Anu

Monday, December 26, 2005

Who is Anu?!
To answer the question, I have to go 18 years down the memory lane. A late summer morning, we had all assembled for our first class in the 2nd grade (yeah, that long back! In fact, if I put in a little more effort, I can come up with the exact date and time, not that it would matter. But my brain contains a huge number of such absolutely useless trivia which I love showing off). Our teacher walks in with this prettily cute girl in tow. And you guessed it right, she was Anu.

Ok now, what about her?!
In normal cirumstances, it would have meant nothing to me, atleast not then, not at that age. But wait, am not yet done giving her introduction. She was the daughter of a new headmaster in our school. Mr. Wilson, with his daughter and the rest of his family had relocated to our town from someplace in Kerala. I hated her almost immediately from the time I saw her. And no, those lovely curls in her hair did nothing to soften my hate for her. To add insult to injury, I, being the class leader, was asked to introduce myself to her first. I faked a smile, as I outwardly did through all the years that I knew her. Inside, I was seething.

But why?!
The reasons were simple. Till she arrived on the scene, I was the undisputed king in the class, in academics that is. Now I sensed that I had serious competition. Before, I had to just attend exams to emerge as a topper, but now I had to slog and work real hard to earn my crown. And , being the daughter of a member of the staff made it all the more simpler for her. She had it all laid out in front of her, like a grand feast for a princess. Classmates would just love talking to her all the time. Her charm worked full time. Those curls and the 1000-watt smile certainly were accomplices in her devious conspiracy to steal the thunder from me. I seemed to be the only person in the class able to maintain my sanity and not fall to her influence. I struggled but kept my lead, most of the time, in the tests and the exams. A lot of sweat went in, but atleast it was worth every single salty drop of it.

So were you simply panicking in the first instance?!
Hell no! Didn't I provide you with enough clues in the previous answer to show that I hated her for more reasons than just being a strong competition? Ok, this incident should definitely turn you around to my side.

During those days, I was a passionate and prolific writer. I wrote short stories, stories that just about covered a full length page and with ideas culled from my meagre experience in the big bad world supplemented by generous readings of children's books like Chandamaama, Champak and Misha. I loved calling them my original masterpieces and believe me they were. And I call myself prolific because at one time, I had a collection of 50 such gems written in the space of 2-3 months. I wrote during classes, during breaks, at home (in lieu of my evening's dose of playing cricket) and at places I'd rather not mention. Surprisingly( to me), the few people who read these stories ever called them anything more than "good". I supposed then that they were just not candid in expressing their admiration because they didn't want me to take it to my head and see the world losing a prodigy. My opinion about them hasn't changed drastically now. Just that the bitterness at their action, or rather the lack of it, has mellowed. I understand their actions better and appreciate them for what they did.

Back to the story from the unintended digression, Miss Anu "ever so prim n proper" Wilson had to hear from someone that I had the gift for writing stories and wished to see one of them. She read one and the next thing I know, she hands me a story written by her and asks for my expert opinion (I somehow had a feeling she was being sarcastic, but never got concrete evidence to prove it though). It was a nice little fable with a moral at the end to boot. But I thought, loudly enough, that it was pretty ordinary. But surprise! surprise!, it finds a following among fellow classmates. They just cant get enough of her stories. Can you imagine my situation?! I try my best to show them what real writing is all about and they fall for a sweet as a candy story from an equally sweet (not in my opinion!) but novice (thats more like it!) writer!!

And the worst insult of all, she towers over my 4 feet odd frame by atleast a third of a foot. I will leave it at that.

Take your yammering elsewhere, will you?!
Oh relax, am coming to an end soon. I had to endure her for 5 long years during which I tried my best not to let my emotions come out in the open. Finally, at the end of my 7th grade, I had to leave the school for good. I would continue my next level classes in a different school. After the final exams, I bid farewell to my classmates. Our class teacher handed us each a copy of the school year book. I had contributed a poem (my first ever!) to the book. So the first thing I did, once back home, was to eagerly browse through the book to check if my poem was indeed published. I was devastated when I reached the last page not finding my poem printed anywhere. I had of course noticed that Anu had contributed something which was published, not surprising since she was in the editorial team. So I thumbed through to the page where Miss Anu had something, more significant than what I had, to say. It was a piece on the experience of her first day at our school. "How very pathetic!", I thought. It began "One misty morning in Bangalore, I enter the class of 2nd standard. I was nervous and shy, not knowing anyone in the class. The teacher introduced me to the class and asked me to sit down next to the class leader. He was cute and handsome and made me feel comfortable almost immediately...."

