Wednesday, December 26, 2007

My defence against being different

This notion of being different, I notice, has gained mass popularity amongst GenX/Y/Z/iGen or whatever it is being called these days. So much so, that the impetus behind a lot of actions that the youth around me embarks on is provided solely by the motivation to be different, to appear distinctively from the norm. Being different, as such, is misunderstood by many as the path that will lead to higher platforms. The character of backing your instincts to follow your dreams even if it takes you away from the well worn path, is truly wonderful and appreciable. But clear distinction must me made between this virtue and that of purposely rejecting a path because it is well worn and doing something out of the box for the sake of being different. Unfortunately, it is this brand of 'being different', that has found widespread acceptance.


To clearly express my defence against it, I must first state the argument of those for it. I am often told, and often I read about the remarkable success of some distinguished personalities based upon how different they were. And it makes me crazy - firstly the immature analysis behind such statements and secondly the silly instant acceptance of it. That people like Edison, Einstein, or even Steve Jobs were and are great men is absolutely true. And so is the fact that they were different. And so is the fact that this difference was what put them so distinctly ahead. But to conclude from this 'to be great, be different' is as immature as saying that the Silicon Valley will do great business this year since guavas had a good yield last year in Orrisa. So to say, it makes no sense. True that they were different, but if difference was all there was to it, then even the drunkard who drinks all day on the road should be great on the grounds of being different. Precisely speaking, it wasn't the existence of a difference that mattered, but what that difference actually was, an intricacy often ignored in today's glossy reporting. Its not about whether you are different from the others, its about what is it that sets you apart. If being different in itself was a criterion then everyone should have had some claim to prominence, since no two individuals are ever identical. So when I see people with their usernames that read like Name - be different, or XYZ - not in the norm, minor concerns arise in my consciousness as to whether this person actually understood the meaning behind it or got carried away by some irresponsible but fascinating portrayal of the same.


That this concern is not completely unwarranted, is certain. How else can one explain the fact that people, young educated guys and girls from cities like Delhi and Mumbai, are part of online communities that Hail Hitler, those which say Dawood Ibrahim is a genius, and those which say Secularism sucks. Perhaps a minute percentage of their members truly believe in these ideas (that no one with a sound brain would), but to believe that all of them actually endorse such ideas after a well thought internal deliberation, defies all common sense. It is very clear, that the desire to 'appear' different propels a majority of such apparently rebellious memberships.


On a lighter and different note, am I wrong in assuming that 'different' is one of the most inappropriately and overused words in the English language? All across Orkut, I see testimonials and about-me's that claim the person to be such a 'different' person, that it makes me wonder if ninety percent of the people are 'different', then what's different about being different.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tagged!

I am doing a tag today because Lavender tagged me. This is my second tag. This was the first one about an year and a half ago. I hope I've got saner with time, lets see. So without any further ado, lets get started.

1.Pick out a scar you have, and explain how you got it ? Yes actually I got sort of carried away the other day with that Russian lass entering the Metro. Aaah! It still hurts, she had such long pointed nails.

2. What does your phone look like ?
It looks like Katrina Kaif. Happy?

3.What is on the walls of your bedroom?
I don't have a bedroom specifically to myself. So I lay down in any of the rooms, and all of them have different things on their walls. Anyway, my hostel room has the following things on its walls :
a) Cracks
b) paint stacks breaking out
c) my shoeprints
d) dead bodies- (c) and (d) are inter-related. My shoes kill the mosquitoes on the walls.
e) Lizards
f) Spiders and Spider nets
g) Big cracks

4. What is your current desktop picture?
Currently, it is Mahatma Gandhi. Actually changed it only yesterday. Before that it was Mother Teresa. Preceding it were pictures of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Nelson Mandela, Al Gore, Bharat Mata, Sai Baba, Lord Rama and family, Asaaramji Bapu, Sudhanshu Ji Maharaj, Baba Ramdev, Hope you got the drift. I am not one of those perverts who keep all that 'haaa ji'/'chhee' stuff as their wallpapers. Really I am not. I am one of those perverts who keep them in a hidden folder.

5.Do you believe in gay marriage?
What's there to believe in. If two men tell me that they got married, so its obviously a gay marriage, and I have no reason to believe they are lying. So yes, I believe in gay marriages. So to say, I FIRMLY believe in gay marriages. Otherwise, how will he, I mean, how will we.. Ooops! I am not supposed to tell you all that.

6. What do you want more than anything right now?
I want gay marriages to be legalised in India. I've heard migration to Netherlands and Canada is a tough task indeed.

7. Are your parents still together?
Yeah, still together. Vaise what was the need of this 'still' in the question. 'Are your parents together?' would have meant the same thing, minus the amazement at parents being together. Its like saying - Uff abhi tak saath hain tumhare maa baap, bade old fashioned hain yaar. Must have been an American who made this tag. Could have been a member of the Kasauti Zindagi Kay teleserial family too, I am not sure.

8. Last person who made you cry?
Myself. No one else can. Exceptions include Uday Chopra and Tushar Kapoor. But I have been cleverly avoiding them of late.

9. What is your favourite perfume/cologne ?
Ooooooh how much I've waited for this question to be put up to me. I always saw this question in those glossy magazines where every one had so many new names to tell, I wondered how much people research to get down to the perfume type most suited to them. So my answer is 'Elizabeth Arden's Daytona 500'!! Impressive naa ? I picked it up from Nana Patekar's interview, or was it Mithun Chakraborty's ?

10. What are you listening to?
Nagging from Mummy. I didn't take a bath yesterday. And today's just not that kind of a day you'd like to leave your blanket you know. But she doesn't understand all that. Today I am thinking of taking a bath in Daytona 500 itself, so that she doesn't complain for the rest of the vacations.

11. Do you get scared of the dark?
I get scared even when dogs bark, let alone dark. When our tubelight fluctuates - I am like [:)] -> [:(] -> [:)] -> [:(] -> [:)] -> [:(] -> [:))] bach gaye! Jai Shri Ram!

12. Do you like pain killers?
Oh yes I like them a lot. They are just soooo lovely. Aren't they soooo seductive, with their silvery metallic covering, so lustrous and shiny, ooooooh. Look I am getting turned on already. Oh Combiflam!! My darling, where are you ? I have a secret crush on Rofecoxib also. Sssshh don't you tell anyone.

