Friday, December 16, 2005

Legalise Corruption or Institutionalise Hypocrisy

I was reading about this incident where a senior executive of Samsung has duped the company of crores of rupees. Pretty smartly executed! Though we hope he gets caught, I don’t know if he will get reasonable punishment. In other news, we see a sting operation carried out by Cobrapost exposing small time MP’s of taking bribes to ask questions in parliament. The value of the actual bribes seems ridiculously low, and you almost pity these MP’s. I would’ve expected the payout for discussions at a national level to me much higher. But I guess the transacting parties (MP & fictitious NISMA) knew the true worth of discussions in Lok Sabha. ;)

As much as we may try & express shock & disbelief over such incidents, deep in our hearts we know that corruption is rampant in the society. So these incidents are not at all surprising. I almost expected another sting operation on MP’s. This sting operation has done nothing more than expose another channel of money making which our esteemed MP’s use. The corrupt will still remain corrupt. But they will be more careful in future & will probably use newer advanced channels for satisfying their monetary requirements. Well at least these sting operations will ensure that the corrupt are on their toes & continuously have to come up with new innovative ways of making that extra income. Some consolation!

I recently saw Apaharan & more than the story & the message, what I liked about the film was how it showed about the system of working of gangs, police & government. On the face of it we have our laws that are supposed to be followed. But there is another (probably more practical) system of working that is in no way related to laws. Almost everybody inherently subscribes to this alternate or parallel system of working.

The business class blatantly break all rules to save as much tax money as they can. The kidnapping gangs target the business class for ransom. They actually return the kidnapped "party" after the ransom is paid (the kidnapping business runs on this trust). The police have their own cuts from the ransom. As a result getting into the police force is very rewarding & hence that too has its own price. The businessmen know the nexus of police & kidnappers & meekly pay the demanded ransom. The highly funded kidnapping gangs form their own government. The loop seems complete. Businessmen cheat govt. Businessmen pay kidnappers. Kidnappers form govt. In the end the govt which is cheated by businessmen is formed by gangs who get paid by the same businessmen. The only difference is that the money is of different colour.

But there are some misfits in this whole scheme of things. Mohan Agashe’s character is an old idealist who believes in the rule of law. Nobody (not even his son) around him understands his foolish ideals. But for this character, the whole chaos, the whole violence & so many deaths could have been avoided. It was his action (a sting operation of sorts) that disrupted this whole parallel system.

This makes me wonder- Wouldn’t it be better if idealist characters were not there in the first place? After all, everybody is involved in this whole cycle of cheating or blackmailing one another. Since everybody is involved, Shastriji (Mohan Agashe’s character) actually disrupts the balance with his attempts or rather misadventures. Why do they do that? They do that because they feel what is happening now is bad. They feel that people should be punished for cheating, for corruption, for kidnapping. Why? Because they do not have clarity of the present day situation. They feel that whatever is written as laws are the only truth.

But some rules are unwritten. Many offices have almost institutionalised the charges for getting things done. I had a hard time getting my driving licence just because dad didn’t allow me to pay the extra money. Though I finally got it (& was extremely happy to have done it without the charges – felt like I had done it for free!). In govt hospitals, we have to pay extra to get see the doctor, get medicines, or get tests done. This institutionalisation is actually a good thing. At least things are clear. There are no uncomfortable moments where we are thinking how much is appropriate & who should be approached. There is no unnecessary time waste in bargains. But then we have these idealists who do not understand the new order. What do we do about them?

Solution 1: A solution could be that we legalise the new order of working. We legalise corruption. Extreme? Yes. Practical? Again yes except that it has to be implemented carefully to be successful. The idealists then have no base to justify their actions. If implemented properly, I don’t understand why it won’t work.

Solution 2: If we do not have enough courage to out rightly legalise corruption (which I’m sure we don’t have), a (weak) middle path solution could also be implemented. As kids we are taught something, while it is totally something else that benefits us in real life. At least teach both these approaches right from the beginning. Children should be taught how to keep two faces, one for speaking, preaching. And another for actually getting work done. The getting work done part should be hidden from public view – I know that is obvious, but kids being kids have to be taught everything. By institutionalising this way of life, we will prevent any idealists to even take form.

Yes I am being a cynic. I am not sure if that is such a bad thing. At least I am no pseudo idealist.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The 24 hr song

If I like a song, I listen to it repeatedly. But most of the songs I like lose their likeability after hearing them more than 5 times continuously. I get bored of the monotony. This is because they have only one facet in them which appeals to me. They are thus one-dimensional. It doesn’t take long to get bored of such songs.

Then there is this special breed of songs which I start listening; repeat it; repeat again. I am still not bored. I put it on loop on winamp. Sit down – listen 10 times. I am still not bored. I lie down – Listen another 20 times. I am still not bored! Heck I don’t get bored. It is an addiction. You only stop listening if you are interrupted by something else. Something about the song keeps you want to hear it again & again. The song is so “wholesome”. Given a chance I could be listening to it 24 hrs. These are the kind of songs which I call the 24 hr songs.

Many songs have graced the crown of being the 24 hr song in my life. I will list down only some of notable ones here.

Billy Joel - We didn’t start the fire
The first time I heard this song was in about 1991 or so. I had seen the video too, I think in Grammy nominations. The whole package was so appealing. I was just a school kid then but I got a general idea of the song with the video & whatever lyrics I could understand. The music & arrangement of the song too seemed perfect. Needless to say, I fell in love with the song. To add to my woes, I didn’t have to song. So eventually when I found it, it was pure bliss. I think I would have listened to this one at least 500 times till date. The thing is that I still haven’t memorised the lyrics fully, so there is something to look forward to for every repeat of the song.

Guns n Roses - November Rain
The first time I heard this song, was again when I was in school. At that time I was not exposed to such music & rejected it as “noisy”. Somehow one day later I stumbled upon it & rediscovered the song. The song was brilliant. The best part of course was the ending guitar piece.

Boney M – Rasputin
At home we had an almost complete collection of Boney M. All their songs had a good rhythm with decent tunes. Rasputin was one song which stands out in the whole collection. The song entices you and keeps you involved right from the drum beats in the beginning to the “Ohh those Russians” in the end. The Russian flavour in the tune & the accent made it unique. On the whole the song sort of pumped up your heart.

Indian Ocean - Kandisa
I think there is no need of an explanation. This song is simply superb. Who needs to understand the lyrics when the music is so moving? Many an hours were spent listening to this one. The best time to be enjoying this song is in the morning just after you get up. It refreshes & recharges you for the rigours of life.

Waisa Bhi Hota Hai - Allah ke Bande
We get sort of emotionally attached to some songs. This is one of the songs I am really attached to. When I first listened to the song, I was in one of my very low phases in life. In its own small way this card helped me get back on track. I played it so many times (continuously except for classes for 3 days) in the hostel that I would have managed to infect others with this song. Soon this song became a hit on campus.

Metallica – Unforgiven
Words cannot describe the feelings I have when this song plays. A whole mixed bag of anger, fear, disgust, guilt, hate, remorse & even a sense of satisfaction. I don’t know if it is in the lyrics, the music or the combination.

Rabbi Shergil - Bulla Ki Jaan
Another good song which goes easy on your ears and on your mind too. Inspirational lines sung beautifully by Rabbi Shergill. It takes some time to appreciate the beauty of the song.

My current 24 hr song has surprised even me. It is an unknown Trance track:
Master Blaster – How Old are you (Radio Mix)
I was going through an old Trance collection when I stumbled upon this track. The song is like a chant that means there is not much of lyrics but a lot of pumping up in the tune & the beats.

This list is not exhaustive. The list is skewed towards the newer songs mainly because of my poor memory.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Some people

I live with a queer set of people. Here I must admit I must be the queerest of them all, but that is not the point of this post.

