Friday, November 18, 2005

And today i turned into a monster

It's been the same road always to office.

The same turns, the same bends, and with the predictable Chennai corporation, it's even been the same pot holes always! The morning cruise has me losing over those melodious songs that play in my car always. That day as usual, mostly unconsciously, i knew where my speedo needle stood, where my fuel gauge stood and even the measure of traffic outside.

And then those tiny limbs shook me out of my reverie.

In the middle of Venkatnarayana road lied a small kitten. Hit by speeding vehicle, blood around it's head, legs shaking desperately, the plea written all over it's face. I felt the pain and i wanted to stop immedietely. I didn't. Not immedietely, at least - not until few throughts rolled around in my head.

Shameless, shocking, Inhuman it may seem, but i force myself to write what feelings went through my mind then which made me waste those precious seconds. I want to face my fear, my shame, my guilt.

"Oh my god - is that kitten dead? Thank god - It's not! - Can i stop here? Here let me get to the side."

"The meeting with Ruth is at 8:30 AM. Would i be late? Should i really stop? Would it be okay if i am slightly late? Oh my god, it's already 8:00 AM - the traffic signals would start getting clogged now. It'll be so difficult to drive. Why can't anyone else take care of the kitten? How can everyone be so heartless?"

.. and then i realized, i was being as heartless and as cold as anyone else. My decision was made.

Just before i stoppped, very shockingly, there was one more thing that i thought of

"What would the people think of me? Would they think i am trying to show off with this act?" Though dismissed as fast as it had occured, on hindsight, how could i even get such a thought?

With hazardlights on, i managed to stop on the side of the busy road, and ran in between those swishing cars and zooming bikes to reach that poor creature. The legs were still desperately moving. I was happy, it was at least alive. Some vehicle had hit it's head before it could move away. I saw the fear, the pain in those eyes for a moment and those cries that it was silently making. If you ever had to put your hands under a bleeding head to support it, you would know what i felt then.

Surrealistically, i was sincerely wanting to hear a movie director call "Cut!!" and to have some people rush into me, get the kitten washed, let the red paint go and then let it jump in joy again. Crossed the road to the hospital. Humans, they said. They treat only humans. And did you hit it? How did it happen?

Save a life - damn them! - that was not in their priority. Got the nearest Vet hospital address from them and i ran to my car. Only to realize that the legs had stopped their movement. The eyes had lost it's life. The small kitten was dead.

I hated myself. Those few seconds could have saved a life. I don't know if it would have, and now i don't have a chance to find out. And i want to believe that it could have. Next time, i do not want to find myself putting anything above saving a life. Any life.

Those lifeless eyes still pleaded at me. At the monster who didn't think it's life was worth saving.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


You ever been to Ranganathan street, T.nagar? ( or for that matter, any crowded shopping street, anywhere in the world)

That's how life is. While u stand there, life moves about you, swirling everywhere around you.

Fast, unstoppable, always on the move.

And it brings various people into your contact. Some of them, smiling at you as u look at them, some of them - angry at you for being there. Some of them, would hold you as the rush catches you unbalanced, and yet, some of them would try to pick pocket you. And the funny part is that life does not wait for your reaction. You can decide to be frustrated, angry, decide to just let it go and enjoy yourself - who cares? - apart from you? and the bigger question - whom does it affect - apart form ONLY YOU ? :)

Enjoy yourself while the rush lasts.. For one moment, suddenly, you will notice that the shops are shutting down, the swirling people getting thinner and you know you have to get out of the street, and it will shock you that you have not done anything at all, but tried to react to something which did not matter at all. And what mattered - you never came to doing anything that mattered, because u were very busy reacting at life. :)

So go ahead, live life king-size. Let life do it's salsa all around you. Take it into your hands and jive with it. Dance with it. Make it dance with you, synchronized with the beautiful steps. DO not laugh at it, laugh with it. And make the best of it. And i know you would come out as chirpy as always.

------------ Wrote this in reponse to a birthday announcement mail ( from some one who knew i wud forget her b'day :) ) The content of that mail is also worth blogging.. but wud not do it for "privileged communication" excuse :)-------------------

Friday, August 12, 2005

Elephant Jokes!

Really couldn’t control posting these too !! :)

Q: How do you shoot a blue elephant?
A: With a blue elephant gun, of course.

Q: How do you shoot a red elephant?
A: No, not with a red elephant gun, stupid. You strangle him until he turns blue, then shoot him with a blue elephant gun.

Q: How do you shoot a green elephant?
A: Tell him a dirty joke so he turns red, strangle him until he turns blue,then shoot him with a blue elephant gun. C'mon, this isn't rocket science.

Q: How do you shoot a pink elephant?
A: Ok, this one's a little tricky. First you bake a cake, and put 3 raisins on top, then you take it out in the jungle where the pink elephant will find it, and you wait. Eventually the elephant comes along, finds the cake, eats the raisins and throws the cake away. Then you go home and bake another cake and put 2 raisins on top, take it out in the jungle where the elephant will find it. The elephant comes along, finds the cake, eats the 2 raisins and throws the cake away. You go home and bake another cake and put only one raisin on it. Then you trek back into the jungle and put the cake where the pink elephant will find it. The elephant comes along eats the raisin, and throws that cake away. Still with me? Now you go home and bake another cake, but (here's the sneaky part) you DON'T PUT ANY RAISINS ON IT. You take it out into the jungle where the elephant will find it and lie in wait. The pink elephant comes along and finds the cake, he gets SO mad that there aren't any raisins on it, he turns red. If you've been paying attention then you know the drill now. You jump on him, strangle him until he turns blue, and - that's right - you shoot him with a BLUE ELEPHANT GUN.

Q: How do you shoot a yellow elephant?
A: Oh, come on, have you ever seen a yellow elephant. Really!


Q: Why do elephants have red eyes?
A So they can hide themselves better in cherry tees.

Q: Ever seen an elephant in a cherry tree?
A: No? See how well that whole red eyes thing works?


Laws that we live with!

One of the forwards I got… Couldn't help but blog it!

Lorenz's Law of Mechanical Repair:
After your hands get coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch.

Anthony's Law of the Workshop:
Any tool,when dropped,rolls to the least accessible corner.

Kovac's Conundrum:
When you dial a wrong number,you never get an engaged tone.

Cannon's Karmic Law:
If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tire,the next morning you will have a flat tire.

O'brien's Variation Law:
If you change queue,the one you have left will start to move faster than the one you are in now.

Bell's Theorem:
When the body is immersed in water,the telephone rings.

Ruby's Principle of Close Encounters:
The probability of meeting someone you know increases when you are with someone you dont want to be seen with.

Willoughby's Law:
When you try to prove to someone that a machine wont work,it will.

Zadra's Law of Biomechanics:
The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.

Breda's Rule:
At any event,the poeple whose seats are furthest from the aisle arrive last.

Owen's Law:
As soon as you sit down to a hot cup of coffee, your boss will ask you to do something ,which will last until the coffee is cold.

Smiles, Always !!! :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Hey before u guys start snapping on me for the blogging personality stuff - i didn't say that - i picked this as a result of a small test that i took up at - Looks like they have quite alot of other fun stuff too..

oh btw, i changed the image from what came default - the default was a lady typing - why should only girls be thoughtful and not men ? :)

huh? huh ?? huh ???

What's my blogging personality?

Your Blogging Type Is Thoughtful and Considerate

You're a well liked, though underrated, blogger.You have a heart of gold, and are likely to blog for a cause.You're a peaceful blogger - no drama for you!A good listener and friend, you tend to leave thoughtful comments for others.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Gespräch. Charla. Entretien. Colloquio. Talk.

I've got an IP phone!!!!!! :):):) So all you guys out there - start calling - +91-44-981230385 - Be fast guys.. i am waiting !! :)

Okay, so for those lay men, What is an IP phone ?IP Phone i connected to the internet via the broadband RJ 45 cable and i can make ISD calls at a very very minimal rate. Incoming calls from outside the country are also possible.

They have give me this phone for ten days for me try this out and hold your breath - has a pre paid pack of INR 1000 which i can use to call people!!! :)

The catch is this - if i like this, i have to pay a deposit of 3000 INR to keep this instrument :(

Earthfolk, start calling !! :)

All we have to decide...

Frodo: I wish none of this had happened.

Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times.
But that is not for them to decide.
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

The Fellowship of the Ring,
The Lord of the Rings.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Great Proposition.

There they were, a group of 6 sitting in a table near the wall, each one of them holding their own flavors of ice cream.

3 guys and 3 girls. ( I smile this as i write this :) ) I dunno what made me look at them, but there was something pretty odd about the group. One by one, small things started to piece itself together. The conversational pieces that i overheard was too formal for this to be a bunch of friends :) ( "So where do you live?" "And you?" "Oh okay! and you also work with her?" "Ohh ok - same shift?" "Cool!" etc etc ) But there they were, sitting and having ice creams at about nine in the night together.

I got the drift. It was a "fixing meet". :) This is a kind of first "date" of a guy with a girl to whom he would have had proposed recently. The girl apparently doesn't know what to say and want to get her friends opinions. So then comes the common date, a movie, dinner or an evening out with couple of his friends and couple of her friends and everyone trying to be their most jovial.

Let's try and meet the actors in today's play being staged there.

Male 1
Lean, bespectacled. Garbed in Jeans and White Shirt. Standing at the ice cream counter getting ice creams for every one in the table as we enter.

Male 2
Medium frame. Kolhapuri Chappals, Pleated trousers and a yellow tantra t shirt. Doesn't speak much. Makes sure that the girls get the first cups of ice cream before the men. Sitting in between the other two men. Makes sure he smiles for everything said!

Male 3
Medium frame. In Jeans and a striped shirt, not tucked in, full hands, folded at the cuff. The director of the conversations from the male side.