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An Obituary

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The brave die never, though they sleep in dust:
Their courage nerves a thousand living men.
~Minot J. Savage

These words appears no more apt than today as I stand here mourning the death of a dear departed friend. Our acquaintance goes back more than 2 years when I first met him while travelling towards the Whitefield IT corridor. He lay there, as he did all through his eventful life, and made an immediate impact on me. My body reverberated from the impact and I knew I had met someone significant.

As time progressed, I noticed that I was not the only one whose life was changed by this noble being. Millions of others had a similar experience with him. That he was the best in business was a forgone conclusion. He did what was expected of him in a manner which evoked both awe and reverence. Thousands of his brethren were inspired by his deeds and the fame which followed. But they say fame inevitably invites problems. Our friend and his kind were brutally massacred and levelled to the ground on an unforgettable cold day this December by over-eager civil servants. This misdeed was condemned by the millions of daily commuters to the Whitefield IT corridor, for our friend gave them everything they ever wanted - joy, pain and more importantly, a lesson that keeping an eye on the path of life is the best way to avert regrets later. To them, he was the pillar of reliability, one they could rely on to be where he always was found, any day or any season.

To repeat a cliché, pictures speak better than thousand words. You can see him here. (picture courtesy)

He may have died a valorous death, but his soul lives on, in the millions of his followers who will, no doubt, crop up all over bangalore soon and strive to perpetuate his legacy. As Minot says, he has not died, he just sleeps in his dust.

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Pommes Frites

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A disclaimer first..this has nothing to do with that affordable and crunchy snack of the same name.

Am just done with my level 1A of french classes and now time to look back and gloss over what really happened. While my tone suggests I have been through a major traumatic experience, let me allay all such fears. It was quite the opposite. I thoroughly enjoyed my time and the experience and I have even got a 82.5/100 as a final score to boot.

I was watching TV5 Asia the other day and was suprised how much I could comprehend of the written french and how little of the spoken variety. Obviously its a huge mountain to scale and more so since I haven't been able to give it enough time.

Read this:
I was standing at the counter chanting something. He marches upto me and demands some information. I regard him and think, I am getting deranged by this young man. But then this is my travail!

Now the whole situation wasn't so dramatic as is presented in the para above. Its just that I took the liberty of translating something directly from french without thinking too hard. This is what was originally meant:
I was standing at the counter singing something. He walks upto me and asks for some information. I look at him and think, I am getting disturbed by this young man. But then this is my work!

Talk about information getting lost in translation!
Just one thought lingers...why couldn't the english import words without having to change their intensity.

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Labor of love

Friday, November 18, 2005

A night not so long ago,
when I was in deep slumber,
she appeared with all her allure,
and begged me to come to her.

I woke up later with gumption,
to make the dream come true,
To seek comfort in her nestle,
and start our romance anew.

Pretty soon did I get the chance,
to devise another sojourn,
To get closer to her,
and seduce her to be my own.

Then when i did get to see her,
she stood in all her splendor.
As if challenging me to get to her,
and make it a moment to remember.

Slowly and steadily,
I start from the base.
She looks down at me,
and stands, uncaring and blasé.

Her undulating terrain,
so tough and wild.
But the splendid view,
so refreshing to the mind.

So many memories come back,
during the long journey up.
Of the times gone by,
the high and then the slump.

Midway during the leg,
I rest and look up at her.
She hides her face,
timid yet oozing with desire.

Now it was just a matter of time,
before the passions tipped over.
And as promised, ecstasy and joy,
would this labor of love doth deliver.

Giving my everything,
I reach the climax,
Exhilarating is the one word I could utter,
on reaching the Chembra peak top.

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Forlorn

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Walking along the one way street,
I arrive at a crossroad.
The heart says "take this bend,
To meet your destiny"
"Do it" asserts my soul,
"Yes, yes" whispers the wind.

