Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The flight....

"This is the final boarding call for the flight BA-134. Passengers please pay attention".

"Excuse me Ma'am....Ma'am...I think your phone is ringing."
"Oh...I didnt realise...thank you"
"Please dont make this difficult for me...!!! You didn't have to call...you know how hard it is for me to go through this"
"....I know !! You at the airport ?"
"Yeah...just about to board the flight"
"Listen...I didn't mean a thing I said yesterday. I was just a little bit upset. I mean...its not your fault really. Its just the work pressure. I understand perfectly how much you care for me. I was just a big idiot"
" say something please. We have such a beautiful life...we dont have to wreck it over such a small issue"
"This isn't just about yesterday"
"But you cant just leave me and go off..."
"I just need a break...I will be back when I can get over all this ugly feeling. Maybe you need a break too"
"Iam sorry...."
"Don't be !!!!"
"......alright. Maybe you are right. But please come back soon...I cant live without you"
"Oh please..lets spare ourselves the cliches"
"I mean it....


"Excuse me Ma'am..would you like something to drink"
"Huh? Yeah...an orange juice please"
"Sure ma'am"

"Hey dude...whats the thing with ya ?? You look so screwed man"
"Shut the trap Eddie"
"Awrightt...dont get sore man...!!!! Mannn....if you believe in all that rebirth and shit....remember not to get married in your next birth..."
"What the.....get the hell outta here !!!"

"Excuse me Ma'am...you cannot use your cellphone in the plane"
"I know...I am so sorry...but this is really urgent"
"But Ma'am...its against the..."
"Please..I will not be long.....Hello..."
"Oh crap..its the voicemail...Hi..its me..!! I think I dont need the break...I was a big idiot to even think about reconsidering things !!! I know how much this means to you..and me !! Just wanted to tell you that I am taking the next flight out of Paris for home. Sorry....please forget this ever happened"

"And we have a breaking news..There has been a plane crash. Flight no BA 314 from New York to Paris, carrying 350 passessengers on board crashed about an hour back off the Scotland coast. As per the latest updates, no survivors have ben found. Over to our correspondant at the site of the wreck...."

"You have a new voice message. Please enter your access code...."

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

In retrospect...

On friday there was a 'Reach-out' programme in our office. Various NGOs had set up stalls where they sold products made by physically/mentally challenged people. I was looking through the products with a couple of my friends and stopped at a stall which had some paper products. Brightly colored cards, bookmarks, table mats et al were lined up on the table. I was just contemplating picking up a couple of bookmarks for my lil' collection when I noticed that the guy at the counter had deformed hands. Also each hand had some fingers missing. And yet he was taking money, writing out the receipts, handing out the change with such ease. There was a certain fludity in his movements, a certainity which masked the pain that he was undergoing.

Catching my eye, he flashed a bright smile. I got back to the task of picking out the bookmarks, a caught-in-the-act look on my face. As usual I was confused about which bookmark to pick. I just turned to consult my friend and oops...i knocked over the little plastic box that had been kept to accept donations. The "shortlisted" bookmarks fell out of my hand. Embarassed to the hilt, I set the box upright and said a sheepish "sorry" to the guy. He flashed the same bright smile at me. It was a perfectly normal accident. And yet somewhere deep down I felt that my sorry had other connotations. It was almost an apology for being clumsy with ten fingers intact on my hand. It was a tribute to his victory over his disability. And his smile was an indication of understanding and a graceful acceptance of the apology.


Saturday night...there I was at the annual day celebrations of a company, with my friends. Wide open grounds, flashing lights, milling crowds, decorated stage, food stalls (which obviously were the star attractions).
And then there were a set of blind kids who performed a group dance. It was so stunning. They arranged themselves into different formations. It was amazing how they found their partner's hand just at the correct beat and how all the interlinked hands went up in perfect synchronisation during the crescendo.
Everyone just sat dumbstruck till the host reminded the gathering that the children can just hear us and not see us !! And then there was a sudden uproar of claps through the audience.

The children were dressed in bright clothes and had flowers around their necks and wrists. The stage was lit with a combination of lights -red, blue, UV, strobes !!!
The audience were rapt in attention. The smiles were wide on their faces as they clapped not just for the performance but for the performers. But the children could not see all this. Their sole motivation were the sounds in the darkness. And yet it was one of the most spirited performances I have ever seen !!!


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Return of the work-a-holy-ics anonymous

Rhyme of the ancient programmer...

When the room was dark
and there was no light
I had a nightmare
when?? oh just last night !!!

There was a noose around my neck
I was sitting in a chair
facing a cluttered screen
and everyone else was there

There were bugs crawling
with their limbs-fore and hind,
all over my body
and creeping into my mind !!!

I tried hitting a button
with relief i was about to slump
when the screen pronounced
the sentence "sys core dump" !!!

There were loadsa other buttons
I tried hitting them all
Nothing worked, nothing changed
and then...i got a call !!

Said the hoary voice
You are the one..
No one will help you
to save u will come none...!!!

The noose tightened
I was choking
I screamed and cried
yet everyone was working !!!

And then I found a note
'Users guide' it said
thousand lines of junk
in panic i read !!!

To come out of your dream
use Ctrl+Alt+Del
for this escape route
gladly my soul i wud sell !!!

And so just when my last breath
was holding onto a thread
I pressed the magic buttons
And all i saw was red !!!

cos on the screen were written
two words - maybe it was a curse
"Fatal Error" it said
and suddenly things were much worse !!!

And then i woke up screaming,
my heart twisted like a sickle
Maybe thats what happens dear pal..
after too much work in a cubicle !!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Well...this is a new endeavour that has kind of wiggled its way into my imagination some time back !!!! what i want to do..is to pick out a picture and then build a story around the picture !!! maybe just a more voluntary and enjoyable form of the picture compositions that used to figure in the english question papers in school !! :)
so here goes...

