Wednesday, December 17, 2008
And then, almost all students of my college would be aware of the swiftly repeated loud cries of 'DCE college' that the RTV conductor makes at the Metro station, because for the life of him he wouldn't give a damn to what DCE could stand for, whether Deesee is a bollywood bombshell or a sacred cow; but has to and indeed does take due measure to ensure that this lot of 'college'-goers standing near him doesn't, by any chance, leaves him unnoticed. But then this whole profession-vocabulary angle has been dissected so exhaustively by the now omnipresent TV's comedy kings, that there is hardly any novelty left about this entire exercise that I should explore. So, I'll just get back to some more of the oddities that I happened to spot recently.
A very good friend of mine, a mysterious character however, reveals some of his mysteries thus. An ardent lover of caps and hats, he often tells me he is always on the lookout for 'different-different kinds of caps' whenever he is out shopping. Yes, precisely that. Because, in his mind of minds, he actually looks out for alag-alag tarah ki topiyaan, he found it obligatory to add that extra 'different', and not because he was actually trying to be different, which he actually is! To think in one language while talking in another can be shoddier than not thinking at all while talking I'd say, unless hilarity is your first aim. This, then, is what I identify as the translator's plight. Of course, no language completely renders itself into being converted into another; not without the sprinkling of such amusing slips. This is also why one often finds many dubbed-into-Hindi movies hilarious enough to earn awards for their comedy, only to find out later that they have already won many for the excellence of their depiction of tragedy or action. Watch the 'Rocky' movie series in Hindi after you have watched it in English already, and you'll discover how Rocky's typical filler-words '..ya know' are each and every time so meticulously translated, as if they impart the dialogue all the meaning, into 'tum yeh khoob jaante ho'. So, 'It's gettin cold ya know' becomes 'ab yeh thanda ho raha hai, tum ye khoob jaante ho' and many more similar gaffes! Really, it is so clumsy it is actually great fun.
An old friend was to get married a week ago, and the occasion called for many of my other old friends to get together - it proved to be a reunion of sorts; all marriages are, on second thoughts. Some things derive their pleasure-quotient from their rarity, and this was just that. I know how bored we were three years ago hanging out with each other day after day after day, that once it had got down to all of us discussing how our social lives sucked, and each of us undisputedly accepting the conclusion that it sucked because each of us stuck it out with the rest of all of us. Ironically, we were in agreement upon the assertion that too much of being in agreement with each other all the time wasn't such a great thing after-all. But meeting after all these years was the best thing that could have happened to us at this time, we all agreed, yet again. However, as soon as I reached the venue, I was greeted with 'Saale tu bhi aa gaya' by the groom's brother as though 'the lesser the invitees turn up the preferable' was the mingy dictum that reigned supreme. Of course, it wasn't so. As I awkwardly took a seat close by, I saw that this was how everyone else was greeted too, some of them even more strangely, like - saale aaj nahi absent hoga chahe kabhi class na gaya ho. Perhaps someone had got it into his head that this was a particularly pleasing way to welcome people. The point I am trying to make here is that no matter how much you read into people's language to try and know about them, it isn't an ISO certified yardstick. For all you know, what you think as strange or stranger, could well have been funny or funnier, in intention. So, a fair bit of allowance had better be kept in these matters.
True, as much as how you mould a language can bring you embarrassment, the impact you generate is also a strikingly straight-line function of what treatment you give your words, your own way of putting the same old thing. This is so important it cannot be over-emphasised, but then it is so universal that it needn't be emphasised at all. The endearing Short-Film 'Historia De Un Letrero' (Story of a sign) made the most of this principle all the way to the bank, besides grabbing numerous international awards on the way. Since films are always better viewed than explained, I won't bore you with what happens in the film. Instead, I'll leave a link for you to entertain yourselves.
Totally unrelated, but since it has come down to pasting links in any case, I thought I'll paste this too. I found it awesome.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Once, I was completely someone else. I always said what I had to say. Now, I say something else.
The most pressing urge I experience from within me is to go back in time, maybe back to school, maybe even back further, to infancy perhaps. Besides its urgent thrust, the urge is made unbearable by its inherent futility. I am unfortunately aware I am on a one-way. I, like billions of my contemporaries, have to go forward. Don't confuse it with upwards, better-wards or anything. Just plain forward. What makes the urge pressing is the sentiment that the farther back I look in time, the more homogeneous I see myself as. I was one with the people around me, one with nature; one with the Rickshaw wale uncle who took me to school everyday as much as I was one with the Car wale uncle who'd come to my aid on days the former would curiously disappear. The further back we go, the more all of us were similar. The more we were similar, the more we understood each other better. And even when we didn't, it was for the better. Years of unguided, misinformed, intuitive lessons learnt weren't such a profitable education after all. It feels meaningless, like an addict six months into drug abuse, on the point of no return. It also feels restless, like that addict in rehabilitation. The addict at least has to go through them one at a time. And the addict's case at least has hope.
I can be someone else in the future. I can say this because I know I was someone else in the past. The self, well, then, is an unreliable reality. Maybe it is not a reality at all, but unreliable it sure is.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
The big Stubborn Sky stared back with scary starkness
A switch, it seemed, turned on in less than an instant
Which enabled automation of the very very distant
The Sky even though decides to keep the remote-control
He does relent to take me along on this wondrous stroll
Those lovely little Stars abundant in the Space,
Swiftly move to make the contours of your innocent face
The craggy Crow - cute Cuckoo meetings,
Replay each and every one of your greetings
What memory did delete, memory also made replete
I profusely thank the Sky that it's like no other treat
It was truly a most delightful, even magnetic, sojourn
Probably the stuff, out of which legends are born
But, the little one knows about a thing, the better one thinks of it
The thorns on the red carpet reveal themselves bit by bit
I was shown the skyscraper that stood tall; also stood alone,
And struck a chord somehow with my own flesh & bone
It's avoided carefully even by the adventurer on the parachute
The building of stone isn't stone enough, it struggles to remain mute
It's uninhabited perhaps and desperate, even tenants would do
Not its expensive tiles and furnishings, no gimmicks could woo
It's lonely at this altitude perhaps, the building muses
And every now and then, it wished the height reduces
I rethink whether I was stared back in a Response by the Sky
Maybe he was staring down already - fed up of the splendour, on the sly
Saturday, November 29, 2008
I am done with Semester Seven now, which means I have now known seven-eighths of what I needed to know to be called an engineer. On the face of it, I know nothing. All I know is how to cram before the exams, write the exams so that I get a decent enough score and just get away. Yes, that’s all I know. And yes - I also know how to destroy all evidence that I tried for it, in case I don’t actually get the decent score I aspired for!
Had I not been deep sunk in a meaningless muddle of my own back then, I’d have loved to come up with farewell eulogies for both Jumbo and Dada. Call it fixation, but I fear that as my own heroes of Indian Cricket fade into the oblivion of the sidelines, my own love for following the game will peter out sooner than later. No Dhoni can be Dada, no Bhajji ever Jumbo; and even as we’re doing very well to rip apart the Aussies and the English one after another, I seem to miss the memories of those passionately fought draws that these men of lesser luck always seemed to end up with. Apart from that, I sense a somewhat intricate feeling of oneness with big-day chokers, being one myself. I know, I know that’s a weird justification to place their losses before these victories, but I guess there’s no harm in justifications being weird as long as they be truly-felt ones.
I’d also have loved to write about the exams, and that’s almost a ritual for this blog – I see I have a specific Exam-post for each of the exams I have taken over the last couple of years, but then so much has been said about them already that it makes no point really. ‘All’s well that ends well’, is all I guess I can come up with.
Friday, November 28, 2008
There's only so much you can smile in solitude; it doesn't quite qualify as celebration.
It was the ecstasy that naturally follows those long longed first-conversations which end with warm goodbyes and implicit assurances of getting back to each other. Heck! It wasn't just that. It was mad euphoria, there's no other word for it. The slightest attempts to downplay the surge will, I am afraid, distort the story.