Female 1
Yellow Chudidar. Heavyset. The talkative of the womenfolk. It is her job to make the guys feel that they are not tongue tied shy female species, but rather the fun loving forward going and yet traditional females that every man sees in the movies and salivates for. Loud, open and brash.

Female 2
Sequeined ( is that the right spelling? :) ) red chudidar. Bespectacled and politely smiling for every coment said between the men folks and women folks. Most of the time looking down on her lap or trying to pck the imaginary dust from her bracelets. Long jasmine flower thread on her hair and topped with a white rose.

Female 3
The observer. Short, multi colored chudidar. Keeps observing the men folk in between their talks. Let the conversationalist handle the conversation, at least the lighter part of it, and jabs in only when she wants to clarify anything. The judge of the menfolk, she weighs every one of the statements to form opinions ( surely very highly valued by the other two ) about the menfolk.

The amused spectators of the whole show, with our ice creams on our hands. :)

The first question was who were the prospective couple for whom this drama was being staged. The strong observers of human psyche that we are, we guessed so much.. "Look for the man who speaks the latest and smiles for evry small remark that might be even remotely humorous and you have your man". Scan scan scan ... alright - that had to be the pleasted trousered fellow with yellow t shirt. Alright okay, so who's the female part of the couple... "okay that should be the one with the gaudiest dress and some one who is demure enough to smile for remarks every now and then." Scan again.. and - well - it has to be the girl with the red dress with the sequeins.

Only time could tell how right or wrong we were. After the ice creams, the girls walked a few steps to congregate near the water cooler "Hey he looks sweet and he also behaves very sweet. I think you can go ahead - That was the yellow salwar clad girl to the red sequiened clad lady :) So our guess was right as the female fraternity is concerned.

Ah well, it was easier getting our male side deduction justified. The man in yellow tantra t shirt and kolhapuri chappals was at the counter, paying for the whole ice cream outing. Our deductions were bingo! on the dot!

Sigh! Something's never change :)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Conspiracy against Modern Earth...

The Gods fear as the power of Big One returns. The immortal fear of the Mortal One taking over the reign of the immortals above is so clear.

My Internet Connection was repaired yesterday. And when I started to once again let my creativity stream though the key boards into the wanting minds of you, my ardent followers, there was rain. Lashed with loud thunder and streaks of fearsome lightning, the Gods leashed their fear on me through the heavy downpour. And then humanity gave in. Electricity went kaput due to this rain!

But don’t you worry - the Big One shall not give in that easily. We will overcome these small hurdles and the Big One shall shine as the morning sun. And there would be light in your lives.

Oh, I'm definitely full of it!!!!
(Still holding my little tummy to laugh!)

PS Agnostia - And no, my I don’t have a tummy. I use it as a figure of speech :P
(Ah but then, sometimes, I do have to breathe out, and during those times, well, it’s a different story :) )


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The King Shall return...

Unstoppable downpour of mails at office and a broken internet connection at home for the last days has caused my small stint of absence without official leave from the domain of blogging.

I know the people want more and I wouldn’t let you drown in despair, the ardent followers of the Big One. Before the cacophony drowns the world in it's asynchronous humdrum, the King would return.

And bring with him, the harmony, the charisma and everything else that you've been wanting. Keep calling!! :)

Oh, I am so full of it, amn't I ? :)
(Holding my little tummy to laugh)

Monday, July 18, 2005

The weekend that was!

It's a bright and shiny Monday morning! And here I am in the same office, in the same seat, with a bright yellow shirt and a khaki trousers. The weekend was good -

- and I want to write a lot more - but Monday morning mails have started to pour. Will take this up later during the day.

The highlight of the weekend was that I had no internet connection for the whole weekend. Something about the hub being replaced and some one not giving permissions to do the same.. Or something of that sorts.

Catcha guys later!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

If God would grant me one wish...

How do you sketch a man who is larger than life? One, who makes so much impression on you that your heart and soul goes to him totally?

For me, he was everything. That smile on his face, framed with very few snow white hair on his head. Tall, trim body, always dressed in Khadi, White shirt and white mundu. A Pocket watch in the shirt pocket with a chain tied to the shirt button hole. (Memory was not his strong points. :). ) Strong hands holding you with all the safety and security in the world.

I was all around him right from my childhood. Whatever else he could remember or not, he could recite every story of Mahabharata, every shloka of Narayaneeyam at any time. There could not be anything more than I could wish for during my nights, to lie next to him, hugging him, my tender arms trying to reach across his wide white haired chest. And then, he would start with the stories. The stories of Gods, of demons, of good deeds, war and everything else possible. It would only end, if I sleep off or if he sleeps off. Now when I look back, my face breaks into a smile knowing the number of times, I have shaken him awake from sleep asking " And then what happened?"

My cousins would come in for their summer vacation and they would intrude into my lifestyle. I could never understand how can they just come in one day and take my place lying next to him with their arms around him. And they were two of them so both sides would be occupied. But little nasty me, wouldn't be beaten. I would jump on him and lie on top of him, having conquered the world :). Well, they could have only their hands around him, I was on him! :)

The only thing that he could not take was the movies. The only movies, I remember him taking me voluntarily was the movies about Lord Narayana, Lord Vishnu and Dasavataaram. For the other movies, he would give his endearing laugh and ask us "What are they doing?". For us, the ardent followers of Jayan, Mohanlal and Mammootty ( especially when they are bashing up the baddies on the screen; or running around trees in mist clad mountains with the heroines), this simple comment would cause us to glare at him :) And his animated responses would be at the highest, when he would sit down to watch serials based on the great epics and they show wrong stories or misdirected scenes. It was what could irritate him the most.

Ever ready to travel and ever ready to visit new places, the distance between Parli, Kerala and Ranchi, Bihar (where my parents and I were located then) did not deter him from making that trip. And that too somewhere near the famous Winters of North. Clad in sweaters and shawls, his spirit would make such a huge impression on me. Looking back, I would love to relive that life again, just to hold his hands and feel his warmth as he walks next to me. But then, time was playing it's usual tricks. I was growing up and it was that time of the life, when you would want to go out with school friends and walking with family start becoming 'un-cool' :). But I am sure, that did not deter him from enjoying his stay with us, as for him, being with his children was joy enough.

His life was totally interlinked with the realization of God. You could never see him without a Narayaneeyam or, if sitting idle, chanting the verses of the same which were inscribed in his heart thousand times over. He would never see the world as we could. There would be the ultimate belief in god and the insurmountable faith in Him to ensure that things will definitely work out for the better. From the smallest factor to the highest one, this feature was so clearly visible. When we asked him to rush one day as we saw a bus leaving the bus stop, we requested him to hurry up to catch the bus and with his characteristic smile he said" That is not possible for me at this stage. If the bus has to go, let it go - we will take the next one". On another instance, he was being wheel chaired into the operation theatre for a critical operation at that age. With his children around him holding his hands and smiling around him, some one asked him - " Aren’t you afraid?" It was with the same nonchalance and the unbeatable smile that he replied - " Why should i? My Lord Krishna is here with me near my bed.". Call it delusions, faith, stupidity, whatever. But the strength in him that flowed to us through his smile, still lingers.

His wife would have a lot to say about his nonchalance, which was more of a challenge to this lady who handles life in this world that rotates not on God's vision but on the axis of day to day life. But all the scorning and complaints would be diluted and adorned with the sincere regards and love the little lady had for him all through her life, even now! He had never any doubts on prioritizing goodness and all the good qualities over anything else. Selfishness was not a part of him at all. I remember so many times, while traveling on a crowded bus, he has woken me up to gently ask me " Why don't you get up to give place to the old man standing there?" And I could never say no to that question. It was not a question, but a request which I would always consider honoring. It was that impact that person had on you.

The house became home with his laughter, his presence, his voice and his mannerism. When you walk into the home, the typical way of his hugging you and holding you would strain all the fatigue out of you. He had the trademark way of grasping your hands hard and semi hugging you. It was enough to welcome me beyond anything else! When the lights go off in clockwork routine ( Kerala has the wonderful routine of load shedding ! :) ) He would sit down and tap his fingers on the bed making rhythmic tappings on the same. While watching news on TV ( which was one of his routine activities ) he would slowly doze off to sleep. If woken up by any one of us ( which was a routine activity for all of us :) ), he would smile with embarrassment, say " I am too tired", start shaking his legs perched straight on a leg rest to ward off sleep, try to concentrate on the TV again and let his eyes doze off again.

'Achaachan' - that's what I call him. Or rather, painfully to realize, used to. I am extremely lucky to have had him as my grandfather. He was so nice, we wanted him to be with us, always. On the other side, God also wanted him to be with Him.

God won the tug of war.


Monday, July 11, 2005


"a girl with glasses, she would have a denim handbag, kind of ok to look at. Nothing grand."

"a gold-plated watch on her left hand"

"one gold ring on her left hand. two on her right. "

"unpainted nails - toe and hands both. nails on both hands."

"Hair - black, chest-length. Half-pony."

"Would wear a gold-chain, and a bead-strapped slippers."

"dress - grey salwar kameez with plain band gold border."

Landmark Literature section. Saturday 4:00 PM

This was all I had to locate this mysterious person who has been a regular visitor to my blogs and made me addictive to her comments (rather than she getting addicted to my blogs)

I could see myself walking through Landmark looking closely at women's hands for gold plated watch and golden rings. And not so far ahead in the future, I could also visualize a case of eve teasing and a good bashing up by the burly landmark security guys. And the clues! Ah the clues! - could anything be more distinctive than "Nails on both hands" - Now, that, is a rarity! :)

Have you seen the movie 'Sliding Doors' ? The director tries to tell story lines in parallel. I am going to try and do the same here. The two tracks being mine and the Agnostiac's before the story collides with our meeting.