"Mom..look at that fisherman", a 7-year old finger pointed in the distance.
"Oh yes Ron...the sun has gone down. The fishermen take their boats and go out to the sea. They return in the morning with their catch", the doting mother explained.
"But papa goes to fish at the creek and never takes a boat. And he never goes at night..."
An amused smile of understanding.."Oh no son...Papa is not a fisherman !!! And this happens in India..not back home in Stratford at the creek".
Silence trying to fathom the difference between 'going fishing' and 'being a fisherman' !!
"Can i go look at him?" the eyes never left the fisherman.
"Oh well....but be careful honey"

The boy half-ran towards the boat, leaving behind 7-year old footprints in the sand.
The fisherman was arranging the net inside the boat, rough callused hands arranging the net in neat folds. He stood there, clad in only a loin cloth, completely oblivious to the round, saucer like eyes that watched every move of his. The eyes watched his hands as they lifted the oars in one sudden heave and deposited them into the boat. They watched the effort in the age-hardened eyes, the wrinkles on the face that cringed with pain, the beads of sweat which glistened on his skin.
The eyes watched the muscles as they strained against the skin, the face defiantly relaxed and calm. The last rays of the sun danced on his face. The eyes smiled gleefully at the sight - the blissful smile of 7-year old eyes.

The boat was ready for the evening's rendezvous with the sea. The net sat regally on its throne flanked by the oars. The sides were wiped clean of the sand and the occassional barnacle that clings onto them. The boy caught the fisherman's eye and he saw a flicker of energy and excitement in them. The boy smiled and the shrivelled beedi-blackened lips broke open into a smile in return - three pan stained teeth greeting 25 pearly whites. And then he turned. He was pushing the boat into the sea, the teeth grinding themselves into the defenseless gums.

The boy stood in silence looking at the fisherman. The dark skin seemed like chocolate...dark chocolate which seems sinful, hard and yet melts at the slightest hint of warmth. The beads of sweat were droplets of moisture when the cold chocolate is left out in the open..exposed, unprotected, vulnerable.Chocolat..they call it in a more exotic manner. And this was exotic for him. Every time the skin moved, it was the chocolate flowing down the stem of the spoon, in jerky movements which have a certain fluidity in them. He loved the color - deep, dark, having its secrets !!!

The boat was almost in the water. The fisherman waited for a wave to lift it out of the sand. And the sea obliged. The boat lifted off the ground with a sudden lurch and the tired muscles clambered into the boat triumphantly. The fisherman turned to look at the boy and waved at him.
The boy smiled and waved back. Chocolate always made him happy. He stood looking at the boat until it surrendered itself to the sea and turned into a speck on the horizon !! The chocolate melted away with the last rays of the sun and blended itself with the flow of the sea.

The boy turned back and retraced his steps...the bitter-sweet taste of chocolate in his 7-year-old mind !!!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

'Booked' for the day...

Okay...so here is a tag that I will surely relish carrying out !!
Thanks Hems for this :)
And yeah...am goin to add a few categories of my own too :p :p

Books that I liked the most

This is like picking out the shiniest diamonds from a sack full of them !!!!
Tough call...but nevertheless...!!

1) Hitchhikers Guide to the galaxy -Douglas Adams
Absolutely Stunning - nothing in the world can beat this book !!!!
No words I use here can sum up what the book is all about...!!
So if you haven't read it...please rush to the nearest bookstore or surrender yourself to the 'Total Perspective Vortex' (oops...got a paradox here !!)

2) Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
Absolutely stunning !! Made me fall in love in Rushdie (fatwa and three wives notwithstanding). The book is a mosaic of emotions, magic and beautiful imagery woven into a story which makes you feel like a kid in a toy shop. Well..maybe on a more colourful note, the book is like a perfect cuppa coffee !! The taste lingers long after the story is over. But it is definitely not something one can finish over a cuppa coffee...!! Quite a heavy read...

3) Godfather - Mario Puzo
A book which I have read about 6 times...and can gladly read again !!!It gave me my obsession with Michael Corleono (and Al Pacino..thanks to the celluloid version). It gave me my fascination for Italy (Italians more specifically :p :p), bell peppers fried in olive oil....and anything remotely Italian.
The book made me a deal I just couldn't refuse :))

4) God of Small things - Arundhati Roy
Sheer poetry. Never before had the 'fountain and love-in-tokyos' on the head of a child seemed so beautiful. A book which I returned without reading just because "public opinion" had it that the book was "crude and filthy"; and picked up 4 years later only to fall in love with it. The innocence of childhood and complexities of adult life set against a beautiful backdrop.

5) To Kill a Mocking Bird - Lee Harper
Amazing book which I can read over and over again. The story is narrated from the perspective of a child, and before you know it you are transformed into a child again, running with a tyre down the road, climbing trees on a mid-summer afternoon.
And aside to the girls, you will definately fall in love with Atticus Finch...well...i did :) :p

6) The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
What i love about the book is its simplicity. A short fable which teaches you what life is all about without thrusting down your throat obscure, abstract sayings and too-idealistic morsels of wisdom. Left quite a big impression :)

Authors i like
1) Salman Rushdie - Magical...absolutely magical !!!!Amen !!
2) Douglas Noel Adams - I worship this man !!! thats about all I can say !!! :)
3) O Henry - Just read three short stories of his...and have already started loving his style of writing. Makes you want to be a child again..and be presented his book on your birthday by the cheerful old uncle next door.
4) Enid Blyton - for having created a whole new world of picnics in the woods, solving mysteries during summer vacations and burly old policemen screamin 'Clear orf' :p :p

Unusual books that I liked
1) Siddhartha - well...cant really call it unusual !!! The only reason that I put it here is that I never thought I could enjoy such a deeply spiritual and philosophical book !! and I was stunned !!! A must read by everyone who feels restless about life in general...

Cartoons i like
1) Tintin - can swear by the 'blistering barnacles' and 'thundering typhoons' that its the best !!!
2) Asterix and Obelix - for the sheer creativity in naming the characters
3) Calvin and Hobbes - humour at its best !!!simply makes my day
4) Suppandi - how...i mean just about how can somebody be so dumb ??? ?!!!!
5) Archies - Ultimate timepass....:)
6) Dilbert - exclusively for people trapped in their cubicles !!! scott adams takes amazing digs at the "corporate culture" !! :))

Books that I want to read
1) 100 years of solitude
2) Love in the time of cholera
(have heard lots about these two books)
3) 1984
(after the impact that animal farm made...)
4) The Impressionist
5) English August
(have been wanting to read this since 6 years)
6) Shalimar the Clown
(for the sheer love of rushdie...)