Now, when am at the deadend,
the heart does nothing but cry,
the soul asks "what have you done?"
the wind stays quiet
and I whisper to myself
"I stand all alone"

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My bike

Monday, November 14, 2005


mummy said i become a big boy now. i write an essay. so i want to become bigger. i write one more essay. i make no spellng mistake also. my bike is a girl. she drinks a lot. she like petrol. she got angry that i write essay on camera first. but camera is a boy and i am a boy. So i write on camera first. my bike take me and camera everywhere. she is older than camera. she is 3 year old. she likes to go out. she cries when i dont take her out. she runs like a dog runs when i throw stone on it. i dont throw stone on my bike but she still runs fast. i sit on her like i sit on my tricycle. but she has no pedals. i want pedals but mummy says big boys dont need pedals. my bike go faster than other bike. she is a fiero no. i dont know what fiero mean. mummy also dont know. my bike has big tyres. two of them. they go round and round and round. i also make it go round sometimes. she also make me laugh. i kick her to make her run. then i laugh for 5 minutes. then i sit on my bike. then i pull her hand and then she runs. she throws a lot of smoke. i dont like it. i ask her not to do it but she is stubborn girl. i have to take her to doctor every 3 months. she takes her bath only there. she is dirty no? he he he. i take my bath everyday morning. my camera dont want to take bath at all. both are dirty. my bike is very big. one day it falls on me. i got hurt. i cried.

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My Camera


My camera is my baby. He is one year old. He cries a lot. I make him quiet by pulling his battery out. He then goes silent. He makes a lot of noise when i take him out. All people see me then. He is very big. I carry him by his strap. He is very heavy also. My camera make me laugh. When I make him on, he puts light. I laugh a lot then. he take a lot of picture and store it in his head. i see picture afterwards. He is a good boy. Mummy dont like my camera. She tell that I spend too much time with him. But my camera will cry if i dont talk to him. He has only one eye. It is very very big. I have only two small eyes. My friends are all jealous of my baby. I dont give him to anybody. He will cry. I love my camera. He is called Nikon. He has initials also. It is D70.

He take picture and i take picture of him. You can see him above. This is the end of my essay.

Coming soon....my bike.
(Whew! Its tough preparing for writing b-school admit essays. Atleast am trying hard)

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The walk of life (draft)

Friday, October 21, 2005

The endless stretch of water, the evening sun settling down into its nightly recess, the odd kids playing around with abandon in the spray, this was the place he felt most at home. A home away from home. This was where he could let his mind travel beyond the realms of time, back and forth. He had spent the most brooding moments of the life here and not surprisingly they were all in the last few weeks. He remembered the happenings clearly, some three weeks back. It was something he couldn't forget even if he wanted to.

Anita walked into the room quietly. I showed no signs of acknowledging the fact. The newspaper held more interest than her talk at the moment. My little daughter brought me nothing more than demands these days. She seemed to take the privileges of being the lone child for granted. But at 19 she should be a lot more independent than this. At her age I was away from home standing on my feet. But that was a different era. She now stood at the edge of the bed and was waiting for me to look up. It was then that I noticed some change in her. Couldn't place it on anything particular. But she usually barged into the room and demanded attention.

... to be continued

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Hero (a.k.a Legend of AD)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

All characters and incidents depicted in this story are compeletely ficitional and any resemblance to true incidents is only coincidental.

Our Hero was a simple person, famous for his wit and valor. He had traveled from a land far far away to meet his destiny in the City of Badroadore. The city attracted hundreds of people like our Hero who wanted to be famous, wanted to be the talk of the town. He achieved this and more and how!


Our Hero was in the service of the Great Company. His skills were well utilized here and he was pretty content in life. One fine day the Master himself summoned his services for a task. A group of local simpletons needed to be trained in the Divine Language. “Only he who spake the Divine Language spake to The Almighty” went a saying in the Great Company. Why the simpletons needed the knowledge was something only the Great Master knew. But these were difficult times and the simpletons accepted this as their fate, ill as it was already. What the fate also brought along is another story. One could refer to the fable of the beauty and the beast for further details.


