Monday, January 28, 2008

Lazy bones!!

Oh, I had a really busy weekend. I mean it was so busy, it left me absolutely tired. Well in fact, I spent the weekend completely in bed, I mean for the most part. Lower that raised eyebrow of yours, was busy sleeping!! Yup!! Now isn't that the perfect way to spend the weekend. Apart from that tried out my hand in the kitchen and well, it wasn't a disaster, in fact I would give myself a 6/10. And I did all that siply because I was feeling too lazy to step out and get lunch, so cooked up something with the stuff I had at home. So, sleep, TV, food and phone calls, that's how the weekend went by.

Was supposed to go to Mumbai on Sunday to meet up a few friends, and then things felt flat on the face on Saturday night, with most of the Mumbaiites except for Avi, pulled out citing one reason or the other. And then Xav, came up with the brilliant idea ($#$#%#$%) of dropping it altogether. Me, Xav and Adi were the ones turning up from Pune. Obviously Avi was furious but then that's life I guess. Anywyz, she cooled down. Result, I spend Sunday in my apartment and picking up on my culinary skills. The only advantage out of the entire fiasco!!
Anywyz, I'm sure you guys have guessed by now I haven't got anything substantial to write about, so I'll bow out while the going is still good. And till then you listen to this beautiful song.. and it is dedicated to someone special!!

Something stupid - Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman

Friday, January 25, 2008

Calcutta Chromosome

"Yet repeatedly this uniqueness has been endangered by neglect, and will be swept aside entirely because someone in power will write ‘fire hazard’ on the file and sweep it away for a gigantic retail park to take its place, complete with food court and glittering multiplex. Other cities try to preserve their character and history because these things are simply theirs, but we have always been acutely embarrassed about doing so. Perhaps it’s because Burrabazar is the place of ‘non-Bengalis’, that dreaded uber-species. Perhaps it’s because nearly everything that makes Calcutta Calcutta came originally from somewhere else, to be shaken up in a bizarre mix and given that strange coat of flamboyance and pettiness that has always marked this city. Instead of embracing this bizarreness, our masters have always wanted to pare it down to some essence of ‘Bangalitto’, discarding all the ‘anti-culture’ that keeps blowing in on the four winds. That’s kind of like peeling off all the layers of the onion. The thing that’s left is the least useful part."

Does the piece make you think about something? Hmmmm... I wonder!! Let me guide you, this is about a city called Kolkata, though I really to refer it as Calcutta, it's original name. A few weeks back a massive fire ravaged the Burrabazar area of Kolkata. A major business centre, the loss runs more than just a few crores. The fire had destroyed more than 2000 shops. But more importantly it again drove home a truth about this hallowed commercial hub.

Burrabazar or Bazar Kolkata has been in existence since establishment of the colonial rule or sometime thereafter. The place apart from being the business hub that it always has been, was also the residential locality for some of the more affluent business personalities of Kolkata, a category popularly known as "Babus" who were famous for their pomp, glamour and affluence. A reminder of such an era is the palatial buildings that still line the streets and the by-lanes.

Towards the end of the 19th century, one saw the influx of Marwari businessmen, who proceeded to make this area a stronghold of theirs, setting up businesses which are still being run by the later generations. They too added their architectural touch in the this area.

Should you be searching for something and yet to find it, try Burrabazar, you might get lucky. From being sold in small quantities to huge volumes, the transactions carried out at Burrabazar flummoxes many a financial experts. Synonymous with lanes, by-lanes, open garbage area, pungent air, road blocked by trucks, this place has over time turned out to be part of Kolkata/Calcutta's identity.

Yet, it these very structures which are proving to be bane for this area. Constructed in a manner which perhaps was suitable to the era gone by, it certainly is no more viable. Faulty electrical wiring all over the place, with inflammable products being stocked at about every nook and cranny, this place is always sitting on a virtual fireplace ready to get ignited. And this is what happened!!