Books that I have left halfway thru and want to complete
1) Satanic verses (for the sole reason that I cannot read this ebook for long stretches in office)
2) Lee Iacocca - autobiography
3) Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell

Currently reading..
Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand leaves a long lasting impression on your mind !!!

Whew !! Thats about it all !!!!
Can think of loads of more categories...but can spare that for some other tag (hey..for those of u who know german..pun unintended :p :p)

I now pass on this tag to Sanat, (for donning the garb of a reviewer with hiddenmoon :) and Ojas, (in memory of all those books read in the Remote Sensing Lab of NIO :)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Moodpic -II

Thoroughly STRESSED at the moment...
got a deadline this evening...
swamped with loads of work which makes no sense....
and yet have got time to spare to pick out a moodpic...:p :p

Friday, December 02, 2005


Just felt like postin a pic...which reflects my current mood !!!!
deep in thought and yet relaxed...

absolutely random...

scorching heat on bare cheeks...
a slender leg perfectly fitting into the narrow shadow of a pole...
crystal clear water glistening in a pool..
an unshed tear for everything that ever went wrong...
the feel of skin on a chequered blanket...
the feel of the bone crumbling to bits....
the steam rising out of a bucket of hot water...
the fragrance of shampoo entwined with the curls...
the smell of the creme on sunburnt skin...
the whispering of the breeze through the gap in the window...
the stillness of the fan rotating at the fastest speed...
the melody of the silence...
the soothing feeling of a wet towel wrapped around the neck...
the trembling of the door in the perfectly still night...
the surge of energy through the tired limbs...
the trickling of the last drop of water down the throat...
the soft glow of the laptop in the heart of the room...
the murky smell of yellowing pages in a second-hand paperback...
the goodnight whispered into the phlegmatic ears of a softtoy...
the dormant hug of a pillow with large flower prints...

Don't ask me why I have written this...!! As the title suggests...these are
purely random thoughts that just crept into my mind...!!! no connection...they
make no sense at all...and yet i feel a certain sense of poignancy in them !!
Amen !!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Fiction..or fact ??

Disclaimers: All the characters are purely a figment of the author's imagination.
Any resemblance to any person or incident is coincidental !! :p :p

(scence 1: The intimation)
The official drummer could be heard miles away. He had a deep bass voice and beat the drums as though he were a washerman beating the grime out of a pair of unwashed denims.

"Hear Hear Hear....
Sir Walter is here
to face the beast
do not worry the least
for he is smart, he is cool
though he looks like a dorky fool
and lest he succeed in the quest
he shall be welcomed as the best
into the elite club of the brave
If not, may god bless his grave"

(scence 2: the departure)
The balconies thronged with people like buses in the metros of a far far away place called India. Young and old alike elbowed others around them in order to catch a glimpse of the hero. Young ladies scratched and bit their counterparts in the bid to pass on their silk hankies to the bloke. And he stood there, the knight in shining armour...armed to the teeth, not a chink in his armour !!!! He was prepared to face the beast. He had been preparing for a good four months...and now the hour of reckoning had arrived. There were prayers, there were tears...and fears too !! All blending to build a climax which would give a certain Karan Johar run for his money.
He started marching towards the lair of the beast. There were drumbeats accompanying his steps...oh hell..those were just his heartbeats !!!!

(scene 3: the lair of the beast)
He reached the lair of the beast. The beast was nowhere to be seen. His heartbeats had stirred up a warcry in him. He scanned the area. Thousands had tried before and thousands had failed...but he knew he would succeed...after all..he was the "one".
And then he saw the beast. It was hideous....!! His mouth gaped open as wide as the four lane highway in the kingdowm. He had heard from the ones who had tried before that the beast always changes form. But what he saw was what he hadnt imagined in his wildest dreams. He had conjured up a tail...but there were poisonous thorns. He had etched out a moustached smile...and there were ferocious fangs playin peekaboo from under contorted lips. He had heard a purr in his mind...but the beast roared.
The beast lay in wait...he had to make the first move.

(scene 4: the heat of the battle)
He went round the beast in his best battle stance - daringly defensive yet cautiously attacking. He tried to pick vulnerable points from which he could attack the beast !! But the beast was like the rock of gibraltar...some knights had even nicknamed it 'The Wall'. He jabbed at the beast from all directions, his lance moving faster with each move. Some wild shots ended up puncturing the air, pregnant with the tension and fervour. Others made small holes on the beast's hide - mere mosquito bites on an elephant's calloused heel !!

(scene 5: the climax)
Sweat trickled down onto his face. Time was ticking by. He hadn't much time to win the battle. He had tried all the tricks that the knight's school had taught him. The studied approach that the more eminent knights had recommended. The 'around the bush' strato that some mavericks had talked about. And yet the beast grew bigger by the moment, mutating into more hideous and ferocious forms. The beast was patient, just watching his struggle in an amused manner.
In a last ditch attempt, Sir Walter went berserk and started yelling, running around and jabbing at the beast with all the force that he could muster.
The beast was irked and it lunged at him. With one swipe of its paws, it yanked out the only muscle of his body which was loose at one end. The dismissal bell rang loud and clear

(scence 6: the aftermath)
Sir Walter returned to the kingdom - weary defeated and teary-eyed. The young ladies returned back to their rooms with a toss of their haugthy heads, to mourn the loss of yet another silk hanky. The old returned to their beds shaking their heads, muttering something about youth not learning from the past. The curious ones asked him what had transpired. The scribes were furiosly etching out onto their stone tablets. The analysts asked him how the beasts looked, hoping to make predictions and get yet more students into the knights school.
But he said nothing...!!!!! He just walked on to join the thousands who had tried to tame the beast and had failed.

(scence 7: 30 years later)
The epitaph on Sir Walter's grave reads

" Here lies the great Sir Walter
Who never but once did falter
He tried to bell the beast
And anticipated a huge feast
But he returned torn and lost
Having paid a heavy cost
And never spoke or sung
Cos the cat got his tongue"

Monday, November 21, 2005

Spectrum of thoughts...

The cold wind stung his face as he stepped out of the building. A three-odd-day-old stubble was not protection enough from the ravenous cold that was biting everything in its path. He zipped up the sweatshirt, pulled his cap over his ears and continued walking down the road with his typical swagger. There was a slight drizzle. He looked up at the sky - the sun was defiantly holding onto the rays of light, surrounded ominously by murky grey clouds. They were fast closing in.

