Sunday, December 13, 2009


From as long as I can recollect, one of my pursuits in social encounters has been to understand what makes a person popular. Sometimes it has been the 'attractive' lass, other times it has been that really funny guy who got everyone is splits, sometimes it is the person who enamored everyone by his talks and discussions, or someone who is already popular and making the most of it.

However, I have seen the lesser beautiful being more attractive, the less funny guy who makes everyone at ease, more popular... in general, even the second ranker can beat the alpha fella. How?
I have come to believe in the theory (if there is one) of aura. Aura, as defined by the first entry of google search is : A distinctive but intangible quality that seems to surround a person or thing.

I take it to mean the positive energy surrounding a person. I know of times when I would feel so mad at something that happened at home, and then, when I had to go out, no amount of make-up or accessories or good clothing would make me feel beautiful. And then there were those times when with a spring in my gait I would hop around the house, and smile alone and sing loudly and be carefree and in love with life. I would take approximately 2 minutes to get ready and without any effort I would feel so beautiful.
The same is true of what I feel for my friends when I meet them. Some of us term this energy as 'mood'. I am not sure if it is correct... it is close. But the energy is much more than the mood. It's a superset.

The theory of aura is similar to that of leshya. My mother had once expounded on it, and I am completely sold on it. It says that everyone is carrying with them this halo (energy field) around their bodies. The halo has colors - it has soothing colors (light blue and green... perhaps the cool colors) when you are happy and at peace. It has bright red and all those scary colors when you are angry and mighty displeased. Basically, the color reflects your energy field. This energy field can be sensed by those close to you. And so, you are attractive if you have an attractive energy field around you. This is one of the prime factors that affects how much people like you.

So, next time you are going for that party or the all-important meeting, remember to check your aura before you check your make-up and attire :-)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The much-needed kick

A stormy night... the perfect backdrop for a story to begin.
She looked out and had a slightly sinking feeling. There was no way she could go out. She looked around helplessly, trying to evaluate all the methodologies for escape. None seemed viable.

She was stuck. It was one of those things that are difficult to digest, but nonetheless, have the signs for a potential adventure. She sat on a chair. Around her were others who felt just as helpless. Not much could be done except make light talk and stare at those talking on phone to the 'outside world'.

It was quite a scene in the office building on 26/07 - the day Mumbai got flooded.. the primary reason being that no-one (no BMC, weather dept, Bejan Daruwala) could forecast that there would be such rains. And not being able to forecast before the showers is still somewhat acceptable. But what about the forecasts after the torrential rains start pouring? 'Probably 2 more hours', 'is it only in this area of Mumbai?', 'how many inches do you think this is?'.
No one in the office had a clue. All communication channels were severed.
The building being a fancy glass-cladded building, it was ensured that there could be no leakage of the conditioned air.. which in turn implied that there were hardly any windows.

So, stuck on the 14th floor with several other employees in darkness at mid-night, with the cell-phone serving no more than a paper-weight, and sweating and smelling within the suffocating shut-window area, I sat happily.
After the initial sense of confusion and turbulence, comes the stage of excitement for the ensuing adventure.

What is it about adventure? What was it that I felt that night that I have treasured since then? Why do I wish that at least once in my lifetime I get to see the oxygen mask drop on me in an airplane (if not get to use the life-jacket)?

Contrary to what the media has to say, I believe that we live in an inherently safe society. We have come a long way in dispensing off the thrills of the dangers faced by our ancestors. And this lack of thrill in an 'aam aadmi's' life makes his/her life a wee-bit incomplete. And that's what gets us excited when we read 'sensational' news. We take vicarian pleasures in our fellow 'aam aadmis'' more thrilling lives. We get rather excited when we hear tales from the eye-witnesses of crimes, catastrophes, scandals.

There is a certain amount of thrill that is desirable. We would certainly not like it to cost us our health or peace of mind. However, an uneventful life pushes one to take extreme steps to feel the thrill.

The movie "The Game" is a wonderful story based on similar grounds.

I wonder what it would feel like to be caught in war, in a revolution, to be part of a military organization, to hold a fire-arm, or have one placed on the forehead?
How would one react? It seems that one cannot know oneself completely until one is exposed to a variety of situations. It is tempting to envy those whose lives are at greater risks, of course, with the greater 'rewards' of adrenaline-pumpings.

In any case, the night stay at the office on 26/07 was brilliant, with random people chatting animatedly about random topics under candlelight. Not all storms are bad.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Shares of life?

A Company is owned by share-holders who nominate a 'management team' to manage the company for them.
What is the aim of the management team? Is it to run the company smoothly, ensure the brand-name is created/maintained, keep the employers happy? Perhaps.

What are the financial aims of the management, or more appropriately, the corporate finance team/dept?
Is it to increase profitability? Increase Sales? Increase volumes? Increase Profit Margin?
It is tough to make any of these as the aim. For instance, increasing profitability seems like a sound goal, and a seemingly innocuous one. But then, it has to be quantified. Profitability for the next year, or the one after that, or all years? Can they use inferior raw-material and sell at the same price to increase profits? Increase Sales? A statement like: "The goal is to increase profitability" leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation or misrepresentation of the motives of the share-holders (the guys who own the company).

A beautiful and strikingly clear goal for the Finance team is to "Increase the share value".
This takes into account everything. The increase in share value implies that the 'worth' of the company has increased. The share-holders cannot help but be happy with this.

It might seem obvious (what-was-so-ooh-lala-about-this) to someone. But any other goal is tainted with un-clarity. Once you have such a goal (and of course a set of ethical codes), it simplifies the decision-making process.

I can almost imagine the guy (guys? team? reasearch group? confederation?) that came up with this idea that all the finance group had to do was try to legitimately increase the share-value. They would have solved a deep-rooted question of corporate finance. And made it, at least coming up with a target, a cake-walk for the rest.

I wish a guy (guys? team? blah blah) come up with a similar rule for living life. There are many theories to what would make a 'successful liver', just like what would make for a 'successful' finance team.
One can say that a desirable goal of life is to increase happiness (similar to increasing profitabilty). But this statement is un-clear, just like 'increasing profitability' is unclear. You could cheat through a test and score high and the high score might make you happy... and the cheating may not necessarily make you that sad/guity. The classic question is that would you try to be happy at the cost of someone else's happiness, just like would you try to make profits by harming the competitor's product?
You could. And you could justify that the statement 'increasing happiness' didn't have any clauses.

But is there an equivalent of 'increasing share-value' for the conundrum of life?

The thrill is in making profits.... but in different ways - taking the challenge of making a non-performing assets profitable, finding a niche market for your product and booking profits, positioning yourself to make profits, obtaining cheap loans and making profits, making a loss in your debut venture and yet seeing the profit of knowledge in it.

And similarly, the thrill is in being happy. And that is, similarly, through different avenues - participating in an adventure and being happy, laughing madly at a joke, feeling thankful, being appreciated, and even getting stressed for an interview would constitute happiness. You would want to make the most of all of these channels for happiness.

