with such a glow on his face.

The guy in the car didn't bother to smile or thank him, with the same gruff expression tossed a coin at him through the narrow gap in his window and sitting inside the car, sipped his two rupees cup of tea with such relish.