Sunday, August 31, 2008
Lurking in the dark corners,
Escaped from the captive den,
Peeping out at every passer.
Who do I get this time?
Who shall be my prey?
Look at them all standing in line,
Ah yes today is my day!
I shiver, I shudder,
I tremble with fear,
To see the lurking danger,
To see it there again.
There she is,
The worthless bitch,
There she is again,
Just where I left her last,
Just where she was slain.
Not moved an inch,
The miserable trout,
Still hurt and sore as then,
Still bleeding, still sad,
Just as she was then!
I see it come yet again,
I am its staple prey,
I see the evil in the eyes,
Just as I saw that day.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I am not a politically intelligent creature. I do not understand the difference between being leftist or liberal. I do not care if the government is being run by one joker or another. But I am an educated, responsible citizen of this country. More over I am a human being whose, all 5 senses funtion to near perfection.Which is precisely why I am affected if Bombay's local trains explode, or the religious seperatists are having a free for all party in Gujrat or Orissa, or if the Tsunami struck Nagapattinam, or if Bihar is sinking in the floods, or if another army man laid his life down for a country of a billion people who might not even know of how painful his death was to a family member. I might sound emotional or touchy or sentimental. But hell I will!!! because thats the only thing that differentiates man from machine. I will shed a tear, because no computer can fight the war, no technology could control the tsunami, nothing could avert the serial bomb blasts. After all its a soldier fighting at the war front, and he's made of flesh and bone!
As I watched the television yesterday, I could not help but scoff at the head lines. The Tata Nano project threatened in Bengal, nearly half of Bihar seemed to be sinking, the Hindus and Christians in communal violence in Orissa, the cease fire violation yet again at the Wagah border, terrorist infiltration in the country and amidst all this chaos was a celebration. Really, I would have been a part of the party if it was for any purpose slightly more constructive than what I was witness to.
Personally, I have nothing against Mr.Chiranjeevi, and have nothing to do with his value system or his profession. But since his 'Prajarajya' is incidentally claimed to be associated with the common man, and I am nothing but common, in every sense of the word, I happen to be enraged. First the crowd had gathered there as if they were celebrating the independence of India from inequity and inequality; from dischord and disharmony. I cringe when I imagine the scale of expenses on security arrangements for the launch of his party in Tirupati. I can picturise the pandemonium amongst the devotees in the religious power house that Tirupati is. This security should have been posted at the Mumbai local rail stations, it should have been conducting rescue operations in Bihar, it should have saved the burning woman. Oh my dear Lord!!!It should have been anywhere else but here.
The news yesterday reminded me of the nursery rhyme:
London Bridge is falling down!!falling down, falling down!!
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady!!!
But who cared if it was falling down or sideward or rising? All that the political leaders, at least a large majority of them ( a title conferred upon them by some of our own tribe who seem to have forgetten to bring their brain out of the mother's womb and simply bow like buffaloes, not to mean any offense to the unobtrusive bovine) care about is their growing bellies of wealth and muscles of power, none of which goes into social welfare. I don't intend to be a pessimist, but to believe that our politicians are honest or humble is like choosing to be blind. So who cared if a woman went up on flames or that half a hundred people had drowned in the flood? Who cared if a sincere soldier died at war ? (as if the 18 gun salute is all he deserves) Who cared if this country or humanity was simply going to the dogs?(i think they'd do a better job of governance than the human race, with a few exceptions.) Was that necessary- Prajarajya? And I must add that the count down was definitely more euphoric than the launch of the Apollo 11!
I think more political parties in this country should be banned. I think that if the eligibility into an MBA course involves so much hard work, the criteria to judge who leads this country must be at the very least as stringent, if not more. What I saw yesterday was not just an eye-sore, it was like gangareen, and is spreading fast. And what is pathetic is that so much support is bolstered for a government who certainly more capable of sparking a communal riot than reduce inflation. Mr. Chiranjeevi, I do not intend to write you off, but what you did yesterday was no different than a movie clip. It does not reassure the men at battle that we know how precious their lives are. A fight scene may earn you billions Sir, but please don't forget its not stunt men who are standing at our border line!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Alone, lonely and falling apart.