I was in double minds to go to Landmark that day, as I was not sure of what was waiting for me. Was it any of my friends who was playing a prank on me? Least likely, for the simple reason that they could not make a blog name called agnostiacal hedo… etc etc even if they had wanted to. Okay, so then possibility two becomes slightly more probable. A bunch of college or just out of college girls playing a prank. Have a "stooge" ( for want of another better word :) ) meet up with me and then have a prank-y fistful of fun at my embarrassed expense when the truth can be revealed by them.

"DO you really think he would come?" Agnostiac's friends were constantly asking her. Annie ( as I got to know her name later ) was the down to earth thinker who thought it pretty much improbable that a person could walk up to this rendezvous. Vinaya ( as I got to know…. ) wasn't really sure of the kind of guy who would turn out. Would this guy be a weirdo ? A guy with weird hair do , flashy accent and a lot of piercing including of the ear on him ? With all these doubts playing in the background, Agnostia dragged her friends to the Rendezvous point.

The sleuth in me had not died. Among all those distinctive identification tags given to me so generously ( "Nails on both hands" I ask you!!! ) I had given them only two identification marks "That I had fingers on both hands; and; my mobile number." My mobile, the Mobile - ah what a perfect ruse. The plan that was forming in my mind could compete with the master plans of Sherlock Holmes the sleuth! :) I would walk in to the point apparently immersed in a phone conversation and not evidently looking for some one. And with my keen eagle eyes, take the scenario in and behave the right way :)

I called JC. Told him about my ESOP. How long can you hold a call with your boss?

I called Prats. She was sleeping.

I called Shaju. He was in the Radio station. ("Anything important? If else, can I call you later?")

Satyajit. Driving, phone with wife.

Mayur. Not reachable.

Dustin. Sleeping

Home. Sleeping.

Karthik - He picked up my call, God bless him. I am sure, he is still wondering, how and why did I call him on a Sunday for chit chatting. Sometimes, my height is quite an advantage - especially, when you want to "overlook" through the racks. First glance to the café - nope - No one sitting alone in any table. Lots of people around the racks though! - Which one of them would be she ?

The gray chudi clad Agnostiac was meandering through the Literature racks not knowing what to do. The mind, sometimes has this ability to go blank, right? And Annie asking if she should just call "Me" up. Can you just be patient, Annie? And Agnostia returns to the book shelf slightly far from Annie and Vinaya. Agnostiac turns back to look a Annie and Annie mouth " Can you see him?" Agnostiac mouths "No", turns around and picks up the Scarlett, the sequel to Gone with the winds.

"Me" is a silent spectator to the scene. With a phone to the ear and apparently deeply engrossed in the call, he watches Agnostia, as she takes the book and walks to the steps leading to the café and sits down there, trying to read the book. Time sets the motion in action. I say bye bye to Karthik and take a book from the shelf My phone receives an SMS. I walk to the café, with the book and sit down next to Agnostia, and told her": Hi Agnostia, I guess your friends can’t see you when you are sitting and you should stand up"


A surprised, scared face turns from the book and looks at you. Bespectacled, the face doesn’t know whether to be comfortable that the wait is over ( That the issue of " I told you he won't turn up" needn't be addressed :) ) or to be shocked ( surprised, perhaps ) at the sudden realization of what was till then, only a possibility. :) . Astonishment, was the primary emotion though. She did say something at that time. I still can’t remember. :) Then she said - yeah right, let me get them; the wiry frame rushed to her friends. I walked up to the Café and realized that there were no seats.

I vaguely remember a SMS tone just befor this small tsunami ( :) ) of activities began. I looked through to see a new unidentified number. Annie had come to the end of her patience and decided to get in touch with my phone :). I looked up to see two more polite smiling faces along with Agnostia's. Annie and Vinaya along with Preeja came to be known to Jay.

It wasn't really difficult being a sleuth! ( But still, "Nails on both hands", i say!!!! :) )


Saturday, July 09, 2005

Conflict un-managed!

I assumed the conflict was over with the apparent show of strength of the interesting people that night.

I was mistaken.

Yesterday, there was a visit from their PL / PM to my floor - wanting to see Apoorva or Jay. Apoorva was in station and Jay was in a training. Hence this man got re-directed to Pradeep, the manager. What followed after that apparently was a movie style conversation about how things would have been different had he been on the scene. It was apparently a mingle of subdued personal threats about being a hero himself and also threats about how he can spoil people's career inside the organization.

Pradeep, being a guy with the same wavelength as me, stopped him in the middle and gave it to him with no vague terms that he has had his share of rough life also, and let's not have any qualms of that too.

I had a call today. The log of short of the same is in the lines below:

Me: "So what is the purpose of this call? What is it that you want? The whole issue is not worth so much of fuss. Assuming that he had used such a word in the conversation, it is a very easily forgivable 'offense' considering the stress and him being a fresh resource of college. And beyond all this, considering that I had made profuse apologies on professional standpoint, what is it that you want now?"

Caller: "No, it’s not that we want anything, but what he did was not right"

Me: "So why are we having this conversation?"

I was clueless. Why, at all, were we having that conversation? Was he trying to prove some point that he was Don Corleone? Or perhaps Luca Brasi? Why would I care? And are we on the streets of new York ages ago? I work here. He works here. Stress is not an uncommon fare. Work comes on top. But for them, no. Apparently some one had spoken to one another of my team member that he can screw up Apoorva's career or appraisal or whatever.

Shows the quality of the recruitment policies of this great organization. Like one of my friends say, "Well, yes, if u start to top every way farer and ask him whether he has a BE under his belt and if yes, pull him into this company with fat pay checks, this would bound to happen". He is right. And this attitude is not among the new programmers or lower grades, here we are talking about assistant managers and mangers!

I refused to prolong a conversation with him. On insight, if he had any sense, he should have sensed what was going on. Have you ever had a fight when you were a child when u knew that you wanted to fight, but didn't want to be blamed for starting one? I had a simple technique. I used to slap or hit the opponent lightly.  The opponent would retaliate. If he does not retaliate, then you do the slap thing again. And then he retaliates with higher strength and a more fatal blow. Its fight club then. And of course, he started it, you didn't , you were just playing with him!  You provoke him. You never, ever hit your opponent first so hard that he buckles down. You let him hit you.

Provocation. That is what it is all about.

And now professionally, I am clean where as the team and it's lead on the other side are darkly in shadows! I would love to provoke them and let them give me a chance to escalate this. Anyways, this is the kind of people who work with me. Now, I have lost all respect for this organization as the whole.

I was the Associate of the year for 2004. I got the certificate last week. I have been wanting to laminate and frame the same. Now, I do not want to. I have dumped the certificate inside the deepest nuances of my almirah. Just another document along with the others as I go ahead on my career.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Black and White Memories

It is about 3:00 AM.

Sleep eludes me. I had bought a photo frame from Odyssey yesterday. An interesting frame that can hold 9 small photos within itself as a collage. And i have filled the same with couple of my old photos.

Now, as i write this, 6 of them are filled. Faded black and white pictures smile at me from them. Frozen moments from the life of those who are so close to me. My grandfather holding a very very young me in his arms. Small Me and my brothers posing with huge flying glasses. My grandmother caught unaware during one of her busy day routine. My uncle trying to make the baby me look at the camera. My mother in her early teens with her friend. ( I have to struggle to make this out from the faded photo). My grandmother and her sister, much younger than the current energetic lady that she is :), and much much more beautiful than many girls of this age.

These form the majority of the people who give me colour to my life. Who paints my life with the colours of nava-rasa. Who taught me to smile, to hug, to love, to learn, to fall and to get up and start walking again.

A very young and a very curious me (i think i was in my 4th of 5th std) had a doubt to be clarified from my grandmother one evening.

"Ammamme, how do people get AIDS?"
(Ammamma is the malayalam word for grandmother on mother's side - Amma's Amma :) )

After moments of thought marked with a smile, that beautiful lady replied
"Thonniya pola nadannaal AIDS varum"
(Literary Translation: If you walk without following any rules, the way you want to, you would get AIDS" What the reply means "If you live your life without any rules, you would get AIDS"

I bent myself at my waist sideways and took couple of steps, walking 'the way i want to'
"Ingane nadannalo?" :) ( Would i get it if i walk like this? :) )

She had a hearty laugh. The laugh of a person whose life is full of sunshine, cheer and happiness. Years later, that source of happiness is still as full as it ever was. I draw from it everytime i want inspiration.

And i live.


Conflict Management

It's been a long day at office.

I'd been away on the wonderful training for the whole day. And the organization had had some defaulter's list circulated. Of course, once the list was out, none of the projects wanted to be among the list. So majority of the seven hundred odd projects hit on the application developed and maintained by my team to upload their data.

Beyond straining the existing infrastructure, thus spurious activity spiked the helpdesk enquiry. Calls list grew longer and so did the tempers start to run wild. On hindsight, it looks interesting to note how people behave to service desks, when you are in the middle of it all it ain't that funny.

Especially when you realize how education has no relation with cultural, moral and ethical values of a person.

Late in the evening, Apoorva came to me "There's been a problem"

Me: "What?"

"Someone called up on the phone. He spoke to me as though the helpdesk was his servant. His PM/PL is not there and they say their data is missing. And not only that they have a very arrogant tone and they started advising me on how a helpdesk should be." The complaints were endless.

Two minutes later, the project team was in our location. I was surprised. It was like a local tamil movie. A bunch of dark heavyset guys walk into my wing looking around like goons. All they were missing were some hockey sticks. They look for Apoorva. And i stand next to Apoorva. They want to speak to him in the meeting room in private. I am in too. Then they tell half of their team "Thanks machi... naange paathukkurom (Thanks dude - we will manage it ourselves ) and the rest leave.

We get in the room. It took me by surprise that the entire team had come up not to get any isue resolved, but because , apparently , my guy had used the word 'Hell' while speaking to them and they wanted to settle scores. Now these are software engineers and leaders earning handsomely and who are expected to educated highly. And they are here, 8 guys to settle scored with one guy because this guy had used one word while speaking to them and they wanted him to apologize.