But what would be that one line - one phrase that could sum it all up, make a clear goal and make life 'easier' for the rest?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Current Happenings

Over the years I have come to realize that the most overwhelming fear I have is that of appearing 'foolish'.
No matter how confident I grow, the fear constantly lurks like an annoying fly one can't get rid of. I remind myself that there is no such thing as a 'stupid' question, repeatedly. And just when I think I have gotten over the fear, a situation comes up to test me. I bump into an acquaintance. I try hard to recollect but fail. I know I am supposed to know her... of course I know her. Why can't I place her? What was her name at least? And then, she goes on talking without doubting my knowledge. And after 5 minutes of conversation, I get painfully restless. Now it's too late to prop a question along the lines of 'how do I know you?'. I want to escape instead of confront it... and I keep thinking, what if I bump into her again?

The problem is that such situations should be resolved at the earliest. One must take that extra step of courage instantly, instead of hoping that it will resolve on it's own. Such problems simply get compounded with time.

(PS: The trick I follow if I don't remember someone's name is that I ask for their cell number and then ask them how they exactly spell their names :-)  (courtesy Monil) )

Apart from that, things have been smooth. It's a good life. Work takes up most time and the rest is divided between gymming, dancing and singing.
On weekends, the songs I invariably hear are "I gotta feeling tonight's gonna be a good night" and "I wanna make up now now now" and a song that goes something like "blah blah blah... go down down'. I really like going down on that song :-)

I liked the latest research that said men aren't 'real men' anymore or something like that! Hehe... the average women not too long back were 'stronger' than men today. The Fair&Handsomes are not doing themselves too proud. And what with artificial sperm (or something) being discovered recently, the men might find themselves rather useless in the evolutionary battles. I mean, they've never been great at understanding women, not made themselves useful in household chores, women are matching (or moving ahead) men in their primary job of providing food and shelter to family, men might not be needed in procreation if the artificial sperm is anything to go by... and then, most of the times they are getting in the way of some useful task or getting on the nerves of a useful woman.
It's going to be a woman's world soon...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Koop Mandook

The potential topics I could write on:-

1. Navratri and all the fanfare and Falguni's trance

2. Current life conundrums... something typically reflective in third person's voice.

3. Observations and conclusions regarding Mumbai life (or it's junta).

4. Some incident/event of recent time that triggered a debate in my head.

That's it!
All these are too redundant. It is strange that almost everything I can think of falls within one of these broad topics... and that I can't think out of this 'box'.

And everyday, when I read the editorial of Times Of India, which invariably has an article by Jug Surraiya or Bacchi Karkaria, I am in awe. Their writings mostly have a radical perspective, compelling humor derived from a very cool insight, and generally a clear point.

It's admirable that they can achieve that. They are my personal heroes.

Saying in a shop: To see the entire picture, you have to step out of the frame.

That was brilliant. To be able to write about things that are beyond one's personal predicaments, one needs to be willing to accommodate other view points irrespective of how futile/indigestible they might seem. Stepping out of the frame is rather important (at least) for being able to write well.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


These days I happen to attend certain lectures/sermons on The Bhagvad Geeta and that has re-ignited my dormant desire to gain insight into mythological/spiritual stories.

What I understand of the Geeta currently is largely (or perhaps entirely) dependent on the interpretation of the speaker ('Guru'). And so, some of my contentions may be more with the interpretation rather than the actual context.

My chief complaints (some against the story of Mahabharat and others against Geeta) are probably stemming from my agyaan. Some of them are:-

1. It is difficult to understand why Pandavas 'deserved' the throne. The original heir (older son) was Dhritarashtra and the kingdom belonged to him. However, due to his blindness his younger brother Pandu ruled (almost like Dhritarashtra handed over certain Powers of Attorney... but thats it). That certainly didn't imply that Pandu's sons would inherit the kingdom. So why the whole fuss about Pandavas (Pandu's sons) wanting to rule the kingdom _rightfully_?

2. In the story, a highly foolish, weak and (I would say) immoral man is worshipped. Weak because he was not strong enough to resist the temptation of gambling; foolish because he could not see through a devious plan; immoral because he had the nerve and the heart to stake his wife as a gamble. Now if such a man made such a crazy move, and consequentally lost his wife to (say) Mr.D, who should be the villain? Should the wife get mad at her husband, or at Mr.D?
Its unbelievable that very few (if any) versions of the story criticize Yudhisthir for staking Draupadi, and almost all of them demonize Duryodhan (and Dushasan) for misbehaving with Draupadi. It seems totally uncalled for the Kauravas to get a bad name for this!

3. Duryodhan's name was Suyondhan. Not a good thing to change a 'su' to 'du' simply because a 'majority' (Pandava's side, who eventually wrote the story!) thinks he is a 'bad guy'.

4. My biggest complaint is against Krishna. Honestly, I don't get it. It is too twisted to make sense. On one hand, he plays the role of a mortal (a friend, a cousin, a naughty kid etc) and lives as if he is one of the mortals. But on the other hand, he is The Divine. Now if he kept these two things separate, it would be easier to make sense of things. But he confused some (and me).

a) Krishna tells Arjun that he must fight the war, even at the cost of the death of Arjun's teachers, uncles and brothers.

b) When Arjun is still confused, Krishna takes on his Divine Self and shows him the future - how the Kauravas and Drona and Bheeshma etc are being chewed in Krishna's mouth... which signifies their death.
So, Krishna tells Arjun the result of the war and also conveys that whether Arjun chooses to fight the war or not, and whether he slays the Kauravas and Drona etc or not, they are dead. Arjun is only incidental to their death. He is not the cause of their death. Their death is predetermined, and Arjun simply has to perform his duty and shoot the arrows.
Methinks this is getting into tricky realm! Does that imply that Krishna implies that the future is predetermined? If so, what determined it? Was it their karma?

c) When Arjun wants to kill Jayadrath and there seems to be no way to find Jayadrath (who must be seen and slain before sunset), Krishna creates a pseudo-sunset. He pulls a cloud in front of the sun.
Krishna had promised be a part of the war as a simple charioteer (just a mortal). It was unfair to use his divine powers of moving clouds around, tricking the enemy, and then assisting Arjun in aiming at Jayadrath.

d) In another incident (almost at the end of the war), when Duryodhand is single handedly fighting the Pandavas... and Bhim in particular, Krishna knows that Duryodhan's weak spot was his thigh /9this weakness of Duryodhan was also due to Krishna's trickery). So he instructs Bhim to attack there, and then Duryodhan succombs to his pain.

e) Krishna is Time, he is the Past, Present and Future. In him reside Brahma (as was seen in the Geeta). This Brahmaand where we all exist, comes from Brahma. The entire Brahmaand is seen within him. So who is he? How can he be talking to Arjun on the lands of Kurukshetra which is in the Brahmaand which is in Krishna? This is why he can't be a charioteer and the Divine at the same time.

Mahabharat is simply a dramatic story of how a 'God' can convert all the wrongs to right by simply being 'God'... and how you can win a battle if you can convince that 'God' (who has no qualms about indulging in deceit, renege, immodesty) to be on your side. All the rightness/goodness of the Pandavas seem to be a deadly whitewash over their not-so-right motives.

Phew! Some things are too unsettling to let go.

Also, an interesting insight on 2 characters of Mahabharat :

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dhan te Nan

Kya majaa aaya!

Discoing with insanely loud moozik with colorful lights spanking your face at odd times and downing the fifth nectar... and dancing till either your feet are numb, or till you realize you HAVE to visit the washroom and vacate one forcibly if all are occupied... aaahaha!