13. Are you too shy to ask someone out ?
Actually yes. I can't even say a hyper happy Hiiiiiieee! A 'Hi' is all I am capable of. Also, I am too shy to ask someone to get out, if that was what the question intended to ask.

14. If you could eat anything right now, what would it be?
Daal baati ? But that's because I don't eat non veg on Thursdays.

15. Who was the last person who made you mad?
He made me mad. The way he glanced at me and immediately turned his eyes the other way. And then again leered at me until I caught him… oops I am not supposed to tell you all that. No one made me mad, haan nahi to!

16. Who was the last person who made you smile?
Myself!! I have been so proud of my answers here! I have already patted my back a thousand times answering these questions! Arre waah S*****t, tu toh kamaal hai , tu toh Raju Srivastava hai, tu yeh hai , tu voh hai, bhai waah, chhaa gaya, shabaash, and all that. What a self obsessed smug am I !?! So much that my back is aching now after all that patting. Nooo, I will not take the bath now. Nooooo!

17. Is someone in love with you ?
My parents love me a lot, my brother too, yeah grandparents too, one of my uncles surely! Yeah, that much. On those lines ? Oh no one's romantically inclined and all that. Wait a minute, maybe he is !

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Reflections on what this blog was and shouldn't have been

Today is one of those days on which things don’t flow the way you wish they would. One of those days things don't go right. Actually, these are important days. Such days are far more important, I feel, than those on which everything just clicks.


I have often felt this nudge that stops me from writing some things, all for the reason that I am conscious of the fact that people, even if only one or two, do read it. So I often found myself writing things and then deleting them later all because doubts occur to me somewhere if that stuff is appropriate to write on a blog. I reflected upon it for a moment the other day and somehow felt strongly that I should be entitled to write whatever I think. In other words, things that I would have written in case no one ever read them, should be written by me even if it is read. Because only then, in true sense, I can see it as an unadulterated reflection - a purpose which I think personal blogs primarily should be for. This, however, does not mean that all I had been editing out were things straight out of a hooligan's dictionary. But there were times when what I wrote wasn't exactly justifying the extent to which I should have written it to, if I were honest. For instance, on occasions when I did something I was very happy about and felt as if I have achieved something substantial, thoughts of being understood as an egotist by others discouraged me from writing them, or the fear of the written stuff being perceived as self praise. Similarly, sometimes I was neck deep in guilt and I cleverly mellowed down the self bashing, only so as not to 'appear' really all that bad. Quite naturally, I'd surely never have omitted my memorable achievements and my valuable mistakes, if I were to be writing it entirely for myself, the way it should ideally be. And without them, alas, this blog of mine is only a distorted reflection of me - certainly not something I wanted it to be.


@ Lavender : Oh, this doesn't turn out to be a happy post either. But you do understand the mood these days, don't you. Maybe next time around, I'll write the sequel to 'The Try : Part 1', I hope that will be fun. After your comment , I actually scanned my blog a bit, and found out the last 'happy post' was 'The Try' on Oct 10th. Since that too was fiction, the last actual happy-post was on Oct 4th. That’s full two and a half months! Gawd! I've become so gloomy all this while and never realised. Thanks you reminded.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Void

Jab mere paper chal rahe the tab mujhe hamesha ye hi lagta tha ki yaar kab khatam ho ye, aur kab main free ho jaoon . Aur ab jab paper poore ho gaye hain aur chhutiyan ho gayi hain to sach mein aisa lag raha hai ki yaar isse to kal tak hi achha tha kam se kam har samay kuchh karne ke liye to hota tha. Tension rehti thi lekin boriyat to nahi hoti thi. Aaj to saare din match hi dekhta raha, jaaffer sahi khel raha tha lekin phir bhi yaar poora din, vo bhi test match , is t20 ke zamaane mein, hadd ho gayi. Aur uske baad se yehi soch raha hoon ab kya karoon, kahan jaoon vagehra vagehra. Isi soch mein baithe baithe ghar pe rakhi hui mithaiyaan bhi saari khaa gaya pata nahi kis kis ki shadi ke naam ki. Ab ye post likhne bhi isiliye baitha hoon ki bhai banda kuchh to kare. Exams se pehle to gharwale bhi itne kaam batate the, ab unhe bhi koi kaam vaam nahi karvana mujhse kamaal hai.


Thand to kaafi ho gayi vaise is baar, par dekh raha hoon ki koi moongfali n all nahi mangvayi hui ghar pe, aaj hi lekar aaunga.


Hostel mein rehte rehte shakal bhi kauwwe jaisi ho gayi hai kal ragad ragad ke mail utarna padega

Chalo bhai ab moongfali lene jaata hoon, aadha ghanta aur time katega


Kisi ko pata hai kya ki hindi ko hindi mein kaise type karoon, mera matlab devnaagri lipi mein.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Urgent Updates!!

Its been some time, hasn't it? I am never so busy so as not to find the time to write a post, but I somehow I didn't have anything to say. Anyway, November wasn't much different from the other months, except that we had our exams, which are infact still underway - two more of them to go.