I had and will never have any doubt that Apoorva did not use that word. He is not capable of that. But he might have cut the conversation abruptly by keeping the phone down. He would do that, if you cross the limit. Anyways..

Apologize my foot - was the first thing that came into my mind. Rationale took over immedietely. What would have been the purpose? That i could come out as a hero? that i would prove a point? To whom? To four guys who think that it is more important for them to get an apology for using a word than anything else in the world?

What was really surprising was their attitude. Assuming that such a conversation including the word had taken place also, such a reaction as what they had had would have been expected only from uneducated people who had no values in life. It is only them who could have misplaced morals and ethic system as these guys.

I forced myself to smile and had nothing to say, when i realized that the whole conversation was going nowhere. Profusely apologizing, if their egos had been hurt, showed them the door. indicating that we all had better use of our time. After few hmms and hos, raised voices and faked accentual english statements, couple of them got my hints.

They say, you should never wrestle with pigs. You get dirty. The pigs also get dirty, but then, they love it.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

For Agnostia :)

Hey, i've been having visitors and poor me, did not notice this at all!! :) Welcome Agnostia! - Instead of replies to those wonderful comments - thought i would dedicate some lines in this space of mine in due thanks to our time spent on my editions :)

Am a big fan of monsoons, agnostia. I can love the light drizzle to the lovely wonderful downpour.. And that night, the drive to mayajaal was lovely, as it was raining out there and the rain only got heavier as the drive went on. Have you been to the ECR road in the night? Save the oncoming headlights, that road has a wonderful soothing effect on me. Especially that night. A smoothly driving car, wipers swishing past your line of vision and Kishore -da with Boss's ( Boss kaun hein, maloom hein kya ? :) ) music playing at a soft volume inside the car. The tarmac rolling under my wheels, crushing the water droplets and squeezing them out of the way with the lovely sound.

Trees and landscape rush past me in wet blur and in silent darkness. Once you cross the civilzation belt nearer to the city, you hardly would see residential lights on your side, save those glittering blinking lights of the restaurants on the way. And if you go during late hours ( which is what we wre doing that day) even most of those are switched off.

Smoothly purring machine, your senses humbled by the lovely consistent downpour - the strangely endearing sound of the wipers on the glass as the proof of that , and your heart leaping to joy with every modulation of kishore-da. Life cannot be better. It was a lovely drive all the way to mayajaal.

But the movie was a let down. I am not a big fan of SRK. Neither am a i a complete commercial movie nor an art movie critique. I take in movies for the sake of movies and enjoy every kind of movie. But this was a little too much for me. The story is simple - a very uncomplicated love story from the folk tale collection of rural rajasthan. A ghost in love with a lovely just-wed-wife. A husband who prioritizes money in front of marital companionship. Husband leaves town in business for 5 years. And the ghost lives as the husband in the household. The husband comes back, who's the real man fight arises and the Ghost finds a way to stay back with his lover by getting into the husband's body.

Mmmm.. A very colorful movie, a sensational Rani moukherji, double SRK and the magical charismatic screen presence of the Big B himself does not make a wholesome movie entertainer. Almost a continuous track of songs and story thinner than Lays wafer, made me start fidgeting on my seat quite soon! Even the songs that keep coming your way at the drop of every pallu or every sneeze are nto remarkable, so to say, i don;t remember the tune of even one song now :( My bottomline is , it is not worth spending your time on the same. For me though, the whole trip was worth that one drive to Mayajaal though - through the rain!

Have you ever chased the monsoons, Agostia? During those younger days, me and couple of my friends dared to do that adventure. We were leading the monsoon. We we re on the bike and we we driving on the same path that the clouds were traveling. We would go to a village, and within max 24 hours of us being there, it would start raining and then we would move on again. It was an amazing experience. Sometimes, i wish we could be more footloose.

I was in Kumarakom, last year, i think, in the middle of a hot summer season. The planned ferry ride to the sea was a welcome relief. We were in the middle of the sea, when, it rained. It was a complete reversal of natural systems. Within seconds, the skies darkened and the clouds poured. Most of us, except for a team member and me, ran to the shelter of the covered place inside the boat. The whole expanse of the rocking boat's terrace and it was just two of us facing the raindops.

On the whole, that was one rain i would not forget for a long time. Water was all around us. The expanse of the wonderful sea horizontally all around us, the sea under us hungrily devouring every single drop of rain amongst its small waves and the small crests and the clouds above us showering us with chill streams of pure aqua. I looked up and instantly my face was under a barrage of tinklinf incessent drop of water. I could have stayed there for ever like that. The rocking boat was almost adding to the trance. But what made it magical was the fog. Among this rain, the mist had swirled in to cover the shore all around us. All around us, all we could see was the expansive water land and nothing else. Water is almost all ifts forms - the sea, the clouds, the mist, the rain. It was as though were encompassed in serenity and simplicity. 10 minutes of sheer absolute bliss. I wish time had stood still there ( Ironically, for me, it had - my watch had stopped working about 10 minutes back due to the rain :) )

In the middle of a rollicking sea while rain lashes the water around you.
On the sands near the beach while rain spaks the timelsss sand grains around you.
On a terrace looking at the wind blows sea waves.
On the bike, wiping the rain drops that snake you face as you ride on
On the car, wipers swishing the water off your windscreen, never really succeeding in completely doing it.
Inside the house, holding the cuppa cappuchino watching the rain swash buckle outside the window.
Walking on the road, getting drenched right down to your bones and loving every minute of the same, fighting for a cup of yoghurt with your friends
Standing, shivering, under the Nair's tea shop sipping the best cup of tea from the shop with hot "parippu vada" or samosa

Monsoons come in varied flavours! :)

It's monday morning and i hope you have an fantastic week ahead of you!


PS: I've replied to your comments too. :):)

Sunday Evening!

Alrite!!! So it's been two days since i wrote the previous blog about being the nice fresh and sunny Saturday morning.

Almost 36 hours, 8 hours of shuttle, 300+ rs. on saravana bhavan breakfast, and 3 washing machine full of clothes later, here i am - on a Sunday evening. Don't know where time has gone.

Mmmm.. Let me see - Saturday morning was good - After the lovely breakfast with the friends of mine, i went around doing the usual chores - tel bills and usual bank visits. But this time, the bank visit was slightly longer than usual - am gonna open an account for my dear amma to get her some cash - wud mean more independance ( and more shopping ) for her :) and then it was hitting the shuttle court for some time. It has been quite some weeks since we played shuttle and it showed in the rustic movements that we had. I guess, i am growing old :):)...

Lunch was indulgence. Me and the other bachelor have discovered this dish called Special Andhra Chicken in a restaurant and we ravaged with phulkas and thoda sa rice. Since we did not have anything to do at home, Reddy Sr. suggested we go to Anniyan. Mayajaal was the only place where tickets were available and that too there was this major fuss they made about coming there early to pick up their tickets and stuff. I fell back to Anusha - the PR expert in my team. She seemes to have a great network already up and running and the guys in mayajal easily agreed to hold the tickets for us.

Spent some money picking up some new clothes and after thatthe evening was inside the illusions of mayajaal. I had seen the movie already and i guess i was lucky that way. Some wierd instincts of the theatre owners made them play the audio at an extremely high level. So much so that for every sond, i walked out searhching for excuses - pop corn, egg puffs, coke, mens room - all of them were viable excuses for me :)

Monday morning were almost a repetition of the prev day. SAravana Bhavan - and a lovely session of Shuttle. There was no one else in the cluba nd it was us 4 who had the court for ourselves and it was fun playing the competitive doubles. Need to get the habit of hitting it straight to the other man's racket out of my system though ( But me and Dustin won the higher no. of games though :) )

Lunch, a lovely nap, the wonderful Wimbledon finals and a nice dinner at Amaravathi past, here i am! - tapping away streaming bits of characters in this keyboard. This week is going to be crazy - am in a training session for the whole of this week - about OOAD - can u beat that????? :(

Hope all you guys have a great week ahead of u too - Hey all those on the other side of the globe ( i do have an ego, don't i ? assuming that ppl on the other side of the globe also read my posts :) ) how was the 4th of July fireworks?

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Saturday Morning!

It's a nice sunny wonderful Saturday morning... GEtting ready to get to my shuttle game now. I feel the day is going to be the same as every weekend.

The ritual breakfast at Saravana Bhavan - its been going on for almost 4-5 years now. And then playing shuttle for about 4-5 hours. Lunch between the two bachelors ( Reddy;s wife and parents being in Hyderabad ) makes him a bachelor now.. A Worse one than me right now, he is not even accustomed to bachelor hood ha ha

Oh yeah - i've got to go pay my tel bills.. that;s gonna take some time though. :) and might decide to meet Kripa in the evening... She is prob bored out of her skin.. but dont know if i wud be able to entertain her and wondering if i wud be a big let down to her :)

Alriteee.. gotta go.. catch u guys later!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Look ma, it's a new dress!!

I've changed the look and feel of the blog.. Hope it's for the better !


For the lesser mortals who do not understand Webdings - the language of the heavens, well the above the scripture means

"I've changed the look and feel of the blog.. Hope it's for the better ! "

Writing in Webdings makes me go ding-a-ling with smiles :)

Calls from Yonder

Last evening, the insistent ringing of my mobile phone made me look away from the screen that I had been gazing for almost ages now. It was a number that was not stored in my device. Usually, such numbers are either credit cards sellers or wrong calls and I tend to ignore the rings. But this was a mobile number and an outstation number at that. I was almost sure this was a wrong call and as I pressed the green button to answer it, I was almost feeling sorry for the person calling, as he would lose money just to realize he had dialed a wrong number. But the voice that answered by 'Hello' brought a huge smile to my face.

It was Atticus Finch.