And what has been happening since then is best highlighted by Rimi.

When will the authorities wake to protect the heritage of the land, when as an added bonus this place is also a major business hub??


Oh.. tomorrow is Republic Day for India. So here's to you all!!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A desire to fly...........

Not too many years ago, a little boy was running through the streets of his housing complex, screaming with delight. The cool evening breeze of Rajasthan brushing his face, he's out to have fun. He stumbles onto the lawn and lies down panting as his friends collapse one by one around him. They have been sprinting for a while now. He really loved to play. But, what he really wanted to be was an IAF officer. That was his dream. Everyday as he'd stare into the light blue sky, read about the freedom fights and the brave Rajputs, he cannot help but curse his age, why was he so young??

Times change, a year since then he got an eye infection. That changed his life, his ambition or rather loss of it. He now had glasses. His dream of flying the skies lay dashed to bits. At an age where other kids had started to spread their wings, he became listless. He no longer had any desire to grow up. What's the point?? He will never don a uniform for his nation. He drifted from one activity to another trying to figure out what is that could quieten his inner turmoil. Fine arts, cricket, lawn tennis.. they all had their fair chance. He was promising enough on all counts, yet became "Jack of all trades, master of none". The importance of education or rather good scores where impressed onto his mind by many around him. Things were not so simple. He started to hate the entire concept of studying. His grades dropped!!

The kid has gradually changed gears and started on the turbulent teens. Unable to understand what's happening to him, he started to read. And that became his obsession. Life sort of missed him by, his talents took a backseat as the boy, turned into a bookworm. His world was spun with nothing but words. Was he discovering his vocation then? Who knows?? And then he decided he wanted to be a doctor. Try as he might, he didn't get through to a good college. A childhood apathy towards the art of mugging and the Indian education in general had developed a mental block withing him. Ask him to study, he'll fall asleep faster than you can write your name. But then, he made to engineering colleges. He never studied for their exams. How did he clear them? He was bewildered. Perplexed, he followed advice and became an engineer. He still read but no longer wrote.

He graduated, got himself a job and moved into a different city. On his own, he eked out his living. Life was flowing smoothly, and then the bane of youth, a fluttering heart, took him to the doorsteps of a lady he had never set his eyes upon. As initial banters turned into something serious, he stopped drifting. He started to focus. But then, is he not again dreaming to be a pilot.... of his own life now?? Will again, they be thwarted by circumstances?? Or will he succeed??

He seeks control of his life, where he can make decisions on his own, without a care on who thinks high or low about it? But then, he no longer enjoys what he was qualified to do. A white-collared labour of the Indian IT regime, he had little faith in his himself now. He is driven by in his emotions, he has realised it but then can his emotions guide him now? It's treacherous out there, one false move his career plummet to the greatest of lows. And then he has a target to meet, a year to establish himself. But he also has to change track. Where should he move to? How does he get the break??

As thoughts like that chase each other around his head, he walk out into the open and savours the cold winter breeze after a long time!!

That my dear friends is how-story of an average Indian IT programmer goes like when they are a couple of years into the industry. The picture really is not rosy!! But then, dashed hopes, crushed dreams and yet the desire to fly is what makes one succeed I think!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Another day drifting by..........

Alright now, the day here started on a very dismal note. I mean, waking up at 7:30 am is not cool at all, but then had no options. You see, the maid turns up at 8:00, and I have to leave by 8:30, 'coz work start from 9:00. Not done at all!! Anyhow, there I was drowsy and cursing my mobile for shrieking out loud (the damn thing has 3 alarms, and smarty pants yours truly had set them at an interval of 15 royal minutes, huh!!), since 7:00 am. Good thing Neal, couldn't hear it from his room (or may be he was too lazy!!). So, Up and about I make it to the wash basin and go about the morning rituals. So far so good. "What's so special?", you might ask. Nothing, nothing as of now!! With maid supposed to turn up in a few more minutes, I'm for the bath. No time to get some hot water, have to rely on the almost ice-cold water. Happily crooning away (that's not a habit, had to forget about the chill!!), the water runs out me, with the soap buds playing hid seek on my face. I managed to get things done with whatever little was around. And then I realise the reason, some smart ass last night had left the kitchen tap open, so drippy boy had gone on and tried to fill up the sink, it failed so tried even harder forgetting the fact, it doesn't have a never ending supply of water and there are other taps too, who rely on the same source. So, finally there's no water drippy boy failed in its mission. No wonder, the bratty steel was looking a bit dull in the morning.

