Monday, May 30, 2005

The Curtain raiser

Rathan Thakur Grant's Misfit (My Interest Stays Firmly In Theater) theater group proudly presents three and a half short plays - all of them original, written, directed and enacted by budding directors and actors. The plays are happening on June 8, 9, 10 and 11th at Alliance Francaise (Vasanth nagar, right in the middle of the city).

Each play (including the half one) is of a different genre - both in terms of content and presentation.

Words - Haven't you been there? In that unlikely place and time, suddenly finding yourself in the company of someone who you love talking to, connect so well with and for a split second think this might go a long way. And like a feather in the wind, the moment and setting just slip away and you are left wondering "What if". Words is a romantic comedy of such what ifs.

Layaa - Every epoch is defined by the thoughts of a few learned men - who always wanted to organize the society based on certain well intentioned rules of thumb. Right from Aristotle, to the our very own vedas define social constructs that are extremely meaningful on paper. But all of them follow the same path of destruction led there by human vices. Layaa is the story set in an imaginary world, that captures this journey to perdition through the eyes of a little hamlet. Layaa is a musical in its truest sense. Layaa is a story about us.

Chakravyuh - Haven't you wondered the reason behind everything that happens in this world? Right from the little quirky preferences to the most momentous decisions. Haven't you ever thought of your purpose in this thriving, crowded stage? The purpose of the stage itself? Do you think, the perfectionist that god is, he would let all this to be just a bunch of coincidences that happen by accident? Don't you think there has to be this single governing equation that defines everything that happens? Chakravyuh is a play that dwells on such questions, that takes you to the depths to which this search can lead. Chakravyuh is an experience in itself.

All of these plays, like our lives, like our motives and actions, is bound by I - the towering ego that watches life walk past, lives life forwards and understands it backwards.

Date : Wednesday, June 8th to Saturday, June 11th.
Time : 7:30 pm
Duration : About an hour and a half (approx)
Tickets priced at Rs. 49.99 (let me do the math for you - 15 Rs per play!).

Please do come and watch it - We are talking about things we truly believe in and have done our very best to make sure you are entertained.

If you are interested (and I really wish you are), please get in touch with me at 9886789204 or at rathish_balakrishnan at yahoo dot com.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Temporary failure

Super ted is too kicked.
Super ted hasn't slept for the last 32 hours.
Super ted is feeling so sleepy that super ted is sleeping even as he is walking.
Super ted has a feeling that he's running temperature.
Super ted is too tired to write.
Super ted has a long day ahead.
Super ted is feeling kick ass.
Super ted is kick ass.

Super ted is superstar
Super ted is brother mountain ... add, subtract; total will be correct
Super ted is manickam ... but he also has another name.
Super ted says one time ... like saying hundred times
Super ted way ... alone way
Super ted lakakakakaka

Super ted is cooler than superman
Super ted doesn't even bother to wear an underwear.
Super ted is raring to kick some serious butt.
Super ted zzzzzzzzzzz..............

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Feel kicked because ...

I just ordered "Bono: In Conversation" by Michka Assayas - where the author has compiled the conversations he has been having with Bono over the last few years. The reasons, I feel kicked about it are the following
  • A "been-in-the-USA-pain-in-the-ass" someone I know always made it a point to remind me that all it takes for him to buy something in the You.Yesss is to go to the amazon, book it and buy it while in India, people don't understand the value of time wasted in such trivialities. I dedicate this maiden purchase to him - And for the indian integrity doubters, there's an option where you can pay on delivery giving you a hundred percent secure transaction.
  • There's something so good about buying a book that's just found its place on the shelves, sitting in A1.107 in bangalore at the same time when bono is signing copies for fans in boston - so unlike, when every Tom D and Harry has read it and gives you his two cents before you can even smell the scent of the freshly bought book.
  • I am a great fan of Bono (quite understandable, given U2 is the only band that finds mention in this blog). As a singer, writer and activist and a personality ... I personally think it takes a lot of guts to go on stage (in paris during MTV Awards ceremony) and say this before millions of people - ""What a city" (cheers and applause), "what a night" (cheers and applause), "what a bomb" (confused laughter and applause), "what a mistake" (mixed response), "what a wanker you have for President"" (FYI - This happened soon after France did its nuclear bomb tests) - More on him later.
  • There's something special about the premoridial satisfaction of wanting something and doing the needful to get it right away.
Hoping they deliver it by the end of this week so that I have something for this weekend :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

As the train chugs on ...