Well, not really the character from the timeless book, but the man who is so inspired with the book that he dons that identity in the cyber world of blogging ( and who knows where else ! :) ). The most remarkable attitude about this Atticus is his humility. He has scaled a lot of peaks and yet remains bow headed. From a self proclaimed basketball playing small town boy from down south in TN to an IIM graduate associated with the Tata Administrative Services, his journey has been one of achievements and no mean feat this! But on all this, he remains, to this day, the most humble soul that I ever knew.

I have seen him, pained by the hypocrisy that we call acceptance of Life. I have seen him miserable seeing the pain of others and the desperate want and need in him to somehow contribute. And contribute he does, with his time and most of the resources that he has. And to top all this, he has this unquenchable thirst for knowledge. He can debate about anything under the sun from occults to atheism, from mythology to nuclear physics ( well, prob not nuclear physics, but pretty near! :) ), from ethics to management! But among all this, what I will and can always remember is the humility.

I was not able to meet him yesterday. His time was completely booked by the professional responsibilities that he had. And all I got was a message late in the night that he had pack up for his travel early in the morning so, probably next time. I am not a childhood pal of his. I don’t even know, what I would have talked to him had I met him last night. But I did want to meet him. To see and feel unabashed admiration in the peaks that my friend has scaled and continues to.

This small bit of time and space is dedicated to the wonderful human I know.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Perennial Question

What do u do when some one asks you to do what is against your beliefs and ethics?

Lets call the "Action to be done" as X

Objectively analyzing:
1. X does not cause harm to anyone
2. X is encapsulation. So to say, is to delay disclosure of something
3. X gives hope to some one and those hopes and expectations can - MIGHT - come crashing down when the encapsulation ends.

4. There is a way of justification that can make X perfectly over-the-board-action.

But you believe that X is not fair. You believe that doing X is selfish and does not take into consideration the feeling of the other person.

At the same time, the person who requests X of you is a very close person to you. It hurts when that person hear your NO and breaks down.

If only the world rotated with the power of brain and not by heart….


P.S. : I chose not to do X. The person so close to me, after the immediate emotional upheaval, saw my point and agreed to re consider. I was lucky.

Friday, June 24, 2005

It's Raining!

5:15 on the clock and it's raining in Chennai!!!!!

Feels awesome ! :)


4:35 on the clock on a Friday afternoon.

Desperately waiting for the week to end. In my mind though, it already had ended. Am just waiting for the time to push itself through. :)

The team here has booked tickets for a Hindi movie titled Paheli. Believe it or not, it's all about romance between a woman of the rural Rajasthan and a Ghost of the same village.

Amol Palekar, on a review, has been appreciated as a guy who has bought an Amar Chitra Katha to life. Dunno whats in store for the night!

It's 4:39 now :):)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Anniyan - The Men Within

Director Sankar seem to have this crush on duality. The characters in his movies always have two ( and now more than two :) ) characters intertwined within themselves. The depiction of this duality, although, has been varied, without repetition, and there, i believe, hangs the success of this director.

In Gentleman, it was this brahmin "appalam" seller who converted into the scheming, brave and strong 'Robin hood'. In Muthalvan, it was the govt service loving laid back cameraman with a strong politician alter ego ( remember the " Kadasile enneyum arasiyal vaadi aakkiteengale!!" ). In Indian, it was this frail old retired man who inverted into a brave soldier of truth. In jeans it was the two look alikes, dress alikes, talk alikes who took the focus and in Anniyan, it is the 'Rules Ramaswamy', a staunch brahmin lawyer with a penchance for "rules" who heralds fearsome and suave impersonations within himself.

It is very difficult to try and review the movie that takes you by your throat, pulls you into the matrix, drenches you with fantastic panorama, without really being a spoiler to the plot. "Rules Ramasamy" is the stenciled Triplicane Iyengar with the trademark Kudumi, and a i-stay-out-of-trouble attitude to life. So much so, that when he is getting thoroughly beaten up by the baddies he mumbles "naan thayir saadham saapidaravan, ennale thiruppi adikka mudiyaathu"! And, he has a obsession with rules. He wants everyone to do thier duty, to do the best they can and not to be corrupted. And because he has studies law, he takes it upon himself to take cases where the common man is fleeced by corrupt non-rule-following baddies. Needless to say, he loses all his cases under the clout of influence and money that his opponents have.

"Rules" discovers a web site where the site urges common man to log in information about any wrong doer. To give vent to the frustration, "rules" continuously logs in information about the wrong doers.

Enter "Anniyan". With a lock of hair hiding his face and a voice that beats Intergalactic transmission easily, the fearsome avatar of "the punisher" appears myseteriously and kills the wrong doers. Every wrong doer is punished as he should be in Hell - Gruesome, scary and more than a murder, a statement to the world.

To top all this, "Rules" has this un-proclaimed love to Nandini, the pretty doe-eyed Aiyengar Damsel next door. But Nandini is the girl of the world and has almost zero tolerance for the Ramasami who barks rules into everything. Well, it is difficult to love a person who calls the TT and returns the dinner that is given in Indian railways because, the curd is watery; or who calls the TT because the Railways washroom is dirty; or who calls the TT because the railways fan does not work!

Enter "Remo". The smashing dashing catwalk burning male sensation of the fashion world. and one who's dearly in love with "Naandi" - the dude way of calling 'Nandini'. In between sizzling yana Gupta laden ramp walks, or rides in flashy bikes, Remo steals the heart of Nandi. And Nandi reciprocates, desperately in love with Remo, the flashy avatar with the flashy accent but "with a true heart"

Nandini decides to buy a plot. (No, not the plot of the movie, but a plot of land! :) ) Going along with usual practice, she undervalues it so that she can "cheat the govt. of paying extra tax". "Rules Ramasami" refuses to help her do this deal as cheating is against his rule. And Anniyan has to come in as the sole purpose of his avatar is to remove the world of cheating souls.

Ramasami loves Nandini. Nandini loves Remo. And Anniyan wants to Kill Nandini. The World come crashing in. And so do the walls around the three characters. What follows has Prakash Raj as the inspector who wants to resolve the case, Nasser as the doctor who helps identify the case, Vivek as the CBI inspector and also the hero's friend and a whole lot of special effects to handle the movie!

Packed with thrills and kills, the movie rocks you. But, on another line, "Hangover" is the top most thing about this movie.

Director Sankar seems to have a hangover from Boys, and that is so clear in the language that Anniyan and Prakash Raj uses. Usage of local conversational words, stopping right at the moment beyond which the censor boards would censor is spread throughout the movie.

Actor Vikram still has his hangover from "Pithamahan". The pout that he uses as the evidence of being innocent is so clearely a carry over from his previous hit.

The fight scenes and couple of "jump and chase" scenes are hangovers of the Matrix Neo and the 10,000 Smith's fight; and the Agents jump on running cars during Trinity's Chase scenes.

The be good and be patriotic lecture scene in the stadium gives you a hangover the TV broadcast in Indian.

One of the climax scenes (where the alter ego of Anniyan comes and goes ) give you a hangover of the brilliant performance of Edward Norton in the movie Adaptation of William Diehl's Primal Fear.

But then, putting all this together, creating as gripping and taut a storyline as has been created, is another task all together. And Sankar together with OSCAR Ravichandran;s almost unlimited money flow has done an exemplary job of the same. You are riveted to the chair, looking at the screen wanting such a messiah to exist in real life and living anniyan's life. He could have gone low on couple of things though - Specifically, the be-good-for-your-country lecture by Anniyan. We have had so much of talks in so many movies, that this time, it almost rings artificial and false. And on all this, the gargantuan effort could have fallen flat on the director's face had it not been for the brilliant acting performance of Vikram.

Vikram, although hints at the Pithamagan performance with his pout, holds up his performance with brilliance. His alteration between multiple egos are convincingly scary. In one of the climax scenes where he alterates between his egos is simply superb ( for lack of other words ). He swings through the "Kadavul paathi, mirugam paathi, kalanthu seitha kalavai naan!" so believably easy. As easy and as effortless as possible. As much s he is able to induce fear through Anniyan, the next minute he is able to convert himself into the suave Remo and the next into the Kudumi tied Rules Ramasami. Effortlessly, he induces comedy into scenes like where he writes an apparent love letter to Nandini as through it is a letter to a govt. dept. Although the accent seems slightly artifical and put up, his characterization of Remo also holds him as a very attractive guy ( as he says at one point to Naandi - 'Don't come to see me if your heart is weak!" ) Physically, he has grown, seems to have put on weight expecially a flabby paunch. 6 pacs of (fl)Abs? :) But the thing worth mentioning is the "generality" of Vikram's face. He looks smashing in any kind of hair do and any kind of moustache- beard set up! Almost makes me wish for a face like that :)

The supporting cast is as good as the main. Prakash raj shines - brightly as the vengeful inspector. His acting has almost become trademark and iconic and he easily portrays the specific role with flamboyance. Vikram, manages to be the funny bone especuially the scenes where he inserts his characteristic punch lines while trying to fix up Ramasami and nandini ( " looking for a Kalai-'mama'-mani award" as he says at one point ) Nedumudi Venu is a he always is. EAsily slips into the character so easily that you forget that there is an actor there - You almost belive in the character. Sada exists in the sidelines - a pretty face an a doll like appearence. Not much of a scope there for that role :)

The Choreography is indulgent. From the Tulip Gardens to km's of pinted roads and rocks, everything exists. Colorful, Bouyant and Vibrantly loud, the music has it's own pace and charm. But then, on a storylinme like this, it does hamper the narration. It could not have done any harm to have cut down on couple of songs here and there.