So, having dealt with the morning accidents, I drove off for work, when on the way I came across this fella or rather a cab driver who seemed to have stepped out for a morning stroll with his car. Wonder whether he was showing his car around the place, "Look there sonny boy, that's where you find good eggs. 26 rupees to a dozen.", "That shopkeeper son is a might crook I tell you, he'll always try to rip you off. Avoid him!!", and god knows what not!! Well, it's really ok, but not at 9:00 am when the world does step out for go to work. And if you've got a car honking right behind you, you move aside. I frankly, have no idea, whether sensibility dawned on him or was mere chance I saw him drifting to the left, that was my chance and I sped. I happened to glance at the rear-view mirror and realised there were about 4 more fellas right behind me, all heaving a sigh of relief. I've got his number (the cab's license plate duh!!), next time I see that cab on the street, I'm not driving!!! hmpf!!!

At work, things have been pretty quiet. Deadlines met, things on schedule, nothing to jangle the nerves to be honest. Boring!! So, I resort to my favorite pastime now, blog reading. I started playing hop-skotch around here, and visited a good deal of them. One of then written by Scout, got me thinking (Read it here). It's about just how unsatisfied one with his/her professional life. And frankly, me being one of them I could feel exactly what she was talking about. I mean, am good at what I do, but I no longer enjoy it. At times I wonder why I drifted into the technical world. Societal pressure?? Parental expectations?? Peer pressure?? Or fear of taking the road less travelled?? I revel in challenges. Challenge my skill and you'll find a genius at work, else you got your everyday Jack next to you!! But then, somethings are going right for me (my personal life), just hafta align my professional life with it and well... I can breathe easy... a lot easy!! It's hard work, and that's why am still here coding and talking to clients. Seriously, money matters!!!

And finally, at the fag end of the day Tapan manages to crack me up. Just dropped in there, to check for the odd post that he puts up there, and came across this one, where he talks about a train ride of his mother , in which a hilarious encounter between mama and some youngsters is discussed. Left me smiling. Read it here.

Alright now, I've bored you fellas enough, get back to your stuff. Honestly!! You guys up for reading any and every rant or what??? :) lol...

Confused Gyaan:

There'll always be strings attached to you. You can break away and try to be yourself or you can loosen them and still try to be yourself. Which one is better?? :)

Ciao!!! Take care people....

Monday, January 21, 2008

Oh!! whatever........

I got this in the mail today morning at work sent by a colleague of mine. Take a look....

"The woods were lovely dark and deep. Walking slowly beside her, in the damp mud road, was her husband whom she barely knew. He was very relaxed, happily watching a group of kids playing at a distance.Her "mehandi" was still dark and smelling fresh, reminding of the excitements and tension 2 days back. "It cant work this way mom...please stop this", she kept telling her mother till the last moment, who wouldn't listen but carry on with beautifying her. She had been crying all night and her make-up had to be patched up twice or thrice to hide her awkwardly swollen face.

It was too late now. She had to get married "NOW" to the guy...The guy whom she had seen once and talked thrice. The guy about whom she knew nothing at all but for his name and work. Everything happened in a hurry and everything was over before she could breathe again... here was she with this guy, all alone in this hill station... how can anybody send their daughter such a long distance with a stranger???