There are times when you are part of a moment that's bigger than any canvas you wish to capture it into, when you can't just zoom into a few pixels and still capture its essence as a sum of parts, when the moment itself has no purpose but still feels so complete in itself - the only way you could do justice to it is through an aimless narration.

By the time I reached there at 7:20, the stage was set and the first few lines were being delivered. The lights were being shifted from one corner to the other to find out the most appropriate location. A dozen heads were huddled in a corner bound together by silence and fatigue after a day's work. There was the other lot - of professionals returning after a day's work - standing next to the tree before the stage admiring the set. It did look very impressive - like another all-pervading character on stage, imposing in its presence, eloquent in whatever it wanted to convey. I put my bags down, pressed my palm on my throbbing forehead and picked up the fresh copy of the script from inside my bag. In five minutes we have the publicity shoot, ~A screamed on top of her voice. In a dark, hazy corner of the playground where light didn't reach, murmurs of wind were getting louder and were starting to sound like howls. But we were too preoccupied to notice - we took our positions on stage, mimed weird expressions, laughed at silly jokes that only we would find funny while the wind spewed dust and frigs on the vehicles on the road forcing them to screech and halt before they skid and fall.

The flash bulbs lived and died in an instant and left a trail for that one split second that stuck in your eyes longer than it actually lived. In minutes, the mats were shivering violently, the drapes were on the floor and the bamboo sticks were hanging periliously on top of our heads. And with the last flash of the camera, the whole city slipped into darkness - the music from the blaring stereos stopped, the constant chatter was replaced with a whisper and all that played was the howl of the wind. ~N called up and told me that she was stuck in her office due to lashing rain. I know it's very possible and is geographically explainable - but the idea of one person caught in the rain while the other person is standing under a clear sky when they are actually 15 minutes away from each other is, well, amusing. We started dismantling the stage and finding safe shelters for the lights when without warning or a notice - skies belted left and right all around. They weren't kiss and tell lovers glistening the skin but
screaming warriors marching to satan's howl. But no one moved - all we did was to look up at the abyss above us imagining the files and rows of drops making their way down, the conversations they might have on their way and the partners in arms that might fall in love.

However, such luxuries aren't meant to be enjoyed for long when you have a play within a fortnight. We seated ourselves in a dark classroom. Someone brought a couple of candles and lit them in the corners of the room leaving a dim, melancholic light to fill the space between the benches and drenched legs. Soon, people broke into a song and dance routine within the room while I took my place next to the window and watched old humongous trees doing their last dance with the wind before they crash and fall while wounded soldiers' cling to the glass panes on the window and walk like a platoon of ants, leaving a trail of their blood that looked so much like water that no one but me noticed. The throbbing headache, the Hindu episode, the HR scare - everything seemed like things from a distant past that didn't belong to me. I could hear their marching tune as they lapped on each other over the glass pane trying to reach my stretched fingers. For once, I had the final laugh against nature.

Soon we were caught in a time wrap within a closed room, absolutely unaware of and unaffected by what was happening outside. By the time we came out, the rain had washed away all traces of humanity from the city. Rivulets were making their way home while puddles sat down right in the middle of the road braving traffic and dead leaves. We were visitors in a land that we once claimed belonged to us (who were we kidding) but now firmly under the control of nature that determined where we went, what we wore and how we moved. I would continue walking for the next three hours on nameless streets, to lifeless coffee houses without even my shadows for company yet feeling completely secure - and alive.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Disaster no. 4242

My life is going through such a state of jinx that someone I met the other day told me that he thinks I am making these stories up to spice my blog. I could only smile - and trust me, the smile would be wider if this train of disasters finds a place to end for good.

Someone I know works for 'The Hindu'. The other day, she gave me a call and asked me whether she can ask me a few questions regarding the lull in the software industry. Why would anyone have a problem with that? So, she called me up and asked me why I think graduates from BITS, Pilani fare better in placements than the others. I told her what I have always believed in - that in terms of technical skills, graduates from other colleges are as good as we are. But, since we in BITS or IITs have a broad student population from all over the country, we learn early to work with a diverse group of people. And the way our student life is designed, there's a lot of team work and entrepreneurial efforts are always appreciated. Asked if these skills are important, I said - Yes. I personally feel Good communication skills does go a long way when you work as a team. And in software industry in particular, a fast learner is much more effective than a person who knows a lot right in the beginning (thanks to the ever changing requirements). I also managed to add that this is my personal opinion.