Speaking about exams, they tend to distort the person you actually are. I often find myself doing things during exam days, that I normally wouldn't even think of. Like setting a 3AM alarm bell. Like coming back from an exam and immediately sitting to start studying. Like thinking that the stuff I'll be cramming five minutes before the exam would turn out to be a sure shot scorer for me. Though it’s the time I am always behind schedule, it is also the time that makes me think the most weird of things. Like around 5th or 6th of November, I had my Dynamics of Machines Viva the next day, and I didn't know a scratch about it then. It was about quarter to seven and I sat to make my calculations about how much time I'll need to grasp things at a superficial level, because it was just a practical. Unrealistic as always in making these hour and minutes calculations , I figured out that I could do that much just in time if I started studying from seven in the evening. But by the time this schedule got ready, it was already seven fifteen. So I thought lets delay the whole thing a little more, and start it at 7.30, 7.15 doesn't look nice. Its so strange that when you know you don't have the time to rest or lay down, you crave for it so much. Ok not you, I. And when you're completely free, you do far more physical movements the entire day and when logically you should have been more tired by the evening, you never give resting or anything even a thought. I'd even shrug off a suggestion to rest as ridiculous otherwise. And there I was, elated at the thought of lying down for fifteen minutes. And there's this weird compulsive disorder with me. Some years back our Munna Bhaiya at Vidyamandir Classes, which, for the uninitiated, is an iitjee coaching institute, gave us an advice about managing our time and minimising our re-fresh time effectively, told us that you could extract as much relaxation and rejuvenation from a 15 minute time slot as you'd from a 3 hour rest, but the condition is that you should keep yourself completely blank. Thoughtless. Think nothing. Zero. Since I was so fond of him and anything he said was worth gold for me, I have this compulsive disorder now of trying to think nothing whenever I want some rest, which on the contrary makes my mind wander all that much more. So trying to think nothing, I lay myself on the bed looking at the fan on the ceiling move at a low speed. It was early November then, so the fan had been set at a somewhat medium speed. It was fast enough to shake the spider nets turbulently and still slow enough to not cause it any harm. Even as I started scanning Delhi Times, my mind wandered back again and again to the spiders that were vibrating like anything, when it struck me what an awful life they have. Its like sitting in your room when the earthquake happening, and continuing sipping your tea hoping that your house won't collapse. Awful life but the spiders don't complain. Probably they haven't ever tasted the good life. And some more things. And then I thought what weird things I've been thinking when I am already short of time for preparing for the test. That’s when I kicked the mattress hard and checked the watch only to find that it was already 7.40. That’s when I showed the utter heights of procrastination and decided to start at 8, and making up for the lost time by giving next morning's bath a skip. And drew myself back to my tryst with the spider.


Added later: Reading this post again after posting it, I honestly feel what boring gibberish this one has turned out to be. But I told you beforehand, I don't have much to say these days.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Out of Place

Sometimes these days, I really feel very much out of place. Sometimes it pinches that I am no longer the child who falls congruently into perfect harmony with wherever he goes. As a child, I recollect, I always used to find something interesting to do even when I would go visiting with Dad, his friends' families who were complete strangers to me. Even then I was this reticent kid who would open up to other kids in these families only if they took the initiative majorly. Most of the times they did, and it wouldn’t be long before we'd mix so well that I started my once favourite activities of calling names, leg-pulling, and playing weird games that made so much sense then, with these two hour buddies. Even on the rare occasions such gel and get along wouldn’t take effect, there was always the advantage of a G-I-Joe or a Hotwheels toy car at the host's place with which I could gladly pass my evenings. If I had my way, I would never go to get-togethers or parties with people I am not truly close and friendly with, but with relatives sometimes I am forced to take exceptions. Yesterday, I went to this cousin sister's son's birthday party and knew almost no one there apart from this sister herself, her husband and son, and a couple of cousins I went with. As a child I used to play a lot with these cousins, until they grew into adults even as I remained a child. Then most of them got married when I was still going to school, and somehow I always fell short of things I could talk about with them. So yesterday, I spent about two-three hours fiddling with my cellphone, untying my shoe laces and tying them again, drinking dozens of glasses of water, and coochie-cooing small little kids I hardly knew. Of these the most difficult was the coochie-cooing thing as I lack the inherent warmth required to see all kids as cute toys, and more importantly, my inability to fake it. I was thinking all this on my way back home when it occurred to me it isn't just these parties I am an outsider to.


I feel a little out of place in the company of rich girls with a post-modern outlook on things. I feel a little out of place going on outings with friends who are considerably more affluent than I. I even feel out of place in regular hostel inmate gatherings in which the guys smoke and drink and smile wickedly at my unmanliness in not joining them. On the other hand, I feel out of place when they drop their so called retrosexual manliness and dive into never ending sessions of mushy SMS typing and mobile phone whispering.


The height is when my long time best friend doesn't quite let me be all easy in his company either. Sometime in 2004, I remember I was nudging him that we should try a cigarette to see what it's like when he got all senti and asked me to vow not to get into it, or else dosti toot jayegi, main teri mummy ko phone kar ke bata dunga etc etc. At that point, I thought he was being childish. Now, on the once-a-month meet-up we usually have, all he has to tell me about is how he got high on such and such thing and rammed the hell out of so and so guy, or went about dancing madly at so and so party impressing so and so hot chick in the process. How unlike our yesteryears when we talked about good literature, beautiful girls or upcoming plans, shared classic humour, played cricket or went about riding on the roads.


If only God grants that in-place life, who the hell wants to kill time scanning orkut profiles of scores of people one doesn’t even know, but just because they either look beautiful, or share the same viewpoints as his, supposedly.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Kuch na kuch

Ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali was in Delhi yesterday for a concert on Eid eve and the venue was Qutub Minaar. I came to know about it at 6 pm and the show was slated for 6.30. I quickly rang Vipin for his company for this occassion, and he didn't disappoint, like always. In five minutes I was racing my bike against the jammed roads, and getting restless by every passing second. Just when I had crossed the jam, the brakes failed, thankfully in a jammed position too. So it wasn't like I couldn't stop the bike now but that I couldn't start it. I called Vipin again to come to that spot to help me out and then we rushed to the nearby auto-workshop to get thing mended. It took a bad half hour, this brake thing. Then I raced it like I had never before, though I admit I was still way behind Vipin's jittering Bullet, to reach Qutub Minaar. Once we hopped the wired walls to get inside the seating arena, and succeeded. Only to be sent back by a hawaldar with stare and a compliment a minute later. Just when we were hopelessly going back, one guy offered us his passes for hundred rupees. That was it. I witnessed one of the most mesmerizing live performance of true genuine music I had ever seen. In this age when mediocrity is hailed as genius, and noise is called music, I was really thankful to God to have had the fortune of hearing some exceptional renditions live, atleast once.