The bricks were coming crashing down,
I was feeling like a clown!
I look around, round and round,
And everyone seem to have found,
A hand to hold on their walk,
In the light, through the dark.
I move on with dipping spirits,
Everyone is at their wits
I can hear them laugh and howl,
I was feeling like a clown.
I stop to seek directions,
And my oh my!!! the expressions,
The looks on their face,
As if I were a disgrace.
I was lost, and knew not where to go,
My face hung even more low,
I was ready to be buried down,
I was feeling like a clown.
I stop my walk,
And hear me talk,
The million voices in my head,
Wonder what they said!
But they scoffed and jeered,
And giggled and peered,
Like a King who wore a crown,
And As if I were a clown.
As they all run past,
Fast and fast,
In a hurry towards no where,
I stand and stare,
At how who fares,
In the running race.
Each one wears a fancy frown,
Alone and down, like a clown!!!
I wonder where the held hand went,
I wonder what all this meant,
I wonder where the road would lead,
I wonder who sowed this sinful seed,
I wonder what I’m meant to do,
I wonder, I wonder who,
Sent us down,
Just to end up being a clown!!!
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Well, all that is besides the point. The primary issue of importance is that my birthday did have a surprise element, remember? (if there are any readers at all) But for those who compete with me in extending imagination, I did not turn 26 or 28 on my 24th birthday. I just turned 24. Neither did 50 people wish me. Out the five usual wishes I get, one forgot! She said she was 'lost'. And I'm not, because I still keep track of the 5 measly wishes. I'm telling you it was not such a surprise of a surprise, but a surprise nonetheless.
So Priya and me make it to dinner. At Bella Ciao. Right next to where I work, she had made it sound like the best Italian Restraunt ever. But they served Brocolli on the pizza. Who does? Well they do, and if you want to try it please go there. There is only one thing that is nice about that place, it's got a cute roof top - terrace setting where even the most unromantic couple can get into the swing. But actually that did not matter to me, because I was devoid of a romantic element, or rather even if there was one, was just missing him terribly!!!
Thats when my birthday cake came. Its the cutest birthday cake I've ever got. Will upload the picture soon, if there are any readers of my blog at all. For now I'll make do with describing it. Twas a cute little cake, just enough for Priya, me and two other nice people. Chocolate, with the prettiest pink icing I've ever ever seen. It had 2 candles stuck on it. Really it was like welcoming a two year baby girl into her third year. Thanks Priya!!!that was just so sweet of you.
And who knows me better than her, she sang me happy bithday, as she caught pics of me cutting the cake. Poor her, and ridiculous me. I don't know if its shameful to admit that my circle of friends has not undergone any change what so ever since I left college. (I think I'm growing old, contrary to my grandmother who is certain about having stayed stuck at 72 for the last seven years although atleast one of her children have turned 60 in the last 3 years. ) My solitude seemed to evince sympathy from the couple who occupied the table near us. It would be very nasty on my part if I said they were drooling at the cake. They were nice people. They actually sang as I cut the cake. And therefore I had no issues sharing my cake with them.
I think I stand corrected, and if there is anyone at all reading my blog, you know what, surprises need not necessarily come from people you know. Ah wow!!!what a preacher. I think I should write a book in competition to Kahlil Gibran's Prophet.(what d'ya say?)
Thursday, August 21, 2008
An obvious fall out of my sad saga of singlehood (not sure if its so sad, but I like alliterations....so) was the tragic triumph of the arranged marriage institution. Coming to think of it now, it reminds me of an ambulance for the following reasons:
1. it is a rescue vehicle for the singletons who like me have failed to incidentally saunter upon their love.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Suddenly my life till now seems like insignificant baggage, though I have lived close to a quarter of a century. I stand and look at it as a man with excess baggage would, critically analysing what he needs, what he wants and what he should leave behind.
With the passing of this year I leave behind many things, people and intangibles – mainly a wide spectrum of emotions. I leave behind those whom I would have loved to hold on to – wonderful people who I was probably destined to be associated with only until then. I leave behind a trail of moments that gave me immense pleasure, and those that simply wrecked me. I leave behind essentials which probably are never meant to be mine. I don’t exactly know, whether it is appropriate to say that I leave these all behind, or if simply I have lost it all. I always take pleasure in the fact I fight till the end, and therefore I can say with a certain amount of confidence that I have not been careless or reckless. There have been those situations in which extrinsic factors contributed to the brutal change in the direction I had chosen to follow. I leave behind that direction as well.