"Hey look at that....!!!" he shouted in excitement... she shrugged and looked where his finger pointed... Bright colored balloons dotted the sky. Children were jumping in joy and he seemed to be completely absorbed into it...colors are always exciting...but not now. She was not with her friends, not with her team mates, not even with her parents. This was not a 3 day tour or team building trip. This was her life and she has been forced to start off with this person.Loneliness and discomfort with this stranger was sickening...She looked at him in wonder... does he even realize that he has married me? Does he understand that he has to love me, protect me, care for me, a new girl, a stranger, all his life?

The marriage morning started like a daylight nightmare for her. The first time in life she felt she should have fallen in love and then married somebody. some man who she would have felt more comfortable with, someone whom she could call by name and introduce to friends,someone whom she could trust. But marriage morning was obviously not the time to think all these. Her parents would never have said "no" if she had declared that she was in love. But she was not emotionally attached to anybody she met, especially guys. She was very friendly, playing, teasing, but never had second thought for any man around her. That brought the entire responsibility of looking for a groom on her parents' shoulders. Her parents had had a very bad time with this entire process. They started their groom search with unending "&" operation. The concatenation of "Horoscope matching" & "Decent family" & "Good looking" & "Good pay" & "same cast" & so on... that always gave 0 output. Now after all that 8 months hunt, they were not ready to hear her "ifs" and "buts" for this 'good guy'. She had explained to her father. She does not feel anything for this person. He is nothing more to me than any other software professional. Like list of names she sees in the chat rooms. Distant and usual...Her father asked her to talk to him and even meet him and discuss their likes and dislikes. That meeting started like the induction programme self introduction and ended like a 3 hour seminar.She was waiting to get away from that place. "So did you talk with him?". "yes". "was he polite and decent". "yes". "Oh he got that special flavoured tri-color ice cream...!!!".OK. All her family and relatives discussed...She was given the chance to "understand her life partner" and that they have understood each other "well" and she is ready for the marriage now. All arrangements geared up and it was 24 days after her first meeting that she was getting married to her man... perfect match as everybody else described. Marriage hall was full with excited people, kids got the chance to play, ladies got the chance to wear the silk saree. The smell of rose and jasmine filled the hall. Different poses for the photographer and artificial smiles for the videos. The moment he had tied the sacred thread was unexplainable vacuum in the head. It was over.She was his wife. Accepted by the society and law. Her proud parents were relaxed. This was their duty they had been planning to fulfill since she was born. All this crowd will fade away, leaving her to explore her new world...

He pulled her hand gently to sit on the stone bench. The bench was wet and the chillness was indeed enjoyable. "So what are you thinking about?"... that was an unexpected ball. should she reply? should she be silent? She remembered the two hour presentation she had taken last month. Bold and confident, she kept answering all the queries with a broad smile. Now she remained silent. "Do you know honey... I was not for this marriage too..." Oh my God... what did i hear??? did HE tell that or did i think aloud? what does he mean? didn't he like me? was he forced into this? He must have noticed the quizzical look on my face...with a gentle smile he continued..."I wanted to look for a girl myself, buy her everything, care for her, argue with her, laugh and cry with her, then get married to her... Anything otherwise would be a drama. Traditional drama and i was not for it anytime. But my love for my work and also my stress would not give me time and mind to search that girl...When your parents talked to me 2 weeks before our marriage, about your fear of getting married, to a stranger, i could completely understand your mind. I could see myself in you and that was the moment i decided i will marry you. There was no time to prove myself to you, make you trust me, everything happened in a hurry. But there was the entire life before me, to please you, to love you, to make you trust me. This is no less than what i had dreamt, the girl i was waiting for, is you. Now tell me... will you love me???" Tears came down her cheek. Her parents had done more than their duty. They had found her the perfect guy. Thank you Mom!!! Thank you Dad!!! His question remained unanswered yet both knew the answer...."