To our Hero the task was seemingly simple. In the Great Company, he had mastered his craft and fame to such great proportions that he was needed by the Great Master himself to train his kind. “This was the path to destiny he had sought for himself”, he thought as he drank with his cronies to that. His drinking binges in the corridors of the Great Company were well known. He spent his noon time in the corridor of power with his cronies every day, regaling them with his wit and fables. Every single thing at the cost of the Great Company.

The days went breezing by for all the players in our story. Before long the simpletons accepted the Hero and the Beauty as one of their own. They looked forward to the weekly meeting with the enthusiasm of a child waiting for its candy. They spoke the Divine Language at work, in the loo, at lunch and with the Almighty himself, at times. Tutored by the best in the land, it was a breeze aquiring the skills.

Everything was well and fine until one day, the Friend of the master came visiting. Master was very keen on impressing his dear Friend. He was ready to present his now transformed simpletons. Who were once jus simple village folks were now the best in the kingdom. The Friend spoke the Divine Language and what better way to impress him than by demonstrating the knowledge of his folks. So a court was arranged and the Friend was invited. The Friend was amply impressed by the skills aquired and interest shown by the simpletons.


Then, one fine day, the Beauty came to know that there was an interesting drama being played for patrons in the city. So she willed that the drama must be watched by the simpletons along with our Hero and the Friend. And the will was executed by the drooling simpletons. But when the word went out to our Hero, he was aghast at the price of entry into the drama hall. 500 gold coins were too expensive for a drama, he opined. The simpletons respected the opinion of our Hero. After all how could one dismiss his opinion? So the plans were changed to a royal dinner and the Friend was informed.

The royal dinner was held in the most opulent of places in the city of Badroadore, most appropriate for the guests being invited. After all, our Friend and our Hero were no ordinary people. A north-western culinary delight was what the diner offered. Our Hero was overwhelmed by the delicacies on offer. A wine was most appropriate for the occasion, he decided. Of course when one of the simpleton queried about the chicken soup, he could just not say no. According to him, an yes to anything on offer is the privilege of only the one so skilled and wise. As he spoke in the Divine Language with the Friend, everything else was forgotten. A glass of wine, a serving of soup, appetizers and main course alike could never compensate for a classy display of a combination of his main skills – a PJ in the divine language to elicit a laugh from the audience, more specifically the Friend. The food on the table lay defeated in its objective to draw the attention of our Hero.


And thus ended the dinner and thus ended his happiness. A statement of expenses lay before him when he was in the Great Company again. Lay before him was a huge liability of 520 gold coins. His world started collapsing around him. This was unimaginable, totally against the way he planned it. There had to be a way out of this. How could he do it?! How did he get into this mess?!


It took a few days time to think about the strategies t odeal with the situation he had got himself into. He had a few options. He could go back to his home town where his better half now was or he could totally deny any liabilities and refuse to pay. But then his brain, skilled as it was, came up with a brilliant solution. They were simpletons after all, a few days off their sight and they would forget all about the dues, our Hero concluded. He began its implementation, gone were the days of drinking binges in the open. He cleverly planned his drinking sessions such that no simpleton could see him. And on occasions they did see, he acted totally ignorant of the situation.


After a few weeks, long after the Friend was back in his land, and our Hero was assured that the simpletons would no longer be reminded of the Dinner, he ventured back to interact with them. "Everything is all right now and all is well that ends well", he reminiscences.


Or that is what he thinks. The legend of our Hero refuses to die and has spread far and wide, atleast in the Great Company. And the fact that the 520 gold coins remain to be repaid inspires the documentation of this legend. The simpletons have a good laugh every time they are reminded of it.


Prologue:
After a few months, one of the simpleton took it upon himself to get their due. The beauty was no more around and they couldn't afford to see one more loss. So he wrote to our Hero in the most gentle way possible and requested the repayment. Our Hero was now in a better position financially and also had come to terms with it and repaid the amount.

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Lone Zombie

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Lone Zombie

Wow! That title sounds real cool. I love it when things get real corny, like those B-grade Hollywood flicks featuring our kind. Pity they don’t make ‘em so often these days. Sigh. So I, the lone zombie, live in a world where there is only me and no one else. And I have started to get used to the name. Didn’t I tell you I liked it! I am not alone in the real sense; there are people all around me. But I am a zombie. I am predestined to walk the path of life alone. There are my co zombies around too. But they are enduring their pain themselves, like me all alone. And I would say to them, go get your own story. This one is mine, just like my suffering. This is the path set for me by the one unseen, the one unheard but always felt.

