Monday, December 20, 2004

crash landed at home !!!

Am back home after a very tedious flight journey ...courtesy the de-icing procedure at CDG, technical fault of unknown origin at Vienna and a grounded copter at Goa airport....!!!

Well...special thanks to the wonderful lunch at Mumbai airport, Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy and the 'Kareena-Shahid'news story running on all the news channels...for keeping me company during the 4 hour wait at mumbai airport !!!

Looks like blogging is going to be a lot more frequent now that there are lot many memories and even larger number of family gatherings to talk about. But net here works at an amazingly slow speed....(one more excuse for my frequent bouts of good old vintage laziness)!!!

Lots of unfinished drafts....thread of thoughts left unwoven with a knot at the end to remind me of the times when the French food was not heavy enough to lull my grey cells into deep slumber of inactivity !!!

But first a good nights sleep to catch up on !!!(or rather another good nights sleep to catch up on !!) 'Jet lag' is what I tell all those who call up at 10.30 am only to catch a very 'just-outta bed' hullo on my end of the phone...!!! May not be a very plausible excuse..especially some 5 days after reaching home...but sounds very swanky ;)

So long....Bonne nuit...gute nacht....good outta here !!!

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Of cocktails and graphs...

Everyone's life is a cocktail. Each ones cocktail differs from the other's.

Well..I may just sound like yet another of those innumerable homosapiens who love
to ponder upon the true meaning of life. But any other better statement coming out of the mashed matter which my brain is at the moment would just about qualify for the achievement of the century.

After a long stint of relentless work, after guzzling down nearly the whole of the insides of the coffee machine, after hours of sitting infront of the computer trying to make sense out of code which to me a month back seemed like the epitome of perfect reasoning and logic in the making...the best i can manage is the above statement.

And after is but a cocktail. Some people just dont have the punch in theirs.....while others just get heady with one sip. For some time I try to be an analyst...more like the managers who spend the late hours of the day in office with those graphs and charts, trying to decide the best way of action for maintaining the liquidity level..or simply deciding whether the lady with the bright red lipstick in cubicle 4 makes a better choice to be booted out of the company than the short nerdy man in cubicle 6. Only its not liquidity level or any employee id:12344 thats being analysed at the moment. Just am trying to analyse the composition of the cocktail that I was talking about which I happen to have in my glass at the moment.

There it is....the graph as I can clearly see it circling the rim of my glass...snaking all along the way. Looks like the ones I used to copy paste from some site right onto my project reports in college. Well it does have more curves than you can ever expect at Milan Fashion Week.

There you go...a mix of late hours into the textbooks and early hours in the coaching classes. Hmm....more of content and less of punch. Typical drink for the
first time visitors to the pub. Slow and steady rise...!! A tumultuous stretch lasting for around 3 to 4 years equivalent of the rim. High in places and meandering like a dying river in the rest. The type of combination that one expects when the visits to the pub start figuring more frequently on one's calendar and when all the sense of adventure is poured generously into the glass. More like a fiery tequilla with a slice of lime on the highs while plain old tomato juice with a dash of pepper and tabasco on the lows....!!! And then peaking for a stretch of about 6 months...seeing new highs...seeking to shoot up and away from the rigid boundary that is the rim of the glass. A combination like never tasted and tried. A combination which only a person on buddy terms with the bartender would dare to try.

A cocktail which fires up the insides with just one sip giving a hangover enough to last a lifetime, stronger than even all the martinis, vodkas and tequillas from all the taverns of the world put together and an olive to top it all. And then I see a steep fall...!! Gauging its length, seems like almost a weeks equivalent in time. No punch, no kicks..more like a citrus punch - the only punch it has is in the name. More like a person trying to adapt to a no-alocohol kind of life after the doctor has put an expiry date tag on the liver after a thorough checkup. And then abruptly the graph stops....there is no information, no figures, no status reports to go on.

The lights go off...the analyst locks his office. He has a satisfied look on his face. He has just analysed the past thru the graphs which are now safely locked away in his mind, each rise and fall burned in his head just like the nerds in the cubicles burn MP3s on the cds after office hours. But yet he is clueless about the future. Each day comes and goes...the graph has to go on circling the rim of the glass...spiralling down the stem until it comes to a point when it can't go on.
And when the last drop of cocktail has been downed and all the colored bottles of liquer cleared from the bar, when the drinks spilt by the inebriated few have been wiped away, there stands the empty glass with the peaks and troughs - a testimony of a life which was.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

strokes of joy

Well...too many things have been happening over the past 1 or 2 weeks. I had not even recovered from the extreme fatigue of the 4 day Italy trip that we had...(a rather Colossal trip I shud pun intended!!)...and voila, there we were...8 people and a bag of croissants bundling themselves into the train to Paris !!!