And that was it. I decided what I have to become. Yes, I found it. I have to become an Urdu poet, or a shayar. I even wrote a nazm today, and here it is :


जिंदगी किस कदर कहती है आने दो समंदर को

इताब-ऐ-अश्क ही भारी पड़े जिसके मुक़द्दर को


कहाँ ये हौसला उसमें है आता पस्त-हौसला है जो

कि अब मसरूर है हबूत में मसरूफ होने को


क्यों उम्मीदें नही हैं वहम -ऐ -नुसरत के अलावा कुछ

खता को भी नही मिलता तगाफुल के अलावा कुछ


यह सालों की खलिश है या है ये ज़द्दोजहद कल की

कुछ मिलता भी है तो रहती है बेक़रारी-ऐ-दिल हलकी


वफात-ऐ-ग़म भी शायद हासिल कर लेते हम लेकिन

बेशुमारी-ऐ-ताबिश पहले ही हावी है हयात-ऐ-बुझ


क्या कुछ हस्ती है मेरी गैर -पेशा भी इस आलम में

तरसता हूँ वुजूद को फिर भी हूँ मौजूद इस ग़म में


कार -ऐ -कशाकश में था मैं जब किया था एक इख्तियार

तब भी इज्तिरार-ऐ-इजतिराब , जाने किसका है इंतज़ार


The following might be needed for a good comprehension:

Itaab : Anger

Ashq : Tears

Muqaddar : Destiny

past-hausla : Pessimistic

masroor : glad

huboot : decline

masroof : engrossed

vahm-e-nusrat : illusion of achievement

tagaaful : ignore/neglect

khalish : anxiey

zaddojehad : inner turmoil

beqaraari-e-dil : lack of heartfelt satisfaction

beshumari-e-taabish : immensity of sorrow

wafaat-e-gham : death from sadness

hayat-e-bujh : sluggish, insignificant existance.

gair-pesha : other than professional

aalam : universe

kaar-e-kashakash : professional dilemma

ikhtiyaar : choice/option

iztiraar : helplessness

iztiraab : perturbation/anxiety



* My mood's got nothing to do with my poem.


** Poem inspired by, this feeling. My approximate interpretation, in verse.


*** I am not going to become a shayar. I wanted to become a cricketer after India's breathtaking quarter final victory over pakistan in 96's wills world cup. I wanted to become an actor after seeing 'Pardes', an engineer after seeing 'Swades', a non-engineer after entering DCE, a ghazal singer after seeing my first Jagjit Singh concert, a cartoonist after seeing a Sudhir Tailang interview, An author/philosopher after I was exposed to Albert Camus, An IPS officer after watching 'Sarfarosh', a Hindi author/poet after reading Premchand/DInkar's works in ninth standard, a stand up comedian after watching Omar Sharif perform when in 10th standard. So just like I haven't got any closer to becoming any of these, I most probably won't be a shayar either. In short, aspirational hobbyist.



**** Evolution


The Try .. will continue , I mean that story of the last post.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Try : Part 1

Yesterday, Sagar made a startling revelation to all his buddies, including me.


'I love her, guys. I am the Next.'


'Whom?', we asked in chorus, as if rehearsing for some third-rate, forcibly-make-believe street play. Though I never used to get his unnecessary jargon I did get a hint of what his 'next' would be about.


'Aastha, you dumbos.', I heard from him and thought 'who's the dumbo ?'


For a second there was the silence of confusion. I suppose all of us were ten percent happy and ninety percent amazed at his courage. Happy for his face was lighted with cheer, a face that had just managed to smile mildly for a second when he got a cent in his Numerical Analysis paper, and then made up by yawning for a minute. Amazement, was even more obvious. Aastha had dozens of aspirants dreaming of her, and half of them were listening to Sagar at this moment. Though the amazement was at his imagination that made him believe he could win the race. The other day a seminar on 'Heights of Imagination' was arranged by the cultural society people. We never knew he had attended it even as he told us he's going to sleep in his room. Now we were sure he did.


Probably he attended it sitting on the front bench. That is his trademark. Sagar isn't a stud, apart from his grades. But no one knows about his grades. Yes I forgot he's unknown too. Half the class wouldn’t recognise him on phone, because they'd not have ever heard his voice.


'Its DCE mate! Where every girl with two feet and a nose considers herself an Aishwarya Rai and all of us some Rajpal Yadav duplicate. And you're talking about the best goddamn material there is.', yelled Abhay. Pretension was never Abhay's forte. But he could have done without this one, I thought. So I went ahead to mend matters so that Sagar doesn't get depressed.


'Great Man! Who knows, you might not even talk to this funny Abhay once you're done. You know what I mean.', I added with a superficial smile followed by a wink of an eye that didn’t come naturally with the mood either.


'What the hell. I thought you guys would be happy on hearing this. You guys are no friends. You are hopeless.'


None of said a word, and we agreed to him partly. Apart from Vaibhav who chuckled, 'Better be hopeless than a hopefool!' and then laughed loudly and raised his palms before mine hoping I'd clap my hands to his. That was a tough situation for me. I had already resisted laughing out along with him, but now I had to refuse his clap too. I couldn't resist the temptation. On the spur of the moment, I clapped my hands against his, and then immediately looked back at Sagar and winked an eye to him indicating to him that Vaibhav's the fool. Sagar looked foolishly confused.


After about an hour of conversation in which most of us were hell bent towards pessimism, Rajat finally agreed to help him out. Rajat had a better track record than all the others, so that made Sagar all the more bullish on his chances of success. Though I'd still call the bullishness, pure foolishness, but they were both very proud of their optimism.


Rajat has got this better reputation than all of us, all for nothing I believe. I have never believed his tales about his sky high feats. And none of those feats had been achieved in front of our eyes, we were just told about them. By none other than Rajat himself. All I held about him was that he is my friends' friend who knows nothing better than occupying one computer centre seat all the time and never taking his ass off it, however important the waiting guy's work on the computer might be. He was as happy about his fanlist on orkut reaching two hundred as Mika might have been at the Rakhi Sawant pappi. He is known to have more than a thousand friends there, and doesn't forget to mention at the slightest provocation that he has more people in his fanlist as you'd have in your friends' one. The addict that he is, I wouldn't be surprised if he answers his exam sheets starting with a 'u there?' and putting a :) following correct answers, a :( following presumably incorrect ones, brb before his 'may I go to toilet/drink water' breaks, and gtg at the end of the exam. That might as well be the case infact, coz hiz marx r a bl8ant p8h8ic. He is a humble guy though, lolzz.


Anyways, I went back to my room then, my eyes already strained by the excessive winking.


( ...... Shall be continued )

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Yeah!!! Its october the fourth.

It always makes me think a lot - how to start a post when I have no clue what is it going to be about. So today I just thought I'd write 'It always makes me..' and get away with it.