BN is a strange mix of South Indian & North Indian cultures. A thin guy like me, he has a knack of noticing things very quickly. He feels that he has a drinking problem & is trying really hard to control it. I have accompanied him many times to the bars when the need became unbearable. :) A unique thing about him is his voice modulation while speaking. His talk changes from whispers to deafening booms sometimes in the same sentence. A straight talking person, he doesn’t hide much. His extrovert nature makes him air his viewpoints loudly. The unique nature of his perspective invariably gets you laughing. He asks for big favours as though it is his right, but at the same time has no qualms about doing almost anything you say. Of late he has become my advisor in matters of life, career etc.

AK: This guy knows his music. He has a small MP3 player which he listens to everyday. Ghazals, Classical Music, Trance are the kind of things he likes listening to. A seemingly quite guy but only up to the time you have not warmed up with him. He could be extremely witty with cruel tinge if he so desires. Cartoon channels are his favourite, with Pogo definitely on top. The lack of hair on his head used to be one more aspect of his sexy persona. But of late he too has fallen in the trap of following the same boring norm of having hair.

PJ: The big brother of the gang. He is extremely knowledgeable in all sorts of things (I don’t know what all they are). A humble guy, he always gives you more credit than you deserve. He rarely expresses directly, but likes it when we get his subtle hints of what he wants. He really works hard, both in job & as far as I know earlier in his studies. Mostly a shy guy, he never gets tired of watching those remix dance videos or any dance number for that matter, etc (hindi music channel) being his favourite channel. In fact such is his passion for etc that he skilfully dominates the possession of the TV remote for it. A soft guy by nature, he has an esp. soft corner for a certain neighbour of ours though he is too shy to ever talk to her.

AS: Though he doesn’t live with us, we still consider him part of the fraternity owing the proximity of his place of stay. AS is always ready to be part of any plan. If you are feeling bored on a weekend, call him up to finalise a plan for a movie, shopping, bowling etc. The best part is that he invariably ends up spending more than you when you go shopping with him. So the guilty feeling of having spent more is non-existent when you are with him. An auto-rickshaw is the only proper mode of transport for AS. In his own words – “Auto-rickshaws provide an end to end yet specialized solution for all your transport needs. They can drop you right up to your doorstep. There is enough privacy yet the appropriate openness for you to enjoy the best of both worlds.” Left at his discretion we would always be travelling in Auto-rickshaws even if we had to travel from Thane right up to CST. Apart from his extreme fetish for auto-rickshaws, AS collects & reads all sorts of “feel good” books he can lay his hands on. A corollary to this is that his spirit is always high, something which makes you want to be with him more often.

Strange this world we live in. Stranger are the people we live with.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I am at that stage of my life where I am finally giving up on idealism. Yes, those same ideals that were so clear in my mind as a kid like “Don’t lie” “Don’t cheat” “Don’t bribe” “Don’t copy”.

I admit that at many moments I have resorted to breaking these same ideals. But at all those times I felt really guilty & resolved never to break them again. However stories like this that happen so regularly, have been regular hits to the well defined ideals. So now these ideals have become weak & may soon succumb to more practical & selfish concerns.

Probably from now on I will break all those ideals with impunity, without guilt, & with a sense of satisfaction that I have been able to become one up on all those sincere fools. My only concern will be not to get caught. Yes why not? Why do we stay in an illusion that people are there out to help each other? This is a competitive world. Why should I care for anyone? I have my own selfish concerns. At least I will be following a cause I believe in. At least I will not be having unpractical ideals which I break from time to time to suit the situation. Who knows? Maybe that is the right approach to take.

And I cannot continue because I feel sick right now.

Friday, November 18, 2005

I am confused. I really am.

How am I supposed to behave with people?

How should I behave with a person from metros? How should I behave with people from villages or small towns? What will be important while talking to foreigners? How should I behave with relatives? How should my attitude be towards girls? What about my immediate family? What about close friends? Or people who are just acquaintances? How should I behave with complete strangers? Should I adapt my behaviour according to rich or poor? Boss or subordinate? Powerful & Powerless? Age?

Answers to some of these questions are obvious. But I still feel it is important to write them down. These questions always trouble me. As a kid I was also exposed to the different classes that exist in the world- the races, castes, nationalities & genders. However I was taught the concept of equality & the importance of treating everyone with equal respect. I embraced the equality concept as at that time it seemed simple, logical & appropriate. However over time the concept has evolved based on the kind of experiences I’ve had in my life. I have come to realize that people are essentially different. Everyone is unique. A person’s identity cannot be completely defined by his/her caste, gender, race or any such category. And I believe doing that is an insult to his/her individuality.

So how does one behave with people? I have identified six approaches that we could use:

1. The equality approach: This approach as its name suggests implies that we consciously behave similarly with different people. We do not adapt according to what we know of them. First we define a set of rules (acceptable & desired behaviour) we wish to follow. Then we behave accordingly with everybody. This approach doesn’t factor in the uniqueness people have. But at the same time this approach also does not differentiate based on any criteria. This approach follows the concept of equality in its true sense & is completely rigid about it.

2. The individualistic approach: The individualistic approach in total contrast to the equality approach completely factors all uniqueness a person has. It takes into account all minor details in the person’s personality. We behave completely based on the unique subtleties in the individual. This again is a very rigid approach.

3. The category approach: This is the very approach that evokes strong emotions from many quarters. This approach will involve stereotyping people according to their category like caste, gender etc. We behave based on predefined prejudices we have about a person.

4. The flexible approach: Having sampled three rigid approaches, we find out what is this flexible approach. Basically this approach will use any of the equality, individualistic & category approaches based on requirement. At any point of time we evaluate the options of using equality, individualistic or category approaches & based on requirement use the appropriate. We could also use a mix of these three approaches at any point of time.

5. The mindless approach: All the above approaches involved some thinking based on some rules. This approach differs from them in this very aspect. We don’t think, we feel. Our behaviour is then not governed by rules. Rather we behave based on what our heart says. Thus this approach is completely random in its nature.

6. Personal approach: In the personal approach you behave based on the level of intimacy or closeness we have with the person. This approach could be confused with the individualistic approach. In individualistic approach you behave according to how much you “know” about the person. In personal approach you behave according to how “important” is that person in your life.

The approaches are not mutually exclusive. We could be following more than one approach at a time.

The equality approach was what I used to naively believe in when I was a kid. The whole pointlessness of this approach would be obvious to most people. In spite of being pointless, this approach is idealistic. And being idealistic, one will get a sense of pride while following this approach. But yes the approach is not practical. You cannot possibly behave similarly with a person trying to kill you & your elder sister’s baby boy unless you are Mahatma Buddha.

The individualistic approach is another ideal which is difficult to follow. Considering all details about an individual for any small interaction again is not practical. Also it is not possible to get to know a person well before we start interacting with him/her on a regular basis.

In spite of me despising the category approach, it does serve some practical purpose. Knowing about a person’s nationality, gender & other background is a good start to get to know more about him/her. Stereotypes & predefined prejudices do have some role to play, though a person’s caste & to some extent religion are loosing any relevance in modern India.

The flexible approach is what is followed most of the times. This approach is a safe way of navigating the behavioural waters. We use whatever is apt for the moment. This approach could also be termed as the practical approach. I admit I’ve been following this approach most of the times. But I soon get sick of the artificial & opportunistic nature of such an approach.

The mindless approach could also be termed as the heart approach or the random approach. At times when I have got disillusioned with the flexible approach, I decided that I wouldn’t control my behaviour. In those times I used to get thoughts like “I will say whatever I feel” “I will not cloak my emotions/thoughts to suit others preferences”. In the process I end up ruffling many feathers. In that sense this is a pretty dangerous approach to follow.But the sense of freedom while following such an approach is good. This approach is also a lot less taxing on the brain as there are no rules to be followed.