On the whole, the movie is definitely more than paisa-vasool. Slick direction, indulgent choreography, wonderful casting and performances up to the expectation from each of them - Go watch it! :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Hyderabad ! - Where Cinema meets Chaos: Part 1 - The Journey

It was a long awaited trip to Hyderabad. The common excuse was to see Junior Reddy, but on hindsight, i guess that was just one of the excuses. We have been wanting this break for quite some time and i guess Reddy Junior was just the excuse to convince us that this trip was necessary!

Friday evening saw us arrive at the bus stand on time to get the volvo bus to hyderabad. As usual, planning was last minute and train tickets in India, where population grows faster than the train speed, are scarce and rare. Expecially when u plan as late as what we did! :) We were lucky to get the bus tickets actually. There we were - Me in a well worn Jeans and a t shirt with my usual backpack, the slim Reddy - the proud dad, Mrs and Mr. Iyer, the family - also known as Ganesh and Latha. Mrs. Iyer had wanted the volvo trip - she had apparently heard a lot about the same and had wanted to try one of the same.

Our last bus trip to Andhra land was quite some time back on a time line, but down memory lane, it was still quite vivid. We were on a crowded bus, stifling around with a tv screen showing a wild telugu movie and the speakers blaring the sound track, even when it was quite late at night. The matter of fact was, none of them except for us seemed to mind that, rather, most of them, i still think, enjoyed it.

Waking up from the flash back with a snap, i turned to Reddy and asked him if this being a volvo bus would make any difference and would they restrain from playing a movie or playing songs on the speaker. Reddy, who was busy trying to settle down in the seats, looked at me with a smile on his lips and said that he couldn't be sure. The smile turned to laughter, when two seconds later, the speakers started giving out wonderful telugu music! But even his smile curved into an agry frown when he realized that the driver or the cleaner liked one set of songs and two hours later, were still playing repeats of the same set !!! It was my turn to laugh, then! The Andhra buses do have some pretty wierd customs though. First, they distributed woolen rugs for all of us. They gave us one each, but to the Iyer family they gave only one and unapologetically mumbled that they were short of one and they have to adjust. ( When we saw them sleeping later that night, we realized wehre that one short had gone! :) ) And then they walked past the aisle handing us one bottle of 'Rama' packaged water. We were kind of apprehensive about ho much we would have to pay, when his voice rubbed it on us that it was on the house ( rather on the bus! :) ). So then, when that guy came again with trays of chips, we were more than happy to pick one packet for each of us, when with a smile, he anounced that it was fifteen bucks a packet. Promptly, we kept it back on the tray. I even arranged them the same way as it were before they were picked up!

The night wore on with a pleasent bus drive with only the repeated telugu songs to trance us. My friends say that i am extremely gifted guy for i can sleep, whenever and wherever i want. ( There are so many instances where i have displayed that talent - in sanskrit classes, in maths classes and in so many other classes :) ) ... Anyways, it wasn't long before i left the Reddy and Iyer to fend for conversation within themselves and dozed off to a nice and smooth sleep, the air conditioned sway of the volvo suspensions cradling me with a wonderful lullaby!

Was it the Rip Van Winkle who had slept for twenty years? When i was woken up later that night, i did really feel like that, but i guess it wasn't more than a couple of hours. It was a dark bus stand and those unrecognizable characters on the wall could have only meant one of the two things - that i was still sleepy or that we had already crossed into telugu desam! Although i was almost sure, it is the former than the latter, my friends convinced me that it is also the latter. And, they warned me, if i wanted any food, i had better go down, wash myself and help them open out those packets of grub! :)

Half an hour later, with sleep washed out of my eyes with splashes of Kinley water and lovely Tamarind rice filling my stomach warmly, i was ready to enter dream land again. The bus had started its journey from the bus stand, and i could see Reddy and Mr. Iyer looking at me with jealousy while i comfortably slid down, made myself comfortable and was about to snooze off. You know about the time just when u r about to sleep where any disturbances can really wake u the wild animal in you? It was when i was getting on to that, when Reddy or Mr. Iyer would poke me in my stomach to make me get up ! Sleep has it's ways, it seems! Couple of pokings later, i could not care less about those worrisome fingers and i started to daze back again. Am sure those guys also got bored of poking me and left me alone.

I apparently do a little bit of talking in between my sleep. Not the kind of rumbling mumbling, but apparently, i wake up, speak coherently to the guy next to me, but i wudn't remember anything of that the next day! Well, it seems that night i told Reddy that one of my slippers was missing and Reddy had pacified me saying we would look for it the next day morning (as, he told me, the law of inertia or whatever would make everything inside the bus move along with the bus - so we could still find the slipper in the morning in the bus itself! :) ) I had no clue of this conversation in the morning anyways and of course, i did have both my slippers right in place.

Morning saw me wake up to see two characters just short of white faces and hairs almost standing. I was sure that my snorings or my mid night conversations could not have caused such an extreme reaction, but as they, an elephant does not know his own strength, so i couldn't be sure !! :) Anyways, i delicately asked them which ghost made that effect on them. They looked at me and asked me to watch the driving for some time. Nothing could have prepared me for the next ten minutes. The driver, was either short sighted to see the vehicle in front of them only when they were close enough to be kissed or thought that the right side of the road is for overtaking and not for letting the on coming traffic to go! By the time the clock ticked ten minutes, he would have easily crashed on to couple of cars, couple of "Qualis"-es, and couple of people too. Ten minutes later, i was pale, white rather, had my hairs standing on edge and my knuckles white from holding on to the seat handle in front of me :) It was then that i realized that seeing my friends smiling face is actually blissful - especially when the other option is to look at head on collisions options every two minutes.

Somehow, i still belive, due to the simple fact that God could not have wanted my presence up there so soon ( he is a peace- loving soul!! :) ), we did stop at a road side Dhaba without any mishaps. The only thing that we dared to buy from there was a strip of paste and we did the rudimentary clean up and the rudimentary "downloads", before boarding the bus for the final lap of the road rash to Hyderabad. With taste of colgate shakthi in my mouth and with fear of the driver's shakthi in my eyes, i felt the the best thing to do was to close my eyes and doze to dreamland. And with the god given natural ability - provoking instant jealousy in my friends, i dozed into a nice sleep only to be woken up almost immedietely ( or so i thought ) by Reddy asking us to step out as we were nearing our destination.

Once down on terra firma, the tormenter who tortured us with telugu rap , hip hop and blues half of the ngiht and from early morning, helped us to take our bags out and demanded the money for his chai pani. Glad to have been out of the telugu song ridden atmosphere, we gladly parted with couple of tens and took our luggage and followed the leader of the pack.

Stretching a little, with my backpack securely on my back, i looked around to see a sunny street with traffic starting to ply the roads and... Rocks. I could see rocks everywhere. Roads that go up and down over and above the sinusoidal curvature of the rock laden topography. And of course, as our luck would have it, we had to walk uphill to reach the apartment. A fifty meters up the hill road and two floors up in stairs, we finally opened the door to see smiling faces of my bhabhi and her household. With the custodial namaste and the custodial answers about the journey and weather, we couldn't stop ourselves from asking her to get the Junior out. After all, he was the reason we were there. After washing our hands and faces, we finally saw our first nephew. Covered with the baby clothes, with shrivelled skin, long arms and limbs and a slightly haired head, there lay the miracle of our lives. With eyes that were opening and closing, he took in the new faces all around him before he started his only means of communication. To cry! Oh the joy of seeing our first nephew. Everything the junior did was news to us. Hey there, he moved his head sideways, and there, he looked at me, there there there, see the way he has his arms at the side of his face ? everything - Anything !!! :)

There was only smell strong enough to take us away from the baby - the smell of freshly cooked puries.. And ont he table our accommodation arrangements were discussed. We were to be there for three days... But then, that's another story altogether!! :)

The days would continue, so will the narrative !! :)

Adventure to Wayanad

We had Googled, we had read articles and we had seen pictures. But nothing could have prepared the 13 of us from the tools team for the magical world that was waiting for us in Wayanad.

It all started during one of the late night stays in office, when we all realized it was time to take a break. Google was unceremoniously attacked by multiple browser windows and plausible destinations were looked at. Couple of pictures of Wayanad and we were all ready to go to Wayanad. Couple of days and lots of phone calls later, we had made our arrangements. 13 of us would leave Chennai to Calicut on evening train on 1April and would transport ourselves using a pre booked cab from Calicut to the ghats of Wayanad.

It was like crossing a line. The winding roads up the ghats took us far away from the roaring sounds of civilization, from the grindings of machinery to couple of decades back in time. There were greenery all around us. The height at which we were commanded a view where even the shadows made by the clouds could be seen. The world, was under our feet!

The first step

The mystical world had a fitting entry. The fabled "Chain tree"!

A huge banyan tree has a chain running through it. Along with the physical chain, the tree also had a lot of stories chained with it. Popular legend goes that during the time of the reign of the white skinned, a white engineer was helped by a local tribesman to make a pliable road to the Ghats. Once the road was done, the White Engineer killed the tribesman and took the entire credit to himself. The Tribesman, not to take things lying, became a Ghost and killed all travelers through that road, until a magician chained this waylaid spirit to the tree. Ra, ra, Chandramukhi ra ra!!!

We turned off the NH when we saw a board that proclaimed the name of our resort. Expecting people and the usual hustle bustle of a resort anytime, we were caught by surprise, when we saw the fine print under the name board "9 km ahead!". We were put up in a resort which was 9 km into thick jungle. And no pseudo foliage here, we speak about unkempt, thick jungle. Traveling 9 km through pathways, mud ways, kuchcha bridges brought us to a huge compound dotted with small buildings around. There was something weird about the set up but we could not put our fingers into it.. until, well, until we spoke to the resort management.