What is it about 'clubbing'? After one is sufficiently into it, it seems that no relaxation can beat the surreal feel of swaying thru your own universe. It's like finding that perfect spot for acupuncture... and pressing it with the right pressure.

I think the trick is:-
1. You are generally much more fancily dressed and hence more confident

2. If you are a girl, your sexiness quotient goes a notch higher because of all the oomph you carry suddenly. That makes you feel nice!

3. You are free in terms of time... you don't have to reach anywhere... you don't have deadlines or targets swaying over your head like an unwanted bubble.

4. You see other good looking people who are laughing and dancing... that makes you infer that there is so much happiness available here for grabs. So you grab it... tee hee!

5. You dance. You are awkward. Of course, immaterial of what House, Soft rock, Hip hop means, you know no more than 3 different steps . Which means within some time, you have mastered them. You down a few drinks. You get creative enough to come up with variations in them. You like it that you are creative and the newly conjured step totally fits with the music. You are so convinced of that that your face reflects it. This convinces the others and they do that step. Ah! Now you are a leader of the pack... for some moments.

6. The music is too loud for any kind of conversations. That eliminates those meaningless and mindless conversations... or even the pressing need for a conversation to diffuse the airs of awkwardness. You dance with all and sundry. If you are graceful, you can do a full turn and take a quick preview of those around you. Next time, take a half turn and dance with the oh-so-cool dood behind you.

All in all, it really is such a good way to unwind, exercise, grow, re-affirm self-worth, go-all-out.. that there should be a serious effort by the NGOs to promote such a state of well-being.

Really really really. And what with Bollywood hip hop entering the scene? We finally found our panacea in our utopia!

Friday, August 07, 2009


Couple of points and questions (some raised after watching some of 'Zeitgeist Addendum')

1. Money
Money is primarily required because there is scarcity of resources. We pay a higher price for diamonds, and much lower for bananas... and much much lower (zero) for air. That is because diamonds are very scarce, whereas bananas are more abundant... and air is highly abundant and everyone has access to that abundance.
Given this premise, if all that a human needs for existence (his bare necessities) are made highly abundant and accessible, will there be a need for money?
There might be a need for money for barter of the non-essential utilities, which he uses for pleasure and/or recreation.
But what if even that is in abundance?
Since everyone has their basic needs fulfilled (you can have as much food you want), one doesn't really need to 'work to make a living'. Now one works to do stuff one likes.
And that might translate to A loving to make computers that B uses... So A makes a lot of computers and gives (not sells) them to others who want it.
B on the other hand makes other valuable things and gives it. If there is enough variety in people's desire to make 'value', then the system might work... isn't it?

2. Education
Should we teach students skills that make them better at their job (specialized learning) or should we teach them skills to enjoy (kill?) time when they are not at their job (generalized learning)?
In most cases in real-world scenarios, people claim to learn more 'on-job' than in school. This is confirmed by salary hikes for 'experienced' people, even if they lack the requisite academic degree for the job. If people anyway learn more on the job, what is the job of educational institutions (apart from imparting super-basic mathematical/language skills for basic communication and reasoning)?

3. Crime
Given that a majority of crimes are committed by poor people, is there any differential judgment/treatment meted out based on the economic background of the criminal? If fairness is sought, isn't it necessary to have such a differential treatment?

4. Religion
Why do many religions (at least the popular ones) penalize certain natural instincts in order to attain salvation (or its equivalent)? And also, reward or champion the not-so-natural instincts? For instance, giving alms to the needy seems to be totally un-natural, given that it is difficult (naturally) to unnecessarily part with that which you have 'rightfully' earned. It might be that most of us have seen it being done by parents/those-we-look-up-to and hence think it 'natural' of us to want to donate.
It seems that the basic foundations of religions - to be based on 'tennets' or rules to be followed, is flawed. That leaves very little room for evolution of these rules. Societies (governments, law systems, religion) ought to be evolving rather than establishing. And if that is not the case, sooner or later they will be overthrown by a more evolved rule-book, when there is enough nerve in enough people to challenge the established norms even at the cost of salvation.

5. Human Nature vs Human Behavior
Is there such a thing as human nature? Are greed, desire to compete, desire for happiness and all those other things that we call 'human', wired into us? Or is it that as soon as we are born, we are placed into a society that invariably inculcates this in us, making it a human behavior and not human nature?
This seems to be a pretty basic question, one which might have an answer to in an introductary psychology book.
But yet, one wonders, what (if any) proofs can be provided to convincingly argue one case over the other. Somehow, basic psychological conundrums run deep into most of us... and it is difficult to know the answers because there are too many varied 'results' thrown out to us, and all with different force. So it gets tricky to give each result its due importance without bias towards a personal belief.

Sometimes it really seems tempting to shun all attempts to know more about anything that can lead to a change or disturbance in one's personally held belief system. This inertia against change in one's beliefs is perhaps something that nature provides to humans... as a tool for self-preservation?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Reading a scary book!

It took a hella chance for me to be created. Reading about evolution in a dummies-guide-to-evolution sorta book made me feel special. A lot of (LOT) things had to go 'right' (genetically and otherwise) for me to be created. And who knows what I am.

It is difficult to look at humans as a bunch of atoms that are individually nothing, but together, form a unifying pattern. Well, it might be simple if that was the only view possible.

But most of the times, I think of myself as someone who likes so and so music and such and such author, that I like to read jokes and take excessive chances, that I had fallen in love and out of it.
I cant get myself to think of myself in terms of genes and such.

And the reason for getting disturbed to think of myself as a mere combination of some genetic code or a bunch of specializing atoms is precisely that! It leaves very little room for 'good' and 'bad'.
All judgments go for a toss. Somehow (perhaps incorrectly so), the faith in 'choice' lessens. Likes, dislikes, actions, emotions.... all of them seem just another combination of smaller entities (hormones, pheromones, what-not-mones).

I think I like to think 'highly' of people. I would like to continue to think of people (and myself) as someone who has achieved so and so, as someone who lives by so and so philosophy, as someone who... as someONE!

It is unsettling to read these things on evolution... write-ups that coldly disintegrate a person into elements that are incapable of being judged. How can the concept of good and bad disappear? Immaterial of how personal the judgment of good or bad is, the existence of such judgment is paramount to choosing what I do (I choose to blog over not to blog because I see some good in blogging over not blogging).

It is not only unsettling, but it really is scary. One helluva scary domain you don't want to enter if you are not suitably prepared.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

And I tought again...


It was wonderful, to explain things to younger minds... to enjoy seeing them learn something new - their minds being enthusiastically receptive to a new concept, and then following it, and then suddenly not following it, and then on further explanation them following it after a suitable 'aha' moment.

Nice nice nice.

During the journey back, I was reminded of Subhadra kumari Chauhan's poem - Mera Naya Bachpan that I liked. I guess now I like it even more... She talk about how wonderful her childhood was, and goes on to describe the 'little things'... and then how she misses it. And then finally, she experiences her childhood again, in her daughter

मेरा नया बचपन – सुभद्राकुमारी चौहान

बार-बार आती है मुझको मधुर याद बचपन तेरी।
गया ले गया तू जीवन की सबसे मस्त खुशी मेरी॥

चिंता-रहित खेलना-खाना वह फिरना निर्भय स्वच्छंद।
कैसे भूला जा सकता है बचपन का अतुलित आनंद?