The Indo-Pak final, first of all. There was something electric about the atmosphere at Common Room , JCB hostel, DCE. Many guys have told me that they saw it on the big screen and some who saw it with beer and some who saw it with the 'crowd'. But all that still leaves me sceptical as to whether one could have enjoyed the match more than us, 100 of us squeezed inside the common room which refuses to accommodate more than 30 people at a time if anything else is up on TV. Anyway, I think I am incapable of reflecting the true feel of that day in writing, so I'd rather stop here than understate the excitement.


In time, I've felt that the only people more saddened by this Indian victory than the Pakistanis and the Bookies are the Indian Hockey people. I really feel they could've done without this 'meri bhi tareef karo naa' gimmick. Its understandable when they say their Asia Cup victory wasn't applauded as much as the Indian victory, although hockey is the national game. Yeah really, that's what Joaquim Carvalho said. But what about reconsidering Hockey's status as the national sport itself. It just does not reflect mass preferences keeping hockey the national sport, practically speaking. I followed the Hockey Asia cup too and personally was perhaps equally happy at the sight of India's smashing victory in it, but I still consider the Carvalho statement as one being in bad taste at a time when we should join the cricket team in the celebration of their hard fought victory.


Having said that, I'd also want to mention the growing nuisance that that the Indian Media has become of late. And this does not include India TV, Total TV, and yeah IBN 7. You'll agree they can hardly be put under the category 'Media', if you've ever watched their Afternoon's sequence of programmes. Even the others have been far too immature in their coverage of Cricket, far too aggressive in their coverage of Politics, far too Ignorant in their coverage, or the lack of it, of Hockey, and far too lost otherwise. In hailing Dhoni's tactics as the coolest captain, I think they've been hasty in this judgement, to say the least. Having accepted and rejoiced the Laurels that the men in blue brought, giving the last over to Joginder Sharma who had just gone for 2 sixes included 16 runs in his previous over, was far from sensible thinking. Fortune favoured India, as Pakistan , which came so close to victory as 6 runs off 4 balls lost it due to a poor shot. Had that misfortune not struck the Pakistanis , we might have had oodles of criticism meted out against the same Dhoni, which would have been unfair no doubt, but so was the incessant praise too. I think I've made myself clear.


Its the season of College CultFests in Delhi. Unlike last year, I haven't been to many this year but thoroughly enjoyed the only one I went to - LHMC fest. The reasons for not missing the LHMC one are obvious, and precisely the same reasons hold for why I enjoyed it so much. And I realised I can appear drunk without actually drinking. Money saving habits I guess.


Finally, CAT race has begun for me. More than just a means for chasing a fat paying job, for me it is the reason to spend the year and more in doing something worthwhile. It will keep my wandering mind at one place. It will give me a reason to spend time into. For quite some time now, my biggest qualm had been the absence of one thing I'd like to keep myself engaged with for days and days. It gives me purpose, more than the lure of money minting machinery that it has come to be considered as. I hope to make the best of the coming time. I'd love to make it a passionate affair. I'd love to do more things, but its time to stop now.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Some more things

It was sometime last month that I wrote I'll leave it. Yesterday, I thought I'd better do blogging rather than indulging in things that were doing me no good, and made me feel somewhat bad about myself too. So, like always, I have no clue what I'm going to write in the post. But, visitors kindly bear.


Sometimes one wishes all sorts of things, probably out of a ingenuous childishness in all of us. When these wishes fall flat, it hurts. But if you can stand up when it hurts, you can at least be content with yourself, though not necessarily accomplish your wishes. Anyway, enough of the philosophizing.


I learnt a few lessons over the last one month or so. Not from the textbooks though, I still have to learn those. So I think I shall be making some modifications in my mindset and the way I perceive things, if I am able to. To start with, I feel I need to shoot my expectations with myself on the professional front to something may be just short of dead high. Equally importantly, I need to keep the expectations on the personal front to something may be just a notch more than zero. And if instincts are to be believed I think I am already well on my way in this process. Though this agenda sounds a bit like making a robot out of oneself, but you'll agree that robotic is any day better than moronic.


The other day I was havig a discussion with a classmate about what separates truly successful people from potentially successful ones. No prizes for guessing where I fit myself in these two things. After about an hour of talking I finally arrived to the conclusion that what we lack is that we want acknowledgement for whatever good we are before proceeding to enhance ourselves towards greater excellence and betterment. While the truly successful people, I assume, never aspired any recognition or acknowledgement midway. And may be that is what kept them going to follow their dreams through to their conclusions. In this respect a key area, I feel, that needs working on , on our part, is developing a sort of comfort with solitude or rather a love affair with solitude. None of it might appeal to the readers, but I'll just let you know this is one thing I'll be trying to work on.


Finally, some minute updates. Got selected in Mensa. Bhai left for his MBA and is doing very nicely, I hope he continues to make the most of his strengths and that God bestows upon him all the health and wisdom he'll need.


Anyways, I hope to keep coming back once in a while.

Friday, August 10, 2007

As true as it gets, and as boring

Life in hostel wasn’t like this before. I think there is not much of a difference between living at home or at the hostel with your roommate, if you compare it with living alone in a single room. The third year students in DCE are allotted single rooms, subject to their back paper free academic status. Since I just about managed that somehow I am living alone now for four days, for the first time in my life. As luck would have it almost al the friends I made here during the last two years have been allotted different hostels and the Delhi ones haven’t checked in so far, I guess I am the only one from among them so far to have checked in. And with my long nurtured lazy habits, the case for looking for other alternatives gets a little stronger than walking down three storeys, walking some more and again going up three storeys to hang out with these guys. It was a bit difficult for the first day, there were no interesting alternatives. So I thought I’d make do with forced alternatives until I start finding them interesting. A chance game basically. I had issued three books on my way back from classes, and I decided to read them over. Usually, infact invariably, I return the library books unread courtesy laziness. These books, combined were a good mix of cognitive and recreational, I forced myself to believe. I started with ‘INDIA : what it can teach us’ by F Max Muller . In two hours, I had tears in my eyes. I couldn’t believe it. No, it had nothing to do with my pain at india’s historical miseries. Iwas just too sad at the boring state of my life that I had to find interest in this super boring book which seemed to have been written by this author while watching some bombed documentary film at some crappy theatre where only people with specs with a number greater than six and some matter at their eye-nose interface were permitted to enter. One could find something interesting in watching a repeat telecast of a five year old ‘Krishi Darshan’ episode, but not in this book. I kept it aside and began moaning to myself about the unfortunate catastrophe I thought I was in. Just then a ‘kya haal – bas badiya – chal ok’ friend of minecame to my room and asked which room had I been allotted.