The L'Église Notre-Dame with its intricate stained glasswork and ambience right out of 50's movie made all the gals in the group go "oh so romantic..." almost in symphony. And as usual, the guys just contorted their faces into an expression which can be easily mistaken for a severe case of constipated guts.

I always like to have a private conversation with god. The ones without any frills formal introduction, no formal prayer. Just a one-to-one talk where I do all the talking. And there I go ask forgiveness for the nasty looking brat who bullied me in kindergarten, eating all my lunch one hungry afternoon. I ask god to forgive "miss-snooty" who made fun of my dressing sense in high school. And then I emerge out of the prayer room, an apostle of forgiveness and god's own "ombudsman", my ego a lot heavier than my halo !!! after the church, there we are again, the octet and the bag, minus the croissants (its amazing how all that praying kicks up your digestive enzymes) standing infront of the Opera. Opera always reminds me of Bianca Castafiore with her earsplitting "Ah my beauty past compare, these jewels bright I wear!" in Tintin books. And the Opera had each of its glass panes intact in place...doesn't look like they have many performances going in there. And neither did i catch a peek of the crème de la société with their status precariously balanced on their monocle, their stares sharper than the even the sharpest staccato octaves and chords of the opera divas.

And after everyone vettoed, almost in unison the suggestion of attending a performance in there (dunno what made me suggest it in the first place...would you buy split personality with a weird taste!!), we were on our way to see the one and only 'La Tour Eiffel'. And voila, there it was staring at us magnanimously, bestowing upon us the sudden realisation of the promixity to the monument which probably has lent its glory to many a movies in the already cluttered romantic genre.

Our decision to climb up till the second floor of the tower was inspired more by the lesser tariffs than by our faith in our daily doses of energy drink. After a nearly 300+ steps (frankly, i lost count of them after sometime) climb and 32.5 curses later (i remember each one of them clearly though...that 0.5 was thanks to my friend punching me halfway through the profanity, more out of frustration than out of her sense of righteousness...with due 'respek' to her elementary school moral science classes) there we were on the first floor majestically poised above an even more majestic city !!!

And with the help of the friendly information boards (which surprisingly had notes in English too), we were trying to locate major landmarks in the maze of buildings, each not much different from the other. And there I was pointing out the Musee de Louvre to the tourists around me who looked all confused and lost in the maze of concrete below...Entry my dear turned not-so-dear friend
hey what you doing here? come over to the other side...The Louvre looks so cool from there!!!
There goes my last shred of dignity etched onto the metal in deep marks 'Born Loser' alongside a barely visible 'ich liebe Gunther'...marks of love by a deutsches Mädchen

After a 360-degree view of the city, there I was walking up to the second floor, not any wiser than I was before about the Parisian landscape.

There's a feeling I get when I look to the west
And my spirit is crying for leaving
In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees
And the voices of those who stand looking

Woe oh oh oh oh oh
And she's buying a stairway to heaven

The sheer excitement of making it sans a stretcher to the second floor was dampened only by the extreme fatigue in our legs and the mad rush to catch the lift to the 3rd floor. And there we stood amidst gaping mouths of tourists and clicking cameras and couples romanticising the moment with all their hearts. The feeling that you have standing up there, up on a monument which you have always dreamt of visiting only through the heavily marked and dog-eared pages of the history textbook, staring down at a place which no author however expressive, no artist however imaginative can do justice almost felt like we had conquered le tour Eiffel. Had someone handed a flag to me at that moment, I would have planted it right there as a silent witness to our great achievement.
That probably explains the number of names that have been etched out up there in the metal with anything ranging from ball point pens to car keys.

With the night sky over Eiffel and the blue beams spanning out, the city just lit up as though in celebration of the beauty that Paris beholds. But I liked to imagine that it was our 'conquering the Eiffel' that they were celebrating. The commercial streak in me makes me think that probably a champagne store up there would do glorious business !!

Tired limbs and frozen hands
not one can descend to earth
when energy does drain out
of bravery there is a dearth

so there were the eight travellers
in the farthest of the far corners
returning back to reality
may god bless the elevators

Well..I am just hanging on to the last shreds of our dignity by putting our descent to the earth in the elevators in prose. Poetry was probably invented by someone who wanted to present all his failures in a glorified version to the world.

And when you are so tired (more at the heart than in the bones), the exhorbitant costs that people quote for the souvenirs just doesnt reach your brains. And having spent almost a fortune on buying a distorted piece of metal which looks like the Eiffel put through a thousand compresses and run over by a million elephants drunk on mahua for almost everyone back home who would put himself through the torture of listening to our French experiences in lieu of the souvenir, we took the metro to one of those corners of the city which reminds us of home.