Now, after going through this, though things seemed to be filled with promises, I still had a question on my mind. What if this is nothing but a flight of fantasy? And thus started a conversation, which meandered into the various aspects of love-marriage vis-a-vis arranged marriage. I won't list them out for anyone, because enough has already been said. What I can say is that, I'm sticking to my guns and going ahead with my choice.. should things fall apart (god forbid!!) then may be mom-dad can help me out.....

Anywyz, besides all that, this weekend was a hectic one. I mean more hectic than my 40+ hrs of work in the week!! Now, before you start making any wild guesses, let me be clear I was shifting into a new and better (quite obvious I must say) flat. So, there we were, that would be me and Neal, on Saturday morning packing our stuff, rushing off to make sure that the deal is still on, and finally moving out at 7:00 pm. Now that was the first trip, and then there was a second one. So there it was two bachelors loaded with stuff as if both were married men, travelling in the back of a cargo jeep, soiled throughout the day's work. If was quite an effort. let me five you a list of the stuff we had:

1. TV,
2. Cooler,
3. TV trolley,
4. A 5.1 sound system of 2000 watts (or was there another zero I don't really remember!!)
5. 2 beds, 2 double mattress, 2 single mattress
6. About 12 bagful of clothes.
7. A 30kg capacity bag (the kind our aunties fill up completely when coming to India, god bless them.. i love the chocolate box in there :P), full of books,
8. A lots of smaller stuff, which proved to more than we thought we had.
9. I almost forgot, the entire kitchen stuff, that comprised about 2 huge cardboard cartons (say the one in which you got your 21" television)

So that my friends is the belongings of two bachelors. Our landlady threw a fit on seeing our stuff and seemed to be very suspicious that we two were not the only ones staying there (what a shame!!! she questioned my integrity... Do i get to do a Ponting here?? :P) Anywyz, we were tired and dirty... and so dropped off the weary souls. In between I made sure that my lady was kept abreast of all the action out here....

And so turns up Sunday, I still wonder how, I managed to look at the wristwatch striking 8:45 and mistook it for 12:00 pm. That shook off my sleep, it was Isha who corrected me there... and well.. I felt downright sheepish!!! Jeez.... Anywyz, up and about we both got down to some hard work, and set about decorating the flat... Its over now, phew!!!! But then I have taken my call... should I've to take up a flat on rent again, it's gotta be furnished!!!

Anywyz, enough updates on my part. let's hear it from you...
Oh in case, the ones who know are wondering about her, well she spent the weekend at work!!! I hate such work routines!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Flier......

Travelling around India in the past couple of years has exposed me to some behavioral patterns which I find amongst my co-passengers.

1. Never listen to the flight attendant when he/she is busy demonstrating the basic in-flight security measures like the seat belt and gas mask.

2. The uncles tend to ogle at the lady attendants a lot, while the youngsters plant the earphones of their i-pod firmly in their ears and proceed to a nap. Wonder what's up??

3. The no one seems to be hungry when on board the low-cost carriers... yet you'd find the very same hogging like there's no tomorrow if they aren't being sold during the flight!!!

God!! Haven't u realised?? The food that you get is always paid for by you.. either during ticketing or during flight!!

4. Oh!! the way people try to get off the flight!!! I mean, the moment the seat belt sign is off... people simply try and scramble off the flight.. as if there's a time bomb on board and its gonna blow up any minute now!!! What's the hurry??? You won't really get anywhere faster just because got off the plane earlier than the rest nor is there an early bird prize!! Woteva!!!

5. Call me bourgieous if you may, but then I find some really irritiating fellows as my co-passengers well about whose demeanor the less said the better!! Now, since the airport tax is shooting up, I hope to see an automatic filter coming on. The flip side is I'd be flying a little less now!! **sighs** Delhi is so bloody far!!! **grumbles**

6. The in-flight magazines and the cutlery that you get with your snack, is meant to be "in-flight" and not for a place in you bag/purse!!! When will they learn??