I didn't expect all this to be part of the article, much less with my name or where I studied in. Early morning, my friend from 'The Hindu' messaged me saying that my quote has been used but has been modified. Since I already was late for my rehearals, It completely slipped my mind till someone called me the next day morning and told me they saw my name on paper. Excited that I was, I asked them to read out what's written. The exact lines in the article are "Rathish Balarkishnan feels his counterparts are not technically competent...." ?!!!! what? What!!!???? That is so NOT true (later I learnt that "Students from other colleges are as good as those from BITS" implies "BITS students are not exceptional technically" implies "BITS students are not technically competent". QED!). And then started the nightmare to getting in touch with my friend, and then the sub-editor, the city editor first by phone, and then on paper explaining how I have been misquoted. They are still contemplating whether they should fit in the apology. Thanks to my friend, who's relentlessly pushing for it, I feel there's some hope.

I never really understood the gravity of talking to the press till this happened. That your words can twisted to suit the context, and published for millions to watch is scary! And why would someone do that? Much less, The Hindu - a paper whose authenticity I know so many of us would vouch for. Given the amount of deliberations, I am not sure whether the apology will ever see the day's light (They are currently contemplating whether they can publish it on Tuesday) or even if it is going to be published, would it undo the damage it must have already created. But now I know which side to run when someone from the press has a question to ask me.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Is it just me?

Or does Yahoo mail really have a bug where even if you enter your correct user name and password you get an "Invalid password" error message? Everytime, I take an extra precaution of verifying it by copying/pasting it from notepad, it seems to work fine. But it fails like 95% of the time even when I know (though can't substantiate) that I have entered the right credentials.

Do you also face this problem? If you work for Yahoo, can you fix this? :)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

A look at the book

A quick review of the books I have read over the last one month

Short stories by Satyajit Ray
The reason I picked up this book was the sheer brand value of the author. And moreover, I have rarely been disappointed with the collection of short stories. They are just long enough for the details to stick to your memory and for the plot to capture your attention span. There's always this additional advantage that you don't have to finish it in one sitting; You resume it after a week or two, they would still make sense.

The stories weren't spectacular - they don't blow you out of your mind. But they are lucid, don't waste time in unnecessary trivialities, have an engaging narration and are suffused with characters we get to see in our neighbourhood. The similarities among the characters in the different stories - like for example, fascination towards extra-terrestrial wonders, interest in traveling and taking solitary vacations to unknown places, smoking habits - are so strong that one is so sure, they are the traits of the author that he is left as a mark of himself in every character he etched. There are more than 30 stories as a part of the collection and what makes each of them interesting is the central character and his quirky habits, fascinations or his straight-out-of-a-fairy-tale experiences.

Disclaimer: Depsite allegations from everyone, I did NOT buy this book because I misread the title to be something else. Of course, the reasons this book got my attention can be ... well .. debatable. Anyway, what I didn't know was, "Erratica" is the name of the column that the author, Bachi Karkaria writes for Times of India. When I took a cursory look, it looked like a compilation of blogs on various interesting issues. And plus, the foreword by Amitabh Bachchan had a lot of nice things to say about the book and the author (Did I EVER believe in brand advertisting!).

Turned out to be a nice companion during my daily trips to office in the Shuttle. Unlike works of fiction, every chapter had a different style of narrative based on the topic addressed (something I love about blogs too. You never get tired of some blogs because they have so many things to write about). The way she plays around with words, divides, joins and mashes them together makes for a really amusing read. But yeah, after the first 80-90 pieces, it does start getting boring. But the good thing is, you can leave it like that and pick it up during another boring journey, or at another airport lounge and start chuckling again.

One Hundred years of Solitude
They told me it's a fantastic book, they still tell me it's a fantastic book. Some tell everyone that it's a fantastic book. But just that it's too much of a fantastic book. I was so glued to the first 100 pages of the book that I finished it in one sitting in a matter of an hour - that was the first lap and I have been running around in the same track over and over again. Like Ursula, the mother of everyone in the book, says, "It's like the world is starting all over again" - I wouldn't blame her for what she's saying because the book is about 4 generations of the Buendia family and every generation has the same name, same traits and end up doing the same thing. In a whole maze of characters that surround you, only a few ones stick in your mind and soon they disappear too until you are caught amidst a hundred Auerialinos and Jose Arcadios.