I’m sure a majority of people would be following the personal approach other than certain saints & sages who have reached a level of consciousness where they are close to everything yet far from everything. And I am also sure that this approach would be used in combination with other approaches.

So what is the answer? Should I become the idealist? Should I become the practical guy? Should I not worry about all this & just follow what my heart says? Where does the answer lie?

Friday, November 04, 2005

My money - Our Money

So I didn’t go home this Diwali. But when I do go home these days, I feel sort of disconnected from my family. Everything is so much changed. Everything is done to please me, as if I am a guest. The first two days are spent realigning myself with the lifestyle I had about 3 yrs ago as I myself am not able to come to terms that my life in this house is as good as over. I will be outside this home from now on, roaming around all the big cities in India & abroad, because of the career I have chosen for myself. This is the reality & I guess the sooner I come to terms with it, the better it will be for me. But my heart doesn’t seem to understand. Wherever I go, wherever I stay, I feel it is but temporary. There are some imaginary strings or bonds which extend right from Mumbai to Vizag which remind me that I actually belong there & not here.

But the most disturbing development is that now I have my own money that is not a part of the family money. To understand this you will have to understand how our family regarded money. In our home we used to always have this concept where all the money was everyone’s. We were never given any pocket money. As we grew to about 10 yrs of age, we were free to use the money stored in the almirah whenever there was any need. But we had to give complete information on all the money we spent later. Somehow given all this freedom to use the money, we never spent foolishly. We were always careful with the money we spent. After all this was our money too. When I started earning in a sort of a part time job there, I never thought of the money I earned to be something of my own. The thought process went like this – The only use of the money will be when it will be spent. If I have found something important or valid to spend on, I will anyway get the money to spend from the collective money. If something I wanted to spend money on was later proven to be not valid, even I myself would not like to spend money on it. Almost all our non regular spending was done by mutual consensus as a family. Sometimes we even stopped Papa from purchasing something’s when we thought that it was a waste of money.

So now I am earning money in Mumbai & I don’t know where it is valid & where it is not valid to spend it. I have been asked not to send money & to find my own ways of spending & investing if the need be. I am on my own now. I know that with the training I’ve got, I am not going to spend it foolishly, but what disturbs me is that now since I’ve started earning, I seem to be not anymore a part of my family. I know Dad that you do not need my money, but I don’t understand how this money is mine, and how all the money you earned was ours.

I guess staying away for so many years does take its toll.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Leopold CST Marine Drive Thane

There was a party this weekend. The party was big - 15 of my colleagues turned up. We went to a place called Leopold in Colaba. They make some of the best cocktails in Mumbai. The atmosphere there was awesome & some of the foreigners there esp. people of African origin danced in such abandon, and also with such grace, that we simply had to watch. After the party we were of course too late. So when we reached the CST station, the last train for Thane (the place I stay in) had already left. Some people left by taxis and autos to their homes. But I made a decision to stay back & leave by the morning train. Some of my friends also living in Thane decided to stay back too.

We stayed in the CST station for some time. The whole of the station had this sleepy feeling around it. We saw all the people sleeping on the platform and the waiting area. We saw many policemen (don’t know what they were there for) lazing around in different places. We saw the main station area that at any point of time had at least 100 people on it had become a vast empty space. We saw all those shops that were usually bustling with activity with shutters down. We had difficulty locating a chai wala (tea salesman – I always have trouble translating stuff. The translation gives a completely different feel to it). What we found was the tea container with the salesman missing. After making some appropriate noises the dude dozing nearby who was listening to a walkman got up. He gave us the two mini or rather micro glasses of tea and charged us 6 bucks for it. My friend in his inebriated state started to protest. I had to make him quite. We then stayed there for a while steadying ourselves & taking stock of what we had in store for the night ahead. It was then decided that we go to Marine drive.

Now Mumbai beaches and sea is nothing compared to Vizag, but it still has some life in it. We sat lazily on the small wall along the footpath, chatting, just looking at the vast expanse of the sea & the Mumbai night lights. It brought back memories from Vizag. The lights were especially captivating. I am not very good at describing the beauty I feel, so let me stop here. Soon it was morning - we came back to the station & left for home.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Journey vs Destination

So what did I do this Dushera. Well, since there was nothing planned, and Pune is one place close to Mumbai, and since I had still not been around Pune, it was Pune for this Dushera. So me, and two other engineering college buddies living here went along to Pune. The expressway between Mumbai & Pune is a welcome change from the potholed excuse that the Mumbai roads have become. One of my friends has a brand new Indica. He also has music system with a 12' lcd tv installed in the car. So while he was busy driving and checking the car’s mileage on the highway, we simply sat back and enjoyed the ride, a movie and most of all the music.

Pune itself was pretty uneventful. We went around some of the happening places there, met a lot of other friends, tried go-karting but found that they had closed down. Nothing to talk about here.

The return journey was where we got a bit adventurous. While going we took care that we followed all rules & slowed down at turns. But while returning it was a bit rougher. It was 80 kmph all the way. So on some of the tight turns, we were pushed to sides because of the centrifugal force. The music played in high volume pumped up our spirits. The two drives were much more enjoyable than the actual Pune visit.

It’s always like that with me. I like the journey more than the destination. When I reach some place, I want to travel more. I enjoy the changing sights during the travel more than the bliss of having reached somewhere. The passion of being on the move is always more than the satisfaction of having reached the target. As a kid when we used to visit relatives in summer holidays, the most exciting part of the holiday invariably used to be the train journey.

I always used to wonder why some people esp. girls take so long to shop. I guess this could be the answer (at least in part). The excitement of buying something new, of trying out different things, of the anticipation that soon she’ll be owning a new dress is more pleasurable than actually wearing or using the item.

As I ponder over it, I can’t help but think, is it the same with me in life? Whenever I achieve something big, I don’t enjoy it much. What really brings me happiness is the path, the journey, just going through the motions of achieving the target. This thought has helped me get some peace in my life. I now know that achieving something is not going to give me much. It is more about those small things that I am going to do along in my life that will bring happiness. Now the pressure of successfully achieving the goal is gone. It is replaced by the need to enjoy in whatever I do, to work for my own satisfaction and to let the goal be achieved on its own merit.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

IIPM is doomed

My blog is my thoughts for the world. It is my channel of saying whatever I want to convey. These are strictly my thoughts and mine alone. I believe I am entitled to my opinion, as long as it is expressed in an agreeable language. It is after all an opinion.

But the internet is a very powerful tool. It is possible for a blogger to influence a large section of society. Naturally with such immense power there is bound to be some responsibility. As a responsible blogger I will accept any miscommunication or misrepresentation & correct the same. However that will happen only if I am proved wrong.

Gaurav Sabnis is a blogger. He had an opinion about IIPM (a management education institute promoted by Arindam Chauduri). The opinion was not so nice & had also cited JAMMAG, a publication of Rashmi Bansal, another popular blogger. As a responsible blogger, he would have posted an apology if he was proved wrong. But IIPM did nothing of that sort. Instead it started applying pressure both on Rashmi and Gaurav to withdraw their opinions and apologize. This is like school. IIPM is the big bully who says some lies. Rashmi & Gaurav are the kids who point out the flaw in the big bully’s talk. Since big bully cannot argue with them based on logic, he starts bashing them up, warning them of dire consequences unless they take back their words. Both the kids stand their ground in spite of the bashing. So the big bully crosses his limits. And now Gaurav has to quit his job.