But the last year has been my debutant year of financial independence and of professional identity. It was a year in which the fundamental right to the freedom of movement was acquired by me in letter and spirit. Incidentally, it also gave me my first flight journey. It has been the year that suddenly made me more of an adult than I was at 21 or 22 or 23. It gave me a special designation, a responsibility and a different playground. It was in this year that something really dawned on me. I came to understand what I stood for, or rather what I would stand for. My exposure to many things came this year, and one of that was Vishaka Hari. What a performer!!! What also I carry ahead are a few people I met and who have stuck on. What I specially love to carry are those who have been with me over the years, and continue to be with me.
I don’t know if I am particularly looking forward to tomorrow. I am not even expecting a surprise. In fact I don’t think I know of any one who would care to plan one for me. I don’t even know if that would be a thumb’s down for me. In fact I don’t even know if that matters.
I don’t know what to expect the coming year. But I sure have a list of things that I want. For one thing, I want proof that nice things happen to nice people, and not the opposite, because all of the last year I only saw the nice things happen to the mean people. And all my ‘nicety’ had the last laugh!! Last year also saw what I call the phenomenon of ‘lateral expansion’, thanks to the adipose tissue enlargement. I have been meaning to work on that for a long time. Honest to God, I have. But when sugar and candy beckon so lovingly, when it’s the perfect solution for a bad mood swing or the perfect medicine for a broken heart(?), there’s no way I can turn down such a juicy offer.
I stand yet again at a new thresh hold, with a lot of inspiration and aspiration. I think I’m ready to face the winds yet again. I don’t mean to be cynical, as I’m often misunderstood to be. I’ve unpacked and repacked, and I’m set to go.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Certain things and places are dearest to me and as an ode to all of them, here goes:
The railway station:
Being at a train station always gives me the jitters. I had to worry about whether my I was carrying my ticket, whether it was booked for the right day and date, whether I had reached the station at the right time. I verified by pulling my ticket out a million times and then put it back only to check for it again, as if mysteriously, it will disappear into platform ‘twelve and three quarters’ or a stray magic wand would have changed the date and time printed on the face of it. I also nurse fears about whether I had packed the necessary things, my books especially, if I was going on study leave and whether I will be able to enter the train with all my things, though my luggage was never out of the lines of control. And last, but not the least thanks to the sleazy men that only God knows why He really created, whether I will be able to board the train with most of dignity in place.
This was a place that brought me contrasting emotions depending upon my purpose of being there. As I was leaving for home, it was a special feeling, I looked forward to going home, where I would be the celebrated iconic figure. Self praise is one thing, but when I hear my mother bragging about the university rank I recently secured, or the moot my team recently won or the internship I had secured with a law firm, it made me feel like God Himself. Those are the times when I choose to completely concur with the theory of Aham Brahmaasmi (I am the Brahman). Not to mention the times when I return to Pune, so alone at the station, so unwelcome in the city, so uncared for, yet where I will survive and be King!
The auto wallahs deserve a special auto ratna award. They will, except for an errant few, run on the standard route and will charge the appropriate sum, unlike most of their brethren in Madras, where like a parallel to the world wrestling federation runs the biggest farce in terms of auto fares!!!
Kamala Nehru Park
This place has a fond space in my heart, as being the park where most of my attempts to shape up took place. I have run, jogged, walked and stretched in the precincts of this spacious garden, and watched the retired couples brace their lives post sixty with such hearty enthusiasm. The naariyal pani (tender coconut) seller outside became the significant provider of the only healthy food I consumed. Then were the numerous ‘chat’ shops a friend I always munched over, the kachchi dabeli stall which sold the second best kachchi dabeli in the city and the sweet little Dattatreya Temple, whose presiding deity became the answerer of most of my prayers for good marks, winning moots and ultimately having secured a good job. Then was the mithai dukaan around the corner…Am racking my brains to remember the name…was a R.M. Ghadke and sons if I remember right that sold Pedas and displayed them so well that I was mostly drooling at the pedas and most often than not gave into my desire and nullified the effect of my exercise. Soon, I discovered a little lane that turned in left so that I could avoid the fatal attraction.