An important exam had gone awry beyond consolation in the morning. And the floating remorse of it still managed to vanish into pleasantest surprise with the first traces of an elongated 'Hiee' hitting the eardrums. It had to be special. The lad had been wishing to hear it for months, but somehow every time he would try to find lame excuses for striking a chat, that's what they invariably turned out to be - excuses which would be really lame.
The remaining exams hardly demanded his attention. Rather, he could hardly give it to them. The days that ensued saw him narrate that eventful day to his friends over and over and over again, a fresh perspective each time; each subsequent narration brought forth a previously unhighlighted intricacy; each one of them bringing out a shinier glint in his eyes.
* * * * * * * * * *
Then there are some realisations you think you'd have been better without. The one that was soon brought home to him had surely been brought home to him only too soon. It hadn't sunk, the hysteria. It sank, the realisation of its sudden demise.
Perhaps all things that pervade fast subside superfast. This one did - like an acute illness as against a chronic one. Abruptly, unanticipatedly, cruelly, the news of that other guy was somehow soon broken to him - the news of that other more-important guy.
'Luck... lucky' he mumbled wistfully between explosive plosives.
Friday, November 7, 2008
On Being Judgemental
Cross-culturally, being non-judgemental has come to occupy the high-ground of sophistication. Very often, we get to know of people being criticised for being too judgemental. So much so, that their criticism often has in its subtext allegations of clumsiness, insensitivity and the likes. At this stage of cultural evolution, hasn’t it become necessary to ask ourselves whether anything of any constructive value has ever been created without forming a set of judgements in the first place? Filmdom comes to the fore of my memory when I think about the attack on being judgemental. As though it were a ritual, the preachy-quotient of new films is discussed with alacrity by critics all and sundry. When all other aspects conspicuously fall perfectly in place, it is then that that film runs a great risk of being labelled as preachy or judgemental. Being opinionated is treated like a sin, unfortunately, in a profession which is in many ways only a portrayal of opinions. Now someone told me being judgemental hasn’t got anything about making judgements, it is about criticising people too quickly. The way I see it, I see people being disapproved of for being judgemental per se, without a heed being paid to the opinion they took and why and how they took it. The way things stand then, isn’t being anti-judgemental being judgemental too?
An Idler's guilt
I guess I should unzip the veil to confess that I have lately been susceptible to evaluating myself all too much. Too much is fine by me, really; only the evaluation should reap pleasing results. Only, it never does. Frankly, when you are in this mood, you tend to find a meaning out of every inconsequential thing randomly taking place around you. In one such event, I noticed I don't take nicely to being the only one online in a chat-tool list, while all other of my friends are offline, even the exponentially greater number of those who are more adds than friends. Being the only one isn't nice, even when you didn't really want to talk to anyone in any case. It fills me with defeating feelings of being a useless layabout whiling away his time in the most unproductive of things while others must be exercising, studying, reading, watching films, having ice-creams, going on dates, playing cricket, writing codes. From a logical construct however, what difference should it make if one of those umpteen would have been online at the same time? Nothing. But that saves me this self-defeating thoughtless mental ordeal. Now that I considered the logical construct as I was writing, I also feel illogical now. Eeeeeh.
Clutching at Straws
I have a weird manner of classifying my posts as happy posts and sad posts in my head. Once every few weeks, I come back to this blog and scroll a bit, trying to gauge how days have been. Since days haven’t been exactly smooth of late, I came back a few days back, with a specific purpose this time. I was trying to see the posts of around that time when things were particularly hunky-dory; everything was falling into place, almost as though by a divine intervention. I tried to take note of how I thought, wrote, lived and reflected in those days when everything was going so well that it sometimes occurred to me that I could make no mistake, even by mistake. I saw that I had quoted something by Muhammad Ali back then, thought for a moment about my present state of mind which is in starkest contrast to it, and cursed myself for the transition of decline. I made up my mind, did a bit of that self-motivating, psychological catharsis that all men of aspiration must have some time or the other done in their lives. I was banking heavily on it to bring about a difference.
Now, I have one more chance before the real day. A chance to redeem old, forgotten reputation; but more importantly, a chance to regain old, forgotten confidence.
"I never expect to lose. Even when I'm the underdog, I still prepare a victory speech." - H. Jackson Browne
Shamelessly or otherwise, I have, again.
I have these strange hallucinations
That one discerning pair of eyes
With intentions though free of vice
Follows every movement of mine
From how I spit to how I dine
But since I also harbour inklings
That every damn appraisal brings
More bad than good to the fore
I fear culpability all the more
Although these fears I often hide
Miss Nonchalance ever by my side
With twilight they come out of hiding
And until dawn are with me, fighting
And end up victors more than often
No folded hands can make them soften
Mornings spent trying to start anew
Watching the birds, feeling the dew
Just when the fears I am done forgetting
Are re-sown their seeds - those eyes, riveting
The Try (incomplete here, complete in the head)
To the part 1, I had got a comment which said girls were more of backstabbers and jealous than perhaps boys. I don't completely approve of that generalisation myself, and would in no way want that such an inference be drawn from this story I wrote. In fact, for the kind of B-grade storytelling it is, I wouldn't want that any inference of any kind be drawn from it. But now that that comment had made me think a couple of things, I'll ensure that this sequel belies any such notions - boys can be schemers, after all. Simultaneously, I also feel B-grade storytelling shouldn't be met with contempt, the likes of Chetan Bhagat mustn't be trashed the way they are. Why? There's reason. You need B-grade to really value the worth of A-grade. Hideous, yes, but judgements, even if aesthetic, invariably rely on contrast. With this intro, I have cleverly (or so I like to believe) ensured that not much is expected of this mumbo-jumbo written primarily with the aim of assuaging academic monotony.
[Part 1 + Part 2] follows :
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 barely managed to smile mildly for a second when he got a cent in his Numerical Analysis paper, and then made up for it 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 his room to sleep. 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 to add 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 and followed it with 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 us 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 at him indicating to him that it's Vaibhav who'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.
Sagar came to my room in the evening, and even though I was a million nautical miles deep in my ocean of dreams, his noisy bangs on the door jolted me awake. Unlike in the morning, he was very no-nonsense-goes this time around. He expected from me an estimation of his chances, to which I tried to comfortingly remark that, my forecast simulation project wasn't so advanced just as yet. But like I just said, Sagar wasn't here to hear jokes; bad ones like these - not at all.
Like a formula that clicks just when the viva-voce question is put up to you, the evil thought of fabricating a story to turn him off Aastha crossed my mind. The story seemed to me the quintessence of a necessary-evil, deserving of dethroning Friction. It was, if I may add shamelessly, a Eureka moment. Conscience tried its bit to reject the unworthy idea, but expedience had embedded it oh so rigidly. I told him to check his email the first thing tomorrow morning, while I'd meanwhile get around talking to some of my friends common with Aastha. I was, in fact, buying time for preparation. He left after a while, hopefool.
Later, I scratched my head for half an hour over why I was going to do what I was going to do, despite full confidence that I was going to do it anyway. A slight compunction reminded me of that famous Lalu Yadav one-liner targeted at the Left during the N-Deal debate: Tum agar mujhko na chaho to koi baat nahin, tum kisi aur ko chahoge to mushkil hogi. At the same time, I also felt a little bit Othello-ish. Okay, that last pseudo comparison is only to console myself.
I sat to write him an email. The longest of my life. I made sure I diluted and dilated it with a lot of fondly reflective undertones, and gave the crux a secondary treatment, to give it that guise of ingenuous credibility, to sustain his oblivion of the slightest vested-interests I may have.
Subject : hiii
Here you go.