‘The room that you’ve entered’, I answered in an exasperated voice. He laughed loudly as if he caught me mending broken zip of the jeans I was wearing.


As he continued with some thought provoking questions like ‘So classes started..’ ‘H’m staying in hostel?’; ‘H’m new courses?’ I kept nodding my head in agreement when he dropped the most meaningful of his questions, ‘What’s up?’. I quickly began vomiting my grouses out as if waiting for this question to be put up. He looked like he repented asking this question too much. I sensed that and shut up. After a while I asked him if he had ‘Five Point Someone’ or ‘One Night at the call Center’, I’d heard they were interesting and that almost everybody in the hostel had them. He said yes and I borrowed them promptly from his room a floor below mine.


I read both of them in succession – Five Point Someone and then One Night in the Call Center. I think I started at four pm and ended at 3 am, I skipped the dinner I’d had skipped even for moaning to myself – I just cant stand the mess’ Kofte ; don’t go by the name. As I went to sleep I was surprised at reading so many letters in one day and continuously too. I couldn’t ever achieve this sort of concentration even before the exams I was too cautious not to fail. And more importantly, I was cursing myself for not having done a call center stint in the vacations rather than the ngo thing. The novel showed call centers in a dark light, but the utilitarian mind that I have – I preferred to look at the promise it held.


‘Life would have been so much more happening that way’, I wondered.


I don’t know when I dozed off after that.


I got up late the next morning and barely left on time for college. As a matter of fact, I am a pre final year student now and it happens that most of the students I come across on the campus turn out to be my juniors. Not that it means anything to me – a seniority by default. But as a newly admit asked me – Bhai engineering ki classes kahan hain ?’, some faint recollections of two years back flashed before me.


#

Me ( two years younger ) : Bhaiya, Kshitiz ka room kaun sa hai ?


He (one year my senior) : bhaiya kaun hai ******** , ******* hai tu, Sir bol **** ** ****.

And some insignificant duel followed.

#


Flashback over. I told him, 'tu jahan aaya hai vahan har jagah engineering ki hi classes hoti hain, koi yahan silaayi bunaai seekhne bhi aaya hai kya ?’


Fresher – mera matlab drawing ki, engineering drawing ki .


Me – Mechanical mein hoti hain.


He – Vo to hoti hi hain, lekin kahan ?


Me- oh mera matlab block mein, mechanical block mein. Floor pe hoti hain.


He – floor pe ???


Me – Haan floor pe, mera matlab third floor pe.


He left quickly after that. I saw him giggle as he turned. That seemed girlie to me. I even tried to visualise him for some time as clean shaven and with long hair, that is, as a girl. It was futile. He’d look horrible. Then I left too, thinking I was more polished than this junior – I called that senior ‘bhaiya’ not ‘bhaai’ ; and more polished than that senior who called me ********. I tapped my head in self admiration. Suddenly there was a dust storm which spoiled away all the polish from my shoes and in minutes there was drizzle which cleaned them again. Anyways, it was nice as long as the college was on. While I was coming back from college, I was again in thoughts over what to do once back.


That friend came again. He wanted to know how I found the novels. He looked so eager to know, I wondered for once if he had some role in writing them. I told him they were good, but he wasn’t satisfied.


‘After all the effort I put into writing them!!’, he seemed to look like.


Then I said they were outstanding, captivating, mesmerizing and stuff, and he appeared so happy he dropped his sandals and lay himself on my cot, certain now to spend the next of the evening here with me. With hardly any common interests between the two of us ‘Do you have a girlfriend’ was the obvious next step from me to keep afloat some conversation. His face beamed with vigour and he described at length how he went about the wooing business, and how she’d never let him pay all the bills, and that her parents are quite broadminded – ‘I meet her at her home, man!’, he chuckled. Initially I thought ‘I’d pass my time well today’. But as his anecdotes grew and grew, from a story to a novel to an epic, I thought moaning was better. And his flurry of achievements had given me more topics to moan over my under-achievements. Slowly I stopped making the odd remarks intended to cut the awkward gaps of silence. When he still stuck on, I had to ask him to leave saying I had to go for a snack outside. I left with him, locking my room, so as to conform to him I was leaving. Then I wandered around for five minutes and came back to my room. I realised that I hated the loneliness, but I also wanted it.


I plugged in the ipod, switching off the lights and played some Jagjit Singh numbers.


‘Aas jo toot gayi fir se bandhaata kyun hai ..’


‘Kabhi yun bhi to ho ..’


I reaffirmed to myself his position as the ultimate escapade after a mush mush self confidence drowning conversation.


There was more to blurt, but seeing that it’s a lot more, and it has already got very longish, I think shutting up is a nice idea.


An idea can change your life.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

That night at the masseur's.

Training at college has come to an end. A weird end it was. On the third last day, a staff guy saw a game of solitaire being played on my computer while I was reading the newspaper. It was my partner for the computer playing that game. I saw that he saw it. I was expecting a remand. It didn't happen. The next day, this partner of mine goes on leave. And when the professor came, he was told of games being played on computer no. 7. He called me in. I was screwed for around 45 minutes and then informed about subsequent 'fails' I should be certain I'll get. All that for playing a boring little game like solitaire in the three hour slot in which we had absolutely no other task to complete. All that for playing a boring little game I never played ! Not that I don't play games while in training hours, why should I pretend to be such a good boy I am not. But its true that on that occasion it wasn't me. Its also true I never play solitaire, I play only need-for-speed, and its also true that I never get caught. But tell the professor these truths and he makes such frightening faces, and saliva gushing out of both the ends of his lips as he scowls, and all he can think of that moment is 'suppli suppli suppli, chahe jis se bhi keh dena, HOD se, principal se, sab mujhe jaante hain main kya cheez hoon'.