Walks in lanes of Prabhat Road
I have a theory I often share. If you are bored, there are few things you can do: go for a movie/ go shopping/ eat out. But when you are bored and penniless, there is even less that you can do, and one of that is just what Kanksha and I did. We almost had the map of the bylanes of Prabhat Road by the back of our hands, walking round and round and round discussing everything under the sun. And if it had rained the trees formed a wet, green canopy above us, and the damp roads and the humid weather!!! Ah that was life….
Kaka Halwai and Chitale Bandhu Mithai Wale
Well, two sweet shops that rule the world!!! Kaka Halwai was the greatest factor for my never losing weight, and Chitale Bandhu was the reason my parents looked most forward to my home coming visits, when I would never fail to carry their favourite Bhakarwadi. If you, dear reader don’t know what I’m talking about, I would suggest that you make a visit to the city solely for the purpose, as no amount of my explanation will do the sweet-tangy-salty savoury any justice.
The numerous Rasvanthi Grahs
It essentially means juice centres and in the context of Pune, refers to the umpteen sugar cane juice centres in the city, which will amaze you with the absence of a single fly. A tall glass is simply divine, and for those who have the taste, a dash of lime and ginger provides a variant from the standard. Priced nominally at 5 Rs.- 6 Rs for a glass, and offering health and taste simultaneously, it is adequate reason why a true nationalist should start an “anti foreign cola” campaign. That brings me to:
Of course, the city of Pune has all the features of a modern city, with shopping malls mushrooming all over. But to pamper the true shopper in you, visit Lakshmi Road. The variety of trinkets, earrings, hair clips, bands, bangles, hand bags, chappals…You can go there almost every day, and yet not be bored and get lost in the lanes of where I discovered paradise. The splash of colour in the bed spreads and curtains on display is a sure shot cure to a bad mood swing. There is also a shop which name I don’t remember…which sells the world’s best plastics, tubs, buckets - all shapes and sizes. That’s where Kanksha and I spotted the enchanting- white with black flowered dinner set. God!!! We would have both agreed to get married to any donkey, if the dinner set came as a gift or dowry!!
The Rainy Mornings:
When class is at 7.15 a.m. and its been pouring without a break for the last 4 days, when the roads are water logged, and the leaves of the trees are dripping, when the umbrella is not sufficient shelter and when the thought of water now makes you sick, we still needed to get to class at 7.15. A cuppa chai at the canteen after the first class, or the tapri wallah over a warm smoke and conversation for my friends, and over simply conversation for me, was what woke us up after the first lecture, through which most of us continued our sleep.
The Zillion quaint eateries:
Actually, I would have to dedicate entire chapters to the zillion quaint eateries we ate at. But for the sake of brevity:
Vohuman Café(spelling mistake?)
The world’s best cheese omlet. I only managed to eat there a couple of times, because the guilt of being a Brahmin and consuming an egg created waves of high frequency disturbances in my brain. So the refrain became better that the indulge.
The Nameless Kachchi Dabeli Wallah on the corner turning of J.M.Road
Now this has a story as well. It goes that I had the debit card of a bank which only had two A.T.Ms in the entire city of Pune. The nearest was about two kilometres from my hostel. So if I ever needed money, Kanksha and I would embark on a project- to walk and walk back. Why we walked and decided not to take a bus or auto is a question I would answer in Kansha’s voice: because walking rids thighs of cellulite!! But as we talked and walked, the combination of our hunger and the inviting aroma, would beckons us to enjoy the Dabeli there. Sigh!!!memories….
Fantasy was the owls flocked. And the nocturnal binge in strawberry thick shake was the factor that egged on the non-alcohol-drinkers to be awake at those ungodly hours. This place is shut tight in the day time, as the owner believes in catering to the niche population of owls that did not have sclerotic vision.
The biggest attraction at Koregaon Park, apart from the park and Osho’s ashram German Bakery is a way of communicating to the vegetarians of the world that the cause of vegetarianism is totally worth and completely rewarding. The desserts here are worth a life time and you could also chance upon a hot doped greek lost in the figments of his imagination.