Last year, I worked for a couple of NGOs. Service was more of a by-product, adding stuff to polish the resume the prime motive. If that makes me sound like a hardened utilitarian, all I can say is No-I-am-not and be wishful that my word be taken for it. Anyway, there was a fabulously good-looking girl working with me in both of them who'd remind you a lot of that 'Swades' actress Gayatri Joshi. A month ago, she erupted out of Sagar, that much-loved South Indian restaurant, while I was chewing on paan outside it. Languishing in a rugged old pair of bermudas, it was almost as though I was caught off guard while she shone in one of those impeccable neo-Patiala-suits. I recognised it as an opportunity to latch on to, but these bermudas repeatedly made me want to slink away. After a fleeting dilemma, I realised I might just get too late. I stood up, put on a calm, nonchalant expression, ruffled up my hair - you know the way they give that SRK-effect, and shouted 'hi' looking at her. 'Hi', she smiled and I began blabbering, without losing a second about how she had slimmed since the NGO days. She nodded in welcome agreement for a while to whatever I had to say. Soon, monotony set in. I longed to come up with something cute and endearing, or at least cracking witty, but for the life of me I have never been able to exude useful charm, particularly when I am itching to. As her sister picked up Tinkle from the magazine-stand, she started telling me how nothing quite matches up to Calvin & Hobbes. I cursed myself for never giving it a try, despite desultorily going through the whole ruckus about it wherever I landed on the internet. A cursory glance over one of its petty pieces and I knew I could go on about it in the most engrossing manner; you know that too, don't you? What a small price to pay for having her listening to me intently. Goddamnit!
I saw Harry-Potters lined up against the pavement. Then, for five minutes I went on unabated about how I had still kept immune to the great Harry Potter mania. I tried my best to convince her of the gravity of the bad times we're in that such frivolous fantastique is adulated as masterly. I lacked conviction in what I was saying but I made sure none of that was palpable. Alright, it was a somewhat despicable attention-mongering exercise, for the kind of attention all things unusual must have. Anyway, I knew I was taking a risk, maybe even clutching desperately at tender straws, but I had to. Did I have to? No, she was already taken. Also, she probably loved Harry Potter more than she loved the guy she loved; I would soon discover through a long, animated carp.
But leave that for later. And anyway how does all that bother you! And yeah, soon came out from Sagar, who, Aastha! Yes, and goodness me, she was with her! Although, what you might want to know, is that she was with him too. Her guy. They were settling the bill while my NGO wali girl had come out to buy her kid sister some comics. You won't believe it, but then do you really think I have the kidneys to contrive such a complicated story?
Now that guy is handsome, Muscular with a bold, italic, capital M, and drives a Pajero. You know what kind of guys drive a Pajero at our age? The prodigal Bad-boys. Ok, you think I am prejudiced. I am only a well-wisher, dude. Go ahead! By the way, I was told his Dad's a political bigwig. Also, I don't think Aastha is as naïve as my NGO wali girl to love a novel-character; or a book, actor or soft-toy for that matter; more than that guy she likes.
Top secret it is that I have revealed to you bhai. But then, what are friends for! Keep it like secrets are kept, though. And wish me luck with the social-worker!
With that last exclamation mark put, ecstasy overcame me. The only hindrance to this bliss was that I couldn't share it with anyone. Happiness, to sustain, needs to travel. Haven't you noticed that the most hilarious movie in the world seems boring when you don't have a friend by your side to keep passing off those comments on? Those comments that you believe are funnier than the film, after cracking each one of which you swell with self-importance. That I couldn't share this wicked genius with anyone was a slight spoiler, I tell you. Slight, I repeat. The bigger spoiler was waiting to happen.
The Brothers ( Incomplete .. hazy in the head too)
Kishen started out on the morning paddy inspection very early today. Dawn hadn't broken when he bent over his head to face the chilled handpump water on his head, the gush of cold almost sweeping his head away, but he was enjoying it. Truth be told, he had been enjoying everything for some days now, even the most mundane routines. As the winds blew more and more turbulently, he found his clothing more and more a hindrance to the fun he could have had. He had been like this ever since he was a child. When he was still not an adult, he would accompany his father in the mornings, and occasionally took kid Mohan along. Unlike father and Mohan, who remained glued to their blankets as they walked, he was always tempted to throw away the blanket and run through the winds. With age, that enthusiasm had shrunk, and his jump and jabber filled morning rounds increasingly became reluctant compliances of obligations. For the last few days though, he was reliving old times. Mohan is going to come back after completing his college studies, we hear he is a qualified computer professional now. The last time he was here more than an year back, the occasion didn't call for reunion induced merry-making. Their father had passed away back then, and after a week of sharing the grief, Mohan had gone back without a goodbye, only informing them by a phone call after his arrival at his college, that he had to leave to take some exams. Kishen was furious at him then, and Mohan had started to remain more aloof from them subsequently. His phone calls decreased from daily to weekly to hardly. Letters became far out of question. For Kishen, the guilt had become overbearing. He would curse the day he screamed so madly at him on the phone. 'What could he have done here anyway?', he must have asked himself a thousand million times. In a dramatically pleasant turn of events, Mohan had resumed writing to him now. The last three weeks had witnessed Kishen receiving five of his letters. Why he still wouldn't call them up, was what kept Kishen thinking half his waking hours. 'He's still shy. He always was. Can't call, huh. But writes, just a matter of time before he'll crack his voice on the phone.', Kishen gladdened himself by telling his wife daily. But wait, forget the phonecall, he's coming! The latest letter, recited to him by his eight year old son Vaibhav, reads,
"Bhaiya, it has been long since we talked. I remember you every day, and remember that you couldn't wait for me to come back home from my school in the adjoining village, and never failed walking miles from the fields just to make me those bajra-rotis for lunch that I particularly loved from you, right at the time I was supposed to come back from school. What a chef you were, you'd any day put to shame the five stars here. How do you manage now? Must have got used. I have got a job here. And I'll be back home for two weeks. Meet you on Sunday.
Born to Stand Out, Trying to Fit In ( incomplete would be an exaggeration)
The boy rose from his bench, the fan still running. He asked his Dad if he could go out for a movie with his friends. He knew Dad wasn't accustomed to thrusting his opinion on him, and wouldn't object. Expectedly, he was allowed. Still, there was a tinge of guilt as he stroked his hair back, and tucked his shirt in at just the right parts, leaving the rest untucked. It was a little discomforting to peep into his wallet too. He wondered if he should be asking for more money. He took five hundred the other day, which he ought to have saved so far, at least nowadays. The guilt would overbear him, he thought and left. At the gate he noticed the tank of his motorcycle empty. He started his mental calculations. Calculations didn't help. He walked to the main road, hoping to catch some bus. He didn't know about which bus to take, asked someone on the stand, misunderstood, boarded and on realising that, got down somewhere.
Somewhere was a dark place. Somewhere was stark dark at One in the noon. A small kid half his age was holding ten sugarcane sticks by his left hand, and fondling an ice filled container with his right, with a grinder making irritatingly scratchy sounds between them.
A man in his eighties knocked a coin on his table, and the small kid's hands started working even more quickly, as though that served to charge the battery of his robotic hands. In seconds he served him the juice, even as the old man looked on, understandably dull on reaction at his age.
The small kid insisted a friend of his to take charge for a moment, while he returned from one seemingly ultra-important assignment of his. Our boy-lost, who stood in the shade of this shop, was in the middle of a useless conversation when the call abruptly ended. An sms followed that informed him his balance had crashed. He was furious, even though at no one in particular. The small kid returned chewing guthka, and out of courtesy had brought one for his friend who sat at the shop. He didn't take it. He nudged him again, to no avail. Visibly, he too was happy that his gift wasn't accepted. He immediately emptied the other pouch also into his mouth. His friend wanted a glass of juice for having been there, to which the kid straightaway refused. His friend ran out snatching two sugarcane sticks from the pile. Our boy,
(I leave it, it'll get way too wayward)
Friday, October 24, 2008
To cut the crap, what brought me here was a welcome I thought I ought to give to a new blogger on the block, one of my closest friends with whom I have spent the lion’s share of my college life, especially the last two years.
