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 or !!
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...!!! :))