Lone zombie has always been on a journey. It doesn’t remember when it started off. Also it does not know when the zombie in it came alive or is it the zombie in it came out dead or the dead zombie in it came outside or…Let us leave it at that. It is not pertinent. Nothing is pertinent anymore in lone zombie’s life. As you would have noticed, zombie will be referring to itself in third person from now. It gives the zombie a sense of self importance and like mentioned before, the name appeals to it extremely. In any case, this story is an exercise in self-centered indulgence. It might as well not feel guilty about it.

Once came an autumn along. Somehow it had never made its presence felt on zombie before though it came out of its hibernation every year. Zombie didn’t know what it meant, back then. For it, it was something novel and zombie loved it. It was feeling the joy of feeling the seasons for the first time. This was a miracle. Zombie had felt joy. A feeling as alien to it as would be a snow flake in the Sahara.

It was something I had managed,
Tried as much I did to evade.
The past comes back to haunt,
To tell me what I rather had done not.
What mistakes do to the character is anneal,
And take on life with a new zeal.


The joy numbed the pain and it numbed the loss, everything that the season took out from it. The dry air squeezed everything out of its body, what ever little was left, that is. The rashes broke out on the skin and they burned. The air itself whispered the song of death in its ears. But zombie wouldn’t care. It was feeling itself for the first time and feeling awake. Thoughts of death in many ways signified its transformation into the living, feeling an existence that it so much craved for. It was in no mood to listen to the very element which brought hope but prophesized death at the same time. Somewhere somehow something told zombie that it was losing more than it was gaining. But sane voices are rarely heard in a state of ecstasy. The end came abruptly. Seasons come to an end so very subtly but this one had to end without a bang, without giving a hint of a hint. Its departure shook zombie’s very existence. It signaled an end to the phase when zombie actually felt – pain, ecstacy, guilt, everything.

Then came the winter after a while. Not after a while, sooner than anticipated actually. Zombie was feeling a period where it was actually enjoying being a zombie again. "Life or lack of it doesn't get any better", it thought. Then winter appeared in the form of a beautiful white bird. The zombie saw it as a pristine dove. The dove touched its heart and this brought warmth even in the cold. Something so tender and so caring, showed it where the heart beats in its beaten down body.

The bird appeared most sweet,
that once atleast did the thought,
not rise up in the mind that,
it needed this passage of time,
for only that purpose.
But next minute the realisation stuck that I had
spent a lot more than time.

The harsh cold of the winter overpowered the warmth soon enough though. The bird wanted to fly away. But zombie didn't want to let go so soon. Without its warmth, it didn't know what would happen to it. The bird didn't seem to want to stay on but zombie felt that if they could tide over this cold patch, they could perhaps see a better season, fall again maybe. But zombie itself wasn't sure what the future held for it. What if the winter lasted forever, what if it got even worse! Zombie went into a hibernation during the period and let destiny take its course. The bird flew away and the winter subsided, quite coincidentally.

A long time after the cold came the summer. Zombie had resigned itself again to a life without change, a life without emotions, a life without life. It had a craving for the bird. The hope that the bird would again come back to warm its heart was something that was eating up zombie from inside. The hope manifested into a fear of reviving the past. But in this period of mental disarray, there was a drift that blew across the zombie. The drift warmed the frigid depths of the zombie. Come to think of it, zombie always knew the drift was around, lying at a distance, never making itself obvious. It didn'e feel it because zombie never felt it nor felt a need for it.

And now zombie wanted it, more than anything else. It chased the drift along for a while. Then got engulfed in it in its entirety.What followed was a period of intensity in feelings that the zombie wished it never had to go through. But then it had desired the drift and it had to now traverse the full course, suffering everything that came along. The drift soon gained in momentum and soon zombie was in the air floating along. The sun was beating down and the heat was getting unbearable. And then summer ended.

On the red hill facing the sea,
lies aglow a house of hope,
there I naively enter,
with a joy n desire to live,
but in an instant the wind blew
away the nestled hope that was
instilled in a candle i carried.