It's another thing that about half an hour later he aggresively asked me if I, like other students in the past, am gleefully willing to offer them a party at the close of the training month together with more students from my class. As he changed tracks, the flowing saliva rushed back on his tongue while he visualised smelling the dishes he will be served, and then overflowed again as a result of excess of visualisation. It was a classic example of high pressure - low pressure - high pressure sequence of fluid flow. He is the fluid dynamics professor, so you know how much pain he takes to illustrate his topics in a real setting. In this new mood, his expression changed swiftly from one scary Sadhu Yadav to one smiling Rajpal Yadav. And he promptly remarked, ' tum to mere bete jaise ho, mujhe kya achha lagta hai aise tumhe punish karne mein he he hu hu ha ha ha'.


In one other development, one helluva kewl rocking sexy dude ( this data from his previous orkut testimonials ) offered to add himself to my orkut fanlist if I wrote him a testimonial that would make him win over his Pinky and eventually give him his first kids. And before I could answer this much, in negative or affirmative, he, presuming I cant decline this helluva offer, starting giving me exact directions along what lines I should keep the testimonial - ''thoda banda bond bhi lage yaar samajh raha hai naa, aur intelligent bhi, matlab studious nahi, bas gifted type ke intelligent nahi hote vaise, aur vaise poora harami bhi hai, tu samjh raha hai na kaisa likhna hai'', he knew exactly what he wanted, a quality often attributed to fine film directors. Overwhelmed by his offer, I told him I was willing to wash his undergarments for the next 3 months for that, leave alone a mere testimonial. He didn't persist any more. I think he got the gist. Smart boy. So I wrote him a testi - " SMART BOY ''. Ofcourse he didn’t accept. And didn’t become a fan. I cried lakes of tears that night. And then I thought - why not take a bath in it, as it is its been so many days. I wonder how some people survive months without bathing, I get itches after every two weeks and then just can't resist taking a nice long bath.


Don't mind the title. Nothing to do with the post. Couldn't think of a more seductive one.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Whatever

For those who never seem to get good results, doing good work itself can be a decent consolation prize.


But that’s all it is.


A consolation.


p.s : By the way, the second half of the year just started four minutes back. Just a reminder, in case that holds any significance for anybody.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

ha ku na ma ta ta - as tala vista

I have nothing interesting to talk about these days, but since some days have passed, I thought I'd update the blog.


An in-campus training awaits, hardly 7 days from now. And then the vacations are over. I don't know why they call us everyday to do this thing called nothing. When we can do 'nothing' quite splendidly from our homes. Anyways. And some of my friends have joined coaching for CAT already, they showed the courtesy of asking me about it too, but I don't get the point in joining these instis when you have seventeen months in hand. Don't know, so I didn’t.


I have been working for a child welfare ngo for sometime now, and the stint ends in a few more days. Nice experience it was. Rather on june 12th, I had to coordinate an anti child labour rally, and since I've always felt like I've never done anything worthwhile, that experience changed things a little bit. The real feel of going through the stink in the slums, and then making a group of 45 kids from there, and then taking them to some place, and yess a few more things like telling them how to shout slogans and all that, I really felt good about myself though I didn’t do anything requiring extreme abilities.


Then these guys gave me passes for a Shiamak Davar summer funk show. And I enjoyed it so much. With so many lovely girls to first escort to your gate, then to your seat , and then cheering you up to dance along with the rythem, and dancing wonderfully themselves, oooh. But the guys accompanying them were such a put off. With so much beauty around, I felt like a housefly with broken wings and limbs, and yummy dirty rotten food all around at two feet distance.


Finally, some progress in weight loss attempt. After seven days of running I really managed to pull down a full one hundred and twenty grams. Woo hoo. God, I feel so light.


kisi ko hakunamatata aur astalavista ka matlab pata hai ? to bata dena . orkut pe bahot logo ne likha hua hai, jinhe apna naam pasand nahi. par ye naam ??

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tests time takes


The day has just begun. The birds chirping and flying in groups are making exquisite, amazing formations with an orange rising sun making for a spectacular background. Plus the cool and wavy breeze is leaving nothing to chance in contributing its part to make the entire setup breathtaking. On some other day, his mind would have started pondering over the observational and artistic understanding these birds have and the even more astonishing communication and coordination these beautiful birds put up with the meagre quack-quack or crow-crow uttering abilities they are provided with. But today he is far more absorbed in the ugly affairs of his life, to give any thought to this lovely alternate reality. Such is the maze of life, that these are the only days he is getting up early enough to witness these picturesque, cheering, heartening views , and he has no heart left to savour the cheer.


He had been a lazy fellow throughout. As a kid everyday in the morning his father would wake him up to get him ready before his school bus arrived. His dad would pack his schoolbag according to the day's study schedule and get his other affairs in order like polishing his shoes, putting his I-card in his shirt's pocket and his mother would prepare a delicious lunch for him, something new everyday, while he would just hurry himself through the bathing and other morning activities in the super-squeezed time left before him. Harjeet was almost in his third year of engineering now, but these things had hardly changed. 'Some things never change', he would jovially say now and then to his friends telling them about his morning routine.


A certain Susheel was the ultimate fan of the tasty food prepared by Harjeet's mother, and happened to be his best friend as well. Day after day, he would lick his tongue over his lips in delight at the sight of his lunch and eventually grab the lion's share of his lunch which had many ardent admirers in the class. He would make up for Harjeet's appetite by offering him his hostel mess' not-good-at-all food which he would have missed anyway. Why Harjeet would gleefully accept this trade policy, was way beyond Susheel's understanding. But he wouldn't push for knowing this too, apprehensive that Harjeet's realisation of common-sense would imply his starvation. Perhaps Susheel needed the sensitivity of understanding what bestfriendship was, apart from the common sense - something he thought he was so rich in, maybe rightly so.


Its summer vacations in the college and these two guys have been out of touch. Surprising it seems considering the two are best of friends, but not so much considering the distance between their residences and Susheel's reluctance towards telephonic conversations. Infact 'out of sight, out of mind' is what he had always been like. Yesterday when Susheel came somewhere near Harjeet's house in connection with some child welfare event he was associated with, he rang Harjeet up. Well frankly, Susheel's primary motivation behind calling and meeting him was bragging about the kind of gracious stuff he was associated with.


"Hello! hey, Harjeet I am here at district centre, how far is it from your house" he roared loudly, the screeching sound of buses and cars in the backdrop making for difficult hearing.


"Just five minutes", Harjeet replied.


"Great, then just come over, I am here at district centre"


"Okay, I'll see if I find time", Harjeet said.


