Tuesday, September 20, 2005

[Brave new world] A post script

If you needed more evidence of the birth of the brave new world, there's a little blue sticker on the door where you can go set up the room the way you like.

Of course, it's not new! Some guys did this first in a dorm and even rejoiced on a celebratory note. But this is like celebrity blogging - dump novelty to the rubbish bin. It's who-is-doing-it that is news!

Go do it. And let them know what you like.
But don't forget that they are good hosts and they tend and intend to remember.

Enter the door.

PS: What do you think? How long will it take before you start using your gmail IDs to login and use Blogger? A week? Even less! No kidding.

Brave new world

Fortunate are those who live in exciting times! Who watch history being made, a legend being born, rather than hear them as fables narrated by a quivering voice of grandma or from under the the dim lit table corner in father's study. Like reading about Big bang in page 53, rather than being in the exploding center, to see one's life change into something one could have never imagined it will be, taken to a place that one never knew even existed.

And strange as it may seem, even while the world explodes, human population waits in traffic jams, or stands in the corner for the signal to change, grazing on bottled news unaware of the bigger picture; Oblivious men accidentally caught in a frame of a moment when history is rewritten; When stray bricks here and there are dumped in the backyard of an attractive edifice - What was once a fashionable apartment, an interesting and useful scientific experiment becomes a land mark, a slang, a quality standard and on cold winter nights when the harmless world is tucked under a blanket, adds lawns, wings and soon an entire block. There are early signs of integration at the entry gates in the right corner. But the world is too busy to notice. The bricks soon are put in the right places and on one fine morning, stands a giant, a gargantuan sky scraper whose shade shadows the entire world. And before you realize they are everywhere, they have an answer to everything, and every question, every need, in any language

Pause for a moment. And try seeing the bigger picture.

Do you realize what's happening? Do you? You are seeing the world through their eyes. They serve your daily news, answers to your queries and questions (even the most scholarly ones). They tell you what to buy. They let you express yourself, showcase what you have to show. They define how you stay in touch with the ones you love - each & every means to do so! They even know where you live, right till the apartment number.

Do you see it now? Those stray bricks that were dumped in the backyard which then seemed like a reckless hobbyist's eccentricism were baby steps before the giant leap. You should have, I am sure. Because even giants are woken up from their slumber by deserting soldiers (who are leaving for the winning side) and bald, veteran generals are now busy declaring fatwas and bad mouthing their mothers, while the scientists back home, The davids of the electronic battlefield, shrug and enjoy their own practical jokes by deciding how the world will see the Goliath (Steve ballmer is his name, and this is what you see if you are really feeling lucky)!

Well, if you have taken stock of the present - Are you ready to see the future now? It's scary but from what we have seen so far, hardly implausible.

Open the door.

Welcome to the brave new world.

PS: Here's another fwd I got recently.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Ek choti si love story

And so I have been tagged, and here's the 55 word story!

He picked his lifeless mobile, swirled it, pleading it to come to life.

Sweety_4_u! 20 minutes in that crowded chat room and he realized she was his destiny! Sweety_4_u!

One minute. One-Point-5.


He grabbed the phone, cleared his throat and squeaked a hi. Bated Breath. Silence.

“Sir, do you have a Citibank credit card?"

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Navadarshanam - The Concept

When Ananthu and Jyothi stood there having made their way through the muddy, foot wide roads and lush green paddy fields, what lay before them was a vast expanse of land that once housed a teeming forest but was now barren but for a handful of trees, lying as a standing proof of gluttony (on the part of the cattle) and human apathy.
That was close to decade ago.

Standing on the portico of one of his cottages situated amidst lush green wilderness, he pauses to watch the afternoon sun disappear under an inkling of a dark cloud and tells me that all he did was to build a fence around the land to stop the goats from grazing the lands again. And trees of all shapes, types and sizes sway once more along with the early evening breeze, emphasizing the wisdom of the decision – trees spanning acres and acres of land leaving rocks and trodden paths as the only evidence of the earth below.

Ananthu uncle likes to call Navadarshanam as a “public charitable trust devoted to investigation to the modern way of living and thinking, keeping in mind ecological and spiritual perspectives”. And the doors of the place are open for “those wishing to experience an eco-friendly environment, simple living facilities and wholesome food”. What all this translates to is a small self-sufficient village that sustains itself satisfying any need that may arise. A tall claim you might say – Not when you know that they grow their own vegetables, maintain their own cows for milk, generate their own (solar and gobar) electricity, have their own charcoal plant and avoid anything canned, tinned, plastic, that will even remotely affect the environment, except perhaps for a Tata indica that stands outside their doors (which probably runs on organic petrol, you never know!).

Walking with him as he explains his different endeavors is like going through your high school science text book – controlled combustion, renewable energy, nutritional cycle, adulteration – just that these 2 mark questions have been translated to real life working models that sustain the population there. The whole place is a standing proof of how man, nature and science can actually co-exist comfortably rather than work at each other’s cost.