ऊँच-नीच का ज्ञान नहीं था छुआछूत किसने जानी?
बनी हुई थी वहाँ झोंपड़ी और चीथड़ों में रानी॥

किये दूध के कुल्ले मैंने चूस अँगूठा सुधा पिया।
किलकारी किल्लोल मचाकर सूना घर आबाद किया॥

रोना और मचल जाना भी क्या आनंद दिखाते थे।
बड़े-बड़े मोती-से आँसू जयमाला पहनाते थे॥

मैं रोई, माँ काम छोड़कर आईं, मुझको उठा लिया।
झाड़-पोंछ कर चूम-चूम कर गीले गालों को सुखा दिया॥

दादा ने चंदा दिखलाया नेत्र नीर-युत दमक उठे।
धुली हुई मुस्कान देख कर सबके चेहरे चमक उठे॥

वह सुख का साम्राज्य छोड़कर मैं मतवाली बड़ी हुई।
लुटी हुई, कुछ ठगी हुई-सी दौड़ द्वार पर खड़ी हुई॥

लाजभरी आँखें थीं मेरी मन में उमँग रँगीली थी।
तान रसीली थी कानों में चंचल छैल छबीली थी॥

दिल में एक चुभन-सी थी यह दुनिया अलबेली थी।
मन में एक पहेली थी मैं सब के बीच अकेली थी॥

मिला, खोजती थी जिसको हे बचपन! ठगा दिया तूने।
अरे! जवानी के फंदे में मुझको फँसा दिया तूने॥

सब गलियाँ उसकी भी देखीं उसकी खुशियाँ न्यारी हैं।
प्यारी, प्रीतम की रँग-रलियों की स्मृतियाँ भी प्यारी हैं॥

माना मैंने युवा-काल का जीवन खूब निराला है।
आकांक्षा, पुरुषार्थ, ज्ञान का उदय मोहनेवाला है॥

किंतु यहाँ झंझट है भारी युद्ध-क्षेत्र संसार बना।
चिंता के चक्कर में पड़कर जीवन भी है भार बना॥

आ जा बचपन! एक बार फिर दे दे अपनी निर्मल शांति।
व्याकुल व्यथा मिटानेवाली वह अपनी प्राकृत विश्रांति॥

वह भोली-सी मधुर सरलता वह प्यारा जीवन निष्पाप।
क्या आकर फिर मिटा सकेगा तू मेरे मन का संताप?

मैं बचपन को बुला रही थी बोल उठी बिटिया मेरी।
नंदन वन-सी फूल उठी यह छोटी-सी कुटिया मेरी॥

‘माँ ओ’ कहकर बुला रही थी मिट्टी खाकर आयी थी।
कुछ मुँह में कुछ लिये हाथ में मुझे खिलाने लायी थी॥

पुलक रहे थे अंग, दृगों में कौतुहल था छलक रहा।
मुँह पर थी आह्लाद-लालिमा विजय-गर्व था झलक रहा॥

मैंने पूछा ‘यह क्या लायी?’ बोल उठी वह ‘माँ, काओ’।
हुआ प्रफुल्लित हृदय खुशी से मैंने कहा – ‘तुम्हीं खाओ’॥

पाया मैंने बचपन फिर से बचपन बेटी बन आया।
उसकी मंजुल मूर्ति देखकर मुझ में नवजीवन आया॥

मैं भी उसके साथ खेलती खाती हूँ, तुतलाती हूँ।
मिलकर उसके साथ स्वयं मैं भी बच्ची बन जाती हूँ॥

जिसे खोजती थी बरसों से अब जाकर उसको पाया।
भाग गया था मुझे छोड़कर वह बचपन फिर से आया॥

-Poem by Subhadra Kumari Chauhan

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I get hyper.
That's it - I've said it.

I get hyper-irritated to see my friends 'speak their mind' when they are actually re-quoting some newspaper or smart alec and trying to pass it as their profound thoughts.
I dont know why I get hyper-irritated... I mean I know that all our thoughts are stolen to an extent.

I get hyper-angry when I see things not being done the way I expect them to... when the milk is left un-covered in the fridge, when the mixer is not not properly shut, when the honey bottle is left open teasingly for ants to feast.
I work hard to drive sense into the servants' and family members' minds... but all in vain.

I get hyper-bored to see 'intellectual' blog posts or articles, especially if they are written with an attitude of 'this-is-what-I-think-and-why-don't-you-guys-agree-to-this-obviously-logical-thought'?

I get hyper-annoyed with people who say 'you've changed' when I spout my newly acquired point of view got from my newly gathered wisdom. Dyooode, we are _supposed_ to change... and the word is 'evolve'. I hyper-hate it when people think that contradicting yourself is a crime!

I get into hyper-avoidance when I see certain people. I don't answer calls, say hi to them when I meet... totally avoid them. That's just because I think no good can come of the small talk. But then I get hyper-disappointed at myself for lacking social skills.

I get hyper-happy when I read Bachhi Karkaria's (THE role model) articles in TOI or elsewhere, when I listen to the mellow and understanding voice of Love-guru who attempts to solve the love-problems of the youth of Mumbai in the late night show on radio, when I sip the 2nd glass of sweet lime juice with masala, when I drive on the highway in torrential rains...

But why get hyper?
Moreover I get hyper-sensitive about my hyper-ness. I just want to 'chillax'. Why so tough?

I sometimes don't like it when the 'elders' get hyper about where I've gone or what I have eaten etc (the usual grind). I disapprove of their hyper nature.
But dyoood! I get just as hyper... the difference is I have different things to get hyper about.
Oh ho!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Budge It

The Fiscal Deficit is at an alarming 6.8%.
The government has given no plan on how its going to reduce it.

The Fringe Benefit Tax is gotten rid off.
The MAT is increased.

The stock market ostensibly disapproves of the whole thing. Its the worst crash on any budget-day in India.

A lot has been said about the budget. Opinions are thrown around by leaders of corporate giants, enthusiastic politicians, financial wizards and whoever else could claim space on any media canvas.

But honestly (and it is hard to be honest about this because it comes with the cost of sounding ultra out-of-shape financially), it don't matter!!

I mean, sure, the allocation of money in the different segments will have impacts on many things.
But for someone like me (and I venture out to guess that there are MANY like me) (of course, many is a stupidly relative term here... but whatever), all this makes little difference to what comes in my wallet and how much goes out of it.

So why make so much noise about it? Most aam-aadmis are not going to feel much. On the contrary, it sets a negative cycle.
The stock market crashes. The financial minds talk negatively about the budget and these talks get broadcasted in media.
Then, to make matters worse, polls are taken in which the aam-aadmi is asked what s/he thinks of the whole affair. Their response to the polls are most likely reflective of that negative sentiment projected by the media, never mind that the aam-aadmi is actually in the section of people that might stand to benefit from the budget.
Then the polls come out and the cascading effect is clearly seen. A negative ball is sent rolling by the media and it amasses so much mass along the way that it might fatally alter the original intent and actually have a negative impact versus the projected negative impact.

The point is, most people, especially the aam-aadmi, have very little clue as to how to interpret the budget. They, in most cases, can't even correctly figure out if it would benefit them or not. If a budget is announced objectively by the FM and absolutely no sentiment was floated in the media powerhouses, the aam-aadmi would be pitiably lost!

