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.