There wasn't a soul in sight as he turned round the corner. Drops of rain were trickling down through the small gap in his sweatshirt, washing away the grime of the day's work from his muscular back. Streaks of grey on a wheatish canvas. He ran his hand through his hair. The diamonds that had cosied themselves on the furry coat were perturbed. They whooshed down the forehead and pierced his eyes. He shook them away with an amused smile, his eyes glinting with the shine that they left behind in their wake.

The cliff lay just ahead of him. The glass blades that stood defiantly had now given in to the two pronged assualt by nature - the beads that the heavens perspired had pinned them down while the wind strangled them. He walked to the edge of the cliff.
There was a bright hunchback rainbow that lay on the horizon. The colours were still fresh. He could smell them - the heady smell that greets you in a new apartment. He peered into the vast expanse that lay between him and the horizon. His eyes were a darker shade of the sky. He shut his eyes - a premature end to the consummation between the light and the dark.

And yet he could see the rainbow. Bright - it almost spelled VIBGYOR, the behemoth of the science techer by its side making him repeat what each letter stood for.
The Violet was the embossed letters on his office door "Shyam Mehta - CEO" ,imposing and regal. The Indigo was the tie he had chosen at the Van Heusen outlet after much goading by his wife and a fine display of flattery by the salesman. The Blue was his eyes as he drove a hard bargain at the latest acquisition deal - intense, compelling and passionate. The green was the envy of the Sharmas in 101, Prestige Towers as they watched the latest addition to his fleet of cars rolling into the driveway - the bitter bile transforming into words spitting themselves out of contorted lips.
And oh, the yellow was the zardosi border on chiffon saree that had wormed its way from his wife's eyes to his credit card statement. The sheen was blinding him. He shut his eyes tighter. The orange danced in the crystal glass as his fingers curled around the stem. He didn't drink..not even socially. The red unfurled itself infront of his feet - pleading to be trod upon. He stepped ahead.

His eyes opened wide as he almost lost his balance. For a moment fear turned them into a panicky black. And then they were back to their usual icy blue.
He looked at his watch. It was 6 pm. He had to go back to the building. The party would have got over by now. There would still be some souls clinging onto the last shreds of the evening. He would take the 'tools' and get back to work. And then someone would walk across the room - the size 8 Lee Coopers leavin their muddy prints on the floor, which glistened more with his sweat than with the phenol. A stamp of disapproval on his work. And he would start afresh - mopping away the prints from the floor, occasionally bending down to remove the styrofoam cups that lay strewn around. Work was an infinite loop for him.

He turned back for one last view of the rainbow. The colours werent there. The zardosi saree and the tie had been shrouded by the carpet. The letters had been peeled away. The green had settled itelf onto the grass. And the orange had clambered onto the rays and the crystal had shattered into thousand shards, which split the rays into the beautiful illusion before him. The dream drained out of his eyes. He was walking away from the dream - but he would be back again.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Nithya has tagged me.....so here it is...
my attempt at crystalling my thoughts into seven points under captivating lil' headlines :))

Seven things I would like to do before I die...(wow...scary thot !!)

1. Start my own company..be my own boss
(did someone talk of cubicle-induced hallucinations ???:p)

3. Visit Sicily (The-Godfather-effect) and Florence and...well..a thousand more places

4. Write a book....or maybe a bit of journalism (sting operations anyone??? :p)

5. Do something which touches lives....(i dunno wat it is..but m shure will find it someday....guess m too confused at the moment)

6. Go on a backpacking tour all by myself to lonely places on the face of the earth (Any recruiters from Discovery or Nat Geo reading my blog???)

7. Make a bonfire by the beach...and sit alone with a cuppa coffee by the fire...watching the sun set !!!

Seven things I can do....ahem...can i write more ????

1. Read for hours and hours altogether without even hearing a word of what people around me are talking (spare me the textbooks though !!)

2. sketch designerwear-clad models with disproportionately long legs (no prizes for guessin who the designer is...)

3. talk non-stop on any topic...

4. argue with vague roundabout logics...until the other person is thoroughly confused or the argument gets ugly n i start cryin :D

5. cook (well...no quality assurance given...and NO...m not potrayin myself as a prospective bride :p :p)

6. eat 5 and 1/2 gulab jamuns in half a minute (dont ask me how i got to the exact figures :p )

7. list 6 things which i can do :))

Seven things I cannot do

1. Sit quiet for a long time

2. Stand in a queue

3. Take crap from people without retorting back

4. Eat curd (yuck...i tried honestttlllyy !!)

5. Stop eating nonveg (i tried this tooooo !!)

6. Go on a diet (reality "bites")

7. Sit in a cubicle the whole day and debug chunks of code....(yeah yeah...i know wat m sayin....but as i said reality "bytes")

Seven things i say the most

1. macchan...

2. goddamn/bloody (its a close call)

3. what the...(i stop at that !!)

4. as in...

5. No da (my every sentence starts with that :D)

6. shit man...shit ya

7. abbee yaar....

Seven things that attract u to opposite sex...laws of attraction huh ??? :p :p

1. Wit and Sense of humor

2. Sarcasm (chandler bing rocks)

3. i-dont-give-a-damn-attitude (a la Rhett Butler)

4. Ability to converse

5. Expressive eyes

6. Lopsided smiles (shucks...m movin to the candy-floss domain....retreat !!!) :p

7. Chivalry...at times...

Seven Celebrity Crushes

1. Rhett Butler (havent seen the movie..this one is from the book)

2. Al Pacino (as Michael Corleone)

3. Richard Gere

4. Irfan Pathan (the latest addition :D)

5. Pierce Brosnan

6. Roger Federer

7. Nagesh Kukkonoor

(hmmm.....there is still strong urge to add more....but lemme just play by the rules...)

..so Amen...I rest my case !!

oh yeah....i have to pass it on...so here goes...