Hence, a good thing for the govt. to do would be to step in the media and influence it to say good things about the budget. By hook or by crook. Get the financial big-wigs to say good things, the live media to get experts and inverstors (Foreign investors too) to make positive statements and finally print media to project a postive response to the poll (so even the sentiment of the reliable aam-aadmi is postive). I think, even if all this is rigged big-time, most of us will stand to benefit from it.

Imagine this. I mean, really imagine this.
Two Gujarati gentlemen having a conversation in the train and discussing how 'reliance na share leva joiye'; a doting husband gifting a peice of expensively classy jewelry to his wife; the farmer mighty pleased with his occupation even in the wake of serious occupational hazzards; the proud desi studying/working in a different country claiming how his country is so little affected by all this recession business and how its on its path to glory...
Don't we want this? Don't we want to perceive that their govt. is on our side?

All the govt. needs to do is convince the people that it is on their side. Even if the govt. does this by bending rules and compromising on some integrity, it is a worthwhile endeavor.

Of course, the viability of such an endeavor is a question mark. But if the budget is framed by geniuses whose minds have been tested over a decade (the FM has almost impeccable financial record) and who have the interest of the country at mind, then why not shove a positive opinion about the budget up people's a##?

A positive ball will amass positivity and in general, work towards better well-being of the economy. In any case, the aam-aadmi will be a happy even if he's got a highly frustrating educational system and repressive social system to deal with.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Ants in the Honey

I see them ants... all strewn over on the topmost layer of honey in the jar. It was disgusting.
More so because I never really carefully checked the jar for such disturbing sights.

I had the honey regularly. I am pretty alright. But now that I have seen this, I cannot have it and be pretty alright.

Yep, this could be carpeted under the huge floor of boring epiphany moments (blissful ignorance versus painful knowledge).

I moved on to get rid of the ants. I got rid of that layer of honey. I washed the lid and rewashed it.

I fought out the logic to conclude that it is okay now, that I can safely consume the honey without being consumed by thoughts of its unhealthiness.

I could successfully feign a fake confidence. As they say, in 'heart of hearts' I was still not convinced.

That was the non-boring epiphany. We want to 'move on'. We want to believe that its okay. But sometimes, it is more intuitive and more comfortable to accept that non-okay things exist. It is better for one's well-being.
(well, this might not be an epiphany after all... dammit! Screw writing your thoughts and diminishing their profoundness!)

In other news, it feels good to be back home after a long long hiatus.

I was feeling a little lost in the last couple of weeks.

But I sat on the recliner, reading this un-put-downable book (Dry by Augusten B). I was riveted.
And then I heard a soft flute. And then I heard the leaves rustling and a soft wind flowing until I saw water drops. It felt blissful just to be there, staring at the rain... the smell, the sounds, the nostalgic feelings rising from forgotten cracks of the mind... the familiarity of the window sill, the familiarity of the reclining position, the familiarity of the just-got-out-of-bed-and-started-reading look, the familiarly dying horns of passing cars... I feel at home. The listlessness is replaced by focussable energy... the lost-ness is replaced by the long-lost spirit of fearlessness.

I really do love Mumbai. No matter how global we go, home is where the heart is.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Losing your un-balance

A balanced life is not only elusive... but an impossibility.
The moment things start getting balanced, one moves towards un-balance to balance out the balance!

Anyway, what is it about late nights and slow music and subtle yellow lights lying undisturbed under the quilt? Its a perfect recipe for gracefully sliding into blissful reverie.

The current favorite song is Sajni (slow version) by Jal (pardon the video).

What does it feel to make music? Does the creator feel just as enchanted by that perfect symphony of notes and lyrics? Or does he drown even further into the magical spell of his songs?
Does the singer of Sajni feel a heavy heart when he listens to this song? Or are his feelings diluted by the incidents that occurred when the band was trying to come up with this song (small tiffs and arguments, different variations of the tunes etc)?

It would be a great pity if the band could not enjoy (and get entranced by) the song as much as the general listeners.

But then again, builders don't live in the houses they plan and build and put their heart into for years, or programmers don't use the programs they create for their purposes, or more interestingly, Darwin might not have seen the full implications and power of his insights?

Does the joy of creation surpass the joy of consumption?
Would you rather create the perfect symphony and be ecstatic when you come up with it, or would you instead enjoy the perfect symphony created by someone else... in your room, under the quilt, in yellow light... and shut your eyes and imagine away a vivid scene... of the monsoon... in the wild green pastures with drops shining on the slippery blades, and the rain-drops hitting your face like a strongly welcoming bear-hug given by an old friend, and your bare feet immersing in the soft mud till your ankles feel the wetness around them and you feel safely ensconced, and there is an old valley in front of you with signs of civilizations - small huts and plantations, and you look around... and you see those eyes that read yours', and reciprocate the value of this beauty.

Oh well, it is so easy to digress, and so difficult to teach discipline to the mind. It wanders into cul-de-sacs and happily returns, only to enter another cul-de-sacs, as if it has no intention of learning from 'mistakes'.

Monday, June 01, 2009

An attempt at rationalizing...

We reside in our more-or-less bound sphere of influence. The term 'influence' is the pivotal one. As I write, I think of my sub-world of influence. This sub-world has different categories of people.

There is the typical 'layman', who continues living with helplessly-acquired nonchalance. He is rarely intrigued by moral conundrums, psycho-philosophical debates or what have you. He has the formula for life entrenched in him, by societal interactions and his particular upbringing. He is not out there to challenge much, even though his particular belief system might contradict a point or two with society's. He, in general, is at peace with the world, or more appropriately, hasn't even thought of it. One may doubt if the layman's existence is exciting, but one often admires how the layman has steered clear of dilemmas that could potentially disturb a peaceful existence.

Then there is the 'loser'. Now the loser may not be very different from the layman in terms of philosophical depth and questioning. But the loser is different in that he is fatalist, and moreover, is upset that he got an incorrigibly bad fate. He is 'doomed'. Even within losers, there are blatant losers, who openly voice their concerns about how the world is against them... and then there are subtle ones. 

Then there is the 'moderate'. Of course the moderate does not know this. The moderate thinks he is crazy and living an interesting life. But he is only doing things which are 'crazy' according to the layman. He does not understand that crazy is a relative term.  For instance, it is not entirely crazy for a model to walk in a bikini... but if a somewhat conservative gujju lady were to do so, that would be outright crazy. Anyway, going back to the description of the moderate, he is ambitious. He always tries to scale up the ladders of adventure (but the problem lies in his view of these ladders). Nonetheless, he tries to tread the path between what he knows to be 'out-of-question crazy' vs 'doable crazy'. He has his head on his shoulders, and can understand, and almost empathize with other categories of people. He, in my opinion, is who my heart goes out to... simply because HE is the one who must be salvaged and helped from falling into philosophical abysses and repaired from knotted moral conclusions and psychological delusions. He is lost and needs direction, although on the exterior, he seems to be the most stable and sometimes, even the most successful.

The next more interesting category of people are those who are 'cool'. It often is difficult to find out why they are cool. I surmise that many of us find a large variety (and often conflicting) personalities cool. There are those who have a rebellious streak within them, which instantly gratify the rebellious demon within us and we take to an instant conferring of the title 'cool'. Then there are those who are cool because they seem to breeze through life. These could be 'cool laymen'. They seem amazingly happy and sorted out.