And what better than a dinner in a restaurant serving cuisine from back home to end the fabulous day !!! So fate be it, it was 8 souls with satisfied appetites and grumbling legs that returned to their homes that night after a trip to Paris.

The 4 kilometre walk back home from the station did nothing for our legs but it was during this walk that we actually ruminated about the day and there it was..the realisation staring at us right in our face, just like the Eiffel did earlier in the day !!!!

Monday, October 25, 2004

in the aftermath of the noon...

The alert flashes yet again on the screen. It is a reminder i set for myself, which now lies obscenely overdue at 3 days. I can feel the mouse slipping out of my grip and rushing towards the 'Snooze' button. One 'click' and the reminder retreats in defeat, vowing to return with vengeance. A lady is crooning away in the background..resting only for a mere 3 seconds - just enough for the 'Repeat' button on my Winamp to get into action. I have lost count of the number of times the lady has started singing all over again...she deserves some rest. But the wicked streak in my fingers is at its best, refusing to oblige her with a soft click on the 'stop' button. And she croons on...

One look at the system clock assures me that there are 4 more hours to go before i can officially call it a day and return to my dishevelled apartment with dishes in the sink that remind me of the dinner party we had last week. The silence in my cubicle betrays my state of inactivity to the outside world. A couple a rapid clicks of the mouse and few random taps of the keyboard breath a sense of life into my cubicle which is rapidly sinking into a lethargic slumber. But belive me...aimlessly minimising and maximising a couple of open windows does not serve to amuse even a 3 odd months old toddler.

The mail alert in the corner of the screen reminds me that i should somehow lay my hands upon the DVD of 'You've got mail'. I would have opted for a P2P had it not been for the 8 simultaneous downloads of F.R.I.E.N.D.S -season 9 sucking every ounce of speed from the processor. Well...yet another damsel in distress with a virtual memory problem sending out a SOS. My mind races out of my seat, down the stairs and right into her office where I can rectify the problem. My feet refuse to oblige. It must be the stubborn genes in me (which my mom sometimes blames on her great-grand aunt) all congregating in my toes. The meek surrender smiley (it goes like ^:)^ ...ever tried it??)mocks at me from behind the yahoo messenger icon.

Reclining in my new chair with a backrest that bends back in proportion to the amount of fatigue in my body, and munching on the walnuts which were passed over to me by the gal in the next cubicle (hallelujah !!finally found a good purpose that these cubicles and open workspaces serve..expect more about them in my next few posts)...i evoke many a 'are you comfortable? should i get you a pillow?' responses from my cubicle-sidies !!(its amazing how coining such terms makes you feel that fraternal bonding in the air). They dont even care to camouflage the sarcasm with a smile..hasn't anyone ever heard of sugar coated cyanide ???

"But Jesus was saying, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:34

I hear bells...but christmas is 2 months away. Santa would probably be too busy making some last moment additions and deletions to the 'good kids' list...surrounded by pointy-eared elves in a costume similar to the one that i wore to my 1st standard fancy dress competition. The bells don't stop ringing. I am tempted to think that it is Santa sending me a last minute reminder to do some good and maybe scrape through as a small note scribbled in the minutest of handwriting in the footer of the 'coveted list'. When was the last time i ever tied a string to a dragonfly and hung it upside down from a tree ? or collected fireflys in a see-thru case and fashioned my own table lamp out of a convoluted sense of aesthetism? Looks like i do have a chance of making it to the list, more out of my apathy towards life than out of my good-heartedness.

Having derived some consolation from this realisation, i pick up the phone. Yet another task to be done...yet another deadline added on my calendar. By now im swearing under my breath...there goes my last chance of getting a gift for Christmas.

Another alert flashes on my screen. Its a message alert on my messenger.Its the gal in the next cubicle again...sending out an interesting link to a site which has some amazing illusions. Sometimes when i have nothing better to do, i imagine myself as a philosopher and give sermons to myself on how life is nothing but a big illusion. I tried explaining the same to my colleagues at the lunch table one day. But i guess lesser mortals are just too weak-hearted to see the big picture and accept the harsh reality. The word 'illusion' is now avoided worse than the bubonic plague at the lunch tables...!!I cannot even talk about illness because by the moment i say 'ill'..everyone has said their goodbyes assuming that the 'usions' will follow like a faithful labrador.

As i open the link to the site, my screen is bombarded by a thousand different popups...!! By the end of the evening, I have won an all new digicam (which they promised to deliver at my doorstep in 2 weeks), have signed up for a newsletter which gives the latest in all relaxation techniques, have got an account on a site which will actually pay me to use their email service and have got a pop-up blocker installed on my system.