But I did love the first hundred pages - Like Isaac Asimov or RK Narayan, the narration of these people is very close to the world they belong to. Their characters and choice of metaphors have visible cultural traits and references. I am sure the whole world of Macondo, the civil war, the professions and prejudices had links to the latin american world that Gabriel Garcia Marquez belonged to. Also, the way the realities of life (like death, war and jealousy) are weaved with fantasies and dreams is truly surrealistic. It's good - just too long of a good thing!

As of now I am reading "The Alchemy of Desire" - let me finish the whole book before making a judgement :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The final words

It's strange how one feels alien even among what is one's own. As I opened the creeking door and left my worn off slippers on a pall of dust, I felt like a complete stranger caught in a place where one's not only new but also unwelcome. I looked around at the stains on the walls, at the cobwebs that have been filling my absence, at strands of hair that have stayed longer on the floors than on my head searching for a familiar sign, a witness to my existence in the days I have lived here. There were none.

It has always been like this - consciously. I have been stripping from my life and everything that belongs to me, even the slightest trace of nostalgia. No family photos, no letters carrying joy or pain, no postcards, no messages in my inbox - neither in my computer nor in my mobile, no caricatures on the walls, no scribbled sheets, no stained sheets, no scented kerchiefs or withered flowers. Never invited anyone home for the fear that stray ends of lost conversations, those last few words will hide themselves in some corner and ring out loud with manic vengeance on lonely nights when there is no one around. Entering my house is like getting into a time warp - a lifeless, closed cabin that is beyond the calibration of time. The windows are always closed; the rooms are always empty (but for a few chairs and a bed); There are no calendars or posters; the clock is puny, physically harassed, neglected, illegible and negligible - A warp where you can experience unbridled silence punctuated only by your breath.

The same vacuum invited me today as I instinctively picked up the same stranded threads of routine that I have been tied to since day 1 in this house. I left my mobile in the far corner of the room, pushed a random CD into the music system and as the music came to life, slowly undressed myself and stared into wardrobe searching for appropriate clothes I wanted to slip into.

Loud music is an amazing pain killer - it numbs your senses to your point where your entire being surrenders to a torrent of noise. It kills your being - doesn't slash or stab - but in subtle ways you never realize till it's too late. And there in that state of numbness, you move with the beat, the scream and the words - with a soul that cries from beneath all the noise with a pain in its voice that you relate to and sway with. For a long time, it was as much an evil for me as was alcohol or porn. Vulgar excesses, smooth killers that destroy the subtleties of your senses, mask
numbness as a solution to pain, as an addiction that you always crave for, all the while realizing that you are destroying yourself in the process. I stayed away from it for a long time, a long time till it didn't make a difference anymore; till nothing made a difference anymore.

I slumped into a chair semi-naked, still swaying with the noise that surrounded me, in a darkness that was marred only by the dim display of my music system, and the street lamp - an uninvited voyeur who managed to slip through the translucent glass pane in my windows. I didn't know when and how long I was asleep. I didn't remember what my last thoughts were as I went to sleep. But when I woke up, the first thing that stuck me was the pungent stench emanating from everything and everywhere. Everything in my house was stinking - out of use, overuse, misuse or disuse - unwashed clothes, old pairs of socks, a mattress soaked in rain water that once made its way to give me company, rotten fruits that I had saved for hungry nights, all of them played together in the nasal cacophony. It was then I realized - this will always be a house, a room, a flat but never a home.

I went back to the days I saw it for the first time, the time and effort it took to me to settle the deal, the zeal with which I bought it the first "gifts", how I never touched the walls without reason, how I was choosy about everything and everyone I allowed, the rush of blood while walking back at the end of the day at the thought of spending a whole evening in the house. I thought about all the long days at work, all the days I had to travel but still claimed to everyone that there's nothing like home. And the haze of space and time between that day and tonight, while I was away and busy with work all the while assuming I was doing enough and more, when everything changed and walked all the way beyond the irremediable point of redemption - Just like every other thing that I loved a lot in my life.