The drift was fast waning and in one final burst, flung the zombie away. And then it disappeared too. Zombie lay stunned at what happened. More than the pain it suffered from the innumerable wounds on its body, the mental excruciation the whole event caused shook it, once again. It lay stunned and lost. The desire to survive weakened considerably.

So at the end of it, zombie still survives in its inanimate state looking forward to more seasons. "How such a radical change of outlook?", one might ask. As much as it tries to be cynical, zombie been wired to feel pain, feel joy and feel a lot more, because to feel is a special ability and to be resilient is a much greater ability that the zombie got as a gift, not from Him, but from life itself.

The end



A small explanation for the abstract nature of the piece. Lone zombie was something I wrote as an experiment in expressing emotions of a nature which requires one to dig deep within oneself. Getting such range of emotions from a person who lives a "boring" life in reality was a challenge I had to surmount. Unbelievably I worked on this across 2 months trying to get my mind to respond to imaginary situations and pain. While most of the text seems to be indicative of the pain and suffering, I wanted to end this with hope in the face of unbridled cynicism. Hope I have achieved what I started off towards. I would love to know from you.

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Kozhikode n Wayanad (draft)

A trip that seemed doomed finally came alive at the last moment and none of us who made it regretted that fact. Kozhikode, kannur and mahe were the destinations chosen this time. In many ways different because we were going for the first time without our regulars like Praveen, Vinodh or Vishwa, who were really missed and also because there was no trekking planned this time.

Our 10 pm in theory departure degenerated into a 12.30 pm out of bangalore one but that should be excused coz our indianness would have been in doubt otherwise. The usual chattering and battering followed all through the journey until one by one, the bodies fell asleep and the minds followed. Amit took it upon himself to stay awake the whole journey to give the driver company by just staring out of the windshield as if in a daze. How much of it helped the driver is debatable but it left some of us in splits atleast.

Most of us came awake when we started descending the heights of wayanad down to the Kozhikode region which was pretty much at sea level. The view, early in the morning, was awesome. Soon after the descent we were confronting the harsh reality of the coastal plains, the stifling humidity. One feature of kerala is the absence of any decently long section of the road without signs of civilization. Its almost as if, kerala is based on either side of the highways. One doesn't realise when one town/village ends and the next begins.

Soon we were travelling on a pretty crowded road and our enquiries as to whether we reached Calicut to our driver were answered with "No. We are in some place called Kozhikode". The poor guy didn't know that Kerala had renamed all its towns with their original (non-european version) names more than 15 years back. A fairly large town and not very crowded so early in the morning. Then the fun started. We hadn't reserved rooms for ourselves and had the not so enviable task of searching for a decent hotel, what with all of us sleepy eyed, tired, hungry and more importantly, lost. We were well and truly lost. We couldn't locate our position in the map that we had. After parking our vehicle near the city railway station, we formed a scouting group comprising me, shantanu, vid and amit. After doing a short round of the city by autorickshaw and then by foot, checking a few hotels, we zeroed on one which was both affordable and decent enough.

It was 10 am by the time we finished taking our baths and then landed in the vegetarian restaurent below our hotel. While munching sumptous amounts of the food, plans for the day were being made. The first destination would be Kappad beach. Telephonic enquiries with the operators also helped sew up plans for the evening in a house boat in the backwaters. Our new itinerary planner, Shantanu was working with amazing alacrity while not attending to the innumerable personal calls on his mobile. I take this opportunity to introduce our new accountant for the trip, Amit, who did a commendable job. He had, after all, the great legacy of Praveen to try and emulate. His innovative math, post trip, didn't find favor with many though ;-)

We moved along the NH17 towards Mangalore. Some
...to be continued

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My muse...bemused

Monday, October 03, 2005



I saw her in a ferry ride while on a trip to Strasbourg, France. Well seeing her is not the only thing i did, i did snap her, though not as candidly as i would hv wished to. A few moments later this is what happened :(



I wouldnt blame them coz...ok take a look at me.


Dont blame me coz it was raining a bit and I would have had no fun watching the sights of the city of Strasbourg (oh yes, i had an eye on that too) in a drenched state.

Going ahead, she was with two of her friends and they walked away with me and my friends tailing behind. They entered a MacD and unfortunalty I had to get to a loo fast. By the time i came out, they were no more and we lived happily ever after.