Thanks to CDMA, he has a functional phone connection; regularly checks his emails and has a house in Whitefield that he bought “when one had to walk a mile to get a cup of tea or see a fellow human being”. Apart from that, his life is completely oblivious to the vagaries of the city that’s crumbling in its own weight. His world comprises of Jyothi aunty, and those working inside Navadarshanam taking up responsibilities in the kitchen, animal shed and future construction. Every once in a while, people come to stay for a day or two – most of them old acquaintances, or people like me who accidentally heard about it through word of mouth and he spends his days making sure our stay is comfortable regaling everyone during dinner with stories from his days in IIT, and reading books out of CV Raman’s book case that proudly adorns his reading room.

The cottages themselves are a work of art. They are open, spacious and are well-lit by sunlight throughout the day. Standing on the portico, one gets a view of the whole forest, the lake beyond and a skyline untouched by the human hand. In the nights, when you drift to sleep after being assured that the electric fence will indeed keep the wild elephants away, listening to the buzzing bees, hissing snakes, the mildly irritating mosquitoes that nag right into your ears about their day’s work, and the swaying wind chimes that don’t sleep for a moment, you realize that it’s been ages since you listened to these sounds, that barking stray dogs is the only natural sound that one gets to hear in a whole day, that our senses have become numb to so many sights, smells and sounds. Back in the 60s, on a summer morning in the US consulate in New York, the lady behind the glass pane asked Ananthu uncle whether he knew what he was doing for she couldn’t understand why a Stanford graduate with a wonderful job and a handsome salary, just months away from getting a green card would want to leave the United States. She should probably come down to Navadarshanam and she’ll realize all that ‘sacrifice’ was worth so much more.

Monday, September 12, 2005


After a long time, I took an authentic vacation - not one of those trips where you are away from your desk but spend time in social obligations and distant cousin's marriages; But days when an empty page is your itinerary for the day, and you indulge in philosopher's hobbies and still sleep a peaceful man.

5 whole days of bliss and this is what I did!
  • I traveled - to an eco-friendly get away called Navadarshanam 40 kms off bangalore. Lots more on this!
  • I read - The story of Philosophy (Will durrant), The glass palace (Amitav Ghosh, Finished)
  • I wrote - a new script for a play that we are planning to put up somewhere in november.
  • I photographed - about a hundred snaps. Will upload them soon
  • I trekked - to the top of a small hill nearby to watch sunset at mid noon :)
  • I shopped - Not the regular dus ka paanch shopping. But classy shopping - which basically involves buying things that you have heard about, but are not sure you would enjoy but you still end up buying hoping "to extend your creative horizons" and thus leaving a sizeable hole in your pocket - Mozart, Jazz, Waltz, Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro ...
  • I went home - And did all the blissful things that comes along with it. After about four months, all four of us had dinner together, watched movies together and reminisced together about a lot of silly stuff
  • I watched movies - Sarkar, Cindrella man, Swades (again!)
  • I yapped - A LOT!
  • ... and spent the rest of the time playing with little kids, chess, scrabble and sleeping till however long I wanted to!
Five whole days without access to e-mails, blogging or even a desire to access them. Heaven I am telling you - hopefully, over the next few days I will pick and choose little stories about all the little things I witnessed and in the process make some sense out of so many different ideas that these experiences have left in me.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Back to Bang!

Back in those days when a lot of people we know had a lot of time, when mails were more than deadlines, reminders and FYIs, when spammers were not a force to reckon with, opening the mail box to check the number of unread mails was an instant means of gratification. You felt needed, important [even if you were on a bcc list on a mail sent to 25 odd people]. And on a warm sunny day that arrives after two whole weeks without access to email, the anticipation to know the number of cute, fuzzy, like-freshly-baked-my-grannys-cookies mails was quite an exciting feeling. So, you let the dial up lines yawn, moan and then roar and wait for the explorer to open on your 128 MB machine, stare at the blue status bar on the IE and when the magical number finally appears ....

Which is quite how I felt when I landed in Bangalore :) I don't know what I expected - but not much has changed (the flyover next to DD is not built for one!). However, there are a couple of observations that need a trained eye, or a prolonged absence to notice. The miniscule extension of Airport road on the opposite side of kempfort for example. This however hasn't made a difference to the traffic jams in the mornings because you see, the drivers haven't really noticed the extension [And you thought I was understating it when I said miniscule!]

And what is with the dogs? The number of sexually frustrated dogs in the road has risen exponentially! The watchman noticed my horror today morning as I was leaving for work, smiled with a touch of wisdom that comes with age and remarked, "Season time sir!". He might as well be talking about mangoes. I am not sure what they are doing at three in the morning - but I can tell you it is causing a lot of noise. The dogs of these days, I tell you!

Have lots of stories about my journey back [I was worried that I would be forced to break a three year record this time. But no! Rathish's co-passenger is yet again a septuagenarian! The world rejoices at the unbelievable consistency of our local super hero]. Beyond all cynicism, It feels so good to be back :) A four letter feeling that's spelt h.o.m.e.