This is unfair. In school, there used to be bullying, but there was also the teacher who used to control those big bully’s and punish them for such acts. Who will control this big bully that IIPM has become? I find that there is no institution that will do that. So we do what us small kids used to do when there was no teacher. We fight collectively. So what if I am a small time blogger averaging single digit hits per day. This post is about that collective fighting that we individual bloggers have to wage against this mammoth, heavily funded, influential institution.

Any institution however mediocre can improve with time. A commitment on providing relevant education over a period of time is bound to bring results. IIPM has taken a shortcut by blanking out all other institutes from newspapers through its heavy ad spend. This is forgivable. It can still improve if it has commitment. But this big bully has put its weight in crushing any voice raised against its false claims. This clears all doubts. If the promoters itself have no sense of ethics or responsibility, there is no hope for this institute. I am just sorry for all the gullible students that are and will be studying in this institute. I wouldn’t advise even an enemy to join this institute.

IIPM is doomed!

To keep updated on the IIPM fiasco visit Desipundit.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I have survived

A while ago, when monsoon was just showing its face in Mumbai, I had written this. I had just lost my second umbrella of the season and was angry at myself for loosing it. The decision to not use the umbrella had come partly because of my stubborn resolve not to use the umbrella and partly because I had convinced myself that the umbrella was not required.

The concept that I was dependent on the umbrella was what I hated. At that time it was just my resolve not to use it that drove me. Now the monsoon is over for all practical purposes. I have gone the distance. I am here typing these ramblings and am sure I won’t be missing an umbrella again at least in this season. I have survived perhaps the greatest monsoon Mumbai has ever faced without an umbrella. I can now reflect back about whether I really needed the umbrella. I have mixed feelings on this. I really needed the umbrella 2 to 3 times during the entire monsoon. The 26th of July was not one of those days (when you are knee deep in water, you don't care about your head getting wet). On other days I was glad I was not carrying that unnecessary evidence of my dependence on things with me. I know one thing - My knowledge of whether I need or not need an umbrella is much more profound & rich now that I have experienced the monsoon without the umbrella. It is not in answer in Yes or No. There are many possibilities, situations & requirements that need to be taken into account before deciding on the answer.

So why am I going about this "umbrella" thing over & over again? Hasn't this concept already been abused more than required. I am thinking maybe there is a reason why I am doing what I am doing. When I decided not to buy a new umbrella, I took a risk. At that time I had some vague notions about my need for the umbrella. Had I not lost the umbrella & consequently my temper, I probably would never have taken that risk. Now once I have taken the risk, and experienced the whole of the monsoon through the whole trecherous rainy season, I am much more wiser. I no longer have vague notions. I know. I know because I had experienced. I would never have known had this thing been taught. I never would have really known if someone gave me a complete description of what would happen if I not use the umbrella. The feeling of actual knowledge is liberating. Knowledge gained through experience dwarves all the other knowledge gained by amny other means. The old adage "You learn from your experiences" still holds a lot of water. This adage too was no more than a mere phrase in the memory bank of my brain. I had to go through this experience to realise the importance of this adage & the true meaning of it.

You definitely learn from your experiences

Thursday, September 29, 2005

More Questions?

I am the sort of person who has a lot of question marks in life. My writing too is filled with many question marks. Five of my previous posts had question marks in their headings [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]. So I thought why not I list down some of the question marks that are going through my mind right now? Some of them would be personal (but I guess will relate to everyone).

Q1. What do I want to do? (in all senses)

Q2. What is love? (the eternal question?)

Q3. What is nationalism all about? Why don’t I have this feeling in me?

Q3. Why don’t people get bored of K-serials?

Q4. Why don’t we see more marriages between older women and younger men?

Q5. Why do we idolize people on the basis of what they have achieved than what they are? (Actors/Artistes/Players/Businessmen). I am questioning the whole concept of being a “fan” of someone.

Q6. Is culture defined? If so, Who defines culture? Rather How is culture defined?

Q7. Why am I writing all these questions?

Questions Questions Questions … And no answers right now.
But I know one thing. By articulating all these questions, I have dug a hole for myself. Now my small brain will be forced to ponder over these things for better or for worse instead of freaking out with the salary I just got. :(

Monday, September 26, 2005

The (Ugly?) Equality

The first alarm is at 5:30. This one just goes by. I don’t even remember when I switch this one off in my sleepy state. The second one at 6. I generally have some vague recollection of switching this one off with a promise to myself that I will get up in 5 mins & start the exercise. The third “emergency” alarm is at 7. Nowadays I have been getting up to the emergency alarm only. Gone are the days when I used to be up at 5:30 for the morning exercise routine. My day starts off at 7:00 when I lazily get up after PJ, one of my flat mates graciously finishes his morning routine, so the bathroom is free for my use. By 7:30 I’m up & ready for leaving. The office bus (actually buses..we have many buses from near my place) starts off at around 7:45. I then sit back & wait for the ordeal to get over.

Along the route to office, I see all kinds of vehicles:

1. The sub zero – These are the exorbitantly expensive luxury vehicles. The Mercedes C200, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Honda CR-V, etc.
2. The super cool – They include the higher end cruise bikes like Avenger, & the mid segment cars like Skoda Octavia, some good SUV’s and cars like Suzuki Swift, Toyota Corolla & Honda City.
3. The cool – A little lower than the mid segment come cars. Cars like Fiat Palio, Hyundai Getz, Santro Xing, Tata Indigo & many of the mid size cars. All other bikes.
4. The normal stuff – All the other privately owned cars. Maruti 800, Alto, Indica etc.
5. The junk – Taxis, buses, Auto-rickshaws, Trucks.

Scenario 1:
"S has a Honda Accord – a big luxury car. And he wants to go out, flaunt it & just drive around with its large powerful engine. Yeah! So he goes out & races away on wide plain highway showing all the other people who bought “lesser cars” their place. And he is not even thinking about the occasional bus that he passes by.
Ravi is in the company bus. The highway is plain, wide & empty. The bus trudges along with all the power it can afford. In spite of this we see the likes of Honda Accord just speeding away leaving the rest of the traffic behind. So if the bus takes 40 mins to cover the 20 km distance, this car takes around 15 mins. Ravi gets a feeling that he is poor."

The above scenario however is not true. The true nature of what actually happens everyday follows.

Scenario 2:
"S has a Honda Accord. He contemplates on using it. It’s been months since he has risked going in the new Accord he has bought. He generally uses his old Ford Ikon. But today he was feeling guilty of not having used the new car. He decides to risk going to office on the Accord. So the big machine gets cleaned up & out it goes. Inside the residential area, the roads are too narrow for him to drive anything beyond 20km/hr. Once he hits the main road, the faint hope he had that he would enjoy the car’s ride dies as he hits the stop & go heavy traffic. The fact that his car is much wider than his other car does not help. He now has to be extra careful not to get it scratched. His lack of practice on this car is one more problem that adds to his woes. He now seriously is contemplating hiring a chauffeur. While he is thinking he looks up beyond his slanted windshield. Just beside him is a bus of some company. Just out of curiosity he looks at one of the windows. A person there is staring right back at him…smiling.
Ravi is traveling in his company bus. He knows that the bus will typically take between 1 hr & 1.5 hrs to reach office. So he decides to have a nice little nap. A sudden brake wakes him up. Just next to the bus is a Honda Accord. This Honda Accord cannot show any of its abilities in this He looks at the person who is driving this car. Ravi thinks “This guy definitely seems to be in some trouble”. He realizes that driving the big expensive car in this traffic must be a nightmare. He cannot help but feel the sadistic satisfaction of having had some sort of revenge. A smile escapes Ravi’s lips just as S takes notice of him. Ravi later feels bad of having done this – I am really a good person from inside."