We were escorted to our villas, about half a km from the main building and was given the option of taking two villas. The two villas were around 50 meters apart. We took our rooms and it was then the thing that was bothering us were revealed to us. We were in the middle of the jungle. And we were. We were so much into the jungle that we did not have electricity supply tot he resort. The power needs to the resort was managed by generator sets and in the nights, inverters with very, VERY, limited powers. Of course we were brave guys, and couldn't we stay in separate rooms and villas??Of course we could. Scared? Who, us ???? OH come on, we are the type that Ghosts get scared of! But then, won’t we be speaking and playing till late night? So shouldn’t we all stay in the same villa?? :):)... You know, its not about fear, just about being together so that we can play and talk together. :) It was easy to get the concurrence, especially with the fact that once inside the villa we aer compeltely cut off from everything else - even going to the other villa through the forest! :) So stay, was together, in one villa, the first people to take the best beds available and the rest camping out in the hall! :)

Encounter with Nature

After the settling down, showers and a sumptuous lunch, it was trekking time. And we went to the deep jungles with wide eyes and whispering mouths. Even whispers strained to inaudible levels when the guide pointed the location where elephants come to quench their thirst. The last thing we all wanted was to be running for our lives with elephants on our trail! We wouldn't have worried so much about the big mammals had we known how exposed we were to the small little blood sucking leeches all around us. It was not until we were deep inside the jungle that we realized that there were few of them feasting comfortably on us. Their modus operandi is very simple. They crawl to you, clamp their claws in and start sucking blood. Once their potbelly is full they just fall out. Well, within couple of hours, we were as used to them as they were getting to our warm fresh city blood!

We walked through what could easily have been the sets of the movie "The Blair witch Project". Surrounded by mist, silence and dense jungle, we prodded on to reach a small hillock that greeted us once again, with flowing mist which attempted to envelop us from all us side. Panting, we were humbled so simply by the astounding beauty of nature around us. But then, the trek was just a preview of things to come.

The next day saw us going to Edakkal caves. A cave that boasts of drawings by Neanderthal men. Human endurance, evident from the Neanderthal age, took us even further than just those caves. We had the quest to climb the mountain, which, they said, was possible. As we moved higher and higher, slowly the crowd thinned. From 13 of us to the cave, it was 7 of us to the next level, and then 5 of us to the final climb. There we were, standing and looking up at the perilous climb, when a family with a lady garbed in a saree, coolly climbed up. Ego, the y say, is the strongest motivator of all!!! Once we saw that, there was no stopping us 5 to climb to the top. Enthusiasm took us almost to the top, Well, Almost. At one point, we looked down and realized that what goes up has to come down too!! The slope down looked more scary than anything in life. Crawling back most of the time, we inched our way down to safety. The high point of the climb was when one of us looked down at the slope that we have to climb down and decided he would make a call to his mother and speak to her :). He did speak, by the way! (Technology bears its re silient step there too. There was full signal up at the mountain pe ak too!!!!) Well, i am here to write this now, so we did make it down, but come to think of it, how, i am not sure if we would remember now !

And our descent was not a minute too soon. For as soon as we re ached the comfort of our van, that it rained - not rained, poured incessantly. And with the rain, life poured into the already lush foliage. We made our way back after a wonderful drive through the wild life sanctuary of Muthanga. It was pretty late and still raining when we reached the side road ( with 9 km still to go ! ) to our resort. our driver calmly proclaimed that the van cannot go up to the resort and we will have to call for the local jeeps that can take us up to the resort. The danger was not driving, but if the tyre slips - well, he left the rest unsaid and i think we too preferred it that way! Anyway, the jeeps were there with our resort manager, who was probably used to such trips. They took us to the resorts, fed us good food and we dropped off to dream land.

Humbled by Heritage

The next day was to be spent playing hide and seek with the symbols of heritage spotted across the wide district. We were forced to pick and select few of them for want of time. Diversity makes you want to visit all of them without missing any one of them. Where else would you find a mossalman mosque that was built by Hindu community, a Hindu temple where everyone is allowed to come inside without no religion / caste creed barrier. Where else would you find the papanasini with the Thirunelli temple, arguably one of the best architectured temples of olden kerala - situated on top of a mountain and surrounded by three more. The whole atmosphere was enough to build reverence in anyone. We were lucky that we could visit few of the rare temples - a temple for the matsya avatara of lord Vishnu and a temple where there are three pratishtha' s of Durga. The same temple also hosted a pratishtha of Sita Devi with LAva and Kusha under the 'Ashoka tree'. But, the reverence reached the highest point at the Thrissillery temple.

Reputed to older than 4000 years, the temple at the foot hills of the mountain that holds the sacred Thirunelly temple, holds some very rare pratishthas. It boasts of one of the only eight pratishthas of jala durga, placed by the warrior sage Parashuraman himself. This deity has a body of water around it, which has been reputed ne ver to dry up all these years. The same temple holds a deity of Goshalakrishnan and also of a Lord Ayyappa in a penance post in the jungle ( which forces the temple authorities not to have a roof for this deity ! ). The main deity if a swayambhu ( self evident ) Siva linga which is inexplicably tied to the lord Vishnu deity up in the mountain of thirunelly.

And back to reality

It was with a filled mind and a very very satisfied heart that we started our journey back to civilization. It was a memorable trip where the wheels of time turned back all the way. Un-spoilt virgin Wayanad, where we could still drink sweet cold water from any tap at the road side and not be worried about the he alth hazards, the Wayand where bottled drinks like coca cola and Pepsi were unheard of, was bidding us farewell. It took about 4 hours for the Van to travel through decades and take us to the hustle and bustle of Calicut.

The train greeted us with the same cheer that it greets every one of her traveler and soon the never tiring chuk chuk of the train drowned all our senses. Lots of memories, lots of conversations and a wink of sleep later, we were back in Chennai. A new day, 3 days away from the last w orking day, and it was as through we had made a trip to an alien land far away in time and space. Amongst us was the feeling of satisfaction of having gone through a wonderful trip and the longing for a longer more relaxed trip to the same magical land of Wayanad. To get drenched in its magical serenity again, to dip in its agonizing simplicity again.

We were all in Chennai, and yet we all carried a part of the magic with us, in our heart!

Vishu trip!

This is one of my older write ups... posting this just so i can have a centralized place for these small write ups that i have:

As usual, the chill wind woke me up. I almost always select bus travel as my mode of travel from my professional home of Chennai to the home of my heart – Kerala. And almost always, it is the chill wind of Kerala, just after the entry at check post that wakes me up. I wake up to the lush green trees around me, to the sight of the bus waiting at the check post for clearance. I wake up to my home. But this time it was different. I was coming home for Vishu. It was after 9 long years that I was going to be a party of Vishu celebrations with three generations of my family. I could not wait to get back home.

As usual, the clearance got late; as usual, I could not control my excitement and I jumped into a local bus to get me to the town faster; and as usual, after ten minutes through my journey, I saw my bus from Chennai overtaking the bus I was in, hoping to reach the town faster. Sigh! Certain things never change!

After two bus journeys, one from the check post to the town and the other from the town to my village, I realize how an actor feels. In a drama, the stage always remains there. The Actors go on and off stage. And every time the actor comes on stage, he is back home! It is exactly how I felt then. The trees had gone a wee bit older, the unpaved roads had gone a little dustier and the old gates and fences had become slightly more rustic, but it was there – the stage was there.

The gates to my grandmothers opened wide, but not wider than the smile that lit up her face at seeing that sight. It never ceases to amaze me as to how this wonderful lady could always bring in so much of love and so much of peace to me. Both of us cannot resist hugging each other before she throws me off and says “Uggghhh .. u have collected the entire dirt of everyone and everything in the bus.. Take a bath and go get yourself clean.” With a wink and a small kiss on the little lady’s forehead, I would smile and make my ways inside the house. I am back! And how much ever I try, I cannot resist sipping the nice (and delightfully huge) glass of tea, standing in the backyard before my bath. With nice scented oil in my hair and a towel on my shoulder, I would stand there relishing the clean air and the wonderful smell of my own house. The chitter-chatter of the vessels in the kitchen (Hey, there had better be some nice cooking, the young one is home!) the calls of the neighbors seeing me, everything repeats as clockwork. My grandmother would sit in the dining table right behind me and would read the paper aloud. The servants, who are as much a part of our household as I am, would lovingly scorn at my grandmother for having done something she should not have. And with all the youth and vigor that only a young women of 70 can posses, she would bite back.

There is only one thing that can break my reverie and hurry me to take my bath. The spittle of water and hiss of oil in the dosa tawa before the ‘maavu’ is spread on the tawa! The oil on my hair would have been replaced with water (not completely toweled ) and my dirty clothes would have given way to a nice white mundu- shirt as i sit on the dining table joining my grandmother in front of the hot and yummy dosas. In between eager mouthfuls of dosas dipped in spicy chutney, I would update my servants on the latest happenings on my life and also update myself on the happenings by trying to read the paper. I am sure the ladies of the kitchen must be equipped with some kind of telepathy, for just as I tend to stop with the seemingly unstoppable hand-to-mouth actions, the steaming glass of tea reaches the table.

With a satisfied belly and very satisfied heart, I would lean back, enjoying myself the uncivilized pleasures of licking my fingers and sipping on the ever-silver glass of tea.

My grand mother would sit next to me, massaging her legs with oil – as a part of the preparations for her bath. She would hum some nice song or talk to me about the plans of what we have to do in the coming days together. Usually, I exist in that world for a weekend, so it would be either plans to go and watch a new movie or some movie that she had missed. But this time it was slightly different. The entire family is to gather for this Vishu. And the conversation revolved around who were there previously and who had done what and how and when everyone is coming to the celebration; what crackers have we gathered, who likes what crackers… and the tea!! Life could not get better. And this already sweet tea was interspersed with more sweetening of the instructions to the servants to ensure that they have procured all the vegetables and ingredients required for the big ‘sadya’ on the eve of Vishu!