It will never be a home - I will end up cleaning up the whole place the next day morning; I will leave the windows open, invite people, have parties and hang paper flowers that never wither. But the flowers will blossom but never bloom, the lips will curve but never smile, it will be a house but never a home.

It will always be an Illusion never a reality. And you know what, it doesn't hurt. The heavy metal is ringing aloud and numbness is becoming an existential reality.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


"Never lie. But if you have to, lie in the arms of the one you love"

This line is now officially the most corniest ever line that I have heard in a movie. It actually beats, "Mere pass maa, tantex underwear aur baniyan hai!" by a mile and a half in terms of its sheer cheesiness. But when Will smith says it, you don't actually puke on the one in the seat before you (which is ideally the reaction it deserves). You smile to yourself and wait for his next antic. Because, like Shahrukh, that's something about him, his presence, that fills the screen and exudes a charm that holds your attention. Without him, I am sure the movie, "Hitch" would have fallen flat on the ground.

Hitch is a perfect date movie - the reasons being the following:
  • Firstly, it's a romantic movie - No, not like the ones where the hero saves america and also falls in love or not even like the ones where they do something else (like being a sports agent for example) and fall in love for a past time. This guy is a date doctor and gives you valuable advice every minute of the movie - true value for money. All they talk about in the movie is love.
  • Has few of those mildly embarrasing moments - No, not the ones when the guy can't stop laughing and the girl can't stop glaring at him. But the cute ones where both of them laugh, but the guy laughs a trifle louder than the girl as if he sees more in the joke than her.
  • Has quite a few of those moments that you know, she knows stuck a chord close to your personal lives. But you don't acknowledge it openly by a nod or a giggle but stare at the screen and smile to yourself and catch the other person doing the same thing through the corner of your eye.
  • Is leisurely paced and has a lot of forgettable moments strategically placed where you can share a coke, private joke, a giggle or a slap.
  • Leaves enough frivolous nothings for you two to discuss and disagree on as you walk with her till her door on that one road with a huge tree and an old street light and definitely has something for that one moment when you catch her eye as you shake her hand before your turn around, do your jive when you know she's in.
The only thing that's missing is that one moment in the end - the one "You complete me" (Jerry Maguire), "The crinkle on your forehead" (When harry met sally), "I so wished it was you" (You have got mail) or at least, the Eww... "you jump, I jump!" (you know what!) - that one moment when there's a lump in your throat, and her hand in yours which would have taken this movie definitely a couple of notches higher.

And yeah, barring Hitch's sistine chapel, Timmerson (??) - the rest of the supporting cast is a total let down, a bunch of zombies sleep walking on a million dollar canvas. The heroine is among the last benchers in the acting department. But frankly, I don't mind that at all :)

Before I end, FYI, I went for this movie with my manager. Amazing person, lovely company. But HE is a gender and a million miles away from a 'date'!

Monday, May 16, 2005

As Arnie would say ....

It took me a long shower, 4 glasses of piping hot tea, lots of U2 and a long walk in a deserted road in the wee hours of the night to wear the week off my shoulders. I was seriously hoping that I end up spending the last few hours of a sunday on a dance floor so that I can jump, hop, shake, faint and do whatever it takes to start this week afresh. Sitting in my office today, I am still not completely awake but thank god! I am still alive and smiling :)

I have been contemplating for quite sometime now that I should take a break from blogging - I thought I would do it sometime in June when the play will be over, when I would have a whole year of blogging behind me, and when I would be home spending time with my parents. But then, just as everything else, these things just happen. True, there was a lot of work at office. But I am sure if I had tried hard enough, I would have definitely have been able to pen a few words here. But ...
  • I was increasingly getting a feeling that, I had started living my life in third person, watching it waltz from the sidelines and see it through the literary lens where even the most insignificant moment was blown for the sake of filling space here.
  • I was getting more self-absorbed and introspective because after my blog arrived, the need to talk to, have conversations with people had slipped to dangerous limits, close to the line that demarcates the social beings from the social misfits.
  • Deep down, I thought I was losing the deep desire to put something to words just because I love doing it.
So, I thought of going back to the "real world", where I work like a mink, chatter like a empty vessel, stop thinking in blogs and snore like a pig when I sleep. And here's what I realized. No matter how I feel about it,
  • I really miss talking to my blog. It never asks for more, never reads between the lines and loves fuzziness as much as I do, if not more.
  • My blog is a wonderful balancing mechanism. So many blogs I post yet don't publish, so many lines that I write and delete, so many lines that I want to write but don't - all of which my blog remembers and forgets - is my sink, my fluid between my ears that balances my pose, poise and posture.
  • Contrary to what I think, if not for the blog, I would be miniscule entity caught in the vice and vagaries of my own existence. My blog helps me reach out, see beyond my nose and touch lives of people or at least make an effort to do so.
Last night, as I tottered into my house again and stood under the shower, I felt that pristine burning desire again - to write something, to express amorphic, aimless trains of thoughts in straight lines and characters. And suddenly, I have so many things to write about - books, movies, people, surgeries, accidents, kodak moments and photo finishes ..... as that drunk guy, in the movie I love, exclaimed to Dorothy Boyd flashing his million dollar smile, "I am back!"