The place where I was exposed to the world’s best paranthas, the world’s best rajma chawal and the world’s best dal maakhni. And if I forget the Shahi Lassi I can well be convicted for a crime that may be even the President would never grant clemency for. The large glass is a challenge and a bigger one for me than resisting the melting butter on my hot Parantha that Kanksha always eyed disapprovingly.
Kanksha called it Poppinos and that makes it sound more appetising than its real name. the place where I had juice of the combination of apple, guava and banana, not to forget the Naachos with cream cheese…. Am sure hungry….
Again an olden-golden bakery that sold cream rolls and other snacks that are worth a life time. The biscuits were a marvel too. Biscuits remind me of:
Shrewsbury at Kayani
Seems to be handed down to Pune from the Colonial era, the Shrewsbury biscuits are actually worth a special birth. The shop will shut at the stroke of eight.(or six?) and even if you go down on your knees pleading, there will be no mercy. I told you, it’s worth another janma.
Am sure you must be wondering why every soul in that city of bliss is not over weight. Well that’s a question even I have pondered over, rather pointlessly. Pune is like a game of trasure hunt with little secrets waiting to be discovered. A city of convenience, of absolutely no pretensions. More so a city where life is at its best or can I say best ‘est’?
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Thanks to the end of my dependency, I have blessed myself with something that in effect is more detrimental, than developmental. I even feel a pang of guilt about referring to it as a necessary evil, because it in fact is not so necessary after all. Well all this build up is not to unravel some 9th wonder of the world. Nine, being the choice because that would make it more wondrous than the 8th , which is in effect is superlative to the 7th. To break the suspense, the object of all this melodrama is my newly acquired vahana, Sanskrit for vehicle. Duh!!! The build up was not worth it. Was it? And to top the disappointment let me clarify that I’m not even referring to a snazzy Lexus or a breathtaking 400c.c bike. Beginnings are humble they say, and mine completely adheres to the law (for once!), but that does not have any effect in terms of camouflaging my pride. Well if my sweet Ganheshji could so proudly flaunt his little mouse, I think nothing in the world can snatch me of my right in being pompous about my Black(and ttchch..slightly dented already!!!) Honda activa.
Well, now that the protagonist of my story has been successfully launched, I can move on to how I nearly I ran, or rather rode into a whizzing auto. And you, dear reader, must appreciate my humility in admitting that the fault was completely mine. But behind this averted catastrophe is a story of the past.
The past – when I was still a pedestrian, who had to wait at the zebra crossings to cross the road, the one who had to often slip into the role of a self assumed traffic police to make it alive to the other side of the road. The times when I could stop open mouthed and wide eyed at a woman with appalling make – up or stare fondly at the doggie at the window of a plush car, or gape at the sky wondering if it would rain today, or indulge in a conversation with my alter ego, or stop and stare at the display window of a shop that had branches almost in every city, was in the least a special attraction, yet for no reason excited me to know that it was going to come up in my neighbourhood, or to stand and smell the scent of the roses in the garlands in the flower market, or to swear loudly in English that was never understood by some vagabond who passed a remark that I assumed had to be lewd or just to watch the faces of the other pedestrians and commuters twitch with expression as they engaged in a conversation either with themselves or with the invisible person over the wires or the wireless blue tooth(wonder what made it a tooth and that too blue!!) of the cell phone. Walking gave me a part of the day with myself. To come to terms with my day that was closing in. It allowed me to look around and absorb a part of the world I lived in.
I still have not outgrown that habit, which is the reason for the possible collision. A house had been decked with lighting- a decorated drive way- a playing band. A wedding? An engagement? A party? What was it? I had to know, and in all my inquisitivity about what was happening or going to happen in the life a stranger, I was blissfully unaware of the auto honking at me, trying to distract me from my distraction. And so it had happened.
But this does not mean that all is lost. I enjoy scooting around the city on two wheels. I love the wind on my skin. I love the symbol affixed on my vehicle that announces that I’m a lawyer. I love being able to reach my work place without incurring the wrath and curse of the auto wallahs. There are many things I love, yet many others I’ve lost.