To begin with, it gives me great pleasure to have him here, for I often wondered how it would be if he were to begin writing a blog or something. And this was because I was often amazed at the striking similitude of our outlook on all things under the sun. Also, I knew for sure that with his kind of linguistic command, going wrong couldn’t be the bleakest of possibilities. So ever since he told me about having started his blog this past Sunday, I had been waiting eagerly for Friday to come so that I have internet at my dispense to read it with delight.
What makes it all the more interesting for me is its title – Out of d Closet. After having lived with him day in and day out, I have to say there’s still a tinge of mystery that surrounds him. He isn’t usually given to being very vocal about how he feels about things of importance, except a few times in the quiet of his or my room; but then it gets kind of awkward having two guys in the prime(?) of their youth sitting in a cobweb-rich room and talking ‘sense’. So watch out Abhineet, I am counting on you to actually take the out-of-the-closet thing seriously, besides accounts of the black satirical comedy that our lives have more or less come to be.
And finally, I hope that the people who read his blog aren’t fooled by the lazy, laughable, languishing image his blog thus far entails about him. Because beneath the self-mocking layabout is the sharpest mind I have seen in these three and a half years of my stay here.
Whistles and Cheers!
Friday, October 17, 2008
An upcoming dramatist hosted a lavish gala, inviting one and all. Our immersed actor was peremptorily chucked from the impervious protagonist's role in her cast-to-be; it was an audition in disguise.
Hurt at the discovery, the actor, indelibly proud of his expertise, felt cheated. 'My disguise was beaten, only because it was evaluated in disguise', he protested.
'Oh no, that's how it ought to be evaluated. Besides,' added the dramatist 'To conceal is façade and is pursued with façade, not honesty. It's a beguiling total-transparency, not a cultivated total-opaqueness'.
The dramatist has since risen to the highest echelons of Theatre, the profession of make-believe.
The actor came back crippled that night, and has since been rehearsing normalcy.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
मानो पिंजरे से चिड़िया धुंआ हो गई
ये समझाया, माना बहुत कुछ सितम है
चलो छोड़ दें, जो गई सो गई
जो सालों में उगती है पेडों की लकड़ी
कट के भी तो चूल्हे की जां हो गई
ये बतलाया ख़ुद को की दुनिया में जब भी
कोई बात बिगड़ी , कोई हो गई
कभी चाँद रोता है दागों को अपने ?
कब रोता है सूरज की छाँ खो गई
अब कल को न रोयें, अगर यह करें तो
जो कल तक थी दिक्क़त, दुआ हो गई
फिर रात याद आया जो वीरों का जज़्बा
जोश-ऐ-दिल की तभी इन्तेहाँ हो गई
ये करना है मुमकिन, वो कर देंगे अब तो
ऐसी कसमें हजारों जुबां हो गई
कई बात सोची यूँ तो कल रात हमनें
जो सुबह हो गई , सब धुंआ हो गई
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Now for the latest one among them. Back at this coaching institute, these guys have come up with a special customised programme for some students with about a month left for the final thingy. Since I was told I was in it, and these guys call it the ‘bright batch’, my first thoughts were that these coaching guys needed a major vocabulary overhaul. Then I thought since some of these guys also teach vocabulary they couldn’t possibly have made a blunder. What’s it then – a play on words? I had no clue. They say they’ve handpicked some potential students from all their centres across Delhi to give their preparations that final impetus. I was surprised, to say the least, to find myself in it; I need the initial nudge after all, not the final impetus. However, all doubts were put to rest when I finally made way into the classroom. A lot of the guys over there looked straight out of study-coffins and had such stern expressions on their faces they looked like they’ll eat up anyone thwarting their chances. On the corridor outside the class I asked a particularly scary guy with Ambition written all over his forehead if he had come for this particular batch’s classes. He paused, looked at me irritated, paused a bit more, and said ‘Obviously’. Wow.
What did I know, that I would meet many more of his kinfolk inside. When I entered the class was empty; a sort of joblessness makes me reach everywhere ahead of time – that’s the good part of it. Anyway, monsters kept pouring in every two minutes. They came, they took a seat, they opened their problem-books with prompt bookmarks at just the required page-number in a flash of a second, and in flash of one more started solving stuff in their notebooks. In a few minutes, I grew tired of rotating my head like a CCTV tower staring at all these creatures. Just as I was beginning to regain affected composure, a couple of tough-nut problems were thrown at us which almost bowled me; that they bowled nobody else even slightly bowled me completely. That I was intimidated would be the understatement of the year.
So just when it seemed to be taking effect, the great Indian blog revival, it seems, will have to wait a wee bit more. I must start studying seriously, if only to save face while sitting along with a bunch of nightmarishly nerdy folks.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Some time back, I wrote a post which I then deleted. There must have been reasons, but I am not able to recall any of them now; the only reasons that occur to me are for putting it back here. The blog is in dire need of some posts which actually say something rather than just think what to say, or mull over having nothing to say. So here it goes, that post:
I particularly like idleness. Rather, I 'admire' idleness would be more apt to say. If I come to know another person who admires idleness, and unless he doesn't really remind me of Uday Chopra, I'd probably be very tempted to strike a good friendship with him. It comes as no surprise then that two of my favourite books are 'In praise of Idleness' and 'The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow'. The first one actually made a fool out of me, as 'In praise..' just turned out to be one of the many essays in that book to which they gave the same name. However, it was still a good, worth-it read, only that some later essays of that book started to undermine this particular essay, when I stopped reading it any further. The second book is one I personally consider a masterpiece, but as it turns out, the 'intelligentsia' have probably just passed it off as a work of 'light writing'.
When I say idle, I do not include occasions when you are apparently doing nothing but are completely immersed in brooding, remorse, elation, expectation and the likes. Because all of them are things that are in fact keeping you from being idle, rather than making you idle as one might think.
My idea of idleness is when you're free from any resentment or ecstasy, from any guilt or vanity. My idea of idleness is probably a Dhokla of imagination garnished with leaves of laziness. It is when nothingness dumps you into a parallel world of what I like to call creativity, probably only to boost up myself.
I am surprised to find that other people are not idle. After all, how much work is there anyway? There may be, I understand, and I haven't seen real life and all that; but trust me I have seen quite a bit - both the good and the very bad. My idleness has hardly come in my way of work, for as long as I can remember. Sure, I could have done a little more had it not been for my propensity for being a layabout idle, but even with it I am managing just fine, about as much as my peers. And after all, what plethora of work are even those not idle engaged in anyway. From my frog of a well experience, I can say with certainty that when, being idle, I am just wasting my time; my friends are there wasting their time as well as talktime. Idleness might not, at the end of the day, see me as an achiever, but then I am satisfied with the mere amusement it gives me, and don't have any greater expectations from it. Oops, will right about expectations in a future post.
I agree that lack of activity is the biggest curse a man can bear - the state of having nothing to do. I not only agree, I rather endorse this view. But then, 'lack of activity' is not idleness. Here I'd quote a fantastic paragraph from 'The Idle thoughts..' : "It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do. There is no fun in doing nothing when you have nothing to do. Wasting time is merely an occupation then, and a most exhausting one. Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen." In hindsight I think a good example of this brand of idleness is one, albeit very boring, of my previous posts - "'Urgent Updates' - Nov 24".
Readers [added now: there were a few back then] of this blog perhaps already know that I consider myself a fairly idle person (not in any way to be confused with ideal person). And it is the aforementioned definition of idleness I am using here.
It is in these periods of idleness that I cook up a lot of things in my head (and probably you too do, but I have a tendency to fall into hallucinations that tell me I am the only anointed one in this world doing things that only I am doing - but then again, probably you too might have had these weird thoughts) that aren't remotely of any practical use for mankind but which certainly serve to amuse me and make me feel good about myself; and some of which I put down here, after weighing diligently the pros and cons of putting them publicly. Another set of such cooked up things I found pretty interesting (as I always do, because I cook them up) and thought others will find interesting too (for a change), I am putting down here. Today I was thinking of such paradoxical sentences which mean totally the opposite of what they actually say, with a tinge of humour in them. I would like to read your similar ones from you, in case you have the idle time too.