7. Playing loud music on your system is not cool. Dude, turn the music low or better still if its grunge rock, you might as well turn it off!!

8. Your phone is to be switched off or be in flight mode when the plane is in motion. What sort of a dunderhead whould try and start talking over the phone the moment the flight touches ground??? A typical businessman with no manners what-so-ever!! Oh.. and if you ask them to turn it off, trust me you might as well not look at his face for "if looks could kill" :D

9. Can you speak softly to the fellow next to you?? Someone here is trying to catch up on some sleep!!

Ok.... frankly, I was in a mood to rant and decided to go for this!! Dunno, whether I made much of a sense or not but then....

By the way, were you aware of a site called bugroff?? I'll bet no... take a look at the pic below.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Duur digonter paare (Far beyond the horizon!!)

Duur Digont'er Paare......
Chole jete chay je mon,
Duur digonto paar kono ek jaygay
Je jaygay roy mor aponjon,
Jekhane nei bedona, trishna,
Nei jekhane bishader rekha, dukhher megh,
Nei jekhane kono nishohayer chitkar,
Nei jekhane irsha, dwesh,
Jekhane nei karur nishthurota,
Achhe kebol pobitra, komol, sheetol shanti
Aar ek chhaya!!
Shei chhaya, je chhaya'r swapno dekhechhe oneke,
Kintu peyechhe koyeke,
Shei chhaya, jar ashroye notun bichar ney jonmo,
Shei chhaya, jar kol theke udoy hoy ek notun projonmo,
Ei chhaya aar shanti somayeto je jayga,
Shei jaygai mor lokhhyo jar proti agrohi aami!!
Duur digont'er pare he bondhu,
Shottyo bolo, achhe ki ei jaygay?
Naki ei keboli ek prohelika,
Jar jonyo jibon oneke korechhe britha,
Shotti achhe ki ei jayga,
Duur digonter paare!!!
This poem happens to be first attempt at trying out poems in Bengali. Written way back in January 2000, I consider this to be a very childish creation. I'll translate it in english for I'd like to know your views on this.

Far Beyond the Horizon.......
The mind wants to wander,
To place far beyond the horizon,
Where my dear ones who live,
Where there is no pain no thirst,
Where there is no sign of vengeance, or clouds of sorrow,
Where there's no cries of pain,
Nor the shrieks of the helpless,
Where there's no jealousy,
Nor is there hatred,
Where there's nothing but peace...
and a strange shadow!!
A shadow dreamt of by many,
But then few have found it.
A shadow which gives birth to new ideas,
Birth to a new generation, renaissance.
It's such a land of peace and such shadow,
That is my goal seek... that which I seek!!
Far beyond the horizon, dear friend,
tell me truly, is there such a land?
Or is it just a mirage,
For which lives a-many have been wasted!!
Is there really such a land,
Far beyond the horizon???

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A ride alone!!

A long ride it has been,
Travelling on lonely roads,
Sleeping on dusty floors,
Walking through scary forests,
Facing the dark nights,
Braving the gales,
The sun beating down over the head,
The storms throwing plans astray,
Shadows being cast by dark clouds,
The rains drenching the mind and body,
For good at times... but then...
Notoriety cannot be far behind.

Walked though ghostly towns,
The haunted soul seeping in me,
Filling the heart with unknown dread...
Rode through lonely corners,
Watching a single mother,
Laying out clothes to dry,
I smiled at the simple existence.
Braving the darkest of night,
In the deserts I saw the departed,
Lying without honour,
I prayed for their soul.
And then I saw a garden,
People celebrating life,
Children playing with glee,
I laughed along too...
I'm alive...

And then I moved on...
To find more such..
The ones who celebrate
Despite all odds..
And make us the wanderers
Stop and smile..
A welcome break..
A drop of salvation..
In this ride..
A ride alone!!