The roads in Mumbai are generally good but the corporation has this strange fascination of digging up every road, which they find is full of traffic to create further congestion. The reason given generally - flyover construction. So the roads are nicely dug up & open by the time of the rainy season. The icing on the cake is the rain that comes and converts these dug up roads into muddy wastelands. The width of the road itself keeps changing from 4 lanes to single lane. This means a lot of traffic jams & consequently a lot of waste of time. The most heavily hit of course are the people in cars as they can go only as fast as the vehicle before them. In a traffic jam that would be around 5 km/hr. Everyone goes at this same pace. You could have a car that could easily go 150km/hr, but you simply have to follow that puny looking Auto-rickshaw.

And here lies the equality. Everybody takes the same amount of time to reach his or her destination. There is no difference between the rich & the poor, the car & the auto-rickshaw, the bike & the truck. But in the end everyone looses. Everyone takes more time than they normally would. And this is what I do not like about this whole business. I wouldn’t mind watching an Accord or two passing me by if I reach faster than I already do. I do not want this equality. Let there be wider roads. Let the roads allow each vehicle to show its potential.

Let there be inequality

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The beautiful inequality

In life you cannot have a balance, says Sayesha. People who you have feelings for may not feel as much for you. I cannot agree more. There is no guarantee that can ensure you are loved, cared, missed as much as you love, care & miss. In fact in all my relationships, I have been that person who does not love you as much as you love him. But I know it could be painful for the people on the other side – people who love but are not loved. So is there a solution? Is there a way in which we can make people like me more caring?

I would say that the relations that we give name to in life like brother, sister, cousin, uncle, aunt, husband, wife & nowadays girlfriend, boyfriend are an attempt by society to balance the equation. This way you are bound by society's law to have feelings for the relation as being related over a period of time will lead to some feelings automatically. But these artificial interferences will only help to some extent. No one can force anyone to have feelings. But it is like a compromise than to keep on searching for that perfect match. That search with such a high goal can be frustrating.

Personally I would not like to bind anyone in a relationship with me if that person does not feel for me. I am willing to leave people whom I love for people who love me any day. Why? Well, that is how I am. I do not want people I love to suffer.

The perfect match will be that both of us have equal feelings for each other. I know that is not possible. And somehow, I get the feeling that I don’t want that perfect match. I do not like the idea of judging the level of love we we give and recieve & compare them. This is not a business transaction or a give & take thing. This is life. I think what I will like is that we care for each other. That is enough.

Life is not perfect. Imperfect is beautiful.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The end of sensible serials...

Relive your memories. Sublime Thoughts has compiled an almost complete list of serials of that good old times before the Saas Bahoo types blew them away.

I want to add & comment on some of these but right now I'm too filled with emotion to make any sense. Get the post here Golden Era

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Time Machine

“A time machine is urgently needed. We need to reverse back time to about 1.5 yrs ago when we were in our second year of our MBA. We need to keep on repeating the second year many times over.” My friend from MBA, A had come to my place for the weekend. He was of the opinion that we did not enjoy the facilities & freedom we had during the two-year stay in institute. So we need to go back & relive those days. Nostalgia!

This makes me remember of the kind of things we used to do in the institute. My hostel there was a sleepy little place, the newest hostel with many empty rooms. It was a place totally disconnected from the more happening atmosphere of the older hostels. So what did we do in our free time?

Computer Games – Yes, we did play a lot of computer games. Starting from one on one child like NFS 2 championships to the more mature Age of empires. Lots of competition among ourselves.

Bakar – This means idle talk among ourselves. Many a nights were spent discussing all sorts of unrelated stuff that could come in our minds. A’s place was the center or adda where we would go & sit when there is nothing else to do.

TT – One friend KD was a very good TT & badminton player. In fact he once defeated the undefeated champion of TT here at one of the insti matches. He was always game for a game or two of TT. The TT table being close to our hostel, it was much more convenient thing to do.

Pool – During the end of first year we got a Pool table in our hostel. And then began the use or rather overuse of the table. Pool is an easy game to play once you get the basics right. There is not much exertion & you can keep on playing till your eyes start hurting. I remember I was once playing for about 6 hrs at a stretch up to 2AM & then again after I got up in the morning. And one more thing - Playing pool is more of a pleasure after one or two drinks. The balls & the ideas are much more clearer. Your game is much more flamboyant. And high confidence levels sometimes drive a much better play. Another thing about this game is that you can play this alone. You do not need anyone to play with. You can be very happy competing with yourself in finding out in how many chances can you clear the table.

Tennis – We started playing Tennis very late ie. in the winter of second year. At that time tennis was a craze around campus & the tennis court was always busy in the evenings. So playing in the evening meant just half to one hour of undisturbed play. The decision then was made of playing in the night. The court thankfully had bright night-lights. So the court would now be witness to 4 odd people playing tennis in the 5°C winter of Lucknow. Its surprising why it did not feel a bit odd at that time.

Badminton – Since the institute had just one badminton court, this was one of those places where we got to interact with people from other hostels.

Movies – Yes of course. How can we forget this. The campus network was filled with all sorts of movies. English & Hindi. So watching movies was another way we spent our time. I might have seen more movies in those two years than all the preceding years combined!

TV – Before the MBA, I used to spend quite a lot of time watching TV. The cartoon channels were my favorite. But TV watching occupied very less proportion during the 2 yrs in MBA.

So this is a list of a few things we did there. To say that we enjoyed a lot will be an understatement. No wonder A wants to go back & do all those things all over again. But this time around, we will not take these things for granted. We will simply cherish those golden moments. If only we had known then how important those times we spent together were….

Isn’t it ironical the way we always believe that the times spent before were better than today? I’m sure I’ll be cherishing my present life a few years from now. The cycle will continue. So carrying this logic further, maybe I should start by enjoying all the experiences I have today to the fullest. If I don’t do so, I will probably regret tomorrow. So with the knowledge that I will be yearning for tomorrow for what I have today, I am going to capture in all those cherished moments of my present life.

Friday, September 09, 2005

The second deluge….?

I’m freezing inside my office. I go out to have a break from frigging AC. What do I see? Oh my God! Its pouring. Generally it is always raining outside. But this pour is reminiscent of that 26th August pouring.

Is this the second coming? Will Mumbai be able to overcome another spate of flooding?

I cannot predict how nature will behave. But I know one thing. Mumbai is now much better prepared to handle the situation. Every person has vivid memories of what happened on that fateful Tuesday. Each individual now knows what is to be done in such a situation. Not only on an individual level, but also collectively the society now has a widely understood disaster recovery mechanism. Added to this is the world famous Mumbai resilience. There should be no problem.

Lets hope that the Rain-Gods relent. In case they don’t, we are ready.


My fears were unfounded after all. We are now safe. This one it seems is not like the Tuesday cloudburst. This is just the normal everyday rain, they say. The Met dept predicts heavy rainfall for the next 24 hrs(since & till when will we keep relying on them?), but nothing like a danger warning.

So we should be just fine.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Rock Thing

An engineering college buddy just got married. All of us of the engineering college had pooled in money to get him a wedding gift. Since he is in Mumbai, the responsibility of ensuring he has a gift fell on me. The purchase was to me made on Saturday as he was leaving for his honeymoon on Sunday. The thing he wanted – Camcorder. The location of purchase - CST’s Manish market. He also planned to go to the Independence Rock Concert due to be held at the Gateway of India after the purchase. Now I’m not a huge Rock fan. But since there was nothing better to do, I decided to go along.

Now it so happened that the purchase of the Sony HandyCam took a lot of our time & we were late for the concert. We decided to cancel the Rock program & headed for Café Mondegar (his favourite hangout place). To our surprise we saw many others like us wearing black rock type T-shirts there. They definitely had come for the concert. So what were they doing here? We left it at that & started the beer. It was only the next day that I got to know that the concert was actually cancelled because the police thought that having a rock concert at the Gateway of India would be damaging to the monument. The irony is that the same Gateway of India was host to four other musical concerts supported by the rich & influential. The police somehow have figured out that Rock is evil.