Read on for the ones that occurred to me:
1. I don't give a heck to what people say about me as long as I know I am not arrogant.
2. I am very receptive in learning from others but I wish there were good enough people existing today.
3. There's an acute lack of a sense of reason among these young men of today, see - all of them are so tall.
4. They are all ill-mannered, bloody assholes.
5. That insensitive crook lifted my most prized possession, the watch I took out of my dear late uncle's hand on his deathbed. Damn it! It was a Patek Philippe for God's sake.
I'd probably use all of them as dialogues of a weirdo in a play, if I ever produce one.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
This blog is in some ways a diary. Therefore, so that this doesn't pass unmentioned, I also got a job during the long tea break since the last post. Now that that is done, there's something else to get geared up for. I think the cycle never ceases. I also think it shouldn't.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
I often tell my friends the time I’ll remember the most would surely be the first year. It is that time when you suddenly meet a host of new people, many of whom are certain to leave a lasting imprint on your life and on the way you see things. Talk about fun, I never had any during my first year. If at all there was, it was the fun on the run. We constantly ran away from seniors who’d always be on the prowl, looking for frail freshers to get their lengthy assignments done. If I know correctly, though I don’t claim I do, then the scene isn’t all that scary now as it used to be in our time. Anti-Ragging banners galore in the campus, which I feel deter most seniors from even trying the most harmless of mischief. What I used to do back then to avoid servility to seniors I neither knew nor respected, is that I used to tell some friend of mine to lock my door from outside and slide the key back from beneath the door, so that I would call someone up when I needed to go out and then slide the key again for him to open the door for me. Most of the times, there would be a group of six-seven of us inside my room; but the room locked from outside so that the seniors who came to my doorsteps with their assignments went back disappointed. I don’t really know how the sentiment is now, among the freshers, but back then a unanimous agreement on seniors being the common enemies provided a setting really conducive to some great bonding among all of us.
The second year was as different from the first as Nisha Kothari from Gracy Singh. In fact, it is invariably the second year guys who have the most pronounced I-am-your-senior syndrome. They like to take the roles of people they hated while in their first year, as soon as there are new people at the receiving end. I can’t say this about the whole college in general, but it is true every bit for how it’s like at the boys’ hostels. It is here that I was a misfit, never able to really value any seniority that comes on account of having been born earlier, irrespective of which side I was on. It defeats all rationale. If I admire you, it may be for your work, your qualities, or even seemingly absurd things as how you walk or how you run through the stairs. But for your age, never. Not unless you’re at least thirty years my senior. Apart from that, it was hands down the most vibrant year. We went to every goddamn fest in the city, dancing through dawns. There were hardly any days on which we slept before 2am. It was the kind of hurry to have fun which you’d expect from someone being packed off to some sand collection project in The Sahara in a week’s time. I don’t know why we were so crazy. It was fun, great fun. Very soon, I got fed up of it.
And when I got fed up of it, I became a little reclusive. Beyond that time I can’t make any generalisations on how college is like, because I had already deviated too much from any generalised conception of college-goers. By a strange coincidence, soon after I happened to read a lot of reclusive-literature, if I may use the term. Some by reclusive authors, some on reclusive protagonists. I can’t say if it was a good thing to have happened or not; at least I don’t regret it; not so far.
Things now are a muddle of all things past, a hazy assortment devoid of any valuable insight, any clear path, or any useful experience. Also, there’s a slight guilt of not having utilized my college years fruitfully. Truth be told, I am only as equipped, have only as much knowledge or skills, as I had when I had just finished Class XII. From this standpoint, it’s been a waste of years. Sometimes I wish I had studied with care, tried to score good marks and all, until the futility of this mistimed regret strikes me. The other day I went to a freshers’ room, just to see how they would react. They looked a little tense at the mere sight of someone unfamiliar in their room, and on coming to know that I am from the fourth year their misgivings multiplied. From their looks, it seemed I was, for them, the sophomore’s vice raised to the power of three. ‘I ragged people who ragged those who are these days ragging you.’, I told them just to experience the look on their faces, which suddenly started looking like pumpkins in a furnace, and I told myself that nothing has changed. When I asked one of them what book they have for Manufacturing Processes, he answered, ‘Yes, err I am err in first err year.’ as though that were his biggest err-or in life. The chap didn’t know what he was speaking. 'We weren’t that bad', I patted myself in my thoughts. Then I told them they could consider me harmless and that I just felt like meeting them casually. One Electronics guy and two Polymers guys were studying Automotive Engineering from a Khali sized book. What on earth do you do with this book, when I, despite my branch and year, don’t know cow about it? This was what I asked, partly startled, partly insecure at my own insufficiency, and partly worried about these overly studious young guys. ‘We are interested in it.’, they answered unequivocally but then started looking at me a little apologetically, until I started feeling apologetic about lacking any concrete interests and went back to my room.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
As I begin typing this on the word tool, I have a wavy self belief, and not much else. A friend, AG, has just left for his home after spending the night (or whatever remained of it) at my room. There’s nothing I feel right now, except that my legs are paining a lot, particularly below the knees. I just saw the mirror, and I could make out, umm I couldn’t make out anything.
Aug 12, 2008, 2:20 AM
After proposing watching a film, or better – two, just an hour ago, AB has strangely taken a diametrically opposite turn. Now it’s the other two of us – AG and I who want to watch a movie, desperately. AB, though, has refused and insists on sleeping as a ‘good idea’.
Aug 11, 2008, 3:00 PM
Aptitude results are out! 60 out of 250 short-listed. The atmosphere’s frenetic, and around hundred of my colleagues are making calls to hundred other of my colleagues. A couple were counting on me too to let them know of their result as and when it comes out, in case they are not there when it does. I make a call to one, telling him he made it. I was just going to make it to another telling him he had not, but the phone battery, I see, has fished out. I thank God for that. Meanwhile, I discover, there are 5 from my class in the list, plus I.
Aug 11, 2008, 9:30 PM
A second shortlist is about to come now after gruelling hour long interviews with each one of us. All six of us are terribly tired after the unceasing interview and the unceasing waiting that followed it. Meanwhile, PG points out that Kaluwithrana sitting next to the stairs doesn’t look any tired. But why should he; with that bombshell constantly motivating him by his side. ‘Would you be tired then, AG?’, I asked. ‘No way No way’, he answered with a new-found vigour; ‘I’d rather want the interviews to go on all night’. Wait. The shortlist. Shortlist. Yes, I think it has arrived. H’m. Three of the six from my class have been eliminated. For PG especially, I can’t find any consoling words. He was here with me the day before yesterday; when we had stuck till the end before not finding ourselves in the final selections list. I remember we were wondering what keeps them interested in us till the end, and what is it about us that they tend to realise only at the end, and that makes them abhor us all of a sudden. Now as I fasten my knot for the second round, I just take his best wishes while keeping mum, even as he leaves back for the hostel.
Aug 12, 2008, 1:20 AM
‘None of us’, informs AG.
‘None’, confirms AB.
‘None?’ I protest.
None. As we sit rejected and dejected at the end of the entire process, I point out we’d have been better off kicked out after the first round of written itself. What fun is staying up this late, when they had made up their mind. My cumulative till the end of the penultimate round was ranked fourth, the placement council guys inform me. That should have seen me comfortably in; they took seventeen eventually. But no Production-guys. ‘Production sucks’, AG shouts as he kicks air. We are still there on the pavement, though not talking with each other any longer. The security guard asks if we made it, but quickly understood from our looks without us having to answer. Ten minutes later we’re still sitting there, an odd yawn breaking the gloomy silence. Suddenly the super seventeen storm out of the hall, all having their mobiles glued to their ears. A cacophony of ‘Oyeee!’, ‘I’ve got a job Dad!’, ‘(whispering giggles)’, ‘Party party’ etc are to be heard from all sides. We decide to get up and leave. Meanwhile, AB suggests we watch a movie to diverge our minds. We say yes, ok. AB has ‘Singh is Kinng’. Alright, our faces light up.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Other than that, there's not much to write home about. Wait, I have some things to say about the Lok Sabha Debate, a couple of things about CAT and stuff, still some things about friends, and maybe I'd even want to sneak a few paragraphs about the latest movies I've seen - because I've seen quite a few lately, around 30 in the last 30 days. Just the thought of writing so much renders me too tired to try, so that's it.