Hema...the lady at the sea...who loves the little joys that life offers and Damak....the "hyd and seek" guy...and mind u damak...u cannot put an "additional info required" tag on this one :p :p !!!!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

enshackled freedom

The first rays of sunlight sneaked in through the small window in his room. They danced on his wrinkled face,weaving their way through the week-old stubble, illuminating the dark circles under his eyes,urging him to open his eyes and greet the new day.But darkness held his eyes tightly from the back - like an old friend who plays the 'guess who?' game.The dejected rays withdrew from the muffled room and carried their dance to more a receptive audience - the flower beds outside the building and the gardener in his soiled dhoti with a half-smoked beedi put away safely over his ear.

Footsteps.A face at the door.He opened his eyes and peered in the darkness.
"The warden wishes to see you", the loathing in the voice echoed across the dank room.He got to his feet.The familiar tapping of leather shoes on the cement floor.
"Aah...Gopal..I guess I woke you up a bit too early.But then..I have wonderul news for you.You are going on a vacation", the voice was devoid of any emotion.
Confusion.A melange of apprehension and guarded triumph.
"You see..the committee is happy with your behaviour.So we have decided to let you out on parole for a week.Mind you, not a luxury all guys here on 'lifer's are given"
Retreating steps into the darkness.

Joy.elation.ecstasy....the smell of fresh clothes on a grimy body. The feel of a three-decade old ring on a callused finger.The shoe bite of a worn-out shoe. The first unsure step outside the edifice that housed the 'scum-of-the-earth' as the city tagged them.Murderers,rapists,petty thieves,tricksters, politicians tainted by scams - all painted in the black-white stripes of uniformity under law.

The sunlight was too bright.Eyes shut themselves into tiny slits in protest.And yet they were wide open with excitement.with apprehension.with fear.The city looked hostile and yet strangely familiar.He took but one step and was lost.He could might as well have been a newborn child opening his eyes to find blobs of brown,white and black all around him that contorted into funny shapes, orifices that opened to reveal tiny structures in shades of white,off-white and yellow......and noises that peaked at dangerously high pitches when he smiled. The city was a potpourri of noises - the vehicles, the masjid around the corner, the soft bells of the church, the election rally.....a symphony in itself. He took a deep breath. Ten years is a long time.

The house was still there.The people were there too.The ones who had been spared the axe of time.The tears were there too.Ten years of suffering had not dried them.The flowery faces had wilted into wrinkles.The toothless grins had grown into pan and cigaratte stained grins -root canals et al.The radio had relinquished its position to a 15" black and white TV.The grumbling granny's corner had given way to a framed photo with a garland with white plastic flowers around it.

The rice was soft.And yet it brought a lump in the throat.The dal was not pungent and yet a tear trickled down the eye with the first morsel.The soft mattress whispered sweet nothings to the calluses on his back deep into the night.
And the next morning the rays returned with their fine dance,cajoling him into opening his eyes.This time he obliged.

And as the sages said,time and tide wait for no man.The stopped clock with it 'rigor-mortis'-ed pendulum could not even wring its hands in despair.Tears flowed again...prayers were said...the house was hungrily devoured in a long last look and eyes were shut. And then there was darkness again.

The journey back was like a slow motion sequence in a bollywood flick.The sights that had enthralled him over the last one week,played over and over again infront of his eyes.The little joys of life that had finally crept out of their hiding places after a ten-year long game of hide-and-seek returned back to their elusive positions.
The cacophony of the city, which a week's freedom had painfully separated into a thousand different sweet sounds, had returned again - indecipherable,intimidating.

The edifice loomed over the horizon.As the metal gate clanged shut-he didn't look back.It was quick..the transition.The ring was back in its place - a tattered bag with a tag - no.1298. The worn out shoes were dumped on a mountain of anonymous chappals,sandals,shoes and a few lucky nikes and leecoopers.

The familiar tapping of leather shoes.."So Gopal...had a great time ??? Is there anything else you would wish to do before you return to your cell???"
"yes...I have to make a request...do not free me again.do not grant me enshackled freedom...." and he surrended himself to the black-white stripes yet again.

The door shut on his face.And there was darkness once more.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Once upon a time...

"But you promised the kids two days back Vineet...." Nisha called out from the kitchen over the rhythmic noise of the blender. "Okay then...leetts go" sighed Vineet and lifted his tired back from the sofa, just as the two "monkeys" as he called them, jumped on him with delight.

The drive to the park was..well, just as a drive would be on a friday evening on the Bangalore roads. A good one hour later, there they were...the thousand odd bulbs on the 'Fun World' hoarding, mirroring the glow in the eyes of the children.
The "monkeys" jumped out of the car and dragged Nisha all the way to the ticket counter - Aryan,6 on the left and Karan,4 on the right - while Vineet drove on to the end of the parking lot. As Vineet returned to the entrance, the parking ticket in hand, the day's exhaustion weighing heavy on his breath, the kids cried out in unison "daaaddyy..lets try the giant wheel. You didn't let us the last time. Now we have become big boys.....pleease".
"Hmm...okay fine..but go with Mummy...I am too tired today"..Vinnet slumped on the nearest bench.
"You make such a lousy dad"...Nisha retorted as she turned to go with the kids
"..but a wonderful husband" she whispered with a quick peck on his arm....the marital bliss glowing crimson on her cheeks.

Vineet smiled at the sight of Nisha shrieking with fright as the giant wheel picked up speed. Nisha and the kids had brought in a sense of peace and completeness in his life. He had found happiness in every small moment of his marriage, whether it was Nisha pondering for hours over which saree to buy or changing Karan's nappies with Aryan clinging on to his neck. Vineet drifted away to sleep with the smile still in place.

As he woke up, his eyes blurrily took in the milling crowds and delightful kids. He had slept for a good half and hour. Nisha and the kids would probably be on their nth ride by now. Through the blobs of colour that transformed into people of different shapes and sizes, he saw a face which looked very familiar. As he caught the lady's eye, he saw just cold indifference in that look...the look of stranger. And yet he had caught on to that momentary flicker of recognition in her look. There was a boy, of maybe 5 or 6 with her. They were coming his way. Vineet turned his face away from the two.

She settled herself on the same bench, right next to Vineet. He turned to her with his lips curled in the slightest hint of a smile -"Hi". "Hi",she smiled back. "Your son?" he asked, his eyes scanning the place for the person who could be his father.
"yeah". "Whats your name?" he put on his best kid voice for the boy with a red-yellow 'Nickelodeon' cap crowning his head. No reply. He bent to take a closer look at the face under the red-yellow cap. The vacant look in the boy's eyes struck him like a thunderbolt.
"Vikram cannot understand what you are saying...he..he is mentally challenged" - the lady put in words what the boy conveyed through his eyes.