Thursday, May 05, 2005

On BPOs and us

This was supposed to be a comment on this post I found. Ended up being a full length post :) I don't cross post usually. But I would love to know what you have to say about this. Here's the article that talks of BPO and the obvious discrepancy between the work done by us, Indians and the western world and what follows is my comment on the same.

True, we working in BPO and they working on cutting edge technology is not a pleasant thought. But what's the alternative - we chuck these jobs and get into product innovation. A matter of choice, attitude and opportunities (that's got nothing to do with BPO!). Let's face it - if world is a market, all we have to offer now is low cost labor, hard work and good customer service. so, if that's what we have to give, that's what we are going to get.

Trust me, BPO is done more good than harm to the society (in an economic sense, let's come to the social issues later!) in general. Middle class, which was once a very slim layer of pseudo-have nots is a thriving, growing class of people. These guys shape the economy and bridge the gap between rich and poor. They buy things and thus help a whole lot of other industries thrive (automobiles, home appliances, real estate ... you name it!). BPO and software industry has made it possible.

Where do we go from here - as the basic infrastructure levels increase, public sector does its part in removing infrastructure bottlenecks, in modifying systems (including education at all levels) to the changing personality of the nation and take us forward. Private sector, thanks to all the red tape that will be removed, will thrive, diversify and come up with innovative solutions that will place graduates in all levels of work. Quality of life will improve, labor would be respected - talented souls will stay, will return, research will flourish and the story goes on ...

trust me, don't evaluate BPO from your position and point of view. See it from the eyes of the guy who should have settled for 2000 Rs job if not less. It's a choice that he's glad to make. so many other jobs that you would have no idea about are far worse than this because neither do they pay nor do they help you grow - it's the same disillusionment in the end.

Of course, it's not all good - the burnout is painful to say the least. But, the only way we chuck this is to reach a point where we give people, another choice worthy of a vocation.

Bus-adventures: Mr & Mrs Lonawalah

Mr. Chunniram Lonahwalah is a happy man; Well, not as happy as he would like to be. But still happy enough to be called a happy man. Chunniram Lonahwalah just got married to someone one presumes is very pretty because from where one sits, she resembles a colorful rajasthani bed sheet spread across an ugly pile of clothes a beautiful girl finds when she enters a bachelor's room. One wouldn't know what she is called either coz Chunniram believes to keep it low - both the volume and the profile. The closest guess one could come up with is "Didi", as the prematurely tall boyish faced boy in the first seat of the bus keeps screaming for the whole bus to hear.

Well, the reason why chunniram is not happy as he wants to be is because (as you can imagine), of all places he could have been in with his wife, the least interesting one would be on a rickety bus from ITPL to MG road through Marathahali. Not just the bus but the route itself - it's one of the most dreary roads you can travel in. The whole road and around have a parched look; there's a veil of dust on every vehicle that passes by and there's a perennial bottleneck on top of marathahalli bridge. Even beyond the hustle-bustle of the market, when the roads are quiet and the walls are high, there's not a single enjoyable sight that one can watch. Of course, Mr and Mrs Lonahwalah are making up for it with a whole array of nervous giggles, naughty comments, nudges and namasthes to auntyjis who once in a while drop in to give the new bride some tips. Once in a while, Chunniram will point to a chevrolet or a skoda on the roads and belt out details and specs to his wife's amazement. And once he finishes, he'll raise his chin just to the right level, correct his hair that fell over his forehead and a give a knowing wink to his wife.