I did live to tell this tale . The smile inspired me enough to write this piece:


She was the one Who, Inspired my Words, Put life into my Breath, Made me warm like a Hearth, But yet flew away like the Birds. Her smile was one who, Made me Rave, I am, now, left Forlorn, The heart does yet for her Yearn, Thoughts of her, but, are all I Have. Das Französisch-Mädchen, Hübsch mit dunkle Locken, auf unserem Boot mit Freundinnen zwei, mit leuchtendem Lächeln und schneidendes Aussehen zu, Hat betört mit ihr war das Herz mein.

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Old dog, new trick...sigh!

Monday, September 12, 2005

The travails of learning a language when you are way beyond the age to be receptive to learn anything new is best understood by going through it personally. And that is the way am getting to know. And if the language you choose to learn is french, then tighten ur seat belts n get ready, for its going to be a hell of a ride. That was a bit of exaggeration :D (n i never tire of apologising for them!).

The best thing about english is that one learns to look at every non-human as a thing, with no gender. 'No sex please, we are british' - so they said and neutered every bit of gender information of the language. So we have it is a dog, it is a cat kind of lingo. But the trouble arises when in a fit of sadomasochism, we enroll into a language class. Sounds cool at first sight. One never stops learning, u know what i mean.

So the teacher goes "in french, every noun has a gender". Oh WTF! why so? Because that is the way the language is meant to be. Every thing is masculine or feminine. It is not so much about a noun having the qualities associated with the gender. It is just one of the qualities of the noun like any other. I am already tempered by my experience learning the German language. The fun of learning the German language is described by a much more capable person, Mark Twain. Do read his essay called "The awful german language", if and when you have spare time. Atleast there is one less gender to contend with in French and that is some relief to me. But to the person nescient of tricks of modern languages, this comes out of the blue and starts questioning their faith in God. try remembering that the "book" is masculine in french and neutral in german and is bloody lifeless in english. And there are thousands of commonly used nouns in these languages!

Funnily, i have to "demand" to request for something in french and the difference in pronouncing poison and poisson can make the difference between life and death. The verb for requesting or asking is demander in french and always confuses us when it crops up in a sentence. Poisson is fish in french and poison the same as in english. This is another grouse against the french/english language. Why do words etymologically from the same root have to mean differently in each language??? Atleast in german, most words similar to english have meanings close to their english counterparts.

I am already in the 3rd week of learning french but i started this piece when i had barely started. So I ll stop my cribbing at this stage and reserve my right to publish again after delving deeper into the language.

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The Ordeal (draft)

Monday, September 05, 2005

I tried pulling the thin blanket over my head, it only ended exposing my legs. The cold air was blasting from the ventilator hole overhead but I didnt have the conciousness or the energy to turn it off. The constant cackling of Wendy besides me was a irritation too. However sweet it may be, the first reaction to a voice that wakes you up is that of a scowl and more so when the voice wasn't specifically targetted at you. We had company. Wendy's friend, one from her group, sat next to her now and they were creating quite a ruckus. Hmm pretty Wendy, working at the education department in Utrecht or was it amsterdam, made me sigh every time I had a look at her. Yeah now i remember, she would soon be in Amsterdam. She was in India to explore this beautiful and wild land. And before you start jumping to conclusions, let me clarify that I had met her only a few hours ago. I hope that exonerates me from any of your premature suspicions/condemnations! Or does it?! Thats not the moot point. We were over Germany. 37000 ft above, to give you a better picture.

The flight from mumbai to frankfurt via New Delhi was in its final stages. Delayed a bit at New Delhi due to a 'technical snag', but the pilot assured us that we would make it on time. Looking out, there was bright sunshine to melt away any frost on the window, it sure looked pretty from the top. With hardly any clouds on the bright spring day, the brightly colored fields were a visual treat. Wendy was butting in every 30 mins or so to inform a very fascinated me which country we were flying over. Some 15 minutes to land at Frankfurt. So i thought i might as well give up my ruse of being asleep. Mistake! Wendy was waiting for exactly that moment. She shows me something below and told me "Look, that is frankfurt!". Which meant we were flying over the city already but then at such a busy airport, one has to wait for his turn to land.