And then there is this sub-category of 'cool' whom you cant figure out. They seem deeply immersed, they seem to care two pence about society and how it works, but they actually deliberate on such issues for hours. They seem to have understood something that most of us fail at comprehending. At different stages of their lives... at each stage they have a more developed theory or philosophy... so to say that they evolve much faster. They are not scared of voicing their opinions, but at the same time, they are not over-eager to do so. Sometimes they may not have an opinion on an important matter and they confess that so matter-of-factly, that one might be relieved (if the 'cool' person is devoid of opinion on this matter, perhaps it is okay if I don't have an opinion either). They seem to be in a world of their own... and often, transcending different worlds. The typical concerns of 'how do i look with this shirt on', or 'what will people think if they find out...' hardly seem to bother them.

And somehow, almost all the people in my sub-world who fall into this (almost 'supercool') category have tried and purportedly enjoyed experiences of altering one's consciousness through different means. It seems that one is missing a lot of interesting, super-insightful, crazy, mind-boggling, life-changing experiences in the pursuit of being the 'moderate'. It is not a pro-active choice one makes. It is just a choice that demands less courage or lesser resistance to. (There was a time when I simply could not understand what could drive my very beautiful friend to diet and refrain from eating the most tempting desserts... that is to say that I could not understand the pay-offs of looking super-beautfiul versus the surreal gastronomic pleasures such delights could provide. I still don't completely relate to that friend on these principles, but I have begun to understand the pay-offs. Similarly, I could not understand why a friend refused to get into a relationship on the reason that 'that's not the right thing to do in Indian society').
There are times when one is naive and does not understand the cost-benefit analysis.
Perhaps getting a glimpse into different levels of consciousness is an experience worthy of treasuring, but at the same time, it could alter one's perception of reality to a point of no return.
Of course, there are scientific studies that can accurately describe the effects of certain consumptions.. but certainly, the first-hand experience would be incomparable.

The important point is I am not convinced that such desires are driven entirely by curiosity, which is what makes the decision a hard one. I suspect that the 'wannabe' section of my mind is playing a massive role, something that I don't want to accept. But aren't the not-so-cool people suppose to 'wannabe' super-cool?

Friday, May 29, 2009

In deep Slum-ber

The attempt at eradicating, or at least minimizing, slum habitations in the city is an overwhelming task. It might not seem overwhelming if one were to shrug one's shoulders and think that it was the government's responsibility/job and give it no further thought. 

It might be the government's responsibility, but one big reason the gov. can't handle/do it is because it is too sensitive an issue and the solution is almost invariably likely to place the gov. in a bad light, no matter what the outcome. This is because there is a certain section of society (and to make it worse, its the weaker section) that will be inconvenienced to a very large degree. And this section seems to be an all too important chunk of the vote-ban for the gov. to take any chances with.

Some of the popular reasons for eradicating slums are:-

1. They give a 'filthy' look to the city

2. Unaccountability of usage of shared (between citizens) resources (like electricity, water).

3. A potential breeding ground for anti-social activities/elements and easy exploitation opportunities (because they are typically occupied by those 'desperate' to make money to get out of them).

A tangential point (recently raised by local activists) is that they form a class of 'outsiders' who 'snatch' jobs away from the hands of local residents.

So lets say there are reasons to think of means to eradicate slums. And not only that, we would like to be a little more futuristic and have a secondary goal that our means/policy should be such that it discourages the growth of slums in future. 

Firstly, is this a viable goal? Is it even possible to achieve the goal of eradicating slums from Mumbai?

Right from ambitious politicos to promising NGOs to corporate honchos and real-estate czars have had their hands burnt in this unappeasable fire. That is not to say that the situation hasn't bettered. Perhaps it has. But by and large, there seems to be no obvious relief to the city's general landscape. So whether this is a viable goal or not, is difficult to answer given that even the bright minds and the influential power-houses have not solved it. 

And the reason for that, to me, seems to be either misplaced priorities, or a lack of understanding of the problem. 

From what I understand, initially, the gov. tried to be nice and build alternative cheap (not cheaper than the slums, but cheaper than average legal residence) homes for the slum-dwellers. There seemed to be several problems with this approach. Were there enough for all? How would you find a legitimate slum dweller who claimed responsibility for such a house? Did the gov. make losses or book profits? Somehow, this didn't turn on any magic.

So a smart initiative was to involve the real-estate guys who were experts in assessing land-related situations and building houses. These guys were alloted a a slum land (land where currently there are slums), and allowed to build their commercial ventures. They HAD to house the slum-dwellers they were displacing from that land, in low-cost housings. Once they constructed housing for the slum-dwellers, they could do their usual business in the remaining part. The trick was of course, they were allowed greater FSI (Floor Space Index: essentially a ratio of how much area you can build to how much area of land you have. An FSI of 1 implies that if you bought land of 100 sq.metres, you can construct only 100sq.metres. If FSI was 2, you could construct 200 sq. metres).

This seems to be an attractive scheme. Real-estate developers could do business and do good to the city in terms of social responsibility. I personally don't know if this works, or is working, or whether it will or not.

But my guess is that this is where we are going wrong. The root of the issue is not addressed. The people residing in the slums are those whose livelihood depends much on the middle-class. The people in the slums comprise of taxi-drivers, maids, sweepers, waiters, small-time tailors etc. Their income depends largely on the activities of the middle-class. It is the family which needs a doodh-wala, bartan-wala (man dish-washer), dhobi, istri-wala, aayya for their children, jaaduwala etc  that gives employment to so many of them. If they are paid well for these tasks and not monetarily exploited like they generally are, then it makes sense to give them better housing.
Low-cost housing is of no use if they do not have the livelihood to maintain the housing. They will resort to tactics like selling the house to someone else, and go back to a slum which is a more economically viable option, given their meagre incomes.

But if one were to raise their standard of living some way or the other (don't know how!), only then it seems to be justifiable to give them an alternative better residence. And somehow, given the recent movement of 'richness', the middle-class is being offered 'better' alternatives to their current lifestyles. They have malls to buy their food from (so the vegetable vendors suffer), they have fancier washing and cleaning equipments like the classical dish-washer and laundry and drier from the western world (which eliminates the need for so many servants), and we see fewer families taking their kids to local parks and letting the street-performer earn his 2 pennies and the juice-wala or the candy-wala do their part. Instead, we have swarms of families moving into multiplexes for entertainment.

There is nothing morally, or otherwise, good or bad about any choice the middle-class makes (and in any case, thats not the point). But, it seems that cheap alternative housing, given either by the gov. or private real-estate developers will not click, no matter how plausible that solution may seem.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Barcelona vs Barcelona

She walked along La Ramblas, watching the performers and applauding them in her mind. She liked this colorful street, full of hopeful artists and starry-eyed tourists, fancy-looking restaurants and inviting bars, the colorful market with paraphernalia lying around. She had a tempting glass of Orange juice, and then a rarely delicious vegetarian lunch made for her by the Indian-origin manager at the market. He even paid for her food.