My knowledge of Rock may be limited, but this attitude by the police is deplorable to say the least. I found that after the organizer had got almost all permissions, the event got cancelled just because one person thought that having a rock concert at Gateway of India was not appropriate, this one person being a highly placed police officer. My question is “How can any one person decide what is appropriate?”

Friday, September 02, 2005

Friendships in School Hierarchy

What are the kinds of friends we make through our lives? What are the friendships that last? What are the kinds of friendships you will remember through your life?

Let me try answering these taking inputs from my own life. Rather than focus on the recent years let me go back at least 10 yrs before & earlier. My school was a pretty strict type of a school - where studies were of utmost importance. The main focus of the school was – ensuring 100% first classes in X board exams. Naturally, the school hierarchy was then formed based on marks.

My School’s Hierarchical structure-

The select few. They always get the first rank, the best grades, and the highest marks. They are the super motivated lot. They combine the best qualities of focused working nature & high brainpower. The teacher’s favourites, they make sure they have the most impressive report card.
Desire for marks: High
Marks: High

Who wouldn’t want to make friends with the 'Toppers'? After all, these are the most appreciated students. Naturally they had many so-called friends (I’m too lazy to put the definition of friends here). The 'Followers' were attracted to the 'Toppers' out of the desire to get better marks to be more respected among peers & elders. They generally had the motivation but somehow were not able to make it to the top.
Desire for marks: Med to High
Marks: Low to Med

Though this category is clubbed into one, they would be the most unique of characters. As we cannot have a category for each individual, we club the unique individuals in one category. These were the people not in the race for marks. At least their orientation towards marks was much less. Now this was the unpredictable lot. They sometimes would ace a particular subject out of nowhere leaving the toppers gaping. Probably they would see something in that particular subject other than marks. At other times they would be out of the race.
Desire for marks: Low
Marks: Variable

Now I would most definitely be in the 'Others'. However more important is the breed of friends I made.

The ‘Toppers’ were always surrounded by their own share of ‘Followers’. They were too much involved with studies & their ‘Followers’ to spend time on other things. Their motivation for forming friendships was study & study related stuff. Naturally forming friendships with ‘Others’ was not possible.

The ‘Followers’, like the ‘Toppers’ were too involved in study related stuff to form friendship with the ‘Others’. Some of them would try coming close to an ‘Other’ when that guy would suddenly score exceptionally high. But since ‘Others’ did not get their kick out of scoring high marks, they did not get much help from the ‘Other’. So most of the time the ‘Followers’ would be with the ‘Toppers’.

Now this leaves the ‘Others’ to form friendships among themselves. They were like the sideyed people out of the ‘In’ group. They had their own individual preferences & didn’t care much about what others thought was important. Thus while the Toppers had a big list of ‘friends’, the ‘Others’ generally went around with a few only.

Being an ‘Other’, I too had very few close friends in my life. These were not all people with high marks. These were not all people with low marks. Marks was not the criteria. In fact there was no criteria. I did not consciously make friends. Friends just happened. If I felt good being with someone, that was my friend. There is one person named JS who used to stammer, got low marks & had bad handwriting. He was my very good friend for a long time. I don’t know what benefit he got out of me or what I got out of him. Two years ago I got to know that he had passed away. It was sad but I know he will be with all my life. When I look back, I can recall each & every friendship I’ve had. Yes each & every friendship. I suspect its because my making friendships was not dependent on my mind that evaluates the benefits & losses I will have out of any engagement. This is one area where I do not apply my mind.

PS: There is a rumour my mother keeps propagating that I got the first rank in UKG, 1st, 2nd & 3rd standards. Don’t believe her.

Friday, August 26, 2005

My Racing Incident

A winding road about 20 km long - Flanked by Sea on one side, hills on the other - A lonely car speeding along. For NFS (a car racing game) lovers, this will be a dream come true. That is Vizag’s Beach Road for you. My childhood was filled with drives along this beach road. We had the most rickety yet trusted of cars – The Ambassador, at that time. But the fun was never missing.

A few snaps of the place...see the road between the sea & the hills..

turning towards right...

Anyway the point of the post was to share an experience. So we now have a Palio Petrol. It’s a great car! Esp. for unfortunate souls like us the transition from Amby to Palio was overwhelming. Before I continue further, let me tell you that I have no racing experience, apart from the hundreds of hours spent on NFS 2, NFS 3, NFS 5 & NFS 7.

So here I was cruising along the beach road listening to Rabbi Shergills “Gill Te Guitar” when a slow moving Tata Indica in front of me catches my attention. “OK lets overtake him”, I think. That was not to be so easy! The moment I try, a Hyundai Santro coming from opposite direction appears in front from the hidden turn quite ahead. The overtaking still would not have been a problem, if this Indica guy had not increased his speed. I looked at him – the guy had a satisfied smile on his face. To be safe, I braked hard & fell back. The annoying smirk of the Indica guy was still in my mind. And he was still in front of me driving as slow as ever. This guy derived pleasure by driving slow & not allowing others to go ahead. Overtaking him was a problem has the road was narrow & full of turns*.

I could not control the emotions. My blood was boiling. I decided to teach this fool a lesson. Now I know the beach road very well – aakhir hum yahi to palle badhe hain. I know the straight patch of road that will come about 500 mts ahead will be the ideal place to overtake. I know that the acceleration of his Diesel Indica will be no match for my Petrol Palio. I try some more half hearted, fake attempts to overtake, giving this guy the smugness that he is actually very good at this. By this time my straight patch of road is here. Luckily there wasn’t anyone coming from the opposite direction. Now I let the 2nd gear of my Palio do the talking. Our heads bang back to the seats & off we go. He tries speeding; he tries cutting me out by suddenly moving towards right. But by that time we’ve already crossed him. Satisfaction! And I feel like I’m playing NFS 5.

And check this snap we took in the same trip…Feels like NFS 7 doesn’t it.

PS: sorry for the bad quality snaps. its the best my poor camera phone could do..

* On narrow hill roads, overtaking should be done only when the road is straight as any car coming from opposite direction would not be visible when the road is winding.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The long journey back to work....

Vizag is not a popular place with transportation service providers. There are rarely any flights to Vizag. There is only one direct train between Vizag & Mumbai. The flight between Vizag to Mumbai costs as much as 9K while flights with sub 1K fares operate between Delhi & Mumbai. Net result- I come back by train & do not have reserved ticket even though the booking was made more than one month earlier. So RAC is the way to go. This means I have to share a single berth with another person. The train was filled with people like me going back to work after their enjoying their time at home.

The train was naturally overcrowded. There was one marriage party that had decided to load their entire luggage in our bogie in spite of having reservations in the whole train. There were at least two people taking their whole computers (including monitor) with them. People were fighting over place for luggage. So the confusion was immense. Added to this was my situation of not having a reserved ticket.

It’s surprising how people behave in crisis. I was surprised too at how people around me & I myself behaved in this situation. There was somehow a general feeling of camaraderie & helpfulness all around the place. The luggage of the marriage party soon trickled away in the various locations of the train. Some of the RAC got allocated to confirmed berths. Even the luggage fights were resolved & the fighting parties became cordial to each other. Everything got resolved in its own time.