The plane was going in circles changing altitude frequently, skimming the cloudline. At times when it went below, we were offered a breathtaking view of the river Main and the city itself. My heart was beating in trepidation of what was to come. There were stories, always the stories, on happenings at the immigration clearance counter. And there were the worries, such a contagion, of managing to reach Stuttgart safely. Accounting for my debut international travel and barely manageable German language, these worries weren't totally unwarranted. And of course, thanks to the scores of people telling me how tough it would be the first time and that too alone.

There was a churning feeling in the stomach soon, partly due to the descent and partly due to the nervousness. The landing followed soon and we were soon taxiing to the terminal. I went in search of my overcoat which i had handed over for hanging during the fight. By the time i returned, Wendy was already away. With a sense of disappointment and I started to look for Rags. I met Rags when we started our flight at Bangalore. I was walking in the aisle towards my seat when i heard a person asking me "Bosch?". I replied yes and gave a smile. Then I had to move forward towards my seat and didn't have much time to get to know more. Later at mumbai, we introduced ourselves and were happy coz both of us were first timers. But we were seperated when we got on this flight to Frankfurt.

I saw him a few rows ahead of me. There was a heavy rush to disembark and I thought to myself that I would meet him once outside. The aerobridge kept going on and on and once it ended, most people knew where to go forward. Now I didn't. After looking around for Rags and then waiting for a few mins for him to emerge from the plane, I gave up. There were some airport personnel trying to assist people with directions. I approached a lady among them and thrust my ticket forward. She thrust it back and pointed to a passageway and asked me to collect my baggage from there and then go to the other terminal for my flight.

...to be continued

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The answer

I tried my hand today answering the deceptively simple question "What is life?". The friend who I mailed this suggested that this be put up in my blog. So here we go...




There are different meanings to life. There was no short answer and hence composed this mail.

Staring at the sun
If you want a biological answer, it is the phenomenon of self sustenance of a hydrocarbon soup which differentiates it from a non-sustaining one. There are many levels of life with humans being of the highest order and virus forming the other end of the spectrum.

Philosophically speaking, it is an involuntary one way journey on a road filled with potholes to make it less monotonous. But the purpose seems to be to complete the journey in a way considered satisfactory by the lifeform itself during its end.

Being a jain, it is another step on the way to ultimate liberation (kaivalya) with the quality of it determining your next step.

Being a cynic, it is a curse upon a being to suffer through an inconsequential existence and then end it only to enter another unknown and most probably equally pathetic state.

Romantically speaking, if i were in love with you and you'd asked me "what is life?", i'd say "for me, it is you".

I also believe its a precious gift from God given to us to be nurtured and given a complete meaning to,which will make him happier, for He creates us not to suffer but lead a happy and content life. Suffering only comes due to desire and humans confuse/mix the satisfaction of desire with happiness.

Shashank



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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Isn't is amazing how life keeps getting busier and busier, particularly when you are in the 20s and the 30s. Every minute done something mundane such as breathing deeply, browsing the sky, watching the sun rise or set, admiring the rainbow is accompanied by a sense of guilt, of having wasted the minute which could have been utilized doing something that has a better ROI. However it surprises me how watching the TV, chatting online/offline, blogging etc are not considered mundane. Modern life!(sigh).

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The Rising on ID15

Thursday, August 18, 2005

“What a waste!” is the feeling one gets after watching the Aamir Khar starrer that was released on the week coinciding with our 57th Independence Day. The fact that it wastes the supreme talents of actors like Aamir and Rani notwithstanding, there were a few other wastes that didn’t fail to get noticed. For example, 3 hours of my weekend time, 500 million rupees of the producer (rumor!), 60 bucks of mine for the ticket and more.

The film does have its moments like the scene (clichéd as it may be) where Mangal Pandey stands up alone against a whole regiment of the Queen’s army and some hard-hitting, whistle-seeking dialogues. But otherwise the film disappoints. One can see the dilemma faced by the makers - to be a great epic or a typical box office guaranteeing bollywood film. A mixture of both elements results in a kitsch that makes the intestines churn for those seeking to experience the former. Get a DVD (once it comes out) and watch it on the tube is my recommendation.

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Lets start

Thursday, August 11, 2005

hi this is my first day at blogger. Am so overwhelmed that words escape me :))

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