And then the typical DDLJ stuff happened. She entered the Metro station hoping to get to one of the destinations which was a must-see according to the Lonely Planet guide. Lost in her world, she stood staring at the Metro map, trying to figure out the way. He stood right next to her. 
She didn't know for how long they stood, aware of each others' presence, and yet avoiding any awkward communication. Finally, a chance glance where both were caught
She: Do you know how to get to place X?
He: Ya, do blah-blah-blah
She: Oh thanks
He: You traveling by yourself?
She: (A succinct) ya
He: Wanna join me? I am going to go to place X eventually. Until then, we could go to this highly recommended place Y.
She: (dammit...  hot guys and chance encounters are difficult to turn down.. and this was a chance encounter with a hot guy.. so hesitantly..) Alrighty

They talk and talk... he is a chef in a restaurant in England. She, well, for him, is 'into computers'. It was a fun conversation... and a little company doesn't hurt.
They saw the colorful musical fountains, and had food. They drank a little Cerveza and then finally talked through the night. 

That was the Barcelona she had seen. In May 2008.

Cut to Scene II.
Barcelona again. May 2009.
She recognized parts of the city. She wished she remembered more. But cities were rarely places to her, cities were a remembered by the feelings they triggered in her, her opinions, her inner voices. 
This time, she had company. 3 friends. She saw Antoni Gaudi's Casa Battlo again. They had Cerveza, and vino, and went clubbling. Just the stuff tourists are expected to do when they land in big cities, especially Spanish cities known for their night-life.
They danced and danced until time lost its significance. Was it daylight? Or did she stop seeing stars?
They traveled to their castle-like, museum-like hostel, and crashed on the bed.

Barcelona, this time, was sight-seeing, eating, drinking, dancing, getting friendly, getting flooded by feelings of empathy for friends, crashing and hang-overing.

The sights of the city are juxtaposed by two snapshots in time. The mind channelizes its energy in trying to force out a decision: "was it better now, or did you like the previous experience?". The comparisons and debate continues with thoughts running into dark pits of unguarded territory. The 'responsible' version of self says "why compare? what's the point? Everything is good 'in its own way'! They were 2 different things, cant be compared". 

Would one like to be the Kareena of Chameli singing 'bhaage re mann', or would one rather be Saif of DCH singing Dil Chahta hai, kabhi na beete..?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Do's and Dons

Things I am supposed to be doing:-
1. Calculating the defaulters list
2. Checking the million periodic-test papers.
3. Studying for tomorrow's lecture to avoid any 'run-time' error

Things I am NOT supposed to be doing:-
1. Browsing thru random pages
2. Going to the kitchen every 10 minutes to check if the supply of snack has increased or gotten more interesting
3. Listening to very enthralling Hindi tracks and dancing like a foolish clown to their tunes
4. Going out to drink... and getting buzzed.
5. Reading Agony-aunt columns in each newspaper

But but but... such is human nature.
We just don't stick to our decisions, do we?

Why, Oh, Why do we enjoy the feeling of 'having so much to do' more than the satisfaction of 'getting it done'! I think a bigger to-do list gives a greater comfort than a greater just-did list.

** typed while listening to the Pardesi track from DevD and munching on little fatty bundles of joy and with a hundred tabs open on Firefox. Now I just need my beer **

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Obsessive Compulsive Order

----- Beginning of Excerpt----

I find your memories in the recesses of my mind,
and in the portrayals of shady Hindi songs played in the rikshaw.

I hear your ideas and smirks in random conversations,
and a creepy tingling sensation passes through my spine.

I travel, sneeze, slurp, exercise, and smile with you,
And I believe you like it that way.

I share the bed with you every night,
whether you respond to me or not.

The problem (or the lack of it) is that there is no you.
There is only me.

And you are my creation.
Yet you are uncontrollably out of control... like a experiment gone horribly wrong... the typical sci-fi one where the creators are hounded by their creation.

I can't hold on to you because you make me dangerously obsessive.
And that is precisely the reason why I can't let go of you.
I am afraid I will miss you... and lose my few shreds of sanity

--------End of Excerpt---

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The need for a sanction

We are raised in a social structure that have rules and guidelines - explicitly or implicitly laid down. We are taught, and we learn by experience, that generally, living within the framework of these rules and guidelines results in us winning the social game. Of course, there are those who venture beyond this framework, and hence are often viewed differently (awed, booed, outcasted, envied etc).

But most of us find it difficult to challenge this established rulebook. We might not agree with all the social norms, but violating them in an exaggerated fashion not for the reason to prove that you can, but because you actually want to, is unusual.

It is in fact, difficult to even think of violating most of the laws. For instance, a child brought up in a strictly disciplined environment where the 'right conduct' is highly rewarded and slightest deviation from it is stringently punished, might never evolve the need to, say eve-tease a passing girl. It just would not occur to him. It is 'wrong' in his eyes. Even if a desirable girl passes by, the idea of teasing her would not cross his mind, perhaps because such a behavior has been looked down upon.
However, eve-teasing occurs rampantly and that is testimony to the fact that there are people whose social structures do not consider this act that big an offense.

An interesting collision of thoughts occur when you disagree with a social rule. You see nothing wrong in certain activities that are considered 'taboo' by your social structure. You are convinced of their rightness. Not only that, you feel the need to indulge in them. So, there is an activity that is given a clean chit by the court in your mind, and is desired by the I-really-want-to-do-this section of your mind. However, it still requires great courage, conviction, confidence to actually indulge in it. This is probably because your brain gives conflicting signals. It wants to indulge, but it also knows that the person indulging in it is generally penalized by the society. In fact, even when you don't care about the penalty at all, you still hesitate.

It is strange - the mind.

Monday, February 23, 2009

just another ramble

It was that moment again. A moment when things fall into such perfectly-fitting place that you know you could not be wrong about the feeling that things are falling into place.

When you don't have something, you cling on to a pseudo source of that. Fat girls try to fit into the thin girls groups, so that they feel accepted. The unknown try to sift around in the circles of the popular, hoping to rise in the popularity charts.

It is the courage to leave that pseudo-source of pseudo-security that's rare to find.

It is that that I am looking for... a way to disentangle myself from the web of seemingly justifying excuses, a way to unshackle myself from the bonds of convenience that fetter me to the terra firma of the fake security. I know that this task is not just of extreme importance, but just as urgent. It's just that the sense of urgency does not bother one until a perceivable danger is in sight.

There was a time when I was convinced beyond doubt that there was absolutely nothing that could not be accomplished if one put one's entire strength in it. I KNEW that if I pushed hard enough, the wall would certainly break. But gradually, 'life' convinces one of one's shortcomings and fogs the clear picture of self-infallibility. That's perhaps good to a certain extent. But somehow, there is a fine line between what is perceived to be possible, and what actually is possible. I think the trick to attain the 'impossible' is to not let the mind know that it is impossible. In fact, the mind should be tricked into believing that it is very much possible. And then the mind does everything in its might to attain it, and hence, there is a greater chance of attaining the goal.