And then, it happened. The boy sitting in the corner seat, suddenly jumped out his seat and started waving his hands violently at something. Was it a bird? Was it superman? No, it's a plane! There, beyond the walls, was an boeing air india with its painted windows and moustached maharaja taxiing in the runway. And in a split second, half the bus (all part of the entourage) was on its gasping at the wonder of the twentieth century.

But our
Chunniram Lonahwalah was not moved. After all, he's a cool guy. He wears FILA T-shirts and Leevis jeans, drinks "Oye bubbly" pepsi with pijja-wijja and knows chevrolet and skoda by name. He can't get excited about a plane of all things. He nudged his wife to sit down and "behave herself". She meanwhile was too kicked with the moving, flying miracle and was asking chunniram questions as to when it will fly in the air". When he realized his own wife wasn't keen on listening to him, he turned to software engineers sitting behind him (isn't there always one!) and wondered aloud how he can't believe that people are getting so kicked about an aeroplane of all things. The software engineer gave a considerate nod but was at a loss for words and hence blanked out. Chunniram then shifted to his attention to the Chevrolets, the skodas and later even to the maruti 800s and the rare LML vespas. Time flew but the plane didn't and the moans and gasps of his wife were starting to make him feel insecure. He gave a sheepish smile to the software engineer, gave a "what the hell is all this about" and started jutting his head out from his seat. Just as he was half way through his ascent, the wife turned back, caught him standing and asked something that sounded like, "Want to see a plane?" and smiled. No, smirked is more like it. Our man gave his best sheepish smile, one that only men caught in the wrong time are capable of! Slam dunk. Didi 1, chunni ram 0.

Software engineers sitting around thought, that very moment tilted the subtle balance of power in the favour of the damsel. They did a quick fast forward of chunniram lonawalah's life and saw in eastman color his plight a couple of years later, the details of which are left to your imagination. Extend, Emagine, Ensoy, Empathize :)

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Things have changed.

Take care of your feet lass
it's a dance floor full of broken glass
Come, celebrate the death of trust
Raise a toast, bite the crust

All simple joes stand in a line,
Oh you thought you were doing fine!
You knew the lines, you knew the rules
Had a faithful cast full of fools

This is a crazy game, satan's rules
You talk faith, you are bound to lose

It's a puppet show, you got that right!
tugging heart's strings with poetic delight
You don't hold a string? What a terrible sight!
You are in the wrong side of the bull fight.

Snort the coke, Shake your hip
and as you doze, let it slip
All talk of love is a teaser clip
Eulogies, theologies, apologies
You believed the ad-lib! Holy Jeez!

Haven't you heard the lines
standing next to railway lines
The train's late, you have lost a life
For the inconvenience, they apologise

This is a crazy game, satan's rules
Cheaters win while victims lose.

Joke of the year, I still care!
as if I haven't had my share
Twenty something isn't too long
But remember that dylan's song

People are crazy and times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed
I used to care, but things have changed


I hate losing other people's stuff! Really - hate it to a point that I can lose sleep over it; And especially so, when it's something like a signed copy of a CD that is quite special to someone. And as you might have guessed by now, that's exactly what happened. ~V gave me his two favorite Thermal and a quarter CDs (just about the time when I quoted one of their songs here!) one evening in the middle of my play practice. I gave it to ~S to keep them safe and tight and in the most unusual of circumstances, the CDs disappeared into thin air.

Then and there started the whole Plan B. We initially thought that getting the CDs was not a problem; but getting it signed by someone in the group required some work. While I hunted for their CDs in Planet M, Landmark and our Chunniwalah's house of music in GagaNagar, ~S contacted a friend of hers who was into event management so that we could get in touch with the group. While my search drew a blank, she got in touch with Brucelee mani, the lead singer of the group. Last night, she traveled all the way to his house, got to know his entire family, bought the copies of the CDs from him, got a complimentary VCD for her efforts for coming so far (to get her/our work done?! Extremely sweet of him!) and at close to 10 in the night, we gave ~V the CDs.