I glance at the system clock which says 6.25 pm. But I know better than to trust it. Thanks to the friendly warning 'Is your computer clock wrong ?' with the little sandclock icon that kept turning up and down. What a boon for the unfortunate creatures whose spend a whole extra 5 minutes in office all because their system clock "chooses"(refer to my previous post) to run 5 minutes slow.

I decide not to get fooled by the chicanery of the clock. A few letters entered into the searchbar and there i have some 12,345 records giving me the exact time as it is now. Having convinced myself that the clock is indeed correct (which i am sure it is doing to win my trust so that it can catch me unawares in the near future), i start the systematic ritual of logging off from my system. I always liken this act to the much debated act which we euphemistically refer to as 'pulling the plug', the only difference being that the the misery and suffering being put to an end in this case is all mine. A couple of 'endtask' and 'close' button-clicks is all done. C'est tout, c'est ce

The lady stops crooning. The chair springs back to its position. The walnut shells lie in the trash-can whispering sweet nothings to each other. The screensaver valiantly tries to hang on to the last shreds of life, flickering momentarily before the screen goes black.

And yet again my cubicle slips into a deep slumber of inactivity...

" They told me it was the lunch
some blamed it on the heat
they cursed the dim lights
nor did they spare the seat

speculations and accusations
not a clue we could find
but i know its right there
right up in the mind "

Sunday, October 24, 2004


hmpf !! Choices...sometimes i wonder who made them. Take for instance now: i started creating this blog for myself (why??because i chose to !!) . I was asked to choose a name for my blog. Whats in a name anyway. A blog with any other name would still remain a blog. Thinking of it now..would "the-nameless-blog" have been a better choice ?

And just when the last tinge of doubt and apprehension over my choice of name was fading away from my mind, i had to choose a design for the same. Should i opt for black...nah..thats too negative. Reminds me of the English classes in Elementary School...chapter 5, page 36 of the Grammer coursebook " black as the devil's heart" !!
Or should it be grey? Not going to help...associated with too much of wisdom..grey cells, grey on and so forth. Pink reeks of romance (thanks to the candy floss love stories of Bollywood where ever other day the oh-so-romantic hero leaves secret bouquets with Shakespearean ballads written over pink cards dipped in oodles of 'Dioressence' (courtesy:Christian Dior) for the oh-so-beautiful female protagonist)

Just when i had gone over the previews of each design one thousand and one times and each one looked no different from the other...I noticed the 'verdana' font size 10 text which said that I could change the design any time I chose to. much so for the critical evaluation of each design and colour !!

Choices and more choices..thats what life boils down to finally. My day starts with a choice and ends with one. My computer whom i like to regard as my truly faithful companion thru the thick and thin of life (did anyone talk abt hard disk crashes??) just loves to shove the question into my face whenever I make any decision 'Are you sure ?' with two little buttons that seem to lure me with equal intensity towards them. Each time i ponder over my decision for what seems like an eternity. And the few times when I click on the 'yes' button, more out of frustration than discretion, turn out to be the times when i accidentally delete my presentation just minutes before my seminar.

I go to the restaurant for lunch and again i am faced with a fusillade of choices. The pangs of hunger which drive me to the restaurant faster than any Pest Control agency can drive the rats out of your house, seem to be forgotten in the war of the choices. My stomach doesn't seem to mind though...even if it does, it has no choice but to be silent except for the occasional growling reminders which evoke 'how-so-uncouth' responses from the ones around.

When work meanders around drooping eyes, I walk to the coffee machine. And there you go, a whole set of new choices. Sugar? Milk? Decaf? I walk back to my office with the weirdest combo i can think of (all my sense of adventure poured generously into the not-so-generously-sized coffee cup)...wide awake even before i could take the first sip of my drink.

I can just go on and on about how choices ruin our lives...but I have to go home and cook dinner. Now what can i possibly cook ?(rings a bell...doesn't it ??) Life would have been much more simpler had it been a set of commandments written down in a user-friendly manual.

"page 356: thou shalst cook pasta on the 23rd day of october 2004 for dinner, boiled medium for 15 minutes and 34 seconds, tossed in 41/2 drops of olive oil for 5 minutes and 30 seconds, topped with fried onions and tomato slices cut at a .6 cm thickness...."

Well...I was just thinking that i have started on such a negative note...i think i shud have rather chosen the black coloured template for my blog. As a mark of protest for this life where all you get is to make choices and more choices. Or adds a soft touch to the tough life and even tougher choices that you have to make. Or maybe if after all this random rambling, if i still show signs of wisdom, then grey would make my day....
Well...can I just choose not to choose?