Anyway, on an unrelated thought, I wonder what it is that music does to us. It certainly does very good things. It's one of the few things that has no known side effect even if one gets crazily addicted to it. It's just a pure dose of super-high endorphin release in the brain. Or something else. It increases the emoting capability. Me likes it :-)

On another very unrelated thought/incident, I still retain the capacity to blush. And how! I had to leave the area which had the object which caused me to blush, coz I could not contain my excitement. Now that's something to be proud of, on hindsight :-)

Monday, February 02, 2009

Movie Reviews:-

Slumdog Millionaire: Well... it was definitely not a movie to remember, or a movie that kept you thinking all night long. It was 'harsh realities' all right! And it had its typical 'from rags-to-riches' fantastic storyline that brings hope to many who don't find elsewhere. It also had some macabre scenes that emphasize on its 'realistic' appeal. The acting was alright, the actor did not need versatility... and well, what we thought as the protagonist's story was actually charted out by 3 actors - the child, the adolescent and then the fully-grown fellow sitting on the KBC set. So if you are impressed by the guy's life-story, it was perhaps the child or the adolescent who impressed you more, and your mind naturally gives the credit to the protagonist who invariably is the fully-grown fella! Aah!

The songs are haunting, one must admit. One can never say what Rehman's best is/was. But this was goooood.

Somehow Ghajini struck a stronger cord. For all one knows, it simply might be Aamir's larger-than-life screen persona. But the freshness exuberated by the newcome Asin was fun to watch. It was a pure black and white movie after a long time... the villain didn't have shades of grey, he was an obvious villain who (the audience as conviced) deserved to rot in hell. And Aamir (Oh! we couldn't stop sympathizing with him) deserved to find happiness once again.

Kya chal raha hai mamu?
Current routine encompasses a high-maintenance, highly demanding college life... and the fulfilling and exhausting gym routine. College has turned out to be a little more challenging... the FE students are a potpourri of the highly sincere teach-us-more kids and cant-wait-to-get-outa-here kids, and everything in between. Hum kare to bhi kyaa kare! The other students are manageable... and lot of fun to interact with. I still get my goosebumps just before the lectures, especially SE... the subject is difficult in that it isn't easy to excite them with the math behind analysis of algorithms. Annnnnyway... they are an excited bunch nonetheless.

Gymming is fun. The real good part about it is that the walls are mirrors. So somehow, when you think it is tough to reach the target i.e. run for the required amount of time/lift the desired weights, you can look at yourself in the mirror and smile and motivate yourself and achieve the targets. It fulfills you with a sense of achievement. And of course, the mirrors help in admiring the ultra-fit bodies of those guys who do crazy number of pull-ups. (Ah! Stay still you aching heart (and muscles), you shall manage to pull yourself up one day!)

Current Complaints:-
What the hell is the matter with all the self-claimed saviors of 'bhaartiya sanskruti' in this country? Why are pubs and other youth haunts being targetted? And why in the name of God, are chicks who want to shake a leg, given such a hard time? It is pathetic to see some losers spoil the fun for those who are enjoying life. The sign of a good governance - the protective body for the civilians, is that such unlawful shameful activities by the so-called activists should be heavily penalized. It's almost getting down to gunda-raj! And talking about the MNS is almost below dignity for a self-respecting person. So, I wont.

Phew! I think I need more muscle... and nerve as well.

Monday, January 19, 2009


The title is a word that boils down to "something worth remarking over"... yet the actual impact of the word when used appropriately seems much more impressive than just something you would remark on.

And that's exactly why THAT is the word that came to mind this morning to me. I don't know how many times I have written about it, and how many more times I have thought of it... and yet the sheer dynamics of the Mumbai Local Trains do not cease to marvel me. It seems to just rightly capture the essence of almost all the physical laws (sometimes even at sub-atomic levels) and psychological conundrums that I know. But more than suggesting a metaphor to these sciences, it is the triumph of the "adjustibility" of the human mind that sweeps me off... even after being a seasoned traveler of 6 years now.

Today when I reached the platform I could immediately imagine the chaos that would reign once the train parked. And when the already-overloaded train came, I tell you, no one can imagine all those people to possibly fit in. It just seemed so implausible. But I knew better. Armed with experience and knowledge that no matter how full the jar is, you can almost always fit in "some more", I entered with the human gush. I was almost tempted to draft a free-body diagram of myself - there were way too many forces acting on me, and my body simply reacted to the resultant force. And somehow, the train lurched ahead with renewed vigor. And then stations came, and more chaos reigned, and still more and still more... and at one important junction I heard a scary bang of noises caused by stamping of feet. For the first time I got really scared coz for the first time I visually saw a highly exaggerated version of those forces. I saw women bend about and move in such a strange fashion and being hit randomly at random places and some section of the train being vacated and then being instantly filled with people, just like water reshapes itself in case of void in a container... all this coupled with that loud banging noise. A low shriek escaped my mouth.

I guess I hadn't Indianized enough yet. Or perhaps I will always be mesmerized by these things. But what truly was the icing was a woman, amidst all this, told her train-companion "I have been standing on just one foot for half an hour now." and then continued her conversation... and that conversation was so normal, so away from all the noise and crowd, almost equivalent to a conversation I would have with a friend over choco-vloc in Cafe Coffee Day.

How much can people get immunized?

One school of thought professes that the fact that we readily accept bullsh*^ without complaining is the reason we are given bullsh*&. We need to stop accepting such (inhuman?) conditions of travel (work, whatever else that we accept) if we want to bring about a change.

But somehow I don't buy that. I'd like to think that if we make the most of what we are and what we are given, and don't expect things to improve or hope to live in the make-believe world of a better lifestyle, we are much better off and perhaps much happier for it.
And somehow that belief was concretized when one day I saw an urchin girl at the Bandra signal smile jubilantly when I bought her roses. THAT'S ALL SHE WANTED! And that's a great thing. Instead of pitying her, I started envying her. It was so simple for her to feel a sense of achievement and happiness. And that's not because she has low standard of aims. That's probably one of the highest things she can aim of given her 'world' ie her social system. She knows not of the powers of the information revolution or of the gastronomic delights of the choco-vloc of CCD.

What all of us want is to socially or monetarily or in whatever way, reach the top in our 'world'. The vaster your world, and greater the number of people that reside in it, greater is the competition... and hence lesser the chance that you would reach the 'top'.

The idea is live in a small cocoon and live to die a happy man! ;-)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

I have noticed it to be common for people to get more excited about planning for an event than during that event. And this holds especially true for occasions that are touted as ideal days for unchecked revelry and crazy bashes.

New Year's Eve has invariably been less exciting than I expect it to be for almost all the 24 years of my life, save the eves which I spent with myself at home (they were deeply fulfilling).

But this year was different. The location, the atmosphere, the people, the weather, my friends... the vibes.

There is something to be said about an age when you truly understand your friends. You may not approve of their ways or in fact, even dissent them. But you are at peace with them. They do not bother you. And you don't bother to prove to them that you are cool. They know that... or it does not matter anyway.

You don't have to hold the glass in a particular way, or have your hair done. You don't have to care about overdressing or get embarrassed about those 'funny' jokes that got no one to laugh.
And most of all, you don't care about how you dance. You twirl and toss and walk around zig zag... you got no new moves... you do ghaati dance on English numbers and couple dance on bhangras... you do whatever the hell you want... and see that sense of liberty in the eyes of your friends as well..

Ah! The joy that comes with liberated dancing... the right Bollywood tracks - that perfect concoction of lyrics and gyrating music... and the perfect concoction of a Screwdriver... and the perfect blend of people around you.

Four hours of non-stop revelry gets you in shape for the New Year... you embrace it with the love and acceptance you generally don't allow yourself to feel :-)