Friday, July 4, 2008
हिन्दी की बात चली है तो सोचता हूँ अब इसी विषय पर थोड़ा विचार विमर्श किया जाए । विद्यालय के दिनों में मेरी हिन्दी में बहुत रूचि रही। इसका श्रेय मेरे नवी कक्षा के अध्यापक श्रीमान डॉक्टर अशोक कुमार ‘लव’ को जाता है। हिन्दी के निबंध ओर कहानियो को बड़ी सूक्ष्मता से समझाते हुए वे पूरा ध्यान इस बात का भी रखते थे की इसके गूढ़ पहलुओं को नज़रंदाज़ न किया जाए। उनकी इस शैली से मैं बहुत प्रभावित हुआ। आज भी उन बीतें दिनों को याद करता हूँ तो एक मुस्कान मेरे चेहरे पर एकाएक आ जाती है। हमारे अध्यापक होने के साथ साथ वे एक सिद्धहस्त कवि एवं लेखक भी थे। फ़िर यह तो स्वाभाविक ही है की हिन्दी साहित्य के अध्यन में उनके समान परिपक्वता शायद ही कोई ओर शिक्षक रखता हो। उन दिनों मुझे हिन्दी में लेख लिखने में बहुत आनंद आता था। प्रतिदिन घर लौटकर मैं कभी कवितायें लिखता तो कभी अपने एक महान लेखक बन्ने के सपने देखता। थोड़ा ओर बड़ा हुआ तो महसूस हुआ की हिन्दी के क्षेत्र में जाना यूँ तो मुझे खूब लुभाता लेकिन जीवन के निर्वाह के लिये आवश्यक पैसे शायद न आ पाते। ओर फिर मैं बचपन से ही, ज़्यादा तो नही, लेकिन थोड़ा महत्वकांक्षी अवश्य था। केवल निर्वाह मात्र मेरा लक्ष्य होता तो मैं खुशी खुशी उसी क्षेत्र में पाँव जमाता परन्तु ज़्यादा पैसा कमाने की लालसा कब हिन्दी प्रेम को पीछे धकेल कर मेरे ऊपर सवार हो गई पता नही चला।
आज देश में हिन्दी की स्थिति को देखकर दुःख भी होता है, पछतावा भी। दुःख इसलिए क्योंकि जिस देश की मात्रभाषा का गौरव पाने पर यह भाषा कभी इतराती होगी, उसी देश का एक बड़ा वर्ग आज इस भाषा से बंधन छोड़ चुका है। इससे ज़्यादा पीधित करता है यह सच की एक बड़ा, साख ओर रसूख वाला, अखबारों ओर परदे पर चकाचौंध से पेश किया जाने वाले लोगो का समूह हिन्दी में अपनी विफलता के बारे में बताते हुए मन ही मन आनंदित हो उठता है, ओर एक बेशर्म हसी इस विफलता पर नाज़ होने का सबूत देती है। धीरे धीरे ये विचार लोगों के मन में घर करता जा रहा है की समाज के ऊंचे पायदानों में उठाना बैठना है तो हिन्दी से किनारा कर लेने में ही भलाई है। अपने ही देश में हिन्दी की यह दुर्गति अत्यन्त चिंताजनक है, पर इसके लिए जिम्मेदार भी हम ही हैं। डर इस बात का नहीं है की हिन्दी समाप्त हो जायेगी – वो इसलिए की करोडो हिन्दी बोलने वालों के लिए अन्य भाषाओ से अवगत होने का कोई साधन है ही नही; परन्तु इतना अवश्य है की अच्छे साहित्य से हिन्दी वंचित रह जायेगी, जिसकी वह एक समय जननी हुआ करती थी। अंग्रेजी में तो आज भी बहतरीन साहित्य लिखा जा रहा है, लेकिन पशचिमिकरण की होड़ में हिन्दी साहित्य ने एक गहरी चोट ली है। ऐसे में भारत को चाहिए की वे फ्रांस ओर रशिया जैसे देशो से सीख ले, जो आज के विश्व्यापी अंग्रेजीकरण के बावजूद अपने साहित्य को संभाले ही नही हुए, अपितु उसे रोज़ नई ऊंचाइयो तक ले जाने के लिए प्रयासरत हैं।
जाते जाते अपने पसंदीदा कवि रामधारी सिंघ ‘दिनकर’ की कुछ पंक्तियों के साथ आज्ञा लेता हूँ। संयोग ही है, कि यूँ तो ये पंक्तियाँ कर्ण (महाभारत) के मुख से प्रस्तुत की गई हैं, लेकिन अपनी जड़ो से अनजान आज के भ्रमित युवा-वर्ग की व्यथा भी ये खूब सुनाती हैं। शायद उन्हें आने वाले कल का आभास हो चुका था ॥
मैं उनका आदर्श, कहीं जो व्यथा न खोल सकेंगे ।
पूछेगा जग उनसे, किंतु, पिता का न नाम न बोल सकेंगे ,
इस निखिल विश्व में जिनका कहीं कोई अपना न होगा ,
दिल में लिए उमंग जिन्हें चिर-काल कलपना होगा ....
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
"Above all, don't believe your friends when they ask you to be sincere with them. They merely hope you will encourage them in the good opinion they have of themselves by providing them with the additional assurance they will find in your promise of sincerity. How could sincerity be a condition of friendship? A liking for truth at any cost is a passion that spares nothing and that nothing resists. It's a vice, at times a comfort, or a selfishness. Therefore, if you are in that situation, don't hesitate: promise to tell the truth and then lie as best you can. You will satisfy their hidden desire and doubly prove your affection."
So I cultivated, rather painstakingly, the pretentiousness so essential to comply with the above. But at times the original does rise from slumber, and puts me in really awkward situations. Honestly, if someone tells you he's always honest you can be sure he's the biggest liar, and this the biggest lie; and if that's not the case then you can be sure he's hated by all. Really, never tell a duffer he's duffer, never tell a fat man he's fat, and never ever ever do that for a fat woman! Because, you know, a calm fat woman is way better than an angry one. One fine morning, I told one of my 'well-fed' classmates that the floor vibrated when she ran on it, so she had better walk slowly to the room even if she's running late for the class, because, I added, durghatna se der bhali. It was meant for levity, but sensing that's not the effect it had had on her I cleverly diverged to something else. That afternoon our Maths answersheets were distributed, and she had failed. I wanted to make up for the morning by expressing sympathies. I began,"It's a little shocking, isn't it, after all You.." when she cut me short, " Shocking? It's outrageous. I ? I ? I am fat ?"
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Also, I've found a new interest idling around on the internet, that of cyber-pedantry. And like other pedant friends, I am also willing sportingly to be a prey of this pedantry, as much as I like being the poacher. So I request readers, if there are any, to please bring the linguistic errors, and there'll be many, you find on this page to my notice and get a thank-you in return.
Yesterday was a very special day. I met an old friend, Sumit, after a long long gap. But obviously, what made it special was that it was the first time in my life that I drank a tiny cup of coffee obnoxiously priced at ninety Rupees, and for a moment it did feel like - 'now that's some achievement'. Sumit, meanwhile, was busy taking pictures there, pretty depressed that no permutation of views from our table could accommodate him having a sip, and the Barista trademark in the background, simultaneously. He's got a thing for taking snaps in places he's usually not supposed to be found. Also, I was quite tempted to try their exclusive one which was priced at around double this amount to take the sense of achievement to unparalleled heights, but my wallet ensured that I avoided such misadventures for the time being. Post placements, hopefully.