Susheel cut the phonecall abruptly, annoyed by Harjeet's reluctant attitude towards meeting up, that too when he had already travelled some twenty-five kilometres in the scorching sun while Harjeet just had to stroll for five minutes outside his house in order to meet him.


"Who the hell wants to meet him anyway"

"I wont even pass a smile at his sight, he deserves a royal ignore"


These were the thoughts swinging in his mind after the phonecall, an egoist's ego had just been hurt.


The day went on, and Susheel did all sort of work this day. Secretly he was ecstatic about the kind of good deeds he's been doing these days - child welfare and all. And when the day's work was over started leaving for his home, chin up, head held high, shoulders broadened - all signifying his new found pride in his very existence. Standing at the bus stop, he was thinking how bogus some friendships can be ,thinking about Harjeet; and had just begun musing about how he'd narrate on gtalk the day's events and his heroics to a new friend after reaching home, when his mobile phone rang.


"I am outside McDonalds, where are you", Harjeet it was.


"Well I was just about to leave in fact. Anyway, since you've come, ok I am coming, McDonalds right ?", said Susheel, giving himself airs.


"Okay, I am waiting."


Susheel sauntered slowly back to the district centre, his intention being to keep Harjeet waiting for a longer time.


He was a little put off with Harjeet's reluctance in the afternoon but at the very sight of his friend a smile beamed over Susheel's face as if all of that anger vanished instantly into the hot air around, and he started humming in parody spontaneously "Happyian di Happiyan di gal ban gayi" [Mr. Happy grabs a bounty, oh yeah!] as he'd usually tease this Sikh friend of his by calling him Mr.Happy Singh and blending in this nickname in some weird punjabi song he'd little comprehend himself. And he was surprised himself that his anger had disappeared automatically.


Susheel was back to normal, to sum up. And kept cracking jokes and passing funny comments on ambling lovebirds around and every other thing. Harjeet would usually appreciate his knack of making everything look funny and laughed heartily at his jokes, but was unusually silent today. As if he understood no context, he understood no laughter.


Quick to gauge this, Susheel remarked ," aaj tere totey kyun udey hue hain bhai" [Why are you out of your wits, dude?]


"kuch nahi yaar" [Nothing, mate.]


"abe tere chehre pe to baara baje hue hain, bhai bata de kuch hai to", Susheel stuck on. [Then why's your face a stuffed astray today .. don't make a fuss .. just bring it up]


"aise kyun bol raha hai, tujhe pata to hoga". [Why do you act oblivious, you must be knowing everything.]


This was enough to sense something really undesirable had occurred, Susheel hastened to ask, " please tell me yaar,I don’t know".


"My Dad expired a week ago", Harjeet said, the strong boy's lips and nostrils vibrating with agony, with painful memories. Just the other day he was telling Susheel that the only reason he wants to strech the limits, work hard and crack the CAT and enter the IIMs was because he wanted to make his dad proud of him, because he wanted to give his Dad every happiness in the world.


And the world moved full circle for Susheel in these last two seconds. Gasping for breath, struggling to take in this hell of a fact, his throat dried as if it had never tasted water. Speechless, out-of-wits, out-of-words, didn’t know what to say, how to console, and if all that is even meaningful now in the first place. Ashamed of the things he'd been thinking about his friend's reluctance. Ashamed that he didn’t even know about it when almost every little known, hi-hello acquaintance from the class had already paid him an assuaging visit in his difficult time. Ashamed that he wasn’t there for Harjeet when it mattered most. Ashamed that half an hour ago he was mulling over why Harjeet wasn’t there for him.


In five-ten minutes, Susheel came to terms with what had initially been a horrible shock. Gathered courage to console, extend help and enquire about the how? and now? of things. The sun set, the days events far forgotten and they left the place to Harjeet's home. Susheel sat on a stool, in two minutes Harjeet's sister came in with a glass of water, and then Harjeet's mother with a glass of lassi. Spellbound with their hospitality at this hour of hardship, he asked, "Aunty, what's the need, you need not take the burden, just sit down, please"


Harjeet's mother, who had maintained her calm could hold her tears no more and broke down, " Had his father been here he'd have left no stone unturned to make you feel special, whenever any of Harjeet's friend came home he'd just pace here and there just trying to offer whatever nice thing he could, we've got to carry that forward. But we can't be like him" and a tear just dropped and ran across that serene, motherly face.


Susheel tried his best to calm things up, his own heartbeat at its all time high with the surge of emotions. And Harjeet all this while, remained quiet as anything. Almost non-living. Then he brought himself up, calmed his mom, and some twenty minutes of memory-living coloured the conversation that ensued, in which the boy and his mom strived to live those happy moments again, trying to make sure they don't let these moments slip this time. Susheel was overwhelmed by the simultaneous utility and futility, the simultaneous everlasting and shortlived traits of this exercise.


Some half an hour had passed and Susheel's mother was getting worked up since she didn’t expect him to be this late. She had called him up meanwhile a couple of times and told him rather firmly to get back soon, since they had to leave for a cousin's birthday party. Susheel was far from interested in attending the party, but also wanted to avoid the conflicts at home that could arise from his absence, he had the task of not letting his mother get too worked up; she is a hypertension patient.


"Aunty, I guess I'll take your leave" he said.


" abhi nahi , kuch kha ke jaana, dal roti hi hai kuch aur thodi banana hai, koi nahi khaa ke jaana, koi ghar pe rehta hai to phir aasaan rehta hai, akele to bahot kamzor ho jaate hain", she said in a soft tone dressed in affection. [Not so early, at least have your dinner first. You know, when there's someone here, we're still okay. Alone, it gets unbearable, really.]


" please aunty abhi nahi phir kabhi", he mumbled. [Please, Aunt, some other time.]


" achha, hamare yahan nahi kha ke jaoge" [Oh I see, you won't eat at our condemned place!]


Susheel uttered, '' nahi nahi , aaoonga main phir , aapke haath kaa hi to khaata raha hoon do saal se roz, itne chaav se" [No, no! It's the food lovingly prepared by you that I have been nourishing on full steam, for the last two years. I'll be back.. ] and rushed his way quickly out of the house before he would too give in to the emotions, and his characteristic loud weeping took over their deeper, prolonged tears.
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