"I....well...why....that's so.." Vineet fumbled with his words. For once, the corporate lessons in public speaking and effective communication didn't come to his rescue. He faced her with a strange sense of guilt and pity written on his face
"Don't be", she was reading his face like the daily newspaper supplement "I don't want him to grow up with eyes full of pity watching over him. The looks will haunt him all his life, the way they haunt me when I sit in solitude. And well, dont feel sorry for me either..I knew it was going to be an abnormal child. A blood group mismatch. The doctors had warned me."
"Then why? You could have..." Vineet could not get himself to complete the sentence.
"Its not that easy. I wanted him to get a chance to live...to experience life, to come to this place just the way other kids do, to feel the soft slushy mud on his feet, to gaze at the raindrops cosying themselves on the fabric of his shirt...it's been a tough decision"..her voice faded away.

The cold breeze tugged at Vineet's skin...his eyes had been fixed firmly on a group of children playing tag-n-catch, a facade for the thoughts that raced through his mind. There was no sign of Nisha and the kids. He turned to face her. She had opened a pack of 'Hide and Seek' biscuits and was feeding Vikram. She offered him some biscuits. He broke a piece and held it infront of Vikram. The pair of eyes moved from the biscuit to him and back, devoid of the glee that the choco-chip biscuits normally bring about, devoid of any comprehension.

Vikram was on his fourth biscuit now. "Thanks for feeding him. He loves these biscuits.Atleast...I think he does.And sorry...he has messed up your shirt"
"Thats the least I could do". Vineet's mind went back to the days when Aryan would slobber all over his office clothes. He hated it. Nisha had a name for it "fatherhood blues" she would tease him.

Minutes of silence."So...you here with your family?", a nonchalant question. "Yeah, with my wife and sons", a nonchalant answer. " Nisha is a good wife.She loves the kids and me. Aryan is so smart..he is all of 6 and knows all the answers. Karan is 4..so he knows all the questions. Life is..." Vineet realised he was rambling on incoherently. He gave a nervous laughter "well..Iam sorry".

She didn't reply. Silence again. Then she smiled with understanding -"Its okay. I think we should get going. Shouldn't we Vikram?" The nickelodeon cap remained in its position, pointing downwards where its bearer had fixed his gaze.

"So...where is his father? I mean...your husband isnt here?"
The cracks in his voice betrayed the tension behind the phlegmatic tone.
A bead of sweat trickled down his forehead and into his eye, replacing the tear which was never there.

"I didn't get married Vineet. As for his father...he doesnt even know about Vikram.
Or atleast he didnt till now..."

"Why??" Vineet kept repeating the word to himself more than to her.

"Its okay Vineet. I saw the look in your eyes the day I had that asthma attack. Through my struggle with my breath, I could see your struggle with your emotions. You could have walked out of that hospital room and out of my life. What made you hold on for a year longer...I don't know.
So when you called me up to call it quits, it wasn't a shock for me Vineet. I had seen it coming. There were no questions to be asked. No explanations sought.And there was no point in me telling you about Vikram. You could not handle it then...you cannot handle it now."

She placed her hand on his shoulder. He wanted to cling onto it with all his life.
"Go on Vineet. Take care of Nisha and the kids. Vikram and I are just fine."

He watched her walk away, the red-yellow cap bobbing up and down the path.
The tears refused to stop. And there she was - a hazy blob of colour, just the way she was when she walked into his "happy complete and perfect" life that windy evening.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

of weekends n bachelorette parties...

Well well....so after what seemed like an endless chain of "at-work-weekends"...there it was finally !! The ultimate weekend which takes you back in time some 2 or 3 years....to a non-descript place which means the world to its inhabitants...a place where almost every day is like a sunday and yet weekends are special !!!!! weekends which are greeted by the toothy grin of the dhobin at the door, weekends with the "one-hour-oil-champi and head baths", weekends with the discussions in the Qt over the latest "enlightening gossip" -courtesy sunday times, weekends with the special grubs and long siestas, finally culminating in a steamy (hold on hold on!!!)..coffee over heated discussions !!!

whoa...looks like i am back on the memory lane !!!!
so its >> (yup..that the fast fwd button :p) to this weekend when we had a bachelorette party for one of our friends...infact the first one of us to willingly step into the trap, which we euphemistically refer to as marriage !!!

so there we were with corny ideas for the party and cornier ideas for gifts....shoppin for a greater part of saturday !!!
and what was the result ? well..we got the gifts...but only after we got masks which would cover anything between 1/3rd to 2/5ths of our faces !!!!clowns, scarred n bald burglar faces, the-kid-with-a-moronish-look...u name it and we had them in the 2-D form !!!!! and of course, trumpet-shaped whistles and the little bottle with soap solution and a loop of wire -your own kit for making soap bubbles !!! :))
Not to mention the 2 or 3 snack breaks that we took....(shopping builds up an appetite u see !!)
The occassion demanded some personal shopping too -on account of a broken sandal, faded bag n so on...n 'voila' the lil' genie had just done a disapperaing trick out of the 1000 bucks in my wallet !!!

come sunday, and there we were at the venue, decorating the house with balloons and colored paper (oops..did i forget to mention them !!)

and there it is...a quick summary of how things can go just the way u dont want them to....

>> u lug about 3/4 bags full of party stuff only to realise that u have left the most important gift at home !!!

>> the guy at the cake shop refuses to write a message on the cake....and u have a icing-cone all to urself for demonstrating ur calligraphy skills (gosh...why didnt i attend that summer course for calligraphy in school ??? )

>> the person in whose honour the party if being given is on a fast....n can make leeway only for one-meal-per-day sans onion n garlic !!! (whew !! we actually found a restaurant which catered to the needs)

>> all your cryptic clues for the gifts are ripped apart by just about everyone in the group !!!!

>> when the waiter at the restaurant says "should i repeat the order"....ur ears choose to interpret it as "could u repeat the order" !! n there u r...rattling off the names to a laughtrack -courtesy your friends !!!