Friday, June 13, 2008
One colleague of mine tells me one needs to just dump the 'be yourself' principle if one is to have any chance of achieving success or popularity. I resent this not, not on his face at least, for he is absolutely entitled to having his own opinions. But I ask myself, supposing his opinion has a dash of truth in it, if being lesser-known or only-mildly-successful is a price too big to pay for the freedom that we enjoy on being ourselves. But then, he might retort with an argument questioning the value we should place on freedom vis-à-vis popularity, and then again we shall be on two different sides; so I think I did the right thing by passing it off apathetically in the first place.
In the aimcat, I did pretty well. Darn it! I wanted to do outstandingly well. If there were no internet, I'd have known the scores only of my friends and acquaintances and I think I would've been terribly happy with myself on having exceeded everyone; but alas, there is internet and it has a knack of keeping you down when you most want to jump.
The training is going good, and the experience is worth it. A light work load, still ample learning, but the cake is that it has served to evoke that long forgotten childlike curiosity about learning new things. Pumps, and boilers, and fire-fighting - after studying about them superficially from the textbooks, understanding their working live is gratifyingly complementary. Strange, but it has actually changed my perception about things I deemed utterly boring.
I sometimes think how Mummy-Papa don't seem to take any note of how I have drastically cut down on hanging out and all. I think all that this has served is upping the benchmarks. Now if I get back to old ways, probably that will instantly be taken note of. Oddly enough, I don't quite miss old-ways all that much. H'm, sometimes I do.
Monday, June 2, 2008
There at the coaching institute, a new batch has been merged with ours. Some new intimidating creatures have crept in, much to my discomfort as I had comfortably fallen half asleep in the previous batch and had started taking my uno position for granted. Now some of these overambitious guys who have just come really unsettle me and it's hard to maintain calm and complacence simultaneously.
To add to that, the mockcats have arrived. I'd love to regain lost ground with this one, and for a change I am not the timid who says - "I am keeping my fingers crossed". I am well aware I have to outperform people. And that's what (*) I am going to do. Lot of work to do right now, but obviously, will be done.
When I reached this point "(*)" of the post I thought for ten minutes whether I should be writing the five words following it. The way I have been, I was overtly cautious if writing that wouldn't be being overtly brash. But I am glad I went ahead and wrote them. For being overtly brash is any day better than being overtly cautious. There's no energy associated with over-cautiousness I believe. While I, am going to need some.
“To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are.” ––Muhammad Ali
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Normally I don’t touch upon sensitive issues on this space. There’s no special reason for it, probably I am just not sensitive enough. The one sensitive issue that has created quite a stir of late is the enigma surrounding the murder of
And then, there are the very active internet as well as light-a-candle campaigns which want the girl’s case to reach its right conclusion and pray for her soul to rest in peace. Very noble indeed, and it does show people do come together if there’s a reason for it; and doubts about neo-solidarity are only figments of a few pessimists’ prophesies. I pray for her peace, I join them in their campaign, I so wish it hadn’t happened.
Infact, what I want to write about is not how bad what occurred was – I don’t need to say what happened was very unfortunate; as for whodunit - I think I should better leave that to more able authorities the kind of which I believe there are many; and whether her Dad was or not the man who did it – I don’t know shit about it.
I don’t even remotely intend to take sides. ‘Papa, mummy ya Police ?’ is the kind of coverage that suits only the IndiaTV people. Nor am I the sophisticated NDTV who said they won’t cover this case until something concrete comes out of it. Their reasoning being the mental turmoil that the girl’s family has to cope with, due to this very public undressing of a very private affair.
The only point worth raising that occurs to me in fact is not one that stems from the murder, but one that stems from the hoopla that followed it. At the risk of sounding cynical, I want to put up a few questions. Have we forgotten that there was one Hemraj who also died that day? Why does it have to be called Arushi-murder-case across all TV channels? Why haven’t we prayed, at least as visibly, for the peace of Hemraj’s departed soul? How come Hemraj’s family, we never thought, is also equally capable be feeling turmoil?
After all, what determines the relative importance of one life against another? What does? Is it again – money?
My stance is evident from the questions themselves. Just in case.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Rain Rain go away
Come again another day…
Isn't it raining like crazy? I mean, are we in Cherrapunji or what? An odd shower once in a while is great, but this! They haven't ceased falling for ages now! These days, when I leave my room for taking the exam, I press my last-minute notes close to my body even as I scroll through them restlessly. Some of these exams have been surprisingly tough and unexpected pattern per se. After so many years of routinely taking exams though, no surprise is surprising enough. A sort of mechanical urgency serves the purpose, and serving the purpose just about serves the purpose.
Quite unusually, I feel a little tired now. In what was behaviour highly uncharacteristic of me, two hours before today's exam I didn't feel like reading a word more for it. It obviously wasn't over-preparation. That I was under-prepared would be an understatement. How else, but then, can I put it? That I was thoroughly under-prepared would be an oxymoron. Anyhow, with two hours to spare and with ten hours worth of studying ideally still remaining to be done, how I could feel like setting it all aside is something beyond me. The exam, on top of it, wasn't much of a cakewalk - just to understate again. Though with the kind of pretext I just described, that's as much a surprise as the arrival of bhoots in Hindi horror films precisely at the opportune moment when the heroine hits the bathtub.
The fourth years are sticking it out here in the campus even after so many days having completed their exams. Perhaps it is nostalgia or one of its close kinfolk gripping them. I make no guarantee, but from how I feel, I think I'll run myself out of the campus at top speed the moment I write the last letter on the last test of my eighth semester exams. They, however, have taken much revived interest in having fun with their juniors. Though in this context, having fun refers to slapping obscenities at juniors. As a matter of chance, I have hitherto been out of this seemingly funny affair. I was never much in awe of any of my seniors, and this latest hobby of theirs just corroborates my stance. Having said that - one of the lines one of these seniors uses when a junior smiles uncomfortably while being 'interrogated' is a real gem: "saale hamare saamne daant mat dikha yaar, hamse toot jaate hain." Power Packed!
Saturday, May 17, 2008
It’s a good long twelve hour sleep I’ve just woken up from. Sleeping just seven hours a day for the last seven days, this one was inevitable. And for no particular reason, I felt like putting fingers on keyboard. Perhaps only because it had been a while I had felt the pressing of keys on my fingertips. Still, I can’t be entirely sure of why I am here. A cluster of newspapers lies unattended in front of me. HT City, I see, has altered its layout. It’s a pleasant change from The Hindu that I get in my room, whose supplements are all filled with classical musicians when they talk of music, theatre stalwarts when they talk of acting, or P Sainath and the league when they talk of the media biggies. You read it for a few days, and you just might become oblivious to the imposing presence of Shakira, Shahrukh or Rakhi Sawant, all of whom are otherwise all but ubiquitous. In a way it’s good too, the ‘The Hindu’ style of doing things, for it’s no national secret that our traditional folks – those carrying the weight of Indian culture on their shoulders by means of cinema, music and the likes – hardly get any popular representation on newspapers or TV. But then poor me, not having HT for days on end I had almost forgotten there is one Paris Hilton in this world too, who must have had some seductive antic up her sleeve by now, while I was busy reading about a nightingale Meeta Pandit in a stuffy room on the outskirts of Delhi.
I’ve had my share of fun of the key-finger
Friday, May 9, 2008
Endsems in 2 days. Midsems results pleasantly surprising. Practicals too. Lost my admit card. Got to go to Police station. Reason - To lodge FIR so that I may get a duplicate issued. Theory exams dreaded. Friends started early. As usual. Now am feeling the heat. Big big course. Lot of work. Am not used to much hardwork. However, no other option now. No pains, No Gains.