The people I met were mostly bachelors returning to Mumbai from a visit back home in Vizag. The first person I met was working in an IT company in Pune doing mainframe projects in financial domain. The details of my talk with him will be too long to post here but involved topics like work, life in general, real estate, girls, bikes, roads – some boring stuff, some interesting. Another guy (my seatmate) was also in an IT company but was working on embedded systems. For those who are not into IT, these are the people who make software that control stuff like lifts, modern automobiles, audio-video systems & all such things not related to ‘normal’ computers. This particular person was working on next generation heavy diesel engines. My general interest in automobiles made this discussion very interesting. I can go on & on about this discussion but again it will become very long & boring. There was an elderly couple, two other persons who also looked like they were going back to work. By this time I was feeling too sleepy …so it was sleep time.

In the morning I had some time on my own by the window. Whenever I go on a train journey – I never miss this part. I always make it a point to spend some time alone by the window or if that is not possible by the open door. This is a habit from my childhood days. This way I get to know that a major portion India is still occupied by farms & forests. It’s a refreshing change from stifling atmosphere of the city. I let the wind blow on me. And every now & then, I go wash my hands & face, & without drying them go back & let it dry naturally by the wind. It’s so refreshing. You have to try it sometime.

By this time the TC came & allocated a complete berth to me in a different location. I didn’t want to leave this place & the people I’d met. The new place looked more comfortable but was less hospitable. I signals I got from people there were – “You are an intruder in our place” “You mind your own business” “Don’t try to make me talk to you”. This was more like the regular experience I have on the train in a more normal setting. I suspect this is because of my looks. I am a fairly tall guy & look North Indian even though I’ve lived most of my lives in South India. But times are changing now. With the merging of various cultures, I am not so unique anymore. People have much lesser inhibitions talking to me now. The the niche quality that I had earlier is soon getting lost. I don’t know if this is a good thing or not.

This post has become way too big & has totally digressed from the original track. It is time to end now.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

What is love to me?

Music: Jal - Ik Din Ayega, Jal - Bikhra Hoon Main, Strings - Na Jaane Kyon

I am a very lucky person. I am loved.

Mummy: Mothers.......I don't know what makes them so caring, so forgiving of our mistakes, so much devoted to making us happy.... I simply cannot figure this thing out. Being the male of the species, I guess I will never be able to. Can anyone ever love me as much as this woman? Everything she does, everytime she talks, everytime she looks at me, everytime she calls me "ganda baccha", the love shows....rather it overflows. It seems like all the love in the world has been filled in her small frame of 5'3".

Papa: In total contrast to Mummy, Papa rarely shows what he feels inside. As cool as he can be, it may look like he doesn't care about me. His love is a more reserved one. It is locked up somewhere deep inside when he is talking to me. But just listen him talk to any of his friends about me - the pride!! Whatever little or more I've achieved in life, Papa is proud of it. His love also manifests in the form of things he does for me. These are things that any father would do, wouldn't he? Aren't these the duty of parents? To raise their kids & make them able. Yes...& on the face of it, even he believes he does them as a duty. But no.....that is not what drives those actions. These are not mechanical actions. Anything he does for me looks like something motivated by a force much stronger - an emotion. So why does he not show the love directly? Whatever it is, I will find out when I am a father.

Sis: Oh this girl. I can't start writing about her.

Stage 1 - Oh Mummy has a baby. I have a new play thing.

Stage 2 - The great battles are on. From the chocolate to the TV remote. We are fighting it out for everything.

Stage 3 - Sis: "My brother is the best" Me: "Uhh!"

Stage 4 - Sis: "My brother is the best" Me: "OK, She really does love me"

Stage 5 - Sis: "My brother is the best" Me: "Hey, Say something else"

I could never judge the level of love this girl has for me. I never experienced the full throttled show of emotion from her. Her actions are always subdued, knowing that I may get annoyed if she shows her total love. But the question here is - What is the root of all this love? It is understandable about my parents (God has created them like that, so that they take care of me), but why my Sis? Its not as if I have been a little less relentless during the battle years, neither have I gone ahead to show my love anytime I felt like it. What have I done to deserve this love?....... nothing.....maybe thats the key......isn't it?.....isn't that unconditional love......maybe I'm being too idelistic about all this.....maybe not.

Myself: A phrase that could most aptly describe the kind of person I feel I am - "Emotionally subdued". I love less, I hate less, I fear less, I like less - it is as if all my emotions are weak & feeble. Do I love my family? I think I do. Do I know for sure it is love that I feel for them? I'm not sure.

So what do I feel when I experience all this love that I am being showered with. I feel I am a bad person.....the guilty feeling of not being able to reciprocate their love envelops me. And there is nothing I can do about it. Because how much ever I try, my pathetic attempts can never match the grand, large hearted unconditional love I recieve....

And what about the question we began with....What is love to me?

The answer to this question remains unanswered....

Friday, August 12, 2005

Bye Bye Mumbai... only for a while

I am going to Vizag for the next week……………yahoooo!!

A busy schedule awaits me there. Marriages of two engg college friends, Rakhi, my sisters birthday. Because of the extended weekend, courtesy our beloved independence day, many of my long lost friends have also taken leaves & will be there. I only hope we can relive the old days & not delve on mature (bade logo ki baatein) things like jobs, weddings etc.

I really do miss the long hours spent on the beach. I’m not saying that Mumbai’s beaches are in any way inferior. But being in Mumbai, where is the time? Its either work or party or shopping. Traveling is another aspect of the Mumbai life that takes up most of the useful time anyway. While it takes about half an hour to to any place of importance in Vizag, in Mumbai it will take at least 2 hrs.

Ok got to go now… otherwise will miss the train….

Friday, August 05, 2005

Of Sound & Bites

Lately I’ve been noticing a lot of flies. These are the ordinary houseflies. They are there everywhere you go. In the office bus, in the canteen, in the office itself. How much ever do the poor cleaning guys try, these irritating creatures always find a way inside. After the recent spate of heavy rains, while the flies have reduced, the mosquito population has suddenly mushroomed.

These insects have brought back memories of those golden years spent in Lucknow. The place where I used to live is as close to nature as can be. I used to live in Hostel 12, which resides in one corner of the institute. There is no building of any consequence beyond my hostel. My balcony used to overlook this huge grassland that extended up to the horizon. Being natural habitat for all sorts of insects, the grasslands used to be home to many wild & exotic specimens. No flies & mosquitoes though. This place was home to more rarer species. Insects came in all shapes and sizes. Of course to really get to know the variety of these insects one had to venture in the grasslands. However, few of them did venture into the protected confines of our hostel. Two of these insects will find special mention here owing to the highest pain quotient among all the insects.

Jhingur: This fellow is a ordinary looking bug. Its like a cockroach with only one colour- Muddy brown. These guys are most inconspicuous of creatures…..wait....only when they are quite. Ohhh but when they sing!!! God only can help you then. The shrill sound of a Jhingur is that sound that you generally hear in those rainy nights outside your home. Imagine two or more of these right inside your room. What a celebration would that be? Once this guy starts its sound, then you are completely helpless like mumbaikars were on that tuesday. The strange part is that no matter how hard you try, you cannot locate the source of sound. This particular sound comes from all parts of the room. A natural THREEDEE surround sound effect much better than any of those super customized Bose speaker systems you would ever hear. So what do you think is the solution from this nagging head curdling sound. Nothing! As they say, when you can’t beat them, run from them(OK I changed it a bit). So all I did was escape out, do something else. Do anything but stay inside there.

Unnamed Ant like insect: Lets call this insect Antike (combination of Ant & Like). Now, antike must be some wild form of our regular domesticated city ant. This is a bit long and more colourful. I suspect this fellow also has flying abilities though they would be limited. So what would you think is so painful about this specimen? Yeah, you guessed it right – it’s the sting. When an antike decides to sting, it just doesn’t sting once, but as many times as it can. Generally the stings go along a path- the second sting near the first, the third near the second and so on. Another peculiar thing about the sting is that somehow you do not detect the sting immediately. The pain starts only sometime after antike has finished its job & made a safe retreat. By the time you realize, your skin starts swelling. The swelling of course lasts for a week or two depending on the intensity of the sting.