>> you raise a toast to the "guest of honour" with apple juice in micky mouse and donald duck adorned styrofoam cups (dont ask me why !!!!!)

>> you rent a cd player and a movie boasting of the "sexiest scene of the century" only to find that the scene has been "snipped off" the disc -courtesy censor board !!

>> the party ends with another mini party sponsored by the "guest of honour" (now..why did i put that here ????sponsored treats are always welcome :p :p)

>> And you realise the party is over....just when u forget all about the major issue pending at work and get into the party groove !!! Time sure flies fast !!!

So now...its time for the accounts to be settled (strictly on monetary terms folks..dont read between the lines !!) , updates to people who couldnt be there and sharing of snaps !!!!!
A weekend to relive 4 years of togetherness....and weeks,months and years ahead to relive the weekend !!! :))

So all you singles out there, start your quest for the "better half" !!
May there be many more bachelorette parties and invites to the same in my inbox !!!!

Amen !!! :))

Monday, October 03, 2005

fishy-tails !!! :p

I just fished this joke out from a very tired n bored mind

Baby fish: Mummy Mummy I dont want to go to the 'school'
Mamma fish: Why beta ???
Baby fish: Becos there are very 'fishy' things happening out there !!
Mamma fish: Oh stop 'cra(i)bbing' and go now
Pappa fish: Come on son...be a man(???i dont know wat u call a male fish :(( )
and its 'fry'day today !!!! its weekend time. :))
Baby fish: okay i will go...but only if u promise to get me the latest
'fis(c)her price' toy
Mamma fish: no...first 'fin'ish this glass of bournvita
Pappa fish: why have a 'roe' now ?? i will get him the 'toy'
Mamma fish: but..but..he is 'hook'ed to these games
Pappa fish: thats okay..i dont want to feel "gill"ty about not giving my child
what he wants
Baby fish: yippppeeee.......!!!!!

Omigosh....finally the lack of good fish in blore is gettin to me !!!
So its good'buy' from my side....:))

Thursday, September 29, 2005

sleeping child...

She woke to the sound of raindrops drumming faintly on the terrace. A fine spray sneaked in through the fine gap in the window and settled itself on the rug in sparkling pearls. All groggy from the 9 hour long slumber, she painfully opened her eyes wide enough to find her way through the clutter in the one-room-apartment to the bathroom. A haze of cigaratte smoke engulfed her as she entered the bathroom...damn the guy in the next room who comes back at unearthly hours and thinks that the loo is actually the best place to have a smoke in !! She coughed for a good 5 minutes - and then admonished herself silently for thinking that he would actually quit smoking out of respect to her lungs. She opened the tap full three rounds...water trickled out in a thin stream and finally stopped, all the time mocking at her with strange gurgling sounds. She got out of the room, walked down the stairs to the water pump and switched it on. Raindrops caressed her cheeks and washed away the remnants of the nights dreams from her eyes. For some moments she stood still, her closed shut not too lightly not too tight. And it brought back memories of a time long ago in a place far away where caring hands would button down her bright pink raincoat. When tiny size 3 black and brown sandals would wade through knee deep waters. When an upturned umbrella would be reason enough to come back home and not attend classes. When hot pakoras and milk with bournvita would compensate for all the runny noses and bitter cough syrups. A strange chill crept into her. She hugged herself tightly and got back into the room.

The water had now given up the resistance and surrendered itself to the flow. She triumphantly made gurgling noises at the tap and suddenly felt herself blush with embarassment at her own idiosyncrasy. A good half an half later she emerged from the bathroom, the smell of soap lingering onto her skin. A demure fragrance holding its own against an arrogant cigaratte smoke. She took out freshly ironed clothes and smoothened out the stray crease. The raindrops continued their dance on the terrace. Five minutes and 3 cosmetics later she was all ready to face the day. The raindrops had got into a frenzy and pranced about on the terrace in a trance. She was getting late. The shirt cringed at the idea of getting itself wet in the rain and the trousers had wrinkles of worry all over them at the same thought.

The clock in the neighbouring house struck nine thirty with a friendly chime and she had no other choice. Bracing herself against the torrent, she stepped out onto the terrace. Only if she could find an auto soon enough... !!! The raindrops egged her on to join them in their dance. But she had no time for them. No time for nostalgic thoughts. No time for reveries. Her steps quickened. But there was no sight of an auto anywhere on the road. The familiar yellow-n-black was missing this morning. It was then that the last evenings headline struck her. "nationwide stir" !!! She ran towards the bus stop cursing herself, cursing the autowallahs and cursing the system for making them go on a stir. The roads were full of puddles and water seeped out of manholes and flowed with a newfound sense of freedon onto the wide roads. Her stomach churned as she walked through the water. The busstop was deserted except for a few souls who greeted her with smiles of empathy as she got under the shelter.

The sight of a bus on the other end of the road made everyone stand up and walk to the edge of the road. An unwanted bus number would be greeted with sighs while the lucky few would smirk with delight and get onto the bus. Somehow it reminded her of the small kiosks which she would cross on the way to school. Oranges and apples were just a cover for the gambling that went on in these places. A group of ten-twelve odd workers gathered around the place, waitin for that one number which would change their lives. And the damsel of fate would play peekaboo with them, take away their sweat-drenched money and yet they would return the next day with renewed hopes and borrowed money.

And as though waking her up from this reverie, a car sped by splashing water on her. She started counting till ten - a trick her mom had thought her when she was still a very impatient and cranky child. Just when she crossed 10^2, she saw the number that made her break into a smile. She had seen her bus. But what she failed to see what the number of people who were sitting/standing/hanging from the bus....!! It was an arena where warriors in formal attire, armed with briefcases and lunch boxes fought with each other for the coveted seat. Strategies were being devised in each mind as to the best way to get to the next available seat. Scheming brains were calculating the probability of a getting a seat. Wet umbrellas and dripping jackets were makeshift shields in the battle. A fat lady left a stamp of her size 6 foot on her shoe. Scuffles were breaking out. She had neither the intention nor the inclination to be one of them. And just when she had resigned herself to 20 minutes of standing, the seat right next to her got vacated. And before the battling warriors could notice it, she had already ascended onto the coveted throne.