A very innocous, uninteresting, average tamil movie story with very expected results indeed! I am sure, ~V shall forever be under a shadow of doubt that I am not careful with other people's stuff. But I feel better; a lot relieved I must admit. And as for TAAQ - I had met their lead guitarist once in Barrista along with another friend of mine. We literally barged into his table, handed our play script (which incidentally need inputs about music) and asked him for ideas. He was obliging to say the least! And now this - buy their CDs people. They write a lot of meaningful songs, are very talented plus are very nice down to earth people! :)

PS: I really think I should be their brand ambassador! :)

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Bus-adventures: Dadu & Munnu

(I don't travel by buses as often as I want to - at least not as much as I did when I was in chennai. But everytime I travel, I get to see interesting people and guileless interactions between relationships of all kinds. Munnu and Dadu are representations of real people; People I have seen, talked to and caricatured, inspired by the two most memorable characters I get to meet quite often by accident)

Scorching Sun is a rarity in Bangalore. It's not too often that one experiences the all too familiar feeling, for chennai-ites, of that single drop of sweat wriggling all through your back, under your shirt leaving you squirming in unison in bus stops. The day in question was just one of those rare days when people, at least one among them, were wearing a red satchel which had among other things a flute, some rural music instruments, and a pile of scripts.

Munnu is the kid who lives two blocks away from the home you belong to - a quintessential indian kid, who sits in the second bench in his fifth standard class room, has perennial ruffled hair, always has a question to his teacher and loves eating from his friends' lunch boxes than his own. Every saturday, he leaves with his dadu to the elaanka market close to Majestic in bus number 333 or any of those 320s buses to Shivaji Nagar to do some shopping for their house. And every first ten minutes of his wait at the murugeshpalaya bus stop, he fights a futile case of taking an auto to wherever he wants to go and our dadu, a quintessential indian once again, overrules the case without a moment's thought. As he strangles the mouth of his yellow cloth bag and searches for an innocous spot for his once-were-betel-leaves red spit to rest in peace, he pretends to ignore what Munnu has to say - using the excuse of selective deafness that old age bestows people with. But such excuses come to no avail when the sun is belting its fury on your backs, and reckless software engineers carrying red satchels with a flute wave at every busy auto on the road and swear whenever it zooms past.

Thankfully for dadu, a bus arrived as a blessing in time. But this bus was quite different from the rickety 330 series, and the latest pushpak series - this blessing had a blue roof and the seats were placed on an elevation just like those inter-state volvo buses. Dadu immediately gave it a name - Double Decker - the latest addition to the mobile attractions in bangalore. Munnu jumped with delight and start making up all the stories he's going to tell his best friends once he goes to school on monday. Oh! what a delight it was - he could spot bald spots in the heads of 6-feet tall sardars, touch those bill boards between the two side of the roads and watch faces of super stars stuck on the walls from an angle he never imagined was possible. If he had ever made the terrible mistake of going to brussels and made the terribler mistake of taking the touristique red-roofed bus on a rainy morning, he would have agreed with other software engineers who have done so that the inching-through-airport-road blues of bangalore were much better than the burgundy of brussels!

And after domlur depot, army quarters, kids kemp, manipal center, at the end of the picturesque boulevard that connects manipal center to the cubbon road junction the bus stopped at a signal and impatient souls who were late for practice jumped out of the bus. Munnu was still enjoying his view, dadu was fast sleep. Curious souls before getting down stared down to see if the bus was actually a double decker. No - just that the seats were placed on an elevation and for some strange reason were covered by a thick sheet of plastic. Engineers by education wondered whether it improved the traveling experience. But quite frankly, Dadu didn't care and neither did Munnu who already had half his story ready.

Monday, May 02, 2005

How am I doing?

To give you an idea of how I am feeling since morning, here are the two posts I thought of while showering today (yeah! I actually do that - decide on what to blog when I am taking a shower everyday. As a great man once said, that's the highest point of my day!)

Post 1: Geek speak

Geek 1: Hey 2, what's serendipity?
Geek 2: Examples are the best way to illustrate a polysyllabic word. Let's say, you copied a piece of text using Ctrl+C into your clipboard. You continue working and some X hours (X > 1) later, you inadvertently press Ctrl+V to paste the text you copied (refer to line 1-2) into the desired location and you are pleasantly surprised that it's still there in the clipboard despite all the work you did in the last X hours. Now, that's Serendipity.

Post 2: May's here

And see they are back, the days of MAY-hem
and with it the MAYmories and the oh... hmm...
So, try however hard you MAY
All you will be left with is disMAY
because of the utter lack of saMAY!

Ok! Now stop screaming ... I am off! I am invisible! I'll be back :)