Chalooon phir, thodi jaldi hai.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
An atmosphere of dissatisfaction surrounds our present day social setting. And this is particularly true of the setting that exists only virtually, inside our very own fluffy computer set. Not all of them are fluffy though, especially now that sleek and stylish notebooks and laptops rule the roost. The new idiot box that it has come to be regarded as, together with internet – its enduring companion, would have us think that nothing’s really working for anyone. If life were a zero sum game as some game theorists would have us believe, then ‘it’s going trashy’ for a hundred people should translate into ‘it’s rocking’ for an approximately equal number. But from what is apparent, it is trash all over the park. Have we ever stopped to wonder why it’s a desert of woes with an occasional oasis of hope and not the other way round? If the desire for ‘other way round’ is foolish optimism, we could at least settle for a fifty-fifty which was so true of a time not long gone, couldn’t we? Even with that yardstick, the existing equation is alarmingly lopsided.
The trend can be seen amongst a wide array of people, cutting across boundaries of age, religion, location and gender. The young most prominently fall in its line, but the old and middle aged are not far behind. Everyone cosies up to their virtual avatar on the internet to seek solace and reassurance. It is available without much hardwork, and works in a way strikingly similar to our good old analgesics. Instant gratification notwithstanding, it makes one forget, even if fleetingly, that he’s any less, or that he’s not worth. The catch however remains – it’s virtual.
On social networking websites, on blogs, and on discussion forums – the writing is on the wall – we’re not very happy the way we are. It is a particularly intriguing category of gloom, the one that appears most widespread on the web. It is not a sadness of loss of job, it does not reflect an epidemic or extensive medical illness, it doesn’t give a picture of a hard-up man struggling to make ends meet, and no dear, it’s no love lost either. In fact, it is no clearly visible crisis, this one that seems to be ailing scores of us. As a basis, it is this absence of a distinctly defining explanation of this category of gloom, which sets it distinctly from others. Dissatisfaction comes close to describing it appropriately; boredom comes closer, and loneliness closest. But none of them quite captures it comprehensively.
As a case in point, consider blogs – although the content holds equally for other realms of the internet. Scores of amateur writers and hobbyists turn up regularly to give text to their thoughts and publish it for everyone to see. As has become a practice, one goes and appreciates fellow bloggers’ work – which, make no mistake, can at times really make the day for the one being appreciated. For he might never have guessed that something he mumbled out of sheer boredom and angst, something that took two minutes to prepare and publish could be hailed as a masterpiece or compared to the prudence of thought reserved as a label for the likes of William Wordsworth. The veracity of these lavished praises will however remain doubtful as long as the possibility of a hidden motive of being appreciated back on the part of the one who showered the praises can not be eliminated. And, umm, well, ok, it can’t be eliminated. Scratching backs is completely sanctioned here, and goodness, it’s rampant. Citing a personal experience here, the first and only time I went to a particular blog and commented on it off the cuff, the first thing I got back was an invitation to be part of their mutual appreciation circle wherein they shall appreciate whatever I write, in return for me appreciating theirs. The ‘invitation’ came in a tone of humorous disguise though; the one that signals: “If it’s taken positively – great! If not, then it’s just a joke.” This delusion, as I increasingly discovered, is getting so firmly embedded among avid netizens that they no longer consider how absurd receiving an admiration would be when you already know it’s under a contract, whether or not you want to acknowledge it. What kind of fulfilment can be derived out of it is beyond logical understanding, but it’s welcome as long as it comes. There, you see, is an anomaly, and it's only the proverbial drop in the ocean when seen in the larger perspective.
The one logical backing that I can think of for the thing I just referred to as an ‘anomaly’ is the neural circuitry that says ‘applause garners further applause’. People with a sub-urban and rural grounding would appreciate this principle more than others, for they must have seen halwais and street-food-hawkers deliberately getting bogus customers to surround their stalls, so that wandering souls would come flocking too, thinking of their stall as a popular food-haunt. This precept might have one tempted to beg, borrow, steal, or ‘make arrangements for’ some applause initially in the hope that more of it would eventually follow. Often it does. But quite often it doesn’t and we’re back to square one – more dissatisfaction and dejection, and higher levels of despondency than before. Even when it does the desired there still remains an iota of suppressed conscience trying to outburst, which even though might forever remain unable to actually burst out, but carries out the task of spoiling the unblemished gratification (that true appreciation otherwise gives) pretty effortlessly.
Now let us move out of the web for a change. Even though a leading radio station would want us to accept a frivolous report that considers Delhi-ites amongst the happiest people on earth, you don’t need to be a social scientist to be aware that in
I would like to sneak in another personal experience at this point. Recently, a company that rewards the students it appoints with an initial remuneration of around Rupees Forty Lacs per annum, short listed one from my class for the final selection. Far from being proud or wishing that he makes it, their must have been a hundred silent prayers going up the heavens from my class-fellows themselves, all wanting that this guy doesn’t make the cut. Just for the record, eventually he didn’t. However, this leaves it very clear, that the students measured their own success based on how successful their peers are. Ponder closely, and you will find how absurd this line of thought is. The forty lacs dream job, for which you were already out of reckoning, will now not go to your mate who you also rivalled all these years. Reason to be content, it seems. But it won’t come to you either, and it will certainly go to some other guy now, only that you don’t know him. You’re still going to get your four lacs an year, but your mate didn’t get forty either congrats, but it’s not as though no one’s going to get it now, someone who’s not your mate is going to get the forty. Figure an anomaly here? There it is. Another drop in the ocean, one into which we must save ourselves from drowning. As long as we measure how rich or popular or accomplished we are according to how rich or popular or accomplished the guy we envy is, we are doomed to languish in our self made cocoons of frustration, grief, and general ennui. Because, at the end of the day, the guy we envy is invariably going to be better than we, isn’t that the reason we envy him in the first place ?
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Why should most of the stuff you write be about your past, or grow upon memories or just be ramblings of prudent hindsight; why should it be a thing from history most of the times, I asked myself today. Except that I chose not to answer it. Because to answer it would have meant more deliberation of the past, more of the same thing I was trying to caution myself against.
I found an old friend on the internet a few days ago. And for a moment it was like being transported to a time of fifteen years back. When phones still meant landlines, letters had not become obsolete, and wearing jeans with ‘Baazigar’ or ‘ILU ILU’ printed on them was a rage, at least among kids my age. And when it was still okay, for me, to tell a girl I loved her, and tell my Dad back home that I loved that girl, and all that without even knowing what love meant. All that I knew, for all I recollect, was that in the films the hero invariably loves a girl, and that I should be no less than a hero! It was truly wonderful to have caught up with him. I was only six then, but I remember every detail of the times I spent around him just like I remember what I had for lunch today. In fact, when I think of my lunch today, I don't go back to smelling it. But when I think of those times, I can sense the aroma of air so peculiarly characteristic of my junior school's staff room. Perhaps, at some point in my life I will also miss the hostel mess I so hated at one time, and about which I am entirely indifferent now. But then, don't you start missing everything that was once there, just because it was once there and it isn't now; rather irrespective of whether or not you liked it when it was there ? H'm anyway I will never be sure if it brought about a similar cheer in his disposition also, but from the looks of it he seemed as happy as I had been. The regrouping didn’t intensify to live to its initial promise, and that's quite alright, really. The short gush of overflowing simplicity of days that have gone by, was more than worth-it in itself.
Simplicity, well almost! I remember there was one thing I had found particularly complex back then. It's like yesterday, when we were told to write a paragraph on 'My Mother'. What did I know, that just like mine the respective mothers of the other thirty odd students also happened to be the 'best mother in the whole world', and that too with such certainty that this was put forth in the first line of everyone's paragraph, without exception. And hey I thought I was told there could be only one 'best' ! Well, that was the first of the innumerable contradictions I was to discover in the many subsequent years of my education, and also one that remains etched in my memory more compellingly than all others because it told me contradictions needn't be untrue, in fact they could be more true than accepted truths.
Ah ! I had cautioned myself against retrospection just at the beginning of the post and as it turns out, I filled the whole of my post with it. Now I feel I typify incorrigibility, and I had better tell myself not to study, in order that I actually end up studying.