And thats when she noticed the bundle of pink and yellow lying on the lap of the lady in the next seat. It was a girl, maybe about 3 or 4 years old. And she was blissfully sleeping in her mother's arms. Blissfully unaware of the raging feud about her. The raindrops adorned her face...swaying with the silent breaths that she took. There was something beatific about her face. An angel of peace and patience in a mad mad world. The smile on her face said a silent prayer to the lord 'forgive them lord for they know not what they are doing' !!!

She looked at the kid and the latent energy of the sleeping child somehow found its way into her. The glow of patience touched her and she sat there -immobile, not batting a lid, hungrily taking in the lesson that the sleeping child was imparting her.

The bus stopped with a jerk. She stood up and pried her way to the door through the still-battling warriors. As she stood on the last step, she looked back. And there it was the bundle of pink and yellow...still smiling at the folly of everyone around her.

The driver honked impatiently screaming at her to get off the bus. She smiled forgiveness and got off...forgiveness for herself. Forgiveness for everyone around her.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

work-a-holy-ics anonymous....(I)

Fed up with hours of working on a bug-fix
made me so frustrated as to send a one-liner mail to one of
my friends - "why do we have to work??"

and pronto came the reply - "interesting question..but why do we
have to receive a pay-check at the end of every month??"

...and it was back to fixing the bugging bug again...!!! :))

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

what's in a name???

As I swiped my card today morning at the office entrance...i just happened to reflect upon the fact that names are of absolutely no use. cos when i swipe my card, all that the blinking light on the id recognition device gets from my swipe is the 8 digit employee number. When people want to contact me in office, they again know me as extension number so-and-so or cubicle number so-and-so. So why do i need to have a name ??

And this is not a phenomenon that starts at work. If you are an Indian, in all probability your parents would have decided a pet name for you long before you even made a grand-entrance in some sterile hospital room. And you would have carried the tag of 'Chunnu' or 'Baby' or 'Dolly' right through childhood and maybe even through your adult years. And all this after each member of you family spent days consulting the stars and 'google'-ing 'baby names' sites for naming you.

In school, it is the roll no or the id no that becomes your identity. Your friends have their own special ways of calling you...(There was a 'miss runny nose' and a 'miss funny voice' in my school too)
Even the teachers seem to call u by every other name except your own.."you there on the last bench"..."you there dozing in the corner"..blah blah !!!

On the net you are know by your IM-id or your email id (some of them are quite misleading...ever tried cool_dude@xyz.com or hot_babe@abc.com) !!
Or worse still whenever the people in the computer support team call me up... they insist on referring to me by my IP Address. And that makes me so mad...I could almost murder them !! But whats the point I would still be a mugshot with a number in the files and a number on a pinstripe background in the cells.

And the irony of the situation is that while im blogging this iam surrendering myself to the blog-name that in retrospect sounds very corny to me !! :((

Before my gray-cells (or whatever is left of them) decide to commit harakiri...lemme not think more on this !! i rest my case...cos i have no intentions of being a numbered headstone with some heart-touching words upon it...!!! :))

Thursday, May 05, 2005

a day of trivialities..

When i came across Arundhati Roy's 'God of small things...' i always pondered upon Ms. Roy's choice of title !! And it took me till today to understand in full gravity the importance of trivialities in our lives !!!

>> a seemingly innocuous statement got me in trouble with a dear friend !! what seemed to me like a trivial remark meant great offence to my pal n to the third party who refused to play the silent spectator like most third parties n was very vocal in her disapproval of the remark !!!!

>> i just realised that a very trivial act of mine had touched the hearts of two people so much so that they took two pages each in my autograph book to thank me for the same !!!! (and it goes without saying that i took two more pages in their autographs book to gracefully accept the thanks while tryin to play it down at the same time!! c'est rien, mon cherie)

Thinking about how much importance people attach to all the little things in life brings me to something i read sometime ago (dont remember where) about how something as little as increasing the storage capacity of a mail inbox makes the day better for thousand different people !! And today being the day of realisation..how could i miss out on that one ??? The people at Yahoo! just increased my mailbox space to 1 GB...hallelujah !!!! If i were one for the spirits...i wud have drunk one to the little things in life n to the profits of Yahoo!

Just as a passing thought...delving into a bit of etymology...trivia (three roads literally) comes from the fact that people met at road intersections and had discussions !!! Then why does trivial imply something of very less importance ??? Think about this the next time u are havin a chat at the nookad shop over some chai and pakoras !!! :D

Friday, March 11, 2005

shoe-per dooper !!!

Just happened to have a very interesting conversation today with two of my peers.
It goes something like this...

J: (in the midst of removing his shoes) guess what...my shoe has been sticking out its tongue at me !!! well..am not going to care much...it is such a 'sole-less' being.

N: can't really blame it...can we ?? after all it is being 'booted' about day in and day out...!!

The convo till now is repeated by J & N in a highly amused manner to H. Not to be beaten at the game, H retorts

H: mine is much worse...it is just developing teeth

N: ouch...that must have been a nasty bite !!

J: why dont you just sho(o)e it off ??

By now N is trying her best to keep the game alive or rather bring it to an end with a final punch...a la Ali !!! If I had been more morbid and less euphemistic..maybe I would put it as giving the game a befitting funeral with the best of the lines etched out on the headstone.

N: hey guys...lets cut it out...its such a s(c)andalising conversation

H: it stinks (did anyone talk about toe-jam???? yucks!!!)

Unfortunately (or was it ???!!) the conversation was prematurely aborted thanks to a task which was much higher on the priority list than our sole-barring conversations !! Hallelujah !!!!!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

bliss-ters n raindrops!!!

When the rain gods decide all of a sudden to
shower their blessings on this end of the world (read it as
a parched desert..with all its due share of hyperboles!!!)
and when a overworked person has some few minutes of time
on her hands..with an unusually fast net speed...the result
lies behold !!!!!

oh the bliss of a drop
of the elixir of life
gushing down a parched throat
without a single strife !!

oh the bliss of water
murdering the leaping flames
like an all covering shroud
hiding all the mortal shames !!

oh the bliss of lightning
and deafening strokes of thunder
heavy showers striking the desert
nature's miracle or blunder !!??

oh the bliss of time
on your much worked hands
composing worthless prose
with equally worthless strands !!