With a wonderful smile, my grandmother would then finally say “So, let me take a bath!” The entire procedure including the mise-en-place and the actual event of a bath would take more than an hour. I walk to the kitchen to request for another glass of tea and retire to the living room, sitting comfortably in the easy-chair, which was a fixture of the house from the days I could remember, with my legs over the arm rest, the glass of tea delivered to the window still, and a paper on my hands. Everyone knows the outcome.. the glass of tea half consumed, the news on the paper not even half consumed, I would land in the world of dreams.

We can jump onto internet, do commerce at the speed of light, make friends with any person across the globe in seamless realization, but nothing can ever take away the peace and pleasure of being where you belong. It makes me wonder, where does civilization take me, or is it that I belong to the side-lane where I prefer to stand back and look and amaze at the technology movement? I am reminded of ‘Agent smith’ in the cult movie Matrix, who while searching for Neo, stands in a railway station and puts his head in a moving train to look through the entire train as the trains race ahead. I guess that is how I also feel. Deep roots strongly within this realm, I feel i dip my head in the racing technology train to get a glimpse! There is only one problem. Almost the entire world is in the train and that makes it imperative for anyone to make a trip in the train, so do I, so do I! Also, even in this serene tranquil world, where time is told not by digital beeps but by the patter of the multitude of school children’ feet running after the school hours (which signifies four o’ clock and time for another glass of tea and evening snacks), technology has started to creep in.

The day goes on with the love and care of my grandmother. The next day, one of my uncle and his family arrives. The huge house which anyways never looks empty was becoming even more alive – with sounds of little feet running around, with sounds of little bodies tripping and falling, with warning cries of parents… the home was building itself up. My uncle has two kids – I should not say kids anymore, they have grown to the age where you feel you are an adult and you should be treated that way! It was after a long time that I was seeing them and it was nice being jumped on (albeit from heavier feet and bodies!) and being hugged! The pleasures of technology have enabled me to bring in the power of visual memories capture through my handy-cam. The memories and the sound became even heavier and louder when my second uncle arrived with his son. His arrival was announced, as he blew the small bugle that he keeps in his car!

On check with the stock of crackers, the expert opinion was given. They are not enough! There was no second opinion. “Let’s Go! Let’s Go!” But before this aim was to be achieved, there was another small unfinished business to be attended to. The all-so–awaited bath in the river! The whole battalion of my cousins, led courageously by me, started to the river. Nothing comes free of cost, does it? As much as the creep of technology had brought TVs, radio and a plethora of convenience equipments, it had also caused erosion of sand from the river-beds for construction use. So we had to walk a couple of kilometers to reach the place where we could conveniently take bath. There were no complaints, all of us would love the walk though the unpaved roads, teasing and victimizing each other. There was nothing that could stop those young naughty guys to jump into the river directly, once we reached the banks.

Some memories are frozen in time as photo prints of the time when I was small enough to be led by my uncles to the river. One of them, shows me and my two elder cousin brothers in the river, frozen in the moment of jumping over each other! It is one of the most loved photos in the album.. and today, I felt a sense of deja-vu. I was sitting on the bank of the river with my handycam on my hand watching the memories etch itself on the cobalt tape as my cousins splashed water around everywhere and jump all over each other! Time had come one full round and I was still here. Civilization had not drugged me, technology had not corrupted me. The only thing that was corrupting me that moment was the temptation to jump into the water. And I indulged. After few minutes of memory generation, I put everything aside and I jumped in to meet my cousins in the water.

It was only when we were trying to walk back to our house, late in the evening when we realized, how far our enthusiasm had carried us! We had to actually mark a pit stop in the middle of our trek back to stop in a shop and force the shopkeeper – cum – juice maker to make ‘nannari-serbath’ ( a concoction of lime, soda and a flavored syrup) for us. It was not a surprise to us that we kept on drinking for a long time, until he ran out of lemon, but it was definitely a surprise to the man on the other side of the counter that his serbeth had suddenly become so popular. Had he belonged to the ‘techno-civilized’ era, he just might have measured the amount of ingredients he mixed that day, maintained the recipe as one of the most closely guarded secrets in the world and started bottling his product! The second pit stop came when we came across a shop selling crackers. We stopped there to balance our load; My load was lightened with a largely light wallet and my little cousins shared a lot of my weight by way of the new cracker packets got in exchange of my wallet contents!

The night before was alive with my grandmother making preparations for the Vishu morning. The traditional vessels came out, were filled with the fruits and vegetables in front of the picture of Lord Krishna and a mirror. This was the arrangement for ‘Kani-kaanal’, the event that marks seeing the Almighty as the first sight in the morning. In the morning, the children were bought in by their parents, eyes covered, in front of this arrangement, now complete with ‘Konna’ flowers and the yellow glow of the lamps glowing in front of the arrangement. All of us would sit in front of this arrangement and would open our eyes to be greeted by this wonderful sight of the Almighty himself covered in the yellow glory of the lighted lamps. It is a sight unparalleled by anything at all in the whole world. It is not just the sight of the Almighty, but also the realization of the anticipation of seeing the result of preparation on the previous night. And suddenly, everything gets back to normalcy and eh, a little urgency! The crackers, are waiting!

When you look at it for the first time, there is a huge load of crackers, but three generations of hands trying to reach into the packets deplore them in a speed that challenges the speed at which the Chennai Auto-rickshaw meters move! The whole front yard, well swept by the ladies of the household the night before, echoes with booms, cracks and fizzes. And in between this run down and flying booms, the elders of the house would search for you to give the ‘Kaineettam’, the first earning for the year. We would all accept it with blessings from our elders. Without age bar, all of us across the generations would seek blessings by touching the feet of our elder. I missed my grandfather then. Of the vivid memories etched in my heart, I would accept the token money from him which would come to my hand with so much of love, affection and a big smile which even now I cannot forget. He is one man whom I have found very difficult to imitate and very easy to admire. I am taken out of this reverie, as soon as I get into it, by my cousin who was ardently waiting for me to light a cracker that was too dangerous for him to do himself!

The dawn would wake up to he rough sound of sweeping broomsticks across the loose gravel of the front yard. These thin sticks sweep the cracker remains off the yard, but nothing could take away the lingering smell of crackers, the sense of enthusiasm and the sense of peace and happiness that enveloped all of us that morning. There is a dome in Pondicherry, I have heard, that houses a crystal in the center and allows a ray of sunlight to be hit on this. This crystal disperses the sun ray and provides light for the dome. People say that as u walk towards the crystal there is a moment, when your eyes fall on the strong rays and you are blinded for an instant. That instant, you feel absolute perfect peace. But, they warn you, it is for an instant as the next moment, you are back in this world.

I experience the same peace, the same sanity, the same absolute serenity when I revel in this atmosphere. My people. My home. This is where I belong and irrespective of what I do where I go, I would always belong. Nothing, absolutely nothing in this world, can take this away from me. Until, death do us part, that is. But even after, I know, that ‘The music in my heart I bore, Long after it was heard no more.’ How much ever I discover new technology, how much ever technology eases our life, whatever distance the rockets can take you, I wonder if they would ever be able to take this out of me. I do not search for a realization here, nor do I make a derivation from the facts. I know this and I always knew this. If not for this, I would not be what I am now. My body might be constituent of blood, flesh and bones, but this is what makes ME. ‘This’ is a constituent of the sunlight, of the green leaves, of the dust that sifts in the sunlight, of water that flows in the river, of the happiness that surrounds us all and of the energy that moves through this all. ‘This’ is my root, my identity, me.

The wonderful smell of brewing tea wakes me up and I happily consent to being a part of the noise, to the songs, to the cries (“look amma, he has taken my glass of tea!”), to the clear voice that reads aloud the news, to everything. Normal life takes it toll again, the rush for taking bath (and the long walk that comes before getting to the river! – bathrooms, did you say a bathroom, the enclosed room?). the day passes in its own hum, after a wonderful lunch which is a subjective realization of all the vegetables and ingredients that piled up right in front of my eyes in the previous days! As we all crowd together in the same room, trying to watch TV and sleep off as soon as we convince that others that the movie that you want to watch is the best, the house becomes slightly less noisy. Only till the evening arrives with more energy and more talks!

As days pass, some uncles have to leave and some stay back for some more days. One of the days we decide we must make a small trip to a temple nearby. With no schedules or no bosses to stop you from, there was no delay in the trip. This temple is to be accessed on foot, crossing fields and railway tracks. The temple is a single sanctum sanctorum covered by a wall. It stands on the bank of a river, by the side of a huge banyan tree. With no cellular phone beeps, no ‘sundall’ sellers and no plastic waste dropped around, it is a sight to behold. The huge banyan tree flaps its leaves with a murmur sound, set on a base made for people to rest and a temple silhouetted against the horizon next to it. The setting sun adds to the beauty of the temple. You walk down the irregular stone steps to the river and dip in it before entering the temple. It is not the sounds that fill your senses, nor splendid sights that fills your eyes, not phenomenal smell that fills your nose, but the entire feeling that fill your senses. The climb back up the stones lead you to the temple, where the Almighty gives his darshan to you as a ‘Swayambhu’ ( a deity formed out of natural causes). The walk back to the car on the road is a dream one, with my grandmother’s hand in my hand, and filled with talks of the era not yet totally bygone, but still on the rolls of ‘past tense’. Once we reached the car, my grandmother had a small request “The ‘mannaathi’ (the lady who washes, starches and irons clothes) have not come for a week. I heard she is sick, can we go visit her?” It is one big family in the village. And we go.

The house was well known to the people sitting under the darkening sky in the road side tea shop. Directed by them, we went up an alley. A small girl was sent to direct us to the right house by the inhabitants of the first wrong house we visited in the alley. A simple village girl, she marched and jumped while leading us to the point where she pointed the right house to us. Civilization made me utter the words in reflex ‘Thank you’. It was not the reply that surprised us, it was the speed and reflex with which the reply came ‘You are Welcome’!

As Gandhi once said “Western Civilization. A Good idea”!!!!!!!!!!