So here were the two most pain giving & consequently most memorable insects from my stay in Lucknow. The antike was the most prolific among the stingers. The jhingur however wins hands down. After all if an insect can throw you out of your own room, it must be something staggering.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Back with a flood

I had to do this. I had to stop blogging for a some days. There is nothing new in life. No account to describe, no ideas in my mind. Added to this I have become really busy these days. And I don’t want my blog just to be an account of my daily routine, which has become super monotonous. I operate like a machine operating with micro second accuracy. But all that is a different story.

Like everyone in Mumbai, I too have a tale to tell about that incredible flood. After all the exciting stories you would have heard or read, this is nothing spectacular. So let me be short.

It all started at 4:00 pm on that fateful Tuesday – 26.07.05. The office buses were to leave early – thought I’d get home soon. That was not to be. After waiting for more than 2 hrs in the super downpour & running frantically in almost waist high water (new shoes – destroyed, old Motorola – alive), I had to return back to office. The realization that this was ‘something big’ came rudely quick. I prepared to camp here for the night. Thankfully the canteen people were helpful & gave us some much-needed Dal Rice. You cannot imagine how well it tasted. I slept at my desk for the night. We left in the morning by one of the company buses. I saw some places filled with water but again nothing spectacular. Got home, slept a lot & went back to office the next day. Everything was back to normal from then on.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

What is your goal?

OK lets get straight here. What do people want to do? What do they want to achieve?

I want to go outside India man. Life there is so cool. Beautiful girls, fast cars, lifestyle!! Life in India sucks. In the west, people give you all the personal space you want. India is too crowded.

I want to come back home. I feel lonely here. I am so excited I am finally coming back to India.

B-School: My final goal is heading a multi million dollar organization.

Engineering College: I want to get admission into IIMA

School: I want to get into IIT

Me says: I want to be happy!!!
Response: Whaaat? That is no goal man. Your goal should be specific. It cannot as generic as this. You cannot achieve happiness by trying to be happy. You have to earn it. You have to work hard (read. seriously), to achieve your goal. That’s the only way to live.

Why is that? What would you gain by getting into IIT, IIM, going outside India or other such things you plan to do? Aren’t these all a means to an end? The end being happiness. Everyday we hear people setting goals, achieving some of them & then chasing other goals. How much time do they spend savoring the happiness of having achieved that goal. I am no exception. I had set some goals in life too. To what end? I did enjoy the achivement of those goals. But for a very short while. As soon as you get what you aim for, your mind automatically shifts its attention. People who would have ever fed a dog would know. Say you have a roti in your hand & you are feeding it in pieces. The dog would not start eating until all the pieces have been dropped. It is not satisfied with what its got. It’s the same with us humans. We are never satisfied with what we’ve got. We strive to get more. Maybe that drives innovations and all the improvements in place today. But in this whole process aren’t we forgetting to hold back a little and be happy.

Here I’m not saying that you forget everything & have no desires. Although this maybe good for some. But I guess I and most of the people cannot reach that level of consciousness. So what to do?

Enjoy every moment of your life!!!

This must be one of the toppers in the “Most clichéd statements Hall of Fame”. It definitely looks easy. But I look around and all I find is unsatisfied people having all the excuses to be not happy. “Life sucks” “I don’t deserve this” “My job is totally screwed up” Now I am new to the blogging world. But majority of the blogs too seem to be about cribs in life. They generate a lot of comments too. These are other cribbers sharing the same line of thought.

Maybe we should all keep reminding ourselves of the ultimate goal always. “Happiness”. But we seem to always lay one step below the ultimate goal. “Let me achieve this one last goal & I will be happy forever” is the rant all through life. We feel that happiness is that elusive goal which has to be achieved by years of toil & hard work. We don’t possibly realize that happiness is all around us. You just have to change your point of view.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Do you really need an umbrella ..?

OK, I’m back in Mumbai. What can I say. I couldn’t convince myself against indulging in yet another update on rains. After all, the whole of my last week was a celebration of this unique phenomena called Monsoon. As you enter Lonavala, the first thing that strikes you is the amount of moisture in the atmosphere. Now I am not new to places with high moisture content. But Lonavala is on a whole new level. This could be because of the rains there. The rains never stop. Its rains on an average for about 22 hrs in a day. There are small 5 min respites every half an hour or so when people can move from one shelter to other. Its possibly also the time when the rain gods take rest. In spite of all this, I had a great time. I spent hours just sitting & watching all this amazing volume of water fall down from the sky. I got drenched many times. The difference between Mumbai & Lonavala was that I did not have to travel on muddy roads for hours in Lonavala which I do everyday here for coming to office. It was also because I was living in the luxury of a resort.

I have lost my umbrella & I will not be buying a new one. I feel the umbrella gives you protection but it also takes away your freedom. I have to carry it everywhere I go, and it is of use only when I am outside & its raining. Losing the umbrella really gave me an opportunity to enjoy the rains. This also helped me in realise that this is not such an essential requirement – even in the heavy downpour of Lonavala. In fact, if it rains heavily an umbrella is anyway useless. I have decided to take on life as it comes & not worry too much about the rain. But what do I see here? The rains have gone. For the last two days it has hardly rained for an hour or so in Mumbai. I also hope the rains subside in flood affected places too, so that rescue operations can continue.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Mumbai Monsoon

Rains in Mumbai are relentless. If it rains, there is an incessant shower of water for days. Back home in Vizag, it rains but not continuously for so long. The most frustrating thing here is that all this water has nowhere to go. So it stays on the roads. Now in Mumbai the roads are generally good but the Mumbai Corporation has this strange facination of digging up every road which they find is full of traffic, to create further congestion. The reason given generally - flyover construction. So the roads are nicely dug up, open & vulnerable by the time of the rainy season. The rains then attack & convert these dug up roads into muddy wastelands.

There have been some developments due to which I will not be updating for the next week.

I'm off to a company sponsored training in Lonavala. It is a hill station located between Mumbai & Pune. Though it is a beautiful place, the monsoon is not the time to be visiting that place. The place experiences heavy rainfall at this time. Thank god the place in which we will be staying looks comfortable- Avion Hotel, Lonavala.

I intend to get as much as possible from this training. haa... as if MBA was not enough. On a serious note, it is good that we are having this trip. Staying in Mumbai, the long tiring journey from home to office & back home in these rains is very frustrating. I waste 3 to 4 hrs of my day in travelling. Hope the Lonavala trip will bring some respite & save me from one week of the Mumbai monsoon.

Monday, June 20, 2005

There's no beginning......There'll be no end........

So I started my own blog. I guess my first posting has to justify why I intend to blog. There should be a purpose behind it. I started this blog because I cannot talk. …OK I can talk but not about things which I will be expressing here. The truth is that my lifestyle nowadays is such that I rarely get an opportunity to interact with people on a personal basis. However on the net I have a whole community to share my thoughts with. Added to this is the fact that I have a poor long-term memory. I don’t remember things that happened in school, & I remember some faint details of my engineering college days. So I feel I need to keep a record of my thoughts so that five years from now I can read my blog & reflect on my life………wow…I have suddenly become so serious.

Now that I have started blogging, there is more serious/boring stuff coming your way. Future posts will include- More about myself, Purpose of religion, Cars I love, What is Love, Movie reviews, Sex, Romance, Drama, Action, Suspense – all the elements that are required to make a blog a super hit. OK – I was just kidding. I got carried away a bit there. The truth is that I have not made any plans of my future posts. Am not even sure I will be able to continue posting. There is a rough plan though. Let us see how things turn out.